Anglo-Gurkha War Memorial, Kalunga

Anglo-Gurkha War 1814-16 ended not in the battlefield but when the Gurkhas agreed to sign the Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship, known as the Treaty of Sagauli dated March 04, 1816. Affected historians have stated that the Gurkhas capitulated but the Treaty of Sagauli makes it more than clear otherwise; to emphasize their genuineness of desire to establish friendship the Brits even agreed to pay war indemnity to the Government of Nepal.

Of the four columns of Lord Hastings invading Nepal, two were summarily defeated by the Gurkhas in the battlefields; the commander of the third column, the flamboyant General Robert Gillespie was killed in the battle of Kalunga, near Dehra Dun and only the fourth column, commanded by General David Ochterlony survived to save Brits honour, not in the battlefield but behind the scene.

The Gurkha Fort of Kalunga exists no more and none but dedicated historians may be able to locate where it had once stood. At the foot of the hillock of Kalunga stand two obelisks erected by the Brits in honour of the two contenders, General Robert Gillespie and Capt Balabhadra Thapa Magar, the commander of the Fort.

Two simple pillars of stone stand there in a remote corner of Uttarakhand, near the city of Dehra Dun in mute testimony to their bravery and sacrifice and appear so appropriate that these two men who had been mortal enemy in life should find peace in their grave.

You cannot help but remind yourself what Rupert Brooke had written, “That there’s some corner of a foreign field, that is forever England”.

During the Raj Era, from nearby British Gurkha Training Centres, Gurkha recruits on completion of their training used to hold ceremonial picnic there at Kalunga which rightfully may be called the birthplace of Anglo-Gurkha Friendship.

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