Will ‘Sam Bahadur’ Be A Hit? But Before You Hit The Big Screen, Know The Real Life Story Of Sam Manekshaw

Education By Ritika Bidawat | 5 min read

Sam Manekshaw

Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw: A Journey of Courage and Leadership

The movie “Sam Bahadur,” featuring Vicky Kaushal, has already hit the big screen. Centered on the remarkable life of India’s inaugural Field Marshal, Sir Sam Manekshaw, renowned as a top military figure and a key contributor to India’s triumph in the 1971 war against Pakistan.

Actor Vicky Kaushal expresses his hope that his portrayal of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in “Sam Bahadur” will resonate with audiences and become a significant part of his film legacy. The movie, directed by Meghna Gulzar, aims to reach a global audience, with Kaushal emphasizing the importance of people connecting with and celebrating the life of Sam Manekshaw as the ultimate validation for their efforts.

Mad4India presents an insightful exploration of the real-life story of Sam Bahadur, inviting all of us to comprehend the depth of the filmmaker’s commitment. Before we step into the theaters, let’s embrace not only the cinematic marvel but also the profound wonder that was Sir Sam Manekshaw real life story.

Early Life and Education of Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw
Source : Wikipedia

Sir Sam Manekshaw, affectionately known as Sam Bahadur (“Sam the Brave”), was born on April 3, 1914, in Amritsar, Punjab, to Hormizd and Hilla Manekshaw, both Parsis who had moved from Valsad to Lahore but had to settle in Amritsar due to his mother’s sudden health fall. His upbringing in a large family of six children shaped his character at an early age. His mischievous and high-spirited nature contrasted with his early ambition to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor.

However, destiny had different plans for Sam. His journey into the military began when he joined the first batch of cadets at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1932. Despite facing initial resistance from his father, who opposed sending him to London for medical studies, Sam embraced the opportunity and excelled at the IMA. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw graduated in 1935, becoming the first in a series of “firsts” in his illustrious career.

Life Stage/EventYearDetails
Padma Vibhushan Award1972Awarded by the President of India in recognition of his service to the Indian country.
Promotion to Field Marshal1973He became the first field marshal of india manekshaw on January 1, 1973.
Retirement and Settlement1973
He retired from active duty after almost four decades of service on January 15, 1973. Settled with his wife, Silloo, in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, a civilian town near Wellington Cantonment
Order of Tri Shakti Patta (Nepal)1977King Birendra of Nepal bestowed him with the Order of Tri Shakti Patta, an order of knighthood of the Kingdom of Nepal.
Post-Retirement Roles
Served as an independent director on the boards of various companies, and in some cases, as the chairman, showcasing continued involvement post-retirement.
Death2008Passed away at the age of 94 due to pneumonia complications at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, on June 27, 2008.
Vijay Diwas CommemorationCommemorated every December 16 to honor the victory achieved under Manekshaw’s leadership in 1971 against Pakistan.
Manekshaw Center NamingThe Manekshaw Center in Delhi Cantonment, the foremost institution of the Indian Army, is named after him.

Military Career

Commissioned into the 4th Battalion, 12th Frontier Force Regiment, Manekshaw’s early military career took shape during World War II. Fluent in multiple languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, English, and Gujarati, he quickly rose through the ranks. His gallantry during the Burma campaign earned him the Military Cross, a testament to his leadership and bravery on the battlefield.

Sam Manekshaw
Source : Wikimedia

Sam Manekshaw’s defining moment came during the 1942 Sittang River campaign, where he led a counter-attack against the Imperial Japanese Army. Despite sustaining severe injuries, he displayed remarkable courage, earning him the Military Cross. The iconic incident where Major General David Cowan pinned his own Military Cross ribbon on Manekshaw highlighted the extraordinary valor witnessed on the battlefield.

Post-recovery, field marshal Sam Manekshaw continued to excel, attending the Imperial Defence College and taking on various command roles, including the Western and Eastern Commands. In 1969, he became the Chief of the Army Staff, overseeing the Indian Army during a pivotal period.

“Give me a man or a woman with common sense and who is not an idiot, and I assure you I can make a leader out of him or her.”

manekshaw quotes

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Sam Manekshaw
Source : Wikimedia

The zenith of Manekshaw’s military career unfolded during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. As the Chief of the Army Staff, he led Indian forces to victory against Pakistan, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh. His strategic acumen and leadership were crucial in achieving success on the battlefield. The war solidified his legacy, and he became the first Indian Army officer to attain the prestigious rank of first field marshal of india manekshaw.

Legacy and Honors

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’s contributions to the Indian military were unparalleled. His leadership during the 1971 war earned him the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan, two of India’s highest civilian honors. His journey from a mischievous boy in Punjab to the epitome of military leadership remains an inspiration.

His career spanned four decades and five wars, making him a symbol of resilience and dedication. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’s legacy endures not only in the annals of military history but also as a source of inspiration for future generations of leaders.

In the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947, Manekshaw’s journey took a turn as his unit became part of the Pakistan Army. Swiftly reassigned to the 8th Gorkha Rifles, Manekshaw showcased his planning and administrative skills during the tumultuous times of partition. His pivotal role in handling the Kashmir issue and preventing its capture by Pakistani forces marked the early signs of a military strategist.

Military Operations Directorate (MO Directorate):

The Kashmir dispute led General Sam Manekshaw to the Military Operations Directorate, where he ascended through the ranks, ultimately becoming the first Indian Director of Military Operations.

Promotions and Commands:

Sam Manekshaw
Source : Wikipedia

General Manekshaw’s career was marked by a series of promotions and commands, from commanding the 167 Infantry Brigade to serving as the director of military training. His stint at the Imperial Defence College in London further honed his strategic acumen.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS):

Appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in 1969, field marshal Sam Manekshaw played a pivotal role in developing the Indian Army into an efficient and capable force. Despite challenges in his appointment, he became a beacon of leadership.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971:

The 1971 war, sparked by the Bangladesh Liberation movement, Saw Manekshaw and his strategic brilliance come to the fore. His meticulous planning and execution led to the surrender of Pakistan’s eastern half, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh.

Post-War and Legacy:

Post-war, Manekshaw’s compassion towards Pakistani prisoners of war and his insistence on their honorable treatment showcased his humane side. His promotion to Field Marshal in 1973 was a testament to his exceptional service.

Legacy Continues:

Manekshaw’s legacy endures through annual celebrations of Vijay Diwas on December 16 and institutions like the general Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment. Statues, bridges, and honors in his name serve as reminders of his indelible contribution.

Retiring in 1973, general Manekshaw settled in Coonoor with his wife. Not only a man who understood wars but a man who believed in love too, Sam Manekshaw wife met him in a coincidence at lahor and they happen to fall in love at the first timght. Sam Manekshaw wife was Siloo Bobde and had 2 beautiful daughters, Sherry and Maya. He passed away on June 27, 2008, leaving behind a legacy of leadership, valor, and strategic brilliance.


  • Vijay Diwas: Celebrated annually on December 16 in memory of the victory achieved under Manekshaw’s leadership in 1971.
  • Honors and Recognition: Received the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 and became the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
  • Manekshaw Centre: Named in his honor in Delhi Cantonment, inaugurated in 2010.
  • Statues and Bridges: Several statues and a flyover bridge have been named after him in different locations.
World War 2 – Burma1939Assigned duty in Burma; Wounded in a fight with Japanese forces at the Sittang Rive
World War 2 – Subsequent Contribution
He was promoted to substantive captain on February 4, 1942, after contributing to World War 2.
Kashmir Conflict (Indo-Pak War of 1947–48)1947Assigned as the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 5 Gorkha Rifles; responded to Pakistani forces penetrating Kashmir; conducted aerial surveillance.
India-Pakistan War of 19711971Led the war effort, contributing significantly to India’s victory.

Later Life and Death:

  • Manekshaw retired in 1973 and settled in Coonoor with his wife.
  • He passed away on June 27, 2008, at the age of 94, due to complications from pneumonia.

Legacy Continues:

  • Manekshaw’s legacy lives on through various commemorations, institutions, and honors in his name.

What’s The Date of Sam Manekshaw death?

On June 27, 2008, at the age of 94, due to complications from pneumonia Sir Sam Manekshaw took his last breath.

Which is The Most Famous Sam Manekshaw Quotes

There are many Sam Manekshaw Quotes that. can inspire to your bones, but our personal favorite is –

“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”

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