Lt-General Jacob Farj Rafael Jacob
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The Times of India, Jan 14 2016
Lt-General Jacob Farj Rafael Jacob (retd), the last surviving general from the trinity which led India to its greatest military victory till now, passed away after prolonged illness at the Army (R&R) Hospital here on Wednesday . He was 92. If the then Army chief General (later Field Marshal) `Sam Bahadur' Manekshaw was the fountainhead of the decisive military war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, the then Eastern Army Command (EAC) chief Lt-Gen Jagjit Singh `Jaggi' Aurora was the executor of the daring `dash for Dhaka' strategy .
`JFR' Jacob, then a majorgeneral, was Lt-Gen Aurora's right-hand man as the chief of staff of the Kolkata-based EAC. Jacob is credited with the “war of movement“ plan, which aimed to capture all of the then East Pakistan by directly reaching Dhaka through secondary routes, avoiding the towns in between.
The objective was achieved in just 13 days, and led to the famous surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troops commanded by General A A K `Tiger' Niazi in Dhaka on December 16, before the UN or US forces could intervene.
Jacob, who had reached Dhaka ahead of the main Indian forces, gave Niazi just 30 minutes to decide on the draft unconditional surren der document he was carrying. Niazi promptly accepted the conditions. As Sam, Jaggi and JFR became national heroes, Radio Pakistan broadcast that India had handpicked a Jew in Jacob to humiliate the Muslim world.
In later years, Jacob created a controversy of sorts by claiming he was the main architect of India's victory in the 1971 war.
Born in a Baghdadi Jew household in Kolkata in 1923, Jacob joined the British Indian Army “to fight the Nazis“ in 1942, serving in northern Iraq, north Africa, Burma and Sumatra. After World War II, he graduated from artillery schools in England and the US. After he retired from the Army in 1978, he served as the governor of first Goa and then Punjab.
Condoling Jacob's demise, President Pranab Mukherjee said, “I am sad to learn about the passing away of Lt General JFR Jacob. He served the Indian Army with distinction for more than three decades.He played a key role in India's victory in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 and the liberation of Bangladesh. His distinguished services to the nation and the Indian Army shall always be remembered.“
PM Modi said India would remain grateful to him for his “impeccable service“ to the nation. Congress President Sonia Gandhi hailed Jacob as a “brave son“ of India, who has a special place in history for his sterling role in the 1971 war.
Lt-General Jacob Farj Rafael Jacob (retd), the last surviving general from the trinity which led India to its greatest military victory till now, passed away after prolonged illness at the Army (R&R) Hospital in Jan 2016. He was 92.