Friday, 7 August 2009

Joanna Lumley’s Service to the Gurkhas and Disservice to Nepal

I have in the recent past blogged about British army Gurkhas’ struggle for the right to settle in the UK even if they were not stationed in the UK during their military service.

The Gurkha Justice Campaign successfully fought for all ex-Gurkhas who served in the British army to have the right to settle in the UK. Actress Joanna Lumley was the main and most visible force behind the Gurkha Justice Campaign. In this post, I have wondered how Nepal, a sovereign state, could honour an individual who waged a battle so that citizens of Nepal would leave Nepal and settle elsewhere, depriving Nepal of British pension inflows.

Joanna Lumley is now on a tour of Nepal where she has been received very warmly and felicitated by the President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

To me, this seems very much a case of thanking someone who isn’t doing you much good. The only other similar situation I can think of is the case of students who are happy when a teacher doesn’t turn up for a class. In reality, the students ought to be unhappy since they are deprived of learning, but they aren’t.

This BBC report now says that many towns in Nepal with large populations of ex-servicemen receiving British army pensions are facing an exodus of such individuals who are now entitled to settle in the UK, thanks to Joanna Lumley. Relatively well-off by Nepal’s standards, the Gurkhas’ had contributed enormously to the coffers of many Nepali towns.

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