Wednesday, January 13, 2016, Poush 30, 1422 BS, Rabius Sani 1, 1437 Hijri

1971 war hero general Jacob dies
Observer Online Desk
Published :Wednesday, 13 January, 2016,  Time : 1:55 PM  View Count : 92
Lieutenant General JFR Jacob, one of the heroes of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, is no more.

He died at Delhi's R&R Military Hospital early on Wednesday.

His personal aide Kim Bahadur told that Jacob was admitted to the hospital on Jan 1 with severe pneumonia.

"Sir (Jacob) also suffered dementia and other old age complications, but he was high on spirits. He died like a soldier, smiling before he lost consciousness.”

His books ‘Surrender at Dacca’ and ‘An Odyssey in War and Peace’ brings alive the lightning military campaign that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

It is well known in military circles that Indian army chief General SHFJ Manekshaw did not have much faith in the eastern army commander Lt Gen JS Aurora.

It was left to his chief of staff Lt Gen JFR Jacob to plan the campaign.

Jacob was instrumental in forcing a revision of the initial Indian war plans, which envisaged capturing a large part of East Pakistan to set up the Provisional Government of Bangladesh.

"It was Jacob who pushed for a dash for Dhaka to create a new country. He said Indian politicians won’t be able to hold territory against global pressure as had happened in 1965," says former rear-admiral Bimalendu Guha, who was deputy chief of India's eastern fleet in 1971.

When Manekshaw told him that the Pakistanis still had more than 30,000 troops to defend Dhaka and US naval intervention was imminent, Jacob said, "I will blackmail Abdullah (Niazi) into surrendering. He is my contemporary and I know he is a coward."

Jacob is said to have told Niazi that surrendering to the Indian army would ensure his men and officers would return home.

"Or else the Bengalis would finish each one of them," he said.

Born in 1923, Jacob hailed from a family of Baghdadi Jews in Calcutta.

He joined the British army in 1942 and fought against Rommel's Afrika Korps in the North African desert.

He commanded the 12th Indian infantry before Maneckshaw appointed him chief of staff at Eastern army.

He played a key role in counter-insurgency operations in Northeast before playing a stellar role in the liberation of Bangladesh.

He received Commendation of Merit and Param Vishist Seva Medal.

In 2012, the Bangladesh government honoured him for his contributions to the 1971 Liberation War.

After retirement, he joined the BJP and remained for long the party's security adviser.

He also served as the Governor for the Indian states of Goa and Punjab.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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