The Gurkhas: Paani Patiya
According to Hindu tradition, the ocean was called "Kaalo Paani" (Black Water) and followers were forbidden to cross over them. Those traveling outside the country were required to go through a purification process called "Paani Patiya" upon their arrival. Failure to do so would result in losing their religion and eventually outcasted.
Upon the request of the then PM Chandra Shumsher, the tradition was rectified just before the start of WW1 facilitating the British Raj for sending the Gurkhas to Europe to fight the Germans. Had it not been for him, PM Chandra Shumsher, the Gurkhas would have never gone.
The process would require all the returnees to perform a week-long ritual, where they would take one meal a day, drink "Gahut", and remain at the transit camp. By the end of the week, the soldiers would give some money to the pundit as an alms-money, and only then, were they allowed going home.
In the name of religion, it was, in fact, a scheme of milking the Gurkhas out of their hard-earned money and was solely intended for enriching the personal treasury of the Raj-Guru (Royal Pundit)
The "Paani Patiya" system was abolished in the late sixties after the Paklihawa Transit Camp was closed and moved to Pokhara.
More on my coming Gurkha book.
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