The real Sam Bahadur fought 5 wars for India


Vicky Kaushal’s Sam Bahadur releases today, and while fans of the new sensation in Bollywood would be able to rattle off all facts of Vicky’s spectacular rise to stardom and his fairy tale wedding to gorgeous Katrina Kaif, how many would know the war hero on whom Meghna Gulzar’s biopic is based? has pieced together some fascinating info on the legendary Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who was Chief of Army Staff during the 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the formation of Bangladesh.

Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, also known as Sam Bahadur, was born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar to Parsi couple Hormizd and Hilla Manekshaw. He was the first Indian Army officer to receive the rank of Field Marshall. His father was against his decision of joining the Army but it didn’t stop Sam from taking the Indian Military Academy entrance exam. He served in the Army for almost 40 years and fought in 5 major wars: World War 2 (1941-1945), India-Pakistan War of 1947, Sino-Indian War of 1962, India-Pakistan war of 1965, and the India-Pakistan War of 1971.

In 1942, he was heavily wounded by 9 bullets during WWII yet survived, credit for which goes to Sepoy Sher Singh who called the doctors and made them attend to Sam’s wounds. The veteran soldier, who had many run-ins with Indira Gandhi, used to refer to the Prime Minister as “Sweetie” as she too had a Parsi connection (her husband Feroze was a Parsi). In Meghna’s biopic, Indira Gandhi is played by Fatima Sana Sheikh. While her Dangal co-star Sanya Malhotra plays Sam’s wife Silloo Manekshaw.

Sam received the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and Padma Bhushan in 1968. His service was extended in 1972 by President V. V. Giri. In recognition of his outstanding services to the Armed Forces and the nation, he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on January 1, 1973. He is one of the most important topics in the UPSC IAS examination. Sam Manekshaw died of pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington on June 27, 2008. He was 94. Sam Bahadur is a tribute to this great soldier and Indian hero.