Tribute to Manekshaw | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 13, 2008

Tribute to Manekshaw

With a heavy heart, I would like to pay the highest tribute to the top commander of the joint Bangladesh and Indian forces of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, Field Marshal (then General and Indian army chief) Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw (1914 - 2008) and all his brave 'boys' (and also the Bangladesh and Indian Navy and Air personnel of '71) for swiftly defeating the organised evil of the Pakistan army in Bangladesh. They acted under the wise leadership of premiers Indira Gandhi (India) and Tajuddin Ahmed (Bangladesh) in a hostile international situation. Shrewd war planning and its execution by Manekshaw's team saved millions of innocent lives from the hands of the Pakistani troops.
Being an eyewitness of the 25th March night (and the following 9 months of '71) in Dhaka city, the news of Field Marshal Manekshaw's death (June 27, 2008) immediately evoked the memories of 1971 in my mind.
My father - a student activist of 'Pakistan movement' of the '40s in Calcutta and thereafter a non-political person - was scheduled to be picked up by the Pakistani collaborators on 18 December as part of their plan.
Keeping the South Asian tradition of 'total obliviousness to history' alive, we did not give him due respect, though our armed forces honoured the late Field Marshal to some extent and his funeral was attended by three officers from the three services. The defeated Pakistanis over the years tried (unsuccessfully) their best to defame Field Marshal Manekshaw a humble man of great personal qualities.

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