03 April 2014

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30 Facts Biography of Sam Manekshaw The Field Marshal who Defeated Pakistan 1971 War

30 Facts Short Biography of Sam Manekshaw The Field Marshal who Defeated Pakistan in 1971 War

Field Marshall S H F J 'Sam' Manekshaw, India’s greatest military commander, would have turned 100 on April 3, 2014.
He passed away six years before his centenary.

Name – Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw MC also known as Sam Bahadur ("Sam the Brave")

Sam was initially given the name Cyrus, but one of his aunts changed it to Sam, because she had heard that a Parsi called Cyrus had been sent to jail, and she considered the name would prove unlucky for her nephew. Sam's eldest brother Fali did his schooling in Bombay, but the others boys - Jan, Sam and Jemi - were all  sent to Sherwood College, Nainital for their education. His two sisters went the Convent in Murree.

Born -     3 April 1914 Amritsar, Punjab

On 22 April 1939, Sam was married to Silloo Bode in Bombay. The couple's first child, a girl whom they named Sherry, was born on 11 January 1940.
The second child, also a girl, was born on 24 September 1945.
She was named Maya, though she later changed it to Maja.

Died -     27 June 2008 (aged 94) Wellington, Tamil Nadu Buried at     Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Who was Sam Manekshaw?
Rank - Field Marshal
The forgotten Army Leader because of , because of because of him India won the 1971 Pakistan Otherwise I do not think we would have won the war
Number and Arms does not matter , in war Important is The leader and his intelligence
Example –
Mahabharata War
Once a small nation called as England ruled the world

Sam Manekshaw was an Indian military leader who was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
His distinguished military career spanned four decades and five wars, beginning with service in the British Indian Army in World War II.
Manekshaw rose to be the 8th chief of staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and under his command, Indian forces conducted victorious campaigns against Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971.

Manekshaw was born in Amritsar to Parsi parents, Hormusji Manekshaw, a doctor, and his wife Heerabai, who moved to the Punjab from the small town of Valsad on the Gujarat coast.

After completing his schooling in Punjab and Sherwood College (Nainital), with distinction in the School Certificate examination of the Cambridge Board, he asked his father to send him to London to study medicine. When his father refused to send him till he was older, in an act of rebellion Manekshaw appeared for and qualified in the entrance examination for enrolment into the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun and as a result became part of the first intake of 40 cadets on 1 October 1932.

He graduated from the IMA on 4 February 1934 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Indian Army(later which became Indian Army after Independence).
On commissioning Manekshaw was first attached to the 2nd Bn The Royal Scots, a British battalion as per the practices of that time, and later to the 4th Battalion, 12th Frontier Force Regiment.

  Sam enjoyed his stay at the IMA, though he was often in trouble. Gentleman Cadets (GCs) were permitted to go on 'liberty', on weekends. The IMA records credit Sam with the distinction of being the first Gentleman Cadet to ask for weekend leave to go to Mussourie, which was just an hour's drive from the Academy. He also holds the record for being awarded the first extra drill at the IMA. He was destined to have many more firsts to his credit, such as the first of the Academy's alumni to join the Gurkhas, to become a General and later a Field Marshal.

Manekshaw recalled at a function on 8 June 1969 on the centenary of Sherwood College after taking over as COAS, that his years at the College had prepared him for war in World War II as he had learnt here to live alone and independently, to fight without relent, tolerate hunger for long periods and to hate his enemy.

During World War II, Manekshaw saw action in Burma in the 1942 campaign on the Sittang River as a captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment,and had the rare distinction of being honoured for his bravery on the battle front itself. He was commanding his battalion's 'A' Company in a counter-attack against the invading Japanese Army and despite suffering 50% casualties the company achieved its objective, Pagoda Hill, which was a key position on the left of the Sittang bridgehead. After capturing the hill, he was hit by a burst of LMG bullets and was severely wounded in the stomach.
Major General D.T. Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese. Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross.
The official recommendation for the MC states that the success of the attack "was largely due to the excellent leadership and bearing of Captain Manekshaw".
This award was made official with the publication of the notification in a supplement to the London Gazette of 21 April 1942 (dated 23 April 1942).

Manekshaw attended the 8th Staff Course at Staff College, Quetta from 23 August to 22 December 1943, and was posted as Brigade Major of the Razmak brigade till 22 October 1944 before being sent to join the 9th Battalion, 12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma under General (later Field Marshal) Slim's 14th Army.
Towards the end of World War II, Manekshaw was sent as staff officer to General Daisy in Indo-China where, after the Japanese surrender, he helped rehabilitate over 10,000 POWs.
He then went on a six-month lecture tour to Australia in 1946, and after his return was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and served as a first grade staff officer in the Military Operations Directorate.

Manekshaw showed acumen for planning and administration while handling the issues relating to Partition of India in 1947, and later put his battle skills to use during the 1947–48 Jammu & Kashmir Operations.
After command of an Infantry Brigade, he was posted as the commandant of the Infantry School Mhow and also became the colonel of 8 Gorkha Rifles (which became his new regiment, since his original parent regiment the 12th Frontier Force Regiment went on to join the new Pakistan Army at partition) and 61 Cavalry.
He commanded a division in Jammu & Kashmir and a corps in the North East, with a tenure as commandant of Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in between. As GOC-in-C Eastern Command, he handled the tricky problem of insurgency in Nagaland and the grateful nation honoured him with a Padma Bhushan in 1968.

Field Marshal General Manekshaw became the 8th chief of army staff when he succeeded General Kumaramangalam on 7 June 1969. His years of military experience were soon put to the test as India decided to help the Mukti Bahini rebels against West Pakistani forces.
This resulted in break up of Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh

COAS Manekshaw masterminded the rout of the Pakistan Army in one of the easiest and quickest victories in recent military history. The war, lasting under a fortnight, saw more than 45,000 Pakistani soldiers and 45,000 civilian personnel being taken as POWs. It ended with Pakistan's unconditional surrender of its eastern half, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh as a new nation.

Rank Promotions -
a)    Second Lieutenant, British Indian Army-1934
b)    Lieutenant-1935
c)    Captain-1940
d)    Major-1943
e)    Lieutenant-Colonel-1945
f)    Colonel-1946
g)    Brigadier-1947
h)    Brigadier, Indian Army-1950
i)    Major-General-December 1957
j)    Lieutenant-General-November 1962
k)    General (COAS)-8 June 1969
l)    Field Marshal-3 January 1973

For his distinguished service to the country, the President of India awarded him a Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and conferred upon him the rank of Field Marshal on 1 January 1973.

Manekshaw became one of the only two Indian Army Generals to be awarded this prestigious rank; the other being Kodandera Madappa Cariappa. Manekshaw moved out of active service a fortnight later on 15 January 1973 after completing nearly four decades of military service, and settled down with his wife Silloo in Coonoor, the civilian town next to Wellington Military Cantonment where he had served as Commandant of the Defence Services Staff College, at an earlier time in his career.

A beloved of Gorkha soldiers, Nepal feted him as an Honorary General of their army in 1972

He died of complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu on 0030 hours, 27 June 2008 at the age of 94
He was laid to rest in Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu, with military honours, adjacent to his wife's grave. He is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.

When great army leader Sam  died India lost the one of the greatest son , but no politician , PM or no one bothered to attend his funeral , nor was a national mourning declared.

Everyone forgot him, the army leader who brought victory to India, India forgot him

Famous Quotes by Sam –

On the military knowledge of politicians: "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."

On being asked what would have happened had he opted for Pakistan at the time of the Partition in 1947, he quipped, "then I guess Pakistan would have won (the 1971 war)"

On being placed in command of the retreating 4 Corps during the Sino-Indian War of 1962: "There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued."

About the Gurkha: "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.

Sam often made disparaging remarks about Indian politicians, which led some people to brand him as anti national. Based on information gained by informers who were sent by Kaul for this purpose, Army HQ ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate. Normally, the Adjutant General's Branch handles  such cases but in this case, it was the General Staff Branch under Kaul, which dealt with the inquiry. The members of the Inquiry were Lieut General Daulet Singh, GOC-in-C Western Command, and Lieut General Bikram Singh, GOC 15 Corps.

There were three charges against Sam. The first charge was that he was disloyal to the country.  This was based on the fact that in his office, he had hung pictures of British Viceroys, Governors General and Commanders-in-Chief, instead of Indian leaders. Actually, Sam had found these old pictures of Clive, Hastings, Kitchener and Birdwood dumped in a store, and had decided to put them up in a suitable place in his office. The second charge concerned Sam's failure to take  action against an instructor, who had during a lecture, remarked that Indians lacked a sense of perspective and tended to build up personalities out of proportion. The instructor, who was a Naval officer, mentioned that Shivaji's statue in Bombay showed him riding an Australian waler when in actual fact, the terrain in the Western Ghats was suitable only for ponies. Sam had later told the instructor to be more tactful, but it was felt that he should have taken more drastic action.          

The third charge was even more interesting. An officer on his staff deposed that the Commandant had said that he did not want any instructor at the College whose wife looked like an 'ayah'(maid servant). When questioned by the Court of Inquiry, this officer agreed that he had not heard Sam say these words and neither could he remember who had told him. Kaul had also managed to get a report from the Intelligence Bureau about Sam's anti Indian views but when called to give evidence, its Director, B.N. Mullick, refused to  appear.

It appears strange that a Court of Inquiry was ordered by Army HQ on such insubstantial grounds, and that too against a senior officer.

In December 1963, Sam was appointed GOC-in-C Western Command. He remained there for only a year, before moving to Eastern Command as Army Commander in November 1964.  During one of his visits to Mizo hills, he found that the communications were very bad. When he asked the reason, he was told that the Post and Telegraph Department had been asked to provide the telephone line, but it was likely to take at least 4-5 years since the distance was over 200 Kms.  " That is too much, " said Sam.  " Can't we do it ourselves ?"  He was told that according to the Telegraph Act, only the Post and Telegraph Department could own telephone and telegraph lines and the Army had to hire it from them.  This conversation was taking place over a glass of beer in the brigade officers mess.  Brigadier R.Z. Kabraji was the brigade commander.  He called his Signals officer and Sam asked him how long it would take to lay the line.
       "Two months," replied the officer, "provided I have the stores."
      " Where can we get the stores ? " asked Sam.
      " The P&T has a big dump at Silchar," replied the officer.  
     " Then go and get it, " said Sam. " But don't get caught."
        Sam had said this as a joke, but the Signals officer, who was young, immature and impetuous, took it seriously.  He took a fleet of  lorries to Silchar and went straight to the P&T Department stores.  When the official in charge protested, he brought him along with the stores and released him only after a week.  The P&T Department raised a hue and cry and reported the `theft' and kidnapping of their officer to the Ministry.  Soon the matter reached  Army HQ.  The COAS ordered disciplinary action to be taken against the officer, as well as the brigade commander.  By now the line was almost complete and the Army Commander was informed of the case.  Though Sam had forgotten about the incident, he immediately wrote to the Chief assuming full responsibility for the officer's actions, saying that he had acted on his specific orders.

On another occasion, he went to Sikkim to visit a battalion of 8th Gorkha Rifles.  The battalion was in high altitude, holding picquets on the border with China.  The CO, in a bid to please the Army Commander, had laid on a lavish reception and sofa sets, carpets and a lot of silver had been brought up from the base.  When Sam saw all this, he was very angry, knowing the ordeal the men must have undergone carrying all this on their backs.  The battalion had finished their tenure and were due to go to a peace station.  "I had thought you chaps are having a hard time and deserve a good peace station," said Sam.  " But seeing how comfortable you are, I think another year will not do you any harm." When the CO protested, Sam gave him a tongue lashing that he never forgot.

Sam and 1971 War
In 1971, when refugees from East Pakistan began to cross over into India, Sam was the Army Chief, Indira Gandhi  the Prime Minister and Babu Jagjiwan Ram the Minister for Defence or Raksha Mantri. There was a meeting of the Cabinet on 27 April 1971, to which Sam was invited as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The Prime Minister appeared to be distraught and angry. Refugees from East Pakistan were pouring into West Bengal, Assam and other parts of Eastern India. Waving a telegram from the Chief Minister of one of the Eastern States, she asked Sam, "Can't you do something?"
      "What do you want me to do?" asked Sam.
      "Go into East Pakistan."
      "This would mean war," said Sam.
      "I know", said Indira Gandhi. "We don't mind a war."
      "Have you read the Bible" asked Sam.
      "What has the Bible to do with this?" asked Swaran Singh, the Minister for External Affairs.

      "In the Bible, it is written that God said let there be light, and there was light. You think that by saying let there be war, there can be a war? Are you ready for a war? I am not."

      The Prime Minister did not seem to be very pleased and there was a scowl on her face. Sam went on to explain the reasons for his reluctance to go to war with Pakistan immediately. In a few weeks, the monsoon would set in, making the ground unsuitable for operations as East Pakistan had a number of rivers, which were prone to flooding. All movement would have to be on roads, which could be blocked. The Air Force would not be able to support the ground troops due to bad weather. The armoured division was in Jhansi and one of the infantry divisions in Secunderabad. Moving them to the East would require time as well as all available road and rail space. The wheat crop was being harvested and movement of foodgrains would be adversely affected. Turning towards the Agriculture Minister, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Sam said, "If there is a famine, people will blame you, not me."

      The Agriculture Minister squirmed in his seat. Sam then turned to the Finance Minister, Y.B. Chavan, and said, " My armoured division has only twelve tanks which are operational. You know why? Because whenever we asked you for funds, you said you had no money."

      Sam advised postponement of the operations till the winter months. This would give him enough time to build up the infrastructure required for large scale operations in the East. The Government would also get enough time to garner international support through diplomatic channels, so that other countries did not interfere or extend military assistance to Pakistan. During winter the Northern passes would be blocked with snow, eliminating the threat of intervention by the Chinese. Most members of the Cabinet seemed to see the logic of his arguments and nodded their heads, though Indira Gandhi seemed to be somewhat unhappy.

      Finally, Sam addressed the Prime Minister herself. "As your Army Chief, it is my duty to put the facts before you. If your father had me as the Army Chief in 1962 instead of General Thapar, and he had told me to throw the Chinese out, I would have said the same thing and he would not have been shamed the way he was. If you still want me to go ahead, I will. But I guarantee you a one hundred percent defeat. Now tell me what you want me to do."

      There was a stunned silence. Then the Defence Minister, Babu Jagjiwan Ram, said,"Shyam, - he always pronounced Sam as Shyam, a popular Indian name - maan jao na" (please agree).

      Sam said, "I have given my professional assessment. It is now for the Government to take a decision."

      The Prime Minister did not say anything. She appeared to be visibly angry. She closed the meeting, asking everyone to come back at four o'clock. As everybody rose and started leaving, the Prime Minister asked Sam to stay back. When they were alone, he offered to resign, either on physical or mental grounds.

  "Sit down, Sam," she said. "I don't want your resignation. Just tell me, is every thing you said earlier true?"
       "Yes, it is. Look, it is my job to fight, and fight to win. Today, if you go to war, you will lose. Give me another six months and I guarantee you a hundred percent success. But I want to make one thing quite clear. There must be one commander. I don't mind working under the BSF, the CRPF, or anybody you like. But I will not have a soviet telling me what to do. I must have one political master giving me directions. I don't want the refugee ministry, home ministry, defence ministry, all telling me what to do. Now, you make up your mind."

      "All right, Sam, nobody will interfere," said the Prime Minister."You will be in command."

       "Thank you," said Sam. "I guarantee you a victory." And so it was. Later, Sam was to recall that there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed.

  The Indo Pak War of 1971 started on 3 December 1971, after Pakistani aircraft bombed Indian airfields in the Western sector. Indira Gandhi was then in Calcutta. Sam Manekshaw telephoned Jacob at 6 p.m. and asked him to inform the Prime Minister that the war had begun and he was issuing orders to Eastern Command to go ahead immediately. Characteristically, Sam 'informed' the Prime Minister rather than seeking permission. Jacob informed the Army Commander, who left at once to brief the Prime Minister, who was staying with the Governor at Raj Bhawan (Government House). The Navy and Air Force were also informed and full scale operations commenced the next day.

Sam the Gentleman –
Before the Indian troops went into East Pakistan, Sam wanted to make sure that they do not resort to the traditional occupations of a victorious Army - loot and rape.  He gave strict orders that anyone found looting was to be court martialled.  As regards the second problem, he thought he should talk to men directly.  Wherever he went, he stressed on the need for Indian troops to be on their best behaviour and stay away from women.  Finally, he broadcast a message to the troops just before they went into action.  " When you see a Begum, keep your hands in your pockets, and think of Sam,"  he said.  As a result, cases of loot and rape were negligible and the Indian Army came out with flying colours, not only for its feat of arms but the behaviour of its soldiers.

Sam , the negotiator
During the 1971 war, India  won a decisive victory over Pakistan
The prisoners taken by India and Pakistan were exchanged on 1 December 1972
Withdrawal of troops of both sides had still not taken place due to disagreement on the alignment of the Line of Control. Talks had been going on between both countries for over  four months, to delineate the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
There was a  deadlock due to conflicting claims of both sides over certain key areas, including the village of Thako Chak near Jammu and certain features in Kaiyan, across the Tutmari Gali in Kashmir.
The enclave of Thako Chak in the Chicken's Neck  had been occupied by Pakistan during the war. In the Kaiyan Bowl, a large  area had been captured by an over enthusiastic company of 9 Sikh, which was part of 19 Infantry Division.
However, a small hillock that  had been reported as captured was discovered to be still held by the enemy when cease fire was declared.
The anomaly was discovered several months later, during the delineation talks being held at Wagah.
To retrieve the situation, the divisional commander decided to capture the feature.
The strength on the feature was not correctly assessed, and the attack launched in May 1972 failed, with heavy casulaties.
To resolve the issue, Sam flew down to Lahore, and had two meetings with his counter part General Tikka Khan, on 28 November and 7 December.
Though Indira Gandhi had authorised him to give up Thako Chak to break the deadlock, Sam was not one to give up so easily.
Finally, he managed to get back Thako Chak, in return for some territory in Kaiyan that was not as valuable.
The withdrawal of troops commenced soon afterwards, and was completed by 20 December 1972.

When Jagjiwan Ram tried to raise the issue of reservations for scheduled castes and tribes in the Army, Sam put his foot down. A note was sent from the Defence Ministry to Army HQ wanting to know why action should not be taken against those responsible for failing to implement the Government policy on recruitment, formulated at the time of Independence. Sam sent a reply, saying that action should first be taken against him as the Chief since he had not only failed to implement the policy, but was in full agreement with the actions of his predecessors. No more was heard from the Ministry on the subject.   When Lieut General N.C. Rawlley's name was proposed to take over as GOC-in-C Eastern Command, the file came back from the Ministry, asking Army HQ to propose another name.  Sam sent the file back, with the remarks that there was no officer more suitable for the appointment.  Ultimately he had his way, and Navin Rawlley became an Army Commander.

Sam and Indira Gandhi –
Another of Sam's habits that others considered odd was his practice of addressing Indira Gandhi as "Prime Minister" instead of "Madam". Some bureaucrats were shocked and complained to the Cabinet Secretary about the disrespect being shown to the Prime Minister. When the Cabinet Secretary mentioned this in Sam's presence at a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries, he got a reply that made him specchless. "I hope you know that the term is  reserved for certain ladies who are in charge of houses of ill fame."

Sam was due to retire in June 1972, but was given an extension of six months. He was not keen to continue and had made known his desire to the Prime Minister. However, she wanted him to stay on and told Sam that he would not be allowed to proceed on retirement.
When Sam told her that he had no intention of staying on and there was no law under which he could be forced to do so, there was some consternation.
Finally someone found a way out. It was reasoned that if Sam received a direct order from the President who was also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, he would have to obey. The President's consent was obtained and his directions published in the Gazette of India, indicating that Sam would continue to hold the office of Chief of Army Staff till the President was pleased to dispense with his services.

Sam's popularity came at a price. Many people, especially in politics and the bureaucracy,  began to perceive him as a threat. Indira Gandhi also found it difficult to allay her fears on this score, and soon found a chance to cut him to size. A young lady reporter asked him for an interview and he agreed. She came to his house and during their conversation, Sam mentioned that during Partition he had been asked to opt for Pakistan, but he had chosen to remain in India. When the reporter asked Sam what would have happened if he had opted for Pakistan, and been  commanding the Pakistani Army, instead of the Indian, he replied, "they would have won".  Sam undoubtedly made the witty remark without considering the consequences, which were immense. Soon afterwards, he had to go to UK and while he was there, there was a question in Parliament based on the story which the reporter had written giving prominence to his remark. The Prime Minister was in the House but chose to remain silent. Sam was branded an egotist, and soon became `persona - non - grata'.

 Though the Government could not take away his rank, it  did take away every thing else and treated him shabbily.  He was given a salary which was much lower than what he was entitled to, after handing over as Army Chief. None of the other facilities that a Field Marshal gets such as secretarial staff, a house or a car were given to him.

Sam Manekshaw Photos –

Reality views by sm –

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Tags – Short Biography Sam Manekshaw Field Marshal


Destination Infinity April 04, 2014  

Wow. I think it is our good luck that he didn't go to Pakistan! It's good to know that people like him are a part of our history. In spite of the politicians and their insecurities.

Nice biography account - well written, SM.

Destination Infinity

rudraprayaga April 04, 2014  

Full I couldn't read,but I have read his biographical part and half of his contributions.Thank you for this info.

Anonymous,  April 05, 2014  

Thanks for all this info on a great Field Marshall. So sad that our government doesn't value people like him who have done so much for our country!

Anonymous,  September 14, 2016  

thanks for valuable information, it was pleasure to read the history

Bhanu Bhai March 24, 2017  

I will Visit Mr.Sam's Resting Place soon, Crore's of Salute to You Sir.

Unknown July 18, 2017  

What a great man ,,... Salute to this indian heroπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘