For over 200 years, Gurkha soldiers have been nationally recognised for their strength, bravery and discipline. The soldier’s determination and loyalty led to their alliance with the British Army around 1815. Nowadays, each year, thousands of young men aged between 17 -and-a-half and 21-years-old, travel from all parts of Nepal to compete in what’s known as the toughest selection camp.
“It is better to die than to be a coward.”
Candidates are selected based on a number of requirements, including medical, personality and fitness tests. Out of the thousands who apply, only around 150 make it through the full 12-day selection process and join the British Gurkhas Army.
For many of these men, becoming a Gurkha is a childhood dream. Aside from the stability the British Government provides for each soldier and their families, there is also a strong desire to fulfil the legacy of their ancestors.
This work explores the transition these young men undergo in order to become a Gurkha. It provides an insight into their motivations and the physical and mental hurdles they are required to overcome. Documented here is the journey they take from Kathmandu to Pokhara, where the final part of the selection process will begin.
“The desire of our success is higher than the fear of our failure"
By Gina Cawley, Mikaela Ortolan & Stephanie Wu