Below are some Great quotations from Sam Manekshaw, (1914-2008), a highly decorated soldier of the Indian Army who rose to the rank of Field Marshal in the Indian Army. In his long military career, he saw action in five wars: World War Two, Indo-Pakstan War of 1947, Sino Indian War of 1962, Indo Pakistan War of 1965 and the Indo Pakistan War of 1971.
“If anyone tells you he is never afraid, he is a liar or he is a Gurkha.” – On the Indian Army’s Gurkha Regiment.
“I’m always ready, sweetie.”- On being asked by Indira Gandhi about the Indian Army’s readiness for the 1971 war.
“Don’t you think I would be a worthy replacement for you, Madam Prime Minister? You have a long nose. So have I. But I don’t poke my nose into other people’s affairs.”- To Indira Gandhi, on rumours of him planning a coup to replace her.
“Gentlemen, I have arrived and there will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued” – During 1962 War, when he was sent to North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) to command retreating Indian forces against the Chinese force.
“You received three at this age; when I was of your age, I received nine bullets and look- today, I am the Commander in Chief of the Indian Army.” – During the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War when he met an injured soldier in army hospital with three bullet wounds.
During the 1962 War, he sent a box containing bangles & a letter saying, “If your men do not wish to fight, this is the best medal you can wear.” This was sent to the CO of a battalion who did not wish to enter into conflict with the Chinese. However, in the coming weeks the CO & his battalion proved their grit by battling it out with the Chinese & conducted many successful operations. When Manekshaw learned this, he sent a letter back to CO saying “Please send back the box containing bangles, as this is not for you & your men.”
And lastly, my favourite. Manekshaw is reported to have once said “I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla, although a great many resemble the latter.”