Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 28, 2022, 5:15

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw was probably India's greatest general, who was born on April 3, 1914, and died on June 27, 2008. Sam Manekshaw was the first Indian Army officer to hold the highest military rank of Field Marshall, leading the Indian Army in as many as 5 wars.

He played a part in the liberation of Bangladesh during the 1971 War between India and Pakistan. Eventually, he and his wife Siloo settled in the quiet town of Coonoor in Nilgiri.

Why was Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw called "Mr Macintosh"?

After entering the service, Sam was reporting to two Royal Scots who considered his name more like a tongue twister. They gave him this new name 'Mr Macintosh'.

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw Heroism

When World War II broke out, Japanese troops invaded Burma-at that time a British colony. In February 1942, Manekshaw acted at the Battle of Sittang Bridge. During the counterattack, he was attacked nine times in his stomach with a machine gun firing, but he continued to lead his soldiers. His exemplary leadership ultimately secured the Sittang Bridge, which was important to the Allies.

His division commander, Sir David Tennent Cowan, heard Manekshaw's courage and rushed to the battlefield, tearing off his military cross and fixing it to the injured officer's chest.

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw Wit and Humour

Sam Manekshaw was well-known for his sense of humour which he even displayed when he was shot 9 times in Burma. He survived miraculously and his injuries did not stop him from joking around with his nursing staff and doctors.

When asked by the surgeon who was operating on him, about how he got hurt so badly, he said he was kicked by a donkey. The surgeon said the man who was able to make a joke at that time had a chance to survive. And certainly, he did, and later became the eighth Chief of Staff of the Indian Army.

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Pioneer General of the Indian Army

There was a mutual admiration between Sam Manekshaw and the Gurkha soldiers. In October 1932, Sam became a part of the first group of cadets of the Army Military Academy in India, after which Marshal Field Sir Philip Chetwood recommended that Indians be trained for Army officer duties. It was called "Pioneer" because it was the first batch.

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw - Winning of 1971 War

Sam Manekshaw has had 40 years of an extraordinary career, including the Second Indo-Pakistani War of 1942, the Indian-Pak Division War of 1947, the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Indian-Pak War of 1965, and the liberation of Bangladesh.

After becoming Chief of Staff, Manekshaw motivated the Indian army to devise a war strategy in 1971 to surrender Pakistan and give birth to Bangladesh. His role was crucial in the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers. The 1971 Indian Pak War lasted less than two weeks, with more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendering and becoming prisoners.

It ended with the unconditional surrender of the eastern half of Pakistan, and Bangladesh was born as a new country. After the war, Sam became known for his sympathy for the prisoners, and he had a personal conversation with the prisoners over a cup of tea. He also confirmed that they were well treated and arranged a package and a copy of the Quran from the family.

Sam Manekshaw was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to First Field Marshall, the highest rank achievable in the Indian Army. He was scheduled to retire in June 1972, but his term was extended by six months to facilitate his promotion to Army Marshal.

Therefore, he was promoted to Marshal of the Army on January 1, 1973, in recognition of his excellent service to the Army and the country.

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FAQs on Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw

Q.1. How did Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw die?

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw died of Complications from Pneumonia.

Q.2. What was the designation that was first attributed to Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw?

Born to Parsi parents in Amritsar, Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw was the first officer in the Indian Army to be promoted to the five-star rank of the Field Marshal of the Army.

Q.3. What was the profession that Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw chose for himself before he joined the Army?

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw wanted to be a doctor like his father, a military doctor, but his fate had other plans for him.

Q.4. what was Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw's role during the Independence of India?

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw displayed his impeccable management skills during the partition of 1947. During the period, he was involved in providing management solutions and making decisions. He also proved his position as a warrior during operations at Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and 1948.

Q.5. Which famous quote belongs to Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw?

One of Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw's renowned quotes was - If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.