The Nepal Digest - Dec 23, 1994 (7 Push 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 23 Dec 94: Push 7 2051 BkSm Volume 34 Issue 13

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

                               - TND Editorial Board

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********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 11:32:29 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To:

Let me begin by saying that I do not have much knowledge in economics. I have never taken classes in macro- or micro- or what-have-you economics. What I do know is based solely on my personal readings and observation. I have been intrigued by some of the articles posted in SCN lately, by posters who are presumably much more knowledgable in that field than I am. I have a few questions and observations to make which, I hope, SCNers will clarify to me.

The first involves land reforms. There have been posts about the pros and cons of it and the general consensus seems to be that whatever the government tries to do, it won't succeed. Some (I believe it was Ashu) even questioned the need for land reforms and whether that wouldn't conflict with property rights (if such rights exist in Nepal).

>From my point of view, land reforms does seem to be of high priority
in Nepal. More than 90% of the Nepalese people are farmers. Yet we still have to import significant quantity of cereal grain from abroad
(either buying it from India or through charity of EU and other governments). I read somewhere (I think it was Nepal's report to the UNCED) that domestic production of cereal crops fulfill ONLY 85% of domestic demand. This means that an average Nepali farmer cannot even produce enough to feed his/her own family. Whatever this may mean to experts, it clearly tells me that our agriculture system is a mess.

Now the question is why this is so. Is it just due to lack of adequate inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides? True, Nepalese farmers use a lot less fertilizers/persticides than other farmers in South Asia, but using more chemicals can increase production only so much. To put things in proper perspectives, we should note that in the U.S. and Western Europe, 5% of the population are producing enough not only to feed domestic population but to create enough surplus for never-ending agricultural trade disputes. If Nepalese farmers were to use the same amount of inputs as,say, American farmers, would our farmers reach the same productivity, given all other things are the same? I don't think so. I believe that the fundamental problem with Nepal's agriculture system (and probably of most developing countries) is the land tenure system. Again, I stress that I am nowhere near being an "expert" in this and the only reason I am writing this is so that others, more knowledgable people in the net, can let me know where I have gone wrong.

An example of the above could be found by looking at the former Soviet Union's agriculture system (which, I believe,is still basically the same). There, until 1990, only 5% of the agriculture land was in private holding, but they accounted for almost 50% of total production. Private farmers used less fertilizers than state farms, yet they produced more. The point I'm trying to make is that what counts more is the land tenure system, not how much money you pour into it. Therefore, in Nepal, where we still have large amounts of lands held by super-landlords and which are farmed either by "Mohi" or landless peasants for meagre wages, the question is can we change the system so that the people who actually produce get to keep it? Only then is there enough incentive for increased production.

>From what I know of the economic history of South East Asia, all of
the "dragons" managed to start their industrial take-off only AFTER very successful land reforms which transformed their agriculture sector into a net exporter. In some, like Taiwan, the reforms were forced, with the government forcibly taking land from some and giving it to others. In my opinion, the only way Nepal can develop economically is if it DOES SOMETHING in the agriculture front FIRST. Trying to develop industrial and service sector at the expense of agriculture will, at best, make Nepal another Mexico or Brazil, where a few percentage of families control most of the country's wealth and the vast majority are either shanty-town dwellers or landless peasants. Nepal, therefore, NEEDS an OVERHAUL of its land system. To say that it should not, or cannot, be so is, in effect, to say that Nepal is DOOMED.

The second point that I wanted to touch on is the comments that have been made about the new planning commission, and financial experts in the new government. Some have made snide remarks about it being composed mostly of sociologist, rural experts and geographer
(presumably they are less competent to run the planning commission than hard-core macroeconomists). I was particularly surprised by the negative comments on having two rural economy experts. Well, maybe we have lost some perspective by living in the West too much. But, the last I knew, 92% of the Nepalese people still lived in rural areas. Who best to handle their problem: a Macroeconomist engrossed in GNP, inflation and interest rates (which hardly affects those 92%) or a rural economist, who at least knows (presumably) the problems faced by 90% of the Nepalese population without having to resort to concepts that noone else knows.

I have also been intrigued by criticisms of the new government based on them not having Western-educated people in the cabinet. Well, I say: haven't we have had enough of Western-educated economists running the country, at least for a while? As far as I know, many of the finance ministers during the Panchayat era were Western-educated economists, and look where Nepal is now. Congress's finance minister too was educated out in this part of the world, and although I have heard that he is a well-qualified, intent, committed person, I don't actually believe he managed to solve any of the country's economic problems (I guess the fact that most people think the country is worse off now than during the Panchayat period is testamant to his good deeds). So I say, let's give the communist ministers, who at least lived with the common Nepali folks during their years of underground activities, a chance. If they too fail, then maybe we can go back to Western-educated technocrats.

As I said at the beginning, I am not an "expert" in any of the fields I covered above and I do expect more knowledgable people in the net to correct me. Maybe I will regret not majoring in economics after all!

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 15:06 EST From: To: Description: RE: Solar TOILET at Namche Bazar & Everest

>When I was at Everest Base camp with the British Mount Everest Medical
>Expedition in Sept and Oct of this year we used one of our 40litre blue
>barrels as a toilet (only for "number 2's"!!)
>When it was full the environmental scientists (lucky people, but it was their
>choice of career!) emptied it out on rocks and let it freeze dry, then repacked
>it. We ended up with less than one barrel, weighing only about 35 pounds to
>be shipped back to Kathmandu for safe disposal (we averaged about 15-20 people
  Did you not sell it to the Jyapus of Kathmandu. They make delicious Cauliflower, you know, the taste beats any of the papery taste of the American salad cauliflowers any day. Another casualty of development. Now almost all the Jyapus use chemical fertilizers and sure the production is high but the taste is poor and for lack of choice, most succumb to the papery Cauliflowers the Jyapus bring to bazaar and now it is even worse, the Cauliflowers from the Terai, ugly, splotchedlittle things that serve more as a space occupier in the hungry belly of underpaid Nepali jagires than any thing of culinary delight.
  I remember the time about 20 years ago the "Chyam Khalas" the scavenging caste would come to "steal" choice human shit from inner chowks because the Jyapus paid a premium for a tinful and the Jyapus paid the Cham Khalas paid a premium because of all the holier-than-you, upper caste stuffy-necks daintily poked their pencil holding fingers on the cauliflowers as if they were flowers from heaven, and yes they had heavenly, full taste, the type that will blossom slowly in the inner sanctum of those tiny,tizzy taste buds.
  Before any of the scatalogical thought police on the Nepali net jump on for bring up this shitty, actually very sanctified social, agricultural,public health debate, I may point that inthose days because the market structure of premium on human shit, we had chowks and inner "charpis" enthusiastically cleaned for the Cauli-season. Now with chemical fertilizers for the Jyapu fields, the Chyam-Khalas on the Kathmandu Municipality payroll, we have all the heaving waste and shit on prime locations of the Pipal Bot, the Bhotahity, andthe public places where it was a pleasure to shop the morning vegetables.
  I would also hazard a claim that anyone who is over 10 years old and who has lived in Kathmandu for at least 10 years has tasted and delighted in the delicious taste of these Cauliflowers nurtured by the golden goodies of recycled human shit.
  As for Western shit from Everest, I do not know if junk foods such as chocolates, and oats with a copius mixture of preservatives such as nitrides and sulfa compounds would be a great diet for the indigenous bacteria who like things organic, you know. Perhaps you should take it to whereever yu came from and not leave it in Kathmandu.
>at base camp over a period of nearly 3 months).
>Denzil Broadhurst

************************************************************** Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 17:16:59 -0500 To: Subject: Jai Nepal From: (Panther)

Now the old Panther has been on the Internet for quite sometime now, but today he has been more disturbed by it than ever before, with thanks to soc.culture.nepal.

In the early 70's I had the extreme good fortune to take a [gulp] major chance and travel to India for an intended-three-week holiday [flying out of London].

Six *months* later, facing the inevitable Asia visa problems [BOOOO], I flew via the most excellent Royal Nepal Airlines to Kathmandu.

What a flight .....

Now I cannot remember how I decided to head toward the Hotel Manaslu, but it was a most excellent choice indeed.

A tiny room, oh what a treasured space, diagonally from the glass-walled former conservatory occupied by far-richer travelers. [Many years later occupied as the last visitor to do so].

Lined the windowsill with candles for the appropriate festival. Picked those little flowers and made garlands to hang over the pictures of His and Her Majesties on the appropriate days. OK, too effing proud of that, aren't we, and may the gods have mercy on my soul ....

Sri Krishna Acharya, may those gods bless you indeed.

Oh those attics of the OLD Hotel Manaslu.

and some USA-resident Nepalis today distress the old Panther.

VERY much distressed hiim, even to the point of tears streaming down cheeks.


Tell me why, so I can make amends.

******************************************************************** Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 18:04:51 -0500 To: Subject: Some Food for Thought: The Planning Commission of Nepal From: (Ashutosh Tiwari)

        Why have National Planning Commission in the first place? In all its 40-odd years of existence, what has NPC achieved in Nepal anyway? Has it ever been publicly evaluated? I don't think so.

        In the Panchayat kaal, it was nothing more than an official body whose function was to absorb some of the highly-trained Nepalis into the bureaucracy. The idea was that a foreign-educated PhD (have you noticed that all NPC VCs have PhDs?) and his cohorts can PLAN ALL THINGS FOR ALL NEPALIS was absurd then and is so now.

        That's why the question as to what exactly is NPC's role is far from clear. Is it there to collect data? Well, the National Bureau of Statistics does that. Is it there to negotiate foreign aid? Well, the Ministry of Finance does that. Is it there to fine-tune the economy? Well, the central bank and the Finance Ministry do that. Is it there to plan for agriculture, land reforms, customs, industries, commerce, labor and so on? I doubt this, for there already exist ministries in those fields? If anything, why not STRENGTHEN the ministries to do their job well. All these make me ask: just what IS NPC's role?

        Nothing concrete, as far I can tell.

        Instead of having this central-plannning behemoth in Singha Durbar, I think it's much better to have a Council of Economic Advisors, staffed by academic/professional economists, accountable solely to the cabinet. Such a Council would be able to set national policies on macro-economic scenarios, trade policies, exchange-rates, labor economics and so on -- all of which, INHO, are the BURNING issues in a transition economy like Nepal's. Such a Council, I would subjectively think, would have a sharper focus and clearer goals (depending on what the cabinet wants), and that would help its members be productive (in terms of RECOMMENDING specific economic policies).

        Else, a group consisting sociologists, geographers, economists, and all sorts of experts would JUST LOOK NICE, but would ultimately ACHIEVE LITTLE for Nepal. Ego clashes, lack of focus, poor job description, and SLAVISHLY ACCOUNTABLE TO PARTY (or Panchayat) IDEOLOGY . . .all these have been the pattern at NPC, and there's no reason to expect otherwise.

namaste ashu


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 21:50:46 PST To: From: (Bill Reid) Subject: Rabies and Tetanus

Subject: Rabies Please be aware that that the speed of development of rabies depends on the place where you are bitten. A mouse nip on a fingertip can take a year to produce symptoms. A large bit on the neck can do it in a few days. Once the symptoms develop the outcome is certain and you will "pass the portal to a new level of understanding." The rabies virus is quite fragile and is destroyed by most strong soaps. Thus, it is imperative to wash ANY bite very well as soon as possible after it is inflicted (first removing any clothing that may have animal fluids on it). Open the wound and wash it if it has closed.

The preexposure immunization for radies is available if you are in hazardous country (as inthe U.S. Southwest) where there are skunks and bats with rabies in frequency. These "shots" are not bad these days. I've had them several times. Note that even cows have transmitted the disease by biting.

Consult your physican, as you should to with the equally deadly tetanus. The shots "wear out" some years.

I am not a physician, but have done a lot of field biology in
"hot" regions for rabies.

William H. Reid email:

********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 08:54:18 -0700 (MST) From: "Camille Richard" <camille@picea.CNR.ColoState.EDU> To: Subject: RE: The Nepal Digest - Dec 21, 1994 (5 Push 2051 BkSm)

Stephen wrote "I speak as one who was nipped by a dog near Manang two months ago. Rabies is endemic in Nepal, but is not present up in the mountains--or so everyone I spoke to agreed."

I do not agree with the latter statement. Dogs in the mountains are also subject to infection from rabies and partially explains the loss of guard dogs in the upper pasture areas of Manang, for example. Rabies is not a strickly a tropical disease. I would strongly recommend to anyone travelling in Nepal to get a pre-exposure vaccination. I lived there for three years (Pokhara) and saw plenty of dog attacks, expecially late at night while people were riding bikes. At night the pack dogs rule the streets of Pokhara and Kathmandu. If you are riding a bike and dogs begin to chase you, quit peddling!

******************************************************************** Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 09:42:05 -0700 (MST) From: "Camille Richard" <camille@picea.CNR.ColoState.EDU> To: Subject: RE: The Nepal Digest - Dec 21, 1994 (5 Push 2051 BkSm)

This is in reply to Nirmal Ghimirez's commentary on Dec 21, 1994. He wrote
"Okay, here comes the point what I wanted to express.I am not denying sex
{I WOULD CERTAINLY HOPE NOT!}. It is a great art, but one must have great self control to really understand this.Otherwise this art can be treated as trash which we do see in the society today.Abortion,rape are not these problems due to sex?"
======================================= Abortion and rape are not due to "sex". How simplistic! These problems are associated with the stifling of female sexuality in patriarchal power structures, where women are considered property and something to control, rather than being allowed to fulfill their desires (and I don't necessarily mean sexual, but spiritual and intellectual desires as well). I think this was beautifully expressed in Mishra's series on "Women in Hinduism". I couldn't agree more with your statement that sex should not be treated as trash. When women's inherent worth in a society is boiled down to her looks or her ability to
"be a good subservient wife", then how can sex be viewed as anything other than a utilitarian means to an end, with its essence stripped down to the bare bones? The end is merely lust for power. Lust for sex? Lust for power? There really isn't much difference in such a patriarchal world. Instead of developing mutually loving relationships where sex is the physical means to express that love (and therefore an art AND lustful), we have degenerated to a society that values sex as power, the objectivication of women as objects of desire (IN YOUR SOCIETY AS WELL AS MY OWN).
=============================================== Nirmal also wrote:
"So, maybe our culture is trying to say this [self-discipline and respect for sex] and today the WEST seems to be in need of it."
=============================================== What does your culture offer that mine does not? Rape and wife beating are as prevalent in your society as in mine, only Nepal does not have an extensive media to broadcast such abuses as rapidly, and women are not presented with as many choices to avoid the abuse (and only recently in the US). We in the US (granted, not everybody) also have values as strong as your own (once again, not everybody in your culture), they just get mired in the muck-a-muck of materialism and commercialism, which I personally abhor. And don't be so fooled by the commercialism in the west. You will find that most Americans are not the mindless sex machines that the blue movies portray them as. Do you in Nepal believe the contents of Hindi movies? Don't movies portray something that is generally a fantasy? Basically it boils down to the fact that we are all humans and subject to the same societal temptations. Spend time with Americans, as some of us have done in your country, to look for the commonalities between us, and focus on those positive aspects that make us all part of the global community. Maybe then we can quit this continuing diatribe of whose culture is better or worse.


*********************************************************************** From: Sanjay Kumar <> Subject: no subject (file transmission) To: Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 12:00:01 EST


Dear Editor,

        After the elections, it is time to realise what little democracy, ordinary people of Nepal have got.
         To see this, it is necessary to get rid of the ideology, which elevates the electoral practices in Western Capitalist countries to the pinnacle of any democratic practise. Instead, in these countries what passes off as democracy, is an electoral farce, behind which all sorts of jockeying for power goes on. Behind different faces, the two (or more major parties) have same sorts of programmes, policies and class base.True to the spirit of consumerist marshland, as a complete reflection of Coke vs. Pepsi choice, all that people get is to choose which bunch of thugs can lay claim to rule them. Behind election campaigns, votes, parliamentary discussions and media debates lies the the strong rule of a system based on inequality. Notice, how presidents, senators and congressmen and media pundits in the haven of free speech are eagerly justifying Alan Greenspan's interest hikes, done purely to safeguard the interests of a very minute financial oligarchy . Behind the inflation bogey rests the real threat of recovery reducing unemployment to the extent that labour may be able to force higher wages.
         It is the incapacity of the elctoral suystem to root out such well entrenched interests, which makes people feel helpless. Little wonder, alienation from electoral politics is the most apparent social fact of these societies. On the sadder note, the low turn out for the recent elections may be a dangerous sign that the nascent democracy in Nepal is already suffering from the same disease as the old Capitalist democracies.
        In its fuller and radical form, democracy is the actual power of people (not just guaranteed in a documentary constitution) to consciously make their social lives and to overcome their privations. Elections,free speech etc. may be the only democratic activities needed by elites and middle classes, because their other social needs are conveniently met by the existing economic system. But poor and the downtrodden need much more than these. To be able enjoy the right to free expression, they need the right to education and be literate. To be able to enjoy the right to vote, an unemployed needs right to work and a poor village girl needs the right to protection from a sexist society and goons forcing her into prostitution. In the direct measure as an elctoral system doesnot help people overcome their difficulties, it is a joke on democracy. Like an advertisement campaign it is a changing fad.
        From the past century there is enough evidence to prove that, by themselves, parliamentary type elections are insufficient to bring about basic changes in society. They can be a way to reinforce a change already brought in by other means (anti-monarchy militant struggle is the best example at hand, the previous and recent elections have only reinforced the changed position of monarchy). Otherwise, elections generally have a conservative influence they become part of the system designed to reproduce the status-quo. In some rare circumstances, election can be used by people to prevent an absolute evil to come to power (as used by the blacks in Mississippi state to prevent Klansman David Duke from becoming state governor).
         Once the change has been confirmed, people's participation in elections drops off considerably, as proved by the second series of elections in the Eastern Europe, and regrettably perhaps, by the recent elections in Nepal. What shows in political apathy is not that people decide to bask under the comforts of what has been acheived, but that they find the existing electoral system of little use in overcoming their problems. Alienation is not a luxury stemming from too much, but a sign of helplessness. It comes about because elections influence only one aspect of society the legislative branch of State power, and their effect on other aspects; the executive and coercive branches of state, the economic and wider social strucutres, is minimal.
          Changes in these are brought only by popular, militant struggles. At the mention of popular struggle, the ruling classes, sections of middle classes media pundits and other people of importance, are quick to paint a spectre of anarchy, violence and destruction. Their reaction is understandable because popular movements are a threat to their previliges, their enjoyment of Toyotas, Seikos, Gucci and MTV. Marie Antoniotte's observation(Why don't they eat cake!) was not due to mere ignorance, it was also due to bitter annoyance (Why don't they let me enjoy MY CAKE ?)
        What types of struggles ? There are hordes and hordes of them. As people feel oppressed, they naturally struggle. They are struggling everywhere. Landless are struggling for land, workers for decent wages, women against sexual oppression, city dwellers for basic civiv amenities, etc. At times,the struggle is silent or individual, people are isolated from others fighting similar struggles. At times their struggles may be local or unorganised, and suffuciently suppressed by the police and army, that those enjoying 'their cakes' do not notice them. But more than elction promises, parliamentary debates and tricks of parties contending for power, or television ads of a glittering Japanese car, these struggles are the real matrix of lived experience of people. The real question is, How can these struggles be united, organised, synthesised and made strong enough to be successful, like the anti-monarchy struggle ?
        Confronted with arguments trying to prove limitations of elctoral systems, certain sections will be quick to deduce that recently won democratic rights are being denigrated or shown irrelevant. Quite the contorary, the argument is for deepening and enlarging what has been acheived. Now, when the' autocracy has been defeated, being blind to the limits of electoral processes is nothing but a ploy to maintain the present status-quo, not addressing the other social and economic problems of the masses.

********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 12:37:25 -0500 (EST) From: Aevendra Lohani <> Subject: To:

This is partially a response to Mr. Nirmal Ghimirez response to several critics in his most recent comment. Not that I defy his view point on the original objection of not having too much sexua content on the digest, I too have reservation on the extent and graphic nature of the subject being openly discussed in the open forum. Maybe if ego boosting and attention seeking is not the objective, the writers should limit their messages to people who are interested and do give a damn about what is the origin of the word "putali" and so on. Initial thought, research, viewpoints are understandable but subsquent discussions could be limited amongst those that want to explore further on specifity of the subject.I did feel strongly against the censorship idea of the TND board for the simple fact that it is against the fundamental principle of an open forum. I feel that it is up to the intelligence of the writers to curtail certain language to facilitate reading by all members of the Nepali society. Maybe some families with children may not want their children exposed, understandable and respectable.And just because some one is in the western world does not need to be as liberal on the subject, the trend here is towards more conservatism.
  But what motivated me to write all this was the hippocracy of Mr. Ghimirez's conclusion on the recent comment. How after argueing for one thought pattern he came to conclude that "play with it......". If Mr. Ghimirez conclusion is that sex is some thing initially to play with, then what was he argueing about all this time??

D. Lohani

***************************************************************** From: (Gopal Shah) Subject: HAPPY NEW YEAR To: Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 12:45:09 -0500 (EST)

To all TND subscribers in the world: Merry X-mas and happy new year 1995.May the new year 1995 brings happiness and prosperity in your life.
                  Nepalese in Marietta,GA,USA

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************************************************************* Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 19:50:22 -0800 (PST) From: Christopher Manders <> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Dec 21, 1994 (5 Push 2051 BkSm) To: The Nepal Digest <>

Dear Friends,
        From the very earliest ceturies of known history the Newa peoples who speak the Nepal Bhasa (Newa language) and who practice Newa culture began to develop. This continued for many centuries until an abrupt political change of power from the once dominant Newa society to that of the Parbatiya through a decisive invasion of the Nepal Valley (the Kathmandu Valley) by Prithvi Narayan Shah in the early eighteenth century. Under his unification much lenience was shown to the Newa peoples and they continued to thrive even in the shadow of the new political atmosphere and its language. When the administration of Nepal was upsurped by the Rana, however, the true repression of the Newa society began. To date this generation's government has viewed this Newa culture and language negatively and has thus created many restrictions and prohibitions against its use, particularly in the Nepal Valley. The Newa culture and language, which until only very recently has been a part of the proud heritage of the Newa peoples, is continuing to be repressed by the government and is slowly disappearing. For this reason many of the Newa peoples who live in the San Francisco Bay Area have decided to organize to protect and preserve their cultural and linguistic heritage. We hope that those Newa peoples reading this can feel inspired and empowered to stand up and be proud of yourselves. Culture is personal and deserves respect. Let us all applaud these Newa and their anceint, beautiful heritage.

********************************************************************** From: Shailesh R. Bhandari <> Subject: MUKTAK To: Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 12:10:50 -0500 (EST)

              Aaja dherai din pachhi khusee laageko chha
              Manma na ta pir chha na ta kunai byathaa chaa
              Yo khusee tyasai aaeko hoina
              Meri mayalu ko kthaa chha.

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 23 Dec 94 16:27:16 EST From: To: Subject: TAJA KHABAR

Source: The Independent, Dec.14-20, 1994

    The Dasdhunga Accident Judicial Investigation Commission submitted its report to HIs Magesty the King at the Royal Palace December 7. His Magesty handed the report over to Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari.

    Swedagan chaitya and vihar are to constructed in Lumbini at a cost of Rs.225.5 million with the assistance of Myanmar. According to the Lumbini Development Trust, construction may begin within a month and a half.

    Sur Sudha, the famous Nepali classical music group has, time and again, takrn Nepali music abroad, helping promote tourism in this kingdom. Recently, on a European tour that started August 14, the group performed classical numbers in Belgium, Denmark and Austria including new tunes for Sim Sime Pani, Raag Bhairavi, and so on.

    HIs Magesty th King has,in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 and the recommendation of the Prime Minister, appointed Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar to the post of Attorney General.

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