The influx of older Gurkha veterans and their families are facing a seemingly bewildering culture and ritual in the UK. It is great that capable people like Captain (Retd) Haribahadur Thapa are in the forefront in Rushmoor Borough, ensuring that guidance is available to the newly arrived and it is indeed a constant battle for people like him to give time and effort to what can be very frustrating and time consuming but essential work.
In the same vein Major (Retd) Tikendra Dal Dewan is available to give talks to local groups and institutions keen on understanding the ways of the Gurkha in order to bridge the cultural gap. Two such events took place recently. The first event took place on 6 February 2012 at a Residential property in Sandy lane. Major (Retd) T D Dewan was invited by Mrs Jean Tolmaer to give a talk to a group of ladies on Gurkhas in order to facilitate better understanding. Around a dozen ladies gathered in the evening at around 8.00 pm and Major (Retd) T D Dewan gave them a short background history of Nepal and the Gurkhas and the relationship with Britain. This was followed by a question and answer session and it became apparent that the ladies were very keen to understand the ways and cultures of the new arrivals. Many a penetrating questions were asked; rumours dispelled and at the end of the session it was felt that the group had a better understanding on the ways of the Gurkhas.
Following some lovely cake and tea, the hour long programme ended with an open invitation to the ladies and their friends to drop by the BGWS office if ever they had any queries or issues concerning the Gurkhas. The second event took place at the Frimley whereby a NHS Health group requested Major (Retd) T D Dewan to give them a presentation during their monthly meeting on 6 April 2012. Following a short historical background on the relationship of the Gurkhas with the British Major (Retd) T D Dewan highlighted the issues faced by the Gurkhas and the background to the settlement and pension campaigns. The group were indeed very surprised when they heard the logic behind the campaigns and expressed their support and good wishes. The situation with the arrival of the older veterans was also discussed and the group were appraised on the ways and culture of the Gurkhas.
The question and answer sessions were very lively and the group was very keen to get as much information as was possible. They also offered their help in any way they could and promised to contact the BGWS office with any queries, issues or help. The two events made it very clear that the general British public is under a lot of misconception where the Gurkhas are concerned. It is crucial that the Gurkhas understand the ways and laws of the UK and adapt to it as quickly as possible; it is however equally important that the British public are also appraised of the ways and culture of the Gurkhas so that the process of integration is achieved through better understanding and tolerance.