बेलायती सेना र त्यस अन्तर्गतको सिंगापुर पुलिसका लागि केन्द्रीय अथवा अन्तिम छनोट प्रक्रिया आउँदो जनवरीदेखि पोखरामा सुरु हुँदैछ। सन् २०१९ का लागि करिब ४०० पदको लागि झन्डै दश हजार नेपाली युवा बेलायती सेनाका लागि भिडिरहेका छन्। अन्तिम छ्नोटअघि प्रतिस्पर्धीहरुले धरान र पोखरामा हुँदै गरेको क्षेत्रीय छनोटमा नाम निकाल्न पर्ने हुन्छ।
थोरै पदका लागि धेरै आकांक्षी हुने हुँदा बेलायती सेनामा भर्ती हुन निकै गाह्रो छ। प्रत्येक १०० प्रतिस्पर्धीबाट ४ जना मात्र छानिन्छ्न। शारीरिक, मानसिक र बौद्धिक रूपमा आफूलार्इ अब्बल प्रमाणित गर्नुपर्ने हुँदा प्रतिस्पर्धीहरु कति आफै कति ट्रेनिङ सेन्टरको सहरा लिएर प्रशिक्षण गर्ने गर्छन्।
कुनै समय बाध्यता र अप्ठ्यारोबीच सुरु भएको गोर्खा भर्ती धेरैका लागि आज रहर र समाजिक प्रतिष्ठाको विषय बनेको छ।
विवादित भएर पनि गोर्खा भर्ती युवामाझ किन यति लोकप्रिय छ त ? नागरिक ३६० को यस शृंखलामा हामी गोर्खा भर्तीसँग जोडिएका विभिन्न पाटोमा रहेर चर्चा गर्दैछौं।
Gorkha Recruitment Explained
Like Sujan Sinjali Magar, around ten thousands Nepali youths are in a race to be British Army, fighting to secure a place in around four hundred vacancies announced by British Army for 2019 intake. The central selection or final selection for British Army’s regular infantry and Singapore Police is starting in Pokhara from January. Only those selected from regional selection process being held in Dharan and Pokhara will be chosen for the final selection. Youths from all districts except Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur can participate in the central selection process.
It’s very challenging to secure a place in the British Army because of a high number of aspirants compared to low vacancies. Out of every 100 aspirants contesting this year, only four make to the final list.
Since the candidates are required to prove them at the physical, mental, intellectual level, most aspirants go through rigorous training on their own efforts or through training centres.
Gurkha recruitment, despite its questionable legacy, has not become a matter of passion and pride for many youths like Sujan who got inspiration to contest in the British Army from his grandfather.
The Gurkha recruitment is popular for more than one reason. Among other things, youths are attracted to join British Gurkha due to its fair & transparent selection process, good perks and facilities, and residency opportunity provided to the family. Gurkha soldiers are now eligible to take their families to the United Kingdom, something they were denied until a few years back.
Despite growing popularity among youths, the Gurkha recruitment has long divided public opinion with some calling the government to bar its youths from joining the army of a foreign government.
In a report, a high-level panel of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by party standing committee member Bamdev Gautam has recommended the government to stop sending Nepalis youths from joining British and Indian Army.
Why is Gurkha recruitment controversial among a section of Nepali society despite the fact that it continues to gain popularity among youngsters?
We have to look into the history of British Gurkha to find its answer.
Nepali youths started joining the then East India Company defeated Gorkha empire in a long war, which ended with signing in of Sugauli treaty on 1 December 1815. Though Nepal lost nearly two-thirds of its land, British were highly impressed with the martial skills of Nepali soldiers so much so that they proposed to hire Nepalis under their regular British Army.
Although Gurkha soldiers were initially meant to serve the United Kingdom, the Gorkha regiments were divided between India and Britain after the former gained independence from the British Empire. Currently, there are around 3000 Nepalis in the British Army, while the Indian Army boasts around 40,000 Nepali soldiers.
Those against Gorkha recruitment have long accused the host government of using Nepali soldiers as mercenaries. They claim that Nepali youths were used as a barricade to protect their own citizens in various wars including the First and Second World War. Thousands of Nepalis had fought for the British Empire in the First World War and the Second World War.
Exact data are hard to come by, unofficial estimates show that tens of thousands of Nepalis were killed during the two wars.
Regardless of calls to stop Nepali youths from joining foreign armies, the Gurkha recruitment is certain to remain for sometimes. The British government, which has downsized Gurkha regiment in the recent years, has clarified that there was no plan to shut down the historic regiment. A recent decision of the British government to recruit Nepali women from 2020 intake has reinforced this stance.
Much depends on the decision Nepal take. So, what actually will Nepal do? Rhetoric aside, it’s hard for any government to justify the shutting down of Gurkha recruitment. Such a move will not only draw public ire but Nepal will also lose billions of foreign currencies that Gurkha soldiers bring home each year. It should not be forgotten that Nepal exports over 500,000 youths to the Gulf and Malaysia.
How will the government justify the closing of Gurkha recruitment when hundreds of people are taking jobs in Malaysia and the Gulf for petty returns? The answer is not that easy to tell.