Prince Harry made the headlines when he decided to go to the Britsh Gurkhas for four days with a prized Gurkha khukri at the end of the Gurkha training, and some sources say he’s seriously thinking of joining the Gurkhas as an officer, for the Gurkhas are integral part of the British Army.
- But the sad reality is: when a British leutenant saunters by, a Gurkha-Major is obliged to salute him! And not the other way around. This still means that all soldiers are equal in the British or Gurkha army, but some solders are more equal than the others, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which Gurkha school children learn in good English schools in India’s Darjeeling and Nepal. In this context it must be mentioned that 45,000 Gurkhas died in the two World Wars under the Union Jack and another thousand since then, even though the Gurkhas were reduced and demobilised to Brigade strength in the British and Regiment strength in the Indian Army. This was after the partition of India in 1947 after an agreement between Nepal, India and Britain, whereby four regiments from the Indian Army were transferred to the British Army, which then became the Gurkha Brigade.
- It’s still the white sahib commanding the natives, despite the so-called handsome pensions that the Gurkhas receive, according to Nepalese standards. When I lecture in Switzerland I earn almost 100 Swiss Francs per hour. I think that it’s high time that the Gurkhas received the same wages as their British fellow soldiers. Please don’t come up with the Sugauli Treaty or ‘special relations crap’ that dates to the times of Queen Victoria and Junga Bahadur Rana.
I think it’s high time that the Gurkhas went to an international court in Strassburg, Belgium and received Flankenschutz from Human Rights Organisations in Britain, Britain Watch, NGOs and whatever.
- If you don’t know the impact that the death of a Gurkha can have on his near and dear-ones, then please read the following lyric and think of the plight of the Gurkha mother:
A GURKHA MOTHER (Satis Shroff)
(Death of a Precious Jewel)
The gurkha with a khukri
But no enemy
Works for the British Gurkhas
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
Argentinians and Vietnamese.
Indonesians and Iraqis.
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 joy and her 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 underway
Heard from across the hill with a shout
‘It’s an officer from his battalion.
A letter with a seal and a poker-face
“Your son died on duty,” he says,
“Keeping peace for Her Majesty
The Queen of England.”
A world crumbles down
The Nepalese mother cannot utter a word
Gone is her son,
Her precious jewel.
Her only insurance and sunshine
In the craggy hills of Nepal.
And with him her dreams
A spartan life that kills.
gurkha: soldier from Nepal
khukri: curved knife used in hand-to-hand combat
shiva: a god in Hinduism
BRITISH/GURKHA PENSIONS COMPARISON & THE MOD GOTT (AFPS)
SCHEME FOR GURKHAS (PRACTICAL PROJECT) Compiled by: G. Limbu
Pre 1st July 1997
no Post-1997 GOTT Service
(Total Affected: Approx
GOTT Post 1st July 1997 Gurkhas
(With a combination of Pre/Post
Service as at 30/07/1997)
Total % Pre-1997 Gurkha
service ‘REDUCED’ by GOTT
for transfer to
GOTT = Equal British Gurkha Pension?
*(Delete as necessary)
Gurkha pensions are converted from Sterling to Indian Currency and converted again to Nepalese currency. The exchange rate as at 26/03/07 is £1.00 = IC 85.0939. The Nepalese Rupee is pegged to the IC at NR 1.60 approx. (I am neither a mathematician nor an actuary but do try the above computing exercise).
The above comparison is based on the 2006/07 pension scales for both servicemen (AS IF BOTH SERVICEMENT WERE RECEIVING THEIR ‘CURRENT’ RESPECTIVE RANK SERVICE PENSIONS) because if the “1997 Gurkha Pension Rates” was used to calculate the above “% disparity” between British & Gurkha Pension, the disparity would be unbelievable!!
GURKHA PLEA: The Gurkhas are not seeking the full 22 years service pension of his British counterpart’ pension but merely the equivalent proportionate rate for their rank and service because no Gurkha; with the exception of the Regimental Sergeant Major and Queen’s Gurkha Officers, are permitted to serve for 22 years. Gurkhas are further penalised harshly by the Government/MOD with the introduction of:
a. The “Pre & Post 1997” Gurkha Service Demarcation Line. The simple MOD explanation that the change of “Gurkha Home Base” from Hong Kong to UK to effect this change is bullying of her own troops.
b. The massive service reduction of “Pre 1997” Gurkha service for “Post-1997” Gurkhas at 3:1 ratio for conversion to the AFPS service is discriminatory. If this is the case then no Gurkha soldier is eligible to don his Falklands Medals, LSGC, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan etc etc campaign medals awarded “before” 1997 because they do not quality under the 3:1 reduction of Gurkha service into British service.
c. The GOTT’s unfair “AFPS 22 year service” rule to determine the award of “immediate monthly pensions to Post-1997 Gurkhas” when their “Pre-1997” service had already been reduced by almost 30% toward the AFPS scheme is disgraceful.
This is also a plea to the “senior” British Gurkha Officers and we expect that they “protect and support” their own Gurkhas, who have been serving the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as an integral part of the British Army.
FIGHT FOR THE GURKHAS: Dear Blogreaders,
In case you want to file a petition and send it to the prime minister’s office, please feel free to do so. I’ve sent a petition with this article to the PM (Mr. Gordon Brown), No.10 Downing Street, London to this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com. If you want to send a petition for the Gurkhas then you can also file a petition on www.care2com/petitions.
Cherrio for now, more in the next. I’ve attached an update of the pay-scales (see above) of the Gurkhas as compiled by G. Limbu, a Gurkha.
Cherrio, and more in the next.