Nepal, A Christmas Gift, 2 Gurkhas & A Kukri
We participated in a charity to send Christmas gifts around the world to poor countries. My daughter packed a wrapped shoe box with gifts for a girl her age. A couple days before Christmas we received an email that the gift had been delivered to a child in Nepal. I was quite happy it went to Nepal because over the past year, I have read two unforgettable stories about the bravery of Nepali Gurkhas. Please read them below:
Lone Nepali Gorkha who subdued 40 train robbers
MANOJ ADHIKARI/SANTOSH POKHAREL
POKHARA, Jan 13: Gorkha soldiers have long been known the world over for their valor and these khukuri-wielding warriors winning the British many a battle have become folklore.
A retired Indian Gorkha soldier recently revisited those glory days when he thwarted 40 robbers, killing three of them and injuring eight others, with his khukuri during a train journey. He is in line to receive three gallantry awards from the Indian government.
Slave girl Morgiana in the Arabian Nights used her cunning to finish off Ali Baba´s 40 thieves, but Bishnu Shrestha of Baidam, Pokhara-6 did not have time to plot against the 40 train robbers. He, however, made good use of his khukuri to save the chastity of a girl and hundreds of thousands in loot.
Shrestha, who was in the Maurya Express to Gorakhpur from Ranchi on September 2 while returning home following voluntary retirement from the Indian army--saved the girl who was going to be raped by the robbers in front of her hapless parents, and in doing so won plaudits from everybody.
The Indian government is to decorate Shrestha with its Sourya Chakra, Bravery Award and Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Medal and the 35-year-old is leaving for India Saturday to receive the first of the awards on the occasion of India´s Republic Day on January 26.
“The formal announcement of the awards will be made on Republic Day and on Independence Day on August 15,” said Shrestha, whose father Gopal Babu also retired from the same 7/8 Platoon of the Gorkha Regiment around 29 years ago.
His regiment has already given him a cash award of Indian rupees 50,000, and decided to terminate his voluntary retirement. He will get the customary promotion after receiving the medals. The Indian government will also announce a cash bounty for him and special discounts on international air tickets and domestic train tickets.
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha-- who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting--was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.
“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
During the scuffle he received serious blade injury to his left hand while the girl also had a minor cut on her neck. “They had carried out their robbery with swords, blades and pistols. The pistols may have been fake as they didn´t open fire,” he surmised.
The train resumed its journey after some 20 minutes and a horde of media persons and police were present when it reached Chittaranja station. Police arrested the eight injured dacoits and recovered around 400,000 Indian rupees in cash, 40 gold necklaces, 200 cell phones, 40 laptops and other items that the fleeing robbers dropped in the train.
Police escorted Shrestha to the Railways Hospital after the rescued girl told them about his heroic deed. Mainstream Indian media carried the story. The parents of the girl, who was going for her MBBS studies, also announced a cash award of Indian rupees 300,000 for him but he has not met them since.
“Even the veins and arteries in my left hand were slit but the injury has now healed after two months of neurological treatment at the Command Hospital in Kolkata,” he said showing the scar. “Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier; taking on the dacoits in the train was my duty as a human being,” said the Indian army nayak, who has been given two guards during his month-long holidays in Nepal.
“I am proud to be able to prove that a Gorkha soldier with a khukuri is really a handful. I would have been a meek spectator had I not carried that khukuri,” he said.
He still finds it hard to believe that he took on 40 armed robbers alone. “They may have feared that more of my army friends were traveling with me and fled after fighting me for around 20 minutes,” he explained.
For those who have never seen a Kukri, here is a picture:
A Gurkha soldier who single-handedly defeated more than 30 Taliban fighters has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by the Queen.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, described how he was spurred on by the belief that he was going to die and so had nothing to lose in taking on the attackers who overran his checkpoint in Afghanistan.
His gallantry award is second only to the Victoria Cross - the highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy.
Cpl Pun, from the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was presented with the CGC during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, during which a number of other soldiers were recognised for their bravery.
Speaking after receiving the honour from the Queen, the Gurkha said: 'I'm very excited and happy to here in the Palace to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. This will be a great memory for the future.'
The soldier fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.
At one point, after exhausting all his ammunition, he had to use the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.
After the ceremony, Cpl Pun was congratulated by investiture guests who queued up to shake his hand.
Speaking about the actions which earned him the CGC, he said: 'At that time I wasn't worried, there wasn't any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint, I was alone.
'I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I'd kill as many of them as I could before they killed me.
'That incident happened in the middle of my tour and after that I thought nobody can kill us now - when we met the enemy I wasn't scared.
'I thought the Taliban did not have the capacity to fight with us.'
Cpl Pun, an acting sergeant during his Afghan deployment, was on sentry duty at the time of the attack when he heard a clinking noise outside the small base.
At first he thought it might be a donkey or a cow, but when he went to investigate he found two insurgents digging a trench to lay an improvised explosive device (IED) at the checkpoint's front gate.
He realised that he was completely surrounded and that the Taliban were about to launch a well-planned attempt to overrun the compound.
The enemy opened fire from all sides, destroying the sentry position where the soldier had been on duty minutes before.
Defending the base from the roof, the Gurkha remained under continuous attack from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47s for more than a quarter of an hour.
Most of the militants were about 50ft away from him, but at one point he turned around to see a 'huge' Taliban fighter looming over him.
The soldier picked up his machine gun and fired a long burst at the man until he fell off the roof.
When another insurgent tried to climb up to his position, the Gurkha attempted to shoot him with his SA80 rifle. But it did not work, either because it had jammed or because the magazine was empty.
He first grabbed a sandbag but it had not been tied up and the contents fell to the floor.
Then he seized the metal tripod of his machine gun and threw it at the approaching Taliban militant, shouting in Nepali 'Marchu talai' ('I will kill you') and knocking him down.
Two insurgents were still attacking by the time the heroic Gurkha had used up all his ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them.
At this point his company commander, Major Shaun Chandler, arrived at the checkpoint, slapped him on the back and asked if he was OK.
In total he fired off 250 general purpose machine gun rounds, 180 SA80 rounds, six phosphorous grenades, six normal grenades, five underslung grenade launcher rounds and one Claymore mine.
The only weapon he did not use was the traditional Kukri knife carried by Gurkhas because he did not have his with him at the time.
The married soldier, whose father and grandfather were also Gurkhas, is originally from the village of Bima in western Nepal but now lives in Ashford, Kent.
His medal citation said he saved the lives of three comrades at the checkpoint at that time and prevented the position being overrun.
It read: 'Pun could never know how many enemies were attempting to overcome his position, but he sought them out from all angles despite the danger, consistently moving towards them to reach the best position of attack.'
Major General Nicholas Carter, who was commander of combined forces, including British troops, in southern Afghanistan during Cpl Pun's deployment, praised the soldier and those from the Mercian Regiment receiving gallantry awards today.
The senior officer, who received the Distinguished Service Order from the Queen for his leadership in the Middle East country, said: 'Their efforts have been tremendous. It was a privilege to have members of the 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles and the Mercian Regiment under my command.
'The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross does not get handed out lightly, it was a most remarkable achievement by that particular young Gurkha.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz1hiikKpXu
I keep one in my closet, next to my bed, in case I have to investigate any "bumps in the night".
"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
--Hugh Latimer, October 16, 1555