Ayo Gorkhali – The Gurkhas are Coming!

Presenter: Professor Sir Hew Strachan
BBC Radio 4 | 8 June 2015

Producer: Catriona Oliphant
Executive Producer: Mukti Jain Campion

Radio 4 Documentary of the Week
Radio choices: Daily Mail | Mail on Sunday 


This year marks 200 years of Gurkha service to the British Crown.  Military historian Hew Strachan reflects on this special relationship and the future of this crack fighting force.

Shortly before the devastating earthquakes shook Nepal, he attended Gurkha 200 celebrations in Kathmandu and Dharan. He travelled to Gorkha, where the Gurkha story begins, and Pokhara, the centre of British Gurkha recruitment today and headquarters of the Gurkha Welfare Scheme that helps Gurkha pensioners across Nepal.

His conversations with serving and retired Gurkhas – both in Nepal and back in Britain – reveal a relationship with a rich history.  Today’s Gurkhas form a warm, closely-knit and adaptable military community. But will Britain continue recruiting Gurkhas? Will Nepalis still want to join the British army?

Our sincere thanks to all those who helped in the making of this programme.  We are especially grateful to our contributors in Nepal, who are now rebuilding their lives after the devastating earthquakes.  They remain very much in our thoughts.

Contributors include:

  • Joanna Lumley, Vice-Patron, Gurkha Welfare Trust
  • Lt Colonel John Cross, WW2 veteran and Nepali citizen
  • Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC
  • Major Maniprasad Rai, one of the first Gurkha commissioned officers
  • Major Tikendra Dewan, President, British Gurkha Welfare Society
  • Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, former head of the British army
  • General Sir Peter Wall, Colonel Commandant, Brigade of Gurkhas, Chairman, Gurkha Welfare Trust
  • David Gellner, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford

Presenter: Professor Sir Hew Strachan, formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War, University of Oxford, now Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews.

Producer: Catriona Oliphant
Executive Producer: Mukti Jain Campion

A ChromeRadio production for BBC Radio 4

Useful links:

The Brigade of Gurkhas
The Gurkha Welfare Trust


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