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Read story of “Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw”
Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw MC, more popularly known as Sam Bahadur, was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
Born on April 3, 1914, in Amritsar, Punjab, to Parsi parents, Sam Bahadur rose in his military career steadily in a span of 40 years. After completing his schooling in Punjab and Sherwood College, Nainital, where he passed with distinction in the School Certificate examination of the Cambridge Board, he urged his father to send him to London to study Medicine.
When his father refused to fulfil his dream, Sam Bahadur retaliated and in an act of rebellion, enrolled in the Indian Military Academy (IMA). He graduated from IMA on February 4, 1934, as a second lieutenant in the British Indian Army.
From World War II to three wars against China and Pakistan after India’s independence in 1947, Sam Bahadur contributed significantly to the Indian army.
He learnt to live independently, flight relentlessly and tolerate hunger for long periods of time. In 1942, when Sam Bahadur was leading a counter offensive against the Japanese army in Burma, he was hit by several LMG bullets.
As a result, his liver, kidneys and lungs were severely affected and he was almost pronounced dead. However, he was strong-willed and was determined to get away from the jaws of death.
He fought for his life in the hospital and managed to survive an almost-fatal ordeal. This is something we can all learn from Sam Bahadur... Despite setbacks that come our way, we should get up on our feet and fight for our survival.
After India’s independence, Sam Bahadur commanded a division in Jammu and Kashmir and a corps in North East India. As the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Eastern Command, he handled the intricate problem of insurgency in Nagaland well.
Under his leadership, the Indian army captured a notorious gang of 300 Nagas, who had returned from China with deadly arms and ammunition. This led to the permanent elimination of Naga insurgency. For this, Sam Bahadur was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1968.
Sam Bahadur was a courageous leader, who was not afraid of challenges or even death. To be successful in life, one must take risks. In 1969, Sam Bahadur became the 8th chief of army staff, and in 1971, he was ordered to carry out a strike on Pakistan to install a government led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
However, he did not follow the orders blindly. He informed the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, that it would be impossible for India to win at that time because of the Monsoon season and the lack of army officers.
He convinced the Prime Minister of India to go to war on his own terms, and Sam Bahadur masterminded the defeat of the Pakistan Army, which is considered one of the quickest and easiest surrenders in history.
The war between India and Pakistan lasted less than a fortnight and more than 45,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken in as Prisoners of War (POWs). The defeat of Pakistan led to the creation of a new state called Bangladesh.
For his bravery and foresight, Sam Bahadur was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and was conferred Field Marshal in 1973. So far, India has had only two Field Marshals – Sam Bahadur and Kodandera Madappa Cariappa.
Sam Bahadur was a great soldier, no doubt, but he was also a great teacher and a leader. He was influential in nature and was not afraid of challenges or speaking the truth. Sam Bahadur passed away in June 27, 2008, but he will remain in our hearts forever.