Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam
P P Kumaramangalam
DSO, MBE, FRHS
|Chief of Army Staff (India)|
8 June 1966 – 7 June 1969
|Preceded by||General JN Chaudhuri|
|Succeeded by||Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw|
1 July 1913|
Kumaramangalam, Madras Presidency, British Raj
13 March 2000 86) (aged|
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
P. Subbarayan (Father)|
Mohan Kumaramangalam (Brother)
|Years of service||1933–1969|
World War II|
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
General Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam DSO, MBE, FRHS (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. He was appointed to the British Indian Army on 12 November 1934, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 May 1935.
World War II
Kumaramangalam was promoted to Captain on 2 February 1941. 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. 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; 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.
On 18 April 1946, Kumaramangalam was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was promoted to Major on 1 July. He became an acting Brigadier in 1948, with the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was promoted to the substantive rank of colonel on 2 February 1951. As a brigadier, he was appointed to command a paratroop brigade on 14 February 1955, and was given command of an infantry division on 9 September 1956, with the acting rank of major-general.
Kumaramangalam was promoted to substantive major-general on 1 August 1958, and appointed the commandant of the Defence Services Staff College on 25 February 1959. He was appointed Adjutant-General on 5 October 1959, with the acting rank of lieutenant-general. Promoted lieutenant-general on 8 May 1961, he took over as General Officer Commanding, Eastern Command on 1 May 1963, with appointment as GOC-in-C, Eastern Command on 4 April 1964. On 16 November 1964 he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, followed by appointment as Vice Chief of the Army Staff on 15 January 1965. 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."
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.
Awards and Decorations
- Distinguished Service Order (DSO) was awarded for an outstanding action in Libya on 27 May 1942.
He died following a heart attack on 13 March 2000.
- "No. 33974". The London Gazette. 1 September 1933. p. 5733.
- "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 775.
- "No. 34173". The London Gazette. 21 June 1935. p. 4012.
- "No. 35165". The London Gazette. 16 May 1941. p. 2827.
- "No. 35665". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 August 1942. p. 3543.
- "Major Kumaramangalam Escapes". The Indian Express. Associated Press. 20 November 1943. p. 1. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "No. 37536". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 April 1946. p. 1949.
- "No. 38069". The London Gazette. 12 September 1947. p. 4286.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 March 1951. p. 57.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 April 1955. p. 72.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 5 January 1957. p. 2.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 October 1959. p. 261.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 May 1959. p. 2.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 21 November 1959. p. 286.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 16 September 1961. p. 245.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 2 May 1964. p. 172.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 19 December 1964. p. 509.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 6 February 1965. p. 73.
- P.P. Kumaramangalam to C. Rajagopalachari, 22 December 1947, in File 82, Fifth Installment, C. Rajagopalachari Papers, NMML.
Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri
| Chief of Army Staff
Lt. Gen. T. B. Henderson Brooks
| General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command
Lt. Gen. Sam Manekshaw