92-year-old Lt Gen Jack Farj Rafael Jacob passed away on Wednesday, in New Delhi’s Army Hospital. He was suffering from pneumonia and had been admitted on January 1.
A renowned Indian Army officer who was best known for his role in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, JFR Jacob will always be remembered for his immense courage.
JFR Jacob was born to a Jewish family based in Calcutta in 1923. His family was originally from Iraq and they had settled in Calcutta in the 18th Century. He had no family members in Delhi at the time of his death, and his body will be kept in the hospital’s research and referral (R&R) unit until 1 pm today. After that it will then be sent to Brar Square in Delhi cantonment. According to reports, the last rites will take place at the Jewish cemetery on Humayun Road.
After the Holocaust of European Jews during World War II, JFR Jacob got very motivated and joined the British Indian Army in 1942. Later, he graduated from artillery school in United States and returned to India to join the Army once again.
He was promoted to the post of Major General in 1967 and was then appointed the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command, which defeated the Pakistan Army during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
He devised a ‘war of movement’ strategy for the 1971 war, in which he planned to reach Dhaka using secondary routes after neutralizing Pakistan’s command and communication infrastructure. On December 16, 1971, he flew to Dhaka to persuade the Pakistani Army commander in the then East Pakistan, Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, to surrender along with 93,000 soldiers. This extraordinary feat led to the end of the war. There were more than 26,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka and only 3,000 Indian soldiers in the immediate area.
After 37 years of service, he retired from the military in 1978. Later, he also served as the Governor of Goa and Punjab. His autobiography, An Odyssey in War and Peace, became a bestseller.
“I am proud to be a Jew, but am Indian through and through,” he had told journalist Aimee Ginsburg in 2012.
Condolences for Lt Gen JFR Jacob poured in from all across the country:
RIP Lt Gen JFR Jacob. India will always remain grateful to him for his impeccable service to the nation at the most crucial moments.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 13, 2016
Condolences on the passing away of Lt Gen JFR Jacob, a true patriot and an inspiration to one and all. RIP pic.twitter.com/U0PPPVdRR9
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) January 13, 2016
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) January 13, 2016
In this iconic photo of Pak’s formal surrender in 1971, that’s Lt Gen JFR Jacob to the right, craning his neck. RIP. pic.twitter.com/K2j8liK3kr
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) January 13, 2016