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Nepal’s WWII Gurkha widow turns to British crown for support, again

Kathmandu : Mangali Tamang’s husband died in WWII fighting for the British crown. She was just 17 when news came that Ganjuran Tamang would never come back to his home in Gaunda village of Lamjung District in western Nepal. The teenager knew that her husband had died, and he had died in ‘Lahur’, but she neither knew the cause her husband was fighting for nor how significant the war was in world history. But she knew that her husband would earn money to keep her and her kids happy. It was for the the future of his children, and for the honour of getting the title of ‘lahure’, that he had enlisted in the army. With the state failing to provide opportunities for the rural poor to improve their living standards, it was only natural that every young man in Lamjung, during Ganjuran’s time, would have wanted to join the army. 

Over the years, despite Ganjuran’s death, Mangali has been receiving her husband’s pension. It was beyond my imagination that the prince came to visit our home,” said the 88-year old who served the royal, who is on a week-long visit to Nepal, some dhido and chicken for dinner on Monday night. All these years, the pension that she’s been getting has helped her see through many problems in the family. But when the earthquake came last year, her finances were disturbed. With government aid not arriving on time, she thinks the British prince could help her during this difficult time.She does not have the money to rebuild her house which was damaged by the quake. “I asked the prince if he could support us to help rebuild our house,” said Mangali Tamang. In response, the prince gave her his word that he would provide support through the Gurkha Welfare Fund. Mangali now hopes that she would soon get money to rebuild her house. 

 (With inputs from RSS. photos: RSS, inside Mangali’s Kitchen: Kensington Palace)

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