The Nepal Digest - April 11, 1997 (29 Chaitra 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 11 Apr 97: Chaitra 29 2053BS: Year6 Volume61 Issue3

Today's Topics:
              A Circus Show or a Lesson for the Future?
              Nepal News
              Fictional satire
              Not Guilty as Charged
              Nepal Law Treats Abortion as Homicide
              Nepal Embassy
              Volunteering in Nepal
              Bhupi's Cold Ashtray

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: RJP Singh (Open Position) *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh Shrestha (Open Position) *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
 * *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** From: (Bhanu Neupane u) Subject: A few Legal questions? Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 23:32:25 GMT


This is from a very close friend of mine, who wants to remain anonymous. Please do not direct your responses to me and remove my name from threads that you may create. Thanks!

Bhanu Neupane

-----------Begin Article-------------


I may appear spreading my dirty laundary in a public forum, but I'm serious in receiving a few valuable suggestions- especially from any Wokkil Sabs (lawyers) reading it.

In 1991, my elder sister died while giving birth to her first child. I was out of the country in my trivial pursuit in the academia and whatever I knew about my sister's untimely (she was 25) death, UNTIL TODAY, was from my dad's long letters and condolences from friends and family members.

My sister had already had two miscarriages and was stricktly adviced not to bear any more children. She was married to a rich kid, heritor of a reknowed bureaucrat/diplomat and a very rich person in Nepal. She died at Teaching hospiatal when some anaesthesist over-dozed her with some strange
(!) sedative during a simple C-section surgery. (an old issue of the Journal of Medicine reports C-section as one of the most simple and most common procedure among women). Following the anaesthesia, she went in a coma and was put on life support system for a few days but she never came back to her senses. The baby also died at the birth, which may have been the effect of the same.

Just today I have received from a family-friend a few letters written by my sister. This friend has also sent copies of the AIIMS doctor's report, in which some Dr. Verman has strictly adviced my sister -- after her second miscarriage -- to not to bear any child in the future. The letters, written during late 89 to early 91 hint on why she desparately wanted to have children? One of the letters suggests that my sister was severely abused and battered, for reasons that she had problems in bearing children and had brought little "goodies" as Daijo. Although aware of her medical complications, apparently she wanted to avoid, by putting her life in jeapardy, at least one of the two continuous and extremely condescending comments.

In one of her letters, she has written that her first miscarriage could have been induced, because she was asked to wash (not in a laundromat) in her 2nd month of pregnancy, over 50 clothes, which included bed-sheets and stuff. In one of her letters, she has written how she was called names, such as Baanjh (infertile woman), Bhikmanga ko santan (doughter of a beggar) etc., which were more to humiliate than to instigate her to bear a child.

She had consumed or was forced to consume god-only knows how much -- legal-illigal, knowningly-unknowingly, and medical- mambo-jambo -- fertility drugs that she had developed a serious eating disorder. She never binge, but her whole body swelled to make her look very fat. She was very despondent and cried at very minor things. I never witnessed these but my heart bleeds as I write these sentences. Before 89 when I was in Nepal, I was often told "things" concerning my sister's problems, but, putting it very frankly, I never ever believed in them. I was young, little stupid and genuinely naive and always thought that she would make up stories to get sympathy of my parents and mine. I wish, I could go back in time and correct things....

Earlier she was also diagnosed, which is clearly written in Dr. Verman's report, of very abnormal blood-pressure readings and heart problems. The anaesthesia-theory against my sister's heart condition, therefore, do not fit straight. If she had a heart condition, only a stupid (or shall I say an accomplice of a "master-plan"?) doctor would give consent on putting her in a strong sedation (if you are a doctor and reading these lines, you may want to set the theory straight for me -thanks).

I also came to know that the Lady doctor, who attended my sister in her delivery is a very "close" and "personal" friend of her husband's family. This doctor (sister of a cock-eyed Rambo-ish Hero of Nepali Movies), who is now practicing gyneacology (?) in the US, was seen crying and repenting over something (what? I wish I knew?) after my sister went into the coma. Although I lack suffiecient proof, but I think that she was trying to hide something hideous(!) behind her tears.

Even after her death she was mistreated. She was a hindu and should have been given, if not decent (after all she was the Buhari (daughter in law) of a very rich, influential and powerful man), a modest creamation. I am told that even a home-less beggar would receive a better creamation than what was given to my sister. As she died immediately after her delivery, she was considered untouchable. There was no mandatory bridal-make-up ... nothing. Her cropse was given to the Podes, who cremated my sister following as little rituals as possible.

While my mom was senseless for almost three days and almost died of shock, my Dad, a heart patient, watched all this from a distance (in hinduism, a father is not allowed to watch the actual wedding and cremation of daughters, moreover, once a daughter is married, she bacomes a
"prerogative" of the groom's family). How he must have coped with all that, I can't comprehend, however, my old man still grieves and sheds tears. Although I have tried, I have never been able to generate the level of empathy to understand his pain, I always reach my possible limits.

Yes, there was no obituary, no Kriya (obligatory after-death rituals), no mourning ... nothing. There was no puja-paths, especially I'm told that reciting verses of some Purana is mandatory. <<<<<<<NOTHING>>>>>>>. It is apparent that the family of my sister's husband took her death more as a relief than a loss.

Although what I have in my possession are small pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle, but when I put them together they collectively present a very different and dark side of the reality. I don't want to be straight forward but the whole circumstantial evidences indicate toward a very gruesome but very sinister plot against my sister.

If it would all had happend in States, I would have, without a second thought, filed a law suit against the family members, the doctor and the hospital. I would have called some prime-time-lives, 20/20s or AJs and generated a big media hype and public support, but all these happedned in Nepal -- A country with no respect to women, especially among the middle and upper-class (this may sound generalized statement..)

It will be a very obvious statement if I wirte that, in Nepal, women are considered no better than a combination of an underpaid (or free) cook, a maid, a care-taker, a nurse and a sex object. Even the severe form of abuse on woman is considered as Gharayasi Khichalo (minor household fued). The report of criminal wrong-doing or suspicions have to be filed within the 30 days of the incident or else it voids as a malicious accusation. And if the accusation is directed toward some really big shot, the one who files complain suffers than otherwise. You may refer to the rape case involving Hem B. Malla's son, a recent murder case that involved a CDO's son ...there are many more examples to this effect.

Along these lines, I have managed to retrieve a copy of her death certificate, which does not even deal with the simple issue, such as the cause of the death, let alone the explanation of the cause. Her hasband's family has registered her death as normal in the registrar's office
(primalrily to withdraw cash and jwellary that my sister had in her locker and bank {her pewa}). You'll find it equally abhorrent that only seven days after the death of my sister, people from her hasband's home came snooping around my still grieving parents asking for jwellary, sari etc..that she may have left in my parent's house. They demanded explanation on every items of luxuary in the house, if it came from my sister. It was woefully preposterous, being a hindu, my dad would rather die than even drink a drop of water of my sister's home, let alone take anything from her. Funny as it may sound, one of the "snooper" is now a member of the lower house.

My mom and dad, as you can expect, still think their son-in-law as god. This is a different story that this "god" got married (amidst the march of live band, panche baja, lavish fireworks and fancy Bhoj-bhaters), just after a few months of the death of my sister, to an equally-rich man's daughter and never has visited my mom and dad after the incident, nor he will...ever.... The "god" (spelled backwards) received a fat Rs. 20 millions in Daijo, way more than Rs. 372,953 that my dad, then a director in a department in Nepal, had spent for his daughter's wedding.

Now my question is, What would be my best bet? I don't have a case but I am really angry and feel appallingly helpless....I can't even do anything, if I do, I jeaopardize my folks back home...

I received the letters today (sunday March 6th) and I am really angry, frustrated and depondent? I have asked a friend of mine to post this on the net. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions. BTW, if the doctor, who attended my sister is on the net -- which I'm pretty certian
-- I would appreciate to hear her side of the story. Once again..she worked with teaching pospital and is the sister of a popular Nepali Movie Star.

 -- from Somewhere in the US.

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 12:10:10 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <> Subject: A Circus Show or a Lesson for the Future?

        Stability. Stability. Stability. And Law and Order. Once again we have received an assurance that the Nepali government will give us stability. Mr. Koirala, Mr. Adhikari, Mr. Deoba, with a sprinkling of Mr. Nepal--everyone promised stability, set out to achieve stability, and gave us stability. And now, Mr. Chand and Mr. Gautum have promised the same--stability and law and order--as though stability were a jinn hidden in their pockets, zipped up, and once they occupy the Prime-ministerial chair, they will let it out, and it would jump and dance, whooshing, smoking, talking funny--give us stability.

        Stability has become a mirage for the successive governments in Nepal, and democracy a desert of Westminster model for the Nepali people. I mean how many governments we have formed since 1990--since the advent of multi-party system? We have made all kinds of governments: government with full majority, minority government of the democratic communists, coalition by the congress, and now back to a Panchayat-day prime-minister. When it was a majority government, that of Mr. Koirala, his party members said that he became dictatorial and ceased to hear. And his own party members toppled him. When we had the largest number of seats won by the communists, they were still in the minority because they didn't have more than fifty percent of the parliamentary seats. They, too, collapsed at the hands of the scared Congress. When the Congress formed a government in league with the rightists, dissension ravened the rightists' ranks caused by the communists, and the coalition fell. And now the communists have formed an alliance and made a Panchayat-time prime- minister a multi-party prime-minister. Hail the Westminster model of democracy! Some would say, with glee hidden under their sleeves, hail multi-party system and democracy itself!

        These times of uncertainty are times of introspection and retrospection as well. We must look back and review Nepal's history in modern times, in which full promise dawned only after 1950. The instability between 1950 to 1959 caused a lot of damage instead of repair and healthy beginning. The story of the seventeen-month-old B.P. government at that time too difficult to interpret here, but one can fairly say that the congress government became too drunk with their sweep of the elections and many nascent communists were less communists than maneuverers and politickers. So we had thirty years of Panchayat dictatorship or democracy, depending on your loss or gain, and political ideology. During the referendum, again such an unstable period, half the forest wealth in the Terai was sold by the government and half was looted by the patriots and smuggled to India. The common people just watched the big drama, beyond their comprehension, beyond their grasp.

        The history of multi-party system since 1990, I'm sure, won't be written differently. This exercise of democracy has become a game of chairs, always short for the ambitious, for every elected member wants to occupy chairs. They think, as my CA friend said the other day, that without power and government, no party can win the election nor people can come to them. But, even otherwise, I don't blame these parties. That's what the constitution provides, and the constitution has been borrowed from one of the oldest democracies. How can it be flawed?

        But I think that the present constitution of Nepal is flawed in a major way. We have had histories of unstable governments in Italy, Israel, even in India, and in many African countries. Some of them solved this problem of perpetually unstable governments with the barrel of the gun giving birth to Abachas, Babangidas, Idi Amins, Boccassas. Or some such form as even in Thailand, Indonesia, and many other South-East Asian countries.

        I think Nepal's people deserve better, even though they maybe like Hanuman, the monkey god, before his jump over the ocean to Lanka. They need education, they need a reminder of their dormant powers in a democracy, subject as they have been so far to looking up to their rulers for mercy, for whipping, for governance.

        Yes, Nepal's people deserve better from their politicians, intellectuals, from themselves. The constitution needs to be amended. After a series of coalition governments, Israel amended its constitution. They made the post of the prime-minister directly electible along with the parliamentary seats. Of course, we may not have to blindly follow Israel, US, or any other country that has built-in stability in the political structure itself. We may come up with a different plan for a structural stability. But a debate needs to be started, both among the intellectuals and the politicians--and a committee of intellectuals and politicians formed to find a way out of this quagmire.

        As it is, the Westminster system, much suitable as it maybe for England, as I have said above, is deeply flawed for a country like Nepal, where both geography and demography, let alone history and economy, militate against television-driven, media-propelled, empire-boosted democratic exercise. The poor prime-minister, whether he (let's for now confine ourselves to this gender alone) is Koirala, or Adhikari, Deoba or Chand, the poor prime-minister, by the nature of the constitution and the greed for power and pelf of the elected members of the parliament, within or without the party, has to spend sleepless nights thinking about the loss of his chair next morning. What can he do, think--how can he devote his day and night--planning for the upliftment of his voters, when the voters' representative themselves become, with the backing of the constitution, to use a word of my college days, hankerers after power so he can get pelf? In such a situation, even the police, the civil servants, and the military, even if they are not corrupt, cannot provide a direction, guide the hunger and nakedness out of the bodies' of the people.

        Some one or the other would quit the party, conspire and form a coalition with others and propose the vote of no confidence or confidence. I mean this whole darn business of confidence or non-confidence has become a puppet-show, a joke, a high drama and circus good only for television-- definitely not for the half-naked, half-starving people living in the dripping huts in the hills, mountains, and plains of Nepal. If the Westminster model is faulty for a poor country like Nepal, we can't afford to be its systemic victims for ever.

        But we can't do without democracy, either. The barrel of the gun is no substitute for healthy reassessment of our own system, taking control over our own destiny and direction. Don't trust men, trust the system. And the system has to be made stable, democratic, and open to treatment like any non-divine entity. We have seen and seeing in many other countries where the system of gun barrel polity leads to; we don't need it any more. So that's not at all the solution. We have to amend the constitution, for lots of Nepali people, both inside Nepal and outside, have grown disillusioned by this farce called the promise and enactment of stability.

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 10:52:29 EST To: Subject: Nepal News

Source: The Kathmandu Post RPP-UML alliance wont be stable By Akhilesh Upadhyay

Time has mellowed Surya Bahadur Thapa. Old age, coupled with the continued failure to assert his authority in the party, have in recent years taught the veteran politician a thing or two. But the RPP(NDP) chairman has lost none of his political ardor: BILLED AS anti-Palace, he seldom loses an opportunity to to lambast the "unseen forces that have played havoc in Nepali politics."

RPP(NDP) made a political comeback in the 1994 general elections but the party, despite being given a historic opportunity to establish itself in the political mainstream, seems to be gradually squandering the public goodwill. RPP(NDP) veterans admit much of the anarchy that plagues the party is due to their inability to thrash out a clear-cut constitution. The party is all set to right the wrong.

Thapa will face the biggest test of his post-democracy political career in a month or two. In its general assembly meet slated for Jestha (May-June), RPP(NDP) elects its new chairman, who will enjoy sweeping power unlike the incumbent. (The party currently has a three-leader arrangement, with Thapa sharing the chairmanship with Rajeshwor Devkota, and Prime Minister Chand as its Leader).

During an exclusive interview with The Kathmandu Post yesterday Thapa delved ati length on the new RPP-UML-NSP coalition, the extra-party forces that are trying to destabilize democracy and RPP plans to democratize the party. Excerpts:

TKP: Despite your reservation against the new government, you have wished the Chand government good luck. How long will the government last?

Thapa: Its but natural that I should wish the new government good luck. I hope it will be able to complete its full term. But so far as the question of long life is concerned, it very much depends on the government itself. No one can make predictions this early.

TKP: The RPP-UML alliance that looked far-fetched a year ago suddenly came into being...

Thapa: As a matter of fact, the exercise for the new coalition began six months after the last coalition (Deuba government) was formed. A number of factors however indicate the current alliance is not stable. Some (within the coalition) are still questioning the Constitution. Second, democratic forces are weak in Nepal. RPP(NDP) still hasn't evolved as a strong democratic force. It is only a coincidence that Parliaments current equation has propped us into an important role. Its momentary. At a time when the RPP(NDP) is anxious to prove its democratic commitment both inside Nepal and to the international community, our alliance with UML, a party whose fundamentals are still not committed to democracy, would weaken the democratic forces in the country. Second, we cannot work in tandem with UML, given its working style. Third, we would expose ourselves both in Nepal and outside as the instrument that weakens the democratic forces and lends support to communism. In the end, RPP(NDP) may very well appear as an extension to UML. In these set of circumstances, RPP(NDP) should not align with the UML but explore possibilities of forming alliance with the democratic parties as I have been voicing for the last one year.

TKP: But now that the RPP-UML alliance has already been formed, how will the RPP(NDP) move on?

Thapa: Lets get one thing clear. The NC-led coalition collapsed not due to our reasons, it was NCs own doing. There are still two explanations being offered for the fall of the Deuba government: one it was NC's own failure and second, even if the two NC lawmakers had showed up, the NSP would have abstained.

TKP: Though these events were eventually responsible for the downfall, didn't the long intra-party feuds in the RPP contribute as much to the instability in the coalition, and eventually the fall?

Thapa: No, RPP was not the instrument responsible to bring down the government. RPP did remain divided and some of our MPs even abstained during the confidence vote but if the Congress and NSP had not weakened the alliance, the government would have survived the vote. At least technically, you cant blame the RPP for the failure.

TKP: But wasnt RPP behind the move to explore the alternative to the
"democratic alliance" (NC-RPP-NSP combine) and thus precipitating the instability?

Thapa: We must accept the reality. Certainly, we were responsible in exploring the alternative. Not just our party colleagues other persons were also behind the move to form the alliance with the UML. These extra-party forces have remained very active for a year to forge such an alliance.

TKP: Can you name the forces...behind the alliance? What kind of impact will the new alliance have on the countrys democratic future?

Thapa: At least I'm personally not convinced that the government borne out of contradictions will have a smooth ride ahead. RPP is wholeheartedly committed to the constitution and RPP, mind you, is only a minor party in the coalition. UML, the major party in the coalition maintains to this day that its acceptance of the constitution is at best a "critical support." So much so that UML has indicated that democracy is only its means the goal is republicanism. Given the load of contradictions, to expect democratic institutionalization from the new alliance would be farfetched.

TKP: What would then be RPP(NDP)'s role? Thapa: Its just not the RPP colleagues, others outside were as keen about this alliance.

TKP: Who are "others"? Thapa: Journalists are all the time extracting information from others. For a change I leave this question for you to investigate.

TKP: RPP has been divided into two camps. With two more ministers from your camp now joining the government, where does the RPP equation stand?

Thapa: Since the party has now been a partner in the government, it matters very little that one or two colleagues have changed their mind.

TKP: When the 1994 mid-term elections propelled RPP in the kingmaking position, the party leaders stressed they would not abuse their decisive role in Parliament. How do you view the party's role since?

Thapa: We have behaved irresponsibly. The RPP has abused its key position. And the current turmoil is the result of that abuse. If all sides had practiced value-based politics, the current situation would never have precipitated. In totality, the political behavior hasn't been in accordance with the spirit of the constitution.

TKP: You would then admit RPP has been made an instrument for instability... Thapa: I cant quite deny that. RPP has given a piggyback ride to elements that are destabilising the democracy.

TKP: What do you then plan to do as the RPP president? Thapa: The current situation (the new RPP-UML alliance) has emerged despite our reservation. You have to provide sustenance even to an illegitimate child. We have no differences inside the party. We are concentrating on the upcoming party general assembly. We have allowed the current experiment so that lessons would be learnt. You must save the child from the fire but should not always stop the child from putting his finger in the fire. It is a learning process.

TKP: What could be the interests of the "unseen forces" that are trying to destabilize democracy? Thapa: The biggest destabilizing force is the politics of commission. Arun III, Karnali, Enron, etc. have come to play a crucial role in frequent changes in government and the distribution of portfolios within a given government. For this class, its petty economic interest prevails over the national interest. This force has no scruples.

TKP: Are the extreme-right forces, beside the extreme left forces, active in destabilizing the democracy? Thapa: I am not saying that these forces are already dominant. But they are articulate and coming out very aggressively. Do they have the potential? Yes, they certainly have. If we are increasingly getting to hear about them, its because the democratic forces are still weak. They (extremist forces) are not very strong by themselves but they are making most of this unfortunate situation.

Source: People's Review RPP convention on June by PUSHPA RAJ PRADHAN

The second general convention of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party is going to be held on 7, 8, 9 of June this year in Pokhara. The meeting held on Monday under the chairmanship of Parashu Narayan Chaudhari, convenor, general convention prepatory committee declared the above date for the convention. Also, a meeting of the RPP central election committee convenor Surendra Bahadur Basnet held the same day made a decision that the party which are yet to form ward, village, and town level working committees to do so by 19 April this month.

Any working committees formed thereafter will not be valid, it is noticed. The forthcoming general convention of the party will change its organisational structure while implementing one-man leadership within the party. Until now, there was troika leadership practice in the party. Watching over the present coalition in the government and increasing influence of Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand, party chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa bloc was trying to make delay the convention date. On the other hand, Lokendra Bahadur Chand bloc, over viewing a favourable situation to conduct the general convention as soon as possible.

Thapa bloc, giving argument that the party should prepare for the local elections, thus, the convention should be hold only after the local elections. But, Chand bloc won't like to borrow time for the convention. Observers say, Thapa, most possibly, will be cornered by the Chand faction in forthcoming general convention. Other tiny parties of former panchas are also seriously watching over the RPP convention that to whom the party leadership will go. If Chand holds the leadership, many former panchas dispersed in tiny parties, may join in

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 10:52:29 EST From: To: Subject: RE: The Nepal Digest - April 3, 1997 (19 Chaitra 2053 BkSm)

Dear Mr. Singh,

I would like to thank you very much for regularly keeping me posted about news from home and about out Nepalese here.

I'd would like to inform you that I am graduating this May and will probably be leaving my school around the end of April, therefore please stop mailing me further issues of the digest after the end of April. I would like to thank you and all your subscribers who have helped me so much during the course of my thesis research.

I look forward to meeting you all in Boston where I am hoping to complete my optional practical training. Thank you very very much.

Poonam Shrestha.

*********************************************************** Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 17:05:45 -0500 (EST) From: To: Subject: Fictional satire

(What follows is a FICTIONAL satire.)
                    Neither here nor there
                    a fictional satire
                    by ashu

          My name is Dhruba. I hail from Eastern Nepal. In high school and college, I was on the forefront of anti-Panchayat student union activities. After finishing my Master's at the Tribhuvan University (TU), I joined Nepal's civil service. It was then that, eighteen years ago, at the age of 32, I won a Fullbright fellowship to study in the United States.

          In the beginning, it was tough adjusting to the American way of life. I missed Nepal. I missed eating dal-bhaat-gundruk. I missed my student union activities. I missed listening to Bacchu Kailash's songs, and I missed reading the then underground Nepali newspapers. Still, I did reasonably well in my courses. One day, one of my professors asked me to stay on to finish my doctorate. I obliged happily.

          A few years later, I finished my dissertation titled "A time-series analysis of maize production in Nepal from 1933 to 1973". By the time it was finished, I was the world's number-one authority on Nepal's maize production capabilities. I was very proud of this fact until I realized that no American university showed interest in hiring me. Besides, my original Fullbright contract stipulated that I spend at least two years working either in Nepal or in a third country. Since my future in Nepal seemed uncertain, I went to Canada.

          In Canada, life was both easy and hard. Easy, because, thanks to state-socialism, living expenses were minimal. And hard, because a few jobs that I did find were as visiting lecturers, with contracts never being renewed. I thought about going back to Nepal, but couldn't decide for sure. Then suddenly the Jan Andolan took place and overthrew the Panchayati system. I was overjoyed.

          I began to dust off my democratic credentials to get myself a
 juicy post in Nepal. I thought that, with the right moves and the right connections, I might be made a Planning Commission member. Or, I might even end up as an advisor to the Prime Minister. Or, who knows, maybe even the ambassador to the US and Canada.

          With great expectations, I rushed home to Nepal, paid homage to Ganesh Man and Krishna Prasad, and shook hands with everyone from Girija to Man Mohan to Madan Bhandari. I even wrote for newspapers and appeared on NTV panel-discussions. But ultimately, I got nothing. Instead, the spoils of democracy went to my former TU friends. Someone got the UN ambassadorship. A close rival's father-in-law became the ambassador, and the Planning Commission membership went to punks with PhDs from India. I was mad as hell. Was that any way to reward my tyag, tapasya, sangharsha and

          Later years brought no relief. I shuttled back and forth between Canada, America and Nepal. I accompanied every single Nepali leader on his taxpayer-financed medical check-up trips to the West. Still, nothing important came my way. Life was passing me by, and my academic career in the West was dead due to a lack of serious publications. Obviously, I
 couldn't advance much professionally in the West on the sole basis of
 where I had earned my PhD from. Yet in Nepal, no matter how many times I flaunted my American PhD, Canadian connections and polished sophistication, I was always treated more as a tourist than as a freedom-loving intellectual patriot with a "can-do" attitude..

          Recently, with the rise of Lokendra, I've decided that I've had enough of Nepal and Nepali politics. I'm convinced that this country will forever be doomed as long as it fails to recognize Canada- and
 America-based Nepali intellectuals like me. And so, frustrated yet feeling
 somewhat opportunistic, I recently sold off my old house in Kathmandu and ancestral land in the Eastern Nepal to pay the mortgage in Totonto.

          Condemn me, if you will. But that way, at least, I get to spend the rest of my life with other patriotic Nepalis abroad -- discussing how to set Nepal straight through our collective long-distance nostalgia . .
. THE END [This FICTIONAL satire was originally published in The Kathmandu Post.]


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 20:33:17 EST To: From: Subject:

dear editor:
    i sent an article a week ago in response to the poem posted in the March 13 TND. I hope you will not post my article in your next TND issue. As for what I am going to write next, you may post this one.

To Whom It May Concern:

     I am wondering how many of you have read a book titled "Erika and the King". Written by Erika Leuchtag (a native of Germany), and published in 1958 by Coward-Mccann, Inc., the book offers a fascinating account of life inside the Royal Palace in the pre-Prajatantra days. Erika goes to Kathmandu to give regular massage to one of the Queens. Initially, King Tribhuvan is suspicious of her. She could be a spy placed in the Palace by the Singh Durbar Ranas. The Rana officials in Singha Durbar wants her to keep "a book of progress, and perhaps goings-on in the Palace", and report back to them. Once she realizes how the King is held a virtual prisoner in the Palace, and people in the dark, she refuses to side with the Ranas who had given her the job in the first place. Her compassion for the King grows, and later wins his confidence. I do not want to give the story away, but I want to mention that the then Indian Ambassador to Nepal and Erika were instrumental in getting the King out of the country to India when the "prajatantra" was underway. If you haven't read the book, I think you should. Perhaps the following facts I gleaned from the book might whet your appetite:

1) The King smoked American cigarettes. The brand Lucky Strike is mentioned.

2) He was a fanatical photographer, and used a Kodak camera. He had catalogues
   from all over the world. All the purchases had to be approved by the Ranas
   in Singha Durbar. Apparently, they were happy to "spoil" him with all
   those gizmos while they held onto the power. Anything to keep the King
   happy and keep him in the dark.

3. The cars she saw in Kathmandu: Buick, Rolls Royce, and Cadillac.

4. She taught the King fox trot, one-step, waltz and tango. The King had
   jazz record collection, also Schubertian Lieder. One song they danced
   to is mentioned: Victor Sylvester's "peg o' my heart."

5. Boris, the legendary Russian Hotelier, supplied King Tribhuvan with
   what was termed "sensitive books": materials on politics and philosophies.
   Through the perusal of these books, the King became tuned to the goings-on
   in the outside world. In the book, the King is portrayed as a pensive,
   silent, thoughtful personality who cared about the people but was unable
   to do anything about it. Yet he would disguise as a commoner and leave the
   Palace at times. That he was scheming to overthrow the Ranas is hinted at.
   The king had set his own "agenda" in motion, and had to leave the palace
   walls to meet certain key people, etc. etc.---this is hinted at only.
   This in part explains why the King missed some "dance lesson appointments"
   with the author of the book.

6. The king had tatoos all over his body, from neck to ankle. The motifs
   were ferns, flowers and peacock feathers.

7. The king shares whiskey with Erika. The brand is "King of Kings".

8. The palace has its own movie theater. Alas, the author doesn't mention
   the movies they screen together along with the Queens. (I am not sure
   if the King had any kind of sexual relationship with Erika, and although
   they spent plenty of time together away from the Queens).

9. The book was written to repay the King for the gift he had bestowed on the
   author: "a very beautiful, very heavy gold bracelet."

10. An excerpt from the book won for Erika a $ 2500 Readers Digest competi-

P.S.: Go ahead, buy yourself "Lucky Strike" cigarettes and "King of Kings"
      whiskey and be a king for a day!!!! Whatever you do, be sure to read
      the book. It's a good "period movie" material. Bertolucci who gave us
      "The Conformist" should direct it. In fact, the book is kinda dark, and
      surreal and claustrophobic. You could almost smell whiffs of fascism
      in the air.

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 04 Apr 1997 09:00:24 EST To: From: Subject: Info on Gandaki boarding shool

I am looking for information on Gandaki Boarding School in Pokhara:adress, phone and fax number... Also about the number of students, the curriculum, quality of teaching, up to what grade... If any one knows or have attended that school, I would appreciate info and personal comments,
                                        Andre Saint-Amand

**************************************************************** Date: Sun, 06 Apr 1997 13:58:00 -0000 To: From: Tercan Baysan <> Subject: Nepal

          Dear whom it may concern,
          Hello, I am an eighth grader in Bangladesh and I am doing a
          Children's rights project about Nepal. My topic is child labor
          in Nepal. I have found very little information about this topic
          and am asking that you please give me some web sites dealing with
          this issue. Thank you for your time.
          Can Baysan

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 13:57:45 -0400 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: (Namita Kiran) Subject: not guilty as charged

I try not to comment on the comments of my poems. It's upto the people however they wish to understand but, it is a different matter when somebody tries to tell me who I am and what I am based on a single poem. When I write poems I don't only write about my experience. I also take other people's experience and give my voice. Sometimes I just imagine the experience that nobody had felt it yet and writes about it. To attack my poem because I dared to speak what not all but most of the Nepali feel is somewhat disconcerting. To tell you the truth neither have I changed my name nor have I forsaken my gods. It was intended to be a satire to the people who do it and to some extent to myself also. I am still not passing judgment.

Nowhere in my poem have I trashed my country. Is it the commentator's
"avid" imagination? Does he see what I myself fail to see when I read *my* own poem? And, I don't see anywhere when I have sung the song of "America Beautiful." On the contrary, I am quite mournful (if the commentator takes a minute to see carefully) that I have lost my innocence and my mother's voice still haunts me. The poem is about struggle to make a strange country of ones own. What the poem has is a realistic voice. I am guilty for being a realist. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sienfield and Friends! Does the commentator know whether I own a TV or not? What if I tell you I don't own a TV? Even if I did (let's assume for a second) What if I were to tell you I watch Jim Leher show everyday? What If I tell you I turn my TV on only when there is Joseph Campbell on? What if I tell you I don't know the taste of beer and all I like is Cabarnet Sauvignon? Why this condescending attitude? If one thinks throwing names such as Joyce and Beckett around makes one intellectual and gives the right to spew one's own assumptions and biases then I have nothing more to say. What made the commentator think I am "embarrassed about (her) country's relative backwardness" (! ). This is your line not mine. My god aren't we assuming here a lot? My county is not backward. It's your, dear sir/madam, very eurocentric view. Embarrassed? What was there in my poem that tells you I am embarrassed of my origin? Actually I am quite proud of it. Otherwise I would have written about something else. Don't we all ignore it when we are embarrassed by or of something? Or the author is talking about reverse psychology? Please don't try to fool me into believing what I already know. There are many things I don't like about my country and there are many more things that I don't like about this (the States) country. Again the poem is about the dilemma and the struggle of making home away from from not a testament to "America the land of honey and milk."

Namita Kiran PS I don't wish to comment on this subject anymore.

********************************************************** Forwarded By: Rajesh Shrestha <> Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:24:59 -0400 (EDT) To: Subject: Nepal Rough Guide--update posted

Cross-posted from SCN:

I've created an update site for my book, The Rough Guide to Nepal. It's a non-commercial compilation of late-breaking information that I want to make available to my readers and anyone else out there who can use it. I intend to update it every couple of weeks, as new info becomes available.

The information included in the site comes from my contacts in Nepal, online news media, and travelers like you. So if you've recently returned from Nepal, I invite you to email me about anything in the book that needs updating.

The URL is The site is very kindly being hosted by the Himalayan Explorers Club, which by the way is a great resource for anyone planning a trip to that part of the world.

If any of you have stumbled upon the Web site created for my book by Rough Guides, I can only apologize. It sucks. However, I am hounding them to improve it, and I've excerpted large parts of my book for them to post as a sort of FAQ on travel to Nepal. I'll let you know when this is up and running.

David Reed Author, The Rough Guide to Nepal

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:26:41 -0400 (EDT) To: Subject: Nepal Law Treats Abortion as Homicide

Cross-posted from SCN:
--------------------- The material that follows has been provided by Panos

Nepalese Abortion Law Faces Politician-Foe By Aruna Uprety

Kathmandu - Hundreds of poor, illiterate and desperate Nepalese women are being imprisoned, torn from their children and often rejected by their families upon release. The reason: a harsh law which equates abortion with homicide.

Take the case of 39-year-old farmer Lok Maya Adhikari, who served a year's sentence for infanticide. Married at 15 and widowed at 32 with five children, Adhikari told the Japa District Court in July 1995 that she became pregnant by a family-friend, who took her to a traditional birth-attendant for an illegal abortion.

She was arrested two days later and, unable to post bail, was held in detention until sentencing. Upon release she was ostracised by her husband's family, who retained custody of her children. The alleged father was also arrested but released after he denied responsibility for the pregnancy and the abortion.

Fortunately, Adhikari did not pay with her life - for Nepal's abortion law does not only punish, it kills and it maims. Every year thousands of women seek out back-alley abortionists whose methods include administering oral ingestion of chemicals and banned drugs. These 'quacks' are also known to insert into the vagina such downright dangerous substances as mercury, sharp pieces of glass and sticks pasted with herbal mixtures or cow dung.

Women die - often horribly - from haemorrhage, blood poisoning and uterine perforation. Should they survive, they risk chronic disability or sterility. And there are no mitigating circumstances under the law - even in cases where the health or life of the mother is threatened, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

There has been little debate - let alone resistance - to the law so far. But things could change for the better if Sunil Bhandari, a crusading politician, can make Parliament see things his way - he wants the law reformed.

The abortion law in Nepal is a bit of an anomaly. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities' (UNFPA) latest (1992) data shows that Nepal, a Hindu Kingdom, is one of eight countries with similar restrictions - most of the others are Catholic. In India, the only other Hindu-majority country, religion has been no bar to liberal abortion policies.

"Christians have shown stronger opposition, as missionaries have raised their concerns about abortion," says Shyam Thapa, technical advisor to Nepal's Ministries of Health and Population. So controversial is the debate that the Nepal representative of the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF), Dr Al Nahi, while admitting that many women die of abortion-related complications, declined to comment on the law.

Abortion-related complications are largely responsible for Nepal's maternal mortality rate of 1,500 per 100,000, according to 1996 UNICEF statistics. The figure is the highest in South Asia, and nearly double that of the next in the list - Bangladesh. According to UNFPA advisor Dr Rita Thapa, more than half of maternal deaths in five major Kathmandu hospitals result from unsafe abortions.

Many abortion-related deaths go unrecorded, especially in rural areas. Outside of Kathmandu and other towns, the law is pursued even more zealously - often at the behest of inquisitive neighbours who alert police if they suspect a widowed or unmarried women is pregnant and then 'loses' the baby. Women's rights and legal activists are, however, unable to obtain accurate figures for the number of women who have been imprisoned under the law.

Signs of resistance are now apparent. A group of lawyers - the Forum for Women, Law and Development - is now providing a free legal service for affected women.

In general, nongovernmental organisations and women's groups have become more aware of reproductive health issues since the 1994 UN Population Conference in Cairo and the 1995 Women's Conference in Beijing. Lawmaker Sunil Bhandari, who is President of the Family Planning Association of Nepal, went to his Nepal Congress Party in July 1996 for permission to present a bill calling for change.

The bill's recommendations include legalising abortions carried out by registered physicians in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and thereafter in special cases like rape, incest, life-threatening situations and where the foetus is diagnosed as being severely handicapped.

The Congress party refused it in committee, arguing that its passage would lower the morals of young people. Bhandari's move to revive it - this time with the support of lawyers and doctors - has sparked off rare media interest on the issue. The original bill is being re-presented in Parliament this year just as a survey in Kathmandu indicates that many believe abortion should be legalised with some restrictions.

There is another hopeful sign: Nepal's newly-formed Ministry of Women and Social Welfare has created 12 sub-committees, including on reproductive health, based on the recommendations of the Beijing Women's Conference.

Women, the conference said, should have access to quality services to deal with complications arising from abortions. And governments, it added, ought to consider reviewing laws that punish women for undergoing illegal abortions.

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:33:40 -0400 (EDT) To: Subject: Nepal Embassy

Cross-posted from SCN:

Dear Friends,

It is with great sorrow I am writing this article and I would like to get as much input as possible from our readers.

First of all let me introduce myself to you. My name is Gopal Khadgi residing in San Francisco for the past fifteen years. Since my arrival in the US, I had renew my passport three times. I sent my passport to US Embassy in Washington to get it renewed. Twice it was in Panchayat System and once in our new acheived so called democratic regime. Naturally, when democracy came, I expected at the least few changes in the way our Embassy handled the business. But to my suprise and frustration beyong my comprehension, I did not see any change. I tried to understand the situation and comprehend our Nepalese System and I finally came to the conclusion that Just because we got democracy it does not mean that we will actually get democratic behavior or attitude from the people who work at the embassy. The reason - I found out that the same people worked at the embassy so of course we will get the same treatment.

Many of my friends of sent their passports to Nepalese Embassy for renewal or to get altogather a new passport. Of course their expectation was to get their passport returned in a decent time but to their dissapointment, they may never get their passport or it will take months and even that only if they inquire about their passport every week and practically beg for it.

As you guessed it I am quite aggitated with this type of response from the embassy. They are here to serve the Nepalese people but what they do is to suck Nepalese blood as they always did. What I am trying to convey to you is that we need to do something about this attitude. If you want to do something about this please email me at and we will togather do something about this for once and ever.

Gopal Khadgi

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:35:19 -0400 (EDT) To: Subject: Nepal Embassy

Cross-posted from SCN:

Gopal Khadgi ( wrote: Dear Friends, As you guessed it I am quite aggitated with this type of response from the embassy. They are here to serve the Nepalese people but what they
---end of article----

Just to add... Worse yet, have any of you ever tried to talk to some one at the embassy? Obliquely put, certain things, say a dog's tail, don't straighten no matter how long you put it in a cast (hey! some of our proverbs are really catchy..ain't they). Metaphorically, the cast being the change of political system in Nepal. Sometimes I wonder, and bet most of you have the same juxtaposed perspective on: why our hakim Sahebs' tongues get coated with honey when they talk with Gora..(Sahibs), while the same "damn piece of meat" spew condescending and bitter words when dealing with you and I. I know nothing about allergic reactions or human physiology but have always yearned to find an answer for this infernal twist in tone??? Not due to the levity for the fact but, I can put it straight that in or out of the country (and may I add..during pre and post democracy) one irony holds equally true. While rest of the world praises the hospitability, affability, courteousness and much-expected-softness in Nepalis, the same holds woefully feeble when it comes to Nepali_Hakim_Sahebs dealing with a fellow Nepali.

It's not a verbatim transcription but enjoy..


Some guy: Hello

Me: Hello is it RN Emabassy?

Some guy: Yes!

Me: Could you please put me through to some one who deals with Nepali passports..Please

Some guy: Sure...(in the backgorund...mumble Mumbles...minutes passed..damn this is a long distance call...finally...hakim saheb comse and picks up the phone)

Hakim: Hello

{i would have appreciated if he would have introduced himself}

Me: Sir, I'm Bhanu. I am a student at My Nepali passport is about to expire...could you please explain how should I go about getting a new one?

Hakim: Tapai Nepali Ho?

Me: HO hazoor! (duh! if I were not a Nepali, why would I be inquiring about Nepali passport at the first place)

Hakim: Taba Nepali ma kura Garnos' na ta (the bitterness in voice is piercing). Nepali aundaina?

Me: Testo Hoina Hazoor. Yambessi ko PR ma kam garne manchhe Bideshi ho ki Bhanthaneko. Maaf Garnos

Hakim: (he is least interested in my explanation!) Anh! Passport ko Kagaj pathai diunla address dinos'.

Me: Hazoor, it's a bit urgent, I'have to travel soon. Would it be possible for you to courior it for me please?

Hakim: Hundaina! Chaar din dekhi Sat din Lagchha!

Me: Hajoor tyo Faram Pathauna ho ki Rahdani Me kahan aai Pugna?

Hakim: Kasto kura Nabujhya. Form tapai kahan pugna!

Me: Hazoor, I'll pay for the couriour. Would it be poss....

Hakim: Tapaile tirera hunchha? Hundaina, we use our own postal system.

Me: (and that would be..special brach of US Postal service for RN Embassy, I guess?) hus ta hazoor. Mero thekana......

After 5 days from that conversation I finally recieved a form. I couriored it back to them on the same day and I had to wait for 23 days more before I got my passport. The 27 days were not that excruciating compared to what I'm facing as an aftermath of some Lekhandas- with a very BAD hand-writting--'s stupid mistake.

As per the passport..I am no longer Bhanu Neupane but my name reads as BHANU NEW PANE. Every time I apply for a visa or submit passport as an identification, I have to give lengthy and trivial explaination. I have concocted a story for that: in short, I make them believe that in Nepali Barnamala new and Neu are written exactly the same, and if the person dealing does not find it plausible, I tell the the truth that some one screwed it up at the Embassy. Amazingly,the latter explanation always works. May be people working in embassies do behave the same..regardless of the country.


Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:37:05 -0400 (EDT) To: Subject: Nepal Embassy

Cross-posted from SCN:
--------------------- Well I also had a bitter experience with RNE in DC. Luckily I was around DC at the time I had to renew by wifes passport (which includes my son also in the same passport). Went to the embassy and first thing I saw was this guy who was glued to the computer palying some game and was playing till the end of my conversation with Mr. Hakim Sab.

Well since I was in DC for some work, I requested that they finish all the paper work the same day if possible. Somehow, he agreed and could get the passport renewed in about 3-4 hours. When I got the passport, my son was specified as a daughter. Well in the old passport it is clearly written "son of Mr. xxx Siddhartha ..". Well this guy made him a daughter and was written "daugher of Mr xxx Siddhartha". How could someone not figure out that Siddhartha is a boy's name. They just crossed out the "daughter" and wrote "son" above it. And the hand writting, oh my god, it was so bad, my wife had a tough time in Bangkok.

I think those people are there to serve Nepali people staying in US. And they better get someone who is qualified to do the job (with a good hand writting).

Sanjay & Shailina Bajracharya

*********************************************************** Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 18:01:23 -0500 (EST) From: Subject: Re: Nepali Suicides are "funny"... To: The Nepal Digest <>

The suicides rates of Nepaal are *funny* for Mahesh Ghimire.

Mr Ghimire sees no reason to be alarmed by suicides rates that are three times the murder rate in Nepal. According to CBS, 1994, the four year average ratio of suicides to murder in Nepal from 1989/90 to 92/93 was 2.3 to 1.0. I think it is alarming that the current ratio is over 3:1.

Mr Ghimire seems to think it is "scientific" to compare only murders with murders and that compring suicides to murders is illegit. It is probably not worthwhile trying to persuade his scientific brain that suicides and murders have long been considered evidence of social pathologies. Since we are dealing with suicdies in a Hindu country where HIndu social mores are dominant in affecting personal and social world view and relations, it is logical we look towards place based explanations.Surely, Mr ghimire does not want commentators to seek explanations of suicides in Hindu country with happenings in US China or INdia, If this is Mr Ghimire's new global social theory, I am unaware of it.

Re, his harking to pseudo-positivisitc jargon of "control group" and scientific studies, one would guess that all of his well ordered logic, knowledge and conclusions are based on faultless scientific logic. If so, he must be true guru on the mountain-top, in the more imperfect world we live in, a small percentage of our wisdom is based on scientic study or logic and a lot is based on cultural belife systems and non-scientific ways of thinkkings. INdeed, the whole premise of positivisitc though and world view that undergirds jargons like control group has been seriously questioned in social sciences but if Mr Ghimire thinks that is the faultless path to wisdom, that is prerogative....

In the end, mr ghimire must be thanked for taking an interest in this topic.

amulya t

********************************************************** Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 21:08:37 PDT To: From: Peter Turner <> Subject: Volunteering in Nepal

I am currently working on a master of social work degree and would very much like to spend a few months in Nepal as a part of my field practice requirement.

I am particularly interested in women's health, social, and economic issues.

I could be in Nepal from mid September '97 to early December '97.

I would be glad to send a resume of personal data and employment experience to and agency or program that is interested in what I may have to offer.

I may be reached via email at
                        or via snail mail: Darla Darville
                                           7433 SW 53rd Ave.
                                           Portland, Oregon 97219 Thank-you. Darla

******************************************************* Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 13:33:51 EDT To: From: Denise Casey <> Subject: volunteer information

Hi, My name is Densie Casey and I am requesting information regarding volunteer opportunities in Nepal through your organization. I am going to be graduation college in a few weeks and would be available for several months. Please send brochures and an application to:
        Denise Casey
        122 Baur St.
        N. Babylon, NY 11703
        USA Also, it would be greatly appreciated if you could email me back right away confirming the receiving of this message because I will be leaving this email address in a few weeks. Thanks again!
                                                Denise Casey

****************************************************************** From: To: rshresth@BBN.COM Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 16:34:56 GMT Subject: Cold Ashtray

I just read your note on the Nepal Digest. I'm probably your Brit. I translated some of Bhupi's poems, including Chiso Ashtray, in a book entitled 'Himalayan Voices' which was published by the University of California Press in 1991. An Indian reprint came out a few years ago so it should still be available in Kathmandu. For copyright purposes you need to contact the University of California Press at Berkeley. Hope this helps.

Michael Hutt School of Oriental and African Studies London tel. 171-323-6240/6251 fax 171-436-3844 or 171-436-2664 e-mail

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997 01:16:29 PDT To: From: Andrew McClurg <> Subject: Nepal link


I have found your webpage on Nepal interesting and useful. I have recently returned from a three month stay in Nepal, and I'm working on developing a Nepal-related page. My primary focus is on the Mustang region.

I have linked your page on mine, and if you feel so inclined, I'd truthfully like your opinion, comments, and perhaps a link to my own page on your Nepal Links page.

You can find my site at:

********************************************************** Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997 00:20:43 EDT To: From: Mattw/AnithaA <> Subject: information

hi! we are looking to volunteer overseas (hopefully Nepal). we would like some information on opportunities beginning in the next six months. please send by e-mail, or snail to:

matthew winer anitha abraham 750 collins avenue #10 miami beach, fl 33139


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