Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw

Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
Sam Bahadur: A soldier's general - Page2 - India - The Times of India

Sam Bahadur: A soldier's general

NEW DELHI: Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw crafted India's greatest military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that created just not history but also a new nation.

Affectionately called "Sam Bahadur", Manekshaw (94) was the architect of many a military triumph but his finest hour came when Pakistani forces were vanquished in 14 days flat. And Bangladesh was born.

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, who got a second life after the young Captain survived near fatal wounds during the Second World War in Burma, is the first of only two Indian military officers to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal of the Indian Army (The other being Field Marshal K M Cariappa).

His distinguished military career spanned four decades from the British era and through five wars, including the Second World War.

Flamboyant by nature, Manekshaw always had his way with people, including his seniors and even the country's Head of Government.

Just before the Bangladesh operations in December 1971, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi asked Manekshaw ,who was the Army Chief then, "General are you ready" (for the war). Pat came the reply from the dapper officer, "I am always ready sweetie." Gandhi was not unpleased, nor offended.

On another occasion, Gandhi asked him whether he was planning to take over the country. Pointing to his long nose, the General replied: "I don't use it to poke into other's affairs."

When Gandhi asked him to go to Dhaka and accept the surrender of Pakistani forces, Manekshaw declined, magnanimously saying that honour should go to his army commander in the East (Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora).

Manekshaw said he would only go if it were to accept the surrender of the entire Pakistani army.

A shrewd tactician, Manekshaw meticulously planned the Indian attack on Pakistan on both fronts -- East and West. While the Indian forces captured the then East Pakistan in the eastern sector, the Army made heavy inroads in the western sector going up to Lahore.

Adopting a mature war strategy, he masterminded the rout of the Pakistan Army in one of the quickest victories in the recent military history to liberate Bangladesh.

Born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar to Parsi parents who migrated to Punjab from the small town of Valsad on the Gujarat coast, Manekshaw rose to be the Eighth Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in 1969. The year of the General's birth was around the time when the First World War broke.

During World War II, Manekshaw saw action in the Burma campaign on Sittang River as a Captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment.

Manekshaw was leading a counter-offensive against the invading Japanese Army in Burma. During the course of the offensive he was hit by a burst of LMG bullets and was severely wounded in the stomach.

Major General D T Cowan spotted Manekshaw holding on to life and was aware of his valour in face of stiff resistance from the Japanese.

Fearing the worst, Major General Cowan quickly pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on to Manekshaw saying, "A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross." But luck was on the young Captain's side and he survived to be one of India's most popular Army Chiefs.

Manekshaw became the 8th Chief of Army Staff when he succeeded General Kumaramangalam on June 7, 1969.

His years of military experience were soon put to the test as thousands of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan started crossing over to India as a result of oppression from West Pakistan. The volatile situation erupted into a full-scale war in December 1971 and the rest is history.

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.

This led to the Shimla Agreement which opened the door to the creation of the nation of Bangladesh as separate from Pakistan.

The Field Marshal's wit was legendary. Once on a visit to his unit as Commanding Officer he asked what action was taken against a man who contracted veneral disease and when he was told the man's head was shaved off, he roared. "Shaved off? Dammit. He didn't do it with his head."

After completing his schooling in Amritsar and Sherwood College (Nainital), he joined the first batch of 40 cadets at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun on October 1, 1932. He passed out of the IMA in December 1934 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Indian Army. He held several regimental assignments and was first attached to the Royal Scots and later to the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment.

Having recovered from those near-fatal wounds in Burma, Manekshaw went for a course at Staff College, Quetta and later also served there as an instructor before being sent to join 12 Frontier Force Rifles in Burma under General (later Field Marshal) Slim's 14th Army.

He was once again involved in a fierce battle with the Japanese, and was wounded for a second time.

In 1937, at a social gathering in Lahore Manekshaw met Silloo Bode. They fell in love and were married on April 22, 1939. Silloo, a graduate of Bombay's Elphinstone College made an admirable wife and a wonderful mother.

Towards the close of World War II, Manekshaw was sent as Staff Officer to General Daisy in Indo-China where, after the Japanese surrender, he helped rehabilitate over 10,000 POWs.

He then went on a six-month lecture tour to Australia in 1946, and after his return served as a First Grade Staff Officer in the Military Operations Directorate.

Manekshaw showed acumen for planning and administration while handling the issues related to Partition in 1947, and later put to use his battle skills during the 1947-48 Jammu and Kashmir Operations.

After command of an Infantry Brigade, he was posted as the Commandant of the Infantry School and also became the Colonel of 8 Gorkha Rifles (which became his new regimental home, since his original parent regiment The 12th Frontier Force Regiment went on to join the new Pakistan Army at partition) and 61 Cavalry.

He commanded a Division in Jammu and Kashmir and a Corps in the North East, with a tenure as Commandant of Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in between. As GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, he handled the tricky problem of insurgency in Nagaland and the grateful nation honoured him with a Padma Bhushan in 1968.

For his distinguished service to the country, the President of India awarded him a Padma Vibhushan in 1972.

The President conferred upon him the rank of Field Marshal, a prestigious honorary rank, on January one, 1973. Manekshaw retired a fortnight later (although technically Field Marshals of the Indian Army never retire because the rank is conferred for life), on January 15, 1973, after completing nearly four decades of military service.

In 1961, his outspoken frankness got him into trouble with Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon and his protege of the time Lt Gen B M Kaul. He refused to toe Menon's line and was sidelined.

Manekshaw was vindicated soon after when the Indian army suffered a humiliating defeat in North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), now Arunachal Pradesh, the next year, at the hands of the Chinese that led to Menon's resignation. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rushed Manekshaw to NEFA to command the retreating Indian forces. This had an electrifying effect on the demoralised officers.

In no time, Manekshaw convinced the troops that the Chinese soldier was not "10 feet tall". His first order of the day said, "There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued." The soldiers showed faith in their new commander and successfully checked further ingress by the Chinese.

After retirement, Manekshaw settled down in Tamil Nadu.
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
1971 India-Pakistan War: Entering the East

One of the less remarked upon aspects of the 1971 war was the varied character of the key men who planned and executed the operations. Best known was of course the flamboyant Indian Army Chief, General Sam Maneckshaw, a Parsee who had won the Military Cross in WW II. To the Indian public, it was General Maneckshaw with his twirled moustache, Gorkha cap and baton, who was the symbolic hero. Yet, there were below him, an equally varied and extra-ordinary set of men, who planned and executed their own battles. The Western Army was commanded by an Anglo-Indian Lt. Gen. K.P.Candeth and the Eastern Army, headquartered at Calcutta, by a Sikh, Lt. Gen. J.S.Aurora. General Aurora's a brilliant Chief of Staff was Major. Gen. J.F.R.Jacob, the scion of an old Jewish family of Calcutta. Together these men planned and executed the lightning operations of December 1971.

The 4th morning saw Indian forces and Mukti Bahini guerrillas ready for battle with the Pakistanis, who were by now well dug in and waiting for the Indian assault. The Indian forces easily outnumbered the Pakistanis by a ratio of about 2:1. However, according to conventional infantry wisdom, an attacking Army requires a three-is-to-one superiority in numbers to attack. India did not have that. Besides, the Pakistani Army commander in the East, General A.A.K.Niazi, was determined merely to delay the Indian advance. For, in this war, the real battle was against time. The longer it took the Indian to secure their limited objectives, the greater the probability of the United Nations intervening to stop the war and effect a stalemate. Pakistan was confident that a stalemate was all that the Indians could get. Towards this strategy, General Niazi, had fortified the towns and approaches to the East Pakistani heartland and had boasted before the war began that should hostilities begin, he would take the battle inside India.

The brief given by the Indian Army chief, General Maneckshaw, to the Eastern Command was very limited. The aim was to occupy only two areas of East Pakistan - Chittagong and Khulna - so that an interim Bangladeshi government could be established. The capture of the whole of East Pakistan was not even conceived. A major problem was the geography and terrain of East Pakistan. Three major rivers - the Brahmaputra, the Ganga and the Meghna - divided East Pakistan into four natural regions. Each of the rivers were major ones - all of them wider than any European river. Each sub-region was further divided into several pockets cut by smaller rivers and their tributaries. The idea that an attacking army could bridge these, fight the enemy and then take territory, all within a couple of weeks, was ludicrous.

Major. Gen. J.F.R.Jacob
Lt. General Aurora's Chief of Staff, Major General Jacob, however, did not entirely agree with the Indian Army top brass. "I think the aim of the government was to take as much territory as possible in East Pakistan so as to establish an Bangladeshi government in their own territory," he recalled in an interview with SAPRA INDIA. "Army Headquarters issued an operations instruction according to which our main objectives were to take Chittagong and Khulna ports, which were termed the entry ports. But we at Eastern Command felt differently. We felt that Dhaka was the geo-political centre of Bangladesh and therefore any campaign to be successful had to capture Dhaka."

The Eastern Command went ahead with its own plans, although Army Headquarters felt it was too ambitious and could not be achieved. Jacob's commander, Lt. Gen. Aurora, provided full support for his Army's own plans and allowed Jacob to pull down troops kept in reserve for a possible attack by the Chinese. Some of these troops had to be brought into battle so hurriedly that the only way was to paradrop them. This was accomplished with the help of the IAF and soon soldiers geared to fight the Chinese in the high mountains found themselves in the tropical riverine areas of Tangail in East Pakistan.

"We realised that any campaign to be successful had to be swift. The United Nations was putting great pressure on us and also the Russians had indicated that they did not want to exercise their veto any more," Jacob explained. "Therefore any campaign had to be quick. We realised that Niazi (the Pakistani Army commander in East Pakistan) was going to fortify the towns and defend them in strength. We therefore decided not attack any towns but bypass them using subsidiary tracks to get to our objective: Dhaka."

The immense practical problem of moving thousands of troops and tonnes of equipment across rivers and marshes was accomplished largely due to the efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers, and with a lot of local help. The IAF chipped in by using helicopters to lift entire battalions across larger rivers that could not be quickly bridged by the Engineers. In most places, the swiftly moving contingents quickly overcame enemy resistance and moved forward. The Pakistanis for the most part, were completely taken by surprise.

Within 6 days of the war, Indian troops were deep inside East Pakistani territory and moving fast. The Mukti Bahini section of the advancing forces played a crucial role in guiding the Indian Army through the treacherous riverine areas and providing critical intelligence. It is doubtful whether the Indian Army could have moved so fast and decisively without the help of the Bangladeshis. At any rate, by the seventh day of the war, the Pakistani Army High Command, headquartered in Rawalpindi, was in a complete panic.
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
Sam Manekshaw - TIME

Sam Manekshaw

It took Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw only 14 days to secure his place in Indian history. The career officer, who died June 27 at 94, had a mystique as thick as his silvered mustache, after fighting heroically against the Japanese in World War II. But his defining moment came with the Indian army's decisive victory in the two-week 1971 war against Pakistan. For a country that had been mired in seemingly endless battles on its borders for most of its history, his triumph became one of India's crowning military achievements.

Manekshaw's winning strategy began with patience. As army Chief of Staff, he advised Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to wait rather than intervene after a declaration of martial law in East Pakistan threatened to destabilize the region. He organized a coordinated army, air force and navy offensive that began on Dec. 3, 1971, and repeatedly went on the radio to warn the West Pakistani troops that they were surrounded. Overwhelmed, their commander surrendered within two weeks. The subsequent Simla Accords eventually led to the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Shortly before he retired in January 1973, Manekshaw became field marshal of the Indian army, one of only two people ever to hold that title.

His strategy had its critics, who said faster action could have headed off a major refugee crisis. But his reputation as a soldier's general survived. He personified the old-fashioned, scotch-in-the-officers'-club army culture that India inherited from the British. Manekshaw will be remembered, according to retired Lieut. Colonel Anil Bhat, as "a person who made India stand tall."
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag

When Manekshaw Confronted Indira’s Cabinet

The Field Marshal quoted the Bible and offered to resign…

There are many stories, some true and some apocryphal, about India’s legendary soldier – Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. It is common knowledge that India’s military campaign in 1971 to liberate Bangladesh was delayed on professional military advice, against the wishes of the political class. It is delightful to revisit the anecdote in the words of the lead historion of the dramatis personae. The Field Marshal narrated this incident as a personal example of moral courage, at the inaugural Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lecture in October 1995 at Delhi.

There is a very thin line between being dismissed and becoming a Field Marshal. In 1971, when Pakistan cracked down in East Pakistan, hundreds and thousands of refugees started pouring into India, into West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The Prime Minister held a Cabinet meeting in her office. The External Affairs Minister Sardar Swaran Singh, the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, the Defence Minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram and the Finance Minister, Yashwant Rao Chavan were present. I was then summoned.

A very angry, grim-faced Prime Minister read out the telegrams from the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. She then turned around to me and said, “What are you doing about it?”

And I said, “Nothing, it’s got nothing to do with me. You didn’t consult me when you allowed the BSF, the CRP and RAW to encourage the Pakistanis to revolt. Now that you are in trouble, you come to me. I have a long nose. I know what’s happening.”

I then asked her what she wanted me to do.

She said, “I want you to enter Pakistan.”

And I responded, “That means war!”

She said, “I do not mind if it is war.”

“Have you read the Bible?”, I said.

The Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh asked, “What has Bible got to do with this?”

I explained, that the first book, the first chapter, the first words, the first sentence God said was, “Let there be light” and there was light. Now you say, “Let there be war” and there will be war, but are you prepared? I am certainly not. This is the end of April. The Himalayan passes are opening and there can be an attack from China if China gives us an ultimatum.

The Foreign Minister asked, “Will China give an ultimatum?” And I said, “You are the Foreign Minister, you tell me”. I told them that my armoured division and two of my infantry divisions were away. One in the Jhansi/Babina area, the other in Samba and the third one in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. I mentioned that I will require all the road space, all the railway wagons, the entire railway system to move these formations to the operational areas and that harvesting was in progress in the Punjab and UP and they would not be able to move the harvest which would rot; and I pointed out to the Agriculture Minister that it wouldn’t be my responsibility if there was a famine. Then I said, “My armoured division, which is my big striking force is supposed to have 189 tanks operational. I have got only 11 tanks that are fit to fight.”

The Finance Minister, who is a friend of mine asked, “Sam why only 11?”

So I told him, “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking you for money for over a year and you say you haven’t got it!”

And finally I turned around to the Prime Minister and said that the rains were about to start in East Pakistan and when it rains there, it pours and when it pours, the whole countryside is flooded. The snows are melting, the rivers would become like oceans. If you stand on one bank, you can’t see the other. All my movement would be confined to roads. The Air Force, because of climatic conditions would not be able to support me. Now Prime Minister, give me your orders. The grim Prime Minister with her teeth clenched said, “The Cabinet will meet again at four o’clock”.

The members of the Cabinet started walking out. I being the junior most was the last to go and as I was leaving, she said,”Chief, will you stay back?”

I turned around and said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, may I send you my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?”

She said, “Every thing you told me is true”.

“Yes! It is my job to tell you the truth” I responded, “and it is my job to fight, it is my job to fight to win and I have to tell you the truth.”

She smiled at me and said, “All right Sam, you know what I want?”

I said, “Yes, I know what you want!”

[Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lectures 1995 - 2000, Lancer Publishers & Distributors, Delhi, 2001]
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
Manekshaw was ‘true friend of Bangladesh’, Dhaka daily

Manekshaw was ‘true friend of Bangladesh’

Dhaka, June 29 (IANS) Former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was “a true friend of Bangladesh” without whom “things could have been different for us”, a Dhaka daily newspaper said, paying tribute to the man who scripted the country’s liberation from Pakistan in 1971. “We pay tribute to Sam Manekshaw. A gentleman soldier, one given to wit that matched his seriousness, he was committed to our cause. Had he not been around in 1971, things could well have been different for us. He was our true friend and ally and will always be our pride, just as he is India’s, and a source of inspiration for all of us in Bangladesh,” the Daily Star said in an editorial Sunday.

“All Indians will remember for long the singular contributions he made toward upholding the prestige of their country through shaping a military victory against Pakistan in 1971,” it said.

“For the people of Bangladesh, Manekshaw remains, and will remain, a shining symbol of friendship in a time of their greatest need,” the English language daily said.

Manekshaw was India’s army chief in 1971. The joint India-Bangladesh forces led by Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, then head of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command, and Bangladesh’s Col. M.A.G. Osmany carried out the military campaign Dec 3-16 that culminated in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troops and the creation of Bangladesh.

“As the chief of the Indian Army, he was one individual who acknowledged early on in 1971 the odds the people of Bangladesh were up against in their war of liberation against a genocidal Pakistan army.”

“It was through his unparalleled commitment to the cause of justice for Bengalis that he was able to strategise the course of a war which would culminate in the liberation of Bangladesh,” the newspaper said of Manekshaw.

“Yet it is also remembered by the people of this country that Manekshaw brought no jingoism to bear on the battle plans he shaped in 1971,” the editorial said, recalling that Manekshaw had been “honest” in telling the then Indian leadership that it should not make haste in launching military operations in the then East Pakistan.

In December 1971, “Pakistan gave him a convenient reason to hit back when its air force struck Indian cities on the western front in early December. Less than a fortnight later, half of Pakistan was gone and Bangladesh emerged, bloodied but unbowed, as a free nation,” the newspaper observed.

Manekshaw, the iconic architect of India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan, died early Friday at a military hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu. He was 94.
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag
Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw

One of the finest officers of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, has had a long and illustrious career. Born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar, Punjab, Field Marshal Manekshaw became the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and under his command, Indian forces achieved a splendid victory in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

He is one of the two Indian military officers to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal. He served in the army for four decades and saw five wars, including World War II. He was one of the first batch of 40 cadets at the Indian military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun from which he passed out in December 1934. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Indian Army, he first served in the Royal Scots and later in the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment. During the Second World War, Manekshaw served as a captain with the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment and participated in the Burma campaign.

He was severely wounded in the Burma campaign and then upon recovering, underwent a course at the Staff College, Quetta before being sent off to Burma where he was wounded again. He showed his strategic acumen during the 1947-48 Jammu & Kashmir Operations and later became commandant of the Infantry School before becoming the Colonel of 8 Gorkha Rifles. He was appointed as GOC-in-C Eastern Command where he handled the insurgency in Nagaland. He became the 8th Chief of Army Staff on 7 June 1969. During the Indo-Pakistani war of December 1971, Manekshaw presided over the complete rout of the Pakistani forces.

This legendary soldier received several awards and accolades. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1968, the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and was conferred the rank of Field Marshal on 1 January 1973.


Homo Communis Indus
Senior Member
Dec 25, 2012
Country flag
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

Today, 27th June, is his death anniversary...

Its appalling how few Indian civilians have even heard of him!

Rank Promotions
Second Lieutenant, British Indian Army-1934
Brigadier, Indian Army-1950
Major-General-December 1957
Lieutenant-General-November 1962
General (COAS)-8 June 1969
Field Marshal-3 January 1973 to death (2008)

Famous Quotations:
On the military knowledge of politicians: "I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla, although a great many resemble the latter."

On being asked, had he opted for Pakistan at the time of the Partition in 1947, he quipped, "then I guess Pakistan would have won (the 1971 war)"

On being placed in command of the retreating 4 Corps during the Sino-Indian War of 1962: "There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued."

About the Gurkha: "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."

To a surgeon who was going to give up on his bullet-riddled body during WWII who asked him what had happened and got the reply, "I was kicked by a donkey." A joke at such a time, the surgeon reckoned, had a chance.

After helping an young Indian Army Officer, with his luggage, the grateful officer asked Sam "What do you do here?". Sam replied "I everyday help officers like you with their luggage, but I do in my past time command this Infantry Division"

:salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute:
Last edited:


Lestat De Lioncourt
Senior Member
Dec 18, 2010
Country flag
Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

he is the real hero of india.

rip sir

marshal panda

Regular Member
Dec 19, 2010
Country flag
Re: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

No one in India had a greater sense of humour than Sam Maekshaw. Sam as COAS inspected a unit of Garhwal R. One jawan was suffering from veneral desease.Sam enquired about the action against the jawan. The CO said that the jawan's head would be shaved off. Damn it - Sam flared, 'he didn't do it with his head'.


House keeper
Senior Member
Feb 16, 2009
Country flag

Interview given by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw - 1996

Question - Can you tell anything about the 1971 war which strikes you interesting?
Answer- "I can tell you about an incident before the war started, i can't remember the date now - sometime in April or something like that. There was a cabinet meeting to which i was summoned. Smt Gandhi was terribly angry and terribly upset because refugees were pouring into West Bengal, Assam, and Tripura."

"Look at this - so many are coming in - there is a telegram from the chief minister of Assam, a telegram from....... what are doing about it?" She said to me.

I said, "Nothing, what has it got to do with me?"
She said, "Can't you do something? Why can't you do something?"
"What do you want me to do?"
"I want you to march in"

I Said, "this means war" and she said," I don't mind if it is a war."
So I sat down and said, "have you read the bible?"

"In the first book, the first chapter, the first paragraph of bible, God said, "Let there be light and there was light"- so i feel that "let there be war and there is war. Are you ready? I certainly am not ready."
Then I Said, "I will tell you what is happening. it is now end of April. In a few days time, 15-20 days time, the monsoons will break, and in East Pakistan when it rains the rivers become like oceans. If you stand on one side you can't see the other, i would be confined to the roads. The air force would not be able to support me, and the Pakistanis would thrash me - that's one."

"Secondly my armored division in the Babina area; another division, i can't remember which, is a in Secundrabad area. We are now harvesting. I will require every vehicle, every truck, all the road space, all the railway space to move my soldiers and you will not be able to move your crops," and i turned to shree Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, the agriculture minister and said, "if there is a famine in India they will blame you. i won't be there to take the blame."

Then i turned around and said, "my armored division which is supposed to be my strike force has got 12 tanks which are operational out of the whole lot."
YB Chavan asked,"Sam, why only 12? "

i said, "sir, because you are the finance minister. i have been asking, pleading for the months. you said you have got no money, that's why."

then i said, "prime minister, if in 1962, your father had asked me as the Army chief and not gen thapar, and now your father had said "throw the Chinese out", i would have turned around and told him "look, these are the problems." now i am telling you what the problems are. If you still want me to go ahead, prime minister, i guarantee you 200 per cent defeat. Now, you give me orders."

Then Jagjeevan ram said, "Sam maan jao na."

I said, "i have given my professional view now the government should take the decision."
The prime minister didn't said anything. she was red in face and said, "Acha cabinet char baje milenge." Everybody walked out and i was the last to leave and i smiled ant her. She said, "Chief, sit down."

So i said, "Prime minister, before you say anything, do you want me to send in my resignation on the grounds of mental health, or Physical?"

She said, "Oh, sit down sam. Everything you told me, is true?"
"Yes. Look, it's my job to fight. it is my job to fight and win., Are you ready? i certainly am not ready. Have you internally got everything ready? Internationally have you got everything ready? i don't think so. i know what you want but i must do it in my own time and i guarantee you 100 percent success. But, i want to make it clear. There must be one commander. i don't mind. i will work under BSF, CRPF, under anybody you like. But i will not have a soviet telling me what to do and i will have one political master who will give me instructions. i don't want the refugee ministry, home ministry, defense ministry all telling me. Now, make up your mind."

She said, "All right sam, nobody will interfere, you will be commander."
"Thank you, i guarantee you accomplishment."

"So there is very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed! It could have happened! So that was one incident i can tell you about and you can put it in your words."

Join Indian Army now | SSB Interview: Interview given by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw - 1996


Senior Member
May 16, 2011
Country flag
Truly, one of the finest commanders the world has ever seen. They really don't em like that anymore. :hail:


Regular Member
Aug 5, 2013
I personally met the legend in his Conoor Bungalow in Oct 1988.

It was a courtesy call from a fan ( I was all of ten when 71 war had commenced).
It was a one to one meeting which lasted for about 20 minutes in the front lawn over a cuppa.
Next day we met at the races in Ooty.

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads