Field Marshal Manekshaw, hero of 1971 war, is dead

27 06 2008

Former Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw seen in 2004

New Delhi – One of India’s greatest war heroes, field marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, died Friday, the Defence Ministry said. He was 94.

Manekshaw died from a progressive lung disease at the military hospital in the southern Indian town of Wellington, the ministry said in a statement.

‘He had developed acute bronchopneumonia with associated complications, and his condition had been serious for the past four days,’ the statement said.

Born on April 3, 1914, Manekshaw was commissioned into the Indian army in 1934 when the country was under British rule.

Manekshaw became chief of Indian Army in 1969 and crafted what is considered India’s greatest military victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Manekshaw, whose military career spanned four decades and five wars, was conferred the rank of field marshal in 1973, one of only two Indian generals to have risen to that position, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mourned the death of Manekshaw, popularly known as Sam Bahadur, which means brave in Hindi.

Singh described him as ‘one of India’s greatest soldiers and a truly inspiring leader of the country.’

‘Military historians will forever record the strategic brilliance and the inspirational leadership of Sam Bahadur,’ Singh said in his condolence message.

Friday June 27 2008 11:22 IST


Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (file photo)

CHENNAI: Former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who scripted India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan, died at the military hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after developing acute bronchopneumonia. He was 94.

Almost all his family members were at his bedside when the end came just after midnight, the defence ministry said.

Manekshaw, who became a household name after the 1971 victory led to the creation of Bangladesh, had been hospitalised at Wellington for some time due to a progressive lung disease. His condition had become serious in the past few days and he was being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Born April 3, 1914, Mankeshaw was a part of the first batch of officers to be commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1934.

He was the Indian army chief from 1969 to 1973. He was made a field marshal just before retirement in 1973.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, and won the Military Cross for his role in Myanmar, then Burma, during the Second World War when he was wounded.