Date of Birth : April 3,1914

Birth Place :Amritsar,Punjab

Service: Army

Rank :Field Marshal

Service Years : 1934-2008

Awards : MC

Date of Demise : 27 June 2008

Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, MC

Field marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw popularly known as “Sam Bahadur” was born on 3rd April 1914 in Amritsar in Punjab. His parents Dr Hormusji Manekshaw and Smt Heerabai, later moved to the city of Valsad in the coastal Gujarat region. His father also served for the British army as a medical officer in Mesopotamia during the First World war.  FM Manekshaw had three brothers and two sisters and all them except the eldest brother went to ‘Sherwood School’ in Nainital for studies.

 

At the age of 15 years, FM Manekshaw asked his father to send him to London to study medicine as he wanted to become a gynecologist. But his father declined and in an act of rebellion, on 1st October 1932, FM Manekshaw appeared for the military Academy entrance examination in Dehradun. He got selected and became part of the first batch of 40 candidates selected for the Military Academy. He got commissioned as second lieutenant in the Frontier Force Regiment in the year 1934. He initially became part of the Royal Scouts and then the 54th Sikh Regiment which on partition became part of the Pakistani Army. After serving for a couple of years he got married to Ms Siloo Bode on 22nd April 1939 and the couple had two daughters Sherry (born on 11th January 1940) and Maya (born on 24th Sept 1945).

 

Military Leader-Par Excellence

 

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw achieved a number of firsts throughout his military career and was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. His distinguished military career spanned over four decades and five wars, beginning with the British Indian Army in World War II. He was initially selected into the Indian military Academy as a part of the first batch of cadets called “The Pioneers”. His first major military campaign was in World War II when he served as a captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma in 1942. In Feb 1942, FM Manekshaw displayed his soldierly and leadership skills during the battle of Sittang Bridge against the Imperial Japanese Army. He launched a forceful counter-attack and engaged the Japanese forces fearlessly. He led his unit to an emphatic victory despite losing half of his soldiers. His exemplary leadership clinched the militarily significant Sittang Bride for the Allied forces. 

 

During the counter offensive for the capture of Sittang Bridge, FM Manekshaw was hit by a burst of light machine gun fire and suffered a major injury in his stomach. His exceptional bravery was appreciated by Major General David Cowan, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the 17th Infantry Division. Fearing that FM Manekshaw would succumb to his injuries, the general pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on then Capt Manekshaw’s chest saying, “A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross”. The award was made official  when a notification was published in the London Gazette on 21 st April 1942. FM Manekshaw was evacuated from the battlefield and taken to an Australian surgeon who treated him. After recovering from the wounds he suffered during the Burma Campaign, FM Manekshaw completed the staff course at Command and Staff College in Quetta and served for a while as an instructor.

 

He joined the 12 Frontier Force Rifles in Burma and was wounded in the battle again. Towards the end of the war, he was assigned the important task of ‘rehabilitation of the 60,000 Japanese POWs (prisoners of war)’, which he carried out very successfully. He was highly appreciated for the way he handled the whole process that resulted in no cases of indiscipline or untoward incidents. Later he served with the Military operation directorate and handled many planning and administrative issues that crept up after partition. He also accompanied Shri V.P Menon to Srinagar when ‘Instrument of accession’ was signed with Maharaja Hari Singh. He also assisted in the planning of “Op Polo” which was launched in Sep 1948, when peaceful negotiations failed with the Nizam of Hyderabad. which took place in Hyderabad. FM Manekshaw continued to prove his mettle as a soldier and a military leader in various appointments thereafter and contributed immensely in fine-tuning the Indian Army into a potent force. 

 

1971 Indo-Pak War : The war was officially declared on 3 Dec 1971, when Pakistani Air Force bombed eleven IAF bases in the western part of the country. Gen Manekshaw, as Chief of Army Staff formulated an aggressive strategy to fight the war on both western and eastern fronts. The war, lasting barely 13 days, saw more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers being taken as prisoners of war (POWs), and it ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh. After the war, FM Manekshaw as a true soldier ensured that the POWs were treated with respect as enshrined in the Geneva conventions. He was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal on 1 January 1973 and retired from active service on 15 January 1973. After his retirement FM Manekshaw went on to head several companies, and running their affairs with the ethos and values he held dear to his heart. He was conferred with multiple awards for his service to the nation including “Padma Vibhushan” and “Padma Bhushan”. 

 

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with a string of accomplishments, lived a contended life and left for his heavenly abode on 27 June 2008 at the age of 94 years. FM Manekshaw was undoubtedly India’s one of the greatest soldiers and will continue to inspire future generations for a long time to come. 

  • On 16th December 2008, a postage stamp depicting Field Marshal Manekshaw in uniform was released by then president Prathiba Patil.
  • In 2014 a granite statue was erected in his honor at wellington, in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, close to Manekshaw Bridge on Ooty-Coonoor road which was named after him in 2009.
  • A flyover bridge in Ahmedabad was named after him in 2008 by Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time.
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Source
  • http://indiamydreamland.blogspot.in/2011/02/biography-sam-manekshaw.html
  • https://www.thequint.com/india/2016/06/27/sam-manekshaw-remembering-the-greatest-soldier-india-ever-had
  • https://books.google.co.in/books?id=Eux31FCNj8MC&pg=PA21&dq=Field+Marshal+Sam+Hormusji+Framji+Jamshedji+Manekshaw,+MC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwifpob897XVAhXEtY8KHbAQDswQ6AEIMDAB#v=onepage&q=Field%20Marshal%20Sam%20Hormusji%20Framji%20Jamshedji%20Manekshaw%2C%20MC&f=false
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7 Comments
  • Valsan Kunnath

    2017at12:08 pm Reply

    Big Salute Respected Sir, Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw , Military Cross
    Just to quote your words to the soldiers of NE command during 1971 war
    ” I have arrived. There will be no retreat. Thank You”
    Sir, You are the Real Brave Son of Bharath, Salute You
    JAI HIND… VANDE MATHARAM

  • Jesse Garczynski

    2018at2:10 pm Reply

    With thanks! Valuable information!

  • Milind Tambe

    2019at8:07 pm Reply

    Salute to the Field Marshal

  • Dr.Abhhey BAJPAI

    2020at10:18 am Reply

    I always worshipping to sam manekshaw as my lord . My life very much influenced with sam manekshaw’s personality . I am biggest devotee of sam manekshaw. I have personal letter of sam manekshaw with his photograph with his autograph that I received in the year of 1969.
    Regards
    Dr.Abhhey Bajpai
    Indore

  • Dushyant

    2021at5:47 pm Reply

    FM Manekshaw Sir, has always been a source of inspiration. An ideal leader, a charming and witty personality. The stories of his leadership which I heard, helped me to become a better leader whenever it was time for me to take the charge. His ideas, his strategies, his approaches are undeniable, reading about him is such a delight. All of his interactions with ‘Sweety’ (a nickname he used for Indira Gandhi), and his decisions which made Pakistan to surrender in the 71 war. No words can describe his service to the nation.

    Thanks a lot, for your service sir. India will always miss a son like you!

  • Mamta Aditya

    2021at7:16 pm Reply

    A big salute to you for enrolling Sir and leaving behind such a legacy for people to look upto. More than taking a life what matters most is treating and value people who are alive and your valor proves this to treat POW as human beings. Thank you for doing that and setting such an excellent example. Thank you !!!

  • Lt. Col. Roshan Lal Raina ( Retd. )

    2023at7:59 am Reply

    Salute to the greatest son of INDIA .He has been a source of encouragement through out my Army career .

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