98TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF FIELD MARSHAL MANEKSHAW
COMMEMORATED AT OOTY
New Delhi : Chaitra 14, 1934
Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012
The 98th birth anniversary of Field (Fd) Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, Military Cross, characteristically referred to as “Sam Bahadur”, the 8th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army and the architect of the victorious 1971 Indo-Pakistan campaign that led to the liberation of Bangladesh, was commemorated at Ooty on the 3rd April 2012.
Fd Marshal Maneckshaw was born 3rd April 1914 and his military career, which spanned four decades, saw him participate in World War II, the three wars against Pakistan and the 1962 Sino-India War. He held several regimental, staff and command assignments before assuming command of the Indian Army when he was appointed the 8th Chief of Army Staff in 1969. He was the first Indian military officer to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal in the Indian Army, the rank having been conferred upon him on 1st January 1973. For his distinguished services, he was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 by President VV Giri. On the Regimental front Sam Manekshaw was the Colonel of the Regiment of the 8th Gorkha Rifles. His regard and fondness for the Gorkha soldier has been immortalised in his popular quote "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."
Upon retirement in January 1973, Fd Marshal Manekshaw settled down with his wife Silloo in Coonoor, the twin civilian town of Wellington Cantonment where he had served as Commandant of the Defence Services Staff College. After the death of his wife the Field Marshal continued to live in Coonoor. On the midnight of 26/27 June 2008 the Field Marshal breathed his last due to complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu at the age of 94. He was laid to rest in the nearby Parsee Zoroastrian Cemetery in Ooty adjacent to his wife's grave.
The 98th Birth Anniversary of the Field Marshal was commemorated by laying of a new gravestone for the late Field Marshal. A prayer service by the the family of the Field Marshal and a military memorial service were conducted on the 3rd April 2012. After the prayer by the family, wreaths were laid by the Defence Minister Shri AK Anthony, the Chief of the Army Staff Gen VK Singh, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, GOC-in-C Eastern Command and Chief Designate, the Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen SK Singh (who is also the Colonel of the 8th Gorkha Rifles, the same Regiment which Sam Manekshaw belonged to), Lt Gen AK Singh, GOC-in-C Southern Command, the District Collector, the two daughters of the Field Marshal, Sherry Batliwala, and Maja Daruwala amongst others. The wreath laying was followed by presentation of Arms by a special guard of the Madras Regimental Centre, sounding of the last post and rouse by the Band of the the Madras Regimental Centre after observance of two minutes of silence.