In early 1947, Sam ( Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw) and Yahya were serving together at Military Operations directorate in New Delhi. Sam owned a red James motorcycle that looked like the picture below;
Yahya fell in love with it and Sam agreed to sell it for 1000 Rupees. In the chaos of partition, Yahya left for Pakistan promising to send the money from Pakistan but later forgot about the money. After 1971 war, Sam once joked about the incident stating that “Yahya never paid me the Rs1,000 for my motorbike, but now he has paid with half of his country.” In 2001, Pakistani columnist Aredshir Cowasjee went toIndiaand met Sam. Cowasjee remembered Sam’s quip and offered to pay the money Yahya owed along with the interest. Sam replied that ‘Yahya was a good man and a good soldier. We served together and he didn’t have a mean or corrupt bone in his body’.
An additional corollary to the above story is another story. In 1946, Lt. Colonel Sam Manekshaw was GSO-1 (Operations), Major Yahya Khan was GSO-2 (Frontier Defense) and Captain S. K. Sinha was GSO-3 (Internal Security) at Military Operations Directorate in New Delhi. In 1971, General Sam Manekshaw was Indian army chief, Gen Yahya was Pakistan army chief and Lieutenant General S. K. Sinha was head of pay and pension department at army headquarters in Delhi. When war started, Sinha sent a letter to Sam requesting for chance to participate in the war. Sinha wrote, “old G-1 is going to war with old G-2 and G-3 is being left out’.
[Courtesy: Hamid Hussain]