Quirks of army

Sambahadur Man with Classic Humour 

Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who was popularly known as Sam Bahadur is the first field Marshal of India. Field Marshal is the highest attainable rank which an officer can receive in his military career. This rank is given to an officer for life. An officer who receives this rank never retires. Apart from Manekshaw this rank is conferred on only one other officer, Field Marshal Carriappa.

Sam Manekshaw was born on 3rd April 1914 in Amritsar. He was the 5th child of his Parsee parents. His father Hormusji Manekshaw was a doctor in Amritsar. Even Sam Manekshaw wanted to be a doctor just like his father, but when his father denied his request to go to London to learn medicine, as his two brothers were already in London.


Sam Manekshaw joined the first batch of Indian Military Academy, started by the British in Dehra Dun to give training to Indians to become officers. Sam Manekshaw has been part of World War II, Indo- Pakistani War of 1947-48, Sino- Indian War, Indo- Pakistan war of 1971.

Manekshaw had a very lively, mischievous personality, he had a classic sense of humour. Soon after his commission he was send to Burma in 1942, as an acting Captain. There he led his company in a major counter attack and captured a hill, but while doing so he took a burst of a light machine gun in his stomach. Maj Gen David Cowan was observing the young Captain and fearing that he would not survive the wound, he removed his own Military Cross and pinned it on the young Captain, thinking he won’t survive and the cross cannot be given posthumously. He was rushed to a Military Hospital, where present was an Australian surgeon who refused to attend to him, taking it a waste of time; as even he thought that Manekshaw will soon succumb to the wounds. But his orderly forced the doctor to see Manekshaw and Manekshaw did recover, on regaining consciousness the doctor asked him, “What happened?” Manekshaw’s answer was published in the Daily Gazetteer, it was classic “Nothing, I was kicked by a mule.” The doctor laughed and said, it was worth saving a man who has such a sense of humour.

Manekshaw was a real soldier, full of valour, acumen for military strategy and extremely straight forward. Due to giving blunt, on the face answers to the politicians he was in trouble a number of times. He was superseded by his juniors due to his caustic remarks which some people could not digest. But then they could not do away with him. He is regarded as the officer under whose leadership India won the war. When he was asked by the Iron Lady of India, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi if he was ready to go for war against Pakistan in 1971, “Are you ready Chief?” Manekshaw answered her, “I am always ready sweetie.”

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