Nick Name: Sam Bahadur
Birthday: April 3, 1914
Died At Age: 94
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw
Born in: Amritsar, Punjab
father: Hormusji Manekshaw
Died on: June 27, 2008
place of death: Wellington, Tamil Nadu
City: Amritsar, India
awards: Padma Vibhushan (1972)
Padma Bhushan (1968)
Military Cross (1942)
Who was Sam Manekshaw?
India’s first ever Field Marshal, Sam Manekshaw was a distinguished military man with a glorious career spanning over four decades. The very name Sam Manekshaw is enough to inspire respect and admiration in the minds of Indians even today. Given his achievements in the army and his prowess on the war front, it seems easy to assume that the man was always destined for a military career. But the weird fact is that it was just a quirk of fate that he joined the army! A brilliant student at school, the boy set his aspirations on becoming a doctor. He asked his father to send him to England to study medicine which the older man refused. In an act of rebellion, the young Sam decided to sit for enrollment at the Indian Military Academy. He got selected and thus embarked on what was to become his rightful fate. His long and productive career started during the British era and continued for 40 years over which he witnessed several major wars like the World War II and the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. He was a very bold man not at all shy about making politically incorrect statements.
Childhood & Early Life
Sam was born to Parsi parents in Amritsar. His father, Hormusji Manekshaw was a doctor. His mother’s name was Heerabai and he had three brothers and two sisters.
Sam’s father had been a Captain in the Royal British Army and had come to Amritsar from Bombay where he had started a medical practice and pharmacy.
He was educated at the Sherwood College in Nainital. He was a brilliant student and achieved a distinction in the School Certificate examination of the Cambridge Board.
Setting his eyes on becoming a doctor, he asked his father to send him to England to study medicine. His father felt Sam was too young to be on his own and refused to send him until he was older.
The teenager was upset that his father refused and in rebellion he decided to appear for the entrance examination for enrollment into the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
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His entrance test went off well and he soon became a part of the intake of 40 cadets at IMA in 1932. He graduated from the institution two years later on 4 February 1934 and was immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Indian Army.
After he completed his attachment with a British Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Battalion the Royal Scots, he joined the 4th Battalion, 12 Frontier Force Regiment.
He served in Burma during the World War II in 1942 where he was on the campaign on the Sittang River with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment. He was a Captain at that time.
It was a very difficult time for the Indian Army as they faced the invading Japanese Army while fighting around Pagoda Hill. In spite of all the challenges they captured the hill though Manekshaw was gravely wounded. Ever the gritty man, he soon recovered and resumed his duties.
He attended the 8th Staff Course at Staff College, Quetta from August to December 1943 after which he was posted as the Brigade Major of the Razmak brigade. He served there till October 1944.
He was sent to serve on General Daisy’s staff in Indo-China towards the end of the World War II. There he helped to repatriate over 10, 000 former Prisoners of War (PoW).
After independence, he was reassigned to the 16th Punjab Regiment where he was retained at the Army Headquarters as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Operations Directorate. He was later promoted to the rank of brigadier.
He was posted to the Infantry School at Mhow as the school’s commandant. Later on he commanded a division in Jammu & Kashmir and also a corps in the North East.
He succeeded General Kumaramangalam as the eight COAS (Chief Of Army Staff) in June, 1969 and in 1971 went to the historic war against Pakistan. The Indian Army emerged victorious under Manekshaw’s direction and the war ended with the surrender of Pakistan’s eastern half.
He was elevated to the rank of Filed Marshall on 1 January 1973 and he retired from active service on 15 January 1973.
After retirement went on to serve as the director and chairman of several companies, taking forward his legacy of discipline and hard work.
He led India to a famous military victory over Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh..
Awards & Achievements
He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India in 1972 for his services towards the country.
The President of India conferred upon him the rank of Field Marshal on 1 January, 1973.
Personal Life & Legacy
He met Silloo Bode at a social gathering in Lahore in 1937 and the two fell in love. The couple got married in April 1939 and had two daughters.
Sam Manekshaw lived a long and happy life. He died of pneumonia in 2008 at the ripe old age of 94 years.