Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw: Nation celebrates his 106th birth anniversary

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw is the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal and unarguably the most celebrated military general in the history of Independent India. Popularly called as ‘Sam Bahadur,’ the nation on Friday (April 3) remembered his 106th birth anniversary. A recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, Manekshaw died in 2008.


Manekshaw, who is known for his visionary military leadership, was a key architect of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War that led to the creation of Bangladesh. As Indian Army chief, he is reported to have told the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the army’s lack of preparation ahead of the war with Pakistan in April 1971.

Born in 1914 to Parsi parents in British India, Sam Manekshaw was the fifth of six children of his parents. He acquired his school education at Sherwood College, Nainital, and then studied at the Hindu Sabha College in Amritsar. In July 1932, he joined the Indian Military Academy as part of its first batch.

In 1934, Manekshaw began his career with the British Indian Army and was commissioned into 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment. During World War II, he sustained multiple bullet injuries against the Japanese Army in a Burmese jungle in 1942. He was evacuated from the location by his orderly Sher Singh, and fortunately, survived.

Manekshaw got married to Silloo Bode on April 22, 1939 and had two daughters.

Mankeshaw, who was appointed the eighth chief of the Indian Army in 1969 and served on the post till 1973, retired in January 1973.

At the end of 1947, when Pakistani forces infiltrated Kashmir and captured Domel and Muzaffarabad, Manekshaw carried out an aerial survey of Kashmir and suggested the immediate deployments of troops to prevent Kashmir and Srinagar from being captured.

In 1961, Manekshaw was charged with sedition for allegedly making derogatory comments about the political leadership, but was exonerated and he took command of IV Corps in November 1962. In 1963, Manekshaw was promoted to the position of the Army Commander and took over the Western Command, and in 1964, he was transferred to the Eastern Command.

An ardent admirer of Gorkha soldiers, Manekshaw once famously said, “If a soldier says he is not afraid of death, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.”

Manekshaw was also honoured with the nation’s highest civilian awards of Padma Bhushan in 1968, and then with Padma Vibhushan in 1972 for his service to the nation.

Published on City Today