Bishnu Shrestha, Hero Gurkha Soldier

Bishnu Shrestha wasn’t looking for a fight on the evening of 2 September 2010. As his express train roared through the darkness of the jungles of West Bengal, this Nepalese ex-soldier sat quietly, looking out the window into the calm stillness of the night sky above. The 35 year old veteran was finally on his way back home, having just retired from his position as a Naik (Corporal) in the 7th Battalion of the 8th Gurkha Infantry – a famous, battle-hardened regiment of ass-whompers that had produced awesome war heroes like Lachhiman Gurung, and a unit in which Shrestha’s own father had served during Vietnam. One in a long line of warriors, Bishnu himself had seen plenty of combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and probably a half-dozen other locations that may never be declassified, and now, after having spent a good part of his adult life crushing his foes with the stock of his assault rifle and charging enemy positions armed with a bayonet and his ultra-badass kukri knife, he was looking forward to finally seeing an end to the constant fighting, settling down, and building a family in the quiet mountains of his homeland. On this evening he rode the Maurya Express, a passenger train appropriately sharing it’s name with historical badass Chandragupta Maurya, enjoying the serenity of the Indian night.

But there would be no rest for the weary. Around midnight, the mighty locomotive ground to a halt unexpectedly, sending passengers lurching forward in their seats. Without warning, while everyone was still trying to figure out what the hell was going on, suddenly from seemingly every direction passengers stood up and began to whip out all manner of frighteningly gruesome-looking weaponry – guns, knives, clubs and  giant swords(seriously, who robs a train with a sword!) – and started shouting for everyone to sit still, get out their valuables, and prepare to get ripped.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, from a side door more armed thugs leapt into action, pouring into the train from the jungle beyond. Dozens of unscrupulous goons began making their way down the aisles, stealing wallets, tearing jewelry from the necks of old women, snatchin laptops and cell phones, and waving knives in the faces of terrified hostages.

Despite the chaos around him, Naik Bishnu Shrestha just sat there quietly. Not saying anything. Not betraying his emotions. Even when the thugs took his own wallet, he remained silent. Like a true badass, he knew that this wasn’t his fight. Just be quiet, give them what they want, and survive. It’s just a few hundred bucks. It’s not worth dying over.

But it got out of hand. It just so happened that Shrestha was sitting near a 18 year-old girl, and when this gang of terrorists came by her seat they decided to  gang-rape her in front of her own terrified parents. The terrorist leader cut open her shirt while she cried for help.

That was it. Bishnu Shrestha couldn’t just sit by any longer.

Unfortunately for the douchebags of West Bengal, when the thugs had robbed Bishnu they’d made one fatal mistake: They didn’t take his kukri. This ultra-hardass Gurkha warrior, one in a long line of head-cleaving soldiers battle-hardened by centuries of hand-to-hand combat (and a steady diet of steel tacks and the corpses of their slain enemies), had given up his money, but knew better than to ever relinquish his weapon. Slowly, effortlessly, he eased the hilt from its hiding place. Corporal Shrestha leapt to his feet, drawing the ultimate symbol of Gurkha with one fluid motion. He flew across the train car, grabbing the would-be rapist from behind in a sleeper hold, pulled him up off the girl, and used him as a human shield while he lunged out and slashed one of the sword-swinging thugs, sending the hapless dude spinning off in a vicious tornado of blood. One of them, unwilling to stab in the direction of his own boss, instead took the manly man’s route and tried to cut the girl, slashing his knife wildly at her neck, but the girl only took a minor wound before Shrestha dropped him with a lightning-quick strike. With the terrorists in the immediate vicinity disposed of, he sliced the throat of his human shield and was attacked by them rest of them.

Over the next twenty minutes, Bishnu Shrestha raced through the aisles dodging, and back-alley knife fighting anything carrying a weapon larger than a ball-point pen. He took on the entire train – 40 men – at once, killing three and wounding eight more with a ferocious series of face-stabs. Even after he took a nasty sword blow that severed every major artery and vein in his left hand, he continued carving up them with his kukri, all the while spraying what I like to imagine to be a pseudo-comical amount of blood from his non-killing hand.

The sight of a real man was too much for those weak-willed thugs, and once they realized that they weren’t just beating up schoolchildren and robbing crippled old ladies of their wedding rings and were instead facing a  Gurkha, they dropped all their look and ran for their lives. The whole thing was over in about 20 minutes. When the train pulled into the next station, police and emergency personnel were there to treat the wounded and rush Shrestha to the hospital, where he spent two months recovering from the injury to his hand. When the police searched the dead and dying thugs, they recovered 40 gold necklaces, 200 cell phones, 40 laptops, and nearly Rs. 400,000 in stolen cash. Those idiots lucky enough to be left alive were hauled in to jail.

Aftermath :  On January 12, 2012 the Indian army presented Shresta with three awards for gallantry and bravery. The Army also temporarily reinstated his commission so he could receive a promotion along with a larger retirement pension, and free airline tickets for life.Bishnu received two medals for his bravery along with silver-plated kukri and Rs 50,000 cash bonus, as well as the reward that was on the heads of the gang-members. The family of the girl, whom he saved also offered him a cash reward, but our brave soldier refused it. He said, ‘Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier. Taking on the thugs on the train was my duty as a human being.’

Clearly, Bishnu is a true hero and the very definition of a true Gorkha soldier.

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