Vijay Diwas: Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, a name etched in the annals of Indian military history, was born on April 3, 1914, in Amritsar, Punjab. His journey to becoming one of the most celebrated military leaders in India was nothing short of extraordinary.
Sam Manekshaw was commissioned into the British Indian Army in 1934 and served with distinction during World War II, displaying his tactical brilliance and leadership skills in various theatres of war. His valiant efforts earned him several accolades and promotions, laying the groundwork for his illustrious career.
Leadership during Wars
1962 Sino-Indian War: Sam Manekshaw's expertise became evident during the conflict with China in 1962. His insightful analysis and recommendations, although initially overlooked, were later acknowledged as insightful and farsighted.
1971 Indo-Pak War and Liberation of Bangladesh: Field Marshal Manekshaw's leadership during the 1971 Indo-Pak War was pivotal. His strategic acumen and meticulous planning led to a decisive victory for India, resulting in the liberation of Bangladesh. His brilliant execution of military operations earned him immense respect and admiration. The day is now celebrated as Vijay Diwas on December 16.
A Man of Wit and Wisdom
Beyond his military prowess, Sam Manekshaw was known for his wit, charisma, and unique leadership style. His ability to connect with soldiers at every level, coupled with his penchant for straightforwardness, earned him the moniker 'Sam Bahadur', a term of endearment among the troops.
His famous words, "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 of them in the past have resembled the latter," exemplify his characteristic wit and candor.
Legacy and Honours
Field Marshal Manekshaw's legacy continues to inspire generations of military leaders. His distinguished service to the nation was recognised with numerous awards, including the Padma Vibhushan and the Military Cross. His astute leadership, strategic brilliance, and unwavering dedication to the nation's defense remain unparalleled, making him an iconic figure in India's military history.
Final Years and Passing
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw retired in 1973, having served as the eighth Chief of Army Staff. He lived a quiet life post-retirement and breathed his last on June 27, 2008, leaving behind an indelible mark on the Indian Armed Forces. His demise marked the end of an era, but his legacy lives on, serving as a guiding light for future generations of soldiers and leaders in India.