—- Based on a true story —-
On 12th Dec.’98 Vijyant Thapar, a 22-year-old young man was commissioned in 2 Rajputana Rifles (Raj Rif), a regiment of Indian Army. Vijyant was popularly known as Robin by his loved ones. Barely a month into the service, Robin was moved to the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Kupwara villagers were about to witness a perfect fairy tale scripted by Robin.
One morning, Robin saw a 6-year-old little girl along with the principal of a nearby school – Ashraf Hakim. “Good Morning! What is your name?” asked Robin. The child didn’t reply; instead gestured the school principal to move quickly. The principal smiled back at Robin and left. That evening, when Robin was relaxing outside the camp with other jawans, he heard a sharp voice, “Thapar sahab!” It was the voice of Ashraf Hakim.
“The child you saw in the morning was Ruksana, the daughter of late Muhammad Akbar.” said the Principal.
The name ‘Muhammad Akbar’ immediately rang a bell in Robin’s head. Almost everyone in Kupwara knew about the horrific story of Muhammad Akbar, who was killed by terrorists in front of his daughter, Ruksana. The shock was so unbearable for Ruksana that she lost her voice.
The next day, Robin decided to talk once again with Ruksana. When he saw Ruksana, he took a Chocolate and walked toward her. Ruksana saw Robin coming and was terrified. Robin, realising that he was carrying a Kalashnikov Rifle, took a step back. He then handed over the rifle to his colleague and approached her.
“Good Morning Ruksana!” said Robin as he offered the Chocolate to her.
She reluctantly accepted it and rushed into the school building. Ashraf sahab, who was standing next to Ruksana, smiled at Robin and followed Ruksana. Since that day, Robin would daily meet Ruksana. The kindness of the army officer had touched hearts of many in Kupwara and Ruksana too by now, had developed affection and respect for Robin.
Thus, in the midst of blood and bullets, an army officer managed to carve a fairy tale friendship with a little girl.
Captain Vijyant Thapar with Ruksana
One day, a terrible news exploded like a bombshell : Pakistani forces had occupied the heights of Kargil peaks and war was all over the place. It meant that Robin’s regiment – Raj Rif was to move its base from Kupwara to Kargil. Robin, a thorough optimist, took the news in a sporting spirit. Next morning, as the jawans were getting ready to leave, Robin waited at the school’s gate to meet Ruksana. To his despair, Rukhsana did not come. With a heavy heart, Robin turn around and sat in the Army Truck.
“Thapar Sahab!” shouted a man.
Robin, immediately stepped out of the truck. He was delighted to see Ashraf Sahab with little Ruksana. He went near Ruksana with tears in his eyes. Before he could say a word, Ruksana hugged him tightly and said in a soft tone, “Don’t go!” Robin just could not believe his ears. Ruksana had spoken after months. All thanks to the unconditional love and friendship extended by Robin. A less surprised Ashraf sahab told Robin,”Last night, she spoke for the first time in many months. Thapar Sahab,it’s a miracle.” , He continued, “May Allah bless you for your kindness!”
With a smile on his face and tears in eyes, Robin left for Kargil.
In the Kargil War, Robin’s company was assigned a task to capture one of the most difficult peaks – Tololing. Fighting against all odds, Robin and his men destroyed the enemy bunkers and captured Tololing peak.Sadly, Robin was martyred in the battle of Tololing. For the sheer courage and bravery exhibited in the war, Captain Vijyant Thapar was posthumously awarded one of India’s most prestigious Gallantry Awards – ‘Vir Chakra’.
Ruksana could hardly bare the news of her warrior dead.
Robin’s mortal remains were handed over to his family.
The Kargil War ended Robin’s life but could not end Robin’s fairy tale. In his last letter to his family, Robin had requested his family members to take Ruksana’s care.
The last letter of Captain Vijyant Thapar speaks volumes about this brave knight.
‘Robin knew that he was not going to survive the battle of Tololing and yet his letter was full of hopes.’
‘Robin knew that he was in the wilderness of Kargil and yet his letter had humour.’
‘Robin knew that he shall never see Ruksana again and yet he desired a brighter future for the kid.’
One has to read the entire letter to understand how courage, love and responsibility go hand in hand.
—Dedicated to the Indian Armed Forces—