The Gurkhas (Anglais) Broché – 17 octobre 1990
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
I first had an opportunity to view the Gurkhas in the fall of 1983 when the were performing ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace. They relieved
the Irish Guards whose mascot was seemingly bigger than the Gurkha officer commanding the troops. Later I saw Gurkhas when I watched the ceremony of the keys at The Tower of London. They may not have understood the reason they were performing this duty but they performed their duties in an outstanding manner and added to my very favorable impression of the Gurkhas.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Briitsh Army and this exceptional body of Soldiers.
While a young schoolkid growing up near the major Indian military base at Siliguri in Bengal, I had watched these slant eyed men with awe. They were indeed the best turned out soldiers with their slant hats, cross belts and the deadly "khukri"(hand knife)hanging by their side. I have ever since tried to read every book on this subject that I could get my hands on.
Mr Farwell looks at the Gurkha from a purely British perspective. At the end he is still a glorified mercernary to the British. It is as if the Gurkha's soldierly qualities started and ended with British rule in India. He is no doubt led to that opinion by former British Indian officers he interviewed for this book(who share a dim opinion along with the author of other Indian soldiers).
What the author does not mention is that Gurkhas were first used as mercernaries not by the British but Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab. Even their uniforms coopted by the British was designed by a member of his court. Gurkhas had the opportunity to eschew their mercernary ways when India evicted the British in 1947 and invited them to join the Indian army.Large numbers today serve that army with distinction and pride. Unlike the British, the Indians have treated them on par with other citizens. The British ostensibly claim that they pay Gurkhas less(a fifth or less of other British troops)so as not to disrupt Nepali social life. Also, they are free to settle in India and indeed large numbers of them have.
As for his claim of Indian troops not being impartial during the independence riots, it is a clear case of poor leadership. British officers left in great haste and as they trained very few Indians to replace them, men often found themselves confused as their country was breaking up around them. The British were so jealous of their Gurkhas that they even invented a reason to keep Indian officers out - some so called treaty with the king of Nepal. There are some juicy snippets of the British officers sleeping with their men( good reason for keeping the Indians out!!)
For those of you wanting to learn about the Gurkhas , John Masters' Bugles and a Tiger would be a wonderful source. Mr. Byron Farwell quotes him extensively in his book but misses his message.
I knew of the Gurkhas only through vague stories, this book lays out how they were recruited and utilized in the British and Indian armies.
Great stories. I wish it were longer.