Saturday, July 25, 2009


Saturday, July 25, 2009
Nepal (Nepali: नेपाल [neˈpaːl] (help·info)), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia and is the world's youngest republic. It is bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometers and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass[3] and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolitan city.

Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geography, culture, and religions. The mountainous north contains eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including the highest, Mount Everest. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized. By some measures, Hinduism is practiced by a greater majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation.[4] A minority faith in the country, Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama who, as the Buddha Gautama, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.

Nepal had been a monarchy throughout most of its history. Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Shah dynasty king, unified the many small kingdoms in 1768. Since then, the country had been ruled by a dynasty of kings. However, a decade-long People's Revolution by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) along with several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties of Nepal in 2006, culminated in a peace accord and the ensuing elections for the constituent assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the abdication of the last Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in May 28, 2008.[5] The first President of Nepal, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav was sworn in on 23 July, 2008.

POKHARA, Pokhara is the most beautiful city in Nepal. The city is situated 200 km west of Kathmandu, is the starting point of Nepal's popular trekking and rafting destinations. The elevation of Pokhara is approximately 915 meter from the sea level. This is the magic city in the sense that you can enjoy exotic view of Machhapuchhre [6977m] very close from Pokhara city. Moreover, Pokhara offers panoramic views of five peaks of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Himchuli etc. The valley is famous for natural and cultural beauty that has more than seven lakes, out of them Fewa and Rupa are very attractive for tourists.

Gorkha, The town of Gorkha located at a distance of 144 km/90 miles, north west of Kathmandu was the ancient Kingdom of the present Shah Kings. The motorable road ends just below the Gorkha town and all tour of this place has to be done on foot. Gorkha palace located on top of a hill overlooking the town of Gorkha, can be reached after a steep uphill climb of an hour and a half. Though the main palace courtyard is closed to all foreigners one can however enter the outer part, which offers a spectacular birds eye view of the Gorkha town. For the more energetic hiker, a further climb of half an hour is suggested. This particular point known as Upalla Kot gives the best aerial view of the palace. Gorkha can be reached by road in conjunction with Pokhara or a same day trip can be undertaken from Kathmandu.

Gurkha, also spelled as Gorkha or Ghurka, are people from Nepal and northern India[1] who take their name from the eighth century Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath..His disciple Bappa Rawal, born Prince Kalbhoj/Prince Shailadhish, founded the house of Mewar, Rajasthan (Rajputana). Later descendants of Bappa Rawal moved further east to found the house of Gorkha, which in turn founded the Kingdom of Nepal. Gorkha District is one of the 75 districts of modern Nepal.


Gurkhas are best known for their history of bravery and strength in the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments. The Gurkhas were designated by British officials as a "Martial Race". "Martial Race" was a designation created by officials of British India to describe "races" (peoples) that were thought to be naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, and to possess qualities of courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, the ability to work hard for long periods of time, fighting tenacity and military strategy. The British recruited heavily from these Martial Races for service in the colonial army.

Victoria Cross recipients
Main article: List of Gurkha Recipients of the Victoria Cross
There have been twenty-six Victoria Crosses awarded to members of the Gurkha regiments. The first was awarded in 1858 and the last in 1965. Thirteen of the recipients have been British officers serving with Gurkha regiments, although since 1915 the majority have been received by Gurkhas serving in the ranks as private soldiers or as NCOs. In addition, since Indian independence in 1947, Gurkhas serving in the Indian Army have also been awarded three Param Vir Chakras, which are roughly equivalent.

Of note also, there have been two George Cross medals awarded to Gurkha soldiers, for acts of bravery in situations that have not involved combat.

Treatment of Gurkhas in the United Kingdom
The treatment of Gurkhas and their families has been the subject of controversy in the United Kingdom following revelations that Gurkhas received smaller pensions than their British equivalents. On 8 March 2007, it was announced by the British Government that all Gurkhas who signed up after July 1, 1997 would receive a pension equivalent to that of their British counterparts. In addition, Gurkhas would, for the first time, be able to transfer to another army unit after five years service to broaden their experience. It was also stated that, for the first time in the history of the Gurkhas, women would be allowed to join — although not in infantry units, in line with general British Army policy.

Despite this, many Gurkhas who had not served long enough to entitle them to a pension faced hardship on their return to Nepal, and some critics have derided the Government's decision to only award the new pension to those joining after the 1 July 1997, claiming that this left many ex-Gurkhas still facing a financially uncertain retirement. Even the British National Party has waded into the debate in support of the Gurkhas. A charity, the Gurkha Welfare Trust, provides aid to alleviate hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servicemen.
The nationality status of Gurkhas and their families was also previously an area of dispute, with claims that some ex-army Nepali families were being denied residency and forced to leave Britain. The new policy on Gurkhas (announced by the British Government on 8 March 2007) guarantees residency rights in Britain for retired Gurkhas and their families. In a landmark ruling on 30 September 2008 the High Court in London decided that Gurkhas who left the Army before 1997 did have an automatic right of residency in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] Before this ruling only Gurkhas who left the British Army after 1997 were granted automatic residency benefits.[46] In line with the ruling of the High Court the Home Office is to review all cases affected by this decision.

There is a campaign currently running to support Gurkhas and pressure the UK government into giving more help and equal treatment to Gurkhas, called Gurkha Justice. A motion was voted on in the House of Commons on the 29th April 2009 by the Liberal Democrats that all Gurkhas be offered an equal right of residence. This resulted in a defeat for the Government by 267 votes to 246, the first, first day motion defeat for a government since 1978. The Commons vote is not binding, but it represents an embarrassment for the government. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader stated that "This is an immense victory on a series of fronts: for the rights of Gurkhas who have been waiting so long for justice, a victory for Parliament, a victory for decency." He added that it was "the kind of thing people want this country to do".

On 21 May 2009, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that all Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years service would be allowed to settle in the UK. The actress Joanna Lumley, who had campaigned for the rights of Gurkhas, said "This is the welcome we have always longed to give".


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