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This Letter To India is From a Proud Father of a Kargil Martyr 

On Captain Vijayant Thapar’s birth anniversary, a letter from his father.

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Col VN Thapar is the father of Captain Vijayant Thapar. The brave soldier, who was leading a Rajputana Rifles regiment, laid down his life in an attack on Tololing peak on 29 June 1999, during the Kargil War. He was only 22 years old.

Capt Thapar wrote his last letter to his parents. And now, his proud father has written a letter to India.

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Dear India,
     
During his visit to Pathankot Mr Arvind Kejriwal, made a self-serving declaration to the family of one of the martyrs, "I will give you Rs 1 Crore next year when I come to power in Punjab”. That was a crass statement to make even from our debased political standards.

Earlier also, some politicians have resorted to money in the form of compensation to martyrs for gaining public approval. It is exploitative act done for political expediency and has no sincerity. Nothing could be so flippant, more shameful. It felt like an attempt at sale-purchase of martyr welfare. Where was Mr Kejriwal and his ilk when Col Madik or Col Rai were martyred along with their soldiers? His putting a price on martyrdom and that too conditional to his coming to power is despicable beyond words.

Many politicians don’t know what drives a solider to his death in the face of an enemy machine gun. These are very high ideals far away from such self-seeking politicians. A Param Vir Chakra or Vir Chakra is just a small piece of bronze, its value is not in terms of value or grants but in the highest respect, honor, recognition of a grateful nation for the acts of inspirational bravery and sacrifice in protecting the mother land. Any soldier will gladly give his life if a gallantry award could be pinned on his uniform before his last rites. This is a sentiment, unfortunately, some politician, netas, bureaucrats do not value and they damage the very foundation, the very ethos of the men in uniform by their populist actions. The concept of “IZZAT” drives a fighting man to any limits. Of late, insensitive remarks and thoughtless actions have hurt just this 'Izzat' of the men in uniform.

The army is the last bastion of the country’s defence. It has to be hundred per cent dependable. Fortunately, the Indian Armed Forces have kept the flag flying high, no matter what the constraints, no matter what the costs. The soldier lives in great hardship, in severe privation and when required, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. We must respect this sentiment. The best of arms in the world cannot guarantee victory. You require a highly motivated force for that. Please respect the dignity, sentiments and feelings of the soldiers. Give them the pride of place. Never by word or action, do anything that hurts them or their esteem. And keep their morale sky high.

“When we come home standing on dead. To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is price enough and with that we trust that we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

Jai Hind,

Col VN Thapar  

(This article was first published 27 July 2016 and is being reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the birth anniversary of Captain Vijayant Thapar.

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