Nepalese community and Gurkhas pay tribute to the Queen
London —- Nepalese Gurkhas have been helping the British in security since 1816 . The security responsibility of Queen Elizabeth II has also been in Nepalese hands.
The Royal Family has a long association with the Gurkhas, dating back to Queen Victoria, who established a group of Gurkha Orderly Officers to attend to the Sovereign in 1876.
In 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reintroduced this practice by commanding that two Gurkha Officers should be nominated annually as ‘The Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers’ (QGOOs). The Queen insisted on having QGOOs by her side at public events and official functions.
The Queen, who died on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at age 96, had a soft spot for Nepal, since news of the first ever ascent of Mt Everest got to London on the morning of her coronation on 2 June 1953 that year.
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had reached the top of the world’s highest mountain on 29 May, but the news took several days to reach London via the British Embassy in Kathmandu.
Diplomatic relations were established between Britain and Nepal after the Sugauli Treaty was signed in 1816. Britain is the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Nepal.
After that, Nepalis started to join the British Gurkhas. In 1947, when the British left independent India and returned, there was a tripartite agreement between the three countries to recruit Nepalis in British Gurkha. On the basis of the same treaty, Nepalis are still being enrolled in British Army and Indian Army.
Gurkhas have fought for Britain even before the end of Nepal’s war with the East India Company in 1816. More than 200,000 soldiers from Nepal fought in the British Army in the two world wars, at a time when Nepal’s total population was barely 4 million.
Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip were popular in Nepal. Elizabeth II and the Prince visited Nepal twice in 1961 and 1986. They were welcomed at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu by the then King Mahendra and Queen Ratna during their first trip to Nepal.
Last May, Nepali and British Gurkha communities in Britain celebrated Queen’s Diamond Jublee Festival with various programs, while Nepali Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya participated in the military parade, ‘Thanksgiving’ and reception ceremony.
On her demise Prime Minister of Nepal, Nepalese community , Gurkhas and Nepalese British organisations and leaders have expressed their sorrow and sent their condolences.