J F R Jacob, Army
J.F.R.Jacob, Jacob Farj Rapheal, was born in 1923 in Calcutta. His family, who were deeply religious, settled in Calcutta in the mid-eighteenth century. His father, Elias Emanuel was an affluent businessman. When he became unwell, Jacob was sent to Victoria School, near Kurseong, at the age of nine. Motivated by reports of the Holocaust, Jacob enlisted in the British Indian army in 1942. In a 2012 feature in the Times of Israel, entitled A Jewish General, and the last vestige of a dying Indian community(see http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-jewish-war-hero-and-the-last-vestige-of-a-dying-indian-community/) he said, "I am proud to be a Jew, but am Indian through and through."
After World War II, Jacob he graduated from artillery schools in England and the United States, specializing in advanced artillery and missiles. He returned to India following the partition, and joined the Indian Army. He was promoted to Brigadier in 1963. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he commanded an infantry division and he composed an Indian Army manual on desert warfare.
Jacob was promoted to Major General in 1967. In 1969, he was appointed Chief of Staff, Eastern Command, by General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw. He retired as the Indian Army Lieutenant General in July 1978. He is most famous for the critical role that he played in India’s victory in the Indo Pakistan War of 1971 and the liberation of Bangladesh. Jacob served as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command. He documents this war and his role in Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation.
In the late 1990’s he joined the Bharatiya Janata party and then served as the Governor of the Indian states of Goa and Punjab. He help facilitate ties with Israel.
His most recent book was Odyssey in War and Peace: An Autobiography Lt Gen. J.F.R. Jacob.
He was popularly known as “Jake” and has been called “The Patton of the Indian Army.”
An article by Madhuri Sondhi on General Jacob which includes information about his being considered for Vice President of India can be found here: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/general-with-admirable-qualities.html. A separate article was published by Pioneer in 2002 but is no longer available online. However, the article above mentions General Jacob and his contributions and refers to the article in Pioneer 2002 where he was being discussed as a good candidate for the Vice President of India. In 2012, the Times of Israel published a report on the General
General Jacob passed away on January 13th in Delhi at the age of 92 (1923 - 2016) His heroism and service to the nation were lauded in the media in India and abroad.
In 2017 a docudrama was made on the events of the 1971 war. The film titled 'Mukti' has Milind Soman in the lead portraying the role of General Jacob. You can watch it here.
Memorial Accolades and Media Relating to JFR Jacob's passing away
Among the many tributes were the following:
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister: "RIP General JFR Jacob. India will always remain grateful to him for his impeccable service to the nation at the most crucial moments."
Pranab Mukherjee, President: " His distinguished services to the nation and the Indian army shall be remembered."
Manohar Parikar: "I will always cherish the memories of working Lt Gen JFR 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 exemplary standards of patriotism."
Shekikh Hasina, Bangladesh Prime Minister: "The nation with profound respect would remember his contribution to our Liberation War forever."
Abdul Hamid, Bangladesh President: Bangladesh has lost a genuine friend.
Daneil Carmon, Israel Ambassador: "A proud son of the Jewish community of India...supporter of India Israeli relations...He shall forever be remembered as a bridge between our people."
His funeral was attended by all the leading political and army dignitaries and ambassadors from many countries. Tributes poured in from around the world. His death marks the passing away of an era - he is the last Bagdadi Jew of national and international significance who left an imprint on Jewish Asia. Today, there are 19 Bagdadi Jews in Calcutta, where he came from. Most are very old.
An article written by Jael Silliman, 'Rest in Peace Uncle Jackie: Personal Reflection on the passing of Lt. General JFR Jacob' that appeared in Asian Jewish Life, a journal of Spirit, Society and Culture, Hong Kong, issue 17, 2016. You can read it here: http://asianjewishlife.org/pages/articles/AJL_Issue17_Winter2016/AJL_Issue17_Rest-in-Peace-Uncle-Jackie.html
On the ocassion of his passing away, several eminent personalities like Shekhar Gupta and MP Tarun Vijay have written about the great man who was also a national hero. Both speak about the General Jacob's indelible contribution to the 1971 victory in the liberation of Bangladesh. You can find the articles here: 1. http://www.rediff.com/news/column/jacko-your-reward-will-be-in-heaven/20160114.htm 2. http://www.rediff.com/news/column/general-jake-one-of-the-greatest-indians-ive-known/20160116.htm
Another article in his memory can be found here.
In August, 2017, digital magazine Tablet ran an article The Day a Jewish General Invented a Muslim Country. You can find it here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/242674/jewish-general-invented-a-muslim-country