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'We felt honoured while saluting him'

Last updated on: June 27, 2008 17:47 IST

We asked our readers to share their encounters with Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, and this is what they had to say.

Sam's sense of Humour

 I have had the honour to meet Late Field Marshall Manekshaw.
 At the first meeting, he was the Chief Guest of the EME Corps day Celebrations at Secunderabad. We met at the social evening at the Officers' Mess.
 During the conversation, he confided that as a child he wanted to become Doctor and that too a Gynecologist. That had all of us in splits of laughter.
Maj. Gen. R. K. Dhawan VSM (Retd.)

******
 I was speechless

Yes, I did meet him in a bank in Coonoor when I was posted there in 1990. I adored him and he looked elegant at that age too. I was speechless but I do fondly remember him asking a few questions and how proud I felt.
Great

Ashish

******

I will never be able to forget his graceful personality  


Yes, I am one of the fortunate Indians, who have met him. We were flying back from Coimbatore to Delhi in April 2002 by Indian Airlines. My husband spotted General Manekshaw and we all rushed to meet him at the airport. We got the opportunity to speak with him and get a few nice snaps. I will never be able to forget his graceful personality and infectitious smile.

Anita Saxena

******
I gawked at him in admiration
  
Yes, indeed I did get a chance to meet this great person, The Great Field Marshall - SAM MANEKSHAW
I am not sure about the exact year, but it could be 1972 most probably; I was then a student of Avabai Framji Petit Girls High School, Bandra.  We were celebrating our Annual Sports Day and he was our Chief Guest, handsome, twinkling eyes, sitting straight, and the best thing about him was that he was not one bit bored about watching the whole Annual Sports Day of a girls' school.

I still am not ashamed of not winning that 400 m race, because every time, I passed
Sir Sam, I gawked at him in admiration, and it was in the last round that he frowned at me almost admonishing, as he had realized I was deliberately slowing down at that point where he was seated.

I am still thankful to my principal Mrs. Bharucha, who had invited this great man and given me a chance to cherish forever.

Meeta Das

My salutations to this great man
Amar Rahe Sir Sam Manekshaw

*****

He has so much concern in his voice

The  year was 1984 ,operation Bluestar was over by then .
We met at Madras airport, waiting for our luggages. Seeing him I wished him in English to which he said 'Sardarji Sat  Sri Akal itthe ki karde ho" . To which I replied that I am working in a company. He with a twinkle in his eyes, remarked " Tussi Punjab jao, dekho ki kar ditta hai' . He has so much concern in his voice  I realized there and then that if he was at the helm of affairs at the time , army would not have entered golden temple , a lot of bloodshed would not have been there and the subsequent events would have been avoided.
One act of madnessled to so much madness later. People like Sam Bahadur know pulse of people, respect their sentiments and are able to attract obedience not by virtue of their position but by their personality.
I salute the true soldier of the Motherland

Sukhvinder Singh





Very witty and courteous

Hey,
 
Yes I did meet Sam Manekshaw.
 
The year is 1997. In the Rajkumar College, Rajkot. He was the Chief Guest in one of our school endeavours. We were in class 9. Being a part of the NCC then, we had the chance to give him a guard of honour.
 
I remember him passing by the cadets lined up in three rows. I was in the second row. But he looked individually in each cadets eye and had a towering presence despite his old age. He had an aura comparable only to Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (who I had a chance meeting on his visit to Rajkot in 2002). He was such at ease with himself.
 
Then he visited our exihibit as well. He interacted with everyone around. I remeber him being very witty and very courteous as well.
 
We friends still talk about him and the honour we felt while saluting him. Its one of the many memories of our school that will go in our minds for long long time. We get nostalgic thinking about that moment.
 
Thanks
 
Krutarth

******

Most unforgettable days of my life

Dear Sir,   This is in response to your question above. I was a Second lieutenant commissioned in to The Seventh Battalion The Parachute Regiment just before the 1971 War. The capture of Dhaka was hastened by the constant voice of Sam Bahadur on the All India Radio. I had only heard his voice then.

Later When I was serving as GSO-2(Operations) at 17 Mountain Division in 1988, Field Marshal Manekshaw came on a three day personal visit to 17 Mountain Division (The same Division which he had served and fought the Second World War and later evacuated to Chennai with a splinter wound in his abdomen).   I was appointed as the official photographer and handed over a video camera to cover his 3 day visit. I was his shadow from the time he set foot from the helicopter till he boarded the helicopter three days later.

Those are the most unforgettable days of my life. His personal charisma, mercurial bright eyes with a glint of mischievous wit, springy attitude at that age and impeccable manners and courtesy made me realise that I am privileged to be in such a close proximity of a human who is rare to find. His untiring visits to the forward posts in high altitude, hospitals to meet soldiers and their families combined with jam packed social activities for the three days, left me exhausted!  I do have copy of the vedeo recording of his visit with me.  

I salute this great soldier on his final journey.  

Lt Col BGV Kumar(Retd)

PO Box No 1, Haradoor Estate, Suntikoppa : 571 237 (Kodagu, Karnataka) 91-8276-262307 9880140282    

******

Shiny eyes filled with the pride of serving the motherland

I had met him as a student at Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal in 2001 when he had come for a lecture series being conducted at BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited) Bhopal. The impressions from that meeting are still vivid- Field Marshal had a stout figure for an octogenarian- and I can never forget those shiny eyes filled with the pride of serving the motherland and the ever present smile on his face.

During his lecture on leadership he taught us some very important points-

1.The timeliness of a decision- how a dilly-dallying Major General was pulled up by him during the 1971 war to take a decision in the nick of time, even if it may prove to a wrong one later. He believed that a decision taken in time is better that not taking a decision at all. Not taking a decision in time is the biggest folly that a leader can make-something that reduces the faith of followers in the leader.

2.The examples of leadership in India- taking a dig at today's politicians, FM Manekshaw had said that they have no right to complain about the young generation being self centered and indifferent to the welfare of the country. Defending today's generation, he had said that while the parents and grandparents of today had leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and Pandit Nehru to follow, they failed to generate even one iconic leader to be followed by todays youth. As a result, the youth is disoriented and has no one to follow in life.

3.No to yes-man ship: I was very impressed by the integrity of FM Manekshaw when he told us that after victory of India in 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi got slightly nervous because of the popularity of FM Manekshaw in the country. Some of her coterie members instigated her that army might try to take over the reins of the government in India. She called Sam for a meeting and discussed her apprehensions with him. Coolly he said and I quote- "Mrs. Gandhi, my nose might be longer than yours, but I don't poke it in other people's business. Army's job is to defend the country and not to run it. So, please rest assured about democracy in India."

With him one of the greatest soldeirs that India has ever produced. I salute the departed soul and pray to God for his soul to rest in Peace. May there be more soldiers like FM Manekshaw in the days to come.

Prashant Mishra
Andheri (West)
Mumbai

******

I can never forget him

This incident happened when I was in School studying in 8th Class.  I was at Ambala.  After the school sessions I was crossing the road and was thinking about the music class that I had just attended.  Suddenly I heard the noise of car break.  I became terrified.  A very dignified officer got down from the car and pacified me.  He patted my cheeks and went away.  He was Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.  This incident I can never forget.    

Meena Vij

******

His demise is a great loss

I've met this gentleman in 2000 in Coonoor. My sister and I went over to his house to meet him as I always wanted to meet with him. Though we landed up without any invitation or prior request, he was still very warm in welcoming us. Into his 80's then, he still had a good frame. His handshake was a pointer of what power he had not long time ago. Sipping over a cup of tea he took us back in time (a time when I was not born), telling us about leadership, perseverance and hard work.

What amazes me still was how he looked then. At an age when most people are struggling to sit upright, he had an upright posture and still looked like cameo who could win women over without much work. His sense of humor was exuberant. Of all the people I've met and taken examples out of Field Marshal Manekshaw is an icon.

His demise is a great loss to a great country. Jai Hind!

Jude Warner

****** 

A thorough human being

Sir,   It is shocking to learn that Sam Bahadur is no more. A valiant soldier, who always had a sense of humour. I had the opportunity to meet him first in 1969 in Bangalore when I was working as PA to the Commander 211 Independent Artillery Brigade and second time in Kakinada during one of his visits to Nagarjuna Fertilizers & Chemicals when I was deputed to look-after him during his stay. A thorough human-being, Field Marshal Manekshaw was a peoples' man. May his soul rest in peace.  

Abdul Saleem

Ex-Serviceman    

******

He spoke well

I saw when when I was at symbiosis , Pune. I saw him walking really fast
at the age of 87.

His ADC too had to run to keep pace.

He spoke well.

 Abhishek

******

He was down to earth

I had the great fortune of meeting the field marshal on a flight from Mumbai to Coimbatore in 1999. He was on his way to Conoor from Mumbai. I went up to him to get his autograph and he obliged me immediately. I still remember his handshake which was quite firm even a that age. He was very amiable and down to earth in our brief interaction. May his brave soul rest in peace.  Regards 

Manoj    

******

One of my dreams come true

During early 80's I used to work as receptionist in the Oberoi Grand Hotel, Kolkata. He had come to meet some of his guest and was waiting in the lobby.
 
I respected him all along .

Seeing him standing there in person made one of my dream come true.  I still keep that moment as my cherished treasure.
 
J Banerjee

Manager

******

A true gentleman

Sir,I am Murali from Navi Mumbai.

Yes.I personally met San Manekshaw in 1987.

I took Indian Airlines Morning flight from Coimbatore to mumbai.I  am proud to say I was sitting very next to him
in that flight and was interacting with him till Mumbai.

I should say he is Truely a gentleman.He was talking about how to be a successful person in any career and also was talking with me about 1971 war with pakistan.

I can't forget such a sweet memory.I must also say he got a wounderful memory.Exactly after 10 years accidently I met him  Taj-Mumbai.I went to him and shook hands with him.I told him that  I was with him in that flight in 1987.He
immdly rememberd me by name and wished me and left.

Murali

G.R.M & COMPANY