Ties That Bind: Gurkhas In History

Nepal has the dubious distinction of being a nation that has existed in peace for over a century, but whose citizens have girdled the globe fighting in the two Great Wars of the twentieth century, and in virtually every military confrontation to which either India or Britain has been party.

Indeed, it is the Gurkhas' service in foreign armies for more than 170 years on which the Gurkha legend was born. But what lie behind the "stuff" of legend are men and women with lives and circumstances rooted in the Nepali hills. For hundreds and thousands of these hill people, the tenure in foreign armies was and remains the chief means to a livelihood and, often, a better life. It has provided generations of youth prestige in their own societies and exposure to the outside world.

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Himal Southasian