Sam Bahadur’s Daughter Remembers Her Dad on His Birth Anniversary
Sam Manekshaw was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the five-star rank of Field Marshal.
(This article has been republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Sam Manekshaw’s birth anniversary. It was first published on 27 June 2016.)
For various reasons, Sam Manekshaw is identified as the greatest Indian soldier. Manekshaw was the man who led the Indian Army to victory in 1971 and liberated Bangladesh.
After winning countless laurels, travelling the world and leading the army into victorious battles, Manekshaw spent the last three decades of his life in the Nilgiri Hills, with his wife and children.
In a first person account in The Indian Express, it is an image of Manekshaw the father, that his daughter Maja Daruwala invokes.
In memory of her father, Daruwala writes:
He taught us the names of all the flowers in the garden and read us Scheherazade stories from the Arabian Nights. Then wickedly played king. My sister was the favoured and beautiful Lal Pari, I the ugly sidey, grateful to be included.
She lends us a window into her childhood, and a side of Manekshaw only close family and friends would have known intimately.
Manekshaw was an enthusiastic father and husband, and much to the resentment of his family, he wanted to share his enthusiasm.
At home, my sister wiggled hot and impatient under studio lights while he perfected the angle of his tripod camera. At the race course, he taught me to feed our one-fourth of a race horse with an open flat hand so I wouldn’t get bitten. It mattered not at all that First Entry never won a race.
She recalls a particularly enthusiastic battle in the kitchen:
In Mhow, he battled the cook for suzerainty over the kitchen and competed with him to show he could make the best tasting chola ever – for breakfast!
Daruwala takes us through time and anecdotes, painting a pleasant, idiosyncratic picture of her father.
On his birth anniversary, she helps us remember Sam Manekshaw, not only the greatest Indian soldier, but the kind, gentleman she knew within the walls of their many homes over the years.
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