The Nepal Digest - Dec 12, 1994 (26 Manghir 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Monday 12 Dec 94: Mangshir 26 2051 BkSm Volume 34 Issue 9

               To the Students: Good luck in the finals!
               To everybody: Happy Holidays!

                               - TND Editorial Board

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********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 9 Dec 1994 17:28:45 -0500 (EST) From: Aevendra Lohani <> Subject: Censorship To:

First, thank you TND for your prompt response to my subscription request. It has been a pleasure.

For the past few days I have been noticing a passionate debate as to wheather or not certain offensive (?) type of comments should be excluded. It seems that the TND board has reacted very prematurely in siding with the vocal few. If the Nepal digest is an open forum, and if free and frank discussions are encouraged, the question of wheather the TND editorial board should intervene and supress someone's genuine views, becomes counterproductive and wrong.

The frequency at which people respond to any given subject determines the significance of that topic. If people like Mr. Nirmal Ghimire (with all due respect) do not bother and concentrate in what he finds to be not worthwhile, the value of the primary controversial opinion automatically decreases.

Nepali culture may or may not be superior, depends on how anyone describes culture. Ability to handle diverse opinion pattern is the superiority indicator not avoidance and censorships. No one has the right to entitle someone to have their opinion, opinion is inevitable. If we block the media just because we do not like the message, that is a sign of weakness. I do not think some of these readers have any reason to panic, superiority complex will not allow that.

Namaste. Devu Lohani

**************************************************************************** From: "Khatri, Sanjay" <khatri@msgate.columbiasc.NCR.COM> To: 'nepal' <> Subject: RE: Cheap Talk ?!? Date: Fri, 09 Dec 94 13:51:00 edt

In the article "cheap talk" Nirmal Ghimire writes

>I know that many Nepalese understand the meaning of abstinence,and many
>have been following that. So, we do not have big sexual problems there.
>What is the point of going into someone's personal life. How people have
sex ,
>is their personal is not of something importance to bring it in
>TND. It seems rediculous to see such things.How,when they have sex,why do

I had to include the message in its entirety since it is uncertain which article(s) Mr. Ghimire was referring to. I am assuming he means the ones on Homosexuality (Atuladhar & Prema Oza) and the research conducted by a lady
(whose name I can't recall) on the subject of sex in the Hindu society of Nepal. It is wrong to say that we don't have sexual problems in Nepal. As far as AIDS is concerned, there are literally thousands of Nepalese women who have been forced into prostitution in the cities of India, where AIDS is rampant. These unfortunate women do return home carrying the deadly virus.
 This, combined with the two way traffic of people between the countries, has greatly increased the occurrences and risk of HIV infection. It is naive to think that ignoring a problem will make it disappear.

As far as sexual/affectional orientation is concerned, keeping an open mind and being tolerant to the diversity in people goes a long way in building a better society. Yes, we do have a rich culture and heritage, of which being tolerant and hospitable are probably the greatest virtues. Granted, we are traditional and conservative in our ways, but we must learn to deal with the social issues of the times, because, sooner or later, they are going to affect us all. Treating everything related to sex as a taboo does more harm than good in the long run. Years of ignoring and skirting such issues during the Republican era of this country has escalated problems related to AIDS and discrimination based on sexual orientation to near insurmountable heights.

To call discussions related to these topics "cheap talk" is unwarranted. It is inconceivable how Mr. Ghimire can equate these discussions to the trash journalism one often sees on TV or the checkout line of the supermarket.
 The editor is right: TND is not governed by a censorship board, at least not yet. It is an insult to the intelligence of the contributors and the readers of this journal to have any form of censorship. The TND is a cooperative effort of rational and well-educated people, who provide a forum for open and intelligent discussions. There are some spoken/unspoken ground rules to which we should adhere, barring which the flow of thoughts and ideas should be free. We are in the information age and we should be prepared to come across information which may not be to our liking. Get used to it!

Sanjay Khatri AT&T Columbia, SC.

********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 00:05:02 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> Subject: Dilli Choudhary Gets the $25,000 Human Rights Award Cc: Nepal Digest <>

        Dilli Choudhary has made all Nepalis proud, inspired and, yes, humble.

        Proud, because Dilli, 25 years old, of Dang Valley, Nepal, was awarded a $25,000 Reebok International Human Rights Award yesterday
(December 7) amidst a function at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. (This is possibly the FIRST time that a Nepali has won such a prestigious, internationally-respected, and no-ideological-politics-involved prize.)

        Inspired, because Dilli's work is a testament to what great work that private citizens with grit, vision, and commitments can achieve in their own communities in Nepal.

        And humble, because the range and the depth of Dilli's work hits you with such a powerful impact [wait for his LONG interview on TND!] that you realize that other Nepalis and political leaders may talk about bikas ko kura ad infinitum, ad nauseum, it's activists like Dilli, committed and articulate, with their feet firmly planted in the harsher realities of Nepal, who are and have been the true catalysts of grass-roots social change in Nepal.

        The Greater Boston Nepali Community (GBNC) joins more than 150 Nepalis and well-wishers of Nepal in the Greater Boston area to salute Dilli Bdr.Chaudhary on his inspiring 10-year-long fights for the rights and the education for the Tharu Kamaiyas [or bonded laborers) through his organization called BASE.

        CONGRATULATIONS to Dilli Choudhary on his winning this year's $25,000 Reebok International Human Rights Award!!!

namaste ashu

p.s. please wait for Dilli's interview and other reports and profiles to come to the screen nearest you soon

************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 9 Dec 1994 22:57:56 -0600 From: To: "" Subject: Sexual topics on TND

Ghimire'z barely coherent appeal to TND to censor communications sent to it by its readers and subscribers when the contents deal with Sex or sexuality.
        As a number of readers have already indicated, TND should not be in the business of censoring other than to hold up its stated objective ofpromoting RESPONSIBLE journalism.

        Actually I have not read the piece on the sexual behavior of Nepali women posted on the TND. But, given that it was a report based on someone's master thesis, I am sure that it more than met TND's criteria. In principle, no contribution -- whether it be on sex, sanskrit, the moon or anything -- should be censored unless the it violates the very fair and liberal standards espoused by the TND editorial body. If Mr. Ghimire does not want to read about sex or any other topic that TND subscribers are liable to touch upon in the future, that is his democratic prerogative. But please, Mr. Ghimire, do not dare to speak for ALL TND subscribers or to assume that they all have the same world-view as yours.

Second, and despite the defense of free-speech made above, I would like to say that GRATUITOUS references to sexually explicit language such as the one exemplified in the recent note on the origins of the word "Putali" by ATULADHAR are perhaps best avoided. As pointed out by one contributor, there were so many ways to check for the origins of "putali" that there is no justification for such wild and salacious speculation on the part of ATULADHAR, a contributor who, on other occasions and concerning other topics, seems to have done so much "homework" (e.g., the recent land reform issue) with the good resources of CLARK at hand.

Unless, of course, lewdness and !@##* were pursued for their own sake . . .

Anup Pahari UW-Madison

******************************************************************* From: Prema Oza <> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Dec 8 To: Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 02:13:39 -0500 (EST)

Dudley Henderson, a health care _professional_ writes...

"Prema Oza needs to give facts not make statements"

        I see so it's one or the other is it?

Henderson also states, as a precursor to his points that he has attended many seminars on AIDS as a HCP.

Well, not to toot my horn, but, I too have attended many seminars on AIDS in India, Nepal and outerlying areas. We could have an intellectual sparring, on TND about who has been/seen what and how often but that is not the point. In other words, you need not flaunt you professional credentials in my face. Professionalizing is boring and it takes away from the argument. 'Nough said.

Henderson, asks to see 'stats.' This disturbs me coming from a HCP, since, he should surely know that it is just as much a social stigma to come out in the West, no, it's more deterimental to come out in south asia, etc. The same could be said about reproting rapes...but, i digress...

He then has the audacity to state that he doubts very much that stats exist! How clever!

If not stats exist, then what, pray tell, are your claims of no stats based on based on????????

******************************************************************* Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Dec 8 To: Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 02:22:15 -0500 (EST)

Further to Dudley Henderson's frightening demands on stats on AIDS in Nepal...

(sorry, I got bumped off...)

My final point was with outlandish responses like Henderson's on the lack of stats, and to that, why should Nepal's stats be any different from India's?, anyway, with so many Hendersons around, and not just, unfortunately, in the first world, is itany wonder that stats ARE NOT available; that people don't come out or that a society that shuns those that are different would act otherwise???

*************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 12:28 EST From: Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Dec 10, 1994 (24 Manghir 2051 BkSm) To:

Etymology of "Puti_ali": the Nepali word for Butterfly:

There has been some discussion of the etymology of the Nepali word for butterfly in the soc.culture.nepal. Many people have volunteered with their explanations but I have kept this away from the dodgy readers of TND who get offended by any articles remotely sexual. But since, none other than Shailendra Shukla of Florida has chosen to introduce the debate the issue in the last Dec 10 issue of TND, I bring to you some of the contesting explanations with no inference from me because Sanskrit and Nepali are to me second or third languages (Newari and English are my primary language, just a historical accident of St.X, sorry).

Different Meanings:

"Putali" = Butterfly (normal "Nepali ?" meaning)
"Putali" = Vulva, source the Vatsayana column in
                 Nepali weekly "Punarjagaran", possibley
                an "apa-vramsa" or synthesis of two root
                words "Puti" + "Ali"= "Vagina" + "Little"
                as in the teasing sense of give me a little
                vagina, a metaphorical allegory, a metonymy.

"Putali" =from Sanskrit word, "Puti", referred in
                 Amarkosh to the poutrid, foul smell of
                vagina, again discursive representation of
                Hindu feminity as something unclean, legitimating
                suppressesion into second class citizens even

"Putali" = from Sanskrit words, "Put" + "Ali" where
                "put" is the "Hraswo U" or shortened inflexion
                referring to something sacred, chaste, virginal, and
                pure. So "put_ali" becomes transalliterated into
                "a little sacredness". Those who had sons were therefore
                "Sa_put", or "with good sacredness" or the heavenly
                kingdom for those with sons; those who had no sons were
                destined for "A_put", the purgatory of the damned
                defilement and debasement.
                We are all aware of the derogatory our parents may have
                used on us at some time: "Ka_put" or "Bad, son who
                fails to grow up to meet the expectations of
                the parent.

"Putali" = "Putali" as in doll or may be effigy. Children play with
                "putali" and communists regularly burn the effigy of Girija
                "putali jalaunu". A reader said the word for effigy is
                "putala" not "puali".

While we are on the discussion of the etymology of the word "Putali" and their varied contextual meanins and their lexicological roots, I may mention that one reader actually contested the claim that there was no Nepali word for clitoris and female orgasm. This person claimed on the authority of a dictionary by Mahanand Sapkota that the word for clitoris is "Tishi" and the word for female orgasm is "foosi".

I have no idea how credible this claim is but I do remember that "tishi" referred to any carbuncular swelling the size of a pea, so there is at least a morphological analogy to the clitoris but "foosi"? hmm, is this the literary device of metaphor: the subsitution of one sign for the other as in "passion" for "flame" or a metanymy, the association of one sign with another as in
"wing" as part of an "aircraft"? Perhaps the word "foosi" is the combined form of "foos_i" or one who makes the sound of "foos", surely an onomatopoeic sound associated with the referent, a post-orgasmic blissful woman?

Surely this discussion draws from many friends who have contributed their literary theory, Sanskrit linguistic, and Nepali use knowledge to me and being no expert or even remotely competant in adjudicating the relative merits of each claim, I have posted all the arguments I have heard for the worthy, wise readership of TND to elucidate, contest, and criticise,

I thank all the readers who have shown interest in this topic.

******************************************************************** From: Sanjay Kumar <> Subject: no subject (file transmission) To: Date: Sat, 10 Dec 94 14:01:53 EST

Why are some people 'worried' about Nepalese democracy? Dear Editor,
            People of Nepal must be congratulated for preventing the farcical repeat of tragedy forced upon them, thirty three years ago, by the father of present king. After the successful completion of second general elections, it is clear that anti-democratic,right-wingers will have to eschew palace-coups and come out openly on the elctoral plane.
        Even when the election results are out, making the NCP-UML the largest party, there are certain interest groups who are trying to warn Nepalese, about the threat to democracy from the 'Communist' part of recent victors.While the losers within the country may be discrete about heaping such insult on Nepali electorate, there is a bunch of foreign 'advisors' and reporters who are more brazen in mouthing these homilies. These people seem more dismayed than surprised at the election results. Concerns of such people for Nepalese democracy are nothing but a shameful double hypocrisy. For one, UML is communsit only in name, it is actually a social democratic party. It is not going to challenge domestic elites or prevent foreign companiies from extracting profit out of the people of Nepal. The talk of danger to 'democracy' is a ploy to put UML on the defensive. To discourage it from implementing even half radical measures, like a truncated land reform, under pressure from its popular base. For second, these votaries of democarcy are the denizens and agents of the same imperialist countries, which sucked dry the colonised countries for two centuries, and even now don't hesitate to massacre thousands in Baghdad or Panama city to maintain their control of world resources. Only till yesterday, these groups were supporters of the Monarchy, finding it a useful bulwark against 'communist threat' ( read popular upsurge). Their concerns now are epmty double talk. As Pramod K Mishra remarked, people of Nepal didnot get the right to vote on a platter, from BBC, CBS or international donor agencies, they fought for it.
        Another thesis amounting to insult of Nepalese electorate is the one which tries to explain success of UML, by its successful India bashing. This way of 'explaining' election results has appeared in some Indian newspapers, close to India's ruling circles, and in some Western reporting. A dispatch by a German reporter upholding this theseis appeared in TND.
        India does consider itself the 'superpower' in the region and is the big bully. This is felt by the people of India's smaller neighbours. So any party which has a consistent stand against India's 'big brother' behaviour can genuinely draw upon some popular support on that account. But to explain election results only on that basis reduces Nepalese to a virtual India hating mob, whose passsions can be raised by anyone with enough annti-India venom. As if, the corruption and incompetence of NC was not the sufficient reason for Nepalese to throw it (the darling of India and Western interests) out of power. Besides many anti-democratic forces in India's neighbouring countries, from Zia-ul-Huq, Ershad to Panchas have also taken anti-India postures to overcome domestic political crises.
         Indian ruling circles are staunchly anti-UML. It was amply shown by their machinations to prevent it from coming to power. Their denigration of election results is the first shot in the coming offensive, to draw maximum concessions from UML. For its part, UML may be more willing to paly China card, but given the nature of its politics, its options are seriously limited. Guaranteeing foreign companies the right to profit means protecting such rights of Indian capitalsits too. And, over the years a rentier section has emerged in the Nepali elite, which is profiting by a close alliance with Indian capital. Given the policy of not harming any propertied interests, it is unlikely that UML will go against India's wishes to the extent of harming interests of this section.
        Upholding such thesis by the Western media is a reflection of its racist ideology, which consisders people of third world as irrational or savages bent upon fighting with each other, and who thus need Imperialistic intervention. It is the same media which reported the struggle between Aparthied regime supported Inkhata party and the ANC in South Africa as a tirbal warfare. And which cleverly covers up the 'white' sinister hand in the tragedies in Somalia and Rwanda.


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Dec 94 20:33:54 CST From: (Sanjay B. Shah) To: Subject: Re: My clarifications to Amulya's comments on land reforms in Nepal

Dear Editor,
            I regret that I got myself into this land reform imbroglio right before my finals. Besides, too long a discussion on one topic can make a topic boring, and deprive it of its significance. However, I have a few comments to make before I immerse myself in test preparations. I'd suggest that readers with less time on their hands postpone reading this topic at a later date. Please note that I have excerpted Amulya's comments, though
 with no intention of distorting it. For details you might like to get a hard copy of Dec. 9, TND. Thanks. Amulya's comments (excerpted) There was also an internal source of pressure the up and coming landed aristorcracy who perceived that they did have as much access to power as the closed combined of the Palace courtiers. In this social group included everyone from the C class Ranas such as Subarna Shumshere and the super rich landlords of Eastern Terai, some of whome were beheaded the precursers of UML,
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Subarna Shamshere joined the Congress movement primarily because his father was removed by Judha Shamshere from the PM's Roll of Succession, which is why he was very upset with the Rana establishment. He may not harboured the same democratic yearnings that BP had, but should he not be given credit for the financial support he gave to the Congress in the pre-2007 and post
-2017 years. He was offered the PMship after BP was imprisoned, but he chose to go into exile. If he had chosen to be PM, he would have lost all credibility but he would not have lost (nearly) millions of $ worth property(RB, Baluwatar & Shreepur,Birganj,etc). His sons finally got it back in 92/93. He may not have identified with the rank & file of NC but then you cannot ignore his contributions. It would be outright blasphemy to blame him of treason against his PM. I hope you were talking of Bharat Shamshere, which I can understand.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amulya's comments (excerpts):
 new educated humanists such as the Koirala brothers who wanted to have something between communists and the capitalists: socialism for Nepal. But congress did come to power, many of the richer constituency of the Nepali congress saw threath to their economic powers and so did other land lords who saw Congress as greater threat than the closed system of the Rana aristocracy, and so began the birth of a new political class, the Panches, the rural elite of Nepal.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have no reason to believe that the landlords supporting BP decided to go against him en-masse. People do blame Matrika (BP's eldest brother). Besides, if there had been a big group within the Congress wanting to do away with his Govt., he would have been tipped off and then he would have either resisted or sought asulum. I do not doubt BP's commitment to socialism (with a human face) and I can understand his feelings because socialism was the in-thing then. However, BP neither had the time nor the inclination to imperil his powerful support
 among the landlords by seizing their lands, which was pragmatic. GP as PM mentioned `BP to Sapna' at every available forum, but I do not
 remember him making a mention of land reforms (correct me if I am wrong)
 as being one of them. But that is no excuse as to why he did not do anything on this himself, he would have got the fullbacking of the UML.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Amulya's excerpts:
  Sanjay: I urge you to read some political ecological and political economic literature which is replete with examples and examples of "professional run large agricultural company farms " destroying the landscape, the ecology, the people, the country in latin America, Africa and some parts of Asia, Philippines notably. The gist of these arguments is that we developed an effeicient agricultural surplus extraction institution which reduces the people to wage labour. these institutions maximize their profits by minimizing the cost of wage and land, the primary inputs to this capitalist system. When the world price of the commodities fall, the capital just moves to cheaper place and leaves the people and the environment in ruins.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amulya's urges me to read additional ecological and economic literature and I must admit that I have not read as many as he has read.Though I do sense a tinge of arrogance(I shall overlook it). I came to this ivory tower only 1 year ago before which I worked as an R&D engineer for nearly 9 years, quite a lot of it the villages of Nepal (besides, I have a semi- rural background). It is another matter that I co-authored a socio-economic study for ESCAP. If you are under the delusion that the agricultural laborer will be worse off in a commerically managed farm, you are unaware of his or her plight on a private farm. At least on a large farm operations such as fertilizer
 and pesticide (spraying and dusting) spreading would be more economical to do mechanically. They have to do it with their bare hands on a small farm. We use perhaps, 1/20 of the chemicals and fertilizer per acre basis
 than what the American farmers use. Our use levels are simply too low to cause the kind of ecological problems(non-point source pollution) that you witness here in the US. Besides, our use of organic manure reduces leaching of chemicals by degradation and soil structure improvements.
        You talk of large corporations exploiting poor Nepalese labor. I'd
 suggest that you visit some foreign owned companies such as Surya Tobacco
(part-Nepalese) and compare it with the Nepalese owned cottage scale beedi factories in the Terai. I do not have to say which one provides better ambience, pay, facilites and security to its employees. One has to understand that an organized company (agricultural or industrial) is under greater scrutiny than its unorganized counterpart by the Dept. of Labor
 and other Govt. bodies. While, a casual farm laborer earns less than Rs.25 in the Terai, an industrial laborer in a company earns twice as much. You talk of landscape destruction, are you aware that many thousands of underemployed agricultural laborers are involved in illegal tree-felling in the jungles of Nepal to be smuggled across into India ? Would it be not more beneficial to have plantations where they would be better employed.
        I would never suggest that we do away with the intensive kind of agriculture that we practice. What I suggest is that we allow the extensive kind to create itself a niche, we have a room for both and more. What is the harm if corporations maximize profits and pay the laborers more for their sweat. Besides we stand to gain technology.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Amulya's excerpts: Surely, you are not recommending that to our country. Remember how jute prices have fallen world wide and how people depended on cotton farming in Nepal gunj are reduced penury due to inefficient agricultural entreprise?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You mention that cotton cutivation failed in Banke-Bardia, which is true to an extent. Reasons for that were the poor performance of the Cotton Dev. Board and scarcity of water in that region. For your kind information, cotton requires more water than even rice! The only consolation is that the long fibre Nepalese cotton is exported for a higher price to India, and the cheaper short fibre is imported. Regarding the jute industry, you have to consider the fact that jute has lost its value as a natural fibre with the emergence of polyester which is cheaper and stronger. The Nepalese jute industry is also to blame for of the mismanagement of the jute industries. Also, make note of the fact that farmers in the eastern region found wheat to be a better paying crop.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Amulya's excerpts: Several decades of high grade Tea cultivatio in eastern hills have made some wealthy landlords, some of whome are influential members of both congress and UML, but the forests have been denuded and the country have not got much return for the subsidized land, agricualtural credit and state help in marketing and traansport, and the local people are not much richer or more comfortable.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The plight of the tea picker is well documented. Do you think other agricultural laborers are much better off? We cannot pin the
 exploitation wreaked by private plantation owners and poor management
 techniques on a particular industrial sector. All of us are probably familiar that tea is a plantation crop that cannot be grown on 5 ropanis of land and managed by farm-family labor. We could mechanize tea-picking operations but that would be simply too expensive for even our largest plantations. Besides, we would be creating unemployment among tea-pickers.
        I do not say that we should allow a free run to corporations (multi- national & domestic) to exploit our resources. We need to give certain guarantees (repatriation of profits, tax breaks, etc) and in return seek
 guarantees (tech. transfer, treatment of Nepalese personnel, misuse of fixed assets, viz.-conversion of industrial to commercial plots, etc.).
        I do not think anybody disagrees with my belief that we need foreign capital to industrialize (since our own capital is tied up in gold and land in Kathmandu) and to invite investment, we have to create the right climate.
        In the past, we have seen multi-nationals work at cross-purposes with the interests of the host country. That is changing not only because the third world countries have become more alert to their interests
 but because the big businesses know that certain things like environmental pollution and mistreatment can be bad for business. I am awfully sorry for this long piece but then I could not hold it back.

Sanjay Bikram Shah

********************************************************************* Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 22:26:22 -0500 To: Subject: First statement by PM From: Ramesh Shrestha <>

So what else is new ?

Most of us recognize these terms from all previous plans and policies, take any five such documents, distill them and you'd get similar if not the same words.

Kam garnu parcha....herdai jaun !

*************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 22:38:06 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: Subject: UML Cabinet From: (Ashutosh Tiwari) (Rajendra P. Shrestha) writes:

>and usually gets just half of the harvest. In many instances, they may
>even get less than this. The point is, if the tillers don't own the
>land and don't even get to keep most of what they produce, what incentives
>do they have to produce more or to manage the land
>properly? Abolishing absentee landlordism, I think, would be an
>important and constructive land reform (even though my family itself
>has such lands and would, therefore, presumably have to give it
>up). Landlords, of course, would be paid compensation. This is not
>just a "communist" program, many Western economists also advocate it
>for Nepal.

        This is all fine. But how would UML's scheme really WORK in practice? To have an idea is one thing, to make it work is another. I have NOT understood HOW UML proposes to bring about these changes without alientaing, among others, powerful people with lots of land. Politics, after all, is run by who you keep and who you dismiss.

        Panchayat also tried to embark on such lofty goals, but failed. Perhaps it's time to admit that the government should not get into allocating properties but instead should place both LEGAL reforms and MARKET mechanisms in place to bring about desired change -- WHILE making the poor the eventual winners. [I have yet to think out my arguments as to how effectively this could be done . . . so I am open to criticisms here].

> Moreover, as Sunil pointed out, there is a big discrepancy in
>land holdings, especially in Terai. And, as he points out, many of
>these super-rich landowners got their land not by "earning" it but
>through political favoritism (whether during Rana period or the
>resettlement programs during the panchayat period). What UML plans to
>do is to force them to sell these lands and redistribute it to the
>landless (of course whether they manage to do it cleanly or end up in
>the same kind of corruption as during the panchayat era is yet to be

        Nepal's [arguably the most influential scholar] Mahesh Chandra Regmi has dealt with these issues (that is, how the state sought rents from tenants] at great length in his books, though his analyses do not touch upon the Panchayat era.

        That the UML "plans to [use] force to sell these lands and redistribut it to the landless" is downright stupid and politically dangerous. My own intuition is that UML would not do such a thing, for such use of force, I would argue, will simply NOT work. After all, to effect reforms through laws in one thing; to force changes just because the UML thinks they are necessary is another. People, powerful people -- no matter how much one hates them-- are not going to sit idly and let the UML have their way.

>> 2. I read it here that the new government plans to "halt one
>> privatization program". Why? What does it mean? Does it plan to
>> halt "privatization" process all together?

> From what I read in newsreports, UML has said it will slow the
>pace of privatization but not stop it. What it has said is that it
>will not let government companies be sold to foreigners at below
>market value (as GPK is accused of doing). Madhav Nepal himself has
>said that "centralization is evil" so I'd think he wouldn't want to
>reverse the privatization program.

        Who are these "foreigners". One has to be surprised to know how many of these foreigners (really a code word for Marwaris) hold Nepali citizenships and passports!!

        I am no fan of GPK. But I have tremendous respect for the Privatization Cell of the Ministry of Finance. I have studied their white paper, and have to conclude that despite much controversy (much of it raised by the communists!), five of the six companies so far privatized have reported HIGHER INCOMES for this year, and also that the workers in each of the company have also had a profitable year. (They are also shareholders, remember!) [Aside: Martin Weitzman, an economist who has made his reputation by his ideas on profit-sharing, would be pleased to know that!]

>> 3. The new government wants to dig up the issue of Jiv Asrit and
>> Madan Bhandari. My question: why? More to the point, caught up
>> in the web of "conspiracy theory", when even the Scotland
>> Yard-investigated evidence, was THIN, why does the new government
>> NOT plan on spending
>> more time on REDUCING the highway deaths that are happening
>> alarmingly all too frequently in Nepal? With all due respects, two
>> "great leaders" might have died on the highway, but the fact remains
>> that many anoymous citizens are dying all the more frequently in
>> highway accidents? Isn't it time someone also spoke up for the
>> citizens?

> That is a very emotional issue inside the party and if forming
>a commission will get it over, why not do it? And, if there was a
>conspiracy to kill a natinal leader, that is significant. I'm not sure
>that it was a conspiracy, but why not get to the bottom of it?

        Fine, have it your way. I just think that the whole thing now is a big waste of time, ESPECIALLY when there are more important things that should get the focus of the ruling party. I mean no disrespect, but those leaders are gone. But as a citizen, I don't want Nepal to be subjected to increasingly inane obituaries and tears in the name of "great leaders"
. . . as Bhanu Neupane wrote in his TOP TEN Lists, we'll probably be seeing Madan-Asrit smaraks all over . . . oh, well!!

>> 4. I respect Mod Nath Prasit's Sanskritic erudition. Having followed
>> his writings in DRISTI weekly, I cannot call him an intellectual in
>> the "western sense" (meaning: his writings are meanderings rather
>> than sustained evidenced arguments), but surely Nepal deserved a
>> BETTETR education minister who might not be a Marxist but who has a
>> broad understanding of how to produce a skilled workforce for a
>> changing, and more and more market-based economy? [I am not
>> denigrating Prasit's erudition, merely his being RIGHT for the
>> country).

> Let's not judge Mod Nath without seeing what he does. He is
>one of the most influential intellectuals inside the UML and though he
>may not be a "western education" expert, that shouldn't be a
>disqualification for the job.

        FYI, Prasit had supported the compulsory Sanskrit education in high schools when the issue had come up two years ago. His reasoning was:
"We should learn Sanskrit because our sanskriti is based on sanskrit and it also helps us to write better Nepali." Who's the "we" Prasit was talking about then? (True, Prasit later changed his position, but his initial logic for COMPULSORY Sanskrit was absurd.) I agree witn you that we should not pre-judge Prasit; but if the basis of his writings give me any indication as I interpret them, frankly, he does NOT give me much hope.

        I should point out that I have nothing against Prasit per se.
>someone else who has had more experience with the education system
>(there are plenty of them in the party. The largest teacher's union
>is, after all, pro-UML).

        Well, that is the sad reality in Nepal. Even teachers get politically active to the detriment of educational system as a whole. What now, then, should Nepali children now learn the jibani of Marx, Lenin and Stalin as part of their social studies curricula? Knowing Prasit's writings, I would not be surprised if he "forces" such curricula....

>>>Prime Minister (Royal Palace Affairs): Man Mohan Adhikari

>>>Deputy Prime Minister (Defence + Foreign Affairs): Madhav Kumar Nepal

>> Both Defence and Foreign Affairs are important posts in their own
>>right. Couldn't one person each handle each portfolio? On the FA front, Nepal
>>needs to negotiate with Bhutan (re: the refugees) with India (re: lots of
>>things) and other countries. Can Madhav Nepal alone handle BOTH portfolios?
>>Or, are we likely to see the same bungling on FA that GPK did?

> GPK handled the PM, royal palace affairs, defense and foreign
>affairs. The fact that two people are handling them now should be
>commended, don't you think? I doubt Madhav Nepal will have much to do
>as defense minister so he should have plenty of time to
>concentrate in foreign affairs (assuming he concentrates on that. Most
>people who know the internal power structure of UML knows that Madhav
>Nepal is the de facto prime minister). I hope he will concentrate on
>foreign affairs, especially to resolving the Bhutanese refugee crisis.

        Well, let's hope he does a credible job.

>>>Cabinet Ministers (7):

>>>Finance: Bharat Mohan Adhikari

>> What is his background? Granted, to be a finance minister, one doesn't
>>need a degree in economics or finance . . . still, how does Adhikari view
>>the role of foreign aid, foreign direct investment, and
>>pushing ahead with or [killing] the economic liberalization?
>> What is his view on Arun III?

> Neal Cohen (as posted by Udaya) calls him "highly
>respected". I haven't read any of his views,so I can't say.

        "Highly respected" by whom? Bharat Mohan was the leading OPPONENT of the elections. In fact, it was he who, in part, had spearheaded the Nepal Bandhs of last summer to -- surprise surprise!!-- reinstate the then dissolved parliament. I had heard him speak at the Russian Cultural Center in Kamalpokhari ( at a panel discussion organized by SCOPE), and I was amazed by the absurdity of his legal arguments. Well, as events turned out, elections did take place and now he is the finance minister.

        Anyway, I hope Bharat Mohan also does a credible job.

But it's
>not what he thinks but what the UML thinks, that matters. And they
>have continually said that they want foreign investment, foreign aid
>and will continue economic liberaliazation. As for Arun III, Madhav
>Nepal, in an interview with The Independent, has said that his party
>is not against big projects like Arun III but want to make sure that
>the unit cost of Arun III is sensible. My guess is that the new
>government won't make any changes in the Arun plans.

>>>Health + : Padma Ratna Tuladhar

>> With all due respects, what does PRT know about making health policies?
>>PRT, I'm sure, is a decent man, but has he ever done anything on the
>>health sector? Just questioning.

>Can't answer this. But not all ministers have experience on what
>they'll be doing. That's true not just in Nepal but everywhere. For
>e.g. Micky Kantor, U.S. trade representative, didn't have any
>experience on international trade (he just happened to be Bill
>Clinton's election coordinator).

There was a profile in the New Yorker magazine sometime last year of Kantor. That should give you a background on Kantor's "business" background. You should read the profile -- it was well-written, in the typically New Yorker style.

Kantor, a FOB, like Robert Reich (another FOB, means Friend of Bill CLinton) was vetted by the US Senate before he was made the US Trade Czar. Nepal does not have a similar process to vet its ministers and ambassadors. Elections give the people a chance to choose their REPRESENTATIVES, not ministers!! So the analogy with Kantor is misleading.

I remeber reading one of his
>interviews in which he said that after being appointed trade
>representative (through which he has more powers than some cabinet
>members) he spent one month completing immersing himself on the
>subject. So, just because Padma Ratna isn't a doctor shouldn't mean he
>can't be the health minister! Look at Britain, their ministers get
>switched around continuously between various ministries. Nobody seems
>to mind it!

Britain, FYI, together with France and Japan, has the BEST CIVIL SERVICE on the planet. Even India's IAS is amazingly competent. So even if the top ministerial leadership there is not all that "great", the various ministries can cope on well. But in Nepal, we bear DOUBLE tragedies: hopeless civil service
(with all respects to my father, a distinguished civil servant himself!) and hopeless ministerial leadership. It is in this context that I still question PRT's health leadership.

        But then again, let's wish him well, and let's hope he too does a creditable work!

>>>Local Development: Chandra Prakash Mainali

>>This is one ministry that Nepal can do without. All development should be
>>local (Yes, that sounds like a stupid cliche, but it's true!). Why have a
>>whole ministry ALONE to do loc dev?

> Yes, but there should be a ministry that directs funds to
>these local institutions and makes sure that the funds are being used
>properly (village development committees can't support themselves and
>do development work solely by the meagre "dhurikar" and occassional
>sales tax). And the bureaucrats that manage the village and district
>level development committees have to be paid, so they end up being in
>the ministry's payroll. The central government thus has to fund the
>local institutions and they need some agency to manage it.

        At the risk of oversimplification, I would say that such distortions are created PRECISELY because of the govt. intervention. Let the government get on with legal reforms and enforce them, let it also push much of the money to the market mechanism . . . many of these distrortions (such as corruption and so on) would go on. After all, if you remove the incentive for corruption, what's there to be corrupt about?

(There's a wonderful article on the economic of corruption in the Quaterly Journal of Economics Aug 1994 -- much of which is applicable to a country like Nepal!!)

> C.P. Mainali has also been given the Supplies portfolio, which
>is quite a sensitive job, what with all the complaints of
>ever-increasing prices. Since C.P. is the leader of the so-called
>"minority faction" of the UML, this may also give others within the
>party a nice way to scapegoat him in a few months time. Just my guess,

Thanks, Rajendra for your views!!

namaste ashu

******************************************************************* Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 22:42:09 -0500 To: Subject: UML Cabinet

From: (Ashutosh Tiwari) Subject: Re: UML Cabinet (Abi Kumar Sharma) writes:

>While I salute Ashu's intellectual appetite, I suggest him to slow down
>a bit sometimes in satisfying it. It is understandable however, living
>in an intellectually vibrant N. american city ad witnessing the slow
> Nepali social evolution can be very frustrating. As far as the
>qualification of the uml govt. is concerned, for sure non of the members
>are Ivy league graduates ( and it is unlikely that there will be one soon,
>unless of course if personalities like ashu decide to join uml :-)
>Mexico has been ruled by highly skilled technocrats, Salinas ( president
>till 3 days ago himself a Harvard graduate) presidency has catapulted
>from one billionaire in 1988 to 20 in 1994, by marginalizing half of its
>population of 90m. to poverty in such an extent that it is in the verge
>of social breakdown. Qualification from whom, where ? for what ? and
>who gets to judge it? I have heard/read intellectuals depicting the
>Zapatista Subcommandante Marcos as a modern day Nietzsche in the ski-
>mask, or an alternative development planner, or an idealist whiteman
>gone out of his mind, or a criminal subversive terrorist, or a mystic
>sexy hero of the mexican sierras, or a political activist determined
>to help bring about the social change and economic justice to the
>Campesinos. I mean the choice is ours how we qualify him depends on
>who we are and what we represent.

Yes, I fully agree with you here. "How we qualify a [person] depends on who we are and what we represent." Brilliantly put.

>Having read Ashu's piece in the last
> Himal issue where he argues that the Nepali intellectual landscape is
>barren due to the Panchayati kaal ko education system. Most of these
>individuals not only come from that period but also have spent years in
>prisons tortured and demoralized. but the point is that they consistently
>whether inside the prison or outside aligned themselves with the rural-
>urban poor; learning, building the social mass movement bit by bit, which
>has eventually brought Nepal to the present day juncture. Their qualifica
>tions in collective term, is reflected in the emergence of the uml from
>a "localized & nearly liquidated" form in the 70s to the major player in
>the national level in the 90s.

As I have posted long time ago, I do find ALL political leaders in Nepal sincere and well-meaning and genuinely concerned about Nepal. It's just that their policies and the ways they choose to bring about their stated changes are what that I have serious disagreements/and frustrations with.

By no means, I am saying that views are right, or ultimate or even definite . . . as I myself, merely a student with his usual academic worries, keep on learning new things everyday. And I am open to constructive criticisms and comments like yours.

I also agree with you that the UML's workings should be viewed through the lens of historical, political and social forces that are/have been at work in Nepal. But I just wanted to ask some blunt, direct questions -- without, in all sincereity, being disrespectful of all the sacrifices and hardships borne by various UML ministers -- to get some discussions going and also to [intellectually] benefit from others' views and comments. In this, my attitude is: If debates form the heart of democracy, then why not, time-allowing, indulge in them now so that we can benefit from the exposure to diverse views and opinions.

>I too have many questions and concerns regarding the new govt. and its
>future, Ashu. One could easily indulge, for example, in the format of the
>govt.(1) out of 15 in total there are two Nepals, two Adhikarys, two
>Mainalis, and it is particularly when the ethnic voices are demanding for
>their rightful recognitions. (2) uml which has a strong women organisation
>does not even have single representation in the govt.,at least not yet
>many contradictions, and prolems.

Yes. The underrepresentation of OTHER ethnic groups and women was surprising!

But I do believe, those who are working
>in Nepal have better grasp of the situation, and know better what they are
>doing from what they have, than we know of them here.

Yes, I agree with you. No fancy education anywhere in the West can diminish the importance of the COLLECTIVE wisdom of Nepalis working hard and living in Nepal. That, I respect and cherish dearly.

namaste ashu

******************************************************************** Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 22:44:44 -0500 To: Subject: Nepal: Musique de fete chez les Newar (Festival Music of the Newar) From: (Sunil Shakya)

The CD is produced by the Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire
(AIMP) under the VDE-Gallo logo (VDE-553). It includes recordings made in 1952 by Marguerite Lobsiger-Dellenbach and in 1973 by Laurent Aubert. The items in the CD are as follows:

1. Haritala 2. Mwe Dyahlhaygu 3. Dyalhaygu 4. Sorath 5. Sinhajya 6. Silu 7. Marsi-Malasri 8. Narayana 9. Narayana 10. Birahini 11. Buddha bhagavan mem 12. Basanta 13. Basanta 14. Bahali puja
    a. Procession
    b. Solo de khim
    c. Makham bahal 15. Mamla jatra 16. Ghatu 17. Ghatu

You can order this CD by calling 1-800-ASKTOWER. Please note that in their records, the word "festival" is misspelt and appears as "fetival". So ask for "Fetival music of the Newar" when you call to order. The price of the CD is $15.

Courtesy: Rakesh Karmacharya

******************************************************************* Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 16:56:47 -0500 (EST) From: Nirmal Ghimirez <NGH42799Q236@DAFFY.MILLERSV.EDU> To: Subject: sex is an art

Dear editor:

This is in response those who misunderstood me.Or i would say in other words, I did not clarify myself properly. I have never said that articles dealing with sex should be censored. Sex education is fruitful and informative.Sex is an art and it all depends on how one visualises it. I am not against discussion or infromation regarding sex.But anything can be destructive or constructive. I never denied that the article was informative.I read between the lines and read the article iin detail. I found that it was mentioned how it was done and how it was performed . I was only responding to this.I do not think we ought to know the procedure. As time passes people become aware of it and know about that. It was her thesis and maybe she had to write it.I think that part which mentioned the procedure made it sound cheap. Once again I would like to say that I am not against discussions or arguments regarding sex. But if theytend to be degrading or lustful I will certainly speak against it. For I do believe sex is an art but not lust.I am not saying that article was cheap but few lines in them were cheap. Aghain it is everyone's own interpertation and social influence as well. As far as statistics go,I thought it is more important to know about the statisctics of people who are suffering from sexual problems rather than how many practice this art. I am not agains the art but against the lust which tries to destroy the art.If still I have not clarified myself please let me know. I have enjoyed TND and it has been nice knowing others comment and learning from that.But the language and the machine somtimes cannot clarify the misunderstading.And above all if people themselves don't want to understand then there is no way out. Thanks. Nirmal

******************************************************************** Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 18:47:47 -0500 (EST) From: Nirmal Ghimirez <NGH42799Q236@DAFFY.MILLERSV.EDU> To: Subject: Down,obstacle,worry,ritual,yet

I had to present a paper of social evil and ofcourse,I knew one and that was dowry. It startd as tradition of giving gifts to the daughters by the parents. To ensure their social security. Unfortunately,today it seems to be in reverse direction. It seems to be a demand from the groom.Everyone knows that in India it is a great problem and unfortunately the influence is increasing in our country. It is there but it may be disguised in many forms but in reality it is there. The parents of the bride give it although they may have to put up fake smile in front of the going daughter. But it is becoming a great problem that the groom infact demand.It is slowly increasing and that is the proble. But however I do not know one thing so I wrote this introduction. Is there any rule or law in our constitution which deals with this? Is this problem being seriously taken?if there is a constitution I would be glad to know and state it inmy paper.If not then I do not have the answer to"Are we doing somthing to reduce this?" Then again I have somewhere stated that it is not fair to take injustice.
 That is what Gita says. But if he asks me if I am not contradicting myself? I say it is unfair to take injustice,but still offer dowry due to social pressure. Then I realize that this is not me only but all.Will we have to suffer from this? What went wrong? Education removes darkness and brings light, my teachersread to me. But, today I see this dowry problem in the educated society? Should dowry be totally abolished? This sounds a good proposition? is that okay? I would appreciate any facts and figures of this problem in Nepal and also if there is anything being done to abolish this system.

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