Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sam Maneckshaw passes away

Remembering India's War Hero


By Manuwant Choudhary

I remember meeting Sam Manecksaw at the Indian Merchants Chamber more than a decade ago but his remarkable glint in his eyes I can never forget so on his passing away I wish to remember him.
On behalf of the Afternoon Despatch & Courier in Bombay I covered his talk on leadership as a cub reporter and I can never forget the way he looked at each one of us in the ante-room of the IMC and then said, "Do you know what makes a leader?"
We stared at him.
"A long nose."
Sam Maneckshaw pointed towards his own nose and then he looked back to a marble bust of Nehru (who also had a rather long nose).
And then he said, "Even Mrs. Indira Gandhi had a long nose."
And I would like to share with you that Mrs. Gandhi wanted us to liberate Bangladesh a year before we actually did. "I told her you don't poke your nose in my affairs and I will not poke my nose in yours."
Maneckshaw said the Indian army wasn't ready then.
Mrs. Gandhi relented and gave Manecksaw time to prepare while she herself built a moral position for India amongst the international community.
But I remember I asked him did he think Mrs. Indira Gandhi was a good leader.
And with a mischievous smile he said, "She made me Field Marshall."

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