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Bishnu Bahadur Gurung: First Gurkha Deputy Mayor in United Kingdom

Hounslow's deputy mayor  Bishnu Bahadur Gurung
Veer Gorkha News Network
Bishnu Bahadur Gurung vows to show the same fearlessness when it comes to representing Hounslow's first Gurkha Deputy mayor elected in June 2014. Councillor Bishnu Bahdaur Gurung  is the deputy mayor and is ward councillor for Hanworth Park. He has dedicated his election victory to his father, who he says inspired him to get into politics. Bishnu 'Gurkha' Gurung, a 56-year-old bus driver and grandfather-of-two, was elected last month as a Labour councillor for Hanworth Park. He is the first member of the Gurkha community, which hails from Nepal and has a proud record of fighting in the Indian and British armies, to serve as a councillor in Hounslow. Although other members of the UK's estimated 150,000-strong Gurkha population have previously been elected elsewhere in the country, he also claims to be the first Gurkha councillor in London.

Gurkhas are renowned for their bravery on the battlefield, and Mr Gurung promised to display those same fearless fighting qualities when standing up for the people of Hanworth Park. "It was a very proud and unbelievable moment to be elected as the first Gurkha councillor," he said. "We have been defenders of the UK in wars and now I will stand up for the people of Hanworth Park and Hounslow in the council chamber. "My father set up a school in Nepal and helped so many people who couldn't feed themselves. It was him who taught me about politics and that's why I dedicated my victory to him." Mr Gurung was born in Malaysia, where his late father Dhan Bahadur Gurung was serving in the Army, but grew up in the Nepalese village of Punchok. He was in the Army himself from 1976 to 1995, rising to the rank of staff sergeant in the Queen's Gurkha Signals. He served in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, receiving a Good Conduct Medal for his time in service. The father-of-three later worked as an engineer for a bus company in Hong Kong, before coming to Hounslow in 2005, where his daughter was studying at university. As chairman of the Gurkha Nepalese Community of Hounslow, he was involved in the successful campaign, backed by Joanna Lumley, to allow Gurkhas who had retired from the Army before 1997 to settle in the UK. 

He is still fighting with his fellow Gurkhas to secure equal pension rights for those who retired before that date. "Gurkhas who retired before 1997 receive about a quarter of the pension of those who retired later, which is shameful," he said. "When I retired from the Army, I received about £50 a month. We need our MPs to support our fight for equal pension rights." Mr Gurung, who is a keen runner, already has a bulging caseload as a councillor, including complaints about potholes, demands for CCTV cameras to catch flytippers and anger over motorcyclists churning up the green beside South West Middlesex Crematorium. He also intends to stand up for the rights of fellow Gurkhas, who he says often miss out on the benefits to which they are entitled because of language difficulties and the fact they feel uncomfortable complaining in public office. There are an estimated 3,000 Gurkhas living in Hounslow, where Victoria Cross holders Tul Bahadur Pun and Lachhiman Gurung spent their last few years. Having already followed his father into the Army, Mr Gurung is determined to live up to the example he set as a public servant. 

Hounslow is a Suburban District
Hounslow (/ˈhaʊnzloʊ/) is the principal town in the London Borough of Hounslow. It is a suburban district 10.6 miles (17 km) west south-west of Charing Cross. It forms a larger post town in the TW postcode area and is an economic hub within the capital; it has a large shopping centre which adjoins its high street and a large number of restaurants, cafés and small businesses, many of which are associated with product assembly, marketing, telecommunications and London Heathrow Airport, as well as having a minority of workers employed in Central London, to which the town is connected by rail and tube. Hounslow is part of the TW3 postcode area, though some areas to the west are in TW4 instead. The population of the town itself, comprising the Hounslow Central, Hounslow Heath and Hounslow South wards, was 41,304 in the 2011 census.


Mayor's Office
London Borough of Hounslow
Civic Centre
Lampton Road
TW3 4DN.
Tel: 020 8583 2243
E-mail: mayor@hounslow.gov.uk.

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