He was India's greatest soldier who led us to that great victory against Pakistan in 1971. His exploits on the battlefield are as legendary as his thoughtful and witty quips off it. He was one of the only 3 Indians ever to travel in a car adorned with 5 stars, given to the Field Marshal. He was one of those rare breed of military men who showed the courage to take on the political establishment, most notably the defence minister V.K.Krishna Menon and PM Indira Gandhi. More than all that, he was a great human being. With the demise of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, India has lost an one of a kind soldier, who inspired thousands to join the armed forces. Still now,almost 30 years after he hung up his boots, he's worshipped like a God among army men.
The funeral happened yesterday at Wellington,TamilNadu. What perplexed everyone was the absence of India's military and political leadership at the ceremony. No one, the President, Prime minister, defence minister or any of the chief of Armed forces turned up to pay their respects to him. It indeed speaks volumes on these respected people's attitude. They all flock with their families to celebrity weddings, cricket matches, funerals of dirty politicians who can best be called 'waste of semen' and to parties hosted by businessmen. Yet, they couldn't spare half a day to honour a man who has contributed so much to the country. We all know they don't care about such things.Atleast, they could've made a show of it by making a brief apperance, as they always do. Most of them used 'protocol issues' as the reason for staying away from the ceremony. Am not sure which protocol says that they shudn't attend a Field Marshal's funeral.
A man of Sam's stature doesn't deserve to be treated like this. This was a man who defeated death more than once in the battlefield. No one will ever forget his immortal words "I got hit by a mule" after surviving 18 bullets during the world war II or his "sweetie" call to Indira Gandhi. Let us all salute this courageous man whose inspiring leadership and brilliant thinking gave India one of its greatest victories ever. Sam Bahadur ki Jai!!!
your crusader Praveen