29 April 2011

When Kukris and Hand Bags Meet

A couple of weeks ago I was up late battling a cold and watching television. As so often happens in the land of 300 channels there was absolutely nothing on worth watching. I was mindlessly switching programs when one of the home shopping networks caught my eye. The two young women acting as spokesmen were proclaiming the virtues of Ghurka fine leather goods- handbags, wallets etc. My ears pricked up at the name and also at the company logo which looked suspiciously like a pair of crossed kukris- the famed fighting knife of the Gurkha Regiments.

Being a former soldier myself, I have always been impressed with the history and reputation of some of the best soldiers on the planet- incredibly tough, loyal and brave men that have served in the Indian and British armies for generations. A recent news story (scroll down on page that is linked) about a retired Gurkha fighting off a mob trying to attack a girl in India only confirmed my admiration for these people. For the Gurkha communities in Nepal, the Army has remained the occupation of choice and young soldiers have been the prime export of these tough hill people. Why on earth, I wondered, was a company making hand bags capitalizing on their name ? More importantly, were they paying anything for the right, or at the very least supporting the charities that assist Gurkha veterans ?

I'm going to do a bit of digging to see if I can find anything out.

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