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About Gurkhas

The Gurkhas

  • “Bravest of the the Brave ,most generous of generous , never had a country more faithful friends than you.Sir Ralph Turner MC,3rd Queen Alexander’s Own Gurkha Rifles .1931
  • Better dead than a live coward . Gurkha prove.
  • The name “Gurkha ” comes from the hill town of the gorkha from which the Nepalese kingdom had expanded.
  • If there was a minute’s silence for every gurkha causalty from world war || alone ,we would have to keep quiet for two weeks.”Gurkha welfare trust.
  • Former chief of staff of the Indian Army field Marshal sam Maneskshaw once famously said about Gurkhas :(If a man is not afraid of dying than he is either lying or he is Gurkha.)
  • Fearsome Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years, but who are these Nepalese fighters?

Title taken from “gurkha”,also known as “gorkhali”. Other name for valor, courage, steadfastness, loyalty, neutrality and impartiality come from the small principality of Gurkha, which by the middle of the 18th century had conquered most 
of what is today known as Nepal. Prithivi Narayan Shah the king of Gorkha and his successors became so powerful that they overran the whole of the hill country from the border of Kashmir to the east of Bhutan. Turning south, they began to raid into Much of the question has been answered in reference to the Khukuri because without one the other is nothing. The appellation Gurkha by now the the territories of Britain’s Honorable East India Company. This was a situation that could not be tolerated by “John Company”, which declared war against the Gurkhas in 1814. There followed a series of bloody campaigns until a peace treaty was signed in the spring of 1816. The British, after seeing how bravely these small statured Gorkhalis fought and also with the possession of most of the quality that makes an ideal infantrymen, they made a provision in the treaty to recruit them in the British Army as the Brigade of Gurkhas. Since then many Nepalese, mostly the Rai’s , Limbus, Gurungs and Magar have served and still serve in the British Army. Their courage, sincerity and loyalty have won them praise and friendship from their counterparts and fear and respect from their enemies. For their valor, many Gurkha soldiers have been decorated with medals of honor, including the Victoria Cross, the highest military honors for bravery in the British Army.

The Gurkhas History

Gurkhas claim descent from the Hindu Rajputs and Brahmins of Northern India, who entered modern Nepal from the west. Guru Gorkhanath had a Rajput Prince-disciple, the legendary Bappa Rawal, born Prince Kalbhoj/Prince Shailadhish, founder of the Royal house of Mewar, who became the first Gurkha and is said to be the ancestor of the Royal family of Nepal.

The majority of the early Gurkhas were from the Thakuri/Rajput (which includes the Shah dynasty and Rana dynasty of Nepal), Chetri and Brahmin ethnic groups, whereas the modern Gurkha soldiers are mainly from the Limbu, Rai, Gurung and Magar ethnic groups. They joined the Gurkhas during 17th century expansion of the Gurkha kingdom.[4] However, even today the Thakuris and Chetris make up the majority of Gurkha officers in Nepal, while the backbone of the Gurkha army is mainly Limbu, Rai, Gurung and Magar people, this combination of warriors from different ethnic groups made the Gurkhas a dominant military force in the history of the Indian subcontinent since the 18th century.

Sri Panch (5) Maharaja Dhiraj Prthivi Narayan Shahdev

 The legend states that Bappa Rawal was a teenager in hiding, when he came upon the warrior saint while on a hunting expedition with friends in the jungles of Rajasthan. Bappa Rawal chose to stay behind, and care for the warrior saint, who was in deep meditation. When Guru Gorkhanath awoke, he was pleased with the devotion of Bappa Rawal. The Guru gave him the Kukri (Khukuri) knife, the famous curved blade of the present day Gurkhas.The legend continues that he told Bappa that he and his people would henceforth be called Gurkhas, the disciples of the Guru Gorkhanath, and their bravery would become world famous. He then instructed Bappa Rawal, and his Gurkhas to stop the advance of the Muslims, who were invading Afghanistan (which at that time was a Hindu/Buddhist nation). Bappa Rawal took his Gurkhas and liberated Afghanistan — originally named Gandhara, from which the present day Kandahar derives its name. He and his Gurkhas stopped the initial Islamic advance of the 8th century in the Indian subcontinent. 

In the Gurkha War (1814–1816) they waged war against the British East India Company army. The British were impressed by the Gurkha soldiers and after reaching a stalemate with the Gurkhas made Nepal a protectorate.Much later, they were granted the right to freely hire them as mercenaries from the interior of Nepal (as opposed to the early British Gurkha mercenaries who were hired from areas such as Assam (i.e., the Sirmoor Rifles) and were then organised in Gurkha regiments in the East India Company army with the permission of then prime minister, Shree Teen (3) Maharaja (Maharana) Jung Bahadur Rana, the first Rana Prime-minister who initiated a Rana oligarchic rule in Nepal. Jung Bahadur was the grandson of the famous Nepalese hero and Prime minister Bhimsen Thapa. Originally Jung Bahadur and his brother Ranodip Singh brought a lot of modernisation to Nepalese society, the abolition of slavery, undermining of taboos regarding the untouchable class, public access to education, etc. But these dreams were short lived when in the coup d'état of 1885 the nephews of Jung Bahadur and Ranodip Singh (the Shumshers J.B., S.J.B. or Satra (17) Family) murdered Ranadip Singh and the sons of Jung Bahadur, stole the name of Jung Bahadur and took control of Nepal.This "Shumsher" Rana rule is regarded by some as one of the reasons for Nepal lagging behind in modern development. The children of Jung Bahadur and Ranadip Singh lived mainly outside of Kathmandu, in Nepal, and in India after escaping the coup d'état of 1885.

Sri Teen (3) Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana

The "original" Gurkhas who were descended from the Rajputs (Thakuri and Chetri) refused to enter as soldiers and were instead given positions as officers in the British-Indian armed forces. The non-Kashaktriya Gurkhas entered as soldiers (i.e., Magar, Gurung). The 

Thakur/Rajput Gurkhas were entered as officers, one of whom, (retired) General Narendra Bahadur Singh, Gurkha Rifles, great grandson of Jung Bahadur, while a young captain, rose to become aide-de-camp (A.D.C.) to Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of India. 

The Gurkha soldier recruits were mainly drawn from several ethnic groups. When the British began recruiting from the interior of Nepal these soldiers were mainly drawn from Magar, Gurung, Rai and Limbu, although earlier British Gurkhas included Garhwalis, Kumaonis, Assamese and others as well.

 After the British left India, Gorkhalis continued seeking employment in British and Indian forces, as officers and soldiers. Under international law, present-day British Gurkhas are not treated as mercenaries but are fully integrated soldiers of the British Army, operate in formed units of the Brigade of Gurkhas, and abide by the rules and regulations under which all British soldiers serve.

The Gurkha war cry is "Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali" which literally translates to "Glory be to the Goddess of War, here come the Gorkhas!" 

List of Brigade Gurkhas Rifles.

Royal Gurkha Rifles
2nd King Edward VII Gurkha Rifles
6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles.
10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.
Queen’s Gurkha Engineer (QGE)
Queen’s Gurkha Signal (QGS)
Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (QOGLR)

In the First World War, wrote of Gurkhas: 

 As I write these last words, my thoughts return to you who were my comrades, the stubborn and indomitable peasants of Nepal. Once more I hear the laughter with which you greeted every hardship. Once more I see you in your bivouacs or about your fires, on forced march or in the trenches, now shivering with wet and cold, now scorched by a pitiless and burning sun. Uncomplaining you endure hunger and thirst and wounds; and at the last your unwavering lines disappear into the smoke and wrath of battle. Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you.