Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kalinga War Memorial

The Kalinga War Memorial signs like to point out that it is the only memorial of it's kind in the entire world.
Because it was set up by the victorious army to honor their foes.

The British fought with the Gurkhas in 1814 and finally defeated them here.

The Gurkhas caame from Nepal and overtook the fort, but they were unable to take the rest of the territory from the British.
They retreated into the fort where they fought until the last man. For six weeks they defended the fort without food or water and held it against the British.
Finally, the British completely demolished the fort, the remaining Gurkhas were killed, and the British claim over the territory was secured.
To show just how much the bravery and courage of the Gurkha army impressed them, the British put up a memorial.
And, incidentally, started recruiting Gurkhas into their own army--there's still a Gurkha regiment in the UK today.

A former Chief of staff of the Indian army once said, "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."
The British may have been impressed by their fighting spirit, but if some historical accounts are correct, the local people probably were not.  They saw the Gurkhas as infamous bands of gangs.  Even so, the British may never have intervened if they hadn't decided the area was a strategic one.
After this battle and the ensuing treaty with Nepal, the land included in the territory of the East India Company grew considerably.

Today there is little left of the fort--just the walls that must have towered over the valley, and the small (protected, as shown in the warning) monument.

Few people stop along the busy road to visit even the surrounding park.
It's so quiet that it takes a lot of imagination to conjure up a battle-to-the last man or cannons soaring over the valley where there are now buffalo grazing.

But still, the monument is there, so it must have happened.


The Adventures of Sir Kukri and Company said...

Thanks for the post, it was a good read! My great grandfathers great grandfather, Capt. Balbhadra Kunwor, commander of the Nalapani Fort bravely fought here!

l said...

Wow, that's pretty cool that you can trace your family lineage back that far to someone who was at such a specific point in history.