28th September 2022

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Gen. Sam Manekshaw remembered

On 27th June our nation remembered Field Marshal Gen. Sam Manekshaw on his 12th death anniversary, Manekshaw was born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar, son of Hormusji Manekshaw, doctor and Heerabai. The fifth of six children, he was educated at Sherwood College in Nainital. Subsequently, he returned to Amritsar for his studies at Hindu Sabha College.

  • In July 1932, he joined the Indian Military Academy as part of his first batch. He allegedly acted as an act of rebellion against his father, who refused to send the young man to London to study medicine.
  • Manekshaw met his wife Silloo Bode in 1937. They married two years later, April 22, 1939, and had two daughters. He was commissioned to the 4/12 of the Border Force Regiment on December 22, 1934.
  • Initially, he was sent to Lahore for a year to serve as a liaison with a British unit. Later, in February 1936, he joined his parents’ unit.
  • During his military career, he endured many difficult times. On one particular occasion, he escaped death by the skin of his teeth.
  • Manekshaw, then just a young captain fighting during the Second World War, suffered multiple gunshot wounds against the Japanese in a Burmese jungle on February 22, 1942. His ordained Sher Singh evacuated him and, fortunately, he survived.
  • In another case, his career nearly derailed. An investigating court was ordered against him in the early 1960s, when he was the commander of the College of Defense Service Personnel in Wellington. The precise reasons were never explained, Manekshaw having refused to speak about it.
  • However, the Indian debacle that followed the 1962 war against China saved Manekshaw, so to speak. Menon and Kaul had to resign and Manekshaw was given command of the 4th Corps.
  • From there he sailed relatively well and was appointed chief of the army by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in July 1969.
  • In his role as chief of the army, Sam Manekshaw made history not only by guiding India to the victory in the war of liberation of Bangladesh, but also for having resisted the political pressure to intervene at an untimely moment, even proposing to resign.
  • In January 1973, the month of his retirement, Manekshaw was appointed marshal, a rank mainly ceremonial, but which reflects his stature in the history of the Indian army.
  • He was the first Indian to receive this rank and now shares this laurel with one of his predecessors, General Kodandera Cariappa, who received it later in 1986.
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