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Rediff.com  » News » Manekshaw's funeral didn't get the respect he deserved: General Sinha

Manekshaw's funeral didn't get the respect he deserved: General Sinha

July 02, 2008 19:37 IST
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's funeral did not receive the respect that a man of his stature deserved feels Lieutenant General S K Sinha (retired), the former governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

"When Britain's first field marshal died, all the dignitaries attended his funeral and he was buried at Westminister Abbey. But here, it was different. I can understand that the army chief was not able to attend Sam Manekshaw's last rites (General Deepak Kapoor was in Russia) and he sent in his deputy. But the chiefs of the navy and air force, who were in the country at the time, sent two star officers to attend the funeral," General Sinha told rediff.com

He demanded to know why no wreaths were placed on Field Marshal Manekshaw's bier, on President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's behalf.

When S K Sinha entered the Indian Army in 1946, Sam Manekshaw was already a lieutenant colonel.

"I remember there was stiff resistance among the babus who wanted to deny him the ceremonial baton which had to be given to India's first field marshal. I had to fight hard to get things done for the field marshal," General Sinha, who resigned from the army after being superseded for the post of army chief in 1983, said.

General Sinha last met the field marshal in 2007 when the latter was on life support. "When I congratulated him for getting Rs 1 crore as arrears, Sam quipped, 'I want to send the cheque to the bank, but since my salary has stopped for nearly 30 years, I am not sure if that would be honoured'," General Sinha recalled.

When asked if the government should honour Field Marshal Manekshaw with the Bharat Ratna, General Sinha said, "It would be nice if they do so. But the rank of field marshal is as prestigious as the Bharat Ratna. In 63 years, India has had only two field marshals. I don't know when a third armyman will receive the honour."

Speaking about the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir -- the general has just given up the governor's office in the state -- he said, "It is sad that things are moving backwards -- to the situation in 1989. All sorts of canard and malicious campaigns are being spread by the fundamentalists."

Onkar Singh in New Delhi