Kumaos and Garwahls Recruitment into Indian Gorkha Regiments News – mixed response

Sir, please find attached two short articles extracted from the latest Indian newspapers on the Indian Army recruitment of Kumaos and Garwahls into Gorkha Regiments.

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It makes me wonder how they get through the integration ‘communication wise’ as all non-Gorkhas in the Gorkha Rifles have to learn Nepali so they can communicate with their regiments although I assume these are mostly Officers who have to learn the Gorkhali language to be able to interact with their men in their native tongue?

However, in the latest news, it says, “Move to open up Gorkha Rifles recruitment for non-Gurkhas gets mixed response” from veterans and experts. Some welcoming the move, saying the criteria (to recruit only Gorkhas for GRs) was created during British rule and doing away with it is practical now, especially in view of the current tensions between India and Nepal. (Till now, only Indian-domiciled or Nepal-domiciled Gorkhas were inducted into the 40 battalions that make up the 7 Gorkha Rifles regiments of the Indian Army. Currently, the ratio of Nepalese and Indian troops in a GR battalion is 60:40). Others though condemned it, saying it will only distort the ethnicity of one of the oldest regiments of the Indian Army.  Some of the comments:

….”the move will increase opportunities for youths of Garhwal and Kumaon to join the Army”

….”an inclusive move as we have been continuing the British legacy of inducting only Gorkhas to Gorkha regiments. Now, even the Gorkha community is venturing into sectors other than combat roles, i.e. Engineering, Medical, which is a good thing. However, this is diminishing the number of potential army recruits. So, the Indian Army looking into the possibility recruiting non-Gorkhas is a positive move.”

… “the move will prove a boon for the youth of Uttarakhand.”

…. “if not many Gorkhas are signing up to join then the opportunity is given to Kumaoni and Garhwali youths instead – army will retain its force. People from Uttarakhand are accepted because they share the Gorkhas’ culture, language [?] and traditions.”

…. “it is obvious that induction of non-Gorkhas (into GRs) will disturb the essence of the battalion, which has its own ethnicity and art of warfare.”

…. “bad for the regiment. There are around 2 crore Gorkhas in Indian. Their maximum population is concentrated in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Himalchal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and even in South Indian. So we have lot of potential staffers for the Indian Army. Why should they invite people form Uttarakhand in the Gorkha regiments, when the state already has its own two regiments, Garhwal and Kumaon regiments.”

… “the Indian Army should keep Gorkhas separate as their traditions and core values are different. As far as Indian-Nepal tensions are concerned, the Army should stop recruiting from Nepal altogether if it has apprehensions.”

Looking back into our own Brigade, at the formation of larger regiment and the introduction of centralized manning, the inter Bn cross posting could not happen due to differences [whatever] between Eastern and Western Gurkhas? Though I am not sure if there is the same sort of regional divide in the Indian Army Gorkhas battalions?

Gorkha recruitment articles

2 Comments on Kumaos and Garwahls Recruitment into Indian Gorkha Regiments News – mixed response

  1. Sudan, I think the mixed response to the news is to be expected, but at the end of the day the world changes and sometimes things like this have to change with it. After all, it was only a few years ago that the Royal Navy refused to have women on its ships, there were no black people in the Brigade of Guards, and Brigade of Gurkhas Terms and Conditions of Service were much more restrictive than they are now – and all those things have changed in response to public and political pressure. In the same way I guess the Indian Government is now responding to political and social circumstances in their part of the world and making this change on the basis of what seems to them to be the best thing to do. Time will tell whether they are right, but if there are already 40% Indian people in Indian Army Gorkha battalions, I can’t imagine adding a few Garhwalis and Kumaonis is going to make that much difference!

    I don’t know whether the Indian Army Gorkha battalions recruit from different regions and jats. Presumably they did originally, just like the British Regiments, but maybe, like us, they now mix things up a bit more.

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