On the auspicious occasion of Bijaya Dashami and Dipawali, Bikram Sambat 2078, I send my warmest wishes for a Happy Dassain and a prosperous Tihar to all past and present members of the Brigade of Gurkhas and your extended pariwar.
Like so many events and occasions, our celebrations of the festival are constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all had to adapt, at work and at home and have had our international travel heavily constrained. For some Dashain and Tihar will be a particularly religious and spiritual time, for others it is an occasion that will remind you of home, the friends and family still there and the rich tapestry of cultures in Nepal that are reflected in the Brigade. Regardless of one’s faith, it’s certainly a time to reflect and refocus. It is a time to thank our families for their love, care and support. This year celebrations might be different once again, with units at high readiness for operations needing to continue to protect their force and for others a more “normal” feel. For some there will be continued separation due to the travel restrictions, especially for those in Brunei.
I don’t underestimate how hard it has been for some over the last year and many life events, particularly in Nepal, have been postponed or have passed without our attendance. The strength of our community and the extended family has been most evident and the situation has required patience and resilience in equal measure. Dashain is a period to further reflect on Nepal as our home and firm base and all that comes from it: culturally, linguistically, relationally and familiarly.
The break that I hope you will manage to take around Dashain is also a time where we can reflect on the military achievements of the last year: of overseas operations, exercises and the support given to other government departments in the UK and now Brunei. Basic skills have been maintained and much value has been added in the moral component space with hugely inventive charity events, challenges and training. It’s been great to get back to a sense of normality in the UK with the Nepal Cup Competition and a very successful Trailwalker. This is all testament to strong leadership, team work and hard work – Gurkha hallmarks.
Well done and thank you for all your collective and individual efforts once again. The Reputation of the Brigade is justifiably strong, and all our six cap badges are delivering to the highest professional standards despite these unique and testing times. We all continue to have a part to play in delivering operational success in line with our Government’s Integrated Review. The growth of The Brigade of Gurkhas, to deliver additional capability for Defence and the British Army continues, albeit in slightly adjusted but exciting directions. Concurrently our teams in Nepal are working very well within the COVID-19 restrictions and look set to deliver our next intake to Catterick in the New Year.
I hope that you manage to get some time away from work, to reflect and to celebrate. I wish you and your families a Happy Dashain and a prosperous, peaceful and heathy year ahead.