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General Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam, DSO, MBE (1 July 1913 – 13 March 2000) was the 7th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army from 1967 to 1970. He was among the last of the King's Commissioned Indian Officers trained in England in the Indian Army, and the last KCIO Indian Army Chief.

Early life and education

P P Kumaramangalam was born to the Former Chief Minister of Madras Presidency, P. Subbarayan in the zamindari family of Kumaramangalam in Tamil Nadu. He had his secondary education at Eton College and was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Woolwich as a Second Lieutenant on the Unattached List for the Indian Army on the 31 August 1933.[1] He was appointed to the British Indian Army on 12 November 1934,[2] and was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 May 1935.[3]

Military life

World War II

Kumaramangalam was promoted to Captain on 2 February 1941.[4] During World War II, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) as a temporary major for action in Libya on 27 May 1942 at Point 171, south of Bir Hakiem commanding the 7th Field Battery, 2nd Field Regiment, Indian Artillery.[5] He was taken Prisoner of War (PoW) by the Italians later in 1942 and held in a PoW camp in Italy. With the Italian Armistice in September 1943 he escaped on 19 November;[6] however he was captured again in January 1944 and imprisoned, this time in Germany, where he was transferred to Stalag Luft III a high security camp for PoWs. At the end of the war in 1945, he returned to India.

Postwar

On 18 April 1946, the then Capt. Kumaramangalam was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was promoted to Major on 1 July.[7][8] He became a Brigadier in 1948. General Kumaramangalam took over as General Officer Commanding, Eastern Command in May 1963. In November 1964 he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and on 15 January 1965 he became Vice Chief of the Army Staff. General Kumaramangalam took over as the Chief of the Army Staff on 8 June 1966, the first Indian gunner officer and paratrooper to reach this coveted appointment. The tenure of General Kumaramangalam as Chief of the Army Staff was marked by an unpublicised but exhaustive re-organisation of the service, up-gradation of weapons, training and tactics based on the lessons learned from the 1965 War. He served in the Indian Army with distinction for 36 years until his retirement on 7 June 1969. He received the Padma Vibushan in 1970.

Views on America

General Kumaramangalam trained at the artillery school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. From his letters it is evident he was not very impressed with the Americans. He saw them as suffering from an "aggressive inferiority complex" and cautioned a newly independent India against coming under American influence. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by him to C. Rajagopalachari in 1947:

"This country is not one that I will ever get fond of. I have not got a very high opinion of them. The people that I have to deal with are very kind, hospitable and have been very good to the two of us. But somehow I feel there is a trace of artificiality in that and also it is the result of trying to impress one. They I think are very jealous of the old world and its background and culture and this results in an aggressive inferiority complex. As for their state of morality, there is none. People seem to delight in trying to outwit each other by any means, mainly crooked. The politicians are racketeers and big business has a tight grip on everything in the country. The small country trader and the farmer I think have their hands securely tied by the big men. I do hope that our country proceeds with caution and doesn't get entirely under the influence of the States."[9]

Other interests

He was also a polo player, horseman, show jumper, and cricketer. He was a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, and president of Indian Polo Association and Equestrian Federation of India. On retirement as army chief, he was elected President of the World Wildlife Fund - India (WWF-India) during its formative stages.[10]

Awards and Decorations

Padma Vibhushan
Sena Medal
Sainya Seva Medal
General Service Medal 1947
Indian Independence Medal
Distinguished Service Order
Member of the Order of the British Empire
1939–1945 Star
Africa Star
War Medal 1939–1945


  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO) was awarded for an outstanding action in Libya on 27 May 1942.

Death

He died following a heart attack on 13 March 2000.

See also

References

  1. ^ "No. 33974". The London Gazette. 1 September 1933. p. 5733. 
  2. ^ "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 775. 
  3. ^ "No. 34173". The London Gazette. 21 June 1935. p. 4012. 
  4. ^ "No. 35165". The London Gazette. 16 May 1941. p. 2827. 
  5. ^ "No. 35665". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 August 1942. p. 3543. 
  6. ^ "Major Kumaramangalam Escapes". The Indian Express. Associated Press. 20 November 1943. p. 1. Retrieved 11 February 2018. 
  7. ^ "No. 37536". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 April 1946. p. 1949. 
  8. ^ "No. 38069". The London Gazette. 12 September 1947. p. 4286. 
  9. ^ P.P. Kumaramangalam to C. Rajagopalachari, 22 December 1947, in File 82, Fifth Installment, C. Rajagopalachari Papers, NMML.
  10. ^ http://factstasy.blogspot.in/2012/04/list-of-chief-of-army-staff-of-ndian.html#.Vdldjvmqqko
Military offices
Preceded by
Lt. Gen. T. B. Henderson Brooks
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command
1963-1964
Succeeded by
Lt. Gen. Sam Manekshaw
Preceded by
Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri
Chief of Army Staff
1966–1969
Succeeded by
Sam Manekshaw