When Kennedy drove Manekshaw!

On 3rd April 2013, Field Marshal SHFJ ‘Sam’ Manekshaw would have turned 100. He however passed away 5 years before his centenary.

But in Wellington, the quaintly beautiful cantonment town in the Niligiris, where the Field Marshal retired to, his memories live on.

“Very often Madam (the Field Marshal’s wife, Silloo) would drive Sam to the market in her Maruti 800. Sam would purchase the essentials from the market himself–vegetables, meat– he loved doing that,” Kennedy recalled.

“You know something Sir, he bought the plot of land in 1960 when he was commandant of the Staff College but even as a Major General, he did not have enough money. He himself told me once ‘Kennedy I had to take out money from my provident fund to buy this land.”

“Oh for him Madam’s word was final ( for which husband wife’s word isn’t, I wanted to ask him but didn’t, since he was in a trance). The Field Marshal was a loving father and grandfather. One of his grandsons looked exactly like him. Long nose, tall and fair. I never saw him scold any one. And he was always kind to people like us. When Madam passed away, Sam was a broken man. We knew he wouldn’t last long without his biggest strength,” Kennedy said in a voice that was clearly choking.

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Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

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