Pakistani forces responded ferociously, massacring between 500,000 and 3 million people and committing atrocities and war crimes. Jacob flew to Pakistan, unarmed and with only one staff officer, and presented the Pakistani general with a choice of his own devising: surrender unconditionally and in public, and receive Indian army protection for his retreat – or continue fighting and face India’s full military might.
10 million desperate refugees fled into India, which then declared war on Pakistan. (Jacob’s position was a bluff: facing 93,000 Pakistani troops, he commanded only 3,000 Indian troops, and they were 30 miles away.) Jacob gave Gen.
To this day, the Jewish community keeps a set of thousand-year-old engraved copper plates record the welcome extended by the local prince to one Joseph Raban, a Jew who settled in the area.
When the Jewish community was threatened by attacks from South Arabian and Portuguese invaders in the 1400s, the maharajah in the nearby town of Cochin invited them to settle and even build their synagogue next to the town’s Hindu temple.
Esther Abrahams was crowned the first Miss India in 1947, and later went on to become one of the earliest movie stars under the stage name Pramila.