Retired services personnel appeal for honouring him with the Bharat Ratna
NEW DELHI: A Field Marshal, a valiant soldier and a loving grandfather in whom even children felt comfortable confiding in was how SHFJ Manekshaw or ‘Sam’ was remembered by different people at a Memorial Ceremony here on Tuesday.
The ceremony was attended among others by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta.
On the occasion a number of retired services personnel made an appeal for honouring him with the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
Recalling his achievements, the Defence Minister described him as the “greatest soldier” to lead the Army during a critical period. The Minister said Manekshaw was a great leader who provided immense motivation to the soldiers and who never allowed himself to be bothered by the presence of “mighty powers” during the 1971 war.
The Minister also described him as one of the finest “military strategist” who led the forces with great skill during the India-Pakistan war.
General Deepak Kapoor said he was a compassionate, humane general always concerned about the welfare of his men and their families.
Lieutenant General (retd.) Deepinder Singh, who had served as Manekshaw’s military assistant from 1969 to 1973, termed the 1971 victory against Pakistan as the most decisive one in recent times.
Jehan Manekshaw, grandson of Field Marshal and theatre activist, said: “Sam encouraged openness and had no secrets. He made us feel like we could confide in him about anything — even about our sweethearts. If we did settle into a relationship, it was Sam who would be the first to want to meet them, get to know them and accept them into the family.”
At home, he was “the farthest thing from being the highest ranking officer in one of the world’s largest standing armies. To Raoul, Brandy and me, he was always Sam. Our most amazing, wonderful and loving grandfather.”