Monday, June 30, 2008

Farewell Sam Bahadur


A couple of days back I head the sad news of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's demise... I am pretty sure that many people are not aware of him. Not until the news was broadcast and his story was published in the news papers... To be honest, though I have a great interest in armed forces, even I didnt have much information about him.. I guess, its like out of sight is out of mind...

Sam Bahadur, as he was fondly called, was the first of the only two army officer to be honoured with the highest rank of Field Marshal of Indian Army. The other one being, Field Marshal K M Cariappa. Manekshaw was one of the 40 cadets of the first batch that passed out from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and earned the sobriquet "Sam Bahadur" from soldiers of the 8th Gorkha Rifles of which he was Colonel of the Regiment. His distinguished military career spanned four decades from the British era and through five wars, including the Second World War. Manekshaw became the 8th Chief of Army Staff when he succeeded General Kumaramangalam on June 7, 1969.

During the 1971 war, Manekshaw showed uncanny ability to motivate the forces, coupling it with a mature war strategy. The war ended with Pakistan's unconditional surrender, and the formation of Bangladesh. More than 45,000 Pakistani soldiers and 45,000 civilian personnel were taken as POWs.

He was the recipient of several honors, the special ones being Padma Vibhushan and Field Marshal.. Handsome, witty and sporting his trademark handlebar moustache, Manekshaw had the rare distinction of being honoured for his bravery - Military Cross - right on the battle front itself during the Second World War. He was also the first Indian officer to command the Gorkhas after India got Independence.

Manekshaw believed in what he did and stood for what was right, come what may... His whole persona, sense of humor made him a favorite among his men.. He led a glorified life, created by him. He commanded the respect of not just his soldiers, but peers as well as his seniors and the all the distinguished dignitaries.

While his last rites were performed, it was sad to see that none of the three service chiefs or the defence minister or the President or the Prime Minister of the nation were present to attend, specially President being the one who is the supreme commander of all the three forces.. Such are the poignant state of affairs in our country... My small tribute to the departed soul.. May his soul rest in peace...

(With excerpts from various sites.)

1 comment:

Gauri Gharpure said...

feels nice to come across a dedication on the blog..