Sam Manekshaw, India’s first Field Marshal, was a prominent military leader with a four-decade career. Even now, the name Sam Manekshaw inspires reverence and admiration in the minds of Indians. Given his military accomplishments and effectiveness on the battlefield, it’s reasonable to believe that the man was always destined for a military career. However, the strange thing is that he joined the army by chance! The boy, a brilliant student in school, set his sights on becoming a doctor. He requested from his father that he be sent to England to study medicine, but the older man declined. In a show of defiance, the young Sam applied for admission to the Indian Military Academy. He was chosen and thus began his journey toward what would become his just fate. His lengthy and fruitful career began during the British rule and lasted 40 years, during which he observed several important battles, including World War II and the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. He was a fearless individual who was not afraid to make politically incorrect statements.
Childhood & Adolescence
Sam was born in Amritsar to Parsi parents. Hormusji Manekshaw, his father, was a physician. Heerabai was his mother’s name, and he had three brothers and two sisters.
Sam’s father was a Captain in the Royal British Army who moved to Amritsar from Bombay to establish a medical practice and pharmacy.
He received his education at Nainital’s Sherwood College. He was a brilliant student who earned a distinction on the Cambridge Board’s School Certificate examination.
With the goal of becoming a doctor in mind, he requested that his father send him to England to study medicine. Sam’s father believed he was too young to be on his own and refused to send him until he reached an appropriate age.
The youngster was enraged by his father’s refusal, and in an act of disobedience, he decided to sit for the admission examination for the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
Sam Manekshaw’s Career
His entrance examination went well, and he was quickly accepted into the IMA’s 1932 intake of 40 cadets. On 4 February 1934, he graduated from the university and was promptly commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Indian Army.
He joined the 4th Battalion, 12 Frontier Force Regiment after completing his attachment with a British Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Battalion the Royal Scots.
He participated in Burma during World War II, 1942, with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment on the Sittang River operation. At the time, he was a Captain.
It was a trying moment for the Indian Army as they fought against the invading Japanese Army at Pagoda Hill. Despite the obstacles, they captured the hill, despite Manekshaw’s grievous injury. Ever the tenacious individual, he quickly recovered and resumed his tasks.
From August to December 1943, he completed the 8th Staff Course at Staff College, Quetta, after which he was assigned as the Brigade Major of the Razmak brigade. He remained until October 1944.
He was sent to General Daisy’s staff in Indo-China near the conclusion of WWII. There, he assisted in the repatriation of approximately 10,000 former POWs (PoW).
Following independence, he was posted to the 16th Punjab Regiment, where he was retained as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters. Later in his career, he was raised to the rank of brigadier.
He was assigned as commandant of the Infantry School at Mhow. Later in his career, he commanded a division in Jammu and Kashmir and a corps in the northeastern region.
In June 1969, he succeeded General Kumaramangalam as the eighth COAS (Chief Of Army Staff) and led the army into the momentous battle against Pakistan in 1971. The Indian Army triumphed under Manekshaw’s leadership, and the conflict concluded with Pakistan’s eastern half surrendering.
On 1 January 1973, he was promoted to the rank of Filed Marshall and retired from active duty on 15 January 1973.
Following his retirement, he served as a director and chairman of various businesses, carrying on his legacy of discipline and hard work.
His Significant Battles
He led India to a notable military victory against Pakistan in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, which resulted in Bangladesh’s freedom.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1972, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian decoration, for his services to the country.
On 1 January 1973, the President of India promoted him to the rank of Field Marshal.
Personal History and Legacies
He met Silloo Bode in 1937 at a Lahore social function and the two fell in love. In April 1939, the couple married and had two kids.
Sam Manekshaw was fortunate to enjoy a long and happy life. He died in 2008 of pneumonia at the ripe old age of 94.
Estimated Net worth