Jack Farj Rafael Jacob, a well known Lieutenant General of Indian army who played a vital role in the Indo-Pakistan War, 1971 and in the Liberation of Bangladesh. Though, during the war, he was the Major General. He also fought in the World War II and Indo-Pak war, 1965. Later, he served as the Governor of Goa and Punjab.
Lt Gen Jacob was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) with its roots in Iraq. The Baghdadi Jews settled in Calcutta in the middle of 18th century. Jacob’s father was a very affluent businessman. At the age of nine, after his father became sick and he was sent to a boarding school in Kurseong, Darjeeling. In 1942, he enlisted himself in the British Indian Army after being motivated by the reports of the Holocaust, during World War II.
In 1942, Jacob’s military career started from Officer’s Training School Mhow. He graduated from there and was posted to Iraq. It was anticipated that Germans may attempt to capture the oil fields of Kirkuk. Next year, he was transferred to an Artillery brigade. They were sent off to the North Africa Campaign. Their purpose was to strengthen the British army against Africa Korps of Erwin Rommel. In the Burma Campaign, his unit fought against the Japanese Empire. After winning over the battle, he was sent to Sumatra.
Jacob also attended the artillery schools in England and United States after the World War II. He specialized in advanced artillery and missiles. After the independence, he came back to India and joined the Indian army. In 1963, he was promoted as the Brigadier. In 1967, he became the Major General, and in 1969, the Chief of Staff, Eastern Command.
After 37 years of service, Jacob retired from the military. Jacob said to have repeatedly mentioned his own efforts that led to the success of Bangladesh war rather than Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora or Manekshaw. He had a successful career in the business world. Later, he joined the Bharatiya Janta Party and also served as the security adviser in the late 1990s. He also served as the governor of Goa and Punjab. In his books, Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation and An Odyssey in War and Peace: An Autobiography Lt Gen. J.F.R. Jacob, he penned his experiences of his life in the Army.
In 1998, when Bharatiya Janta Party became the part of the coalition government he was supporter who wanted to improve the India-Israel relations. He also supported the purchase of military equipment from Israel. He had a very positive approach towards India’s economic growth and had high expectations over the capabilities of the young generation in India. He wrote an open letter, where he addressed young generation as his sons and daughters. He never got married but he says, “I see my son and daughter in every young face of this country.”
Illness and Death
At around 8.30 am, on 13 January 2016, Jacob died due to pneumonia. He passed away at New Delhi's Army Research & Referral Hospital. In Delhi's Jewish cemetery, he was laid to rest and his funeral was attended by prominent politicians and military officers.
Narendra Modi: RIP Lt Gen JFR Jacob. India will always remain grateful to him for his impeccable service to the nation at the most crucial moments.
Pranab Mukherjee: His distinguished services to the nation and the Indian Army shall always be remembered
Manohar Parrikar: I will always cherish the memories of working with Lt Gen J F R Jacob during his stint as governor of Goa
Sonia Gandhi: A brave son of India, his role in the Bangladesh liberation war has a special place in the war history of the world
Arun Jaitley: A great Indian soldier, who set exemplary standards of patriotism
(FAN OF Mr. JACK FARJ RAFAEL JACOB)
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