the loss of a mother’s son

On 18 May 1994, five Nepali soldiers serving with the United Nations contingent in Mogadishu were killed by Somali gunmen, and one was later abducted from hospital.

The gurkha with a khukri

But no enemy

Works for the United Nations

And yet gets shot at

In missions he doesn't comprehend

Order is hukum, hukum is life

Johnny Gurkha still dies under foreign skies

He never asks why

Politics isn't his style.

He's fought against all and sundry:

Turks, Tibetans, Italians and Indians

Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and


Loyalty to the utmost

Never fearing a loss.

The loss of a mother's son

From the mountains of Nepal.

Her grandpa died in Burma

For the glory of the British.

Her husband in Mesopotemia,

She knows not against whom

No one did tell her.

Her brother fell in France,

Against the Teutonic hordes.

She prays to Shiva of the Snows for peace

And her son's safety

Her only joy, her only hope

Farming on a terraced slope.

A son who helped wipe her tears

And ease the pain in her mother's heart.

A frugal mother who lives by the seasons

And peers down to the valleys

Year in and year out

In expectation of her soldier son.

A smart gurkha is on the way

Heard from across the hill with a shout

'Tis an officer with his batallion.

A letter with a seal and poker-face

"Your son died on duty," he says

"Keeping peace for the country and the

United Nations."

A world crumbles down

And comes to an end

A lump in the Nepali mother's throat

She cannot utter a word.

Gone is her son,

Her precious jewel.

Her only insurance and sunshine

In the craggy hills.

And with him her dreams

A Spartan life that kills.

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Himal Southasian