The Indian Army is an institution. It has transcended generations. It has remained essential. It has people we can be proud of. It has a shared value system, and an ethos of ‘Service above self’. It has an unifying purpose. It has systems, structures, processes, procedures and training. It also has magnificent traditions. The traditions are important. The legend of Capt. Subedar Bana Singh will continue to inspire generations of soldiers. The legend of Major Shaitan Singh in the battle of Rezang La in 1962 still fills the eyes with tears, and mind with humility. Will we see loss of an important part of this tradition in the coming years?
Gorkha soldiers have been a very important part of this institution, and with their gallantry and valor, have enriched this institution and its traditions. For a relatively smaller number of Gorkha soldiers in the Indian Army, they have a very high number of gallantry medals, with legends such as Major Dhan Singh Thapa (Param Vir Chakra) coming to mind readily. There have been two Field Marshall’s in the Indian Army since independence, and the first one (FM SHFJ Manekshaw) was from Gorkha regiment. Even outside the gallantry, Gorkha soldiers have been some of the best ambassadors of the Indian Army.
Approximately 70% of the Gorkha soldiers are citizens of Nepal. In 2012, Nepal has decided against allowing the Gorkha people to join foreign armies such as Indiam Army or British Army. When this decision is implemented on the ground, India will still be able to replenish the Gorkha battalions, but their ability to do so will diminish, they need to solely depend on Gorkha’s from Darjeeling, Dehra Dun or Dharamshala. Will the Indian Army be able to maintain the Gorkha battalions too long?
Will we lose the magnificent “Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali” battle cry of the Gorkha battalions, from our glorious traditions of the Indian Army?