Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [184.108.40.206]) by library.wustl.edu (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id AAA25895; Fri, 31 Jul 1998 00:45:18 -0500 (CDT) Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA03233 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Thu, 30 Jul 1998 22:30:05 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA03222 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Thu, 30 Jul 1998 22:30:03 -0500 Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 22:30:03 -0500 Message-Id: <199807310330.AA03222@mp.cs.niu.edu> Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: The Editor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sender: "Rajpal J.P. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Nepal Digest - August 1, 1998 (6 Shrawan 2055 BkSm) To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Content-Type: text Status: O X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 274
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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
Attached letter to Ed
Response to a letter by 'Nepal cat'
Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India!
Re: What does it mean to be a Nepali
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****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 21:52:57 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <email@example.com> To: editor Contributions <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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
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.
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!
F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple
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)
Subject: attention: Ban Mantralaya
From: Yogi Kayastha <email@example.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.
>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)
>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?)
>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
>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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
> 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
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
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.
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 16:25:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: Nirmal Ghimire <email@example.com>
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
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
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.
From: Pradeep Bhandari
Date: 20 Jul 1998 15:07:55 -0500
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
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.
From: "nepal cat" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 07:06:28 PDT
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.
"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!"
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
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
"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!"
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.
"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!"
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.
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 12:41:53 +0530
From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <email@example.com>
To: editor Contributions <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 22:21:33 -0600
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.
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 09:23:33 -0300
From: Walter Lee <email@example.com>
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.
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 13:26:03 -0500 (CDT)
From: Thirendra Rayamajhi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
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!
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 1990 21:40:58 +0530
From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <email@example.com>
To: editor Contributions <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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!
F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 15:28:52 -0400 (EDT)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 12:10:25 -0500 (CDT)
From: Gustavo Hernandez <email@example.com>
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...
Gustavo Hern=E1ndez V=E1rguez
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 15:29:46 -0500
From: "J. Cloud" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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 <email@example.com>
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
> 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
> 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.
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
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!!!
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 20:10:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bijay Raut 99 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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
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?
'What Does It Mean To Be A Nepali: The Elements And Characteristics Of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
6. Tamang: Dominant in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley and other hilly
7. Kirati, Rai, Limbu: Kirati and Rai dominant in the hills of
east-central Nepal and Limbu in the hills of far-eastern Nepal.
From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.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/
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
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
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 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
The fantasy of a pahadi-origin supremacist. Don't-discuss-racism, You-make-me-
"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
"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
".....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.
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
"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
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 98 09:54:35 EST
From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu>
Subject: Dahmoines and the Racism Discussions
My response in brackets ()
From: email@example.com (Dahmoines)
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.)
Bijay Raut 99 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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.
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
(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.
_______________________________________________________________________________ From: bhesh bhandari <email@example.com> Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal
Dear Bijay (Bijay Raut 99 <firstname.lastname@example.org>),
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
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
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
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
Wait for that moment, you will not have any problem of identity.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 12:12:20 GMT From: email@example.com Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: Re: What does it mean to be a Nepali :.......
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
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
(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
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.
"Sitaula, Raju" <RZS@crai.com> at Berlink
July 10, 1998
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?
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