Milind Soman as Sam Bahadur in Emergency: Why was Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw important for Indira Gandhi?

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalAug 26, 2022 | 19:30

Milind Soman as Sam Bahadur in Emergency: Why was Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw important for Indira Gandhi?

Milind Suman(L) Sam Manekshaw (R). Photo: Milind Suman/Twitter

Milind Soman will play the role of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in the upcoming Kangana Ranaut directorial-production movie Emergency. A Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan recipient, Sam Manekshaw is hailed as the hero of the Indo-Pak War of 1971, also known as the Bangladesh Liberation War. 

The reason why Sam Maneskhaw finds mention in the upcoming movie Emergency is because he closely worked with former PM Indira Gandhi during the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

The first look of Milind Soman as Sam Manekshaw was unveiled on August 25: 

Who was Sam Manekshaw? Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was nicknamed Sam Manekshaw or Sam Bahadur. He was born on April 3, 1914 in Amritsar, Punjab. He joined the Indian Military Academy in 1932 against his father's will. Manekshaw fought in World War II also.

In 1969, he was appointed the Army Chief. Manekshaw is remembered for leading the Indian Army to a resounding victory over West Pakistan (now Pakistan) in East Pakistan (now Bangaldesh) in 1971. India's victory in the war helped in the liberation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan, and the former was then named Bangladesh.

It was only after the defeat of Pakistan on the eastern front, much against the will of China and America, that Indira Gandhi was even considered as Durga by the opposition parties in India. After India won the war, chants of "Long Live Indira" echoed in the Parliament and the Iron Lady said the credit was Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's.

Indira Gandhi, Sam Manekshaw and the 1971 War:  As the hostilities between West Pakistan and East Pakistan increased and the voices of dissent grew in the East under Mujibur Rehman, Pakistan clamped down on rebellions. 

The influx of refugees from East Pakistan became a sign of worry for Indira Gandhi. The situation went from bad to worse in the summer of 1971, and Indira Gandhi wanted to go to war with Pakistan. General Sam Manekshaw refused. He cited the unfavourable climatic conditions as well as a Chinese threat as reasons for not going to war. He had warned Indira that if India went to war under those hostile conditions, a defeat was guaranteed. 

Indira Gandhi obliged, and only said, "You tell me when you are ready.

Former Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw. Photo:

How Manekshaw won the war: The war started on December 3, 1971, and ended with the defeat of West Pakistan on December 16. Within 13 days, Field Marshal Manekshaw brought the Pakistani Army down to its knees. On December 6 itself, the Indian government had expresseed its long-nurtured idea of new nation state to replace the old East Pakistan. On this day, India officially recognised "The Provincial Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh".

On December 13, Manekshaw told Pakistani Lieutenant General Amir Abudllah Khan Niazi, "You surrender or we wipe you out." 

The Pakistani Army had crumbled under India's ground and air attacks on the western and eastern front of East Pakistan. 

The same night, the Indian Army bombed the house of the Governor in Dacca (now Dhaka). It was the same night that General Niazi got a message from the then Pakistani PM Yahya Khan to lay down his arms, as further resistance was not humanly possible. Niazi waited for one whole day to make his decision.

On December 15, Niazi met the American Consul-General, who agreed to convey the message - that Pakistan was laying down its arms - to New Delhi. 

The next day, on December 16, Lieutenant General JS Aurora of the Indian Army's Eastern Command flew down to Dacca to accept a signed instrument of surrender. Nearly 93,000 Pakistani soldiers laid down their arms. The same evening, Indira Gandhi made the announcement that Dacca (now Dhaka) was the free capital of a free country, Bangladesh. 

Honours to Sam Manekshaw: In 1972, he was awarded with the second highest Indian civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan. A year later in 1973, Sam retired from the post of the Chief of Army Staff. After retirement, he spent his last days in Wellington in Tamil Nadu. He died in 2008.

A biopic on Sam Manekhaw on the cards: Not just in the movie Emergency, the life of Sam Manekshaw will also be portrayed in the movie Sam Bahadur by Meghna Gulzar. Vicky Kaushal will play the role of of Manekshaw in Sam Bahadur

Last updated: August 26, 2022 | 19:30
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