Who Are The Gurkhas And What Can We Learn From Them?

the gurkhas

I recently heard about a group of warriors called the Gurkhas and became impressed by their history and culture; in turn their mindset; which I think can be adopted when SHTF.

Culture is a huge part of what makes each and every one of us unique. Traditions from these cultures also tie us to something bigger than ourselves and shape the kind of people we

Our world is filled with a multitude of different cultures. That is what makes each section of the world so unique and fascinating. It would be amazing to learn about each one of them but, in the grand scheme of things it is unlikely we will ever know even what they all are; let alone what their history is.

So, I would share what I have found out and learned here. Hopefully, there is something which we can all take away. Let's go!

An Introduction

The Gurkhas are soldiers from Nepal who have fought in the British Army for the last 200 years. They are known for their unexpected fierceness and resiliency, which is why they are such a great asset to the British Army.

As mentioned previously, many of these fighters are recruited from Nepal. This is likely because of the type of life they live there in preparation for joining the brigade. They live a very simple and rough life without any amenities or luxuries, which help, prepare them for their training.

The terrain of Nepal also makes their bodies and minds tougher than the average person. Before they ever go through Basic training in Britain, they go through training in Nepal that ends with a 5-mile race uphill where they have to carry a basket full of rocks that weighs about 25 kilograms.

​Who Are The Gurkhas And When Are They Recognised?

The Gurkhas Warrior

The Gurkha’s are from an area of Nepal called Gorkha, which is where their name came from. Most of my reading began the story of the Gurkha’s during the Anglo-Nepalese war in 1815.

Then, the British East India Company was fighting with the Kingdom of Nepal over border disputes, but did not know what Nepal had up their sleeve. The British Army suffered great casualties during this war, primarily because of the fierce Gurkha soldiers.

After their initial loss, the British East India Company extended a peace treaty to the group, which included a request to open up a section of the British Army to Gurkha soldiers. The Gurkha’s have been part of the British Army since then, and have gone into battle with them many times over the past 200 years. They are now referred to as the Gurkha Brigade.

Due to their bravery and dedication, the Gurkha’s have received 26 Victoria Crosses, which is the highest military honor.

​Gurkha In The Present

The Gurkhas

Currently the Gurkhas are based out of England, but many are still recruited straight from Nepal. They have proved invaluable in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During their time in Afghanistan, they demonstrated a great strength for combat and peacekeeping skills and during Iraq, they showed off that they could not only fight but also provide medical and logistical help to troops.

Despite evolving with the times, the Gurkha brigade still sticks with many traditions from their past including religious traditions like Dashain. While they are still an important part of the British Army, the number of troops in circulation has fallen to 3,500.

In 2007, those Gurkhas that have served since 1997 were awarded equal pension to their British counterparts. However, they are still fighting to have pension be equal for all Gurkha.

In 2009, they also won the right to live in the UK following their retirement due to a campaign led largely by actress Joanna Lumley. Most recently, the Gurkha’s have been in the news because of the difference in pension they received versus other British military groups.

​Inside The Head Of A Gurkha

Gurkhas Stories

The Gurkha motto of "better to die than be a coward” demonstrates the fierceness of this soldier. At first glance, they may not appear to be your typical soldier because of their shorter stature, but they will soon prove you wrong!

A long held tradition in Ghurka fighting culture is the knife each of them gets before going into battle, called the Kukri. Legend has it that the Kukri must taste the enemies' blood by the end of a battle, and if it does not the soldier must then cut themselves with their own sword. While it is still given to each soldier during training, today it is primarily used for cooking.

Stories Of Gurkhas' Bravado

1. A lone ranger took out 30 Taliban on his own.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, what about a video?

This ranger, Acting Sergeant Dipprasad Pun took out 30 enemy soldiers on his own in an hour! Bear in mind, the enemy doesn't enter through the front door, they encircled the complex he was guarding with lethal weapons.

Despite that, he never gave up his fight and for that, he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

2. Gurkhas Leave No Man Behind

Army Of Gukrkhas

These soldiers refused to leave a dead comrade behind. During an operation in 2008, a squad was ambushed and one soldier, Yubraj Rai, was killed. Captain Gajendera Angdembe, Rifleman Dhan Gurung and Rifleman Manju Gurung ran across to retrieve his body and carried him across 325 feet of open ground under heavy enemy fire. Imagine that scene where bullets flies and kicking up sand around you.

3. A Gurkha Beheads A Taliban Commander

Gurkha Contingent

A more recent story of them is this. A Gurkha who used his Kukri to cut the head off an enemy soldier and bring it to his Commander as proof of that person's death. Talk about a fearsome warrior! Although he was disciplined for his actions and since return to duty, his aggressiveness was evident.

And if you are interested in checking out more:

What Can We Learn From Their Skills and Mindset?

The Gurkhas

It is noted everywhere of how robust and tough the Gurkhas are, but how did they come to be this way and what can we learn from them to take into our own lives?

Obviously, we can’t all move to Nepal and live strict and tough lives in order to train for the job, but what can we pick up from them to help us in our daily lives or use in any situation we may come across?

1. Grit And Tenacity

First thing to note is their motto, "It is better to die, than to be a coward".

Right away, this demonstrates their fierce loyalty to the cause and dedication to fighting the odds. Through the motto we can see that the Gurkha’s will not give up no matter how challenging the task.

As when SHTF, do not give up!

2. Kinship And Pillar Of Support

Another attribute that Gurkha’s carry with them is their tradition of family. While training and preparing with their battalions, they form very close bonds and relationships with each other.

Once they enter into battle, they are not just fighting for and with their fellow soldier, but for a member of their own family. If you think about it, you are more likely to go above and beyond for your family members than just an acquaintance or team member.

You might just need to be the pillar of support then. Also always remember that others are there for you too!

3. Arsenal Of Skills

These warriors starts learning combat, warfare and survival skills from young. While you cannot transform into them overnight. You can at least be acquainted with some of them.

Fusion Of These Traits

The Gurkhas'

The combination of strong family ties and their motto of courage make them all the more powerful during a battle. We can take these attributes into our own lives and use it to handle any situation.

Whether that be a challenging situation with a colleague or in a time when our homes and lives may need protection or defended.

Take Away

The Gurkha’s have a rich and interesting history. Their mindset and attitude are rooted in tradition, but you can see through their techniques how they have been able to evolve and grow as the times have changed.

In more modern times, they have not only demonstrated their fighting abilities, but also expanded their expertise into medical and logistical fields.

Being able to evolve is an important part of survival. Their initial defeat of the British East Trading Company, despite their smaller numbers, shows us the importance of trusting our own skills and not giving up.

This kind of mental strength is necessary to overcome challenging situations.

Are you prepared enough?

About the author


Colin is a freelance writer and editor. A fan of The Walking Dead. It led him to think what if SHTF and what does it takes to survive. Colin hobbies includes gears, tech gadgets and rehearsing different "End Of The World" situations in his head.

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