THE ONLY “MANLY” GENERAL IN THE INDIAN ARMY SINCE THE COWARDLY COUNTRY’S ABJECT SURRENDERS AT “PARTITION OF INDIA” IN 1947, WAS SAM MANECKSHAW.
THERE ARE ANECDOTES GALORE ABOUT HIS PERSONALITY, BEARING AND RAPID REACTION TO ANY ISSUE, HOWEVER COMPLICATED. HIS JUNIONS LOVED HIM FOR THE INSPIRATION HE PROVIDED TO RAISE MORALE THAT WAS BEING SAPPED BY THE CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT (“BABOOS” OR IN PUNJABI PARLOUR, “BABOONS”) AT DOUBLE THE RATE.
SOON AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF THE BRITISH WHO DID VALUE A SOLDIER IMMENSELY, CUNNING CROOK NEHRU AND ALL THE BANYA PRESIDENTS TOOK OVER THE COUNTRY AND ITS ARMY AND GOT BUSY DEGRADING ONE OF THE FINEST FIGHTING MACHINES (ARMY) ON EARTH.
BEING CORRUPT AND ABOVE THE LAW (DOWN TO THE NOTORIOUS “BOFORS CHOR” AND TILL TODAY) THEY WERE AFRAID OF THE ARMY SINCE THE POLICE FORCES WERE IN THE “POCKETS” OF THE CORRUPT AND UNSCRUPULOUS POLITICIANS.
ON THE VERY FIRST DAY OF TAKING OVER INDIA, IT WAS NOT INDIA AT ALL AS WE HAD KNOW HER. WHAT EMERGED WAS A BLEEDING FRAGMENT OF THE COUNTRY WEDGED IN BETWEEN TWO “KAFIR KILLER / MAN EATER” ISLAMIC COUNTRIES (EAST AND WEST PAKISTAN).
IT HAD BEEN JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S CAPITAL CRIME TO SURRENDER VAST TERRITORIES TO THE INDIAN MUSLIMS, LEAVING THE MAJORITY COMMUNITY, THE HINDUS, HIGH AND DRY, BADLY MAULED AND SEVERELY WOUNDED.
MINDFUL OF HIS HIGH TREASON AND OF THE CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM SOON THEREAFTER, NEHRU DECIDED TO PULL THE “TEETH” OF THE ARMY. BUT THE RESULT WAS MOST UNFORTUNATE FOR THE COUNTRY.
A TOOTHLESS, GUTLESS ARMY WAS THE BEST THING FOR THE “BE-IMAAN” AUTOCRATIC PRIME MINISTER BUT NO GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY.
THE INDIAN ARMY'S FIRST DISGRACE WAS TO MAKE A RUN FOR LIFE FROM ALL THE CANTONMENTS (KHYBER TO KARACHI) IN WESTERN INDIA. THE SECOND DISGRACE CAME WHEN NEHRU ORDERED THEM TO CEASE FIRE WHEN THEY WERE ACTUALLY PURSUING THE ENEMY AND RECOVERING THE LOST TERRITORY, AND STOP PUSHING THE PAKISTANI INVADERS OUT OF KASHMIR.
THE POOR QUALITY OF THE INDIAN GENERALS WAS SEEN IN KARGIL, 1999. AFRAID OF HURTING THE "MUSLIM CHILDREN OF BAPU GANDHI AND AFRAID OF VIOLATING THE CEASE FIRE LINE THE INDIAN ARMY NEITHER SURROUNDED THE ENEMY POSTS NOR USED THE AIR FORCE.
BUT ALL ALONG, EVERY DAY THE STATUS OF THE ARMY WAS GETTING REDUCTED TO THE EXTENT THAT EVEN THE GENERALS STARTED ADDRESSING THE USELESS CABINET SECRETARIES AND CABINET MINISTER BY ADDERSSNG THEM "SIR!"
IN REALITY THE INDIAN ARMY WAS SUPPOSED TO ARREST EVERY CORRUPT MINISTER AND PUT HIM IN CUSTODY TO BE TRIED BY A CIVILIAN COURT, AND IN CASE THEY WERE ALSO IN THE POCKET OF THE CORRUPT MINISTERS, TRY THEM BY COURT MARTIAL AND METE OUT SWIFT JUSTICE.
THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THE POST-PARTITION ROTTEN “BUNYA” GENERALS WAS SAM MANECKSHAW, LATER FIELD MARTIAL. HERE IS A TRUE ANECDATE ABOUT HIM. THE NARRATOR SAYS,
(QUOTE): I was posted in AHQ when Sam took over. Seems now that it was this event which prompted him to issue instructions that no civilian, how so ever high in 'babudom' hierarchy, including the Defence Secretary, was to be addressed as 'Sir'. We loved it. But sadly, this practice died soon after Sam retired. It is pathetic to see how senior officers now behave. Sam was truly a proud soldier.
Manekshaw vs Sarin:
The tales from yesteryears ..
On a rather warm day the Defence Secretary, Harish Sarin, a powerful civil servant, on entering the Ministry’s conference room is said to have told a Colonel sitting near a window,
“You there, open that window!”
Before the Colonel could get up came a sharp “Sit down” from Sam Manekshaw, who had just entered the conference room from another door.
Turning to the Defence Secretary, he said, “Mr.Secretary, don’t you ever address my Officers in that tone of voice. You may however say,“Sam, would you please open that window, and I will open the window for you. That Officer you called out to is a Colonel, and not “You there!”
Harish Sarin mumbled something to the effect that he didn’t mean it that way, to which Sam replied,
”I don’t care how you meant it. I heard it and didn’t like it." (UNQUOTE).
We miss him. THE WHOLE COUNTRY MISSES HIM!