All of the Gurkhas sheltering with Rai are appealing against the Home Office's refusal to let them stay in the UK. During the months or years that they await a verdict they are not allowed to work.
Their situation is a desperate one according to Peter Carroll a local councillor from the Liberal Democrat party.
"They're not allowed to work. They get a bit of charity from their friends and their colleagues. And they eke out a living," he says.
"It's a sad and lonely and miserable existence. And these are fine people, these are warriors, these are people who would have died for us."
On September 16, Rai and hundreds of Gurkha veterans gathered outside the high court in London clutching banners with messages such as "13 VCs but still unwanted by UK" as a landmark case by veterans against the British government began.
One of the 13 Victoria Crosses (VC), the highest British military decoration, was awarded to Tul Bahadur Pun for his bravery in the Second World War.
Yet when the 83-year-old considered one of the UK's greatest living war heroes applied to settle in the country for medical treatment he could not get in Nepal, he was denied entry because he had "failed to demonstrate strong ties with the UK".
Martin Howe is a senior partner in a human rights legal firm that represents Gurkha veterans who have been refused leave to stay in the UK. Getting Tul Bahadur Pun into the country was one of their first priorities.
|Gyanraj Rai's home has become a Gurkha temprary refuge
"It was only as the result of a large campaign, driven over here in the UK by the media – it was only because of that that ministers were shamed into looking at the matter again and shamed into granting Mr Pun his settlement visa," he says.
A thousand Nepalese came to see Pun off from Kathmandu airport. In the UK he was welcomed by a guard of honour before going for crucial medical treatment.
Although Pun's life was more or less saved by being granted settlement rights, he is one of only three of Howe's 2,000 Gurkha clients who have been given leave to stay in the UK.|
Recently seven other veterans have died whilst waiting for the Home Office ministry to reconsider what it deemed their failure "to demonstrate strong ties to the UK".
"They say we don't [have] enough strong ties to be given settlement visas here," Sanmaya Gurung, a veteran's wife, says. "Fighting for your country for not one year or two years but more than 15 years. Don't you think that is enough ties?"
In 2004 a Gurkha campaign did persuade the government to change the policy of two centuries and allow veterans to settle in Britain after four years of service. But there was a loophole meaning the law only applied to those who came out of service after 1997, denying right to settlement for the likes of Gyanraj Rai.
The logic behind the ruling was that until 1997 the Gurkhas had been based in Hong Kong rather than forming part of the Home Forces.
"It's never been the case that serving in the British Armed Forces gives you an automatic right to stay in this country," Derek Twigg, the government minister responsible for veterans, says.
"I can understand the frustration that they've shown there, but again there was a major change in 1997. We recognised that and the rules have been changed to take account of that."
Gyanraj Rai has legal permission to stay in the UK but ploughs all his money into helping his less fortunate countrymen. For many Nepali veterans the £500 application fee to settle in the UK is simply too prohibitive.
|Tul Bahadur Pun was awarded Britain's highest military honour
"They get a pension of maximum £100 per month. How can they afford it?," Rai asks. "To apply for that they have to sell their land in Nepal. They have to sell their house in Nepal."
It is not only Gurkha veterans struggling to get by in the UK who feel they are being treated unfairly.
The vast majority of the 35,000 or so retired Gurkhas live in Nepal and most have neither the inclination or the means to move to Britain.
The lucky 200 young Nepalis who emerge from a rigorous annual selection process to join the Brigade of Gurkhas can now be assured of the same pensions as their British or Commonwealth counterparts.
Those who retired before 1997, however, still have to live on a pension of about £130 a month. And for the Gurkhas just physically collecting that pension can cost a lot of time and money.
Tul Bahadur Pun used to have to make an arduous journey each month across the hills of Nepal in order to get his pension. He had to be carried as he was unable to walk – a journey there and back would take over two days.
Other retired Gurkhas still make similar trips.
"Those recruited after 1997 are enjoying the same benefits as the white people," Dhanraj Gurung, a veteran who served 13 years and is now trying to attain better rights for Gurkhas, says. "But we were the ones who suffered the most in the initial years.
"We fought the wars in the jungles of Brunei and Malaysia for a meagre 55 Rupees and we are treated unequally to those who retired after 1997. It is not fair at all."
The Gurkha's pension was always many times less than that of his British counterpart, because of the lower cost of living in Nepal.
Yet Nepalese arriving in the UK at present say they find both food and energy prices cheaper in Britain.
The British government's announcement of Gurkha pension parity with the rest of the army was seen as a step forward but again it did not apply to those who had retired before 1997 and many who left the army afterwards also believe themselves short changed.
"I've got Gurkhas telling me they want to go on hunger strike, and I mean hunger strike to the death,"
Peter Carroll, local councillor
"What they didn't say… was this - imagine a Gurkha did 20 years and retired in the year 2000. The 3 years between 1997 and the year 2000, they count as equal transfer value to British Army Pension Fund," Peter Carroll says.
"But the 17 years before 1997, for some reason they say they only count for between 22 to 25 per cent of a full year."
Dhan Gurung became the UK's first Gurkha town councillor when he was elected in the coastal town of Folkestone last year but his pre-1997 years in the army have been shrunk by the government from 18 towards his pension to 11.
"I felt very proud [to serve in the army]" he says. "Because my father was in British Army, my grandfather was in British Army, when I got this hat I was very happy. But when I left Army, when I'm getting this treatment I'm not happy."
The British defence ministry says paying full retrospective pensions further back than 1997 is unaffordable.
Dhan now campaigns against the deportation of other retired Gurkhas. For them it is less an issue of rights than a feeling of betrayal. They say that it is easier to get a British visa if one pretends not to be a veteran.
"I've been to several meetings with Gurkhas and they're heartbreaking stories," says Peter Caroll. "One man said that his father's only wish before he died was to come and visit the country that he fought to defend. And the government denied his father a visa."
The current British government says it is the first to improve the rights of Gurkhas and has plenty to be proud of but campaigners and veterans are hoping the current hearing in the high court will lead to the abolition of the 1997 clauses.
If the "bravest of the brave", as the Gurkhas have been called, do not win their case, they're not about to give up.
|Howe says the UK is "morally bankrupt" if they cannot help Gurkha veterans
"I've got Gurkhas telling me they want to go on hunger strike, and I mean hunger strike to the death," Peter Carroll says. "I'm urging them not to do that yet, but I fear that we will see these very honourable decent people pushed to the absolute limit."
Martin Howe says: "We are a morally bankrupt country if we are prepared to ask men to go out and lay their lives down in defence of the country, but then say, 'You're good enough to die for us, but you're not good enough to come and live amongst us.'"
A Gurkha memorial in central London bears the message "Never had country more faithful friends than you," – a friendship many veterans feel has has proved to be a one-way street.
Ironically the memorial stands right outside the defence ministry and was unveiled in 1997, the very year that would create such grievances between Gurkha veterans and the government of the country they fought for.