Gurkha students doing 'namaste' the traditional Nepali greeting, Brecon High School, Wales 2008

Gurkha students doing 'namaste' the traditional Nepali greeting, Brecon High School, Wales 2008
©Brecon High School (background image: Annapurna sunrise © Biplove Bhattachan)

In the early 21st Century, the Brigade of Gurkhas' future looks assured: the Royal Gurkha Rifles continue to serve with distinction and to make great sacrifices in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In Nepal, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) appears to have climbed down from its commitment to ban the recruitment of Nepali citizens into the British army, at least for now. Having won the right for all ex-Gurkhas to settle in the UK in 2009, Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 continue to fight for their right to fairer pensions. However the cuts in the Ministry of Defence's budget recently announced by the British Government threaten the very existence of the Brigade of Gurkhas. Only time will tell what is to become of the British Gurkhas.

Today communities of Gurkhas, Gurkha veterans (from both the British and Indian armies), their children and grandchildren can be found in Nepal, India, Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, the United States, across the United Kingdom and in almost every country in between. By virtue of their disciple, loyalty and courage, this diverse group of people have gone from living as humble subsistence farmers in the Himalayan foothills to working in every possible trade and profession across the world.

Whatever the future holds, the legacy of these men and women who have travelled so far, achieved so much and asked for so little, will continue to inspire those who take the time to learn about them and to live on through their descendants and those who have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing and serving with them. We salute you.

Ayo Gorkhali!

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