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British journalist fondly remembers Manekshaw

July 01, 2008 12:49 IST

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Sam Manekshaw: The Last Salute

A British journalist, who was based in New Delhi and covered the India-Pakistan war, remembers late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw as his favourite military leader.

"I have cherished the memory of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw as my favourite military leader ever since reporting on the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971," said Harold Jackson, who was The Guardian's correspondent based in New Delhi during the 1971 war.

Jackson, who reported the Indo-Pak war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh, recalled his association with Manekshaw following his death last week.

"The military hazards in Kashmir and East Pakistan turned out to be child's play compared with my grim battles against Indian bureaucrats in New Delhi and their Bengali brothers in Dhaka: by the time I flew back to Delhi, they had almost reduced me to a gibbering wreck," he said.

"I arrived just in time to hear rumours that the Pakistan Army had surrendered -- unfortunately accompanied by one of Delhi's power cuts. The defence ministry phones were all engaged. In desperation, I rang the chief of staff's direct line," he recalled.

"Manekshaw here," came the reply from other side.

"Harold Jackson of the Guardian. Nobody here seems sure if you've won the war or not," Jackson said.

"Oh yes, we've won all right. General Niazi signed the surrender at 4.31 this afternoon. Is that all? Anything else I can help you with? No. Well I'm afraid I'm rather busy just now. All the best," Manekshaw replied.

"He was one of a kind", he said.

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