Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam

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P.P. Kumaramangalam
Chief of Army Staff (India)
In office
8 June 1966 – 7 June 1969
Preceded by General PN Thapar
Succeeded by Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw
Personal details
Born (1913-07-01)1 July 1913
Kumaramangalam, Madras Presidency, British Raj
Died 13 March 2000(2000-03-13) (aged 86)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Relations P. Subbarayan (Father)
Mohan Kumaramangalam (Brother)
Awards IND Padma Vibhushan BAR.pngPadma Vibhushan
Dso-ribbon.png Distinguished Service Order
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.pngMember of the Order of the British Empire
Military service
Allegiance  British India (1933-1947)
 India (after 1947)
Service/branch  British Indian Army
 Indian Army
Years of service 1933–1969
Rank General of the Indian Army.svg General
Unit 20pxRegiment of Artillery
Commands Flag COAS India.jpg Chief of Army Staff
Vice Chief of the Army Staff
Deputy Chief of the Army Staff
IA Eastern Command.jpgGOC-in-C Eastern Command
Senior Colonel Commandant of Regiment of Artillery
Battles/wars World War II
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
Sino-Indian War
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965

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 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the Indian Army.

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 graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in England. He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in the British Army on 31 August 1933, as only the second Indian Officer to be commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery.[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.[5] He was taken Prisoner of War (PoW) in Italy in 1942.[citation needed] He escaped; however he was captured again 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, Captain Kumaramangalam was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was promoted to major on 1 July.[6][7] He became a Brigadier in 1948. General Kumaramangalam took over as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, 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 a 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 wasn't 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."[8]

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.[9]

Awards and Decorations

Padma Vibhushan
Distinguished Service Order
Member of Order of British Empire
  • 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.

See also


  1. The London Gazette: no. 33974. p. 5733. 1 September 1933. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 34129. p. 775. 1 February 1935. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 34173. p. 4012. 21 June 1935. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 35165. p. 2827. 16 May 1941. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35665. p. 3543. 11 August 1942. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37536. p. 1949. 16 April 1946. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 38069. p. 4286. 12 September 1947. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  8. P.P. Kumaramangalam to C. Rajagopalachari, 22 December 1947, in File 82, Fifth Installment, C. Rajagopalachari Papers, NMML.
Military offices
Preceded by
Lt. Gen. T. B. Henderson Brooks
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command
Succeeded by
Lt. Gen. Sam Manekshaw
Preceded by
Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri
Chief of Army Staff
Succeeded by
Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw