She had never been more than a few miles from her mountain village when she was brought down and taken to Nowshera to be given her husband’s medal. The ceremony was held in the old polo grounds on the banks of the Kabul River, a rectangle of green turf surrounded by trees. The troops were formed up on the three sides of a hollow square, on the fourth side was a saluting based and an enclosure for spectators. Field Marshal Viscount Wavell, viceroy of India, had come to present the medal to Naik Agansing Rai and to Namasara Thapini. The pipes and the band played. The viceroy inspected the troops and then presented the medals. Brigadier N. Eustrace, D.S.O. formerly of the 6th Gurkhas, stood beside the widow as her escort and translator. Then the troops marched past, vigorous young men from the hills such as her husband had commanded, and it was over.
Agansing Rai was beseiged by reporters. What had been his feelings during battle? What had been his thoughts? Rai shrugged and grinned. “I’ m sorry, I forget,” he said. No one asked Namasara what she felt as she stood in this alien place with her dead husband’s medal in her hand.
The long trip to and from Nowshera must have been alarming, perhaps frightening. The grand personages whom she met must have meant little to her. And what did she make of the medal on its red ribbon? In photographs taken of her holding it, still in its little box, her face seems impassive. The medal itself is neither gold nor silver but of bronze from Russian guns captured in Sevastopol in a war she had never heard of. And what became of her? No one ever thought it worthwhile to climb into the mountains northwest of Kathmandu. where the Magars live, to find out.
– from A History of the Finest Infantrymen in the World — The Gurkhas by Byron Farwell. Namasara Thapini was the wife of Subedar Netra Bahadur Thapa, of the 2/5th Gurkha Rifles, who received a posthumous Victoria Cross.