The British Gurkhas have finally found a reason to cheer. The new British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has now ordered a review of “all issues pertaining to Gurkha veterans and their families.” Brown’s statement holds high significance since all discriminatory policies pursued by the past British governments against the veterans would now come under a thorough review. Also, the three main demands put forth by the Gurkhas — right to equal pension, right to permanent settlement and right to compensation — are therefore likely to be appropriately addressed by the British government. The statement came after Brown met, on July 6, the 84-year-old Nepali Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun, who was awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross for demonstrating extraordinary courage during World War II.
Undoubtedly, the Gurkhas have brought great glory to the UK. They have remained as faithful to the British Army as their British counterparts, and have played a redoubtable role in building a strong British military presence around the world in not so distant a past. It is thus unfortunate that they were denied justice for so long. The decision-makers in Britain should have realised this fact much earlier, thereby preventing the problems from accumulating and sparing the loyal Gurkhas unnecessary trouble, suffering and humiliation. Fight for due recognition of one’s contribution and fair treatment should not be taken negatively. For the cause of the British Gurkhas, everybody, including the government of Nepal, should extend all support and cooperation.