The Nepal Digest - August 12, 1998 (17 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wed Aug 12, 1998: Shrawan 17 2055BS: Year7 Volume77 Issue4

Today's Topics (partial list):

         Let's stop with the 'poor!'
         Re: A reply
         Re: Ten Reasons
         Fatalism in Nepal
         Response to Traitors in Ranks
         Please no more arguements on Ten reasons

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****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1990 19:42:31 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: Ed <kanti@kpost.mos.com.np>, editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Let's stop with the 'poor!'

I hear it, and I read it all the time, and I'm sick of it!... 'Nepal is a poor country!' I'm told, over and over again!

People should stop saying this! Nepal may, comparitively, have less in terms of $, but has much in the things that count ultimately!

In fact, Nepal is a 'rich' country in what's important to me! So, please, "stop with the 'poor'." I implore Nepali people (and others) not to refer to Nepal as 'poor!' It's not! It's actually 'rich' in those things that are ultimately the most important: heart and soul!

Thus, I propose the following for T-shirts (and other promotional items) sold in Kathmandu, as well as, other places: "Nepal, rich in what ultimately counts: heart and soul!"

Additionally, I have (also) the slogan leading up to the Winter Olympic Games (in 2,014): "Let's Show the World!"

What do you say, we here in Nepal (where there is heart and soul) teach the world a thing or two... 'They've' been 'teaching' Nepal for years! Now, let's show them!

F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple
'The absence of all doubt, leads to complete success!' hutch@whoknowswhereafterAugust6th

****************************************************************** Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: A reply to Pramod Mishraji

1. I have already said that I do NOT intellectually understand the seeming PARADOX presented by the behaviour of Hindu stalwarts such as Achyut Regmi. Sure, I can come up with a pop-theory or two, as to how that paradox might be resolved, but my areas are not sociology or anthropology, and I do not feel confident to make such theories compelling to a wider group of people.

Now, just because I do not understand the paradox, that doesn't mean that in the meantime, I have to buy Pramodji's thoughts on how high-caste Hindus go about with their 'oppression' of lower-caste people and women.

I am free NOT to make up my mind about this issue for a while, and instead do some more reading and thinking and observing on my own, and come up with my own conclusions, while being open to more convincing reasons OTHER people have thought of or written up about.

If my general skepticism of Pramodji's ideas, makes me an "apologist" for high-class Hindus IN Pramodji's EYES, well, tough luck.

2. Pramodji and others are free to criticize STX school any day, any time. But what I was sharing with him earlier were my PERSONAL experiences at the school and after. I surely have NOT read any missionary document that has come out of South Asia. All I was saying was that, based on my experience, students at STX were under NO pressure/obligation to convert to Christianity, also I do not think that the presence of STX had a discernible impact on 'conversion' in Kathmandu, and so forth.

I feel qualified to talk about my experiences at STX. But I am NOT qualified to talk about missionaries in general. But, look, whenever I or someone else pins Mishraji down to talk about a SPECIFIC issue (STX, in this case) why does he feel the need to immediately BROADEN the topic (to include Missionaries of South Asia and so forth) and make the debate impossible to manage within a confined space?

If Pramodji wants an open-ended conversation, fine. We can go on forever, and that's Ok with me. But if there's going to be called a debate, then I must confess of being tired of his shifting the goal-posts (used metaphorically) by BROADENING the scope of issue under debate. Nobody, least of all me, wants to play "catch-up" to Parmodji's erudition.

>How did you jump to "great Hindu revolutinary" from the last sentence?

I laughed out aloud when I read your "If Hindus like me convert, what will happen to Hinduism"? line.

My reaction was/is this: Nothing will happen to Hinduism even if you convert. Let's face it, with all due respect, you are no Vivekananda, though you can certainly/admirably aspire to be one someday thru your actions.

Let others decide how important you are to Hinduism or for that matter for anything PUBLIC. Your readers need NOT answer or even think about such self-indulgent question as "What will happen to Hinduism if Pramod Mishra converts to something else". With the possible exception of your family, nobody will lose sleep over that, and that's all there is to it. If this offends you, I am sorry, but since you (like me) prefer honesty to politeness, I'm telling you like it is.

>And then "taste"! Humm . . . I have heard of this word, although I
>myself haven't tasted because I have no taste. Since what I have said
>is "extreme" to your taste, let's hear a little more about your taste.

Well, I have my taste. There are things I like, and there are things I don't like, and there I am things I am not sure about. I am free to express my taste in private or in public, just as you are free to express your opinions.

What I have NOT done -- and will never do -- is use my personal
'standards' of taste to CENSOR your or someons else's right to post their own thoughts. You need NOT worry about my taste, for I am confident that my record on TND speaks for itself in allowing ALL kinds of viewpoints to come here.

>If revolutionaries are not to your taste, I can't help it.

Mishraji, I am certainly fascinated by revolutionaries of all kinds. But with all due respect, I just don't think you are one. Not yet anyway. If you think you are one anyway, well, my best wishes to you for your revolution. (And lest you had any misconception, I certainly don't consider myself one either :-)

>This is not the first time I have heard the above. Apologists of
>Hinduism have always said this smugly for their Sanatan Dharma.

Fine, I am, according to your configuration, "an apologist" while you are, I suppose, a "revolutionary". I have no hang-ups about this arrangement.

>>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".

>Where did you get that right, have you ever asked yourself? Can you tell
>us
>what's the source and circusmstance of that right? I'm "entitled to my
>opinion," as you had allowed me in your first posting, and you are
>entitled
>to your right. And, even if Hinduism is like restaurant, who prepares
>the "menus" and who is the Chef?

I derive the right from within myself. My parents (Kathmandu-bred, bahun) never forced me to practice Hinduism this way or the other. In fact, for much of my teenage and early 20s, I considered myself an atheist. It is only in the past few years, that I have realized that Hindu religion is personally important for my own spiritual/emotional sustenance. I am no orthodox Hindu, and have no agenda to CHANGE the face of Hinduism. So, I read Hindu scriptures, and adopt what I like and ignore what I don't like. I just don't go around wearing my religion badge on my lapel -- that's all. If this stance bothers you, and makes me an "apologist" in your eyes, well, like I said before, tough luck.

>What did you mean by "cynicism" when you used
>the term to characterize my position about Nepali Hinduism? When
>you use such adjective, try to elaborate and substantiate a little.
>Cynical
>in the ancient Greek sense or South Asian urban middle class
>sense?

I meant it in the Ancient Greek ko sense, as you so astutely pointed out.
 
>Friendly but also spirited kura-kani. I get a little skeptical about
>too much friendliness when it comes to discussing ideas and issues.

By friendly, I meant, without calling each other names and so forth -- something that's too easy to get into, if you know what I mean. Meantime, I am happy to refer to sardonically refer to myself as someone who's "a liberal apologist for Hinduism . . . and who keeps on harvesting its fruits".

This reference, I hope, will come as a surprise to my close friends, but, hey, I have never felt the need to apologize for being a liberal Hindu. After all, in Hinduism, it's the liberals who have brought about many of the reforms. I carry no shame if I am -- in my own small way -- able to carry those reformist liberal ideals alive within me.

namaste ashu

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 9 Aug 1998 22:10:01 -0400 (EDT) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: A reply

On 6 Aug 1998, Ashutosh Tiwari wrote:
>
> 1. I have already said that I do NOT intellectually understand
> the seeming PARADOX presented by the behaviour of Hindu stalwarts
> such as Achyut Regmi. Sure, I can come up with a pop-theory or two,
> as to how that paradox might be resolved, but my areas are not
> sociology or anthropology, and I do not feel confident to make
> such theories compelling to a wider group of people.

Instead of "Paradox," I'd rather use the term "contradiction" to give it a loaded and deeper meaning. But why so much modesty? What makes you think, Ashu, that the theory you can comp up with will be necessarily a pop-theory? What you are saying is not something that relates to you alone; it's merely a symptom of a wider mailaise of people who come out of the so-called Third World. They get so easily, so quickly intimidated by the social sciences and deligate the responsibility and duty to think and come to conclusions about their society and lives to the practitioners of sociology and anthropology and what have you. While it's good to listen to these disciplines and analyze what they say, but a look at their evolution will tell you, as we know now, that there's more than just those disciplines behind their truth value. Sure, if you do not want to make a point about this contradiction or paradox, that's your prerogative, but spending too much time to come up with something that's nonpop-theory, whatever that is, is either showing too much modesty or hesitating to take responsibility. But as you said, you want to read more. That's fine; I'm with you here.

>
> Now, just because I do not understand the paradox, that doesn't mean that
> in the meantime, I have to buy Pramodji's thoughts on how high-caste
> Hindus go about with their 'oppression' of lower-caste people and women.
>
No compulsion at all. Wide reading will always help. There are tons of books on this; read them and come to your own conclusion. But after you read them, please don't do "gulthothri," as they say in Maithili.

> I am free NOT to make up my mind about this issue for a while, and instead
> do some more reading and thinking and observing on my own, and come up
> with my own conclusions, while being open to more convincing reasons OTHER
> people have thought of or written up about.
>

That's the way to go about it.

> If my general skepticism of Pramodji's ideas, makes me an "apologist" for
> high-class Hindus IN Pramodji's EYES, well, tough luck.
>

Here, I didn't say that you were an apologist because you were skeptical about my ideas. Not at all. I used the word "apologists of the pratitioners of Brahminism (note the difference between biological Brahmins and those who practice the ideology) would say that a few conversion like Pramod Mishra's doesn't matter; that Hinduism is a Sanatan Dharma. So, you see, it's not only I but you, too, who are trying to get away from the original statement. It was in response to your statement about my potential conversion that I had used the term apologist for such people who say so (and among these people I had included many students in Indian universities, Sarvarkar, and so on and only by inference you.)

> 2. Pramodji and others are free to criticize STX school any day, any time.
> But what I was sharing with him earlier were my PERSONAL experiences at
> the school and after. I surely have NOT read any missionary document
> that has come out of South Asia. All I was saying was that, based on my
> experience, students at STX were under NO pressure/obligation to convert
> to Christianity, also I do not think that the presence of STX had a
> discernible impact on 'conversion' in Kathmandu, and so forth.
>
Why should I want to criticize only STX? I actually applaud it's work in Nepal.

> I feel qualified to talk about my experiences at STX. But I am NOT
> qualified to talk about missionaries in general. But, look, whenever I or
> someone else pins Mishraji down to talk about a SPECIFIC issue (STX, in
> this case) why does he feel the need to immediately BROADEN the topic (to
> include Missionaries of South Asia and so forth) and make the debate
> impossible to manage within a confined space?
>
This is the same problem as in your first point: the hangup with sociology and anthropology. Do you think, Ashu, that a sociological study or an anthropological study of a particular village brings out all the deeper truths about it without referring to broader principles or theories? I have said it before elsewhere and I'll say it again: human life, society and its institutions are not chemistry problems that you take a certain amount of chemical and mix it with certain amount of other chemicals and come up with a mathematically measured results. A brief look at the history of anthropology from the first missionaries to Mead to James Clifford will tell you that. The same in sociology from Weber to Paul Gilroy. Sorry, I don't want to drop names here, but my point is that you cannot take a look at one "specific" issue without (the basic rhetorical moves to come to a compreshensive or persuasive conclusion) comparison and contrast, at the least. I am tempted to use terms from ancient rhetoricians here, but I'm afraid you might say "Bosh!" In the context of human institutions, we can't say that the elephant's leg is the elephant; we have to take a look at the whole elephant and see the leg in the perspective of the elephant. It's a hermeneutic issue. In order to understand the part one has to take a look at the whole as well; and in order to understand the whole one has to take a look at the part besides taking a look at the material and other conditions of the issue at hand.

Let's take an example of your personal experience with STX here. Your personal experience in itself doesn't mean anything to others if it doesn't make a point. But the moment it makes a point, which is by necessity is a matter of coordination of ideas, it connects with broader bits of ideas and issues and tries to come up with some truth, no matter how fragmentary, about the issue concerned. That's what I meant; and that's how I think. I put any specific issue in a broader perspective; and a broader issue in a specific perspective in order to look at it from all the possible angles so that I can come up with more convincing conclusions. You are, of course, perfectly free to try other ways that you like best.

As it is, I can't answer your specific charge of evading a specific issue without your pointing out which issue it is. And also, who else was trying to "pin me down" on what specific issue? You have to cite specific points, only then can I get into it. Otherwise, the preceding paragraph is my answer.

>
> >How did you jump to "great Hindu revolutinary" from the last sentence?
>
> I laughed out aloud when I read your "If Hindus like me convert,
> what will happen to Hinduism"? line.
>
> My reaction was/is this: Nothing will happen to Hinduism even if you
> convert. Let's face it, with all due respect, you are no Vivekananda,
> though you can certainly/admirably aspire to be one someday thru your
> actions.

Vivekanand! Who wants to be a Vivekanand! God! who will live his whole life as a Brahmachari even when you die young (39 I believe in his case? In this respect, I don't want to be even Gandhi, who, after six years of struggle, finally managed to be a Brahmachari at the tender age of thirty-seven. You see I'm what the ascetics decry as "Bhogi," not Yogi. I want to live in the world of "Maya, moha, kaam, etc." So, Ashu, don't even think about me as ever becoming Vivekanand. I want to come back to this sinful, flesh and blood world again and again and again. I wish no salvation for my immortal soul.

>
> Let others decide how important you are to Hinduism or for that matter for
> anything PUBLIC.

No. I can't afford any more that luxury of others deciding for me in this particular matter. The time for others (I'm tempted to use cuss words here for specific "others" but won't) to decide is gone. No more. In this matter, I'd be the last person to let others even say the word
"Decide." A Hindi filmi dialogue: "Jamaanaa humse hai, hum jamaane se nahi." In order to let "others" decide and be safely in the bed of roses, you need to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth--with lots of relatives, caste members, an alumni association, a club, friends and acquaintences in high places, so on and so on--and not born and grow up in a dispossessed tribe. You just don't seem to understand the deeper issues involved in a Hindu society's functioning, Ashu--I'm sorry to say.

Your readers need NOT answer or even think about such
> self-indulgent question as "What will happen to Hinduism if Pramod Mishra
> converts to something else". With the possible exception of your family,
> nobody will lose sleep over that, and that's all there is to it.

You sound so innocent here. And what is a family? A Hindu family is the root of many Hindu evils. Your Hinduism is different from mine, it seems. I need to spank it whereas you seem to need to worship. That's fine. One man's meat is another man's poison, as they say.

If this
> offends you, I am sorry, but since you (like me) prefer honesty to
> politeness, I'm telling you like it is.
>
Look, Ashu, I'm not a young squash that every little thing would offend and wilt me, to quote Laxman of the Ramayana. My sense of smell is tough; my skin thick. Too much bad smell in life; and too much rain, sun, and dust on my skin.

>
> >If revolutionaries are not to your taste, I can't help it.
>
> Mishraji, I am certainly fascinated by revolutionaries of all kinds. But
> with all due respect, I just don't think you are one.

I never said I was one; you are putting words in my mouth in order perhaps to eret a straw man. If I were, I'd have joined my acquaintence Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. To be a revolutionary takes guts and courage and sacrifice whereas I have come to love the cool of airconditioning, the hot of hotwater, softness of my bed, the orange juice of my refrigerator.

> >>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".
>
> >Where did you get that right, have you ever asked yourself? Can you tell
> >us
> >what's the source and circusmstance of that right? I'm "entitled to my
> >opinion," as you had allowed me in your first posting, and you are
> >entitled
> >to your right. And, even if Hinduism is like restaurant, who prepares
> >the "menus" and who is the Chef?
>
> I derive the right from within myself.

You will have to excuse me here, but since the matter is of general interest, I'll elaborate it. You say you "derive the right from within" yourself? What do you mean? Remember this is not an ordinary human right, as it has evolved from the European enlightenment; it's a right or reserving the right to pick and choose your "spiritual diet" that Hinduism offers. Surely, that right doesn't come from your eternal soul alone or your body alone. Do you think that just by virtue of being
"like-minded" with you, everyone within Hinduism, let alone from other faiths, can reserve that right? If you say, yes, then do you think that by just being like-minded with you, a kami, a damai, a sharki, and other untouchables would have the same right as you in choosing from the "menus"? I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill here; I'm only raising the legitimate issues. If you say, yes, these otehrs who have been humiliated for centuries have the same right as you do, then you are no longer a "liberal," you either have no clue about the reality on the ground in a Hindu society or you are a
"revolutionary," or cynical, like me, whichever you choose. I ask that you give this matter a little more serious consideration.

My parents (Kathmandu-bred, bahun)
> never forced me to practice Hinduism this way or the other. In fact, for
> much of my teenage and early 20s, I considered myself an atheist.

What do you mean by "atheist"? If you think that you didn't believe in God and therefore you were atheist, Hinduism allows it. You can be a Hindu and an atheist at the same time; there's no contradiction here. Once one is born, one doesn't need to pratice Hinduism this way or that. Once born, always endowed with the right or lack of it. In Hinduism, one doesn't need to go to Church on Sunday, or a Mosque on Friday; or, offer prayer certain times a day. Or, choose the myriad denominations. As I had written in one my posts, you can say, "Hr hr hr hr Goat, come eat my grass" and still remain what you were born. Who knows you might even get to see the Almight Himself! Hinduism makes certain people Naati Jarnels at birth and others foot-soldiers for life. That's what's wrong about it.

It is
> only in the past few years, that I have realized that Hindu religion is
> personally important for my own spiritual/emotional sustenance. I am no
> orthodox Hindu, and have no agenda to CHANGE the face of Hinduism. So, I
> read Hindu scriptures, and adopt what I like and ignore what I don't like.

Again, that's a luxury that millions of folks don't have within Hinduism. As for finding your personal faith, my congratulations.

> After all, in Hinduism, it's the liberals who have brought about many of
> the reforms.

All their reforms couldn't help Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Constitution drafting committee of India; nor have they prevented the massacres of the Dalits, let alone other myriad atrocities that continue evryday in the Hindu world.

>I carry no shame if I am -- in my own small way -- able to
> carry those reformist liberal ideals alive within me.

I'm not asking to be ashamed of anything. I'm just asking you to think a little more seriously, deeply, and crtically. That's all. Hey, you are at least a reformist liberal. Something is better than nothing. And I'm with you here.

****************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: more on Ten Reasons/reply to reply to... Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 14:10:50 -0400

>Well there is no doubt that Nepal will benefit economically

Actually, there is plenty. You can't make a projection like that so glibly. Anyone know how much Tibet has benefitted since "joining" China? If the main goal of joining another country is economic, then why not follow Tibet into China? Let's see what happens...heh heh

It's not a question of how much more economic activity would occur in Nepal - of course more would. The question is, what kind, with whose capital, and where would the profits go? There are plenty of examples of countries of Nepal's size (population wise) or smaller that did fine economically on their own and there are plenty of examples of much larger ones that are still economic backwaters. Did Africa as a whole gain from the increased economic activity while being colonized? oh, no this could not possibly happen in a democracy. Hah!

>How would you know that these poor people care less about what their
citizenship >status is than how to meet their both ends?

Probably everybody who is poor does. That's not the point. You haven't made any connection between joining India and those people being 'richer'. It's NOT obvious. If there were no poor people in India you might have a case. Consider the soil above 5000ft, temps, water problems and simple transport problems...might that have JUST A LITTLE to do with poverty in the hills? There are large parts of India which are much more fertile, flat, rich in water and everything else and yet poverty is there! Why?? You can't point to the cities and industry in a few parts of India and say "aha, that's how Nepal will become". And even in each one of those cities there are millions of squatters and urban poor. Have you asked THEM whether THEY would like to come live in Jumla? Atleast they wouldn't have to see fat businessmen driving around in Mercedes while they look through the garbage for food in Calcutta or Delhi.

>Just ask Kathmanduites, what their "identity" was before Gurkhas conquered
them?

This is absurd. They're all dead, duh. Ok, how many people in how many districts all over Nepal have YOU asked about being Nepali? Yes, its a historically determioned process, so what? That's what makes us as *individuals* and that's what we embrace. The possibility that in 80 years our grandchildren may be Indian is precisely what motivates us to resist it NOW. We're historical agents fighting for what happens later. Never mind the argument that follows, I don't buy the lack of Nepali identity outside of Kathmandu elites bit. Got any data?

Your entire argument rests on very rosy perceptions about
(a)how well India is doing economically. (Have a look at the economic data at www.cia.gov some time. Or take a look at the Manhattan cab industry)
(b)how that would elevate the lives of various poor in Nepal. Neither (a)nor
(b)have been established AT ALL.

Another point - its not an all or nothing issue. i.e. its not a majority issue where everyone votes to stay Nepali or not and every Nepali has to obey, or vice versa. If there is a sufficient (say 2/3) majority in a particular district, that district could be free to go. Or particular individuals. Why insist on taking the rest of us with you Mr. Nepal? [how ironic your last name is! :)] If you believe it so strongly, especially the economic argument part, why not be the test case. YOU join India first, and if things go really well, maybe the rest of us will follow...

And please, what does the fact that nation states only became common in the 17th century have to do with the current debate? Everyone living was born when they'd been around for 2-300 years. On an evolutionary time scale, clothes are also a pretty recent phenomenon. They are also a historically determined cultural creation. By your line of argument we should be running around naked!!!

Have you considered this scenario: Nepal joins India, our per capita GDP increases by 150$ (about half the current difference between India as a whole and Nepal as a whole) and 3/4 of the population stays exactly where it is in terms of income? I mean look at who you're talking about joining. If it were Japan or Sweden we were being asked to join, perhaps the question of National Identity would be irrelevant, but for the questionable and marginal-if-they-occur benefits of joining India...

From: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: fatalism in Nepal/reply to reply... Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 15:21:55 -0400

In reply to Mr. Dalrymple's posts-

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

*********************************************************************************************** You really seem to have a fixation with this fatalism thing. It's like a Nepali coming to the US, staying here for 4 months, and then becoming an expert on how "selfish" Americans are compared to Nepalis. I've spent over 14 years in the US and I could not begin to make generalizations of your sort about the people here. Try talking to some other people? Yeah, this guy wrote a book called "Fatalism and Development". That's probably the subliminal phrase that caused your fixation in the first place. Various people have also written vehemently AGAINST that argument. That's neither here not there. The point is that you have no clue what you're talking about either way. (If I was into making generalizations like you, at this point I should say "yeah, another typical ignorant American going to Nepal and becoming an expert in 4 months").

About paying taxes - where do you think the money would go if those people complaining about corruption who don't pay taxes did pay taxes? I think maybe they're thinking just one step ahead of you. It is when the government is accountable and clean (and then delivers something for those taxes) that people will want to pay taxes - not the other way around. At this point who knows how much of our taxes would go into new Pajeros and how much into fixing roads or getting the garbage off the street? That you have missed a basic reason such as that is but one indication of the mighty combination of ignorance and self-righteousness that characterize your extremely obnoxious and offensive postings. Please get a clue! Perhaps its some of that famous Nepali humility or friendliness that prevents more people from writing as I do (more likely they don't even have the time to formulate an adequate response) but believe me about how obnoxious you sound. I would like to reply to a few precise statements as well as providing this very general response:

>How can you have 'democracy,' in an undemocratic culture (caste system
>and subjugation of women)? Please tell me...?

Yeah, thats a tough one, aint it? Maybe the same way you could have it in the US for 1776-1865 when no women voted and 10% of the population were African slaves. Its called Democracy Up The Ass! [get a clue and get a memory. give us 100 years from our democratic constitution and then maybe you can compare the two]

>Whereas Nepali culture thinks it can't do anything without foreign
>intervention! (Note as example: Why are you studying in Canada and not
>here in Nepal...?)

Here you go telling us what Nepali culture thinks. Have you talked to 100 Nepalis? 50? One answer to why Canada is to go sit in on some classes at TU some time. Another is to ask the writer what he is studying and see if that discipline is even offered ANYWHERE in Nepal. Finally, another is to seek economic opportunity so he can accumulate some capital which he can then go and invest in Nepal. And last AN EQUALLY FINE one is so he can get rich and buy a Mercedes and live in Montreal and have little white babies. Why are YOU so fixated with generalizations about Nepali culture?

>Now, please enlighten me to the Nepali mythology that 'instructs' Nepali
>people as to their own 'power,' their own 'self initiative.' I want to
>read and study this... Give me some titles of books, please, that I can

Since well over half the population is illiterate its obvious that if this mythology exists its probably not through books that it gets passed on. What you should have thought of if you really are as old as you claim is that every culture contains narratives of fatalism and empowerment SIMULTANEOUSLY. While there were Black slaves taking up arms against their masters, there were also slaves helping their masters capture escaped slaves! So did slaves "want freedom" or not? The question doesn't make any sense and so neither does any answer. Likewise with your fatalism and empowerment. They both exist in Nepal, in the US, Canada or whererever and even within the mind of the SAME PERSON at different moments. To some extent it depends on personality and to a large extent on what chances the person has had to take initiative and change things and how successful they've been when they've tried. That's ANOTHER reason the writer from Canada has a good shot - exposure. The more these young Nepalis travel and experience (not to mention earn) the more their individual efforts can mean to Nepal if and when they return. Plus, there is no shortage of qualified people in Nepal right now ANYWAY, in fact there are plenty of unemployed educated ones, so why the hell should he go back unless he can start his own business?

The point is not that people can't take criticisms about Nepal. They should atleast come from people who have some clue about the place who can use quantifiers in their sentences such as "many" "some" or even better "30%" so that they don't end up writing/sounding like complete MORONS. Thanks for your enthusiasm, but please, why don't you educate yourself FIRST and then give us the benefit of your verbal diahorreah SECOND?

************************************************** From: "meow nepal" <meownepal@hotmail.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Response to Traitors in Ranks Date: Tue, 04 Aug 1998 14:20:56 PDT

First, we thank the 7 individuals who have already kindly responded to our initial post for their comments, enthusiasm and generous donations. To answer a couple of quierys first:
(1)Yes, we advocate the TOTAL immersion of UP and Bihar in the Indian Ocean (partial submersion just won't do it)

(2)Donations will NOT be accepted in Indian Currency. We had not really expected Indians to contribute to this, but we have gotten queries from Sikhs, other Punjabis, Gujratis and Madwadis who would like to help us erase UP and Bihar from the map. Gold is OK tho.

(3)Yes, we will consider joining up with and accepting help from the Khalistan movement, the Front for the Total Liberation of Kashmir as well as our Gorkhaland brothers.

Now, on to more serious business:
(A)Do not doubt our ability to accomplish our task. Already hundreds of our members are training in the jungles. Small and medium-sized munitions have already been ordered. We have 5000 volunteers in Pakistan, 1000 in Shri Lanka and 2500 in Bangladesh who are our colleagues and sisters and brothers in arms. India WILL be taken and it WILL be demolished like the cur that it is. As you all know 1 gorkhali can dispense with 5 sikhs and 20 ordinary Indian soldiers. Please help us by breeding.

(B)Hey, what's this about open borders being the "lifestyle" of the Terai. Since when? You haven't been around this planet long enough to comment on such things, young cur. Get used to the fact that we kicked your ancestors asses and forget about democracy. We said revolution - no mention of democracy was made. And you question whether bhotes, Sherpas, Magars, Gurungs, Rais, Limbus, Tharus etc. are accepted as Nepalis. Of course they are, and they all know it too. Sure, we all have racist jokes. That's because the PC movement hasn't hit us yet. And we hope it won't. That's why Nepalis smile more than Americans and aren't as anal.

There are also jokes about bahuns and chetris and all pahades and EVEN gorkhalis. Sure, newars and gurungs and rais and limbus and everyone else STILL holds a grudge against us gorkhalis for kicking their ancestors asses, unifying them and saving them from becoming the slaves of the British like the ancestors of our traiterous friends who drank some bad water while at our so called 'national school'. Set up by - the British! YEAH RIGHT. I'd take AVM and Lab and Anandakuti over your sucky school anyday.
(c) We got news for you buddies, maybe BKS is not all that typical but every bhote, sherpa,magar,gurung,jyapu,chetri or bahun knew they were nepali where we went to school. and even among those of us who have been fortunate enough to not go to school, there are radios where there is/was no electricity in humla, dolpa, mustang and dang, in ilam, jhapa, baitadi, gularia, and mahendranagar and so on, and those radios have been playing radio nepal for 30 years, and ALL our brethen have heard RATO RA CHANDRA SURYA JANGI NISHANA HAMRO. Do you even know the words? Of course not. But when the revolution begins, you will be the first we will deal with. And even before radio, our fathers and our fathers fathers have been using CURRENCY. And ON that currency (DESPITE the efforts of all traitors like you to introduce those ugly Indian notes) generations of Nepalis have seen words they could not read and pictures of the king. Guess which king? The king of NEPAL. And what is Nepal - just the country where this funny looking currency came from? No sonny boy, the friggin country where you live. Ya, so the word NEPAL used to mean KTM valley when our parents were still shitting in their pants, and Nepal was Gorkha. Who gives a shit. This is now. Our treasurer here in Geneva was on a trek to friggin rara tal last year and he met 3 people who only spoke Tibetan and through his guide asked them where they were from, Tibet? And in Tibetan they vigorously asserted that they were NEPALI. Among our brothers and sisters 73 of the 75 districts are represented and from each there are such stories.
(D)Ok, so we've had some setbacks in the Terai recently. What do you expect - you'd want to cross over into Nepal if you lived in UP or Bihar too! All this trouble stirred up by these border raiders and our corrupt government selling citizenship papers right and left and what do you know now they say they're 50% of the population.

According to when, the census of 2015 A.D.? This is why it is imperative to either open BOTH borders or CLOSE BOTH. North and South. Why do you think these traitors want to keep the southern border open but make no mention of the northern border? I say either let in 5 million Tibetans to match the 5 million Indians you've let in over the last 10 years or kick them all out. So the Nepalis (if they can find them out of their 1 billion) will get kicked out of India, too. What's the worst that could happen? Let them all come back and work in Nepal. After we kill all the corrupt politicians, what took 30 years to accomplish during corrupt times will only take 10 years to accomplish. If we don't deal with the terai it will deal with us.

(E) A crucial part of our campaign to make Nepal self-sufficient- first send all the aid workers home except for volunteers (anyone know about Eritrea? we have a consultant from Eritrea in our ranks who is a volunteer) Everyone working/living in the west will be invited to invest money in a large fund to start profitable businesses in nepal. these will be in (but not only) the small-medium hydro sector, tourism/attached gambling and legalized high-end male and female prostitution (unionised, of course), weapons production, fishing, sustainable lumber products, handicrafts, grape/wine, tea and coffee. No one will be allowed to engage in real-estate investing. This is the single largest USELESS drain on indigenous capital known.

And incidentally, a funny thing. Some of us have mentioned this discussion going on over TND about "Ten Reasons" to some of the Indians fortunate enough to escape from India - in Geneva, London, New York, Michigan, Wyoming and Tallahassee. Unanimous response: "gasp! why would anyone want to join India? most people are trying to leave it." Because they're stupid escapist kids having fantasies about white knights? No, these are not silly young minds to be educated, these are traitors, most likely trained and hired by the devious Delhi government. They must be dealt with as all traitors!

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 15:09:43 -0700 (PDT) From: Ram Sah <rnsah@ucdavis.edu> Subject: Re: Re[2]: Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India! (fwd)

Dear readers:

I have had opportunity to discuss the idea of Nepal joining the Union of India with many intellectuals of Nepal. It is one thing to be emotionally attached with the concepts of micro-political boundaries but it more important to see the benefit of the human beings of the area, in this case India and Nepal. We are becoming increasingly global and we must train ourselves to be cosmopolitan in our thinking. The very reason that we have come to foreign countries and many of you may decide (may have decided all ready) to migrate to foreign countries shows that you are interested in making your contributions at global levels for mankind in general. Hypocrisy is of the highest order is that the people who have themselves migrated out of Nepal for greener pastures of developed countries want to restrict other people from greater opportunities outside the present boundaries of Nepal in the name of nationalism. If you have to live like an average Terai or Pahari, you will understand the situation better. Unfortunately, most of you discussing this issue grew up with silver platter, went to English Schools run mostly by foreigners and came to foreign countries to brighten your future. You have no idea what the pain of hunger and suffering of humiliation is. You have not seen a love one dying because you could not afford medicine or food.

I am not an economist, so what I am saying is from a common sense approach. If Nepal joins India, Nepal will have Indian currency. Nepali currency does not have appreciate. Regarding inflation resulting from the increased money supply, price of the commodities in Nepal is governed by the economic conditions of the countries manufacturing the merchandise. Since 80% of goods consumed in Nepal comes from India, we do not have to worry about the economic situation in India more than that in Nepal. Removal of import duties will make Indian goods cheaper.

One thing we have not talked about in this context which is worth addressing. The future Terai, the bread basket of Nepal is in serious trouble because of rapid soil erosion in Hills. Silt and clay go to the Bay of Bengal and sand (being heavier settles soon) remains in Nepal Terai. If one you have recently taken a flight from Kathmandu to a Janakpur or Birat Nagar on a clear day, you would not have failed to notice silting of river beds and desertification of Terai. At this rate of erosion, Some people predict that Terai will become a sandy desert in a matter of a few decades. We all are aware of ill intended policy of population transfer (from Hill to Terai thru Punarvas ) during Panchayat time that destroyed Char Kose Jhari
(rain forest) that used to absorb silt. In order for Terai and People of Terai to continue to exist, an immediate intervention is needed. If Terai turns to desert, so goes Nepal.

Although less dreadful than the threat of desertification of Terai, flood problem of Northern India and Terai has its own toll on property and life. Despite the two evils of flood and silting, we are blessed with plenty of sun shine through out the year. The reason that agricultural productivity is low in that region despite the best soil and weather conditions in the world is that our farming being rain dependent, we grow crops when the sun shine the lowest (cloudy days is rainy season). If can use excess water of rains to farm in off-rainy seasons, the productivity will increase tremendously and incidences of insects and diseases (due to dry weather) will go down. There is only one solution to flood, silting and increasing agricultural productivity to store rain water in the valleys of Nepal and use when needed. This task is impossible to be accomplished without working with India and a huge investments for which we should join hand with India.

Consider humanity and welfare of the poor people of Nepal and Northern India and make a rational decision with an open mind: should we let the humanity suffer merely because of political boundaries especially in light of the fact that national boundaries have gone and come several times in only recent past.

--Ram Sah

******************************************************************************* Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 21:36:54 -0400 (EDT) From: Anit Aryal 99 <aryal@panther.middlebury.edu>

I am surprised that so many of our friends are preoccupied by the union with India as a solution of all problems. On that behalf I would like to state and warn that unification with India is not a solution which will solve all the problems of Nepal. Unification with India doesn't necessarily mean that India will come forth with huge investments for Nepal, when the rest of the country is burning with problems. In fact, India may seek to abuse Nepal for the national interest of its own. We are Nepali and we should be proud of it. We have problems in our motherland. The solution is not to seek refuge from others when the best solution is to solve our own problems. Supporters of union with India should not forget about myriads of poor and sick people lingering in India. You can see the might and prosperity of India but forget not the poverty, disease, terrorism and religious conflicts that pervade India. We are not poweful or very rich but on average I believe that a Nepali has a better life than an average Indian. The most important thing is that we enjoy a far more peaceful and cosy life than an average Indian does. I would like to comment on Mr. Shah's writing: "The very reason that we have come to foreign countries and many of you may decide (may have decided all ready) to migrate to foreign countries shows that you are interested in making your contributions at global levels for mankind in general. Hypocrisy is of the highest order is that the people who have themselves migrated out of Nepal for greener pastures of developed countries want to restrict other people from greater opportunities outside the present boundaries of Nepal in the name of nationalism"

First of all it is wrong of Mr. Shah to assume that we have migrated. We are here to study and to learn whether we are at school or working. You cannot just say that all of us studying here are migrants in search of a greener pasture. Some of us will indeed stay in the States. Some will return to home. But I am sure, each one of us will contribute in any possible way for the future and development of Nepal. Also, I don't think that uniting with India will make us more cosmopolitan or more humanitarian. Each one of us represents a person (s)he is. Uniting with India does not make us any better. Talking about suffering, I refuse to believe that uniting with India will automatically bring food for the hungry and medicine for the poor. Social change can be brought in Nepal without selling our Nationality. We can bring forth social change by awareness and hard work. Merging with India will not make us more aware or more hard working. And I don't believe that people from India will come to rescue their new state when they have their own problems in the community.

I have believed and would always believe in our national heritage and our culture. The best way to preserve both is to remain an independent country. Cooperation with India at most levels maybe a good way to bring forth changes and development. Selling Nepal to India is definitely not a solution. How can you say that India will be interested in prosperity of Nepal and not use Nepal as a dump for the national interest of the rest of the Indian population.
 ------
 Anit

**************************************************************** Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 14:13:29 +1200 From: Bodh Raj Subedi <subedibr@kahu.lincoln.ac.nz> Subject: Please no more arguements on Ten reasons To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Dear editor,

I am very grateful with The Nepal Digest and respect your contribution for continuing its existence around the world. It is very appropriate place to argue healthy issues such as development, education, poverty, politics, religion, gender and so on, as demanded by the time and situation. However, the providing the space for arguing the issues of anti-nationalism-" ten reasons" may produce un-healthy arguments and antagonistic reactions. It may be slow poison for nationalists!!!

The TND has to developed the harmonious relationship among Nepalese
(including others foreigners who have interest about Nepal and her all kind of characteristics) scattered around the world. In my personal opinion, the providing space for arguing such ill issue in your TND is very sad. Such issue certainly produce unhealthy reactions among readers.

 I, therefore, request to you to stop arguing such undigestive issue of nationalism in your popular TND. I hope all the best for TND and readers.

Bodh Raj Subedi Lincoln University, New Zealand

************************************************************ Date: Sun, 9 Aug 1998 17:11:58 -0400 (EDT) From: Nirmal Ghimire <ngh42799@marauder.millersv.edu> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: Ten Reasons...The problem with national identity

This in in response to Mr.Bibhuti's letter:
 
 Well there is
> no doubt that Nepal will benefit economically, as many of you have
> agreed, it seems that many of you are concerned more about losing your
> "national" identity than having your and your fellow Nepalis's mouth fed
> middle class and the elites, will favor "national" identity over
> additional bread and butter. How would you know the sufferings of the
> Himalayas or rural Terai? How would you know these poor people's dream
> of sending their children to good schools? How would you know that these
> poor people care less about what their citizenship status is than how to
> exploited during Panchayati Raaj, are discriminated now, and will be
> supprssed in the future. What pride would they get calling themselves

In response i say first of all there is no guarentee that economy will necessary be better just because India comes over. It could be worse because nepalese will be treated as second class citizen and will not have the same dignity. Who will lookat you with any dignity when you give yourself to tohers in hope of some economical benefit. It will be known as greed for destruction. You sound very symathatic too? let me tell you that I am also from Terai and I have seen the situation in Terai too. But fortunately I have not met many people like you. Who is willing to sacrifice his freedom in hope of better economy.

In the contrary I have met people from terai who no matter what are not willing to give up the pride of their country to some other nation.

You remind me of the story of King Midas. He wanted everything he touched to change into gold. He touched his daughter and she turned into gold than he realized the difference. Same thing when you don't have your individual nation what is the point of your nationality, your citizenship. All of these is there because first of all there is an independent Nepal, a independent country. If there is no Nepal, then all else is not their either.

Why do you think there is a problem with identity? Nepal is pour country and Nepali is our langauage. We are situated inbetween India and China. We are an independent country. What identity you want when I love my country and am of my country. Can't you see in the blood of Nepalese how much they belong to their land how much pride they have of their land. Can't you see in their eyes what it means to be a nepali. Government, diplomacy, politics have had their owninterest and may have done things thasty should not have been done. But would you blame that to be the fault of the country and give her away. Nepal is a motherland and Mr.Bhibhuti do you undersdtand the meaning of mother, motherhood and Motherland.Not only as described in the dictionary but as a feeling emotional and spiritual.

> You seem to cling to your "national" identity as if you had it forever
> and you are damn sure you won't lose it ever. Don't think you were
> Nepali forever or remain the same forever. Your identity was determined
> by history, is because of the certain upheavals in the history and will
> change with another sweep of the history. Just ask Kathmanduites, what
> feel "Nepali" in the same way you feel? OK, now take a shift from the
> hills to Terai. Go and ask any layman Tharu, Maithili, Bhojpuri about
> his/her "national" identity. I am sure they won't identify themselves
> as "Nepali," but as tharu, maithili, bhojpuri or by caste. If you insist
> and say that they are "Nepali," they would probably say how can they be
> "Nepali?"; Nepali are the people from the hills, i.e., Paharis!

  You sound as if it was you who gave us our national idenity and ask her if we can saave it. There is nothing that does not get destoyed . When did homo sapiens come into existence and where are dinosaurs now? Were there even seven continets before and what about big bang theory. What the universe is today and what the world is today is much due to lot of physical phenomenon and due to natural selection. But I know that my great, great............................................great gtrandfather was a nepali. I don't want to figure out if there was nepal when Adam and Eve came to Garden of Eden or when Brahma created the Universe. What I am concerned is with more recent times. There was nepal when I was born and will be one till I die.

> One of the reasons why differnt ethnic groups in a country fight over
> "national" identity because none of the groups want to lose its identity
> to other groups while there is not something called "national" identity
> mainly to the Paharis ethnic groups as well as some other hilly groups.
> This national identity fails to give "national" identity to many other
> ethnic groups in Nepal, the prominent of them are "Bhotiyas" and
> "Madhesis." As long as there is not the development of a distinct
> "national" identity in Nepal, the diferent ethnic groups will quarrel
> and the sovereignty of Nepal will remain in danger.
  Tell me which group will think that they are losing their identity because they are called Nepali instead of pahari or teraibasi.
(I don't know about you, for you will probably identify yourself as anyone as long as someone is willing to economically satisfy you) For you idenity seems to have no meaning for you only see benefits if india is to rule over nepal. And now you are saying that bevcause we have different ethnic groups , the sovereignty will be in danger.

I don't think that iyt will be a problem existing together for we have done that for a long time, and we can keep on doing that. But what i do se as a problem is if there arte many people who think like you that nepal should join India. Then I see a big problem, a really big prolem.We then have two divisons, one trying to give up and one trying to protect. Country and nationalhood is a emotional thing too so if you find my answers emotional, it was meant to be so.

Other factor is when i traveled to India with my family we all had to be careful of crime and rape etc. i am not saying there is not such in Nepal but I felt much safer and much more comfortable for it was my land my motherland and my people.

The peace would be gone and so would the freedom.

India has its own problem and let it solve its own problem from kashmir to Punjab.

I could keep on writing a lot more but I guess you got my point. And how your suggestion seems to be absurd.

"Would a child sell his mother just because a neighbour promises to give him a better life"?

it is not just a piece of land, Nepal is our identity and our Motherland. I think it is hard to explain, you just have to feel it.

Mr.Bibhuti don't think i am too naive and don't know much about Indians.

India has produced great philosopherds and thinkeres.

But it has produced thw worst dacoits and criminals too.

Bottom line is we are not looking and benefits here but this is a bigger issue.

Why don't you come up next time with idea like "Let's put Nepal in custody of World bank so that they will give us wealth."

Your suggestion was sucha blow to me atleast that I had to respond in a strong manner.

We all are humans and we all think differeently. Who knows who is right or wrong? But too loose your own nation is a big and a very deep things for some, and i am one of them. So I may at some point been outrageous.

But hey don't take anything personally.

Looking forward for more responses.

bye nirmal

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