Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'Better to die than be a coward'

I recently visited Pokhera in Nepal which is the home of the Ghurkha army. Alongside the barracks is a museum which celebrates the contribution these brave soldiers have made to conflicts the world over. Their motto which is proudly displayed in the entrance is ‘Better to die than be a coward’. In a dark corner I found a very moving poem pinned to the wall. I thought I’d share it with you.

My Mother will ask where her boy Is

My mother will ask where is her boy
Tell her that the battle has begun
My father will ask where is his boy
Tell him his inheritance has increased
Younger brother will ask where is his brother
Tell him he died in battle
Elder sister will ask after her brother
Tell her one less choli
Younger sister will ask after her brother
Your Maiti become smaller tell her
Sister in law will ask where her brother in law is
Tell her to cut a goat to mourn
My buddies will ask for their lahure
Tell them to kill all memories
My son will ask for baba
Tell him to take his off his cap
My daughter will ask for baba
Tell her to save her honour (ask her to offer a daan of gold bangles)
My love will ask after her husband
Tell her to break her necklace and the bangles
Wipe her sindur, and that she is now free.

Brothers will talk of me at family gatherings
Father will talk of me for six months, a year (fathers cry for a year)
Mother don’t cry, don’t cry
Mother will weep and talk about me for ever

I wanted to come, the enemy stopped me
I did not come, death met me.

Choli – clothes given by brothers to sisters
Maiti – married woman’s parents’ home
Lahure – soldier
Baba – father
Daan – a ritual offering
Sindur – coloured powder on the forehead of a married woman


  1. That was very speciial - it brought tears to my eyes...
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reminds me of the "task" of Gallipoli. War is ony good for the deciets of politicians and their companies, those who make and sell the guns.

  3. Thank you so much.
    What a wonderful memory.So very special.Myra



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