“Don’t you think I would be a worthy replacement for you, Madam Prime Minister? You have a long nose. So have I. But I don’t poke my nose into other people’s affairs.”
…said the first Field Marshall of India to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on being question about rumors of his plan for a coup.
On June 27, 2008 (this year) the great solider was laid to rest. None of the top politicians, bureaucrats or Defense brass was at hand! Every one was conspicuous by their absence. Not even the Prime Minister Dr. Singh, who prides being upright, honest and non-political. None of these pygmies had the courage to stand in front of a man, with genuine gratitude and humility, who would have died with bullet ridden body in 1942 but lived on to orchestrate one of the finest victory of modern India – only to be squandered away by the same PM Gandhi.
Why? Because a megalomaniac and idiotic Pakistani politician chose to make slurs on our top military mind. The allegation against the “Sam bahadur” was that he had sold the 1965 war plans to Pakistan. For a person who was perhaps the single most important mind behind the ONLY decisive victory that India has had in modern times in a war in 1971, this was an immoral way to use his greatness to make money by Gohar Ayub Khan.
The fight between, perhaps one of the greatest war mind in modern India and the politician was apparent in the disagreement between FM Sam Maneckshaw and VK Krishna Menon on the issue of National Security. Sam was not the one to take nonsense from some petty and good-for-nothing politician.. and in the end was vindicated.
He had shown this in the Indian army’s darkest hour, the abject defeat in 1962 by China. Already a general, he had the previous year quarrelled with India’s defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, about national security. He was vindicated when the Chinese army swatted aside Indian resistance and briefly occupied what is now the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Menon resigned. General Manekshaw was rushed to the front to rally the demoralised troops. His first order was: “There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued.”
It was probably the courage and the outspoken nature of one of the greatest heroes of Indian Defense that became, ironically, the reason for Government to constantly appoint Generals and leaders of Indian Army who would constantly “toe” the line and were mere slaves of the politician! It takes both emotional and physical courage to save a country with as many contradictions as India has. Time is ripe now for someone at the helm of Indian forces who can stand UP to the Indian politician!
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