Major Vivek Gupta was born on 2 January 1970 in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Since his childhood, Major Vivek Gupta had been listening to stories about life in the army and the honor of being in the army from his father Col BRS Gupta, an Army Ordnance Corps officer and was immensely inspired by it. Finally, his natural instinct prevailed and he decided to join the army and announced it to his family, who were very happy and proud of his decision. After college, Vivek went to National Defense Academy and Indian Military Academy and was commissioned in the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, one of the most decorated units in the Indian army, on June 13, 1992.
Major Vivek got married to an army officer Captain Rajshree Bisht in 1997. He was a very brave and committed soldier and was awarded the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) commendation for killing a Pakistani terrorist in hand-to-hand combat. Recognizing his outstanding skills he was soon sent to Infantry School, Mhow, as a weapon instructor.
Kargil War: June 1999
Maj Vivek Gupta played a significant role in capturing the Tololing top During Kargil war in 1999. The 2nd Rajputana Rifles went into the war when the Indian army did not have enough information about the exact magnitude of intrusion. Major Gupta and his men of the 2nd Battalion, Rajputana Rifles were tasked with the recapture of point 4590 on the treacherous, icy slopes of Tololing in the Drass sector. He was part of a light machine gun commando team who was asked to recapture Pakistani bunkers along the mountaintop of Tololing. As with so many of the later operations in Kargil, this too was a dangerous mission requiring an uphill accent towards entrenched enemy posts who had the advantage of height and a bird’s eye view.
Major Vivek was martyred on June 13 after capturing two difficult posts the same day on the wind-swept, icy slopes of the Drass sector. He died on the battlefront when a fusillade of bullets from the Pakistanis tore open his torso, but not before he and his company men had slain seven members in the enemy camp. His body could not be recovered immediately and it lay on the Tololing Top before the Indian Army sent a mission, braving enemy fire, to rescue the bodies on June 15.
Life came a full circle for Major Vivek Gupta as he was martyred exactly on the day he joined the Rajputana Rifles seven years ago. “Knowing that his entire company is like a sitting duck after bullets were fired upon them from every direction Major Vivek launched a solo attack to take on the Pakistanis. While my 27-year-old son proved his blood, his fellow soldiers lived on to win more peaks,” said Col Gupta of his son’s death. He was said to be very close to his father and his father was very proud of Major Gupta that his son died a hero’s death. He posted a letter to the Indian army after Maj Vivek’s death expressing his grief and pride about him. For his act of exemplary bravery, an exhibition of spectacular courage and supreme sacrifice, he was given the nation’s second highest gallantry award, “Maha Vir Chakra” posthumously.
The citation for the Maha Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:
Major Vivek Gupta was in command of the leading Charlie Company, when 2nd Rajputana Rifles launched a battalion attack on Tololing Top, in Drass sector on 13 June 1999. Inspite of heavy artillery and automatic fire, the company under the inspiring leadership of Major Vivek Gupta was able to close in with the enemy. As soon as the Company emerged in the open, they came under multidirectional intense fire. Three personnel of the leading section of the Company were hit and the attack was temporarily stalled. Knowing fully well that staying any longer in the open under the murderous enemy fire would lead to more losses, Major Vivek Gupta reacted immediately and fired a rocket launcher at the enemy position. Before the shocked enemy could recover, Major Vivek Gupta charged on to the enemy position. While so charging, he was hit by two bullets, despite which, he kept moving towards the position. On reaching the position, he engaged the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat and managed to kill three enemy soldiers despite his own injuries.
Taking inspiration from the gallant deed of their officer, the rest of the company charged onto the enemy position and captured it. However, in the ensuing combat, Major Vivek Gupta received another direct from enemy bullets and finally succumbed to his injuries. Major Vivek Gupta displayed conspicuous gallantry and inspiring leadership in the face of the enemy, which, ultimately led to the capture of Tololing Top.
- “Don’t worry dad, I will be back soon,” Maj Gupta wrote to his father Col BRS Gupta in his last letter on June 8, 1999.
- Another excerpt of the letter says, “You should feel proud of me … I am contributing something for the nation in this uniform I have worn … being a company commander at this time is the greatest experience one can have.”
- “I am going for the Tololing and will move ahead after that. If I come back shoot me,” was the war cry given by Maj Gupta to his men before launching the assault on Tololing Top.
- “When I asked his choice of unit he said, ‘I am not made to count socks and trousers. I am born to be an infantryman,’ recalled Col Gupta, after his son had told him his intentions of joining the army.