The Nepal Digest - April 3, 1997 (19 Chaitra 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday 3 Apr 97: Chaitra 19 2053BS: Year6 Volume61 Issue 1

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******************************************************* Date: Sat, 22 Feb 1997 22:41:06 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> Subject: Prejudice III: The Story of Caste

Dear Editor,

        "Sanskar" was a big word with my high caste friends in college, a word they used to distinguish themselves from the lower castes and untouchables. It gave them a readiest weapon they could use at any time to cut down their fellow lower-caste boarders--without having the need to shed even a drop of blood and get in trouble with the law. As a centuries-old law, one of the holiest terms in the Sanskrit language for the high caste Indians, one who lacked what this word meant became an object of worst denigration and contempt. You suffered humiliation at the hands of the high caste boys if you didn't have "Sanskar," and as a lower caste, you didn't--congenitally. On the contrary, my high caste friends called themselves, "Sanskari," flesh and blood mortals endowed with this mysterious potion, divine and invisible, called "Sanskar," which you brought with you at birth. The more "Sanskari" you were, the loftier would be your personality, the diviner your origin, the more light- skinned and sharper your features--face taut or plump, intelligent looks, obsessive dietary habits--no onion, no garlic, no meat, no fish, no red radish nor black eggplant--absurd, neurotic concern with purity, cleanliness, and shameless arrogance.

        Obviously, I lacked many of these virtues. For example, I loved onions and garlic, though even without these I loved to eat fish and meat. As for redish and eggplant, white redish and white eggplant didn't taste even the tenth of what red redish and black eggplant tasted. And then, I was not tidy in my habits (room # 100 was notorious even among my well-wishers for its messiness); I advocated unconventional mores and violation of dietary habits (you must understand that Indians had already killed thousands of human beings in the name of pigs and cows; so I said why not eat garlic and chicken and what have you--and, yes, pigs and calves, too, if you so wish; a few years later they would have the biggest killing of this kind in which two of my friends, one a body builder Muslim and the other a very stylish, polite, and gentle high caste Hindu would be butchered; the Muslim would be speared to death at a crossroad in broad daylight and the Hindu would be kidnapped and his body parts strewn along the railway lines in little pieces); and in the winter, since I didn't sweat and since it was too cold to take a shower in cold water, even that of the Ganges, I didn't take shower for days on end.. I took shower when I needed, not early in the morning, but in the afternoon when it warmed up a little. I didn't worship any gods or goddesses--even Bhagwan; I blamed these invisible tyrants--and the biggest Tyrant--for the Hindu world's miseries. As for my skin, the most important of all "Sanskars," even my mother had complained more than once in my boyhood's days, "What can I do? It was God's wish! He had fair clay only for me!" and looked up toward the sky for mercy. I was definitely dark- skinned, and I hadn't yet caught on the ads for Fair and Lovely in spite of my pimples. So I told them that I was not "Sanskari" because of the above reasons. Brahman the Economist said it was true--that the lack of certain virtues made me lack Sanskar, but in spite of these deficiencies, he said, I was Sanskari because I was a Brahman, my last name was evidence enough.

        "Didn't you hear," he reminded me with admiration, "what the gang leader called you--'Black Babaji'?" The leader of the gang, a man cruelly struck by some disease in childhood and therefore paralyzed in the normal use of his limbs, had threatened me with my life and called me obscene names, including the above epithet, and blamed me for planning and causing the revolution that had ended his hegemony and reign of terror in the hostel. Then Brahman the Economist, without doubt one of my well-wishers, recited a folk couplet, famous and favorite among the high castes in India.
                        "Black Babhan, pale Shudra
                        Beholding these, trembles Rudra."

        (The meaning of this vernacular couplet is clear enough. Generally, a Brahman in India is supposed to be light-skinned and a Shudra, the lower castes, darker. But in real life, there are many Brahmans who are dark-complexioned and many lower castes light-skinned. So how could the color of skin be applied as an infallible criterion and maintain the irrefutable justification of the caste system? But for the functioning of the Hindu society, caste system must be maintained by any means. Therefore, this reverse logic. Now if a Brahman by chance and quirk of subterranean matters is found to be dark-skinned, then that's all the better. Isn't poison conceived as dark, "Kalkoot"? Let's make such a Brahman even superior to Rudra, the whimsical, dancing, pot-smoking, terrifying god Shiva. Then again, some concession must be given to light-skin as well even it belongs to a Shudra. So let's upgrade him as well at least in informal beliefs to an elevated position; the deeply-entrenched social and familial customs would take care of the rest. In this way, both light skin color and caste superiority are endowed with genetic superiority).

        My high caste friends refused to allow that just because of my messy room, unbathed body, advocacy of individual rights and decisions rather than the dictates of parents and caste and religion in vital matters of sex and marriage, which they called "loose" characterlessness and I called freedom--I could be called a Shudra. In fact, he said, citing the above couplet, I was all the more Brahman in spite of the lack of those mainstream high caste virtues. They just didn't matter in my case. Since the revolution, they called me "Brahmanam Brahmanah"
(Brahman among the Brahmans). Students of Indian history, they called me, in jest of course, Kautilya, the unscrupulous Brahman of ancient India who had worked to put into the throne Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor Ashoka's grandfather, and composed "Arthashastra," the first treatise of state polity. These Indian college kids talked as though the compulsion to rise against injustice and tyranny, and study English and Sanskrit both at once, were the exclusive prerogatives of the high castes alone.

        Yes, one time my high caste classmates in the hostel did call me Shudra or suspected me to be one. Why, they asked me, did I insist on letting the minority lower caste boarders stay on in the hotel even when high castes in all other hostels had kicked out their lower caste boarders after the caste riots and agitation for job reservation? "Are you a Shudra," they said, "otherwise, why would you support them? Only a man without 'sanskar' would do and say such things as you are doing."

        I said, "What about Gandhi? What about Nehru? What about Hinduism? What about humanity?" The Major's Son, a missionary-school educated, obscenity-spewing Rajput, said, "F*** Gandhi and his mother! Put a bamboo up Nehru's arse! Gandhi was a Shudra and Nehru lost his caste by letting his daughter marry a Muslim. As for Ambedkar, 'O Saalaa Harijan thaa!' What are you blabbering about Hinduism Finduism! Humanity! What do we owe to it's mother? Nothing!" It seemed that Hinduism had been created to no other end but for one and only purpose: to create the caste hierarchy and segregate society and protect the high castes' birth privileges.

        I have since thought about the meaning of this strange word--"Sanskar." Some of the dictionary meanings of this word are
"purity, perfection, education, cultivation, embellishment, consecration, capacity, effect of the work, reproductive quality, such as vitality, elasticity, and mental impression, faculty of recollection, investiture with the sacred thread, etc., etc., etc.

        Accordingly, "Sanskar hin" would mean those of the sacred thread-wearing castes who haven't gone through that ritual. Just imagine what happens to all those mortals who are prohibited to wear this sacred thread in Hinduism! Except for the sacred thread, which symbolizes the beginning of cleanliness and purity (I remember every time I stood or squatted to urinate, I was involuntarily reminded that I must lift the thread and twist it around my right ear before relieving; and every time the threads wore out and fell away and my father saw it, he brought a new one and made me wear it-- and I didn't refuse; I guess I wanted to be Sanskari the easy way), except for the sacred thread, all the virtues that go in the name of "Sanskar" seem obtainable. In practice, that doesn't happen. Sanskrit dictionaries don't tell the whole truth, which has long given up culling the meanings of old words from current usage to update their changing meanings, confining themselves instead to the classics of Sanskrit written centuries ago.

        The meaning of "Sanskar" as used by high the castes did include some of the meanings associated with rituals and habits. But the real meaning, in current usage, related primarily to in-born, genetic traits and skin color, attributable to particular castes. Or, one can say that the way my college friends used this word meant a number of things: all assumed either present or absent, present among the high castes and absent among the lower castes. At the root of all the other meanings in usage, it meant racial superiority--in terms of color, certain biological features. When somebody said, "Look how 'sanskari he looks!" it obviously meant that the man looked brown, possessed a nose of a certain shape, certain elevation and width of forehead, etc., etc. It was not very clear where the obtainable virtues ended and biological features took over. A mess of confusion existed.

        This is where I think that India's fall and colonization owes a lot to this confusion of biological features with civilization and superiority. For example, a man of paler complexion and Iranian features was taken for granted to be a high caste and darker complexion a sign of lower castes--in this way, down to the untouchable, supposedly the darkest of all. When suddenly the Muslims invaded from the West, much worse, the English from the sea, you just imagine what the masters of Hindu ideology thought, accustomed as they were to impute birth superiority to lightness of skin. Therefore, I think that the conquest of the Muslims, the Mughals, particularly the British over what is now India owe a great deal to this caste psyche among the high caste Hindus who were the rulers at the time these foreign invasions and occupations occurred. But both Indian and foreign historians wouldn't like to acknowledge this fact even as one of the factors; they would go for some higher motives, nobler truths. True, there were other reasons--such as Europe's use of gunpowder, scientific discoveries, capitalism, fanatic faith in Islam in the case of the Mughals--but this caste connection with color and race, I would like to claim, played a major psychological role in the initial phases of the conquests and colonization. (Just think about the first Greek invasion of India under Alexander the Great. Chandragupta Mauraya married Seleucus's daughter, and the caste didn't matter here.)

        Those pale-complexioned foreigners who chose to assimilate in India were readily given the high pedestal among the high castes. For example, the Huns who invaded from the west and chose to assimilate were given the high position of Rajputs and assimilated among the second highest castes in the caste hierarchy, whereas the darker peoples of India remained at the bottom.

        But there is catch here. Caste supersedes and confuses and absorbs color as well. Intermixing of blood has gone on for centuries as a natural human tendency and nature's calling. But among the Hindus, an open social recognition couldn't be granted without threatening the privileges of the higher castes. In other matters, Manusmriti and Vatsyayana's "Kamasutra" may be different--the former deals with serious matters, the law, God, social recognition, public ritualizaion of human and social relations, etc.; the latter frivolity, mere sexual matters, tabooed, shameful and hidden subjects--but in matters of who should have sex with whom and therefore procreate, both these are the same. I was so amazed when I first fulfilled my adolescent wish of catching hold of this book of ancient sexology famous among the Hindus that I opened it immediately when I bought it. I had hoped that I would discover a lofty treatise on, for me in the days of adolescence, the most vital matter and learn a dirty trick or two. So far I had gratified my adolescent hunger by reading only cheap paperback editions in half-educated Hindi about different types of men and women and different postures, gestures, and acts, but here it was the original stuff itself translated by a notable scholar. The very first page, before talking anything about sex, the book began to lay out an elaborate caste prohibitions and what kind and with whom sex could be considered superior. At the end, I concluded that
"Manusmriti" and "Kamasutra" are the same in their intent. Sex and labor, divisions of labor and sex, libido and the market, Freud and Marx--both went hand in hand in ancient Hindu code formation--to the disadvantage of the lower castes and women. So caste is not just a matter of who chooses what occupation and whose sweat feeds whom, it's equally a matter of who conducts sexual transactions with whom, and establishes Manusmriti-sanctioned marital relations.

        An high caste Indian by popular consensus had to be light-skinned, what the racist British colonialists called "Brown Dogs." To be sure, if you were a "Brown Dog," then you considered yourself superior to all the other dogs who were darker than you, black being the lowest dog. The reverse also was true. He had to have certain facial features that resembled, say, how the Iranians generally look (years later I had to defrock an Iranian of his color-pride when he called our African roommate, his and mine, derogatory names. But that was much later).

        Indeed, the high caste boarders ranged from a shade of dark to shades of pale. But the paler you were, the prouder you felt, even though your mind had gone bunk and defunct, contrary to caste expectations (there was a fellow boarder of my batch, a relative of the Brahman Warden, one of the worst students; but he had the most pretensions about his high caste on account of his complexion).

        So the rhetoric of the lack of this magical "Sanskar" condemned without trial all the so-called lower castes and validated all the upper castes, including two of our cooks--pale, pitiable, and proud. These were quite unlike the Brahman cook, darkest that I have seen, in my high school just across the border, who was so stubborn, garrulous, and boasting that no matter how much we asked him ("Please, please, please Panditji! Don't speak when you serve.") not to speak , he never heeded our importunities. While serving food on the muddy veranda, bending double, his twisted toes clamping the mud, gobs of spittle flew from the big gaps between the crooked teeth of his over-salivating mouth with every ladle of fodder he served. He never desisted our call.

        The talk of Sanskar at present condemns millions and millions of people in India, both those who say they are born with this magical potion and those said to be devoid of it's blessings. For those who pride in having it wallow in smugness and deadened rituals; and those said to be born without it feel the heat of the economic deprivation and social stigma--not least, self-stereotyping. To blame the high castes alone for the flourishing of caste system would be to speak only the half-truth. True, we read about Hitler and the War, but nobody asked to make a connection nor did anyone ask to understand and apply the Nazi racial beliefs to contemporary Indian situation, to the so- called Aryan pretensions and myths of many of my fellow high caste classmates. For example, what would have happened to those who called themselves Aryans in my hostel if they had found themselves living in Hitler's Europe? Would Hitler have kissed their lips? Would they have been spared cattle cars because of their Aryan claims? I don't think so--all their Aryan boasts gone up their drain. Those who are condemned in its name no less believe in this system, when it comes to defining themselves in relation to those who belong lower than their position in the hierarchy. What's more, even those who are called Harijans in India, bought wholesale into Manu's nefarious designs, have their own hierarchy, and one caste looks down upon the other and very often does not eat food cooked by the one considered lower in the Hindu scheme of things, let alone intermarriage. As long as some one was securely lower than you, you felt proud and willingly worshipped who were securely enthroned above as born superiors. Hindu caste system cannot be reformed; it must be abolished--root, stem, and branch. And that has to come more from below, from the grassroots level, than from above.

        In recent years, in Indian politics, some parties have come forward with the caste agendas, but they have failed to examine these cultural beliefs and prejudices analytically, for the educational system is still good for producing only clerks--from the office clerk to the IAS officer. Nobody examines their daily lives and customs and practices systematically, academically; all the courses are designed at the top and focus on histories of events long past, lives long dead, texts written long ago, ideas long outdated or borrowed slavishly from the colonialist masters.

        Of course, there are those who go to the US or Europe and return to their homelands and realize that their English-school education cheated them of the vital center of their native culture and past, particularly deprived them of its wholesale doses. And so, you have another kind of reaction: they advocate--these whose number you can count on finger tips--a complete rejection of the West, hook, line, and sinker. It's not only western popular culture that they feel humiliated by, but also liberatory Western ideas they find abominable, because they didn't originate in their homelands--and they threaten their inherited privileges. One could admire their pride in local systems, cultures, and mores. But only if the intellectual infrastructure there--schools, colleges, and universities--would train those fortunate few who afford these precincts of luxury to examine, analyze, and produce ideas and cultural waves to counter and exchange rather than blindly memorize and imitate borrowed ideas-- whether so-called eastern or western ideas and texts. At the end, this rejection of the West amounts to nothing more than an unthinking nativism, frustration adjustment, and a knee-jerk reaction of a colonized mind and the nativist excuse of an internal colonialist.

        And then there are those who would do anything to mimic the West.
>From the use of forks and table knives and tables to the use of the
English language to the swaping of wives in the name of modern lifestyle--everything swallowed lock, stock, and barrel, to use the cliche, in order to have the rubb off of this new Sanskar. Whatever the West does, Hollywood films and t.v. do, American popular culture does, the British Sahibs did--is modern and worth emulating. A poet in the native language doesn't sound good to them not because the poet has some shortcomings in his or her poetry but because the poor poet is not like Wordsworth or Keats or some such writer of the West, whom our friend blindly worships. I had a professor in India, Oxbride-returned, who came to class in a hat, holding a cane in his hand and a pipe in his mouth, and proudly told us, his poor native students, "Oh, my ears are deaf to Indian music." That was exactly what he said over and over again. I found many an English lecturers and professors in India arrogant, just because they had read English literature and mimicked certain English manners; in my presence, they mocked and dismissed the scholarships of even well-known Hindi professors. They didn't know I had studied and loved Sanskrit and its daughters, as much, if not more.

        At one point in his life, Nehru's father was of this kind of Indian, totally bought into Europeaness, the only way, he had thought perhaps, he could rise in the eyes of his British masters. Nehru had not a little problem with his father after he returned from England with a tripos, but more Indian than ever. And even now, there are many who would be anything, do anything if a habit, a custom, an object, a cultural item is branded Western. And again, education, as it is imparted in Indian schools, colleges, and universities, lies at the root of these extreme, contradictory, obsessions. And in the absence of an infrastructure to train children to imbibe a habit of questioning and critical thinking, whoever rules at any particular moment acquires the ability to produce Sanskar, export Sanskar, and impart Sanskar--and so far the rulers have been light-skinned and of higher caste.

        Unfortunately, there is no remedy in view right now. Politically, the Indian society works as societies in general work according to internal dynamics and external pressures, but intellectually its core remains in the grip of outdated ideas, shoddy customs, rotten beliefs, and second-hand, out-of- place blind borrowings. In the absence of the bulwark of contextual ideas, generated, disseminated, and analyzed by and among the people concerned, systematically and methodically, the political movements for social transformation alone will end up in tyranny, dictatorship, corruption, hero- worship and out and out buffoonery, as they have already done elsewhere and India as well.

        A son finishes college and university, becomes a professor and explicates eastern and western texts, worshipping the text-producers as infallible gods; or joins the elite civil services and runs a district, rules over millions--but at the end of it all, his convention-bound father, superstitious mother, and stifling caste-induced customs and traditions remain his primary law-givers and parameters to whom he bends his heads in obeisance and follows willingly their dictates because his education has never trained him to examine, question, analyze--and, YES, REJECT--the relevance and validity of any of these cultural authorities in the context of the changing times and passing of the generations. In short, such a person, after wandering the alleys of history, literature, philosophy, and what have you, still believes in "Sanskar," inheritable by birth, transmittable by birth. You never call a man lost, if he gets lost at dawn, wanders in foreign climes during the day--and gets back home at dusk.

        This habit of education for skill cultivation was well and good when there was external tyranny; when an alien culture--both of the British and others--had brought in and imposed ideas, whose relevance and truthfulness were suspect by virtue of the lack of freedom and presence of domination. So one read one thing, took exams in arguing one kind of thing, but practiced at home something quite different, even contrary, dear to one's long cherished tradition and culture, however bad, for the alien rulers condemned and denigrated the person's culture--everything in it.

        But even in the late seventies and early eighties, what did I study in India for ten years? I studied Economics, Logic, Hindi, Sanskrit, English, History, Political Science and so on. But more than anything, I was taught one thing: memorize, memorize, memorize--and get the highest marks. Cram, cram, cram--and become first class first.
(Don't question; keep quiet. Once I made a blunder of informing a lecturer that the class time was over and that I had another class to catch up in another building, five minutes away; he gave me five minutes of additional lecture about how he had seen many like me who studied college but sold mangoes in the streets) Unfortunately, that, too-- memorizing, that is--had become outdated; and a peculiar thing called PAIRABI--equivalent of "source and force" in Nepal--had taken over--big time.

        In history, I studied Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India and Modern Europe--from the French Revolution to World War II. But nobody asked us to examine this thing called "Sanskar," or caste, under whose evil shadow the whole population--men, women, and children--had been reeling-- some wallowing in complacency, others suffocating in self-stereotyping--for more than a millennium. The classes were only for lecture and passive listening and text books for rote-learning--our heads empty vessels, our souls filled with wind, our hearts wild cans of worms. These classes and text books taught little; rather, it was the guff that we indulged in among ourselves, which of course deteriorated very often in girl-starved, libido-charged, adolescent vulgarity. Nonetheless, on our own, in these marathon run of wasting time, at times we ventured into the blind alleys of burning social and cultural questions, issues that related to our lives--sex, marriage, caste, politics, culture, God, man, women, life, death--without any guidance, without any books. We had an adolescent mind and body, adolescent heart, adolescent soul, adolescent libido--curious, energetic, confused, restless, and conscience-ridden. God, we wanted to know everything! We wanted to bust all mysteries, crack all secrets. But the world of the professors, the grownup world in the grip of caste and religon's stranglehold, had lost their curiosities; they had in the course of their education and teaching turned into mere bhaats, self-important explicators of prescribed texts.

        For example, nobody asked us to examine what caste meant, what religion meant, how to interpret these vital issues that had affected all our lives deeply. Instead, we memorized information only about impersonal, distant things, no doubt a legacy of the British colonialism that never wanted Indians to know and understand systematically their subjugated conditions. Culturally and intellectually, particularly in the schools and colleges and among the middle classes in India, British colonialism still continues today--of course without the presence of the Union Jack's forces.

        True, we read about Hitler and the War, but nobody asked to make a connection nor did anyone ask to understand and apply the Nazi racial beliefs to contemporary Indian situation, to the so- called Aryan pretensions and myths of many of my fellow high caste classmates. For example, what would have happened to those who called themselves Aryans in my hostel if they had found themselves living in Hitler's Europe? Would Hitler have kissed their lips? Would they have been spared cattle cars because of their Aryan claims? I don't think so--all their Aryan boasts gone up their drain.

        But for all my analysis and raving, belief in "Sanskar" among the
"Sanskaris" remains deep among the high castes and craving for such in-born grandeur continues unabated among both the high and low castes.

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 17:59:00 -0600 (CST) From: SAGUN KARMACHARYA <karmas01@condor.stcloud.msus.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: When was the first issue published? (Fifth Anniversary?)

Namaste,

I have been an avid reader of TND since I was introduced to it by a friend back in 1993. I would like to get some information about the its first issue like when was the first issue of TND published and what brought about the inspiration for its "creation." Maybe our outgoing editor and founder Rajpal jee or anybody else could comment on it.

Dhanyabaad. Sagun K.

P.S. According to my guess it was first published around this time in '92. Any plans for fifth anniversary???

%%%%%Editor's Note: Thank you for your curiosity. It has been little %%%%%
%%%%% over 5 years since the inception of TND. I don't %%%%%
%%%%% recall any grand plan or reason to start TND. It %%%%%
%%%%% was a desire and passion (for lack of a better %%%%%
%%%%% term) to bring all the Nepalis and folks who are %%%%%
%%%%% interested in Nepal and Nepalis to one unifying %%%%%
%%%%% platform, to share thoughts and discuss ideas, %%%%%
%%%%% to use the medium as a social and/or intellectual %%%%%
%%%%% breeding ground for possible solutions that %%%%%
%%%%% hopefully may help change lives of fellow Nepalis %%%%%
%%%%% and for a better Nepal. %%%%%
%%%%% %%%%%
%%%%% Only critics, or perhaps yourself, can tell how %%%%%
%%%%% successful we all have become! Nevertheless, the %%%%%
%%%%% effort continues and the light stays on. %%%%%
%%%%% %%%%%
%%%%% As for the aniversary plans, I think it would be a%%%%%
%%%%% great idea. Lets have some coordinators run with %%%%%
%%%%% it. Send in your ideas and names if you would %%%%%
%%%%% like to lead the aniversary project. %%%%%
%%%%% %%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
******************************************************** Forwarded By: Rajesh B. Shrestha Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 11:34:58 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: An interesting NGO: TEWA

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------

        I am encouraged to see Nepali self-help organizations advertize on the net. It is heartening to see Nepalis engaged in solutions based on independence rather than foreign dependence. But I do have some questions that I pose to any NGO advertizing for donations. I would like to emphasize that these questions are in ***NO WAY OR FORM*** intended to shed either a positive or negative light on TEWA or any member of TEWA.

Anyway, here are the questions I would like to pose to TEWA.

*What guarantees (I realize this is a relative word) are there that the funds will actually go to the stated goals and not to the administrators' personal use?

*Will TEWA's budget and accounts be made public for anyone to scrutenize? If so how?

*What type of periodical updates if any will be given to contributors located as far as the US about how their yearly/bi-yearly donations are used?

*Is TEWA affiliated with any non-profit US organization so that the donations will be tax-deductable in the US as well as be subject to US laws?

Again this is **NOT** an attempt to question the integrity of TEWA or any member of TEWA. I believe these are fundamental questions that must be asked of any Nepali NGO.

Suresh Ojha

*********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 12:03:49 -0500 (EST) From: Bikash@aol.com To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: A Fictional satire/humor

          Typecasting Nepali journalists
          (an attempt at writing satire by)
               ashu
     
          Overtly and covertly, Nepali journalists typecast public and, at times, private figures. In doing so, they cite the lofty ideals of freedom of speech and the public's right to know. But what happens if the tables are turned -- allowing a 'never-gonna-be-a-journalist' reader like me to indulge in some good-natured needling of the Nepali Fourth Estate? Three categories come to mind.

          MR. LECHER: As elsewhere, lechers abound in journalism too. Often, Mr. Lecher playfully interviews a starlet or a fashion-model of Nepali glamour-dom, prints her 'revealing' [WHAT is she 'revealing' anyway? I'm too dumb to find out!] pin-ups, and then goes on to bemoan -- in writing -- how such pictures actually defile "our traditionally pure Nepali culture".

          But why do the editors let Mr. Lecher get away with his self-serving reports? Simple. Most are undersexed voyeurs themselves who, despite all the jazz about treating women with respect, desperately hope that the snaps would bring in hordes of drooling subscribers.

          MR. FAUX-SOPHISTICATED: As the title implies, this guy's a phoney. He's never been out of the country, yet his pride emanates from his second-hand knowledge about the peep-shows that take place on New York's 42nd Street. He also writes adolescently (in a breathless
'look-how-many-naked-pictures-I-saw' squeal) about 'Sex and the Single Girl', and urges us to buy glossies like 'Elle' and 'Cosmo', which he apparently gets to read for free, for providing in-your-face publicity for the distributors in Thamel! What's more, read his byline, and you'd think that no other than Helen Gurley Brown and Bo Derek had suckled him in his infancy!

          Still, Mr. FS wants to be taken seriously when he writes about tantalizing subjects such as sex, glamour and sleaze in Nepal. But ultimately even readers who swear by Anais Nin have to go ho-hum, for Mr. FS's exposes himself for what he really is: Not a Himalayan Nobakov out to seduce a pouting Lolita, but a pitiable loner with a hand stuck inside his fly.

          MR. ECON-ILLITERATE: Mr. Econ-illiterate strengthens my biased suspicion that the Central Economics Department at TU only teaches its students ABOUT economics (i.e. biographies, for God's sake!, of dead White male economists, debunked development-planning models, and all other similarly irrelevant stuff) at the EXPENSE of teaching them the nuts and bolts of clean, clear economic reasoning with a stress on exposition.

          And one unintended result of such training is that we get journalists with a business-cum-economics background who do a story on RD Tuttle, and instead of giving us an analysis of Nepal's Casino industry, end up comparing -- quite inexplicably -- Tuttle favorably with Larry Flynt, the American porn-publisher!
          
          Then there exist business-reporters who, in feature-articles in newspapers, continue to let the spokesman of a bank alone tell the world how wonderful his particular bank is, and so forth. Meanwhile, the reporters never really bother to tally up that bank's balance-sheets and share-prices to come up with a critical analysis of Nepal's banking industry.

          Still, the worst remain those, who -- never having understood, let alone mastered, the sound economic arguments against Arun III -- go on reporting, a la Pashu Rana the Minister, that the project had been killed by dangerous 'anti-development brigade'.

          Sure, the three categories above can hardly even begin to showcase all the quirkiness of Nepal's fascinating journalists -- from the very best to the very worst. Tyai pani, the stage is set for someone else to now write more mischievously about this profession's inability to laugh -- from time to time -- at its own self. [A shorter version of this was originally published in The Kathmandu Post.] THE END.

********************************************************************* To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Congratulations to Pratyoush Onta Date: Thu, 27 Feb 97 14:16:31 EST From: rshresth@bbn.com (Rajesh B. Shrestha)

(What follows is from Bikas Rauniyar, Monica Manandhar, Surendra Sthapit, Kumar Pandey, Ashutosh Tiwari and Shailesh Gongal in Kathmandu, and also from Bikash Thapliya at MIT and from Manisha Aryal at Cal Berkeley.)

This posting is in honor of PRATYOUSH ONTA of Thamel, Kathmandu to offer him world-wide CONGRATULATIONS on his recent earning of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in South Asian history from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA.

Pratyoush is a 1981 SLC graduate of Kathmandu's Jesuit-run St. Xavier's High School, where he was a star student: First in his class throughout his school years, Editor-in-Chief of 'The Godavarian' the school magazine, and the Winner of his year's "Best Boy" Gold Medal.

After St. Xavier's, Pratyoush entered Thamel's Amrit Science College (ASCol) to read the sciences, but ended up, by his own admission, spending almost all his waking hours at the neighboring Godavari Alumni Association (GAA) -- running social-service activities, conducting extra-curricular contests for high schools and colleges, and just hanging out with friends from high school.

But even then, he stood out for his leadership abilities and for his dedicated service to the underprivileged, for in early 1984, he won the "Fr. Niesen Memorial Service Award" -- the highest annual service award that the GAA bestows upon its most influentially active member.

Later that spring, Pratyoush won a Wien Memorial Scholarship ("no loans, just grants") to pursue undergraduate studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, and four years later, in 1988, graduated with a BA -- summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa -- in economics and mathematics (with a substantial number of courses in computer science as well).

Deciding to go to graduate school right after college, Pratyoush applied to PhD economics programs, and was accepted with a fellowship by one of the top-ranked graduate economics departments -- the University of Pennsylvania
 (Penn) in Philadelphia, USA.

But by his own admission, Pratyoush "disliked" the graduate economics program, for he felt that graduate economics, as it was and is being taught in the United States was (and is) inter alia narrowly dependent upon: i) one's somewhat "forced" acceptance of "unrealistic" sets of assumptions (so that models would hold true), and (ii) one's then strutting, usually
"unnecessary", mathematics, as though one's doctoral mission were to prove that economics is really the neo-physics of the late 20th century. [Aside: Those already in and enjoying economics PhD programs and those considering to go do an economics PhD may simply ignore this paragraph!]

Anyway, Pratyoush, with his superior undergrad/grad records, had little trouble transferring to another department at Penn, where he earned an MA degree in South Asian Studies in 1991. After that, he was formally a PhD candidate in the field of South Asian history.

And after researching for his dissertation in various locations across Nepal, India, England and the United States, Pratyoush titled it "The Politics of Bravery: A History of Nepali Nationalism". To his credit, Pratyoush has already published several articles based on chapters of his dissertation.

A prolific, research-oriented yet lucid writer in both Nepali and English languages, Pratyoush's thought-provoking research articles, op-eds/book-reviews/memoirs have appeared in a number of academic journals, magazines and newspapers in Nepal, India and elsewhere, and, fortunately, also on TND. In fact, in 1994-95, despite his busy academic schedule, Pratyoush characteristically also found the time and energy to volunteer as a "Review Editor" of TND.

Presently, Pratyoush lives and works in Kathmandu, where he is:

1) A co-founder/co-editor of "Studies in Nepali History and Society", a Kathmandu-based half-yearly academic journal that has already come out with two issues.

2) The Convener of Martin Chautari, that THE place in Thapathali for all kinds of stimulating/intense/academic and at times purely 'howday' guff on issues facing contemporary Nepal's societies.

3) A research editor at HIMAL (Nepali) magazine.

4) A co-ordinator of the monthly "The Kathmandu Post Review of Books".

5) A founding-member of the Kathmandu Book Society.

6) As anyone who has spent some time talking with him knows, a voracious reader and a serious researcher/thinker/writer on the contemporary and
 Panchayat-kalin Nepal and Nepal's military history (with reference to the Gorkhas).

7) And more importantly, he's pursuing independent research on Nepali history and society, as well as (informally) serving as a thought-provoking mentor/colleague/critic to many Nepali and non-Nepali researchers/students and journalists.

Still, the MOST IMPORTANT than the above litany of external achievements is this FACT that anyone who has worked with Pratyoush can attest to: That he is somebody with a very high degree of personal and professional integrity, and that he has a great sense of humor. Well, there you have it: Brilliance and integrity with a sense of humor. What a combination to celebrate as well as to envy!

And that brings us to this public-service announcement to all Nepali/South Asian father-mother out there who are searching all over the planet for a
"ramro, tagada, intelligent, non-smoking Nepali dool.ha" for their nubile daughter: Yes, our friend, Dr. Onta IS single, and, yes, caste is no bar.

(Needless to say that Pratyoush himself has absolutely no idea that all this is appearing on the Internet. So let this all -- if and when he does find out -- come as a complete surprise to him. Then again, as an in-house saying goes, all's fair and square among former and new Pizza Gang members!)

****************************************************************** From: "Madhav P. Bhatta" <bhatta-s@crl.soph.uab.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Bombaiko Bazarma Nepali Cheli ra Nepali Cheliharuko Katha

        Vicente Belmonte's post to the last issue of TND (February 19, 1997) has brought forth once again the ugly truth about the problem of girl trafficking in Nepal and collective denial of the problem in our part ( that includes the government, Nepali Janta and "we" the internet surfing Nepali Janta.) This collective denial and general apathy has resulted in loss of human dignity and massive suffering beyond any of our imagination of thousands of Nepali Chelibetis. The effect of girl trafficking on individuals upon which this hideous crime is inflicted, or the communities from which these girls come from, or a Nation which stands silently need not be repeated here. These have been the topics of endless seminars, documentaries, project proposals and so on so forth. Here, I would like to put forward an interesting observation that I encountered last year, and had meant to bring forth to the attention of the internet Janta but for various reasons was unable to do so.

        Last summer ( I think it was in July but I am not sure) United Nations Human Development Report came out, once again, with the issue of girl trafficking from the hills of Nepal to the brothels of big cities in India. The desperate owes of Nepali Chelis were reported probably in most of the Newspapers around the world and probably over the internet too. I think it was the same week or month, another Nepali Cheli in Bombay, a very famous one I might add, visited the US as a part of Naach-Gan Tolee from Bollywood. I think some of you might have realized who I am talking about. Yes, I am talking about MANISHA KOIRALA. She visited many cities in the US- New York and Houston are two I can remember- enchanting the audience with her talent and showmanship. I think the memeber of the Nepali community who went to see her shows were especially impressed by her. Some of them were even able to visit her back stage and talk to her. Some people found her very charming, amicable and I guess nice, while other begged to differ about her personality. So there was a big debate over internet about how nice Manisha was or how not so nice Manisha was over the internet- namely TND and SCN.

        The debate raged on for few weeks in both the TND ans SCN, like the monsoon rain in Bombay about the character of the famous Nepali Cheli- Manisha. Some argued that Manisha being such a big star was so humble and was nice enough to see "little Nepalis" ( these are my words) and we should support her because as Nepali she made herself somebody in the cruel land of Bollywood- she a STAR. Some people even wanted her to name her the second NEPALI TARA-- second only to Vrikuti. While other were not very inpressed about her. They thought she was arrogant and stuck up and so on. I have personally not met Manisha, so let me tell I have no opinion of her. I am not here to bebate or pass judgement on whether Manisha is nice or not or her contribution to our National pride and diginity.
        But the whole debate hit me with a sense of irony and sense of disgust. While it was the same week the issue of the desparate lives of thousands of Nepalis Chelis came to light ( nothing new but we do need to be reminded again and again that the brothels of Bombay are filled with them), there was not a single article or response or mentioned of the report over the internet. We, the memembers of the Nepali community, seem to sit in silent, ignore and wait for the storm to pass. We rather talk about Manisha, than KANCHI or MAILI because it is a lot easier, interesting and probably uplifting to do so. Talking about Nepali prostitues in India reminds us of our dirty national secret, our society's digrace. If we admit the problem then we cannot sit and talk about how moral, good and wonderful we and our society is. It will lead us to question our own values. It will remind us that we only say that worship and honor our Kanya-Kumari Chelis but we do not give a damn if they are sold like cattles in the meat market of Bombay. If we realize that we are not protecting our CheliBetis, we will know that we are accomplices in this hideous crime-- we are sinners- "PAPIS"- too. It will make us realize that we are a horde of hypocrits. So, we rather not talk about it.
        I think that is where our problem lies. Our inability to accept the problem. When we don't even acknowlege the existence of the problem or rather existence of a collective problem then we will never seek a collective solution. For most of us, the trafficking of girls is a problem of some other people. How many of us know a family whose Cheli or Bahini has been sold to the brothels of Bomabay? For most of us, it is " their" problem. But we better start acknowleging it as our own problem- before it is too late. We have an obligation as a nation to protect our own; we have an obligation as a society to combat a hideous phenimenon; we as human being have a moral obligation.

************************************************************************* Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 15:40:46 -0500 (EST) From: HIMALAYANM@aol.com To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Orthopaedic Surgeon to Nepal

Hi everyone,

I am a great friend of Nepal and have recently talked to a doctor friend of mine about possibly going to Nepal in May to do some work. He is one of the top orthopaedic surgeons in the USA and is willing to go to Nepal for 3 weeks or so this May. He is also a specialist in arthroscopy (using a tiny hole in the skin and a video camera to perform surgery without cutting open the skin...) as well as beinga specialist in sports medicine.

My question is this: does anyone know of a hospital or clinic who could use his skills for a week or so in May? He works on ankles, knees, feet, etc...
 Also, do any hospitals in Nepal have arthroscopy equiptment? It is very technology heavy.

Please respond to me as soon as possible so that we can arrange this if it is possible.

Namaste, Mike

******************************************************************* Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 15:44:26 -0500 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: Paul Glanzrock <paul@dcdu.com> Subject: Web designer in Nepal

I am a web designer based in New York and will be in Nepal around May/June.

If you know of any individuals or companies who need information about the Internet/Web, I would be happy to visit them while I'm there.

Cheers! Paul Glanzrock Silicon Alley Survivor

******************************************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Really : How many Nepalese in US? New claims... Date: Sun, 2 Mar 97 16:01:37 EST From: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------
         How many Nepalese are there in US?

A recent news clip in kpost reports Mr Hada of American Nepal associations claiming that there were 20,000 nepalese in US. Mr Hada was obviously representing the interests of permanent residents and nepali us citizens who want a green card to live, work, and invest in US instead of getting a short term tourist visa. The article does not make it clear if he estimates there are 20,000 legal US citizens of nepali orgins.

If so this would contradict, an estimate made by Dr K. Baidya, a demographer, who scanned US Census roles and came up with a number of 3000-4000 Nepalese in US. One would assume that these re Nepalese that care to be counted, the documented permanent residents and citizens. This count probably does not include legal non-immigrants, the legions of students and tourists who enter the US and either keep their status or legal or just keep n hanging out.

Based on records from US Immigrations Services nd UN consul records, Sanjay Manandhar estimated that there maybe about 15,000 Nepalse in US. I have felt this was the best estimate published so far (Himal in 1993, i think). Even by this estimate, one would estimate a growth rate from 1993-96 would yieild at least 20,000 Nepalese in US.

I often advocated all these nepalese associations at least starting couting nepalese in US instead of beings just a dal bhaat tarkari dasian bhoj culture club. But the current leaderships seesm to be too timid to make any bold steps as pursuing the many leagsla nees of nepalese in US or breaking the romans of the harmonious nepalse which might breadk into political and caste lines...

I wonder if any of you out there has better estimates???

matina...

***********************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 10:53:54 -0500 (EST) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: South Asia Program-Cornell University <nsj1@cornell.edu>

Intensive Nepali Language Program June 16 - July 25, 1997 June 16 - August 12, 1997
                                             Nepali, 160, a six or ten week course in the official language of Nepal, will be offered in Cornell University Summer Session. Taught by Shambu Oja, under the supervision of Kathryn S. March, this six or ten-credit course is offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics and the South Asia Program. This course provides an unusual opportunity to develop competence in Nepali over the summer.

Emphasis will be on the spoken colloquial language, in dialogues, exercises, and conversation practice. In addition, however, special attention is given to assisting students to develop vocabularies and abilities appropriate to their unique professional needs. Reading and writing practice use both colloquial and scholarly materials in the Nepali (Devanagari) script.

Students will spend four hours per day in class and two further hours working with recorded materials in addition to the time required for daily preparation.

General Information

Schedule: The program lasts six or ten weeks, June 16 through July 25 for six credit hours, and June 16 through August 12, 1997 for ten. Class meets five days a week.

Admission and Registration: There are no prerequisites for Nepali 160. To receive an application, contact the South Asia Program at nsj1@cornell.edu or phone (607) 255-8493. Assignment to appropriate sections will be made by the instructors upon evaluation after arrival.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Tuition for the ten-credit summer program is $535 per credit hour for a total of $3,210 for the six week course and $5,350 for the ten week course. Two U.S. Department of Education fellowships covering tuition and fees are available through the South Asia Program. These fellowships are open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have completed at least a baccalaureate degree. A limited amount of additional financial aid is available. Students applying for a fellowship or financial aid should submit, in addition to the attached application, a transcript, one letter of recommendation, and a brief statement of study and career objectives. All application materials for fellowships must be received by April 15. Awards will be announced May 1, 1997.

Housing and Dining: On-campus housing and dining plans are available through Barbara Romano, Campus Life, 206 Robert Purcell Community Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, e-mail br20@cornell.edu, tel: (607) 255-6290/255-9800.

Further inquiries can be directed to the Program at the above address or by e-mail: nsj1@cornell.edu, or phone (607) 255-8493.

Cornell University South Asia Program

*********************************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepali soccer players in Indian clubs Date: Tue, 4 Mar 97 23:21:35 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------

I have always had a keen interest in the Nepalese soccer scene. For those SCN folks who may be interested, a few Nepali stars are now playing professional soccer for prime Indian clubs. To name a few: Mani Shah- Salgaocar Club, Goa Sunil Tuladhar- Salgaocar Club, Goa Upendra Man Singh- Salgaocar Club, Goa Deb Narayan Chaudhary- East Bengal, Calcutta There used to be times when a team from places like Jalpaiguri, Siliguri, Ranchi etc from India would come and beat the national team from Nepal and walk away with the all the trophies from Nepal. Or a local team managing to borrow a few players from Bengal(India) would become national champions. Nepal may not be in the Asian standards yet but few players have been able to get into star teams of South Asia, and Malaysia. I hope we will have more Nepali players developing into professionals and make Nepal atleast a force to reckon with in South Asia.

Disclaimer: This posting has nothing to do with race, caste, creed etc which seems to be the "in" thing of SCN these days.

Anil Tuladhar

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 04 Mar 1997 23:49:54 -0500 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: Sachin Sharma <Sachin_Sharma@brown.edu> Subject: UPDATE: CULTURAL SHOW FOR ANA CONFERENCE 1997, Boston MA

UPDATE: CULTURAL SHOW FOR ANA CONFERENCE 1997, Boston MA

Dear Friends of Nepal,

Preparation for The Association of Nepalis in the Americas (ANA) 15th Annual conference in Boston, MA is well underway! The Greater Boston Nepali Community (GBNC) is working very hard to make this year's meeting an outstanding success. We are currently seeking acts for this year's Cultural Show and would like to receive input from those who are interested in participating. Please email Prabhat Adhikari, Cultural Show Coordinator, for further information at <bigger>padhikari@vhb.com Thank you.

Visit the ANA Homepage at http://www.servtech.com/public/abishek Visit the GBNC Homepage at http://www.mit.edu/people/arp/gbnc

-GBNC Steering Committee

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 07:39:19 -0500 From: deschene@jhuvms.hcf.jhu.edu (Mary Des Chene) Subject: Kathmandu Post Review of Books, Feb 97 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

>From the Kathmandu Post Review of Books of 23 Feb. 1997

The KPRB is coordinated by members of the Kathmandu Book Society. The Kathmandu Book Society strives to be a critical forum for discussions on Nepal's book industry - broadly defined. Its meetings will take place at Martin Chautari (Thapathali) at 5:30pm on the second last Sunday of each month. Publishers, book-sellers and authors are requested to send in books for reviews to POBox 12456, Kathmandu. Attn: Ashutosh Tiwari (tel 470013) or Shailesh Gongal (242977).

(Note: The lead essay and 2 reviews are posted here. The other reviews from the 23 Feb. issue were:

Ashwathama by Madhav P Ghimere Royal Nepal Academy, 1996, Rs. 38 Reviewed by Padam P Devkota

Privatizing Russia by M Boycko, A Shleiger and R Vishny The MIT Press, 1995, $18.95 Reviewed by Bikas Thapaliya

They will be posted later if possible).
*********

NGO Conceptions, Rhetoric, and Politics

By Lazima Onta-Bhatta

NGOs Ridiculed

NGO bashing has become a popular sport for the Nepali media in recent years. While the lofty rhetoric of people-centered development still prevails within the NGO world, media portrayals of NGOs--that both inform and build upon popular conceptions--have little in common with this proclaimed rhetoric.

 Rhetoric Media/Popular Conceptions:

Cost effective Dollar Kheti Local resources Pajero Local knowledge Consultants Tool for democracy Tool for making quick money Grassroots Urban-biased/Bidesh Vraman Networking/Coalition building NGO Federations--power mongers Capacity-building Seminars/Workshops in big hotels Sustainability Magi khane bhandho

Public scrutiny of the NGOs (and other sectors) is undoubtedly necessary. The Nepali media has, however, failed to deliver a worthwhile appraisal of this sector. Its criticisms have usually been limited to a long list of name-callings, unsubstantiated allegations regarding abuse of funds, and cliched claims that NGO work is mere pomp and show. Proper discrimination between dollar consuming NGOs and those honestly doing significant work is seldom exhibited. This practice of shallow reporting has, however, convinced the general public that all NGOs are not-to-be-trusted dollar-hatching industries controlled by the educated few in the urban centers.

Were NGOs always perceived in such a negative light? Were conceptions of the NGOs different in different political climates?

NGOs Neutralized

The panchayat state systematically regulated the NGOs to neutralize their potential for mass mobilization and conscientization. The process of neutralization began with the Sangh Sanstha (Niyantran Garne) Ain 2019
(Nepal Ain Sangraha, v.s. 2021, p405-406) that prohibited the operation of political parties or politically motivated organizations deemed to be detrimental to the nascent panchayat state. This law reflected a concerted effort to ensure that the social organizations were free of anti-panchayat political elements. Neutralization of the NGOs was further enhanced through the institutionalization of social service under the Sanstha Darta Ain 2034 and the establishment of the SSNCC as a national-level umbrella organization for coordinating the social organizations and channeling donor funds.

The SSNCC Act 2034 (1977) defined social organizations as those established with the objective of general welfare of the public. The ideology of sewa was promoted by the SSNCC through, among other things, its motto (Atma sachhi rakhi mana bachan ra karmale sewa garaun), the naming of the SSNCC building Samajik Sewa Mandir, and its publications such as the magazines Sewa and Upakar, which featured many articles on the relationships between sewa and dharma. The SSNCC hence constructed the NGOs as apolitical public service providers through the rhetoric and symbols of sewa.

The SSNCC was chaired by Her Majesty throughout its life span of fifteen years. By bringing all social organizations under her wing, the Queen established herself as the "mother" of the nation. Such an image was in accord with the rhetoric of the panchayat ideology in which citizens were children nurtured by the King and the Queen--benevolent parents of the nation. All active social organizations--for example, the Nepal Red Cross, Nepal Scout, and Bal Sangathan--were patronized by the members of the royal family. Social work created an appropriate forum for the royal family to enhance its public image while strengthening its hold over social service--a sphere with the potential for enhancing popular conscientization and mass organization.

With the royal family at the helm, the SSNCC defined, controlled, and delimited the social service sector to systematically exclude anti-panchayat elements. Undesirable political background found in any person involved in an organization was sufficient for the SSNCC or the CDOs to reject the organization's request for registration. The personal political backgrounds of those forming an organization overshadowed the objectives, goals, and programs set and proposed. Hence, political loyalty to the panchayat state became a pre-requisite for social work. It was therefore not surprising that the SSNCC became a target of serious criticism during the political movement of 1990.

NGOs Redefined

Concurrent with the criticisms of the SSNCC, there was a shift in the language of the NGO rhetoric in line with the changed political climate and the international discourse on NGOs. In particular, NGOs were reconceived as development organizations working for people's empowerment and des bikas, rather than as social-service organizations providing sewa to the people and the nation.

Shift in the NGO Rhetoric

Voluntarism/selfless-service Professionalism Charity contributions Development Grants Social-service/welfare Development Charitable service Citizens' rights Service to the people People's participation/Empowerment Dharma Democracy/Personal career Des Sewa Des Bikas

After the fall of the panchayat state, the Nepali intellectuals expressed a high degree of confidence on the NGOs as alternative routes to development and democratization. This was made abundantly clear through the numerous conferences organized on various aspects of NGOs between April 1990 and November 1992 when the current Social Welfare Council was formed. Examples of such conferences include, "Identifying the Role of NGOs in the Changed Political Context" (June 25-26, 1990), "Institutional Growth of Nepali NGOs and Their Effective Mobilization: Process and Solution" (June 1991),
"Foreign Aid and the Role of NGOs in the Development Process of Nepal"
(December 5-6, 1991), "The Role of NGOs in National Development" (February 27-29, 1992), and a set of regional and national level conferences of social organizations organized by the SSNCC (May-June 1992). Some of these conference presentations were published in book form within a year reflecting the continuous zeal of NGO enthusiasts.

Similarly, a number of research studies on NGOs were also published during this period. Examples include D. Chand's Development Through Non-Governmental Organizations in Nepal (1991), CECI's The Potentials of Nepali NGOs (Dec. 1992), Human Resource Development Centre's A Review of NGOs Involved in Democratization Activities (n.d. study of NGO democratization projects prior to 1991 elections), UMN's Supporting National NGOs in the Socioeconomic Development Process (1992), and A. Rademacher and D. Tamang's Democracy, Development and NGOs (1993).

This period also coincided with the international reawakening of NGOs. Thus some of the above publications also draw from internationally recognized writings such as David Korten's book Getting to the 21st Century (1990). Their celebratory accounts of NGOs highlighting this sector's potential for citizen mobilization and empowerment are similar to Korten's attempts to redefine development as people's movement.

The post-1990 euphoria surrounding NGOs has not only diminished by now but has actually given way to pessimism. Ironically, there has been an unprecedented growth in the number of NGOs during these past seven years. I would argue that this growth is a result of the continuing political uncertainty in the nation. From this perspective, NGOs can be either viewed as tools for taking advantage of the current chaotic political environment where accountability simply does not exist; or they can be viewed as people's own efforts at development as they have lost faith in the government. Regardless of the perspective chosen, there is no doubt that the mushrooming of the NGOs has made a positive contribution to employment generation--a worthwhile contribution in this period of national political instability and individual income insecurity. Needless to say, this employment generation is itself unsustainable as it depends not on productive activities within the nation but on funds donated from abroad.

Legal bulwarks of patriarchy
      By Jogendra K Ghimire

Book title : Women and Law in Colonial India: A Social History Author : Janaki Nair Publisher : Kali for Women, New Delhi, 1996

After nearly two centuries of struggle over the 'women's question' feminists have succeeded in defining the range of problems faced by women in India, paying full attention to the complex ways in which caste, class and community
 construct gender, in order to evolve a strategy that is adequate to the task of total social transformation, which alone may result in substantive legal and social equality between men and women."

 It might be the case that identifying the reasons for women's social
 subordination is one step towards addressing them. Yet this book does not begin with the paragraph quoted above, it ends with it, and, in doing so, is unable to solve the women's question. How Nair's "total social transformation" is to take place, is a process she largely leaves unexplained. And, as is typical of feminist literature, Women and Law in Colonial India
 at the repressive roles of privileged women-- active mostly during the Indian nationalist movement-- in the process of legal reform for gender equality.

According to Nair, "patriarchy achieves hegemony (as opposed to dominance)
 through seeking and obtaining consent, and not just obedience, specially by rewarding certain forms of complicity, or by employing women themselves in enforcing essentially patriarchal norms." But is not the one who accepts a bribe as liable for punishment as the one who offers it? To Nair, however, patriarchy conveniently exonerates repressive women of privilege from any
 blame in this respect.

To the author's credit, the book skillfully unravels the mechanics of the Indian
 legal system-- which largely originated during the British Raj -- as well as the
 socio-economic impact of laws on women. It analyses legal reforms, particularly during the 18th and the 19th centuries, and addresses the issue of
 continued women's subordination in India, in spite of numerous
 gender-affirmative statutes now inscribed in the law. Nair, rightly, blames personal laws-- family-based laws rooted in both Muslim and Hindu religion--which continue to discriminate against women in the most fundamental ways, and which supercede national law even to this day.

The Indian Constitution, for instance, grants its citizens the legal right against discrimination. However, this right is negated by the right to profess, practice and propagate religion-- which serves to safeguard the domain of personal
 law. Ruled off as "religious" and, therefore, beyond the jurisdiction of the
 colonial administrator, nationalists in colonial India upheld personal laws of
 this kind in order to prevent ruler-control over the Indian family.

 Nair's findings reveal that a number of legal reforms targeted at practices such as widow immolation, female infanticide and child marriage, were introduced during the nineteenth century. Colonial rulers, she argues, propagated these
 reforms, not so much for the sake of social emancipation, but for maximal
 assertion of their authority in the lives of the ruled. This, unfortunately, gave rise to a struggle between "a critique of Indian tradition initiated by politically
 dominant colonial authority and the attempt by Indian intellectuals to defend
 that tradition by espousing a modicum of reforms themselves." Nair argues
 empowerment through legal reforms to the sidelines.

Today, India's system of personal laws continues to deny women equal rights
 to property, maintenance, divorce, guardianship and adoption. Opposition to
 reform in this sector has continued to be fierce in post-independence India. Even present-day social activists in favour of secularism have failed to advocate for changes in personal laws. No wonder, then, that the Indian Supreme Court's ruling in the Shah Bano case (1985) was reversed through
 legislation, because the Muslim Personal Law Board regarded the Supreme Court as incapable of interpreting the holy Quran. No wonder, also, that widow immolation continues unabated in large parts of the country, despite a formal set of prohibitive laws.

A part of the problem may lie in the fact that Indian women's legal rights, such as the present right to representation in local assemblies, though spearheaded
 by some amount of debate, have not been generated by suffrage movements to
 parallel those in Britain and the USA, for instance. Women of India gained this right relatively easily, in the absence of the alliance and
 momentum-building groundwork which a preceding feminist movement might have been able to lay down.

 (Ghimire is a journalist)

Who speaks for Nepali women?
         By Yasuko Fujikura

Bending Bamboo, Changing Winds: Nepali Women tell their Life Stories Written and compiled by Eva Kipp with contributions from Kim Hudson, Lucia de Vries, Marieke van Vliet and Alieke Barmentloo Book Faith India, Delhi, Rs 897

Bending Bamboo Changing Winds is a collection of life histories of village women in Nepal based on interviews facilitated by SNV Nepal (Netherlands Development Organization), along with other NGOs. The purpose of this book
 is to gain a greater understanding of the reality of Nepali women's lives in different parts of the country, in varied socio-economic categories, and how positive change in their lives has taken place.

 Despite the authors' attempt to capture women's voices, the overall narrative of this book strongly reflects the perspectives of the authors rather than that of
 the women interviewed. This tendency seems to come from the authors'
 particular view of tradition and of the changes that affect women's lives. The
 authors state that in the past, women's lives were directed by social and
  cultural norms associated with their ethnicity, caste and religion, but in recent
 years, the status and position of village women has been changing due to increased access to education, water supply, health care, and income generating
 activities. In other words, what the authors call "change" is something brought about by development activities, which are able to emancipate women from traditional values. The women's interviews in the book, therefore, may be better read as case studies of development interventions rather than as a cross-section of Nepali women's lives.

According to the book, some of the interviewed women have benefited from
 development intervention. From Janakpur, for instance, traditional Maithili artisan products are being sold to markets in Kathmandu and abroad. Anuraji
 Jha and Hira Karna work as painters at the Janakpur Art Centre. They have
 since become more economicaly independent and have had the opportunity to
 travel outside their villages. Other women are now playing leading roles in community activities. For example, Rukmani Shrestha in Thimi, having completed formal training as a midwife, is now working to promote safer and cleaner practices among the traditional birth attendants in her village. And Jagan Gurung is working as an assistant in the Women's Development Section for ACAP in Ghandruk. She has helped local women to organize mothers' groups in order to carry out development activities such as literacy classes, paving the village footpaths, and tree plantations.

A few women, however, do not find any way of improving their lives. Their concern remains that of securing familial food security. Since Khedani Devi Harijan's family is landless, she works in the landlords' fields during the
 agricultural season in order to secure her family a livelihood. She profited from the goat she purchased with a loan provided by a local NGO, until the
 goat died. Now she has to repay the loan. Such women, the authors explain, often belong to "disadvantaged groups" such as the "untouchable" castes and the landless. In the authors' view, the rigid caste system, especially the lack of
 cooperation between the high and low castes, is one of the main obstacles to
 development.

The interviews are arranged to highlight the factors which contribute to or
 obstruct "positive change" in women's lives. This immediate concern of the authors affects the selection of women's stories, and the way the interviews are
 edited. The fourteen women interviewed in this book apparently uniformly
 narrated their lives according to the categories: childhood, marriage, giving
 birth, change, aspirations for the future. This uniform narrative is surely led
 by a set of questions the authors asked, or achieved through subsequent
 editing. Yet it is not clear what kind of questions were asked and how the
 women answered them. Similarly, there is a uniformity of expression and prose style among the interviews which suggests that, despite being in quotes, the published versions have moved rather far from the original diverse set of
 recorded voices. It goes without saying that the words of the women have to be understood in their contexts. And the attempt to listen to women is a necessary step towards understanding the complexities of their experiences. However, the important and difficult challenge for writers is how to translate and convey the specific meanings of change for those individual women without fitting their words into the writers' preconceived notions.

 (Fujikura is a social science researcher)

****************************************************** From: Rama Pangeni <rama@hpsgapd1.sgp.hp.com> Subject: Looking for .. To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Thu, 6 Mar 97 19:05:28 SGP

  Namaste !
    My friend Kishore Pant is trying to locate the address of his friend Sagun Karmacharya who is somewhere in US now. Could anybody kindly pass his e-mail address to Kishore ? Kishore can be contacted either through me or through his e-mail account in Nepal which is
      dev@pant.wlink.com.np Your kind help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Ramakanta Pangeni Singapore

********************************************************************* Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 19:56:04 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: puspa man joshi <pjoshi@osu.edu> Subject: Tidbits from Columbus, Ohio

Tidbits from Columbus By Puspa Man Joshi

                           Congratulation!

At the international festival held at Wellington Middle School, Robin Baidya, the son of Dr. Maheshor Baidya, organized a Nepali booth with Nepali handicrafts and posters. The wardrobe (labeda suruwal and dhaka topi) worn by Robin attracted many visitors. The program was a part of a 6th grade world geography class.

I was invited to play a Nepali flute and madal. During the program, I had a chance to talk to Robin's teachers. They told me that Robin is always interested to share Nepali culture and heritage with others. Not surprisingly, Robin is one of the best students in my Nepali language class. He is always motivated to learn Nepali. I would like to congratulate Robin for his successful efforts in displaying pride in Nepali heritage.

Puspa Man Joshi

************************************************************************ To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: The Rising Nepal/news coverage Date: Sun, 9 Mar 97 0:49:23 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------

Greetings!

Glad to see the Rising Nepal daily on the net. I rememember the days when it used to be the sole source of the daily news for English readers. We relied on it, not because of its English language as it exercised the complete freedom to spell the words that would make an SLC student look up the dictionary to double check, but because it carried the version of the establishment as its hardcopy mouthpiece. The advertisements for job openings in non-govermental/private sector was its monopoly with no near competitor even just a decade ago.I recall when a college teacher corrected three misspelled words of his student, the student quickly challenged him with a copy of the Rising Nepal. Of course, they were misspelled on the newspaper article. When it was not related to royalties or VIPs, the Rising Nepal blamed on the printer's devil. Otherwise, as we heard, someone responsible got the flak for it or got sacked even if it turned out to be an innocent human error. To many of its loyal readers, it seemed like a work of incompetent, overworked, underpaid, undertrained compositor and proofreader. It was great fun as well as a learning to compare the English translation with the version put out by the Gorkhapatra in Nepali. I still remember how I eagerly waited its Friday Supplement every week when it first introduced the crosswords. There were days when TRN would not hit the newsstand till noon and none felt accountable for this delay. I saw how disorganized it was when I went to pay my subscription to the Gorkhapatra office. I was sent from one desk to another with none making available to receive money from a customer during the prime of working hours. May be it will all change when it eventually becomes a free from government -- a truly private sector entity.

Anyway, seeing TRN on the net, one question that has come up in my mind is has it changed its way of the reporting and news coverage over the years? The answer is NO. It used to give a big coverage to ministerial events and it looks the same even today. Of course, it has changed its color with the change in patronage, shredding the Panchayat fat and horn blowing apparatus, but still remains a true establishment paper. What the Prime Minister and his 40 plus ministers say in a public or whatever functions as part of a routine activity may be inconseqential most of the times and is no event nor as a reader am I interested in seeing it on a front page or headline news. It should not be reported on headlines or front page coverage unless it is a newsworthy item. How it relates to policy, decision making or changes that makes one life easier is what one would be interested in. Exchanging protocoal greetings on a national day of another country or mutually also does not deserve the precious front page news unless, again, it is a newsworthy item. I like to see it use more of its valuable space on the news that its readers want to read. The Radio Nepal is another true mouthpiece wasting some of its airtime regularly on some of the unnewsworthy items, but I will save it for another discussion on it.

While talking about the newspapers, I have always wondered how much our newspapers follow up on a newspaper story that was reported earlier. Reporting on current events is one thing we like but shouldn't there be a follow up on the stories reported? I know I am touching on a sensistive topic here that some of our journos might take it personally but at the risk of taking their irks I would like to see them follow what the HIMAL has been doing on various stories. The recent issue of HIMAL has an excellent presentation of articles on labourforce going to India from Nepal. The HIMAL had put out a similar presentation on ethnic situation in Nepal in one of its earlier issues. The establishment newspapers are either too timid to report on any newsbreaking event or willingly toe the establishment line while the private sector newspapers focus too much on political events, mudslinglings, hearsays and current events. You pick up a weekly vernacular newspapers in Pipalbot and you find common features like an interview with so and so and he said it, she said it and some dismisal predictions of political events.

There is a lack of reporting on human interest events and stories, follow up and, we see hardly any investigative reporting in general. I find once in a while some newspapers making efforts in this regard within the resources. However, in most cases, the Nepali people are fed with the same unhealthy political bickerings on a daily and weekly basis through the columns of these newspapers. There is hardly a healthy debate on the status of economy and improving it and the health of the nation. There are several instances of people living in ethnic and religious harmony but I have yet to see some good newspapers coverage/articles that will further encourage and strenghthen ethnic harmony. There goes the question of responsible journalism. Many of the statements put on print only bring hatred and thus do not contribute at all to an effort to establishing an equal society free of ethnic bias. There are a very few issues dedicated to important subjects such as, health, women's status, development, etc. The alcohol and smoking are openly advertised in our magazines some of which are targeted towards the youth. The NGOs are routinely accused as being "dollar farming agencies" but ever there any proof of it is reported nor any investigative reporting on any such NGOs.

I leave you with the following lead topics, as a reader seeing in news coverage, to follow up in the future investigative stories:

a) What became of Marichman Singh after the fall from the Panchayat system? Was it his own doing or external pressure? etc.

b)The "Goli Kanda" in 90 when LB Chand was the PM?

c)Mass Deforestation of 80s, who was responsible for it? The person or persons taking public office must be held responsible for such a mass destruction. (not to mention many other scandals like, the LC, so on and so forth)

d) What the successive governments have done to prevent the exodus of our chelis to brothels in India? Need concreate plans and programs, not just accusations.

e)Health for all by 2000. Was it merely a slogan or achievable in Nepal since year 2000 is just round the corner. Did the donors who are intricately involved in planning go wrong?

f) Ethnic and religious harmony in Nepal -- reporting on real life success stories.

g) An account of number students who obtained scholarships through the Education Ministry to study abroad as part of manpower development never returned home and why?

h) An account and yearly inventory of how much gold and other commodities confiscated at the customs and whether or not all of it actually went to the treasury? The stories attached to each of the seize in terms of who got punished and people behind it.

While the items a, b and c above may sound like a post-mortem, we have yet to hear the real stories on what actually happened. We need to know so that the culprit(s) are punished and the same is not repeated in the future.

I believe the newspapers play a single most important role in public opinion building. Our thuoghts in terms of what and how we want ourselves to look as a society should be debated and reflected in our newspapers. Enuf of my weekend thoughts. Long live TRN -- pro bono publico.

Over to you. Yours truly,

AT
(Angtam)

************************************************************** Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 00:02:16 CST To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: DHIREN GURUNG <dg1124@broncho.ucok.edu> Subject: Re: NSA !!!!

On Thu, 6 Mar 1997, DHIREN GURUNG wrote:
>
> Hello Rajpalji dai,
> Please accept our Namasker from Nepal Student
> Association at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. I am
writing this letter on behalf of NSA. We would really appreciate if you would publish this information in "Nepal Digest". I really appreciate your help in this matter. Thank you. >
>
> Nepalese students at the University of Central Oklahoma have
> recently formed Nepal student Association(NSA). NSA is the first Nepalese
> organization to be formed in Oklahoma. Members of the first executive
> committee are:
>
> Dhiren Gurung - president
> Gyanendra Aryal - vice president
> Pujan Roka - secretary
> Kushal Gurung - treasurer
> Reema Shrestha - public relation officer
> Sunit pande - activities officer
>
> Our sponsors for the Spring of 1997 are Dr.Charles Neimayer,professor
> of history at UCO and Dr. Bill Morey, professor of information system at UCO.
> Dr. charles Neimayer was formerly a professor at the Naval Academy, MD .
> He has served the position of an aide at the White House, working with
> former president George Bush and president Clinton. Although there are only
> 20 Nepalese students at UCO, they are very dynamic and productive.Once the
> president of International President Council Jalal said,Although there are
> only 21 Nepalese students in UCO , they are the role models to other UCO
> International students.
> They are very hard working . You can see, they are everywhereon campus. Some
> of the Nepalese hold an executive positions in couple of big organizations
> like Student Governing Body which is the biggestorganzation in UCO,Associatio
n
> of Computing Machinery (ACM) which is one of the elite organizations in UCO,
> InternationalPresident Council and Buddhist Learning International
> Society etc.They really are something .... ...."
>
> For any questions and comments , you can e-mail at dg1124@broncho.ucok.edu
  or drop a line at the following address.
> Dhiren Gurung
   President
> Nepal Student Association (NSA)
> P.O.Box - 341181
> Edmond, OK 73034
>
************************************************************* Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 13:56:03 -0500 (EST) From: Bikash@aol.com To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Humor
                    Living here

          (a piece of fictional humor inspired by reading too much Garrison Keillor)
                    by Shailesh, in Kathmandu

          Recently, the fifth annual convention of "The Society of Nepalis Living in Nepal" (TSONLIN), also known as The Greater Kathmandu Nepali Community (GKNC), got underway in the Valley. Attending it were well-known scientists and intellectuals from Nepal's political parties of all stripes
 as well as a few politically-connected New York Nepalis -- the latter being those who excel in lecturing the rest of us in Nepal on what democracy and human rights are.

          And once again, the visiting New York Nepali-dignitaries seized it upon themselves to remind everyone -- now for the zillionth time -- how they and they alone had fought, over hot-dogs and lemonade, for Nepal's prajatantra in April 1990 on the streets of Washington DC.

          Anyway, at the start of the GKNC convention, the chief-guest, a Minister without portfolio, was asked to speak. But, adhering to Nepal's socio-politically audio-visual tradition, he didn't -- until he got a go-ahead wave from the Nepal Television cameraman. Only then, he began:
          
          "Mahila, Kancha and Sajjan-brind! We all know that without public awareness, we will not get anywhere. Awareness is the key to development. I am glad that you have all become aware of yourselves as Nepalis. Now, this awareness can be put to some concrete work like desh ko bikas."
          
          The minister went on: "Also, at this point in time, I'd like to make you aware of how much our political party has done for this country. If democracy is the heart of Nepal, then my Party is
 its backbone, and I am one of its key fingers. I know that all of you already know this. But since we all need a reminder now and then, just thought I'd remind you of this."

          Then, after going on for a few minutes more, the Minister added, apparently out of nowhere: "And, in the end, let each of us be Nepali, buy Nepali and live like a Nepali. This is the way to make our motherland proud."
          
          A standing ovation later, the president of GKNC rose up. He droned on for somw time: "I'd like to thank the Chief Guest for his willingness to inaugurate our convention at a ten-minute notice. If every one of our ministers showed such efficiency when it came to inaugurating workshops like this, then we'd be able to send a Nepali to the moon by the end of the decade. Our august Guest likens himself to a finger, but he seems more like the appendix -- not really needed by the national body but not causing harm either." More applause and cheers.
          
          "Anyway," the president continued, "Topics to be discussed in this convention are many. But one is: How to emigrate to America; a session about it is in Room 303, led by two New York -based Nepali attorneys who -- still on a salaried leave from the Nepal Law Campus -- specialize in the matter. And another is a session on how to emigrate to Australia and New Zealand, and this will be held in Room 304. Since these sessions are popular among our resident Nepalis in Kathmandu, I hope all of you will take advantage of these. This way, as more of our members emigrate out of this country we lovingly call Nepal, this will free up space to recruit more new resident Nepalis for the Greater Kathmandu Nepali Community (GKNC)."
     
          Applause and cheers, followed by a vociferous chanting of the GKNC's motto: My Nepal, my pride; Let us now emigrate and hide !!
[Originally published as a +Post Platform+ piece in The Kathmandu Post] THE END.

************************************************************ Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 20:51:07 CST To: info-tnd@nepal.org From: TSERING WANGMO <twangmo@sfsu.edu> Subject: Mountaineering/tourism and the environment

Hello, I would really appreciate information/ directions/ to a research paper on Tourism/mountaineering and the effects on the environmental and social lives of the people. i am having trouble recent locating articles, books and need to get the paper done in a month. Please could you give me suggestions/ names/ and information on ACAP and the work they do there. Thank you Tsering San Francisco State University Twangmo@sfsu.edu

************************************************************** Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 07:25:15 EST To: tnd@NEPAL.ORG From: anarayan@sgn1.sgn.com (Adarsh Narayan) Subject: Indian Budget - 97

             VISIT
   http://www.chai-pani.com

   Updates on Indian budget
   and scheduled talk shows
       on the economy
       NRI investments
             and
   other topics of interest

Want to be a talk show host, write to:
       hostmaster@sgn.com
      or call: 301.838.9292
        Fax: 301.838.7485

             By:
   SGN, INC. (Rockville, MD)

(Advertising opportunities available).

**************************************************************** Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 00:02:35 PST To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: forhnc@juno.com (For HNC) Subject: An Appeal for Support for an ANA Convention Forum

Dear Rajpalji:
  I am writing to you on behalf of the Greater Boston Nepali Community
(GBNC), a predominantly student-populated, not-for-profit organization of roughly 300 Nepalis in the Boston area. Instituted in 1989, GBNC has evolved from a community-centric entity to a sponsor of issue-oriented talk programs and discussions concerning Nepal. As members of this academic community, we have tapped the expertise of several knowledgeable personalities including Yog Prasad Upadhyaya (former Nepali ambassador to the US), Jay Raj Acharya (former UN ambassador from Nepal), Bikash Pandey (Program Manager, Intermediate Technology Development Group), Narayan Raj Tiwari (Secretary, Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation), Chandra Prasad Gurung (Founder, Annapurna Conservation Awareness Project) and Kul Chandra Gautam (Director, Program Division, UNICEF) among others.

During July 3-5 this year, GBNC is hosting the Association of Nepalis in Americas (ANA) Convention -- an annual event that brings together hundreds of Nepali professionals, academicians, and students residing in North America -- at Brandeis University, Boston. We'd like to invite you to the ANA Convention during the fourth of July weekend this year, which is also probably the best time to visit Boston.

The Hydropower Nepal Committee (HNC) formed under GBNC has proposed
"Formulating a Coherent Strategy for Nepal's Hydropower Development for the 21st Century and Making it Work" as the topic for a timely and relevant forum for the Convention. News items like Houston-based Enrons
$9 billion investment proposal for the 10,800 MW Karnali and 402 MW Arun III hydropower projects, Australia-based Snowy Mountains feasibility study of the 750 MW West Seti hydropower project, and Morrison & Knudsens current contract award of the 140 MW Kali Gandaki A hydropower project seem to suggest that Nepalis are on a fast track to become w ater sheikhs of the world. But, are Nepalis actually going to reap some benefits or are they just going to be white elephants that would eventuall y generate power that is too expensive for Nepalis to consume? Is the government doing its homework to find out the macroeconomic implications of capital inflow that is several times its gross domestic product (GDP)? Is it examining the issues concerning the local environment and willing to take up responsibility for operating the power plants if such a circumstance arises? These are tough questions and all t hose concerned with Nepal demand and deserve honest answers. Its time that we have genuine and open dialogs, long overdue between all sides. Moreover, given Boston's own characteristic academic aura, it makes every sense for GBNC's largely student community to host a compelling event that provokes the intellect of anyone who has not lost hope in Nepal.

Against this backdrop, the HNC intends to bring together the perspectives of influential panelists representing the following entities: the government (HMG/Nepal), Nepal Electricity Authority, the donor (the World Bank), the private sector (Himal Power Ltd., Butwal Power Co.) and an independent thinker well versed with issues on hand.
  Given the opportunity to make history at the ANA Convention this year, GBNC is exploring various options to cover the costs inevitably associated with such an event. For a panel of four people, with two panelists arriving from Nepal, our estimated cost for the event stands minimally at $2000. As our strategy for financing, we are primarily approaching individuals and institutions that have close ties with Nepal and care about the activities in Nepal. I would like to take this opportunity to request your personal support in making this event happen. We would highly appreciate a contribution of $50-$100 to help sponsor this event. Your generous contributions will be abundantly credited on our program materials.
  Please note that all funds received by HNC will be explicitly accounted for; th e balance sheet of financial information will be regularly published. All proceeds are strictly committed to community activities. All members of HNC as well as GBNC are volunteers. Checks should be made payable to GBNC, PO Box 391251, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Should you need any more information about the forum or have suggestions for us
 , please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely, for GBNC, Sunil Shakya Chair, Hydropower Nepal Committee (HNC)

Email: forhnc@juno.com Fax #: (617) 873-4523 Home Phone #: (617) 661-2897

***************************************************************** Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 15:12:17 EST To: info-tnd@nepal.org From: fdesage@francomedia.qc.ca Subject: education info

Dear friend,

        I am planing to move to Nepal with my family (wife and two children 11 years and 18 years). We have visited Asia (India, Sri Lanka and Nepal) many many times and have decided to give a hand with our knowledge, experience and private funding... We want to start a home for supporting and bringning confidence and autonomy to single mothers, helping with their young children, etc...

        Since we will care ourselves for this long-term project, we want to first to establish our family in order to do efficient work. We are looking for information concerning available schools in English especially for our 11 years old son. So far we cannot find a proper listing of such schools available, be it in Katmandu area, Pokhara area or elsewhere...
        
        Quick information would be very helpful.Thank you.
        A friend of NEPAL,
                                                Andre Saint-Amand
****************************************************** Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 20:56:53 PST To: info-tnd@nepal.org From: Yvonne Tsang <ytsang@husc.harvard.edu> Subject: volunteering

Hello! I was looking at your website on Nepal and I was wondering if you could give me any information on volunteer opportunities in Nepal this summer. My name is Yvonne Tsang and I am a sophomore at Harvard College. I would love to spend my summer in Nepal working with the communities there. I taught English last summer in Mexico. Do you know of volunteer opportunities or other groups/organizations that would be able to help?

Thank you!

Yvonne Tsang ytsang@husc.harvard.edu

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