Gurkha War and diaspora in Manipur
- Part 2 -

Deepak Aley *

1815: By this time, the British logistics were severely tested so far from their bases in Bengal. Hastings was obliged to send bigger and better-led armies to the frontier in a new round of fighting in 1815. One notable British Commander, Sir Ochterlony began to reverse the trend of EIC losses. He besieged the major Gurkha fort of Malaon and captured Kumaun (Kumaon) in May 1815.

The EIC attempted to negotiate a peace settlement, but the Nepalese were not willing to give up territories or their independence and so decided to fight on. The British through subterfuge used local smugglers as guides and bypassed the heavily fortified passes in the valley of Nepal to march the army

1816: At the Battle of Makwanpur, Ochterlony orchestrated the most decisive EIC victory in Nepal. More battles and sieges followed with Ochterlony taking the time to build roads to get his heavy cannons into better positions to blast the Gurkha forts.

The Nepalese eventually decided to initiate peace when Kathmandu came under direct threat from Ochterlony and was subjected to the constant campaigning of the EIC with its much superior resources, which allowed it to regularly replenish losses in material and manpower.


The Treaty of Sugauli:

The Treaty of Sugauli March 4, 1816, suited Ochterlony to bring the campaign to a speedy conclusion because of the approach of the dreaded aul-fever season but also because a number of his European troops suffered from dysentery.

The Treaty of Sugauli had been ratified on March 4, 1816. According to the treaty, Nepal would lose Sikkim, the territories of Kumaon and Garhwal, and most of the lands of the Tarai. The British East India Company would pay 200,000 rupees annually to compensate for the loss of income from the Tarai region. The Tarai lands proved difficult to govern, the British returning some of them to Nepal in 1816, while Nepal simultaneously abolished the annual payments.

The Mechi river became the new eastern border and the Mahakali river, the western boundary of Nepal. The Treaty forced Kathmandu to accept a British Resident, a hateful symbol of its reduction to client status in relation to the British administration in Calcutta.

Gurkha Recruitment:

David Ochterlony and the political agent William Fraser quickly to recognized the potential of Gurkha soldiers in British service. During the war, the British employed defectors from the Gurkha army as irregular forces. In April 1815, his confidence in their loyalty prompted him to form them into a battalion under Lieutenant Ross called the Nasiri regiment.

That regiment, later to become the 1st King George's Own Gurkha Rifles, saw action at the Malaun fort under the leadership of Lieutenant Lawtie. Lawtie reported to Ochterlony that he "had the greatest reason to be satisfied with their exertions."

About 5,000 men entered British service in 1815, most of them Kumaonis, Garhwalis and other Himalayan hill men rather than Gurkhas. Those groups, eventually lumped together under the term Gurkha, became the backbone of British Indian forces.

As well as Ochterlony's Gurkha battalions, William Fraser and Lieutenant Frederick Young raised the Sirmoor battalion, later to become the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles. An additional battalion, the Kumaon battalion, had been raised later becoming the 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles.

Support in the Sepoy Mutiny:

The Mutiny has also been described as the first war of independence. The war was not immediately successful. Begun in Meerut by Indian sepoys in the service of the British East India Company, the Mutiny spread to many places including Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, and Lucknow. In 1857, the Bengal Army, which had to suppress the rebellion in this part of the Company territory, had 1500 Gurkhas.

The deployment of tiny Gurkhas, the "Irishmen of Asia", created panic among the rebels. Ted Russell, an ensign of the 193rd Bengal Native Infantry, stationed at Aurungpore, and one of the principal actors in the book, makes clear that the Gurkhas were eager to come in contact with the mutinous hordes and fight them out.

These hordes were even seen by him running with terrified eyes and panting breath at different places. They fought like anything, throwing down musket and bayonet, and drawing their razor-edged kukris and plunged into the thick of their opponents, hewing them down and scattering them on every side by the fury of their charge. Even though the Gurkhas were finally overbearing, they also suffered terrible casualties from the mutineers.

However, even the wounded ones refused to leave their post. Such was their determination that when the British comrades offered to assist and relocate the injured soldiers to a relatively less threatened zone, where they could receive medical assistance, they flatly refused instead preferring to stay by the side of their battling comrades
(Refer Frederick P. Gibbon's The Disputed VC: A Tale of the Indian Mutiny )

Gurkhas and the First World War(1914-1918):

The Gurkha soldiers had left a lasting impression on the British, who were now at peace with Nepal and over time it became clear that the British army intended to use their fighting prowess to bolster their strength. The Gurkhas were thus recruited to fight alongside the British and serve in the army, a service which has seen generations of valiant Gurkhas fight beside British troops in wars across the globe. By 1891, the Regiment had been renamed the 1st Gurkha Rifle Regiment.

The Gurkhas were used by the British in India in order to thwart revolts, as well as in a host of other locations such as Greece, Italy and the Middle East, not to mention fighting the Japanese in Singapore and in the dense jungles of Burma. By the end of the First World War over 90,000 Gurkha soldiers had served with over 20,000 casualties and 6,000 deaths.

Gurkhas and the Second World War(1939-1945):

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Gurkha soldiers of the British Indian Army were immediately deployed in service of the British War effort.

Gurkha soldiers saw service in three main combat theatres: North Africa, Italy and the Far East. Gurkhas fought as part of the British 8th Army in North Africa, against Italian and German troops, suffering heavy losses at battles such as Tobruk, where2ND Battalion of the 7th Gurkha Rifles was captured.

After the final defeat of Italian and German forces in North Africa in 1943, Gurkha troops remained a key component of the Allied forces deployed in the liberation of Italy from 1943 until 1945. After the final defeat of Italian and German forces in North Africa in 1943, Gurkha troops remained a key component of the Allied forces deployed in the liberation of Italy from 1943 until 1945.

The 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade, composed of the 2nd Battalions of the 6th, 8th and 10th Gurkha Rifles, fought alongside the 4th, 8th and 10th Indian Infantry Divisions and reached some of the furthest-north points of the Italian Campaign before the German surrender in May 1945.

During the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, the 1st Battalion of the 9th Gurkha Rifles managed to reach the walls of the Monte Cassino Monastery itself, holding out nearby for 9 days before being forced to withdraw due to lack of supplies.

12 Victoria Crosses (of which five were posthumous) were awarded to Gurkha soldiers and British officers within Gurkha Regiments during the Second World War. In total, some 120,000 Gurkhas served in the Second World War, suffering over 20,000 casualties and over 9,000 deaths.

To be continued....

* Deepak Aley wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 10 2023 .

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Relief Materials @Sawombung : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023 :: News Timeline
  • December Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • Manipur champions 29th Natl Thang-Ta
  • Rollback of Kangpokpi District
  • India's G20 Presidency & multilateralism
  • 8th eNorth East Award 2023
  • Politics over dead bodies
  • The darker side of Kuki CSOs
  • Sagol Kangjei Esei #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #5: Gallery
  • Petition to Rectify UN PR surpasses 100000
  • Workshop : Integration of Social Change
  • Homemade face packs with honey
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Where have the guns come from ?
  • Securing future for the next 1000 years
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • Mirik Memories
  • Program Explores Gender & Mental Health
  • Ensuring proper sanitation as careers
  • Purul Paoki (Paddy Plantation) #2 : Gallery
  • Young Adulthood: A Blank Canvas
  • Demand for Naga Flag, Constitution are hurdle
  • Meitei Alliance officially launched [Upd]
  • Indian fisheries : The sunrise sector
  • The descent of Radha-Krishna #12: Download
  • 6th NE Fashion Week : Final Report
  • Misuse of medicines is making infections ...
  • A unique initiative by Coal & Lignite PSUs
  • Relief Materials @Moirang : Gallery
  • Plant disease management in organic farming
  • AMEA - 40th foundation day
  • HPV Vaccination Services launched
  • 40th Foundation Day AMEA : Gallery
  • 43rd Foundation - Manipur Women's college
  • Is Myanmar on the brink of 'breaking apart'
  • Guideline for preparation of UPSC exams
  • Art Exhibition: RKCS Art Museum #3 : Gallery
  • Growing call to find all TB to stop TB
  • Ethnic strife in Manipur :: Poem
  • Meitei 'Tribal', almost ST now
  • Honouring tribal tradition and pride
  • Questions on sticking to SoO
  • Pinning hopes on justice delivery system
  • Naga-Kuki Clash 1992-94
  • Volcanoes of India
  • Climate in 2023, a tipping point for crisis
  • Day 3: 6th NE Fashion Week
  • Photography & Creative Writing Contest
  • Time to go after the big fishes
  • Political insensitivity to suffering of citizens
  • Interview : Ayekpam Maipak (Sepak Takraw)
  • Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Technologies in veterinary extension services
  • National Integration & Social Harmony
  • Paradox of ignorance & quest for knowledge
  • More than sighting a flying object
  • Seeking central help to end conflict
  • Relief Materials @Phubala : Gallery
  • Adolescence Crisis
  • European Higher Education Virtual Fair
  • Day 2: 6th NE India Fashion Week
  • Will govts firewall health from Big Tobacco
  • Missed call campaign from MTU
  • Questioning the legitimacy of Kuki history
  • The descent of Radha-Krishna #11: Download
  • For Whom the Bell Toll ?
  • Cancer Awareness at Imphal East
  • Winter Relief for IDPs at Moirang
  • Licypriya to miss UN Climate in Dubai
  • Careers related to controlling diabetes
  • Relief Materials @Sawombung : Gallery
  • Those responsible for 'removal' of RN Ravi...
  • Relief Distribution at Sawombung
  • JAC against Brutal Killing of Birchandra
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphelpat
  • India's UPI: Global front-runner in digital
  • The ill-logic of ITLF's self-rule declaration
  • Frustrated call for 'self rule'
  • Sonia Khundrakpam: Yuva Puraskar Award
  • Moirangthem Nilamani: Lifetime Achievement
  • The Power of Poppy - 9 :: Poem
  • Maipak Inka: 1st Inpui Christian Convert
  • Cancer Awareness & Screening at Thoubal
  • World Diabetes Day 2023
  • The self-rule ultimatum of ITLF
  • Debate over ST for Meiteis demand
  • Designate Moreh as a Special Admin Zone
  • Relief Distribution at Keibi Heikakmapal
  • Black Rice & Glycemic Index
  • Innovative nanofertilizer for green agriculture
  • Art Exhibition: RKCS Art Museum #2 : Gallery
  • Surviving Pre-adolescence
  • Ride Against Narco Conspiracy
  • 15th Manipur State Film Award 2023 Results
  • In the stillness of night :: Poem
  • Skincare essentials for travellers
  • Dark Diwali & Fasting Chakkouba
  • Killing two birds with one stone ?
  • Morning : Mera Houchongba #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Funds to Support IDPs
  • A book & a story for the kids
  • World Diabetes Day - 2023
  • Burning hay is suicidal for farmers
  • NCC Car Rally - Nagaland Leg
  • Tasks before the Government
  • The sound of silence - missing teens
  • Tangkhul legends & Tenimiyas
  • Catch them Young! Early Childhood
  • Merciless November :: Poem
  • Free Eye Camp on diabetic retinopathy
  • Ningol Chakkouba or Chakkoudaba
  • Internal displacement, not separation
  • An indication to road ahead
  • Manipuri Student in Bangladesh : Gallery
  • Meeting with SABF, NID & CCU Taiwan
  • Livelihoods Development Program for IDPs
  • NSUD Diamond Jubilee Celebration at Delhi
  • Sleep :: T Lingcholi Sangtam
  • Disaster Management as Career
  • Mass rally demanding NRC #2 : Gallery
  • Licypriya appears in CBSE textbook
  • Mapam Lamdam Chatnatha :: Poem
  • Absurd rebuttal of Shimray
  • Rebuttal to article "Meitei's exclusion"
  • Writing India's growth with logistics efficiency
  • A place of pride on the medals tally
  • Time for India to rethink on its balancing act
  • Promoting Chakhao : Manipur's Black Rice
  • Truly powerhouse of sports : Manipur
  • Scholarship for Nursing & Paramedical
  • Legal Services Day & Commendation
  • Cancer Awareness at MU
  • Digital Library for the benefit of students
  • Drop the two Ministers
  • The bane of prolonging internet shutdown
  • Interview with Shanglakpam Nilakanta
  • Successful fruiting of Thailand Yongchak
  • 5 selected to attend 54th Intl Film Fest
  • Know your pest : Spiralling Whitefly
  • Flagging off ceremony of Mobile Van
  • World food India 2023 & beyond
  • Disturbing writings on the wall
  • At odds with the SoO pact
  • Guard of honour: Anand Kumar #2 : Gallery
  • Relief Services @Serou : Gallery
  • 6th North East India Fashion Week
  • Know more about canine parvovirus
  • Preventing Exploitation of Environment in War
  • Missing : The thread that connects
  • The right way to deal with miscreants
  • Hope Fest, for people displaced #2 : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 8 :: Poem
  • Tokhu Emong: Post Harvest Fest of Lotha
  • Mizoram: AAP leaders from Nagaland ..
  • Theatre Workshop & Book Review
  • Hand-over Moreh to Army
  • Manipur needs to come to her senses
  • Capitalising on Manipur crisis
  • Mass rally demanding NRC #1 : Gallery
  • The Sentinelese, World's Lonely Tribe
  • Mental Health and our Environment
  • Condemns Committee's Highhandedness
  • Beauty tips for the perfect Diwali look
  • Lying for a lost cause
  • Is internet ban the answer ?
  • The descent of Radha-Krishna #10: Download
  • The last gaze- makes millions weep :: Poem
  • Which is responsible- greed or grievance
  • Felicitation of Awangbow Newmai
  • Let's safeguard our heritage through AV
  • Garo Language in Eighth Schedule
  • Mera Houchongba #2 : Gallery
  • Time's ceaseless voyage :: Poem
  • Vegetable/ fish IFS by using water tank
  • World Food India 2023
  • Leap for higher education in India
  • Defang the militants
  • Decoding objection to state force deployment
  • Guard of honour: Anand Kumar #1 : Gallery
  • Meira Paibis- between violence & narratives
  • Winter Relief Services : Gallery
  • Meetei ST Status: An artificial Controversy
  • The Human Mind Unravelled :: Review
  • Detecting illegal immigrants
  • Who is responsible for death of Moreh SDPO
  • Ayekpam Maipak (Sepak Takraw) : Gallery
  • Condemn cowardly killing of Moreh SDPO
  • SC Jamir recalls encounter with BK Nehru
  • Veganism- big way to save environmental
  • The essence of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
  • Time to act with an iron fist
  • Dragging on for nearly 180 days
  • Water as cultural symbol of Meiteis
  • Condemn the brutal act at Moreh
  • The Power of Poppy - 7 :: Poem
  • Tuesday holiday not Friday !
  • Relief at Temporary Shelter Home
  • Ningthamtha changlakpagi relief camp
  • The politics of conflict : Why is AR here ?
  • Role of fringe elements in prolonging crisis
  • Chaga Ngee: Age-Old festival of Liangmai
  • Kolkata, the Roshogolla City
  • Breast Cancer Awareness at Khwairamband
  • Career for women in police
  • What to do when your dog is poisoned
  • Ensuring rule of law matters more than ever
  • Mind your common sense: Carcass in Loktak
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • When will we start caring for our caregivers?
  • For those who stood :: Poem
  • Meetei exclusion from ST- queer controversy
  • Visit to relief camps : Gallery
  • Signature campaign: Rectify UN press release
  • Winter Relief @ Kakching : Gallery
  • Tarpon chaklen @Andro #1 : Gallery
  • 4th Rongmei Freshers' Meet (Delhi)
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta (Hockey) : Gallery
  • Rally against Narco-Terrorism #4 : Gallery
  • Students Murder Protest [Sep 27] #3 : Gallery
  • Students Murder Protest [Sep 26] #3 : Gallery
  • Help for injured students : Gallery
  • Collective fund for injured students
  • Students Murder Protest [Sep 27] #2 : Gallery
  • Students Murder Protest [Sep 26] #2 : Gallery
  • Students Murder Protest [Sep 27] #1 : Gallery
  • Protesters & AR @Pallel #2: Gallery
  • Rebuttal: EGI Fact-finding Mission Report
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD
  • Model of Spelling-bee Competition
  • HSLC 2023 :: Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC 2023 :: Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2023 :: Full Result
  • HSLC 2023 :: Compartmental Result
  • HSLC 2023 :: Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2023 :: Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2023 :: Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Science
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Arts
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Commerce
  • From May 3, 1993 to the present
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline