The Nepal Digest - August 15, 1998 (20 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sat Aug 15, 1998: Shrawan 20 2055BS: Year7 Volume77 Issue6

Today's Topics (partial list):

            Poem: Love (by 4th graders in NYC)
            The South Asian Economic Union
            'Radio: Policy options'
            Re:Racism in Nepal

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***************************************************************** Date: Aug 11, 1998 To: The Nepal Digest Forwarded by: Sina Thapa (4th grader NYC) Subject: Love (Romeo and Juliet)

     Love (Romeo and Juliet)
     ----------------------

               By: Sina Thapa, Jessica Rios, Aqsa Umer, Tanviv Hossain,
                    Samatha Kuppler, Michael Isoumparites, Mary Polizzano

     Love is in the air
     Love is always there
     Love is not always fair
     Love takes you to it's air
     Hearts sometimes tear
     As long as love is always there!
        
***************************************************************** Date: Thu, 06 Aug 98 21:06:34 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: The South Asian Economic Union Debate with Ram Subedi

The South Asian Economic Union Debate with Ram Subedi

My response in brackets ().

Ram Subedi <subedi@panther.middlebury.edu> 8/6/98 7:45 PM

    Prithvi Narayan Shah

(BP Koirala and Prithvi Narayan Shah might be heroes to the Nepalese from the ethnic mainstream like Mr. Subedi, but for the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis, they might come across different. After all, it was Prithvi who gave birth to the modern day Nepal that is patterned after the one-people-one-language-one- culture-one-religion concept that the Teraiwasis and the SETAMAGURALI find offensive.)
         
    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 smiled at the black guy at the mall so that proves there is no racism in the US!)

    .....the use of Nepali as an official language is nothing but an imposition
    of "Pahadi" people's language is utterly wrong..........."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!

(This is the voice of the cultural elite in the country. If Nepali is the lingua franca of the hills and the mountains, Hindi is the same in the Terai. Half of the country lives in the Terai. I revert to the tri-lingual education policy I suggested earlier. Please refer to an earlier posting. Noone suggested Esperanto. Please do not divert the discussion. As for English, we have to accept it as the language of global commerce and the language of science and technology. English makes economic sense. By the way, did you know that by the year 2000 half the pages of the web will be in non-English?)

    there seems to have been a confusion between economic union and political
    union with India. The former was proposed by Bhagat

(Bijay Raut proposed a political merger with India, Sikkim-style. I have expressed my disagreement with the idea from the outset. Mr. Subedi thinks I suggested an economic merger, Germany-style. I never suggested that. What I have advocated in an economic union, Europe-style.)

    an economic union is just another false hope. The arguments in favor of
    the economic union suggested by Bhagat lack economic
    justification........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?

(An economic union is economically justified. As for the Prasanna Dhungel sarcasm, I am all for it. Yes, why not China? Why not Afghanistan? Why not Burma? The European experiment is not to be restricted to Western Europe. Eastern Europe is clamoring to jump onto the bandwagon. Civil war is the fear that the ethnic elite wishes to incite so as to bar the line of thought.)
 
   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".

(Sah is right. That is the driving force behind free trade. You lower or eliminate trade barriers and the consumers benefit.)
 
    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?

(This is ridiculous, an attempt to describe an economic phenomenon with a law of physics. For all my respect for the academic discipline of physics, I think this is taking physics one step too far.)

    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.

(This seems to be an argument in favor of an economic union....thank you.)

    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."

(Not true. If that were so, Mexico would have had to get as rich as the US and Canada before signing NAFTA. The East Europeans would abstain from wanting to become part of the European Union. An economic union is a sound economic concept. Newton's law of gravity is not true only in England, is it? A country that is poor needs to benefit from the advances in Economics even more. It should feel desperate to get out of poverty.)

    The ultimate success of a monetary union rests upon the presence
    of "optimum currency area" (OCA) ......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.

(I am with you all along. You are right on track. You are supporting the stance of an economic union in your informed arguments.)

    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.

(Refer to the Newton talk above.)

    Suppose.......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. .......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.

(Trade is a good idea between two countries even when one produces every good or service to be traded more efficiently than the other. As for Bihar, its backwardness can be attributed to lack of political leadership......Even so, it is well ahead of Nepal. Do you have any idea of the physical infrastructure of Bihar? Any idea of its industrial might?)

    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.

(You stand on the side of an economic union and yet are not aware of your stand!)

    The sure shot way to success is nothing but a radical development in
    education, health, human rights, and government.

(The concept of the economic union is that unifying thread....in doing the homework for it, Nepal will have to take care of all that you have listed, and many that you have not.)

    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.

(You stand on the side of an economic union and yet are not aware of your stand!)

*********************************************************** Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 23:00:37 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

Pune Revisited: Enron, Bombs and Rural Women By Sushma Joshi

        As the lights of Bombay flashes by the windows of the taxi, the man behind me inquires: What conference are you attending? I try to=20 conceptualize an answer that will be comprehensible to him. I am going=20 to the Eight National Conference of Women's Studies in Pune, I say. I=20 see him struggling with this new concept: a young woman involved in the=20 workforce in a way that he cannot envision. =20

=09A young South Asian woman travelling alone to attend a conference. And what does this conference discuss, he asks politely. You talk about women's status? Empowerment? Well, it's a little bit more complex than that, I answer. We are going to be talking about issues of livelihood, ecology, representations, Structural Adjustment Policies, the New Liberal Economic Policy=85.=20

        "Oh, you mean Enron." He says, his friendly demeanour changing to= hostility. "Those feminists stopped the Enron project and it causes=20 millions in delay, but it will happen anyway. How will the nation develop= with people like them? We need industry. A few lakh people will be =20 displaced, but its inevitable. What's the problem?"

        Later, as I sit through three days of speakers, academics, activists, I hear references to the new liberal economic policies, fears about the introduction of transnational corporations and papers that discuss the impacts of these policies on the national economies of South Asia, a countless number of times. I realise that there is a basic shared assumption with the man in the taxi: that the New Liberal Economic Policy, privatization and globalization has impacted "national development" in fundamental ways.=20

        =09For many at the conference, India's move to privatize state industries and to move away from trade protectionism is leading towards an unsustainable model of development. The new economy, based on export crops and the cutting off of subsidies to small farmers, is seen to be a system of commodity production and exchange that marginalizes substantial numbers of people.=20

=09Sharad Fernando from Sri Lanka drew a direct link between the Structural Adjustment Policy in Sri Lanka and the ethnic conflict by talking about how the restructuring of the economy forced small farmers off their land, substantially changed the ethnic demography of certain areas and eventually triggered the civil war. Farida Akhtar of Bangladesh talked about privatization and how it has led to 1.3 million girls below the age of twenty working in the garment industries as "cheap labor".

=09Other Indian activists talked about the patenting of Basmati rice and its piracy by an industrial apparatus. All the analyses of social problems had one thing in common: most of them were seen to be caused by the New Liberal Economic Policy, which in turn was viewed as Western imposed, foreign, Other.=20

        =09This threat, implied or real, of Western control and intervention is not new to Indian concepts of development. The=20 fiftieth year of Indian Independence reminds us all too clearly that the movements of India, including the environmental, social justice and women's movements, are grounded in a long historical process of nation building that has its foundation in the struggle against colonialism.=20

=09This anti-colonial struggle led to a vision of national development that was built on Gandhian notions of self- reliance and later, the Neruvian notions of industrial process. Gandhi's thoughts also influenced the essential notions of "India" as divorced from material, specifically "Western" material concerns. India as a nation protected its policies very closely from outside interference. Much of the radical activism of today is grounded in these models of development.

        It was interesting to see how pervasive these models were in shapin= g the conceptual frameworks of most of the papers that were presented. The=20 Gandhian model focused on The Village, or the rural areas, as the locus=20 of national development. Therefore "the village" was seen to be the site=20 of the Indian woman's location. Many of the activists focused therefore=20 on sustainable livelihoods for women already situated within an agrarian=20 economy. They talked about water, fodder, energy.=20

=09They talked about marginalisation of women through the appropriation of land by transnational companies. And while they talked about urban male migration and seasonal labor, they did not talk about the relationships between men and women and the shifting contexts of power within those relationships.

        Looking at the ideological underpinnings of the critique of the=20 neo-liberal economic policy, it became quickly clear that both the man in= the taxi and the activists were fighting the same war on different sides:= they were both hotly contesting the space to control the model of =20
"national development". They were fighting for its definition, its conceptualization, and how gender would be situated within their own=20 separate models.=20

=09They were oppositional frameworks, but they could not be situated outside of each other. Both of them eventually, reconceptualize gender in new ways: one seeing women as expendable labor and commodity and the other situating her within a rural economy divorced from other networks, resources and aspirations.

        The danger of the latter model, of course, is that it dumps women= into a pristine rural ideal untouched by complex webs of relationships with= the cities, with wage labor, and a transnational world filled with other=20 possibilities. It also assumes that they are completely untouched by the=20 economies of commodity production and exchange, and somehow miraculously= have managed to escape the desire for TVS and news and other commodities that we, already tainted by the dirt of urban=20 industrialization, allow ourselves to experience.=20

        The slums of Bombay are a perfect metaphor for this kind of logic.=
        Slums in general are seen to be a "problem". They are viewed signs of the breakdown of the rural agricultural economy and of the marginalisation of large numbers of people. They are seen to be the results of the intervention of transnational companies into rural areas, the lack of resources allocated by the government, the natural disasters that beset subsistence agriculture. While these reasons are undeniable, it does not address all of the complexity: as the neon glow inside the tent of a squatter settlement outside JantarMantar in Delhi shows, maybe people also move to urban areas to be closer to resources that they might not have access to otherwise. By changing their location, maybe they manage to position themselves in a space that gives them access to other networks, and therefore also makes it easier to avail of different economies that would not be possible from their previous situation.=20

        There could also perhaps be a space to see this as a process that=
        is motivated by factors like the entrance of the money economy and=
        the need for people to work within this model. Taking the urban=20
        development of England during the 1800s after industrialization=20
        and other Western countries might be seen as imperialistic ("Why=20
        do we have to follow the same model of development that they did?=
        It's not inevitable"), but

maybe they could provide a clue: maybe the time has come in South Asia to= start working on urban as well as rural development.=20
        For me, the slums of Bombay are symptomatic of another problem:=20
        the pervasive nationalism within activist discourse that stops people from=20 integrating other models of development. As I bump through the suburbs=20 and ghettos of Bombay, the unregulated industries giving way to factories= with people sleeping in the compound, to the oily fumes of diesel in my=20 face, I do not see Enron as the main problem: I see the way it has been=20 used as a handy scapegoat to absolve people thinking about larger issues=20 within the nation itself. Why are there no critiques of Indian=20 industries, and the ways they could be regulated? Why is it not=20 questionable that they are allowed to exploit people as cheap labor? Why=20 are there no standards for minimum wages in the most exploitative=20 industries (As thousands of Nepalis are working in these industries=20 in India, this could become a question of "national development" for Nepal=20 as well=85)
        =09At the end of the conference, there was a march through the street to protest the testing of the Bomb. The march stirred emotions and made me feel like I was participating in a historical moment. My enthusiasm was tempered, however, when one of the activists commented that they could work with the Indian government to influence its policies, but could not do so for Pakistan. This dichotomy of the inside and outside that is essential to the discourse of nationalism, seemed to me to be the same dichotomy that had led to the possibility of the Bomb. These dichotomies
(India/Pakistan, Inside/Outside, rural/urban, development/underdevelopment) constitute the nationalist discourse which allows for static fixed entities, like "rural woman" to develop, and denies a larger space to interrogate these concepts. The fixed boundaries of the "nation" also gives the legitimacy to speak only to certain people, and not to others; allow for only certain questions to be asked, but not others. If we are to move towards larger understandings of change, we must take apart these dichotomies that underlie concepts of nation and development and allow ourselves more fluid analysis of our own structural constructions.=20

(Sushma Joshi is putting together a journal on reproductive health and rights.)

----------------------------------------------- Women's Bodies - But Whose Rights? By Manish Gautam

Private Decisions, Public Debate: Women, Reproduction and Population London: Panos Publication, 1994. Price 8.95 pounds sterling.=20

        =09Millions of women live in critical conditions, lacking access to adequate health care as well as other basic necessities.=20 This book, Private Decisions, Public Debate: Women, Reproduction and Population connects readers to the very real conditions, life and death, of real families. The work of 15 journalists from developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the reports cover issues of genital mutilation, unauthorized sterilisations, untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV infection and reproductive decision making.=20

        =09The book is organized into 13 parts. The first part of the book illustrates the major gap in service provisions for men and women. The prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (most commonly gonorrhea, chlymidia and trichomoniasis) and other reproductive tract infections (RTIs) is a case in point. =20

=09Rates of STD transmission is higher from men to women and more women than men die from such diseases. Furthermore, untreated diseases can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and infant death. Due to the culture of silence especially in South Asia, women are conditioned to ignore their ill health and pain as well as insult and abuse. They do not have the support of family members to consult doctors.

        =09Part two deals with abortion which is considered as a reproductive hazard. It focuses on programmes related to sex education, contraceptive services, STD services as well as the need for safe, legal abortion facilities. Part three focuses on South Korea and the way it is a patriarchical society where only sons can carry on the family procedures.= For this reason they prefer sons. With modern technologies like animiocentesis and ultrasound screening to identify the sex of the foetus, abortions have risen which will create a sex imbalance in years to come.

         =09Part four deals with the physical and mental pain caused by excision (removal of the clitoris) in genital mutilations with Burkina Faso as a case study. The chapter reveals how the physical damage varies according to the extent of mutilation, level of hygiene during the procedure and the instruments used. The fifth part of this book reports on the disturbing link between child birth and contraception. =20

=09=09In Brazil, as many believe that normal delivery is dangerous and painful and causes a reduction in levels of sexual satisfaction for men, caesareans are common. However, during these caesarean operations, women are sterilized without their knowledge.=20

        Part seven deals with the need for the midwifery profession to=20
 tackle the emergencies that occur at child birth. Part eight reports on=
 obstetric fistulae (holes between the vagina and bladder) caused by female=
 circumcision and child marriage - deeply rooted traditions in Ethiopia. =
 Legislation is seen to be the only solution. =20

        =09Chapter nine covers how due to unprotected sex, women are affected by AIDS. It is said that AIDS campaigns should focus on changing behavior and raising the social and economic status of women. The point that men are free to have sex but these men expect the woman they marry to be virgins, is raised. Part ten shows that although a high level of female education generates income for women, there is no improvement in womens' status and decision making power within the family. Pakistan, martial law and the lack of any significant improvement of womens' health and status is covered in chapter 11.=20

        The last three chapters deals with women's reproductive choices in=
 terms of the influences of Catholicism and Islam.
        This book explores what happens to women and the sorts of problems= they encounter when they lose control of their rights to reproduction. Far from approaching the proclaimed global goal of
"Health for all by the year 2000", women, especially in the developing countries, are still fighting with nineteenth century diseases. What can be done to guarantee that the world's women not only survive but are healthy in terms of physical, mental and social well being?=20

        =09The book considers some of the prevailing concepts and policies that need to be challenged. The health sector must work with other social and economic sectors to assure the needs and rights of women and children. Progressive women in Third World Countries see reproductive rights as a basic need. All women should have control over their fertility. Fertility control should be the free decision of each women. Grassroots organizations and popular movements can realistically be expected to play a leading role in improving women's health. Grassroots organization like =91Social action for rural and tribal inhabitants of India (SAARATHI) is a good example. SAARATHI has trained women health workers as "barefoot gynecologists" to help local women whose needs are not met by the standard health care facilities.

        =09Health and sex education must be comprehensive. Awareness raising educational materials should be developed and made accessible to everyone. Such materials can enable communities to meet health related needs. Last but not least, the book has relevance for Nepal as the materials are derived from
"less-developed" countries whose general socio-economic context can be seen as being somewhat similar. The question is, why has not=20 research on womens' health and their rights over their bodies been done in Nepal?=20

Manish Gautam is a freelance journalist.
------------------------------------------------------------

Unwanted Girls: Female Infanticide in Northern India By Jasmine Rajbhandary

Barbara D. Miller. The Endangered Sex: Neglect of Female Children in Rural North India. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997.=20

        The idea that so many children in the world are unwanted to the=20
        extent that they are killed is a difficult one to accept, but one which is a reality for many children. This is the issue that Barbara Miller presents in her holistic anthropological book "The Endangered Sex: Neglect of Female Children in Rural North India" based on secondary research in India conducted in the late 1970s on sex ratios, especially unbalanced sex ratios, among children.

        In this book Miller brings up the issue of female infanticide,=20 proven by unbalanced sex ratios among children and adults in parts=20 of India, and the socio-cultural factors which underlie this practice. =20 Her argument regarding this phenomenon stems from the basic conclusion that= this imbalance is caused by culture and not nature. And that this=20 therefore means it is something that can be changed.=20

      Based largely on secondary research, much of which is demographics, Miller presents sex ratios in different parts of the world, and then=20 focuses on the sex ratios, particularly juvenile sex ratios, in India. She= then presents various explanations for the unbalanced existence of males=20 over females in the population, with female infanticide being the main=20 thesis. Through discussion of various etic and emic interpretations of why girls are less desirable than boys, Miller=20 provides correlations between female infanticide and female status in=20 society and the power of culture to determine differential treatment based= on this. =20

=09Presenting the interplay of forces of production, property and population, her analysis is wide-ranging. She argues that the different treatment of boys and girls in terms of nutrition, medical care, love - through 'maternal deprivation', parent-child interaction which affects growth, t he sequential order of births, are all influenced by expected work - that is the gender division of labour in terms of economic production, mode of production, property and marriage costs. These are identified as influences which determine the characteristics of sexual composition and age structure of population.=20

        While Miller does provide proof that the cause of this unbalanced=
        sexual composition of the population is cultural and not natural and thus can be changed, cultural causes are one of the hardest ones to change in any society or group of peoples' practices. Miller does not suggest how these changes can be made. Miller also ignores any existing internal variation within regions and overlooks social stratification or generalizes it under class stratification. =20

=09Furthermore the author discusses son preference but not daughter discrimination and therefore ignores possible reasons for daughter preference in some places - which could be helpful in changing attitudes in areas where female infanticide is practiced.=20

        The acceptance of US hospital reports as the norm of sex ratios=20
        globally and use of hospital reports in India for data does however=
        weaken her arguments. Similarly, her chapter on British 'discovery=
        of female infanticide in India is disturbing on a few accounts. She assumes that knowledge of female infanticide was lacking=20 before the British discovery of it. She also quotes views of non-expert=20 British people through their writings to substantiate the idea that it was= not under-numeration but the actual non- existence of a large number of=20 females in the Indian society which is reflected in the data of that time. =

=09Furthermore, she does not question the interests of the British in this issue, but simply reiterates their claims concerning their efforts to control female infanticide and the difficulties they faced in doing so.=20

        =09Some of these weaknesses of Miller's arguments can be explained by the fact that the research was conducted twenty years ago, and that the discussion on this subject has now grown to encompass much more. Therefore the postscript added by the author in the 1990s publication, adds a tremendous amount of relevant information and fills the vacuum felt when reading the chapters of the original book. =20

=09=09It is in this section that she expands on the introduction's brief discussion and pursues the relevance of this neglect of female children to family planning, son preference, role of females in production, effect of modernization, correlation of female employment and fertility rates and the impact of presenting "women of India" as one homogenous group.

        She has additionally provided summary discussions of: perceptions=
        of the issue by researcher, planners, policy makers; trends in=20
        excess female child mortality since the 1980s; regional spread,=20
        class distribution, urban patterns of the practice; recent efforts=
        to combat this discrimination; technological changes - such as
        female selective abortion and national policy, debates and=20
        arguments.
        Although at that time she wrote it, Miller and this book were one=
        of the pioneers in the field, reading this in the 1990s, does not provide one with= much new information. An update on this study ( this book was first=20 published in 1981 and later republished) relating to issues of=20 globalization and consumerism is highly called for, as is a study on=20 urban India (to keep with Miller's sub division) and the effects of=20 culture, ethnicity, caste as well as religion in the preference for=20 sons.

        Overall, however, the book does provide a clear and critical=20
        analysis as well as review of most of the causes of the neglect=20
        of female children. In the Nepali context, Millers arguments=20
        are interesting and useful for those concerned with debates
         relating to property rights for women, abortion and child=20
         survival.=20

(Jasmine Rajbhandary is interested in child rights and is affilitated with Inhured International, Pulchowk. )

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 23:39:57 -0400 (EDT) From: Ram Subedi <subedi@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Re: The South Asian Economic Union Debate with Ram Subedi

On Thu, 6 Aug 1998, Paramendra Bhagat wrote:
> (BP Koirala and Prithvi Narayan Shah might be heroes to the Nepalese from the
> ethnic mainstream like Mr. Subedi, but for the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis,
> they might come across different.

*Heros are those who fight for the rights of the people. Mahatma Gandhi, ML King are as heros to me as PN Shah is.If you cannot appretiaite the greatness in such men I bet you'll never appretiate any good thing in the universe. The providers of bread and butter are heros to many a poor person but those who teach you the skills to grow the crop are their real heros.

I quoted PN Shah's words because they carry a profound meaning that obviously you fail to see.

> After all, it was Prithvi who gave birth to
> the modern day Nepal that is patterned after the
one-people-one-language-one-
> culture-one-religion concept that the Teraiwasis and the SETAMAGURALI
find
> offensive.)>

*PN Shah established the country that is my motherland- motherland not because my mom was born there, but because I was born there. And I'm pround that NEPAL exists today.

The pattern you suggest is not true. There had been a mainstream thrust on one-language-one-religion, but one-people-one-culture is a mythical beast that you think exists but it actually does not.

>
> (I smiled at the black guy at the mall so that proves there is no racism in the
> US!)

*If you ever smile that way again without having any feeling about it, shame on you.

> (This is the voice of the cultural elite in the country. If Nepali is the lingua
> franca of the hills and the mountains, Hindi is the same in the Terai. Half of
> the country lives in the Terai. I revert to the tri-lingual education policy I
> suggested earlier. Please refer to an earlier posting. Noone suggested
> Esperanto. Please do not divert the discussion. As for English, we have to
> accept it as the language of global commerce and the language of science and
> technology. English makes economic sense. By the way, did you know that by the
> year 2000 half the pages of the web will be in non-English?)
>

*I'll forgive your ignorance in regarding me as a cultural elite.

I have never said another language(s) should not be made official. Just think about what Nepal was in the mid-nineties. Similar to the way you rightly justify the use of English, the use of Nepali could be justified for the micro-world of then Nepal. The failure to keep pace with the rapid development in every respect is due to the inertia of a bad governance and bad educational system. It is not a part of systematic annhilation that you seem to insinuate.
>
> (Bijay Raut proposed a political merger with India, Sikkim-style. I have
> expressed my disagreement with the idea from the outset. Mr. Subedi thinks I
> suggested an economic merger, Germany-style. I never suggested that. What I
> have advocated in an economic union, Europe-style.)

*Don't get me wrong The examples of German-style and europe-style unions were my illustration of how an economic union could look like. I said you suggested an economic merger (cf my article 1). If you have this idea you just said you are reading too much between the lines.

> (An economic union is economically justified. As for the Prasanna Dhungel
> sarcasm, I am all for it. Yes, why not China? Why not Afghanistan? Why not
> Burma? The European experiment is not to be restricted to Western Europe.
> Eastern Europe is clamoring to jump onto the bandwagon. Civil war is the fear
> that the ethnic elite wishes to incite so as to bar the line of thought.)

*"An economic union is economically justified." Elaborate. Rhetoric is not what I'm interested in. Show me the way given we are talking about present SAsia.

> (Sah is right. That is the driving force behind free trade. You lower or
> eliminate trade barriers and the consumers benefit.)

*Other things constant, I agree. But we are talking about a heated economy due to the union and the negetive feedbacks it could have to the price level. No trade barrier means imports become more attractive. Trade balance deficit increases. The domestic non tradeables sector suffers a heavy loss with firms/industries going bankrupt. Exports decrease. With out the ability to exercise independent monetary policy, the repercussions will be significant.

>
> (This is ridiculous, an attempt to describe an economic phenomenon with a law of
> physics. For all my respect for the academic discipline of physics, I think this
> is taking physics one step too far.)

*We'll talk about it after you take a course in thermodynamics or astronomy.

> 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.
>
> (This seems to be an argument in favor of an economic union....thank you.)

* Don't miss my point. The underlying fact about the strength of an economic union is that *unless the countries enter into a single currency with comparable inflation rates, stability, and fiscal fitness, the currency will be unsustainable.* Given that these standards are met economic union is a beautiful idea.

> 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."

> (Not true. If that were so, Mexico would have had to get as rich as the US and
> Canada before signing NAFTA. The East Europeans would abstain from wanting to
> become part of the European Union. An economic union is a sound economic
> concept. Newton's law of gravity is not true only in England, is it? A country
> that is poor needs to benefit from the advances in Economics even more. It
> should feel desperate to get out of poverty.)

* You should probably refer to Sitaula's argument about multinationals. Why was there a Mexican Crisis in 1994 and not a Canadian crisis? If economic union means just joining together to you, you are right. But economic union for me is joing together countries that have achieved comparable strength in their economies. Why do you think that an economic union will bring all the benefits. It is equally possible that resources could be siphoned off the poor country. To take advantage from the advances in Economics, the country has to understand the economic fundamentals. This simple idea could be a starting point:
      IF cost > benifit THEN forget it ELSE
                    take it. BTW, Newton was wrong.

Here I am illustrating what a healthy Union should be like.

> 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.
>
> (Refer to the Newton talk above.)

*No. You can not dismiss this point just like that. Capital mobility, financial market integration, goods market integration.... all these, which are present in EU members, are almost infantile in our part of the world. Unless we achieve this an economic union will not work. The hen that laid golden eggs will not lay more eggs if she is subject to Siberian climate. She'll die unless protected.
 
> Suppose.......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. .......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.
>
> (Trade is a good idea between two countries even when one produces every good or
> service to be traded more efficiently than the other. As for Bihar, its
> backwardness can be attributed to lack of political leadership......Even so, it
> is well ahead of Nepal. Do you have any idea of the physical infrastructure of
> Bihar? Any idea of its industrial might?)

*I have never said trade is a bad idea. I was not even talking about trade in the para. above. Anyway, about trade.. What you say makes sense if the market is competitive. Not otherwise.

I was not comparing Bihar with Nepal. Political leadership is not the only problem in Bihar. Tell me what you know about Bihar's infrastructure and strengths. I would love to know.

>
> 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.
>
> (You stand on the side of an economic union and yet are not aware of your
> stand!)

*Don't get confused. I am a proponent of the economic union. And I am saying given the present situation such an union with India does not make economic sense, neither to India nor to us. We'll have to develop our country ourselves just the same way Italy is doing right now to elevate its economy to higher standards. Hope it makes sense.

>
> The sure shot way to success is nothing but a radical development in
> education, health, human rights, and government.
>
> (The concept of the economic union is that unifying thread....in doing the
> homework for it, Nepal will have to take care of all that you have listed, and
> many that you have not.)

*Economic union is not that kind of unifying thread as you see. It could be very detrimental to its constieunt states if the states are not fit enough to enter the union. If all the states in India were of similar economic strength as Nepal, economic union now would have made sense. Given the status of the two countries, we have to do that homework before we go for the economic union.

> 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.
>
> (You stand on the side of an economic union and yet are not aware of your
> stand!)

*Once again- I am on the side of an economic union but given the present situation, economic union w/ India is not for Nepal at present. Maybe later, if we can do our HW and if Indian states are able to do so too.

Hey, why don't you go thru my arguments one more time.
-------------------- Ram Subedi Department of Physics MC 3638 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT 05753.

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1990 19:08:16 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> Mime-Version: 1.0 To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: 'Radio: Policy options,' by Binod Bhattarai

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Bhattarai!

And because of my forty-years experience in the American broadcasting industry (attached resume), I'd like to meet Mr. Binod, and discuss what can be done to bring Nepali broadcasting out of the 'Dark Ages'...

Please pass this on to him...

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

Re: 'Bandh organisers to be lambasted publicly' (TKP, August 6, 1998)

I would defend Mr. Rjaram Poudel's right to speak out about anything, even if it cost my life, for this is what democracy is all about...

But, because of this guy's name and resources, plus the fact you put him on page 2, leads me to believe the Gov. is behind this... A very old tactic...

The right to strike is as 'American,' and democratic as 'apple pie!' How else can the common man get the government's attention...? 'He' doesn't have the resources to 'buy it,' like the 'big boys' do... And to gather; to demonstrate peaceably, is even addressed in the Nepali Constitution (which I've actually read!).

Additionally, the most enjoyable days in Kathmandu are 'Bandh Days' as far as I'm concerned, and I personally hope we have something similar here in Kathmandu (no vehicular traffic) at least once a week. These are the nicest days of all in which to wander around Kathmandu, and I dare say the tourists like these too (I've talked to many about this). Days when you can walk in the streets without fear of being run over, and can still hear the birds sing (not the incessant sound of vehicle horns)! Days when we're breathing less carbon monoxide!

So, long live 'Bandh Days,' as far as I'm concerned! Or, one day a week when there are no motor vehicles on the streets!

Gosh, the Government could do so much to create an environment in which attracted tourists, not repelled them... And I can tell you, because I'm interested in helping Nepal develop tourism (thus do informal research), right now, the Kathmandu Valley is repelling them in droves!

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

************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 07 Aug 98 10:49:45 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Re[2]: The South Asian Economic Union Debate with Ram Subedi

 My response in brackets ().

Ram Subedi <subedi@panther.middlebury.edu> at Berlink 8/6/98 11:36 PM

    *Heros are those who fight for the rights of the people. Mahatma Gandhi,
    ML King are as heros to me as PN Shah is.If you cannot appretiaite the
    greatness in such men I bet you'll never appretiate any good thing in the
    universe. The providers of bread and butter are heros to many a poor
    person but those who teach you the skills to grow the crop are their real
    heros.

    I quoted PN Shah's words because they carry a profound meaning that
    obviously you fail to see.

    PN Shah established the country that is my motherland....And I'm pround that
    NEPAL exists today.

(PN Shah was a military and political genius, no doubt, but for the conquered and the vanquished - like the Kirtipures - it is hard to have the affection that you obviously have for him. Hitler was a military and political genius too, not that I am comaparing PN Shah with Hitler. Ability is one thing, as to what you put your ability to quite another. PN Shah is the founder of modern-day Nepal. Thanks to the Panchayati propaganda you had to learn year after year in your schooling years, you have bought all the good talk on him. But modern-day Nepal is of great dissatisfaction to the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis who are unhappy with its one-language-one-religion stress in the state apparatus.
    BP was the greatest fighter for the cause of democracy Nepal ever had, but he proved inadequate on the question of cultural diversity. His economic pholosophy was overly simplistic, naive.
    Put greatness where greatness is due. Don't carry it over to where it is absent.)

 
    The pattern you suggest is not true. There had been a mainstream thrust on
    one-language-one-religion, but one-people-one-culture is a mythical beast
    that you think exists but it actually does not.

(Not there had been...there IS. The over-stress on the Nepali language and the Hindu religion in the constitution. The overly stress on Daura-Suruwal. The unfair share of state power that the NSHCWAHM, Nepali Speaking High Caste Wealthy Aged Hindu Males, have at their disposal. The beast is there.)

    *I'll forgive your ignorance in regarding me as a cultural elite.

(A Nepali Speaking High Caste Upper Middle Class Hindu Male....that brings you as close to the mainstream in the country as you can get.)

    I have never said another language(s) should not be made official. Just
    think about what Nepal was in the mid-nineties. Similar to the way you
    rightly justify the use of English, the use of Nepali could be justified
    for the micro-world of then Nepal. The failure to keep pace with the rapid
    development in every respect is due to the inertia of a bad governance and
    bad educational system. It is not a part of systematic annhilation that
    you seem to insinuate.

(This patronizing attitude towards other languages. For all practical purposes Nepali is the only recognized language today. For the micro-world of the Terai, Hindi is the lingua franca. There are major deficiencies in governance and the educational system. But the answer to racism is that the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis - the SETAMAGURALI - start speaking the language of the ballot box.)

    *"An economic union is economically justified." Elaborate. Rhetoric is not
    what I'm interested in. Show me the way given we are talking about present
    SAsia.

(Elaboration : A South Asian economic union will give Nepal's economic growth a major boost.)

    *Other things constant, I agree. But we are talking about a heated economy
    due to the union and the negetive feedbacks it could have to the price
    level. No trade barrier means imports become more attractive. Trade
    balance deficit increases. The domestic non tradeables sector suffers a
    heavy loss with firms/industries going bankrupt. Exports decrease. With
    out the ability to exercise independent monetary policy, the repercussions
    will be significant.

(An economic union is not about the seven heads of state coming together one fine day to sign some document. It requires a lot of homework on the part of all the participating countries to get the economic fundamentals straightened out. If a single monetary policy can work for a huge multi-trillion economy like the US, South Asia is a piece of cake.)

    * Don't miss my point. The underlying fact about the strength of an
    economic union is that *unless the countries enter into a single currency
    with comparable inflation rates, stability, and fiscal fitness, the
    currency will be unsustainable.* Given that these standards are met
    economic union is a beautiful idea.

("Given that these standards are met..." Precisely. The prelude to an economic union is that all the seven countries will have to get their house in order.)

    * You should probably refer to Sitaula's argument about multinationals.
    Why was there a Mexican Crisis in 1994 and not a Canadian crisis? ....
    economic union for me is joing together countries that have achieved
    comparable strength in their economies.......resources could be siphoned off
    the poor country. To take advantage from the advances in Economics, the
    country has to understand the economic fundamentals

(The Mexican crisis was a direct result not of NAFTA, but fiscal and monetary
(banking) irresponsibilities on the part of Mexico.
    Countries do not have to have "comparable strength" to come together. Otherwise Eastern Europe would not dream of joining the European Union.)

    BTW, Newton was wrong.

(Newton was not wrong. He just was updated by Einstein. And Einstein awaits to be updated himself. Science is an ongoing process. It is not about reaching destinations.)

    Capital mobility, financial market integration, goods market integration....
    all these, which are present in EU members, are almost infantile in our part
    of the world. Unless we achieve this an economic union will not work.

(That's my point. "Capital mobility, financial market integration, goods market integration." The beauty of an economic union lies not only in the ultimate achievement, but also in its prelude. All that homework that will have to be done.)
 
    Tell me what you know about Bihar's infrastructure and strengths. I would
    love to know.

(That Bihar has a much better physical infrastructure than Nepal does.)

    ...we have to do that homework before we go for the economic union.

(I guess this is our meeting ground. Two ways to touch the nose.)

************************************************************************* Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 17:14:58 -0500 (CDT) From: Thirendra Rayamajhi <thiren@cegt201.bradley.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re:Racism in Nepal

This is my response to Mr. Bhagat's posting on the TND regarding my comments on the issue of racism and Terai in Nepal.

I am not getting into specifics regarding race, ethnic origin,culture and tradition; these issues can be discussed over and over again. I am more concerned about how we solve these issues.

The nature and means of a solution is important as the problem itself. Dragging critical issues like race into politics doesnot solve the problem, rather it escalates it. Take a look - A political party with race and sectarian values is an entity within the race only.So racism STILL does exists! Doesn't it ? If Mr. Bhagat was genuinely concerned about the issue of racism and as a way of overcoming it, he would surely know that this would not be the way to go. His interest and motive are of serious concern here.

Let us not try to come up with solutions regarding personal history and individual roots. We all have ours, and if we were to do so, we would never come up with one. We need to come up with solutions regarding the present and it's implication for the future. Presently, Nepal needs more of education and food. The last thing Nepal needs right now is to be polarized into segregate islands.

Cheers! Thiren

P.S. I am not getting into anymore of this discussion. It is open for
     anyone who want to continue it. Ciao!!!

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