Salute the spirit: Father turns author for Kargil War hero
Colonel Virender Nath Thapar (retd) is touching 80 but believes there is one story that needs to be told, and retold, because a nation requires heroes to sustain itself. And so he decided to author a tribute to his soldier son: Vijyant at Kargil: The Biography of a War Hero.
The e-book, published by Penguin Random House India, has a nostalgic foreword by then army chief General VP Malik (retd) and will be available online from Friday evening.
Captain Vijyant Thapar, a Vir Chakra awardee and fourth generation army officer, was commissioned on December 12, 1998, and joined the 2nd Rajputana Rifles in Gwalior. He was only 22 when he was martyred during the Kargil War in June 1999, having fought bravely in the crucial battles of Tololing and Knoll.
Colonel Thapar has co-authored the book that comprises 18 chapters with Neha Dwivedi, a Kargil War martyr’s daughter who is now a Mumbai-based doctor.
The book contains a brief overview of the operation by none other than Lt Gen Mohinder Puri (retd), who had commanded 8 Mountain Division that brought the Pakistanis to their knees.
PATRIOT AND YOUTH ICON
Speaking about Vijyant and his story, Colonel Thapar says: “Coming generations have a right to such a rich legacy which they can lean on. Vijyant lived and died for the conviction that India is great, an ‘idea’ worth dying for. His life and thoughts must be preserved and passed on to the next generation. This book written by a soldier father on a soldier son, is but a pause for new heroes will emerge from the ashes of Vijyant.”
Over the past two decades, Colonel Thapar has written for media publications and has been a motivational speaker at forums, particularly educational institutions, where he shares Capt Vijyant’s inspiring story.
“We lost our elder son physically almost 21 years ago but he lives on with us in spirit. He remains a part of the family,” says the proud father, who stays in Noida along with wife Tripta.
LOVE FOR THE FORCES
The book is full of anecdotes about Viyant’s early journey to the days in the Indian Military Academy and the experiences that shaped him into a fine officer. Vijyant was nicknamed Robin because of his love for nature.
“I admire him now for his high thinking, love for the motherland and the armed forces. He dreamt of serving the country even as a young boy. He had drawn the cockpit controls on his cupboard and would fly high as a kid. His first love was the air force but he eventually joined the infantry like me,” says Colonel Thapar.
“During his school days, he never carried the satchel, rather he took pride in the army pithu bag (backpack) with inspirational slogans written all over it,” he recalls.
“I have written the story of a remarkable man without any prejudice. His is a story worth telling, and retelling,” he adds.