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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 15:11 IST

Sacrifice Beyond Self: Remembering Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal's valor in the face of enemy

Commissioned into the Indian Army, he displayed valor in counterinsurgency operations in Pulwama, making the ultimate sacrifice on February 17, 2019.

Yuvraj Tyagi
Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal
Posthumously awarded the "Shaurya Chakra," his legacy lives on, inspiring the nation. | Image:Republic
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In the picturesque town of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, a hero was born on December 18, 1987 - Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal. The youngest among three sisters, he grew up harboring dreams as vast as the mountains that surrounded his hometown. As the son of Shri OP Dhondiyal and Smt Saroj Dhondiyal, who served in the office of Controller Defence Accounts, the military ethos ran deep in his family. 

The halls of St Joseph Academy in Dehradun echoed with the dreams of young Vibhuti, who, even in his early years, envisioned donning the uniform of the Indian Army. His journey took him to DAV College in Dehradun, where he completed his graduation, laying the foundation for the remarkable odyssey that awaited him. 

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Maj Vibhuti's call to duty 

In a nation where heroes are born out of dedication and service, Maj Vibhuti answered the call to duty with his commission into the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) on September 18, 2011. His entry into the armed forces marked not just a career choice but a commitment to safeguard the sovereignty of the nation.

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Credit- ADGPI

The initial years saw Maj Vibhuti's attachment to an infantry unit, 17 Mahar, deployed in the challenging terrains of Krishna Ghati sector in Jammu and Kashmir. It was here that he honed his field craft skills and evolved into a committed soldier, ready to face the trials that lay ahead. Post his tenure along the Line of Control (LOC), he traversed through various Army formations in Rajasthan, Pune, and Secunderabad, undergoing a gamut of training courses that shaped him into a versatile and seasoned officer. 

Love, marriage and Counterinsurgency operations in Pulwama 

Amidst the rigors of military life, love found its way into Maj Vibhuti's heart. In a ceremony filled with love and camaraderie, he married Ms Nitika Kaul on April 19, 2018. The union not only strengthened personal bonds but also added a layer of resilience to the soldier's character.

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The turning point in Maj Vibhuti's military journey came in 2018 when he was deputed to serve with the 55 RR Battalion, engaged in counterinsurgency operations in the strife-torn region of Jammu and Kashmir. Initially serving as the Officer Commanding of Field Repair Increment (FRI) of EME, he later assumed the role of Company Commander of Delta Company of 55 RR Battalion. 

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The night of February 17, 2019: Pulwama operation 

The fateful night of February 17, 2019, etched a tale of valor that resonates through the annals of military history. Deployed in Pulwama district, Maj Vibhuti's unit, 55 RR, received credible intelligence about the presence of terrorists in Pinglan village. In a meticulously planned operation, the forces launched a search and destroy mission. 

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Led by Brigadier Harbir Singh, Maj Vibhuti, part of the assault team, navigated through the foggy and treacherous terrain of Pinglan. As the clock struck 1 AM, they reached a suspected house, triggering a firefight with the terrorists. Undeterred by the adversary, Maj Vibhuti displayed unwavering courage, leading his men to reorganize and counterattack.

In the face of enemy fire, Maj Vibhuti bore the brunt of multiple gunshots but pressed on, eliminating one terrorist. However, a grenade thrown by the remaining terrorists proved fatal for the gallant officer. Evacuated to the Army Hospital along with his injured comrades, Maj Vibhuti, along with Hav Sheo Ram, Sep Ajay Kumar, and Sep Hari Singh, succumbed to their injuries, making the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. 

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Legacy and recognition 

Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal's sacrifice did not go unnoticed. Posthumously awarded the gallantry award "Shaurya Chakra," his exemplary courage, devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice became a beacon for future generations. He left behind a legacy of selflessness and bravery, inspiring not only those in uniform but the entire nation.

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Lt Nitika Kaul Dhondiyal on her PoP from the OTA, Chennai. | Credit- ANI

The legacy of Maj Vibhuti lives on through his wife, Smt Nitika Kaul Dhondiyal, who, carrying the torch of his indomitable spirit, joined the Indian Army. Commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps in May 2021, she continues the saga of courage and commitment that defines the Dhoundiyal family. Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal's name resonates as a symbol of sacrifice, honor, and undying love for the motherland. As the nation remembers him, his story serves as a reminder that heroes are not born; they are made through deeds of valor and an unwavering commitment to duty. 

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 16:50 IST

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