The Nepal Digest - August 14, 1998 (19 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

From: The Editor (nepal-request@cs.niu.edu)
Date: Tue Aug 11 1998 - 15:07:16 CDT


Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [131.156.1.2]) by library.wustl.edu (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id RAA18880; Tue, 11 Aug 1998 17:13:56 -0500 (CDT)
Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA21048 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Tue, 11 Aug 1998 15:07:17 -0500
Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA21044 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Tue, 11 Aug 1998 15:07:16 -0500
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 15:07:16 -0500
Message-Id: <199808112007.AA21044@mp.cs.niu.edu>
Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
From: The Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu>
Sender: "Rajpal J.P. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu>
Subject:      The Nepal Digest - August 14, 1998 (19 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)
To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
Content-Type: text
Status: O
X-Status: 
X-Keywords:
X-UID: 278


        %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
        % N N EEEEEE PPPPPP AA L %
        % NN N E P P A A L %
        % N N N EEEE P P A A L %
        % N N N E PPPPPP AAAAAA L %
        % N NN E P A A L %
        % N N EEEEEE P A A LLLLLL %
        %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The Nepal Digest Fri Aug 14, 1998: Shrawan 19 2055BS: Year7 Volume77 Issue5

Today's Topics (partial list):

               Re: Ten Reasons
               Mainstreaming Gender or Guff?
               Even more amazed
               Some clarification
               A Possible South Asian Economic Union
               Nepal India Debate, letter to the editor
               Racism in Nepal
               Nepali restaraunt in Manhattan
               The Free Trade in South Asia Debate
               Query to the Editor of TND

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 05 Aug 98 10:18:51 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Re: Ten Reasons

I am amazed that an attendant of the best liberal arts college in the US - Middlebury - does not have the slightest hint of economic literacy in him. Mr. Aryal needs to look at the European model. Are France and Germany, two proud, rich, powerful nations, wanting to lose their sovereignity that they are so eager to move towards an economic union? Is Tony Blair a fool to want to move towards the same? Are the East European countries, the underdogs of Europe, wanting to commit suicide that they sound so eager to jump onto the European Union bandwagon? Are the North Americans fools NAFTA-wise? Closer to home, why are the ASEAN countries talking the same language? And our own SAPTA, South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement, that has been modified into SAFTA, South Asian Free Trade Area, as a goal to be achieved! A South Asian economic union is the best answer to the rampant poverty in the remote hills and mountains districts of Nepal.

Paramendra Bhagat http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHIll/9511 paramendra@hotmail.com

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 20:25:34 From: Seira Tamang <seira@seira.wlink.com.np> Subject: Mainstreaming Gender or Guff?

                Experienced in running programs to eradicate diseases impeding the promotion of national progress, unity and happiness, the bikas machine has now begun to churn its wheels for the latest antidote to Nepal's backwardness: "the mainstreaming of gender". =20

                In the "just add =91gender' and stir" recipes, trainings, seminars and programs run amok. But sandwiched between the flurry of words and the warmth of ideals, exactly what are we doing again? What is being mainstreamed? How is it being mainstreamed? Who are the "we" that are doing the mainstreaming? Who are the "we" that are being mainstreamed? Surely, these are questions that need to be asked.=20

                Like a chicken without a head, "women" and "gender" issues, roles, perspectives etc run all over the bikas landscape.=20 We have "gender and development", "women and governance",
"governance and gender equity," "gender and education" - the list is endless. The words "women" and "gender" appear unproblematically interchangeable - mere synonyms. To further the argument that "women" and "gender" are distinct concepts would mean that analyses should in some way differ. =20

Yet, despite the obligatory blurb explaining the difference between "sex" (biological differences) and "gender" (the socially constructed meanings given to biological differences) and the preamble concerning the historical march from WID (Women in Development) to WAD
(Women and Development) to GAD (Gender and Development), papers presented and reports written reveal no descriptive or analytical variation from the Status of Women volumes done almost 2 decades ago. So what exactly is it, if not just "guff", that we're mainstreaming?=20

        The question as to "what is being mainstreamed" remaining ambiguous= let us turn to the question of "how" this "gender" is being mainstreamed.= This question is especially pertinent in that despite all the trainings,=20 lectures and conceptual clarity workshops, "gender" continues to be a much= misunderstood concept. Predominant logic in Nepal would have it that more= people need to undergo "gender sensitization" trainings. But perhaps the fault lies not in the quantity, but the quality of current endeavours.=20

        For first of all, as with pre-packaged vacation tours tailored to= suit your needs, these "gender trainings" run the gamut of gradations from= months, weeks, days and morning or afternoon sessions. Aside from the=20 resemblance to just another capitalist enterprise and notwithstanding=20 current needs for the requisite stamp of "gender sensitized", how serious= are these sorts of commitments?=20

                Secondly, what is it that is being taught? This question is relevant in view of the fact that some Nepali "gender trainers" themselves have expressed confusion over, and dissatisfaction with, the terminology. Key here may be the fact that there is no exact translation for "gender" in Nepali. Furthermore, among the prominent alternatives, the word "linga" (sex) remains central - as in "samajik linga" (social sex) as opposed to "prakrithik linga" (natural sex). As the term "sex" continues to part of the description, this somewhat undercuts the power to be gained from understanding the "created" nature of certain roles - which is precisely why the term "gender" first came into being. =20

In many non-Western countries, "the feminist movement" did not take off until a word for "gender" was created in the native language. Is this something that maybe we in Nepal should be looking into?=20

                The overall lack of conceptual clarity and analytical stagnation becomes more worrisome (or actually makes more sense)=20 when one notices that the people churning out=20 speeches/papers/reports on "gender and governance", are doing likewise for "gender and education" and "women in the economy" - irrespective of academic training. It is not surprising then, that these analyzes remain only at the very superficial and general. =20

Most of them could have been whipped up by anyone with access to a good library. Linked to this is the fact that at a recent conference on women and politics, a very visible and respected speaker remarked how nice it was to attend such functions as one gets to meet old friends and see the same people again. Far from being pleasant, I find the idea of the same people rotating around a seminar and report circuit alarming and pause for concern, not joy.=20

        This does, however, clarify to some extent the response to who are= the "we" doing the mainstreaming. Absorbed as this bikas circuit is on=20
"big names" and warped notions of "the expert/specialist", these people are= invariably the same old same olds.. ..

                Finally to the question of "who are the "we" that are being mainstreamed?" The simple answer would be "gender is being mainstreamed". But what is missed is that "gender" as the social meaning given to being a particular sex does not have a "pure form". Socially constructed notions of "being female" are intertwined with other societal identities such as race, ethnicity and religion.=20

Consequently the gendered identity of a Sherpa woman in Solu Khumbu is very different to that of a Brahmin middle-class woman living in the Terai. Yet we still find an overwhelming resistance to acknowledging the fact that given this situation, it is inherently problematic to talk about "Nepali women" and to presume to be able to speak about "their" needs and wants without reflexively acknowledging the position from which one speaks. "The problem of speaking for others" has been summarily dismissed by those who presume to be women leaders, academics and
"experts". If not some generalized, fictive "Nepali mahila", on whose social, economic and political reality is this "gender" based?=20

        To reiterate: What is being mainstreamed? How is it being=20 mainstreamed? Who are the "we" that are doing the mainstreaming? Who are= the "we" that are being mainstreamed? And to end, one final question:=20 exactly what is it again that "gender" is being mainstreamed into?

Seira Tamang Kathmandu, Nepal

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 11:10:54 -0400 (EDT) From: pradeep paudyal <pradeep@cse.bridgeport.edu> Subject: even more amazed

I am even more amazed to see a person pinpointing other( and sarcasting on his educational background ) when he/she doesn't know the difference between being part of another country and being part of an economic union...i don't think the person who came with ten reasons to merge with India was talking about being part of an economic union.. couldn't stop from responding.. Pradeep

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 11:17:58 -0400 (EDT) From: Anit Aryal 99 <aryal@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Some clarification

In response to Mr. Bhagat's reply I would like to state that I have not stated in what I wrote that I am against economic cooperation among South Asian countries. It is wrong of Mr. Bhagat to make a statement like " I am amazed that an attendant of the best liberal arts college in the US - Middlebury - does not have the slightest hint of economic literacy in him". I am an economics major and believe that I do know what I am talking about. Economic cooperation among nations will indeed bring forth more opportunities of trade and ability to improve the economy. I am against the idea of India taking over Nepal. France, Germany and other European nations do not loose their sovereignty by cooperating with each other for economic union. Even when sentiments for union is great why haven't European nations merged into a single country? It took years just to bring forth monetary union and some forecasters even doubt the success of monetary union. We cannot compare ourselves with the Europeans. South Asia is much more heterogenous and consists of a vast diversity in culture, religion and ethnicity. How would you unite India and Pakistan when there is so much tension and differences between the countries? Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan because the people of Bangladesh were oppresed by the Paks. Would they be willing to accept control of their land by the Paks again? Ask any Bangladeshi and he will say he is proud of the independence of his nation and the revolution that separated Bangladesh from Pakistan. The point is that cooperation among countries is a good sign but independence and sovereignty have their own benefits. As an independent country Nepal may be able to bargain with India on issues of trade etc. for benefit of Nepalese people. However, if Nepal becomes just another state of India we will lose some of our voice. (I don't mean to say we won't have one at all, because this may be an issue of another debate.)

Anit

*********************************************************************** From: "Sitaula, Raju" <RZS@crai.com> Subject: RE: Re[2]: Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India! (fwd) Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 11:14:20 -0400

Mr Bhagat, Mr Shah, and others,

Personally I believe nationalism is not about material success. It is loyalty to one's country independent of what the country was, is, or will become. If people think nationality should be traded for better life, they are free to subscribe to that opinion. A subjective debate like this cannot be conclusive. However, I am amazed by the economics argument favoring an union with India. Mr. Bhagat, before you accuse "an attendant of one of the best liberal arts college of this country" on his lack of economic knowledge, let me give you some.

European economic unification is different than what we are talking about between Nepal and India. France and Germany, for example, are equally strong nations. Even then do you know the undercurrent of opposition to the economic union in these two countries? Germany's Kohl is moving more and more to the right and sounding like a real nationalist these days due to the fear that he might be losing support. You talk about Nafta. Who has benefited from Nafta? Only US multinationals, who can now move to Mexico for cheaper labor , have benefited from Nafta. But what about thousands of Mexican's businesses who are out of business because they can no longer compete with American products. What about thousands of American low skilled workers who are no longer useful because companies prefer low wages across the border in Mexico. Policy makers both in Mexico and the US don't take these into account because, unlike big multinationals, little people don't have lobbying power or money to buy newspaper support so that people like you can understand. As Anit said, unification does not mean India will come to Nepal with big investments. There are many states in India far poorer than Nepal. Economic unification only makes sense when two uniting countries are of same strength and have things they can exploit from each other. This is not the case here.

I have a big respect for India. But why would anyone on his right mind want to unite with India. India has bigger economic, social and political challenges than Nepal does. The Indian nation as a whole faces an identity crisis as it can't find its right place in the world order. It believes it is great and yet it knows it is not. Indian's secularism is bankrupt. Its politics is totally criminalized. Even those who believe that nationality can be traded for better life, can't they see Nepal will be far from better after uniting.

-Raju

************************************************************************* Date: Wed, 05 Aug 98 11:58:46 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: A Possible South Asian Economic Union

My response in brackets ().

Anit Aryal 99 <aryal@panther.middlebury.edu> at Berlink 8/5/98 11:15 AM

    ......I have not stated in what I wrote that I am against economic
    cooperation among South Asian countries.......I am an economics major and
    believe that I do know what I am talking about. Economic cooperation among
    nations will indeed bring forth more opportunities of trade and ability to
    improve the economy.

(what you say right below does not rhyme with what you say above!)

    I am against the idea of India taking over Nepal.

(I don't think there has been a suggestion that India take Nepal, Sikkim-style. Why are you deliberately miseducating yourself?)

    France, Germany and other European nations do not loose their sovereignty by cooperating with each other for economic union.

(So why are you worried in Nepal's case?)

    Even when sentiments for union is great why haven't European nations merged
    into a single country? It took years just to bring forth monetary union and
    some forecasters even doubt the success of monetary union. We cannot compare ourselves with the Europeans. South Asia is much more heterogenous and
    consists of a vast diversity in culture, religion and ethnicity.

(Who ever suggested the process will be easy? It will require the skills that the South Asian politicians to date have failed to exhibit. Don't underestimate the heterogeneity of the European continent. There is more beyond the skin color!)

    How would you unite India and Pakistan when there is so much
    tension and differences between the countries?

(Kashmir is the thorn there. Did you notice considerable progress has been made on the North Irealand question? It has now become irrelevant whether North Ireland becomes Irish or British territory when both Irealnd and Britain themselves are preparing to merge into a larger European Union. Therein lies the answer to the Kashmir problem. Surprise, surprise, a South Asian economic union happens also to be the best solution to the Kashmir problem!)

    Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan because the people of Bangladesh were oppresed by the Paks. Would they be willing to accept control of their land
    by the Paks again? Ask any Bangladeshi and he will say he is proud of the
    independence of his nation and the revolution that separated Bangladesh from Pakistan.

(A South Asian economic union does not mean India takes Nepal and Pakistan takes Bangladesh. I accuse you of economic illiteracy one more time.)

******************************************************************* Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 11:09:29 -0500 (EST) From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu> Subject: Nepal India Debate, letter to the editor To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

I read with great interest, the debate on whether Nepal should be a part of india or not? To me despite all the issues raised, the matter comes down to the basic question Why India? (Why not China? or some other country). If it is a matter of just economic benefits would this not suffice as well ? But no, this scenario would be completely unacceptable to most of us. China despite the common borders we share seems as far as India seems closer. (Can you name one Chinese actor, actresses, singer, etc)

So all this basically means that the issue we are dealing with is primarily a cultural and religeous one. (We feel that there is a piece of us lying there in India which would complete our being I guess) And it is on this front itself that I want to voice my objections.

By being a part of India we have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

 Nepal is a Hindu country. I mean Hindu in the truest sense of the word. Our little world has virtually remained untouched for as long as we can go back in history. And it is here that Hinduism still breathes, lives and flourishes the way it was meant to be.

India is a salvaged remain of what once was a great hindu civilisation (our hindu civilisation). Hinduism in India has been tortured, looted, converted, first by the Islamic invaders and the Christian British. Like was to be expected, Hinduism has changed there. It has become bitter, angry and fanatical. So much so that it is starting to loose its most basic characterstics - tolerance (Remember VHP, Babri masjid, the riots).

In becoming part of india it is this distinct Hindu identity that we risk losing It is this anger and bitterness that we risk letting seep in.

We are poor but uncomplicated and peace loving - we nepali people. This is the most priceless treasure we have. We don't want to lose it. Do we?

Bipul Singh

************************************************************* Date: Wed, 05 Aug 98 12:31:04 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Re[4]: Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India! (fwd)

My response in brackets ()>

"Sitaula, Raju" <RZS@crai.com> 8/5/98 11:20 AM

    ........nationalism is not about material success. If people think
    nationality should be traded for better life......

(People like you are the greatest enemy the poor people in the remote hills and mountains districts of Nepal have.)

    I am amazed by the economics argument favoring an union with India.

(I never was in favor of "an union with India." I am for a South Asian economic unon, which is a different concept altogether.)

    European economic unification is different than what we are talking about
    between Nepal and India.

(No. We are talking the same thing.)

    Even then do you know the undercurrent of opposition to the economic union
    in these two countries? Germany's Kohl is moving more and more to the right and sounding like a real nationalist these days due to the fear that he
    might be losing support.

(On that note, did you notice the US Congress denied President Clinto fast track authority! When did I ever claim the process will be easy. Democracy is a far better concept than the Panchayat ever was, but it still took time to materialize.)

    You talk about Nafta. Who has benefited from Nafta? Only US multinationals,
    who can now move to Mexico for cheaper labor , have benefited from Nafta.
    But what about thousands of Mexican's businesses who are out of business
    because they can no longer compete with American products. What about
    thousands of American low skilled workers who are no longer useful because
    companies prefer low wages across the border in Mexico. Policy makers both
    in Mexico and the US don't take these into account because, unlike big
    multinationals, little people don't have lobbying power or money to buy
    newspaper support so that people like you can understand. As Anit said,
    unification does not mean India will come to Nepal with big investments.
    There are many states in India far poorer than Nepal. Economic unification
    only makes sense when two uniting countries are of same strength and have
    things they can exploit from each other. This is not the case here.

(Free trade is a good idea also between a rich and a poor country. That is basic economics. Free trade is a sound economic concept. The best thing that can happen to the economies of the African continent is if there were a total trade liberalization in the global agricultural sector, if the rich countries stopped subsidizing their farmers, and pulled all their tariffs and trade barriers down. The poor countries have not been given fair deals in the WTO as is.
    Yes, an economic union means old industries will shut down, there will be competition, inefficient sectors of the economy will be weeded out, new industries will emerge. There will be massive, healthy restructuring of the economy. What's your problem?
    A free trade regime in South Asia will benefit all the consumers in South Asia. Why should the poor people in Nepal buy expensive stuff only to support the industries owned by the rich in Nepal?)

    I have a big respect for India...... It believes it is great and yet it
    knows it is not.

(.....two sentences written by one person! I really don't see how it is okay for the P-5 to have nuclear weapons but not okay for Pakistan and India to have the same. But the fact remains that the Pakistani and the Indian leaderships have so far failed to see the competition at the global level now is economic. India needs to focus on its economy with the intensity of a laser beam, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, to attain its rightful place in the global order.)

    Even those who believe that nationality can be traded for better life, can't they see Nepal will be far from better after uniting.

(An Economic Union is not a good concept only for rich countries like France ancd Germany. Infact it is a better concept for the poor countries becasue : (a) the global trade agreements have tended to be unfair to the poor countries, (b) the poor countries need to pool their resources together to emerge stronger at the bargaining table, and (c) it will speed up their collective rates of economic growth.
    So India does not have to be a big economic powerhouse for a South Asian economic union to become possible. But it is. It is the 8th industrial power in the world. Its software industry is growing 33% a year....And so on.)

    Despite the deprivation and underdevelopment, people feel that they want
    to live as Nepalis.

(The pride is despite, not because of. My point being, should "the deprivation and underdevelopment" be gotten rid of, the Nepalese will still be Nepalese. And a South Asian economic union is the best way to get rid of "the deprivation and underdevelopment.")

    giving up Nepal's sovereignty and joining India is a panacea to all the
    problems. He assumes that all these problems will automatically disappear
    once we become a part of India.

(...wrong assumption. As President Clinto said at the MIT commencement : "You cannot click your way to success." Hard work will still be wont. But, an economic union is a way to not only to work hard, but also to work smart.)

    reminds me of what John Keynes had to say to the classical
    economists who kept insisting that things would be fine in the long run: In
    the long run we are all dead.

(Precisely. Keynes also said: "When my information changes, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?")

Subject: Racism in Nepal and the relevance of the Sadbhavana Party

(from the book Sangram Morcha : A New Political Party that I wrote in Fall 1993)

The Nepal Sadbhavana Party

The regional Nepal Sadbhavana Party demands the Terai peoples of the southern plains compose roughly half of all spheres of national life populationwise.

Gajendra Narayan Singh, a disciple of BP Koirala and a Nepali Congress activist working as the NC Chairperson of his home district until the great leader's death, leads this party. A Moscow-educated Hridayesh Tripathy, originally an influential communist, good-looking, bearded, and surprisingly young for the attention he commands, is second in command.

[later on, the Nepal Samajwadi Janata Dal, which ended up with two of the four Sadbhavana MPs, although Anis Ansari, the third MP, was also rumored to follow suit for a while, had the following people at its helm : Rameshwar Raya Yadav
(then MP in the Upper House...a stalwart in Sarlahi..ended up in the cabinet later on), Chairperson; Hridayesh Tripathy (from Nawalparasi, Chaired the Public Accounts Committee, raised plenty of dust, went on into the cabinet), General Secretary; Harkalalsingh Rajbanshi (from Jhapa, got over 10,000 votes but lost), Vice-Chairperson; Naresh Bhatta (a former DSP, from Nawalparasi), Vice General Secretary; Sarita Giri (an Indian married to a relative of the Koiralas...her daughter attends Budhanilkantha School), Vice General Secretary; Paramendra Bhagat, Vice General Secretary; Rajendra Mahato (from Sarlahi..got over 10,000 votes...the joke in the Dal was all the Sadbhavana people who got more than 10,000 votes came with the Dal, the rest stayed back with the Sadbhavana!), Spokesperson; Arun Kumar Singh (from Sarlahi), Central Committee member; Dilip Dhadewa (a Marwadi from Biratnagar who got only slightly fewer votes than Shailaja Acharya, now Deputy Prime Minister), Central Committee Member; Mohammed Mohsin, Central Committee Member; Murli Singh (he knew Ram Raja Prasad Singh), Office Secretary; Damodar Shreshtha, Office Assistant. - paramendra]

Racist Hate

This country is racist.

If you hate an African American in the United States, you call him or her a
"nigger." In Nepal, if you hate a Teraiwasi, you use words like "madisey, marsya, dhoti, bhaiya." This hate is most evident out in the streets of the capital city, a fertile valley in the central hills, where the poor southerners selling fruits and vegetables and collecting garbage in the form of used paper and emptied bottles are constantly abused. Some get beaten up. Passing remarks at southerners, tie-suited or barefooted, are as common as the smoke and dust of this polluted city.

A capital, by definition, is a place to which the entire nation can feel emotionally attached to. If the Kathmanduites cannot understand this basic fact, Kathmandu does not deserve to be the national capital. Capitals can be moved if history is any lesson.

Before the advent of democracy, the state declaredly treated the southerners non-citizens. Participation was denied in most arenas of national life. Even after the advent of democracy, little has changed. True, now every southerner carries a vote just like any northerner, but the historic differential treatment remains. In terms of population, the south is half of the country, but out of the 205 parliamentary constituencies, only 80 lie in the south. The south is denied participation in the Royal Nepalese Army, composes maybe two per cent of the police force and probably six of the civil service. Of all the Nepalese ambassadors to foreign lands, probably one is a southerner. This imbalance is portrayed in all state involvements starting from the ruling party's cabinet where the south is given only token representation. These are far cries from the fair 50 per cent.

The first Prime Minister after the recent advent of democracy, the Nepali Congress stalwart Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, on his state visit to India, was asked by the local journalists there as to why the Teraiwasis were not enlisted to serve in the Nepalese army.

"It is because they are cowards," he swiftly replied and was applauded in the hills back home for saying that.

Were it not the Terai peoples who helped the Varanasi Babus like Bhattarai capture the southern districts from the Ranas in 1951? If he were talking about those Teraiwasis who are members of his party, it would have been understandable. For if they continue to belong to the Congress party even after such an insulting remark by the Congress Chairperson, what are they but cowards indeed? But Bhattarai did not specify as such. No southerner whose backbone stands vertical to the ground can digest this humiliation.

If there is anybody coward in this country, it is the Congress politicians who hold the view Nepal cannot feel safe unless it accepts a pigtail existence to Delhi.

The tourist magazines in the country describe Nepal a hilly country, as if the Terai were a different nation altogether. The accented way in which the Teraiwasis tend to speak Nepali, the state language, is a very popular theme among the Kathmandu-based comedians and is perpetually cashed on. How many hillsfolk can speak Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Tharu, Bengali, Urdu or Hindi? The Nepali-speakers, the largest linguistic group in the country, tend to feel closer to the Nepali-speaking communities in India, numbering 20 million, than to the Terai. When the educated and the travelled among the hillsfolk say the rest of India is okay, it is only Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that are dirty, can it be because the Biharis and the UP people, like the Teraiwasis, are dhoti-kurta people? Is dhoti-kurta dirty? Do not the Nepalese in the Himalayan region look like Tibetans and the Indians of Ladakh? The interaction and matrimonial links between the Nepalese of the far eastern and the far western hills with the Indians across the border and of the Himalayan Nepalese with Tibetans is taken for normal, but the same by the Teraiwasis alarms the hillsfolk. Hinduism and Buddhism are seen twin sisters. They are the two largest religions in the country. Almost all the Nepalese Buddhists live in the hills and mountains. But Islam is seen a stepson. Is it because the Nepalese Muslims are largely Terai-based?

The "liberal" among the northerners are quick to comment to the southerners they get to become friends with that the latter are too good to be southerners and could easily be wronged for northerners. This is intended to be politeness.

The Diseses Called Indophobia

Nepal is a land-locked population of 20 million. India, the neighbor to the south, east and west, is a large population of about one billion people. There is an underlying, barely hidden suspicion among a significant proportion of the Nepalese in the hills that India carries a perpetual, hidden intention to eat up Nepal. A lot of hills politicians mould their entire careers out of this anti- India feeling. The Nepalese of the southern plains have great cultural similarities to the people of the Gangetic plain. The lifestyle, languages and clothings are similar. For example, holy town of Janakpurdham in the eastern Terai is the cultural capital of the more than 35 million Maithili-speaking peoples spread out geographically in south-east Nepal and north Bihar, India.

The Indophobic Nepalese from the hills tend to think the Teraiwasis are Indians who have migrated north to Nepal across the open border to take it over gradually.

I carry a citizenship card in Nepal. My father has been a Nepalese all his life. So have been my grandparents and great-grandparents and their parents were from the same village. My great-grandfather passed away in 1989. When he was on his death bed, coming to realize that was my last hope of extending my knowledge of my family tree, I tried to communicate with him, but his sensory decay had gone too far. He could not remember the first word he had spoken by the time he reached the second. People from the nearby villages, especially the most elderly ones, would come to see him claiming someone who had lived for so long and had met so many succeeding generations in line - one of my cousin sisters had given birth to a son - must be a godly person and not an ordinary one.

Beyond my great-grandfather's parents I lack knowledge of my family tree. Long long ago my ancestors might have been from India. I do not know. But, if that be the case, similar is the story of the reigning monarch in the Narayanhiti Palace.

The suspicion of India is not something unique to the hills of Nepal. Even within India, large segments of its own people, due to the overly centralized character of politics there - why not reorganize India into a hundred states with greater powers to each - eye Delhi with suspicion. The suspicion is not the point. The point is it is not realized the Indians and the Teraiwasis aret two separate stocks of people, that Indians are Indians and the Teraiwasis are Nepalese. The suspicion of India is moulded into a suspicion of the Terai. If Nepal were to go to war with India, will the Royal Nepalese Army, composed entirely of northerners, gun down the Terai peoples before launching an attack further south?

The northerners like to think they are the genuine inhabitants of this country. The historical truth is no community ever emerged on this land the way the Himalayas did. Long long ago the present-day land-locked Nepal was not even a piece of land it is today but a sea. The ruling houses for the past two milleniums have all been immigrants. Who is a "genuine" Nepalese, who a fake one?

If the Terai was all forests and no people until only a few decades back, as the myth in the hills goes, why has history constantly talked of the kingdom of Mithila in the eastern Terai? Gautama Buddha, one person who, more than anyone else this country ever gave birth to, has made Nepal known all over the world, was a Teraiwasi. Would it not have been a more native doing if the monarch of Mithila had militarily unified Nepal instead of the Rajasthani Rajput Prithvi Narayan Shah? Where did Prithvi's grandson find the Maithil widow whose son succeeded him? Was the widow nurtured on the milk of wild animals? Was her first husband a tree?

The elderly members of my family (my family lost three elderly members - my grandmother, great-grandmother and great-grandfather in that order - within a span of two years 1988 and 1989) told me stories of how life was under the Ranas
(they liked to claim life was better in "our" times!) and as to what happened to them during the great earthquake of 1934. All of them managed to come out alive. My second grandfather whom I could not meet, the most renowned wrestler in the region, was lost later but that was during a malarial epidemic. One of my grandmothers liked to tell me for my bedtime stories that she was fat and spread out because she got "pressed" in a heap of mud rubbles during the great earthquake. It was only much later that I started noticing now much she ate. It is all in the family!

The migrations of Indians into Nepal and assimilation into Nepalese citizenry is not the short trek across the open border, as another myth in the hills goes. It is legally prevented. Some rich Indians do manage to get in, however, by bribing the government officials who, more often than not, are northerners.

Still another myth, this one partly true, is the Terai is full of snakes!

If Indophobia, a foolish sentiment (foolish because Nepal is never going to be militarily conquered by another country - what is the Roayl Nepalese Army there for! - and any bilateral and multilateral treaty affecting us cannot come into effect unless we become a signatory to it), is to continue, it may not be translated into a hatred of the Terai. India is probably our second most important, science and technology being the undoubted first. India does not scare me, for fear and suspicion is not the language friendship speaks.

Infact, the Indians across the border do not much attach with the Terai either. They call Teraiwasis small-nose people, hillspeople because "from the Terai you can see the hills and hence you must be low intelligence people."

Hate, Hate And More Hate

The Sadbhavana's dogged adherence to Hindi as one link language for the entire Terai makes an important point that the racist hate directed against the south cuts across all linguistic, religious and caste boundaries within the Terai. A Mithilawasi is subject the same hatred as a Bhojpuri or Awadhi speaker or someone whose mothertongue in the Tharu language, a Terai Muslim as a Hindu, male as female. The Sadbhavana must be credited for bringing this hate into national political debate. Before the emergence of the Sadbhavana party, it was not even discussed openly. Today it is a major political issue is the country, probably the third in complexity, the issue of women's rights being the second and the national economy the undoubted first. If there is anybody communal in this country, it is not those Terai leaders who speak for the dignity of the Terai but those Kathmanduites who harass the poor vendors from the south out in their streets and those who think the Teraiwasis are cowards.

When you are sidelined in the rat-race of life on racist grounds, you pause to think. When you are thrown off balance and into the deep wells of loneliness from where the happenings around you look the small roti of sky at the top by the casaul utterance of hate-words by your otherwise "intimate" hillsfolk companions, you pause to wonder. As long as you speak Nepali, you are
"acceptable." As soon as you assert your cultural identity, you are psychologically outcast. You feel uncomfortable. When you see the beam of quiet pleasure on the faces of the so-called liberal and unprejudiced hillsfolk when they watch the mistreatments poor southerner vendors are put to, you feel restless.

Self-Hate

Yet the most hurtful aspect of this drama of racism lies not outside but within, in the thick sentiment of self-hate in the communities of the Terai. Quite a lot of those southerners who somehow manage to become notable government officials in a civil serivice basically hostile to the Terai tend to look down upon the less well-off southerners and build an if-you-are-hated-it-is-becasue- you-deserve-to-be-hated mentality. They desperately try to shed their skin off and get into the fair-color skin of the northerners. They zealously teach Nepali to their children for their first language and slap them hard whenever they retort back to their mothertongue. They work hard to design mental movements under their dark skin to get as far away from it as possible to devour the superior-thought ways of the hillsfolk.

In the Terai at large, fair-skinned children are preferred to dark-skinned ones. Fair-skinned daughters are easier to marry off. (Yes, married off....Daughters do not get married, they are married off.)

The tie-suited southerners try to argue among themselves that were it not for the bare-footed southerners who do the "lowly" jobs in Kathmandu and hence rightly get abused, the rest of the southerners would have been able to live a life of dignity. "Decent" southerners are supposed to act as if nothing is wrong, all is normal.

It is these self-hating southerners more than the northerners who are the strongest and most energetic opponents of the Sadbhavana party.

"Show me where the Terai is discriminated against," they say, as if that were the most courageous statement made in the history of the world.

The Way Ahead

The Terai's greatest strength is it is half of the country. The mechanisms of electoral politics are the most potent weapons at the Terai's disposal.

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 16:13:11 -0700 (PDT) From: Ram Sah <rnsah@ucdavis.edu> Subject: Re: Racism in Nepal and the relevance of the Sadbhavana Party

A well written article. Many times a troubling question come in Nepal as to who are original Nepali and who are immigrants. To the best of my knowledge, the present rulers, their soldiers (today's Chhetries), their priests (today's hill Bahuns) and their commanders/family members
(today,s Ranas and Shah) took shelter in hills of Nepal after being defeated by muslims, could be the most recent immigrants in today's Nepal. After defeating Mallas and other kings of Kathmandu valley and establishing Nepal as a country, the Kathmandu-based Shah and Rana rulers ruled (not governed) other parts of Nepal including Terai as their territory/colony/property (I can not find a suitable word). Terai existed before them since the Time of Ramayan (Janakpur), Mahabharat (Biratnagar of king Birat) and Gautam (Kapilbastu). These most recent immigrant rulers did not seek participation Terai and probably most of hills in ruling Nepal. The Panchayat system followed the course of earlier rulers. Kathmandu people became the real powerholders of Nepal reaped most, if not all, benefits from the nationhood of Nepal. No wonder, they do not want to lose their benefits. Irony is that these are the people who claim themselves bonafide Nepali.

 ---Ram Sah

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1990 11:16:10 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: posts...

I'm sorry, I don't understand... Makes no sense to me... Please explain...

After living in Kathmandu for five months there are things (after observing) that just don't make any sense to me...

But, that isn't to say that Kathmandu, Nepal, is the only place where there are things that don't make any sense to me... There are many things in the U.S. that don't make any sense to me either...

But, since I'm now living in Kathmandu, maybe Nepali people can help me
'adjust' to their 'ways'...

1) Motorbike operators are required by law to wear helmets, but not their passengers, like little children... Make any sense...? Please explain...? The operators of motorbikes generally wear helmets, but only shower shoes or sandals on their feet... Obviously, they don't care about their feet... Make any sense... I'm sorry, doesn't to me... Please explain...

2) Cows are treated better in Nepal than people... Make any sense... I'm sorry... Please explain...

3) Nepal (Kathmanduans), especially those in the tourist business want more tourists (revenue)... Yet, they have turned the Kathmandu Valley into a garbage dump ('shithole' a U.S. tourist described it recently). Make any sense...? I'm sorry, I don't understand...?

4) Dogs are supposed to be 'good luck,' in Nepal, yet I see them eating garbage and dying on the streets! Wouldn't you want to take care of a good luck symbol...? I'm sorry, I don't' understand... Please explain!

5) Every year there are another 780,000 new mouths to feed in Nepal, a country that can't support the people it already has... Make any sense... Please explain...?

6) The border (between India and Nepal) is open to any Indian who can fall across. Yet, the Nepali Government makes it 'difficult' for others, of other nationalities, that want to stay and make a contribution (whether that be effort or $). Make any sense...? I'm sorry, I don't understand...

7) People on wheels, here in Kathmandu, as in a monstrous hurry, rushing around like their lives depended on it... This jeopardizes theirs and other's lives. But, take those same people off or out of the 'wheels,' and suddenly they're in no hurry at all. In fact, walk very slowly... Make any sense...? I'm sorry... Please explain...?

8) People here in Nepal (like everywhere else) want a better life, the economy to turn around, etc. Yet, these same people are very negative about the chances of any such thing(s) happening... Thus, life for them becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and of course, things never do get any better for them (continuing to complain)... Please explain... It's so simple to be positive (out of necessity, mostly!). Why the negativity...? I'm sorry, I don't understand!

9) People complain about corruption in the Nepal Government, yet they don't pay their taxes...? Make any sense...? Please explain...? Doesn't integrity begin at home...? In a democracy... YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT!

10) Now, I tend to avoid the tourist areas, as I have grown weary of street hustlers and beggars (although I always give money to them)... And I'm the very potential customer that shop owners, etc. want (in these areas). Tell me what sense it makes to create an 'environment' that your potential customers want to avoid...? Please explain...? Make any sense...?

11) With the highest per-capita hydroelectric potential in the world in Nepal, there is no regular running tap water, or electricity in Kathmandu... Please explain...? And Nepalis just accept it... Make any sense...?

12) For the sake of tourism (tourist revenue) keep and renovate the old buildings, the old Rana palaces, Hindu shrines, Buddhist stupas, etc. Tourists love the historic ambiance of Kathmandu (one element that makes it so charming). Yet, they tear them down to put up new and modern-looking buildings. In a decade part of Kathmandu will look like Dallas, Texas/U.S.A. (ugh!). Please explain...? Is this going to help bring tourists...?

13) Does it make any sense to call for the 'surveillance' of 'foreign' cultural pollution when you accept millions of dollars in foreign aid...? I don't think you can have one without the other...? Please explain...?

14) Woman dress up like 'flowers,' in freshly washed (colorful) saris... Then they go walking in sandals (with painted toes) through the slim (of the monsoon)...? Make any sense...? Please explain?

15) It is the custom in Hindu countries to remove thy 'shoes,' before entering an abode. Yet, I observe that many people wear 'shower shoes' on the street which they are constantly falling out of, their feet theninto the mud and grim (animal shit). These are the unwashed feet they take inside (to walk on your floors). I'm sorry, makes no sense to me...? Additionally, why don't we consider cleaning up the streets (and Kathmandu Valley) so we can wear the shoes inside. (Note: I'd keep all the cows in parks, and reduce 'dramatically' the 'slum-dog dying' canine population.)

'God' to Beggars! (for R.R.)

'You are God to beggars!' The young man said, Walking down the street!
'I like you!'
'And I like you!' I told him, Majoring in biology and the
'Science' of observation!
'Where are you from?' He wanted to 'no' as always! I said,
'From the U.S., Trying to garner 'points' for such!
'New York?' he asked.
'Well, I've lived there,
'Noing' better than to confuse the question!

There are Nepali people who tell me, I spoil beggars! I try to spoil even you! As I am spoiled!

We are all Gods, All we have to do is realize, And be blessed!

Blessed be the beggars Who give us the chance To become Gods! No beggars! No Gods!

Rejoice in the chance to become...

'God' to Beggars!

Copyright 1998, F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal

************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Nepali restaraunt in Manhattan Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 12:12:10 -0400

Does anyone know if there is one? I have a bet going that there isn't a
'real' one - ie not counting Indian restaraunts which claim to have some Nepali food.

***************************************************************** Date: Thu, 06 Aug 98 16:43:50 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: The Free Trade in South Asia Debate

I invite you all to read the following articles on the web and then meet again on The Nepal Digest forum to participate in some informed discussions on the topic-

http://www.iie.com:80/9615.htm COMPETITIVE LIBERALIZATION AND GLOBAL FREE TRADE: A VISION FOR THE EARLY 21st CENTURY C. Fred Bergsten INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

http://www.oneworld.org/odi/odi_developing.html DEVELOPING COUNTRIES IN THE WTO Overseas Development Institute

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

************************************************************************ Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 19:49:03 -0400 (EDT) From: Ram Subedi <subedi@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Re: Re[2]: Ten Reasons Why Nepal Should Join India! (fwd)
         We have come a long way since King Prithvi Narayan Shah proudly declared, "Nepal char jaat chhatis barnako phulbari ho." The present population of Nepal includes much more than the ethnic groups the Great King had in mind although the essence of his saying still carries a considerable weight. The present problems of ethnic and national issues that we are discussing so fervently here also remind me of his another saying, "Mera saana du:khale arjyako muluk hoina, sabailai chetana bhaya." We seem to have forgotten all these along the way.
        I will try to summarize what we have discussed so far and along the way so that we will not lose track of how we came to a point where we are. I'll also add my opinions if I have any. The issues raised in our discussions can be broadly divided into three categories:

1. Gender Issues
        The plight of women across the country, as we all know, is anything but good. Equally embarrassing is the selling of our "chelibeti" to Indian brothels by our own people. These issues, though they have been discussed at other places in the past, have not made a strong presence in our discussion. Paramenra Kumar Bhagat's remarks on "the politics of race and sex" in the US could have been yet another chance to sparked off discussions along these lines to seek better solutions to the problem. 2. Ethnic Issues
        Diversity in Nepal existed long before we were born, and we have to respect that. The problem of racism that smears Nepal stems from the misunderstanding among different ethnic groups. It is "Indophobia" and
"Bhutanophobia" originating in the south, "Tibetophobia" in the north, and the caste system throughout the kingdom. Racism as it exists in Nepal is UGLY. Nothing can justify our adherence to such immoral practices.
        Though issues about caste system, and Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees may have appeared in our discussions, it is the Terai issue that left us charging our arguments back and forth. Bhagat, Bijay Raut, and others have shed some light on that. There are, however, some issues that some of these people have failed to understand and therefore failed to properly illustrate a true picture of the Terai situation against the Pahadi situation. One such case is the characterization of a "genuine Nepali" by Raut. From his arguments it seems that a "Pahadi" falls squarely on the "genuine Nepali" mold and no one else. Absolutely wrong! A
"Pemba Sherpa" from the north is as Nepali as an "Anarkali" from the south and a "Harka Bahadur Thapa" from the hills provided that they fall under the constitutional definition of a Nepali. I am not saying constitutional mandates guarantee all our rights in practice otherwise we'd have thrown the caste system off the face of Nepal decades ago. Not all people can see through the differences among people and this is where the problem of racism arises. The solution is to enable people to rid any such misunderstanding that they have about people different from them. This would enable people to exercise their constitutional rights more realistically.
        Another argument that the use of Nepali as an official language is nothing but an imposition of "Pahadi" people's language is utterly wrong. So is Raut's assertion that there exists a distinct ethnic group called Nepali in the hills. What nonsense! It's like looking at the sea from a mountain and saying that it's a smooth surface. Not at all. Just get a closer look and you'll see all sorts of waves dancing about. Similarly, the hills folks are not the same. I know that because I come from the hills. Right next to the village I grew up, were the villages of Magars and Gurungs, and in the town I roamed around to find discarded Gorkhapatra to make myself a kite, lived a throng of Muslims, Newars, and people of all sort. Magars, Gurungs, Newars, and Muslims- they all spoke their own language, but this didn't prevent me from having friends from those groups because we all spoke Nepali. Some of you might say, "Ah, but see, they had to learn Nepali to be friends with you." Well, when it comes to uniting people the language(s) spoken by the majority should be used as "vehicle" language just as the dollar is the "vehicle" currency of the world. Each and every language spoken in Nepal is dear to me. All these languages should definitely be promoted at the national level. However, just because Nepali, which BTW is not unique to a certain privileged group of people, is not spoken by all the people in the country does not mean that to provide a fair share to everybody we have to invent a new Esperanto. Why is Raut silent about having to study English to pass SLC? The hell with English, it does not even belong to our continent!
        There are other ethnic issues we have in Nepal- Tibetan and Bhutanese refugee problems, SETAMAGURALI issues etc. that could be discussed here but I'll leave that for the future.

3. Nationality Issues
        By far the most heated discussion has revolved around the possibility of joining the Indian Federation suggested as a "hypothesis" by Raut. He stated this hypothesis merely as a solution to the increasing migration of Indians to Nepal but Bibhuti Nepal pushed this issue one step ahead with his explanations of possible benefits for Nepal by joining India. Some of Bibhuti's reasoning lacked clear understanding of economic fundamentals (Reasons 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10), some of which were pointed out by Ram Khadka and others. Though collectively a flawed argument both in economic and socio-political sense, it served to put the sensitive issue of national identity in crisis. It was quickly picked up by others as being "anti-nationalistic". Nevertheless some people have been in favor of the proposal.
        As Pradeep Poudyal pointed out there seems to have been a confusion between economic union and political union with India. The former was proposed by Bhagat and the latter was suggested as a hypothesis by Raut. In my opinion, the idea of political union is blasphemous whereas an economic union is just another false hope. The arguments in favor of the economic union suggested by Bhagat lack economic justification. He claims, "A South Asian Economic Union is the best answer to the rampant poverty in remote hills and mountain districts of Nepal," but I fail to see his explanation as to why and how; just pointing your finger to the EMU does not serve the purpose. Another interesting possibility is suggested by Prasanna Dhungel: What if people in the north want an economic union with Tibet/China? Will not the country get embroiled in a civil war torn between the sentiments of people of the north and the south?
        The claim that purchasing power (PP) will increase (Ram Sah and Bibhuti) is a myth as pointed out by Khadka. An increase in money stock will necessarily lead to an increase in price level and inflation unless counteracted by the Indian federal government. The cost and effectiveness of counteraction, however, might not be appealing to the federal government. To fight inflation the federal govt. has to tighten the money supply (economic union means loss of sovereignty over monetary policies) to increase the interest rates. Will India be willing to do that? What will its implications be to the level of investment in India with increased interest rates when it becomes increasingly expensive for the industrialists to borrow money for their investments? All this trouble just for salvaging the Nepalese economy? How about a fiscal expansion by India? Consequences will be an increased Indian budget deficit, increased interest rates, and an upward pressure on the Indian rupee. If the IRs appreciates, Indian export to the rest of the world will be negatively affected as it becomes more expensive for the rest of the world to acquire IRs to buy Indian goods. Hallelujah baby... Any attempt to rescue Nepal will have severe consequences in the Indian economy. Sah also points out that the abolition of tariffs will help lower the prices of imported goods in Nepal-well, first tell me "ceteris paribus".
        As a physics student I totally see this as an inevitable manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics- entropy always increases with time. Nepal is in high state of entropy-disorder- and to create any order-development- energy is needed. Is India going to provide the energy? If order is instituted in Nepal, where would disorder increase as predicted by the second law of thermodynamics? Is India willing to take such steps?
        Before discussing the EMU as a role model for the proposed Nepal/India union, lets briefly visit the German unification. Germany, now united, is an economic powerhouse in the world but how did East Germany got united with West Germany? Immediately following the union, West Germany invested a lot of its resources in reconstructing the East German infrastructure. Industries were reformed and wage earners were paid up their salaries in firms that were losing money. Are there any grounds to believe that India will go through similar pain to salvage Nepal? Will it suffer the consequences? I don't think so. India does not have the economic power that West Germany had enjoyed.
        So what's up with EMU? The beauty of an economic union lies in the fact that the negative consequences of the federal monetary policy can be counteracted by domestic fiscal policies. There is certain truth in Raju Sitaula's claim that "Economic unification only makes sense when two uniting countries are of same strength and have things they can exploit from each other." Lets talk about EMU (for the benefit of those who are yet unsure about what it really is).
        The European Monetary System (EMS) started in 1979 which restricted the mutual exchange rates of its member countries to a "target zone" until its crisis in 1992. In 1992 Maastricht Treaty was signed with the hope of creating a single European Monetary Union (EMU). Of course there were other treaties and acts that have helped shape the notion of EMU as it is today.
        The Maastricht treaty set up "convergence criteria" (see footnote) that would help all the member countries have steady and healthy economies suitable for EMU. The "core" countries (France, Germany, Luxembourg) are already within or very close to the limits set by the convergence criteria while the "peripheral" countries (Spain, Italy, Ireland) are struggling hard with some success to reform their economies to bring themselves closer to the Maastricht standards. In January 1, 1999, the introduction of a single currency, the Euro, will set history. Britain and Denmark have opted out although they are eligible for joining the currency union.
        The ultimate success of a monetary union rests upon the presence of "optimum currency area" (OCA) presented in the early sixties by Robert Mundell. An OCA is a region the use of a single currency does not undermine the economic effects of its monetary policies. As Mundell originally argued factor mobility and wages and price flexibility are important for the constituent economic entities in the currency union. Why do we see the European countries stripping off their protectionist policies in the nineties? What is the relevance of the Maastricht standards here? A high degree of factor mobility across these economic regions will tend to stabilize wages and unemployment as labors move to regions of high employment. Flexibility in wages and prices will help reduce inflationary pressures and unemployment associated with differences in productivity of the economies. A high product diversification within regions will diversify the risks associated with economic shocks. Furthermore the degree of openness of the individual economies would facilitate financial market integration.
        Do we even remotely see any resemblance of these facts in the proposed Nepal-India union? Some of you might say that you cannot view the problem at hand with the theoretical construct designed for the West; the economic scenario in our part of the world is totally different. Then tell me through what channels do you see the union working? Don't just tell me the PP will go up or the salaries will go up, but show me the channels through which they work. Only then I will believe you. Labor mobility in our region seems to be significant given the inordinate number of Indians in Nepal and Nepalese in India but I'll have to do more research before I could confidently say that. Wages and price flexibility- I don't think so. Before we consider a union with India we have to understand what similar mergers in the world tell us and what could be the optimal situation for striving for such a union.
        Regional differences in economic activities produce destabilizing tendencies or unnecessary inflation (or unemployment) when different economic regions use a single currency. Suppose, in the same vein as Mundell, there are only two states in the Indian Federation- Nepal and Karnataka. Karnataka is an industrial state whereas Nepal produces agricultural products. And suppose that an increase in productivity of the industrial sector increases the supply of say computers and the demand for agricultural products. This shift in demand will result in an increased unemployment in Karnataka and inflationary pressures in Nepal. To fight unemployment in Karnataka the Indian federal bank has to expand its money supply but this will lead to in increased inflation in Nepal. If the federal bank chooses to fight inflation in Nepal it has to decrease money supply but this would lead to an increased unemployment in Karnataka. Therefore there is a trade off between the level of unemployment and inflation the central bank can achieve in a such system of currency union. The situation gets complicated when other states are taken into account. Almost always the federal government will put its interest ahead of the states otherwise we'd have seen development of infrastructure in poor Indian states like Bihar rather than the detonation of nuclear bombs.
        Since the goods and financial markets in the Indian states are not well integrated and there is a lack of product diversification within the states any internal or external economic shocks will not be felt evenly throughout the federation. The states in the union will not have any monetary authority having surrendered it to the federation but they will nonetheless could respond to economic shocks to their state by appropriate fiscal policies. This, however, will not solve the problem because some states which are already suffering fiscal deficits will be less willing to undergo an accommodating fiscal policy in an aftermath of such shocks. Economic union with India is therefore not an immediate solutions to our problems at present. Maybe later.

        I have discussed, though at varying length, the three broadly defined issues of gender, ethnic, and nationality issues that have plagued Nepal. The solution to all these issues, I think, lies in raising the awareness of people as Anit Aryal suggested. In Raut's words:
       
"[Nepal] 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."

As Raut pointed out, that's where the sources of all our problems lie. The sure shot way to success is nothing but a radical development in education, health, human rights, and government. These will prepare grounds for domestic and foreign investments both in agricultural and industrial sector, and this will in turn stimulate development in other sectors as well. Only then will our country be ready for an economic matrimonial with another nation of similar strength. The thrust for globalization will be inevitable.

Om Shanti!
----------------------- Convergence Criteria:
    1. inflation within 1.5% of the average of the lowest three countries.
    2. interest rates no higher than 2% of the lowest three countries.
    3. exchange rate within the ERM target zone.
    4. deficit/GDP ratio of less than 3%.
    5. debt/GDP ratio of less than 60%.
    6. stability and growth pact.

Philosophy: all these are vital to the stability of the single currency.
____________________________________________________________________

        Sometime ago I had told Raut that he should write short articles so that people will have time and patience to read all the way through. I seem to have miserably failed to do what I advocated but I hope some day you'll have the patience to read what I have to say.

Comments/Suggestions to:

Ram Subedi MC 3638 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT 05753.

************************************************************************ Date: Tue, 11 Aug 98 15:30:49 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu, raut@panther.middlebury.edu Subject: Query to the Editor of TND

Dear Sir,

I have been sending messages to TND. It is my understanding that you "publish" on your web-site every message you get, unedited. If that is not the case, I would like to know. Recently I have been sending a lot of messages to TND. If despite the understood policy, you might choose not to put out some of my messages I would appreciate it if you were to please tell me so. I know the recent message you have sent out (August 12) is only a partial list, so I am hoping all my messages will come out in the subsequent lists, but if that not be the case I would appreciate a message to me saying so, stating the reasons why.

Thank you.

Your regular reader Paramendra Bhagat

%%%%Editor's Note: All articles are published unedited. Articles with %%%%
%%%% rebutles that include already published piece may be %%%%
%%%% shortened to save space. For example, your own piece %%%%
%%%% will be published unedited but the "published article" %%%%
%%%% that you include in your rebuttles may be shortened. %%%%
%%%% This is still "no censor policy" because the article %%%%
%%%% would have been published once already. %%%%
%%%% %%%%
%%%% There are few things writers need to be desciplined %%%%
%%%% about to ensure smooth publication of TND. Writers %%%%
%%%% could send articles in chunks (part I II etc) instead %%%%
%%%% of sending 6000 lines at once. This will cause the %%%%
%%%% "automated file" to overflow and some articles will be %%%%
%%%% lost without any trace. Writers should send articles to%%%
%%%% TND only and NOT cc the same piece to 50 other %%%%
%%%% individuals. First, its a laborous process to manually%%%%
%%%% delete each line, second, the focus shifts from TND %%%%
%%%% general audience to some individual/s only. We are not%%%%
%%%% too annoyed by the second issue but deleting tens of %%%%
%%%% lines (compound that by 1200 subscribers) isn't the most%%%
%%%% creative way to spend our time :) %%%%
%%%% %%%%
%%%% Keep the grey matter flowing......... %%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

 ******************************************************************************
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest(TND) is a publication of TND Foundation, a global *
 * not-for-profit information and resource center committed to promoting *
 * issues concerning Nepal. All members of tnd@nepal.org will get a copy of *
 * The Nepal Digest (TND). Membership is free of charge and open to all. *
 * *
 * TND Foundation Home Page: http://www.nepal.org *
 * http://www.himalaya.org *
 * http://www.gurkhas.org *
 * For Information: tnd@nepal.org *
 * webmaster: tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * TND Foundation contributions (TAX-DEDUCTIBLE) can be mailed payable to: *
 * TND Foundation *
 * P.O. Box 8206 *
 * White Plains, NY 10601 *
 * USA *
 * *
 * Subscription/Deletion requests : mailto:TND@NEPAL.ORG *
 * Provide one line message: sub nepal "lastname, firstname, mi" <user@host> *
 * [OPTIONAL] Provide few lines about your occupation, address, phone for *
 * TND database to: <TND@NEPAL.ORG> *
 * *
 * Postal-Mail Correspondences to: TND Foundation *
 * P.O. Box 8206 *
 * White Plains, NY 10602 *
 * USA *
 * *
 * Digest Contributions: mailto:NEPAL@MP.CS.NIU.EDU *
 * THE EDITOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ARTICLES FOR CLARITY. *
 * Contributors need to supply Header for the article, email, and full name. *
 * *
 * Postings are divided into following categories that are listed in the *
 * order below. Please provide category-type in the header of your e-mail. *
 * *
 * 1. Message from TND Editorial Staff *
 * TND Foundation News/Message *
 * 2. Letter to the Editor *
 * Letter to TND Foundation *
 * 3. TAJA_KHABAR: Current News *
 * 4. KATHA_KABITA: Literature *
 * 5. KURA_KANI: Economics *
 * Agriculture/Forestry *
 * Health *
 * Education *
 * Technology *
 * Social/Cultural Issues *
 * Environment/Population *
 * Women/Children *
 * Tourism *
 * Foreign Policy *
 * History *
 * Military/Police *
 * Politics *
 * 6. CHOOT_KILA (Humor, Recipies, Movie Reviews, Sattaires etc.) *
 * 7. JAN_KARI: Classifides (Matrimonials, Jobs etc) *
 * 8. KHOJ_KHABAR (Inquiring about Nepal, Nepalis etc. ) *
 * 9. TITAR_BITAR: Miscellaneous (Immigration and Taxex etc. ) *
 * *
 * COPYRIGHT NOTE *
 * -------------- *
 * The content contributors are responsible for any copyright violations. *
 * TND, a non-profit electronic journal, will publish articles that has *
 * been published in other electronic or paper journal with proper credit *
 * to the original media. *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%% %
%% END OF "THE NEPAL DIGEST". %
%% %
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jan 11 2000 - 11:16:03 CST