The Gurkha Regiments consists of the martial race, the Gurkhas, who come from Nepal, now officially known as 'The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal' which is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolis.
Nepal in historical times is referred as the "Kirant Desh" or the Land of Kirants who were indigenous people of Mongolian race with stout and short stature, high cheekbones, flat noses, narrow black eyes and thin moustaches and beards. They were brave and doughty warriors and very deft archers. They also claim to have a relationship with the mythological warrior Kirant who fought and defeated legendary warrior Arjuna in Mahabharata.
Impressed by the fighting qualities displayed by the Gorkhas during the Gurkha War, Sir David Ochterlony was quick to realise the potential of the Gorkhas in the British Indian Army. Until then, Gorkha defectors were generally used as irregular forces
In April 1815, the first battalion of the Gorkha Regiment, was raised as the Nasiri regiment. This regiment later became the 1st King George's Own Gurkha Rifles, and saw action at the Maulun fort under Lieutenant Lawtie. They were instrumental in the expansion of the British East India Company throughout the subcontinent. The Gorkhas took part in the Anglo-Sikh wars, Afghan wars, and in suppressing the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Throughout these years, the British continued to recruit the Gorkhas and kept increasing the number of Gorkha regiments. By the time First World War started, there were 11 Gorkha regiments under the British Indian Army. The Gorkha regiments played a vital role in the Commonwealth armies during both the World Wars seeing action everywhere from Monte Cassino in the west to Rangoon in the east, earning Battle Honours everywhere. As a testament to the psychological factors of the Gorkha regiments on the enemies, during the North African campaign, the German army were really fearful of the Gorkha's wielding their khukris during battles. Currently there are 7 Gorkha regiments serving in the Indian Army. Six regiments were transferred from the British Indian Army, one regiment was formed after independence. The following is a list of the Gorkha Regiments currently serving in the Indian Army:
1 Gorkha Rifles previously 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment)
3 Gorkha Rifles previously 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles.
4 Gorkha Rifles previously 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles
11 Gorkha Rifles (Raised after the independence of India)
The individual Gorkha rifle regiments of India are collectively known for regimental purposes as the 'Gorkha Brigade' between themselves and are not to be confused with the Brigade of Gurkhas of the British Army. Their motto, Kafar Bhanda Marnu Ramro, or "better to die than live a coward" should itself be testament enough to the bravery and quality of this regiment.
The 1 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It was originally formed as part of the British Indian Army in 1815, later adopting the title of the 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment), however, in 1947, following India's independence in 1947, it was transferred to the Indian Army and in 1950 when India became a Republic, it was redesignated as the 1 Gorkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment). The regiment has a long tradition and has participated in many conflicts, including many of the colonial conflicts prior to Independence, as well as the First and Second World Wars. Since 1947 the regiment has also participated in a number of campaigns against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 as well as undertaking peacekeeping duties as part of the United Nations.
The 3 Gorkha Rifles is an Indian Army infantry regiment. It was originally a Gurkha regiment of the British Indian Army formed in 1815. They were present at a number of actions and wars including the Siege of Delhi in 1857 to the First and Second World Wars. After the Partition of India in 1947 the regiment was one of the six Gorkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army as part of the Tripartite Agreement signed between India, Nepal and Britain at the time of Indian independence. Prior to independence, the regiment was known as the 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles. In 1950 the regiment's title was changed to 3 Gorkha Rifles. Since 1947 the regiment has participated in a number of conflicts including the 1947 and 1971 wars against Pakistan.
The 4 Gorkha Rifles is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It was originally raised in 1857 as part of the British Indian Army, but after India's independence in 1947 it was one of six Gurkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army. The regiment was formerly known as the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, but after it was transferred to the Indian Army its name was changed upon India becoming a republic. Since its establishment over 150 years ago, the regiment has fought in many conflicts and earned many battle honours, including the Second Afghan War, the Boxer Rebellion, the First World War, the Second World War and most of the wars and Counter Insurgency Operations India has fought since independence.
The 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin. It was formed in 1858 as part of the British Indian Army and served in the First World War and Second World War. The regiment was one of the Gorkha regiments that was transferred to the Indian Army following independence in 1947. The regiment was formerly known as the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force). Since 1947, the regiment has served in a number of conflicts, including the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka.
The 8 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army. It was raised in 1824 as part of the British East India Company and later transferred to the British Indian Army after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The regiment served in the World War I and World War II, before being one of the Gurkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army after independence in 1947. Since then it has served in a number of conflicts including the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971. Today the 8th Gorkha Rifles is one of the most celebrated regiments of the Indian Army, having received numerous citations for bravery in the field of battle, and even producing one of the two field marshals, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, of the Indian Army.
The 9 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army. The regiment was one of the Gurkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army after independence as part of the tripartite agreement. This Gorkha regiment dominantly recruits soldiers from Chhetri (Kshatriya) and Thakuri clans. Domiciled Indian Gorkhas are also taken, who form about 20 percent of the total strength of the regiment.
The 11 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army that was re-raised after independence. The regiment consists of primarily the Rais and Limbus of eastern Nepal. The Rais and Limbus are supposed to be fierce tribal warriors of Nepal and are considered to be most sturdy and tough they also claim to have a relationship with the mythological warrior Kirant who fought and defeated legendary warrior Arjuna in Mahabharata. Though it is considered to be the youngest of the Gorkha Regiments it has a lineage which is as old as the history of the 7th Gurkhas and 10th Gurkhas.
The 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) was an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army before being transferred to the British Army on India's independence in 1947. The 4th Battalion joined the Indian Army as the 5th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles (Sirmoor Rifles), where it exists to this day. As part of the British Army, the regiment served in Malaya, Hong Kong and Brunei until 1994 when the regiment was amalgamated with the other three British Army Gurkha regiments to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles. It is the only Gurkha regiment which did not have Khukuri on its cap badge.
The 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles was a regiment of the British Indian Army, before being transferred to the British Army following India's independence. Originally raised in 1817 as part of the army of the British East India Company, the regiment has been known by a number of names throughout its history. Initially the unit did not recruit from the Gurkhas, although after being transferred to the British Indian Army following the Indian Mutiny in 1857, it became a purely Gurkha regiment. After 1947 the regiment was one of only four Gurkha regiments to be transferred to the British Army and this continued up until 1994, when it was amalgamated with other Gurkha regiments to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles. Over the course of its 177 year history, the regiment was awarded 25 battle honours, although prior to World War I it had only been awarded one and no battle honours were awarded to it after World War II.
The 7th (Duke of Edinburgh's Own) Gurkha Rifles started as a regiment of the British Indian Army, before being transferred to the British Army following India's independence. The original 7th Gurkhas was formed as the Assam Sebundy Corps in 1835, eventually becoming a Gurkha regiment within the Bengal Native Infantry, ranked as the 43rd Gurkhas. In 1903, it was renumbered as the 7th Gurkha Rifles. The year before, the 8th Gurkha Rifles was formed from a nucleus of men primarily from the 10th Gurkha Rifles, but also from other Gurkha units. In 1903, this became the 2nd Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles. until 1907; at that time, the 7th Gurkhas amalgamated with the 8th Gurkha Rifles to become its 2nd Battalion, while 2/10 Gurkha Rifles was renamed as the "new" 7th Gurkhas.
The 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles, (abbreviated to 10 GR), was originally an infantry regiment of the British Indian Army. The regiment was first formed in 1890, taking its lineage from a police unit and over the course of its existence it had a number of changes in designation and composition. It took part in a number of campaigns on the Indian frontiers during the 19th and early 20th centuries, before fighting in the First World War, the Third Anglo-Afghan War and the Second World War. Following India's independence in 1947, the regiment was one of four Gurkha regiments to be transferred to the British Army. In the 1960s it was active in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation. It was amalgamated with the other three British Gurkha regiments to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles in 1994.