Today is the Independence Day of India, I just remembered the story of a modern freedom fighter, who sacrificed everything for India. it's a true story...
He may be no more, but for 16 year old Rukhsana from a remote villege in Kashmir, Vir Chakra recipient and Kargil martyr Captain Vijayant Thapar is still alive. The student of std IX in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, fondly remembers this "messiah" as "a tall man with whom she played on school premises and who gave her handful of chocolates."
While braving the intruders on the icy heights of Knoll and Three-Pimples Drass sub-sectorin Kargil, 22 year old Captain Thapar in his last letter to his family asked them to continue Rs.50 to a girl in Kupwara. He wrote, "By the time you get this letter, I''ll be observing you all from the sky enjoying the hospitality of apsaras (angels)... donate some money to an orphanage, and keep giving Rs.50 to Rukhsana a month."
Thapar met the five year old girl in a school near an Army cam in Kupwara. "All we want is to keep cherishing Robin's memory and see Rukhsana growing up," his father Colonel Thapar says, who is a retired Colonel. Robin was his son's nickname.
"We came to know about her when he asked us to send some girl's clothes to him. We were surprised with the mention of a girl's name.. but then we got to know she was a little kid. We met her for the first time in 10 years, just two months ago. She is very pretty girl and studying at a goverment school. She can read, write and speak English, Kashmiri and Urdu," retired Colonel said.
The old parents saw their 22 year old son, living in Rukhsana's eyes, heart and mind. The gave a her a mobile phone to keep in touch with her.
"Rukhsana''s father was killed by unknown assailants, after the incident she developed withdrawal symptoms and always kept mum. She will not mingle with anyone... but now she is quite chirpy. We had never seen her as a meeting never materialized.. her life was also said to be under threat as her father was accused of spying."
This was published, around one year ago, on the 10th aniversary of recapturing Tiger Hills in Kargil from Pakisthani Army, (Operation Vijay). May his soul rest in peace.
"Kargil martyr remembered by Kupwara girl" - The Hindu national daily, Kochi edtion, 06/07/09.