Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Gurkha Ghost

Buffalo Courier Express

Sunday, April 25, 1955

Page 36 D

Ghost Keeps Endless
Vigil on Fort Sentry

Editor's Note—An extra sentry wallet the post at night on
Khamba Fort. It is the "ghost of the Gurkha Havildar," and
high in the Kashmir Mountains he keeps the other sentries
alert. When they falter, he calls out, and sometimes slaps
their face.

—When night comes to the
mountains of Kashmir, the men
of Khamba Fort are tense. No
sentry dares sleep on duty here.
For Indian army men who
guard this fort are—or so they
believe—watched over by the
"ghost of the Gurkha Havildar."
And he is a harsh taskmaster.
In these mountains, where superstition
abounds, the legend
of the Gurkha ghost has become
famous. It is whispered
through the battalions facing
Pakistan forces across the
ceasefire line that divides this

army officers, although
disbelieving the legend, are content
to let it grow because the
Gurkha ghost solves many disciplinary
problems in Khamba
Indian troops swear he prowls
the fort at night, slapping the
faces of sentries who aren't
alert and using his best parade
ground language to berate slovenly
The legend springs from fact
—a heroic one-man assault on
Khamba Fort during the bitter
1948 war between India and
Pakistan for Kashmir. The fort,
held by Pakistani forces, had
fought off Indian troops for

a Gurkha Havildar (sergeant)
found a crack In the fort's
steep, thick stone walls and one
night, armed only with grenades
and a knife, crept inside. He
killed all the defenders but was
fatally wounded himself
It is the ghost of this Gurkha
that is said to roam Khamba
Lance Nalk (corporal) Ram
Prakash is among the fort's
current defenders who say they
have met the Gurkha ghost. It
happened one night recently
when firing broke out along the
cease-fire line.
A terrifying voice rose, he
says, from a turret on the
fort's wall: "I have given my
life for this post. Why are you
so slack?"

Prakash, came the sound of a
face being slapped.
It was learned later, Prakash
says, that a sentry in the turret
was nodding over his rifle and
was accosted by the Gurkha
The men of Khamba Fort say
they know the Gurkha ghost
well. Each can describe in detail
the clothing worn by the
weird figure they say strides
the ramparts at night (by all accounts
he invariably appears
wearing only one shoe. The other
apparently was lost in battle
17 years ago).

ON OUR SIDE-"The ghost of
that man is very alert," says
Naik Karam Singh. "He Is a
very good soldier. And I guess
we're really not afraid of him
bedause we know he is on our
Besides, the men of Khamba
Fort are very careful to put out
cups of tea and sweets to placate
the lonely Gurkha ghost
who m a i n t a i n s his vigil
throughout the night.
And, they say, the tea and
sweets always are gone by day.

Article used with the Permission of:

Buffalo State College Archives
 and Special Collections
E. H. Butler Library #135
Buffalo State College
          1300 Elmwood Ave.   
   Buffalo,  NY 14222-1095

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