The Nepal Digest - December 20, 1997 (7 Poush 2054 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sat Dec 20, 1997: Poush 7 2054BS: Year6 Volume69 Issue4
 

              SEASON'S GREETINGS! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Today's Topics:

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****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 15:59:31 +0000 From: greta@icimod.org.np To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: reply to Mickey Veich aka P.R.Bajracharya

Dear Mickey Veich,

       You get your knickers in a twist don't you boy? I happen to have worked for over 20 years on Nepali wages. I happen to know that Nepal has little to offer in terms of incentive( Incidentally I find your comments verging on the racist, particularly about N.A.Indians), but I also happen to know
(because I've been on the other side also ) that ex-pats for the most part are not here for charity,don't kid yourself. Some are very good, no doubt, and if you had any idea at all how the conversation started you would know that it was in answer to a specific statement made. I also get annoyed by the tacit asssumption that all ex-pats are coming here to do good for poor Nepalis, that Nepalis are third-rate, and that they all run away if they can to wonderful countries that are so much better than this one. There's very little in the development game in this world that is not politically motivated. Mostly it's simply 'keeping the doors shut'. Incidentally,spare the Marxist twaddle based on your book learning.I go too far back for that.

I had great-grandparents at the communist internationals who rejected the concepts and played an instrumental part in laying down functioning democratic institutions in their country, so spare me the lectures on Marxism , I was brought up in a politically literate family and am not some dumb female
,which is obviously what you presime by the invective. Tractors do not work,incidentally on steep gradients. A little geological and cartographical logistics wouldn't hurt. I'm afraid development has learned a lot from its mistakes, for the most part mistakes that need not have been made .The Peace Corps is not under attack here, but think of the goodwill it earned the American government at low cost.Obviously you are proud of America's democratic traditions, but contrary to your belief, it is not the oldest democracy. There are one or two older,small, quite insignificant nations obviously to your way of thinking, or perhaps you've never heard of them(incidentally I'm not talking about the U.K. , but their Civil war certainly predated yours).Nor do I think that judging by the often overt prejudice against the American black community that these wonderful democratic principles have been totally internalised by the whole of your nation.But I wouldn't blame the whole of America for that, nor do I believe the whole of Nepal to blame for its aberrations.

I admit Nepal is far from perfect. There are factors in the development game that exacerbate the imperfections. It just so happens that 40% of our people live below poverty line-for four months of the year they don't get a meal every day. Fifty percent of our children suffer from malnutrition.Not all but some agricultural and horticultural failures have been brought about by misplaced advice. I don't blame development for all of it.I stated that had education been the priority in the 50s( when this country had formulated a decent education plan by the way) , we could be a lot further along today. Obviously you are not a social scientist, otherwise you would not be so snivelly about the role of education and alternative productivity(that education often leads to) as a child substitute. Not to mention the fact that educated women are less likely to let others have control over their bodies, no matter how oppressive the social system.

My emails are paid for by me, but they certainly cost less than faxes, which I cannot afford.The computer is an essential tool of my trade as was the typewriter before it,I bought it with earnings from an international literary award.Since I am a woman of non-Nepali origin I own nothing but what I earn and am entitled to nothing more , so I find your query about my economic status considering that you are in the west, while I who was born there choose not to be, impertinent. It is also based on my surname I am sure ,which I find prejudicial and gender biased.Frankly aka, I have never had a standard of living here that I had as a child growing up, so much of your invective is redundant. The first essential of a democratic mindset is to accept criticism . Your language is a betrayal.You talk of foreign devils and their being benefactors.Most of the money that comes in here comes as loans.Our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be paying them back. I know many Nepalese in America too. I don't begrudge them being there.Every individual is free to choose his/her own destiny, that is an inalienable human right.Yet there are many who see no good destiny and who don't have the energy to choose. I responded to the fact that one young lady thought that every ex-pat here was doing good for Nepal and the people from Nepal who went to America were unwilling to do so.It is not I who question the presence of ex-pat Nepalis in America or elsewhere but some young lady somwhere who wonders why they run away and don't do good for their country. Contrary to your misreading of the whole conversation, I think the Nepalis in America have every right to be there. It is what people from older nations have done throughout history when they have had the dynamism and guts to do so- not only to America but other new lands too. They have
 ventured out because of famine ,persecution ( another of my ancestors founded one of the States of the U.S. and invited all who were persecuted to settle there , much to the chagrin, I am sure of the native Indians).The wandering of the peoples has been going on since the dawn of history in man's instinct to fight or fly.

My perspective of human goodnesses is much tempered by a wartime childhood and the savagery of the human animal to its fellows. Just cease spending money on waging war and short-term it puts people in industrialised nations out of work, but not long term.And finally,I happen to not believe in war because I come from a long line of Quakers, not because I am a Marxist before you get back on that hackneyed path. Thankyou for your response.Unfortunately it was to a set of questions I never asked nor responded to. I have no opinions either way of Nepalis or any others who live and work in the U.S. As far as I am concerned,the U.S. is fulfilling its obligations as written out on the Statue of Liberty and as laid down in the edicts as believed in by the founding fathers and mothers.No nation can do more than fulfill the dreams of its honourable ancestors , which become, when much publicised, in this current time , an obligation on their progeny.
                         
                   I edit, process and publish between 35 to 40 technical publications a year that are used by specialists and technicians.Many of our publications (in fact not many but most are distributed free of cost). We assign our own ISBNs and have a publications' catalogue. Send your address and I'll send you one, since you doubt my credentials.

Greta Rana Senior Editor email: greta@icimod.org.np (off.)
       grana@saligram.mos.com.np (res.) Tel: 977-1-525313 (off.)
     977-1-538001 (Res.) Fax: 00977-1-536747
     00977-1-522346

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 10 Dec 1997 15:36:23 -0500 From: REFGID@library.phila.gov To: tnd@NEPAL.org Subject: http://www.nepal.org/re: why nepalis don't return home?

Hi,

  I read with amused bewilderment articles on why nepalis don't return home. Especially timely was Ms Greta Rana's Dec 4 article. She's my college teacher, you know. She gave her view on why nepalis don't return from Nepal's side. I'll attempt to give mine from this side of the Atlantic.
  As I'm not a straight shooter, I'll use the pop method (some call it cut-up style) to explain viewpoints, borrowing from everywhere and anywhere if i have to. Here, I go on a ride.
  As I am no economics major, let me give you the answer based on the only Eco 101 course I took in freshman class. It's the economy, stupid! Yes, the U.S. has (as I like to call it) the "grossest" national product of any country in the world, and if you only perform average in the US economic sector, you can enjoy the grossest national product (or income) per capita of any country in the world. At the heart of it all is guess who? The almighty US dollar, backed by the world's mightiest army. It is stable, strong and as good as it comes, and people may have lost faith in God and the country, but not in the Greenback, as was exemplified in the eighties by the likes of Milken and Boesky ("Greed is Good") who took the financial world on a ride, and made "insider trading" a household name, thanks in part to that hollywood flick "THe Wall Street". Historically, the dollar has appreciated relative to its wimpy counterpart, the Nepali rupee both in real and nominal terms, making it fashionable, if I may so put it, for the Nepali expats to patronize Nepal by visiting it now and then, and indulging in "conspicuos con- sumption". All the more reason to stay put in the US, since you get more bang for your buck, should your heart ache for your homeland.

People in Nepali who make measly wages/salaries will look up to you as a "big shot", and might even want to kiss you where the sun don't shine. Hey, "chakari" is a time-honored Nepali tradition. Also, inflation hardly ever hits double-digits in the US, often hovering around 3 to 5% rate! When the inflation hit double-digits during those supply-shock- induced "stagflation" years in the early seventies give 'em Keynesians a heart attack, you'd have thought they were going to commit a mass suicide. So soon after Nixon had finally pronounced:"We're all Keynesians, now." No wonder this crisis heralded the era of supply-siders who wreaked havoc during the Reagan era, putting the economy in a big deficit hole. And setting off another round of Japan-bashing! In the third world, double-digit, triple-digit inflation is a common occurrence, and it doesn't even make a headline. With such low inflation, and correspondingly low interest rate (can some economics genius tell me why interest rate in the US is so low, despite the trilllion dollar deficit: economic theory would have me believe otherwise), why put money in the savings account. Put it in stocks and bonds, and cheer for the bull, and watch your wealth grow. This is the bull season, been this way for some time. The Dow Jones/SP 500 is at an all time high.Greenspan is nervous and jittery! But optimism rules the day.

But optimism continues. You think Nepalis are going to pack up and head back to Jumla, Humla, or Ilam for good? No way, Jose! It only gets better. Getting credit is the easiest thing in the US. You might make 15 grand a year, and become 30 grand in debt that same year! Isn't that simply amazing, since your shelter/home/bread is not at risk? Only your credit report is bad. That's all. Might make it tougher for you to get credit in the future, but hey american mentality tells you live for now, the moment. Imagine this: Once you land a decent job, you are in a position to buy a car and even a house, under this credit system. Within a month or two. In Nepal, this takes a lifetime. Ask Deepak Chopra, if you have to. He'll tell you that this credit system was his salvation. Got him is first car (VW) under the small downpayment-installment plans, and suddenly "AMerica was the most beautiful country in the world, with infinite possibilities." I don't begrudge him that bit about "infinite possibilities" which he may have borrowed from Borges, since his talk on "infinite possibilities" has made him millions, with a cult following. Lots of beautiful girls. Some sexual harrassment suits are pending, so I read. Now that is SUCCESS. To be successful it's not enough to make millions, some pretty damsels have to bring sexual harrassment suits against you.
    Now, given these above economic considerations, it's easy to see why Nepalis don't want to return, and what they might have to give up, should they decide to return. It's understandable that successful nepalis might never return, but how about the unsuccessful ones, the ones who are constantly hiding from the Immigration officials, and making their living under the table? Let me give you a true case study.I know a Nepali (yes, illegal) guy who works as a pizza delivery boy, lives in a $450/month apartment, owns 2 cars (thanks to the credit system),has a surround sound system, laser disc player/laser discs, tv, vcr, aptiva computer-- all the trinkets befitting the middle class existence-- and loads of "weed" to get him through the day. He's a hardworking Pizza delivery boy (a failure by Nepali standards!), but would any Nepali doctor or lawyer in Nepal be willing to trade place with him. May be not. What if I told you, he has a beautiful blond chick (although trashy looking), that will send a shiver down your l***s every time you look at her? Hell, even Kurt Kobain and John Lennon didn't have it that good when it came to women. Courtney Love? Yuk! Yoko Ono? Yuk! Yuk!! Yuk...ad infinitum! You tell him in his face to give up Pizza delivery job here, and take up a journalist's pen in Nepal, and he'll tell you:"What, are you crazy?" and rightly so. Remember the joke about a janitor for a circus who gets a better offer elsewhere, but doesn't want to leave:"And, leave show business!I can't do it." Manual labor is not all that bad, if you shop around. Many take manual labor as a lifestyle choice. Like working in a oceanfront bar, so you could surf all day. In fact, some blue collar jobs pay more than white-collar jobs. If you want no pressure life, you can work for $8/hour in Montana (air is clean, vistas are straight out of "Legend of the Falls", there's no speed limit, you can race your car all you want, no pollution, no noise, no urban hassles or ratrace choirs). These are lifestyle choices made by the offspring of the so-called beat generation who value experience over achievement, zen philosophy over Adam Smithsian philosophy, cares not a rat's ass about what you think but only how they feel. Beach bums, ski bums, eco-freaks, neo-pagans, desert rats, rock-climbers, tree-huggers. Most in some form of manual labor. Hell, it's not a manual labor any more. They'll call it "manly labor", and take pride in the fact. Who can blame them? Ever since Steinbeck, and Tennessey William put such characters as Tom Joad (and that dude in A Street Car named Desire)-- all from the working class background-- in a strong psychological context in their fictions, there's been a sort of blue-collar chic going on all along. Not to mention the Ash Can school of art that celebrated
"pro-worker" themes in its paintings-- the themes that didn't portray workers as victims (as Marxists/Socialists might do), but rather as proud to be working. The Fordsian quotation comes to mind:"All those who
"The factory is a temple, and all those who work in it worship there." Something to be proud of really. This blue collar chic runs through the very fabric of the American society. One out of one American does some form of manual labor in his/her life time. My American college friend who drove a BMW didn't mind doing dishes in a college restaurant, or helping people move their stuff from one place to another ("bhariya") for pay. Hell, I have mowed the lawn, worked as an usher, worked as a busboy, cook at one time or another. It's not at all bad. Now, let me take up the case study of that "fortunate" Nepali pizza delivery guy. He'll tell you he has no plans for going back to Nepal, and right now he'll tell you he feels good... damn you. His job status doesn't bother him. He's astute, intelligent, and easy going ( i have seen him work wonders on girls). He is somewhat akin to that Ivy League breed you occasionally hear about: the kind that makes a living in carpentry, and reads Goethe and Schiller in his spare time. Forget changing his mind. The blue-collar, six-pack variety is here to stay.

   Now, let's give psychology some considerations. When you first cross the Atlantic, and hit the shore of the Promised Land, you know you've crossed centuries, and leap-frogged from the poorest nation in the world to the richest in the matter of 24 hours! Your album may have been on number 100 position on the Billboard Chart yesterday, but today it's in number one stop. No band, dead or alive, has ever pulled off such a feat. Dig me? You can not even begin to fathom the psychological impact this has on you... it takes years to unravel. Now let's develop the case study farther. I'm sure you all know about Haitians/Cubans who brave the shark-infested waters in their little dingy... and head for the American shore, looking forward to the future as dishwashers/ busboys/street vendors/drug dealers, whatever... (that is risking life for such a menial task)... you suddenly understand the perverse American the perverse grip American dream has over us (if the Greeks invented
"man", America imbued him with the "American dream"). You may be a pizza boy, but there are millions out there on high seas who would die to get your job. Welcome to the brave new world of America. What a psychological windfall! You may be a shoeshine boy, but when when you think about the Cuban/Haitian/Mexican scenarios, you're suddenly happy thinking about it. I never thought thinking made you happy, but here is one instance of it. Now, there are millions of apple-pie Americans in dead-end jobs. Some of them are labelled "white trash"
(the term coined first by Margaret Mitchell of "Gone with the Wind fame). Now you come from Nepal, and even when you start from the absolute bottom, in some sort of wierd relativistic way, you have the impression of having caught up with these dudes/dudettes. Mind you, these americans were here for generations... they had a headstart over you... and america believes in progress in successive generations. It's almost like saying the instant you arrive here, there's this feeling of having caught of with these apple-pie americans. Another psychological windfall! Who can blame the least successful Nepalis for not returning home. Since, every time they compare themselves with the least successful of their American brothers/sisters... they can reap such psychological rewards. Fool's gold awaits them everywhere.

Quite frankly, I don't give a rat's arse whether one returns or not. I think that's upto the individual, depending on his/her unique circumstances. Nothing in the Nepali constitution says "You must return, or your property will be confiscated". Of course, once in a while you realize that you can take a boy out of the country, and but you can't take the country out of the boy. At this time, the nationalist spirit in you cries out:"Damn it, do something about your country. Ms Greta Rana, and other concerned citizens would have you believe the country's going down the drain." I survey the scene. Nepal is NOT going down the drain. It will still be there 100 years from now. It will outlast you. Worry about yourself, boy. You can not flush a country and its culture down a toilet hole. History teaches us that. There is the lament of this brain drain. Foreigners are working there, filling up the vacuum left behind. Mother Nepal can't have her cake and eat it too. Economics teaches us that. Many Nepalis have made a transition to America beautifully. Why tell 'em to go back, directly or indirectly. Why hold 'em back, lay guilt trips on them. Life in the US is stressful as it is (despite the myth of the land whose streets are paved with gold), they shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of guilt. Cut them a break, will ya, you whining natiionalist bores. They can do nicely without guilt, thank you very much. Also leave the American-Nepalese are alone. They are not what you think they are. I first made a mistake of treating them as any other Nepali native until I was put in my proper place, and rightly so. They are not arrogant or anything, perhaps a little bit perplexed. These American- Nepalis have a different outlook, different issues to grapple with, and a different character, borne out of the first generation experience of having to navigate between their parents' culture ane their own, while keeping their individuality intact, and sanity clear. I don't know why, but when I hear that "come back to Nepal, and Bikas ko mul Phutaun" slogan, it gives me a pause, and wonder if Bob Dylan was right when he sang:"...he's trying to get you down in a hole he's in." My parents said:"come back, and work for your motherland". If they were not my parents, I would have laughed at their faces. I'm not kidding. I know Nepalis who returned to Nepal to Bikas Ko Mul Phutaun, but now are disgruntled, and harboring regrets. My sympathy to their spouse, and the dog, who have to take his crap in strides. My friend had this dilemma, whether to return or stay put. There are some nepalis who'll tell you to back, although they are staying. They perhaps want to see you worse off than you are. Reap another perverse psychological windfall. I have no agenda. I may not write straight, but God knows I have always talked straight (something you'll miss when you go back home, where people never talk straight). I told him point blank:"Dude, if you don't want to go. You don't have to." He was not reassured. To reassure him, I said:" Why go to Nepal when Nepal comes to you." Imagine the extreme scenario: you go back, only to find that there's no Nepal. There's a sign on the border that says: NEPAL GONE TO THE WEST. WILL BE BACK IN THE NEAR FUTURE. Too extreme perhaps, but when you return to find all your school friends are in the West, you get that empty feeling that if you were with those friends you would not feel. They are Nepalese communities in the USA: Boston/DC/Denver/LA, etc. Now NEPAL GONE WEST SIGN does seem quite credible, right. Now, nationalist bores might say:"return home", and if home is where your heart is (as opposed to your birthplace), the nepali pizza boy will tell you his heart is in the USA, and hence his home. home is a debatable concept. nothing is sacred, anymore. If you're in America, you can enjoy America, plus more. If you're in Nepal, you can't even enjoy Nepal. Why is it then that those who are in America who are here can afford trips to Europe and the Carribean, and even Nepal, but those in Nepal can't even enjoy Nepal. You have mountains in Nepal, but you're too damn poor to enjoy them. The gist of this is this: if you're in America, you can enjoy both America and Nepal (as you have the means to make frequent to-and-fro visits), but if you're in Nepal, forget coming to America on a visit: it's too damn cost-prohibitive. Why do they call Nepal a "landlocked" country?
'Cause if you're there, or poor you're "locked up", so to speak. Decide for your self whether being in America is a better choice or Nepal. If you're rational, and scientific...you know the answer.

I'm sure all those nationalistic bores would scream "come back, do something about your country".... all those nationalistic sentimental lot who scream
"come back, do something for your country", must clear up one fallacy: that you don't have to be physically present in Nepal to help Nepal. You can do something for your country, without ever going back. what's technology such as fax/e-mail for, anyway? sometimes, i get the feeling that the Nepali expats are better able to help Nepal from their pulpits in Boston/DC/NY/ LA/Denver... if they are better organized. just like the Jewish Lobby Group\ that lobby the US government to make foreign policies favorable to Israel vis a vis Palestine in the Mid-East Peace Process. The Nepali community in the US has no political power. Zero, zilch! May be some financial power to back certain political groups in Nepal. But I see their asset in the advisory role they might play. Of course, these Ivy-League smarts are not going to run for offices in Nepal. They don't want to go door-to-door soliciting votes. They'd rather play advisory roles, from behind the scenes. They don't want to "elected" to offices, they want to be "appointed" to offices. They want to be part of the political process without having to pay the price. Let the locals run for offices. Days are not far off when the political decisions that affect Nepal might be made over pizza and a six- pack in Boston/DC/NY/LA/Denver, while football game is going on on TV. Already there are talks about dual-citizenship for Nepalis in the west. Sooner or later, they will have their way. Not only have they forsaken their country... but want to squeeze out what they can out of Nepal while they are it. Mother Nepal is kind, and compassionate. She will yield to their whims. When she is destroyed, it's going to be pure poetry! Do you like poetry?

   When all is said and done, it all boils down to "do what you have to do." Although I have painted America in a positive light, if you were to, you could paint it as a hell, and you'd be right. America where 70% of the people live for pay check to pay check, you're only a stone throw away from homeless- ness, there's no job securirity (axe could fall anytime), they may have a lot but they also have a lot to worry about, after a while, everything becomes a bore (i don't watch TV or own a computer), everything is treadmill race, violence and crime is a problem, drugs are only an arm-length away, attitude and cool are the latest currencies... after a while, you wish you were a farmer. after a while America comes to resemble Nepal. The only difference is here you sing the Mississipi Delta blues when you're sad; in Nepal it's the Bagmati Delta blues. Names are different, but game is the same everywhere. You deal with only a handful of issues in your life time. The issues are the same everywhere, only the sceneries are different.

Just decide fast where to live and stick hard and fast. Don't be shifting you r position on a chair, and scratching your butt. If it be America, settle here permanently for good; if Nepal, then let it be. I have the feeling that even 80% of the Nepalies in the west are still shopping, suffering from that
"the pasture's greener on the other side" syndrome. who can blame 'em? when namche bazaar now resembles the Greenwich Village of Nepal. when America goes to Nepal... and you wonder do those whiteys have it right?!!!or they are they onto something?

if you decide fast, and settle down wherever you decide to stay, there's no t much cost to pay. I pity those over-educated nepalies who go back and forth, put in some writing stints as if they know, when they don't know; can't decide what to do: work for Corporate America, or help Nepal develop. Perhaps, these wise fools should look to the Nepali pizza delivery boy for an answer to how to live without guilt and scars, feeling of failure or success.
 (Damn, now I'm beginning to souund like i'm talking from my arse, i'll quit. I don't know where I was leading you on."

"Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters"--- Bob Dylan.

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 16:02:22 -0800 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: maya@ncgate.newcollege.edu (tsering gurung) Subject: KATHA-KABITA

ELOPEMENT, RENO

It was the morning of the poem Ten o'clock Wednesdays Two young people Mike & Tsering

At New College In Tsering's kitchen Love bloomed Into a many petaled lotus

Driving the rocket Across the Desert Into the Nevada rainbow Two hearts paired up June 15th

Silver Bells Wedding Chapel Honeymoon: Dairy Queen

****************************************************************** Date: December 18, 1997 To: the Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Nepali News

Source: The Kathmandu Post

About 1 lakh Nepali sex workers in India By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Dec 17 The issues of girl trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children are gaining prominence in national circles. Throught history, the issues had been either tolerated, encouraged, prohibited or regulated. But in recent times, they have taken centre stage because of the increasing reports of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Though there are a number of studies and reports on commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, there are no reliable estimates of the extent and magnitude of trafficking. A survey sponsored by the Central Social Welfare Board indicated that the population of Nepalese women and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Indian brothels would be between 70 thousands to one hundred thousands.

It also revealed that about 30 percent of them are below 18 years of age.Nearly 40 per cent of them were inducted when they were below 18 years of age.
"This really is a matter of serious concern", says Durga Ghimire, President of ABC/Nepal, an NGO." The major contributory factor to the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children are poverty and unemployment or lack of appropriate rehabilitation. Seventy percent of them are illiterate and 45 percent of them want to be rescued from the brothels. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children are fundamental violations of rights of women and children. The social, physical, psychological and moral consequences of commercial sexual exploitation of women and child victims are serious, lifelong and even life threatening.

Ghimire says, " Threats of unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality, torture, physical injury, physical disabilities and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/ AIDS are ever present. Sex workers are in danger of being caught up in the grip of various vices and criminal activities". A three-day regional meeting held in Mumbai on December 8-10, organised by CEDPA, UNICEF, UNFPA and Global Fund for Women had 315 participants representing 11 countries. There were 41 representatives from Nepal. The regional meeting was held with the slogan "Girls Rights: Societys Responsibility Taking Action Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking".

During the meeting, Mohini Giri, a representative from India said that it is imperative that all stakeholders
-GOs, NGOs, the media, and the communities pay more attention to strength response mechanism, to re-orient culture attitudes and social values to be more sensitive to the child. Also they should increase advocacy for child rights and work towards a more active participation of children in all matters affecting their lives. During the program, strict surveillance with a view to curbing the inflow of minors to Indian brothels and strong cooperation between GOs and NGOs of different countries were discussed.

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

*********************************************************************************************** From: Bhuban Pandey <bhubanp@admin.stedwards.edu> Subject: Happy Holidays! To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu (The Nepal Digest) Date: Tue, 09 Dec 1997 8:18:41 CST Dear Netters:

We like to wish you a happy holiday season and also a very happy and prosperous NEW YEAR. Thanks.

Bhuban, Prabha and Bhumika Pandey Austin, Texas

********************************************************** Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 20:31:29 GMT To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: carin@activist.com (H Brown) Subject: New Interactive Web Site on Nepal: Protecting Women

>Do it for Nepal and do it for women everywhere.
I'm very grateful to Aiko for publicising this web site again.

However, due to a technical problem, the site is currently not interactive. It is definitely going to be interactive again in the near future!

Meanwhile I hope everyone will please look at it, think about the trauma that innocent human beings are forced to endure through no fault of their own and imagine how they too would suffer if this had been their lot in life. Compassion is the mark of a fine human being.

I've read the constitution of Nepal. A sizeable part of it is based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the equality of all people regardless of gender or social status: the right of all people not to be sold into slavery or subjected to degrading or humiliating treatment and many other similar provisions. This constitution is so recent! I was in Nepal during the Jana Andolan and remember popular sentiments.

Yet I have heard more about sex trafficking since the change to democracy that I was aware of before that time. I am not implying it wasn't a problem before. Another post in the Digest mentioned
"Panchayati oppression". Still the questions are: Why? When will enough people care for their fellow human beings?

Regards

Helen Brown carin@gn.apc.org carin@activist.com Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
                                                                       - Martin Luther King, Jr.

********************************************************* Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 17:03:44 +0100 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: Gustav Ericson <guvern97@student.umu.se> Subject: Universities in Kathmandu

My name is Gustav Ericson and I live in a town in Sweden called Ume=E5. I am writing to You to ask for help. It=B4s like this; I have been trying for a month now to get in touch with somebody in Kathmandu because I would like to come and study at the University there (Kathmandu University or Tribhuvan University) after the next summer (1998), but it is very hard for me to get in touch with anybody. So, I wonder if You can help me. Do you know somebody that I could call or fax or e-mail or anything to get information about the universities in Kathmandu? I would really be thankful if You could help me with this.

Thank You very much

My adress for paper mail: Gustav Ericson G=F6kropsv. 6c 906 51 Ume=E5 Sweden E-mail: guvern97@student.umu.se
=46ax: +46 60 18 59 29 Phone: +46 90 77 01 28

******************************************************************** From: Anil.Sakya@brunel.ac.uk Subject: Lumbini To: nepress@wlink.com.np Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 10:16:04 +0000 (GMT)

For use of publication from Bhikkhu Sugandha
****

LUMBINI IS FORMALLY INCLUDED IN THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Naples, Italy, has formally included LUMBINIoethe birthplace of Lord Buddha in the World Heritage List. This was announced by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization on Thursday the 4th December 1997 in Naples, Italy.

The World Heritage List states Lumbini is inscribed on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria iii and vi:

'As the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, the sacred area of Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from a very early period.'

According to Association Press Lumbini was included with dozens of other sites like Pompeii as world cultural treasures, and wildlife parks in Africa and an ancient Albanian village on Unesco's endangered culture list.

All of the 10 cultural and natural sites proposed by Italy won entry on Unesco's World Heritage list, announced at a conference in Naples.

Selection makes sites eligible for Unesco funding and improves their chances in lobbying home countries and international organizations for money and technical expertise needed for restoration and improved security.

Before this conference, 506 sites had earned Unesco's designation during the last quarter-century. Four dozen sites were added to the list on 4 December 1997.

The committee's recommendations for future action at Lumbini is to mobilize international resources in scientific and technical fields and in site management, especially with regard to ancillary services for visitors and pilgrims.

The original nomination of Lumbini, which was deffered by the World Heritage Bureau at its 17th Session in June 1993, included a number of separate archaeological sites associated with the life and work of the Lord Buddha. Two of these, Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot), where the Lord Buddha lived as Prince Siddhartha before his enlightenment, and Ramagrama, the only relic stupa not opned by Ashoka, now figure as individual sites on the tentative list submitted by the State Party, which has been advised by a former President of the World Heritage Committee to combine them with Lumbini as a serial nomination.

The committee for considering, ICOMOS has shown their no objection in principle to this proposal, but it is of the opinion that the current state of knowledge, conservation, and management of both is not sufficiently advanced to permit their being included in the present nomination. It recommends therefore that this should await the completion of the programme of non-destructive archaeological investigation, using geophysical techniques, during the coming biennium and preparation of satisfactory conservation and management plans.

Once this work has been completed, the State Party should be invited to submit the two sites as extensions to an existing inscribed site of Lumbini, with a change of title indicating the association of all three with the life and work of the Lord Buddha.

Bhikkhu Sugandha (Anil Sakya)

********************************************************* Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 07:06:59 -0700 (MST) From: Gopal Dongol <dongolg@cuug.ab.ca> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Seasons Greetings

                                    Dr. Gopal Dongol
                                    Geo-Engineering (M.S.T.) Limited
                                    Suite 217. 3016 -19th Street
                                    N.E. Calgary Alberta
                                    E-Mail: dongolg@cuug.ab.ca

                SEASONS GREETINGS

        My warm breath bellowed on the cold crisp air
        As I mumble to myself with sincere prayer
        The snow started to thaw with the sunrise
        which might not have been otherwise

        Imagine! The top of "Everest" acting like a chimney
        Like the rising fog draped over in down-town "Sydney"
        The shimmering lights displayed in the "Tengboche Monastery"
        The "YETI"* dozing through snow is still a mystery

        The "BHARIA"* walked upslope in his bare feet
        Thinking with his massive load, how to make both ends meet?
        In the "CHAUTARI"* rested his load beneath the "PIPAL TREE"*
        Glimpsed upslope the remaining trail as far as he could see

        I laid down my heavy load under a New Year's tree
        I closed my eyes and made myself a little bit free
        Bare footed I am, must struggle off the difficult steps
        Portioning the weight with "NAMLO"* the Nepalese forehead tape
       
        In Canada, I flew over the "Peace River" with "Geo-Engineering"
        Thinking and learning how to do "directional drilling"
        I have seen the helicopter when it went down
        And walked miles in the bush to the nearest town

        With Himalayan smell of smouldering Juniper, let me pray
        For your good health and happiness as best as I can say
        "Mani Walls" and "Prayer Stones" have its own incredible sights
        By the voices of the helpless soared to improbable heights

        The whisperings of the "Prayer Flags" are messages for "Peace"
        Flickerings of "butter-candles" on the altar, God will not miss
        Blowings on long copper horns by the monks made me feel
        Mother "Earth" as my ever-spinning "Prayer Wheel"!

YETI*= Himalayan abominable snowman

BHARIA*= Himalayan Porter;

CHAUTARI*= Open ground built for resting along the mountain trail planted with usually two trees ( Pipal tree & Bar tree). People perform wedding ceremony of the two trees so that the couple could live in harmoney giving shade to the passerby

PIPAL TREE*= Religiously important tree planted in CHAUTARI

NAMLO*= Wide strap used by the Himalayan porters to portion most of the back-pack weight across his/her forehead.

********************************************************** From: MH8@soas.ac.uk To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 21:33:21 GMT Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest
     It is very difficult to know how to respond to Mr. Khagendra Sangraula's vicious attack on my work, which paraded itself as a 'review' but did not show any evidence that its author had actually read any of the books or articles to which he pretended to take such grave exception. It would appear that he has identified or has been alerted to two 'errors' of translation in the work I have published over the past seven years
('Himalayan Voices: an Introduction to Modern Nepali Literature' (1991); an essay in 'Nepal in the Nineties' (1994); and a 1994 edition of the
'Journal of South Asian Literature' that I guest-edited). On the basis of these two alleged errors, he has formed a view of my character, motivation, political leanings, morality and intellectual ability that I find grossly insulting. The reference to the colour of my skin in this supposed evaluation of my work suggests a racist agenda that I find deeply repugnant.

I am concerned that readers of Mr. Sangraula's diatribe will form a view of my work and motivation that, like Mr. Sangraula's, has no basis in fact. I choose therefore to counter his allegations not with the kind of invective that he has employed but with extracts from the essay on the literature of the democracy movement to which he pretends to object but clearly has not read. Then readers of his 'review' and this response will be able to form their own views about the validity of his allegations.

1. Mr. Sangraula alleges that the mirror he says I have held up to Nepali literature 'has mainly refracted images of the literature given its own lal mohar by the Royal Academy'. 'Himalayan Voices' went to press just as the interim government was being established in 1990. It includes poems and stories by 21 poets and 16 short story writers, very few of whom were members of the Academy at the time, and includes among others Parijat, who I have always considered one of the greatest writers Nepal has ever produced. About the Academy I wrote in the essay:

"The Academy was founded by King Mahendra in 1959 and is the kingdom's foremost institution for the promotion of literature and the arts. The fact that the king himself was the academy's Chancellor meant that palace favour played a significant role in the selection of members, despite King Birendra's expressed willingness to allow the vice-chancellor complete discretion. Members who acquiesced to the culture within the academy usually had their memberships renewed after the initial five-year term, but others did not. The academy's critics called it a graveyard of artists or a common dance hall (nach ghar)."

2. Mr. Sangraula makes much of my 'apparent love for commando culture'. He has not read the articles about Nepali writers and censorship I published in Index on Censorship during the late 1980s and early 1990s, nor can he have read what I wrote about the Panchayat system in the essay he condemns:

"After December 16th 1960, when King Mahendra revoked the democratic constitution of 1959, abolished the elected government and exiled or imprisoned its leaders, Nepalis were not free to engage in party political activities or to criticise the actions of the king. To stand for election to the panchayat units set up under a new constitution in 1962, they had to enlist in one of five, or latterly six, class organisations, and the system became less and less representative, accountable and responsive to public opinion. Alienated from the political establishment, and subjected to professional demotion, imprisonment or, latterly, police brutality, if they criticised it too publicly, a very large proportion of the new generation of educated Nepalis turned their minds to literature."
  3. Mr. Sangraula accuses me of engaging in 'absurd acrobatics to conceal the ugly aspects of the Rajat Poetry Campaign's mandalization, through instilled terror and proffered enticements, of independent consciences and poetry alike'. Again, an extract from the essay should provide some much-needed clarity here:

"The compromises that Nepali academics had to make under the Panchayat regime were clearly evident in the affair of Chandani Shah. This was the pen-name adopted by Queen Aishwarya, whose romantic and patriotic lyrics were published in 1987 and entered a second edition the following year (Shah 1988). The second edition consisted of 27 pages of poetry followed by 323 pages of laudatory essays commissioned by the editor from thirty leading literary scholars. Chandani Shah's songs no doubt possessed considerable charm, but all critical faculties were suspended and all pretence to objectivity abandoned as writers and academics vied with one another to heap the most extravagant praise upon them."

4. Mr. Sangraula accuses me of 'banishing' the words 'and protest against injustice' from Bimal Nibha's poem 'Patan'. This is what the essay actually says:

"Bimal Nibha's 'Patan' contains the kind of emotion that one would expect in a poem composed while the population of Patan was erecting barricades at the entrances to the town, and declaring it a 'zone of democracy':

Excitement, anger and revolt Are prohibited by written order, Murder has become legal. The red blood that flows from your breast Is anarchy.....
'Consciousness' is an unconstitutional word. No kind of restlessness will be tolerated now. People of Patan, Your lives are declared illegal."

5. Mr. Sangraula accuses me of omitting three words from a translated quote from one of his own essays, and makes much of the supposedly reactionary and pro- 'commando culture' motives that inspired this omission. I am quite prepared to own up to this slip, but Mr. Sangraula's explanation for it makes very little sense. If I was
'pro-commando culture', why would I have read, translated and published his words at all? Again, here is the offending paragraph:

"A more positive aspect of the aftermath of Nepal's revolution has been an atmosphere of greater freedom of expression. Many articles have appeared in newspapers and elsewhere which would have exposed their authors, and the papers' editors, to a range of punitive measures prior to mid-1990. In one such article in the Saptahik Bimarsha of December 14th 1990, Raghu Pant mocked the excessive deference to royal sensibilities required of flightcrew on RNAC flights when the king and queen were on board. According to Pant, staff were not allowed to be seen walking to the aircraft lavatory, and had to urinate into bottles in the cockpit. In an essay entitled 'Chandani Shah and Pieces of Silver', Khagendra Sangraula suggested that those who had praised the queen's poems so immoderately only a few months earlier were hurriedly donning the clothes of democracy: "Now the brave Nepali people are praised to the sky, while all talk of Chandani Shah has fled down a hole. It's amazing! Who was where yesterday, and where are they today ?" (Sangraula 1990: 23)

6. Mr. Sangraula accuses me of ignoring or downplaying the censorship policies of the Panchayat governments. Just for the record, here is another extract from the essay:

"The Nepali press came under severe pressure during the early days of the movement. For many years journalists had been prohibited from reporting the activities of the banned political parties, while the doings of the royal family dominated the headlines, particularly in the government-subsidised papers Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal. Between February 15th and March 26th, 1990, police confiscated the print-runs of privately-owned newspapers on at least eighteen occasions, and about forty-five journalists and editors were detained. Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal published long articles and editorial statements in defence of panchayat democracy, and attacked 'foreign elements' (meaning India) for meddling in Nepal's internal affairs. It is clear from several confessional articles published in the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of The Rising Nepal (December 18th, 1990) that most of the journalists employed by the newspaper felt profoundly uncomfortable in their role as apologists for the Panchayat system. It has been suggested that the extreme, even excessive deference shown to members of the royal family in reports published while the movement was in progress may have been the journalists' own sarcastic, muted protest."

7. Mr. Sangraula postures angrily about my supposed maltreatment of Bhupi's poetry and quotes the Nepali original and my translation of the celebrated poem 'Sadhain-Sadhain Mero Sapanama'. His reading of the line 'Malayaka asankhya-asankhya manisharuko' differs from mine in that he believes this to refer to the people of Malaya, whereas I interpreted it as a reference to the Gurkha soldiers who fought in Malaya during the 1950s and incurred heavy casualties. He may be right, and I may be wrong, but it does seem to me that the line admits either reading, especially when it is recalled that the expression 'Malayaka laahure' was often used before the British Briagade of Gurkhas was relocated to Hong Kong to refer to Gurkhas more generally. If this was an error on my part, it was wholly inadvertent and is not an indication of some murky, sinister motive. Mr. Sangraula goes on to say that the final line of my translation of this poem 'completes the hatchet job, obscuring Bhupi's harshly honest, complex relation to the history of our country.' Here is the original and my translation:

ah, mero sapanama malai mero bipanako itihasle ghrina garchha

Ah in my dreams I am loathed by the history of my awakening.

I simply cannot see what is wrong with this translation.

8. Finally, Mr. Sangraula turns to the 1994 edition of the 'Journal of South Asian Literature' that I guest-edited, and states that it seems based on 'a whimsical "hi-hallo" announcing, 'even in Nepal, there is literature!'' Well yes, Mr. Sangraula, that was part of its purpose. This American journal has been published twice a year for the past 29 years. Each issue contains stories, poems, essays etc. translated from various South Asian literatures, along with critical and analytical essays. The only Nepali content during the past 29 years has been a single book review by Dr. Taranath Sharma. Readers of this journal may well need to be told 'even in Nepal, there is literature' because for the past three decades no one else has bothered to tell them.

And yes, the journal does contain my translation of B.P. Koirala's story
'The Colonel's Horse'. Like many of B.P.'s stories, this depicts a situation in which a woman suffers because of customs and practices that devalue and degrade her: in this case, a young woman who has been married to an elderly colonel. I deemed it worthy of translation because all Nepali scholars and critics agree that it is one of the best stories written by one of Nepal's most accomplished writers. Dr. Taranath Sharma, in his book 'Nepali Sahityako Itihas' writes:

"The subtle psychological analysis of sexual deviation (yaunavikriti) that proceeds from the relationship between husband and wife is a particular speciality of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala's stories. His 'The Colonel's Horse' (Karnelko Ghodaa) is an extremely popular (saahrai nai janapriya) story in Nepali literature. The superiority of this story is unchallenged in the genre of the psychological story. This story has shown with great artistry how a marriage between people of different ages cannot provide the gratification of sexual desire and how this frustration brings deviance." (2nd edn., B.S. 2039 , p. 119 (my translation))

As Dr. Sharma says, the story's treatment of the topic is subtle: it is not explicit in any sense of the word, but points obliquely to a social problem that its author believed required attention. Mr. Sangraula castigates me for translating it. And in the same breath he claims to be against censorship. I leave it to TND readers to draw their own conclusions.

Michael Hutt School of Oriental and African Studies London tel. 171-323-6240/6251 fax 171-436-3844 or 171-436-2664 e-mail mh8@soas.ac.uk

************************************************************ From: Mohan.Amatya@dao.defence.gov.au To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 16:09:09 +1000 Subject: India Boosts Nepal Border Patrols

Dear Editor A gundruk but interesting piece of news from the Jane's Defence Weekly
(22/10/97) for your next TND is attached. Cheers from Mohan

India Boosts Nepal Border Patrols

India has boosted its permanent deployment of paramilitary Border Security Force troops along its border with Nepal, apparently as part of a crackdown on insurgent activities. Security should be further boosted with the construction starting this year of a surfaced road parallel to the frontier along the whole length of Uttar Pradesh state, which will aid patrolling.

********************************************************* To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 06:05:16 +0530 Subject: Why Nepalese don't want to go back to Nepal From: kantipur@juno.com (Himal Ghimire)

I don't thik there is anything else left to say regarding the issue of why Nepalese are not attracted toward their beautiful country after reading Greta Rana's reaction on TND of 4th December. There is no doubt that foreigners have done a great deal for the development of the country.

I always seems to amage me ever i ask any foreigner who has been to our country, Nepal, what their thoughts about it are. They say that they love it and want to go again and those Nepalese who are here never seem to be attracted by Nepal.

The so called great leaders are busy in struggling for power. They think that development is their enemy. the moist and the Uml join hands in order to eradicate their opponients and also normal people who work for the development of the country. Teacher starting getting letter to share half their income with the maoist. how much does a vill age teacher earn that me can share. so on top of every thing, the major factor that prevents the Nepalese who are already here is the fear that the anti-development elements that are pesent in our country might eradicate them.

i don't know whethr Greta Rana has got a letter for financial help from the maoist or not. I am certain that if she gets one and is not willing to help them then she will also get letters that might treaten her to leave development alone.

They only way to bring back these Nepalese is the hang these anti democratic elements, who in the name of democracy are pushing the country inside a black cave from where it is almost impossible to come out again, on the to of Dharara and shoot the with AK - 47. This is the only way to open the door for people to come back to the country and develope the country.

Himal Ghimire 8346 Willowdale Way Fair Oaks, CA 95628 Phone : (916) 967 - 7375 e-mail : kantipur@juno.com

************************************************************** To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 18:03:41 Subject: Fujikura's From: across@across.wlink.com.np (SANGITA)

Hello! I read the book review by Tatsuro Fujikura in your Digest. I was pretty interested in his research theme. Could you forward me his e-mail address please.

Sangita Rayamajhi Editor/publisher Across Magazine

************************************************************* Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 13:39:46 -0800 From: "BHATTARAI, SAROJ" <S.BHATTARAI@CGNET.COM> Subject: Fr. GAFFNEY To: 'Raj Pal Singh' <a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu>

Please forweard this to any Xavierites as well as can you please put it in SOC.CULTURE or TND. Thanks

We will be sending a condolence message on behalf of the Xavierites based in USA/Canada to remember our dedicated teacher, friend, and Social Worker, the late Father Gafney . We plan to put it in the local Kathmandu paper- either Kathmandu Post or Rising Nepal preferably as a full page message. Please send donation if you want to take part in this. The money will go to Father Gaffney's Drug Rehab Program as well as for paying for this message . Please pass this message to all the Xavierites you know. Anup's address is as follows:

Anup Pahari 9200 Olden Ct Manassas, VA 20110

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