Rediscovering Sam Manekshaw

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw shared an excellent equation with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, delegates at the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress were told by the iconic soldier's former aide.

"Once Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was returning Delhi from Paris. Among those present at the airport to receive her (according to protocol) was Sam Manekshaw. As she approached him, Sam told her: Madam Prime Minister, that's a nice hairdo.

"That was the kind of rapport Sam had with her," Brigadier Behram Panthaki said.

The anecdote was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the over 1,000 delegates gathered from corners of the country and abroad.

"Sam had the moral courage to confront a Major General who was indicted for taking graft," he said.

"The Major General took an umbrage to the accusation. The (Army) Chief (Manekshaw) looked at him and said, "Not only is the Chief accusing you of your integrity, but is calling you a liar and a thief. And if I were you, I would shoot myself in the head or put in my papers."

"The next morning, the Major General's resignation was on the Chief's table," Brig Panthaki said, during a presentation over the weekend on an upcoming book he and wife Zenobia have authored. The coffee table book is scheduled to be released on April 3 in Delhi.

Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was born on April 3, 1914. Sam Bahadur, as he was fondly called, died in 2008.

Giving the audience an insight into the character of the military leader, Zenobia Panthaki described him as a generous man, who took the time to get to know his junior's girlfriend and even called to find out if she wanted him to carry a parcel for her then-boyfriend-now-husband when he visited the place where he was posted.

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