The Nepal Digest - December 14, 1996 (28 Mangshir 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Saturday 14 Dec 96: Mangshir 28 2053BS: Year5 Volume57 Issue2

Today's Topics:

                    TND Columist: English Lessons II
                    Nepal News
                    A poem
                    Ganesh Himal Lead/Zinc

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: RJP Singh *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh B. Shrestha *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
 * *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 06 Dec 1996 16:00:24 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <> Subject: English Lessons II

Dear Editor,

What follows below is my response to a recent attack in local print media on the University Writing Course at Duke University by some some Duke undergraduates. The Chronicle, the main undergraduate daily, ran this piece under its guest column entitled "Students should be thankful for experience of UWC." I thought it might be of interest to TND readers.

        UWC, short for the university writing course, is a semester-long series of writing assignments mandatory for first year Duke students. This course is generally known, rather inaccurately in this age of strong presence of female students on campuses, as freshmen composition. In one form or another (in many universities, the course goes on for two semesters, whereas in some places, a writing center takes care of this aspect of a student's education), this course is a common feature of American college education. Whatever the earlier motives for offering this course (transforming or converting the diverse immigrant American population into common literacy, empowering a common man or woman's child to enjoy "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," helping learners develop skills to cope with the vast expanse of the continent, its resources and hazards, devising a means to fund graduate programs could be said as some of the goals of this course and its widespread existence at American colleges and Universities), whatever the goals originally set out for this element at institutions of highr learning, this course has by now become a fixture of college education in America. Anyway, here is what I wrote and the paper published.

        The University Wring Course and its graduate instructors have become a punching bag for many at the University. In many places in the United States, an atmosphere of cynicism and condescension prevails against freshman composition. What many don't realize, however, is that it is a luxury to take a semester-long writing course, a luxury that is unique to U.S. college and universities; it's also an American privilege to ridicule, attack, hate and be cynical about its existence. I have often wondered why this is so.

        One of my students said in class the other day, "A campus magazine calls UWC liberal. Through its reading list and instructors, it forces its students to be liberal, the magazine claims." As I listened to him, I could see in his eyes the light of sincerity and enthusiasm for learning fading into cynicism and apathy. For the next 15 minutes, we had a passionate discussion about UWC.

        Nobody gave a darn about what I thought when I was 18. Nobody taught me to think critically about anything and have my own informed opinion. You went to college and memorized information from Kalidas to Eliot, from Indus Valley Civilization to World War II--and when the exams came at the end of every one or two years, you spilled out all the hastily crammed information for three or four hours each day for a week or two--and forgot everything as soon as the exams were over. This is how I earned all my degrees in Nepal and India, from kindergarten to an M.A. in English; and this is what I taught to college students for years in Kathmandu. Never did I see the faces of those who graded my exams, nor those whose exams I graded, let alone sit one-on-one and ask what he or she thought about the writing of others and of themselves. I was never taught how ideas are generated--what makes writing good. And even those whom I lectured as a superior, God-like lecturer, I never asked what their names were, where they came from or what burned in their souls and kept them going.

        The structure simply had no place for this "waste of time." Both where I studied and where I taught, only the lucky few--relatives or friends of the faculty and castemen--got to talk to and were mentored by professors; very often these disciples were not after knowledge but undue advantage and nepotism. The educational structure was designed to produced memorizing machines who could carry out the bidding of society, the state and its rulers, but never question anything, never dismantle the old, outdated structure and build a new one. That some eventually turned out to be thinkers was the result of caste and class, and workings of chance and the indomitable human spirit.

        That is why, when I hear this pervasive cynicism from undergraduates about UWC and its instructors I feel like shouting from the rooftops. Thank your almighty God that at 18, you have the privilege to be cynical about UWC. Thank God that you, if you are a man, are not saddled with a family and a marriage, very often forced; that if you are a woman, marriage hasn't become your career, nor are you forced by society to bear only sons; that you are not in prison on framed charges, because you questioned the validity of a certain law, the viciousness of an institution or the dictatorial ways of a ruler.

        And what about UWC's hated ideology: liberalism? It's only liberalism--nothing revolutionary. But that, too--poor liberalism--has begun to sound like criminalism even on a college campus. I mean what is Duke anyway, a university or some close-minded hothouse? What worth is a young atheist if he or she hasn't studied the Bible, the Vedas or the Quoran? What worth is a young conservative if he or she hasn't read Das Kapital, the Communist Manifesto, Tom Paine or the anarchists? I thought the University provided a liberal education to its students. Go for a liberal education, my friends. You are free, at least for now, from Hitler and Stalin--and Hunger as well.

        I think UWC teaches one of the most cherished values of Western civilization: a habit of questioning and critical thinking. After all is said and done, it teaches, based on the latest knowledge in the field, to generate new ideas and question the received notions and attitudes--and then accept or reject them after considerable critical analysis. In both acceptance or rejection, one is taught to produce reasons for whatever position one takes. On a variety of topics, through various rhetorical methods, and without the constraints of any particular discipline, it tries to inculcate thinking skills so the writers can articulate their ideas effectively, assert their claims convincingly and participate in a larger community of academic discourse. It teaches them to think for themselves, evaluate, generate and respond to ideas based on events, sources and cultural artifacts.

        I wish I had the opportunity of taking a writing course when I was in my first year in college. That is why, every time I teach a writing course, I take it as well.

--------------------* --------------------------------------------
  (I add some more thoughts below for this posting in TND)

Of course, I haven't given the details of my undergraduate and graduate studies in India in the piece above, but in nutshell it didn't teach me critical thinking. There are a few, one or two, institutions--Jawaharlal University in Delhi or Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh in India, I'm told, where they have followed a different model. In Nepal the New Education Plan flopped; the reasons could be myriad, ranging from cultural to political, although its spirit seems to have been to cultivate thinking skills. I don't know much about the New Education Plan, because I went to India from high school up; but when I returned to teach in Nepal, I got to see only the disfigured form of that system.

By then such terms as home assignment and paper writing had turned into a euphemism for mass-scale cheating. The whole scene looked so ridiculous that you couldn't even laugh at it. You experienced a feeling of outrage, but were told by the Camus Chief
(the nomnecleture of course had changed and was strictly adhered to),
"Mishraji, aap adjust ho jaiyega." (Mr. Mishra, you'll get adjusted by and by. Dont worry.).
        On the other hand, in India this tradition of education that teaches its clients to produce knowldge right from the outset of schooling was for the most part lacking in the educational system. I was the product of this system. (you can tell how may lines I have still in my memory but whose full meaning and use I hadn't known until recently). There are no doubt myriad flaws of this American system as well, as Jane Tompkins's recent memoirs "A Life in School" makes clear. But it's at least open to criticism and acts upon it.
        It's not that the spirit of critical thinking was totally absent in whatever tradition we had (I must caution that I'm not one of those who believe that all forms modern knowledge the West stole from the Vedas or some ancient text; I'm only suggesting that such examples could be found in any tradition in one form or another). Once in a while, in a fit of inspiration, some poet or thinker or guru said something that suggested vigilance and examination before accepting or rejecting any idea or path. Kalidas, the famous Sanskrit poet and dramatist who is said to have been one of the nine jewels at King Vikramaditya's court, says this in his either "Vikramorvashiya" or "Malvikagnimitra":

"Puranamityev na sadhu sarvam Na chaapi kavyam navamityadhyam Santah parikshaanyatarat bhajante Mudah par pratyayneya boodhihi"

(Just because of its antiquity everything doesn't become good; nor because some poetry is new, it is necessarily bad. The wise praise or accept or follow only after examination (or critical analysis), whereas the fool
("Mudah") blindly believe and depend on others' knowledge or wisdom).

        Although Kalidas has said this in the context of poetry, this idea could be easily applied to life in general for which any education worth its name is supposed to prepare a human being. But for myriad reasons, this system of inculcating critical thinking has been regrettably absent from Nepali and Indian educational system, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. Overhaul the whole educational system, in twenty years the whole way of thinking will change--for the better.

But for now things are not easy. Not only in Nepal, where until recently authoritarian political culture prevailed, but more so, and ironically, in india, where the Indians fought their political battle against the British and questioned their right to rule over India, this culture of cultivating critical skills and questioning spirit among the young has not taken place, let alone taking root. The first concern of the head of the family is whether the family children follow the dictates of the family head, who in turn follows the dictates of the caste, and so on. Blind obedience is the first and foremost condition that is demanded of the young, without explaining why a certain rule or item of discipline was important to follow. When asked, the answer would almost always would be: "Well, that's what our forefathers have been doing; we never question what our ancesters did. What was good for them is good for us, and stop asking too many questions."

As a result, children become used to looking for ready-made solutions: ready-made toys, ready-made answers to the questions in exams, ready-made bride or bridegroom after finishing education, and ready-made job and ready-made money and riches. From Yudhisthir to Dal Bahadur, when asked
"Kaha panthas?" (What's the path?"), the answer has always been or is made to be "Mahajano yata gatah, sah panthah." (The path of the great or the ancesters is the right path.)

This tradition of blindly following somebody else's path has to be changed; and it can begin nowhere more effectively than in the educational system in Nepal and India.

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 06:42:06 +0000 To: Subject: Nepal News

        Source: The Kathmandu Post
        WHO estimates 20,000 HIV cases in Nepal
        By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Dec 1 - As elsewhere around the globe, Nepal also celebrated ninth World AIDS Day today with the slogan One World One Hope. Government and non-government organizations working in the field of AIDS prevention and awareness celebrated the ninth World AIDS Day here with rallies, street plays, candle light processions and mass meetings. School children, nursing students and volunteers of NGOs took part in the rallies. According to official records, at least 35 persons have already lost their lives because of AIDS, 82 persons have full blown AIDS and 468 persons have confirmed HIV/AIDS positive in Nepal.

The figure was based on the blood sampling of 200,000 persons. The first AIDS case was detected in Nepal in 1988. The World Health Organization estimates that some 20 thousand have been affected by HIV/AIDS in Nepal at present and the number would cross 100,000 mark by the turn of the century. The situation in Nepal, though not frightening, is serious enough due to open border with India where HIV/AIDS is catching up fastest. Migrant and seasonal workers from both sides cross the border during the whole year unchecked. Another factor which causes fear of the spread of HIV/AIDS is girl trafficking. According to unofficial estimates some 5000 to 7000 Nepali girls each year end up in brothels across the border.

When infected with the dreaded virus they are forced to return and spread the disease back home. A basic survey recently done by an NGO with 201 CSWs in Kathmandu found that 93 percent CSWs have never heard about HIV and only 12% are aware about AIDS. The survey done by ASA found that only 7 percent of the CSWs know about safe sex and only 19 percent know the use of condom. Kathmandu is estimated to house some 5000 CSWs. The most productive age group is prone to get HIV/AIDS, thus crippling the work force of the nation. This can result in set back to development efforts on the long run. The only effective tool to fight AIDS is informing the public on the dreaded desease and how to avoid unsafe sex. National Centre for AIDS and STD, on its effort to carry out HIV/AIDS awareness programmes on multi-sectoral approach, handed a report to the Health Minister. The report, prepared with consultation with the Ministries of Education, Women and Social Welfare, and Information and Communications chalks out actions to be carried out by the 27 ministries.

National Planing Commission and Finance Ministry will have the decisive roles in implementation of the report since they are the authority to include AIDS awareness programmes and allocate budget, thus making the line ministries accountable to the programmes.

           Source: The Kathmandu Post
           The Bottom Line
           MR JosseA witching time and witches' brew

For sometime now, there has been persistent speculation about an impending alteration in the government being affected through a re-alignment of political forces. That is generally described as a change in the current "political equation" - a reference to either the possibility of a UML-RPP combine replacing the present coalition government or of the same three-party combination bumbling on regardless with merely a switch in the captain of the team What it means: While reports of late on that theme -- as well as the secret and not-so-secret inter-party meetings and confabulations -- have been put on hold, clearly the political waters today are considerably muddy and far from tranquil. Oddly enough, it is in the post-Mahakali Treaty ratification period that indications should emerge suggesting the possibility of an end, fairly soon, to the three-party coalition led by PM Deuba.

Without claims to political clairvoyance, it is certainly noteworthy that every major party seems to be in varying degrees of ferment even while the hounds of contradictions and rank opportunism run wild through the political thicket. On the one hand, we have the UML which has been moving heaven and earth to dislodge the government, mainly by trying to tempt the RPP to join hands and head a UML-RPP coalition government. Thus far, those blandishments have not worked, as was effectively underlined in the UML's abortive no-confidence move in March. Despite that, neither has the UML -- or rather a section of that party -- abandoned hope on that score; nor, indeed, has the RPP--or, rather a faction within it -- quite given up on the UML.

Apart from the driving personal ambition of key leaders in both those parties, there is the strong perception that such an arrangement would be specially beneficial to the RPP since it presumably shares the same vote bank with the NC. With local elections now around the corner (not to mention, by-elections and eventually general elections), it is not too difficult to understand why many in the RPP seem ready to succumb to the UML's seemingly seductive offer. Without doubt, one important sticking point is RPP chief Surya Bahadur Thapa's well-known aversion to Communists, as was amply reflected in recent public outbursts against the UML including his charge that the UML is deliberately encouraging political instability by attempting to topple the present government. Witches' brew : Thus, although Thapa found it necessary to categorically deny any possibility of altering the current "political equation", it is not readily apparent why, not too long ago, there were red-hot reports that the UML had switched their offer of premiership in a coalition partnership from Lokendra Bahadur Chand to Thapa himself.

Another puzzling feature of the hazy political topography of late is that pro-Thapa RPP functionary, Rabindra Nath Sharma, for long known to be cosy with the Nepal Congress should publicly root for a RPP-UML coalition. To the argument that UML chief, Man Mohan Adhikari, (and some others) are opposed to a line-up with the RPP, it should suffice to remind one and all that not only was the UML sharply polarised on the Mahakali ratification issue in September but that Adhikari was projected as one of that treaty's fiercest critics. But, to what effect, might not one, then, legitimately ask? If opposition within the UML to the Mahakali Treaty melted away magically at the moment of truth, might it not do likewise if -- or when -- the UML actually swings it with the RPP, depending, of course, on favourable internal dynamics within that party at a particular point in time? The situation on the Nepali Congress front is no less confusing, or no less absorbing, than in the UML or the RPP at the present time.

For starters, let us recall party chief Girija Prasad Koirala's periodic utterances that he is firmly for a continuation of the present three-party coalition, not to mention his frequent and characteristic sneers at the UML. Koirala then takes strong exception to the gargantuan size of the Council of Ministers, headed by his own partywallah, not to mention snide comments about the need for the government to come forward with people-oriented programmes. Almost as if on cue, Koirala is joined by a bevy of party heavies -- including House Speaker Ram Chandra Poudel who is widely perceived as a possible replacement for Deuba at some point in the future--who chime in on the urgent need to curb corruption. Even more revealing is that, after a discreet period of silence, Koirala has now come out to offer open support to party vice president (and niece) Sailaja Acharya's padayatra, or journey on foot, from journey on foot, from "Mechi to Mahakali" -- one supposes the Nepali equivalent of Mao Zedong's celebrated Long March. Deuba the target: Acharya, another NC stalwart straining at the leash to replace Deuba as parliamentary party leader, has claimed that the purpose of her slog on foot is to raise public awareness for a "total revoulution" asserting that the chasm between the people and the Nepali Congress, as well as well as that between her party and the government, has been widening.

Acharya, for long one of Deuba's bitterest critics, has not only been extremely critical of his alleged pro-RPP leanings but has also sometimes pleaded for a national government to replace the present coalition and, more recently, for a NC-UML coalition to do so. It is at this point that the recent resignation of Kuber Sharma from the Nepali Congress should perhaps be recalled. Sharma, a former MP and member of the party's Central Working Committee, explained his "act of conscience", in the words of one columnist, on grounds that the Nepali Congress has now been reduced to a party of leaders who are more inclined to cling to power, satiate their lust for material affluence and arrogance. Sharma, a one-time confidante and protege of former party president KP Bhattarai, in his searing 12-page resignation letter to Koirala, declared that party workers were no more than helpless witnesses to "immoral, unscrupulous and illegitimate acts such as rampant abuse of authority, embezzlement of public revenue, resources by party functionaries and party nominees elected to public office." It thus does not require too much political savvy to surmise that Acharya's pada yatra could turn out to be not merely a harmless political tamasha but actually become a lethal instrument to dislodge Deuba from his position as NC parliamentary leader. As much can be anticipated given not merely that corruption has become the number one political priority today but also recalling that Acharya had herself raised the scourge of corruption in government, while she was Agriculture Minister under Koirala -- and was fired for her temerity of doing so! Sniffing the political witches brew that is now simmering, one is reminded of Shakespeare's lines from Hamlet: "Tis now the very witching time of night, when churchyards and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world.

        Thapa dismisses alliance with CPN (UML)
        By a Post Reporter Source: The Kathmandu Post

SASHAPUR, (Sarlahi), Dec 1 - In what seems yet another vitriolic remarks against rumours about the change of power equation in the present context, president of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and ex-prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa has dismissed any kind of alliance with the main opposition CPN-UML which seeks to to alter the existing political power equation in the country. Addressing a mass meeting at Aatrauli of Sarlahi district today, the RPP strongman denied having deputed any person from his party for talks with the CPN-UML regarding the dismantling of the present political equation. "Neither is our party aware about any such talks," he said.

"We have come to learn from the words of a senior UML leader that talks on the alliance between the RPP and the CPN-UML are in their final rounds", Thapa said adding that his party however has not delegated any one with the mandate to hold talks with the Communist opposition party to change the government.
"The existing alliance with Nepali Congress had been possible as it had agreed and recognised the RPP to be a democratic and a national party before chalking out the alliance," Thapa said. "If the CPN-UML wants to hold talks with the RPP regarding the change of power equation, it should have the guts to accept our conditionalities", the RPP boss challenged. He accused the CPN-UML in its political resolution of making mean remarks against the RPP and evaluating it as being regressive and conservative party and said the CPN-UML should remove such kinds of remarks completely from its resolution. "The CPN-UML has so far lent a critical support to the present constitution," added that the main opposition party should accept the constitution in its present form and renounce the concept of democratic republicanism from the party's official resolution while pledgeing unconditional support for constitutional monarchy.

Thapa said, for creating an atmosphere for holding meaningful talks with the RPP, the CPN-UML should accept the constitutionally granted democratic system and stop taking it as only a limited form of democracy, accept the supremacy of the judiciary without any grudges and to withdraw the allegations of corruption made by the party against the RPP leaders with an apology. While recalling that the central council meeting of the RPP sometime back had decided to continue with the present political alliance with the Nepali Congress and to streamline the coalition government in the spirit of the 10-point agreement, the RPP leader said that all should abide by the decision of the powerful body like the party's central council. Thapa also blasted all the three governments formed after the formulation of the democratic constitution for not having paid any kind of attention towards the country's existing burning problems while concentrating only on consolidating their hold on to power. He said the opposition parties on their part in the past were engaged in nothing more than leg-pulling.

The RPP president said that talks of changing the power equation at present have done nothing more than disrupting national development and construction activities and helping in creating political uncertainty.
"Instead of engaging in the party elections and concentrating on the forthcoming local elections, the RPP workers and leaders are all now flocking to the capital engaged as they are on forming and dismantling the equation thus putting at mayhem the wave of support that the party has garnered," Thapa observed. Party central member Ramchandra Raya on the occasion urged the party activists to work for consolidating the party organization. RPP district president Chakraman Singh, Ram Padartha Shah and others also expressed their views at the meeting presided over by Keshar Singh.

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 06 Dec 1996 14:27:28 EST To: The Editor <> From: Subject: Re: Call for Female Editors n Sruti's Marriage...

Dear Editor:

I whole heartedly suport Pramod Misra's and presumably your call for Nepali women who might be interested and committed to be the Editor of The Nepal Digest.

Rajpal, I can understand your eagerness to gently handover this important forum to able hands given your long years of outstanding stewardship. Pramod cited one important quality of yours we want in a new editor: to not "edit" or censor any contribution and to be open to any criticism for any stand taken. We salute your committment to stand by this freedom of expression of the contributors of TND.

Another equally important qualification of yours we will look forward in a new editor is the steadfast committment to bring it out regularly. This is indeed a great challenge for those in the Net.`Everybody has to earn their bread and voluntarism (some time which is very unappreciated) is a big luxury to maintain by months and seasons and years as you have done.

Perhaps it might be more prudent to look for limited time editorship, where an editor aggress to stay on until he/she can find someone to take over...

Sruti's Marriage

I just read our princess Sruti is getting married to Gorakh SJB Rana, son of Kaiyur SJB Rana.

My response was : same same.

What have the Nepalese got from investing in royal education of king birendra in Harvard and eton, more "traditional" strenghtening of old world socieal hieararchy, shahs marriying ranas? When will the king be enlightened enuf to marry a janata ko chori, or have love marriage sanctioned and the king wants development for his janata.

What is more ironic is that many of the janatao chora chori who get educated in harvard and etons also go back and strenther old word socieal hierarchy and power relaitons by marrying their thar and economic and caste class folks, This proves that education does NOT bring development and new social set up in Nepal.


****************************************************************** To: From: (Debendra Karki) Subject: A poem Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 06:42:06 +0000

                   HEY,YOU OUTTA KNOW:

I picked the yelling receiver they asked me "Hi there, how are you?" I was very much confused with this stranger's friendly voice.

They said "Are you sitting down? Right? In the midst of total confusion I uttered a few insignificant words With a black cloud of curiousity I said"Excuse me...who am I speaking to? I am extremely sorry but..but I don't..."

"Oh! we are very sorry for all this confusion Anyway, this is Universal Lotteries". They said "Say, ma'am you have won the top prize, the ultra super global special wow, what would you do with a million bucks? or, actually its more than a million-not that it makes a lot of difference once you are a millionaire" and they laughed.

"Still on the line ma'am? Come on, now tell us, How does it feel?" I said "Sir, I don't mean to interrupt you with your sermon but it ain't sunday.. you know. I have a weird feeling inside my head that you have dailed the wrong number". you got us wrong, we are definetly sure that we have the right number...aye sam? Somebody enigmatic from the background spoke with a strong mysterious british accent and reassured him with the details".

"Oh well, I still have a sneaky suspicion that you guys out there are bluffing me. Very well, y'all wanna know how I feel like?..well I feel very stupid wasting my time on some weirdo's illusionary millionaire pop-up ideas.

"So, you miss or mrs out there think we are kidding..hey this is no joke." They laughed again.

"Its ...thankyou!!"

"OI! hang on!" I said. I haven't bought a lottery ticket for ages and ages.
 What did you say the company's called? and to your surprize I am not even a
 New Zealand citizen". They laughed again.

"Oh is that right, where are you from?".
"Why, will that make a lotta difference?"
"Oh no...just curious,that's all".
"Talking about the point.. you are not to worry about a ticket. We're universal.We operate a retrospective chances module. Nearly everyone's bought a ticket in some lottery or another, once at least. We buy up the files, feed the names into the computer,and see who the lucky winner is".

"Well, that makes some sense to me, but boy I gotta admit you surely sound convincing. If its true than its incredible...saaayyy...what about a 18 year old millionaire...It sounds grand to me. But I still can't quite....I'll beleive it when I see the cheque".

"Oh",they said "there's no cheque".
"But the money?".
"We don't deal in money. Experiences are what we deal in. You have had a great experience, right?.
"What!!.. what in the heck are you talking about?"
"Well wasn't it exciting? Something you will remember all your life? Huh? That's your prize. So congratulations from all of us from universal and have a nice day!" and the line went dead.

Well, see you folks next time.

********************************************************* Subject: Humor in Nepal: a piece by ashu To: Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1996 18:54:35 -0500 (EST) From: "Rajesh B. Shrestha" <rshresth@BBN.COM>

          (What follows is a light-heartedly short 'meditation' on the state of humor and humor-writing in Nepal :-)

                    A sense of humor
                         by ashu

          "You have no sense of humor." That's one of the worst insults you can hurl at an Englishman. By humor, the English mean wry, understated wit and irony, a la George Bernard Shaw, that gets delivered with a dollop of slapstick, a la John Kleese. In America, where humor is more easily shared, late-night comedians, Bart Simpson's family and the Republican Party remain the national icons of jokes. But we have our brands of humor in Nepal. A sampling:

          MARISH HUMOR: Marish refers to Madan, Hari and Santosh. In the dark days of the Panchayat, Madan and Hari were first-rate political satirists. Since the Jan Andolan, however, they have been busy being better actors, higher-earning professionals and lousier satirists. Santosh is talented, but suffers from Kathmandu-centric ethno-supremacy of sorts.

          By now, one would think that Santosh's routinely making fun of the Marwaris, the "tarai ko madhisays", and others would have made people protest against a 'high ethnic-insensitivity quotient' in his weekly TV shows. But no. In our sundar, shanta Nepal, such mindlessly repetitive and often demeaning ethnic caricatures continue to pass as humor, especially every week on the state-run television.

          LITERARY HUMOR: Bhairab Aryal, who committed suicide, and Basudev Luintel, who hasn't, remain the best Nepali literary-humorists. All of their pieces, written many years ago, are still pure fun to read and re-read. Keshab Pindali is another first-rate humor-giant, still churning out enviably well-written and entertaining pieces in Bimarsha.

          With multi-volume humor-corpus, Ram Kumar Panday is funny too. But he and many other, especially younger, humorists tend to over-use onomatopoeic Nepali words to such an extent that their Nepali writings, instead of being fresh and amusing, eventually begin to jar.

          RADIO HUMOR: Humor has been on the radio for almost two decades. Programs such as Rasrang, Budhi aama ra JTA and others used to entertain listeners around Nepal. Alas, no more.

          These days, snatches of humor are also aired on Kathmandu's super-funky FM-radio programs. But mostly for the worse. While Goodnight FM's Manoj occasionally delivers funny verbal slapstick, Kantipur FM's Dinesh, with canned Hindi jokes, remains an absolute disgrace. You just have to listen to Dinesh's program to scream at his producers that "Fun Time" is just a waste of time.

          FILMI HUMOR: This is an oxymoron. Most Nepali film-directors' sense of humor typically starts and ends like this. Have a genetically dwarf guy (some Rakchyas Karmachandal of sorts, assuming you have watched a few Nepali movies) make faces and do unnecessary somersaults on the side, while the almighty 'hero' kicks the villain's butt. That's usually it, and you are supposed to howl with laughter!

          ANGRAZI HUMOR: This genre probably started in Nepal with Kunda Dixit's regularly publishing "Funny side up" columns in the Rising Nepal in the late '70s and early '80s. And ten years ago, HIMAL magazine, with its always-quick-to-smile editor, elevated the art of wit and word-play through its "Abominably Yours" column, which is remarkably high on American references.
          But by and large, most Nepal-published humor pieces in English are khattam, primarily because the writers' command of flowing, idiomatic English is so hopeless, and also because their sense of the absurd is usually not that sophisticated. Fortunately, talented Angrazi humor-writers do exist in Nepal, and they include: (1) Manjushree Thapa -- just read what she used to write for Spotlight newsmagazine -- ; (2) NAMA -- real name: Narayan Manandhar, an economist -- and (3) Mani Dixit -- real name: Hemang Dixit, a medical doctor -- NAMA and Mani write/wrote humor for the Kathmandu Post, while (4) C K Lal, another talented humorist, writes for the Independent weekly in Kathmandu.

(This piece was originally published in a slightly shorter form in the Kathmandu Post's "Post Platform" section, August 10, 1996).


*********************************************************************************************** To: Subject: Tibetan Refugees shot in Nepal Date: Mon, 2 Dec 96 18:47:12 EST

Cross-posted from SCN:

Here is another unfortunate story on the action of Nepalese police against helpless Tibetan refugees. I urge my Nepalese friends to act against these acts by the police. Tibetans in general enjoy a very good relationship with the Nepalese.

Sincerely, Nima Dorjee

       - 3 Tibetans Shot by Nepal Police, 43 Others With Frostbite - Summary:
  Three Tibetan asylum seekers were shot and wounded on 18th November when Nepalese police opened fire on a group of 32 escapees shortly after they crossed the Tibetan border with Nepal. Several Tibetans, including a child, were injured after being beaten by police with lathis, or batons, during the incident, which took place at Lamabhagar, 100 km north-east of Kathmandu.

  In an unrelated incident described as the most serious medical emergency in recent years involving Tibetan refugees, 43 Tibetan escapees arriving at Kathmandu in a single group on 16th November and following days are reported to be suffering from serious frostbite after being trapped by snowstorms on a 3,000 metre high pass during their escape attempt.

  Tibetan exiles in Nepal are appealing for funds to help pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation for the frostbite victims, several of whom are sure to require amputations later this week.

  Next week China's president Jiang Zemin visits Kathmandu and is likely to place the Nepalese government under increased pressure to curb Tibetan activity on its soil as well as to limit the admission of refugees.


The shooting incident on 18th November involved a group of 32 Tibetans, including nine children aged between 6 and 16, who had crossed a little known 3,000 metre-high Himalayan pass near Mount Panderma some 20 km away in an attempt to evade capture by the Chinese police.

Amongst the injured Tibetans were two who had head wounds, including one of the children, allegedly as a result of being beaten by Nepali police.

Police in the area, which is 30 km north of Charicot, say that they opened fire after the group defied an order to stop and began throwing stones at the police.

Tibetans in the group say that police stopped them and then immediately began beating them, including the children. The escapees, most of whom were Buddhist monks, say that some of the group then threw stones in an attempt to stop the beatings.

A Tibetan who was involved in rescuing the group from Lamabhagar alleged that police and government officials had not arranged for medical assistance to the wounded, apart from contacting Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu. "When the firing stopped the police did nothing. They did not give them treatment or arrange for medical assistance. Later they panicked and informed their superiors at the district office about 2 days walk away, from where the Superintendent contacted Kathmandu."

The group were kept under police escort until late on the night of Wednesday, 27th November, when they arrived in Kathmandu, ten days after the incident. The journey was done mostly by foot because local roads had been washed away by rains and because exile Tibetans did not have enough funds to charter a helicopter to bring down the wounded, although helicopters are regularly used for rescue work in Nepal.

 The wounded had been given basic first aid and some pain-killers shortly after the incident by an American tourist who was trekking in the area, but received their first medical treatment at Bir hospital in Kathmandu yesterday, where they were said to be in a satisfactory condition. "It is amazing that after ten days without proper treatment the wounds are not deeply infected. They have been extremely lucky," said one of the medical staff who treated them.

One of the Tibetans, named Choenyi, age 20, was shot in the right hip, with the bullet exiting through the buttock and missing his femoral artery by two inches. Another of the wounded, 22 year old Samta, was shot through the knee cap and beaten on the head, and a third man, 25 year old Nyima, was shot in the thigh.

An official from the exile Tibetan government office in Kathmandu was contacted by police and was able to reach the area within a day and negotiate for the refugees to be bought to the capital, where they come under the auspices of the local office of the UNHCR, which is allowed to send Tibetan asylum seekers who reach Kathmandu on to India.

- Amputations -

In another border area 200 km further west a large group of Tibetan asylum- seekers was given police assistance and allowed to proceed unhindered to Kathmandu last week. But over a third of the group are in a serious medical condition after being trapped by snowstorms during their escape from Tibet.

43 of the group, originally said to have consisted of 105 Tibetans but now thought to have numbered at least 111 in total, are suffering from severe frostbite, and at least 3 of them are certain to require limb amputations in the next few days. Other amputations are likely unless the patients' circulation recovers.

The group of 111 were mostly monks aged between 20 and 25 years, according to one source. Several hundred monks are reported to have been expelled from their monasteries in Tibet as part of a three month political education campaign being carried out there.

The group, one of the largest to have attempted to escape in a single group, got caught in a storm on the Larkya pass in Manaslu, 130 km north-west of Kathmandu, and some 55 km north of Anapurna. The escapees, who escaped through the border county of Kyidrong in western Tibet, had to walk through waist-deep snow before they reached police, who helped them to safety.

Articles in the Nepalese press on 17th November, noting that the group had been intercepted, featured demands by a local politician that the escapees be treated harshly, and described ten of the Tibetans as having made the journey on horseback. In fact the Tibetans on horseback were those with the worst wounds, who were carried down on animals provided by local officials and police at the request of the UNHCR, according to reports from Kathmandu.

Most of the group arrived to the Nepalese capital on 16th November after a ten day journey from the border, but on 27th November other serious frostbite victims from the same group were still arriving in the capital.

Amputations are expensive in Nepal and urgent attempts were being made late yesterday by Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu to raise emergency funds to provide medical treatment for the wounded. The cost of the hospital operations will be considerable, but false limbs, physiotherapy and months of aftercare for the amputees will be even more costly and are beyond the means of the exile community.

"We are alright until we have an emergency like this, but now the biggest problem is the money", said one exile yesterday. "Most of the 44 frostbite cases will need to be kept here for at least six months before they are able to go down to India. We don't have money to feed them for that long, or to provide treatment," said the exile, who did not want to be named.

Refugees sheltering at the reception centre run by Tibetan exiles on the outskirts of Kathmandu were severely beaten up in a night-time attack on the centre by locals on 31st October, apparently in a dispute over water supplies which left at least two Tibetans with suspected brain damage. The Tibetans did not fight back and the incident did not escalate, but as of yesterday the main suspect had still not been detained by Nepalese police.

Nepal is likely to come under more pressure to curtail Tibetan political activity and refugee entry into Nepal next week when Chinese President Jiang Zemin is due to visit to Kathmandu.

In January the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Zhuang Jiuhuan, warned that bilateral relations between the countries could be jeopardised by Tibetan refugees crossing the border from Tibet.
"China strongly opposes its citizens' illegal exit from the country," he said, marking a shift in China's demands on Nepal, which have previously been focussed on the issue of exile political activities.

In June this year Nepal's Foreign Minister Prakash Chandra Lohani promised that Nepal would not do anything that might hurt China's national interests. On 16th November he assured a meeting of the German-Nepal Friendship Association in Cologne that he had given orders not to deport any Tibetan refugee.

China is to set up a China Study Centre in Nepal to exchange information on trade and policy issues to assist "deepening bilateral relations", according to a announcement by the Nepal-China Non-Governmental Cooperation Forum, which held its first meeting in Kathmandu on 30-31st October.

From: tamang <> Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: Re: Tibetan Refugees Date: Mon, 09 Dec 1996 00:10:09 -0800

Gopal Dongol wrote:
> It is certainly deplorable to shoot unarmed civilian no matter
> who they are. The trigger happy policeman of the past should be educated
> to handle present day environment. Nepal is a peaceful country where
> there is harmony among all the religions. All along the northern borders
> we have a similar culture as tibet and people are similar as well. Dolpa
> and Mustang/Manang are good examples where the local people speak
> tibetan. They look similar and similar monastries and prayer flags. In
> the past there were free movement of people across the border to take the
> animals to graze in alpine pastureland on either side of the border.
> This has certainly changed after China took over Tibet. Still there are
> certain places where people from the Nepalese side are allowed under the
> careful eyes of the Chinese to graze in the alpine meadows or to trade.
> It is not common now.
> Banepa(23 Km east of Kathmandu) is still being called Bhot by the
> locals. The reason is: in the past the traders from Kathmandu pass
> through Banepa to Lhasa. Such was the link of the past. It is sad to
> hear again and again Tibetan refugees being shot in Nepal by the police.
> Why on earth they must be shot? They are our kith and kins. To give
> refuge is our religion and culture. It is our tradition in the
> villages to give shelter and food to the guest. The older generation
> provide even their own meal and blanket to the guest or a passerby I am
> surprised why they use live bullets now instead of good meal and
> warm blankets?Don't believe everything that you read of Tibetan Information N
etwork. An altruism works only to certain limit. You should consider that there is always two side to the
 story. When people hear these horriable stories of refugee being shot at the Nepal bo rder, one totally forget Nepal's balancing act between the two giants. Nepal, despite of its limited resources and deplorable poverty, it has extended its help to refugees
 through history. And it is high time that we hear some appreciation rather than murmuri ng about the Nepalese goverment, inadaquate medical treatment and transporation problem for victims and bla bla bla from the advocate of Tibetans. I would like to see tho se fat monks with rolex watches and mercedez to particepate to help the fellow man rat her than hide inside the monostery while their emissaries politicize the unfortunate eve nt.

To: Subject: Tibetan Refugees shot in Nepal Date: Mon, 2 Dec 96 18:48:11 EST Forwarded by: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

My heart aches at the plight of the frost-bitten refugees. As to the means for their upkeep and hospital costs, wouldn't it be possible for just *ONE* of the monasteries around Boudha to sell just *ONE* of their Toyota Landcruisers or Mercedeses? It is wishfull stinking to suggest that relationship with the Nepalese are good: after rich lady enterprenuer was overheard: "In our carpet factory we don't employ Nepalis in responsible positions, only Indians!" The Tibetan diaspora would do wise if they look at the ethnic strife all around Nepal, Sri Lanka beeing of course the major case. Their lack of respect to their hosts, non-payment of taxes, bribing the electric-meter readers, diverting and stealing drinking water for their factories, polluting the sacred Bagmati with heavy metal and untreated sewage, employing children as slaves at the looms - this all can be (and as we know south-asian politicians - will be!) used by some biggots. But, alas, the Tibetans in Kathmandu got too rich, too quickly, bought too many false citizenships (one village near Gorkha supplied more than 800 Mr.
& Mrs. Lamas!), too much land, and of course now present themselves as a fat, juicy target for the next Tamang og Newari Villupilai Prabhakaran. It's a pity Mr.Tenzin Gyaltso (Dalai Lama) doesn't educate his people on the basic civic duties like paymet of taxes and fees for the electricity and water; and on the practice of humility and poverty on the part of the fat monks. It's deaply ironic that while the Tibetans are winning the battle of the hearts and minds in the West - look at the way DISNEY is battling CHINA - , they are squandering the credit they received from the people of Nepal and India, who, despite their poverty, provided them with shelter - re the shootings among the monks in the Darjeeling area, the obstentatious gold ornaments, the mammoth gompas with courtyards packed... with PAJEROS, the quasi Police no-go area in Boudha... I feel this bodes ill for the Tibetans south of the Himalayas. There is no cohesion, no "master-plan", just the Deng Xiao Ping's words put into practice: "Get rich quickly!"

Old Bejunk?

******************************************************** To: Subject: Ganesh Himal Lead/Zinc Date: Mon, 2 Dec 96 18:52:22 EST Forwarded by: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:
       I recently saw some questions regarding Ganesh himal Lead/Zinc deposit in TND. I am surprised to hear that nothing is happening in Ganesh Himal. It is one of the most promising metallic deposit for Nepal where it appears that no mineral deposit is economical besides cement grade limestone.

       There are four main ore bodies at the headwaters of Mailung khola along the southern slopes of Ganesh Himal, all lying at an elevation of 4500 m. The deposits are hydrothermal replacements, along the bedding planes of crystalline dolomitic limestone, especially at crest and trough of the folds.

       Common minerals are spalerite and galena, rare magnetite and pyrite, very rare chalcopyrite, traces of Ag and Cd. One of the lenses of 50 m long and 15 m thick carries 34.5 percent Zn and 9.33 percent Pb. Actual drilled and proven grade is about 11 percent Zn, 1 percent Pb. Reserves are about 1 million tons and more can be proven.

       Nepal Metal Co. was preparing to mine in the Mailung River Valley, ship concentrates to India via a road which was under construction by the government.

Gopal Dongol

******************************************************** Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 11:01:23 -0800 From: e9027681 <> To: Subject: Help

Dear Sir /Madam

 I am a nepali student in Vienna. My name is Silvia Shah and I am 21 years old.I am studying computer science since two years. I am going to travel USA in Feb.1997 . I am looking some information and possible helps from nepali people in America. I would appreciate if you can provide me any information and help . I hope to hear you soon Thanks Silvia
  My e-mail:

************************************************************ Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 18:25:03 +0200 (IST) From: Roshan Shrestha <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Khoj-khabar

Nepali Bandhuharu,

I'm looking for Sarju Pradhan (Texas). I would be glad to receive his e-mail address if anybody knows. Sarju, if you're reading this message, please contact me.

Thanks Roshan Shrestha Beer Sheva, Negev Desert

************************************************************ From: bikash@MIT.EDU To: Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 11:51:34 EST

Yet another essay from Ashutosh Tiwari (Please note: What follows is about 1000-word long. If pressed for time, please save this to read later at your leisure. This essay was originally published in The Kathmandu Post sometime in May 1996. For this, I have benefitted from discussions with Pramod Tandukar, Surendra Sthapit, Arita Rai, Yogendra Kayastha, Niyoush Karmacharya and Shailesh Gongal. Ideas expressed here are mine alone.)
                   Amnesty Nepal's misplaced zeal
                       Ashutosh Tiwari
           As a recent piece of news (The Kathmandu Post, April 27) puts it, the Amnesty International's Nepal Chapter (AINC) has been pressuring the government for the last five years "to introduce human rights education in school curriculum." Why? The AINC's reason goes like this. "[Since] today's school students will be at the helm of tomorrow, [teaching them human rights now] ensures a bright future for the posterity". And to make that future even brighter, the AINC wants the government to make human rights courses compulsory for all students from class one to class ten, with an accompanying SLC exam on 'human rights' alone worth 100 points.

          On the face of it, taking compulsory classes on human rights for ten long years -- just like taking compulsory mathematics for ten long years -- sounds like just the right academic preparation for future liberal citizens. But I argue that the idea is an ill-conceived one, showing more of a misplaced zeal on the AINC's part than offering practical ways to promote human rights awareness in Nepal. Here are three reasons why.

          First, the claim that teaching human rights as compulsory, exam-bound classes in schools now leads to a more human rights-friendly population in the future is dubious. Remember, the Panchayat had also adopted similar logic in 1971. Through the enforcement of the Naya Sikchya Yojana (New Education System Plan), it had also thought that teaching Panchayati beliefs in schools, colleges and even in law campuses -- by way of compulsory, exam-bound classes on the Panchayati values -- would lead to a Panchayat-friendly citizenry. That was a myth, soundly shattered nineteen years later.

          Yet the spirit of the myth continues to live on today in Nepal's secondary schools, where compulsory Sanskrit is taught. Still, we may safely conclude that teaching children Sanskrit compulsorily for two years has neither "preserved our culture", as evidenced from the increasingly vociferous laments from Kathmandu's 'Nepali-culture-one- culture' brigade, nor encouraged more college-bound Nepali students to apply to the Mahendra Sanskrit University in Dang, where applications have been steady for the last several years.

          In addition, talk about those who go through six years of compulsory English in Nepal's schools. Sadly, what have they been but rising tides of SLC graduates who have to flock to language institutes in urban areas to learn how to put together a decent sentence in English? Against this general backdrop, dubious does remain the AINC's claim that teaching human rights compulsorily will produce students for
"a bright future".

          Second, it is not clear if the AINC thought it important to consult the average Nepali school-goer (call her ANSG) whether they want to spend their school-years compulsorily studying human rights as one of the courses. Had the AINC done so, the answer would have been no. Why? Because, as studies show, the ANSG is already a 'stressed-out' student -- forced as she is, year in and year out, even to give up her constitutional right to education because of crumbling or non-existent school facilities, unskilled teachers, compulsory or irrelevant courses, non-standardized grading systems, family duties and poverty.

          Oddly, even as it steps into the field of secondary education, the AINC is quiet about ways to keep children in school and raise the national literacy-level. In its defense, sure, the AINC may plead ignorance about Nepal's larger educational problems. But that would not stop its wanting to lump one more course on the already stressed-out ANSGs from eventually earning a bad name.

          How? Because when, for instance, thousands of ANSGs start failing their (school and) SLC exams on human rights (entirely predictable, given how high the annual SLC casualty-rates have been), how then would the AINC justify its curriculum to society at large? At that time, just shrugging that the teachers (translation: AINC- certified former human rights activists) had done their best would be an ironic excuse to deprive the not-so-successful ANSGs of their
"bright future"!

          Third, unlike school-level mathematics or science, human rights issues are not clear-cut and uncontroversial. The extent to which the nation-state of Nepal takes human rights seriously is always open to interpretation. As such, to genuinely appreciate human rights, it is important, as any good teacher can inform the AINC, that the students be encouraged to question the basis of their own beliefs on those rights. This would make them work out and defend their own views on what human rights are/should be, and why they are important. Such an inquiry requires a culture of debate, a culture of discussion -- both altogether missing in most schools.

          That is why, two dangers are likely to mar the AINC-designed compulsory human rights classes. First, those classes may just be reduced to 'indoctrination sessions', full of dry facts, 'spit-back' exams, and static theories that conveniently nod to the AINC party line
(for not toeing the party line may get one failing marks!). Second, those classes may just be abused by politicized teachers to further force their own party-politics agenda on impressionable minds. Either way, human rights issues would be poorly taught.

          So should human rights be taught in schools? Yes, but not in ways the AINC proposes. After all, if topics such as AIDS and sex can be taught in regular health and hygiene classes, why can't those on human rights be introduced in the already-existing social studies classes? Better yet, why can't human rights awareness be promoted by way of extracurricular activities, say, by essay-competitions, debate- festivals, letter-writing campaigns, Amnesty clubs in schools, neighborhoods and colleges, and so forth? Sadly, hell-bent on having its own compulsory school-curriculum (a la Nepal's equally zealous environmental activists), the AINC seems to have paid little attention to other, possibly more effective, ways of promoting human rights awareness.
          Finally, as a supporter of the London-based Amnesty International, my recommendation to its Nepal Chapter is this. Your sentiments may be sincere, but get real about the compulsory human rights education in schools. Meantime, why not just do the work you are primarily supposed to do well, that is, monitor and report on human rights abuses in places outside of Nepal?

******************************************************* Date: Thu, 5 Dec 96 11:08:19 +1200 To: From: Naba Raj Devkota <> Subject: poem

Be ready for that

Yet the seeds will not germinate, drops of dew will not appear, hot, hot and so hot plate like this earth, no symptoms of getting thru foods, you are loosing your shoes and hat, you may have to survive, Be ready for that!!!

no political boundries, no transportations and modern amenities, like birds are from here and there, like animals are roaming without fear, the whole ecology is if devastating, as a human being no question of tit for tat you may have to survive, be ready for that!!!

The additive effects of development, made us from a traditional to a modern, In this very comfortable global village, still the differentiation works as a signal, do we all are belong to the same product? do we all have to make same efforts? the answer could be yes or no, no matter how do you take it as a serious or a chat, you may still have to survive be ready for that!!!

Naba Raj Devkota Department of Plant Science, Level:2, Massey University, New Zealand Tel: 00 64 6 356 9099 7190 (Office)

>From Thu Dec 5 02:28:54 1996
Received: from by with SMTP id AA23274
  (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for <>); Thu, 5 Dec 1996 02:28:52 -0600 Received: from ( []) by (8.6.10/5.941228sam)
        id CAA04129; Thu, 5 Dec 1996 02:51:10 -0500 From: <> Message-Id: <> X-Sender: (Unverified) X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0 (32) Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 00:51:52 -0700 To: (Recipient list suppressed) Subject: Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hi guys,

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****************************************************************** To: Subject: Humor in Nepal Date: Thu, 5 Dec 96 13:17:33 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

>Ashutosh Tiwari wrote:
> But by and large, most Nepal-published humor pieces in English are
> khattam, primarily because the writers' command of flowing, idiomatic
> English is so hopeless, and also because their sense of the absurd is
> usually not that sophisticated.

        Does all humor (good humor) have to be absurd? I cannot account for all the writers and their writings you mentioned but I have read and spoke to a lot of Nepali folks who have a very healthy sense of humor, in both Nepali and English. Maybe it is a good thing that we don't have too many Nepali Sartre, pondering the horizons of absurdity.
       Coming to think of it, I am glad we don't have too many Sienfield, George and Kramer (Maybe Kramer would be OK) Nepalis. After all, why do we really need Nepali version of recycled American humor. I do admit we may not have the same standard of (english)comics as other contries, after all it is not our language, but I would rather like to see some thing original and creative than some fellow trying to put on a Jim Carrey act.

Bhushan Khanal Seattle WA.

To: Subject: Trekking in Nepal? Date: Thu, 5 Dec 96 13:18:50 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

Cindy ( writes:

> I am planning to spend 20 days in Nepal in Feb/March and am mainly
> interested in getting out of Kathmandu and trekking. Could anyone please
> offer me any suggestions on possible routes and areas where my time might
> be well spent?(I am especially interested in getting off the beaten track
> if possible in that amount of time).

Hi Cindy, I just returned from 20 days in Nepal. A Marvelous trip! Firstly, 20 days isn't very long to spend there - from North Am. it will take you the better part of 2 days to travel there (and another 2 to get home). So, you'll have to plan your time carefully.

Secondly, if you want to get off the "beaten track", given the short amount of time you have, I'd strongly suggest you organize a trip with an outfitter, or hire a guide (if possible before you go). If you wait 'til you get there, you might well waste a week getting organized - fine if you have 3 months, but not if you have 3 weeks. You will likely be able to do up to a 15 day trek, if trekking is all you plan to do in Nepal, but remember that getting to the start of your trek can be an ordeal too. In 15 days, you will NOT be able to trek to really remote places, but if you hire an experienced guide or outfitter, they CAN take you places that while only a coupld of days from the road, are NOT not the main trekkers' circuits.

If you have qualms about hiring a guide or outfitter, the main benefits of doing so (IMO) are 1) meeting Nepalese people and learning a bit about them 2) giving Nepalis employment, 3) having someone else carry your heavy stuff down steep hills (believe me, they're better at it than you) 4) having someone who can take you through the less traveled routes where you don't see other foreign trekkers. Remember that in the more remote areas, there aren't tea houses - you have to make arrangements with Nepalese people who don't speak English, and who have very different customs from yours (caste restrictions, different privacy concerns...)

You probably have enough time to do a short (8-15 day) trek in the Annapurnas, Langtang or Everest areas as well as others. The main thing is to do your research now (as you obviously are doing!) so you don't waste time on it once you get there. BTW, don't discount the Kathmandu valley. Patan and Baktapur are lovely cities, and there's lots to see in and around Kathmandu too!

My husband & I did an 8 day Annapurna trek through World Expeditions
(Australian based outfitter with 16 years experience) - excellent organization! If you want to hire a guide, you could try the Himalayan Explorers Club (you can find their site on the Web, sorry, don't have the info handy) which is a non-profit US & Asian based group that can help arrange such things. KEEP, with whom HEC shares an office in Kat. can help too.

Sorry for the long post! Happy planning, and happy travelling!

Sheila Craig bb638@FreeNet.Carleton.CA

****************************************************************** From: "Damber Gurung" <dgrng@CLEMSON.EDU> To: Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 11:47:47 +0000


Tibet issue prompts extra security for Chinese president's Nepal visit
    (ADDS remarks at banquet)
    by Kedar Man Singh

    KATHMANDU, Dec 4 (AFP) - Fears of demonstrations by Tibetan refugees prompted extra security for Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit here Wednesday, sources said.

    Jiang was not driven to Royal Palace in the traditional six-horse state used for other top leaders, such as President Roman Herzog of Germany last week, a municipal source said.

    The cancellation of the coach ride was part of a package of measures to prevent anti-China protests marring Jiang's 24-hour visit.

    The Nepalese capital is home to more than 25,000 Tibetan refugees who have staged demonstrations in the past calling for Tibet's liberation from Chinese rule.

    The authorities have preventively detained some Tibetan youth activists who support exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Home Ministry sources said.

    Speaking at a banquet hosted by King Birendra, Jiang said: "It has been our firm state policy to develop good neighbourly and friendly relations with all the South Asian countries".

    Jiang's Nepal visit follows trips to India, where Tibetan protestors staged noisy demonstrations, and to Pakistan.

    China and Nepal have long been close and friendly neighbours Jiang told the King. "There is no problem that remains unresolved between our two countries," he was reported to have said.

    China hopes Nepal will turn out more marketable products to increase its exports to neighbouring Tibet, thus alleviating the Sino-Nepalese trade deficit, Jiang said in an interview published here, as quoted by the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

    Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and communist opposition leader Mana Mohan Adhikari met Jiang separately at the Royal Palace, an official source said.

    A formal agreement on Sino-Nepalese scientific and technical cooperation was also signed in the evening by Chinese Trade Minister Wu Yi and Nepalese Commerce Minister Fatya Singh Tharu.

    Under the agreement, China will offer 10 million dollars for the construction of an indoor stadium, which will include international-grade swimming and badminton facilities.

    The stadium is to help Nepal host the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Games next November. About 3,000 South Asian athletes from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will participate in the games.

    A Chinese spokesman said China had agreed to provide the aid as grant to mark the 25th anniversary of King Birendra's accession to the throne, which fall on January 31, 1997.

    Jiang is accompanied by a nine-member official entourage that includes Wu as well as Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.

    Qian and Nepalese Foreign Minister Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani met separately for over an hour.

    Jiang's visit was also expected to result in the start of some public-utility projects such as construction of mountain highway links with Tibet.

    The building of the 114-kilometre (72-mile) Kathmandu-Kodari highway -- a link to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in the late 1960s by China was seen by New Delhi as a threat to India's security.

    The atmosphere is seen as less tense now, however, Nepalese sources have said.

    India and China fought a brief border war in 1962.

    Jiang is due to return to Beijing Thursday morning after laying wreaths at a martyrs' memorial here.

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