The Nepal Digest - December 28, 1997 (13 Poush 2054 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sun Dec 28, 1997: Poush 13 2054BS: Year6 Volume69 Issue5
 

              SEASON'S GREETINGS! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
                         HAPPY NEW YEAR 1998!

Today's Topics:

               I Hang My Head in Shame
               Nepali News
               From TND Archives
               Attack On Michael Hutt
               Re: Beyond the body obsession
               Re: BKS - Source: The Rising Nepal
               News from Sagarmatha Times

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
**************************************************** Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 10:10:44 -0500 (EST) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: I Hang My Head in Shame

Dear Editor,

        I hang my head in shame today. How can I call myself a Hindu anymore, after what happened on Dec 1, 1997, to the unarmed orphans of Hindu history--the untouchables of a north Indian village on the banks of river Sone? Indeed, the carnage occurred on the same soil where the Buddha obtained enlightenment and walked to spread its gospel of four truths and eight paths so humans in all five continents for all human time to come could come to terms with the fundamental truth of human suffering. It was here that Vardhamana Mahavira, too, was born and founded Jainism that forbade humans to kill even insects, and where the Ganges has over several millennia fed the devotional hunger of millions of devotees.

        On the same soil, over twenty-five hundred years later, on Dec 1, near Patna, ancient Pataliputra in Bihar, named after Baudha Bihara, a cold-blooded barbarism occurred that broke many past records in the glorious history of humans--East met West in nothing else, but in savagery and inhumanity. A high-caste militia called Ranbir Sena raided a village of the untouchable laborers and put everyone they found to death, every single one to death, especially women and children--sixty-one in all. The uplifting shouts of "Bajarang bali ki jaya! Har har Mahadev!" tore the profanity of the night. Naturally, no Vishnu came with his shining "chakra" to recscue the "gaja" from the
"graha", the elephant from the crocodile on the banks of the Sone river. A man survived by jumping into a haystack; another hid into an empty loft. But the women and children, nature and culture's caged birds, less alert and capable in the face of danger, met a bloody death. My head hangs in shame to call myself a Hindu today. Now on how can a Hindu call himself a high caste, call himself a Brahman, a warrior caste, how can one brag about Hinduism's cosmopolitanism, high philosophy, spiritualism? The all encompassing honor, so precious for us Hindus? How can one call himself a Hindu at all? My head hangs in shame.

        In the ramshackle village, people asleep--flesh and blood people, warm and breathing people, red blooded people, the same human blood sluggishly flowing through the veins of these people, many dreaming with their empty stomachs dreams of full meal perhaps, of enough clothes perhaps on their straw-laid mud floors, wrapped in thin torn quilts of rags, their legs sticking out to bear nature's punishment, the Winter--two-legged people slept. Men slept, hugging their women for warmth perhaps, while a two-year-old child slept in the snug security of its invincible parents, like all children of all parents. All unaware of walking scythes, knives, cutlasses, sabers, rapiers, scimitars, and of course army guns, unawares of Hinduism's walking glories, the high caste Soldiers Brave in the Battlefield. My head hangs in shame today.

        The eighty-year-old grandfather, having ground his frazzled bones all his life in back- breaking labor, whitened his hair in the humiliation of caste pollution, in unspeakable indignity, this wizened man, having all life slept half-fed, had been perhaps waiting for the sun to set on his life. Coughing all night, his lungs like used up bellows, eaten up by tuberculosis perhaps and malnuitrition. Had he heard of Gandhi? Gandhi's high ideals of non-violence and trusteeship? He had been born, even if he didn't remember, only three years after Gandhi stepped off the ship from South Africa and walked all his life like this old man. What did he know of India's Independence? Did it matter to him whether the Gupta's ruled, the Mauraya's conquered, the Muslims and Mughals built monuments or made love, the British paraded the Union Jack, or a Harrow's boy, now covering his baldness with Gandhi cap, displayed a blooming rose on his coat button and talked discovering India and gave glimpses of world history? What did he know about Nehru and all his panchasheel and English speeches and books and five year plans and socialism?

        But the sun didn't set on this dilapidated grandfather's life; the sun, the shameless sun had gone to sleep, condemned, letting two hundred high caste coward militia men, called Ranbir Sena, Soldiers Brave in the Battlefield, to enter the village with arms, supplied secretly, it is said, by their high caste comrade-in-arms in politics and bureaucracy and military. And they happily shot, angrily cut the slender, tiny throats of sleeping, babies, lustily hacked the sleeping men and women--their fellow Hindus. Their crime? They were untouchables, Hinduism's nemesis, and they were rag poor.

        Who will ask these coward Soldiers Brave in the Battlefield,
"Viswasam pratipannayam, banchanai kaa bidaghdta / Ankamaruhyam suptam shishum hantum kimsi paurusham?" (What's clever about deceiving those who depend on one's trust? What's brave about killing an infant that sleeps in one's arms?) My head hangs in shame to call myself a Hindu today. I'm ashamed to have been born the son of a Pandit.

        They hadn't even joined the extremist Marxist forces, these orphans of Hindu history; they had refused the attempt unlike others in the neighboring villages. Others were armed, believing in Marx; but they were not, believing in Gandhi. Had they invited the carnage upon themselves by refusing to be Marx's soldiers? I don't know. They were satisfied with the wages they were getting from their high caste glories of Hinduism, their lords. They had refused because they didn't want to be politicized, bring enmity upon their village, between the workers and their masters; they had wanted peaceful dreams, not living nightmares for themselves and their children.

        Peace and bread; bread in peace. So, unlike the armed soldiers of Marx, Lenin, and Mao in other such villages, they had refused to bear arms--both in their heads and in their hands. They didn't want to be revolutionaries. No. They just wanted work and bread and a bed of straw to sleep when the sun went to sleep with his mother. What did they know that death would visit them in the dark in the form of their fellow Hindus, those for whom they worked, those who thought themselves the masters of the realm, the glories of the Sanatan Dharma? Is the sword the only answer for the victims of history? I'm ashamed of wasting years on the holy language Sanskrit.

        Yes, masters of the realm. Ranbir Sena. All the grand names. Those cowards couldn't fight their own masters, their Gaurang gods, the British colonialists, their Mughal masters, and they were taking out that shame of their history's cowardice now, on the fiftieth year of India's Independence, upon the unarmed oppressed, Hindu history's orphans. In every age, they became the accomplices of treachery and domination and cruelty in order to save their own skin. Shall I say that we caste Hindus never learn of compassion, kindness, humanity, as part of our lofty tradition? We never learn to value human lives, caught as we are in our narrow holes of caste and clan and blood purity. We only chant,
"Paropkaraya punyaya papaya padipidanam." We learn it as a joke, as a tool to fool others. Shame on us Hindus! My head hangs in shame. I'm ashamed of knowing the Shastras.

        Otherwise, how can one understand the inhumanity of one group upon the other of the same faith? Upon any faith? Upon people not even equals in wealth, prestige, tradition, and so- called purity? Upon people who have been under the boot of Hindu history for all these centuries? India is a cursed land of cursed people, bound to annihilate like the people at end of the "Mahabharata," I feel like shouting from the rooftops. I feel like cursing India, I feel like condemning it to go to hell. "Bharat bhand me jaao!" But I can't. How can one condemn almost a billion people for the crime of these religion-sanctioned criminals? But how can one retain hope and faith in human future? Is blood for blood is the only way to the future? Bhagirath didn't bring the Ganges from heaven to purify the land, but to curse it. I feel like saying India is cursed with its holy rivers, holy men, holy places, holy pot-bellied, ash-smeared Shankaracharyas preaching the loftiness of the Eternal Faith at Haridwar, Kanchi, Badri for centuries. I'm ashamed of these places today where my father took pilgrims from all over north India and Nepal. My head hangs in shame to call myself a Hindu today.

        Since the ninth century, what have they done, these Sankar's successors? Hinduism is a fanatic religion, reestablished by the fanatic Sankar. We must not forget this fanaticism and bigotry ingrained in Hinduism. Save its books, but get rid of the religion, if this is how the powerful in it are to behave. How did these successors of Sankar survive the history of Mughal sword and British pollution? Of course, they shrank into their monasteries, hid their paste- smeared heads and chanted the worn mantras in the hope that the invaders would go away, pollution would wash away, Vishnu would come to rescue on his Super Crane with his shining chakra. These masters of the monasteries are to blame for Hinduism's failure to live in the present, face the present. Blast their celibacies; they would be better off, touched with some humanity, when married with children. All hypocrites. They need to live this world fully in order to feel its pleasures and pains. Without this world's sweat, semen, sex, and blood, and of course children, they are mere heartless ascetics; it's not safe to leave such a large fa[te]ith in their hands. That's why, they wouldn't say a word on this occasion in condemnation. They wouldn't do anything to alleviate the centuries of oppression on the losers of their faith. Oh, these untouchables! Wipe them out; what's happened to them is only the fruits of the misdeeds of their past births. These Sanskrit-stuffed law-givers wouldn't condemn, curse these Brave Soldiers of the Battlefield. No they wouldn't--these guardians of the Eternal Faith. I'm ashamed of them, as I'm ashamed to call myself a Hindu today.

        Nepal must renounce and denounce such Hinduism that incites some of its members to murder its other members, people who have been made asleep, half-hungry, half-naked on a cold winter night of Hindu history. We all must condemn, condemn, unequivocally condemn such practitioners of any faith. We must tell everyone the news that we condemn such criminals who kill their fellow human beings, who lift the infants by their legs and slit their throats in the name of caste, in the name of God, in the name of protecting their regime of ill-gotten pelf--shouting "Har har Mahadev. Jaya Bajarang Bali!" We must shout openly that we are ashamed of such Hindus, the shame in the name of any religion. We are ashamed of the caste system, we must declare. I have been mostly ashamed of being born a Hindu, save for its legends and stories and festivals, but today my shame has taken a nosedive. How can one be proud of one's culture, when the culture is in the hands of criminals?

        It's easy to pretend to renounce Hinduism, while enjoying all its privileges; it's a challenge to fight to shape it to make it humane and human-oriented. My fist struggles to rise to mitigate my shame, to bring me a grain of dignity so I can call myself a human.

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 16:58:10 GMT To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepali News

Source: The Rising Nepal

AIDS toll reaches 91 Kathmandu, dec 24 (RSS):

the death toll in nepal from hiv/aids has reached 91 so far, nearly double the figure since last year when 37 persons had died of the disease. Citing statistics available as of nov. 30, 1997, the national aids and std control centre said 955 people including 338 women are suffering from hiv in nepal. Some 273 women engaged in the flesh trade are found to be hiv carriers, while the number of those who have contracted the disease through sexual intercourse is put at 484. One hundred and forty-two drug abusers using contaminated syringes are also found to be affected by the deadly virus. Fifty-one housewives have also tested hiv positive and four infants have contracted the disease from their hiv positive mothers.

People in the 20-29 age group are the most affected by hiv. However, three five year old children and five persons above 50 have also tested hiv positive, according to the aids and std centre. Senior medical officer at the centre dr. Balkrishna subedi said the above statistics are based on people who have undergone blood tests. The country is actually estimated to have 25,000 hiv carriers, and 500 to 1,000 of them develop aids symptoms every year.

Three more persons contract hiv every two days, he added.

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 16:58:10 GMT To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: an173960@anon.penet.fi (Silent Do Good) Subject: From TND Archives

10+ ways to develop Nepal [part II]
-------------------------------------

        I want my views to be accepted (or, rejected) based on their own intrinsic worth; they do not need to be seen through any gender/racial/ethnic/national prejudices.}

Here is the second part of 10+ things the Nepalese government should do to develop Nepal:

7) Make the king declare how much money he has in Swiss banks. Did you know that the Nepalese king is among the top ten richest royal families in the world? (source: _Der Speigel_.) What a joke for one of the poorest countries in the world. If he had invested the same money in Nepal, Nepal may have become one of the Asian tigers by now.

8)Stop paying the king, and his family any stipends (is it several hundred thousand rupees a month for the king alone?). A country like Nepal can hardly afford to support these white elephants--they are good to look at, but are of not much real use.

9) Make it illegal for people in high public office, or their family members, to open up secret bank accounts in Switzerland, or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. When they do open ordinary bank accounts, or make some investments outside Nepal, they should be required to make them known to a special committee in the parliament.

10) Make it illegal for any international bank to solicit clients in Nepal. At present, many banks from Switzerland, Isle of Man etc. do send out to prospective clients brochures on how to open 100% confidential accounts. I think they should have added this restriction as one of the GATT clauses. If they had done that a lot of third world high-level corruption would decrease drastically.

11) Destroy the royal palace to make a giant park. The Nepalese version of the Central Park. Make the royal swimming pool into a public swimming pool, the royal zoo into a public zoo, and the royal stable into a public horse-riding club.

12) Privatize all colleges and universities in Nepal, and let them have their own academic time-schedule, curriculum, and budget. That way even if one college goes on strike, students at other colleges will not have any excuse to follow suit.

13) Remove the position of the CDO (Chief District Officer) from the government. (The new government or the congress government might have already done that.) All that the CDOs ever did was arrest people randomly, and harrass anti-government people.

****************************************************************** From: greta@icimod.org.np To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 09:46:24 +0000 Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - December 20, 1997 (7 Poush 2054 BkSm)

Dear Nepal Digest,
                            A Happy New Year to everyone out there. I must say I am excited by the fact that I have ex-students out there who can actually write long letters and not run out of subject matter.Paragraphs- they need working on a little bit. Not wanting to bore anyone with this topic anymore ,let me say for those of you who are not political economists, this whole issue is not a simple one. It started in 1945 with the cold war, since when most western governments managed through aid to stop the spread of communism with expenditure of little more than a mere half a percent of their gnps. Believe me , no one is sacrificing -apart from the Father Gaffney's and Mothere Theresa's of this world, not to mention the religious of many faiths and denominations, who are doing something beautiful for God. the rest of us, we flotsam and jetsam of the human scenario aare just hustling. Sure a lot of people do good things.A lot of people do good things in every darn developing country on earth. They are ,for the most part, quite well paid to do so. For me, and I repeat, my irritation was is and always will be with the idea that Nepalis are third rate and only ex-pats ever do anything for Nepal and that those who get a chance run away. why is it that a person can move from the U.K. to the U.S. in search of better opportunities and not be'running away'? The Nepalis in the U.S. had every right to search for better opportunities. The U.S. is not doing them a favour.It has always had the right to pick and choose and it chosses the best it can,from anywhere in the world. It runs the world's most successful economy and has the largest national debt of any nation in the history of banking. Yes, there's a lot of tricky political economics in this business. But, when all's said and done, read what it says on the statue of liberty and you'll see that America is only doing the job it set out to do in any case. In this world there are no good nations and bad nations- only those who have power and money and those who don't. Have a Happy New Year. And move to another subject or I'm afraid we'll face a breakdown in vocabulary by certain ex-students who have a tendency to disintegrate into expletives. I'm glad they're out there though, it gives me more satisfaction than anything else I have ever done to know that they can keep on and on writing and writing without fear and without pause.
                             Here's to 1998 Greta Rana Senior Editor email: greta@icimod.org.np (off.)
       grana@saligram.mos.com.np (res.)

*************************************************** Date: Sun, 21 Dec 97 23:16:31 UT From: Mickey Veich <mveich@classic.msn.com> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: Reply to Reply

My Dear Greta Rana and all my Nepalese friends:

May I take this time to wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous holiday season.

I hope one day to meet you in order to continue this discussion, perhaps at Mike's restaurant over breakfast?

Jai Nepal, Jai Himal, Mickey Veich

********************************************************* Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 17:19:29 From: David.Gellner@brunel.ac.uk (David N Gellner) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: ATTACK ON MICHAEL HUTT

Attack on Michael Hutt

     In his vicious diatribe against Michael Hutt ('Nepali Literature Through a Glass Darkly', TND, 10th Dec 1997), Khagendra Sangraula refers three times to my having called Hutt
"the foremost foreign expert on modern Nepali literature" and attempts to show that this assessment is unjustified.
     The only real points of substance that Sangraula can come up with are two or three minor, and for the most part constestable, mistranslations from the Nepali. On this slim basis he erects a fantastic superstructure of wholly misplaced interpretation: that Hutt is somehow pro-Panchayat and therefore anti-progressive and neo-colonialist, accusations for which there is not a shred of evidence in anything Hutt has ever written.
     If Sangraula really wished to tilt at foreigners complicit in supporting the Panchayat regime, there are targets that could legitimately be sought out. One has to ask: Why is so much bile directed against virtually the only foreigner who has devoted his life to making modern Nepali literature better known in the wider world?
     That Hutt is the foremost foreign expert on modern Nepali literature seems to me to be a simple statement of fact. Unfortunately he is so by virtue of being, with one or two minor exceptions, the ONLY foreign expert on modern Nepali literature. It is astonishing, and somewhat depressing, that a Nepali writer, rather than being grateful that Nepali literature is being made available to a wider audience, should see this as grounds for a sneering 'hatchet job'.
                                             David N Gellner
                                            Dept of Human Sciences
                                              Brunel University,
                                              London

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 13:02:41 -0500 From: Anne Joshi-Atlanta <AJoshi@RussReyn.com> Subject: FW: News

It's not the happiest bit of news! Hope noone's relatives were affected.

>From: Melissa Carter [SMTP:mcarter@99x.com]
>Sent: Thursday, December 18, 1997 7:27 AM
>To: Anne Joshi-Atlanta
>Subject: News
>
>From CNN:
>
>"At least 5 people have died and 3 more were missing
>after heavy snow hit Western Nepal, according to
>officials. Four women died when the roof of their
>house collapsed under the weight of the snow in Manang
>district, while 1 person died and 3 went missing in
>Darchula, police said. Helicopters brought 125 people
>to safety, after they were stranded by snow on a
>mountain pass, according to officials."
>

***************************************************** Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 08:52:21 +0545 (NPT) From: sinhas@mos.com.np (Pratyoush Onta) Subject: for posting in scn

Source: The Kathmandu Post, December 19, 1997.

The Politics of Knowledge Beyond the Body Obsession by Pratyoush Onta

Last weekend issue no. 4 of the new monthly magazine, Sarbottam, arrived in the shops. As a Nepali language print-media junkie, I quickly bought a copy and took it home to read. Both the cover story on the theme of fashion and the essay written by Ms Minakshi Bandana Sharma, first runners-up in Ms World Nepal '97, depressed me. Near the beginning of the cover story, I came across the following line (in my translation): "A person who loves to describe himself as ... modern and even civilized, does his best to keep himself informed of new designs and clothes by new designers and buys the latest models of clothing within his budget." I read the rest of the article hoping that the writer would include some critical perspective on the growth of fashion obsession in our society. Informative regarding the current scene, the article did not contain such a perspective.

I then read Sharma's essay entitled (again in translation) "Lack of Success in Love and Refound Love." 'Refound Love' - written in Devnagari - caught my attention. As she proceeded to explain what it meant , I thought something was wrong. She was talking about how harmful it is to start a new relationship when one is still hurting from the end of a previous relationship. Such relationships that are entered into to ignite jealousy in one's ex-lover or to deal with one's own sorrow, she defined as 'refound love.' I told myself that unless Sharma's cohort of beauty contestants have coined a new term 'refound love' to describe such a relationship (if so, it has completely bypassed me), its correct rendering should be 'rebound love.' Readers might think that this is such a small error that it is not worth commenting upon. On the contrary, I think that these errors are the evidence, based on which we can make a compelling argument that our search for a 'modern' identity has not empowered our minds to meet the challenges of our times (here learning precise but elementary English), but has instead converted our bodies into sites of increasingly devouring obsessions with fashion, love and sex.

Putting the magazine away, my thoughts went back to a review I had written some three years ago in this paper. I had then reviewed the first issue of the now-defunct magazine, Attitudes, within days of its arrival in the shops. Promotional advertisement about the magazine had described its scope in the following manner:"The Decade - The 90's. The Nepalese media - dominated by political, economic and other depressing issues. The question
- are things really that bad? We at ATTITUDES think differently. Life is beautiful, it is to be celebrated. The trees, the birds, the hills and valleys .... People in love, your favourite T.V. programmes, ... Celebrities at home and abroad, 'tu cheez badi hai mast mast'...." The maiden issue of Attitudes had described itself as a "happy magazine" that was about "love, life and you."

In my review, I agreed with the editorial view that life needs to be celebrated. However, I was less than sympathetic to the ways in which that magazine went about this celebration. Among other things, I then wrote "In trying to avoid critical appreciation of life, this magazine partakes of a strand of postmodern aesthetics which defers meaningful political engagement endlessly. The danger is that such uncritical celebration can soon become vapid in the extreme. Critical appreciation of our landscape, of celebrities at home and abroad, of people in love, and what have you, is an acceptable form of cultural analysis but descriptive narratives that simply cultivate a culture of spectatorship cannot produce a competent, happy Nepal." I argued vehemently that to be socially relevant, any celebration of Nepali lives has to come to terms with our realities in all its poverty, and print-media forums like Attitudes that want to intervene in the collective imagination of Nepalis of a certain social class cannot just pretend that these depressing realities do not exist in our midst. Yet in removing the subject from the arena of critical discussion, Attitudes was asking us to participate in an act that fosters collective amnesia about ourselves and our context.

Since that magazine carried a story on Miss Nepal '94 I had also written,
"A new sensibility of sexuality increasingly dominant here continues to make women's bodies the site of both conspicuous display and lustful male gazes. Even as the pageant organizers claimed that female bodies were not what were been judged, the responses given by contestants in Miss Nepal '94 are testimony to the fact that when it comes to investing on display of the body and the empowerment of the mind, it is the former that has received more attention." I recall here what one contestant had said in that beauty contest about the kind of man she would want to have ("He must be civilization and ..."). Such an elementary error on her part then had represented to me the results of the process in which Nepalis of a certain class had invested more on the pomp of the modern and not on their competence to handle modernity in all its complexity. I had then said a celebration of Miss Nepal '94 without noting this contradiction is misplaced, and I say the same thing regarding Sharma's error noted above.

The trend against which I wrote three years ago shows signs of increasing strength. Minakshi Bandana Sharma, a beauty contestant, feels no inhibition about expounding on the dangers of 'refound love' even as the rest of the English speaking world will have to be told that it is a particular Nepali avatar of 'rebound love'. Larger sections of the Nepali public are increasingly more interested in displaying women's bodies in the name of beauty pageants. The editors of the magazine which chose to print Sharma's essay with the error or the particular cover story on the growth of fashion in Nepal, unfortunately, continue to fuel the Nepali youth's obsession with the body and its desires. The attitude forwarded by Attitudes and other magazines, both in English and Nepali, regarding an uncritical rendering of our encounter with modernity has become more rampant and critical voices are being rendered as lonely cries in the wilderness.

If we want a Nepal led by a generation that thinks only with its genitalia, then no further discussion is necessary. On the other hand, if we want a Nepal that can tackle modernity and its discontents in all its forms, we better energize a social movement that asks for moderation in items like fashion and body-care. Popular print-media forums and journalists who write for them could help by giving space to critical exercises that will gradually empower our minds to come to terms with the stark Nepali realities that exist beyond the body obsession and do something about them. And the likes of Sharma and other beauty contestants could be advised to give at least as much attention to learning some elementary concepts as keeping themselves informed of "new designs and clothes by new designers" to look "modern and even civilized." Anything less will be, I say, grossly uncivilized in the Nepali context.

********************************************************* Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 19:13:52 -0600 From: "Bhushan Khanal" <bhushank@wrk.com> To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: Beyond the body obsession Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal

I think it comes down to a very simple rule, even tasteless subject can be written in style.

> I argued vehemently that to be socially relevant, any
> celebration of Nepali lives has to come to terms with our realities in all
> its poverty, and print-media forums like Attitudes that want to intervene
> in the collective imagination of Nepalis of a certain social class cannot
> just pretend that these depressing realities do not exist in our midst.
>

That type of sentiment, if present in the US would probably put 50% of the magazines out of business.

> The editors of the magazine which chose to print Sharma's
> essay with the error or the particular cover story on the growth of fashion
> in Nepal, unfortunately, continue to fuel the Nepali youth's obsession with
> the body and its desires.

Pratyoush, I don't mean any disrespect here but I think you are just getting old. If I want to read "critical rendering of our encounter with modernity" I probably won't pick up the next issue of Attitudes but if I wanted to indulge on the latest "fashion talk" without having to dig past the weekly list of the newly appointed ministers, I probably would not pick up the next issue of Rising Nepal or the Kathmandu Post. There is always a place in every society for garbage, and there are always some garbage that smell worse than other.

Bhushan Seattle.

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 10:28:20 To: A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu From: "F.A.H. Dalrymple" <hutchfa@topher.net> Subject: The Nepal Digest/my trip to Nepal

Mr. Rajpal J.P. Singh Editor The Nepal Digest TND Foundation http://www.nepal.org

Dear Mr. Singh:

  Thanks so much for 'e-mailing' me a 'copy' of the December 17th issue. I printed out almost fifty pages.

    It's good to learn about Nepal, as I'm going for the first time in January. Me and Prince Charles! (Note: I've learn so much about Nepal via the Internet! It's been astoundingly helpful in this regard!)

   Thus, I wonder if you'd mind if I submitted a list of questions, some of them probably inane. But, I've never been to that part of the world before.

   I sense, however, that there' much focus on Nepal/Himalayas
(current 'Hollywood' movies have helped). Maybe too it has something to do with 'Visit Nepal '98!' But, I sense good things happening in Nepal. I believe it will be a good place to be living to bring in the Third Millennium!

  Finally, I'm a professional writer/poet/video producer... If I can be of assistence to someone while I'm there in Nepal (plan to be there the maximum, or four months?), please let me know. I plan to depart for Nepal the latter half of January '98.

  I look forward to hearing. And bravo on the good job of bringing important issues into consciousness. The more we know about each other, the less likely we are for violence and war! Aren't we ultimately, all the same people of one world?

        Namaste!
        F.A.H. Dalrymple
        hutchfa@topher.net

********************************************************* From: Rajpal J.P. Singh a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: BKS - Source: The Rising Nepal Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal

   Folks,

      Does this mean all BKS graduates who come from districts other
      than KTM, Patan and Bhaktapur are under full-scholarships which
      is paid from National Budget of Nepal?

      Are students under any-type of contract to serve the school or
      country in return similar to other higher education scholarship
      agreements?

      Does the government provide scholarships to other schools from
      the National Budget? If not, one wonders why is limeted to BKS
      exclusively.

   So long,
   RJPS

 -------------

 Source: The Rising Nepal

The public impression has had that the government provides a huge amount from the national budget as grant for the school, which the Principal of Budhanilkantha School Mr. N.P. Sharma denies. He says, "the government only pays fees of the students coming from different geographical regi ons on scholarship.

--------------------------------------------
>From: Dilip Kumar
> Harvard University
>
>
> No, the government does NOT provide scholarships to students
> at other 'sarkari' secondary schools, though it provides some,
> NOT all, teachers to most schools and pays for their training
> and salaries. (At the university level, the government pays
> for the full scholarships of ALL students at the Mahendra Sanskrit
> University in Tribhuvan Nagar, Dang.)
>
> Almost all other sarkari schools have to do their own fund-raising
> to cover supplemental cost. They do so by charging hefty,
> non-refundable admission fees to every student at the beginning
> of every school year.
>

-------------------------------------------------
>Date: Mon, 08 Dec 1997 16:07:32 -0500
>From: Lokesh Sagar Shrestha <shrestha@princeton.edu>
>Subject: Re: BKS - Source: The Rising Nepal
>
>
>No not all the students from outside at Kathmandu are under full
>scholarships. And about half of those who receive scholarships are
>half-fee payers. In my graduating class, out of 80 there were, I think,
>12 guys under full-scholarship, 18 under half-scholarship. It is
>interesting to note than some of the recepients of full-scholarships
>were, in my opinion, capable of paying the full fee.
>
>
>No, there are no such contracts.

>I don't think so. BKS's scholarship scheme has been questioned time and
>again, and I know that the amount of scholarship fund the school
>receives has been cut down, but I don't know why the government is still
>funding the program. Personally, I think that BKS has served the
>individuals more than the nation itself. However, if these individuals,
>with a sense of "duty" and "obligation", were to serve the national
>interest along with their personal ones, then the scholarship scheme
>could have been justified. But, as is the case now, it appears to me
>that a larger proportion of the graduates of BKS who were the recepients
>of scholarships have not been doing so.
>
>Lokesh
>http://www.princeton.edu/~shrestha

------------------------------------------------
>From: Dilip Kumar
> Harvard University
>
>No, there is no contract. After graduation, post-SLC students (thos who don't make
>it to the next stage:A/O programs) are left on their own with very little
>career-guidance. Plus, neither the school nor the gov. has anything concrete to
>offer them(jobs/post-schooling training). So a contract, even if it existed, would
>mean nothing. As for post O/A level students..and those who did indeed benefit from
>such a program(on private scholarships abroad): my own belief is that they should
>contribute in their own capacities. But again, gaun-farka-contract does not make
>sense.
>
>
>My answer: i don't know. For the second part of the question, i would say gov.
>scholarship should not be limited to BKS. Such programs should expand to include
>more people,more regions,etc. Slashing/removing such program is NOT an option.
>
>dilip kumar

----------------------------------------------------
>From: Rinendra Shakya
> rinendra.shakya@yale.edu

>>No, there are no such contracts.
>
>I think people who go to England on ODA (Overseas Development Agency?) after
>A-levels have to come back and teach at the school. There were currently two
>scholarships available (one male and one female) but I think the British
>government has discontinued these.
>
>>I don't think so. BKS's scholarship scheme has been questioned time and
>>again, and I know that the amount of scholarship fund the school
>>receives has been cut down, but I don't know why the government is still
>>funding the program. Personally, I think that BKS has served the
>>individuals more than the nation itself. However, if these individuals,
>>with a sense of "duty" and "obligation", were to serve the national
>>interest along with their personal ones, then the scholarship scheme
>>could have been justified. But, as is the case now, it appears to me
>>that a larger proportion of the graduates of BKS who were the recepients
>>of scholarships have not been doing so.
>
>My personal feeling about this is this:
>
>By providing these scholarships,
>1)the government is providing students from lower class (wealth-wise) an
>opportunity to improve themselves and also hoping that the country will get
>something in return in the long run.
>2)It also provides students from wealthier backgrounds an opportunity to
>know how other less fortunate students live in our country.
>
>I cannot testify to how successful the first point has been, but it has
>definitely helped those students (a large majority) who received
>scholarships. So it can be said that the primary objective of the scheme was
>successful. About tangible benefits to the country, I was the 13th
>graduating class (A-levels) of the school and I am still in school. I would
>say it takes at least 10 years to establish yourself in your career. The
>students who graduated among the first couple of batches are finally
>settling in their careers and it remains to be seen how much an impact they
>will make.
>
>Also it cannot be argued that those students who are on scholarships from
>the Nepali government have a particular and explicit duty to come back and
>discharge their "duty" and "obligation". All of us (whether we were awarded
>scholarships or not) have a moral obligation to serve our country. (The
>issue about what we mean by "obligation" and "duty" is murky at best).
>
>On the 2nd point, I personally have benefited from it and to an extent, I
>think others also have.
>
>Rinendra
>rinendra.shakya@yale.edu

--------------------------------------------------------
>
> My opinion regarding BNKS scholarship scheme...
>
> To start with, I think whoever envisioned a school like BNKS has to be
>given credit... Nepal does need school like BNKS - a melting pot of ideas,
>culture, traditions, backgrounds to promote a better understanding and goodwill
>between Nepalese from all walks of life... I cannot think a "point" in Nepal
>more diverse and more equal than BNKS... BNKS was a place where I lost my
>"inherent" prejudices (I believe that when you are born in a Bramin/Kashtriya
>family in Nepal you inherit so many prejudices). It was a place where I was
>able to bring down all my barriers (caste, gender, socio economic, ethnicity,
>etc.) and learned to be a true human being.
>
> In short I think BNKS is one of the most important social "experiment"
>conducted by Nepal in this century... What we need is more school like BNKS in
>all the five regions of the country... Now lets move to the economics of the
>whole concept... The govt. cannot and should not put so much resources in one
>school... So the even if the govt. is paying only the fees of the scholarship
>students, it should "eventually" be phased out... However, before the govt.
>quits the almuni should take over. This may take another 15 - 25 years... We
>just to darn too young to be able to do anything right now...
>
> Somebody inquired something about the scholarship students going back
>to serve the country etc. etc. Why only scholarship students? why not the
>others? Does not every Nepali have the same amount of obligation to the
>country? I also do not agree with people when they say we have to go back to
>serve Nepal... How can we serve the country when there are no opportunities to
>work in something we know. How am I going to be a service to present day Nepal
>if I go back with a degree in Systems Engineering... I say stay in US of A and
>send money home for your family, friends, schools, NGOs to help them start
>something on their own... This way by living in the US you are opening new
>opportunities for people back home... Isn't that serving our nation too...
>Collective individualism in my opinion is a best way to develop a nation...
>When individuals make "their" right decisions to acheive something then we have
>a nation of indiviudals doing something, which means we have have a nation
>going somewhere... Going back to Nepal may not be the best options for a lot of
>individuals like me under the current infrastructure. We may be able to better
>serve the country by staying here and supporting something there for quite some
>time...
>
> I think we Nepalese spend too much time thinking about what others
>should do than what I need to do when I get up tomorrow morning...
>
>Peace,

-------------------------------------------------------- From: Ashutosh Tiwari
      Harvard University

>parajuli@fas.harvard.edu (Dilip Parajuli) writes:
>
>>BKS offers scholarships to all those who are academically outstanding and who need
>>financial aid, very similar to what most private colleges in the US do (need-based
>>financial aid). Scholarship is not limited to outside-valley students and not all
>>outside-valley students get it. And it ensures it gets a diverse group of
>>students:geography/ethnicity-wise.
>
>Finance: These days, the Nepali government shells out about 80 lakh rupees per year to pay for
>scholarships and expenses at BKS. At the same time, government spends an average of about Rs. sixty
>thousand per year at each of the hundreds of other Nepali sarkari schools. Readers can do
>their math, and marvel at the ratio themselves . . .(That Rs. 30,000 is exclusive of SLC fees,
>teachers' training and government-provided text-book expenses)
>
>Need-based financial aid: Unlike American private high schools (such as Exeter, Andover, etc),
>and unlike American private colleges (such as Amherst, Princeton, etc), BKS does no
>fund-raising on its own, does not tap into its alumni or well-wishers' fund. It simply
>waits for a handout of about 80 lakhs from ALL Nepali taxpayers every year. In fact,
>its Nepali principal justifies the government handout by saying:
>
>1) That it is a "successful, model" school. (Fine, if so, why is that "successful model" unable
>to replicate itself in other parts of Nepal, where a good education is also needed ? A model,
>by definition, is something you can replicate, right? If you have not been able to replicate a
>model after 25-years of existence, then what kind of a successful model is it?
>
>(The principal, a nice guy, really had no answer. And to me, that wasn't surprising, considering
>that he was so hung up on his students' well-deserved INDIVIDUAL graded success on O and A
>Levels that he, the principal of Nepal's "national school" had no engaging comments on
>national secondary school educational policies.
>
>Aside: I worry about our Nepali tendency to place
>too much narrow emphasis on academic success at the expense of forgetting to be appreciative
>of what I shall call "big picture". Nepal does not lack technically accomplished experts
>who did very well in school and hold PhDs from world's well-known universities. What we
>need more urgently are people, no less smart, who can ask the right questions about our
>educational policies, values, politics and so forth . . .
>
>2) That it is a "national" school with "diversity". (I thought this was a valid claim until
>I discovered that most big schools in the Valley can also legitimately make the exact claim
>without getting a handout from the government. In the last ten years, the demographics of
>Kathmandu has changed in such a way that you can find Nepalis from all kinds of districts
>in all kinds of toles and neighborhoods in Kathmandu. And statistically speaking, most big
>schools such as Vanasthali, Anandakuti, AVM in the Valley can draw students from this changed
>demographic milieu, and get students who are originally from all over over Nepal, and also
>from Assam, Sikkim, Darjeeling,and so forth. So, this claim of diverfse school is not
>really unique to BKS.
>
>(To this, the princial said something to the effect of "well, the students we recruit
>from parts of Nepal are brighter". I just smiled, and let it go at that, did not feel like
>quoting Howard Gardner to him. . . and also did not feel like asking what happened
>if some of those "brighter" students failed to make it to O and A Levels after their
>SLC? Should they just be left to flounder on their own?)
>
>
>>: Does this mean all BKS graduates who come from districts other
>>: than KTM, Patan and Bhaktapur are under full-scholarships which
>>: is paid from National Budget of Nepal?
>
>>No, there is no contract. After graduation, post-SLC students (thos who don't make
>>it to the next stage:A/O programs) are left on their own with very little
>>career-guidance. Plus, neither the school nor the gov. has anything concrete to
>>offer them(jobs/post-schooling training). So a contract, even if it existed, would
>>mean nothing. As for post O/A level students..and those who did indeed benefit from
>>such a program(on private scholarships abroad): my own belief is that they should
>>contribute in their own capacities. But again, gaun-farka-contract does not make
>>sense.
>
>Contracts cannot be enforced in Nepal.
>
>
>>: Are students under any-type of contract to serve the school or
>>: country in return similar to other higher education scholarship
>>: agreements?
>
>>My answer: i don't know. For the second part of the question, i would say gov.
>>scholarship should not be limited to BKS. Such programs should expand to include
>>more people,more regions,etc. Slashing/removing such program is NOT an option.
>
>>dilip kumar

---------------------------------------------- From: Rajesh Babu

>D-Stranger <dxa4553@grace.rit.edu> writes:
>
>>Fellas,
>
>> My opinion regarding BNKS scholarship scheme...
>
>> To start with, I think whoever envisioned a school like BNKS has to be
>>given credit... Nepal does need school like BNKS - a melting pot of ideas,
>>culture, traditions, backgrounds to promote a better understanding and goodwill
>>between Nepalese from all walks of life... I cannot think a "point" in Nepal
>>more diverse and more equal than BNKS... BNKS was a place where I lost my
>>"inherent" prejudices (I believe that when you are born in a Bramin/Kashtriya
>>family in Nepal you inherit so many prejudices). It was a place where I was
>>able to bring down all my barriers (caste, gender, socio economic, ethnicity,
>>etc.) and learned to be a true human being.
>
>> In short I think BNKS is one of the most important social "experiment"
>>conducted by Nepal in this century... What we need is more school like BNKS in
>>all the five regions of the country... Now lets move to the economics of the
>>whole concept... The govt. cannot and should not put so much resources in one
>>school... So the even if the govt. is paying only the fees of the scholarship
>>students, it should "eventually" be phased out... However, before the govt.
>>quits the almuni should take over. This may take another 15 - 25 years... We
>>just to darn too young to be able to do anything right now...
>
>I admire the passion you feel for your alma mater. I know that BKS
>alumni get together and apparently have an orgnaization. I would be
>interested to know if the alumni organization of BKS does intend to
>take over from the government the financing of BKS. Is there an organized
>effort for retaining the current sytem of admission and recruitment of
>BKS and turning over finances to the alumni? Is 15-25 years a resonable,
>practical and reliable schedule?
>
>Rajesh Babu

------------------------------------------------- From: Ashutosh Tiwari
      Harvard University

>
>>parajuli@fas.harvard.edu (Dilip Parajuli) writes:
>
>
>>>My answer: i don't know. For the second part of the question, i would say gov.
>>>scholarship should not be limited to BKS. Such programs should expand to include
>>>more people,more regions,etc. Slashing/removing such program is NOT an option.
>
>>>dilip kumar
>
>I laud the sentiment of providing more scholarships to "more people, more regions" etc.
>But I am curious as to who should pay for such "more" scholarship programs, and how.
>

>Lokesh Sagar Shrestha <shrestha@princeton.edu> writes:
>
>>Personally, I think that BKS has served the
>>individuals more than the nation itself.
>
>Very well said, Lokesh. I agree with you there, and I admire your honesty.
>
>From a scholarship recipient's perspective, attending BKS may be a very great and
>life-changing opportunity, and I don't deny that. I think it's a tribute to the
>intelligence of the students themselves that some of those full-scholarship students
>are now attending some of the finest colleges in the West.
>
>But from a national perspective, it does not make any sense that there is this
>tremendous investment on a certain number of students (most of whom can actually
>pay the full fees themselves) at ONE particular school WHILE the rest of the sarkari
>school students get nothing but deplorable teaching/learning conditions. (Sure, one
>can dismiss this by saying that life is unfair, and so forth. But that would just be a
>strategy for a cop-out from this discussuion).
>
>When the country through its taxpayers makes that much of an investment on so few
>"carefully selected best students" (in the words of its principal), then
>surely it is only fair for the rest of the taxpayers to ask for some sort of a 'return'
>in some form on their investment?
>
>Otherwise, why hesitate to admit that that yes they personally, and they personally alone,
>benefitted from this unfairly-conceived scholarship scheme (even when some of them could
>have paid the full fees themselves)? Many things in Nepal are not perfect, and after all,
>it's only human to seek benefits and free-rides even when we may not legitimately deserve
>such opportunities, and may pass on the COST to other people (i.e. taxpayers and so forth)
>
>Just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree.
>
>ashu
>

****************************************************************** From: HMPradhan <HMPradhan@aol.com> Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 02:26:11 EST To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Would you like to taste the forgotten taste of Nepal??

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****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 09:54:48 +0100 From: Shaker Publishing bv <mail@shaker.nl> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: to find work

Dear Sir,

Through this way I would like to ask you if you could give me some more information about the possibilities to find work in Nepal. I have an relationship with a Nepalese man over more than three years now and we are looking for a way to be together. I don't think he can manage to adapt himself to the European way of live, so I will come to live in Nepal. Now I'm working in the Publishing business in the Netherlands, I know how to work with computers. Maybe there is an possibility for me to work at the Dutch Embassy (or any other embassy). I speak French, German and Englisch. I have lived for three years in Asian countries and a lot of travel experiences. Maybe I could work for some travel organisations.Would it be possible that you send me some adresses and information (especially the Dutch embassy adress in KTM)?

Thank you so much,

Vera van Ratingen, Shaker Publishing Postbus 3030 6202 NA Maastricht tel: 043-3260500 fax: 043-3255090 eMail: info@shaker.nl

You could also send some information to this adress:

Prem Neupane P.B.no 7337 Kathmandu Nepal

        Shaker Publishing bv
        St. Maartenslaan 26
        6221 AX Maastricht
        043 - 3260500 (tel)
        043 - 3255090 (fax)

*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 21:31:27 -0000 From: Sohan Raj Panta <Sohan.Panta@btinternet.com> To: Nepal Digest <tnd@nepal.org>, Kathmandu Post <tkpfeed@mos.com.np> Subject: News from Sagarmatha Times - December edition

Dear Editor

Enclosed herewith the "Nepalese Activities in UK" and some articles published in the Sagarmatha Times December edition.

Thankyou

Mr B.P. Joshi Mr S.R. Panta Editor-in-Chief

Britain-Nepal Society=20 Charge d'Affaires Mr. Prahlad Kumar Prasai of Royal Nepalese Embassy=20 appreciated the efforts of the Britain-Nepal Society in his brief address to Annual General Meeting of Britain-Nepal Society recently held at Royal Nepalese Embassy, London.=20

Charge d'Affaires Mr. Prasai said" The society was established with a view of foster good relation between two countries. I am happy to say that the society has been successful in its noble objectives of consolidating traditional ties so happily subsisting between two countries and the people. It has created tremendous goodwill for Nepal in the United Kingdom."

Sir Arthur Norman Honored His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, Patron of the Trust has graciously conferred The Order of PRASHIDDA PRABAL GORKHA DAKSHIN BAHU to Sir Arthur Norman, former trustee and chairperson of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Europe Chapter in recognition of his contribution to the cause of nature conservation in Nepal. The Decoration was handed-over to him in a function organised at Royal Nepalese Embassy London.

"British and Nepali schools get together" An educational and cultural exchange programme has recently been established officially involving British and Nepali schools. Hendon School, a North London secondary school, has initiated this project through Mrs Amita Pandey Sen, a Nepalese national. The specific proposal was to share experiences by introducing innovatory projects, especially by imparting environmental education to schools in Kathmandu.=20

 After a visit by the Chairman, Mr. Robert Heath, of the international links department of Hendon school and Mrs Evans, a technology teacher, links were firmly established with several Kathmandu schools, including Balkumari and Kantipur secondary and Alka primary. Their visit facilitated the setting up of an exhibition at Hendon School on Nepal which was attended by Mr. Prahlad Prasai, the First Secretary of the Royal Nepalese Embassy. The Headmaster of Hendon School, Mr R. Lloyd, has strongly endorsed the programme and believes that the students from both countries will benefit immensely from such an educational and cultural exchange. At present Hendon School sponsors two Nepalese children financially and has collected donations of resources to send to schools in Kathmandu. They also hope to invite a Nepali teacher in the near future to experience British teaching practices. It is hoped that an exchange of students will eventually take place as well.

A further boost to the project of promoting educational and cultural links was recently given by a London based Nepalese cultural group called the Koseli, which performed traditional Nepali dance and music at Hendon School. This is an unique project involving ordinary students from two different countries, which, it is hoped, will lead to more and lasting=
 educational exchanges.

Request Letter to His Excellency The Sagarmatha Times have sent a request letter to Royal Nepalese =
    Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Singha Bahadur Basnyat on matters relating to the selection of schools in remote areas of Nepal for the donation of Nepalese rupees 50,000 (fifty thousand) for the year 1997.

The Sagarmatha Times clarified in the letter that the motto of the newspaper published in UK is to participate in the nation's development through social services in Nepal. The letter further clarified that the fund was created from its own resources as the newspaper is of entirely service oriented.

The letter seeked assistance in selection of schools and productive =
      suggestions from His Excellency, the letter was sent on 10th December and is awaiting for positive reply. The Sagarmatha Times is hoping for further solid action after receiving reply from His Excellency.=20

The ST Editor-in-Chief, Mr BP Joshi will be meeting with Government officials in Kathmandu to discuss on better utilization of financial assistance to the schools located in the remote areas.

Activities of Yeti-Midlands and North UK As per communiqu=E9 received from Manchester, following are their activiti= es

Dance Workshop :=20
--------------------------- Choreographer Andrea Young have conducted a dance workshop for the=20 participants above 4 years of age effective from 7th December 1997. The =20 workshop is aimed to develop Nepali dances and health of the participants= through the use of hand and limbs.

The workshop is conducted free of charge to increase the interest of British =09friends and Nepali youths in line with the preservation of Nepalese culture. =09The workshops are also going to be conducted in 1998 January and =09February.

Joint Meeting :=20
--------------------- The regular meeting of Nepal Himalayan Festival 1998 was held on 13th=20 December at Widdington Library, Manchester in relation with the preparation of the Festival. The Manchester City Council agreed to make available of= financial assistance for publicity purpose after the meeting.=20

Nepalese Language Classes :=20
------------------------------------------- The classes are regularly conducted on every Saturday from last four years at the Widdington Library to enhance British friends and Nepalese youths residing in UK. Nepalese New Year : It was decided to celebrate Nepalese New Year 2055 on 12th April 1998.

Nepal Kingdom Foundation Activities :=20 As per communiqu=E9 received from Nepal Kingdom Foundation, following are their activities :=20

Mr Madhav Sharma : =20 The trustees of NKF welcome, appreciate and congratulate Mr Mahav =09Sha= rma who has reached London on his venture for world tour on his =09motorbike. = A certificate and contribution was presented in a function to Mr =09Sharma.=

Late Ram Tamang remembered :=20
----------------------------------------------- Late Shri Ram Tamang who passed away on 3rd December 1995 was =09remembe= red for his marvelous work for the community. A sincere tribute =09paid by his friends and family in a brief remberance ceremony. The NKF dedicated its library in the name of late Shri Ram Tamang. The= library has abundance stock of Nepalese books and periodicals. The library= is being used by scholars, researchers and students in Reading, UK.

Nepali Sunday school :=20
--------------------------------- Mr Padma Prakash Shrestha and other friends of cultural activities are= conducting Nepali Sunday schools on Nepali language and culture for=20 Nepalese and non Nepalese nationals in Reading. The classes have been=20 conducting since 1993.

Nepalese Buddhist Bihar :=20
------------------------------------- Lama Rimpoche is performing Buddhist service with prayers every morning= in the Nepalese Buddhist Bihar, Reading.=20

NKF branch in Kathmandu :=20
---------------------------------------- A branch of NKF is officially registered in Nepal to represent NKF activities =09in Nepal. The official address of NKF Nepal is located in Chhetrapati, =09Kathmandu, Nepal.

Queen Elizabeth Unveils Gurkha Statue By Rabindra Mishra

London: Queen Elizabeth unveiled a statue of a Gurkha Soldier, erected as a permanent memorial of Gurkha service to Britain, in a special ceremony here earlier this month.

One-and-a-half times life size bronze figure was commissioned by The Gurkha Brigade Association Trust, which represents all Gurkha regiments. The figure is erected in Whitehall, an area where British government offices are concentrated. It is also close to the grave of an unknown soldier buried there in recognition of all who died in the first and second world wars. The money for the statue was raised by the trust through donations. The statue, built by one of the leading contemporary British=20 sculptor Philip Jackson, is based on a six-foot figure sculpted in 1924 by Richard Goulden, a reputed war memorial sculptor of the time. The figure stands on a Portland stone plinth and on the principal face under crossed khukuris the engraved words read: The Gurkha Soldier, bravest of the brave/most generous of the generous, never had/country more faithful friends than you.

The people here agree with it. But many Gurkhas in recent years have started questioning whether their faithfulness has been rightly honoured. The Gurkha Army ex-Servicemen's Association is campaigning for the equal treatment to ex- and serving Gurkhas as their British counterparts. The association says Gurkha soldiers are unfairly treated in pensions and other service conditions. The Gurkhas have been serving the British Crown since 1815, firstly with the Army of the East India Company and from 1948, with the British Army. They have won thirteen Victoria Crosses, Britain's highest award for gallantry, this century.

The prince consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Prince of Wales, were also present at the ceremony, in which a band of the brigade of Gurkhas provided the music. After the unveiling of the statue, a Gurkha pundit also recited lines from Bhagavat Gita.

Conspiracy Mr B.P. Joshi There was no doubt that the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was not only a big loss for India and Indians. But it was also a great loss to the democratic world and specially for the Indian sub-continent. It was a great irreparable loss. The history is in front of us, that no leader of his caliber could replace the void created because of his assassination in India as well as in the Indian sub-continent.=20

It is true that he became the victim of a conspiracy. The conspiracy always played a vital role in Bharatbarsha in the olden days and is playing the same role in modern India too. The formation of States in the ancient days in Bharatbarsha, were by-product of conspiracies - Royal family conspiracy, courtiers conspiracy, military conspiracy and foreign powers conspiracy. Even in the modern days, after the arrival of East India company in India, the company flourished only because of conspiracies. Those numerous conspiracies converted the East India Company into the British rulers of United India.

During British Raj the conspiracies were as general as food for living. Otherwise, Bharatbarsha would have remained a one single country after Independence, instead of becoming two countries - India and Pakistan. And in the case of Pakistan also, it would have remained intact in one area instead of East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The present generation of that former British Raj are still affected by the past. They are still under stress, under pressure and under complex. Because they were influenced by that ill culture. It may take many more generations to become free from that culture. Nepal is a heaven in this world. Nepal is a sovereign country. We have our own beloved Monarchy and our own people. The Monarch have sacrificed everything for happiness of the Nepalese people and Nepal. The King is a preacher of Peace, the world peace. He may be termed as modern Buddha of the present world. If he was not the preacher of Peace, he would not have declared Nepal a zone of peace. We are proud of him and the Royal Family.

It is an utmost disgusting and shame for the Jain commission to publish an unverified report by involving our Royal Family in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Mr Rajiv Gandhi was a good friend of our Royal Family and the Nepalese people. He always supported the Nepalese cause as did his grand father Nehru and mother Indira Gandhi. Though we are poor, but we are rich in our great culture. Our great culture tells us "FRIEND IS GOD " (MITRA DEVA BHAVA). It never allows us to stab our friends in the back.=20

We are not bothered about what system and society the Jain commission and it's associates are adopting. But we are bothered that we do not want to be involved in any conspiracies. Mr Jain could be big man in his country but he should know that he is pointing out to someone in the foreign land.=20

Neither our Royal Family nor we Nepalese have any time to get involved in this sort of conspiracy. If he is thorough gentleman, he should immediately amend his hineous decision. We are tolerant, that does not mean that people can abuse us for something that is not our mistakes. We do not want conflict and bad relations with our neighbouring countries.=20

India and the wise Indian Government know about the friendship value of Nepal. And they also know that the abuse is only part of a conspiracy to involve foreign country for their vested political interest. Therefore the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and Indian Government immediately issued official statement contradicting Jain Commission Report.

The solidarity of the Nepal Government and Nepalese on opposing of the issue must be appreciated and such solidarity if maintained, always, will definitely pay country for our development. Though it came late, but a sincere apology of the Indian Government is definitely a right course of action at the right time.

Squabbling everywhere Mr B.P Joshi Nepalese people always supported their leaders without any doubts and =
       prejudice. Whether that was during in the past days or at present. Because they do believe their leaders. It does not mean that people are not conscious politically, socially or economically. But that is the characteristics of the Nepalese peoples sincerity. Because they do believe sincerely, therefore they get back fires also. The history is a witness.

In the past Nepal was so big that its border started from Teesta in the east to Kangada in the west and Tibet was in the north. Because we trusted every body and we always supported friends, the outcome became cutting in size of the Nation. Even when we fought bloody World Wars for the sake of our friends and made our thousands of thousands female widows. We have no answers as to why did we participate in those wars ? In no reason, the wars were related to us. We fought the war because then our leaders wanted to participate for their own interest. The only benefit we got from that participation is recruitment of our heroes in British Army in throw away prices. There are lots of discrimination in salaries, allowances, family benefits, pensions and much more for Gurkhas in the British Army compare to their other British personnel's. Even in Nepal the opinion on the issue is divided among the political parties. They want to tackle the situation on their own convenient way suited for their party benefit. Hopefully, the present peoples government of Nepal will take bold stand to resolve the issue for proper rights of our heroes, the Gurkhas.

The political parties are the mentors of our 2 million people. They are established with different names and ideologies, ultimately to develop society and the Nation. There are huge numbers of parties in the country. But fortunately, the numbers are much less in Nepal than the numbers in our neighboring countries. Whatever the numbers are, but few of them are historical parties and carrying great history for freedom of people from aristocratic rules and they are dedicated for development of Nation.=20

The parties like Nepali Congress and Nepal Communist Party (UML) always stood for the people. Present democracy is definitely a joint venture of both the parties. It would have been impossible to break the autocratic panchayat system if they were not together. They were together in interim government and also together in making the Constitution of Nepal. In democratic parliament there should be good opposition. But the mid-term poll gave hung parliament to the nation, subsequently, parties were forced to form coalition governments one after another within a short span of three years time. The leaders of parties became so much selfish these days that they are lacking any tolerance and sacrifices for the party and the country.=20

The Nepali Congress is divided into Girija group, Bhattarai group and Janajagaran group. The party is also divided into old and new generation. Same is the case with UML too. They are squabbling with each other and having fierce groupism within party. There is Nepal group, Oli group and Bamdev group. The party is also facing serious discipline inside. The party president Adhikary is powerless and simply watching all these activities= as a spectator, since he is the only figure head in the party. Another=20 party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) of former Panchayat cadets also prop-up with same fate. Thapa and Chand groups are main rivals in the party. Since they are of opportunists and looking for good opportune for the individual. Their floor crossing in the parliament are solely responsible for the change of last three coalition governments in the country. We do not know how long the present coalition government lasts.

The squabbling of our leaders in the parties are to be stopped once for all. Their personal differences need to be sorted out. If they are really dedicated for the Nation, they need to come out from their own vested interest and look for the party and Nation as a whole. Other-wise the Nation and people may have to bear great difficulties ahead.=20

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