November 26, 2016


[After the Anglo-Nepal War, the British recognised that the Gorkhas were a great fighting people, if befriended, could be as much a source of strength for the Indian government as they could be a cause of danger, if alienated.  General David Ochterlony who was involved in the battle fronts of the Anglo-Nepal War had suggested recruiting the Gorkhalis on the ground that the Company's sepoys, then Hindustanis, could never be brought to resist the shocks of these energetic mountaineers on their own grounds.]

Prof. Vidya Bir Singh Kansakar

Historical Background

Kul Bir Thapa The 1st Ever Gurkha VC
The history of recruitment of the Nepalese hill people, or Gorkhalis as mercenaries in the foreign armies is associated with the Anglo-Nepal War of 1814 when the British East India Company, for the first time, had to engage in the mountain warfare and had to face the gallant Gorkhalis well trained in the mountain warfare to revolt against Nepal and blockading Nepal's army supply in the western sector, the British eventually succeeded in defeating the Gorkhalis.

After the fall of Malaun fort under Kazi Amar Singh Thapa in the hand of the British, Major General David Octerlony compelled Amar Singh Thapa to enter into convention or agreement on 15 May 1815. According to the fifth provision of the agreement, the British secured the right to recruit Nepalese into the British army:

"All the troops in the service of Nepal, with the exceptions of those granted to the personal honour of the Kajees Amar Singh and Ranjor Singh, will be at liberty to enter into the service of the British government, if it is agreeable to themselves and the British government choose to accept their services, and those who are not employed will be maintained on a specific allowance by the British government till peace is concluded between the two states."

Before the end of Anglo-Nepal War Lieutenant Frederick Young, while moving with irregular force of 2,000 men to intercept and drive back a column of 200 Gorkhalis moving westward towards Jaithak, was left forlorn in the battlefield by the irregulars when the Gorkhalis suddenly attacked them.  Though Young was made prisoner of the Gorkhalis, they very much appreciated the courage of Young.  They not only treated him like friend but also taught him their language.  After his release Young gathered 3,000 Gorkhalis among the prisoners of war in Dehra Doon who were willing to serve the British army.  From these men Sirmoor Battalion was found.  By the time the war in the west ended in 1815, about 4,650 soldiers of the Gorkhali army had deserted and sought service with the Company in response to the invitations of the British commanders.  From among these Gorkhalis another regiment of two battalions was raised at Subathu, near Simla, called the Nasiri Regiment, and a third at Almora, the Kumaon Levy.

Sensing the resistance offered by the Gorkhali army to the British, Sikh King Ranjit Singh tried to recruit Gorkhalis in the Khalsa (Sikh) army.  He sent Shiva Dat Rai (Amar Singh Thapa's old mentor living in Sikh territories) as agent to entice the 2nd Nasiri Battalion to forsake the Company's service for his own.  This particular design was unsuccessful despite his offer of high pay; but Nepali mercenaries did enter his army in increasing number as time went on and they even included Bal Bhadra Kunwar (Bal Bahadur Singh), the hero of Kalanga fort. 

The large scale recruitment of Nepalese in the Sikh army had been the result of a special treaty between Nepal government and Khalsa (Sikh) government in 1839 regarding the recruitment of Nepalese hill people in Sikh army.  The Nepali mercenaries went to Lahore to join Ranjit Singh's army and since them the Nepalis mercenaries serving foreign armies are called "Lahure" (one who goes to Lahore).  During the Anglo-Sikh War of 1846 the British Gurkhas were facing a battalion or two of the Gorkhas in the Sikh army. 

Besides the British and the Sikh, Shah Shuja's army also had Gorkha battalions, and curiously enough in a much later period when there was trouble at Khelat in Baluchistan, it was found that the Khan of Khelat's bodyguard consisted of Gorkhas.

After the Anglo-Nepal War, the British recognised that the Gorkhas were a great fighting people, if befriended, could be as much a source of strength for the Indian government as they could be a cause of danger, if alienated.  General David Ochterlony who was involved in the battle fronts of the Anglo-Nepal War had suggested recruiting the Gorkhalis on the ground that the Company's sepoys, then Hindustanis, could never be brought to resist the shocks of these energetic mountaineers on their own grounds.  Brian H. Hodgson while he was Assistant Resident in Kathmandu in 1932 strongly pleaded for recruiting the Nepali hill people particularly the Gurungs and the Magars in the Indian army:

"They are by far the best soldiers in Asia; and if they were made participators of our renown in arms, I conceive that their gallant spirit, emphatic contempt of Madheseas (people of the plains), and unadulterated military habits, might be relied on for fidelity; and that our good and regular pay and noble pension establishment would serve perfected to counterpoise the influence of nationality, so far as that could injuriously affect us."

Apprehending the possibility of Nepal intriguing with the Indian states and the bordering countries when the British were preoccupied with War against other powers (French, Dutch and Portuguese), Russia and Afghanistan as well as hostility with the Indian states in the nineteenth century, the British realised that the large scale recruitment of Nepalese hill people in the Indian army would weaken Nepalese army on the one hand and would reinforce the British army to combat the crisis with those opposing the British, on the other hand.  However, recruitment of Nepalese in the British army was very difficult, because Nepal government was principally against the recruitment of its people in the foreign army.  Because of the fear of drain on Nepal's own strength, and corresponding increase of the British army strength, the Nepal government was never willing to allow its men to serve the British army almost up to the end of the nineteenth century.

            In order to overcome the difficulties of recruiting Nepalese in the British army, the British adopted several measures.  They carried out recruitment secretly by sending recruiting agents into Nepal from Gorakhpur, Almora and Darjeeling, often at fairs in the border towns and villages to obtain men.  Gurkhas of the Indian army on leave in Nepal were also encouraged to smuggle out recruits from Nepal and were rewarded by the British.  The British service was popular with the Gorkhas for its higher pay and other amenities as well as for the scope it offered for active service not available in Nepalese army.  The Nepalese government disliked the clandestine operations and took strong measure to discourage it.  Some of the Gorkhas serving in India army on their return home on leave in Nepal was even put to death and property of those serving the Indian army was confiscated.

            Sensing the harassment meted out to families of the Gorkhas in the Indian army by the Nepalese government and to make the recruitment easier, the British government encouraged migration of the Gurkhas from Nepal with their families and established Gurkha settlements in the hills of India.  The largest of these colonies was in the Kangra valley, where it spread from the early settlements of Dharmashala (Bhagsu) and Bakloh.  Others were at Darjeeling, Deharadun and Shillong.  There are also considerable colonies scattered over Burma and Assam, those in the former started in the days when Gurkhaz were enlisted into the old Burma Military Police, and those in the latter among the pensioners of Assam Rifles.

            When the above-mentioned measures failed to acquire sufficient number of recruits, the British government tried to solve the problem of recruitment at government level.  However, Nepal government refused to grant permission for recruitment. It offered to provide Nepali troops for the disposal of the British in times of need, but the British government declined to accept these offers several times up to the beginning of the World War I, excepting the offer of Nepalese troops in the Mutiny of 1857 when Prime Minister Jung Bahadur himself leading 12,000 Nepalese troops went to India to help to quell the mutiny.  In recognition of this assistance, the British government under a treaty conducted on 1st November 1860 restored to Nepal the tract of territory on the Oudh frontier (Far Western Tarai), which had been ceded to the British government in 1816.  The installation of Rana regime in 1846 through Kot massacre heralded the end of the era of active enmity and beginning of good faith, understanding and cordiality with the British, because Jung Bahadur cherished for good will of the British for the consolidation and support of his regime.  Though the British tried to take advantage out of such situation, they failed in their mission.  Jung Bahadur himself adopted several stringent measures to discourage recruitment of Nepalese in the British army by measures such as the requirement of obtaining passports from government for Nepalese willing to enlist in the Indian army, need of obtaining letter of authority from the British government for all recruiting parties coming to Nepal, authorising guards at the passes on the border to shoot at sight anyone trying to sneak in or out, rendering no co-operation to trace the relatives of the Gorkhas killed or disabled for payment of pensions and compensations as well as rendering no co-operation by providing physically handicapped persons for recruitment.  The issue of recruitment during the period of Prime Minister Ranodip Singh was still complicated.  People were warned against taking British service on pain of severe punishment, forfeiture of property and torture to the family left in Nepal.  There were also reports of execution of men trying to escape from Nepal as well as coming back on leave in Nepal.  In order to get the recruits from Nepal, the British government came forward with the proposition of the offer of one rifle for each recruits, `head money' for every good recruits, etc. Among the martial ethnic groups, the Gurungs and the Magars were the most sought after for their acknowledge superiority over the rest and constituted the largest bulk of the Gurkhas in the Indian army.  After the Mutiny of 1857, the British government disfavoured the enlistment of the Khasas, because of their Brahmanical prejudices form which other ethnic groups were mostly immune.  However, the Gurungs and the Magars were difficult to get because they were the most preferred groups in the Nepalese army as well.

            It was only during the period of Prime Minister Bir Shamsher that the Nepalese government freely allowed enlistment of Nepalese in the Indian army.  Bir Shamsher who came to power after the assassination of Prime Minister Ranodip Singh strongly needed the support and favour of the British government.  The British recognised the new regime, but the price of British patronage granted to Bir was too high for Nepal to bear.  Recruitment of the Nepalese freely in the Indian army was one of those prices.  The new government applied themselves to the task of collecting recruits with zeal and success (even using improper pressure to obtain men in some cases), and even accepted suggestion of the British not to recruit in the Nepalese army the Gurungs and the Magars.  The notifications published by Prime Minister of Nepal in 1885 and 1888, encouraging Nepalese to enlist "in the British army", established the right of the British to recruit Gurkhas.  In 1891, Captain E. Vansittart, 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles, was appointed Military Assistant to the Resident in Nepal and he was responsible for preparing recruiting manual for the Gurkhas in the Indian army.  In 1902 two Gurkha recruiting centres were finally established in Gorakhpur and Ghoom, the former for recruiting the Gurungs and the Magars and the latter for the Limbus and the Rais. During the period of Jung Bahadur, a force of 6,000 Limbus were stationed at Kathmandu; when cholera epidemic led to the death of some hundreds of them, it led many families of Limbus who dreaded conscription to migrate to Darjeeling.  Thus the Limbus became easily available recruits for the British along with the Rais.  By 1904 the three battalions of 1816 had swelled into sixteen and by 1908, the Gurkha Brigade had reached its permanent establishment of 20 battalions organised in 10 rifle regiments numbered from one to ten.  During the World War I, Nepal helped to raise large numbers of its people for recruitment.  The numbers of men taken out of the country had exceeded 200,000, and of these 55,000 were enlisted in the regular Gurkha battalions of the Indian army.  Nepal had suffered some 20,000 casualties and its men had fought in almost every theatre of War cheerfully enduring the tropical heat and the cold of the northern winters.  The magnitude of the movement of the Gurkhas for recruitment in the British and the Nepalese armies was so great that able-bodied males from the village of the martial races (Magars and Gurungs) were difficult to get during the War.  The drain of manpower led to the deterioration of agriculture and food supply in the hills as well as loses of government revenue from land.  Moreover, there was difficulty of getting back the Gurkhas discharged from the army after the War.  Large number of Gurkhas having been to India and also having seen a great deal of foreign countries, were loath to go back to their hardworking life in the mountains.  When these men found that they could earn several times more than what they would earn in the hills and also could lead life in great comfort, they stayed back in India to work either as watchman or even in the police under government or in many other positions available to them, for many Indian merchants had a good great belief in the Gurkha as an honest and loyal servant.  Of the 10,932 Gurkhas discharged after the War, only 3,838 returned home in 1919.  In recognition of the help rendered by Nepal in the World War I, the Anglo-Nepalese Treaty of 1923 recognised Nepal as a sovereign and independent Kingdom and thus removed the apprehension lurking in the mind of the Nepalese government regarding the annexation of Nepal as British colony.

            The involvement of the Gurkhas in the Second World War was even at a grander scale.  The 20 Battalions were expanded to form a total of 51 Battalions comprising 44 Infantry and Parachute Battalions, 6 Training Battalions and one Garrison Battalion.  The two hundred odd thousand odd men, each carrying his curved knife, went out from her mountains between 1939 to 1945 to wander at large over half of the world during the Second World War and the casualties of the Gurkhas was 24,000 men.  During the World War II, recruitment for the army service had to be carried out in extensive areas of Nepal, because large numbers of Nepalese were already serving the Indian army, police, para-military force as well as in different services available for them.  As a result enlistment in the army was also made from the communities like Newar, Tamang, Sunuwar, Dotiyal, Brahman, etc.  This time also the deterioration of agriculture and shortage of able-bodied males was felt not only in the land of Gurungs and Magars, but also in the land the land of Rais and Limbus.  At the end of the War, the Indian government increased the annual "present" of Rs.1, 000,000 which had been given to Nepal in perpetuity since 1919 was increased to Rs.2, 000,000.  With the aim of encouraging Gurkhas leaving the army to return to their home in the hills, final payments were made at the recruiting depots, or close to the border of Nepal.  Nevertheless, large number of Gurkhas, released in 1946-47, made only short visits to their homes before going back to India for civil employment in the Indian cities and the biggest colony was in Calcutta where, even before the War, the number of Nepalese was estimated at 30,000.

            Before the end of British rule in India, there were ten regiments in the British-India Gurkha Brigades.

            1st King George V. Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment).  Raised at Sabatthu, near Simla, by Lieut R. Ross in early 1815, from hillmen, mainly Kumaonis and Garhwalis, who had fought under Kaji Amar Singh Thapa against General David Ochterlony in the operation ending with Amar Singh's surrender of the fortlress of Malaun.  The home cantonment of this Regiment was later sited at Dharmasala in the Himalayas.

            2nd King Edward VII. Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles).  Raised at Nahan, Sirmoor, in early 1815 by Lieut. F. Young, from men of the same races as in the 1st Gurkha Rifles, who were captured by the British during the War with Nepal and held in the camps in Sirmoor and Dehra Doon.  This Regiment's `home' was at the foot of the Himalayas.

            3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles  raised at Almora, Kumaon, in early 1815 by Lieut. R. Colquhoun, from hillmen who took service with British after the conquest of Kumaon by Colonel Jasper Nicolls during the Nepal War.  This Regiment was raised when Colonel Gardener was assailing Almora in 1814.  However, officially it was raised by Colquhoun a few days after the 1st and 2nd.  Its `hone' was at Almora.

            4th Prince of Wales' Own Gurkha Rifles.  Raised at Pithoragarh, Kumaon, ten miles from the Nepal Border, in 1857, by Lieut. D. Macintyre as the Extra Gurkha Regiment, renamed the 4th Gurkha Regiment in the same year.  Its `home' was at Bakloh in the Himalayas, close to the hill station of Dalhousie.

            5th Royal Gurkha Rifles.  Raised in 1857 at Abbottabad in the North West Frontier Province, on the borders of Hazara, by Captain H.W.F. Boisragon as the Hazara Gurkha Battalion.  This Regiment was the only one of the Gurkha Brigade to belong to the old Punjab Frontier Force, sometimes known as `The Piffers'.  Its `home' was at Abbottabad.

            6th Gurkha Rifles.  This is one of the old Assam Regiments.  Raised by Captain S. Fraser at Chaubisganj in Cuttack, Orissa, in 1817 as the Cuttack Legion.  In 1828 it became the Assam Local Light Infantry and in 1886, the 42nd Gurkha Light Infantry.  Its `home' was later at Abbottabad alongside the 5th.
            7th Gurkha Rifles.  One of the Burma Battalions.  Raised in 1902 at Thayetmyo in Burma by Major E. Vansittart as the 8th Gurkha Rifles.  Its `home' was eventually in Quetta, Baluchistan.

            8th Gurkha Rifles.  Another of the old Assam Regiments.  Raised at Sylhet in Assam in 1824 by Captain P. Dudgeon as the Sylhet Local Battalion.  In 1886 it became the 44th Gurkha Light Infantry.  The 2nd Battalion was raised in 1835 by Captain W. Simonds as the Assam Sebundy Corps, later to become the 43rd Gurkha Light Infantry.  This is the oldest of the 2nd Battalions of the Gurkha Brigade.  Its `home' was at Shillong.

            9th Gurkha Rifles.  One of the old Bengal Battalions.  Raised at Fatehgarh in the Uttar Pradesh in 1817 by Major C.S. Fagan as the Fatehgarh Levy.  Became the 9th Gurkha Rifles in 1901.  Its `home' was later established at Dehra Doon alongside the 2nd.

            10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles.  One of the Burma battalions.  Raised in 1890 by Lt. Colonel C.R. Macgfregor as the 1st Burma Infantry.  In 1895 became the 1st Burma Gurkha Rifles.  Its `home' was at first at Maymyo in Burma, later at Quetta.

            The 7th and 10th Gurkhas recruited from Eastern Nepal, among the Kiranti tribes, mainly Limbus and Rais; the 9th, from Khasa of Western and Central Nepal.  The other seven Regiments drew their men from the Magar and Gurung clans of Western Nepal.

            Since the World War I, the independence movement in India got intensified and the British Government had to come forward with the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935, which were however, failed to pacify the Indians.  The Cripps offer of 1942 came up with the declaration regarding the complete transfer of power from British to Indian hands.  However, the probable effect of change in India's constitution on the Gurkhas remained unresolved for a long time.

            Initially the British were totally against transferring the Gurkhas to the future Indian government, instead the British thought of retaining them in the Imperial force outside Indian army with the notion that the Gurkhas had complete loyalty to the British Raj during their service as to their Maharaja (Prime Minister).  With constitutional change in prospect, the British government realised Nepal government's anxiety regarding the maintenance of the positions of the Gurkhas, numbering nearly 100,000 in Indian army, because Nepal's economy needed to export her manpower.  Nepal's economy cannot well support both the people and her top-heavy family of rulers, its kinsmen, bastard children and retainers.  So poor peasants must seek a living outside.  However, the most important factors governing the consideration for retaining the Gurkhas in the Imperial army was the garrisoning of the British colonies like Iraq, Aden, Ceylon, Burma, Singapore, Hong Kong and Borneo, because the British government found it difficult to get British troops for these places and moreover, the cost of maintaining Gurkha units was very low.  The British Commander-in-Chief indicated the desirability of retaining as many as possible of the pre-war Gurkha battalion.  After the War the Labour Government came to power and adhered to the policy that any decision on related to India should be made only after consultations with the Interim government in India.  But the attitude of the Indian leaders turned out to be contrary to their expectation.  They opined (a) that the Gurkha battalion should be retained in the post-war Indian army and they should be officered by Indian officers, and (b) that they are opposed to the employment of Gurkha troops by British government for imperial purposes.  However, they suggest the settlement of the issue by negotiation between U.K., Nepal and India.  In 1946, Dambar Singh Gurung, President of All India Gurkha League had already declared that his League did not countenance the continuation of Gurkha units in the British `Imperial' Service.  The reason given then and later was that such service should prejudice the relation of Gurkhas with Independent India.  Prime Minister Padma Shamsher said that Gurkhas wished to serve in the new Indian army would be allowed to do so.  Nepal is land-locked, and with the unbending policy towards the State of Hindustan's leaders it was likely that whatever economic pressure was necessary would be exerted to keep her compliant.  But the most important fact was that the rulers of Nepal had very large personal investments in India, as it was most necessary, apart from political reasons, to remain on terms of friendship with the Central Government of India.  The Cabinet meeting on Defence Committee of the U.K. on 17 March 1947 revealed that the Indian government again opposed British proposal of transferring some of the Gurkha battalions in the British army.  Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru reiterated India's refusal on the same ground that they will be employed for the Imperial purposes.  However, Nehru's concern for the Gurkhas was governed by India's own situation at home.  The government had to weigh any proposal for change in the system of government in India in the light of the fact that the army was largely composed of Muslim accounting for 60 percent of the army.  Nehru said to the Viceroy Wavell that India would need a first class army if she did win her freedom.  Moreover, the Congress Party was not in a position of taking the Sikh into confidence and they were at dilemma regarding the inclusion of the east Punjab in the Indian Union because of the Sikhs' persistent demand for autonomous status.  Thus Nehru was not in a disposition of dispensing with the Gurkhas to the British.  The British Prime Minister stressed the importance of making every effort to obtain 25,000 Gurkhas for employment in the British army.

            Sensing the difficulty of getting Gurkhas, Viceroy Lord Mountbatten hit a plan for selling once and for all the question of the Gurkhas by putting forward the issue of the Andaman and the Nicobar islands before the Indian government stating that Britain would retain them for her strategic requirements in case India was unwilling to offer the Gurkhas for the British.  The British Chief of the Imperial Staff, Lord Montgomery was instructed to discuss with Nehru on this line in June 1947 and Montgomery was successful in reaching agreement with Nehru.

            In March 1947, Lord Mountbatten announced the establishment of India and Pakistan as from August 15th.  At a meeting held at Kathmandu on 1st May 1947 between representatives of the government of the United Kingdom, the Government of India and the Government of Nepal, Nepal's Prime Minister said that he welcomed the proposal to maintain the Gurkha connection with the armies of the United Kingdom and India, "If the terms and conditions at the final stage do not prove detrimental to the interest or dignity of the Nepalese Government, my Government will be happy to maintain connections with both armies, provided men of the Gurkha regiments are willing to serve (if they will not be looked upon as distinctly mercenary)."  The delay in decision about the future of the Gurkhas resulted in restlessness among the Gurkhas regiment and they began to be apprehensive that the British would be fool them by handing them over to India.  At last on August 8th, the long awaited signal was received.  The 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th Gurkhas regiments had been selected for continued service with British, while the remaining six regiments would serve the Indian government.  After arriving at agreement between India and the U.K. regarding transfer of regiments, recruiting, training and transit facilities within India, and salary and working conditions for the Gurkhas, the tripartite agreement between the Government of Nepal, Government of the U.K. and the Government of India was made in Kathmandu on 9th November 1947.  The memorandum of the agreement that has been made accessible to the public does not contain the Annexes containing technical details.  As regards the restriction on the deployment of the Gurkhas, it is said to have been stated that they should not be deployed against Nepal, against the Hindus States, against the Gurkhas themselves, against popular movements and against unarmed mobs.  Though the rates of pay for the Gurkhas serving the British army was same as for those in India, they were given extra allowances to compensate for the higher cost of living in Malaya.  The Gurkhas serving the British army sailed to Malaya in 1948 and most of them arrived at Singapore in March.  The British opened its new recruiting depots in India at Lehra and Jalpahar near Gorakhpur and Ghoom respectively.  The recruits were taken to Calcutta by train and were staged at a transit camp in the cantonment of Barrackpore before embarking for Malaya.

            The Communist Party of India in 1951-53 often criticised the Government for allowing the British military to carry across India the Gurkha recruited in Nepal for the colonial war in Malaya and even to opening recruiting stations on Indian territory close to the Nepal border.  In November 1953 Nehru admitted in the Parliament that not only was there a tripartite agreement signed with Britain and Nepal in 1947, whereby the Indian Government provided for the transportation of Gurkhas from Nepal, but also that camps for training Gurkhas continued to function on Indian Territory.  Nehru said further that the Indian government requested Britain and Nepal to rescind the agreement and close the Training camps.  When India opposed the recruitment of the British Gurkhas in the Indian soils, the British Government entered into agreement with Nepal regarding the recruitment of Gurkhas in the British army and accordingly the Nepal Government announced on 14 July 1953 that the British Government was entitled for five years to recruit from the Nepalese territory Gurkhas soldiers for the British army overseas, the provision of establishing one recruiting depot at Dharan and one seasonal depot at Taulihawa.  In April 1958, the Nepalese Government announced that an agreement had been reached with the British government regarding the extension of 1953 agreement for another 10 years.  The Dharan depot was turned into a large depot and the seasonal depot at Paklihawa into subsidiary depot and these depots were to supply 500 Gurkha soldiers each year and the British government also agreed to construct a road from Dharan to Jogbani on the Indo-Nepal border along with the recruiting depot at the expense of one million Sterling Pounds.  The recruiting depot at Paklihawa has been closed and shifted to Pokhara and a new transit camp has been set up at Manbhaban (Jawalakhel) in Lalitpur to airlift the recruits to its headquarters at Hong Kong.  The Indian Government is also trying to acquire permission to establish requirement depot at Pokhara.

            Before the enactment of Burmese Citizenship Act, 1964, a lot of Nepalese were working in Burma Rifles and Burma Military Police.  Some of the Gurkha released after the World War II were enlisted in the Singapore Police and at present their number is said to be around 600.  Another groups of retired Gurkhas working in the foreign countries are the security Guards of the Sultan of Brunei and one of officers is a Sandthust-trained who resigned from Nepalese army.  It is said that the Sultan had come to Kathmandu a few years back with the aim of getting the Gurkhas enlisted in the Brunei army, but his plan did not materialise.  The British Government has stationed one battalion of the British Gurkha in Brunei since December 1962 when the Gurkha crushed the attempted coup d'etat by A.H. Azahari.

            The recruitment of Nepalese in the Indian Army is not confined to the Gurkhas Rifles alone.  Their number is said to be higher in the Assam Rifles than in the Gorkha Rifles.  There are large number of Nepalese recruited in Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Garhwal Regiment, Kumaon Regiment, Naga Regiment, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police, Bihar Military Police and so on.  The magnitude of the Recruitment of the Nepalese in the Indian army fluctuates with its hostility with its neighbours.  Since India's conflict with China in 1962, the strength of the Nepalese in the Indian Army has ever been increasing and has been further increased after the India-Pakistan conflicts in 1965 and 1971.

            In 1966 the Labour Government announced a phased programme of Gurkha run-down in the British Army.  Accordingly the strength of the Gurkhas in the British Army went down from 14,000 in 1968 to 6,000 in 1971.  However, the British Government also initiated development programs in the land of the Gurkhas to rehabilitate displaced Gurkhas as well as the pensioners.

            The demand for Gurkhas in the foreign armies is ever increasing.  Subjects of an independent kingdom but soldiers of two alien sovereign, the Gurkhas became vanguards of separate regional wars.  Even in the age overshadowed by nuclear weapons there is need for the hardy, brave soldiers who will meet the foe face to face.  So long as the British require their aid it will be given by these stocky, slant-eyed children of Nepal, whose sturdy bodies are powered by hearts that will endure to the end.  During the invasion of Falklands by Argentina on April 2, 1982 , the British Army has deployed the 7th Gurkhas in the Falkland Islands against the Argentine army for the final and decisive battle to recapture Port Stanley, the capital, from Argentina. In one of the odder aspects of Argentine propaganda, the story spread among the troops on the Falkland that the British would butcher their prisoners,  not only that, the Gurkhas would eat them! There seems to have been a genuine horror of the Gurkhas and the junta has asked the government of Nepal to have them withdrawn. The Gurkhas were truly feared by the Argentine troops. Writer Gabriel Bercia Marquez quoted witnesses as saying that the Gurkhas beheaded Argentine soldiers with their assassins’ scimitars and were so bloodthirsty that the English had to handcuff them to stop further killing after the Argentines had surrounded. In such a case as the Gurkha description above, just the sight of the “cannibalistic” mercenaries was probably enough to have the Argentine conscripts throw his arms and surrender.

Causes and Implications of Recruitment of Nepalese into Foreign Armies
            The Gurungs and the Magars were the majority of the hill people galvanised by King Prithvanarayan Shah in his army during the expansion and consolidation of the Kingdom of Gorkha into the Kingdom of Nepal.  The Nepalese Army was known at that time as Gorkhali and continued to be called as Gorkhali for a long period, while those recruited in the British army and the Indian army are termed as the Gurkhas and Gorkhas respectively.  Historically several factors have contributed towards the recruitment of the Nepalese hill people into the foreign armies as mercenaries.

            During Nepal's territorial expansion and consolidation, the Gurungs and the Magars were given high positions in the army.  Expansion of the territory provided more revenue for the Government to maintain the ever-expanding army.  Moreover, land was given to the army in lieu of cash salaries.  The Anglo-Nepal treaty of 1815 not only sealed-off the prospect of Nepalese territorial expansion plan, but also resulted in drastic decline in the revenue of the Government owing to the cession of Kumaon and Garhwal in the west, the area between the Mechi and the Tista in the east, and also large tracts of Tarai lowland in the south.  Considering that the interest of the chiefs and bharadars of Nepal depended on revenue from land, the British Government in Article IV of the Sagauli Treaty agreed to settle pension to the aggregate amount of two lakhs of rupees per annum on the chiefs who suffered because of lands ceded to the British; however, it was withdrawn when the British agreed to return the eastern Tarai between the rivers Kosi and Rapti.  Nepal, since the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1816 had been able neither to increase the strength of the army nor to maintain the existing strength.  So the Government opted for a policy of army service on a rotation basis.  Those in the service were termed as jagiria and those off the role of employment as dhakriya.  In 1932 Hodgson had estimated that there were 30,000 Dhakriyas in the Nepalese army and suggested enlisting them in the Indian army.  Nepal at that time was essentially a military state, the royal family and the military leaders represented the total leadership of the country.  Owing to the prevalence of pajani system (the system of assessment of government servants every year for reappointment) resulting from a curtailment in the army strength and uncertainty of reappointment, the military commanders and officers amassed large holdings, while the land available to maintain the army itself was always just short of what was required.  Soldiers who had found in the army a means to a better livelihood were put on rotation, so that in the period of their actual service in the districts they were strongly tempted to `make the most' of the opportunity offered.  Such an attitude of the officials resulted in the maltreatment meted out to the peasants in the conquered districts and it was not only that the people in these districts helped the British in expelling the Gorkhalis but also the people serving under the Gorkhalis joined the British Indian army during and after the Anglo-Nepal War.  The Nepalese hill people of the Far Western Nepal considered Nepalese from the east as conquerors and government officials are still called `Gorkhali' and to whom services were provided not for hospitality or profit but as a matter of compulsion and imposed custom.

            For the limited position in the army service, struggle started among the people serving in the Nepalese army and the result was the domination of the ruling class in the army, particularly the Ranas.  In the annual review system (pajani) under which each government servant (other than the Ranas) was assessed every year, reappointment to a post depended as much on loyalty to the Rana system as on any particular skill in the performance of duties.  The Gurungs and the Magars were denied higher position in the army and it is said that Jang Bahadur in order to gain favour and support of the Gurungs and the Magars declared himself as King of Lamjung and Kaski and at the same time to counter-balance them against his government is said to have enlisted large numbers of Limbus in his army.  Since the rise of Jung Bahadur, the higher positions in the army became privilege of the ruling class and their relatives, favourites and supporters.  Perhaps the chief weakness in the army was due to the fact that the majority of its officers are chosen by reason of social position, rather than for their military efficiency.  Up to 1947 Magars and Gurungs were not usually given political employment or high military command; these were reserved for Khas and Chhetris.  In the Nepalese army, Magars and Gurungs could rise to the rank of captain only in the specifically Magar and Gurung corps, such as the Purana Gorakh, Kali Bahadur and the Kali Prasad.  Though the Ranas Prime ministers derived benefit from the recruitment of Nepalese in the Indian army, they were equally apprehensive of the Gorkhas gaining higher position politically, socially and economically.  It is said that the Rana government had requested to the British to disallow any promotion to post of senior officers to Nepali recruits in the British or the Indian army, however deserving they may be.  The Gurkhas were being appraised of their valour outside the country, while the Rana always tried to devalue them.  Absence of acceptable positions in the Nepalese army for non-ruling class, particularly the Gurungs, Magars, Rais and Limbus was the main reason behind the large scale exodus of Nepalese hill population for recruitment in the foreign armies, The British accorded.  Durga Bahadur Thapa Magar the hero of the Waziristan War in 1900, the only Nepali so far to get that title, made a short visit to his native home in Bharse.  He repaid his debt more than 300 times the amount he had borrowed along with the interest and left for India with his family to settle in Baramula when the attitude of the ruling authorities was not favourable towards the Gurkhas.  In February 1952, Nepal government announced that in the Nepalese army no discrimination in enlistment will be made on the basis of caste, religion and language.  But it never materialised and the caste biases in the recruitment is still persistent and is amply reflected by the overwhelming concentration of the Chhetri community.  Such a traditional and conservative tendency is not conducive for developing the sense of belonging to the country as well as for the development of the country.

            The prevalence of slavery and forced labour system until the first quarter of 20th century had a deleterious effect on nation's economic sector.  Both these system impinged on the liberty of the common people and prevented them from attending to their regular occupations.  Land went out of cultivation, revenue declined and emigration was encouraged as a result.  The acute problem of bondage among the Magar community in the western hill areas also seems to have been major cause of Magar emigration for recruitment in the Indian army.  Similarly exorbitantly high rent and tenurial insecurity not only in the cultivation of land but also in mining operation, particularly copper, worked as constraints for adopting farming and mining as viable and desirable means of livelihood and resulted in emigration.  The energies of the government were concentrated primarily on the collection of revenue to finance its growing military and administrative expenditure.  Concern for the well-being of the people seldom found it a reflection through the disbursement of public fund.  On the one hand the pre-occupation with territorial expansion rather than with consolidation of areas already under the new regime delayed the process of national integration, on the other, the period after Anglo-Nepal Treaty was characterised by palace intrigues among the nobles.  The activities of high officials were an obstacle to the natural development of national politics.  A few handful of people dominated the leadership of the country squabbled among themselves and as a result the process of national integration and development became virtually stagnant.  People were not concerned about what was happening in the capital, they were just leading their hard and restricted lives with simple living and they found but one way out of this little enclosed world and it was through the recruiting centre.  Thus the British immensely benefited from this situation.  In their drive for recruiting young Nepalese in the British or Indian armies, the British with the help of the Ranas, used the psychological, environmental and social forces to bottle-neck the existing manpower resources, since if people got foods and employment at home, none would be willing to leave their homes and get recruited in foreign armies at life's peril.  At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the present one, the hill areas of India on either side of Nepal were bustling with activity with mountain railway up to Darjeeling and Shimla and there were concurrent developments of hill stations as well as tea plantation in Darjeeling and trading outpost for Tibet at Kalimpong.  In between the two, Nepal remained in its rustic simplicity, exporting one commodity – soldiers.  Since the period of Jung Bahadur, Nepal's revenue came to rely more and more on the money brought into the country by its fighting men serving as mercenaries under a foreign flag.  The help of Nepal in the World War I for the Allied cause was considered by Britain as an unrepayable debt and, in recognition of this help, Britain made a gift of one million rupees to be paid annually in perpetuity to Nepal and besides this the British Government of India had in 1947 capitalised by a gift of Pound 1,750,000 to the Rana prime minister the annuity that it paid to him.  However, the Ranas amassed the state property for their individual benefit, and the Ranas' invested the exploited money in foreign banks.  The Ranas disposed themselves to become as careless alien rulers, to neglect the interests of their subjects, not to heed them and also to exploit them.  There had been blatant instances of selfishness among rules, one of them being the preposterous discount levied by the Nepalese Government on the exchange value of the Indian rupee and the Nepalese mohur, the effect of which was to deprive the devoted soldiers who had fought in the Second World War of no less than 40 percent of their savings when they returned to their country, in addition to being still further fleeced by the money-changers at the border towns.  To this day the Government had done very little for the development of the areas of the Gurkhas who contributed so much in the accumulation of foreign exchange for the country.  They are, instead left to their own fate.

            The Gurkhas had been termed as Hindus by the legal code formulated during the period of Jung Bahadur.  However, they do not fall into any one of the caste hierarchies of the Hindu.  Most of the Magars, Gurungs, Rais and Limbus have adopted Hinduism as fashion to get favour of the ruling class.  Extent of the influence of Hinduism among the Magars and Gurung is confined to reverence for the cow and respect for the Brahmin.  The degree of Hinduistic influence is relatively high among the Magars, but animistic culture is still predominant.  The fact is that when these ethnic groups could not find a right place in the nation's social and political set-up they preferred to serve with the foreign countries where their status was well recognised.

            In India the Gurkhas had to go through the ordeals of labelling themselves the symbol of contempt as well as symbol of admiration by the people of India.  The involvement of the Gurkhas as well as the assistance of Nepalese Army in the Mutiny of 1857 had been looked upon by the Indian politicians as a death-blow to the first War of independence of the Indian people.  But they often failed to realise that it helped the British to consolidate India into a unified country and that India could emerge as second largest independent country to-day.  Had the Mutiny been successful, a unified India would be out of question.  The Gurkhas had been condemned for Jalianawalabagh massacres at Amritsar in 1919, when twenty-five Gurkhas riflemen carried out their orders coolly and dispassionately.  Similarly the British Government used the Gurkhas in the Quit India movement of 1942 when the Indian Congress Party tried to take advantage of the Japanese consolidation in the eastern frontier.  The Gurkhas on police and garrison duties foiled attempted bids by the hard-liners in the Congress Party to destroy the Government and immobilise the army that was holding back the invader, by attacking the railways and disrupting communications.  Because of the incidents the Gurkhas and Indian people of the Nepalese origin living in India were being looked upon by the Indians as stooges of the British.  Though the Cripps offer of 1942 assured the safeguard of the minor communities, the Gurkhas naturally did not feel reassured because the Gurkhas had not be recognised as a community in India.  In order to safeguard the interest of the Gurkhas who are descendants of generations of men who fought under the British fought, beginning from the seize of Bharatpur in 1826, and dwho have voluntarily migrated from Nepal, the All India Gurkdha League was formed in June 1943.

            The Gurkhas saved lives of millions during the communal riots in the Punjab and Bengal in 1946.  In the terrible times, the Gurkhas, though mostly Hindus themselves carried out the tasks require of them by their British officers with strict impartiality.  But the Bengal ministry, by unfair treatment and taking a communal line, was fast ruining the one reliable police force (Gurkha) that Calcutta possessed, a force that had taken the Government safely through all its disturbances of the past two years, despite abuse from both Hindu and Muslim papers – just as it suited their politics from time to time – and despite the cruel boycott by Hindus through long months of 1946.  The Bengal government even prohibited the Gurkhas in carrying with them their traditional weapon, "khukuri".  Prime Minister Padma Shamsher had to issue request notice to help the Gurkhas in allowing them to carry their national and religious weapon, "the Khukuri".  The Indian government even went to the extent of disarming all Gurkhas living in India.  As it would involve three million or so Gurkhas living in India, the prohibitory order was removed and the indignity was not put upon them.  However in Bengal the campaign of victimisation of the Gurkha community as a reprisal for the valuable help of the Gurkha armed police in putting down the mid-February riots, continued unabated.  The Bengal landlord turned them and their families out of their houses and Gurkhas were generally boycotted in the food shops.  The Gurkha soldiers were subjected to insult and molestation whenever they travelled.  Their kit was stolen if they left it for a second on their journey.  It is remarkable that the Gurkha, who is a man of much independence and considerable self respect and who had little regard for the plainsmen of India, did not lose his temper and retaliate in violent and bloody fashion.  Had not the Gurkhas been loyal to their duties, there would be no question of maintaining them in the Indian army.  The communal violence that ensued after the transfer of power to India and Pakistan by Britain resulted in mass exodus of the Hindus from Pakistan and the Moslem from India and the brutality committed by rival groups over the refugees en route their aspiring homeland could be controlled only by the Gurkhas escorting the refugees.  Captain R.E. Atkins and his Gurkhas spent weeks escorting refugee column, taking Sikh into India, then bringing hordes of Moslems back over the same route.

            With the ever-growing sense of regionalism among different ethnic groups in India and prevailing hostilities and discontent in the northern-east tern states of India and in the Punjab and Kashmir, it had become very much essential for India to have a military force not belonging to any of the regional groups as well as having no interest in the local political development to safeguard against external invasions as well as for maintaining national integrity.  Like the British, the Indian Government still prizes the Gurkhas as the most effective counterpoise to the Indian troops against the latter's unmilitary behaviour.  Therefore the demand for the Gurkhas in the Indian army is bound to increase.  The Indians are not likely to forget the Gurkhas as vanguard of defence during the sino-Indian conflict of 1962 and Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971.  However, the use of the Gurkhas troops to suppress the dissident movements in the Northern Eastern States has resulted in contempt not only for the Gurkhas, but has made it very difficult for the Indian people of Nepalese origin in those areas.  Frictions have been evolving between Nepalese and the native population over the use of land  and in 1967 about 8,000 people of Nepalese origin fled from the wrath of the Mizo tribesmen when the trouble broke out.  Large numbers of Indians of Nepalese origin took refuge in the eastern Tarai (Jhapa and Morang) during the recent agitation in Assam.  After Assam, the conflagration leapt across the south-eastern hills to reach the rice-howl-shaped Imphal valley of Manipur from where about 2,000 non-Manipuris, mostly Nepalese but also some Biharis, Bengalis and Punjabis had to seek shelter in three relief camps set up in the state.  Despite these tragic happenings, the demand for the Gurkhas in the Indian Army will remain as it is for years to come, because Nepal's relations with her powerful neighbour in India were based on the loan of her men and governed by the friendship and constant intercourse that the transaction promoted.  The Gurkhas are said to have no religion when they are soldiers, and it is an important quality which distinguishes them from their Indian colleagues in the Indian Army, who are characterised by diversity in caste, creed and belief.

            The preference of the Nepalese hill people to join the Indian Army was also related to the existence of facilities like barrack accommodation, regular pay and pensions which were not available in the Nepalese Army even at the close of the Rana period.  Hodgson's opinion regarding the recruitment of the dhakeriahs in the Indian Army was "our good and regular pay and noble pension establishment would serve perfectly to counterpoise the influence of nationality, so far as that could injuriously affect us.  However, most hill corps in the Company's service had to make do with an inferior status and the some miserable pay for fifty years.  It was only in 1859 that the hill corps (save the Nasiri Battalion, made regular in 1850) were finally brought into the line and that the prejudice against mercenaries from among the tribes of Nepal was abandoned.  The enlistment of men in Nepal was under strictest regulations, agreed to mutually by the Nepalese and the British governments.  Safeguards of all kinds were required and given, both for the purpose of recruiting and for the well being of the recruits.  Because of high wages prevailing in India, and the like, illegal recruitment had become a great nuisance.  The gallawalas, the recruiting agents reaming the villages in the hills with the bamboo staff to measure the height of the candidates, had to smuggle the youth or to plead with the parents for new recruits in the former times, now the gallawalas are in turn feasted and treated by the parents in order to recommend their sons, indicating the index of deteriorating economy of the hills.  As the returns from the recruitment in the British Army are very high, it is said that the recruiting agents are bribed in the tune of several thousands rupees by parents to get their sons recruited in the British Army.

            For the ever-growing population of Nepal and the resulting surplus manpower, emigration provided relief to the pressure of population.  Increasing pressure of population on cultivated land and absence of employment in non-agriculture sector compelled the population to seek employment outside the country.  Employment in the foreign army, which was the initial avenue of employment, constitutes to be the major source of income to supplement inadequate income from land.  Thus employment in foreign armies is highly sought after; for not only can a soldier remit money while in service, but he can earn a great deal more by bringing back and selling luxury goods and gold (legally up to a fairly low limit, and illegally above it), while after his active service is finished he can be sure of a secure pension until death.  Recently the pension of a Gurkha soldier has been extended beyond his death, that is, it is given to his widow until her death.  Thus the economy of the hills cannot be conceived in absence of army recruitment in particular and employment in general in the foreign countries particularly India and Britain.  Moreover, the remittances coming from the recruiting countries for disbursement of pensions and gratuity constitute the important source of foreign exchange for Nepal.  Such remittances constituted the largest source of foreign exchange earning for Nepal up to 1971/72 from invisible earning and until 1964/65 it constituted the largest source of foreign exchange from all the sources of foreign exchange earning.

            The large scale involvement of the Nepalese ethnic groups from the hills in the Nepalese army during the territorial expansion and consolidation as well as emigration for recruitment in the Indian army after the Anglo-Nepal War gave a death-blow to the artisan skills inherent among these ethnic groups, because there was no enterprising youths to inherit those skills.  The Newars were not enlisted in the Nepalese army.  The Shah rulers, after the conquest of the Kathmandu Valley, could not take them into confidence.  Moreover, as they were not enlisted in the Gorkhali army, the British had no knowledge of their martial quality.  Thus the Newars were spared from the recruitment in the army service and they could devote themselves into conservation, enrichment, and development of Nepalese art, culture, religion, trade, etc.  The inroads of the Indian immigrants into the labour market, trade and commerce in Nepal is a result of the large scale emigration of Nepalese in army and other services requiring no skills.  The failure on the part of the rulers to accredit due recognition and position to the artisan class and their virtual degradation of social and political status in the society resulted in the reluctance of the people in pursuing artisan occupations.  The position of the Damains, Sarkis, Kamis, Sunars, Gaines, etc. among the orthodox Hindus of the Hills in the lowest caste hierarchy and similar lower and lowest position of the numerous artisans among Newars are the glaring examples of degradation of the artisan class.  The socio-politico-economic system based on feudalism failed to accord due recognition to skill and efficiency inherent in the artisan class.  Those flattering and supporting them blindly were accorded higher status in the government and society at large.  The legal code formulated during the period of Jung Bahadur says that as artisan skill is not confined to individual caste, that all the castes of the Hindus can adopt, for making a livelihood, the artisan activities like iron-work, shoe-making, tailoring, mining, gold-work, brick-kiln and drum-making.  Those saying that such activities would result in fall to a caste from whom cooked rice and water was not acceptable should be fined Rs.50.  However, the ruling class neither tried to arouse the sense of dignity of labour among the population nor attempted to accredit due recognition to skilled labourers and their activities.  The particular circumstances under which artisan relations were structured by the ideology of jat and caste have meant that the independent development of the forces of production by artisan was difficult, if not impossible.  The creation of a proletariat from displace artisans without the simultaneous coming into existence of local manufacturing capital was thus not only possible, but, more arguably, probable in Nepalese conditions.  Any future attempts to develop rural areas on the basis local resources and skills must come to terms with the recent erosion of both the physical environment and the human environment.  Deforestation produces a hydrology which tends to work to the detriment of productive potential of the ecology; caste produce flows of resources and co-operation which tend to work to the detriment of the productive potential of all people, most critically in the case of rural artisans.  Apart from those not falling into the caste hierarchy of the artisan class, even artisan caste groups as well as community having artisan skills gave up their profession and encouraged their children for employment in the activities requiring no skill, e.g., army and police services, administrative services, etc.  Thus the resulting absence of ample skilled manpower in the country has made it possible for the skilled and enterprising Indian immigrants to enter easily into the Nepalese labour market and business.  The large-scale immigration of such labour force and entrepreneurs has made it very difficult for the Nepalese labour force and entrepreneurs having a relatively low level of skill and capital to compete with the Indians.  In absence of appropriate measures to control large-scale immigration timely, tensions and conflicts are inevitable in near future.

            Employment in the foreign army service has still remained the major safety-value for the surplus manpower in the hills.  The areas of the Magars, Gurungs, Rais and Limbus are located in the higher hills where agricultural land is of marginal nature in terms of productivity, and their preference of those areas in the past had been conditioned by prevalence of malaria below the altitude of 4,000 feet.  Moreover the agricultural economy of those areas also has became predominant in livestock and sheep rearing.  The gradual inroads into the areas below them by the influx of the refugees from India, who fled from Muslim invasions, compelled them to be content with what they had.  Thus most of the settlements of the aborigine hill people like Gurungs, Magars, Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Sunuwars, etc. are located above the settlements of the Brahmans, Chhetris and to a certain extent Newars.  Excessive pressure of population on marginal land coupled with unfavourable tenurial system, high rent, forced labour, etc. and an absence of any expansion in employment led to the physical expansion of subsistence farming in Nepal and to emigration.  The economy of the hills can not be conceived of without the role of employment in foreign countries and the remittances.  The existence of a variety of non-agricultural income sources (employment in foreign armies and the Civil Service, business and source of employment in India in a variety of jobs such as watchmen, coolies, labourers on public work projects, etc.) has tended to postpone the necessity of responding to the pressures of population by transforming the basis of farm production.  Remittances from the foreign army and civil services have relieved the people from the hardships of the hills.  However, remittances have worked as oxygen to keep the economy just alive rather than to transform it.  The economy of the army villages has remained the same as it had been several decades back.  There is a pronounced localisation of culture patterns in spite of the long tradition of the returning Gurkhas as agent of agent of diffusion and change.  The only changes that are perceptible in the army villages are the replacement of the thatched roof by either slate or corrugated galvanised sheets in the houses of the army men and schools, piped water supply and health posts, in certain cases, in the villages.  The basic services facilities have been, however, provided by the Central Co-ordination Board of the Post-War Reconstruction Fund.  It has been alleged that the fund has not been properly utilized as it had been conceived when the fund was established.  The fund has been established out of the collection of the unclaimed pensions, salaries and gratuities of the soldiers killed in wars and deserters.  After the independence of India the fund was disbursed to Indian and Nepal for the welfare of the domiciled Gurkhas in India and the Gurkhas in Nepal.  The Gurkhas have not been able to use of resources (money) earned during the service in the foreign armies and trained skills learned few months before retirement because of the inaccessible nature of the Gurkha villages.  Very few of them have been able to invest the resources in urban areas in transport, business and housing, and few of them have been able to utilise their skills by involving themselves by working as driver, radio mechanics, watch repairer, etc.  However, the absorptive capacity of the country's economy to employ the skilled Gurkhas is very limited, since the number of trained Gurkhas new leaving the army is outpacing the number of technicians Nepal is able to absorb into her economy.  The development plans of the country since the Third Plan envisaged for utilising the skills of retired Gurkhas.  But it has not yet materialised because of the administrative problems rules relating to age limit and the certificate and level of training.  Most of the retired Gurkhas have crossed the service entry age, it is difficult to enroll them in the government and semi-government services.  As the trained Gurkhas do not possess the level of qualification and certificate which may ensure them appropriate salaries, it is rather difficult for them to enter the service.  Because of the lack of qualified certificate among the retired army men working in the rural areas as teachers, they were compelled to give up their teaching jobs after the introduction of National Education System in the country.  Such a situation has resulted in re-emigration of the Gurkhas in foreign countries for employment in police, security forces, security guards, etc.  As most of the Gurkhas have spent the most enterprising and productive parts of their life in the foreign countries, it is rather difficult to expect them as agents of change, that, too, in the inaccessible hill areas with marginal lands and resources.  If given a favourable location, they can perhaps bring about change in such areas.  In the development of Pokhara, Butawal, Bhairahawa, Dharan, and Damak towns and also of some of the rural villages in the Terai, the role of the Gurkhas their resources, skills, and talents can not be denied.

            The economic and political implications of the recruitment of the Nepalese in the foreign armies are of a far reaching nature.  Since the last 167 years Nepalese have been compelled to seek the mercenary services sowing to the failure of the economy to generate employment opportunities.  The Rana regime never thought of emigration of the enterprising able-bodied males as a set-back for the development of the country.  Rather it was regarded as safety-value for the growing population problem of the country as well a security against political challenges that might ensure if those emigrant populations were to remain in the country without employment.  Even thirty years after the installation of democracy in the country, the outlook of the different governments in Nepal seems to have not changed at all, and it is basically related to the poor performance of the country in the field of economic development.  Emigration of Nepalese for recruitment in the foreign armies as well as in other employment services can never be a long-term solution to the problem of growing unemployment in the country.  Moreover, there is no denial of the fact that the drain of enterprising and dynamic youth from the country will have adverse impact not only for the country but also for the rural areas from where emigration takes place.  There is no indicator to show that the economy of the emigrant villages has improved and has resulted in the development of those villages.

            After the installation of democracy in the country in 1951, the ensuing governments, more concerned for the development of the country and the people, were, however, in a dilemma over the recruitment of Nepalese in the foreign armies and the image of Nepal on the one hand and its role in the remittance of foreign exchange in the Nepalese economy, on the other.  There had been reactions in the press regarding the non-release of the agreement paper signed between Nepal and Britain on recruitment of the Gurkhas for the knowledge of the public.  In December 1953, prime minister M.P. Koirala remarked, that's though it is not a right thing, principally, to recruit Nepalese in the foreign armies, yet it is necessary to take into considerations the economic conditions and other aspects.  He asserted that so long as the avenues of providing means of livelihood to the Gurkhas in the country are not available, there is no question of demanding for their return in Nepal.  In 1956, Prime Minister Tanka Prasad Acharya reprehended Gurkha recruitment on moral ground and at the same time appraised its practical aspect on the ground that 70,000 Gorkhalis bring 20 million rupees annually.  Nepal Government was being criticised from time to time by the pro-Communist lobby at home for allowing the use of Gorkhas as "mercenaries" of foreign powers (including India).  "Couldn't the HMG" it is asked, "provide Gurkhas employment at home"?  The Government said Nepal had still to generate adequately its employment potential for that purpose.  It was bound by treaty obligations to allow recruitment of the Nepalese nationals in both the Indian and British armies.  In August 1957, Nepal's Foreign Secretary said that the recruitment contract with India and Britain would terminate in 1958 and after that Nepal would do according to the economic conditions.  But in 1958, the press release by the Foreign Ministry said that as Nepal Government's permission to the British Government to open for five years the recruiting depot at Dharan and the seasonal depot at Taulihawa was going to expire, it has been agreed between the two governments to continue those recruiting depots for another ten years and the necessary document between the two government had been exchanged.  This time also the agreement paper was not released for public notice.  Since the agreement of 1958 there had been no communiqué by the Government regarding the renewal or extension of the recruitment agreement with the British Government even after a lapse of nearly 25 years of the agreement of 1958.  Regarding the recruitment of the Nepalese in the India army, Nepalese are completely ignorant of it.  The use of Gorkhas in the British Army had created complications for Nepal.  On 28 December 1964, President Sukarno of Indonesia criticised the King of Nepal " for letting his subjects, the Gorkha mercenaries fight the North Borneo freedom-fighters and Indonesian volunteers".  He said it was quite simple to mention "peaceful co-existence and ask for a peaceful statement of Malaysia dispute as the King of Nepal did".  The attack coincided, curiously enough with the establishment of the Indonesian Embassy at Kathmandu.  From Nepal's side, the Foreign Minister, Mr. K.N. Bista lodged a protest through a press statement by taking exception to the impropriety of President Sukarno attaching the Nepalese head of State.  In an interview with the RSS (National New Agency of Nepal), Kirtinidhi Bista said, "President Sukarno has committed a breach of general diplomatic etiquette by involving His Majesty's in his speech.  From time immemorial Nepal has been fighting bravely in the cause of justice.  Nepal is only fulfilling her treaty obligations."  In 1966 when the British Government announced a phased programme of Gorkha run-down in the British army, the Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. K.N. Bista welcomed the Gorkha run-down programme by saying that Nepal was thankful to UK "for sparing our men for our use".  He told newsmen in January 1968 at Kathmandu that UK Government in consultation with Nepal devised the retrenchment programme.  He pointed out that Nepal had tole UK long ago that this arrangement could not last long.  The employment of Nepali Gorkhas by foreign armies has some times proved a source of annoyance to two nations, China and Pakistan, both friendly to Nepal.  Similar situation cropped up over the use of the Gurkhas in the Falklands crisis.  The Argentine representative at the UN raised the issue of the use of Gurkhas in the crisis and requested the Nepalese representative to stop it.  There the Nepalese press also vehemently criticised the used of the Gurkhas by the British Government in the Falklands crisis and demanded the closure of the Gorkha recruitment.  Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa remarked that Nepal was bound by treaty obligation to allow recruitment of the Nepalese in the British and Indian armies and that Nepal has no say over the use of the Gurkhas anywhere and for any purpose.

            Considering the long-term perspectives, Nepal will not be able to solve its economic problem by exporting poverty.  Nepal has to endeavour for finding out employment opportunities for the growing surplus manpower within the country.  Similarly Nepal can not be the haven for the skilled and unemployed manpower of India.  The development of Nepal and the well being of the Nepalese depends on the mobilisation of its dynamic and enterprising youth-power.  The drain of such manpower in the foreign countries and inflow of immigrant manpower will certainly have adverse impact on the economy of the country.

            Considering the avowed policy of non-alignment and Nepal's aspiration to be declared as a zone of peace, it has become very much essential for Nepal to give second thought to the issue of Gurkha recruitment in the foreign armies.  The recruitment of Nepalese in the foreign armies is hardly compatible with Nepal's avowed policy of non-alignment and its stand for a zone of peace.

Appendix I

Testimonial Issued by Prime Minister Padma Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana Regarding the Possession of “Khukuri” by the Gurkhas in India
                                                                                       Nepal13th June, 1947
                    To, All Whom It May Concern   
This is to certify that the Khukuri is the National as well as religious weapons of the Gurkhas. It is incumbent on a Gurkhas to carry it while awake and place it under the pillow while retiring. As a religious weapon it is worshipped during the Dasehra and at other times whenever any sacrifice is to be made. It is very much regretted that in provincial legislation, the Gurkhas have there been deprived of their Khukuries thus making it impossible for them have to carry their religious observances. The All India Gurkhas League is taking up the matter with a view to have this disability removed. Any assistance rendered to the League and steps taken to remove this disability will be very much appreciated by them as well as their compatriots at home.

(Sd/…) Padma Sham Sher Jung            Maharaja, PrimeMinister and                                    SupremeCommander-in-Chief, Nepal.

Appendix II

Text of the Tripartite Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom, the Government of Dominion of India and the Government of Nepal

Memorandum of Agreement

            At a meeting held at Kathmandu on 1st May 1947 between representatives of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, the Government of India and Government of Nepal, His Highness the Prime Minister and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Nepal stated that he welcome the proposals to maintain the Gurkhas connection with the armies of the united Kingdom and India on the following basis “If the terms and conditions at the final stage do not provide detrimental to the interest or dignity of the Nepalese Government, my Government will be happy to maintain connections with both armies, providing men of the Gurkhas regiments are willing so the serve (If they will not be looked upon as distinctly mercenary).”
1.   Discussions have taken place in Delhi between representatives of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and of the Government of the Dominion of India and the points of agreement are embodied in the Memorandum dated 7th November 1974 a copy of which forms Annexture I of this document. Necessary financial adjustments between the two Governments are still under consideration.

2. Further discussions between eh representatives of the three Governments have                                  
taken place at Kathmandu during which the government of Nepal have put forward certain pertinent observation on the memorandum of agreement referred to in the preceding paragraphs which are set out in Annexture II. In regard to these points, the representatives of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and of the Government of the Dominion of India has replied as follows:

Location of the Recruiting Depots

a)      The use of the existing depots at Gorakhapur and Ghum has been sought by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom for a temporary period only pending establishment their own depots in Nepal. The wishes of the Government of Nepal have been noted and arrangements for the establishment in India of the recruiting Depots required to meet the needs of the Gurkhas units of the British Army will be settled between the United Kingdom and Indian Governments.

b)      Desire of the Government of Nepal that the total number of Gurkhas Units to be employed in the Armies of the United Kingdom and of India shall be limited and brought down to the peace-time strength of 20 Battalions out of which 8 Battalions will be allotted to the British Army.
         The representatives of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and of the Government of Dominion of the India have taken note of the wishes of the Government of Nepal.
         The representatives of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom has explained that he term planning of the British Post War army has preceded on the assumption that the Government of Nepal would be prepared to furnish sufficient men to established the equivalent of land infantry Division in South-East Asia and he has received an assurance from the Government of Nepal that final decision on the question of recruitment of Gurkhas in excess of 8 Battalions at peace time strength shall be left open until Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have had an opportunity of considering the view of the existing political situation in India.
     c)    Arrangement for the import of foreign currency belonging to the Gurkhas units of        
             the 8 Battalions serving overseas.
            It is noted that the Government of the Dominion of India has agreed to afford all normal facilities in regards to the import of foreign currency belonging to these men (Annexture I, Item 10). A reply to the specific points raised in this connection will be sent to the Government of Nepal in due course.

3.                  The Government of Nepal being generally satisfied in regards to the terms and taking note of the agreement dated 7th November 1947 reached between Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and of the Government of Dominion of India hereby signify their agreement to the employment of Gurkhas troops in the armies of the united Kingdom and of India.

4.                  In addition to the observations referred to above the Government of Nepal have put forward certain suggestions connected with the employment of Gurkhas in the armies of the United Kingdom and of India. These suggestions are contained in Annexure II of this document and the views of the two Governments thereon will be communicated to the Government of Nepal in due course.

5.                  Note has been taken of the desire of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom that prompt action be taken to ascertain the wishes of the personnel of the 8 Battalions concerned as to whether they desire to be transferred for service under the United Kingdom Government. With this objective in view a questionnaire and a memorandum embodying terms and conditions of service have been prepared by the representatives of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom. These documents are acceptable to the Government of India and Nepal. They will be issued to the personnel of the 8 units concerned as soon as possible. In accordance with the wishes of the Government of Nepal as well as those of the Government of India it is agreed that their representatives will be present with the 8 units while referendum is being taken.

6.                  The representatives of the three government desire to place on record that their deliberations have been conducted in atmosphere of cordiality nd goodwill nd re confident that the friendly relations which have existed in the past will be further cemented as a result of the arrangement which have been agreed for the continued employment of Gurkhas soldiers in the armies of the United Kingdom and of India.

7.                  Singed in Triplicate at Kathmandu this 9th of November 1947.
                                                                                    Sd/ -
                                                            For the Government of the United Kingdom
                                                                                    Sd/ -
                                                            For the Government of Dominion of India
                                                                                    Sd/ -
                                                            Padma Sham Sher Jung B.R.
                                                            For the Government of Nepal
Funds regarding casualities in the war, wounded and maimed soldiers, pension and gratitude, maltreatment of Gukha soldiers, conditions of non army personnels in the Gurkha army: school teachers, nurserse and medical and administrative staff in the Gurha hospitals and health institutions.

There is no transparency regarding the financial satus of these institution and Nepalese personnel working under the  British British government