The Nepal Digest - August 16, 1998 (21 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sun Aug 16, 1998: Shrawan 21 2055BS: Year7 Volume77 Issue7

Today's Topics (partial list):

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
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 * TND 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 *
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 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
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 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
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 ******************************************************************************
************************************************************* Date: Sat, 08 Aug 98 15:08:40 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu>, NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re[2]: Nepal - A Hindu Nation ?

Dear Bipulendu,

I disagree with your BJP-definition of Hinduism. "Budhism, Christianity, Islam" are all separate religions equal to Hinduism. Different, separate, but equal. And I disagree with the fact that Nepal has been a labelled a "Hindu Constitutional Monarchical Kingdom," meaning the country is Hindu, and the monarch has to be Hindu. That is jingoisitic. I am proud to be a Hindu, but I am no Hindu supremacist. Should the constitution gain a secular status, I will not become a lesser Hindu.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion. Paramendra Bhagat

************************************************************************* From: rdahal@aol.com (RDAHAL) Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: 10 REASONS WHY INDIA SHOULD JOIN NEPAL Date: 9 Aug 1998 04:45:06 GMT

HERE ARE TEN REASONS WHY INDIA SHOULD JOIN NEPAL AND THE PRESENT-DAY INDIANS SHOULD BE PROUD TO BE CALLED NEPALIS.

1.THEY CAN CLAIM NEVER TO HAVE BEEN COLONIZED AND BE PROUD OF IT.

2.THEY CAN RIGHTFULLY CLAIM THAT LORD BUDDHA WAS BORN IN THEIR COUNTRY.

3.THEY CAN CLAIM TO HAVE THE HIGHEST PEAK IN THE WORLD.

4.THEY DON'T HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY(AND BE ACCUSED OF) ABOUT "MERCENARY GORKHA ARMY"

5.THE CHINESE POPULATION CAN BE SURPASSED SOONER RATHER THAN LATER MAKING THE UNIFIED COUNTRY THE MOST POPULOUS DEMOCRATIC ANARCHY IN THE WORLD!!

6.THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER ACCUSATION OF STEALING TENZING NORGAY.HE WOULD POSTHOMOUSLY BECOME A NEPALI CITIZEN.

7.THE PROBLEMS OF GURKHALAND, SIKKIM, BHUTAN WOULD END.

8.THE PEOPLE WOULD BE MORE PROSPEROUS WITH INCREASED NUMBERS OF CONSUMERS AND PRODUCERS IN THE UNIFIED COUNTRY. ALL IC WILL BE CONVERTED TO NC.AS THE NC HAS A LOWER EXCHANGE RATE VIS A VIS THE US DOLLAR, EXPORT MARKET WOULD BOOM.

9.EVERYONE WILL HAVE SURPLUS ELECTRICITY TO USE(80000 MEGAWATT POTENTIAL)NORTHERN BELT WOULD WELL IRRIGATED LEADING TO GREENER REVOLUTION.FARM EXPORT WOULD INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY.FAMINE IN ORISSA, RAJASTHAN WOULD BE A THING OF THE PAST.

10.GIRIJA KOIRALA, WHO HAS A GOOD WORKING RELATION WITH NAWAZ SHARIF, AS THE PM OF THE UNIFIED COUNTRY WOULD BE ABLE TO PERSUADE PAKISTHAN TO DIVIDE KASHMIR ALONG THE LINE OF CONTROL THEREBY AVOIDING A NULEAR HOLOCAUST.A GRATEFUL WORLD WOULD SHOWER THE NEW COUNTRY WITH GIFTS AND PRESENTS AND EVERYONE WOULD LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

PROUD TO BE A NEPALI R DAHAL

************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 9 Aug 1998 11:57:23 -0400 (EDT) From: Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu>

This a response to Ram Subedi's recent article. I am glad that Subedi has finally joined our discussion. His article reflects many such views which were not presented before, like economic analyses of the South Asian Economic Union, etc. His efforts will add to our endeavors to understand the political, social and economical issues of our country.

Many things I wanted to write as a response have already been mentioned by Paramendra Bhagat in his response (Thanks Paramendra!). However, I'll take this opportunity to clarify certain issues which Subedi seems to have
 inadequate knowledge of. As for Subedi's economic analyses about the possible consequences of the economic union of Nepal with India, I'll refrain myself to comment much this time since I feel the need for further research on this subject. However, I would like to make two comments on his economic analyses:

1. His economic analyses, first of all, are "text book" type excessively theoretical. To support his arguments, he has assumed that the monetary and fiscal policies will produce desired effects as calculated by theories. This is not true. First, text book arguments are theoretical and serve as bench mark for analyses. Second, the economic arguments he presents might hold largely true in the developed market economies of the United States and other western economies, while might not be applicable to to "dual" or "semi-socialist" economy of India. Furthermore, for the monetary policies to bring the desired effect, it is required that a country must have a well developed financial system and market. In a country like India, where market economy is at an infant stage and the financial system is underdeveloped, the monetary policy will be a blunt tool for the government to employ to bring desired effects in economy. The government will usually resort to fiscal policies or other micro-policies.

2. Subedi has mentioned that the "beauty of economic union lies in the fact that the negative influences of the federal monetary policies are countered by the approprite domestic policies." He seems to imply here that the federal policies are derived independent of the fiscal policies, or in other words, it's the federal government who is in charge of the monetary policies while it's left to the respective state govenments to derive fiscal policies to counter the negative/positive influences of the govenment monetary policies. What a silly! He fails to recognize that there is something called federal fiscal policies, and the federal authorities play with both policies to adjust economies, and the effect of one policy on other is well calculated before its disposal. Furthermore, the effects of state fiscal policies are limited and cannot adjust appropriately to the federal monetary policies. Ultimately, it will be the responsibility of the federal government to adjust to any negative influences of the monetary policies. Thus in his example of Karnataka and Nepal, he assumes that the federal govenment will favor the industrial economy of Karnataka to the agrarian economy of Nepal to derive its monetary policies and then leave it upto Karnataka and Nepal to adjust the influence of the monetary policies. If that happens than the federal govenment is not a federal government but an "elites' government" who seems to work for the good of the rich state at the cost of the poor state. Do you think the federal government in Washington, DC, derives monetary and fiscal polices to benefit California at the cost of Vermont? If the federal government fails to bring overall development of a country, it will soon render to be an inefficient and elitist government.

Leaving aside these economic arguments, let me shed some light on other social and political issues.

1. The meaning of Nepali in Nepal (or What does it mean to be a Nepali):

        The legal definition of a Nepali is the one who has a citizenship certificate of Nepal. Such person has all constitutional rights to exercise, from euality to the access to resources and opportunities. But this definition of a Nepali is limited to paper while in reality there are several groups of people in Nepal who are not only barred from the equal access to resources and opportunities, but also don't feel as Nepali as the mainstream Nepali feel. Obviously, the mainstream Nepali culture lacks the elements by which disparate groups of people in Nepal can identify with. The mainstream culture of Nepal predominantly reflects the characteristics and identities of the "Pahari" ethnic group, which I also have referrd as "Genuine Nepali," or "Ethnic Nepali." The characteristics of this group (language, religion, ethnicity,e tc.) were compilied in eight points in my previous article by the title of "What does it mean to be a Nepali....." The fact that ethnic groups like "Madhesi" group feels alienated from the mainstream Nepali culture, which has very little elements of their own culture, can be validated from their concept of Nepalihood. For example, if you visit Terai and ask a layman Madhesi to identify himself, he'll problably identify by his ethnic group (maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu) or by caste. If you ask him whether he is Nepali or not, he'll most likely to say that he's not a Nepali; by Nepali he'll identify hilly people (both Pahari and other hilly groups). On the similar token, if you ask a layman Hilly person, he is more likely to identify Madhesi as Indian.

 So why hasn't this Madhesi group, which comprises 33% or 1/3 of the total population (the Panchayti era statistics distorted their figure, and in a recent book
"Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom..," the authors state that the current figure of Madhesi is about 1/3 of the population and that the
 population of Terai is half of the total population), been assimilated to the mainstream culture of Nepal? Is this the sole fault of the Madhesi group or did the Rana and Panchayati era's governments deliberately didn't set up the provisions for this group to assimilate or move forward? This is a very complex question and I'll make my efforts to answer it appropriately.

Let me begin my argument by presenting a quote from the book: "Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Nepal" :

"How, then, to broaden the sense of 'Nepaliness' ...so that it embraces the whole population of Nepal?.... One way of achieving this would be by broadening the 'official' culture promulgated through the school system
(remember, how panchayati era used promaganda to present one-nation-one-state Nepal); as Saubhagya Shaha (1993) has put it, 'the national pantheon must... include personalities and events, historic as well as mythical, from all communities.' The historical links between the Mithila region of the Terai and the Newar Kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley could be emphasized and translations of Maithili, Newari, and Kiranti literature made an important part of national school syllabus. The role of the Magars and Gurungs in the creation of the Nepali state could be properly recognized..."

It should be noted here that in order to broaden the sense of
'Nepaliness', the national pantheon or the mainstream culture must include personalities and events, historic as well as mythical, from all communities. Does the mainstream culture of Nepal reflect this fact ? No! The mainstream culture hasn't included the elements of the diverse groups, prominently Madhesis and Bhotiyas/Sherpa, such that the members of these groups will be able to identify themselves as Nepali in a similar manner to that of the members of the Pahari group.

>From my personal experience, I can say with certainity that the mainstream
culture of Nepal does not reflect the prominent values of "Maithili" culture or include any of its major historic as well as mythical personalities or events. I went to the same educational system like any other "Genuine Nepali" go and I had the similar limited knowledge of my Maithili culture like any other Nepali does. For example, I didn't know about "Vidyapati," the Mahakavi of Mathili while I had adequate knowledge of Mahakavi Devkota. Well, I don't tend to argue that the mainstream culture should include each and every elements of each and every group, but it should certainly include the major elements of the major groups. The maithili along with other madhesis form 1/3 of the population and they are dweller of economically significant Terai region of Nepal. Ignoring them or their culture will never bring unity in Nepal or make these people feel "Nepali" in the sense other groups feel.

Well, as Subedi has argued, other groups, mainly the hilly ethnic groups
(gurung, magar, thakali, rai, limbu, etc,) who have lived in close contact with the "pahari or parbatya" groups for centuries, have been able to assimilate to the mainstream Nepali culture. So it shouldn't be difficult for Madhesi groups to assimilate to the mainstream culture( which as mentioned above is dominated by the values and characteristics of the Pahari ethnic group), and the present failure of this Madhesi group to assimilate in the mainstream is soley their weakness or fault. This is one sided argument. The reasons why Madhesis aren't able to assimilate like other hilly groups are many. I'll point out few:

1. The Madhesis, unlike other hilly tribes, historically haven't been in close contacts with the Paharis, since a majority of Paharis setteled in Terai after the eradication of Malaria during Panchayat era (causing massive deforestation in the Charkose jhhadi), while a very few Madhesis have migrated to the hills. On the other hand, the Madhesis are closely linked with their conterparts on the other side of the border where their culture and language have flourished for several millennia.

2. The Madhesi groups, Maithili for instance, have a glorious cultural heritage. Maithili is an ancient culture , preserved for several thousand years. To be assimilated to the mainstream culture in Nepal, where a very few elements of Mathili culture are included, Maithilis will have to forsake all major identities of their culture, which is practically impossible given how deep rooted they are in their culture and how proud Maithilis are of their cultural heritage. Unless the mainstream Nepali culture includes the traits of Maithili culture, it is impossible for Maithils to assimilate into the so-called mainstream culture of Nepal.
(Just to give you idea of why Maithilis are proud of their cultural heritage: Mithila art is world famous and are presitigious collections of Museums in the United States, Japan and other countries. Maithili literature is far richer and developed than Nepali literature. Many western intellectuals and Pahari people admit the superiority of Maithili culture over Nepali culture. The Maithili customs and values are as precious to Mathils as Nepali customs are to Pahari. Neither of the groups will want to forsake its customs in name of assimilation. The assimilation will be brought only by mutual understanding.)

3. The assimilation of Madhesis is further complicated by the racist, discrinimatory and hostile attitudes of the Pahari and other hilly groups. For example, the language of Madhesis, their "dhoti', their skin color or phenotype; their customs, etc, are all subjects of ridicule and comedy for the Pahari and other hilly groups.

4. In terms of access to resources and opportunities in Nepal, Madhesis groups as compared to other groups are far behind. Though they comprises of 33% of the total population, their representation in government bureucracies is in between 5 to 10 percent, in police force is below 5 percent and in Army is negligible. The decision making and policies deriving government bodies will inevitably fail to include the essential characteristics of the Madhesi groups if they don't have enough representative from these groups. Furthermore, during Rana and Panchayat era, the government policies were deliberately discriminatory to not only Madhesis but also Janjatis and other minorities. The Ranas exploited the Hindu Caste codification to serve their ends (Muluki Ain as prommulgated by Janga Bahadur Rana had strict Hindu Caste codifications), while the Panchayati era government used one-culture-one language-one religion-one country policies to "Nepalizise" all other ethnic groups. In fact, that was King Mahendra's definition of national unity!

 Having said all these, let me switch to our debate on Hindi/Nepali issue.I'll take this opportunity to highlight the growing significance of Hindi in not only Terai but the whole of Nepal. Whether Hindi should be adopted as the second official language or not I'll leave that open to further speculations and debates.

Although the percentage of people who speak HIndi as their mother tongue is small, it is well spoken by many as second language and understood by even more. Hindi is the "lingua franca" of Terai as Nepali is that of Hills. Like Nepali, which serves as a link language for people of diverse languages in Hills, Hindi serves as a link language for people of similarly diverse languages. When a Mathili speaking person communicates with Bhojpuri speaking person, it's Hindi they often use as a medium language ( In fact, 81% of Madhesi households included in a 1992 sample survey reported that they used Hindi as their link language to other communities; source: "Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom, 1997).

Furthermore, the scope of HIndi is getting larger due to the increasing popularity of HIndi movies, songs, and the Zee-TV and the wider economic opportunites in India after the liberalization of her economy. Almost all urban Nepali, regardless of their ethnic origin, understand spoken Hindi these days. When a Newari speaking businessman in Kathmandu communicate with a businessman in Delhi or Bombay, it's Hindi they use as a medium, althoug they might use English in the written form. If we do not direct our anti-Indian sentiments towards Hindi (which is not the only Indian language; Maithili and Bhojpuri are Indian languages as well) and be little more pragmatic, we'll be able to understand the importance of Hindi language in Nepal.

Let me end my response with a paragraph from the book "Naitonalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of culture in Nepal":

" ....If, in addition, the people of the Terai perceive Nepali as something imposed on them rather than as a door to wider economic opportunities, the demand for mother tongue and Hindi rather than mother tongue plus Nepali can only continue to grow.... The linguistic solution for the Terai might be retention of Nepali as the language of written record, but encouragement of all Terai languages, including Hindi, as spoken languages and as vehicles for literature. Hindi, Nepali, and Maithili are closely-related languages written in the same script and all drawing on Sanskrit for their higher-level vocabulary. All urban Nepalis can at least understand spoken Hindi if only because of exposure to the HIndi cinema, and literacy in any of the three languages opens the door to literacy in the others."

Please feel free to comment back.

Bijay Raut

*********************************************************** Date: Sun, 09 Aug 98 14:15:17 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: The bias in the Nepali media against the Sadbhavana

Look at the response of the People's Review to three just demands by the Sadbhavana -

(1) the citizenship issue in the Terai should be resolved
(2) reservation for "backward classes"
(3) switching to a federal system of government
                                        
         http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1998/08/060898/edit-1.html
                     Thursday, August 6 - August 13, 1998
                                        
                          Post-Pokhran II Sadbhavana
                                        
                    It is surely not a little curious that the Nepal Sadbhavana
                        Party (NSP) which was massively
                    rejected by the people both in the 1991 as well as the 1994
                      polls should, in the post-Pokhran II
                   era, be so emboldened as to threaten to burn the Constitution
                            and to generally take an
                   aggressive stand which, otherwise, would have been laughable
                      considering its political strength.
                                        
                   That indeed is what that party has publicly said it would be
                           doing come November 9, the
                      anniversary of the Constitution's promulgation in 1990
                      following the Jana Andolan, if three
                                       demands were not met.
                                        
                    The first is that the citizenship issue in the Terai should
                   be resolved to its satisfaction. That, in
                    reality, means that Nepali citizenship should be granted to
                        hundreds of thousands or more of
                   Indians who have been pouring into this country for years, on
                         various pretexts, through the
                                     open Nepal-India border.
                                        
                    Already, there is a dangerous imbalance in the demographic
                       composition of this country, which
                   borders Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which are two of India's most
                        populous states, threatening its
                             very identity and, ultimately, existence.
                                        
                     It cannot be merely a coincidence that the NSP, which is
                      widely perceived as an extension of
                   India's political arm in this country, should also be issuing
                      an ultimatum for the implementation
                     of such dangerously divisive policies as reservation for
                    "backward classes" and for switching to
                                  a federal system of government.
                                        
                   Clearly, while the former is an attempt to directly import an
                    alien and Indian feature, the latter is
                      absurd given the size and geo-strategic location of the
                   country between India and China. Also, if
                        the former can be expected to further fuel internal
                   dissension and disunity among the Nepalese
                      people, the latter concept will directly assist in the
                         disintegration of the nation.
                                        
                    Is that what the NSP wants? And, how do their till recently
                      squabbling functionaries think they
                     will achieve their plans: are they expecting that in the
                       post-Pokhran 11 phase that has now
                   dawned, that their strength, too, has dramatically increased?
                                        
                    Of course, the NSP will deny such allegations. However, it
                     will be in the interest of Nepal as a
                    whole if the motives and actions of the Terai-based party,
                        which now has three members in a
                   House of 205 members, were subject to intense scrutiny as to
                     their full implications, in the short
                                       as well as long term.
                                        
                    Similarly, it will also be in the fitness of things if all
                 other political parties sit down together and
                   make an assessment of what the NSP is out to do -- as also to
                      find out if their plans are of their
                       own making or have been influenced from outside this
                               country's borders.
                                        
                    History -- no one should ever forget -- has shown, time and
                        again, that groups of people and
                     political entities have placed the interest of a foreign
                   country ahead of their own, as for example
                   in pre-World War 11 Austria and Norway under Vidkun Quisling.
                                        
                    Nearer home, there has of course been Lhendup Dorji and his
                               party, in Sikkim!

Subject: People's Review's bias against the Sadbhavana To : The Editor

Dear Sir,

I read with displeasure and disgust your editorial Post-Pokhran II Sadbhavana in your August 6 - August 13, 1998 issue. Your comments came across as one-sided and openly prejudiced, if not outright racist. There is a blatant attempt on your part to paint any struggle on the part of the Terai peoples for their just rights as an encroachment of Nepal by India. You do not seem to be able to differentiate between the Indians and the Teraiwasis. The three demands by the Sadbhavana, listed below, you hold to ridicule as "dangerously divisive."

(1) That the citizenship issue in the Terai be resolved.
(2) That there be reservation for "backward classes"
(3) That the country switch to a federal system of government

You ridicule the party that is spearheading the struggle as one "massively rejected by the people both in the 1991 as well as the 1994 polls," "widely perceived as an extension of India's political arm in this country." You are offended that the Sadbhavana is taking "an aggressive stand," like you never have been with the Maoist terrorism, the reckless bandhs by all and sundry that bring the weak national economy to stand stills every so often, the obtuse corruption in the state machinery, the vandalism of the party in power, et al. The leaders of the Sadbhavana were "till recently squabbling functionaries." The aggresiveness of the Sadbhavana you attribute to Pokhran and not to the racism directed against the Teraiwasis in the country. You are suspicious of the "motives" of the party that you fantasize about subjecting to an "intense scrutiny." You want "all other political parties" to gang up on the Sadbhavana. You are merely giving voice to the insecurities of the NSHCWAHM, the Nepali Speaking High Caste Wealthy Aged Hindu Males, that absolute minority that is 10% of the national population but that currently holds most of the powers of the land. The NSHCWAHM's days at the helm are numbered. The Teraiwasis and the Janajatis are on their way to grab their just share of state power, and a biased media will not prevent that. This struggle is more native in a way than even the People's Movement of 1990 was not, and hence not from "outside this country's borders."

"History has shown" that the repressed and the downtrodden ultimately rise to get their fair share of power. As for the "other parties," you need to realize that the breakup and the coming together of the Sadbhavana started a chain reaction on the national political landscape that lead to the breakup of the UML and the RPP. It is a surprise the NC did not follow suit, but its day too will come. The Sadbhavana is destined to grow with the rapidity of a Microsoft, or even a BJP. You make fun of the Sadbhavana as having only three out of 205 MPs. You should realize the BJP had only two MPs in 1984. In less than 12 years it had emerged the largest party in India. That is the road the Sadbhana is destined to take. Just give it some time and a few electoral cycles.

Paramendra Bhagat paramendra@hotmail.com Berea College, Kentucky, USA

****************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 18:57:55 +1200 From: Umed Pun <pun@whio.lincoln.ac.nz> Subject: whereabouts of Dr. Nawang Sherpa To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Hello ALL NAMASTE!!!!

I am in search of Dr. Nawang Sherpa, a graduate from Beijing Medical University (CHINA). He was for sometime at KHUNDE hospital, SOLUKHUMBU and is currently in the States for his masterate degree in Surgery....... Nawang, if you get this message please reply, your sister (Asha) wants to keep in touch with you. Alternatively, if anyone knows Nawang do please send me his email address. Your help will be much appreciated.

Thanks Umed

*************************************************************** From: "lapax bro" <sandeep@newweb.net> To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: looking for songwriter for music album Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 11:50:27 -0400

To all,

We are in the process of publishing a cd/cassette comprising of Nepali songs and music. The cd/casette will be published at around the end of the year (after Dec 1998). The music will be based on nepali tunes but will also be influenced by the more non-conventional western music genres such as jazz and fusion.

The design process has been going along pretty well except for one particularly debilitating factor concerning the songs: Most of the songs that we have right now have Shakespearean overtones - eg romance, drama etc. Songs with lyrics about anything else besides the above would be refreshing.

We are looking for songs from any aspiring/professional writer that have (or can write) songs/poems about anything besides romance, drama and tragedy. We are willing to discuss the terms and conditions. The songs have to be in Nepali.

Please remember that this is a first time venture for our group. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please forward this message to them.

For further information, contact: Lapax Bro lapax@digizen.net
               nimrod@newweb.net Premu Rana premu@prodigy.net

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 15:51:12 -0400 (EDT) From: Ram Subedi <subedi@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Re: Hindi/Nepali and the concept of Nepalihood: The debate continues

On Sun, 9 Aug 1998, Bijay Raut 99 wrote:

> However, I'll take
> this opportunity to clarify certain issues which Subedi seems to have
> inadequate knowledge of.

* I won't mind you saying that unless you fail to substantiate your claim. I am waiting to see below what you have to say.

> monetary policies to bring the desired effect, it is required that a
> country must have a well developed financial system and market. In a
> country like India, where market economy is at an infant stage and the
> financial system is underdeveloped, the monetary policy will be a blunt
> tool for the government to employ to bring desired effects in economy. The
> government will usually resort to fiscal policies or other micro-policies.

* The analysis of an economic union I presented was not a solution to Nepal-India union. In fact, just the opposite. The strength of an economic union rests on the degree of financial and goods markets integration, and flexibility of wages and prices among other things. At the other extreme, in regions devoid of such qualities, the meaning of an economic union would also make sense although for entirely different reasons. The basic premise is that the regions aspiring an economic union should be fairely homogeneous in their economic strengths. This is so because such an union will prosper if the economic shocks it experiences are fairly symmetric. My discussion of the economic union was an ideal case: what would it mean to benefit from such concepts. Bhagat brought up the EMU, and I tried to scrutinize why and how EMU can hope for success of such a union given its background. EMU is certainly a framework we could look at but hoping that we could translate the experience to our soils is ignorant for reasons some of which you have pointed out. However, that's not the end of the world. We could, yes in practice, learn a lot from that system so that we can adapt the notion to our place. My argument was that even the adapted notion of an economic union is not feasible for the sustainability of Nepal-India union so long as we don't get our economy and economics straight. Hoping to get the "fiscal" attention of Indian federation is the same as the forlorn hope of the unlucky fox: "Sandhe ko g--- jharla ra khaunla."

> 2. Subedi has mentioned that the "beauty of economic union lies in the
> fact that the negative influences of the federal monetary policies are
> countered by the approprite domestic policies." He seems to imply here
> that the federal policies are derived independent of the fiscal policies,
> or in other words, it's the federal government who is in charge of the
> monetary policies while it's left to the respective state govenments to

* Before you label me silly, first understand my argument. You seem to be missing the basic premise. There is a difference between being another state of India and being another country in the economic union. In the former case, your argument will apply- the federal authorities will toy around with economic policies before implementing them. If all goes well, Nepal could prosper by being another state in India. But nothing could be further from truth than this- just look across the border. The case with an economic union, however, is entirely different. We've been alluding to the EMU as our role model. Do you think there will be a federal body delivering fiscal policies to the countries within the union. NO. The European Central Bank (ECB) will deal with money, the countries have to deal with their own fiscal policies. If both fiscal and monetary policies were dealt by a central governing body the story of EMU would be different.

If, as you say, the power of Nepalese fiscal policy will be limited and we'd have to depend on the Indian federal government for it to correct the anomalies in Nepal created by its policies, then what's the point of the union? India has its own stack of economic problems in various states that it has not been able to take care of. What's the hope for us?

We want prosperity right? Why not work for it ourselves without losing our power to the uncertainty that is India?

> Thus in his example of Karnataka and
> Nepal, he assumes that the federal govenment will favor the industrial
> economy of Karnataka to the agrarian economy of Nepal to derive its
> monetary policies and then leave it upto Karnataka and Nepal to adjust the
> influence of the monetary policies. If that happens than the federal
> govenment is not a federal government but an "elites' government" who
> seems to work for the good of the rich state at the cost of the poor
> state.

* Again, you have not only failed to see my argument but also misinterpreted it. This is a very simplified model which illustrates that no matter what state the government favors, there will either be uneployment or inflation in the economy. You could argure that India could adopt a moderate monetary policy in such cases but this would not be able to bring down unemployment or inflation rates to their prior levels. And of course, to match up with reality, introduction of other varibales will definitely not help the situation if not make it worse. You could view these two states either as two countries in a union or two Indian states. In the former case the credibility of the federal government becomes less appealing when nukes come before bread in the national interest list, and in the latter case the meaning of accomodating fiscal policies gets distorted when the states themselves lack fiscal fitness (cf my original article).

> Do you think the federal government in Washington, DC, derives
> monetary and fiscal polices to benefit California at the cost of Vermont?
> If the federal government fails to bring overall development of a country,
> it will soon render to be an inefficient and elitist government.

* The economic fundamentals I have discussed in my original article manifest differently here. Anyway, CA and VT are states in the USA and not countries in the USA economic union. Federal policy mixes work more efficiently where the economic fundamentals are more favorable to the concept of optimum currency area.

I am dead against being another Bihar in the Indian federation hoping that I can depend on federal govt. for salvation. Economic union, on the other hand, sounds like a plan but as Bagat said we have to get our houses in order first. This will take time. An economic union is inevitable but this should not be the driving force behind our efforts for development of our nation. We can do better ourselves for a BIG while.

> The mainstream culture of Nepal predominantly reflects the
> characteristics and identities of the "Pahari" ethnic group, which I also
> have referrd as "Genuine Nepali," or "Ethnic Nepali." The characteristics
> of this group (language, religion, ethnicity,e tc.) were compilied in
> eight points in my previous article by the title of "What does it mean to
> be a Nepali....."

* There is no such thing as a "Pahadi" ethnic group. I don't know where you get that idea from. Just as Terai is a blend of Maithalis, Bhojpuris, Tharus, and a welter of others, Pahad is also a mixture of many different ethnic groups. As for your compilation of the ethnic traits of the
"Pahadi" ethnic group, characteristics 1, 2, 3, 7, and to some extent 4 are grossly wrong. So is your assertion in the same article that "there is only one group of people in Nepal, the so-called 'genuine Nepali', who possess all the above mentioned characteristics." Trait number 8 seems to be missing from your compilation although you mention here that it exists.

> The fact that ethnic groups like "Madhesi" group feels
> alienated from the mainstream Nepali culture, which has very little
> elements of their own culture, can be validated from their concept of
> Nepalihood. For example, if you visit Terai and ask a layman Madhesi to
> identify himself, he'll problably identify by his ethnic group (maithili,
> Bhojpuri, Tharu) or by caste. If you ask him whether he is Nepali or not,
> he'll most likely to say that he's not a Nepali; by Nepali he'll identify
> hilly people (both Pahari and other hilly groups). On the similar token,
> if you ask a layman Hilly person, he is more likely to identify Madhesi as
> Indian.

* Just as "Pahadi" is not an ethnic group "Madhesi" is also not one of the ethnic groups. Correct me if I'm wrong. The example you illustrate will work similarly for a layman Pahadi or a layman Himali except for the
"Nepali" part. Most of the people are likely to identify themselves by their ethnic groups pointing to Kathmandu as Nepal. I won't be surprised if such people identify a Madhesi as an Indian. I don't blame them neither do I blame the Madhesis who think Pahadis are Nepali. It is their ignorance, and nothing else. We have to fight that ignorance at a national level without compromising the interests of its people from Himal to Terai. Once people can see through their differences we can enjoy the harmony in diversity.

> So why hasn't this
> Madhesi group, which comprises 33% or 1/3 of the total population (the
> Panchayti era statistics distorted their figure, and in a recent book
> "Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom..," the authors state that
> the current figure of Madhesi is about 1/3 of the population and that the
> population of Terai is half of the total population), been assimilated to
> the mainstream culture of Nepal? Is this the sole fault of the Madhesi

* Cultural assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and closed-minded attitudes are all vices. Cultural assimilation is not a solution to national unity. We all should learn from the mistakes in the past.

> Let me begin my argument by presenting a quote from the book: "Nationalism
> and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics of Culture in Nepal" :
>
> "How, then, to broaden the sense of 'Nepaliness' ...so that it embraces
> the whole population of Nepal?.... One way of achieving this would be by
> broadening the 'official' culture promulgated through the school system
> (remember, how panchayati era used promaganda to present

* ABSOLUTELY.

> It should be noted here that in order to broaden the sense of
> 'Nepaliness', the national pantheon or the mainstream culture must include
> personalities and events, historic as well as mythical, from all
> communities. Does the mainstream culture of Nepal reflect this fact ? No!

* No mainstream culture should exist.

Not all members of the Pahadi group have been able to identify themselves as Nepali in the manner you suggest.

We all should exist as a unity in diversity recognizing the existence of each and every ethnic group in our nation. Our national identity should reflect this unity in diversity.

> Well, as Subedi has argued, other groups, mainly the hilly ethnic groups
> (gurung, magar, thakali, rai, limbu, etc,) who have lived in close contact
> with the "pahari or parbatya" groups for centuries, have been able to
> assimilate to the mainstream Nepali culture. So it shouldn't be difficult

* I have already put my agruments for for the use of Nepali as an official language. Other languages should also be made official as long as such measures make economic sense. Education system should incorporate all the major languages in the nation.

If Magars, Gurungs, Muslims, and Newars in my area were already assimilated we all would be celebrating "Janai Purnima" by now. That Nepali, as a language spoken by the majority of the poeple in Nepal, has proved to be a uniting thread in my home area I do not doubt. We all have our distinct ethnic identity. Assimilation will never be the foundation of national unity. Does it still look like I've been arguing in favor of assimilation?
 
> 1. The Madhesis, unlike other hilly tribes, historically haven't been in
> close contacts with the Paharis, since a majority of Paharis setteled in
> Terai after the eradication of Malaria during Panchayat era (causing
> massive deforestation in the Charkose jhhadi), while a very few Madhesis
> have migrated to the hills. On the other hand, the Madhesis are closely
> linked with their conterparts on the other side of the border where their
> culture and language have flourished for several millennia.

* The deforestation of forests in Terai cannot be solely attributed to the Pahadi people. It is true that some areas were cleared for settlement for some Pahadi people but the rampant destruction of the forest was due to emmigration of Pahadis and Taraibasis and immigration of people from India as well.
 
> 2. The Madhesi groups, Maithili for instance, have a glorious cultural
> heritage. Maithili is an ancient culture , preserved for several thousand
> years. To be assimilated to the mainstream culture in Nepal, where a very
> few elements of Mathili culture are included, Maithilis will have to
> forsake all major identities of their culture, which is practically
> impossible given how deep rooted they are in their culture and how proud

* Opting for assimilation for national identity is worthless. Worse still is losing your identity in the name of national unity. If one cannot appretiate and respect the differences in people, our national sense of unity will be weak giving rise to factional tendencies.

Maithali culture is well developed but there's no Nepali culture as such. One thing you have to get straight is that there is no Pahadi ethnic group. Pahadi people are an amalgam of many different kinds of people from various cultural background. Pahadi people do not observe Nepali customs. Your repeated assertion along these lines make me wonder whether you have visited Pahad at all. Talking about Pahadi people as one bunch is as mistaken as talking about Madhesis as Indians and Himalis as Bhotes.

> 3. The assimilation of Madhesis is further complicated by the racist,
> discrinimatory and hostile attitudes of the Pahari and other hilly
> groups. For example, the language of Madhesis, their "dhoti', their skin
> color or phenotype; their customs, etc, are all subjects of ridicule and
> comedy for the Pahari and other hilly groups.

* This is a result of ignorance of the people involved. I am not justifying it by saying that. It's a social evil that needs rooted out. Only awareness will enable people to see thru their differences and respect each other.

> Having said all these, let me switch to our debate on Hindi/Nepali
> issue.I'll take this opportunity to highlight the growing significance of
> Hindi in not only Terai but the whole of Nepal. Whether Hindi should be
> adopted as the second official language or not I'll leave that open to
> further speculations and debates.

* As long as it makes economic sense to make a language official without undermining the diverse national identity that Nepal has, any such languages should be made official.
 
> Although the percentage of people who speak HIndi as their
> mother tongue is small, it is well spoken by many as second language and
> understood by even more. Hindi is the "lingua franca" of Terai as Nepali
> is that of Hills. Like Nepali, which serves as a link language for

* This is what I wrote in reply to the same assertion by Bhagat earlier:
"The whole of Terai does not use Hindi as its lingua franca. Don't try to fool me. However, I understand that in different areas of Terai a major number population uses it as its language of communication between communities. All in all Hindi is spoken by a fair share of Terai population and that might merit it a recognition as an official language, but I'll have to do more research on that."

> " ....If, in addition, the people of the Terai perceive Nepali as
> something imposed on them rather than as a door to wider economic
> opportunities, the demand for mother tongue and Hindi rather than mother
> tongue plus Nepali can only continue to grow.... The linguistic solution
> for the Terai might be retention of Nepali as the language of written

* ABSOLUTELY. If my comments on "language" issue so far seem to challenge the authors' sentiments expressed above, it's because you have failed to see my arguments or you cannot trust the words in support of "flourishing in diversity" coming from a person different in geographical origin than yours.( Bhagat thought I was patronizing. Ha!!!) Our "tryst with destiny"
(Nehru's words) is for a unified, sovereign, developed Nepal. Nothing else.

Ram Subedi Department of Physics MC 3638 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT 05753.

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 17:14:39 -0400 (EDT) From: Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Re: Hindi/Nepali and the concept of Nepalihood: The debate continues

On Mon, 10 Aug 1998, Ram Subedi wrote:
>
> * There is no such thing as a "Pahadi" ethnic group. I don't know where
> you get that idea from. Just as Terai is a blend of Maithalis, Bhojpuris,
> Tharus, and a welter of others, Pahad is also a mixture of many different
> ethnic groups. As for your compilation of the ethnic traits of the

## I'm now looking at a demographic map of Nepal prepared by the CIA. It has description of the selected ethnic groups of Nepal. It includes
"Pahari" as a separate ethnic group of Nepal along with other Hilly ethnic groups -- Gurung, Tamange, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, etc. By "Pahari" the map illustrates and I mean is the group of people dominant below the Himalayan range and above the chure range (nowadays present in Terai as well as Kathnmandu Valley). These people are also know as "Parbatiyas," as referred in the book "Nationalism & ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom....." Bahun, Chettris, Thakuris, Sarkis, Damai --the Hindus of Hills-- form this
"Pahari" ethnic group. I strictly referred to this group, although I mentioned that over centuries of close contact with this group, other ethnic groups of the Hills --Rai, lImbu, magar, gururng, thakali, tamang, etc,-- have adopted certain major characteristics of this group. If
"Pahari" was not a different and dominating ethnic group of Nepal, then the recent movement of "Janjatis" which include ethnics groups like Rai, Limbu, Gurung, Magars, Tamang, Sherpa, etc., wouldn't have started. Once again, by "Pahari" I am not mistaking with all ethnic groups living in Pahad. At the same time, I didn't imply "Madhesi" to be one single ethnic group as I have cited "Maithili" as an example of "Madhesi" groups. Other groups include Tharu, Bhojpuri, etc.

The seven characteistics (forgive me for mentioning 8 in the last email) of the "Pahari" groups are as follows: 1.Ethnicity -- Nepali (or "Pahari" or "Parbatiya") 2.Language -- Nepali 3. Religion -- Hindu 4. Citizenship -- Nepali 5. Race -- Indo-Aryan (Mongoloid to a cetain extent) 6. Skin-Color -- Pale White or Wheatish white or fair skin 7. Nationalism --Anti-Indian

I reiterate that there is only one major ethinc group in Nepaltht posseses all seven characteristics and that is the "Pahari" group.

>
> * Cultural assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and closed-minded attitudes are
> all vices. Cultural assimilation is not a solution to national unity. We
> all should learn from the mistakes in the past.

## You seem to have mistaken the meaning of "cultural assimilation." Cultural assimilation is not a vice. Cultural assmilation does not involve the imposition of one's cultures over other or ignoring the major cultures; it means blending of the major traits of the major cultures under mutual understanding and mutual respects for each other's culture.
"Mulit-culturalism" or "Multi-ethnicity" (as perceived in the US) will be an example of cultural assimilation. The mainstream culture of Nepal, which has failed to incorporate the major traits of the major ethnic groups, will be a bad example of culural assimilation. The ideal state of national unity, as I mentioned in one of my articles, can be achieved if all groups in a country adhere to "secular political principles and mutually accepted sets of values." However, the cultural assimilation will certainly prevent the matters from turning bad to worse while at the same time help prmote the national unity. The mainstream culture formed after proper cultural assimilation include the major characteristics of all the major groups.
>
> * I have already put my agruments for for the use of Nepali as an official
> language. Other languages should also be made official as long as such
> measures make economic sense. Education system should incorporate all the
> major languages in the nation.

## Very good point! Hindi has a huge economic potential, given our ever increasing trade with India and its rapidly growing economy.
 
>
> * Opting for assimilation for national identity is worthless. Worse still
> is losing your identity in the name of national unity. If one cannot
> appretiate and respect the differences in people, our national sense of
> unity will be weak giving rise to factional tendencies.

## I wish you were the major advisor of King Mahendra...He didn't seem to understand what bred national unity.
>
>
> * This is a result of ignorance of the people involved. I am not
> justifying it by saying that. It's a social evil that needs rooted out.
> Only awareness will enable people to see thru their differences and
> respect each other.

## Our country need more people like you

>
> * As long as it makes economic sense to make a language official without
> undermining the diverse national identity that Nepal has, any such
> languages should be made official.

## Very good! Hindi does make great economic sense
>
> * This is what I wrote in reply to the same assertion by Bhagat earlier:
> "The whole of Terai does not use Hindi as its lingua franca. Don't try to
> fool me. However, I understand that in different areas of Terai a major
> number population uses it as its language of communication between
> communities. All in all Hindi is spoken by a fair share of Terai
> population and that might merit it a recognition as an official language,
> but I'll have to do more research on that."

## 81% of the households in a sample survery in Terai mentioned using Hindi as a link language while communicating with different ethnic groups. And this percentage is growing.

> > " ....If, in addition, the people of the Terai perceive Nepali as
> > something imposed on them rather than as a door to wider economic
> > opportunities, the demand for mother tongue and Hindi rather than mother
> > tongue plus Nepali can only continue to grow.... The linguistic solution
> > for the Terai might be retention of Nepali as the language of written
>
> * ABSOLUTELY. If my comments on "language" issue so far seem to challenge
> the authors' sentiments expressed above, it's because you have failed to
> see my arguments or you cannot trust the words in support of "flourishing

## As I said above, our country needs more people like you.

Cheers, Bijay Raut

************************************************************** Date: Mon, 10 Aug 98 17:41:51 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Re[2]: Hindi/Nepali, Madhesi/Pahadi

My reply to Ram Subedi in brackets ().

   The strength of an economic union rests on the degree of financial and goods
   markets integration, and flexibility of wages and prices among other things.
   At the other extreme, in regions devoid of such qualities, the meaning of an
   economic union would also make sense although for entirely different
   reasons.

    The basic premise is that the regions aspiring an economic union should be
    fairely homogeneous in their economic strengths. EMU is certainly a
   framework we could look at but hoping that we could translate the experience
    to our soils is ignorant........the adapted notion of an economic union is
   not feasible for the sustainability of Nepal-India union so long as we don't
    get our economy and economics straight.

(It is not true only of South Asia that the house has to be put into order before any concrete steps towards an economic union can be taken. The point Subedi misses is that "setting the house in order" is itself part of the process of an economic union. Economic union is not the name of a finished bridge but of a process you launch. The participating economies do not have to be either homogeneous or well-off. An economic union is not about transporting the sovereignity of the other six South Asian nations to Delhi.)

    We want prosperity right? Why not work for it ourselves without losing our
    power to the uncertainty that is India?

(An economic union is the quicker way to prosperity that ethnic, casteist elites like Subedi refuse to see for fear that any step in that direction might open up the country further and loosen the grip on power that their group has.)

    .....no matter what state the government favors, there will either be
    uneployment or inflation in the economy. You could argure that India could
    adopt a moderate monetary policy in such cases but this would not be able
    to bring down unemployment or inflation rates to their prior levels.

(As to either there will be inflation or unemployment in the economy dictum, Subedi needs to look at the US economy that has defied that premise. This is besides the point anyway. Subedi uses India's current policy framework vis-a- vis the nuclear option as an argument against an economic union. The Indophobic feelings of the group he represents is apparent. He is arguing against the taking over of Nepal by India, Sikkim-style which has never been my premise anyway.)

   CA and VT are states in the USA and not countries in the USA economic union.
    Federal policy mixes work more efficiently where the economic fundamentals
    are more favorable to the concept of optimum currency area.

(Moving towards making the whole of South Asia into an "optimum currency area" is part of the journey to be undertaken called an economic union.)

    An economic union is inevitable but this should not be the driving force
   behind our efforts for development of our nation. We can do better ourselves
    for a BIG while.

(On the contrary I think the "inevitable" economic union should be the center piece of all our efforts to lead the Nepalese economy to unprecedented levels of prosperity. That is the best we can do for those 10 million Nepalese who live on less than a dollar a day. Nepal is no island. We cannot do good by ourselves.)

    There is no such thing as a "Pahadi" ethnic group.

(Pahadi is not an ethnic group, but it is a group no doubt. Teraiwasis get called madise, marsya, dhoti,bhaiya regardless of whether they are Maithili, Bhojpuri or Tharu, Hindu or Muslim, Men or Women.)

    Most of the people are likely to identify themselves by their ethnic groups
   pointing to Kathmandu as Nepal. I won't be surprised if such people identify
    a Madhesi as an Indian. I don't blame them neither do I blame the Madhesis
    who think Pahadis are Nepali. It is their ignorance...........

(Whether it be rooted in ignorance or whatever, racism is what it is : racism. And I am always amused when the "educated" folks like Subedi attribute racism to illiteracy. Infact the racism that emanates from the educated, the PhD wallas, the big wigs is more virulent than that emanating from those who are as far away from the bases of power as any Teraiwasi, for the racism that the latter practise is often institutionalized.)

    No mainstream culture should exist.

(My protest against the unfair share of state power that the ethnic mainstream has was never meant to say they should cease to exist altogether!)

    I have already put my agruments for the use of Nepali as an official
    language. Other languages should also be made official as long as such
    measures make economic sense. Education system should incorporate all the
    major languages in the nation.

(All languages spoken in Nepal are already recognized as "national" languages in the constitution. I continue to stand for the tri-lingual education policy upto Class 10. And I think Hindi should be recognized as the lingua franca of the Terai.)

    Nepali, as a language spoken by the majority of the poeple in Nepal........

(Nepali is spoken by 50% of the people in Nepal as a first language.)
 
    Talking about Pahadi people as one bunch is as mistaken as talking about
    Madhesis as Indians and Himalis as Bhotes.

(I agree. The SETAMAGURALI, who are mostly Pahadi, are not only economically marginalized, I would say they are culturally even more marginalized than the Teraiwasis. At least I do not fear my mothertongue Maithili will go extinct, but there are too many ethnic groups in the hills that are on the verge of cultural extinction.)

    As long as it makes economic sense to make a language official without
    undermining the diverse national identity that Nepal has, any such
    languages should be made official.

(What does making a language "official" mean to you?)

    This is what I wrote in reply to the same assertion by Bhagat earlier:
    The whole of Terai does not use Hindi as its lingua franca. Don't try to
    fool me. However, I understand that in different areas of Terai a major
    number population uses it as its language of communication between
    communities. All in all Hindi is spoken by a fair share of Terai
    population and that might merit it a recognition as an official language,
    but I'll have to do more research on that."

(Hindi is spoken by very few Teraiwasis as their first language. But it definitely is the link language for all Terai groups who are half the national population. To reject Hindi thinking it is an Indian language is like rejecting the Teraiwasis because you think they "look" Indian.)

********************************************************************* Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 18:20:53 -0400 (EDT) From: Bijay Raut 99 <raut@panther.middlebury.edu> Subject: Re: Hindi/Nepali and the concept of Nepalihood: The debate continues

On Mon, 10 Aug 1998, Ram Subedi wrote:
>
> * There is no such thing as a "Pahadi" ethnic group. I don't know where
> you get that idea from. Just as Terai is a blend of Maithalis, Bhojpuris,
> Tharus, and a welter of others, Pahad is also a mixture of many different

## I'm now looking at a demographic map of Nepal prepared by the CIA. It has description of the selected ethnic groups of Nepal. It includes
"Pahari" as a separate ethnic group of Nepal along with other Hilly ethnic groups -- Gurung, Tamange, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, etc. By "Pahari" the map illustrates and I mean is the group of people dominant below the Himalayan range and above the chure range (nowadays present in Terai as well as Kathnmandu Valley). These people are also know as "Parbatiyas," as referred in the book "Nationalism & ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom....." Bahun, Chettris, Thakuris, Sarkis, Damai --the Hindus of Hills-- form this
"Pahari" ethnic group. I strictly referred to this group, although I mentioned that over centuries of close contact with this group, other ethnic groups of the Hills --Rai, lImbu, magar, gururng, thakali, tamang, etc,-- have adopted certain major characteristics of this group. If
"Pahari" was not a different and dominating ethnic group of Nepal, then the recent movement of "Janjatis" which include ethnics groups like Rai, Limbu, Gurung, Magars, Tamang, Sherpa, etc., wouldn't have started. Once again, by "Pahari" I am not mistaking with all ethnic groups living in Pahad. At the same time, I didn't imply "Madhesi" to be one single ethnic group as I have cited "Maithili" as an example of "Madhesi" groups. Other groups include Tharu, Bhojpuri, etc.

The seven characteistics (forgive me for mentioning 8 in the last email) of the "Pahari" groups are as follows: 1.Ethnicity -- Nepali (or "Pahari" or "Parbatiya") 2.Language -- Nepali 3. Religion -- Hindu 4. Citizenship -- Nepali 5. Race -- Indo-Aryan (Mongoloid to a cetain extent) 6. Skin-Color -- Pale White or Wheatish white or fair skin 7. Nationalism --Anti-Indian

I reiterate that there is only one major ethinc group in Nepaltht posseses all seven characteristics and that is the "Pahari" group.

> * Cultural assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and closed-minded attitudes are
> all vices. Cultural assimilation is not a solution to national unity. We
> all should learn from the mistakes in the past.

## You seem to have mistaken the meaning of "cultural assimilation." Cultural assimilation is not a vice. Cultural assmilation does not involve the imposition of one's cultures over other or ignoring the major cultures; it means blending of the major traits of the major cultures under mutual understanding and mutual respects for each other's culture.
"Mulit-culturalism" or "Multi-ethnicity" (as perceived in the US) will be an example of cultural assimilation. The mainstream culture of Nepal, which has failed to incorporate the major traits of the major ethnic groups, will be a bad example of culural assimilation. The ideal state of national unity, as I mentioned in one of my articles, can be achieved if all groups in a country adhere to "secular political principles and mutually accepted sets of values." However, the cultural assimilation will certainly prevent the matters from turning bad to worse while at the same time help prmote the national unity. The mainstream culture formed after proper cultural assimilation include the major characteristics of all the major groups.
>
> * I have already put my agruments for for the use of Nepali as an official
> language. Other languages should also be made official as long as such
> measures make economic sense. Education system should incorporate all the
> major languages in the nation.

## Very good point! Hindi has a huge economic potential, given our ever increasing trade with India and its rapidly growing economy.
 
>
> * Opting for assimilation for national identity is worthless. Worse still
> is losing your identity in the name of national unity. If one cannot
> appretiate and respect the differences in people, our national sense of
> unity will be weak giving rise to factional tendencies.

## I wish you were the major advisor of King Mahendra...He didn't seem to understand what bred national unity.
>
>
> * This is a result of ignorance of the people involved. I am not
> justifying it by saying that. It's a social evil that needs rooted out.
> Only awareness will enable people to see thru their differences and
> respect each other.

## Our country need more people like you

>
> * As long as it makes economic sense to make a language official without
> undermining the diverse national identity that Nepal has, any such
> languages should be made official.

## Very good! Hindi does make great economic sense
>
> * This is what I wrote in reply to the same assertion by Bhagat earlier:
> "The whole of Terai does not use Hindi as its lingua franca. Don't try to
> fool me. However, I understand that in different areas of Terai a major
> number population uses it as its language of communication between
> communities. All in all Hindi is spoken by a fair share of Terai
> population and that might merit it a recognition as an official language,
> but I'll have to do more research on that."

## 81% of the households in a sample survery in Terai mentioned using Hindi as a link language while communicating with different ethnic groups. And this percentage is growing.

> > " ....If, in addition, the people of the Terai perceive Nepali as
> > something imposed on them rather than as a door to wider economic
> > opportunities, the demand for mother tongue and Hindi rather than mother
> > tongue plus Nepali can only continue to grow.... The linguistic solution
>
> * ABSOLUTELY. If my comments on "language" issue so far seem to challenge
> the authors' sentiments expressed above, it's because you have failed to
> see my arguments or you cannot trust the words in support of "flourishing
> in diversity" coming from a person different in geographical origin than
> yours.( Bhagat thought I was patronizing. Ha!!!) Our "tryst with destiny"
> (Nehru's words) is for a unified, sovereign, developed Nepal. Nothing
> else.

## As I said above, our country needs more people like you.

Cheers, Bijay Raut

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