July 03, 2008

A Soldier and a Prime Minister

History would note Sam Bahadur had more faith in democracy than the then democratically-elected Prime Minister who later flirted with dictatorship.

Here is to Sam Manekshaw!!

Sam Manekshaw | Economist.com
HIS most famous remark was not, strictly speaking, true. On the eve of the war with Pakistan in December 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, asked her army chief, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, if he was ready for the fight. He replied with the gallantry, flirtatiousness and sheer cheek for which he was famous: “I am always ready, sweetie.” (He said he could not bring himself to call Mrs Gandhi “Madame”, because it reminded him of a bawdy-house.)

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... That was not the only time he threatened to quit. Mrs Gandhi once questioned him about rumours that he was plotting a coup. In response, he asked if she wanted his resignation on grounds of mental instability. Yet if she and other politicians were in awe of him as a professional soldier and grateful for his lack of political ambition, his men loved him for his willingness to take on their civilian bosses and stand up for the army’s interests.

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