The Nepal Digest - August 1, 1998 (6 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Saturday Aug 1, 1998: Shrawan 6 2055BS: Year7 Volume77 Issue1

Today's Topics (partial list):

           Mr. Yogi's School
           Attention: Ban Mantralaya
           A reply to Pramod Mishraji
           Response!!
           Attached letter to Ed
           Racism???
           Response to a letter by 'Nepal cat'
           Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India!
           Baghachal
           Titar Bitar
           Re: What does it mean to be a Nepali

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
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 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
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 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
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 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
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 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 21:52:57 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: article: "Mr. Yogi's School"

MR. YOGI'S SCHOOL: 'Arise, Awake, stop not 'till the goal is reached!' By F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple

Once upon a time in a life, you have a day where you're overwhelmed with a love you never get over!

I had such a day recently, when I was treated to the love of innocent faces, children gave me flowers, and I was asked questions about God, and the 'true meaning' of the Bhagavad Gita? I was treated with such respect as to feel unworthy.

Such a day I had at Mr. Yogi's school, the Hindu Vidyapeeth-Nepal school, of Balkumari (southeast Kathmandu).

But, in some ways I'm not surprised, the love I felt from these children at this school in Nepal... manifested by its founder and principal, Mr. C.M. Yogi!

There's an expression, that 'saints always tiptoe across the earth.' Here's an example of one, who has toiled in the 'vineyards' for fourteen years, volunteering in the beginning because he felt so strongly about teaching children the right things! It's a testament to his work that most of them, when I asked, want to be social workers (want to help other people)!2

The 'motto' of the school is by Swami Vivekananda: "Arise, Awake! Wake up yourselves and awaken others. Achieve the consummation of human life before you pass off! Arise! Awake! Stop not 'till the goal is reached!"

Every time I'm around Mr. Yogi, Swami Vivekananda's words echo in my mind: 'Arise! Awake! stop not 'till the goal is reached!'

How can I convey the honor of being invited to Mr. Yogi's school, this place of learning, love and respect? And to be given flowers by the children...

I stare at these flowers hours later in my room in Lazimpat, the gifts of little smiling gods, the bouquets made, with tiny hands... Like the school itself, first just a seed, a bud, a complex of buildings now, sprouting up, flowering to enlighten all those who can behold! 'Arise! Awake!'

Five years ago, there was only one building in a remote section of Patan, Balkumari (south across the Bagmati River from central Kathmandu). Now, one abandoned building is a hallowed place of learning.

But, the nine years before, this group wandered in a 'desert,' like nomads, Mr. Yogi like Moses.

There is a sign now over the front door of this building which reads, 'Watch your head!' It should warn you to, 'Watch your heart!' 'Arise! Awake!'

I'm shown photographs on the wall of students, documenting their activities, like field trips, to remote villages, where they learn about rural, tribal life.

 "We want students to get a well-rounded education, and much of that comes from real-life experiences," explains Mr. Yogi.

The school has taken students to many parts of Nepal, with the aim of making them familiar with the different places, culture, traditions, and natural beauty of their own country.

They visited Karfok of llam, Biratnagar, Dhankuta, Hile, Dharna, Janakpur, Timkiya, and the Indian city, Darjeeling, last year.

And wherever they have gone the students have made the local inhabitants aware of their own nation and of their brotherhood through a variety of devices: plays, songs, speeches, and poetry.

Hanging on the wall in the original building there are many certificates of merit that these students have been awarded. This is no inter-city public school in America where remedial arithmetic is taught: Later during the assembly one of these students asks me how I know there is a God? I tell him I see God in their eyes!

'The students are good at poetry, language, writing, public speaking,' Mr. Yogi explains.

Some of the certificates/awards are (for the past academic year): 'First Position, Speech: National level competition organized by Relyukai, Nepal, 'Essay Competition: First Position. Organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation on the occasion of World Tourism Day, ' 'Speech (Colloquial) competition: Second Position, Valley Level Competition organized by the Nepal Children's Organization on the occasion of Childrens Day,' 'Quiz contest: First Position, organized by Nepal Television,' and there are many more...

All during this tour little people walk up hands clasped and greet me with, 'Namaste!' They 'salute' the God that brought me to this clean, organized, Spartan, yet heartfelt place of learning.

I am introduced to three young English women in red saris, 'volunteers from GAP,' Mr. Yogi explains. Is the world an interesting place, or not...? They are: Ms. Julia Crausay, Catherine Lusas, and Munira Blacking, all of the U.K., come to help teach the children! 'Arise! Awake! Stop not 'till the goal is reached!'

I'm introduced to Mr. Yogi's teaching staff, the kinds of teachers I wish I'd had as a child... The kind that obviously care, as their salary for a month, an American spends on dinner in a restaurant. I meet Mr. Om Bhakta Yogi, C.M.'s brother, Bishnu Bhakta Dangi, Ramesh Kumar Karki, and Chidananda Mahatman Yadav.

I wonder to myself if these children realize how lucky they are...?

I know how lucky I am to have met Mr. Yogi, a practitioner of Bhakti Yoga and a devotee of one of the great Hindu wise men of India, Swami Vivekananda: 'Arise! Awake!'
  Mr. Yogi also points out a photograph of the patron saint of their school, Dr. Swami Prapannacharya.

But, Mr. Yogi talks more about love and spirituality than religion, and about the need to empower girls, in a country where it's culturally acceptable to relegate females to the most menial of tasks (I see women street cleaners in saris sweeping the streets of Kathmandu all the time). I tell him he's the first man in all of Nepal, since I arrived, that's addressed this issue!

Mr. Yogi explains to me what their long-term goals are, what they're trying to accomplish at Hindu Vidyapeeth-Nepal:

"HVP, as it's called, is operated by MSS (Matribhoomi Sevak Sangh), a socio-cultural organization with a non-profit motive. It provides residential and day-scholar facilities with round-the-clock supervision by a residential staff. It aims at producing academically brilliant students that have a full understanding of their own culture and traditional values.

"MSS intends to propagate such an ideal education that its demand will spread to all of Nepal. Accordingly, two branches have already been added, one in the eastern part of Kathmandu and one in Dang, in the farwest.

"Our plans are to extend HVP's education all the way to the 10+2 level; even to University level eventually.

"MSS has also planned to set up a comprehensive centre where there will be, in addition to a school, a hospital, nursery, a home for retired people, and an agricultural centre as well. And finally an International Peace Centre where spiritual discourse can take place.

In the meantime, they build at Balkumari, and from one building and a tenuous start, there are now three buildings, including a hostel (for boys), with one building under construction. All this, the vision of one person, yet the work and contributions of many people! 'Arise! Awake! Stop not 'till the goal is reached

The new building under construction has a deep, strong foundation, I'm told, by Mr. Ghanashyam Yogi, who is 'nurturing' it to life, evidence of the 'mental groundwork,' Mr. Yogi 'laid' fourteen-years ago. All of this beginning to 'bloom,' like the flowers I've been given!

They've spent already, 2-million rupees on the foundation and first floor of this building. Mr. G. Yogi, also makes a point to explain that the construction is going so well that they need to continue, that it's difficult to start and stop, raising money as they go along. How well I know from personal experience.

I look at the flowers the children have given me, all red and green with life, the remembrance of a day I'll never forget! I say a silent prayer that this group may continue to grow and 'blossom!'

I feel so alive in Nepal! So happy! It's hard to explain... It's like this is the culmination of my bodily life filled with new blessings every day, and filled with glories I only had an inkling existed!

In America it's a material existence, filled with artificial distractions (all the wrong gods) that keep you in a suspended limbo (maya). There's no real, loving life! Certainly, no 'Namastes,' from loving, polite, respectful children...

How can I explain to the assembled student body when later I'm asked the differences between America and Nepal... One is rich with $, the other rich in heart and soul! Can they understand?

The love I feel in Nepal I've never felt anywhere before... And I wouldn't trade it for fame, nor fortune, nor all the 'Oscars' and 'Emmys' there is to acquire! I wouldn't trade this life of 'poverty,' for all the gold in a country that's grown 'cold,' soul-less to me from over-materialization, money having become the God worshipped!

But, how do I explain this to most of the Nepalis I meet, who are 'dying' to go to America... 'All that glitters, is not gold!' I tell them! And how do I explain that I don't want to go back to America, yet can because I have an American passport? How do I explain, when they're 'dying' to go, but can't get a visa?

How do I explain the Soul that once was has abandoned America and now resides in places like Nepal, where they have so little in the way of material things (thank God), but so much in the way of loving hearts and souls. Can they possibly understand this...?

I have deduced in my 58-years of travelling, seeking, that there aren't Americans and Nepalis, only types of people: The kind that want to be there, and the kind that want to be here! You can have 'there,' I'll be 'here!'

Like the Buddha, 2,500 years ago, I've tasted all the 'fruits of paradise,' and behold they left a sour taste in my mouth! 'All that glitters is not gold!' my mother once told me.

I look at the flowers in my room, picked, arranged with little, loving hands. 'Namaste!' they chorus!

In the assembly room, packed with children, they sing songs, give speeches, recite poetry, and ask questions of me. They honor me! They ask me difficult questions... 'Why do I say these things about America, when it is my 'motherland?'

They are the hope of Nepal these, Mr. Yogi's children! They are the hearts and minds of the future! They are 'my' children in a way! They are 'your' children too! They are the sons and daughters of all of us!

Why should I have children of my own, when I'm already blessed with a 'family' of children all over the world?

Several children walk up to me after the assembly and grasp my hand, and ask me when I'm going to return... These are my children!

I smell the raw life in the flowers they have given me, picked for me, given with love... I smile all 'alone' in my room... 'Arise! Awake!'

I shall never have a lesser day surrounded by such caring, such 'poetry' (and not one word about sports)...

They (Mr. Yogi) have renewed my spirit, my soul, and I shall always be grateful! Grateful that I visited Mr. Yogi's school one day in Balkumari (Paten), part of Kathmandu, Nepal.

'Arise, awake, wake up yourselves and awaken others! Achieve the consummation of human life before you pass off! Arise, awake, stop not 'till the goal is reached!' Swami Vivekananda

I don't intend to stop!

Copyright 1998, F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple Lazimpat, Kathmandu Nepal 1 Swami Vivekananda 2 In America they would want to be Bill Gates, or Michael Jordan, or make money

********************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 13:07:19 -0400 (EDT) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: attention: Ban Mantralaya From: Yogi Kayastha <yogi_kayastha@hotmail.com>

CONSERVATION(of wildlife) VS SURVIVAL(of human beings)?

>I had been reading about Mountain Spirit from Everest region of
>Nepal. I appreciate the work initiated by MS adn the interest
>shown by the MF members and mean while I would like to share some of
>the situation that reflects the complexity of much buzzing word
>sustainable, conservation, development etc.. I hope this give non-
>Nepalese forum members some vision about Nepal mountain and problem
>people face there.
>
>Scenario one!!
>Gamgadhi,Mugu District, 1992..
>
>A 15 year old guy get attacked by wild cat near Rara National Park
>area and got big wound at his cheek. The wound is big and needed to
>stitch. He was taken to nearest health center which was at 3 hours
>walking distance. He could not get the wound stitched there because
>there was not stitching cord..
>Poor guy had to go Jumla district Center which is 2 and 1/2 days walk
>to get there. (Situation is still same there)
>
>
>Scenario Two!!
>Ghandruk,Annapurna Conservation Area Project 1998
>
>We launched two day mental health education/service camp at the
>Ghandruk- Head Quater of ACAP. Some 350+ people visited the
>camp and over 125 consultated doctors. We saw 11people who had
>epilepsy for many years and had never seen any medical person!! Here
>in Nepal to care epilepsy one need around medicine of 60 cents per
>month for 3 years + medical/ paramedical person (rare species) to
>diagonose and prescribe the medicine (phenobarbitone).
>
>There is one primary health center where one "Auxillary health
>Worker" (who has 10 year of schooling and then 1 year of health
>orintation) for 8000 population of the village. There is no doctor
>nor any nurse available in this touristic village where over 30,000
>trekers pass by annally. In case of emergency nearest hospital
>service available is in Pokhara Hospital which is 4 hours walk
>followed by 1.5 hours of bus ride.
>
>
>One of the reason of paramedical person not being available is the
>salary they get. (who would go and stay in such a expensive touristic
>place- 1 US$ per meal; bottle of beer 1.5 US$- if government pays you
>US $ 2 a day?)
>
>
>Scenario Three!!
>Bhote Chaur,(at the boarder of) Shivapuri Watershed & Wild life
>Conservation Area, Kabhre Palanchok, 1994
>
>Mahila, 50+ yr (appears like 70+), lives with his wife and two of many
>grandchildrens in the typical thatch house. His sons and daughter-in-
>laws has moved to Kathmandu few years ago. Though of his daugther
>is working in carpet factory (as weaver) in Kathmandu other one is
>missing since last 4-5 years. (probably sold for US$400-four hundred
>only- in brothel of bombay. Some 100,000 Nepalese girls are in bombay
>brothels :-)
>
>Mahila and many other villager's were planning to wheat the next week
>and their dream shattered when they found the field "bull-doged" and
>all wheat gone. Over populated wild boar of the park came out and
>destroyed their crop or (and hence meal for) one season. They have
>no other choice other than blame themselves for not being able to
>guard the field or curse the their fate.
>
>Park authority does not give them any kind of compensation. All the
>park authority & patrolling Army can give the villagers are order not
>to do this and that- for the sake of environment & better future.
>
>People who live in the National park, it is a curse! Except for some
>elite who can run the tourist related "profitable?" business. For
>the rest of the people it is their last incarnation's KARMA that they
>have to suffer these kind of miseary.

***************************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 13:28:10 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: A reply to Pramod Mishraji

Pramod Mishraji writes: (TND, July 18 '98)

> I also acknowledge the contribution of
> missionaries in the educational efforts in the third world countries.
> Here let me say something about Ashu's
> and one other person's testimony about St. Xavier's not attempting
> conversion.

> They totally misunderstood my question. My question was, Why have the
> students of St. Xavier's, Kathmandu, not converted and why have the poor
> and the Dalit converted and converting?

I don't know the precise/tentative sociological/anthropological answer to this, and would welcome scholars like Mishraji's answers to this conundrum.

But I'd say that Kathmandu's parents' sending their kids off to a Jesuit school was/is not for religious/spiritual reasons for but for pragmatic considerations (however misguided or sincere or contradictory they may be!) that their progenies would receive "an English education" at STX.

I too have never intellectually understood why the stalwarts of the Viswo Hindu Parishad (Nepal Chapter) such as Achyut Regmi et al (who, BTW, is a public figure and hence it is fit to be identified by name in this forum) would send their kids off to a Christian-run school like STX, while all the time publicly bemoaning about the mass conversion to Christianity that is allegedly taking place in the "poverty-ridden" hinterland.

Anyway, in one of my long drawn-out conversations with one of the Jesuit Fathers in '96, I was told that one of the primary reasons why the boarding facilities were dismantled in the early '80s at STX Jawalakhel was: Boys who were boarders for a long period of time often had a hard time adjusting to the world ONCE they were out of school: They seemed to have fewer friends, besides the ones they knew from school, and hence were very clannish. They seemed not to have mastered their ethnic language (often Newari and others), and many of the day-to-day religious/cultural festivals seemed to hold little vibrancy for them.

As a result, STX was, by this particular Jesuit Father's admission, producing students, who -- otherwise very smart and all that -- were actually misfits in their own various societies, and this, apparently was a great source of concern to many of the Jesuits in Nepal.

Now, I don't know whether dismantling the high school boarding facilities, and making STX Jawalakhel a day-school have necessarily/satisfactorily addressed those concerns . . . but the larger point here is that it's well arguable that while STX Church just outside of the school itself has been a place for prayers and meeting places for expatriate Christians in Nepal, STX school has NOT been a place to preach Christianity to vulnerable, impressionable students and convert them in any way.

> As a follow-up, I must ask them,
> Are they sure that as a result of St. Xavier's presence in Kathmandu,
> conversion hasn't occurred?

Logically, this is a non-sequitur. To the extent I can ascertain it, the
'brand' of Christianity at STX has never been evangelical. Sure, their have been instances of some formerly Hindu students' converting to Christianity, long after they graduated from the school, but their conversion as at-least-above-20-years-of-age has more to do with their volition than anything else.

>So the question was not directed toward the
> good faith of the missionary fathers and brothers who aimed to
> contribute to Nepal's efforts to modernize itself, but at those
> factors--poverty, insecurity, oppresion, lack of self-esteem in one's
> own religion--that lead to conversion. I look at myself. By now, if
> you have read me, you know that I abhore, indeed hate, many of
> Hinduism's traditions, but, inspite
> of my knowledge and experience of otehr religions, conversion has never
> occurred to me as an option. Why is that? If people like me convert,
> what will happen to Hinduism?

By reading your last line above, I find your setting yourself up as a great Hindu revolutionary is a little too extreme for my taste! Without being rude, I think I can say that even if you convert to another religion, nothing will happen to Hinduism -- and that it will go on, just like it has for hundreds of years, embracing its own values, contradictions, inconsistencies, new influences and ultimately its own humanity.

This is not to say that everything is fine and good with various strands of Hinduism, but as a liberal Hindu (liberal in the sense of being
"open-minded", broadly construed) I reserve the right for myself (and other similarly-minded Hindus) to pick and choose one's own "spiritual diet" that Hinduism offers from its smorsgasbord of "menus".

> I know that liberal Hindu students like
> Ashutosh Tiwari would only point out the "cynicism" of people like me but
> will remain ensconced in their liberalism and harvest its fruits. So you
> see what I mean?

This is a gratutious comment, and you know it. Previously, I was highly amused by your asking Joel Hafvenstein (from Yale) whether he had ever taken a writing class in his life. Now, you are accusing me of remaining
"ensconced in . . . liberalism and harvest[ing] its fruits."

Instead of answering this charge directly, I'll let the TND readers decide for themselves whether or not your comment smacks of same high-handed Hinduness that you accuse so-called high-class Hindus of.

Replied strictly in the spirit of friendly kura-kani.

oohi ashu

***************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 16:25:08 -0400 (EDT) From: Nirmal Ghimire <ngh42799@marauder.millersv.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - July 16, 1998 (2 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

This is in response to these lines by Bijay Raut:

"As for the current problem of the influx of immigrants from Indian border towns to Nepal, no simple solution exist to this complex problem. The rapid Indian immigration may be regulated by "tightening" the border, i.e., by requiring passport and visas, or the whole notion of immigrants can be eliminated by "eliminating" the border between Nepal and India, i.e., by the political unification of Nepal to the Indian Union (in the manner similar to all other distinct and different states of India which have united under one federation thereby preserving their uniqe "state" identity while adding a separate "national" identity to them). Which course should Nepal follow or which is viable, I leave that for further debate."

I do agree with you and many know about the problem of immigration from Nepal to India and vice versa.

But however your second solution/suggestion is not practical and it is not at all what Nepalese would want.

Why should Nepal ever have political unification with India.

Nepal may be a small country but it has its own soverenity.

"It is better to be a free poor person than a rich servant".

Okay India is all around us but we have always been capable of surviving without being part of india and we will always.

So I was surprised why you thought of such a suggestion.

Mr Raut I hope you got my point. I don't want to hear such suggestion
(although you have the full right to exert your opinion). So sticking with the first solution is better.

Nepal has always been a free country and will always be. There is a saying in Sanskrit
"Na bhuto na bhabisya".

India is a big country and is near Nepal. Nepal is a small country but it is a free county,a free country. I may be sounding too much it is because I have had many people say that nepal is in india.

So please let us not talk about political unification. No never.

Nothing personal with you but I just could not take your idea.

Jai Nepal Nirmal

********************************************************************** From: Pradeep Bhandari Date: 20 Jul 1998 15:07:55 -0500 Subject: Racism To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

I have been reading Mr. Bhagat's views on racism in Nepal for past couple of issues and as a true Nepali felt the need to clarify some of the misconceptions.

If you don't feel the need to prove your ancestry, what are you crying about all this time? I could care less if you are from Jankapurdham or Gorakhpur. The way you are portraying yourself and so called 'Madhises' is pathetic. How does the word 'Madhise' has the same connotation as 'n' word? To me if you live in the hills, you are Pahade and if you live in the Terai you are Madhise.I am amazed by your loyalty to 'Sadhvawana party', the party that wants our Terai to be a part of India. Pahades never abused Madhises and you tell me if any of your ancestors were slaves. If you even don't understand what these simple terms mean, I have very serious doubts that you know ANYTHING about Nepal and the people that live there.

As far as citizenship, where did you come up with that statistics? We sure can not grant citizenship to everyone that crosses the open border. How does that make the government 'racist'? If Pahades were really racist like you portrayed them to be, how come there are plenty of Madhises in the government? If we were so racist, your Sadhvawana party would not have been in existence, whose sole purpose is to unify Terai with India. And what about your representatives in the Sadhvawana party? From what I understand, some of the Mps are convicted felons in India living as fugitives in Nepal, and at the same time enjoying the luxury of being in the government in Nepal. That sure does not look like discrimination to me.

As far as your 50% share in everything, you can sure dream about it. I am sure 50% of so called 'Madhises' are illegally staying in the country and if the government investigates, are subject to deportation, forget about the quotas Mr. Bhagat. If anybody needs quota, its the poor people who live in the hills. Have you ever been to the villages in the hills where they have no schools and not a piece of fertile land? I am sure you heard people dying in the hills because of lack of food few months ago. I am very sure those people were not Madhises but were very indigenous Pahades. And you have the most fertile land in the country infested by illegal immigrants and now you tell us you need fifty percent quota and more of these people in the government so that you can have the total control over us?

Now let's talk about your loneliest years at your JUNIOR HIGH. How mature you think kids are? You are just holding grudges because of few isolated incidents that happened to you when you were a kid. Do you think that your school represents the representative sample of the entire grown-up population?

As far as enforcing Nepali language into Madhises, I am sure we have not barred you from educating your people in your native language. Are we supposed to have our text books printed in forty seven languages just to be politically correct? How rational is it for a country like Nepal where people are starving to death?

If you are a true Nepali and care about Nepal at all, you should stop wining about our petty differences and try to find a common ground for our diverse people to live and grow together in peace and harmony.

Pradeep Bhandari

*************************************************************** From: "nepal cat" <nepalcat@hotmail.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: response!! Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 07:06:28 PDT

Mr Dalrymple:

This is in response to one of your articles which was circulated via email and I believe was also published in the TND. I am basically a reader not a writer, but after reading your piece I had no choice but to respond on behalf of my countrymen.
  1.You wrote:
  "What I've discovered since being in Kathmandu, Nepal, for four
  months is the negativity, fatalism, depression, and hopelessness in the Nepali psyche.What Nepal needs is a psychic 'facelift'. You've been down so long, you've got so many problems (that you believe you have)you've begun to believe you can't do anything about them!"
  My response:
  What a bunch of crock!! First of all let me point out that
  'negativity, fatalism, depression, and hopelessness'is found in
  every society in this world. Have you forgotten the ghettoes of
  NYC or DC or LA or for that matter any city in the US?All you have to do is take a stroll along one of those streets to see
  'negativity, fatalism, depression, and hopelessness' and if you
  manage to get out of there alive you may be able to write about it.
  Have you forgotten the pathetic looks on the faces of the appalachians in WVA? Have you forgotten the thousands of homeless
  people wandering the streets of America? Have you forgotten that
  the mental institutions of the US are filled to capacity? Do you
  know that the #1 selling drug in the US is 'Projac' an anti depressant?How dare you make a comment like that based on a four months stay. I think man to man there is more of the'negativity
........' in the US than in Nepal.We respect you as a guest...be just that ...we do not need your patronizing attitude or remarks.
  I have a feeling people like you come to countries like ours to be
  a big fish in a small pond. If you so desire recognition say something positive or are you
  saying there is nothing positive to say about Nepal. If so pack up
  your bags and go back to your drug infested bullet riddled cities
  and maybe you will live another day. You talk about hopelessness
  `..just stop at any intersection in the US and you will find a face
  filled with despair and hopelessness pressed against your car
  window.
  Nepal is a nation of humble people. We treat guests with the utmost
  respect. We try not to offend people with our responses. We have
  the tendency to belittle ourselves. That is humility. People like
  our esteemed author exploit that as a weakness and make patronizing
  statements.

 2.You wrote:
   "You've given up! Stop! You can STILL change things for the better (including private education)! It is this defeatist mental attitude that's crippling you!"
   My Response:
   No we have not given up!! Look around you ``the 'rickshaw pullers',
   the coolies,the man behind the 'makai'(corn) stand in Ratna Park,
   the shepards, the laborers`what do you think they are doing? They
   are trying to eke out a living. They haven't given up. They go
   hungry at times but they haven,t given up. Don't you think they want to do better. If they were brought up in a society like the US they would do extremely well. Why??? Because they are very hard working and they do not give up. For 100 years(during the Rana regime
)
   Nepal languished in an educationless society. While the rest of the
   world was educating themselves we were feeding goats and cows. We
   had no choice then. We are trying to catch up but still lag behind. We have 100 yrs of catching up to do. Our educational institutions are not up to par with the rest of the world. But that is OK`one day at a time..one step at a time. Why do students want to come to the US or for that matter any other country? For a better education While there are those who go abroad to study financed by their wealthy parents there are countless others who have worked very hard to get enough money to come to the US. Have they given up?? Noooooo.We don't need a Gandhi or a Churchill to inspire us. We have our own heroes and martyrs who have been inspiring us for generations. About not finding a single Nepali mentioned in the Asiaweek survey..so what!! ..how many out of almost one billion indians were mentioned? Anyway 'Asiaweek' is mostly about Honkong
   China,Indonesia,Phillipines etc. But we will have our day.

 3.You wrote:
   "I have an idea to build a skiing facility and host (in the year
   2,014), the Winter Olympic Games in Nepal (the Switzerland of Asia). But, one of my Nepali friends said, when hearing about this,
'Oh, we'll never be able to do that!' Well, with that attitude, he's right!"
   My Response:
   What a joke!!!! Anybody in their right mind would have called you
'loco' to your face.But Nepalese being Nepalese(humble) you get a response like that. Read between the lines . If Bill Gates himself had suggested the idea,they would have produced a blueprint by the end of the week. Mr Dalrymple. don't underestimate the Nepalese people. They know the difference between 'talking the talk' and walking the walk'.

   Let me make this clear "the people of Nepal have not given up". We have our problems like anybody else and we are trying to solve them.We are trying our best under the circumstances. It may not look like a lot to you ..it does not really matter.. we know what we are doing.We got rid of years of absolute monarchy and we will get rid of our present problems.We certainly don't need outsiders to give us insight into our problems...our Nepali problems. My
   suggestion to the author is to take another trip to Nepal...spend a
   year or so and this time don't forget to take off your shades...look for the positive. This time be a guest not a pest.
   I wanted to respond to other parts of his email but unfortunately I
   don't have the time at the moment. So this is it for now.

   meow!

  "NepalCat"

******************************************************************************* Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 12:41:53 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: attached letter to Ed and or...

18th of July, 1998

To the editor(s):

On Thursday night, July 16th, I attended a music concert at the Royal Academy auditorium (in Kathmandu, Nepal).

 This was sponsored by the Embassy of India, to celebrate (with Nepalis) fifty years of independence (from the U.K.). The Indian ambassador, K.V. Rajan, sponsored a trip/performance so Nepalis could hear one of India's great female vocalists, the 'Nightinggale of India,' as the Ambassador described her, Vani Jairam. And she was something to behold...

Thus, I was happy when Razen Manahdhar called attention to the audience's rude behavior in his review of her performance in TKP (July 17th), 'Vani Jairam wins Nepalis heart.'

Her performance was pretty much ruined for me by people near me talking during, even singing along, and a young boy behind us who was bored, and stomped up and down the aisle behind me (whose father did nothing to stop it)!

This is not a problem exclusive to Nepal, however, as I witnessed it from New York City to Los Angeles, to Tokyo!

There seems to be a cross-cultural 'type' of person who doesn't understand simple courtesy to others... I see it everyday. My mother, would describe this as 'lack of breeding/training.'

I have never understood, personally, why people spend their time, effort and money to attend such performances, and then act like 'children.' Can someone explain...? It seems to me their parents just didn't teach them etiquette, and/or simple courtesy to others, and especially to performers when they're on stage!

If I wanted to hear people (you) talk or sing (in the audience) I would ask them (you). I went to hear Vani sing, not them (you)... But, because of their (your) rude behavior (not thinking of me or any other in the audience), the (you) ruined my chance to hear her (well).

Music has to be listened to, to understand. And I'm an anglo man, trying to understand Nepali/Hindi culture (that's why I went).

I remember years ago being in Carnegie Hall in New York City, when Nina Simone walked off the stage because the audience was acting similarly (rudely).

I remember a Van Morrison concert at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, where some kids (who were drinking alcohol) were so loud and boisterous, we had to call security to eject them!

Again, why bother to attend a concert when you're not going to listen...? What's the purpose? To annoy and make miserable those around you...? I'll never understand, I guess!

In Kathmandu, households let their dogs annoy their neighbors with incessant barking (all night long).

Thus, I have nicknamed Kathmandu,'Dogmandu,' (as I call it now), the 'Dog-Barking Capitol of the World!' (at least Lazimpat that I will be departing soon because of noise pollution, 'Dogmandu,' eventually...). In fact, there is a dog, just below, out my window, that's whinning and barking right now because it's been caged!

It's just common courtesy, not to do anything that will annoy or otherwise disturb your neighbors... Maybe this is a concept Kathmanduans are unfamilar with...? Maybe no one complains...? Maybe they're deaf by now...?

But, it's very difficult for a performer, especially in front of an Ambassador (whose country has 'footed' the expense) to walk off the stage. Plus, Vani is a true professional! She was very gracious to an ungrateful (I thought) audience (they barely even applauded).

Had it been me performing the other night , at the Royal Academy auditorium, I would have excused myself, and (like another American Nina Simone) walked off the stage!

'Children,' of all ages, need to be taught (if they don't know how to act in public)!!!

F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple Late of Lazimpat, soon of Svayambhu (where I hope they're fewer dogs)

****************************************************************** From: "Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield, CO" <Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com> To: "'NEPAL@MP.CS.NIU.EDU'" <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Racism??? Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 22:21:33 -0600

Racism???

I hope Mr. Bhagat isn't just saying all the things he is saying because he is a heckler. Although his sentiments are politically charged, the issues he has raised are important issues. We need to deal with them. We are indo-phobic to a certain extent. Fear of being overwhelmed in your own home is universal. We all like to have a safe and static environment where we feel we know everything around us. With thousands of people coming to Nepal from India, that sense of security disappears for a lot of Nepalis. It probably doesn't for Terai Baasis because they have had a close cultural ties with people. In fact they are the same people, who happened to live in two countries. So, some Nepalis can feel close to Darjeeling Basi Indians where as some may feel close to Bihar Basi Indians, we need to treat them the same. They are foreigners as far as we are concerned.

We need to keep Nepal for Nepalis. That's why for so long I was a supporter of a solution of Dr. Harka Gurung who proposed the closing of Nepal-India border. That way we can know who is Nepali and who is not. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, I do think no matter how difficult is is to imagine, it has to be done one day. That will give us a lot of independence, from finance, to industries, and a lot of crime. India will benefit too. Indian press has virtually made Nepal a fortress of Pakistan's ISI. That would obviously stop. Cross border crime will stop and so on. The economic cost to Nepal of course will be enormous. However, in the end, everyone will benefit. India being a huge country can absorb Nepalis going there however, Nepal can't absorb all Indians.

"...one fifth of the Nepalese population which is of Indian origin." * You got the figure wrong. We the Teraiwasis constitute half the population of the country. That's why the Sadbhavana Party says,
"Sadbhavana ki yahi ek awaj,madhesi hum lenge sau mein pachas." (The Sadbhavana says in one voice, we the Terai peoples will take our justly due share of 50% in everything.) "

Why do people always keep on saying Indian origin? British united the small kindoms, fiefdoms etc. and made it India. There was no such thing as India before British united them. Nepal was also ruled by many kings. So, how does the logic that 50% Nepalis are Indian origin come from? I would agree if someone said lot of Nepalis and Indians had the same ancestors. However, Nepalis being Indian origin, I disagree. Nepalis are of Nepali origin and Indians are of Indian origin.

"* 10 times more Nepalis go to India looking for work. As for the
"unchecked, uncontrolled" part....that is the agreement between the two governments. The government of Nepal may repeal the agreeement any time it wishes to and stop Nepalis from going to work in India and vice versa. But this has nothing to do with us Teraiwasis. We are not part of this talk. It is between the Indians and the Nepalese government. "

You are a Nepali aren't you? Nepal is not just a geographical area. It's made up of all the people in it too. How can a problem just be a government problem? The party that you were previously affiliated with
(Sadbhavana) was in the government. So, it represented you at that time. So, it was your government too. So, how can you say it's not your problem. Actually, that is precisely the problem. All of us Nepalis always identify ourselves separately from the government. In all things, we elect the MPs blame them for ruining the country. What I am saying is it's not healthy to have this hands off attitude.

To tell you the truth, among the Indians, I came across here in the U.S., the ones from Bihar were ridiculed beyond description. The guys (from Bihar) were equally intelligent, if not more, but I always wondered why are they considered the low-lives of India. Why were Italians hated here in the 30s, because they were poor. People don't like to admit it, but it is true. The so called elites of Nepals equally dislike people from Pahads. Take for example the tradition of the Royal Family. Why don't they marry outside of Rana family? Because of their contempt of the regular Nepali people. It's the same everywhere. We as humans like to feel important and better than others, so we tend to put people down.

I do like to say that your comparison of Slavery to the situation of Terai Basis is very unfortunate. Other than snide remarks made by people, Teraibasis are a part of Nepali life. I don't think they are denied opportunities just because they are Teraibasis. I see so many Teraibasis doctors and engineers, needless to say businessmen. To compare them with American Negros was incomprehensible to me. Then, again, experiences are personal. I can't say what you experienced didn't happen. May be you need to open up a little bit too. After all you are also a Nepali. It's your duty too to make Nepal better, just like it is mine and all our fellow citizens.

Sincerely,

Prakash Bhandari prakash.bhandari@cexp.com

************************************************************** Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 09:23:33 -0300 From: Walter Lee <wlee@nbnet.nb.ca> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: education system?

Dear Sir or Madam;

I am seeking information about the Nepalese secondary school system. I need to know about the grading system, how it is structured, and how it compares to the Indian system. I need this information to know how to assess applications to our university by Nepalese students.

Thanks you so much for your help.

Kind regards, Walter Lee

***************************************************************** Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 13:26:03 -0500 (CDT) From: Thirendra Rayamajhi <thiren@cegt201.bradley.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: Indo-Nepal Border and the state of Bihari Nepali

It has been more than thirty years since my family has settled down in the Terai. I was born in Terai and grew up in the hot summers and the cold winters of this great plains. I've spent significant years of my life from the Hilltops of Kalimpong to the Chotanagpur platue of Ranchi. Call me a "Madise" if you will. But I am a Nepali first, and the rest doesnot matter.

Lately, I've been following Mr. Bhagats' concerns about racism in Nepal. There are lots of truths in them. I agree that racism is not biological but sociological problem. However, I utterly disagree and disrespect the means with which he plans to combat this issue.

Mr. Bhagats' concern of the Terai people being less represented in Nepal is a harsh truth. I wonder if he has ever reflected on this thought as to why is this so. The answer is simple math. It has always been easier for the people of Terai to associate themselves with people across the border because of the cultural links and similar traditions and ofcourse the window of opportunity is much more there. A person from the Hills is somewhat restricted in opportunity and resources. He grabs hold of any opportunity he gets within the "constricting borders of Nepal". The people from the Hills move out and people from the Terai do not want to got to the Hills, both for the same reason that life is very hard there. It is human instincts to search for greener pastures and we have done it all the time and will continue to do so. The solution to a problem such as this is not: "Sadbhavana ki yahi ek awaj,madhesi hum lenge sau mein pachas. (The Sadbhavana says in one voice, we the Terai peoples will take our justly due share of 50% in everything.)". This is bullish. There is a trend set here. It needs time and education. Moreover, it's a democratic country now. If you've got the mettle don't take 50 take 100. It is justified.

I am a little confused of Mr. Bhagats' envision of a "South Asian Economic Unity" and "stop ..... encroachment of Terai". Well, it doesnot concern me on which side he is on, thats his problem. What concerns me is that I feel I am as deeply attached to Terai as is anyone, regardless of their history. And it should be open for anybody who want to embrace it. We are not building fences here. Are we? Atleast not in the beginning of the twenty first century.

I've got a mixed feeling about the intention of Mr. Bhagat bringing out this issue not so much for the cause rather for the beliefs and ideology of the political party he stands for. His interest is half.

The issue here is not what Terai 'was' rather what Terai 'is'. Today, Terai is fast becoming a pot pourri of ethnic diversity in Nepal. You can't stop this tide. Neither can anyone.

Suggestion: Ride the wave!

Thiren.

************************************************************* Date: Tue, 02 Jan 1990 21:40:58 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: response to a letter by 'Nepal cat'

Dear Mr. 'Nepal Cat:'

Normally, I wouldn't respond to anyone that doesn't have the courage to use their real name, but since you gave me an opportunity to respond publicly, and address the situation in Nepal, I do so via The Nepal Digest.

Here is my response, and signed by my real name, should you come looking, by the way... I live near Svayambhu in Kathmandu, and the telephone # is: 977+1+282039, should you want to discuss anything with me directly, man to man...

To be open and frank, mince no words....It's the American way, and in the Constitution of the U.S., guaranteed by the First Amendment...

And thus, as an American I would defend your right to say whatever (even criticize me), even if it cost me my life... Would you do the same for me? This is what democracy (dwindling though it is in America) is all about! Yet, to be understood in Nepal.

I took the time and the effort to respond to you, whomever you are and wherever you are hiding, to keep the dialogue going, as I think that's important... Not, that I'm right, and you're wrong... I'm wrong most of the time...

On the other hand, you appear to me one of those who (because of lack of consciousness/ probably young) are part of the problem... Not yet, part of the solution! But, maybe I'm wrong... Maybe I've been hasty, like you....

You thought I was 'attacking' Nepal, and 'defending' America! How very wrong you are... I am one of America's biggest, most outspoken critics... Additionally, I love the Nepali people!

Why do you think I live in Nepal and not one of those, 'drug infested, bullet riddled cities?' I feel safe here in Kathmandu walking the streets, even at night, and even during a bundha! It's Dallas, Texas, that scares the shit out of me!

But, America is a entirely different subject, with it's own problems... I was discussing what I think the problem is in Nepal... I know what the problem is in America (where money has become God).

I'm trying to help Nepal! But, I'll make a deal with you (not knowing where you live). I'll help you save America, if you help me save Nepal...? Deal?

I'm not anti Nepal and pro America... I'm anti wrong, and pro right, wherever I am. And I'm certainly not being patronizing, as I have the greatest respect for Nepal! But...

There's good in Nepal, and bad in America. There's good in America and bad in Nepal! Help us right what's wrong, wherever it is!

Yes, I was a 'nobody' in America, and I'm a 'nobody,' in Nepal... But,
'nobodies' have changed the world!

Again, you thought I was 'attacking,' being 'patronizing,' when all I'm trying to do is identify the problems (in a more succinct way) so that things can be improved. If you can't identify the problem, how can you work toward a solution?

Should we just overlook what's wrong, and not try to fix anything? What is your solution to Nepal's current state of malaise...? What is your solution to the problems in America, for that matter?

What I'm trying to do is inspire, rouse, awaken Nepal from a great
'slumber,' and bad dreams of not 'being in control.' I'm one of those
'nobody' catalysts. I'm a 'lighter of fires!' My cry is, 'Start the drums, sound the call!'

If you don't know about America history (and not all is bad about America), read what Thomas Paine did for the American Revolution in the 18th century... Or, the silversmith, Paul Revere, for that matter...

I believe we can do anything (together)... Yet, the Nepali spirit, for reasons which I now think I understand, is so downtrodden, that all people can do here is 'complain.' They're absolutely incapacitated by their past history, culture, mythology. I've experienced this firsthand! Thus, when Nepalis rant and rave about corruption in the Nepal Government... I retort with, 'If you don't like the way things are, YOU CHANGE THEM! YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT IN A DEMOCRACY!' And generally they respond with, 'I don't understand that!'

It's not that America is better than Nepal, or that Nepal is worse. You have missed the entire point actually!

You were personally 'hurt' by the 'criticism,' you feel so much for Nepal. And you're tired of hearing about all 'the problems.' You're proud of Nepal, and wish people would stop describing it in negative terms, and America as so perfect (which it's not)!

And you're right! There's much to be proud of here in Nepal, and so much potential! That's why I was curious about this basically negative attitude amongst the people here in Kathmandu...

So, why don't you join with me in helping Nepal (and America for that matter) change for the better...? We can all improve, right...?

And what's wrong with me 'reaching for the stars,' in my older declining years, and going for the summit of Everest at age 63...? Watch me! Most people don't take me seriously on this one either... I say, 'Watch me!' I may die trying, but so what... Don't we all die...?

And what's wrong with having (the near impossible) goal of hosting the Winter Olympics Games in Nepal in the year 2,014? Watch us do it!

Yea, it's a crazy idea... So, was settling American in the 17th century! So, was putting a man on the moon in the 1960's! So, was inventing the light bulb, or publishing 'Zen, and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,' which was rejected by 70 publishers before someone took a chance! Now, it's a classic, and published, even in Hindi, and all over the world. You, however, would have been one of the publishers to reject it.

Had you been in England in the 17th century, and had some influence, there probably wouldn't be a United States today! And if you, or people like you, had been president of the U.S., in the 1960's, instead of J.F. Kennedy, we would have never put a man on the moon, or be exploring the cosmos now!

There have been naysayers all throughout history. Robert Kennedy, once said in a speech, 'Some people ask why? I ask why not?' And thus I ask the Nepali people, 'Why not? What prevents us?' It's only you, Mr. 'Nepal (cool) Cat,' who prevents yourself from getting the 'brass ring.'

It's only Nepal that prevents itself from climbing out of the 'shit hole' it's in, and onto the pearly, snowy slopes of the Himal in 2,014... Where the president of the IOC will say, during the Opening Ceremonies, 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' I declare the 22nd (or whatever number they are) Winter Olympic Games to be open!

And there will rise from the hearts and throats of people like you (who are going to be there with me), and thousands of Nepali people who said this couldn't be done, a cheer that will be heard around the world! And Nepal will forever be changed, from that moment on!

The only thing that prevents us from accomplishing this is your (and other's) 'can't do' attitude!

There is obviously much wrong with American culture, but believing we can't do 'it,' isn't one of them!

Thus, I will leave you with a wise man's quote, some two thousand years old: 'The absence of all doubt, leads to complete success!

What can I tell you... I have NO DOUBT! If you do... Then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution! When you change, come and see me! I will be waiting! Climb with me to the top of Sargamantha! I challenge you to!

Namaste! F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple hutch@nodoubt.com.np

***************************************************************** Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 15:28:52 -0400 (EDT) From: bibhutinepal@my-dejanews.com Subject: Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India!

"TEN REASONS WHY NEPAL SHOULD JOIN INDIA!"

My immediate reactions to Mr. Bijay Raut's proposal that Nepal should join the Indian Union were anger and disgust. I thought Bijay Raut was a betrayer and a pro-Indian activist. However, after several thoughts, I have reached conclusions that Mr. Raut has very good points and his hypothesis deserves serious attentions.

Joining India will be unthinkable and unacceptable to any patriotic Nepali. The stories of the alleged Indian attempt of encroachment of the Nepalese territories are still fresh in our memories. However, let's now put aside those grievances for a while and try to focus, analyze and debate objectively on a single question: Should Nepal make effort to gain statehood in the Indian Union (Like Puerto Rico is attempting to be the USA's 51th state)? In other words, should Nepal join the Indian Union?

I know many people have and will argue against this proposal. But let me take this opportunity to argue for the proposal.

In my humble opinion, Nepal should join India for the following major reasons:

1. The purchasing power of the Nepalese consumers will instantly INCREASE by 60% since Indian Rs. 100 will no longer be Nepalese Rs. 160. IRs. 100 will be equivalent to NRs. 100. The Nepalese consumers will get the Indian goods for at least 60% cheaper value than before while sell their products to Indians at higher than previous values.

2. Since India is our major trading partner (about 2/3 of the total trade are with India), our economy will largely benefit from the increase in strength of our currency. The current trade deficit will be less painful to our economy then.

3. India is often accused of encroaching not only our land but also our culture, language and values. Now if Nepal becomes a part of India, what will India encroach? It's own land!! The culture of both Nepal and India will flourish as well as assimilate better than now. India, if nothing else, represents a remarkable example of cultural, ethnic and linguistic assimilation. Furthermore, Nepali is already an official language of India, i.e., Nepali is included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

4. For Hindus, India is "Mecca" and "Madina." Non-Hindus -- Cheer up! The Secular Indian State won't marginalize your religious rights as they have been in the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal.

5. Nepal will be a separate state of India and not a part of U.P., Bihar or West Bengal. This means Nepal can exercise almost all of her present rights other than the one involving territorial disputes with China or other Indian States, in which case the Federal Government of India (which in turn is not under control of any dominant group in India, but headed by the representatives of all states of the Indian Union) will take the charge. Under Indian Constitution, states are granted vital rights ranging from levying of the taxes to maintaining internal security, as well as deriving own educational and cultural policies. Nepal should be glad to become a part of the larger body. Any achievement of India will automatically be the achievement of Nepalis and vice versa.

6. While state leaders of Nepal will work hard to improve the lives of Nepalis, it will be the responsibility of the Federal government of India to counsel the policies of the states, promulgate federal policies for the whole country, provide the Nepalese state with frequent funds as well as take the immediate charge of the natural emergencies like flood, earthquake, etc. The state leaders of Nepal will have better chance of building the Nepalese nation than now, since there will always be someone at the back for assistance and guidance.

7. The largest natural resource we have is water. Unfortunately, the amount of hydro-electricity generated from it is minimal. The Arun -III, the multi-billion dollar hydro electricity project, was terminated because The World Bank drew off its support, primarily due to the lost of the Bank's faith in the Nepalese government that was characterized by sharp political instability. The Federal Government of India, with its huge budget and capacity to lure large multinationals and international lending agencies, can easily get several of such Hydo-Power projects going. This will but benefit Nepal and Nepalis in large because the electricity will now be sold not only to China but to several other Indian states with very little hassles.

8. The legendary Gurkha soldiers, who now constitute a significant portion of the Indian Army, are working not for their motherland but for a foreign land. These Gurkhas, in one sense, are not soldiers but just mercenaries (hired army motivated by money rather than love for motherland or national glory). If Nepal were to be a part of India, these brave soldiers would be working for their motherland and their bravery will count as glory and not just paid service.

9. One may argue against the proposal of the unification by saying that India has very little incentive to have Nepal as its state because India will have to guard hundreds of miles of the Nepal-China frontier, which might suck up its already strained military and economic resources. This is not true. India has already been guarding the China-Nepal frontier indirectly. Just imagine when China invades Nepal, do you think India will sit down there and keep watching? Never. Directly or Indirectly, India has and will have to guard the Nepal-China frontier. In case Nepal becomes a part of India, India will have to divert little extra of its military resources to the frontier.

10. Finally, I believe, and many of you will agree, that Nepal lacks resources to function as an independent country. About three quarters of the country's land is mountainous, and the fertile quarter is over populated and prone to erosion, flood, and other ecological hazards. Two-third of the population is illiterate while over 40% live below poverty line. The majority of educated population is unproductive since they are stuck up in the inefficient government services. Natural resource other than water is rare and tourism sector is on the verge of decline because of the negative ecological impacts as well as polluted cities. Furthermore, Nepal has one of the highest per capital foreign debt despite she gets large sums of foreign grants each year. The remittances of the Gurkha soldiers and that of Non-Resident Nepali are not enough to support economy, and there has been continual migration of Nepali, both seasonal and permanent, to India and other countries in search of work and other economic opportunities. Nepal definitely needs both
"guidance" and "assistance" of the Federal Government to boost up its economy and maximize the utility of her limited resources. Only unification with India will bestow Nepal with such power and opportunity.

Please feel free to agree/disagree with my comments.

namaste, Bibhuti Nepal

****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 12:10:25 -0500 (CDT) From: Gustavo Hernandez <al179934@mail.mty.itesm.mx> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Baghachal

Hi!!
   I'm a mexican student form the ITESM Campus Monterrey, based on a=20 project form school, I have to learn how to play Baghachal=20
(a friend told me it was from Nepal), I'm concerned because the=20 information I've adcquired is very poor, I'll very graceful if you could=20 tell me how to play, besides how should I do to win... This is part of a=20 project based on Artificial Intelligence (on Scheme Language)to graduate=20 myself.. It would be very nice that you could tell me what are the best=20 moves for tigers and rams and how would be the best firsts plays, another= tricks and so on.. I really appreciate if you could send me an e-mail:=20

I'll promise you that if you could help us, I'll send you a copy of our=20 game as a present from Mexico...

Thank you... Sincerely, Gustavo Hern=E1ndez V=E1rguez al1798934@mail.mty.itesm.mx panamex19@hotmail.com

********************************************************************* Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 15:29:46 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: "J. Cloud" <jyoti@theshop.net> Subject: Titar Bitar

 A friend of mine wrote this, and I found it very interesting. I apologize for the length; I'll have to cut it in half and post the rest on the next edition of TND. (or email me for the rest, if you want it sooner!) -Jyoti Cloud -
  I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY the personal testimony of Pradesh Shrestha

"I had never seriously considered the reality of God nor my lack of relationship and responsibility to Him until September 1983 when I lay seriously ill on a hospital bed in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, the doctor told me they had finally diagnosed my illness; the antibiotic I would have to take was known to be potentially deadly for some patients but there was no good alternative. I was shocked. I agreed to take the medicine but that night I could not sleep. Where will I go if I die now? For the first time in my life I took an honest look at myself. And when I did so my conscience was troubled because, whereas I had always perceived myself to be a good person, now I saw myself as one with something fundamentally wrong within. If there is a Heaven and if there is a Hell, I felt I would end up in Hell.
     I was born in Nepal. My parents, especially my mother, were devout Hindus. We went to Pashupatinath several times a year; I grew up fascinated with the stories of Rama and Krishna. I went to a school in Kathmandu run by the Jesuit Catholic priests. There I had some exposure to what I thought was the Christian Religion. But, in fact, we were never explicitly taught any Catholic doctrines nor the Bible. The only exception I can remember is that we once memorized the Ten Commandments but, oddly enough, the commandment not to worship idols was excluded. Though I was taught morals, I learned nothing about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
 By the time I reached tenth grade, my vague and confused personal belief was that all things come by chance via the random process of evolution and that physical death forever ends the existence of a person.
     As I lay awake late that night on my hospital bed, I foundmyself without God, without hope, all by myself, filled with memories of my childhood and youth. Gradually, the medication did its work and I got better. But as I got better, I gave less and less thought to the things my conscience had so keenly felt at the hospital.
     At that time, I was a student in an international high school in New Mexico. I used to receive letters from "Mom", the mother of a student from the Midwest who had once invited a dozen of us students to her home for Christmas. On day one of Mom's letters arrived. I was reading it aloud to my roommate. A short paragraph in the letter strangely arrested me, and I could not read it aloud anymore for tears welled up in my eyes. She wrote that the previous Sunday they were singing a hymn at church: "I love to tell the story, Of unseen things above; Of Jesus and His Glory, Of Jesus and His Love!" As she sang, she thought of the many foreign students who had crowded her house in winter, who did not know the Saviour she did. She asked herself, "Do I really love to tell others about the only Saviour there is?" Thus she was moved, she said, to write me and tell me of her certitude that Jesus Christ is the only God and Saviour of man. She added tenderly that there could be no eternal permanence in her relationship with persons like me apart from their trusting the God whom she trusted. I was moved though I did not fully understand her words. No one had ever communicated such things in such a manner to me.
     Being in close confidence with a friend from Hong Kong, I shared the matter with her. Soon I received a lengthy reply in which she expressed her joy that "Mom" had attempted to share the Gospel with me and that she had also wanted to share the same with me before but had felt unqualified to "preach" the Gospel and that besides she had feared that if I ever became a Christian it would hinder my relationship with my Hindu family. Now, she wrote, she realized that it was Satan who had convinced her not to share the Gospel with me. In the letter she explained the way of salvation, quoting many verses from the Bible. She said God wants us to become his dear children by trusting the Lord Jesus as our personal Saviour and Lord because He died for our sins and rose again from the dead on the third day.
     The letter greatly affected me. My initial reaction was, How dare she seek to convert me, a Hindu? But I knew she had written these things out of a genuine concern for my own welfare..... (to be continued in the next TND).

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 19:15:41 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: A reply to Sudip Pathak

I have my share of misgivings about some of the details in Paramendra Bhagat's recent long posting on racism. But I found Sudeep Pathak's response (TND, July 18) all the more disappointing. Point by point, here are my reasons why.

Sudip Pathak writes:

> "Hatti baliyo ki Hatti Chhap Chappal Baliyo. Ustai Ustai ho nanu." Mr
> Bhagat quoted this to highlight the implied meaning of the word "madise"
> which, he feels is similar to the word negro in the US. I totally
> disagree to his implication for the following reasons.

> 1. They were never a slave, were never treated like a slave and will
> never be treated like a slave.

My reading of Bhagat tells me that he appears to have equated the American N-word with the Nepali M-word ONLY so far as each is offensive to whoever it's hurled upon by a member of a DIFFERENT race or caste. As such, Bhagat, though heated at times, is making an argument by analogy -- and NOT by literal, absolute equivalence. But Pathak, despite his brilliance, seems to have chosen the-argument-by-literal-equivalence road, and, thereby regrettably gets on the bus to slavery-ville.

I say regrettably, because, unlike what Pathak assumes to make his assertion number 1. above, slavery is NOT a required historical condition for racist charges and counter-charges to occur in any society. Asians in America and England have long raised concerns about racial/ethnic discriminations in their adopted countries, and so have jan-jati leaders of our post-Jan Andolan Nepal. Pathak should know that the issue of prior historical slavery of those groups has rarely come into play in these racial concerns in America/England or in Nepal.

Besides, Nepal does have a history of slavery until it was abolished by an "amlekh". Just what were the ethnic backgrounds of the Nepali slaves is still under discussion in certain academic circles.

> 2. The word "madise", if you break down becomes "Ma - Desi". "Ma" means
> "I" and "Desi" relates to the people originated not in Nepal but in
> India. In other words this word was self-created.

Unfortunately, this is a mere amateurish, if clever, manipulation of semantics. Otherwise, if Pathak's logic were true, we should be able to derive a workable generalization from this. But we can't. Perhaps as an exercise, Pathak may want to dig up etymology of the word "nigger" and see if the etymology alone leads him to conclude that the word is NOT offensive in any way.

If not, what then accounts for the difference that makes the word "nigger" so offensive to the African-Americans? More tellingly, let Pathak test the validity of own logic by publicly calling a disparate group of Sherpas, Rais, Gurungs, and Tamangs and Magars as other non-Indo Aryan groups of Nepalis "bhotays" and decide for himself whether he'll be hugged for getting the etymology (with its attandant facts of geography) right or punched right in his face.

Whatever happens, Pathak should publish his findings on TND so that we shall know whether charges of racism are indeed more than matters of geographically correct semantic calculus.

> 3. Another way the word might have originated is from the word "Mades" ,
> which means the Indian land and also the Terai in someway. As we call
> the people who live in Nepal as "nepali", with an addition of "i" we
> call madesi.

Just like the Blacks in America are called African-Americans today, perhaps in today's Nepal, people who live the tarai should simply be called "tarai-baasis". Bhagat, I think, has a valid point here: Tarai-basis are called "Madhisays" in a very derogatory manner if only they "look Indian" in Nepal.

I've personally met and talked with a dozen or so comparatively "goro" Ranas and Bahuns and Chettri jamindaars in the Far Western Nepal who've lived in the tarai for two to three generations, and hence are "madeshis" by Pathak's definition, but NO ONE ever calls them "madishays" or
"madeshis" as such. Now, why is this? Does lookism override facts of geographical residence in Nepal? I would think so.

> My question is that, are we being racist by calling the people who are
> from Britain as "British" or the people from America as "American"?

Despite his intelligence, why Pathak asks this silly question is beyond me. Ethnic/religious identities are different from national identities, as anyone who's been following what's going on in former Yugoslavia can attest to. In fact, why even go to Yugoslavia? Even jan-jati newspapers in Nepal have articles talking about ethnic identities as SEPARATE entities from national ones.

For our purposes, though, it's fair to say that ALL tarai-baasis who hold Nepali citizenship are Constitutionally entitled to the SAME rights and privileges accorded to any other non-tarai baasi Nepalis by the Nepali State. That this does not happen in practice leaves a gap between the ideals and norms of practice, and that gap may be explained, to some extent, by "discrimination".

> If someone feels insecure in the entire world, then we say
> the person needs counseling not that the entire world is racist.

This is nothing more than a veiled personal attack. So far, Pathak has given us no convincing/tenable reason as to why he finds Bhagat's arguments valid or invalid, yet he feels confident enough (perhaps confident that his readers shall agree with him) to IMPLY that Bhagat is "insecure" and is in need of "counseling". Regardless of what one thinks of Bhagat's views, this characterization of Bhagat is unfair, and tells us more about Pathak's mentality than Bhagat's alleged "insecurity".

> Everyone knows that racism is still prevalent in Nepal.

Finally, Pathak, after arguing on the contrary re: the "madeshi" issue above, admits that -- hey, guess what folks -- "Everyone knows that racism is still prevalent in Nepal" after all.

Well, precisely.

BECAUSE racism IS prevalent in Nepal, as Pathak finally admits, Nepali citizens such as Bhagat need to be listened to and understood and, if need be, critically challenged so that we can continue our dialogues on what it means to be Nepalis in Nepal.

> I am impressed by Mr. Bhagat's knowledge of American history but I doubt
> if all those are applicable in our context. The thousands of illiterate
> people of Nepal can not understand what it means by the word "racism".

What's illiteracy has to do with racism or for that matter with most things in Nepal? OK, granted that "thousands of illiterate Nepalis can not understand what it means by the word "racism". But so what?

That Nepalis should not make racism/discrimination an issue to talk openly about? That talks on racism are philosophical/verbal luxuries for a "poor" country like Nepal?

If so, then stretching this logic, many "illiterate" Nepalis also may not understand what it means by the words/phrases such as "primary health-care", "primary education", "Constitutionally-guaranteed equality before the law", and any other words or phrases. If so, why bother about doing anything in Nepal, where peoples' "illiteracy" has not developed their
'vocabulary' to grapple with issues that, according to Pathak, apparently comes only with literacy.

On another note, as a fellow Nepali, I'd urge Pathak to trust the collective intelligence of many such "illiterate" Nepalis who are, as various studies show, are quite capable of eloquently talking about aspects/problems of their various lives, and even doing doing something about them. That they are illiterate has little to do with the kind of
"practical intelligence" they display to merely survive and sustain themselves in various parts of Nepal.

> Take examples of the
> educated places like Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities where
> people are fully educated to outcast racism.

Need this be commented on? Previously, Pathak wrote that "Everyone knows that racism is still prevalent in Nepal". Now he tells us that he does not include racially enlightened places such as Kathmandu, Pokhara etc as places where "racism is still prevalent in Nepal".

Gee, I've lived in Kathmandu all my life, and never knew that the city was/is so educated and progressive as Pathak claims it is. Guess I've been living in the wrong part of the town.

> Thus I would rather prefer discussion on the critical issues like
> education, poverty and health than to incite a fight between the
> different races within the country.

Talking openly about racism and ethnicity does NOT "incite a fight between the different races within the country". If anything, such talks may help us share and tolerate our differences, and ultimately letting us all get along with one another. Pathak's fear, in this context, is thoroughly misguided.

> Are we being treated as sovereign
> nation? Why do we always succumb to India despite our ancestor's
> heroism. Are our political leaders really trustworthy? Are they really
> doing what the entire nation wants them to do? Was the nuclear tests
> conducted by our neighboring countries really good for our national
> interest. Are we going to leave the issues like murder of MPs and Monks
> who worked for the nation, unsolved forever?

These are all valid concerns that Pathak raises. But they have little to do with the issue under discussion, and I can't help feeling that Pathak
-- instead of engaging himself to the topic at hand -- is trying to run away from it, by diverting our attention from the discussion of racism.

On another note, if Pathak spends an afternoon going thru TND archives, he'll amazed by the RANGE of issues covered by TND in the past several years. So his worry that the talks on "racism" will crowd out other oh-so-serious issues is not supported by evidence.

> If you are a true citizen of Nepal and would like to call
> yourself a Nepali just take a moment to think what would be the
> situation of our country if civil war were to start at this particular
> time.

With this "if you are a true citizen of Nepal" stuff, Pathak sounds like a Panchayati karya-karta from days of yore. What if one DISagrees with Pathak? Then one is not a true citizen of Nepal?

I, for example, think that the whole notion of civil war being imminent in Nepal, handy concoctions of lazy Nepali opinion-pundits, and therefore quite absurd. Now what does my thinking, according to Pathak's loaded question, make me? A false citizen of Nepal? :-)

> Respect others to be respected.

Despite my line-by-line criticisms of Pathak's viewpoints, I fully respect Pathak as a fellow Nepali citizen. I regret that in this public forum that I can't say the same for his publicly expressed ideas.

Then again, he's a student, a lover of wisdom, and an intelligent one at that -- and he'll surely take my criticisms NOT as an attack on him personally (for he shaall find no evidence of such personal attacks :-)), but as an exhortation to him take a class on formal logic, if his schedule allows it.

Finally, to reiterate, I have my share of misgivings about some of the details in Paramendra Bhagat's recent long posting on racism, and I shall
-- in the spirit of a tough but friendly and fair debate -- share my criticisms of Bhagat's posting on a separate occasion.

> PS: Hey don't call me Brahmin, otherwise I will call you a racist!!!

Whatever!!

oohi ashu

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 20:10:12 -0400 (EDT) From: Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: What does it mean to be a Nepali: The elements and characteristics of national unity

This is a follow up on the previous article of mine by the title of
"Indo-Nepal border and the state of Bihari Nepali." Several people responded to that article. I have written a response to those responses in the form of a new article by the title of "What does it mean to be a Nepali: The elements and characteristics of national unity." This article raises questions about "Nepalihood" and challenges the traditional notion of Nepali in which attempts were made to equate the characteristics and identities of the "ethnic Nepali" to that of "Nepali nationals." Furthermore, the article probes the elements and characteristics that define "national unity," and reaches to the conclusion that it's not the imposition of the characteristics of one "ethnic group" on all other groups, but the adherence of all groups to the "secular political ideals and mutually accepted sets of values" that breeds national unity in a country.

The response to my previous article by my friend by the name of Raju Sitaula appears first and is followed by my response.

[RAJU'S RESPONSE]

Bijay-

I agree with the problems you have identified. They are real. Not only people from terai, but many Nepalese from the north, mainly of the Tibetan origin, are discriminated in Nepal because of their race. While you might feel that discrimination is more severe for the Teraiwasis, I would not be surprised if Nepalese of Tibetan origin feel otherwise. But your analysis is totally one sided and ignores the fact that in Nepal everyone is discriminated against because of their social status, if not because of race. Ours is still a feudal country. The people from the hills, the people you claim to be racist, have been victims too. In any society, minorities tend to feel ignored, with or without institutional attempt to ignore them. You claim it is hard for people from terai to get citizenship. Let me tell you from experience that it is not easy for people from hills to get citizenship certificate either. The problem is our inefficient, incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy than racism. Teaching Nepali language to the children in terai is not 'people from hills imposing their culture in terai.' It is a way to unify a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse country. Isn't it hypocritical on your part to say that people from terai are not easily accepted in Nepali mainstream while accusing the government of racism for trying to teach them Nepali language? Besides, you seem to argue that terai constitute of one group of discriminated people. This is wrong. People within Terai are as diverse from each other as they are from the rest of Nepal. Within terai there have been cases when one group discriminates other group. Your suggestion that may be Nepal should join Indian union is an unpardonable sin and illustrates the root of this problem. That you and may be some other teraiwasis feel no connection to Nepal. How can we open a debate on national reconciliation when you are not even sure if you want to be a Nepali?

-Raju

[MY RESPONSE]

'What Does It Mean To Be A Nepali: The Elements And Characteristics Of National Unity'

Raju-

Thank you for your thought provoking response. Responses like yours will certainly foster a better understanding of the issues and problems of our country. However, your response was superficial, incomplete and derailed from the main themes of my article.

If you go back and look at the preface of my article, it states clearly that it aims to "increase the awareness of the history of the evolution of Indo-Nepal border, highlight the plights of the Indian origined Terai people as well as pacify the growing anti-Indian sentiments in Nepal." It appears to me that you have somehow perceived my article as a "manifesto" of some extremist Terain political party, and that my article claims the Indian origined Terain people are the "only" victims of racism and discrimination in Nepal. As you have mentioned (I am glad that you have finally acknowledged) that there several other groups of people with similar problems, of which Tibetan origined Himalayan people's plights are parallel to that of Indian origined Terai people in terms of racism and
"identity crisis," my article makes no attempt to prove that it is "only" the Indian origined Terai people who faces such problems; what it does attempt is to highlight the problems of " a group" of people in Nepal known as the Indian origined Terai people or Bihari Nepali for simplicity.

What has caught me with surprise is that though I have talked about a
"regional" problem of Nepal which in turn is a "national" problem, you seem to have taken my arguments as that of some "foreign" land and not of Nepal. Your inherent inability to distinguish between the problems of Nepali Terai from the problems of Indians coupled with the practical impossibility of differentiating an Indian origined Nepali from an Indian national have prevented you and the group of so-called "genuine Nepali" to integrate the issues of Bihari Nepali into the process of national reconciliation and unity. It is not, as you have said, that the Indian origined Nepali of Terai don't "feel connected" to Nepal or they don't
"want to be" Nepali (had it been so they wouldn't have obtained Nepali citizenship in the first place or have had migrated to the neighboring Indian states), it appears to me that you and the so called "genuine Nepali" are unable to recognize or unwilling to accept them as Nepali. Certainly, your accusation that the Indian origined people of Terai are
"not even sure if [they] want to be Nepali" reflects the elements of racism in it, and undoubtedly typifies the attitude of you and your group towards the other groups.

Apparently the history of the evolution of Indo-Nepal border and the problems associated with it, the major themes of my article, did not catch your attention at all. Had you been able to understand the history of Indo-Nepal border, you would have grasped the depth of the current problems of the Bihari Nepali which are deeply rooted in the history. What you see is a plain present with no historical context. My dear friend, since "present is conditioned by past," your knowledge will be incomplete and your attempts to solve the current problems futile if you don't know the past.

You might have felt the story of Indian origined people of Terai biased or
"one sided" because it was told by me, a Bihari Nepali. Had it been told by you or other so-called "genuine Nepali," it would have been more credible. I believe this sort of tendency is a part of human nature. Even in the United States, the whites continued to ignore the civil rights of the blacks until Martin Luther King, Jr., and other black leaders started asserting their rights. Though every white knew the problems of the blacks, very few raised those issues at the national level before the civil rights movement. Similar tendencies of ignoring exist in Nepal. Very few national leaders have raised the issues of Tibetan or Bihari Nepali at the national level and virtually no Prime Minister has mentioned them. Even the "Sadhvavna Party," which claims itself as the advocate of the Indian origined Nepali, is misunderstood and accused of being
"foreign" or "Indian" party. Obviously, a level of tolerance on part of the so-called "genuine Nepali" as well as correct initiatives from the national leaders are required to listen, understand, and analyze the stories told by the Tibetan and the Bihari groups. The blatant accusations and appalling apathy will only make the situation from bad to worse.

Now let me proceed asking simple questions: What does it mean to be a Nepali? Who is Nepali? How do I know whether am I a Nepali or not? Am I a Nepali? These questions might seem funny to you personally because you don't need to ask such questions since you are among one of the so-called
"genuine Nepali," but there are millions of people in Nepal who have to ask these questions every now and then, specially people from the two ethnic groups, Tibetan origined Himalayan people and Indian origined Terai people, who face severe "identity crisis." The traditional concept of Nepali that mainly incorporates the characteristics of the so-called
"genuine Nepali" needs to be reconsidered, reevaluated and redefined.

Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural country. Among several ethnic groups in Nepal, Nepali (or "Pahari") is one of them. In other words, Nepali are a group of people who belong to an ethnic group know as "Nepali." Likewise, Newar are a group of people who belong to an ethnic group known as "Newari," and so on. The common error in the traditional definition of Nepali is that it attempts to equate the characteristics of the ethnic group known as "Nepali" to the "national identity" of the Nepali nationals, i.e., the citizens of Nepal. Going back to the history again, you will find that this attempt to equate the identities of the "ethnic group Nepali" to that of the "Nepali nationals" was primarily initiated during the tenure of King Mahendra and carried on throughout the "Panchayati Raaj (1961-1990)." This process was referred as "Nepalization." King Mahendra's efforts to present Nepal as a
"monolithic" country failed to encapsulate the diverse element of the diverse groups. In the process of "Nepalization," he tried to impose the characteristics of the ethnic Nepali -- Nepali language, Hindu religion, Hindu festivals and other Indo-Aryan cultural aspects, etc. -- on all other ethnic groups.

For the sake of argument, let me outline the general (I emphasize, it's general) characteristics of the so-called "genuine Nepali" or the "ethnic Nepali" or "Pahari."

1. Ethnicity -- Nepali 2. Language -- Nepali 3. Religion -- Hindu (Only Hindu Kingdom in the world; like medieval Europe where state and religion were inseparable; What about the rights of Muslims and Buddhists?) 4. Citizenship -- Nepali 5. Race -- Indo-Aryan (Mongoloid to a certain extent) 6. Skin-color -- Pale White or wheatish white or fair skin 7. Nationalism -- Anti-Indian (King Mahendra planted the seeds)

There is only one group of people in Nepal, the so-called "genuine Nepali
(or 'Pahari')," who possess all the above mentioned characteristics. All other groups possess only some of the characteristics. Also, all seven characteristics are not equal in magnitude; some are more crucial than the other. Since efforts have been made in the past to equate the characteristics of the "ethnic Nepali" to that of "Nepali nationals," all other groups obviously do not meet the traditional definition of "Nepali" and are therefore discriminated or feel alienated across the characteristics traits they do not possess.

Talking about the two groups that face severe "identity crisis," they possess only few of the seven characteristics. The Tibetan origined Himalayan people, though have relatively fairer skin, are dominantly Buddhists, are of Mongoloid race and share a piece of anti-Indian nationalism. Similarly, Indian origined people of Terai have dark skin, are dominantly Hindu (although almost all Muslims in Nepal are from this group), are of Indo-Aryan race and do not share the anti-Indian nationalism. Both groups possess Nepali citizenship, few of them speak Nepali language while virtually no one from these groups speak Nepali as the first language.

The anti-Indian nationalism, promoted by King Mahendra, has been growing rapidly in the recent years. There is no indication that these sentiments will cool down in the near future. The issues involving Indo-Nepal border and India-Nepal relationship often meet headlines in the general media of Nepal, most of them relaying negative sentiments against India. Although the anti-Indian nationalism might seem at first glance to be a unifying factor among Nepali, it should be remembered that a fifth of the population which is of Indian origin do not share such sentiments and are most likely to be the victims of such sentiments. As a result, the anti-Indian nationalism will be more a destabilizing factor than a unifying tool. The hatreds (mixed with fear) of the so-called "genuine Nepali" towards Indians are indiscriminately directed towards the Indian origined Nepali. Thus the "genuine Nepali's" concerns about being overcome by Indian influences should take into account the concerns of the Indian origined Nepali who worry of being victims of the anti-Indian crusade.

So what is nationalism? What is the factor that unites a country? What unites different and distinct "nations" in a "nation-state ?" Obviously, as we have seen from the above arguments, that by equating the characteristics of one ethnic group (regardless of whether it is a majority or not) to the national characteristics or by imposing the identities of one group on all other groups, it is not possible to bring a sense of unity among the diverse groups. There will always be a group or groups of people who will feel alienated and subsequently discriminated. The alienation or discrimination of one group or groups of people in a country is dangerous, destabilizing, and the focal point of violent ethnic conflicts. This is evident from the history that is full of violent and bloody ethnic conflicts. Such conflicts have broken a country into several parts, turned friends into foes and replaced peace and harmony with chaos and grieving. In fact if you look around, even today, you'll see such conflicts ravaging the world and breaking apart the countries. The ethnic strife across Africa, the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the current crisis in Kosovo, the Tamil separatist movement in Sri-Lanka, all are vivid examples of ethnic aspirations erupting from the failure of reconciliation and mutual understanding among varied ethnic groups living under the same umbrella. The danger of similar ethnic aspirations looms over our destiny as well if we fail to timely reconcile among ourselves.

Having argued that the imposition of the identities of one ethnic group upon all other groups in a country does to bred national unity, let's now focus on what exactly brings unity in a country. Since we are talking about unity among different "nations (ethnic groups)" in a "nation-state
(a country)," it should be intuitive enough to think of unity in terms of something common or shared among those different "nations." If we can somehow come out with "a set of values" or "ideals" that are common or shared by all "nations," we can certainly design a paradigm of national unity. This paradigm will emerge as a "common ground" among all groups and unite them across their similarities and commonality. The greatest challenge for us therefore is to design such paradigm of unity.

The beauty of the modern concept of a "nation-state" lies in the fact it provides us with a forum to design the paradigm of unity. Each
"nation-state (country)" in this world has more than one "nation (ethnic groups, religious groups, etc.)." In other words, it's not only Nepal that poses challenge of diversity, in fact, all countries in the world have diverse population. The country's strength or unity is determined by its ability to hold the different "nations" together within a definite territorial boundary called national boundary. The countries which cannot hold their "nations" together or in where there is a near absence of coincidence between ethnic and political borders are the one which are more prone to political instability or ethnic conflicts. All across Africa, the tribes or the ethnic groups who are unable to coincide their narrow ethnic borders with the political border of their countries are the ones who are engaged in civil wars or ethnic strife.

Let me now cite few examples to illustrate the notion of the national unity paradigm in the modern "nation-states." The United States serves as a good example where the national unity paradigm is derived not by imposition of the identities of one ethnic group on other (although the majority of the Anglo-Saxon whites is felt), but by adherence of her different and distinct groups to "common sets of values" or "ideals" inscribed in the "Declaration of Independence" and the "Constitution." In other words, it's the "secular political ideals and mutually accepted sets of values," and not the identities of one ethnic group that have brought unity among remarkably diverse groups of people of the United states of America. The whites, the Asians, the Blacks, the Hispanic, and the native Americans, all are bound together by "common political ideals and sets of values" known as "nationalism" which is secular, mutually shared and binding. Though the American society is not yet in a perfect unity, the spirits of "multi-culturalism" and "multi-ethnicism" prevail and the society is gradually moving towards its ultimate goal. In contrast to American nationalism or the ideals of unity, Nepalese nationalism is not secular (based on hatred for another country or group), is not mutually shared (since one fifth of the population don't share it at all), and therefore not binding.

This national unity paradigm based on the "secular ideals and mutually accepted sets of values" is an ideal concept. However, it serves as a benchmark in the manner similar to the concepts of "perfect competition" or "perfect monopoly" used to evaluate the nature of the market. Like the market, which is always in-between the extremes of the "perfect competition" and "perfect monopoly," the state of national unity is also in-between two extremes. The more a country shares the "secular ideals and mutually accepted sets of values" the more it is united and vice versa. This is true and is evident all around the world, both in the developing and the developed countries.

India represents an another example of the above discussed national unity paradigm, though it has many flaws. However, the remarkable thing about India is that it is a "federation" of the states like the United States. It means the distinct and different states of India have united under mutually accepted secular political principles and share common sets of values. If it were not "secular" ideals and values, it would not be possible for the shockingly diverse polity of India to bind together and come under one common umbrella. Again, it is because of such "secular" and "mutually accepted" principles that each state in the Indian Union has been able to preserve its unique "state" identity while at the same time added a "national" identity to them. Bihar, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, etc., each state represents unique groups of people, each with own separate language, ethnicity, culture, etc. Each state is so different and distinct that each can form a separate country like Nepal. Yet they are united and bound because they understand the strength of unity, mutual understanding, and the importance and power of the "federal" government in solving the "state" problems. If over twenty distinct and different states (including Sikkim which has dominant "ethnic Nepali" population) can come together to form an Indian union, I don't see it as impossible for Nepal to join the Indian Union on the similar token.

India, like the United Nations (UN), is not a "separate entity." Like the UN, which is an organization of all member nation-states in the world united together for common cause, India is also a federation or organization of its member states united together for common good. Like the UN, India can only function well if all its member states function properly. When we talk about Indian origined Nepali, in fact, we are talking about groups of people belonging to certain ethnic groups in India, i.e., Bihari and Marwadis. India, itself, is not an ethnic group or any such entity, it is a philosophy, an abstract noun. It is a representation of "mutually accepted sets of values and secular political ideals." In fact, the modern concept of a "nation-state" assumes its function as a philosophy rather than an entity. Only in Nepal, and other such countries, the concept of a "nation-state" is interchangeable with an ethnic group or such entity. This is incorrect and will never lead to national unity.

An example of how the imposition of the characteristics of one ethnic group on other leads to chaos can be found in India during 1960's when the federal government tried to impose Hindi, the language of the Northern India, on other groups by making it the only official language. This was unacceptable by other groups. In fact, it is against the very concept of the "nation-state." As a result it failed and the federal government had to settle down with 16 official languages! This might explain your accusation that it is a hypocrisy on my part to complain the compulsory education of the Nepali language while complaining for not being accepted in the mainstream Nepal. As the case of India explains, language cannot always be the best tool of unification. Again, in case of Nepal it is the imposition of the language of one ethnic group on another. Linguistic unity is not a prerequisite for national unity. What do you think would have been the situation of the former Prime Minister of India, H.D. Gowda, who neither spoke Hindi nor English, if Hindi had been the only official language of India? Now we understand why a Newari speaking or Bhotya speaking individual is forced to learn Nepali if s/he wants to engage in the national politics or get a government job in Nepal.

Coming back to our discussion about the possibility of the political unification of Nepal to the Indian Union, I'll say, at this time, the idea is still in an infant stage. Let's take it as another hypothesis in our analyses. Hypotheses like that certainly broaden our scope of thinking and analyses, and help us reach the best conclusion. I definitely expect from you people to shed some light on this hypothesis in your future responses. In fact, in my last letter, I suggested this idea just as an immediate solution for the "Indian immigration" problem. I did't consider at all the social and economic ramifications of the political union. I hope we'll have more to say about this in future.

In conclusion, I'll say underneath all these arguments and analyses lay our innate desire, hope and wish for a better, prosperous, and united Nepal. The purposes of all these debates are to increase our awareness and understanding of the issues and problems that our country is facing. These debates are in no way intended to express any "partisan" sentiments or any such sentiments that destabilize the unity of our country. Personally, I think I would be a fool to think of something that will bring disharmony in our society. It wont be a step forward, but two steps backward.

We all know that Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world. It is the country that lacks both natural and human resources for development. It is the country where 75% of the lands are mountainous. It is the country where education was illegal to the masses throughout the 104 years of Rana regime. It is the country that lacks coherent national unity. The real problems of our country are therefore hunger, poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment. All the social and political problems we have been discussing are but the manifestations of the dire economic conditions. Our discussions and debates should always be directed towards finding concrete solutions to these problems. Our arguments must not be for their own sake but for the sake of the betterment of our country.

We are more fortunate and privileged than our fore-fathers and fathers in terms of education, access to information and technologies. Our generation, I think, will be the most educated generation in the history of Nepal. Eventually the state of affairs will fall in the hands of our generation. No doubt, well have to start preparing ourselves for that day. What our fore-fathers and fathers did not do or what they did wrong needs to be carefully reviewed, scrutinized and analyzed. Only then will we be able to come up with policies that will lead us and our country to proper directions.

Our ends therefore are better, prosperous, developed and united Nepal. All our discussions and analyses are but means. We should continue our debate and keep defining the means. Any means that gets us closer to our ends should be reviewed carefully and adopted if deemed necessary. If political unification with India, for instance, takes us closer to our ends, we shouldn't refrain ourselves from doing that.

                        [Who is "ethnic Nepali"?]

Confusions may arise about the definition of the "ethnic" or "genuine" Nepali. By "ethnic" Nepali, I refer to the "Pahari" Nepali. The "Pahari" Nepali is one of the many ethnic groups in Nepal. The demographic map prepared by the CIA (Library of Congress classification: Government Documents, PREx3.10/4:N35/2) presents the major ethnic groups in Nepal in the following categories:

1. Pahari: The majority group; dominant in the hills above "Chure range" and below "Himalayan range"; populated also in Terai and the Kathmandu valley. 2. Indian origined Terai Nepali ( Bihari, Marwadis, etc.) : The Second majority, close to Indo-Nepal border 3. Tibetan Origined Himalayan Nepali ( Bhotia, Sherpa, Thakali, etc.): Close to Nepal-Tibet border 4. Gurung: Dominant in the outskirts of Pokhara Valley 5. Newari: Dominant in the Kathmandu Valley, Dhulikhel and other hilly areas 6. Tamang: Dominant in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley and other hilly areas. 7. Kirati, Rai, Limbu: Kirati and Rai dominant in the hills of east-central Nepal and Limbu in the hills of far-eastern Nepal.

Bijay Raut Middlebury College

*************************************************************** From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: The Racism Issue - two pieces in the People's Review

I thought these recent pieces in People's Review were relevant to the discussions on racism in Nepal.

Banbari Lal Mittal, Karl-Heinz Kramer on the Nepalese ethnic mosaic

(People's Review - July 16, 1998 - http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1998/07/ 160798/mittal.html)

"King Mahendra's Nepali nationalism, which was based on the thesis of one nation, one language and one religion.It is neither historically true that there have never been conflicts due to religion or communalism in Nepal nor is it true that people criticising this statement are trying to create division among the Nepali people. Mittal is right that defining true Nepali citizenship cannot be a matter of who came earlier, as it is sometimes found in the arguments of the current ethnic elites."

"(In the) new constitution in 1990. Sovereignty is in the hand of the people, fundamental rights are guaranteed....Nepal is a multiethnic and multilingual state, and all Nepali people irrespective of religion, race, caste or tribe constitute the nation....but.....the ruling elite refused to make Nepal a secular state using religion as a political issue. This means that the constitution is communal in regard to one of the most essential definitions... The communal aspect is further proved by the definition of His Majesty....it would have been sufficient to define His Majesty as a descendant of Prithvinaryan Shah. The combination of the country's highest office with the Aryan culture and the Hindu religion is inappropriate for multiethnic and multicultural state."

"Hinduism (in Nepal) is not confined to origin or ethnicity......(T)he ethnic groups, according to the census of 1991, constitute more than 40% of the total population......aspects of Hindu religion have become part of the everyday life of many ethnic groups. Of course, it is not the high religion of the ruling elite, but it is mixed with animist and shamanist practices. But neither these Hinduized ethnic groups nor the greater section of the Hindu caste society are participating in the modern state. The so-called untouchable castes (about 11% according to the 1991 census) as well as the Chettri castes (about 16%)..... While sections of the Chettri are participating the former are not."

"(T)he Hindu political ideology, has been used by the elite interpreted on the basis of this legitimisation to explain things like the hierarchical social system of the Muluki Ain, the changing systems of land rights, the exclusion of greater sections of society, their different treatment against the law.....Nepal has become a democratic state in theory but her leading politicians are still unwilling to give up their prerogatives. The political parties should be the vehicle for large-scale participation of the Nepali people, but they are not democratically structured. One cannot talk about the implementation of democracy as long as the leading party politicians, who mostly belong to the social strata of the old ruling elite, decide about party positions and constituency candidates instead of having these representatives elected democratically."

"If we have considered someone as a Nepalese citizen, then, we have to accept them as Nepalese citizens. If we try to investigate into our origin, one may find a monkey, otherwise, 90 per cent of the people are of Indian origin. Only the matter is some came here earlier, some later; that is all."

Subject: Sudip Pathak on Racism in Nepal

This is a reply to Sudip Pathak's recent posting.

Mr. Pathak is confusing two words madhesi and madise. The difference between the two is the difference between the words Negro and Nigger. The former is almost a biological term. The latter is a racist word, outright derogatory. And I don't know of blacks today who would be okay being called a Negro. Malcolm X preferred being called African-American, and that is the politically correct term in vogue. Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches are full of the term Negro. Obvioulsy, he considered it okay to call himself a Negro. Likewise Gajendra Narayan Singh and Hridayesh Tripathi feel okay calling themselves Madhesi. Plus, the word helps differentiate between those who are from the southern plains and the recent migrants from the hills in the Terai. The latter are not madhesi as they put it. The pahadi migrants to the Terai share the racist attitudes of their folks in the hills. So I guess Singh and Tripathi have a point.

To me anyone capable of using the word madise is a racist. That is a litmus test. Most folks I met at Budhanilkantha School or later in Kathmandu would fail that test.

As for the parallel I draw between the African-Americans in the US and the Teraiwasis in Nepal, it is my refusal to accept racism as being a debate in biology. To me racism is a sociological term. And hence the parallel.

The "ma" of madhesi is not a separate entity. A madhesi is someone from the madhesh, which is another term for the Terai. The word madhesi cannot be broken into ma + desh. Again, the Pathaks in Nepal are as Indian-origined as I am. Let's keep the debate away from biology. Otherwise we will be talking about apes and plate tectonics and the Tethys sea soon.

Teraiwasi. Use that term.

I never claimed "only the 'madise' are facing poverty." This is a possibly deliberate misreading of what I said earlier. What I said was the country as a whole is poor. The urban areas, mainly Kathmandu, has most of the wealth in the country.

"I will say its difficult to find a place that Mr Bhagat has imagined." The universality of racism does not excuse its existence. It is not those who complain of racism but those who suffer from that pathological disese who need treatment.

"If we are to form political parties for all the races (castes) then can we count the number of parties that would come into existence? Nepal should never have allowed such separation motivated parties to come into existence."

When I was working with the likes of Tripathi, my major thrust was let there be a nation-wide party, with bases in all the 75 districts that would possibly be lead by a Teraiwasi. Girija Koirala, Manmohan Adhikari, Bamdev Gautam, Surya Bahadur Thapa, Lokendra Bahadur Chand. These are all high caste pahadi-origin politicians leading the largest parties in Nepal. The Teraiwasis have accepted these parties. Let the 60 hill districts accept a party that might be headed by a Gajendra Narayan Singh or a Hridayesh Tripathy. Mr. Pathak, I am sorry to say, fits the description of one of those closet, nice-nice, pahadi-origin supremacists who find the very existence of the Sadbhavana offensive. They are comfortable with the current equilibrium. They fear when the Teraiwasis and the Janjatis, who together make up 80% of the country's population, finally get together, the equilibrium will be fundamentally altered. There will be mutation on the political landscape.

"Talking about racism in Budha, I will frankly say that I never experienced it at Budha in my 10 years life at Budha. I had friends from all over the country..."

It is like when some white males try to explain the non-existence of racism in the US by pointing out how they have some "black friends." The I-smiled-at-that- black-guy-at-the-mall mentality. Racism is not micropolitics. It is macropolitics, or even globopolitics, albeit with obvious micropolitical reverbarations, fall-outs. Mr. Pathak earlier says "everyone knows there is racism in Nepal," and then goes on to deny the existence of the same a couple of paragraphs later.

Budhanilkantha School keeps coming into question. Lest there be any confusion, I want to state it plain: I have no intention to implicate that the racism in Nepal is there because of Budhanilkantha School. No. I feel a bond with my alma mater that is independent of any individual or group(s) associated with that insitution. The bonding is abstract. It is firm. But I am unwilling to seek approval of the likes of Mr. Pathak before I may go into the details of my personal experiences while there.

"I would like to ask him how he felt for the other 7 years he spent at the same school." Those seven years were a period when I had personal fulfillment to the most parts. But I had not started to ask questions then. I more or less sailed along because I was taken for a nice-nice guy. Still, the school continued to be infested with kids who were capable of cracking racist jokes, using the word madise every time they talked about the Terai. "He was even nominated as the house captain of Kanchenjunga." It was in Kanchenjunga that a fellow Teraiwasi friend of mine was routinely asked to smile during the after lights-out hours so that some people could see his teeth.

And then Mr. Pathak emerges an authority on my personal life. He is one of those people who will claim they know the details about my life that even I don't! It is the naivet of these individuals who think when someone like myself works on a political manifesto, he is writing an autobiography. Nepal is a racist country with or without Paramendra Bhagat's pointing out it is so. When I was politically active in Nepal, I was more passionate about the national economy than about the racism issue. I was not a single-issue politician ever. It disgusts me that people get offended when they see I feel passionate about the race issue in Nepal. You could walk any street in the capital city. If you are a Teraiwasi, you will feel the way I feel. I spent three years in the capital city living on my own after I was done with Budhanilkantha School.

"The thousands of illiterate people of Nepal can not understand what it means by the word 'racism'."

It is "the illiterate Teraiwasis" who sell fruits and vegetables out in the streets of Kathmandu city who suffer greater daily indignities than the
"literate Paramendra Bhagats." You got your argument topsy-turvy.

"I would rather say we need to educate and increase the literacy rate before fighting over racism. Take examples of the educated places like Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities where people are fully educated to outcast racism."

Racism and sexism are not about education and wealth. If these sociological diseases were to be cured with education and wealth, how come the First Lady of the richest country on the planet is routinely subjected to gruels by organized groups for whom sexism is but a political weapon. It is Mr. Pathak's utter blindness, perhaps deliberate, that he thinks the people of Kathmandu are not racist just because they have access to expensive education that the people in the remote hills don't. The people in Kathmandu are more racist than that in any other part of the country.

"I would rather prefer discussion on the critical issues like education, poverty and health....."

The fantasy of a pahadi-origin supremacist. Don't-discuss-racism, You-make-me- feel-uneasy.

"If you are a true citizen of Nepal and would like to call yourself a Nepali..." This is not the first time I have faced such a challenge. If you want to be accepted as a Nepali, say this, do that, don't bring up THAT topic, quieten down. What these people don't understand is I don't need their approval for my identity. You don't define me. Even when you act racist, you define yourself.

"PS: Hey don't call me Brahmin, otherwise I will call you a racist!!!"

These are the kind of people who will warn you of a backlash should you take political steps against racism. Stay where you are, don't protest, or all hell will break loose! Is that what?

Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. at http://www.friesian.com/racism.htm

    "One of the most conspicuous of morally charged terms of political
    condemnation, and certainly the most explosive in its dimension for
    political passion and even civil violence, is "racism." Racism is now
    generally regarded as such a heinous moral evil, and is so closely
    identified with the acts of violence that tend to result from it, that
    people often talk as though racism is not only a great moral wrong in itself
    but is or ought to be illegal, both as a belief and in its merely verbal
    expression ("hate speech"), often with the justification that racism as
    such is violence, or an incitement to violence, and so can be sanctioned
    like any other act of violence or incitement. This case against racism seems
    so strong that its form gets borrowed to characterize parallel conceptions
    of moral and political evils like "sexism," "classism," and "homophobia."

    ".....many Abolitionists, who were morally outraged over slavery and morally
    anguished over the lot of the slaves, nevertheless had trouble
    believing that Africans really were as morally or physically able as
    Europeans.

    "Hume's views are a good indication of the opinion of the age among informed
    men. In a 1748 essay, "Of National Characters," he says:

        I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites.
        There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even
        any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious
        manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the
        most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the
        present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their
        valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform
        and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages,
        if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of
        men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all
        over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity;
        though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and
        distinguish themselves in every profession.

    "(Thomas Jefferson:) I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the
    blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and
    circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and
    mind. It is not against experience to suppose that different species of the
    same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different
    qualification.

    ".....The project for such a return was started in Jefferson's lifetime with
    the founding of an African colony in 1822, Liberia, for freed American
    slaves. Its capital, Monrovia, was named after Jefferson's protg and
    successor, James Monroe. Jefferson's views that free blacks should return to
    Africa can easily be held against him, but even Abraham Lincoln believed
    much the same thing, for much the same reasons. In his debates with Stephen
    Douglas in 1858, Lincoln was delabored with accusations that, since he was
    against slavery, he must be for citizenship and equality for freed blacks.
    Lincoln replied:

        He [Douglas] shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him
        very frankly that I am not in favor of Negro citizenship....

        I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing
        about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and
        black races--that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of making
        voters of the Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or
        having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there
        is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I
        suppose will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of
        social and political equality and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that
        while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior
        and inferior that I as much as any other man am in favor of having the
        superior position assigned to the white man...

        I have said that separation of the races is the only perfect
        preventative of amalgamation... Such separation...must be effected by
        colonization.

    "Especially characteristic of common belief in the eras of Hume, Jefferson,
    and Lincoln was that the differences between human communities resulted from
    innate qualities--not just innate differences between the races or the
    sexes, but innate differences between different nationalities and ethnic
    communities."

Paramendra Bhagat http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9511

Date: Tue, 21 Jul 98 09:54:35 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Dahmoines and the Racism Discussions

  My response in brackets ()

From: dahmoines@aol.com (Dahmoines) Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: Re: Paramendra Bhagat's "Racism in Nepal - Ongoing Discussions" Date: 21 Jul 1998 03:59:30 GMT

(1) No doubt, Nepal like its neighbors in South Asia suffers from bigotry,
    rooted in ignorance and socio-cultural prejudices against people of
    different ethnicities and caste. But Mr. Bhagat forgets that this is not
    unique to pahade folks only. I do not think that castism and untouchabiliy
    have been eradicated in the terai region of Nepal, and in many cases exists
    in worse forms. And talking about sexism, I don't know how many Teria women, specially poor people, would agree, that it is not a problem for them: the
    dowry system, as far as I know is going as strong as ever.

(I agree. Casteism and sex discrimination are very much alive in the Terai. But that does not justify the racism directed against the Terai people. For that matter, casteism and sex discrimination are alive in the hills as well. Some would say sex discrimination is worse in South Asia than anywhere else in the world. It is much harder to be a woman in Nepal than it is to be a Teraiwasi.)

(2) We can all agree racism or castism is not right and needs to be condemned
    by everybody, everywhere, including in Nepal. But I do not think comparision to American blacks, who were enslaved for hundred of years, is
    appropriate and may just serve to trivialize their experience.

(I am referring to racism as a sociological phenomenon. The contemporary racism in the US. I think the US is more open-minded in terms of acceptance for cultural diversity than any country I know of - I have felt more comfortable at Berea College being an ethnic minority than I ever did at Budhanilkantha School or in Kathmandu - but even this country, the US, has a long way to go.
    But the parallel has to be drawn. The racists, wherever, share some common characteristics.)

(3) You are entitled to your opinion, but somehow I have a feeling that not many
    people in Nepal would welcome an economic or other integration with India.
    But,of course, if one day India becomes as developed as the United States
    and Bihar.by a miracle, transforms itself into California, well.........And
    how would Mr.Bhagat argue against those who may favor an "economic"
    integration with China, after all it is more developed than India. Or even
    better, why not integrate India and China first and see the result, after
    all parts of India is already" very well integrated" with China, and the
    transition for the rest of the country may go smoother.Just kidding.

(Why only Nepal, many people in Europe have not welcomed the idea of an economic integration. Were you following up when the US Congress withheld the fast-track authority from President Clinton that would have expedited free trade as far as American involvement is concerned.
    Free trade and economic integration make a lot of economic sense. But it has yet to make political sense even in Europe and the US.
    If the idea of economic leadership is to engineer greater prosperity for the peoples, the politicians ought to move towards some of the above-mentioned sound economic concepts.
    Free trade and trade liberalization and economic integration are not sound concepts only in the context of rich countries. Infact South Asia needs those concepts precisely because it is poor. There are more poor people in South Asia than in any other part of the world.
    I do not appreciate your scorn of the state of Bihar, by the way. Bihar's time will come.
    I am all for an economic integration with China. The larger the market the greater the chances for overall prosperity. Besides, China is such an upwardly mobile economy. In 15 years it will be a larger economy than the US. If India were to follow suit, and Japan keeps pace, can you see the centre of gravity moving to Asia in the 21st century?)

(4) You are right that globalization maybe inevitable. But try to look at it
    from the Chinese perspective. If your enthusiam does not dampen a bit, then only can you say that you are a true believer of globalization.

(As for your sarcasm, I just wanted you to know that I feel largely positive about the trends towards globalization because it is a sound economic concept. That's all. It is not because my "loyalties" lie with India, as some racists might read between the lines.)

DS

_______________________________________________________________________________ Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu>

Dear Bhes:

I agree with you that in Nepal every ethnic group discriminates other either along the lines of race and ethnicity or along the lines of social status. But what has caught me with surprise is that why do people like you think me of a racist or casteist just because my arguments lean much towards the plights of Teraiwasis. I belong to this ethnic group and I have experienced their plights. That's why I can talk more about this group than any other group like you can talk more about Sarkis than other group. But nowhere in my article do I ever imply that it's only Teraiwasis in Nepal who face discrimination. Teraiwasis is one among several groups who faces discrimination.

However, the plights of Teraiwasis are different from other groups mainly for two reasons. First, Teraiwasis face "identity crisis." Although they hold legal Nepalese citizenship, it is practically impossible to distinguish them from their Indian counterparts just by looking at their appearances. That's why Teraiwasis fall victim of racism or discrimination in Kathmandu or other hilly places from people who fail to differentiate their fellow Nepali from the foreign Indians. Now tell me whose fault is that? What should Teraiwasis do then? Should they start rubbing their skin to make it litte more fair? Or should they put a sticker on their forehead identifying them as Nepali citizens? See, problem is not simple. But what have been done in Nepal to find any solution to this problem? That's why in my last article I raised the question:What does it mean to be a Nepali? Just ask yourself when the word Nepali pops up in your mind, who do you immediately think of?

If you go back and re-read my article, you'll find that I am against the traditional definition of a Nepali in which the characteristics and identities of the Bahun, Chhetri dominated "Pahari" ethnic group are equated with the identities of the "Nepali Nationals." I have also advocated that in an ethnically, linguistically, religiously diverse country like Nepal, coherent national unity can only be achieved if all groups adhere to "secular political ideals and mutually accepted sets of values," rather than to the characteristics of the dominant and powerful group. I am surprised nobody including you has commented on this suggestion of mine.

The second reason why the plights of the Teraiwasis are different from other groups is because it is the only group that doesn't share
"anti-Indian" nationalism or sentiments which is so prevalent among other groups and is growing at an unprecendent rate. I don't know whether it is right or wrong to let "anti-Indian" sentiments grow, but I know that it is certainly not good for the Teraiwasis. Since they look like Indians, they are the most likely victims of anti-Indian sentiments. That's why racism or discrimination against Teraiwasis is so differnt and complex. Anybody who is worried about the growing Indian cultural influences in Nepal should not forget to take into account the worries of the Teraiwasis who are the most likely victims of the anti-Indian crusade.

Talking about Casteism in Nepal, I agree with you in many ways. I know casteim is as big a problem as racism in Nepal, or even bigger in some cases since Casteism occur within one ethnic group as well as among different groups. I will certainly like to engage in meaningful discussions involving caste issues. Please keep me posted with such events or discussions.

Finally, let me clarify a myth that has misled you. The myth that Terai is rich and prosperous and Teraiwasis are educated and powerful is not true. To refer Terai rich, literrate and prosperous is to refer Bihar and UP the same, since Terai is in one way "natural" extension of the neighboring Indian states. Terai is as poor, illiterate and underdeveloped as most of
 of Nepal (the lives of Mushar, Chammar, Dushad, Dom etc. and other "lower caste" people are glaring evidences of it). Poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment are not only the problems of Terai but those of whole Nepal. In fact, I think, and many of you will agree, that all other social and political problems that we have been discussing are in one way or another rooted in our dire economic conditions. We should be therefore focusing on our economic plights first than anything else.

Bijay Raut

From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Bhesh Bhandari, Bijay Raut and Pradeep Jha on.............

Bhesh Bhandari, Bijay Raut and Pradeep Jha on India, Nepal and the Terai
_______________________________________________________________________________ Again, I am digging up some stuff from the soc.culture.nepal newsgroup for the Nepal Digest forum. And hereby my response -

(1) Granted,India has been acting a big bully in South Asia in many ways. Bijay
    Raut "never mentioned about occupation of Nepalese land by India" because
    that was not the topic under discussion. The Indian occupation of Nepali
    land is irrelevant to the discussion on Racism In Nepal.
(2) The accusations of Bhesh Bhandari are like of those supremacist Hindu
    Indians who accuse the Indian Muslims, the largest minority in the world, of having tied loyalties to Pakistan instead of to India. It is a false
    accusation made to look the racist look and feel good.
(3) Bijay Raut's protest against the racism against the Teraiwasis is not a
    "hurt (from) the Nepalese protest against Indian attitude towards Nepal."
(4) Indirectly Bhesh Bhandari is asking Bijay Raut to prove his ties of
    patriotism to Nepal. This attitude in itself is racist. A Teraiwasi is being asked to prove his loyalties to the country of his citizenship. You would
    not ask a Pahadwasi of the same, would you?
(5) Bhesh Bhandari, in his mental scaffold of economic illiteracy, is mistaking
    Bijay Raut's support for a South Asian economic union for a support for an
    Indian encroachment of Nepali land.
(6) Bhesh Bhandari is a case study in the lost-cause patriotism of some
    pahadwasis who define their love for their country through anti-Indianism.
    That patriotism is negative by definition.
(7) If Bhesh Bhandari is truly against the Indian hegemony in South Asia, he
    should support any efforts towards a South Asian economic union which would
    be a superior arrangement to SAARC, for within the SAARC framework India
    deals with each South Asian country on a bilateral basis and ends up doling
    out unfair deals across the board, but, within the framework of an economic
    union, all other countries in South Asia could gang up against India should
    need arise from time to time.
(8) Nepali is the link language for the pahadwasis who compose 50% of the
    country's population. Similarly Hindi is the link language for the
    Teraiwasis who compose the other 50% of the Nepalese population. Accepting
    that premise is a necessary corollary for the provision of due respect for
    the rest of the Terai languages like Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Tharu and
    Urdu.
(9) As for Maithili, my mothertongue, the second largest language group in
    Nepal, spoken by about 30 million people worldwide, by as many people as
    speak Nepali worldwide-
        I am for a tri-lingual education policy in Nepal. English, the language
    of commerce. Nepali, the language for the state machinery. And the
    mothertongue of a child or an adopted second language native to Nepal in the case of those who speak Nepali as their first language.
        All three compulsory in all schools, private as well as public, upto
    Class 10. Beyond that no rules. Institutions may choose whatever language
    they wish to function in.
(10) As for Pradeep Jha, he just comes across to me as someone who is offended
    that a "backward" like Bijay Raut is gaining political consciousness.

Paramendra Bhagat http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9511
_______________________________________________________________________________ From: bhesh bhandari <bb@burger.uqg.edu.au> Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal

Dear Bijay (Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu>),

What does it mean "anti-Indian Nationalism"? Why is it so? Nepalese are not that foolish just to go against India without any reason. You never mentioned about occupation of Nepalese land by India. Why so?

You never mentioned about what India does to Nepal. You seem to be having just opposite- "anti-Nepal" pro-Indian attitude. Your argument at times appears just like any hegemonistic Indian.

You think that you look like Bihari. There are many Pahadi Nepalese who look like Bihari too. In most of the cases migrated pahadi in terai area also look like you. It may be just your complexity rather than any other reason.

You get hurt when somebody attacks India. But you do not feel anything when India attacks Nepal.

If you were nepali, you should not get hurt when Nepalese protest against Indian attitude towards Nepal.

Please answer me do you have any answer about Indian occupation of Nepalese territory? Probably you will answer you do not know about it, it has not been proved. If so, do you favor if Nepalese land is encroached by India?

Do you favor if Indian language Hindi is introduced in Nepal to replace Nepalese which is a native language?

I was personally satisfied that Newari was introduced in KTM municipality as official language so as Maithali in Terai. I am dead against Hindi what your leader Tripathi says. I would rather accept Maithali or Bhojpuri or Newari as national language but not Hindi. Please try to read Pradeep Jha's statement. I am with him.

Your root cause could be that you feel yourself more Indian than Nepalese. That is why you may wish Hindi should have been national language in Nepal than Nepalese. It is pity that you never speak a word about your own mother tongue.

When you feel you are Nepali, then your skin color does not matter. You can fight to death to those who says you are an Indian.

If you believe, many people ask me here in Australia if I am an Indian. Proudly I say, no, I am Nepalese. Because I feel I am Nepalese, does not matter whatever they say. There will always be an "identity crisis" when you go against main stream population, particularly when you have a mentality that you do belong to some other country. Remember, in every country there are people alike next door neighbors.

You can only be stronger when you feel that you are a Nepali. If not, your problem will never sort out. Do you know how proudly Pradeep Jha replied you. He must be looking like you. He is also from terai.

Answer me do you feel as a Nepali or no?

But still welcome to be a Nepali. We will share same nationality and live together harmoniously.

Nepalese people look like Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Tibetan, even like Latin Americans. It is a great country to have so many ethnicity, diversity in such a small area.

If you live in Himal for 20 years you will forget that you look like Indian. Your children will be more than Nepali. They will never feel that they are Indian. It is a question of what influence do you have.

Did you read my article in SCN long ago where I mentioned about Indianisation of Nepal? Nepalese are slowly Indianising themselves. When one day they will be completely Indianised, they will not find any difference between themselves and Indian. They have started saying this even now.

Wait for that moment, you will not have any problem of identity.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 12:12:20 GMT From: kuleshwor@hotmail.com Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: Re: What does it mean to be a Nepali :.......

SCN readers,

After reading Bijaya Raut's posting, I could not help to write these lines. I am a Nepali rather Terai-basi Nepali but with Nepali heart and soul unlike Mr. Raut. There is discrimination against Madeshi- agreed, but instead of fighting against this discrimination, handful people like Raut foresees panacea of all these problems in annexing Nepal to India !!! If this situation happens I will be the first one to die for my country. Situation is aggravating day by day because of people like him. These people seek Hindi to be our national language but utter no word about Maithili and Bhojpuri ? Terai basi's are aware of their malice intention. I have my sasuarl in India (Bihar), so what ? My mawal is Motihari (Bihar), so what ? My forefathers have been living in Nepal even before some Pahades migrated from Garwal (India) ! I am proud to be Nepali and I am proud that I speak Maithili not Hindi.

Pradeep Kumar Jha NY

Subject: Raju Sitoula on Racism in Nepal

Raju Sitoula hit reply all to one of the discussions I was part of over e-mail. That is how the following landed in my e-mail-box. My response for the Nepal Digest readers-

(1) I agree. The Himali-Nepali too are discriminated against.
(2) As for the classist touch, that cannot engulf the haves. It is the have-nots
    that are in jeopardy. Draw the line some place.
(3) But prevalence of poverty does not justify racism.
(4) There is no with or without. There is a constant institutional attempt to
    maintain the status quo of racism.
(5) "The problem is our inefficient, incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy than
    racism." The inefficiency, incompetency, and the corruption is there -
    thanks for pointing that out - but there has been a systematic attempt to
    deny citizenship certificates to millions of Teraiwasis. Go to the 16 CDO
    Offices in the Terai.
(6) "Teaching Nepali language to the children in terai" is not "a way to unify
    a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse country." It is cultural
    hegemony. Let's opt for a tri-lingual education policy upto Class 10.
        English, the language of commerce. Nepali, the language for the state
    machinery. And the mothertongue of a child or an adopted second language
    native to Nepal in the case of those who speak Nepali as their first
    language.
        All three compulsory in all schools, private as well as public, upto
    Class 10. Beyond that no rules. Institutions may choose whatever language
    they wish to function in.
(7) "People within Terai are as diverse from each other as they are from
    the rest of Nepal." True. So what's your point?
(8) A protest against racism agains the Teraiwasis is not a vote of support for
    casteism or sexism or classism.
(9) "Your suggestion that may be Nepal should join Indian union is an
    unpardonable sin and illustrates the root of this problem. That you and may
    be some other teraiwasis feel no connection to Nepal."
    Raju Sitoula, in his mental scaffold of economic illiteracy, is mistaking
    Bijay Raut's support for a South Asian economic union for a support for an
    Indian encroachment of Nepal. In Raju Sitoula's world, if a Teraiwasi
    protests against racism, that proves his loyalties lie with India.

Paramendra Bhagat http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9511

"Sitaula, Raju" <RZS@crai.com> at Berlink July 10, 1998

Bijay-

I agree with the problems you have identified. They are real. Not only people from terai, but many Nepalese from the north, mainly of the Tibetan origin, are discriminated in Nepal because of their race. While you might feel that discrimination is more severe for the Teraiwasis, I would not be surprised if Nepalese of Tibetan origin feel otherwise. But your analysis is totally one sided and ignores the fact that in Nepal everyone is discriminated against because of their social status, if not because of race. Ours is still a feudal country. The people from the hills, the people you claim to be racist, have been victims too. In any society, minorities tend to feel ignored, with or without institutional attempt to ignore them. You claim it is hard for people from terai to get citizenship. Let me tell you from experience that it is not easy for people from hills to get citizenship certificate either. The problem is our inefficient, incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy than racism. Teaching Nepali language to the children in terai is not 'people from hills imposing their culture in terai.' It is a way to unify a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse country. Isn't it hypocritical on your part to say that people from terai are not easily accepted in Nepali mainstream while accusing the government of racism for trying to teach them Nepali language? Besides, you seem to argue that terai constitute of one group of discriminated people. This is wrong. People within Terai are as diverse from each other as they are from the rest of Nepal. Within terai there have been cases when one group discriminates other group. Your suggestion that may be Nepal should join Indian union is an unpardonable sin and illustrates the root of this problem. That you and may be some other teraiwasis feel no connection to Nepal. How can we open a debate on national reconciliation when you are not even sure if you want to be a Nepali?

-Raju

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