Field Marshal Manekshaw, hero of Bangladesh war, passes away (Third Lead, changing dateline)

June 27th, 2008 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Chennai/New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, the architect of India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan, died at Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after developing acute bronchopneumonia. He was 94. The end came just after midnight. Manekshaw is survived by his daughters Maja Daruwala and Sherry Batliwala. His wife Siloo had passed away in 2001.

In a rare gesture, the government Friday decided to accord Sam Bahadur, as he was affectionate called by the troops who served under him, a state funeral, complete with a 21-gun salute.

Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju will represent the government at the funderal.

Tributes poured in soon after news of Manekshaw’s death at a military hospital was announced.

“Sam Bahadur was the architect and the inspiring leader of the operations and the consequent military victory in what is now Bangladesh. Military historians will forever record the strategic brilliance and the inspirational leadership of Sam Bahadur,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a condolence message.

“His demise has left behind a void that will be really hard to fill. Field Marshal Manekshaw will be fondly remembered by our armed forces and the nation alike,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in his message.

“Sharp and witty till the end and imbued with an indomitable fighting spirit, he will continue to live on in the minds of committed citizens and will inspire them to take the nation forward,” Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said in his message.

Manekshaw, who became a household name after the 1971 victory led to the creation of Bangladesh, had been hospitalised at Wellington for some time due to a progressive lung disease. His condition had become serious in the past few days and he was being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Born April 3, 1914, Mankeshaw was a part of the first batch of officers to be commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1934.

He was the Indian Army chief from 1969 to 1973. He was made field marshal just before retirement in 1973.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, and won the Military Cross for his role in Myanmar, then Burma, during the Second World War when he was wounded.

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