Thursday, January 14, 2016

RIP Lt Gen JFR Jacob - A Snippet from his Autobiography

General JFR Jacob, who was one of the important architects of our victory in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, passed away to his heavenly abode yesterday (13 Jan 2016)  

A few years ago I reading the Autobiography of Lt Gen JFR Jacob titled: AN ODYSSEY IN WAR AND PEACE  (published in 2011).

General Jacob was a superb raconteur who wrote with remarkable candour and has written a most engrossing and insightful book.

The book is interspersed with the author’s candid views and astute observations, most of which seem most relevant even today.

I earlier times, I would have written and posted a detailed book review of this fascinating autobiography, but I have realized that today’s “multitasking” reader has a very short span of attention, and many of my readers have told me that they read my blogs on their smart-phones while “on the move”.

So, I think it is best if I give you a small snippet from “An Odyssey in War and Peace”, which will give you the flavour of the book, and give you an idea into the character of this distinguished military personality.

Here is an extract from page 44 of An Odyssey in War and Peace pertaining to his experience while attending the Advanced Artillery and Missile Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Bliss, Texas, in the US in 1959:

“I had perforce to study hard on the course as weekly mark-sheets were displayed for all to see. 

My final percentage results were well into the nineties. 

There was much explaining to do on my return to India on one of the remarks on my course report: ‘An Aggressive Officer’. 

(In the US Army) this was meant to be a compliment but the military hierarchy in India took ‘aggressive’ to mean ‘quarrelsome’

I had found that the Indian military hierarchy was more interested in compliant malleability rather than an aggressive outlook

Unfortunately, this attitude continues to obtain in the armed forces today: initiative on the part of junior officers is not appreciated by their seniors.”

Spot on, isn’t it?

Tell me, which do you think is a better Military OLQ (Officer Like Quality) – a proactive risk-taking “aggressive” outlook or a docile “play safe” attitude with a clear your yardarm” mindset?

RIP General JFR Jacob
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