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Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Sanju » 02 Jul 2008 21:42

It does n't show well on us to wish for someone as important as RM's "final bugle call", even though he has committed a Himalayan blunder.

I like your idea of an online petition.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Juggi G » 03 Jul 2008 01:19

3 Little Girls signing the condolence book

Visitors sign the condolence book in the memory of Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
-PTI photo

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby ramana » 03 Jul 2008 01:29

Other than the established politicians were there any others who signed the book? Eg how about Sonia? Or Rahul?
Last edited by Jagan on 03 Jul 2008 06:46, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed Post - PM for clarifications

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jul 2008 05:56

Sam Bahadur had been an architect in two of the finest moments of Indian Armed Forces. One was of course the 1971 war and the other was the air-lifting of the Indian troops on Oct 26, 1947. RIP, sir.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Venkarl » 03 Jul 2008 06:41

Last edited by Jagan on 03 Jul 2008 06:44, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Uncalled for post - not relevant

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Venkarl » 03 Jul 2008 09:39

Sorry Adminji, as a rookie I was trying to understand the lingo used by Ramana garu. Will not repeat this.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Juggi G » 04 Jul 2008 03:00

Kissing the Field Marshal
Indian Express
Edits & Columns
Kissing the Field Marshal

Posted online: Friday, July 04, 2008 at 2350 hrs
Autumns, patriarchs and a cub reporter
Shivani Rawat

It was the autumn of 1996. I was a cub reporter diligently covering the defence beat for a television programme on Doordarshan. Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw had been invited to deliver the first-ever Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Memorial Lecture on the occasion of Infantry Day.

I knew that Manekshaw was one of the two field marshals the Indian army had produced. Coming from an army family myself, I was in awe of this larger-than-life soldier. The grand old man was to lay a wreath at India Gate in honour of the soldiers who had died in action. I was at the venue with my camera unit first thing in the morning.

Sam Manekshaw, resplendent in his ceremonial dress with rows of medals adorning his chest, arrived and proceeded to talk to the Gorkha soldiers. I was struck by his briskness and his lively eyes. He was the quintessential fauji — in command and dominating the scene. I was introduced to the field marshal and, after a brief chat, he did the unexpected. Extending his cheek, he asked me if I would kiss him. I proceeded to do as I was asked, reasoning with myself that he was, after all, old enough to be my grandfather. Of course, my horrified cameraman edited me out of the frame while shooting the sequence and spoiled a “historic” shot. The army PRO later offered a sort of apology, saying that Manekshaw always came up with something unexpected.

As for the field marshal himself, he had his own story to tell. Years ago, he had been introduced to a Beauty Queen at a party. He had told her that he had never met a Beauty Queen before. She had promptly given him a peck and told him that he had now kissed one. So, after my peck, he told me with a twinkle in his eye: “You have now kissed a Field Marshal.”

Later in the day, he delivered the lecture and I admired his ability to call a spade a spade. It was still later that I read about his heroics performed before I was born and about his famous wit. About how he had stood up to the iron lady. Only after his passing away did I realise that I shared my birthday with him.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby g.sarkar » 04 Jul 2008 07:00

Another tribute for Sam Bahadur. ... d=11661408

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby K Mehta » 04 Jul 2008 21:13

Rest In Peace People's Field Marshal.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby asprinzl » 05 Jul 2008 02:49

On the occassion of the passing of this brilliant individual, I would like BR-ites to recall some prophetic words uttered by none other then the great Rabindranath Tagore. As a matter of fact I came across the Nobel Laurete's words from an article recently posted on Faith Freedom International ( by a Captain Ranapratap Roy.


Rabindranath also observed, “A very important factor which is making it almost impossible for Hindu-Muslim unity to become an accomplished fact is that the Muslim can not confine their patriotism to any one country. I had frankly asked the Muslims whether in the event of any Mohammedan power invading India, would they (Muslims) stand side by side with their Hindu neighbors to defend their common land or join the invaders. I was not satisfied with the reply I have obtained from them….. Even such a man as Mr. Mohammed Ali (one of the famous Ali brothers, the leaders of the Khilafat Movement) has declared that under no circumstances is it permissible for any Mohammedan, whatever be his country, to stand against any Mohammedan”.

[Appeared as Interview of Rabindranath in English daily the ‘Times of India’ April 18, 1924 in the column - “Through Indian Eyes.” It has also been quoted by Ambedkar and others in their writings.]

While commenting on the post-Khilafat Hindu Muslim riots, Rabindranath said, “Whenever a Muslim calls upon the Muslim society, he never faces any resistance – he calls in the name of one God ‘Allah-hu-Akbar.’ On the other hand, when we (Hindus) call, ‘come on Hindus,’ who will respond? We, the divided in numerous small communities, may barriers – provincialism – who will respond overcoming all these obstacles?”

“We were endangered by many invasions, but we could never be united. When Muhammad Ghouri brought the first blow from outside, the Hindus could not be united, even in those days of imminent danger. When the Muslims started to demolish the temples one after another, and to break the idols of Gods and Goddesses, the Hindus fought and died in small groups but they could not be united. It has been proved that we the Hindus were killed in different epochs of history due to our internal discord.”

“Weakness harbors sin. So, if the Muslims beat us and we, the Hindus, tolerate this without resistance – then, we will know that it is made possible only by our weakness. For the sake of ourselves and our neighbour Muslims also, we have to discard our weakness. We can appeal to our neighbour Muslims, ‘Please don’t be cruel to us. No religion should be based on genocide’ – but this kind of appeal is nothing but the weeping of the weak persons. When the low pressure is created in the air, storm comes spontaneously’ nobody can stop it for sake of religion. Similarly, if weakness is cherished and is allowed to exit, torture comes automatically – nobody can stop it. Possible, the Hindus and the Muslims can make a fake friendship to each other for a while, but that can not last for ever. As long as you don’t purify the soil, which grows only thorny shrubs, you can not expect any fruit.”

[“Letter to Swami Shraddhananda, ‘by Rabindranath, Magh, 1333 Bangabda’ complied in the book “Kalantar”]

Rabindranath Elaborated further in the context of the extremely brutal Hindu massacre and mass rape of the Hindu women by the Mopla Muslims in Kerala as given below:

“Dr. Munje said in another part of his report that, eight hundred years ago, the Hindu king of Malabar (now Kerala) on the advice of his Brahmin ministers, made big favor to the Arab Muslim to settle in his kingdom. Even he appeased the Arab Muslims by converting the Hindus to Islam to an extent to making law for compulsory conversion of a member of each Hindu fisherman family in to Islam. Those, whose nature is to practice idiocy rather than common sense, never can enjoy freedom even if they are in the throne. They turn the hour of action in to a night of merriment. That’s why they are always struck by the ghost at the middle of the day.”

Rabindranath continues, “The king of Malabar once gave away his throne to idiocy. That idiocy is still ruling Malabar from a Hindu throne. That’s why the Hindus are still being beaten and saying that God is there, turning the faces towards the sky. Throughout India we allowed idiocy to rule and surrender ourselves to it. That kingdom of idiocy – the fatal lack of commonsense – was continuously invaded by the Pathans, sometimes by the Mughols and sometimes by the British. From outside we can only see the torture done by them, but they are only the tools of torture, not really the cause. The real reason of the torture is our lack of common sense and our idiocy, which is responsible for our sufferings. So we have to fight this idiocy that divided the Hindus and imposed slavery on us……..If we only think about the torture we will not find any solution. But if we can get rid of our idiocy, the tyrants will surrender to us.”

[’Samasya,’ (The Problem), Agrahayan, 1330 Bangabda, in “Kalantar”.]


“When two or three different religions claim that only their own religions are true and all other religions are false and their religions are only way to Heaven, conflicts can not be avoided. Thus, fundamentalism tries to abolish all other religions. This is called Bolshevism in religion. Only the path shown by the Hinduism can relieve the world from this meanness.”

[Atmaparichay’ (The Self-realization) in the book ‘Parichay.’]


“The terrible situation of the country makes my mind restless and I can not keep silent. Meaningless rituals keep the Hindus divided in hundreds of sects. So we are suffering from series of defeats. We are tired and worn-out by the tortures by the internal and external enemies. The Muslims are united in religion and rituals. The Bengali Muslims, the South Indian Muslims and even the Muslims outside India – all are united. They always stand united in face of danger. The broken and divided Hindus will not be able to combat them. Days are coming when the Hindus will be again humiliated by the Muslims.”

“You are a mother of children, one day you will die, passing the future of Hindu society on the weak shoulders of your children, but think about their future”.

[A letter to Hemantabala Sarkar, 16<sup>th</sup> Oct. 1933, quoted in Bengali weekly “Swastika”. June 21, 1999]

I am here not trying to sow seeds of communal discord nor attempting to tarnish the moment of the passing of a great personality but to highlight the internal discord or disunity that so idiotically displayed by the powers that be.

Here was the son of the soil, who orchestrated the singular and the greatest Hindu led military victory in the last 1100 years of Hindu/Indian history- a victory over practitioners of an ideology that had continuosly humiliated mostly Hindus since Kassim's thuggery 1100 years ago- yet certain elites of India, both in the political heirachy and in the defence establishment instead of attending to the funeral in unison chose to observe their business as usual wonderment. Once again proving what Rabindranath Tagore feared- internal disunity.

Would Bush had skipped the funeral of Eisenhower? Would Clinton had skipped the funeral of Doulgas MacArthur? Would Donald Rumsfeld had skipped the funeral of Patton?

Prophetic words indeed came out of the mind of Tagore.

As for me, I a former military man salute you General. The world has been a better place due to your blood and sweat and hope we the present inheritors of the world from the giants like you do not squander away due to our own idiocity what you sacrificed for. Rest In Peace.
Avram Sprinzl

Karan Dixit
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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Karan Dixit » 05 Jul 2008 10:02


Very well said!

As a matter of fact the rot in a society can be measured with its lack of respect for its heroes.

There should be movie made on the heroic life of Sam Manekshaw. It is not just him the list is long - Mangal Pandey, Bodhidharma, Chandra Sekhar Azad, Neta Jee, Savarkar, Shiva Jee, Rana Pratap, Guru Gobind Singh (unless there is a religious issue), Bhagat Singh and so on.

Indians do not honor their heroes. Anyway Sam Manekshaw lives in our hearts and minds. We love him. Great man! He did his duty for his country.

(Objectionable content deleted - JE Menon)

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Atish » 05 Jul 2008 11:36

Karan and others,

Do we have to be abusive of other people to show respect to another?

In this thread, a bunch of service chiefs past and present, RM and others have been vilified. Probably unnecessary. At least the language.


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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby nkumar » 05 Jul 2008 12:29

Manekshaw was at his evocative best when he recalled his acquaintance with President Yahya Khan when the latter had worked under him in the military operations directorate of the British Indian Army just before partition.

Yahya Khan, then a colonel, was impressed by Manekshaw's James motorcycle which he had bought for Rs 1400. ''I told him that he could have the vehicle for as much. He said he would give only Rs 1000. I said okay,'' Manekshaw recalled.

''But I don't have a thousand rupees now, I will send it to you later,'' Yahya Khan said. It was August 13, 1947. Twenty-one years later Yahya Khan became the president of Pakistan. ''I never received the Rs 1000, but he gave me the whole of East Pakistan,'' Manekshaw said amid thunderous applause.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Keshav » 06 Jul 2008 08:00

Wasn't Mr. Manekshaw Parsi? I don't understand the whole "Hindu led victory" thing...

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Philip » 08 Jul 2008 19:08

A glorious tribute from across the border,by Cowasjee of the Dawn!
Sam Bahadur

By Ardeshir Cowasjee

SAM Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was his full name by which he was rarely called, as he was known familiarly and affectionately by his men and officers and friends as Sam Bahadur.

Manekshaw was no ordinary run-of-the-mill man. Born in Amritsar in 1914, he died in Wellington, Ootacamund, in the Nilgiri Hills of South India at the age of 94. Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw, MC, was the second Indian soldier to be so honoured, with justification, with the highest rank that can be bestowed upon a soldier, the other being Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, the first Indian to command the Indian army, friend and contemporary of our Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani to command the Pakistan army. (However, unlike Ayub, both Cariappa and Manekshaw were honoured for their military skills and prowess.)

Sam Bahadur became India’s chief of army staff in 1969 and, as we in Pakistan must accept with heavy hearts, the highlight of his outstanding career was his resounding victory over the armed forces of Pakistan in 1971, when we lost East Pakistan to Bangladesh.

Anecdotes about the field marshal abound. His most famous remark, according to one obituary in the English press, was made on the eve of the outbreak of the December 1971 war when India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, asked him if he was ready for the fight. His reply came pat: “I am always ready, sweetie.” He famously said that he could never bring himself to call Mrs Gandhi ‘madam’ because it reminded him of a bawdy house. His other well-known exchange with Mrs Gandhi was when she once questioned him about rumours that he was plotting a coup. He asked her if she would accept his resignation on grounds of mental instability.

Held in awe by India’s politicians for his military professionalism, he was loved by the men of the army he led. I had the good fortune and honour of meeting him in Delhi, in 2001, when he was 87 years old, upright, with his moustaches bristling. I had heard much about him from my very good friend Lt Gen Attiqur Rahman who knew him from the days when they served in the British Indian Army and as young officers of the Fourth Frontier Force Regiment were sent to the Burma front.

In February 1942, they were together holding a bridge over the Sittang River when Sam nearly lost his life. After a night sharing a mackintosh in a bit of hollow ground, Sam was ordered to take his company down the road to investigate firing from the jungle. When Attiq later went off down the road, he saw Sam being carried on his orderly’s back, unconscious, his face ashen. He asked the regimental doctor how badly he had been wounded and was told that he would probably be dead by the time he reached the other end of the bridge.

Later, whilst reorganising, he heard that Sam was in hospital at Pegu. He went to see him and it was obvious he was in terrible pain. He hung on to Attiq’s hand, and whispering, asked him to leave his pistol so that he could shoot himself. Attiq told him not to be silly, that all would be well. As we know it was, but it was a close call. The surgeon attending to him almost gave up on the bullet-ridden body. The story goes that as he lay in hospital, an English general pinned his own military cross on to the chest of Captain Manekshaw as the medal could not be awarded posthumously. Attiq and Sam did not meet again until 1945 when Sam was one of his instructors at the Quetta Staff College.

Another good friend of Manekshaw from this side of the border was our Rangila Raja Gen Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan. At the time of partition Major Manekshaw and Major Yahya Khan were together on the staff of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. Sam owned a red James motorcycle which Yahya had always had an eye on. He offered to buy it, and did, for the princely sum of Rs1,000 which he promised to send over from Pakistan. Yahya, being Yahya, let it lapse. After the 1971 victory, Sam was heard to quip, “Yahya never paid me the Rs1,000 for my motorbike, but now he has paid with half his country.”

When I met the field marshal I told him that Yahya had never forgotten the debt, but had never got round to it. I offered to pay back the Rs1,000 with interest, on his behalf. No, no, said the field marshal, Yahya was a good man and a good soldier, we served together. There was not one mean or corrupt bone in his body. Your politicians are as bad as ours. Yahya was condemned without being heard. After he was put under house arrest at the end of December 1971, up to his death in 1980, he clamoured unceasingly for an open trial. Why was he condemned unheard?

Sam was buried quietly in his home in Tamil Nadu, a modest affair rather than the grand funeral he should have had in the capital, Delhi. Last year his name was linked to bizarre allegations made by the son of President Gen Ziaul Haq, our ‘exceedingly clever’ politician Ejazul Haq, against an unnamed Indian brigadier who allegedly had sold Indian war plans to Pakistan. The slur lingered on and the prime minister, the army, navy and air force chiefs all stayed away from the field marshal’s funeral.

Many were angered by this lack of respect shown to the nation’s brave soldier and one website is devoted to the comments of Indian citizens on the reaction of their politicians: ... o-in-delhi.

As the editor writes, “The death of the only Indian to be appointed field marshal when in active service has been remarkable for the warmth of the ordinary men and women who queued up to say ‘thank you’…. It was also remarkable for the complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold-faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India’s only decisive military victory.”

And a sentence which would have made Sam Bahadur chuckle: As he [Manekshaw] rightly surmised once: ‘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 of them in the past have resembled the latter’.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby khukri » 09 Jul 2008 03:28

Here was the son of the soil, who orchestrated the singular and the greatest Hindu led military victory in the last 1100 years of Hindu/Indian history- a victory over practitioners of an ideology that had continuosly humiliated mostly Hindus since Kassim's thuggery 1100 years ago- yet certain elites of India, both in the political heirachy and in the defence establishment instead of attending to the funeral in unison chose to observe their business as usual wonderment. Once again proving what Rabindranath Tagore feared- internal disunity.

Maneckshaw was Parsi, General Arora - a sikh - where's this Hindu led crap coming from? It was an Indian victory not a religious one!

I am here not trying to sow seeds of communal discord

Well you may not be trying but you're getting there regardless!

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby surinder » 09 Jul 2008 04:47

PM = born Hindu, but Parsi by marriage
Army generals going lower in rank = Parsi, Sikh, Jewish.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby zulu » 09 Jul 2008 23:20

Deleted by Admin ramana

JE Menon
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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby JE Menon » 10 Jul 2008 01:17

Just in case anyone's unaware, by Jewish Surinder is referring to Gen. JFR Jacob who was the theatre commander in 1971.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby HariC » 10 Jul 2008 01:25

surinder wrote:PM = born Hindu, but Parsi by marriage
Army generals going lower in rank = Parsi, Sikh, Jewish.

add Christians to the list as well.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Philip » 10 Jul 2008 13:47

Sam's new naval rank!

Sam Manekshaw gets a new naval rank

Manekshaw's demise had no impact on the political brass, which was preoccupied with the numbers game, following the ruckus over the nuclear deal. The Left Front and the Samajwadi Party lived up to expectations to trigger a political tug-of-war..

Delhi Dispatch
FIELD MARSHAL Manekshaw’s rank has put the ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a quandary. If we believe what Priyaranjan Das Munshi’s ministry has to say in its condolence message, the former army chief was both a field marshal and an admiral. As it is Manekshaw’s funeral has triggered enough controversies. Earlier, the absence of the Defence minister and service chiefs from his funeral had triggered a row and now such disinformation by the ministry of information and broadcasting.

Lalu calms tension
Despite the political heat generated by the nuclear pact controversy, one minister has managed to retain his cool. And that minister is none other than Lalu Prasad Yadav. It sees that Lalu Yadav has his mathematics in order. Unlike his cabinet colleagues he is always very confident dealing with the media about the survival of both the government and the nuclear pact. At a recent meeting of UPA and the Left Front, when Sitaram Yachuri was losing his cool over the Hyde Act and 123, Lalu brought some comic relief to the debate by asking whether the government is more important or the 123 calculation! Tensions cooled off immediately.

Communal somersault
The anti-BJP forces have time and again cited the threat of ’communalism’ in justifying their political stand. And the master of this game is Amar Singh, who has once again realised that communalism is a bigger threat than George Bush. But old-timers recall that not too long ago Amar Singh had utilised the help of ’communal’ BJP to oust Mayawati from power and install Mulayam as the CM. At that time BJP was called the B team of Samajwadi Party in UP. But times have changed and so has Amar Singh.

Yachuri’s failure
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) saw in SitaramYachuri an able successor to Harkishan Singh Surjit to negotiate deals with other parties. But the youthful leader has failed to live up to expectations after the success he achieved with the Maoist leaders in Nepal. Surjit’s expertise in dealing with Left Front’s partners is being missed by the party. The nuke deal has exposed the CPM’s political shortcomings and left the party with egg on its face.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby khukri » 10 Jul 2008 14:08

HariC wrote:
surinder wrote:PM = born Hindu, but Parsi by marriage
Army generals going lower in rank = Parsi, Sikh, Jewish.

add Christians to the list as well.

....and lets not forget Muslims as well - if an are in doubt as to their contribution to our victories agaiinst Pakistan - I would point you to the citation for Abdul Hamid - here

We're Indians first and anything else next - and lets leave it at that!

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Mandeep » 10 Jul 2008 14:11

JE Menon wrote:Just in case anyone's unaware, by Jewish Surinder is referring to Gen. JFR Jacob who was the theatre commander in 1971.

I have to point out that General JFR Jacob despite his eloquent promotion of himself was not the theatre commander in the East during the Bangladesh Campaign. That honour went to Lt Gen JS Aurora. Jacob was Aurora's Chief of Staff. He cannot arrogate to himself the role played by Aurora.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby HariC » 10 Jul 2008 16:39

khukri wrote:
HariC wrote:
surinder wrote:PM = born Hindu, but Parsi by marriage
Army generals going lower in rank = Parsi, Sikh, Jewish.

add Christians to the list as well.

....and lets not forget Muslims as well - if an are in doubt as to their contribution to our victories agaiinst Pakistan - I would point you to the citation for Abdul Hamid - here

We're Indians first and anything else next - and lets leave it at that!

We are talking about General ranking officers from the 1971 War. I fail to understand the reference to CQMHavildar Abdul Hamid from 1965? You seem to be getting some kind of a wrong impression.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Rupesh » 15 Jul 2008 18:10

A legend in uniform


Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw led India to its greatest military victory, in the 1971 war.


Taking the salute at a military parade in New Delhi on October 23, 2004, held to mark the first-ever conclave of former military chiefs.

INDIA’S first Field Marshal, Sam Bahadur Manekshaw, who succumbed to pneumonia on June 26, two months after his 94th birthday, will remain a legendary figure in the annals of Indian military history. He was given a befitting farewell by millions of Indians – though the Indian state was parsimonious in its presence – when he was laid to rest in the Nilgiri Hills where he spent the latter part of his glorious life.

Manekshaw was born in Amritsar in 1914, and his army career began in 1932 when he joined the first batch of the Indian Gentlemen Cadets at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. Commissioned in the Frontier Force in 1934, he saw action in the Second World War where he displayed exemplary courage in battle in the Burma (Myanmar) theatre. He was awarded a Military Cross (MC) by a British general who thought that the young Manekshaw would not survive the bullet wounds he had sustained. The MC cannot be awarded posthumously, so Major General D.T. Cowan pinned his own medal on the gallant Indian Captain. But fortune favoured the brave Manekshaw.

An Australian surgeon who was tending to the wounded was debating whether Manekshaw could be saved. What convinced the doctor in favour of operating on the seriously wounded Manekshaw was the latter’s puckish sense of humour even as he lay dying. When asked what had happened to him, Manekshaw said: “A mule kicked me.”

Post-Partition, in August 1947, Manekshaw as a Parsi had the option to join either the Indian Army or move to the newly created Pakistan Army. He chose India and was transferred to the Gorkha Rifles where he earned the sobriquet “Bahadur”. Closely associated with the consolidation of the Indian state under the firm hand of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose confidence he enjoyed, Manekshaw was a key planner in the October 1947 Kashmir operations where the Indian Army was called out.

In the years that followed, Manekshaw was witness to the Nehruvian idealism that sought to shrink the size and relevance of the Indian military. However, he gradually acquired a reputation for being a totally apolitical yet professional soldier who could not be pushed around by the civilian establishment. The emerging politico-bureaucratic dispensation under a towering Prime Minister like Jawaharlal Nehru weakened India’s military sinews through an insidious mix of ignorance of matters military and strategic and outright disdain for sound professionalism that went against the Nehruvian diktat.

Manekshaw’s professional life reflected this pernicious culture. Nehru’s Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon tried to belittle the higher ranks of the Indian Army. The result was that truly professional and apolitical soldiers such as Gen. K.S. Thimayya and Gen. Manekshaw were treated shabbily and their advice spurned. The country paid a heavy price for this – the 1962 war with China was testimony to this crass political ineptitude. Such was the bitter vendetta carried out by Krishna Menon that he initiated a court of inquiry against Manekshaw for “anti-national” activities in early 1962 on totally false charges and sought – unsuccessfully – to penalise him.

However, the debacle of 1962 forced Nehru to acknowledge the folly of this political interference in internal military affairs and he belatedly resurrected officers like Manekshaw. Ironically, Manekshaw was sent to take over from Lt. Gen. B.M. Kaul – a Krishna Menon favourite – 4 Corps in the Eastern Sector, which had been mauled by the Chinese Army. This is where he issued the first of his many flamboyant one-liners: “There will be no more withdrawals.”

Luck, as always, was on his side and the Chinese announced a cessation of hostilities and withdrew. He became the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Army and then of the Eastern Army in Calcutta (Kolkata), and was elevated to the post of Army chief in 1969. Sam Bahadur, by dint of personal example and sound professionalism, rebuilt the Indian Army.

The clouds of war with Pakistan were looming in early 1971 over the repression and genocide in East Pakistan. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wanted the Indian Army to enter the fray so that a popularly elected government could be installed in Dhaka. However, Manekshaw refused to be pushed into hasty action and he gave the Prime Minister very objective advice – much to her surprise. Years later, he recalled how angry Indira Gandhi was at his dissenting view initially. But she respected his professional appreciation and concurred with his planning and execution of the 1971 war.

In keeping with his strong commitment to the democratic ethos and the provisions of the Indian Constitution, Manekshaw, who had the highest respect for civilian political supremacy over the military, offered to resign voluntarily in the event the Prime Minister did not approve of his dissent. To Indira Gandhi’s credit, she took Manekshaw’s advice, reposed confidence in him and entrusted him with full responsibility of the actual conduct of the war with no political interference.

The 1971 war with Pakistan was an outstanding military success. India managed to do what no country had done since the Second World War – achieve a decisive military victory over an adversary and dismember that country. Regrettably, there was inadequate appreciation of the politico-military harmonisation of “victory”, and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto seemed to emerge the political equal of Indira Gandhi at Shimla despite the military defeat. Few people in the Indian political and higher bureaucracy seemed to know about war termination objectives and how a military victory could be translated into an abiding political advantage.

In retrospect, it would appear that the Indian military was neither encouraged nor allowed to contribute to higher politico-military strategic planning and thereby the nation was not able to maximise the victory over the Pakistan Army.

Thus we have a paradox in that, while the Pakistan Army had subsumed the state and became the central actor in the hostile relationship with India, the Indian military was kept outside the national decision-making framework. To compound the damage, the ruling politico-bureaucratic culture sustained this distancing and denigration of the Indian fauj (soldier). Manekshaw became the symbol of both public adulation and private anxiety – both in his life and death.

Soon after the December 1971 victory and the birth of Bangladesh, Indira became India – a veritable Durga who had slain the wicked demon, an accolade that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then a young Opposition parliamentarian, generously paid his political opponent. India and Indira, who were both going through a period of post-1962/post-Nehru despondency and lack of esteem, found their confidence after this victory.

This achievement of the nation and its Prime Minister was enabled to a great extent by Manekshaw and his service peers – and nobody realised this more keenly than Indira Gandhi. In Pakistan, the people were baying for the blood of their disgraced generals, while in India, their counterparts, Sam Manekshaw and Jagjit Singh Arora (the commander of the Indian forces in the east), were being publicly feted.

In 1973, Manekshaw was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal and his public profile was unparalleled for any Indian fauji. Then occurred one of those historic accidents – triggered by Manekshaw’s spontaneous sense of humour and repartee. Responding to a question about what would have happened if he, as a Parsee, had opted to join the Pakistan Army in August 1947, he joked that maybe Pakistan would have won the 1971 war. That was to be a costly quip and the Field Marshal was publicly upbraided by many who were envious of his growing stature.

The Indian state had found its opportunity to cut the soldier to size and cast him in a poor light. Manekshaw stepped down as Army chief in early 1973 and retired gracefully from the limelight – which he no doubt revelled in but had never actively sought.

An anecdote is illustrative. Post-retirement, Sam Bahadur went to Indore where the local citizens organised a public reception. The Field Marshal was mobbed by crowds shouting “Manekshaw ki jai”, and he reached the podium with difficulty.

The keynote speaker made an adulatory speech in Hindi, which went on thus: “We have in our midst today a soldier whose very name is synonymous with valour. He makes us remember Rana Pratap, Jhansi ki Rani and the gallant Shivaji, whose deeds form our national heritage. When we hear him speak, blood courses through our veins with great speed….”

Manekshaw also made his speech in Hindi, quipping: “I have only one request. Could I have an English translation of the speech I just heard? I want to give it to my wife. Whenever I tell her that I am a big man, a great man, she does not even listen. Perhaps after reading this, she will believe me!” Predictably, he brought the house down, and the ovation continued. Later, he was to joke that life had ordained that he obey two women all his life – his wife at home and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at work.

Flamboyant professional

Manekshaw was a flamboyant soldier who combined the best of the British tradition that he was groomed in and the distinctively Indian ethos that he was born into. Many tales abound about his special relationship with Indira Gandhi, including the “I am always ready, sweetie” response. To her credit, Indira Gandhi enjoyed this gentle sparring with an Army general who could tell her with a naughty twinkle in his eye, without transgressing certain lines of politico-military propriety, that she looked beautiful.

Manekshaw was neither a George Patton or an Erwin Rommel in the classical sense of the battlefield general, nor a theorist like Alfred Mahan. But he was a rigorous professional soldier and an outstanding manager of higher defence planning and prosecution. The politico-military-bureaucratic synergy he arrived at as Army chief with Indira Gandhi, Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram and Defence Secretary K.B. Lall during the 1971 operations remains distinctive and unparalleled.

As K. Subrahmanyam, the doyen of the strategic planning community, notes: “… the lesson from the Bangladesh campaign had not been drawn and absorbed by the Indian politicians. The lesson was the Prime Minister and the Cabinet should be in constant touch with external intelligence and should have a continuous rapport with the leadership of the armed forces. Our politicians and senior civil bureaucracy have woefully failed to learn this lesson to this day.”

Regrettably, Manekshaw never wrote an authoritative personal biography recounting this experience. I recall a conversation I had with him in 1986 when Gen. Cariappa was elevated as Field Marshal.

Like many of my generation, I was in awe of Manekshaw and ventured to ask him about the 1971 War. His reply was characteristically modest and he gave greater credit to the civilian leadership that was at the helm and encouraged me to highlight the role of the late K.B. Lall, “that extraordinary but forgotten ICS officer”.

Sad to say, post-1971, the Indian governing ethos progressively relegated the Indian military to the background. Ironically, in his death, Sam Bahadur, for all his monumental contribution to the making of India, was treated in a rather graceless manner by the Indian state. But this lack of magnanimity taints the state structure more than the glory of Sam Bahadur, which will remain shining and inviolable for a grateful nation.

The fact that despite being accorded a state funeral, no senior member of the Cabinet was present when his body was laid to rest, leave alone the President as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces or the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister, will remain a taint on the record of the United Progressive Alliance government. Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju was the sole senior political representative.

Ironically, the three Service chiefs were not present either. To add insult to injury, in keeping with the rule-bound mendacity of the Indian state, it was pointed out that since the rank of a Field Marshal was not (yet) included in the Government of India’s warrant of precedence, the great Indian state edifice was unable to respond.

It mattered little that Manekshaw had been elevated as Field Marshal – a five-star rank in 1973 – and that Field Marshals never retire. But for some inexplicable reason, for 35 years the appropriate rules and regulations were not formulated. The government departments concerned and Army headquarters have besmirched themselves indelibly in the public eye and many Indians have pointed out in letters to editors of newspapers and in cyberspace that our highest political representatives found the time and motivation to attend the funerals of less illustrious fellow Indians.

But if Manekshaw was treated shabbily by the political spectrum, he was always held in high esteem and remembered with enormous affection by the Indian fauj. News of his death led to a spontaneous outpouring of tributes and accolades both from within the country and from neighbouring Bangladesh, a nation that he helped create. Perhaps the manner of his final march into history symbolises what he represented to India and its people.

Amends were made with a condolence book being placed at India Gate in New Delhi for the Delhi hierarchy and public to pay their tributes to the Field Marshal. Rarely has there been such a turnout.

Manekshaw’s greatest and most abiding contribution was the manner in which he restored the muddied pride of the Indian soldier after the ignominy of the 1962 war with China.

Maybe Manekshaw’s handicap was that he was too much of a “bahadur” while the military as an institution remained marginal to the Indian political scheme of things.

This visibly disdainful attitude to the Indian soldier was nurtured by Nehru as Prime Minister and bolstered by the civilian bureaucracy of his time, which always spoke in whispers about the danger of a military coup – as had happened in Pakistan and Myanmar – in the event the higher military leadership was given its due and brought into the loop of higher governance and security planning.

More than 60 years after Independence, the political dispensation in India is yet to maximise the many potentialities that a truly apolitical and professional military can bring to the national quiver. Sam Manekshaw remains the exception. Field Marshals never retire but only die, but this legendary figure will not die in public memory.

The image of an upright and highly professional soldier with that jaunty Gorkha cap and a twinkle in his eye, who did his nation proud, will abide.•

Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar is a former head of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.



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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Philip » 15 Jul 2008 18:38

To give the GOI a fair hearing,one source indicated that the family wanted a quick funeral.However,given his status and Declining health which has been known for a long time,the Field Marshal's funeral should've been well planned a long time ago.The bunkum about his protocol status is a blatant untruth and utterly despicable.See how the British plan for future eventualities. Sam Manekshaw was India's equivalent of Nelson or Wellington and deserved a state funeral befitting his role as the architect of India's greatest military victory.Several retd. army chiefs have written in the media at their disappointment at the GOI and the three chief's failure in this regard.When it comes to sending off petty,perverse,pernicious,pelf-hunting,politicos the GOI does it better than any other nation.When it comes to rewarding the true men of honour,they forget they existed.Gen.Malik has this disgraceful story about the 25th anniversary of the '71 war,when the PM and govt. of the day,accompanied by the hordes of babudom actually had the temerity to ask the three service chiefs why it was so important and neccessary to celebrate the event?!!! Had it been the current dispensation,they wouldn't even have had the courtesy of asking the chiefs.

Let us see how Britain sends off her champions... in style!

Lady Thatcher is in her 80s and in good health,however,the British have decided to give her the rare honour of a state funeral when the time comes and will have in place a complete plan for the same right down to the last detail.This is how the GOI should plan for its heroes.

State funeral planned for Lady ThatcherMichael White The Guardian, Monday July 14, 2008
Article history

Lady Thatcher is expected to be granted the rare honour of a state funeral when she dies.

The first since Sir Winston Churchill's in 1965, the funeral would acknowledge the exceptional impact of her 11-year premiership in reversing the decline in Britain's postwar fortunes.

As such, it would be certain to prove controversial among the many people who lost their jobs during the "Thatcher revolution" which reintroduced market forces into many fields of activity and for which she has not been forgiven by some.

Yesterday, when the consent of Buckingham Palace and No 10 was reported by the Mail on Sunday, there were doubts that Britain's overstretched armed forces would have the numbers to line the route which a coffin would probably take to St Paul's Cathedral.

Since Lady Thatcher, now 82 and six months older than the Queen, is in relatively good shape, such public speculation is deemed inappropriate, as it was for the Queen Mother before her death at 101 in 2002.

But in all such cases detailed planning is necessary.

State funerals are routinely accorded only to monarchs, and Buckingham Palace was forced into a compromise after being wrongfooted over the sudden death of Princess Diana in 1997, the most memorable public funeral in Britain since Queen Victoria's.

In the 19th century, four state funerals were granted to "commoners" - Lord Nelson after his death at Trafalgar, the Duke of Wellington, a prime minister as well as victor over Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, Lord Palmerston and William Gladstone, both popular inhabitants of No 10.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Sumeet » 15 Jul 2008 20:38

My deep condolence to the family of one of the bravest son of modern India. May you rest in peace forever, we be inspired to emulate you again and again.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby svinayak » 16 Jul 2008 01:49 ... p-wit.html

Sam Manekshaw
Jul 3rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

Sam Manekshaw, soldier, died on June 27th, aged 94

HIS most famous remark was not, strictly speaking, true. On the eve of the war with Pakistan in December 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, India's prime minister, Indira Gandhi, asked her army chief, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, if he was ready for the fight. He replied with the gallantry, flirtatiousness and sheer cheek for which he was famous: "I am always ready, sweetie." (He said he could not bring himself to call Mrs Gandhi "Madame", because it reminded him of a bawdy-house.)

Yet General Manekshaw himself recounted a cabinet meeting in Mrs Gandhi's office in April 1971. To forestall secession, the Pakistani government had already cracked down in what was then East Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of refugees had crossed the border into India. Mrs Gandhi wanted the army to invade Pakistan. General Manekshaw resisted. The monsoon, he pointed out, would soon start in East Pakistan, turning rivers into oceans. His armoured division and two infantry divisions were deployed elsewhere. To shift them would need the entire railway network, so the grain harvest could not be transported and would rot, bringing famine. And of his armoured division's 189 tanks, only 11 were fit to fight.

He was not, in other words, ready. But, as he put it, "There is a very thin line between being dismissed and becoming a field-marshal." Mrs Gandhi rejected the resignation he offered, and acceded to the delay he wanted. His job, he told her, was to fight to win. In December he did, cutting through the Pakistani army like a knife through butter, and taking Dhaka within two weeks. Quibblers later noted that this was not one of his original war aims. He had the most important attribute of any successful general: good luck.

That was not the only time he threatened to quit. Mrs Gandhi once questioned him about rumours that he was plotting a coup. In response, he asked if she wanted his resignation on grounds of mental instability. Yet if she and other politicians were in awe of him as a professional soldier and grateful for his lack of political ambition, his men loved him for his willingness to take on their civilian bosses and stand up for the army's interests.

He had shown this in the Indian army's darkest hour, the abject defeat in 1962 by China. Already a general, he had the previous year quarrelled with India's defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, about national security. He was vindicated when the Chinese army swatted aside Indian resistance and briefly occupied what is now the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Menon resigned. General Manekshaw was rushed to the front to rally the demoralised troops. His first order was: "There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued."

General Manekshaw was able to demand courage from his soldiers because his own was not in doubt. Known as Sam "Bahadur", or Sam the Brave, an honorific given him by the Indian army's Gurkhas, the first of his five wars was for the British in Burma, where he was seriously wounded. Assuming he would die, an English general pinned his own Military Cross on Captain Manekshaw's chest, since the medal could not be awarded posthumously. Another story has it that a surgeon was going to give up on his bullet-riddled body, until he asked him what had happened and got the reply, "I was kicked by a donkey." A joker at such a time, the surgeon reckoned, had a chance.

Stiff but hairy

There was something of British military tradition in his stiff upper lip, the lavish handlebar moustache in which he cloaked it, the dapper little embellishments to his uniform and his partiality for Scotch whisky. Yet he was born into a very particular and tight-knit community: India' s small and dwindling Parsi minority, which has produced a disproportionate number of leading Indians, such as the members of the Tata and Godrej business dynasties. Sam Manekshaw was another Parsi overachiever. He was the first of only two field-marshals ever created in the army.

Yet his retirement since 1973 was not one long bask in glory. Former deputies felt he had monopolised the credit for various victories. Then last year his name was linked to bizarre allegations, by the son of a former Pakistani president, against an unnamed brigadier who had once sold Indian war plans to Pakistan. All nonsense, said those who knew him. Already in hospital, General Manekshaw was in part shielded from controversy.

After his death, anger at the slur, and at the lack of proper honour for one of India's true heroes, rumbled on. The prime minister, along with the army, navy, and air-force chiefs, all missed his funeral—which was a modest one held in Tamil Nadu in the south, not a grand one in the capital. His friends grumbled that even foreigners such as Lord Mountbatten were afforded greater respect in death. Bangladesh, however, paid grateful tribute to his part in the nation's foundation.

He too might well have been disappointed that his obsequies were not grander. His last words were "I'm OK", though he had rehearsed a better line nearly 37 years earlier. For death at least, the brave soldier had indeed shown himself "always ready".

Copyright © 2008 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Avinash R » 16 Jul 2008 11:23

Govt reticent on Bharat Ratna for Sam Bahadur
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
New Delhi, PTI:

Though the government maintained that it was aware of the sentiments the country has for the iconic Field Marshal, the authorities are still non-committal on conferring Bharat Ratna on Sam Manekshaw. .

“We know the sentiments about the Field Marshal and everyone respects his achievements. We know that,” Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of a memorial function for Manekshaw. The Defence Minister was responding to a query as to whether the government would confer the country’s highest civilian award to the Field Marshal, who passed away recently.

Antony and the three service chiefs had not attended the funeral of Maneshaw which drew widespread criticism.
Earlier addressing the function, Gen (Retd) Deependra Singh said an “upright and brave personality” like Manekshaw deserved the highest civilian award.

Antony described the late Field Marshal as the “greatest soldier” who led the Army during a “very crucial and critical” period of history in many respects, including the circumstances which led to the formation of Bangladesh.

Manekshaw was a “tremendous” leader who was a motivation for the soldiers and was never “bothered” by the presence of “mighty powers,” during the Indo-Pak war.

The Field Marshal was also a “superb military strategist”, which was evident from the way he led the Army to thwart the designs of the enemy during the 1971 war, the Minister added.

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Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw passes away

Postby Dileep » 24 Jul 2008 09:24

Thomas Jacob, the editorial director of Manorama, writes some anecdotes on the great FM that I haven't seen anywhere else. So, here is an extract. It is xlation from Malayalam, so quotes are parqaphrased.

The article in Malayalam can be see at Here

1. A PYT journalist was interviewing the FM. He often called her "sweetheart" during the interview. She blushed a little on that. After the interview, the FM asked his aide "sweetheart, would you see this beauty off?". The lady told to herself "Oh, so that was not for me alone!"

2. A lady asked him to dance in a party. He readily accepts. When they were walking to the dance floor he says "Sweetheart, I can't dance well, but I compensate in the hugs"

3. After the 1962 war, while he was in charge of the recontruction of the army, some foreign journalists came to meet him. One asked, "are your soldiers trained to use foreign weapons"? Sam smiled and pointed to the camera "How long had you been using this"?

"Ten, fifteen years"

"If you get a new advanced camera, how long it would take you to start using it?"

"One or two hours"

"Same for the soldiers with weapons"

4. Sam was invited for a function at the Calicut Lions Club. He requested TWO rooms for accommodation. That was for him and his wife. The hosts were a bit confused, but did it anyway.

Sam clarified that in his address. "I snore terribly, and she can't take it. So we sleep in seperate rooms at home. I know you are not asking the question about how we got the two kids. That too happened in between"

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