In 1999, 6-year-old Ruksana, who lives in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, saw her father being murdered by militants, and out of shock, lost her ability to speak.
In the same year that Ruksana’s father was murdered, Captain Vijayant Thapar, a 22-year old Indian Army officer, was posted in the district, with a battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.
When Captain Thapar heard about Ruksana’s plight, he began to make daily visits to her school. Accompanied by his helper, Sepoy Jagmal Singh, he would bring along sweets and chocolates and talk to the child. The two slowly formed a bond, and he even took Ruksana to see a doctor.
Thanks to the kind efforts of Captain Thapar, Ruksana slowly started recovering from the trauma of her father’s death and started speaking again.
Unfortunately, in June, that year, tragedy struck. The brave Captain Thapar lost his life, in the Battle of Tololing Knoll in Kargil. However, before he had left for his mission, he had written to his family, asking them to take care of Ruksana. Describing their bond, he requested his family to keep sending her money every month.
Speaking to the Times of India, 73-year-old Colonel Thapar, who is Captain Thapar’s father, stated that although the family lives in Noida, they have honoured the wishes of their late son, stayed in touch with Ruksana, and send her money on an annual basis.
In fact, Colonel Thapar had met Ruksana and her mother in 2015 and was happy to see that she was going to school regularly.
In the letter that Captain Thapar wrote to his family before the Tololing assault, he passionately declared that if he were to be reincarnated as a human, he would join the Army and fight for the nation again. He also urged his family to donate his organs, and continue to take care of Ruksana.
Colonel Thapar has made several visits to the spot where his son sacrificed his life for the nation. While he deeply misses him, he is also proud of his sacrifice.
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Captain Thapar was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. We salute the hero who selflessly laid down his life for the nation and what’s more, gave a little girl back her voice.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)