New Delhi: Sam Manekshaw is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated military men in independent India. Starting his service with the British Indian Army during World War II, Sam Bahadur was the first Indian Army Officer to be promoted to the position of a Field Marshal.
He is especially known for his heroics during the 1971 Indo-Pak War when he was the Chief of Army Staff. Indian Forces successfully initiated operations on the Eastern and Western front and eventually won the war that led to the creation of Bangladesh under his leadership.
June 27 is Manekshaw’s tenth death anniversary. He was a man who remained a fighter till the very end. It is reported that even his last words were “I am okay”. He was “Sam Bahadur” who would never give up. Not even in the face of death. It was just not in him to accept defeat.
Sam joined the IMA on October 1, 1932.The first course had on its rolls Sam Manekshaw, Smith Dun and Mohd Musa among the forty GCs. All three of them later became the chiefs of the armies of their respective countries; namely India, Burma and Pakistan.
He passed out of the IMA in 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 which was later known as 8th Gorkha Rifles.
He earned the name “Sam Bahadur” from soldiers of the 8th Gorkha Rifles. Manekshaw, who was also the chief guest at the diamond jubilee celebration of IMA in 1992, presented the academy with a replica of his gold baton on this historic occasion. This has now become one of the most significant items in the famous Chetwode Museum, symbolic of the great contribution of the Academy to the glory of the Indian Army.
Sam Bahadur served the country gloriously through five wars and over forty years, including the Second World War. His long military career is studded with achievements, including the successful campaign of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh.