The Nepal Digest - December 29, 1995 (14 Push 2052 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 29 December 95: Push 14 2052 BS Volume 45 Issue 6

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta k945184@atlas.kingston.ac.uk *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh B. Shrestha rshresth@black.clarku.edu *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "LIFE: Indulgence vs Seeking Truth - Which is your forte?" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 17:07:12 -0500 (EST) From: mahesh maskey <mmaskey@acs.bu.edu> Subject: Let us think about TND! To: The Nepal Digest <Nepal@cs.niu.edu>

                  LET US THINK ABOUT TND!

Dear TND Editors and Readers,

I wish you all Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year 1996. And I also want to take this opportunity to share some of my feelings regarding TND with you.

When I first came to Boston 16 months ago, the acute shortage of nepali news source was palpable. Until I was initiated to "The Nepal Digest" by Amulya Tuladhar, I was in a sort of information vacuum even though US media used to bable continuously in Radio and TVs. For a long time TND was the only news source apart from some occasional phone calls and news magazines I used to subscribe from Nepal. As it became a habit to brows over what is in TND I happen to realise that this bulletin is more of a discussion forum, an intellectual plateform for sharing of views, agreements and disagreements than a news source. It was more like a window to the collective mind of nepalese studying and working outside Nepal. I have also noticed a host of contributors whose writing skills and quality is comparable to many of the established contributors in nepalese academic infosphere. And since I could not come across similar endeavour of our neighbours Indian or Chinese community in the internet (please correct me if I am wrong) who have proportionately very large numbers of people in USA and elsewhere, for me, it also became a modest but proud symbol of our community's accomplishment, a flag sign, to be demonstrated to our foreign friends and wellwishers.
  TND has rightly earned the respect of many of its readers including myself and acquired an emotional touch, a sense of belonging to our community. Many deserve the credit for this but of all the people Chief editor and the person who works everyday to thread all these articles and pieces in TND has to be especially commended. It may be very well possible that Mr. Sing is also carrying out the "layout" job as TND is not financially capable to hire people for that purpose.

Being a regular reader I also can feel the stress on the Editors as the contributors for articles and news are growing in the number. The lack of time has seriously eroded the quality (dumping of old and irrelevant news in a volume of 170K or so) and irregularity of publication taking long intervals are visible manifestation of this stress. There has been several calls from the editor for help. Call for volunteers and contribution of time. But the response is not very encouraging. And with the increase of number and volume of articles the stress on TND is not going to be lessened. On the contrary it can be well visualised that as the bulletin circulation and contributors grows there will be more pressure on the TND
 leading to further erosion of Quality because of the load of articles.

This is a contradiction which has to be resolved if we want to secure the health of TND. There has been several complaints about TND and we have also heard the explanation and limitation of Editors.
  I think the root cause of this contradiction is that we have not attempted to make it finacially sound and qualitatively saleable. I think the time has come for a rethinking of the whole affair and chart out a direction for further development of TND.

My point is we, as TND readers, should volunteer to pay atleast the person who spends some hours on the computor and demand accountability for that pay in respect of regularity and layout. As a first step if we could only ensure sufficient money to pay for 2 hrs of computor job it should be sufficient for a regular bulletin. ( This is my guess. I am not very aware of how much time is being actually spend or needed. It would be nice if Editors have a word about this.)

If my guess is reasonable than the minimum cost for 2 hr computor job would be arround $12 ($6/hr). For 5 days a week it would cost $60 and for a month
$240 or slightly more. Is it impossible for us to raise $250/month for TND? I think not. If around 700 members of TND contribute even only
$1/month(less than 5 cent/day). we will have $700 which will be a great financial boost for the bulletin. But it may be unusual that everybody contribute. Then what about only 50% contribute. It will be about $350 which is still sufficient. If that is also not coming there may be people who are willing to contribute more. Say if only 50 people contribute 5 dollors per month the required amount could be collected. I think the editors should make a public call for this. And I am positive there will be response. At least I am willing to be included in any of the catagory mentioned above. If TND is something we are proud of, then our community should be able to ensure its lifeline. Our foreign freinds may also contribute to this but we should not be dependent upon them i.e. the contribution should be equal not more than the what we are contributing.

What should we expect of TND editorial board in return?. Regular publication every 2nd day to start with. Arrangement of articles according to the subjects so that we have an idea which article lies where. May be TND can have its own home Page. With the guidance of people like Rajendra Shresth it could be possible. It would be really great if TND could have a attractive face of a home page. It would also increase its saleability.

I think it should be realized that TND has a very little news value now. It can not compete Kathmandu post or Independant or SCN or other news source. I think only short and most recent news should be published in the issues. News even two days old should be discarded unless it is of special significance.

What is saleable in TND ( by saleable I mean impact not profit) is the potential that it could be informative about the most recent developments in all fields of knowledge be it general science, physics, health, economics, sociology, environment, politics, philosophy etc. I strongly feel we have not really explored this possibility. Internet is loaded with the most recent events/discovery in these fields. These are very valuable for the concerned readers in Nepal. TND could be one such vehicle. The email access to the institues such as Ronast institute of Medicine, RecPhec, TU, KU, News magazines like KTMpost, Independent, Himal, Asmita etc. makes it possible to become the first subscribers of TND in Nepal. Even outside Nepal internet access is not homogenous.The same person usually does not have time or ability to scan through all these subjects and be informed of the most relevant one. For this a group of people have to contribute rotation wise. For example I can volunteer to contribute atleast 6 or 7 recent discovery or events in science/Health every week. If people from other field also volunteer to contribute then it ought to work.

However, the very heart of TND's existance is its ability to provide an interactive forum for ideas and viewpoints. At times the debates and the language turns foul but this is no reason to be pessimistic. With time we will learn how to debate with minimum of personal animosities. More than a year I have been observing this trend in TND grow in a positive direction and this is one reason why I strongly feel this is our collective responsibility to ensure that TND continue to prosper in its idea and readership.

I hope the netters will respond and share their views to find out a way for lessening the stress TND is having at present. Once again I commend all those who have toiled hard to nurture TND.

mahesh maskey 12/19/1995

**************************************************** Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 22:17:59 -0500 (EST) From: atuladhar@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - December 18, 1995 (3 Push 2052 BkSm) To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>

Asking "permission" for KPost articles: Principle or Protocol.
===============================================================

I am intrigued by Sanjib of Mos's suggestions that those who forward kpost articles should ask permisssion.

Well should we?

The rules are not clear and convention guides us that if a printed text is not accompanied by copyright protection and is reproduced and forwarded WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE SOURCE everything should be all right.

Second, the very availability of text in a public domain www site assumes that they are freely available for anyone to use it, when i downloaded files from the National Center for Geographic Information by file trasnfer protocol, no permission was necessary. I would imagine that a newspaper on-line would want to be forwarded.

I am sure there are protocols for items that are for restricted distribution. I suggest that henceforth Kathmandu Post and Independent and maybe the Nepal home page should post a warning: "Permission needed for reproduction and dissemination."

From: atuladhar@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Re: Let us think about TND!

mahesh and rajpalji: i support this proposal 100%

**************************************************** From: Hans Jacobs
      Email hamarart@pop.pi.net To: The Nepal Digest

Hello My wife is an artist, she design her work on the computer and then she recreate the computer design to a pastel work 100cm-70cm. My wife believes that her work should be made much bigger. for instance 4meter-2meter. [12 ft - 6 ft] The costs to make work like that are tremendous in Holland and my wife also like to give our children time and attention it is very hard to create big works. The question is: Is it possible that Nepali artist/ craftsmen make the designs of my wife. If so who to contact? I go in January to Kathmandu for research and see if its possible to make this deal, if it is successful more Dutch artists are interested. Iam looking forward to hear your reactions /comments.

Hans Jacobs Email hamarart@pop.pi.net

*************************************************************** Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 09:51:04 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Men Who Harass Women By Manjushree Thapa From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya)

What follows is a piece by MANJUSHREE THAPA. This was published in Kathmandu's SPOTLIGHT weekly newsmagazine of Aug. 18, 1995

        Manjushree is the author of "Mustang Bhot In Fragments", an autobiographical travelogue set in Mustang. An artist by training and a writer by temperament, she is currently working on a novel in English in Kathmandu.

                Men Who Harass Women

Oppressed by a sense of inferiority, unable to boost their self-esteem through activities that do not denigrate others, and generally lacking in intelligence, men who harass women are found in every alley of Kathmandu. They have, in common, a shifty-eyed odiousness; otherwise, they are as varied as life itself. Nevertheless, sociologists agree that they can be placed into the following categories:

1. Fat shopkeeper who stands in front of his store with his hands folded as he looks up at the sky and mutters at women half his age: His shirt buttons are popping open at their paunch, his mustache is crooked, and his wife's translucent rubber sandals adorn his feet. Psychologically, such men are apathetic about life, since it is their wives' fathers who have set them up in business. Economically, they are happy to sell one or two pencils a day, believing that low sales have nothing to do with their attitude towards female customers. These men are likely to forget the names of their children.

2. Man in yellow pants with red stitches who hisses as he darts by women, reaching the other end of the street before the women realize what happened: His shirt, to boot, is checkered green-and-blue satin. For all their sense of color, these men move swiftly through the streets, invisible to the general public. Perhaps this is because they are short, and very, very thin. They work in various ambiguous
"businesses," and spend their free time watching quite a few too many Hindi movies. Their eyes are perpetually bloodshot.

3. Eighteen year-old with short cropped hair, dressed in slightly flared pants with black buckled belts and tight shirts, who only harasses women when he is in the company of friends: A foolish youth, all around. Lacking opinions of their own, such boys latch avidly on to the opinion of their friends, which are, in turn, based on the opinions of their friends. This results in whole herds of boys whose favorite activity is standing on street corners, and whose general views on life are easily summarized by their favorite saying, "kei ho, kei ho," which is , incidentally, all they can think of saying to the women they choose to harass.

4. Man at the back of motorcycles who turns his face away after having uttered harassments into the wine: Recently married but still, at heart, a meat-head. These men generally engage in trading in Nepal's stock exchange.

5. Man who puffs his narrow chest just as he passes women, forcing them to step off the sidewalk: The first cousin of the man who swerves his bicycle towards women as he rides by. These are strange men, whose greatest moments in life come from the not-so-accidental knocking of elbows in crowded streets. Such men yearn for more connection with other people, and attain it in their own misdirected way.

6. Thirteen year-old student in the company of other thirteen year-old students: a dull one who has learned nothing from textbooks, and has not made up for this by excelling in anything else like sports or arts or even telling lies.

7. Man who hangs off his friend's father's jeep, leering: a recent, worrisome, and little-understood phenomenon linked somehow to the Third World melding of patriarchal moral values and modern means of transport.

8. Men who ogle, unsure if they should attempt harassment or not: Forty-five year-old in dysfunctional marriages direly in need of therapy.

        And who do they harass. these men? Invariably, the subject of their harassment is a woman undertaking serious, nation-building tasks with the single-mindedness of purpose they demand, like going to work, college, or school. Sociologists are not sure why a country which produces such women also produces the kind of men described above.

        And what is to be done about such men? How can they be reformed? Experts claim there is no use confronting them. Because when confronted about his actions, the fat shopkeeper becomes belligerent:
"Who? Me? I've got two or three children, and their names are - unh-unh..." The thin man in yellow pants smiles back queasily, exposing paan-stained teeth. The eighteen year-old says with an unbecoming blush, "kei ho, kei ho." The motorcycle man is already on the other side of the street. The man with a puffed-out chest may deflate it when confronted, but further down the road, he will start, again, to pull in his breath. Thirteen year-old student giggle when confronted, and men who hang off their friend's father's jeep proceed from leering to sneering. Men who ogle become dangerously liable to explode with pent-up frustration when confronted.

        The solution, experts say, is for women to befriend such men. Loathsome and harrowing as this seems, it is, they say, the only way the Nepali men can learn that women are not distant objects at which they can direct the coarse expression of their neuroses, but that women are thinking, feeling human beings.

        Experts could be right about this, but a thorough shaking, every now and then , might also be in order.

************************************************************* From: Rajesh Shrestha <rshresth@husc.harvard.edu> Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 09:53:04 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Tibetan Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------

The need for teaching alternative medicine in the west is not widely understood. Extraordinary forces are opposed to the introduction of alternative medicine and are quite comfortable with the status quo. Local medicine practices have been used around the world since the beginning of time. The World Health Organization recognizes the benefits of expanding these medical skills and has said that indigenous medicine is the most cost effective means of providing health care in the third world.

Benefits of training western medical practicioners are many, for both westerners and Nepalis. Westerners will be able to provide more effective treatment when this knowledge is added to their western medical dkills and they will be able to bring a return to health for many illnesses which are not handled effectively in the West. One good example is treatment for the common cold, which is handled very successfully using Tibetan medicine. Other diseases like diarrhea and diabetes may well be better handled with Tibetan medicne.The herbal remidies and other Tibetan medical practices are simply more effective than Western medhods.

Western practicioners will never be able to be convinced of the effectiveness of these treatments without clinical trials which can best be conducted in Nepal and in a hospital setting. There is a need for additional medical facilities in Nepal and especially for medical facilities which can be used to teach local people how to deliver medical care, using primarily local methods.

At the same time Western medicine does some things better than traditional practices. One example is emergency medicine. In the west this has become a specialty.

Western doctors having learned these methods will return to their respective countries and take with them a new knowledge which will result in demand for herbal remidies which are currently being cultivated in Nepal. Limited demand for these remidies substantially reduces the viability of the cultivation process and increases the liklihood of the preservation of some of these remidies which may be nearing extinction. Hard currency generated by new markets for these herbs should ensure their economic viability.

Plans call for a hospital designed to provide free training for Nepali students drawn from remote areas, in exchange for their committment to return to their villages andd provide health care and emergency medicine to the indigenous populations in their home areas. Students from the west would pay tuition and teach their wester medical skills to students as part of their tuition. Further additional support would be gained from grants raised primarily in the West.

Parties interested in further information or assisting in this project are invited to respond to: Arthur Hrin 1625 Morris Avenue S. Renton, WA 98055 USA Telephone 206-204-7884 evenings pacific time 206-546-7181 days Fax 26-546-7180 or email to hrin@speakeasy.org

******************************************************* Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 10:59:43 -0500 (EST) Forwarded By: atuladhar@vax.clarku.edu Subject: dec20_editorial.html (fwd) To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>

Source: KTM Post

  THE MISSING BILLIONS
   
   Charges of fiscal indiscipline against the coalition government stand
   proved. The finance minister himself admitted to this when he was
   unable to explain discrepancies at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
   hearing on December 18. This admission, coming as it does, on the eve
   of the coalitions 100 days in office, definitely casts a long shadow
   on the governments performance. The discrepancies have come to light
   even as the finance minister trumpets the governments achievements
   during its 100 days in the economic front.
   
   What is most surprising is that there are four versions of government
   expenditure for fiscal year 1994-95. Whereas the previous UML
   government puts the figure at Rs 31.33 billion, the present
   governments figure stands at 33.59 billion.
   
   However, the Auditor Generals report says it is 31.35 billion while
   according to PAC, the amount spent for the same period is 37.02
   billion. One thing the confusion makes clear is that either or none of
   these figures could be correct. The coalition governments budget had
   brought out the disparity between the figures supplied by the previous
   finance minister and the present one about two months ago. Why did PAC
   not take up the matter for investigation and seek clarifications then?
   
   
   Finance minister Ram Saran Mahat, unable to furnish satisfactory
   answers has shifted the responsibility on to the shoulders of the
   finance secretary. The recourse he has taken is clearly an attempt to
   evade responsibility. He ought to be able to clear his name by proving
   that the figure supplied by him is correct. That the disparity has
   occurred due to mistakes on the part of other quarters. However, the
   major actors in the coalition seem bent on overlooking such grave
   matters in the name of political stability.
   
   The PAC must investigate thoroughly and get to the heart of the issue.
   The culprits must be brought to book. Since long, the countrys fiscal
   accounting system has been unscientific, hence chaotic. Different
   governments use different methods.
   
   This could be one of the reasons for the disparity. It has therefore
   become imperative to devise a standard method.
   
   Provision for punishment against those who meddle with the accounting
   process would also be in order. The finance ministry as well as PAC
   would do well to work towards this end.
   
  THE BOTTOM LINE
   
  M.R. Josse
   
      Deubas gargantuan council
   
   The expected came to pass Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur
   Deuba finally delivered his long expected gift to the nation: a
   whopping expansion of his Council of Ministers making it, at 44, the
   largest ever in the history of this dirt-poor country.
   
   May be more to come: Predictably, that act set off cries and grunts
   from hither and thither, including that from the ranks of Deubas own
   party, the Nepali Congress. That was not hard to understand: after
   all, it was not possible even for Deuba to make all Nepali Congress
   MPs members of his elastic Council of Ministers for what seems to be
   neither a very smooth nor particularly long ride.
   
   It is symptomatic of the national political mood today that media
   speculation that further additions to the Deuba Council is on the
   cards has not been dismissed as a bad joke. Indeed, according to a
   seemingly credible scenario painted by a vernacular weekly in the wake
   of the formation of the gargantuan Council, there is apparently the
   distinct possibility of the further addition of six assistant
   ministers, making the grand total of Council members a nice, round
   half century!
   
   For those who take a deep interest in such matters, I might as well
   disclose that of the six, there are five possible openings for the
   Nepali Congress and one for the RPP, based on the hypothesis that a
   full minister can do with some help from an assistant minister.
   Accordingly, the slots available for the NC are in the following
   ministries: defence, general administration, tourism, law and justice
   and parliamentary affairs. The RPP, already over-represented as it is,
   can, under the above mentioned game plan, obtain one more assistant
   minister to help out in the foreign ministry.
   
   While such skepticism from the media is not difficult to comprehend,
   what is less so is the fact that protestations, muted though they be
   at the moment, should emanate from the charmed circle of some of new
   ministers. Already, for instance, dissatisfaction has been reported
   from a couple of freshly-minted assistant ministers who believe that
   they have received the wrong end of the stick merely because they are
   not related to a Big Time NC Boss and therefore unfit to be granted
   the full minister labeland the perks and lollies that go along with
   that heady position.
   
   Curious: Oddly enough, not even all the lucky five who made it to
   cabinet rank are exactly dancing the jig over their acquisition of
   sparkling ministerial baubles. As Kathmandus not always accurate
   political grapevine would have it, Prakash Man Singh, son and heir to
   NC supremo Ganesh Man Singh who was elected to the Upper House
   recently, has been disappointed that he was not, after all, given the
   attractive new ministry of youth, sport and cultural affairs. That
   change, one is given to understand, came at the bidding of former NC
   Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala who, as the political cognoscenti
   know, is a key member of the Directorate that actually guides the
   three-party coalition government under Deuba and is not particularly
   enamoured of Singh who once led an abortive public revolt against him.
   
   Even more significant perhaps is that the old divisions within the
   NCthat is to say that between the Group of 36 and 74 of the Bhattarai
   and Koirala factionsseem to be alive and well, despite all claims to
   the contrary. It is thus notable that of the 18 new recruits of the
   Deuba Battalion 12 have been identified as Koirala men while the
   remainder have been labelled as the followers of party president
   Krishna Prasad Bhattarai.
   
   What should not be lost sight of, say watchful observers of the
   political topography, is that despite the great deal of recent media
   hype about an emergent Deuba Congress not one of the 18 can be
   identified as the prime ministers manchay.
   
   Earlier on, I did venture the prediction that the Deuba administration
   is neither destined for great things nor is likely to last for any
   great length of time. Among the reasons for such a gloomy assessment
   is that hinted at in an editorial in this very newspaper commenting on
   Missing MPs and ministers in parliament in the wake of last Wednesdays
   developments. So many NC MPs who did not find their names on the magic
   list made it a point to stay away from the proceedings of
   parliamentwhich had, incidentally, only quite recently approved a
   hefty pay-cum-perk hike for themthat the Speaker had actually to
   adjourn the session for want of a quorum. If such a truculent mood
   persists among the MPs of the lead party of the coalition and there is
   no guarantee that it wontthere can be no doubt the coalition must
   fail, ere long. Significantly, Koirala, on the campaign trail for
   wresting the party presidency at the NC national convention in
   Nepalgunj come February, has repeatedly been making the ominous point
   that the coalition hangs but by a slender thread.
   
   Fiscal discipline?: To come back, however, to where we started, what
   can one say about the sheer extravagance of such a jumbo-sized Council
   of Ministers? Recalling that one of the main weapons in the then
   oppositions armoury against the minority, UML government was
   accusations of its reckless resort to policies of fiscal indiscipline,
   how can such a financial burden now be justified? Although I cannot
   vouch, as one vernacular weekly estimated, that an additional Rs 90
   lakh per month would have to be expended from the public coffers to
   pay for this latest move by Deuba, there can be no gainsaying that it
   will cost this nation dearly.
   
   That being the case, one wonders how the international donor
   communityread, Western countrieswill now react to such public
   expenditure. Will Western supporters of the anti-Left coalition
   continue to find excuses for such behaviour on the part of prime
   minister, despite the fact that the government that it replaced could
   do with a Council of Ministers comprising merely 15 members?
   
   Going by initial reactions heard at a cocktail at a Western embassy
   the other day, there is every possibility that they would continue to
   lean backwards to find arguments why even such a massive expansion in
   the Council of Ministers can be justified. However, at the popular or
   street level, there is simply no doubt that it has gone down extremely
   poorly, specially as it came not long after the bleeding expenses of
   round-the-world trips with an unduly entourage, not to mention the
   recent hike in perks for parliamentarians.
   
   At a time when the price of milk has zoomed without so much as an
   explanation from Rs 7 to 9 per pound, the impression that has formed
   in the public mind is that the increase in the price of that essential
   commodity has been necessitated by the need to pay for extra
   ministerial goodies. Inevitably, such a public perception must impact
   on mind of the electorate when the time comes as it must one dayfor
   the politician to go to them seeking their votes.
   
   Ideally, at that time, they should ask of themselves (to quote John F
   Kennedy) four questions: First, were we truly men of
   courage...Secondly, were we truly men of judgement...Third, were truly
   we men of integrity..Finally, were we truly men of dedication. But who
   thinks about such uncomfortable questions?
   
  WHITE MAN AND CHEMICAL CHOSE AWAY BEES FROM ANNAPURNA AREA
   By Narayan Wagle
   
   ANNAPURNA AREA, Dec. 19 - Conservation has kept Annapurna area
   comparatively green. Within the area there is a region where all hills
   turn completely red in the spring with the blooming rhododendrons. The
   trees are bent with the load of fruits and farming is also very good.
   Everything is fine except that there are no bees in the area which was
   once famous for honey hunting. Nobody knows where the bees have gone.
   
   Some fifteen years ago, honey hunting was a big festival for Gurungs
   (an ethnic group) living in the area. At the end of spring, villagers
   used to prepare for as long as a month for honey hunting. In every
   village cliffs were spotted.
   
   Villagers used to form groups and collect honey from steep slopes and
   cliffs for the year's supply. The surplus was sold in the market. A
   single hive used to contain more than 80 litres of honey.
   
   The cliffs full of bee hives have no bees now. Sporadic bee hives are
   seen around Modi Khola, in between Landruk and Ghandruk. A
   reminiscence of bee hive can be seen at a cliff near Machhapuchhre
   base camp. According to villagers these bees used to move north-east
   toward Annapurna base camp during the rainy season, and move downward
   to terai in the spring.
   
   "If honey is collected in regular basis the number of bees increase,
   if not they just leave the hive," explains Jagan Bahadur Gurung, who
   has an experience of hunting 21 bee hives in a day, a record in
   itself.
   
   Villagers know that bees don't return to hives where honey is not
   hunted, but they are very eager to know where the bees have gone.
   
   It needs lots of expertise and labor to hunt cliff-honey. Villagers
   need to form groups to prepare 400 to 500 feet of rope from split of
   bamboo or cane. They need to prepare rope-stairs, cane-dish, knit
   skin-molded bags, collect arrows to poke bee-hives and goods to smoke
   the bees.
   
   All these need lots of preparation, and the leader should be very
   efficient, that's why honey hunting is considered a crucial art.
   
   Narkazi Gurung from Ghandruk is upset about the disappearance of the
   traditional art of honey hunting. He claims that the art is endowed by
   their ancestors.
   
   They used to walk for six-seven hours for honey hunting. It was really
   an exciting moment for all the hunters. Old men still tell the
   excitement of honey hunting, explains Jagan Bahadur.
   
   The number of old and experienced honey hunters is reducing. The
   youths are attracted towards the tourism industry. Almost all the
   villagers are busy in operating hotels and lodges. According to Om
   Prasad Gurung from Taulu, bees disappeared because men stopped
   hunting.
   
   Villagers blame chemical fertilizer and a foreigner expert for the
   disappearance of bees.
   
   They believe that the use of chemical fertilizers from last fifteen
   years is the reason for the vanishing of the bees. Narkazi explains,
   "Due to minimum farming of wheat and oat, and use of fertilizers,
   flowers no longer contain their original nectar."
   
   There used to be many domestic hives in the villages. There are four
   abandoned bee hives in Chhetra Bahadur Gurung's house at Chiuke. One
   hive contains few bees, which hardly contain half a litre of honey.
   During his father's time all the hives were full of bees. Chhetra
   Gurung also blames fertilizers for the disappearance.
   
   Bel Bahadur Ghale, 66, from Thurjung has 40 years of honey hunting
   experience. He is now furious with a foreign expert- known as `Mauri
   Baje'- for gathering and taking away the queen bees. The foreign
   expert had stayed in the area for three years to prepare a research
   paper on the bees.
   
   The villagers who saw the expert catching and injecting queen bees
   claim that the bees disappeared after the experts' activity. Pointing
   out the Sebrung river down the village, Bel Bahadur explains, "In
   April-May bees used to come along the river and make hives in high
   cliffs. That white man, with the help from villagers, caught the bees.
   He didn't even spare the domestic bees."
   
   "The second thought never came across villagers' mind, when the Mauri
   Baje was alluring bees through sweets, injecting them and hunting them
   in cliffs. When the number of bees started declining, they suspected
   the foreigner," Gunjman Gurung from Chhomrang explains.
   
   It is indeed a sad story that hundreds of hotels and lodges in
   Annapurna area are now using honey bought from Pokhara market.
   
  BUDDHIST MEET TO BEGIN IN POKHARA
   By a Post Reporter
   
   KATHMANDU, Dec 19 - The fourth national Buddhist conference is
   scheduled to begin in Pokhara on Dec 25. Being organized by Dharmodaya
   Sabha, the Pokhara meet is being promoted under the theme "Buddhism
   and Environment."
   
   The Sabha also plans to promote Pokhara's tourism through publicity.
   In a press meet organized today to inform the media representatives of
   the upcoming programme, Sabha's vice-chairman Lok Darsan Bajracharya
   said issues related to Buddhism have not deserved coverage in the
   national media. He denied that any conflict existed between India and
   Nepal as far as the birth place of Buddha is concerned.
   
    If India claims the Lord Buddha as its son, so be it, said Bhikshu
   Sudarshan, the Sabha chairman. "The current political boundaries were
   not drawn when Buddha was born."
   
   The Buddhist conference is a biennial meet. First started in 2044 BS
   in Kathmandu, the second, third and fourth meets were held in Lumbini,
   Dharan and Kapilvastu respectively.
   UNINSPIRING STINT
   
   The Nepali Congress led coalition government completed its hundred
   days in office. Such a short span of time may not be enough to
   evaluate the performance of any government. But, we, should not forget
   that the morning shows the day.
   
   Unfortunately, as far as the Deuba regime is concerned, though the
   dawn was promising, the morning has been most uninspiring. For,
   together with the government, the nation has also been limping along.
   If Deuba loyalists sum up the governments performance as so-so, then
   for his detractors the summation would be not so so-so. That is to
   say, if the governments honeymoon period performance were to be
   scored, then it would just manage to scrape through with third
   division marks.
   
   One can easily explain such mediocre performance by the fact that the
   government has had to function under compulsion.
   Most of the first hundred days were spent in the balancing act. That
   is, in accommodating the interests of coalition partners as well as
   dealing with detractors within the Nepali Congress and keeping party
   bosses happy. This explains both the unreasonably long time Deuba took
   to expand his cabinet and its abnormally inflated size. Another thing
   that occupied the government was surgical operations - transfers and
   appointments - in the bureaucracy. The coalition government came about
   (after the Supreme Court verdict) with the intention of not plunging
   the country into frequent mid-term polls when possible alternatives
   within parliament existed.
   The judges obviously had the greater interest of the country, in terms
   of political stability, in mind when giving the verdict. So far, the
   government has apparently maintained political stability. But should
   the price for stability be development and fiscal discipline?
   
   From the common mans point of view, the highpoints of the Deuba
   administrations 100 day stint are: expensive foreign jaunts, sloth in
   decision making, the formation of a jumbo-sized cabinet and hikes in
   the price of water and milk. As one can see, there is nothing
   commendable in these occurrences. Political stability is necessary, no
   doubt, but development must follow. If Deuba spends all his time only
   in balancing interests, he and his government may end up like the
   person who tried to please everybody. It has therefore become
   imperative for the government to work out a long term development
   programme and a short term programme to provide relief to the people.
   A successful government is one that can deliver. Deuba would do well
   to recognise that only this will ultimately ensure his governments
   survival.
   
  SECURITY: A DISCOUNTED IMPERATIVE
   By Anil Basnyat
   
   Just recently, I read an interesting but rather myopic article
   entitled, Choosing between Guns and Butter, written by Mr B Joshi in
   this daily (5th Dec 1995).
   
   An individual or a responsible government need not master the
   intricacies of economics to understand the detrimental effects, that a
   large standing army may have on the economy of an under developed
   nation. However, the concept of governance also specifies the need to
   strike a sensible balance between the political, diplomatic, social,
   economic, psychological and security needs of a nation, whilst
   charting the future course. Considering this rationale; and the
   writers unwillingness to delve into important affairs in greater
   depth; it will be wise to put matters in its right perspective.
   
   Since the governments prime responsibility is to maintain the freedom
   and territorial integrity of the nation, the aim of our defense policy
   is to ensure the security of the nation to keep it united and free to
   pursue its legitimate interests and activities. In order to fulfil the
   stated requirement, the current job charter of the army ranges from
   conventional deterrence to operations other than war, such as:
   
     * National development activities.
     * Participation in UN peacekeeping missions.
     * Environmental protection duties.
     * Disaster relief.
     * Aid to civil power.
       
   Against this backdrop, an unbiased analysis of the armys past
   activities clearly supports the need to place some priority on the
   budgetary requirements for defense.
   
   Peace and stability are essential ingredients for development and
   these two vital factors fall within the purview of the existing
   security environment.Nepal has been given the economic status of a
   least developed country, which is derived from the wide disparity
   existing between the haves and the have-nots. This economic dichotomy,
   consequently gives birth to a plethora of contentious and disruptive
   issues. Therefore, is it not plain common sense to allocate resources
   to an organization that has historically played a pivotal role, in
   maintaining a conducive environment required for stable and equitable
   economic development.
   
   Nepal is experiencing the normal growth pangs of a nascent democracy.
   This has been even further compounded by the narrow interpretation of
   democracy by a large section of the populace.
   
   Given the common tendency of leaders and followers to take to the
   streets to resolve any issue, it is surprising that anarchy is not the
   norm of the day. Isnt it more relevant to recall the feeling of
   security that one and all have, due to the presence of a capable and
   impartial army? Simple logic should it fact point at improving
   existing capabilities.
   
    In the current budget, defense gets a whopping Rs 2.35 billion
   according to the writer. This figure has been conveniently analyzed
   against the budget allocated to certain sensitive sectors that, HMG as
   a matter of principle, has already been prioritizing for successive
   years. Furthermore, Mr Joshi goes on to question the rationality of
   maintaining this white elephant wearing olive green uniform.
   
    In the past five years, Nepal has undergone the agonizing experience
   of one interim, two elected and what is today regarded a fragile
   coalition government. This makes a grand total of four governments in
   five years. Given the peaceful nature of the transitions, it would be
   sheer stupidity to even suggest that the army has been sitting idle.
   Only a novice would question the role played by the army.
   
   The concept of Nepal as a Zone of Peace used to the cornerstone of
   HMGs foreign policy in the past. This proposal has been gathering dust
   for the last half decade. Surely the inclusion of such a sensitive
   issue is pure academic rambling and has no particular relevance to the
   stated topic. The inclusion of the same smacks of mischief to say the
   least.
   
   Environmental protection is a key issue. Protection of the rapidly
   depleting forests and wildlife of Nepal is a major responsibility of
   the army. Any defense installation can be recognized by the greenery
   surrounding it. Is preserving the environment and vital resources of a
   country harmful to the nation? Mr Joshi implies it is.
   
   The ability to utilize the UN to project a nation into the
   international arena and thereby reap substantial political, diplomatic
   and economic benefit, is a prioritized objective of most third world
   countries. The active participation of the army in peacekeeping
   operations has created an image in the UN where Nepal has been
   identified as a country which matches its words with deeds Isnt it
   incongruous to blame the army for harming the nation?
   
   The fluctuation in market prices has been attributed to peacekeeping
   jaunts. It is certainly an interesting economic eye opener to learn
   that the home coming of a mere 600 to 700 peacekeepers plays total
   havoc with the Nepalese economy. What about our globe hopping leaders,
   ministers and prime minister who go abroad on the slightest pretext
   and that too with a legendary number of followers. Does that add to
   this countrys coffer? And what about the whopping medical bills of
   leaders being footed at the taxpayers expense by the government for
   medical treatment abroad? Does that enrich this church mouse of a
   nation. On the other hand, considering that tourism is the second
   largest industry of Nepal, is it not surprising to note that the large
   influx of tourists, on a daily basis, doesnt even make a dent on our
   economy?
   
   An army represents the values of a society, from within which the
   people opt to serve. The idea, that adorning a uniform and taking a
   noble oath to lay down ones life for the nation and the people
   transforms a human being into an ogre, is definitely mind boggling,
   and defies comprehension.
   
   Instead of blaming the military of doing little to foster social
   cohesion, it would have been more appropriate to address the broader
   issue the rise of anti social behavior in Nepal.
   
   A comparative study of the organizational structure of all government
   institutions, rips to shreds the contention that the present army, is
   top heavy in structure. To put it simplistically, the army utilizes
   the adage, ten men well led are better than a hundred without a head,
   while formulating its organization. This assures that capable and
   responsible citizens are inducted into the organization. The army at
   least unlike other institutions, had the moral courage and strength to
   frontally face the corruption prevalent within the organization.
   Without hesitation, high ranking officers were taken to task
   regardless of the damage it would do to individuals and the
   organization. It is somewhat hard to believe that, Nepal, being a
   least developed country, corruption is non-existent in any other
   organization. Instead of slinging mud at the army, congratulations
   should be due for providing the much needed example for others to
   judiciously follow.
   
   In an era where economic factors occupy a primary role, it is not wise
   to treat other vitally important aspects in an off hand manner.
   Defense policy aimed at countering military threat is the simplest
   form of policy to understand but most costly in terms of money and
   lives and therefore, easy to criticize. Security is a multi-faceted
   subject and ranges from the military threat through the political and
   economic to the ideological arena. The threat to a state can come in
   many forms and must be met in all those forms. Therefore in our
   pursuit for materialistic gains, let us not throw common sense,
   caution and decency out of the window and regrettably revert to
   generalized character assassination through badly researched work.
 

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 10:20:46 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Rational Fools By Ashutosh Tiwari From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya)

What follows is a made-up satire on the National Planning Commission. This was published in Kathmandu's SPOTLIGHT weekly magazine's issue of April 15, 1994.
                        Rational Fools
                           A satire by
                           Ashutosh Tiwari

"The National Planning Commission is a shoddy edition of the United Nations or the World Bank."

        Aren't you being a bit bold? How can you say it just like that ?

        "Five similarities. First, broadly, it was set up after the Second World War. Second, it claims that it is "planning national development" - whatever that means. third, like the UN and the IBRD, it is accountable to no one - neither to your and me, the taxpayers, nor to the nation's future. Fourth, it's a bulging bureaucracy that could use a slim-fast weight-loss program... err, that is to say, it could use some downsizing itself. And fifth and probably the worst reason, it's dominated by ostensibly rational Homo Economicus whose regressions and forecasts are consistently out of tune with the needs and the wants of the Homo Gorkhalicus. There you have it - NPC in a nutshell."
  Is this all good or bad?
        "Well, you decide. Thirty-odd years of the National Planning Commission, seven Grand Plans down the drain, and what are we left with?
 A per capita income that is stuck at $160. A rising tide of jobless youths who think of migrating even to Bangladesh. A narrowly-programmed industrial expansion that lets India have the absolute advantage on just about everything, with the possible exception of Himalayan tourism. Unplanned cities and villages cropping up everywhere"

        Wait, wait, wait! Surely not all of these are NPC's faults? Aren't you forgetting how Panchayat ravaged the country for 30 years?

         "Panchayat, Panchayat, Panchayat.... Listen, Panchayat may have been bad, but it's long gone. And that's that. No point in blaming it for every national sin committed after 1991."

        OK. But how is NPC responsible for the nation's current woes?

        "You want examples? Sure. Take, for instance, the Eight Five-Year Plan. Just tell me three things that are new about his Plan.
>From economic historians to independent economists, all agree that
there's nothing new, nothing bold, nothing visionary in the Eight Plan."

        Perhaps. That still doesn't expand specifically what's wrong with the NPC.

        "Fine. Take decentralization. One of the goals of the economic liberalization program is to let thousands independent units bloom across the country. But look at NPC... is it itself decentralized? No way. What we have is one monolithic politburo- like Commission in Kathamandu that tries to plan for every Ram, Madan, Ghana Shyam from Mechi to Mahakali. Naturally, such central planning, however good-intentioned, doesn't work."

        Interesting. So what could be done?
        
        "First, let's get one thing straight. NPC, as it stands, is neither a think-tank nor an implementing body. All it is a monopoly - a state-supported communistic machinery masquerading as the bastion of Himalayan capitalism.
        
     "If not that, don't the planners know that economic liberalization can only work in Nepal if NPC itself is broken up into regional planning commissions, and , if need be, onto zonal or district planing bodies? In other words, let the Kathamndu NPC act only as the guide, and let each region map out its won development strategies through its own people. After all, why should the rest of the Nepalis elsewhere in the country always wait for misguided directives from Kathmandu for their bikas? Who knows, such a move could also be a way for Nepal's five development regions to lure back their talents from the World Bank consultancies in Kathamandu or Washington DC."
        
        But is NPC really a monopoly?

        "You still don't believe me, do you? Take, for example, the burning issue of the environment. These days just about every Nepali environmentalist worth his name is setting up shop in Singha Durbar. Why? In part, because all foreign aid coming in to spruce up Nepal's environment is being channeled through - you guessed it - NPC. Even the supposedly independent Environment Protection Council also seems trapped - with the PM and all. Why this monopolizing on national environmental planning?"

        You tell me.

        "Well, with one hand on each area of Nepal's development and the other on foreign aid that comes along with it, isn't NPC trying to become a post - democracy SSNCC?"

        Come on, you're being needlessly critical. So many NPC economists can't be wrong in their approach!

        "HA! That's the irony. NPC is filled with econometricians and
"descriptive" economists who think that their time-series data sets and unreadable prose can work wonders for desh ko bikas.
        
       "But wait, little do they realize that in a country like Nepal, where much of official data rank alongside the garbage-heap of Maitidevi, extreme caution has to be taken. Moreover, in this Shangri-la where there already operate thousands of yet-uncaptured-by-research informal markets and unofficial, if traditional, economic structures, what justice, you tell me, what justice to national planning can the tools of data-making economists do?
 In fact, to borrow an idea on a related theme from Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, most of the NPC economists are, in the Nepali context, nothing more than rational fools. And you expect planning from these fools?
        Whew, what a lecture! But, hey, may be you are right. Do you think we'd be better off with a sort of National Implementation Commission?
        "Sure, anything is better than to be guided by rational fools."

************************************************************ Subject: tHE INDEPENDENT, VOL 41 DEC 20 ISSUE... (fwd) To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Forwarded By: ATULADHAR <ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu>

Source: The Independent

  TIME TO JUSTIFY
   Per capita calculations would have it that Nepal, one of the poorest among the poor, has the highest number of ministers. Quite apart from the obtaining reality of having to accommodate as many lawmakers as possible in the extraordinarily lucrative but not necessarily effectual slots, the compulsion, as it were, belies logic and commonsense. The irony of the belated announcement of cabinet expansion by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is that he had to do what he did basically to subside the emerging dissent in his own party, the Nepali Congress, on the one hand and on the other, to keep his mentors -- Ganesh Man Singh, Krishna Prasaad Battarai and G P Koirala smiling ostensibly to ensure his own survival as, theoretically, the country's most powerful person. Judging the issue from Deuba's point of view, it may just be possible to give him the benefit of the doubt and entertain some hope that the three-party coalition government will now take important, long-overdue decisions needed to crystallise positions on a number of issues staring the nation on the face. Time and again the Prime Minister has declared that he favours taking time making sound decisions rather than be placed in a situation where he may have to retract steps when the damage will already have been done. Upto that point, he is perhaps right. Now that the 100- day honeymoon customarily accorded a new government is over and the so-called hitch vis- a-vis ministerial beef-up and bureaucratic adjustments is resolved, no amount of explanation or excuses covering up inaction will do. The public has been made to pick up the staggering tab generated by the cabinet line-up. If the expenditure is left unjustified and the 'fortunate few' begin to believe that what they get in terms of pay and perks is what they have earned by being in the political arena, the public backlash can very well be deadly, sparing none as the mood changes as it often does in a democracy.

  AT YOUR HANDS

Breakaway UPF leader Babu Ram Bhattarai's cherished dream of planting hammer- and-sickle on top of Mount Everest will likely remain unfulfilled for a long time to come. Nonetheless, lumped together his growing militancy and confidence that a red revolution is inevitable in Nepal do not fail to send a chill down the spine of those who, over the years, have managed to convince themselves the sheer strength of traditional socio-political values would stand them -- and the country -- in good stead in eternal terms. If Bhattarai is wrong in hoping that Nepal is ripe for a Maoist insurrection, so is the complacent political class that is it unabashed in its belief it can get away with its continued inaction on and indifference to the widening gap between the poor and the rich. The moderates in the political arena may take solace from the fact that the radical UPF was roundly rejected by the Nepali voters in the last mid-term poll, but they would be mistaken in their assessment if they decided that the likes of Bhattarai have no power to create waves among the populace. In the light of the burgeoning disenchantment and frustration at the common man's level, the warfare Bhattarai is threatening does not seem improbable. Leaders who believe in democracy and parliamentary system have, thus far, demonstrated neither the determination nor the sense of responsibility to fend off the possibilities which the radicals are referring to on a day-to-day basis. Pious policies and programmes, be it the ones enunciated in the budget or the periodic plans or the perfectly avoidable ministerial rhetorics, are by no means adequate to ameliorate the people's conditions. Action is what the situation demands as that alone can swing the people away from the forces well-bent on the violent overthrow of the constitutional process and all that's typically Nepali in content and character.

Encounter
   
  "THE PRESENT RAJA HAS BROUGHT DISGRACE TO THE MUSTANG NOBILITY"
   
    Deki Dholker Parwal Bishta
   
   Deki Dholker Parwal Bishta, 74, the widowed Rani of the late 24th
   Mustangi Raja Angun Ongdu Nyingpo Parwal has become the first member
   of the Chiefdom's first family to move the court of justice to secure
   her right to property, which, allegedly, the present Mustangi Raja
   and her late husband's younger brother Jigme Parwal Bistha has
   forcibly taken denying her piece of the pie. The dowager Rani has
   filed a case recently, contrary to the age-old tradition of settling
   disputes within the family, in Mustang District Court against the
   Raja charging him with forceful possession of her property
   including a huge farm-land at Thingkar, the second largest village of
   Lo-manthang valley next to the town of Mustang. The present Raja has
   also been charged with mistreatment towards the family members of his
   dead brother Raja Ongdu.
   
   Deki Dholker is a tall, graceful old lady, unmistakably of Tibetan
   stock. She is apparently not a happy woman now, displaced from her
   place and position as well, and living with her two married daughters
   in Kathmandu since the death of her husband late Raja Ongdu Nyingpo
   Parwal in 1959. She is now 'compelled' to fight a case against her
   brother-in-law who despite of repeated persuasion by as senior as an
   officer of the Nepalese King's the then Principal Secretary remained
   adamant exactly as the Hindu epic Mahabharat character Duryodhana
   and refuted to spare with even an inch of land. So the battle royale
   is on. The charming Rani of hidden valley of Mustang after a long
   persuasion became ready to talk with The Independent last week, of
   course, with help of an interpreter. Hari Adhikary interviewed often
   sobbingRani Dholker who was assisted by her daughters, at her
   relatives' Jyatha residence December 15. Excerpts :
   
   Q. You have filed a case of property rights against the present
   Mustangi Raja in the District Court. What made you to fight this
   legal battle?
   
   A. I have suited the Raja Jigme Parwal Bishta against his crime of
   forcefully taking my property. When my husband and the then Raja
   Angun Ongdu Nyingpo Parwal died in a highly suspicious circumstances
   in 1959 and Jigme became the Raja of Mustang, I along with my two
   minor daughters had pinned hopes that we will be treated well and
   given our rightful place in the Court of Mustang. But the developments
   that followed the death of my husband were very charging. All of our
   property including the already divided farm-land of Thingkar which was
   legally owned by my late husband was forcibly taken from us. Besides,
   Jigme created such a charging situation that I started feeling unsafe
   in the Lo valley. Then I tried to tell my woes to the Royal Court of
   Kathmandu through various channels but failed. Then I came to
   Kathmandu, almost empty- handed and with two young daughters in 1960.
   During 30 years to follow I tried to pursue Raja Jigme to return my
   property. He did always turned a deaf ear to my request. Now in the
   changed political atmosphere, I have moved the court of justice. And,
   I think I have done it at a very appropriate time.
   
   Q. Why didn't you file a case during the Panchayat period?
   
   A. You might know how powerful Raja Jigme Parwal was during the
   Panchayat period. It was worthless to fight him that time. So we
   tried to negotiate with him. He was even ready to give my property
   back. He didn't prove true to his words only after he adopted Ashok
   Bishta, the son of his middle brother Lama Shyabthung Rinpoche and
   declared him the heir apparent of the crown of Mustang Chiefdom. In
   fact, Ashok being a son of a Lama born of an unwed mother, by virtue
   of age old tradition of the Lo Rajadom, is not eligible to succeed
   the Mustangi crown. Everybody knows a Lama is not allowed to
   marry,even if he does, his offsprings can't have the same status as
   ordinary folk may enjoy.
   
   Q. Then do you oppose Ashok as the successor of the present Raja?
   
   A. I don't want to be the part of the controversy. I am only talking
   the general conventional rules. By law and by tradition, it is the
   jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Narayanhity to decide who is fit or
   not to be declared as the successor of Mustangi Raja.. As yet, Ashok
   has not been officially declared the heir. Maybe Narayanhity is going
   through a thorough scrutiny regarding Ashok's qualifications.
   
   Q. Do you aspire your daughters, being elder to Ashok and born to
   Mustangi Raja and Rani to put forward as the eligible candidates,
   to succeed the present Raja?
   
   A. I don't have any such intention. I just want to see my rights are
   honoured. I want my property back and lost prestige reestablished.
   
   Q. What is your personal opinion about Ashok's qualification to
   succeed the Chiefdom's highest position?
   
   A. I don't have any opinion. What I want to stress is the best
   tradition the Lo people have set in the past should be respected.This
   time, an entirely different situation has been surfaced in the long
   history of Mustangi Rajadom. No Raja of Mustang had been childless
   for 24 generations in succession. And no widowed Rani was thrown out
   from the palace by her brother-in-law.
   
   Q. When and how do you think your relation with the present Raja
   had started to be strenuous. Is not your society a polyandrous one and
   weren't you supposed to take the present Raja Jigme, the younger
   brother of your late husband, as your second husband?
   
   A. When I got married to the late Raja Ongdu Nyingpo, presumably
   to his brothers too, and brought to Mustang Palace from my motherland
   Gyangtze near Sigatze in Tibet, I had no faintest of idea that in
   course of time the youngest one is going to betray the socially
   accepted norms and bring a wife who was a close relative of the family
   and religiously taken as not to be married with. But it happened and
   more problems cropped up when the present Rani Rheto Parwal didn't
   produce any child.
   
   Q. Would you like to tell our readers about your life after you left
   Mustang ?
   
   A. It is rather a painful recollection. I, once the Rani of
   Mustang valley, spouse of highly respected Raja of his people and a
   daughter of a rich noble family of Gyangtze had to flee my land as a
   fugitive who was reduced to penury. When I arrived Kathmandu late
   1960, I had nothing to eat, nowhere to live and no one to take care
   of. I had two daughters with me and a long life to live. It was the
   time during which thousands of Tibetan refugees were coming to Nepal
   from all corners of the rugged country invaded by Red China. One fine
   morning I found myself working as an assistant nurse in one of the
   several Tibetan refugee camps set up to accommodate the homeless
   Tibetans. It was ironical that I had become a refugee in my own
   country and being provided support by the refugees themselves. Later
   on, as a daughter of Tibet, I was treated very kindly by the Tibetan
   community in Kathmandu. Eventually my daughters got married and I stay
   with both of them by turn.
   
   Q. Have you ever been to Mustang since you left the valley in 1960?
   Do you have any idea how the present Raja is treating his people?
   
   A. I have not been able to pay a visit to Mustang since then. You
   know I am an old woman, it will not be possible for me to get there
   even if I wanted to. But I am in constant touch with my people. My
   daughters used to go there. From the sources, what I have gathered is
   the present Raja is not treating his own people as they deserve.He
   has committed atrocities against them forcing them to work for him
   free of wage, levying several unlawful taxes and punishing the poor
   peasants with heavy penalties under the threat of muscle power. By all
   indications, it seems that the present Raja has brought disgrace to
   Mustang Nobility.
   
   Q. Are you really hopeful that justice will be done?
   
   A. I am fully confident that justice will be done. Our country is a
   democracy now. No person whatever big he maybe can't be above the law.
   Raja Jigme has forcibly taken my property and he has to give it back
   to me. Once he had become ready to impart with my property outside the
   court is an undeniable proof that he is wrong.
   
   Q. In a recent statement issued by some Mustang people alleges that
   you have lifted some ancient artifacts while leaving Mustang and sold
   them, your comment please?
   
   A. For the first place that statement is totally false and planted
   by the Raja and his henchmen. Many of the so-called signatories of
   the statement have denied of having signed any of such document. And
   the contents of the so-called statement are also wrong. I have not
   brought any artifacts illegally. What I had brought was a couple of
   Buddha idols kept in the alter of the family prayer room, that also,
   with the written permission of the Raja Jigme himself.

  FOREIGN BUREAU
   
   The proposed peace march to Thimphu which the Appeal Movement
   Coordination Council (AMCC) says will be flagged off from Damak,
   Jhapa, January 14, 1996, may or may not reach the intended
   destination, but one hundred and fifty volunteers have signed their
   willingness to risk it.
   
   According to Ratna Gazmere of AHURA, one of the AMCC constituents, the
   objective of the march is not to press for democratic reforms in
   Bhutan per se but to ask King Jigme Singye Wangchuk to consider
   'national reconciliation' on the basis of fundamental human rights.The
   AMCC operatives told The Independent that they would like to invoke
   the royal decree issued by the Bhutanese monarch January 13, 1992,
   declaring that all Bhutanese citizens 'forcibly evicted' from the
   mountain kingdom may appeal to the High Court for redressal of their
   grievances.
   
   Be that as it may, the Druk hardliners under the leadership of Home
   Minister Dago Tshering -- and to a lesser degree Foreign Minister Dawa
   Tshering -- are determined to keep the southern Bhutanese of Nepali
   extraction out of Bhutan by any means.
   
   In a circular addressed to all monastic bodies, ministries and
   Dzongdogs October 31 Dago Tshering cautioned, "There is a high
   possibility that the anti- nationals (read the southern Bhutanese)
   with strong force can cause harm to offices, civil servant and their
   families, social centres (public property) and industries."
   
   Reminding the audience of the proverb: 'make drains before it rains,
   think of suffering before you get sick', the wily Home Minister, who
   has quite effectively outmaneuvered two of his Nepali counterparts,
   Sher Bahadur Deuba (now PM) and Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, in the
   Nepal-Bhutan talks over the years, counsels all concerned to be
   extremely vigilant and no stone be left unturned to 'tightly protect'
   all physical facilities, quite apart from ensuring 'your own security
   in advance'. While travelling the cirucular advises all to be 'careful
   for small events also.'
   
  NEPAL, BHUTAN SIDE WITH INDIA
   
   Foreign Bureau
   
   For reasons not so difficult to decipher, Nepal and Bhutan chose to
   stick with India when Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives
   called for an arrangement in SAARC whereby contentious bilateral
   issues between member countries could be discussed and -- hopefully --
   resolved.
   
   According to Zee TV newscast December 18, Nepal and Bhutan observed
   stoic silence when the issue was brought up at the 16th session of the
   SAARC Foreign Ministers in New Delhi
   
   The Shital Niwas declined any specific comment on the Zee TV report,
   wondering aloud if the issue indeed surfaced at New Delhi's Vigyan
   Bhavan.
   
   An observer associated with SAARC in its formative years told The
   Independent the SAARC Charter adopted a dacade ago does not allow
   any formal discussion on contentious bilateral issues. He, however,
   noted that the leaders can and have in fact discussed contentious
   issues between themselves outside the official framework of the
   regional body.
   
   It may be recalled that former Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari had
   suggested in the last SAARC summit in New Delhi that the inclusion of
   the provision to discuss bilateral issues between member nations might
   be beneficial to the growth of SAARC.
   
   By Ram Pradhan and Hari Adhikary
   
   Even as the monotonous question concerning the life of the baby named
   Coalition unhaltingly induces speculations of all shapes and sizes,
   the first one hundred days of the 'new experiment' with partnership
   governance in Nepal are over. The unanimous verdict is: this
   government, if it is to survive as long as it wants to, must move
   faster than hitherto.
   
   But for an alliance of unequal partners, moving faster without kicking
   off dust is a far- cry by any stretch of imagination. This has been
   proved by the Coalition's one hundred days in office. Prime Minister
   Sher Bahadur Deuba, the captain of this slow-moving ship, has been
   honest enough to publicly admit this unpopular truth. He is not
   ashamed to say: "My administration is slow and it may remain so, but
   it is steady."
   
   Although the admission may sound strange, many agree that Deuba has
   been extremely candid and is perhaps more pragmatic than his mentors
   and peers alike. Nepali Congress leader and former Prime Minister
   Girija Prasad Koirala endorses Deuba's position. "It is not solely
   Nepali Congress or PM Deuba who is to be singled out for the
   lacklustre peformance of the government. The concept of collective
   responsibility is somehow not taken seriously by other partners in
   power," Koirala told a group of senior journalists December 18. He,
   however, expressed optimism for the future, saying the sense of
   responsibility will characterise the behavioral pattern of the ruling
   groups resulting in positive returns.
   
   "We should not forget that this is a coalition government. It can't
   run faster. But it has not failed to raise hopes for forward movement
   in commerce and industry," FNCCI President Padma Joyti told The
   Independent December 18. Although it is too early to assess the
   performance of the government which has barely crossed the
   one-hundred-day mark, Jyoti said. "This government's pro-private
   sector and liberal economic policies are in the right direction. I
   think we can see some results".
   
   CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal refuses to give Deuba and
   his team any credit whatsoever and says sarcarstically, "The main
   achievement of this coalition has been to impose a jumbo-size cabinet.
   Another achievement is, they have toppled our people- oriented
   government. There is disappointment everywhere." He also charged the
   coalition leaders of driving the country to an economic standstill.
   The law and order has deteriorated and political vendetta is the order
   of the day. "In the last hundred days this country's credibility has
   taken a nose-dive internationally."
   
   Nepal Workers and Peasants Party boss and MP Narayan Man Bijukchhe is
   also critical of the Deuba government's performance thus far. In a
   subtle tone, the Maoist leader said, "I haven't seen anything
   noteworthy that this government has done in its first hundred days.
   For me, it seems, the Coalition is imitating the utterly disappointing
   style of functioning of the Koirala government. I can't accept this."
   In his perspective, Deuba's team has failed to address none of the
   problems the poor Nepalis have been confronted with since long.
   
   Former Finance Minister Dr. Bhekh B. Thapa who is perceived to be
   equally close to Nepali Congress and Rastriya Prajatantra Party,
   holds a different view. "The Coalition has spent its first hundred
   days to complete its own formation. Anyway, it is too early to judge
   its performance," said he, adding, "I do not see anything magical
   about hundred days. Moreover, the government has not published any
   report on the period in question. Hence, there is no firm basis to
   judge it." Nonetheless, he counseled greater efforts and more austere
   measures to bring the domestic economic front in order.
   
   The juniormost partner in the Coalition, Nepal Sadbhawana Party, on
   the other hand is quite content with the government's track record to
   date. "We are satisfied the government has been doing a commendable
   job. Law and order situation is good, supply of essentials has been
   maintained. Foreign aid is on the rise. What else one can expect from
   a government?," wondered General Secretary Devendra Mishra.

  A GRAND COALITION
   By A Staff Reporter
   
   To nobody's surprise, the low-profile Head of the Coalition Sher
   Bahadur Deuba in a frantic bid to appease the unwarrantedly ambitious
   MPs from his own party expanded the three-month old cabinet last
   Wednesday making the non-communist alliance's team of executives the
   largest in history. Obviously, of late, Deuba had been subjected to
   undue pressure from various quarters , was an open secret. In fact,
   the delay in the announcement of cabinet expansion, which was due
   since long, was taking its toll with regard to the image of Deuba as
   able and confident prime minister. Dismayed by the pressure tactic
   used not only by the aspirants of ministerial berth but also by the
   sitting cabinet colleagues to make the things worse, it seems, PM
   Deuba thought it riskier to prolong the cabinet expansion. Hence he
   okayed whatever list the Coalition High Command handed down to present
   to the King for formal announcement Dec 13. It is believed that PM
   Deuba himself did not propose a single name to be included into the
   disproportionately large council of ministers. This fact is well
   verified when one cannot see even a single cabinet rank subordinate PM
   Deuba has chosen from the far western region where he belongs to.
   
   How balanced is this mega-sized coalition council? People are not
   convinced at all. For most of the people, this is a clear reflection
   of the power mongering attitude of the coalition partners. "It seems
   that everybody in the parliament wants to be a minister today. The
   ruling coalition leaders should have checked this harmful attitude.
   The need of the hour is to have a competent, sleek and result-oriented
   team of dedicated people," said Nepali Congress youth leader Janaki
   Prased Kuinkel. He was infuriated with his party MPs' lust for
   immediate power and the factionalism within the party. "All our MPs
   were knocking the doors of leaders and leaders also pressurised Deuba
   to appoint ministers in stock."
   
   For the people who are looking for gender balance in the top executive
   body of the nation, a 44- member cabinet can be a thoroughly
   disappointing development. There is a single woman in the cabinet. If
   one goes on arithmetic, this one -to-fortythree ratio will make only
   about two per cent of women in the cabinet. "We are more than fifty
   per cent in number. But how this male dominated society has been
   treating us? Out of fortyfour , women have been given only one seat in
   the cabinet. I feel humiliated," NC youth leader and MP Kamala Pant
   told The Independent December 16. "All parties are the same to treat
   the women. Why only NC, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party would have also
   given one or two seats to the women."
   
   Being a large-sized one, this expanded cabinet has been able to
   accommodate all major ethnic and geographical groups of the country.
   However, the important politico-economic region of the Kathmandu
   valley has been made to represent by a single cabinet member
   Environment and Population Minister Prakash Man Singh, who is the son
   of NC Supremo Ganesh Man.
   
   This time Sher Bahadur Deuba has also appointed a minister without
   portfolio. But about his rights and duties, it seems, nobody in the
   ruling coalition is aware of. The Minister without Portfolio Sarad
   Singh Bhandari has now been deputed in the office of the prime
   minister. But without clear cut division of works and assignments, it
   is very doubtful that he could be of much help to the head of the
   government.
   
   The much criticised part of the recent cabinet expansion has been the
   appointment of the one and half a dozen assistant ministers. "It is
   the repercussion of the large number of people the RPP had become able
   to fix in the cabinet during the coalition cabinet formation. If a
   coalition partner, having only 19 members in the House of
   Representatives can send 13 people to the council of ministers, why
   not the NC which has 83 strength can have ministers in the equal
   proportion?" said a newly appointed assistant minister.
   
   Exception has been taken by a section of print-media to HMG's bearing
   part of the expenses of medical treatment of former Premier and leader
   of opposition M M Adhikari, and former Chief Justice Biswa Nath
   Upadhaya singled out as beneficiary of ministerial perks, and
   provision of security. If the two cases are subjected to scrutiny on
   prodigal and discriminatory grounds, Speaker Ram Chandra Poudel's
   counsel to the Fourth Estate to shun practising yellow journalism is
   not free of ridicule in media comment. The contemptuous dismissal of
   Mr. Poudel's counsel as nothing more than a sermon-on-the-mount
   version by a politician is a veiled reminder of his wilful violation
   of long observed tradition of the Speaker's neutrality by distancing
   himself from taking politician's sides.
   
   After 26 months in Nepal, supporting 16 NGOs in raising awareness in
   the communities against HIV/AIDS, AmFAR (American Foundation of AIDS
   Research is terminating its Nepal Programme "due to lack of funding."
   However, their experience, is definitely a useful tool in combating
   the AIDS epidemic in Nepal.
   
   On December18, AmFAR/Nepal organised a seminar to share its 'learnt
   lessons' which can be summed up as follows:
   
   1. Behaviour change is possible.
   
   Intravenous drug injectors, often one of the most affected
   communities, have extremely low rates of HIV infection. This is
   because they hanged their habit of sharing needles, with the help of a
   needle exchange programme.
   
   2. Organising vulnerable people helps them to protect themselves.
   
   Commercial sex workers in West Nepal have virtually no HIV infection,
   or STD's, because they were helped to organise themselves. Now they
   can, and do demand their clients to use condoms.
   
   3. Involving communities in AIDS prevention programmes is effective to
   reduce their vulnerability to infection.
   
   Women's volunteer and literacy groups formed in communities prone to
   girl trafficking, increased the awareness of mothers, and reduced
   trafficking of their daughters.
   
   4. Attitudes and behaviours are more likely to change if people listen
   best to others if they are similar to them in age, background,
   profession and interest. NGOs using students, sex workers, or bus
   drivers to teach their peers, were most successful in reaching them
   and building trust.
   
   AmFAR grantee NGOs also reported that many false beliefs about AIDS
   still exist in Nepal. In the course of their work, they successfully
   addressed these myths and misconceptions.
   
   1. There are no 'high risk groups', only 'high risk behaviours'.
   
   People with many sexual partners, may use condoms consistently,
   whereas people with only partner may become infected. Anybody who is
   sexually active or receives unsterile injections, is at risk for AIDS.
   
   2. AIDS is not only a problem of the cities, but people all over the
   country are vulnerable to HIV infection.
   
   In villages, literacy and awareness levels are now, poverty forces men
   and women to migrate to the cities for work, and health education
   services are minimal.
   
   3. Taboos about sex and sexual behaviour can be shed.
   
   Discussion about risky behaviours has become commonplace. With the
   support of NGOs, students are taught sexual health by teachers and
   parents, husbands and wives are able to discuss condom use more
   openly.
   
   The challenge for the future is to share and use the experience gained
   in AIDS education at grass root level, and prevent in Nepal the
   personal suffering and development drawbacks we have witnessed in
   other countries," said an AmFAR press release.
   
   That a company of Gurkhas will join NATO troops in Bosnia, the
   first time they have seen action scince the Falklands war in 1982,
   says news reports. PerhapsAayo Gorkhali (here comes the Gorkhali)
   cries will be heard in Europe once again.
   
************************************************************* From: Rajesh Shrestha <rshresth@husc.harvard.edu> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 12:27:37 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Planning Dolpo trek

Cross-posted from SCN:
---------------------

Stephan (S.O.denHengst@is.twi.tudelft.nl) wrote:
: maybe some simple climbing). I read some books and think the
: Dolpo-trail is nice to hike. Does anyone have experience with this

A good little book which you may not have read is by Paolo Gondini published by Tiwari's Pilgrims Book House PO BOX 3872 Thamel Kathmandu.

This books title is " Trekking in Hidden Land of Dolpa-Tarap and Shey-Poksumdo.

Happy trekking.

******************************************************* Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 12:27:57 -0500 (EST) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: In Defense of Biased Newspapers by Manjushree Thapa From: sshakya@lynx.dac.neu.edu (Sunil Shakya)

What follows is a piece by MANJUSHREE THAPA. This was published in Kathmandu's SPOTLIGHT weekly newsmagazine of Aug. 4, 1995

        Manjushree is the author of "Mustang Bhot In Fragments", an autobiographical travelogue set in Mustang. An artist by training and a writer by temperament, she is currently working on a novel in English in Kathmandu.
                In Defense Of Biased Newspapers

Back when I thought I knew everything, I looked down on newspapers with party affiliations. I criticized them for being what they were - party mouthpieces - but I also secretly feared them, sensing that the day I understood them would be the day I got addicted to power politics. I never wanted to get addicted to power politics, believing that power corrupts, power pollitics corrupts powerfully and politically, and that an addiction to power politics corrupts powerfully, politically, and addictively. Which meant bad news, in the form of biased newspapers.

        Eventually I got peer-pressured into reading them; all my friends were reading them, and they insisted that I'd never understand the man on the street unless I did the same. So I overcame my fear of asking vendors which paper was published that day and began to pick up a stray paper on my way here or there.

        Like one' s first puff of cigarette or first gulp of beer, one's first party-affiliated newspaper baffles; Mine happened to be Dristi, and I failed to see its purpose. I read it with a scowl on my face, keeping it at a good arm's length, understanding it little, trusting it even less, doubting that the insinuations and double entendres that impressively studded its columns would ever make any sense.

        My doubts waned after I read a few others, for I began to decipher a pattern: things said in one paper were responded to in another one. Certain public officials had not attended meetings they said they had, one paper wrote, though they had pocketed the Rs. 250 attendance allowance. Two days later, a back column in another paper said that certain persons had indeed been attending the meetings they said they had, and certain reporters had taken a Rs. 30,000 bribe in return for defaming certain persons. Disputes like this escalated into full-scale war lasting roughly three weeks, after which reader's interest petered out, and journalists moved on to more current events. Meantime, the concerned officials got transferred to the Potato Development Section of the Ministry of Agriculture.

        They drew me in, such battles. They made me crave for more. I was, after all, participating first-hand in the heated dialogues, caustic bantering, witty verbal sparring, and downright mudslinging between persons and parties of national and international importance. I felt I was feeling the pulse of the nation. (I don't know if I was; I wouldn't recognize the pulse of this nation if it slapped me in the face). And soon, I was buying every newspaper I could lay my hands on: Deshantar, Suruchi, Prakash, Dristi, Punarjagaran, Rastrapukar, Nepalipatra, Aarati, Pristabhoomi, Bimarsha, Samikcha, Janabhavana, Chalfal.

        In time, I learned a shocking amount of political trivia and developed clear positions on them. Not only did I know the fine points of the corruption allegations facing the District Development Committee Chairman of he most remote of Nepal's districts, I had an opinion on the matter. I began to astound people by winding my way through intricate arguments before reaching forceful, if party-affiliated, conclusion. When people spoke to me about current affairs, I began to say things like, "Dristi already wrote about that last week," or "Read today's Deshantar; it makes that point far more lucidly than you can." I began to sniff knowingly, make wry comments, use complicated language, and smirk a lot. The man on the street confused me no more.

        In addition, for the first time in my life, I began to feel close to our national leaders. I read about their past tribulations, and felt I had special insight into why they acted the ways they did. I forgave their terrible decisions in light of these insights. I began to refer to them by their first names: Man Mohan and MaKuNe, GP and Kp, Surya Bahadur and ... well, for some rason, Lokerndra Bahadur Chand remained Lokendra Bahadur Chand.

        Naturally, I burned out. After a few months I couldn't keep up with every paper, so I cut down to a few essential ones. Soon even those got difficult to follow, but I bought them and kept them around, hoping their contents would enter me by osmosis. Eventually I had to give them up altogether. I no longer know what is really going on in our country, and I am wildly jealous of those who read all the wanted to be a person in the know.)

        Well, at least I know more than I used to. Among the things I learned from my brief, but powerful, addiction, was that party-affiliated newspapers are actually a boon to Nepal. When reading a newspaper that claims to be objective, readers have to struggle to discover whose interests the paper is forwarding beneath its veneer of neutrality. Party-affiliated newspapers eliminate this task, and empower readers with full knowledge as to whose interest the paper is serving. For this reason, Nepal's biased newspapers must be discouraged from working towards objectivity; if they ever learn how to do that, readers like me will really be lost.

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

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