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Nepal's legendary Gurkhas face an uncertain future

POKHARA, Nepal As dawn's rays illuminate the snowy Himalayan peaks, hundreds of young men strain and sweat through the morning's drills in hopes of passing a grueling physical and mental test. Their chances are slim. Only 240 out of more than 8,000 aspirants will be selected this year to serve in one of the world's elite military forces: The British army Gurkhas.

A historical photograph dominates a wall of the Gurkha Memorial Museum in Pokhara. (Courtesy of Gurkha Memorial Museum)

The pressure, the crush of shame among those who fail, is so intense that some never return home. Suicides have been reported in the past.

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