Remembering Sam Manekshaw: Facts about India’s greatest soldier


Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, also known as Sam Bahadur, the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the five star rank of field marshal, was born on April 3, in the year 1914.

He spent a glorious military career that spanned over four decades and participated in five different wars.

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To mark his death anniversary, here are some important highlights from Sam Bahadur’s life:

  • His father initially resisted his plans for joining the army, but he rebelled and gave the entrance examination for enrollment into the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and was a part of the intake of first 40 cadets in 1932

  • He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Indian Army (now the Indian Army) post his graduation
  • In 1942, Manekshaw served as the Captain of the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma during World War II against the Japanese Army
  • He led to his team’s victory despite losing 50 per cent of his soldiers. He also suffered a major injury by a light machine gun fire but kept on encouraging his soldiers to fight, which ultimately led to clinching the Sittang bridge

  • On May 24, 1953, Manekshaw was appointed the Colonel of the Regiment 8 Gorkha Rifles and 61 Cavalry and continued to be the Honorary Colonel of the units till his death
  • On June 8 in 1969, Manekshaw was appointed the Chief of the Army staff
  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 1968 for his services in the Indian Army
  • As the Chief of the Army Staff, he served the nation by counterfeiting the Indian Army into an efficient instrument of war. He united the army, navy and air force into a close knit team which resulted in the defeat of the Pakistani Army in Eastern Front in 1965 and the significant achievements of the Indian Army during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War that led to the liberation of Bangladesh

  • For his unfathomable services towards the nation, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and was given the rank of Field Marshal in 1973
  • Manekshaw succumbed to pneumonia on June 27, 2008
  • In 2014, a statue of Sam Manekshaw was erected in Wellington, the place where he died, in his honour
  • Reportedly, his last words were “I’m okay!”He died of complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, on 0030 hours, 27 June 2008 at the age of 94. The Prime Minister, President or other leaders from the political class did not turn up at his funeral, nor was a national day of mourning declared.

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