An old video of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, one of India’s greatest war heroes, has gone viral on the internet in which he narrates how the Pakistani Prisoner of Wars of the 1971 India-Pakistan war had hailed the professionalism of the Indian Army following Indian victory in the war that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan.
Speaking at an interview in 2002, Field Marshal Manekshaw revealed how he was royally welcomed in Pakistan after the 1971 India-Pakistan war and treated him with respect for the professionalism Indian Army had displayed during the Bangladesh Liberation war.
Worth listening, even for my Pak bots. This is the Indian army from the mouth of a simple Pak soldier. Listen to the end pic.twitter.com/0LT1DHyYLy— Maj Gen Harsha Kakar (@kakar_harsha) July 4, 2020
Sharing an anecdote, Sam Jamshedji Manekshaw recalled about an incident in Lahore at Governor’s House when the Governor of the Punjab province had asked him for a favour. The former Chief of Indian Army added that the Governor wanted him to meet the staff and shake hands with them, who were all waiting out for the Indian war hero.
“They were all lined up. The 11th man took the turban off and put it at my feet. So I picked it up and gave it to him, asking why did you (Pakistani staffer) do this?” said Field Marshal Manekshaw in his interview.
The Retired General said that a Pakistani staffer revealed how the Indian general had saved his family. The Pakistani staffer at the Governor’s residence said that five of his sons were PoWs of the 1971 war, who were treated with a lot of respect despite being Pakistani soldiers.
According to the staffer, as narrated by Sam Manekshaw, the Pakistan PoWs were given Quran to read, made to sleep on cots in barracks, broke bread with fellow Indian soldiers.
“We will never believe Hindus are bad,” the Pakistan staffer at the Governor’s house said to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in reaction to the professionalism displayed by the Indian Forces in the 1971 India-Pakistan despite fighting a rogue army like Pakistan.
In the interview, the former COAS also said how he had to face severe problems back in the country following his visit to Pakistan. He added that the bureaucrats, ministers complained against him stating that he treated Pakistani soldiers just like he treated his sons-in-law. Even, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had called for a cabinet meeting to the issue.
Field Marshal Manekshaw said that he explained to Mrs Gandhi, stating that they were soldiers, who ‘fought and fought extremely well and lost’.