JFR Jacob

Bangladesh War Hero, General J.F.R Jacob

Lieutenant General J.F.R. Jacob was a pre-eminent Indian Army Officer from 7thJune, 1942 to 31st July, 1978. In the war of 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War, his role was very significant in making Bangladesh. Just after this war, he became Major General in which he served Chief of staff eastern command.

During this period which is 36 years long, he had fought two wars- World War II and Indo-Pakistani War in 1965. However, after these efficacious years, he also assisted as the Governor of one Indian State and one UT- Punjab and Goa.

The early life of JFR Jacob

Jack Farj Rafael Jacob is a well-known personality for participation in various movements. Jacob was born in Calcutta; it is called Kolkata now. His family is Baghdadi Jews from Israel but came to India in the mid of the 18th century. His father’s name is Elias Emanuel, who was a very famous businessman. When his father got sick, he was sent to Victoria School in Darjeeling.

It is a boarding college in Kurseongurban. However, from that time, he only comes home on Holidays. When he was in school, he was very much motivated by the intelligence of the Holocaust of European Jews during World War II. Because of this, he enlisted his name in the British Indian Army in 1942 by the name Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob.

Role in World War II

When he joined the Army, he was just 18 years old. At that age, he fought against the Nazis. However, this move was strongly objected by his father, but later he accepted his son’s decision. J.R.F Jacob had graduated from Officer Training School Mhow in 1942.

After that, he fought World War II from various regions like North America, Burma, Sumatra, etc. Moreover, when the war was over, he had gone to do graduation and specialized training from England and the USA in artillery and missiles.

Military Career

In the year 1942, he has done his graduation from Officer’s Training School in Mhow. Right after that, he received a designation of Lieutenant on 7 June.

J F R Jacob
J F R Jacob 1921 - 2016

That time he was posted in Northern Iraq to seize the oil field of Kirkuk. With this success, on 7 December, he got the designation of war-substantive Lieutenant.

General Jacob has served the Indian Army for 36 years. After that, Jacob was posted to the artillery brigade in the year 1943; and just after that, he was moved to the Tunisia region to strengthen the British Army against Field Marshall named Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

After the successful win, the brigade had arrived after the Axis Surrender.

When the war started till its end, Jacob Unit had fought against Burma region with the Empire of Japan.

When he won this war, he was assigned to Sumatra. After all these successful years, he was granted a permanent commission as Lieutenant on 27 October 1945. 

After completing artillery training from England and the USA, he joined the Indian Army. In the year 1964, he was given command of artillery brigade on the rank of Brigadier.

Moreover, he had commanded the infantry division by which he became the 12th Infantry division only in Rajasthan. On 17 January 1966, he got the designation of Brigadier and called an infantry brigade on 30 September.

The superior officer of Jacob liked the way he worked; that is why on 2 October 1967, he got the rank of Major General and got the command of an infantry division. Furthermore, again in the year 1968, he got a substantive position. After all the above successful stories, he became the chief of staff of Eastern command in the year 1969 by the hands of Sam Manekshaw.

Dates of rank



Date of rank

Second Lieutenant

British Indian Army

7 June 1942 (emergency)
7 December 1943 (substantive)


British Indian Army

7 December 1942 (war-substantive)
27 October 1945 (substantive; regular commission)


British Indian Army

2 February 1945 (acting)
2 May 1945 (temporary)
20 July 1946 (war-substantive)


British Indian Army

20 April 1946 (acting)
20 July 1946 (temporary)


Indian Army

15 August 1947


Indian Army



Indian Army

26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)


Indian Army

7 June 1955


Indian Army

7 June 1958


Indian Army

23 December 1964


Indian Army

20 May 1964 (acting)
17 January 1966 (substantive)

Major General

Indian Army

2 October 1967 (acting)
10 June 1968 (substantive)


Indian Army

17 June 1972 (acting)
5 August 1973 (substantive)

Role in the Bangladesh War

During his stint, while serving as the chief of staff of Eastern command, Jacob gained significant prominence. In the year 1971, he defeated the Pakistan Army in the eastern region. Everyone highly recommended his role in this war because of which he got commendation of merit. In the year 1971, the Pakistan army has started operation searchlight to fight against the Bengal Nationalist movement.

Because of this operation, around 10,000 refugees entered India, which had created considerable tension between India and Pakistan. To handle this, Jacob was assigned as the chief of staff to draw the contingency plans. So, after consulting his superior officers, Jacob made a plan to engage Pakistan in this war of movement.

This plan was first offered to the Eastern Command, which involved an intrusion in East Pakistan with the capture of the two provinces Chittagong and Khulna, by superior Officer Manekshaw. On the other hand, various senior Indian Army officers were very reluctant to implement a violent invasion due to doubts of early ceasefire demands by the UN and a danger modeled by China.

On the other hand, others believed that they are not able to navigate the marshy terrain of east Pakistan just because of three full rivers. To this statement, Jacob disagreed as he aimed to capture the whole of East Pakistan. Now he thought to capture Dhaka, the geopolitical center of that region, to win the war.

He then selectively bypassed the Pakistani forces, their communication center, and various other controlled capabilities. He thought that this plan would be executed in between three weeks, but he had completed within a fortnight. Jacob well understood that the war of protracted would not be in India’s favor; that’s why he had taken permission to reach Niazi so that he can quickly seek his surrender.

He then flew to Dhaka and got Niazi under his control. This war was the significant victory of India in which around 90,000 Pakistani Soldiers surrendered. In an interview, he stated that he had gone to Dhaka without any arms, with only one staff officer just carrying a draft of the surrender document.

He handed over that draft to Pakistani Army Commander Lt General A.A.K. Niazi, which is called unconditional surrender. After that, Jacob delivered 30 minutes to Niazi to decide. He then accepted the conditions. In a study by Pakistan National Defense College, they stated that this whole scenario’s credit goes to General Jacob.

general jacob
General JFR Jacob celebrating Chanukah in his home

Later military career and retirement

After this, Jacob was promoted to corps commander on 17 June 1972. Again on 5 August 1973, he got the designation of substantive Lieutenant general. Finally, before his retirement, he was promoted to GOC-in-C eastern command from 1974 to 1978.

After retirement life

Just after the retirement on 31st July 1978, he entered in the business sector. But in the late 1990s, he entered into political line and became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, where he served as a Security Advisor. After that, in the year 1998, he became the Governor of Goa and then the Governor of Punjab from1999 to 2003.

9th Governor of Goa

19 April 1998 – 26 November 1999

Appointed by

President of India (then, K. R. Narayanan)


K. R. Narayanan (1999–2002)
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (2002–2003)

Prime Minister

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Chief Minister

Pratapsingh Rane (1998)
LuizinhoFaleiro (1998–1999)
Francisco Sardinha (1999)

Preceded by

T. R. Satish Chandran

Succeeded by

Mohammed Fazal

29th Governor of Punjab

27 November 1999 – 8 May 2003

Appointed by

President of India (then, K. R. Narayanan)


K. R. Narayanan

Prime Minister

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Chief Minister

Parkash Singh Badal

Preceded by

B. K. N. Chhibber

Succeeded by

O. P. Verma

After becoming the Governors of one state and UT, he had penned down his experience in the Army. Its name is Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a nation and another book called An Odyssey in War and Peace: An Autobiography Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob.

Later life

Jacob is from Israel by birth but served in India because his ancestors migrated to India in the 18th century. That’s why even now, the Israel community called him a Jewish war hero. However, he was the only person in the dying Jewish community in India itself as the population is significantly less, which is just around 5000. General Jacob loves to read. He was a writer and also a good orator.

Through his speech, he quickly attracted anyone. After his death, his home in the national Capital called New Delhi became the pilgrimage site for Jewish communities from all over the nation.

Ammunition Hill Wall of Honor

J. F. R. Jacob was one of the leading and most protruding members of the Indian Army and the minor Jewish community. After serving in Army for 36 years, he became the Governor of Punjab province and Union Territory Goa.

On the other hand, he fought for the nation, which is an inspiration for the youth. This honor, called the Wall of Honor at the Ammunition Hill, was offered to those individuals who laid their life with great bravery and courage in favor of their nation.


On 13 January 2016, he died due to Pneumonia in New Delhi at Army Research and Referral Hospital. He was laid to rest at Jewish Cemetery at Humayun Tomb. Many political leaders attended his funeral. Overall, you can say that this man has shown real courage in various wars on the fight against Pakistan, and the truth is he is a real hero.

Just after the retirement on 31st July 1978, he entered in the business sector. But in the late 1990s, he entered into the political line and became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, where he served as a Security Advisory. After that, in the year 1998, he became the Governor of Goa and then the Governor of Punjab from 1999 to 2003.

2 thoughts on “Bangladesh War Hero, General J.F.R Jacob”

  1. I have not checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

    1. yuval.bloomberg

      thanks! appreciated.
      Please let me know if there are topics that you find interesting and if it’s relevant for the website, I will add it to my content list

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