The Nepal Digest - April 5, 1997 (21 Chaitra 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sunday 5 Apr 97: Chaitra 21 2053BS: Year6 Volume61 Issue 2

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****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 11:49:47 -0500 (EST) From: Bikash@aol.com To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: The UN Park: More Fun and No Funds by Huta Ram Baidya

This article is taken from The (now-defunct English daily) Everest Herald of 20 September, 1996. It is a satire aimed at the frivolous ways (je gare pani hunchaa-dangdung tarika) the Nepal International Center, the UNP ark Development Committee, and some of the ministers have been functioning regarding the sensitive issue of Bagmati River Pollution and Restoration. It raises a question mark on the priorities, credibility and commitment of these organizations towards river restoration in the valley by pointing out the flaws in the Master Plan. Mr. Huta Ram Baidya is a Senior Agricultural Engineer residing in Thapathali, Kathmandu. For the last five years he has been raising concerns about the environment of the Bagmati River System via various articles, interviews, and photo exhibitions. He resigned from the Save Bagmati Campaign in 1994 and has continued to work on his own. Today, at the age of 77, he is actively involved in advising a number of organizations, young men a nd women to work on public issues and other engineering related fields. H e also conducts research related to agricultural and rural development at home. The UN Park: More Fun and no funds! By Huta Ram Baidya. The U. N. Park. It has nothing to do with the UN Body. So do not be critical toward the Family of nations, the UN. The present park idea seems to be distantly (or maybe closely related) with an occidental proposal (of 1993)
"to establish a project along the riverbanks between Teku and Thapathali to rehabilitate this area, breathe life back into the historic structure and to create a new and unique historic environment for restaurants , shops, sport centers, offices, guest houses, etc. And re-establish the former glory of the river bank". The Teku Thapathali Research Program (Group), TTRG was established a little later. It attracted NGOs and young Nepalis much the same way as a piece of magnet attracts iron particles. Bagmati Basin Water Management Strategy and Investment Program (WB) showed s ome interest in the group. TTRG got the HMG approval to carry on the research work (date unknown). A good report has already been published (Nov. 1994). This report deals with temple complex architecture in great detail . It does not deal on how to restore the river banks nor on how to "breathe life back " into the Bagmati river.
        Some one in the HMG got the noble idea to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UN establishment with the 50th birthday celebration of His Majesty King Birendra. Nothing objectionable. What was and is objectionable is the unilateral Panchayat-cratic decision of the government to establish a park in the middle of the Bagmati, Ganga, without any project documents or Master Plan. Thus, a technically immature baby was born just outside the Indra Rajya Laxmi Maternity Hospital at Thapathali, and christened as "The UN park" on Poush 16, 2052 (Dec. 31, 1995). Honorable Prime Minister played the part of a (male) midwife.
        When the baby gains it adulthood in the three years time, it will
 have 16 functional elements: a rich garden, paved walkways, car park, children's park, swimming pools, circus, fair and exhibition space, protected cultural and religious sites and many more. Most fascinating will be a n area to accommodate donor interest and UN Memorial. The former glory of the banks of "Granny Bagmati" will not be re-established. She will be tamed, trained controlled within the limits with "No Flow Zone". She will have nominal contact with Historical Panchayani to Juddha Ghat strip but w ill have the autonomy to erode the Pachali Ghat when she gets wild. Granny will have no contact with Raj Tirtha, one of the 12 tirthas of Buddhists.
        The UN Park will annex about 50 percent of Bagmati Territory. The baby, when it comes of age, will be 3.5 km long extending from Sankhamoo l to Teku Dovan. This is one percent of the total length of the Bagmati System
(which is 360 km long up to Kotwaldaha). It is not much, is it? And as per the present rough estimate, 350 million begged, donated and perhaps borrowed money, will be invested on the Park within three years time (100 million per km). Let the Park-nurse-on duty and others, you, me and all pray to God to not to send back the 1993 flood.
        If God listens to us, it will be great fun for us Kathmanduites to sing the glory of the UN under the Bagmati green wood and have a nice horse ride. But the lucky one among us have already started having fun and doing funny things. Don't you think that our Honorable Prime Minister had good fun on that last day of year 1995 to play the role of a midwife, put the brick baby into a dugout cradle and bless the new born with words " Though shall grow and be prosperous in the middle of this Holy Bagmati? " And poor Holy Bagmati, she did not understand a word spoken at the ceremony. She does not understand English! So she did not react either way and moved on and on as normal and she is still doing so. Humans had fun.

        A day came on the 6th of Sept. 1996 when an NGO invited foreign d iplomats, business magnates, "buddhijeebis", journalists, etc. For a Symposium on the UN Park Master Plan". Honorable Foreign Minister was the chief guest. Two very enlightening papers were presented. Mr. Convener then declared the floor open for "Questions" with a very mild request to have short questions because the minister had another important engagement. The humble audience accepted the whip. Questions were not only very short, they were limited to three. Answers were also very short. Minister gave his closing remarks and said good-bye to everybody. So he had his fun and the NGOs too. To me it was funny.
        Who will not be stunned to read: "Now, it has become very urgent
 that the possible donors are to be identified and their activity of interest is made public in order to make the project financially implementable
(Guideline for the UN Park Master Plan May '96)."
        Why it is so? Reasons could be this occidental style park proposal.
        a) does not fit in with the development concept of foreign and Nepali donors.
        b) foreigners are hesitant because of the public criticism of the
 river side heritage destruction caused by New Bagmati Bridge and nearby
 Gopal Mandir projects, and would not like to hurt the feelings of Kathmandu residents any more.
        C) they perceive the park as ill-conceived, ill-located and technically unsound and a luxury, etc. etc. and d) Nepali donors hardly provide funds to destroy a venerated river like the Bagmati. It is a sin.
        i) It is time for the UN Park Steering Committee to reconsider the priority objectives and strategies. Add Bagmati restoration as The First priority objective and reshuffle other priorities. Consider restoration of the Bagmati riverbed with less expensive and effective technologies like gabion dams and traditional bio-engineering technologies, already in use in this country. Make Bagmati variable and not 'fixed' with stone masonry in the Zoning Classification. Honor the "Right of the Way" of the Bagmati. Render unto the Bagmati all that Belongs to the Bagmati. The river is Sakti Devi first and hydropower later. If not honored, Devis retaliate as at Naya Baneswor (July 1993 and Aug. 1995), Santi Basti (Aug. 1996) and Kalimati
(July 1995).
 
        ii) Honor the late philanthropic Nepali donors of the Bagmati river heritage by inviting their present generations to a special meeting and listen to them. It will give some wisdom to the Park Committee on how to make best use of the present resources and the future ones, to bring back and sustain the lost glory of Bagmati.
        iii) If objectives and strategies are readjusted to reflect the Nepali religious concept, donor organization will appear to fill up the fund vacuum. Let HMG declare the creation of a well-defined Bagmati Restoration Fund (kosh) with a bank account number.
        iv) When strategies are changed, be sure the ministers also change their strategies of fun making and find more time to spend with the people and listen to them.
        v) Make the present good master plan team multi-disciplinary, stronger and better. These could be the donors' silent message to the Park Committee. This valley is under a westernization process which cannot be stopped. In this process, Nepali culture and heritage are disregarded, destroyed, demolished or sold and smuggled out of the country. We unknowingly and knowingly have done much to destroy the Kathmandu Valley civilization, or allowed it to be destroyed. We have destroyed enough! Now no more.

******************************************************** Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 16:22:36 +0900 (JST) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: bpant@mcai.med.hiroshima-u.ac.jp (Basant Pant) Subject: Feri bhetaula

Dear TND friends,
        I am leaving for Nepal after completion of my fellowship and would like to discontinue my subscription for TND. Although I was not a very active participant, I really enjoyed being with you and would like to congratulate the editorial board and others involved in this remarkable work.
        We are one of the very few privileged people who can communicate by internet while most of our country people can not even read and write. I have felt a common desire to do something for the Nepalese people among the readers of this digest. Hope TND will keep this spirit of its subscribers high and use this power for the benefit of those voices which we can not hear but just feel. I will try to be with you again. Feri bhetaula.

B. Pant, MD, PhD Department of Neurosurgery Hiroshima University March 14, 1997

********************************************************************* Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 15:28:11 -0500 From: deschene@jhuvms.hcf.jhu.edu (Mary Des Chene) Subject: One reaction to SINHAS 1(2) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

The following review of Studies in Nepali History and Society, Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 1996) was published under the column 'Taking Stock'in The Rising Nepal, 4 March 1997. Abstracts of the articles discussed here and the full text of the editorial are available on-line at http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/index.html Responses, especially from people who have read the issue, will be appreciated.

The goings-on in a veritable lab by Hari Uprety

        Here is a journal (Studies in Nepali History and Society, vol. 1, no. 2, Dec 1996, published by Mandala Book Point) that challenges your wit.
        Was Nepal ever a laboratory for ideas of others to be tested? An article in this journal provides an insight of most donor minds before they choose Nepal as an aid target. Tatsuro Fujikura, currently on a research (sic) in Nepal, unearths the history of economic development and the rationale behind the discourses that have taken place in Nepal. He examines the concept of community development and traces its history in a thorough manner.
        The unnerving part is his disclosure of the early studies carried out by donors and their fascination with the uniqueness about Nepal. This was a country that was just opening up to the outside world just as other parts of the planet were being freed from the colonial clutches of empire builders. A country with numerous lifestyles in a relatively small geographical area, historically independent and ready to enter the modernization era - one could not have more ideal 'laboratory conditions' for new ideas to be tested.
        Numerous aid projects have come and gone, but the development endeavours have not been able to yield much to the life conditions of the Nepalese, except mire them towards adject poverty. Only the development discourse has changed, and as a result, new ideas have continued to pour in. Each new idea has promised to be the panacea that the past one was not. From the first Village Development Project of yore to today's market economics, there have been many development courses charted out for the Nepalese by outsiders.
        The Nepalese may not be unaware of this phenomenon. Many tourism products like trekking and rafting were first initiated in Nepal. Such diversified products were a remote possibility for the others in the region when Nepal was in the midst of it all. And, one will not find it surprising if other tourism buffs come to the country to tell the country how to go about promoting Nepalese tourism. Indeed, there is something extremely charming about the country for outsiders, especially for those that want to drop in an idea or two before they leave.
        Obviously, those who find it their business to test their ideas are on the lookout for 'ideal conditions.' For others, the question may have an ethicial dimension about using not only a few humans but a whole nation and the diverse and polyethnic society in it.
        What about the host country? How could it ever voluntarily offer itself to be a wholesale guinea pig? Was the country pressured into offering its
'laboratory' facilities to outsiders, or was there some cold calculation on the Nepalese part when they did so? Answers to these questions many be available only when the Nepalese perspective of things are studies. Fujikura offers only the donor viewpoint in his study.
        But what has been done so far is not without results, and hence, interpretation. Hindsight does have the benefit of bringing things clearer to light. Nepal has just ushered in democracy when all this started happening. There was the lack of manpower to get things done (There ware just 7,000 civil servants to take on the responsibility of managing the affairs of the whole nation, something a large business house can easily employ these days). So any help to deal with the new situation could have been welcomed, especially in the background of a new and foreign polity just being introduced (sic).
        Another explanation could be more down-to-earth. The Nepalese renenue sources were not very forthcoming to finance the development that needed to reach villagers. The expropriation from a lucrative trade being conducted through Nepal had been going to the government coffers until a little bit earlier. The trade route had been completely bypassed due to the opening up of a parallel route through Darjeeling in India. This was an economic sanction of a severe kind on the fledgling nation-state, whatever or whoever brought it about.
        On the other hand, the opening up of the polity, and, to some extent, the economy, was surely going to create a lot of inflated aspirations needing financing. This did coincide with a worldwide development discourse taking shape after the war. The Marshall reconstruction plan of Europe had given credence to the belief that development was possible in the rest of the world if similar steps were taken. World organisations like the U.N., the Bretton Woods institutions and development agencies set up shop to deal with the global situation. Since the country could not do anything radical to come out of the shackles of a revenue crunch, it may have had to resort to looking for development aid. And this was new economic challenge for the Nepalese.
        There may have been strategic overtures aimed at reducing dependence on only one country, brought on by the closure of the trade route, through establishing relationships with third countries, even if the method of doing so was limited to seeking aid from them. Given the alternatives available then, its readiness to accept itself as a laboratory for development ideas to be tested might in fact have been a very good strategic move by the Nepalese - an agreement of sorts to live in symbiosis - you test your ideas while we get on with ours. If aid is an (sic) economic term, then Nepal did benefit by diversifying its economic dependence while its needs were rising but was facing a virtual embargo.
        But, then do development ideas have no other functions, apart from giving countries the strategic maneuverability they want? What about development, the original raison d'etre of the aid regime? Obviously, they do. The country was desperately looking for development, but there was no way for it to develop. There were too many constraits, as Fujikura himself says that too many ideas were being tested for them to bear fruit. The only economic benefit to the nation seems to be the continuous flow of money to fill up the country's budget and balance of trade deficits, all the time increasing the country's appetite for it.
        This brings us to another viewpoint. That money was fulfilling the inflated aspirations brought on by the opening up of the country to the outside world.It was creating a marketplace for the demand for and supply of goods and services to interact. Later on, infrastructure did get built to some extent.
        The country seems to be in a position today where, seemingly, it does not need any aid for infrastructure. It is just opening up the sector to private investments. Whether this is the time to do so or not may be a matter of debate, but the constant push towards the market economy has indeed produced results, whether for good or for bad.
        If one views the Nepalese development endeavours in this light, one may understand the reason for several of the national questions that puzzle the Nepalese from time to time. One of them is the Arun III puzzle.
        The World Bank decided to pull out of the 402 MW Arun III bydel project at the last moment. It had declared its intentiion to foster the private sector and pull out of huge government projects only a little bit earlier. In its own studies, it must have seen that Nepal had turned itself into a viable market for the private sector to explore.
        Most of the explanations made available by policians and others either pointed to the damage that might have occurred to the environment, or costs the economy might have incurred, or even the ideology of the political party in power then. This is utter nonsense. Arun III will be here, despite the environment or the political ideology. The private sector will build it when it sees its profitable enough for that. It is only a matter of time. Therefore, declared ideas might not have worked, like Furjikura would like to see it, but the money flowing into the economy was doing its bit all the time. Infrastructure projects taking the industrial status is proof.
        Bikash Babu Pandey's article discusses the Arun III scenario in another light - whether hydel projects benefit the local people as much as it does those in other parts. It is natural for him to be concerned about local benefits because he is a well known man in rural Nepal as one who installs tiny generators in villages and provides poeple with the light they need. He sees hydel projects as an opportunity to take development to remote parts by supplementing them with irrigation and other components. But with infrastructure going to the private structure, his may turn out to be an impossible proposition. His acceptance of hydel projects as industries should confirm the wishfulness of his dream.
        Bhushan Tuladhar gives ideas on waste disposal - a burning problem of the day. Katherine Rankin studies the Newar community and issues relating to their presence in the marketplace. Shizu Upadhya reviews five well known studies on women and sees their (sic) status raised in some respect while in others they still have a long way to go.
        Kamal Adhikary's article, exclusively on the changes of names of places, is a conspiracy theorist's dream. He sees traditional names being changed into new ones as an act of hegemony being perpetrated by the Nepali language.
        The fact is Adhikary does not provide enough work to substantiate his accusations with. Giving just four examples in a twenty-page commentary
(Tansing changed into Tanse, Rangdi to Ramdi, Arungkhola to Arunkhola and Arebhanjyang to Aryabhanjyang) and then come to such a sweeping conclusion and still get published may speak of the editorial policy of the new journal rather than his standard of study.
        This is reinfored by Mary Des Chene's editorial providing credence to such ideas. For her, Prithvi Narayan's ekikaran of the Nepalese territory, Bhanubhakta's ekikaran of the language and today's bikas efforts, she called it the third ekikaran, all have hegemonistic tendencies. These are bold claims. The fallacy of it all is that they were made after islating historical phenomena from the past, bringing them to the present, dissecting them by using currently available tools and getting disgusted by the results.
        Prithvi Narayan Shah might have been more appealing for such minds had he preached post-modernist universal values and left the medieval principalities to be gobbled up the advancing British. The very fact that Nepal is a viable nation-state, that it was not until the the unification, should speak a lot.
        Indeed, there were pitfalls, some of them natural many of them man-made, but they do not seem to be getting any attention. Instead, the publicized strategic gains have come under her attack. Don't other countries have histories and does the past always come under such banal attacks?
        It is natural for one to be frustrated by the slow pace of development and offer ways to provide a better alternative. She does not. Instead in her words, "...unveil the bikas machine, examine its parts, dismantle it, and build something better." Yet build what she does not say. And, which forces gain in the dismantling process may be too far-fetched an idea for her. She leaves the details to those within the machine to sort out.
        Indeed, jump out of the frying pan, for it it too hot.

Hari Uprety works for The Rising Nepal and is the author of Crisis of Governance: A Study of Political Economic Issues in Nepal (1996) published by Centre for Governance and Development Studies, Kathmandu.

****************************************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Litter on trek From: rshresth@BBN.COM

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

To all potential trekkers in Nepal - and anywhere who cares anything about the Himalaya:

Do something about litter you see on trails: cigarette packs, sweet wrappers, plastic bags. If you start picking them up and getting rid of them, your guides will too. And if you are using porters, ask that they do not litter.

When I was trekking recently, I decided that someone had to make a start and begin picking up litter. My guides - Suksing and Baksing - were surprised but followed suit. Soon, they were doing it without my example. We ended the last day of my 19-day trek, the last bit through Shivapuri Wildlife Preserve and part of the popular Helambu trek, with four large bags of wrappers, plastic bags, etc, etc. This is not counting the several bags that we burnt along the way before we got to Shivapuri.

Needless to say, Suksing and Baksing got astonished stares and questions from their fellow Nepalese along the way but they stuck with the garbage detail. And I am happy to say that we made a difference. We left the trails we went through cleaner than when we started.

Maybe the Nepal Tourism Board could encourage more guides and porters to clean up trails they go through by paying a few rupees for every kg of garbage brought out to check points. After all, the parks collect fees from trekkers. Sharing some of this would encourage trekking agencies, guides and even villagers to do more to keep the mountains clean.

Oh, I had to draw the line at cleaning up villages. Whenever, we drew near to a village we had to stop picking up litter since the sheer size of the problem made it unmanageable just for a three-man garbage detail. So we confined the clean-up to the more remote trails where litter was doubly glaring in the splendid setting of forests and mountains.

Do something! You can make a difference. Lee Geok Boi

*************************************************************** Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 12:00:37 -0500 (EST) From: ShreeS@aol.com To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - March 13, 1997 (29 Falgun 2053 BkSm

Please Help!! I do'n't know If this is my problem, or AOL's problem. I get the message saying AOL can not display all the text because it is too long.
 I need to download text format to read complete text. When I download and try to read I do not get full text.

************************************************************* Date: Sun, 16 Mar 97 16:32:27 CST From: mahesh <MSHAH1@UA1VM.UA.EDU> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - March 13, 1997 (29 Falgun 2053 BkSm) To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>

hallo the truthseekers of the world! how are you? I would like to know about kundalini yoga and i am also looking for true guru who can help me to understand and practise on this yoga. if anybody has any information about it and the guru,please guide me to that divine world.your help will be the path of my longing for self-realization. i have read some books about kundalini,written by Gopi krishna,vivekananda,aurobindo,rajnesh,c.g. jung and john woodroff.they are really praiseworthy.If anyone recommend good books, i be glad to read that.thank you. Let-all of us live in peace and bliss!

************************************************************ Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 13:41:34 -0600 (CST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: kradhikary@mail.utexas.edu (Kamal R. Adhikary) Subject: Ramesh's article

Dear Editor,
        I read the article of Ramesh Shrestha on Gurkhali diplomay. I liked the article and I would like to reproduce it with your consent to the Asian Studies Web page:
        http://asnic.utexas.edu/asnic/countries/nepal/

Would you mind it I reproduce it with a proper acknowledgment? I would appreciate your reply. Thanks.

Sincerely, kamal

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********************************************************* Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 12:34:09 +0100 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: lo12@cornell.edu (Lazima Onta) Subject: essay by P. Onta

The following article was published in the K. Post of March 17, 1997 (i.e. beginning of the SASON conference at the Tribhuvan University).

Vacuous Erudition: Testimony to Mediocrity Pratyoush Onta

        In the post-Jana Andolan period of Nepali history, one that the Canadian anthropologist Mary Des Chene has called the janajati-yug, the social science scholars of Nepal have had to encounter a somewhat intense debate on the subject of Nepali nationhood and identity. While this debate in its entirety resists simple characterization, we might for our purposes, state that the definitional certainty regarding the one-nation, one-language Nepali identity exuded by the Panchayati state (euta des, euta bhasa variety) is under serious questioning. The central pillars of Nepali nationalism during the decades of the Panchayati Raj - monarchy, State-Hinduism, Nepali language and Rastriya Itihas as the national history of Nepal - show cracks as a result of attacks from various ethnic quarters. This phenomenon of re-defining Nepali nationhood along variously different terrains is an important part of the cultural politics in contemporary Nepal and a not-to-be-neglected facet of what 'democracy' has meant in post-Panchayat Nepal.
       However, anthropological scholarly research has been, putting it mildly, slow at producing significantly detailed studies of the janajati-yug Nepal. To date, except for Des Chene's 65-page article that appeared in the premier issue of Studies in Nepali History and Society in mid-1996 - one that examined some Tamu (Gurung) publications for the arguments they have made in the current redefinitions of Tamu identity and in articulating a new, more inclusive, Nepali identity - no detailed examination of this subject has appeared in scholarly publications on Nepal. To be sure, the attention of many foreign and native academic scholars has turned to this subject but so far we have seen a lot of superficial and insightless works.
        Foreign researchers who pontificate on nationalism and ethnicity in Nepal from Europe or America, rehash old gatekeeping concepts of the sociology of Nepal without feeling the need to adequately inform themselves about both the substance and the limits of post-Panchayat identity-centred discourses, both oral and written, and their historical roots in Panchayat and pre-Panchayat cultural politics. Hence we get an agent-less history of how old hill Hinduism became State-hinduism in the Panchayat era or banal references to the dominance of the Nepali language without a demonstration of how it is that both hill Hinduism and the Nepali language achieved their hegemonic status in Panchayat-yug Nepal. As in the case of State-hinduism, the agency of Nepalis whose lives and works gave the Nepali language and the Nepali national imagery associated with it the high and almost undisputed status during the Panchayat era is neglected and ultimately undermined in analyses which basically remain historically naive and uninformed. In their haste to package ignorance for professional gains, relevant published sources in various Nepali languages continue to be neglected by foreign researchers even as they are aware, surely, of the existence of this corpus.
        If the scenario is that bleak with respect to most foreign research on Nepal on the subject of ethnicity or nationalism, the corresponding story for Nepali academic researchers is equally depressing. While much has been written in newspapers and magazines, one searches, in vain, for insightful and sustained academic discussions on the subject. The few examples of academic writings that have been published are cliched and slogan-like and are, by no means, substantive critical analyses of the subject. Some scholars have called for decentering notions such as 'national unification' or 'hinduization' or
'sanskritization' - darling themes of Panchayat-yug anthropology of Nepal - with a bottom-up approach without providing examples of what the latter means or feeling the need to demonstrate, in detail, the process through which discourses of 'unified Nepal' sustained their hegemony here and their effects. Hasty calls for the placement of ethno-planning - a concept whose specificity is left in a conspicuously non-defined state - at the centre of all policy prescriptions without a sustained analysis of the historical demography of Nepal and the future implications of the prescribed policy, constitute bad academics. From these examples it seems as though the work of Nepali scholarship on this subject is to replace one set of cliched slogans with another more politically correct one.
        And there are other examples of Nepali works that not only fail to provide readers with sustained analyses, but also fail to propose a clear line of argument about the subject of Nepali nationalism or ethnicities. In fact, to be blunt, they have no argument to propose. The most recent example of this has come from the pen of Ramesh Kunwar, a senior anthropologist at Tribhuvan Univerity, in the form of his 1996 book entited Ethnicity in South Asia. In a 15-page chapter with the heading 'Ethnicity in Nepal', Kunwar reviews and cites various studies but fails to provide any original analysis or argument of his own before ending with an obeisance to the banal theme of Nepal's "unity in diversity". After several readings of this chapter and the rest of the book, I have to conclude that the erudition supposedly demonstrated by his in-text citations of other scholarly works and a long bibliography at the end of the book is in fact vacuous to the core. Instead, the citations and the bibliography actually stand as abysmal testimony of Nepali intellectual mediocrity, and of its inability to comprehend and use relevant scholarship on the subject to come up with an insightful viewpoint on the current cultural politics of Nepali identity.
        Given what is at stake, both in terms of scholarly understandings of Nepal and the social realities of many Nepali lives, this state of scholarship is both reviling and unacceptable. While some might think that the above characterization of scholarship on the current cultural politics of the Nepali identity is too dismal, I have seen little evidence to think otherwise, and I would be much obliged to anyone who can direct my attention to any studies that prove me wrong.
        From my point of view, the challenge that lies ahead is quite clear: scholars ought to be producing historically informed works on national identity politics of Nepal if they want to even begin to understand the janajati-yug Nepal. The previously mentioned study by Des Chene is one good beginning of what I mean: she not only discusses the contents of recent Tamu publications as far as the question of Tamu language and identity are concerned, but also shows why it is necessary for social analysts of Tamu discourses in janajati-yug Nepal to have a much broader knowledge of the making of the Nepali identity. This kind of approach supercedes the current "my tribe, my ethnic group" focus of most anthropologists of Nepal and begins to open discussions about the Nepali national culture and its alternatives that escape various types of essentialisms. This is a challenging task which anthropologists of Nepal, both foreign and indigenous, will have to execute in the years ahead. The alternative is to incarcerate oneself and the relevant scholarly community inside variously vacuous academic jails. Perhaps the 4-day conference of sociologists and anthropologists of Nepal that begins from today in Kathmandu will give some thoughts to this matter.

Lazima Onta-Bhatta Department of Anthropology Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 email: lo12@cornell.edu

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 16:21:41 EST To: tnd@nepal.org From: REFGID@library.phila.gov Subject: http://www.nepal.org/ re: namita kiran's poem

 I read Namita's poem with avid interest. Although it's simple, it's quite telling. As Wenders put it:"The yanks have colonized our sub concious." Or as Jimmy Reed put it:"Bright lights big city's gone to my baby's head." I don't blame her. That which controls your eyeballs controls your mind, to quote Timothy Leary. The whole advertisement industry rests on this premise. What is not to like about America? It's a system that attracts the best and brightest from four corners of the world. Presumably, Namita is a beneficiary of this system, as most Nepalese students are. To trash America is to bite the hand that feeds. That feeds dreams, imagination, aspirations. Calls to mind the whole bit about the westward expansion, the bit about manifest destiny. Makes us embarrassed about her country's relative backwardness. I'm sure she's embarrassed, or why else would she trash her country with such wanton, youthful abandon. Perhaps, she's just got the taste of American life. Apparently, she's young, wild and free. Perhaps she feels invanquishable. Youth does that to people. Or may be she's discovered the taste of "guinness" beer, or she identifies with characters in "Seinfeld, or Friends", or perhaps hundreds of small things have opened up her world of possibilities. Or perhaps she is in love. It's a wholesome feeling. Oh how I envy her. I wish I could be her age again.

And yet, every silver cloud has a dark lining (my own twist). We live in an age where nationalism's gone the dodo's way, where it's easier to like strangers than one's own family and friends. Joyce never liked Ireland. Neither did Beckett. Yet Ireland pursued them wherever they went. A country punishes its own intellectuals more severely than those from abroad. It's damn tough to make it in one's own country. Perhaps, that's why those two irish authors lived in exiles. This in part explains the brain drain. I am sure many intellectuals shed loads of crocodile tears for their god-forsaken country, while both their feet are planted in the U.S. soil. Hypocrites?! In the end, man acts according to his/her self interests, whatever philosophers or sociologists or economists say.

Ms Kiran is on an existential quest.She wants to forget the past, or wants to pursue her "American dream". Hell, we don't know what
"America" is: it's an open-ended proposition. It's not romantic land in Cole or Rockwell's paintings. It's not the land of honey & milk. Those are idealizations. More to the point, it's merely a backdrop against which Ms. Kiran has to sort out her feelings, fight her own demons, come what may. The battles may be ugly, the scars deep, the wounds disabling. Though if she fights a good fight, she might find her own "America".

The irony may be that she'll come to appreciate her nativeland more and more against the backdrop of this overarching America. Though she might be embarrassed by her country, America will remind her of it, although punishingly and constantly. Or rather Nepal will pursue her no matter where she goes. There's no escaping it. She will have to deal with it. May be not now when she feels inperishable. May be once she starts to think about her own mortality.

I , for one, believe that when they couldn't find "El Dorado", they had to invent "America" so they could keep going. Such is the human nature.

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 20:25:34 PST To: webmaster-tnd@nepal.org From: Debangsu Sengupta <debangsu@chinet.chinet.com> Subject: Greetings from New Delhi, India

Namaste and hello.

I am Debangsu Sengupta , a high school student in New Delhi, India. Sometime back, me along with two of my friends over the Internet, in USA and Netherlands , decided to team up and do an educational web project on the Himalayas. We plan to cover every aspect of the Himalayas - well atleast as much as possible. We intend to cover the Indian, Nepal, China and Bhutan Himalayas. We are quite serious about the project, and work is already underway.

I came across your website while looking for information and really appreciated ur site. We would be very grateful if you can help us out with our project by contributing material, of general or proprietory nature. Material can be in the form of text, stories, pictures, audio, video etc. Appropriate Credit will be given for ALL contributions, proprietory and otherwise, on our website.As we mentioned earlier, this is an educational , non profit project.

We will really appreciate ur help. We will also be very grateful if you can direct us to other possible sources of information for our project.

Kindly reply to this email and we will send u details about our project which you probably will be interested in knowing.

Thanking you in anticipation. Kindly reply to the email address below.

Regards Debangsu Sengupta debangsu@chinet.chinet.com

*********************************************************** Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 19:30:28 -0600 (CST) From: TSHRESTH@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU Subject: Panche for PrimeMinister ?? To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

Dear Editor,
        Please allow me to vent my sad feelings about the recent political events in Nepal. I just cannot believe it that the Panche-Mandale-Thugs are now not only in the government but also the Prime Minister. This is the time of shame and infamy in Nepal. What is happening to us ? Are we, as a nation, really going down the drain ? Is all the blood and tears spent for democracy in vain ? Who is responsible for this inglorious turn of events ? Down with all of them. Sadly yours - Tilak B. Shrestha, Memphis, Tennessee.

************************************************************** Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 22:46:55 -1000 From: Mahendra Lawoti <lawoti@hawaii.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: An interesting artilce

                        The second choice : Localization
                        By Aditya Man Shrestha

                        The alternative to globalization is localization. In other words, we base our development
                        primarily on indigenous strengths and potentials. Instead of going wild with globalization, we
                        should tune our development to local realities.

                        This does not mean a return to the pre-1950 isolation. But we must underline the fact that
                        the Nepalese did survive albeit with illiteracy, without population control, subsistence
                        economy, political suppression, social injustice and without communication facilities. Even if
                        some cynics advocate that we return to this period, it will not be possible. We have come
                        too long a way for that.

                        The second choice should, in fact, emphasize our national potential for development. Let us
                        go straight to some brass tacks. Take water resources, for instance. Instead of rushing for
                        big projects we can graduate ourselves by taking up smaller ones. We throw ourselves at
                        the mercy of foreign capital and control when we choose big projects. But in the case of
                        small or medium projects, Nepal can handle them in terms of capital, technology and
                        capability. In other words, we should not become too ambitious and go for thousands of
                        mega watts to make billions of rupees. We should go for projects that we can afford and, on
                        which our engineers can proceed without hitches.

                        In tourism, our approach should be more benefit oriented. Our doors should not be as wide
                        open as they are today. Just by increasing the number of tourists, our country will not
                        benefit. We should discourage low cost tourism. The industry has become a victim of price
                        cutting. From the environmental and cultural point of view, we have realized that the number
                        of tourists should not be unmanageably big. In any case, even though we may desire a big
                        number, we do not have the means to bring them here. So, a moderate target would be a
                        practical solution.

                        In development, we are frustrated because we have become too ambitious. We are setting
                        targets not according to our needs and capability but according to what others have
                        achieved. We often sell dreams to our people without meaning it. We promise to turn Nepal
                        into a Singapore without understanding what it really means. Is it necessary for Nepal to
                        become Singapore? Firstly, it is not necessary for our survival and happiness. Secondly,
                        there is no commonality in pre-requisites between the two countries.

                        Singapore is an outcome of free accessibility to the world, imaginative leadership,
                        benevolent dictatorship, free enterprise and freedom from cultural bondage. Nepal, by
                        contrast, embodies a geo-political island, conservative and dull leadership, an economic
                        colony and a cultural limbo. With such strong differences and hardly any commonality, it will
                        be deceptive to believe and make our people believe that these countries will be at par at a
                        certain point of time.

                        What I am basically asking for is a rethink on the development approach to make it
                        sustainable in our context. In other words, it may not be necessary to tie our economy with
                        the globalization process if we lose more than we gain from it. A moderate growth
                        dovetailed with equitable distribution is preferable to a fast growth with big gap between the
                        poor and the rich. The emphasis should be more on human growth than on growth itself.

                        Going by this prescription, we should be enforcing compulsory primary education with a full
                        national coverage rather than making it free and keeping it limited to a section of society.
                        The resources currently going to higher education will have to be diverted to the lower level
                        to achieve radical transformation of society.

                        In medical facilities, priority should go to basic health care opportunities with national
                        coverage instead of specialized medical facilities. The impact of an all pervasive health care
                        system will be seen, over time, in lower infant and maternity mortality, higher birth control,
                        better immunization coverage, lesser disabling incidences, and finally, greater life expectancy.
                        Specialized medical facilities are meant for the top class because the bottom mass cannot
                        afford them. The long term benefits of basic medical provisions far outweigh those provided
                        by specialized hospitals. Such expensive facilities should be left to the private sector whereas
                        the government should concentrate on the basic medical structure.

                        The objective should be to create a sustainable society rather than a sophisticated one. In
                        this context, public investment in urban areas should be completely stopped. All resources
                        should be diverted to villages to increase their carrying and retaining capacity. Urban
                        investment is, on the one hand, creating more pollution, while on the other, it draws more
                        and more people to these centres. The existing development trend is neither making urban
                        centres sustainable by over-investment nor is it making rural life sustainable by
                        under-investment. So the process must be reversed to make the larger part of the country
                        sustainable.

                        Above all, we need to reframe the political process to encourage decentralization of power.
                        We need to challenge the representation process without challenging the fundamental
                        democratic structure. We can make local communities more powerful by curtailing the
                        power of the centre. In other words, we should aim to empower the people rather than their
                        representatives. The representative system that we have adopted is not representing the
                        people in the real sense. Once we make local communities the centres of power and
                        development, the whole approach to national development will be changed.

                        So, the second choice before us is to go slow on development but remain firm with our
                        roots. The bulk of the Nepalese people were not affected by the 1989 Indian blockade of
                        oil because their lifestyle was not dependent on oil as such. The impact was visible only on
                        urban people. That was only an eye-opener to the kind of dependency we would like to
                        create for ourselves in future. The choice is ours. It is the blurring of choice that hinders the
                        development process and lands us in trouble.

Mahendra Lawoti MSC 740 Tel: (808) 943 6168 2732 Kolo Place 1711 East West Road Fax: (808) 944 7955 Apt#304 Honolulu, HI - 96848 Email: lawoti@hawaii.edu Honolulu, HI 96826

******************************************************** Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 15:28:42 -0500 (EST) From: Bikash@aol.com To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Service, Service Baby

               Service, service, baby!!
                    by ashu

          Let+s face it, even before reaching their peak, days of manufacturing are over in Nepal. Except for a handful of products with relatively locked-in markets (such as those of Helambu apples, cassettes of lok-geet and so on), no matter how well Nepal produces a (consumer) good, the post-1991 India can and will produce a higher-quality version of the same thing [through its superior production/distribution system] at competitive prices.
          
          If you don+t believe me, then spend some time interviewing any shop-keeper anywhere in Nepal. You+ll find that from incense-sticks to toilet soaps, and from carbon-papers to flash-light batteries, Indian or India-collaborated goods have been luring customers away from most SUDDHA Nepal-made products. Worse, Nepali products are widely perceived to be (and in most cases, frankly, are) shoddy and third-class.
          
          That being a bitter indicator of truth, where then lies the edge for Nepal+s companies? In service, service and nothing but service. Yet the irony is: if you, as a customer, do business with most private Nepali companies, you+ll soon discover that, to them, service is just another dirty word. So much so that, you+ll end up wondering how else do private Nepali companies hope to prosper when the very practice of customer service makes them uncomfortable and/or defensive. [Cultural reasons? Social factors? Sheer laziness? What?]
          
          A WHITE-COLLAR EXHIBIT: A few months ago, a friend was having problems with e-mail connections at his (Lazimpat ko) office. He called the vendor, and was told that the guy in charge of the Internet division was out. Explaining the difficulty he was having, the friend left behind his name and number, but received no call back all that day and the next. He called again on the third day, and was assured that an engineer would soon be sent.
          
          The engineer came, fiddled with the wires and the key-board, but basically ended up shaking his head. Yet, neither acted concerned nor promised further help. Palpable was his attitude that it was probably beneath his dignity to have been sent on this sort of a mere
+service/repair-mission+. Nothing helpful got done, and a few days later, my friend had no choice but to dump the vendor in favor of its rival.
          
          A BLUE-COLLAR EXHIBIT: Likewise, two months ago, another friend was having a one-story house built near Kathmandu. Her biggest complaint was that she couldn+t get her Nepali workers to do the PRECISE kind of technical-work she wanted done. The slope she wanted on the bathroom floor was just not +slopey+ enough for water to drain easily. Placement of the windows was slightly crooked, the ventilation in the kitchen left much to be desired, the door-CHUKULS were awkward to operate, and on and on went her list of complaints.
          
          Yet, every time she and her husband raised their concerns with the technicians, they were met with much resistance with an occasional ly grudging compliance. Finally pissed-off, the friend shrugged off her patriotism, fired all the Nepali workers, and brought in a team of Bihari laborers, who, she says, at least show up on time, work quietly and deliver PRECISE pieces of work -- without making her feel stupid when she tells them how she wants certain technical details taken care of.
          
          MORAL: Unless our collective attitude to providing service, service and nothing but service changes for the better, economic liberalization notwithstanding, there isn+t much we Nepali-citizen-card-holders can hope -- as businessmen, entrepreneurs, general managers, employees or consumers -- for our own enterprises. [A slightly different version of this has been submitted to The The Kathmandu Post as a "post platform" piece.]
          

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 15:56:51 -0500 (EST) From: Rabindra Tripathi <rabi@scisun.sci.ccny.cuny.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: WWW Info Exchange with Kids in Nepal (fwd)

Rajpal dai, we received this messaage from canada. Can you include it in next edition of TND? Regards,

-Rabi

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 15:51:39 +0000 From: L. McKinley <lmckinle@sfu.ca> To: chautari@scisun.sci.ccny.cuny.edu Subject: WWW Info Exchange with Kids in Nepal

Exhanging Information with Children in Nepal

We will be starting an interactive WWW project for kids in our area called Adventure Everest Online--where students will be following a 7 week Everest climb which starts April 15. In some of the web based activities kids will be researching aspects of life in Nepal and comparing to their own country, customs, etc. Are you able to help us find children from Nepal who have web access to exchange information with our students....or can you direct me to someone who might help.

Thank you! Linda McKinley Phone: (604)205-2660 Education Coordinator e-mail: lmckinle@sfu.ca MC2 Learning Systems Inc. http://www.mc2.sfu.ca Burnaby BC Canada

******************************************************** Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 17:11:51 -0500 From: deschene@jhuvms.hcf.jhu.edu (Mary Des Chene) Subject: NSG Discussion Series Schedule for April To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Centre for Social Research and Development Martin Chautari/Nepal Studies Group Discussion Series

NOTE: From 1 April this series will meet every Tuesday at 5:30 pm. Meetings are at the premises of Martin Chautari, Thapathali, Kathmandu (tel: 246065).

Program

27 March 1997, Thursday (in Nepali) Wildlife Conservation in Nepal: Where are we now? Dr Pralad Yonzon, Resources Nepal

30 March 1997, Sunday (Kathmandu Book Society) Ideas for a New Book Shop Kanak Mani Dixit, Himal

1 April 1997, Tuesday (in Nepali) Photojournalism in Nepal: Its Achievements and Shortcomings Usha Tiwari (Freelance photojournalist), Gopal Chitrakar (Gorkhapatra) and Bikas Rauniar (Kantipur)

8 April 1997, Tuesday (in Nepali) The Role of Nepali Communist Parties in the Parliamentary System Dr Surendra K. C., Dept of History, TU

15 April 1997, Tuesday (in Nepali) The Global Village in Nepali Literature: A Discussion Led by Khagendra Sangraula Nt. Participants should read Samakalin Sahitya No. 25 (special katha issue) beforehand

22 April, Tuesday (Kathmandu Book Society) Tourist Guide Book Industry Madhab Maharjan, Mandala Book Point

29 April, Tuesday Civil Society: Thinking about Nepali Specificities - A Discussion Seira Tamang, Hari Sharma et al.

If you plan to be in Kathmandu during April or in subsequent months, drop by Martin Chautari premises on Tuesday evenings to participate in our discussions.

If you want to present a research paper in the months of June, July or August, please contact P Onta by fax: 977-1-223194. State the title, preferred date, and include your email address.

For further information about events at Martin Chautari click on "Other Activities of the Center for Social Research and Development" on the first page of the SINHAS Web Pages: http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/index.html

*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 21:04:36 EST To: tnd@nepal.org From: GURKHA1@aol.com Subject: ANA CONVENTION UPDATE

HOSTED BY THE GREATER BOSTON NEPALI COMMUNITY July 4th Weekend, 1997

Dear Friends (All Nepalis and Friends of Nepal),

Following is a Tentative Agenda along with many details of the various programs we are organizing. Also included are names and E-Mail contacts for the various people who are organizing the many activities. Please contact these people if you are interested in participating or have any ideas. We strongly encourage and expect your participation. You can also contact Shyam Karki at skarki@mcls.rochester.ny.lib.us or Bhupesh Karki at bkarki@lynx.neu.edu for other information/ideas you may have towards the convention.

TENTATIVE PROGRAM FOR THE 15th ANNUAL ANA CONVENTION HOSTED BY GBNC

JULY 3 --- THURSDAY: 5 PM -- 10 PM: Registration Welcome: Socializing/Cash bar 7 PM -- 10 PM: Nepali Dinner at the Cafeteria sponsored by GBNC 9 PM --11 PM: Poetry Recital/Contest

JULY 4 --- FRIDAY: 7:00AM -- 8:00 AM: Nepali Friendship Run (5 mile jog/walk) 9:00AM -- 10:00 AM: Welcome: Breakfast GBNC Address by President (Bhupesh Karki) ANA Address by President (Pramod Sharma) AARATI Dance 10:00 AM -- 11:30 PM: FORUM I: Bridging the Gap (Primary Theme of Convention)
(see attachment) 11:30 PM -- 1:00 PM: Lunch 1:00 PM -- 2:00 PM: FORUM II: Working in Nepal (see attachment) 2:30 PM -- 4:00 PM: FORUM III: Maintaining Nepali Heritage among Young Nepalis in America (see attachment) 4:30 PM -- 6:30 PM: Sports (Soccer/Basketball/Volleyball/Badminton) 7:30 PM -- 9:30 PM: Formal Banquet (Nepali Food) 10:00 PM -- 1:00 AM: Dance conducted by a professional DJ

JULY 5 ---SATURDAY: 7:00 AM -- 8:00 AM: Aerobics for early birds 9:00 AM -- 10:30 AM: FORUM IV: Health Care Issues in Nepal (see attachment) 10:30 AM -- 12:00 PM: FORUM V: Hydropower Forum (see attachment) 12:00 PM -- 2:00 PM: BBQ Lunch 2:00 PM -- 3:00 PM: FORUM VI: An Americans Viewpoint of Nepal 3:15 PM -- 4:45 PM: FORUM VII: Womens Issues (see attachment) 5:00 PM -- 6:00 PM: Coming Together (see attachment) 6:00 PM -- 8:00 PM: Dinner on your own 8:00 PM -- 10:00 PM: Cultural Program and Farewell (see attachment)

ATTACHMENTS

FORUM I: Bridging the Gap Every year during the July 4th weekend The Association of Nepalis in the Americas (ANA) helps bring together a large group of Nepalis for a convention. These conventions are attended by a diverse group of Nepalis living in North America and is a fair representation of Nepali population living in America and Canada. There are several ways to distinguish the different kinds of Nepalis. One glaring difference is the number of years they have lived away from Nepal. There are those who are recent arrivals such as students, workers, professionals. This group consists of those who have not been here for more than ten years. And then there is the second kind, which consists of those who once may have also came here as students, workers and professionals, but have remained behind as citizens and residents of the US or Canada. These two groups can learn a lot from one another. They are almost a mirror image of one another separated only by a time line. While some may have overcome the difficulties of adjusting to a new country and culture, others are in the process of doing just that. To some, the memories of the life they left behind in Nepal are relatively recent while to others these memories are part of their past. Some are thinking of starting a family here while others raised a new generation of Nepalis here.

This forum is an attempt to bring these two groups together. The forum will consist of representatives of both sides. This panel will discuss issues such as: The importance of maintaining their language; What does it mean to be a Nepali here? The challenge of raising a family in a culture so different from the one they grew up in; What is it like to be away from home when one is a student? The choices they have made that are relevant to this discussion, etc. The panelists along with the moderator of the forum will be involved in the final outcome. The forum will also provide opportunities for the audience to ask and answer questions and comment on the panel discussions. The forum will create an atmosphere that will help the two groups understand each other. This is a great start towards Bridging the Gap between the two afore-mentioned Nepalis in North America.

If you are interested in this forum, please contact: Bibek Chapagain at cbibek@lynx.neu.edu

FORUM II: Working in Nepal This will be a forum of young, energetic Nepali students or working professionals who have plans to go back and work in Nepal in the near future or at a later point. The objective of the meet is to bring together visionary students, recent graduates and 'young professionals' and create a forum where they will share their ideas, experience and vision. A basic database containing each participant's name, address, area of interest and expertise, and any immediate or future plans to work in Nepal will be prepared after the meeting and given out to participants. It will also be made publicly accessible through the Internet. Such a database could be updated annually during future ANA conventions.
  The motivations for such a forum are quite obvious. As more and more skilled Nepalis go back to Nepal and work there, they will benefit from working together with other people who come from the same background and share many common interests. This is where such a database proves invaluable. The forum will have 4-5 speakers. The ideal speakers are US college graduates who know the nuts and bolts of going back and working in Nepal and have practical advice to offer. Each speaker will talk for 5-10 minutes and the floor will be opened for questions. The program will be approximately 1hr long.
  We are looking for speakers for the forum. If you accept the challenge of talking to fellow Nepalis about your experience and offering them advice, please contact: Shree Krishna Pandey at skpandey@mit.edu

FORUM III: Youth Forum The Youth Forum will bring together young Nepalis from various professional and/or academic backgrounds to discuss the issue of returning to our homeland after education and practical training in the U.S. Do we have an obligation to return to Nepal and work to help develop the country? Or will we be more effective in bringing about crucial changes and advancements in Nepali living standards by providing assistance while residing in the West? We will hear from folks who don't see the need at all to be affiliated with Nepal and its development and feel that they should have every right to choose to settle in the West and assimilate into the Western way of life. On the other hand, if the "cream" of Nepali youth leave the country with no intention to return for good, will the future of the country be in jeopardy?
  The forum will be held in the form of a debate. Two panels of three speakers each will represent the two sides of the issue: 1) We will have two speakers each who will represent the two sides of the issue present the following views: a) We have to return to Nepal; b) We don't have to return to Nepal. We will make every attempt to make the panel as diverse as possible, both in terms of age and background. We are seeking speakers who will be interested in defending one of the above mentioned sides.

If you would like more information or would like to participate please contact: Rabi Karmacharya at karma@mit.edu

FORUM IV: Health Care Issues in Nepal We are organizing a forum that will deal with relevant Health-Care issues in Nepal. Please stay tuned for further details on this Forum. In the meantime, if you would like more information or have any suggestions please contact: Sapana Pathak at sapanabu@acs.bu.edu

FORUM V: Hydropower Forum The Hydropower Nepal Committee (HNC) is organizing a forum with "Formulating a Coherent Strategy for Nepal's Hydropower Development for the 21st Century and Making It Work" as the main topic. The forum's goal is to bring together the perspectives of (1) HMG/Nepal, (2) Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), (3) World Bank, (4) Private sectors (Butwal Power Company, Himal Power Ltd.), (5) Independent thinker well versed with the issues related to Nepal's hydropower.
  The potential panelists are the Ramesh Nanda Vaidya (member of National Planning Commission), Binayak Bhadra (former member of National Planning Commission), Govinda Raj Bhatta (Executive Secretary of Water Energy Commission Secretariat), Ratna Sansar Shrestha (key person at Himal Power Limited), Rhett Hurless (key person of Panda Energy International), P.P. Adhikari (key person at Butwal Power Company), Bikash Pandey (currently graduate student at UC Berkeley), Tjaarda Storm van Leeuwen (World Bank official).

For more information, please contact: Sunil Shakya at sshakya@lynx.neu.edu

FORUM VI: An Americans Perspective of Nepal We are currently preparing this forum. Please stay tuned for further details.

FORUM VII: Womens Forum The topic for the Womens forum will be Empowering Women: Issues and Challenges. The goal is to discuss relevant issues towards advancing the interests of Nepali Women with an emphasis on the following topics: (a) Educational Opportunities and related economic benefits (employment opportunities, Access of getting loans, etc. ), (b) rehabilitation measures for women in danger (i) cultural health and legal protection (ii) women choice of reproductive rights (iii) The dismantling of dowry practices (iv) property rights for women in Nepal. The Womens Support Group in Boston along with some other Nepali women around America are preparing this compelling Forum. We will have more details in the near future.

If you would like to participate or have any ideas please contact: Sabeen Bania at 9262sbani@umbsky.cc.umb.edu

COMING TOGETHER This will a One Hour program where official representatives from Sister Organizations from the United States and Canada will describe their communities to the rest of us. In doing so all of us will get the opportunity to know more about other Nepali communities in the United States and Canada substantively. We believe that this program fits in very well with the theme of this years Convention  Bridging the Gap. We are currently in the process of talking to Sister Organizations to participate in this program.

If you are an official representative of a Nepali organization in the Unites States or Canada, please feel free to contact: Bhupesh Karki at bkarki@lynx.neu.edu

CULTURAL PROGRAM We are currently seeking acts for this year's Cultural Program and would like to receive input from those who are interested in participating. If you would like to participate or have any ideas, please feel free to contact: Prabhat Adhikari at padhikari@vhb.com

Please stay tuned for further details in April:

1. Details on the Convention Venue in Boston 2. Childrens Programs 3. Pre-Registration 4. Registration 5. Housing 6. Sports AND MUCH MORE. Sincerely, The Convention Planning Committee

********************************************************** Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 19:40:21 PST To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: Koenigs <skoenig@redrose.net> Subject: nepal recipe

Hello,

I am in the 7th grade in Pennsylvania. We are learning about Nepal. I would like to make a food dish from Nepal. Maybe a bread? Do you have a tasty recipe to share? Please send to me at

skoenig@redrose.net Thank you! Valerie Koenig

********************************************************* From: Shrestha Purushottam <puru@pflaphy.pph.univie.ac.at> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 21:40:03 MET-1MEST Subject: Re: Return to Nepal

Dear Editor, The Nepal Digest

For your kind information , I have completed my Ph.D degree on natural science/ aquatic plants, from the University of Vienna and am returning to Nepal by next week, 30.03.1997.

 I am sincerely grateful for your courtesy in mailing the TND. I enjoyed and benefitted by this excellent ''Bhaichara''or
 ''electronic hand shake''. I wish all the best for its longevity and competent performance in the future days.

I anticipate to see Rajpalji and other concerned on your Nepal visit. For the friendly network in Kathmandu, my add. is at the bottom.

Sincerely yours
  Purushottam Shrestha Post Box: 7004, Kathmandu, NEPAL Tel. (00 977 1) 2 25 076 ( R)

%%%%%Editor's Note: Please accept our well wishes and Bon Voyage! %%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

************************************************************* Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 22:23:32 -0500 (EST) From: atuladhar@clarku.edu Subject: Forest Change in Nepal: New Data, Old Questions To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>

Dear friends,

I am sharing some preliminary observations from my research on forest change in Nepal to get some feedback from your experience in the field.

For simplicity sake, i have kept these observations very stark, those with detailed questions may contact me.

NEW DATA
===========

The observations below are based on time series analysis of weekly satellite imagery of the greenness index (Global Vegetation Index) collected from 1983 to 1990 and composited to 16km by 16 km pixel (square area coverage on the ground).

The results are "preliminary" because this represent only the first stage of analysis, the observations will be verified repeatedly with a variety of other techniques.

The data is "new" of Nepal because the last country wide scientific survey done by satellite was in 1980s, we have several sub-country wide remote sensing as follows: satellite and aerial photo of Terai in 1990/91 by FinMap and Topo Survey; country wide aerial photos in 1990/91 and 1978/79 by Fins and Canadians with Topo; and several project level of aerial photo. Most of the "data" n discussions ensuing from them are based on interpolations from these data and they are not always "educated guesses" even if made by World Bank types of Energy Commision of Nepal.

Preliminary Findings
=======================

Below are rankings of various spatial units based on forest recovery rates. For this, forest recovery rates has been taken as the Greenery Value of the Landscape in Spring from march to May. The reasons for this is that this season corresponds to the maximum water stress for the growing season of all plants in Nepal and non-woody vegetations with their shallower root system are less likely to contribute vegetation greening than tree vegetatons with deeper root system.

Forest Recovery Ranking by Ecological Regions
------------------------------------------------- 1. Mountains (Highests) 2. Hills 3. Inner Tarai 4. Terai 5. Kathamandu Valley (Lowest)

Forest Recovery RAnking by Development Regions
------------------------------------------------- 1. Western (Highests) 2. Midwest 3. Eastern 4. Central 5. Far West (Lowest)

Forest Recovery Rankings by Zones
------------------------------------- 1. Gandaki (Highest) 2. Sagarmatha 3. Karnali 4. Mechi 5. Dhawalagir 6. Lumbini 7/8. Narayani/Janakpur 9. Bagmati 10. Rapti 11./12. Seti and Bheri 13. Mahakali 14. Koshi (Lowest)

One other significant findings that all these spatial units showed a net INCREASE IN FOREST RECOVERY. It was only at district level resolutions that some decreases were noted.

Old Questions
================= 1. Does these findings agree with what you have observed and experienced in the field? These feedback are more valuable to me than what we have all heard ...."that all forests are decreasing all over Nepal... and will continue to do so... until all accessible forests will be gone by 1990" as all the desktop consultants of world banks have told us since the 1980s.

2. If forest recovery is really an empirically corroboratable obsrvations, does the ranking make sense? For instance, forest change seems to be fastest in Mountains where there has been the fastest depopulations and slowest in Kathamandu Valley where there has been tthe fastest population growth rate.

However, the rankings of Development REgions does not seem to follow any such neat explanation. Should not the least populated and least developmed Far West have the highest forest recovery and not the Western area. Or is this only an ecological phenomena correlated with the wettest rain the
-Pokhara corridor gets?

3. The "Forest Rankings by Zones" raises several questions some of whose answers I expect to get from foresters, ecologists, environmentalists, geographers and other Nepali who hail from these areas. Is Gandaki having the highest forest recovery purely due to high rainfall, if so why does Kosi which is also a very wet zone of Nepal have the lowest forest recovery rate?

We hear of vast forests surving in Karnali primarily due to inaccessbility, but why does Sagarmatha have high forest recovery? Sagarmatha, by Nepali standards, is quite accessible from all that mountaineers climbing Everest, park activities in the mountains to some pretty deforested areas in Terai Udaypur, Siraha and Saptari.

I am sure many of you have many answers and explanations as well as questions. i sure look forward to learning from you all.

With thanks Amulya Tuladhar Clark University

************************************************************ Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 23:32:35 -0800 From: Sanjay Shrestha <s_shrestha@geocities.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Correction on earlier article (New Year in Chicagoland)

Dear Editor:

Please post this article on your upcoming issue. The earlier article mailed on 3/23 is incorrect. Thanks in advance

regards, Sanjay

> Chicago land Families and students invites you to attend the 2054 New Year
> Celebration.
>
> Date: April 13, Sunday
> Time: 4:00p to 10:00p
> Venue: Viceroy of India Restaurant
> Banquet Hall
> Devon Ave, Chicago.
> Registration fee: $13 (includes snacks, dinner and entertainment)
>
> Early registration is encouraged. Dateline is April 11th.
>
> For more information:
> <Rahi Gurung> rgu131@nwu.edu 773-275-5024
> <Sanjay Shrestha> s_shrestha@geocities.com 773-275-2541

***************************************************************** Forwarded by: bikash@MIT.EDU To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Fwd:Job Announcement Socio-cultural advisor, Nepal Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 02:24:51 EST

The position described below is available for the Kali Gandaki Hydroelectric Project, a 144 MW run-of-the-river hydro project with associated infrastructure, now entering the construction stage in Nepal. While the project is moderate in scale, the project's impacts on resettlement will be relatively minor (approx. 12 households), with additional households being affected to a lesser degree during construction and possibly operations.

The position would be for a one-year term. A portion of the time would be spent in Kathmandu and the remainder at the site which is located between Butwal and Pokara. Key responsibilities include training and advising the Project's Environmental Unit, ensuring the Construction Contractor complies with the environmental contract clauses, monitoring the environment, assisting in Acquisition Compensation and Rehabilitation Programme (ACRP) work, implementing socio/environmental mitigation, and working with local and regional parties to coordinate mitigation. Compensation would be competitive and commensurate with experience and education. The position is immediately available.

If you are interested in the position, or know someone who is, please contact me (John Garcia) or send a resume with salary requirements to GANDA1 @ AOL.com, or fax to 415-789-9245. Alternatively, you can send hard copy to my offices at: GANDA, 3152 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA, 94920. Tel: 415-789-9242. Decisions regarding the filling of this position must be made very quickly so I need any responses or inquiries within one week from tomorrow (Mar. 31). Thank you for your time. --John Garcia

The following is the job description approved by the Nepal Electricity Authority and the Asian Development Bank:

Advisor & Trainer:

The focus of the Advisor & Trainer will be to ensure that the socio-cultural and socio-economic impacts of the project are minimized and that agreed-upon mitigation measures designed to address these impacts are fully and competently implemented. Additional responsibilities of the Advisor & Trainer include: management and training of local staff (approximately 10), namely the Socio-Economist/Anthropologist and the Community Relations and Liaison Officer; design and oversight of technical field studies, including the ACRPs to be conducted for the transmission line towers and the revised Power House footprint; and ensuring that good community relations are maintained.
 Another important responsibility will be to ensure that training and hiring criteria outlined in the Mitigation and Management Plan (MMP) are followed and that local living and working conditions for workers are of acceptable quality.

The Advisor & Trainer will reside in Kathmandu during the early parts of the project and will then move to the Project Site once offices and logistics have been set up. The position will be full-time for Year 1. It is possible that the position will be extended beyond one year. The Advisor & Trainer will report to the Environmental Manager, when the Environmental Manager is on-site, and to the Project Manager otherwise.

********************************************************** From: Rajesh Shrestha <shresth2@husc.harvard.edu> Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 12:00:18 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: New website travel-nepal.com

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

The Kathmandu Post published an article on "travel-nepal.com" website on Sunday (3/23/97) in their local edition. This also appears in the internet edition of Monday (3/24/97) in the ECONOMY section. Corresponding URL of KtmPost is

   http://www.south-asia.com/Ktmpost/1997/Mar/Mar24/mar24-ec.htm

Our Web site "travel-nepal.com" deals with the tourism and travel industry of Nepal. All efforts have been taken to fill up this site with information on hotels, travel agencies, trekking agencies, events for Visit Nepal '98, general info for travellers, flight info, hotel reservation and so on..

Please visit our web site (even better, bookmark it)

        http://www.travel-nepal.com

Comments/suggestions are most welcome. Thanx.

Shailendra Dhakhwa, Binaj Gurubacharya and Devendra Suwal in Kathmandu
& Sanjay Bajracharya in US.

webmaster@travel-nepal.com http://www.travel-nepal.com

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

Is multi-party system a threat to Nepal? Is this system, which has worked fantastically in the West, a solution to an asian country like ours? Has this system worked in our neighbouring countries such as India and Pakistan? How about the Asian Tigers such as Singapore and Malaysia? They definitely don't have a complete multi-party system like ours. And how about India? It has been multi-party since independence, and it doesn't seem to have benefitted much, especially for the poor and low castes. How about Pakistan and Bangladesh? Even these neighbours aren't making much progress since the switch of power from military junta to civilian elected politicians.

Now, how do we view our own country? It surely is not benefitting much now, and it surely wasn't benefitting much under the Panchayet system either. However, when it comes down to choosing lesser of the evil, I would definitely vote for the latter. However, having said so, I don't see the solution in the black and white configuration of multi vs one party. There is a grey shade in between, and I think we should start considering the grey shade in the political spectrum. A close analysis of the Asian Tigers suggests that the success in Asian societly lies in the old Confucian philosophy of the "emphasis on the Society being prior to that of the Individual". That means, what we are seeking is not a dictatorship, but a limited democracy, or benevolent authoritarian system where the respected have the upper hand, but the younger generation also have a voice and contribution. A close analysis of the development of Singapore from a poor asian port in the 60's to a hub of the global economy in the 90's and the contribution of Lee Kwan Iu on this city state perhaps gives some hope to the Nepalese who are tired of continuous political rhetorics that are never fulfilled and frequent elections that grind everything from daily activities to the national economy to a halt. Jai Nepal!

Ngawang Karsang Sherpa GSFA, Department of Architecture University of Pennsylvania 207 Meyerson Hall Philadelphia, PA 19104--6311

********************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 14:09:05 +0100 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: lo12@cornell.edu (Lazima Onta) Subject: contents of the latest Nepali Himal

Just Published!!

Himal (Nepali bimonthly) vol. 6, No. 5, Phagun/Chait 2053 v.s

Cover (Titles indicate subject matter; they are not exact translations): Nepalis in India- In search of a Livelihood: Kanak Mani Dixit Murderer Servants (in Delhi): Mitu Verma Nepali Organizations in India: Ganesh Khatri Nepali-India migration - the numbers: Dilliram Dahal Nepalis in Assam: Krishna Bhattarai Nepalis in Calcutta: Basanta Thapa

Features: Health and the Legal Regime: Dhrubesh C. Regmi Urban Sukumbasis: Sangeeta Lama Hindu Temples of Pakistan: Photos and Texts by Salman Rashid

Reviews: Birds of Nepal by the Flemings: D Thapa Haka Haki - A Development Magazine: Abana Onta

Briefs: Crazy Hats Remembering Historian Dhanavajra Vajracharya Listening Magazines produced by Media Services International Wild Elephants: Gopal Guragain

Regular Columns: Editorial, Letters to the editor, Ritubicar

Subscription: Contact Himal Association PO Box 42 Lalitpur, Nepal Tel:977-523845; fax:521013

******************************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Copy-Right Issues?? Date: Fri, 28 Mar 97 13:20:53 EST From: rshresth@BBN.COM

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

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows of the title of the english translation of Bhupi Serchan's work Ghumne Mech Mathi andho manchhe (cold Ashtray??)? I am particulary interested in one of his quintessential poem which best describes the vicissitude a man (or a woman) is bound to confront when s/he changes the core ideology of living.

Also, I was wondering what would be the best approach to give this poem to a local band? What kind of copy-right issues do I have to take into consideration? How will I go about paying (if there are any) copy-right fees? I have written a letter to Royal Nepal Academy but no one has (as I would have expected) responded to it. I have therefore decided to contact the guy who has translated his poems in English. He, I believe, is a brit, holds a doctarate in Nepali Literature.

I, without any reservation, can say that no one has ever written better stuff than Bhupi, nor anyone can ever write even close to his standards. The man was an icon and a legend in himself.

I would appreciate your help. Thank You.

Bh@nu.Neupane

%%%%%Editor's Note: Salute to the late Bhupi! His writtings indeed %%%%%
%%%%% have touched many lives. We are not sure %%%%%
%%%%% who should be aproached for copyright issues, %%%%%
%%%%% but you may certainly contact Late Bhupi's %%%%%
%%%%% youngest daughter who is a student in Boston %%%%%
%%%%% area. She may be the right person to contact %%%%%
%%%%% here in US for royalty/copyright issues. I %%%%%
%%%%% believe the young lady's name is Boby Sherchan. %%%%%
%%%%% Would folks in Boston area convey the message %%%%%
%%%%% to Ms. Sherchan? %%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

********************************************************* To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepal: Land of Suicides... Date: Sun, 30 Mar 97 14:40:43 EST From: rshresth@BBN.COM

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

A recent new release shows that the number of suicides in 1995/96 was THREE TIMES more than the number of murders: 1614 suicides vs 498 murders!

This is certainly a social indicator to be alarmed about. Nepal's Hindu philosophy shares with Heaven's Gate the curious commonality that teaches that this body is just a vehicle for an eternal soul, so suicides is not killing but mukti, moksha, or even nirvaan or a soul shedding a wardrobe.

But can we be complacent with this rate of suicide in our country? What about more materialist explanations? Can this suicide rate be an indicator of the hopelessness of most Nepalese caught between the conservative demands of Hinduist world view in a poor country and the liberating insecuirty of the promise of modernisation? Do most nepalese who commit suicides feel the "samaj le ke bhancha" a greatern threat than real life murderers? We do not ofcourse take into considerations the hundreds of untabulated deaths of mothers due to lack of abortion and men who insist on their Hindu prerrogative to use them for sex and not support them. The latest estimates are that this sort of death, not categorized as suicdes, are the greatest cause of death among women..

Wonder how others feel about this??

matina@ma.ultranet.com

************************************************ From: "Mr Deepak Adhikary" <gtzcefe@icon.co.za> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Research Opportunity Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 10:03:11 +0200

Namaskar!

I am working in South Africa as a Senior Advisor, Small Enterprise Development with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation(GTZ). My task is to assist 6 NGOs( about 60 to 80 staff per organization) in implementing entrepreneurship development programs and other support services.

One of my counterparts is on a look out for either a Ph D or Masters level student majoring in entrepreneurship development, who could spend a year doing field research in South Africa. If the student can pay for the airfare( I know that quite a few universities can take the tab), the local costs - rent and basic subsistence allowance will be paid by the host organization in South Africa.

We are initiating a lot of field research on small enterprise development as the environment is very conducive for such activities. South Africa is quite modern in terms of infrastructure development, access to research and is relatively easy to work, compared to other African countries.

If somebody is interested, they can contact me in the following address:

Deepak Adhikary Senior Advisor, Small Enterprise Development GTZ-CEFE Network for Micro Enterprises Project P.O. Box 879 Strathavon 2031 Johannesburg South Africa Fax: + 27 11 4423 099 Internet: gtzcefe@icon.co.za

*************************************************************** From: Bhuban Pandey <bhubanp@admin.stedwards.edu> Subject: Happy New Year! To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 10:31:49 CST

Dear Netters,

Wish you a happy and prosperous NEW YEAR.

Thank you Bhuban, Prabha and Bhumika Pandey

*********************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepal: Land of Suicides... Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 19:22:17 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from Nepal:
-----------------------

Ji Newa Kha wrote:
>
> A recent new release shows that the number of suicides in 1995/96 was THREE
> TIMES more than the number of murders: 1614 suicides vs 498 murders!
>
> This is certainly a social indicator to be alarmed about. Nepal's Hindu

I would feel good about the very low percentage of murders in Nepal
( 498/20000000)*100=0.0025% I guess a very very low rate compared with any society.( Can some one post the rate of USA India, Canada, China etc?). I don't think the suicide rate is disproportionally high compared with any other country. (My guess, I don't know for sure). (Of course ideally there should be non, neither murder nor suicide.) I fail to understand the rationale behind comparing suicide rate and murder rate, I think it is more common practice to compare murder rate with murder rate of another time or another place and simmilarly suicide rate with suicide rate of another place or time. For example one will not conclude like " average Nepali are shorter that average Americans, Average mountains are taller in Nepal than in America, so shorter the mean population, taller the mountain of a country tends to be!!" (Wow I fell like a PhD already).

> philosophy shares with Heaven's Gate the curious commonality that teaches
> that this body is just a vehicle for an eternal soul, so suicides is not
> killing but mukti, moksha, or even nirvaan or a soul shedding a wardrobe.
>
> But can we be complacent with this rate of suicide in our country? What
> about more materialist explanations? Can this suicide rate be an indicator
> of the hopelessness of most Nepalese caught between the conservative
> demands of Hinduist world view in a poor country and the liberating
> insecuirty of the promise of modernisation? Do most nepalese who

I get it now, it is all due to the same old bad Hinduism. I wonder if the auther has done a study on suicide rate of Hindus vs, that rate among people of other religions, over the same period of a same or simmilar location? I presume great care has to be taken when selecting a
" control group" before conducting any data collection that would ultimately lead to a very revolutionary idea like " Hinduism and Suicide tendencies".

> suicides feel the "samaj le ke bhancha" a greatern threat than real life
> murderers? We do not ofcourse take into considerations the hundreds of
> untabulated deaths of mothers due to lack of abortion and men who insist on
> their Hindu prerrogative to use them for sex and not support them.

Oh another eye-opener- Only Hindu men take it as perogative, otherwise in all other societies, religions women has been treated equally through out the ages.

> latest estimates are that this sort of death, not categorized as suicdes,
> are the greatest cause of death among women..

I agree here with the auther that the rate of abortion related deaths are very very high in Nepal and legalising abortion and state funding the rape and incest related abortion may be helpful. (Well, my thoughts to lower the abortion related deaths in Nepal, and it has nothing to do with pro-life or otherwise debate, I tend to agree with pro-life camp in many of their concerns).

Thank You Mr. Newa for not blaming Hinduism directly for abortion ralated deaths. Or may be I have missed here some subtle link that the auther felt a reader with normal intelligence could not miss.

> wonder how others feel about this??

Should I say more. Once I read an article written by a white supremist group relating all of Americas social cultural economical ills to the Jews and the blacks, and they used better logic. For the record still it didn't make much sence to me.

(...and it is not a knee jerk reaction from a die-hard Hindu ( that is how the auther may dismiss it) who wants to continue the Hindu haegomony in Nepal. I support secular status for Nepal, eat hamburger here, and am really proud of the ethinic and cultural diversity of Nepal)

Just my thoughts.. Mahesh Ghimire

************************************************************ Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:49:42 +0700 (GMT+0700) From: "H. K. Pradhan" <hsp57194@ait.ac.th> To: ramesh@ksc15.th.com Subject: Gurkha Diplomacy!!!

Dear respected Ramesh dai,
  Namaskar. It was not at all surprising to read an overwhelming write-up pointing out the weakness in the part of the organizers regarding the so called special day for Bangkokian Nepalese. Yeah, I do not deny many of the issues you raised. Rather I agree with you tens of times. Nevertheless, there are also some of the issues on which I can not go together with you. Many of your sentences are pinching and malicious, which are not obvious from the surface.

Before going ahead, I would like to mention about your comment on the number of AITians who were present that day. Going thru your sentences, I felt as if we AITians (at least me) are people gathered at the hotel for Pancha Vela during those so called King led Panchayat days. How cleverly and cruelly you have put the sentence "about 150 students were transferred
(ferried in the TND, later) in three buses to the ORIENTAL". For your best information please be informed that we had gone there on our own. Regardless, of status, each head paid Baht 135 for transportation. Of course, we did not pay for fooding. You should understand this and for the next time before writing such sensitive things please be weaponed with the right information. And more importantly, don't simply look graduating students as beginners. Talking about Nepalese AI Tians, nearly all of them had outstanding academic performance in Nepal and many of them are even high government officials. In addition to this, if you see the AIT award profile, most of them have been won by Nepalese students. You can imagine how they are contributing to the recognition of Nepal. If you probe more in them, you'll never ever find their contribution to the nation lesser than yours (and what to remark about the global contribution of our Nepalese faculty members?).

Secondly, you have emphasized a couple of times that you have been living in this host country for the last 16 years and this reception was one of the weakest presentation of the embassy people. Corollary to it, fooding is one of the issues on which you have severely attacked. But is our presence in this country just for the discussion on "DAL BHAT" organized in the reception of a nation head? If yes, then it must be true what a gentlemen said, "Nepalese are civilized, studied and then earned degrees just for themselves and themselves, more precisely saying for DAL BHAT and only for DAL BHAT"(Had been this wrong, an illiterate man wouldn't have hold the position of science minister). I am sure, you will be upset while reading this. But, I have arguments. Did
 not you see any other ill activities going on around against Nepal. For instance, did not you notice what was published in the Nation about Nepal few months ago? Surely you did but you did not care. Because neither it was interesting and nor it bother ed your personality.

Yeah, you are here for so many years, but how many times did you raise such issues? Is it only the government which has to do all these things
(Of course, this does not mean I am supporting the corrupt/punishable politicians of the present)? This would have been more important issue than what you raised about. And if you had questioned the existence of the embassy in this ground, I bet, many would have supported you and I would be in the front line.

Also, have you ever felt the disorders going on around RA (Bangkok), the only national flag carrier? I do not think you are unaware about it (forgive me for my generalization). Did you ever feel the disorders going on the RA schedules? Well, I think t hese issues are more important for a country whose dependency on tourism is significant. The damages it is causing each day on the prestige (what ever has remained) of Nepal is irreparable. And I am sure, such discussions would bring the right results which would give return at least in the long run.

In addition to them, lets see back whether we have done something good for our country which puts us in the capacity to debate about a party in a class hotel. While complaining about DAL BHAT, lets not forget that the money paid for this party is extracted from the poor who works the whole day with bare foot, bare head and perhaps his whole body is hardly covered. And he pays the land tax so that we can attend such parties abroad, at the cost of his empty stomach, at the cost of his illiterate children.

You have somewhere written about the way the host people respect their king. Why not? The Thai king deserves such respect because he is serious about the development of this kingdom. He has walked on the mud and sand of this country. He has himself organized and led so many development projects. It seems that he is all the time worried about the development of this country (see just during your stay in Thailand, she has completely changed her face). Don't you wish the same had taken place in Nepal. Well, I do not want to say anything about Nepalese monarchy in this matter. Nevertheless, it is worthy to mention that it is a stylized fact that kings and people are praised/remembered for their deeds not because of the birth, gone are those days. And please do not try to rejuvenate the past, try to learn from it, instead).

You have been out of the country for the last 16 years, that must be the reason why you do not know how the country has been institutionally made vulnerable (although today only the hands are changed, not the habits). Do not forget that the existence of monarchy (of course, including your and mine) is only possible when there is a prosperous country. In the absence of a sound economy, it is very easy to loose its independence
(forget about monarchy). Therefore, please do not bring just 'plain slogan' that misleads not only us but to the monarchy, too. In fact (I think), we need to criticize monarchy to save them and us, not the unwarranted and tawdry appreciation. While reading your posting, my memory pictured that young man who fell down from King Mahendra's statue in King's way, in 2046. People like him were shot dead later. Before they vanished deep into the blood, they were trying to stop the barbarous police with their weak bare hands. Perhaps, you do not know
(or forgot) there was no peoples' prime minister on many of those days. Do you think these men who gave their youth for democracy, will forgive you for your expression?
  Respected Ramesh dai,

See at the end of your arguments, you have mentioned about the Thai
"physicians.....themselves to themselves". I do not think it is any body's mistake. It happens in any big party. Unless somebody volunteers to introduce himself, it is not comfortable to talk with another, off hand, just because he is a foreigner. Yeah, the situation might have been pitiful for those who were already aware about it. But if you knew these things at the moment then what were you doing? I wonder why you could not be at least one Nepali who could have bridged the gap, or do you think that all these formalities should be maintained by the so called illtrained (in your words) diplomats?

And it was ridiculous to read your sentence that people passing behind the king for "taking photo...some were laughing...". It is ridiculous not because I am supporting the disorders and misdeeds and mishappenings occurred that day, but it is because you are trying to be exception. Of course, the arrangements were not flawless but how can you imagine that a single person can control the whole mass which was full of highly trained, educated and civilized people (!). Please try to realize the reasons behind it. Is it due weakness of our culture, teachings or just because of the organizer? I think we have been brought up like that. Intellectuals who are aware about these c ulture did/do not transfer to the others as the intellectuals and so called aware people never see back from where they came at present. Forget about their contribution. Many times such expectations are next to impossibility. Once they have safe future abroad, they have hardly anything more than denouncing the happenings in the country through a wire world.

This is why I believe unless a country has achieved certain level of development we can not expect getting things right. In other words, one should think about the problem in a holistic approach. When the development is in 'patch', the result becomes something like that you/we encountered in that reception. Perhaps this is one of the crux of life that either one has to sallow such problems or do not pretend to be a Nepali or he has to take initiation for a change (of course, this does not mean, I want all the unschooled phenomena like disorders, mismanagement, corruption, abuse of authority, poverty be synonyms of the word
'Nepalese').

Despite these undesired events, I had witnessed that His Majesty King himself wanted people to stand behind their Majesties. He was in fact enjoying with participants and the vice versa (after all, both parties were there for this purpose, I guess). It was His Majesty himself who asked attendants to stand behind them to get photographs, appreciating peoples' feelings. Then how can you criticize this event. I can feel the wa y you observed the situation but isn't it good enough to remember that there is remarkable difference between the Thai and Nepalese culture?

In the end, once again I want to thank you and assure you that many of the problems you pointed were genuine and they urgently need a redirection. But what can you (we) do when you (we) are already responsible for the weakness. Simply criticism against a
 single person doesn't bring much change (if you really want change). If you are really serious about Nepal and Nepalese, lets attack on the root-cause, not at the apex. Lets think broadly. There are numerous problems on which we can invest our time, m ind and resources. Today, Nepal needs intellectual supporters not academic mercinary. After all she did not give birth to us all, but with hope that we will all serve the mother land. Perhaps, she never imagined that we will betray her like we are doing today.

Thanx and best regards Hari K. Pradhan

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