The Nepal Digest - Dec 18, 1998 (1 Poush 2055 BkSm)

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        % N N EEEEEE PPPPPP AA L %
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The Nepal Digest Friday Dec 18, 1998: Poush 1 2055BS: Year7 Volume81 Issue2

         S E A S O N ' S G R E E T I N G S ! ! !

Today's Topics (partial list):

        DELAY , WHY ?
        Visa experience
        Maoist Insurgency and Nepal's Ruling Elite
        Re: An environmental threat
        Lessons for the Nepalese economy
        Health Transition in Nepal Conference: Call for Papers
        Book Review

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, 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 *
 * *
****************************************************************** From: Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:32:33 EST To: Subject: IS THIS A POEM OR WHAT?

Aaja, Gajendra Narayan Singh ko Gai geet gaunu hunchha. Hami amrit barsane asama Batuki haroo liyera daudanchhau. Internet tira.

Aaja, Gajendra Narayan Singh ko Gai geet gaunu hunchha Hami waha ko akha ma phureko Bhakti rash pan garera Birsanchau ek arka lai.

Arth aaphno aaphnai ho, Akhha aaphno aaphnai ho, Amrit jaha bata pani barsana sakchha Amrit jaha bata pani khasna sakchha Chinna lai akhha chahinchha Ra tipna lai kehi phohor hath haroo.

Sangit ko kunai samaya hudaina Sangit ko kunai thegana hudaina Gol Prithbi ko charai tira chakkar katdai Gajendra Narayan Singh ko Gai geet gaunu hunchha Ra hami lai sunaunu hunchha rastriyata. Hami wah wah bahek ke garna sakchhau ra? Hamra sasana tauka ma Thula thula kura haru lattu jhai ghumirahanchhan
 ananta kal samma.

Seto dhoti ko pahiran ma Sitar lai bistarai khur haroo le Jhankrit garaunu hunchha Aaja, Gajendra Narayan Singh ko Gai geet gaunu hunchha.

Hamro man ma alikati rastriyata jagayera Gahut charkera bistarai bilaunu hunchha Aaja, Gajendra Narayan Singh ko Gai geet gaunu hunchha.


******************************************************** From: (PRAKASH BHANDARI) To: Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 13:12:01 Subject: DELAY , WHY ? Organization: Himalayan Bank Limited, Nepal

Dear Editor, The Nepal Digest

I am writing about the delay of The Nepal Digest. We could have it only after about One and Half month. I had thought that it has been stopped. Thanks God, it is alive. I want its continuity. If it happens to be delayed, then at least we, readers, expect some information. Forgive me for your inconveniences, if any, that I ignored.

I am also in opinion that the matters to be appeared in TND, should be shorter. Ofcourse, they should not be missed with proper sufficient information. Making articles lengthy just to make it lengthy is not the subject to appreciate. Otherwise, sometimes, while trying to express the sentiments in detail, naturally word constraint be missed. It is natural and not the matter to damn at all.


****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 17:11:07 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: Looking for old friends

Hi! I am looking for old friends. I'd appreciate any info on the whereabouts of these lost friends.

1. Anup Parajuli -- last I heard he was in Wisconsin.

2. Rassendra Shah -- last I heard he was in Idaho/Indiana.

3. Surendra Ratna Manandhar -- last I heard he was in Chicago.

4. Rajendra Kumar Gurung -- last I heard he was in Minnesota.

5. Shova Chand -- last I heard she was in Paris, France, attending an acting school.

Would appreciate any contact-info on any of these folks. Please e-mail me directly. Unlike in Nepal, do not go to the najik ko prahari tha.naa with this maan.che hara.yeko su.chana, if you rememebr those Gorkhapatra ads, :-)

thanks, ashu

*********************************************************** Date: Mon, 16 Nov 98 14:18:55 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <> To: Subject: Nov 7: Seventh day of hunger strike

Seventh day of hunger strike

Five leaders, including General Secretary and MP Hridayesh Tripathy of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party, are on a hunger strike since the last seven days. But the government has not taken any interest in their fast. The party has been demanding an amendment in the constitution. If their demand is not fulfilled, they plan to burn the constitution on Monday (Nov. 9)

(Ghatana Chakra, Saturday, Nov. 7)

******************************************************************** From: "Sudhir Shrestha" <> To: <> Subject: visa experience Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 08:40:26 -0600

Namaste to all of you:

Would any body be open and kind enough to share his/her recent experiences in obtaining a visa from the US Embassy in Kathmandu. The last time I went home was four years ago. Lots of changes have occurred since then.

I tried to connect to the website of the American Embassy in Kathmandu. The information in the website is from a few years back and it never gets updated unlike in other countries. Some of the officers are no longer in Nepal yet their names remain in the website list. Nepal must not be in their priority list. It is very SAD. If it gets updated on a timely basis, perhaps the embassy would function better and more people would be aware of the changes and process rather than throng at the embassy for the same info.

My wife and I are planning to go for a visit next summer. We would have to re-apply at the Embassy not knowing whether the visa will be issued. Please send email with your suggestions/ideas/advice. Thank you.

-Sudhir and Julee in Milwaukee

***************************************************************** From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <> To: Subject: People's Movement didn't alter ethnic equation Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 13:13:34 PST

People's Movement didn't alter ethnic equation: Analysts By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Nov 18 - The 1990 Peoples Movement was a major political upheaval but it has had very little impact on the countrys ethnic equation and that the dominant classes--mainly the Bahuns and Chhetris--continue to enjoy the pre-eminent position in the Nepali society,according to some political analysts.

There are a number of reasons why minorities feel alienated in the majoritarian-ruled Nepali society, the most conspicuous being the Constitution itself which regards Nepal as a Hindu Kingdom, said Kapil Shrestha today at a programme organised by Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS).

All major political changes--be it during the 104-year Rana rule or the Panchayat--have revolved around the ruling Bahuns and Chhetris only, according to Krishna Bhattachan, a vocal critic of the current social structure.

"This is exactly why none of the political change has really changed the brutal fact that majority of the total population of Nepal comprising indigenous ethnic groups Dalits, Madhesis, Muslims and Christians," he notes in his paper, "have been suppressed, oppressed, depressed, exploited, subjugated and discriminated by the ruling Bahuns and Chhetris."

The Maoist Peoples War is primarily a class-based war, he said.
"However, given the social structure of the Nepali society and the collective memory of different groups of people, they have invited various indigenous ethnic groups to join in and support the Peoples War."

According to Pancha Maharjan, despite the constitutional provision which grants all castes equal opportunity, the real-life ethnic picture is rather lop-sided. For instance, in bureaucracy Brahmins, who constitute 12.9 per cent of the population, are over represented--73.5 percent of Section Officers in the Civil Service. Anthropologist Dilli Raj Dahal, however, argues the concept of dominant caste alone is not a powerful tool in addressing the problem of governing elite in Nepal.

In his paper "Nepals Governing Elite: Their Composition and Role in Constituting the State", Dahal says, "Historically, it is the context of the family and the connection with the palace that has played more important role than the dominant caste..."

Family connections play important role for forming the governing elite or holding key positions. Though higher education plays some role in occupying some kind of position within the structure, it plays an effective role only if education is systematically embedded with proper family ties, according to Dahal. He suggests the changes in many fields of Nepali life in recent years are due to "dominant individuals" rather than "dominant caste".

*********************************************************************** From: "Dal Bhat" <> To: Subject: answers to the cultural question Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:04:57 PST

Although I tried very hard for a long time to resist the urge to respond to your questions, It was just too tempting! So I hope this helps and in future I shall also inquire in such matters, hoping thou shall answer them in earnest. Here are the answers ye seek. With a little less patience and more complaints thou shall also be able to earn the much coveted experience of being a true Nepali.

>>1) The Buddhists, who are into meditation, retreat, solitude
>>and quiet
>>contemplation allow their dogs to bark all night long, disturbing
>>neighbors... Help me out with this one...? Is their a Buddhist
>>concept/word for courtesy, thoughtfulness...?

The Buddhists were being thoughtful, courteous to the dog and letting it bark freely. Who is to say that Dogs can't bark, or shouldn't. I mean, they do not have any other means, like we do (tnd), to make themselves be heard. Every time i hear dogs bark, i join them. Very relaxing.

>>2) Thy hand that wipes thy 'arse,' feeds thy face... I'm sorry,
>>this hardly
>>makes any sense to me...? Do the Hindus have a concept/word for
>>cleanliness, sanitation...?

Makes no sense to me either, unless you eat from your "arse". but then how do the rest, non-hindus, wipe their "arse", with their feet perhaps. That explains the phrase
"feet up your arse".
(Head could also be used instead of feet->explaining why so many have their head up their arse)

>>3) People walking on the street in Kathmandu are in no hurry.
>>But, as soon
>>as you put these same people on wheels, they're in a monstrous
>>hurry... I'm
>>sorry, bugina!

Since everything else moves so slow in Nepal we have to compensate for it somehow to keep it all in balance and harmony.

>>4) 80% of the people in Kathmandu walk around without shoes or
>>socks in
>>this 'shithole,' as an American tourist described it. Then these
>>are required to take off whatever and their very dirty feet walk on
>>floor... Help me out with this one...?

ok, If x is the no of people walking around without shoes and socks and y is the no of people walking around very fast. then (x + y)/W * .24 = 80% where W is the constant of "what the hell are they required to take off when they aren't wearing anything".

>>5) Additionally, part of the reason Nepal is 'so poor' ($) is
>>it's so
>>inefficient and unproductive... Part of the reason has to do with
>>so much time (which is money). Part of that has to do with spending
>>taking your shoes off and then putting them on again... Help me out
>>this one...?

I leave this one for interpretations. I have invested all the time i used to spend, putting on my shoe and taking it off, into Nasdaq. my feet are itching to reap the return.

>>6) On narrow, busy, trafficed streets, children walk abreast,
>>four, and five wide, thus causing a traffic hazard, when every
>>must figure out how to get around them (without killing them)...
>>children, whose lifes are yet to be lived, seem not to care whether
>>live or die, nor if they cause a traffic jam. Couldn't they be
>>taught to
>>walk single file...? I'm sorry, walking in the street this way,
>>makes no
>>sense to me... Maybe you can explain...?

Two words: Speed Bumps
(to slow the drivers who are in a "monstrous hurry")
>>Finally, please, readers feel free to contribute to these
>>wherever you live. Nepal is not the only country with cultural
>>inconsistencies, America has many! Thus, let's get this thing going
>>have everyone contribute, from whatever country they live in... And
>>it will end up being a book... And we can contribute whatever
>>revenue (if
>>any) to Mr. Singh's Foundation.

good day, and happy thanksgiving to you all.

********************************************************** From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <> To: Subject: Maoist Insurgency and Nepal's Ruling Elite Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 08:18:25 PST

Rebels threaten idyll of Nepal's mountain king By Julian West in Kathmandu

A WAR of terror is being waged in the remote mountains of Nepal, shattering the Himalayan kingdom's customary tranquillity and threatening to destroy its tourist lifeline.

Self-styled Maoist guerrillas, with links to Peru's Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path, have launched a campaign of brutal murders and attacks on government installations from the country's far western jungles, in an attempt to overthrow Nepal's monarchy and replace the government with a Maoist regime.

The so-called "People's War" - which unnervingly resembles the Shining Path's Eighties campaign in the Andes - and attempts by police paramilitaries to combat it, have plunged much of the country into an unprecedented spiral of violence and terrorised villagers in the poorest regions of Nepal.

Entering villages in the dead of night, black-hooded men, wearing red headbands and chanting Maoist slogans, have singled out their victims - usually local bureaucrats or government supporters. They often murder them with their bare hands, dismembering them with kukris, the traditional Nepali knife, or smashing their hands and legs with hammers and rocks, leaving them barely alive.

Elsewhere, the guerrillas have bombed police stations, burned local banks and disconnected power and telephone lines. They have also targeted foreign aid agencies.

Ten days ago, two vehicles belonging to the United States' Save the Children Fund were burned by suspected Maoists in Nepal's southern Terai region. In May, a Nepali worker for USAID, the American government's overseas development wing, was ambushed in his jeep and killed.

As many as 600 people are believed to have been killed in terrorist attacks and police reprisals since the Maoists began their campaign almost three years ago. In the past month, since the guerrillas began the "Fourth Stage" of their war - an attempt to establish Maoist-controlled areas of the country - more than 80 people have been killed and the insurgency has spread from four areas to about half of Nepal's 75 districts.

The level and brutality of the killings and the subsequent police crackdown, in a country where violence was virtually unknown, has drawn criticism from human rights workers, who accuse both sides of abuses. It has also alarmed Western observers, who fear that it may not be long before tourists are attacked.

The Nepalese government, which relies on tourism as a primary source of foreign exchange - the tourist industry brings in about #90 million a year and about 500,000 tourists are expected to visit by the end of the year - has placed four Western districts of the country off-limits to travellers. Embassies have issued advisory notices to their nationals to avoid certain parts of the country and Kathmandu's international schools have cancelled their normal winter treks this year.

But despite almost daily reports of terrorist attacks, the Maoists themselves remain obscure. Described by one human rights worker as
"emerging suddenly, from nowhere", little is known of their strength or their membership - although it is believed to comprise mainly poor peasants and possibly a number of former Nepalese army soldiers. Inquiries after them, in the remote villages where they operate, have invariably met with closed doors and silent stares.

However the roots of the movement are believed to be Nepal's intractable poverty. Almost half of the population now live below the breadline, in villages where basic medical supplies such as aspirin are unavailable, and there is increasing disenchantment with Nepal's corrupt and fractious politicians, who have produced five governments in four years.

The Maoists' Web site, which displays long tracts of rhetoric on "class struggle" by their leader, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, a Nepali intellectual, expresses this disenchantment.

It declares their aim of overthrowing the government, abolishing the monarchy and turning Nepal into a "Red fort", with a "hammer and sickle flag hoisted atop Mount Everest". It also reveals links with a worldwide network of Communist groups, notably the Shining Path, on which they appear to have modelled themselves. Organised cells of Maoist cadres, described as well-trained and disciplined, are believed to have training camps in the forests of Nepal's western foothills, and to be supported by villagers in the poorest regions who have long-standing Communist sympathies. In Nepal's first election in 1991, the Maoists, who have not run since, won seven seats.

But although they are suspected of raising money through extortion from several hundred thousand Nepalis living in India, the exact source of their funding and extent of their foreign support remains unclear.

About three years ago a North Korean sealed diplomatic container containing weapons, telecommunications equipment, timing devices and gold was intercepted by Nepali customs on the Indian-Nepal border. In a subsequent incident about a year ago, Nepal customs opened a North Korean diplomatic pouch also containing gold bullion.

Both incidents were swiftly hushed up and the motive and eventual destination of the shipments were never discovered.

"There are any number of bad guys passing through Nepal," said one Western observer. "Those shipments need not necessarily have been for the Maoists. They could have been for anyone."

So far, the guerrillas have used mainly crude homemade weapons and gelignite bombs or rifles stolen from villagers or the police, and the insurgency is still believed to be in its early stages.

But last week, Kathmandu police found 19kg of plastic explosives and timing devices in a hotel room in the capital, suspected of being for the Maoists.

"The next phase could get very nasty if they get recourse to weapons," said a Western diplomat. "It's already serious and it will become more so, if the government doesn't address the root of the problem. They haven't targeted tourists yet, but everyone is waiting for the first attack."

<> Amnesty International - News Release - ASA 31/07/98 19 November 1998 NEPAL Amnesty International delegation reports on deteriorating human rights situation

Amnesty International today expressed its shock at the Nepalese government's inaction in the face of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, now reaching alarming levels.

An Amnesty International delegation visited the country to research reports of increasing human rights violations since the start of a police operation on 26 May 1998 to "flush out" armed activists of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN - Maoist).

They found evidence of systematic use of severe torture, including of women held in police custody, committed by police constables as well as senior level police officers at district and regional police headquarters.

The delegation also gathered information on a number of cases of
"disappearance" where suspects had been seen being arrested by police, but the latter subsequently denied their detention. It also interviewed people who had suffered abuse after being kidnapped by armed members of the CPN (Maoist).

In meetings with the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Inspector General of Police, Amnesty International delegates
-- comprising Mr. Jan Borgen, Director of the Norwegian Section of Amnesty International and Ms Elizabeth Rowsell, a member of staff of the International Secretariat in London -- expressed concern at the level of impunity prevalent amongst law enforcement officials.

During these talks, the government showed a lack of commitment to investigate reports of human rights violations. The delegation called on the government to ensure the police force stops murder, torture, "disappearance" and arbitrary detention of people suspected of supporting the armed Maoist movement, as well as members and supporters of mainstream political parties.

As a long term measure aimed at establishing a mechanism of impartial investigation, the delegation urged the Prime Minister in particular to honour his commitment to establish the National Human Rights Commission which has been awaited for more than two years.

There is a need for a clear and integrated approach to solving the deteriorating human rights situation which can only be achieved if all basic human rights are guaranteed. The government should ensure respect for the right to life, the right not to be tortured and the right to full and equal participation in the political and economic life of Nepal.

The organisation is concerned about the apparent increasing politicization of the issue of human rights and by a suggestion that reports of human rights violations are only investigated by the government when raised by MPs in parliament. The Home Minister and Inspector General of Police should take responsibility for investigating all reports of human rights violations, making the findings public and taking action against the perpetrators. The issue of impunity urgently needs to be addressed.

The delegation also asked the Home Minister to take personal responsibility to establish the facts behind several
"disappearances" after arrest by police, including that of Mohan Prasad Oli of Mahatepuri village, Banke District, in June this year. They were told that, contrary to the evidence obtained by Amnesty International, Mohan Prasad Oli had been abducted by CPN (Maoist). While Amnesty International has consistently condemned abuses by members of the CPN (Maoist) the delegation reiterated Amnesty International's appeal for an immediate and impartial investigation into his "disappearance".

The Amnesty International delegation also met a variety of human rights organisations. It found that human rights defenders' activities are being curtailed by government authorities and armed members of the CPN (Maoist). Relatives of torture victims filing cases under the Torture Compensation Act and lawyers defending people suspected of Maoist activities have been threatened by police.

The visit also included meetings with members of the diplomatic missions in Nepal to report on the mission findings. The delegation stressed the need for the Nepalese government to acknowledge that police excesses were more widespread than is being admitted and to check the continuing spell of violence in the country.

<> POLITICO-ECONOMIC RATIONALE OF PEOPLE'S WAR IN NEPAL Com. (Dr.) Baburam Bhattarai Chairman, United People's Front-Nepal


<> Interview with Dr. Baburam Bhattrai by Nepali newspaper The Independant, Vol. V no. 41, Dec. 13-19, 1995

*************************************************************** From: "Kishor parajuli" <> To: <> Subject: information request Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 23:32:42 +0900


I am looking for data on the following : a) the present population of Kathmandu and the rate of increase per year. b) the present traffic situation of Kathmandu Valley (no. of vehicles
,pollution level etc) . c) the level of different environmental indicators( BOD , COD of rivers etc) d) the possibilities ,planning and efforts for the development of Kathmandu valley. I would be extremely grateful if you could also provide me with URLs or any other sources where I can get these informations.

yours sincerely Kishor Parajuli Osaka

******************************************************************** Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 19:09:48 +0700 (GMT+0700) From: Nawa Raj Khatiwada <> Subject: Re: An environmental threat

Dear all,

A recent news on 'WITHERING OF SISSOO TREES IN NEPAL' published on Kantipur of 27th November draws an attention of the researchers concerned to environment and development of Nepal.

Sissoo (Nepali- Seesou, Scientific - Dalbergia Sissoo) plantation became very popular in recent years in Terai region. Sissoo is usually planted along roadsides, riverbanks and even in the cropping fields and is considered as a valuable timber widely used for furniture and other wooden items. During past 15, 20 years, hundreds of hectars of land have been planted with this species for both commercial production and afforestation purposes.

The news says that a recent outbreak of a disease (not known if it is a real disease or an ecological disorder), has caused many sissoo trees to wither (decay) which makes the tree of no use.

I think, it is the responsibility of all concerned reseachers to find out the reason of this threat and suggest mitigating measures to the concerned. I would further like to request Nepali professionals staying out of the country to play a catalystic role to draw the attention of expratriate experts.
    With best regards, Nawa Raj

******************************************************** Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 09:51:53 -0500 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<> To: <>, <> Subject: Mirza Again

                         MP's murder and investigation
                     The brutal and cold-blooded murder of a sitting MP in the
                         heart of the capital and while
                   parliament was in session is an event that the home minister
                         should have resigned on moral
                   grounds, if he had any morality at all. It also gives a clear
                       indication on how inefficient and
                   corrupt the administration plus the police force has become.
                     This is the return that the nation has
                      got for the billions of rupees that the government has
                  invested on the civil administration and the
                   police force during the last eight years. Every home minister
                      and IGP of the last eight years has
                    harped that the law and order situation in the country has
                    never been better, but the real truth is
                        quite different. Anarchy and lawlessness is rampant
                     everywhere, but at the same time, the
                    budget of the home ministry and the size of the police has
                      been increasing annually much faster
                                      than the national GDP.
                    Initial newspaper reports about the murder of Mirza Dilshad
                            Beg, as carried by some
                   newspapers, stated that 9 mm and 7.62mm pistol bullets cases
                         were recovered from the murder
                    site. Later reports released by the police about the bullet
                     cases and the slugs recovered from the
                    murder site differ from the original version. Surprisingly,
                         the police and the high level
                    investigation team comprising of only police officers were
                    also strangely silent twenty days after
                    the shocking murder. The police were very quick in issuing
                      their version of how the murder was
                     committed and the people they think were involved in this
                    brutal act, immediately after the issue
                      of "India Today" with the Chota Rajan interview hit the
                    newsstand and the police version of this
                      crime is very similar, if not an exact version, of the
                  article in "India Today". After hearing the
                      home minister's report to the parliament and the police
                   briefing to the press later the same day,
                    one would think that the Nepalese police had Chota Rajan in
                      their payroll and that Mirza Beg had
                       been under close police surveillance for many years!
                     This gives ample reason to suspect either foul play or a
                  deliberate attempt to conceal the truth. If
                    it is later discovered that there was deliberate attempt to
                      hide the truth, then there could be
                    nothing more damaging to the concept of the rule of law in
                           this new democracy. If the
                    investigation of the murder of a sitting MP cannot be done
                        efficiently and quickly and the
                   murderers identified and apprehended at the earliest and, at
                      any cost, then what sort of law and
                    order can the general public expect from the government and
                          its law enforcing agencies?
                   The main reason that one should not rule out foul play during
                      the investigation is that the Nepal
                   police is the only agency that uses 7.62 pistol in Nepal and
                       this weapon is rare even in India.
                      With the rise in police brutality as well as government
                   sanctioned extra judicial killings by the
                       police, it would be rather foolish not to suspect the
                involvement of the police in this case. This is
                   something that the government appointed judicial inquiry must
                       not ignore if the investigation is
                     to be considered valid. The allegations by various local
                    papers that there was police involvement
                    in this murder and that a police vehicle was used must also
                           be considered gravely and
                      investigated deeply. The extension of the tenure of the
                     judicial commission appointed to look
                   into this case is a positive step provided the commission is
                     trying diligently to get to the truth,
                    but they must be aware that their are powerful forces that
                        are trying to mislead them. The
                      integrity of the members of this commission will have a
                    significant bearing on the report of the
                    commission and as such it is hoped that they were selected
                      very carefully. Extreme care should
                      have been taken while selecting these people who should
                          ideally have been dedicated
                   professionals who have a clean career as well as real respect
                           for the laws of the land.
                     It is sad to see certain newspapers, especially those who
                      have clearly and regularly displayed
                      their political leanings, make headlines of the article
                    carried by "India Today" concerning the
                    cold-blooded murder of a Nepali MP. This is definitely the
                      repulsive side of Nepali journalism
                      and it must stopped at all costs. After eight years of
                   democracy, or standard of journalism seems
                   to have been so polarised that it is virtually impossible to
                    believe any of the newspapers available
                       in the capital and outside the capital. One gets the
                  impression that many of our newspapers have
                              their masters sitting at Delhi durbar.
                    Any person with a little bit of common sense would read the
                         so-called interviews of Chhota
                    Rajan, as printed in "India Today" with a big pinch of salt
                         because there are no means of
                   confirming the validity and the authenticity of what has been
                      printed. There is a good chance that
                   this article has been deliberately printed by people who like
                     to see the national interests of Nepal
                    diluted. How can one believe that Chhota Rajan could be so
                      stupid as to confess to a murder in
                   public? With a bit of common sense, one can see that this is
                       deliberate attempt to mislead the
                    Nepalese public and Chhota Rajan is not capable of playing
                       such a game. Therefor, the logical
                   conclusion would be that there must be a definite involvement
                       of a Bada Rajan residing in either
                   Delhi or Kathmandu who is deeply involved in the planning and
                         execution of this cold-blooded
                          murder, and Chhota Rajan is only a scapegoat.

Subject: Lessons for the Nepalese economy
                   `India can still be a top-growth economy'
                                       Business Times Bureau
                     NEW DELHI: India could be among the three fastest growing
                                economies of the
                   world in 1999, according to president of World Economic Forum
                                 Klaus Schwab.
                    ``If right policies are undertaken, and the momentum is not
                              lost, India could be
                   among the one, two or three fastest growing economies in the
                              world in 1999,'' he
                   said in his opening remarks at the India Economic Summit that
                                 began here on
                    This year, in contrast, Mr Schwab started by commending the
                    resilience'' demonstrated by the Indian economy in the face
                             of the Asian financial
                   Complimenting the Vajpayee government for significant policy
                               initiatives in the
                    areas of power, airports and other infrastructure, he noted
                               the government had
                     started preparing the economy for E-commerce and made the
                               financial services
                                     system more transparent.
                     CII president Rajesh Shah said earlier that the past few
                            months have seen several
                    policy announcements, improved laws, facilitating growth in
                               manufacturing and
                       infrastructure, continuing reform and initiatives to
                          encourage Indian industries
                                    where they are competitive.
                    Although Mr Vajpayee did not announce major policies at the
                                meeting, he did
                   outline a 12-point medium term agenda while reiterating that
                               despite political
                                changes, reforms were irreversible.
                       He promised that the government would strengthen the
                             financial and banking
                    sectors by introducing transparency and accountability and
                                  non-interference by government.
  He listed information technology as a priority in addressing infrastructure
  constraints. The Prime Minister also promised that public sector enterprises
                    would be ``productively restructured''.
                       Mr Vajpayee promised that the government would create
                            strategies to strengthen
                   support base for reforms, especially at the level of states.
                              The government would
                    also ``encourage massive private investments in agriculture
                              and agro processing
                       industry to achieve sustained agricultural growth and
                         widespread rural prosperity,''
                                     the Prime Minister said.
                   In what was essentially a presentation to promote India as an
                   destination, Mr Vajpayee also emphasised the point that India
                             had survived the East
                   Asian crisis. He pointed out that India continued to achieve
                             a GDP growth of ``well
                      over 5 per cent'' with inflation below the double digit
                             number and comfortable
                                    foreign exchange reserves.


*********************************************************************************************** From: "Jeet Joshee" <> To: Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 17:13:54 -500 Subject: (Fwd) 1999 ANA Convention in Connecticut

Dear Editor,

Could you please post the following message in the next edition of TND?

Thank you.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Connecticut. Those of you who do not know me, I am Jeetendra Joshee, your Convention Co-chair for the 1999 ANA Convention. Sharada Bhandari, ANA Vice President, will serve as the other Co-chair.

I realize it is barely December and some of you may not have the time to think about July 1999, but I wanted to bring you up-to-date information about the planning that has been going on in Connecticut to host the 1999 ANA Convention. Additionally, I wanted to let you know of some key people that you might want to be in touch with since we anticipate your participation and seek your help during this Convention. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the people listed below with your suggestions, how you may be of help to us, and the ways to improve our Conventions as many of you have had experience in the past in organizing these events together.

Some Key Information for you to post in your refrigerator:

Convention Dates: July 2-4, 1999 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)

Location: Sheraton Hartford Hotel (Will change to Hartford Hilton in 1999), Hotel is located in downtown Hartford, adjacent to the Hartford Civic Center.

Airport: Bradley International Airport (20 minutes from Hartford, shuttle service available regularly)

Driving Distance: 2 hours from New York City, less than 2 hours from Boston

Highway Access: Interstate 84 East/West and Interstate 91 North/South

The Planning Committee which consists of the Nepali Community in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts is meeting monthly to make arrangements and plan events for the convention. The committe has already selected the site Hartford Sheraton (Hilton in 1999) which is a full scale downtown hotel located in the heart of Hartford. It has an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, and a full workout facility. The guest rooms are equipped with a coffee maker, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, TV, and even Nintendo games.The hotel is adjacent to the Civic Center and the Shopping Mall and is in walking distance or in close proximity to many other local attractions such as Hartford Stage Company, Bushnell Park, Mark Twain House, Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Old State House.

Some of the highlights of ANA 99 include a seperate Children's Cultural Program -"Ramaailo Saanjh", Professional Cultural Show - "Rumjhum", Poetry Festival and Competition, Soccer Matches, Nepali Movies, DJ/Dancing, Yoga session and much more.

Complete information about the Hotel and booking information, and convention registration procedures will be available in early Spring. In the menatime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Jeetendra Joshee, Convention Co-chair, phone 860-742-6854, email: or

The Program Committee is Chaired by Bidya Ranjeet, phone 860-423-5564, e-mail address is For the first time in ANA convention planning history, we will be asking you all to submit proposals in your topics of interests to be presented at the Convention. We are doing this to improve our convention forums with your suggestion and the input we have gotten from past participants. You have the option to present solo or in groups if you want to put a complete panel together with 5 or 6 presenters. All selected single proposals will be matched in one of the realted forum area by the committee. Additionally, we are trying to organize family oriented fun filled activities. You can organize these activities yourself and fully participate in them. In the proposal, we are asking you to submit what family activities you would like to organize.

The call for proposal is already out and will be (if not already) posted in the ANA web page Also, the proposal will be printed in the next edition of the ANA Newsletter. Please print out the porposal form from the web site or find it in the newsletter and submit your session propsal by March 15, 1999. Please give Bidya or myself a call if you have any questions.

We will continue with our convention tradition to hold the Nepali Poetry Festival and Competition. In order to allow for more participation, this event will be held the second day July 3rd instead of the customarily done the first night. Hari Koirala is Chairing this activity, phone 860-456-1657, e-mail You may submit your poem either for the competition or just to be part of the festival. All poems entered into the competition will be judged by a panel of judges.This event, with rich cultural values to all of us has been well recevied in the past conventions. Please be part of this and lets see your poetic side. The Call for Proposal contains a section to submit your poem for the convention. Or give Hariji a call if you have any questions.

The Professional Cultural Show - "Rumjhum" and the Children's Cultural Program - "Ramaailo Saanjh" is being coordinated by Sita Koirala, phone 860-456-1657, e-mail and Narendra Ranjeet, phone 860-423-5564, e-mail The Children's program will be held the second night July 3rd, and the Professional program will be presented the last night on July 4th. Complete information about these activities will be forth coming shortly. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Sitaji or Narendraji if you are interested in being part of this activity.

Soccer matches representing different cities and teams will be held the 2nd and the 3rd day. This event is being coordinated by Ganesh Basnet, phone 413-785-1129, e-mail There is a section in the program porposal for you to enter your team for this event. Normally we have had 4-5 teams in the past. Due to the time constraint, we may not be able to accomodate more than 4 teams. If you have any questions please give Ganeshji a call.

We want to make your convention attendance as pleasurable and hospitable as possible. Therefore, we have formed a Hospitality Committee so that we may answer any of your questions about the area or any other questions you may have while you are in Connecticut. While you may approach any one of us, this committee is being coordinated by Geeta Pfau, phone 860-456-4153, e-mail

Convention Registration, pre and during the convention will be coordinated by Subarna Joshee, phone 860-742-6854, e-mail and Hemanta Shrestha, phone 860-487-0046, e-mail Convention Registration information will be published in the ANA web site and also in the ANA newsletter. We strongly recommend that you pre-register for the convention which will help us tremendously in making logistical arrangements with the Hotel, Banquet Caterer and so on.

We believe that a convention of this nature and magnitude will not be successful without the participation and help from all members of the community. This is your convention. Therefore, we would like to hear from you so that we can cater the needs of our larger membership. I encourage you all to be part of it - by either submitting a session proposal, having your child dance in the cultural program, playing a soccer game, reciting a poem or simply giving us a call with your suggestion and lending a hand.

Watch for more information on ANA Convention 1999. For now -

Respectfully Yours,

Dr. J. Joshee, Executive Program Director Center for Professional Development and University Conference Services University of Connecticut (860)486-3231 Fax:(860)486-5221

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 10:09:46 +0530 From: NEPAL MEDICAL COLLEGE <> To: Subject: Health Transition in Nepal Conference: Call for Papers

Conference on Health Transition in Nepal: Call for Papers

An international conference on "Health Transition in Nepal" is being planned for the later part of 1999.

Family Health International is the lead organizor for this conference to be held in Kathmandu. The co-oganizers are being finalized.

The conference may cover, but not necessarily limited to, the following topics:

* impact of parental education on child survival and health,
* impact of women's position on their own and their children's survival,
* impact of newly arrived health facilities in traditional areas,
* morbidity and mortality differentials between relatively
  inaccessible and accessible areas and explantations for differendes,
  health system,
* interactions between changes in the health system and changing
* statistical information on morbidity and mortality trends as well
  those of social indicators,
* traditional and transitional family structures and their
  implications for health and treatment decisions,
* sequences of treatment decisions as differentiated by education,
  occupation etc.,
* impact of family planning and smaller families on child health.

The conference organizing committee is inviting persons interested in attending and presenting papers to submit, via email or post, a brief preliliminary outline of the paper. The outline should include the main objective of the paper, data source and methodology.

On behalf of the Organising Committee, I would like to request you to send/e-mail a write-up of your interests and tentatively title of your paper. Approximately six months of time will be set aside for interested persons to submit the paper(s) after the suggested topics are selected by the Organising Committee.
  Please send your preliminary topic(s) and author(s) by the end of January 1999 to:

Debendra Karki, PhD Email:

Mailing address:

Department of Community Medicine Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital P O Box 13344 Jorpati Kathmandu, NEPAL.

Those who would like more specific information may contact:

Shyam Thapa, PhD Senior Scientist Family Health International Nepal Population & Reproductive Health Office E-mail:

Mailing address:

GPO Box 8975 EPC 1523 Kathmandu, Nepal

************************************************************** Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 11:35:30 -0500 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<> To: <> Subject: NAFTA-SAFTA

Tuesday December 1, 10:27 PM

Workshop on NAFTA-SAFTA begins in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU, Dec 1 (AFP) - A five-day workshop on the North Atlantic Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and South Asia Association for Regional CooperationFree Trade Area
(SAFTA) began here Tuesday.<p>The workshop, jointly organized by the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu and the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) was inaugurated by Nepalese Minister of State for Commerce Jagat Bahadur Bogati, SAARC Secretariat officials said.<p>The SAARC, established in 1985 groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.<p> Economic experts, CIDA representatives, government officials from SAARC nations, academics and representatives of the private sector are participating in the workshop.<p>"The move towards closer economic cooperation among developing countries and eventually formation of economic union allows member countries to reap not only static efficiency in terms of resource allocation but also dynamic efficiency by widening the extent of market inducing innovations ..."he said.<p> They would also benefit by "... transferring technology, skills and entrepreneurship and thereby increasing productivity," Bogati said.<p>Bogati hoped the workshop would be a positive contribution towards the realisation of a free trade area in the South Asian region.<p>The state minister also charactarised SAARC as a regional economic grouping at a "nascent" stage with much to learn from the experience of the NAFTA which could be a guideline for the SAFTA.<p>Speaking at the same occasion, Canadian Ambassador to Nepal Peter F. Walker discussed the special interest Canada had in free trade arrangements and its contributions towards negotiating and strengthening multi-lateral arrangements.<p>Walker encouraged the SAARC nations to persue the goal of free trade in the region.

*********************************************************** Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 06:33:41 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <> Subject: Review 1

Much Hullabaloo A review By Manjushree Thapa

BOOK: Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard By Kiran Desai New Delhi: Viking, 1998; IRS 295

Kiran Desai's first novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard has met with steady applause from the literary world; excerpts have been printed in the New Yorker, and in Salman Rushdie's cannon-forming new anthology of Indian fiction Mirrorwork (to be reviewed in the next issue of the KPBR). Indeed, Desai's novel contains the most fashionable must-have ingredients of contemporary Indian English fiction: lush landscapes, muddleheaded natives, quaint language and a whimsical plot. What it strikingly lacks is difficult, challenging insight into human nature or Indian society.
        Hullabaloo's basic premise is lighthearted, but not lacking in promise: frustrated with the dullness of his life, the dimwitted but goodhearted postal worker Sampath Chawla climbs a guava tree and finds treetop conditions so much more pleasant than those at home, he decides to live there. At first mortified, his father soon finds a way to market his son as a local baba.

Sampath's coddling mother is avenged by her son's deification, and uses the occasion to unleash her suppressed talent for cooking unlikely dishes
- "quail eggs, snail eggs, liver of a wild boar, tail of a wild cat" - from ingredients found in the guava orchard. Sampath's sister, meanwhile, is distressed about the effects of her brother's new lifestyle upon her marriage prospects. What ensues is a slightly overlong romp involving a band of drunken monkeys, the Superintendent of Police, the Chief Medical Officer, the Brigadier, a spy from the Atheist Society, the waiter at the Hungry Hop restaurant, the local post office staff, and Sampath's devotees.

        Hullabaloo's intention is to entertain, and considerable sections of the novel succeed in doing so. The opening, comprised of snippets of newspaper reports about an ongoing drought, shows off Desai's talent for observing local absurdities - reasons for the drought include volcanic activity in Tierra del Fuego and a plot by Iraq to steal the monsoon. The book also contains passages of great beauty, and Desai has a deft, evocative way with words. And yet the novel creates a facile effect that is ultimately disappointing.

        Much of this problem stems from the flatness of Desai's characters, who tend to be caricatures incapable of psychological complexity. Sampath's mother, who is perhaps the most carefully portrayed character, spends most of her life possessed by a near-mystical passion for cooking. Because she is written so imaginatively, the reader feels her passion. But the other characters lack depth. Sampath himself remains obscure in motivation after inhabiting the guava tree, and his father and sister seem to be written with the primary intention of providing comic relief.

        In societies where individuality is greatly obscured by rigid roles (determined by caste or ethnicity, for example), it is common for people to view each other as socially prescribed types like the stiff bureaucrat, the corrupt cop, the greedy Bahun. These stereotypes are the beginning point for character development in much South Asian English fiction; while some authors (like Kiran's mother Anita Desai) expose the prickly individual lurking behind crude social masks, others (like Salman Rushdie) exaggerate stereotypes in order to explore flaws in their construction. Desai's typified characters do not make the reader question the mismatch between the individual and the social types they exemplify; instead her characters conform to these types and allow readers to remain unchallenged in their views about people and society.

        This said, Hullabaloo can be a good introductory book to contemporary Indian English fiction for teenage readers, who might appreciate the novel's quirkiness. Desai's language, marked as it is by familiar South Asian grammars, constructions and accents, will undoubtedly provide the Nepali teenager moments of linguistic self-recognition that can make her/him feel more at home in the English language. Young readers may thus be turned on to other works of fiction emerging from this part of the world.

M. Thapa is a writer based in Kathmandu.

Delusion's Games by Wayne Amtzis

BOOK: Morning Raga for Sun Ra by Wesley Ames New York: Copper Mountain Press, 1998 Neither this book nor this author exists. This review is a work of the imagination, a work in progress-one of delusion's games.

In Morning Raga for Sun Ra Wesley Ames goes for the ephemeral jugular. No longer do the exigencies and epiphanies of daily life dominate his gaze; it's the thief in the house-language itself-that's caught his attention. Staking language's survival on its postmodern demise, the book opens with Ames' paean to the intergalactic musings of the musician Sun Ra. Erratic, incoherent, chaotic, this river of disjointed phrases jangling among themselves offers moments of brilliance and eddies of obfuscation.

With an onrush of words and phrases, with broken syntax, punning assonance, misspellings that trigger asides, the poem offers language but withholds meaning. Sensing that the sounding presence of voice will not override incapacities of language, and that stunned incoherence may not bring the reader into the poem, as a reader himself, Ames pauses:

"these mistakes take time and in the mean time we are here"

Then, through repetition and variation, the poem winds back upon itself, forcing the harshness of juxtaposed and unfinished phrasing to sieve through to lines that work, that finally make sense.

"we are two strands --not tangled not knotted woven of one weaving

the light we give

                purified given again

Am/Pm, a series of journal entries written by Ames in the hours before dawn follows upon this re-evaluation and revelation. Experiences of the immediate day linked to events and persons in the past and dreams the poet has just woken from alternate. The recollections quickly move down the page, while the dreams meander. Soon the prose like lines dominate, and an indistinguishable sense of wonder and futility suffuses Ames' world. With his waking voice Ames intrudes. The lived and dreamed reality ("waking dream daydream dream itself") in so far as we speak of them are all marked by delusion.

"winds that carry it lips and tongue that mark it all say "delusion"

undeluded would I speak in this manner? would you bend to hear me?"

Carried away by this rhetoric Ames hangs the axiom
"language=delusion" over the final portal of the book.

The linked poems in Box 37: phrases (in response) are from personal correspondence. Here we are not privy to these letters, but are shown Ames' words spoken anew. Though it is hard not to be seduced by the chosen phrases, the reader drawn back to the work, wondering who is being spoken to, is not yet willing to take on the guises of the unidentified respondents.

The poet's game is to leave us mid-sentence-"our phrases our words/ always in response/ one half the correspondence/ always to be filled in." In these dialogues with absent others, however, Ames falls into his own trap. The respondent's voice is absent and the reader will not be baited. The need to be heard and to hear another speak doubles back upon itself:

" be with you to be you I will hear I will listen tell me your name tell me mine tell me what to say

when you tell me what to say tell me what to say tell me tell me you are here you are there

tell me." If this is a cry in the wilderness, Ames would do well to reread his Godot-no one is there.

In his twelfth book Wesley Ames asks more of the reader than he has previously; yet he senses this. In the title poem, unstoppable force is abandoned for light that plays across the current. In Am/Pm the structure of dream indemnifies Ames' world; futility is borne with wonder. It is only in Box 37: phrases (in response) that Ames cannot account for his demands. The jaded reader thirsts for details and will not allow, as the poet would, imagination, no matter how lyrical, to compensate. To console.

(W. Amtzis teaches meditation at the Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center.)

NRIs in Nepal By C. K Lal

The clamber into the hills from the plains below is as old as history. The Mahavarata mentions the Kirat Kings of the Himalayas, and Emperor Ashoka trekked to the birthplace of the Buddha and erected a pillar on the spot. Adi Shankara is believed to have set the tradition that only Keralites Brahmans of a certain sect could be eligible for priesthood in the holy shrine of Pashupatinath.

Raja Harisingh, the Tirhut king of Karnataka origin, fled to Kathmandu valley upon pursuit by the invading Muslim army and founded a culture that continues to give the valley its distinctive identity. But all these visitors didn't come in hordes, and were easily assimilated into the local population.=20

The early 20th century clearing of the Terai forests by the nobles of Kathmandu valley, and an almost simultaneous famine in the neighboring states of Bengal, Bihar and Abadh, forced many Indians to choose a life of considerable difficulty in the plains of Nepal. Over time, they came to be known as Madhesis - people of the Madhes. Never a term of endearment, Madhesi has degenerated into a label of scorn, and can mean anything from being devious, dirty, cruel, uncouth or - a plain Indian.

Not Man, a Madhesi Old-timers insist that there is no exaggeration to the following anecdote, and that it is based on real life. In the days when there were no toilets, the ladies of noble families also visited the banks of Bagamati to attend to the calls of nature. Some of them had servants.=20

These servants were instructed to shout 'Man' to save the ladies the embarrassment of exposed derri=E8res. On one misty winter morning, a servant could not recognize a Madhesi and did the shouting as per the instructions. The lady sat up, threw a glance towards the intruder, and resumed her business nonchalantly. The ignorant servant was duly reprimanded, "Didn't you see? He was a Madhesi, not a man." Ladies go to toilet nowadays, but this attitude has not changed much.=20

Handy Goblin

In the Hindi blockbuster of all times, Ramesh Sippy's 'Sholay,' a mother would instill the fear of Gabbar in her child if it wept at night. The goblin evoked in the Valley of Gods is handier - mothers here simply have to mention a Madhesi, pronounced Madishe. The symbol so taken is often a poor little Bihari with a jute sack on his shoulders, calling from house to house collecting empty beer bottles and old newspapers. Braving the stray dogs, abusive natives, resentful street children and a less than tolerant police force, these hapless scavengers provide a service without which Kathmandu would become one huge refuse dump. Nobody is grateful. The government has already levied a tax on their cargo, and there is clamor for more levies on them.=20

Onion, Potato and Tomato

Until Biharis came with their cycles, street vendors were almost unknown in the Valley. These days, one can buy anything from carpets to cosmetics, fruits and vegetables, utensils, toys and tin-food from these very enterprising salesmen from across the border. Their Nepali is a joy to hear and lends itself so well to caricature that Nepal Television cannot produce a single soap without them.=20

They do not take offense if haggled with rudely. Even their merchandise compares well in price and quality with the those in the burgeoning departmental stores in Kathmandu. And what do they get in return? Eight to ten people lodging in dingy basements, abuses from anyone with an urge to vent his or her anger, and a small profit at the end of the day to money-order back home to Laloodom.

Moneyed Marwaris

There was a time when Marwaris were respected as sahujees. No more. These days, they are depicted more as practitioners of unfair trade practices. They are assumed to be harmful for the nation's economy, in spite of being one of the largest private sector employers and the largest tax-paying community. If a local smuggler is caught sneaking in goodies, he is dismissed as a misguided person. To turn him into an object of sympathy, associate his name with any manipulative Marwari - real or fictional.=20

The clamor of blood would be astounding. This, despite the fact that no big-time Marwari runs his show entirely on his own - the norm, rather than the exception, is to have a local noble as a sleeping partner, often with a controlling interest. Many Marwaris insist that people of their community who arrived from Burma in the 1970's cheated the government and gave them a bad name. Be that as it may, the fact is that they have become minor players in foodstuff and textiles, lucrative trades that they had dominated for years.=20

Competitive Craftsmen Plumbers from Udisa, electricians from UP, carpenters from Bihar, bricklayers from Bengal - one can't build a house without them these days in Kathmandu. Contractors love them - they work longer hours for lower payment. Owners like them too - they hardly need any holidays. But the traditional craftsmen from Kirtipur and Madhyapur are not happy about these aliens who have undercut them out of the market. Hence a call for their ouster can arouse frenzy.

At middle class dinner tables, much concern is shown about Indian domination of the Nepalese labor market, but come daylight, these bleeding hearts go to Kopundole, Baneshwar or Kalimati and hire an Indian hand at nearly half the going rate of a comparable Nepali laborer. Free-market and jingoism survive cheek-by-jowl without any contradiction.=20

Labor and Religion Even Nepalese employers do not like local laborers. Apart from being too easygoing, they are often considered to be potential troublemakers. They prefer Madhesis instead, whose lower salaries, longer working hours and lack of rights to organize make them attractive. This has resulted in a situation where almost all garment workers are Indian.=20

Indian dyers man the Nepalese carpet industry and till yesterday, nearly all machine-men were Bengali. A large number of these immigrants are Muslims who take up the whole thoroughfare in front of the Royal Palace for Jumma Nawaz. It does not help the flow of traffic that Fridays are half working days. The Kashi, Kashmir, Ajab, Nepal attraction for the Indian tourists is gone. Earlier they were amazed to see a more beautiful valley than Kashmir peopled by more devout Hindus than in Benares. These days, Muradabadi Muslims dominate the brass-ware market and Kashmiri Muslims enjoy a near monopoly in high-end handicrafts sales. Once again, a case of Hindu Shangri-la gone sour in the only Hindu Kingdom of the world.=20

Identity Crisis

Having nothing to differentiate them from their temporary immigrant brothers, Madhesis who have made Nepal their home find themselves at the receiving end of much misplaced scorn. Consider the Nepali proverb that a dead Madhesi more cunning than a living Nepali; picture a Pahariya Bahun with his Yadav compatriot from the plains, and one might have to turn the old adage on its head. Any Madhesi is suspect in the valley. They have to keep proving their allegiance to the country, very much like Hindus in Sri Lanka and Muslims in India.=20

This is ironic in a way, because Madhesis have less dependence on India than many Pahariyas who have, for generations, been saluting the tricolor for their livelihood. Madhesis pretend to support Pakistani players in Indo-Pakistan cricket matches to impress their friends, but go home and weep in silence over India's defeat. This would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic. If not for themselves, the Indian team should get into the habit of winning every now and then to keep the morale of the Diaspora high.=20

Vital Statistics

Nepal has India's largest diplomatic establishment in the world, barring England, with whom they have an altogether different kind of relationship. What this diplomatic corps does to keep employed is a mystery. The Hindi term for a country bumpkin is "Vadheshi." One thing is for sure, these diplomats do not stoop low enough to associate with local Madhesis - no matter whether resident or immigrant.=20

(CK Lal is a prolific columnist.)

The Politics of Medicine by Dr. Saroj Dhital

BOOK: Doctors for Democracy: Health Professionals in the Nepal Revolution by Vincanne Adams London: Cambridge University Press, 1998

        When the decades of discontent accumulating among the people reached a critical point in 1990, the People's Movement exploded, overthrowing the Panchayat regime. For the most part, popular discontent was aimed at the rampant corruption and violation of human rights.

        Less than a decade after the movement for democracy, people seem totally disenchanted with the way democracy is being practiced in the country. Those same people who were ready to give their lives to achieve multiparty democracy are - perhaps painfully but silently - watching revivalists' attempts to bring back an absolute monarchy.

        It seems that the country has reached a dangerous point. Discontent has been accumulating again, but not enough energy is left in the people to lead to a catharsis. Corruption and the violation of human rights - the evils that the people hoped to get rid of through the democratic movement - are making their grand presence felt, and nothing substantial is being done to counter these evils.

        It has become imperative at this point to review people's motivations and expectations of the 1990 People's Movement, and to look back upon the nature of that movement.

        Just at this moment, Doctors for Democracy: Health Professionals in the Nepal Revolution, the work of a western scholar, has established its presence in Kathmandu bookstalls. The title, naturally, creates a strong appeal for students of the Nepali revolution. It is not surprising if the reader expects to find in Vincanne Adam's book the answers to some of the above questions relating to the People's Movement.

        Published as one of the works of the "Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology" series, the book appears in a nice getup. It gives a rather detailed account of how health professionals worked for the revolution. In spite of some obvious errors in chronology and in some minute details-which is but natural in a work done retrospectively by a foreigner-Doctors for Democracy provides a vivid and detailed picture of health professionals' involvement in the Movement.

        From the beginning, Adams introduces important philosophical discussions into her text. At a time when nothing serious of this sort is forthcoming from those intellectuals allied to political parties which claim to be the leaders and architects of the 1990 rebellion, the appearance of a foreign book analyzing our democracy movement in a philosophical plane is, of course, very much welcome.

        Leafing through the first few pages of the book, it is evident that Adams' work is largely based on interviews with Nepali doctors, the most important being her interviews and interactions with Professor Mathura Shrestha. In fact, her conversations with the professor before and after the Movement have served as the window through which she tries to look at the democracy movement.

        Although the title of the book Adams has chosen gives her liberty to focus on Nepali physicians' role in the Movement, her opening remarks that the "participation of Nepali physicians in their revolution marked the rise of a professional class exercising a distinctively modern form of power in Nepal" sounds a little too exaggerated and belittling of the role of other intellectuals.

        Adams seems intrigued by the thinness of the boundary between the use of politics for people's health, and the vulgar politicizing of medicine. She tries hard, through most of the book, to justify the political actions of medical professionals. In the Nepali context, this fact is so obvious that her exercise was not necessary at all.

        Adams presumes that the prototype of Nepali doctors participating in the Movement consisted of those committed to the Alma-Ata declaration. In truth, at least four different kinds of medical doctors were involved in the Movement. This is evident even from the small sample of doctors she has interviewed. While there were doctors who had more or less clear visions, and who could easily correlate politics to people's health, some others were involved in politics simply because of familiar or historical ties to some politicians.

        For the latter, politics was not at all associated with their profession. Besides them, there were other doctors who were totally unconcerned with politics, but who chose to help the Movement reactively, after witnessing the bloodshed and the blatant violation of human rights. Finally, of course, there were the omnipresent opportunists who opposed the Movement until it became evident that it would end in success, and then switched to the side of the rebels at the last hour.
        Failing to make a simple distinction between these different categories of medical professionals, Adams forces herself into the tiresome exercise of trying to solve her self-created riddle concerning politicization and medicine. This has made her book unnecessarily long, boring, and difficult to comprehend for the average reader.
        Adams rightly points out that the patrimonialist culture of the social fabric of Nepal has created impediments in modernization. But unfortunately, she equates patrimonialism with collectivism. Throughout the book, she takes collectivism negatively, while glorifying possessive individualism. Even in the introductory chapter, she admits that the collectivism inherent in Nepali society has, in her opinion, created an impediment in the modernization of the country. To her, corruption, nepotism, backwardness and all the darker aspects of Nepali society find fertile grounds in the collectivism inherent in Nepali society.
        Should collectivism be understood as a culture of slaves in a patrimonial order, or a process of expansion of the Self and the thinning of ego boundaries? Is individualism a process that shrinks the Self and thickens ego boundaries, or a process that unfolds human potential? Adams misunderstands both these terms in the Nepali context.
        But this misinterpretation is not difficult to understand. She laments the fact that Nepali doctors and intellectuals are preoccupied with and tied to Nepaliness in their drive for science, modernity, and democracy. For her, the universal nature and objectivism in science and modernity rule out this possibility. Her very mechanistic way of thinking is evident when she talks about the "production" of different "truths" but fails to conceal her great faith in the "truth" produced in the West.
        Reading Doctors for Democracy, one can feel that in spite of Adams' bias (which she has revealed very honestly) she is very sympathetic to the Nepali people. One can even feel the pain she is suffering while being torn between her beliefs on one hand and the reality of Nepal that she witnessed on the other.
        Doctors for Democracy has, indeed, challenged Nepali intellectuals to find answers to some fundamental questions regarding the Nepali revolution. The degeneration of political parties into piles of stinking garbage is perhaps heralding the need for another revolution beyond the realms of power politics: a movement that would nourish and be nourished by the "micropower" authored by Foucault, who Adams frequently quotes in her work.

(S. Dhital is a surgeon at the Kathmandu Model Hospital.)

Through the Looking Glass of Indian Fiction by Rob Millman

BOOK: Mirrorwork: Fifty Years of Indian Writing Edited by Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth West New York: Henry Holt, 1997 and London: Vintage, 1997

Mirrorwork is a rich and colourful tapestry of selections from thirty two works-either novels, short stories or memoirs-prefaced by Jawaharlal Nehru's famous "Tryst with Destiny" speech delivered on the eve of independence in 1947. The anthology is not strictly
"Indian" in the broadest sense of the term, for it is a collection of only English language writing. But in his preface, Salman Rushdie argues convincingly and with wry, self-deprecating humour that neither partition nor international boundaries can restrict or define the richness and variety of Indian writing, nor contain the impact that Indian writers are making on contemporary world literature.

        Like Alice in Through the Looking Glass, Mirrorwork's readers may cast their gaze over the mirror or truly enter in. Why have certain pieces been included? Is there some intrinsic value in each piece, whether political, historical or literary, which escapes us? Do the short stories achieve the evocative quality and focused incisiveness that marks the best of this ever-expanding genre? Are the extracts from longer works sufficiently self-contained and coherent to stand alone?

        Initially, neither Nehru's speech, Sahgal's 'With Pride and Prejudice' or G.V. Desani's 'All About H. Hatterr' conform to a style that rests easily with the reader. The first is crafted for history. The second bears witness to the death of Gandhi through the youthful eyes and emotions of a member of the ruling political dynasty. And the third is a kaleidoscope of language, imagery, events, people and places, which at first appears to mystify a little, and amuse at best. Juxtaposed in between, and in stark contrast to these three pieces, stands the allegorical and historically accurate tale of 'Toba Tek Singh,' capturing the absurdity of partition for those whose lives were already circumscribed by imprisonment in asylums on the wrong side of the divide.

        The excerpt by Desani begins elliptically: "The name is H. Hatterr, and I am continuing. Biologically, I am fifty-five of the species." But go through the looking glass. Piece together the life and language of a dispossessed Anglo-Indian. Allow the writing to coalesce. What emerges is a character with a passionate desire to do more than just survive the epochal changes that have destroyed the ease and comfort of his pre-ordained way of life. Discover his anger, his humor and his compassion, and you have begun to unravel the riches that lie ahead in Mirrorwork.

        Each early piece in the anthology paves the way for a collection of writings that expand in content and style to explore themes of class, caste, religions, social and family relations, duty, power, sexuality, mystical experience and sensual imagery. There are some magical evocations of place, of mood and of landscapes. There are also chilling and frightening reminders of the harshness of climate, poverty and hunger, as well as the brutality that can assail individuals and entire communities. Yet do not be mislead. Mirrorwork is not a covert political treatise on post-independence India. What it offers is a broad swathe of work from established and emerging writers that is pre-eminently literary, always entertaining, and quite frequently insightful and informative.

        Whether viewed through the eyes of a child ('Rana's Story' by Bapsi Sadwah and 'Games at Twilight' by Anita Desai), or the eyes of a youth ('Trying to Grow' by Firdaus Kanga), or those of an adult ('Meatless Days' by Sara Suleri), or those of the writer ('In the Mountains' by Ruth Prawer Jhabwala), there emerges in many characterizations and portrayals a deeply felt search to rediscover or hold on to personal belief, and a desire to assert individual human identity in a world where everything and nothing changes constantly, and sometimes overwhelmingly. This wonderful paradox is most finely and acutely displayed in the wit and humor of Anjana Appachana's short story, 'Sharmaji.' Every single reader, of whatever age or background, will find some personal trait or characteristic reflected in the mirror of this particular tale.

        Mirrorwork is a fine collection of writings with a mere handful of selections that perhaps owe more to the inclinations of the editors than to the tastes of, and recognition given by, a broader readership. As an invitation to see what lies through the looking glass of Indian writing, it offers a superb introduction to a host of writers whose work deserves to be read as widely as possible.
--------------------------------------------------------------- ANOTHER Review

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry London: Faber and Faber, 1995

If Mirrorwork offers a glimpse of the wealth and depth of Indian writing, then Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance plunges headlong into that world. Set in Bombay and its rural environs during the time of Indira Ghandi's internal emergency, this novel follows the fate of four ordinary people whose lives slowly and inexorably intertwine as their individual struggles bring them together. Mistry plays with time, introducing each of the four characters within the first few pages of the novel, only to steer us back in time on a voyage of discovery.

Through the struggles of caste and communalism in rural villages, through the withering of traditional life in the mountains as roads and commercialism bring exploitation in their wake, through the rigid patriarchal control of tightly controlled family life and an early tragic loss, the characters are propelled outwards, forwards, and ultimately drawn into the tight confines of Bombay. There, the powerful undercurrents of the emergency will define the direction and interdependent fate of each life.
        Through the eyes, minds, hearts, lives and emotions of the characters Dina, Ishvar, Omprakash and Maneck, Mistry unfolds a world that is as harsh in its oppression and inhumanity as any writer could wish to depict, without resorting to crude shock tactics. The excesses of the emergency are powerfully portrayed and skillfully understated. Onto this background of real events-police round-ups, feudalistic goon squads, enforced sterilization and worse-are grafted the lives of his main characters. Yet throughout this moving story, drama and tension evolves primarily around the growing tolerance, attraction, and tenderness, within and between the main characters in their shared lives and inter-dependency. There are many characters and events in the supporting cast which add to the seamless richness of this novel. A Fine Balance is both moving and enthralling, with perhaps one inevitable and pardonable weakness, namely, that it has to come to an end.

(The name is R. Millman, and I am continuing. Biologically, I am fifty-one of the species.)

Blowing One's Own Trumpet By CK Lal

The Call of Nepal by JP Cross Kathmandu: Series II Volume 17 of Bibliotheca Himalayica, 1998.

It is pointless to pretend that this review is unprejudiced. Colonel Cross does not hold Madhesis, or Indians, as he chooses to call them in Nepal, in very high esteem. The antagonism is mutual. This reviewer is a Madhesi and harbors a rather ambivalent attitude towards Gurkhas in general and their English officers in particular.

        The Call of Nepal has been placed by its editor and publishers in Series II of Bibliotheca Himalayica, the category that deals with linguistics, biography and literature. In its attempt to be all three, it ends up being just a crude effort at self-glorification. Confusion is evident in its every page.

        Take the linguistics part first. A mercenary, according to Oxford Dictionary, is a soldier hired to fight in a foreign army. Colonel Cross does not accept such 'a strained interpretation' of the term. Instead, he chooses the terms laid down by an 'Ad Hoc Committee of the United Nations' that was 'considering a possible draft convention!' Some straining, that. With this kind of language, it is no wonder that the author failed almost every examination he took in his life. The fault never lay with him, of course. As he makes one of his characters say, "You did not fail. They did not pass you."

        The book is only slightly better as an autobiography. As it is, it's extremely challenging to examine oneself. Thoreau once said, "It is as hard to see oneself as to look backwards without turning around." An additional difficulty arises in this case because officers aren't the best of people to either look back or turn around. In a flash of candor remarkable for an English and even more so for a colonial soldier, the author admits, "None of us are as good as we think we are or would like to be and I was no exception." Correct the tense and replace 'was' with 'am' and you realize what a difficult read this book is.

        "The two names taught in the village school were the King of Nepal's and mine," says the exalted colonel, who mentions without a twinge of embarrassment: "Men would come to me with bowed head for my blessings." The author is enlisted into the Indian Army as a BOR--British Other Ranks--and remains its phonetic equivalent all his life.

        The literature part of the book is a little less insulting to the intelligence. Despite, or maybe because of the author's extraordinary lack of formal education, the prose sparkles with occasional wit and passages of noteworthy narration. Whenever he puts his argumentative style to rest and lets his observations do the listening and his emotions do the talking, the result is a pleasure to read. He is in his element telling the story of Buddhiman Gurung.

        Yet the book abounds with many instances of intended slight. The author claims, without even making an attempt to hide his nastiness, "The living legend that is the military mark of Gurkhas' greatness is, to an extent, the reflection of the high caliber of British officers who have served selflessly with them for so many years." Elsewhere he observes that poverty is paraded almost proudly and then pontificates, "Before Nepal could be saved from Indian or Chinese hegemony, it had to be saved from itself."

        Then there is Colonel Cross's rank ignorance to reckon with. For him, tika is a caste-mark, though even an occasional tourist to Nepal knows it to be a religion-mark used by all castes. Such a man was a historian to our army and a researcher at the supposedly prestigious Center of Nepal and Asian Studies at the Tribhuvan University. Remember the moving stanza from Bhupi Sherchan's famous poem: we are brave, because we are stupid? Colonel Cross knows this only too well, hence has the gall to quote with glee, "To be tasty, radishes have to be buried; to be good, a Nepali has to be pressed."

        This book should be made required reading for all those who favor the continuation of Gurkha recruitment; they would realize what a shame it is. Just as our grinding poverty cannot justify the selling of our sisters in Sonagachhi, selling our brothers in the name of obscure treaties and lack of opportunity in our own country is indefensible.

        "In comfortless camps, in sweltering offices, in gloomy dark bungalows smelling of dust and earth-oil, they earn, perhaps, the right to be a little disagreeable," wrote George Orwell in Burmese Days, way back in 1935. Colonel Cross asserts this right only too forcefully with his ramblings in the form of a book. "Nepalis have a touching faith in the sanctity and infallibility of written words," he observes, and hints darkly that he may be reborn as a Christian in the royal palace of Kathmandu and become the leader of the country.

        In a nutshell, this book is a load of crap, all two hundred and forty-one pages of it bristling with racial overtones and colonial snootiness. Read it to test your patience in taking insults and soldiering the brown man's burden of putting up with the white ones' ignorance coupled with impertinence.

(CK Lal likes to believe he is a multidisciplinary student.)

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