No one can forget Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the 1971-war veteran who made victory against Pakistan possible. The military career of this indomitable leader, popularly known as Sam Bahadur (literally meaning ‘Sam the Brave’), spanned over four glorious decades. He fought five wars for India and became the eighth head of the Indian army in the year 1969. While this is a brief introduction of Sam Manekshaw, there’s still a lot most of us need to know! Here are some interesting things about the greatest ever military commander of India that you most probably didn’t know:
5. His full Name was Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw
Born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar to Parsi parents, Hormusji Manekshaw and Heerabai, Sam’s full name was Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw. Although he was named Cyrus at the time of birth, one of his aunts got it changed to Sam later. She believed that the name Cyrus could prove fateful for her nephew, since a Parsi with the same name had recently been imprisoned. For his education, Sam was sent to Sherwood College in Nainital along with his two siblings, Jan and Jemi.
4. He Was Refused to Study Medicine by His Father
After Sam had completed his schooling and college education in Punjab and Sherwood College, Nainital, respectively, he decided to go to London to study medicine. However, his father didn’t allow him to go to London for studies saying that he was too young to stay abroad on his own, despite that he had got distinction in the Cambridge Board’s School Certificate examination. Infuriated, Sam took the Indian Military Academy’s entrance examination for enrolment, and qualified very easily. This was how he got a place in the first batch of 40 selected cadets on October 1, 1932 in Dehradun.
3. Sam Manekshaw as an Exceptionally Warrior
During his years in Sherwood College, Sam had learnt to survive alone, fully independently in adverse conditions and was fully prepared for World War II. He recalled this at a function in the college on June 8, 1969 after he had taken over as COAS. Immediately after entering the World War II, Sam led the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment as a captain in Myanmar in the year 1942. Here he saw live action by the side of Sittang River and was recognized for his exceptional bravery in the battlefield. Commanding the ‘A’ Company of his battalion in retaliation against the Japanese Army, he was able to achieve his objective despite facing 50% casualties. The battalion conquered the Pagoda Hill, the key site on the left side of the Sittang bridgehead. On the hill, when Sam got severely injured by LMG bullets in the stomach, Major General Cowan had given his Military Cross ribbon to him right at the spot!
2. Manekshaw Was in Administration during the Partition
Sam Manekshaw first exhibited administrative and decision-making abilities during the Partition in 1947, tackling and resolving several division-related issues. In 1947 and 1948, he showed his valor and battle skills during Jammu & Kashmir Operations. Later, he was appointed as the colonel of 61 Cavalry and 8 Gorkha Rifles. 8 Gorkha Rifles was his new regiment as the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, his parent regiment had to join the Pakistani Army after partition. Sam was awarded a Padma Vibhushan by the President on India in the year 1972.
1. Sam was the First Ever Indian to Become Field Marshal
As an Indian military leader, Sam Manekshaw was the first officer of the Indian Army to get the rank of Field Marshal. He not only got onto such a highly esteemed position in Army, but also successfully maintained his reputation for four whole decades. Sam began his services during the World War II in the British Army, fought five wars in his career, and rose for the sovereign position in 1969. Sam Manekshaw led the Indian Army in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 (his first as the Army Chief), defeated Pakistan by helping Indian forces to conduct several victorious campaigns, and made the liberation of Bangladesh possible in December 1971.