An interesting collection of items I picked up at a recent sale is made up of books and ephemera seemingly belonging to a British Officer attached to the 10th Gurkha Rifles at Alhilal Station in the Punjab, India, during WW2.
There are two hardback books written by British Army Officers with the aim of teaching others elementary Gurkhali, presumably with the aim of being able to converse with the “troops” in their own native tongue?
One of the books was originally written in 1917 by Capt. G.W.P. Money 3rd Gurha Rifles and he talks in the foreword about the Khaskura language and how this is the main language of the men of Central Nepal who join the Gurkha regiments. It also suggests that several other dialects are used in Nepal (“For instance, certain Gurungs from Lamjung call a bone a “Nogri” while a Gurung from Kaski speaks of it as a “Riba”….”) but he then suggests, maybe rather patronisingly, “I do not think intricacies of grammar and syntax are necessary for officers talking to Gurkha ranks”. This book also includes the words and music to various Gurkhali songs and an English-Gurkhali dictionary.
Another later book written by another British Officer has a humorous, old-fashioned section of ‘General Hints’ at the beginning, which include: “There is no drudgery in learning a word or sentence while in your bathroom” and “Listen when a Gurkha talks to you”. Another is, “If you have an English speaking Gurkha bearer do not perpetrate the criminal lunacy of speaking to him in English”!
Other books in the lot are in local script with occasional pictures, and to me about as understandable as “hieroglyphics” but I am sure will be of interest to some. To make it more interesting for the military collector there is also a thick journal of the Gurkha regiments called “The Kukri” from 1959 with lots of articles/pictures in its 120+ pages.
A fascinating and scarce little archive of material and available in Reynard Collectables ebay store here. I have attached a few pictures of the collection below.