Five years ago I Was at Mamun Cantt, Pathankot, to celebrate the bicentenary of 1/1 Gorkha Rifles on 24th April 2015. Over 1000 people of all ages, from all ranks, had come from as far as England and remote corners of Nepal to be part of the event.
Yesterday, 24 April 2020 was 205th Raising day and none of us could meet in any one place because of the lock-down in the country: Corona virus, COVID 19 being the culprit. But we did celebrate it like none earlier. Please read on how it happened.
Yesterday in the morning Maj Gen A Kumar (a die-hard First Gorkha officer and an ex- Col of the Regt) suggested in our Regimental group WhatsApp not to despair due to the lock-down and how to bypass it. I quote his message verbatim below.
“Dear All.. on behalf of the Col of The Regt, I am taking the liberty of proposing a Toast for the Well Being and Prosperity of Entire First Gorkha Fraternity and Their Families ( both Serving and Retired ). Since we can’t celebrate the 205th Raising Day by indulging in traditional Barakhanas and Get Togethers , due to present day circumstances, I propose the following… Today at 7.30 PM sharp, COR is requested to send a Whatsapp msg on FGRA Gp and may be Bicentenary Gp as well, conveying his Greetings of the Day, ending with JAI HARI. By that time, all of us, wherever we are, should be ready with a drink of his or her choice. As soon as COR’s post is recd by us , we all say JAI HARI in respective LOCKED DOWN locs with SOCIAL DISTANCING in place and drink the same. “”Eota Twak Swattai Khane Ho”” Thereafter, it is individual’s choice to drink to his capacity/heart’s content and continue the Raising Day Celebrations in respective LOCKED DOWN locs with due approval of the Spouses 🙏. Hoping sincerely that this has the approval of the COR… JAI HARI. I am not a member of the Bicentenary Group. If COR thinks it appropriate, it could be replicated by him there also . Awaiting a nod or otherwise from COR please. Anyway, one way or the other, I intend doing so . It would , however , be nice and historic, if we do it across the Regt. 😊😊. Jai Hari.”
The suggestion was appreciated by all and agreed by the Col of The Regt.
Well, dot at 07.30 PM a recorded message was received in the FGRA WhatsApp group. And Jai Hari said. And drinks went down the throats all over the country.
Then started the messages to say Jai Hari in the group: coming from North of India, south of Vindhya, east and west. It was exhilarating.
It was followed by group video calling with the glasses in the hands and sharing how lock-down is treating us all.
As I said, it was the Raising day celebration like no other, indeed.
1. “Eota Twak Swattai Khane Ho”. It is in Gorkhali meaning – one shot bottoms up.
2. Jai hari is a Regimental greeting which is said before the beginning of anything like saying “Bole Sonihal, Sat Sri Akal” in Sikh Regiment and “Jai Badri Vishal” in Garhwal Regiment. All regiments have their own greetins.
3. FGRA is First Gorkha Rifles Association