Ghorkas or Ghurkas, are from the Ghorka region of Nepal and have been a major military force in the region for well over 1,000 years. In the 1812-1814 Ghorka War, they fought the formidable British Army to a standstill. After the armistice, many Ghorkas served in the British army as mercenaries or in some other capacity.
The Gorkas have been most well known as fearless fighters and unbeatable in close combat, in which they use the heavy bent knife known as a Kukuri (kukri). This blade is claimed to be unbreakable in battle. I can certainly believe that, as I am the proud owner of one that my son brought back from his recent travels in Nepal and other parts east. This knife is heavy and will hold an amazing edge. I was using it to limb trees and split wood.
Recent events have demonstrated that at least some of the Ghorka soldiers have retained the ferocity of their ancestors.
A retired Indian Gorkha soldier recently revisited those glory days when he thwarted 40 robbers, killing three of them and injuring eight others, with his khukuri during a train journey. He is in line to receive three gallantry awards from the Indian government.
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha– who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting–was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
He received a serious cut to his left hand, and the girl a minor cut on her neck.
“I am proud to be able to prove that a Gorkha soldier with a khukuri is really a handful. I would have been a meek spectator had I not carried that khukuri,” he said.
As one commenter on one site said – his other weapon was a huge set of solid steel cojones.