Interesting facts about India’s first Field Marshal

Sam Manekshaw Birth Anniversary: Interesting facts about India’s first Field Marshal | File

Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was born on April 3 1914. He was the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

He became the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal.

His active military career spanned four decades and five wars, beginning with service in the British Indian Army in World War II.

One of Manekshaw’s famous quotes is “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha”.

Here are some interesting facts about the field marshal

  • Manekshaw, who was born in Amritsar to Parsi parents, was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the five-star rank of Field Marshal.

  • His father initially opposed his plans to join the Army, but he rebelled, claiming that his father should send him to London in that case so he can become a gynaecologist. His father also refused.

  • Following that, Manekshaw took the Indian Military Academy entrance examination and the rest is history.

  • Manekshaw was selected as part of the first batch of cadets called “The Pioneers”. He proved to be witty during his stay at Indian Military Academy and went on to achieve a number of firsts: The first graduate to join one of the Gorkha regiments, first to serve as the Chief of the Army Staff of India and first to attain the rank of field marshal.

  • Manekshaw served in the Army for 40 years, fighting in five wars: World War II, the India-Pakistan war of 1947, the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the India-Pakistan war of 1965, and the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

  • When Indira Gandhi asked Manekshaw about the Indian Army’s readiness prior to the India-Pakistan war in 1971, he replied, “I am always ready sweetie.” Because of their Parsi connection (Indira’s husband Feroze Gandhi was Parsi), he would refer to her as sweetie or sweetheart.

  • He was awarded the Military Cross in 1942, the Padma Bhushan in 1968 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1972.

  • Manekshaw died of complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, at 12:30 am on June 27, 2008, at the age of 94. Reportedly, his last words were “I’m okay!”

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