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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Brief Biography of Sam Manekshaw

A Brief Biography of Sam Manekshaw
Summary
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Sam Manekshaw was one of the greatest soldiers and war hero that India has ever had. Born Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw on April 3rd 1914 he became the first ever Field Marshal of the Indian forces and served the country gloriously through five wars and over forty years including the second world war. His long military career is studded with achievements including the successful campaign of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh. He became the 8th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army in 1969 and though the Indian army had limited resources he crafted them to become brave soldiers and tasted victory on each occasion. After four years as COAS he was awarded the honorary rank of Field Marshal in 1973. He had a very close association with the Gorkha rifles and was affectionately called Sam Bahadur by them. He had also received the Padma Vibhushan and the Military Cross and was famous for his bravery and forthright approach. He was married to Sillo Bode and they had two daughters Sherry and Maya. Sam Bahadur died of pneumonia and other related complications at the Military Hospital, Wellington, Tamil Nadu on 27th June 2008 at 94 years of Age. India truly lost one of her best sons on that day.
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Early life:
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Sam Manekshaw was born into a Parsi family in Amritsar to Dr. Hormusji Manekshaw and Heerabai on the 3rd of April 1914. His father had served with the royal British Army as a medical officer in Messopotamia during the First World War. However after the War as his medical practice did not prosper very well in Bombay he decided to shift to Amritsar. Here Hormusji started a pharmacy and began to practice medicine. Sam had three brothers and two sisters and apart from the eldest Fali who studied in Bombay the rest of the boys Jan, Sam and Jemi went to the ‘Sherwood School’ in Nainital for studies. His sisters studied at Murree which is now in Pakistan. The Manekshaw children learnt a lot from their father with a strong sense of honour and honesty. Sam got his jolly spirit and humour from his mother.
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When Sam had completed his schooling he wanted to go to England to study medicine. But his father believed he was too young to go on his own. Thus Sam enrolled at the Hindu Sabha College, Amritsar but his heart was hardly into it. In 1931 India’s very own Military Academy was established at Dehra Dun and Sam Manekshaw was amongst the first batch of Indians who qualified to study at the academy. On 30th September 1932 Sam joined the academy and very soon made his mark as a good tennis player. He was part of the Academy Tennis Team and was awarded the ‘Tennis Blue’. However Sam frequently landed up in trouble with the laws and rules of the IMA.
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After passing out Sam was commissioned as second lieutenant of the Frontier Force Regiment in 1934. On the completion of his attachment he became part of the Royal Scots and then the 54th Sikh Regiment which on partition became part of the Pakistani Army.
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In 1937 he met his future wife Silloo Bode at Lahore and they got married on the 22nd April 1939. Their first daughter Sherry was born on the 11th of January 1940 and Maya was born on September 24th 1945.
Middle Life:
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Manekshaw’s first major military campaign was World War II when he served as a captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma in 1942. In a counter attack offensive against the Japanese Army he successfully led his battalion to its objective despite heavy causalities. When capturing the key position Sam was injured by machine gun fire and was severely wounded. Major General D.T. Cowan recognised Sam for his fearless guts and awarded Sam with the Military Cross on the battlefield itself.
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After the near fatal Burma Campaign Sam went to the Staff College in Quetta for a course and served for a while as an instructor. He joined the 12 Frontier Force Rifles in Burma and was wounded amidst fierce battle yet again. Towards the end of the War he helped in the rehabilitation of 10000 POWs and then went for a tour of Australia in 1946. Coming back he served as a first grade staff officer in the Military operations directorate. Manekshaw successfully handled many planning and administrative problems that crept up after partition. The Jammu and Kashmir operations of 1947-48 were largely successful because of his acumen. He became the Colonel of the 8 Gorkha Rifles and the 61 Cavalry. As the GOC-in-C of the Eastern Command he solved the insurgency problem of Nagaland and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1968.
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On 7th June 1969 Sam Manekshaw replaced General Kumaramangalam as the 8th chief of army staff and his immense military experience came of good use during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 which led to the creation of Bangladesh. As refugees from the then East Pakistan poured in to India and full scale war erupted Sam had to manage the two tasks of defeating the Pakistani forces and also take care of the refugee problem. Manekshaw motivated the Indian forces like no other and his brilliant war strategy led to the unconditional surrender of the Pakistani forces within a short span of just 14 days. Over 93000 Pakistani soldiers and civilians were taken POW and the war became an example of perfect co-ordination between the three units of the armed forces. This stands out as one of the fastest military victories in the history of Indian military. With the Shimla agreement in place the new nation of Bangladesh was created.
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Later Life:
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In 1972 President V.V.Giri awarded him the Padma Vibhusan for his distinguished service to the nation. On 1st January 1973 he was given the honorary rank of Field Marshal, another first in Indian military history. Apart from Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, Manekshaw was the only other Indian Field Marshal. Sam Manekshaw retired a fortnight later after forty years of exceptional military service and setlled down with his wife in Conoor near the Wellington Military Catonment where he remained the Commandant of the Defence Services Staff College. He died at the age of 94 on the 27th June 2008 due to pneumonia and related complications. He is survived by his daughters and grandchildren. Soldiers like him are very rare nowadays.
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Quotations by / on
Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw
(Sam Bahadur)
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Barack Obama 2008 Washington DC, USA

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Hailing Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw as a "legandary soldier" and an "inspiration" to his fellow citizens, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama paid glowing tributes to the former chief of Indian Army who crafted India's greatest military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

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"I offer my deep condolences to the people of India, on the passing of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. He was a legendary soldier, a patriot, and an inspiration to his fellow citizens," he said.
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The former army chief provided an example of personal bravery, self-sacrifice, and steadfast devotion to duty that began before India's independence, and will deservedly be remembered far into the future, Obama said in a statement.
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Source: News Occasion: The presidential nominee condoles Sam Manekshaw's demise
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2 . " There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued. " -

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw (Sam Bahadur)
Occasion: When he was sent to to command retreating Indian forces
North East Frontier Agency (NEFA)
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Testimonials about Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw (Sam Bahadur)
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Kunwar Singh Kathait
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Sam Bahadur Manekshaw whom I met in Oberoi Hotel in Feb 1997 was great human being and down to earth person. My self being an Indian Army soldier, shared with him many thoughts which I remember and cherish. My salute to the brave and legendery Indian soldier Sam Bahadur. Jai Hind.
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Manish Manish
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you are best sir.
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Kunal .
As everyone else i am too a great fan of Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw..the only conciliation I have is that I share my Birth date with the legendary Sam Bahadur..
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dreamy girl ...
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Happy Birthday! May your soul rest in peace wherever you are!
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Ashim Raizada
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India does not make heroes like Sam Bahadur any more. The way the Sonia Gandhi led govenment of today treated our very own great 'Ceaser - Sam Bahadur' goes to show our nations pathetic state of affairs. However still there are many of us in this nation of ours who will continue to hold high, great Indians like Sam Bahadur.... for the days of the present day sycophants will end soon.
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Bharat Ratna for Sam Bahadur
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by Col LK Anand Retd on Jun 27, 2008 on his death
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My Dear Prime Minister,
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If Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw could not be honoured with Bharat Ratna during his lifetime the least which the Government of India can do is to honour him now by bestowing upon him the award of Bharat Ratna Posthumously. He is one of the most deserving son of India and a great, brave and distinguished soldier, who brought many a glorious victories and moments of achievements to this grateful Nation.
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Col LK Anand Retd
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Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw the Great Indian Soldier
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by Col LK Anand Retd on Jun 27, 2008 upon his death.
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I had the proud privilege of seeing or meeting Sam Manekshaw on three different occasions.
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First time, when I was a Cadet under training in Khadakwasla, when he visited National Defence Academy in the year 1961-62 as Maj Gen while commanding a Division in Eastern Sector. We were absolutely impressed with his great personality.
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Second time, in Oct-Nov 1971 when the liberation of Bangladesh was imminent and the Indo-Pak War just in the offing. He addressed all officers and Jawans in J & K and advised "Gentle Men, please ensure the excellent reputation of the Army and do not ever do anything wrong in the war which was soon coming. Your behaviour with the civilians and especially the helpless women should be above board. Still if you are compelled to do any thing wrong, please remember me and put your hands in your pockets and I assure you nothing wrong will happen".
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Third time, after his retirement at Bangalore Airport- He remarked "that even after commanding one of the biggest Armies of the world and fighting so many battles in my lifetime, I am unable to command one person, and that is this lady - My Wife". Then, I had a number of presentation files in my hand. He remarked, "Young man, you must have worked really hard in producing these files. Frankly, if I were you I wouldn’t do them up, coz its easier to take a "rocket" than to do this stupid work. No doubt he was a soldier par excellence and highly quick and sharp witted. His memories will ever be cherished.

Inspiration from Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw (Sam Bahadur)
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This man's life inspires one to take the sky as the limit to one's dreams... and more than that putting in unrelenting efforts to realize those dreams...
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I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla, although a great many resemble the latter.

All the above details have been compiled from various sources on the net by courtesy  google.co.in and rediff.com and others

7 comments:

  1. Dear col. Anand,

    Many thanks for putting the pictures on the blog.

    As a member of ex-para-military forces CISF, I sincerely follow your nationalistic and patriotic blog. I must give my sincere regards to you for the excellent voluntary work you are doing for the country when many ex-forces members either into "Idling" or just not bother for the country but for greed and grab (some of them even did not hasitate even to loot from our Kargil martyrs, what more low could be than this in this world).

    Your articles on the great Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw is simply a well-timed work. We need to keep his memory alive when the current government treated him with so much disrespect and contempt even after his death. Here in the UK (I am an ex-pat now) there are three large statues of three great soldiers near the parliament house and they are Field Marshall Viscount Lord Montgomery (Army), Admiral Nelson (Navy), Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harries (Air Force) and there in Bharat there is nither any statue for our Sam Bahadur or a war memorial for our brave hearts. It is tragic, pathetic and sad that the nation and politicians in power are so ungrateful.

    Please print this in the blog if you agree with me.

    With best wishes and warm regards,

    Amit

    Amit Bhadhuri
    Former CISF Officer
    amitarjun@blueyonder.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Our Politicians should learn something from these

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  3. heart touching articles and photos of the Indian God-father Samji.

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  4. Hello peoples we do have statue of sam bahadur in pune and in dec we celebrate vijay divas in d name of fm sam bahadur. if u dnt knw abt India den better shut ur mouths ok.

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  5. No one is bothered about the history created. Many warriors
    have come up in India but they were never recognized. Who cares, people are busy making huge haul of assets, which
    is mortal. Only History remains. Jesus foresaw this and
    told people not to create asset in this world which is subject to destruction, but to seek the kingdom of God first
    and all these will be given to us. Sam Bahadur did his duty with
    sincerity and devotion. A great soldier who will be remembered
    by every indian patriots .

    Peter
    Assam Rifles


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  6. A blog worthy enough to follow,thank you sir.

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  7. Honorable colonel Anand,
    first of all i want to salute all the armed force active and retired jawans for their dedicated and patriotic work towards our motherland since british period till today.
    i also want to congratulate you that you have started this blog for for our nation so that the common people of india come to know the glory of indian defence role in the safety of our motherland ,each time when she is in internal and external threat and natural calamity also.
    it is also the matter of pride for all of us that we have such a finest academy in world who has produced such a potential and tactical Generals in open era . due to his fearlessness and the planning capability Honorable Field Marshall is one of my ideal person in life. in my personnel view his loss is not only the India's personal loss but whole world's defence loss.i find this blog today and its looking quite informative. i am thanful that you have started this.before ending i want to salute the souls of all the martyrs who shed their lives for the safety of motherland.
    Jai Hind

    Ram Kumar Pandey
    Ex student, Army Institute of Technology,Pune

    ReplyDelete