How significant are ex-Gurkhas to Nepal?

In light of the current petition looking to give all retired Gurkhas access to the UK, I would like to ask the question how significant are the pre-97 Gurkhas to the social and economic welfare of Nepal? I remember as a kid visiting Dharan and spent a night on my own with the resettlement troops staying overnight in Hile (drinking "non-acoholic" thomba!!!). It seemed that these guy's contribution was quite significant. I would be interested to hear you views.

I'm not a Gurkha but I did look into this a bit in the early 90s. I welcome any serving or retired Gurkhas to correct me...

Statistically, ex-Gurkhas make up a very small part of the Nepalese population, probably less than 1% these days. Around the recruiting areas, there will be 'colonies' of ex-Gurkhas where they will make up a larger percentage of the local population but still not massive.

While those that are in receipt of a pension will be very wealthy compared to the national average, most Gurkhas come from the lower castes, so ironically, while they may be motivated, well educated and not short of capital to invest in a business, the Caste System often presents 'invisible' barriers to them making it to the top, or indeed getting anywhere so quite often, many just live happily in retirement. Tourism is/was probably the exception where their English and reputation is/was a genuine advantage (it's some years since I was in Nepal so can't comment on the current situation.)

That said, many Gurkhas contribute a great deal to Nepali Society in many other ways, in local government and other areas.

Attitudes may be changing but will probably be a very slow process.


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