Religious beliefs and dietary requirements of the Gurkha

#1
Whilst contemplating the range of ration packs available for different religious groups in the British Army it occurred to me that I had no notion of the religion and associated requirements of Gurkha troops. Clearly I could just google it but I thought perhaps asking here would be a better idea.

I don't need to know this for any particular reason but I have always held the Gurkhas in high regard for their great reputation and perhaps because as a young boy I was taken to the Gurkha museum and still have a cap badge I was given there.

I hope this doesn't appear to be a patronising or stupid question. Nothing could be further from my intent.

Best wishes,

Ex STAB

Speelling eedit.
 
#2
Whilst serving with 28 Sqn QOGTR, they normally dragged out their own chefs who would knock up a decent curry in quick time. As long as you didn't mind picking out the chicken feet and bones, it was all good.

On tour they had their religious holiday (apologies I cannot remember the name) and they sacrificed a goat and it too was good eating.

In summary I prefered to eat their food as apposed to the crap that was cooked by our chefs.
 
#6
legal_eagle said:
I've noticed a lot of threads with his name in recently, but was distracted by the one on Tul Bahdur Pun VC so I haven't read them...

What has he done?? Has he been caught telling porkies or something?
Taxi......
 
#8
I award you seven days curried goat.

March out.
 
#9
I seem to recall that the goat was sacrificed (orf with its 'ead) on the feast of Divhali, it being a Hindu feast and all.

I can't ever recall there being too many philosphical discussions about religion or religous differences/similarities; though there was always a keen interest girls, boys, other below-the-navel stuff. 8O

I also seem to recall the first line of a favourite Divhali song, where one of the 'pretty' boys would dress as a girl (a job thoroughly detested, as I seem to recall :oops: ,) and sing this song...

Lauri Kho Rheli Mai...
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
There are provisions for Gurkha rations, in fact the designation "Gurkha Rations" is on an individual's UNICOM printout along with the appropriate Yes or No qualifier.

On tour they had their religious holiday (apologies I cannot remember the name) and they sacrificed a goat and it too was good eating.
'Desain'.
 
#11
Gurkhas being Hindus do not eat beef. Though many Hindus do eat beef these days.

The religious ceremony where they slaughter with one stroke (any more strokes is bad luck and if that happens, then the chaps face is smeared with the blood) is called Dasai or Durga Puja* (Goddess of Strength).

Interestingly, Gurkhas can eat anything without any qualms. Pork is their favourite, though the higher caste would say that they don't eat pork. They eat everything of a goat after they singe the goat to get rid of the hair.

They stuff coagulated blood with spices into intestines to make a sausage and fry the same. It is very tasty as a snack with Rakshi (Rum).

*According to the narrative from the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana, the form of Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight a demon. The demon's father Rambha, king of the demons, once fell in love with a water buffalo, and Mahishasur was born out of this union. He is therefore able to change between human and buffalo form at will (mahisha means "buffalo"). Through intense prayers to Brahma, Mahishasura had the boon that he could not be defeated by any man or god. By virtue of this power, he invaded the gods, who went for help to the supreme trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra), but Mahishashura defeated all of the gods including the trinity themselves. He unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds. Eventually, since only a woman could kill him, the trinity bestowed a dazzling beam of energy upon the Goddess Trinity, transforming her into the goddess, Durga. Her form was blindingly beautiful with three lotus-like eyes, eight powerful hands, lush black hair with beautiful curls, a red-golden glow from her skin and a quarter moon on her forehead. She wore a shiny oceanic blue attire emitting fierce rays. Her ornaments were carved beautifully of gold, with ocean pearls and precious stones embedded in it. Her face was sculpted by Shiva, torso by Indra, breasts by Chandra (the moon), teeth by Brahma, bottom by the Earth, thighs and knees by Varuna (water), and her three eyes by Agni (fire). Each god also gave her their own most powerful weapons, Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandal, Kuber's gada, etc. Himalayas gifted her a fierce whitish golden lion. On the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th day of waxing moon, Chanda and Munda came to fight the goddess. She turned blue with anger and goddess Chamunda leaped out of her third eye. Her form was the most powerful one with 3 red eyes, blood-filled tongue and dark skin; who finally killed the twin demons with her sword. This form of the divine goddess is worshipped during the sandhikshan of Durga Puja festival, as sandhi/chandi puja. Finally on the tenth day of waxing moon, goddess Durga killed Mahishasura with her trident.

The word Shakti, meaning strength, reflects the warrior aspect of the goddess, embodying a traditional male role. She is also strikingly beautiful, and initially Mahishasura tries to marry her. Other incarnations include Annapurna and Karunamayi (karuna = kindness).
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
EX_STAB said:
Thanks RayC. I had read of the Dasai ceremony in "Bugles, and a tiger". Is that still carried out here?
Not in the UK anymore, I presume for animal welfare reasons. Have seen it done with a watermelon as a symbolic (and frankly piss poor) substitute.
 
#14
They did have a Gurkha catering school in Malaya Lines..Sek Kong, Hong Kong...many moons ago....... once amonth Brits invited to a resturant style Gurkha meals at catering school.....excellent nosh! I have been on many jungle exercises with Gurkha's ..southeast Asia.....never took Brit rations....ate Gurkha rations.....(GT ration packs)
 
#15
RP578 said:
EX_STAB said:
Thanks RayC. I had read of the Dasai ceremony in "Bugles, and a tiger". Is that still carried out here?
Not in the UK anymore, I presume for animal welfare reasons. Have seen it done with a watermelon as a symbolic (and frankly urine poor) substitute.
Halal and kosher slaughter are permitted so i don't see why not.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
EX_STAB said:
RP578 said:
EX_STAB said:
Thanks RayC. I had read of the Dasai ceremony in "Bugles, and a tiger". Is that still carried out here?
Not in the UK anymore, I presume for animal welfare reasons. Have seen it done with a watermelon as a symbolic (and frankly urine poor) substitute.
Halal and kosher slaughter are permitted so i don't see why not.
Not sure mate, can only hazard a guess that there's a qualitative difference between a Rabbi slitting a cows throat before in an abattoir and Rfn Gurung lopping of bull's head in front of a cheering battalion. Maybe someone here knows the MAFF (of other appropriate dept) rules on this.
 
#17
Bravo2nothing said:
Whilst serving with 28 Sqn QOGTR, they normally dragged out their own chefs who would knock up a decent curry in quick time. As long as you didn't mind picking out the chicken feet and bones, it was all good.

On tour they had their religious holiday (apologies I cannot remember the name) and they sacrificed a goat and it too was good eating.

In summary I prefered to eat their food as apposed to the crap that was cooked by our chefs.

In the late 70's I was attached to 6th Gurkha Rifles for about 9 months and used to love their fish curry and egg curry,great stuff IIRC one of the Toms did the cooking and not a proper cook,but he made a very good job of it
 
#18
and maybe it would be wiser, if you know the tradition, to keep quiet. So that the Ghurka can continue his tradition.
 
#19
RP 578,

Dasai is still carried out since it is a major religious festival of the Gorkhas and Hindus (Durga Puja).

The animal slaughter at times gets the goat. Buffaloes, goats, chicken are slaughtered and also vegetables.

I reckon the cost of animals is going through the roof and so the numbers of sacrificial animals are diminishing.

The food is tasty because spices are used.

If you wish to have a great curry, try SHAN Masala of Pakistan (which we are getting these days in India [a part of the Confidence Building Mesures? ;)]), which you can add to the meat or vegetables you are cooking. It sure adds zest to the meal. However, you all should only use a quarter of the packet, even though it might advise you to put the full packet worth in.

I am sure SHAN Masalas would be available since a lot of Pakistanis are in the UK.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Rayc said:
RP 578,

Dasai is still carried out since it is a major religious festival of the Gorkhas and Hindus (Durga Puja).

The animal slaughter at times gets the goat. Buffaloes, goats, chicken are slaughtered and also vegetables.

I reckon the cost of animals is going through the roof and so the numbers of sacrificial animals are diminishing.

The food is tasty because spices are used.

If you wish to have a great curry, try SHAN Masala of Pakistan (which we are getting these days in India [a part of the Confidence Building Mesures? ;)]), which you can add to the meat or vegetables you are cooking. It sure adds zest to the meal. However, you all should only use a quarter of the packet, even though it might advise you to put the full packet worth in.

I am sure SHAN Masalas would be available since a lot of Pakistanis are in the UK.
The animal sacrifice part of the Desain (that's how the Bde Gurkhas spell it so who am I to argue) festivities has been dropped for a while in the UK. Maybe the MOD are sensitive to how the image of the Queen's soldiers chopping of an animal's head might appear to the general British public? I doubt it's a cost thing, you should see how much some units splash out on Christmas parties.

Truth be told mate, I've never known any Hindu in the UK taking part in a Desain celebration where an animal was sacrificed. Perhaps its just not practical here?

The Pakistani shops here have an excellent variety of spices and herbs and I always prefer to shop in them for even some basic items such as cloves, cumin, coriander (thunya) or tumeric (haldhi) that are also available in regular Supermarkets here, but are so much more expensive than the asian stores.
 

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