Here’s an open letter by a daughter of a Gurkha soldier Sona to Prince Harry. Feel free to have a read.
Dear Prince Harry,
We Nepalese are smitten and besotted with your good-heartedness, simplicity, genuineness and humbleness. It doesn’t help much that you are so much like the late Princess Di, exuding profuse charm and warmth.
My Father is a proud Gurkha, he feels honoured to have served the Queen for 16 long years. He still tells us stories about how he provided security to the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, the highly arduous Jungle trainings, his stint on various missions, and the fun they had when they finally did get to party. I can see a twinkle in his eyes every time he speaks of his yester years, and we still listen with the same awe and admiration. Owing to my dad, we grew up revering and highly regarding the Queen and the Royal Family.
I was especially fascinated by you, apart from being Millenials, we shared the same birth year. We grew up in an era where we could enjoy our childhood without technology of any sorts, and we grew up listening to the same genre of music and watching the same movies. Like me, I am sure you must have wished that Jack should not have died in Titanic, and you too must have grooved to the tunes of “Macarena”. And, like me you have suffered the agony of having to be separated from a love one. Our separations were fated, albeit mine was fated as a result of the Laws of your Land.
Until now, the issue that has suffered a setback, the issue of the Gurkha Adult Dependent Children, is also a Human Right issue that needs to be addressed by The British Government. I was merely 11 years old when my dad retired (1995), and if my parents were allowed “Indefinite leave to remain in UK”(ILR) at that time, I would now be happily settled in the UK with my family. My parents are now in London and me and my brother are here in Nepal because our application for ILR was rejected (2009). The British Government did review its policy regarding the Gurkha Adult Dependent Children, and I applied under the new policy, but my application was rejected again (2015), and I have appealed against the decision even though I am uncertain about the outcome. I do have cousins and friends whose applications for ILR were accepted even though they were above 18 at the time of application, which shows the inconsistency in the policy, if it is a right bestowed to many, why is it denied to me?? I request the British Government to impose the policy as a right of the Gurkhas and not merely as a DV lottery which requires pure luck.
The mental and emotional turmoil that we have to face while awaiting the outcome of our appeals (which may take many years) is beyond explanation. It’s literally frustrating, so much so that I had to undergo a treatment for depression. The Annex K, among other criteria, requires us to be single, emotionally and financially dependent on our parents, and by Nepali standards, I am far beyond the age of finding a suitor, and I intend to defy myself a suitor even if it means having to wait until my forties, by whence I believe my child bearing capacities will have dwindled significantly. Many others like me have given up their hope, but for me, my hope will die only when I do!!!
As you have highlighted my Country in the global map, I request you to highlight the issues related to Gurkha Adult children to the concerned authorities. With various Gurkha organisations sidelining the issues of Gurkha Adult Children, I turn my hopes to The Prince of the people, who I feel will be able to empathise with us, with our longing to be with our loved ones, and who has the potential to make a difference, till then the endless waiting goes on!!! We Gurkhalis love you and we would love to have you back!!! We also firmly believe in blessings…… May you be blessed with the loveliest wife and kids!!! Adieu!!!
Sona Pomu Limbu.