Amritsar, December 4
As the audience watches the story of Sam Manekshaw, brought alive on screen by Vicky Kaushal’s stellar performance in Meghna Gulzar’s Sam Bahadur, we revisited Amritsar’s significant association with the first Field Marshal of the Indian Army and a man, whose wit and grit are still remembered in city circles through shared stories and accounts.
Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, also known as Sam Bahadur, was born in Amritsar in 1914 to Dr Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw and Hilla. Dr HFJ Manekshaw used to run a small clinic and pharmacy at Katra Ahluwalia and had a home on the Mall road. He was a distinguished member of the Parsi community in Amritsar, who at the time had big presence and contributed towards the city’s social, cultural and developmental landscape.
Dr HFJ Manekshaw was also among the founding members of the Rotary Club in Amritsar. The shop where Sam’s father’s clinic used to be, is now called Sur and Co, and is being run as a pharmacy by Naveen Marwaha, whose grandfather Devraj Marwaha, got the shop from Dr Manekshaw.
“My grandfather got the shop as he used to assist Dr Manekshaw in running the clinic and they shared a warm relationship. He had kept letters written to him by Dr HFJ Manekshaw and photographs with Manekshaw family as fond memories,” shared Naveen.
Marwaha family has, over the years, also kept a chair that was once Dr HFJ Manekshaw’s at the shop. Naveen shared that Sam had visited the shop when he was in city in 1973. Recently, while shooting for the film Sam Bahadur, Meghna Gulzar also visited the shop and interacted with the Marwaha family.
Sam Manekshaw pursued his early education from PBN School and then went to Sherwood College, Nainital. He later enrolled in the famous Hindu College to pursue FA (Second year). As per official records, he joined the college on March 3, 1934, and left the institution in January 1935 to join the IMA. The college has displayed his picture along with other distinguished alumni at a special corridor on its premises.
Ashok Sethi from the family of noted journalist GR Sethi, who was a close acquaintance of Dr HFJ Maneskshaw, shared that the city hosted a memorable reception when the Field Marshal visited the historic Ram Bagh, after scripting a historic win in the 1971 war.
Sam Manekshaw’s ancestral home located on the Mall road was sold off by his father when the family moved to Delhi. The location now has turned into commercial lane after passing down several hands.
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