Dukha during the world war

Laxuman Gurung was awarded the Victoria Cross for his performance in the Burma Front in 1945. He lost his right arm and much of his hearing during the medal-winning action. Last year, he was asked by Gorkha Sainik Awaj, a magazine representing the interests of former and serving soldiers, how many people he had recommended for the army. The pensioner replied: "I joined a foreign army; was involved in a war and lost my arm. I could have died but with luck I lived. Many of my friends died in the war, some froze to death, many were blinded when engaged in war in the high Himalaya. Anybody who sends an able young person to the army to experience all that dukha is guilty of paap. I cannot do such paap. I cannot recommend anybody to join the army."

The genre of celebratory writing is exemplified by B.M. Niven's 1987 coffee-table book, The Mountain Kingdom: Portraits of Nepal and the Gurkhas. Niven, himself a Gurkha officer, wrote: "Even terribly wounded [Gurkhas] cling on and their tough bodies and harsh upbringing enable them to endure. The job in hand and the name of the regiment are everything…. Death and the threat of it, they are used to by their very upbringing and so they do not hold back at the prospect of death or of danger that may precede death. Discomfort, they are inured to from childhood and so at war the prospect of being out in, and at the mercy of, the elements, does not in any way inhibit them."

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Himal Southasian