Lt. General JFR Jacob tells Forbes India that he does not regret being the unsung hero of the 1971 India-Pakistan War over Bangladesh.
By: K.P. Narayana Kumar/ Forbes India
Lt. General JFR Jacob tells Forbes India that he does not regret being the unsung hero of the 1971 India-Pakistan War over Bangladesh
Lt. General J.F.R. Jacob
Profile: Headed the Eastern Command during the 1971 operations. Later, he was appointed governor to Goa and Punjab.
Education: Victoria School in Kurseong near Darjeeling.
Career: Enlisted in the Indian Army at 18, and saw action in World War II and the 1965 war against Pakistan. He was Chief of Staff of Eastern Command during the 1971 operations. Also served as governor in Goa and Punjab.
Interests: Reading war history, collecting antiques and artefacts.
In all these years, your role in the 1971 operations [in the India-Pakistan War] seems to have remained understated. Why was this?
I did my duty. I was given a task, I did it. The limelight was hogged by others.But people kept persuading me that I must write the truth. So I waited for 35 years before coming out with my first book: Surrender at Dacca.
I gave copies of that book to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Lt. General J.S. Aurora when both of them were alive and healthy. [Both of them were top officials at the time]. Neither of them sent any rejoinder.
What is your assessment of Sam Manekshaw?
I have the highest regard for him. He stood up for the izzat or prestige of the army...Regarding the operation, his vision and mine were different. Manekshaw was being pushed by the government to move to Bangladesh in April. He was pushing me. I refused and gave him good reasons. He had asked for a brief and it was my brief that was read out to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
We had said Dhaka [should be taken first] but he [Manekshaw] said Dhaka was not important and wanted to take the entry ports. But I disagreed violently. Dhaka is the centre of gravity and in war you go for the centre of gravity. Manekshaw sent us an order that
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