The Nepal Digest - Jan 3, 1995 (19 Push 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Tuesday 3 Jan 95: Push 19 2051 BkSm Volume 35 Issue 2

               Happy New Year 1995!

                               - TND Editorial Board

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********************************************************************** From: Shailesh R. Bhandari <sbhandar@garnet.acns.fsu.edu> Subject: MUKTAK To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 12:51:23 -0500 (EST)

                                KHUDKILAA

                 Aru le saya barsa ma paar garna nasakeko khudkilaa
                         Hamro des le das barsa ma paar gareko chha,
                 Yasko jwalanta oodaharan,
                 Garva vitra raheko bachchaa ko kaandh ma pani
                                   Karodoun rin ko vaar pareko chha.

                                KAAM

                  Hijo samma kaam chhaina vannau parne abasthaa
                  Aaja samaadhan vaeko chha,
                  Kina vane,
                  Thulaa, badaa
                  Chaakadi ra chaaplusi ma byasta chhan.
                  Sojha, saajhaa
                  Nun ra chini ko lain ma masta chhan.

**************************************************************** Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 12:02:53 -0600 (CST) From: Padam Sharma <sharma@plains.NoDak.edu> Subject: Kurakani To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu>

                       Recapitulating TND for 1994

The Nepal Digest did have a hectic year last year, did not it? I will just summarize my reflections and perceptions of what we had on TND buffet during 1994. As a "Consulting Editor, a once a while contributor, and a keen reader, I stake the right to speak my mind.

I don't have any top ten list of things to discuss. I'll just ramble on a few.

The Arun III:

The year started with a bang..bang banner of "Sing-up to kill Arun-III". Due to our visit to Nepal, I missed that heated, argumentative, some factual and some emotional debate. I did read some of them later, but without the fun of instantaneity. I assume that the discussions and polling led to for- a-while shelving of the "Kill Arun-III" petition. Hey! for all the worth, that discussion was really good and very timely. Since the matter is still in the limbo. Should we revive that debate again?

Women in Hinduism:

This is the longest chain of discussion so far in TND. The relay race was started by Miss S. P. (?) and accelerated by long distance runner Mr. Pramod Mishra. On behalf of the TND editorial board, I commend Pramod for the time and energy he put in this subject. I urge all readers to give him and Miss S.P. a big hand.....

To Pramod: I enjoyed all your writings and your knack for details. Thank you. The Poudyal Baje characterization was beautiful.

As a reader and a fellow bahun, I do have some comments on your articles. Sometimes, I felt that you got carried away in your chain of thoughts. As some readers have commented, I often, lost perspective of what you are trying to say.

There is a difference between spilling your thoughts and articulation of your message. You want to say something, say it. If you want the audience to comprehend what you are saying, then facilitate that process.

If you are using TND as a therapeutic tool to dump your feelings about Hinduism, whether the reader gives a damn or not, then, you are welcome! Howver, your efforts to improve the delivery process would be most welcome! To enjoy your writings, we need some short- paragraphed tales of natural birth not a long and vexatious description of the cesarean process.

Second as a "pahade bahun" from eastern hills - migrated to tarai, I have some comments on your enlightenment into `borne-again brahmnism". I strongly disagree with your attempts to generalize the behavior of males in some "aristocrat-bureaucrat-landlord and imitating-bourgeois" bahun families from eastern Terai as "evils in Hinduism".

You know there are brahmans, pseudo-brahmans, bahuns, and non-bahun Hindus. Brahamans practice karma-kanda and prescribed behavior of sanatan dharma, the pseudo-brahmans legalize the process by using administrative hathkanda (Muluki Ain, behavior of Balmiki alumni and other Dor Bahadur Bista's stereotypes). Majority of bahuns in hills and tarai till the land as small farmers and share croppers, teach the schools and forward the concepts of progressive liberalism. As every other race and caste, they are struggling to survive and succeed.

As I grew up in the latter "ba-hun - ba-hoinan" culture, I did not observe the severity of persecution against women that you articulated in your articles. May be it is the corrupt upper class, who you perceive as pillars of Hinduism, that you are pissed-off with or guilty about.

I met two brahmins from Kashmir and Sri-Lanka right here in Bismarck, North Dakota. While we could talk hours and hours about the philosophy of Hinduism and evils of caste system, I was amazed to find that the names of gods, deities, rituals, and festivals were unknown to each other. If our religion is same, how come we have different customs?

Yes, there are atrocities against girl children and women. They have no role in decisions that affect their lives. We also know that this injustice to fairer sex is not unique to bahuns or Hindus per se. The question is, is it symbolic of Hinduism or a cultural practice of certain sects of bahuns. I believe it is the latter.

Societal behavior evolves slowly with education, multi-cultural exchange, and economic status. In our own life time we have seen significant changes in our religious values and cultural norms. So my question to Pramod is: can the ills in Nepali society be uprooted with time due to changes in socio-economic culture, education, and legal recourse? Should we loose patience and use state terror again to eliminate the problem?

In your `male-bahun-villain' paradigm, you have not discussed another facet of the women discrimination problem. That is the hazing of women by women. The women hierarchy in a household enforce the rules on how one should walk, talk, laugh, behave with servants, during periods, have male kids, treat my son and your husband, do this and do that and all that guilt trap about "your father's nose!". I contend that most males, by habit, do not attend to such details of code of ethics enforcement.

A woman goes through discrimination as a daughter and a daughter-in-law. The question is why does she as a mother and mother-in law become power corrupt and go `shoulder-to-shoulder' with males in enforcing the same code of conduct? The mother-in-law plays vital roles in abusing her daughter-in-law(s) and perpetuating the vicious cycle of discrimination. To liberate women, the awareness and attitudes of women themselves (along with the villain man, of course!) need to be changed.

There is a difference between recognizing the problems of bahun culture and going through a therapy session of accepting the guilt of being a bahun. The problem recognition will lead to discussion of alternative solutions. The guilt will lead to cynicism, anger, and provide fuel to inter-racial conflicts.

BTH, where is Miss S. P. (?) now? Was her presentation bull-dozed by those of Pramod? If it was, congratulations to Pramod Mishra. You epitomize a typical male bahun and welcome to the club! But, please continue your episodes...

Sexual Harassment of TND:

Immediately after Ashu Tiwari flashed that one of the ten reasons to read TND is to find out what "Amulya Tuladhar has written this time", Amulya threw a sexually explicit bomb into the TND. This article raised fundamental questions on freedom of expression and the role of TND editors.

First time, I realized that we have a generation gap and a sexual desire gap among our readers. I enjoy reading all of Amulya's articles, and his intelligent and instantaneous critique on other articles. While other articles were for the head, the second hand piece on the sexual behavior of some bahunis from Pokhara and Kathmandu was targeted for below the belt organs.

Once a while I encourage my college bound children to read articles on TND. This one was not something I could pass on as, " Children, here is a letter from Uncle Tuladhar you might want to read." A typical papa bahun behavior!

What did we gain from the message so explicit except that there is no freedom to make "western-style" love in Nepal? Besides satisfying personal kinky sexual desires, would different love making style affect the societal behavior towards women? If a naked woman enjoys sex by being on top of her naked husband, does that elevate her status in the household?

I think the article itself is a piece of trash which describes sexual behavior of a perceived primitive culture. It is written for the amusement of a liberal art faculty in western academia. The so-called research was perhaps conducted on grant funds supported by my tax dollars in the name of "Aid to Nepal". A sexually liberated "western bahuni" enjoyed her trip to Shangri-la, extracted very private gossip from innocent women, satisfied the ego of a liberal professor, and got her degree in the process. What else nirvana (foooosi...?) could one ask for? I wonder if the women in the sample were bribed and cajoled with lipstick and other goodies.

There is a difference between the need to talk about explicit sex and the need to be open about sex, sexuality, their effects on character and behavior, concerns about public health and society. As a group, we need to inquire about harms and benefits of a sexual behavior, we don't need to be explicit on the methodology. The art is for individuals to explore and enjoy. If everything is out in the open, what is the fun?

For some of you young and old adults studying abroad without a conjugal life, Tuladhar's gift and similar cost-free articles and advice on explicit sex may be amusing and therapeutic. My suggestion and request to all hormone-filled adults is: spend some money to buy and read adult books, watch adult movies, find a partner, practice safe sex, masturbate or visit Nepal once a while. Whatever you do to satisfy your lust, please, I repeat, please do not ejaculate on TND. It stinks!

One more point in defense of the "silent love making expert". If you live in a joint family with a one bedroom house, sleep on a squeaky wooden or a bamboo bed in the same room with your parents and siblings, you better learn how to "do it" silently. It is a demonstration of workmanship and not an act of discrimination.

Change of Government in Nepal:

Thanks to all contributors of instantaneous updates during our "election news flash" days. Thanks to those who have commented and will continue to comment on the working of the new government and its personnel. Above all, thanks to adults of Nepal for making a change through the ballot box.

The argument that a person in a particular position in the government hierarchy in Nepal needs "phoren" educated subject matter specialist is trivial. Even though, it creates market for some of our talents, only one quality needed in Nepal at this time is for an individual to be hard working and scrupulous. The collective leadership needs to have a vision and a mission, and should ask for commitment from individuals to achieve the mission. Subject matter specialists such as those in the NPC may help to develop specific work plans to fulfill the mission.

We have seen the workings of corrupt bureaucrats and tunnel vision technocrats in the past. They should best be left out of leadership roles. BTW, Dr. Kailash N. Pyakuryal, the newly appointed member of the NPC, is a Ph.D. alumni of the Michigan State University.

Land Reform:

If the communists insist on fulfilling promises made in their election manifesto, this issue will perhaps dominate the Nepali politics in 1995 and beyond. We welcome the initial ice-breaker discussions on this issue, and in time, we should anticipate a full-course dinner.

I have a few questions to shape the menu of kurakani on land reform. The premise of land-reform is based on equity in land ownership and equal opportunity for production agriculture. How can this be done in light of the value of land due to its location? How do we justifiably redistribute urban land and near-urban rural lands of ever-increasing real state value? What is the relationship between size of a holding and its productivity? Since information, not land, labor and capital, is the key to productivity, why so much fuss about land reform?

With proper management of soil, water, and crop, if farmer A produces five times more per hectare than farmer B, should farmer B be allowed to keep five times more land for supporting his basic needs? On the other hand, should farmer A be penalized for his innovation and hard work? I will contribute some of my thinking on this subject as the debate will progress in the future.

                               To Summarize

Like an Energizer Bunny, TND keeps on going...and going...and going. The energy is provided by spirit of volunteerism among writers, readers, and editors. Contrary to comments by some cynics, as editors, we have never indulged in censorship of TND. So far the articles have, as they should, gone as they came. The contributor's self-discipline in shaping up the articles will be highly appreciated. In fact, we don't have time do your laundry.

I don't believe that this tax-payer subsidized vehicle of information flow should be used to champion utopian liberalism. Only with free and fair exchange of ideas on liberalism and traditional values, on modern science and history, on theism and atheism, on capitalism and socialism, we discourse and make progress. In light of the new Republican majority in the U.S. Congress, more self-discipline is essential in order for us to continue enjoying this free ride into the cyber-space.

Once again, I thank all the volunteer writers, news contributors, and fellow editors. I may have been little harsh on some of you, but until we mature in TND etiquette, the diatribing role still belongs to a "bujrug" bahun.

The most of all, thank you Rajpal! We commend you for a job well done, and we look forward to receiving your tasteful TND buffet for years to come.

Happy new year and best wishes to all of you.

Padam P. Sharma

********************************************************************** Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 13:25:33 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> Subject: Shubh Kaamnaa

Shubh bihaan mangalmaya timro Ushaa-nishaa ko madhur milan maa Ghaam jhulke jhain bhayo ridayamaa Sankat baadal lop gagan maa Biswa hansyo nawa srijana tarkharmaa

Juneli timro laagirahos sadhain Haanso na oilaaos muharko Kopilaa le sikun timibaat maayan Bhiraalaa ukaalaa paitalamuni thaakun Angaal shubhkaamanaa nawa warsha ko mero.

********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 31 Dec 1994 11:07 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Dec 30, 1994 (14 Push 2051 BkSm) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Visa Questions:
=================

For Nepalese and all aliens who are interested in visa experience, the type not published in INS documents, and all visa related advice, you can look into
<alt.visa.us> folder in Usenet for continually updated discussions.

Amulya

Subject: Delicious Cauli flowers! To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu

DELICIOUS CAULI FLOWERS OF KATHMANDU VALLEY
============================================ From: atuladhar@vax.clarku.edu Description: RE: Solar TOILET at Namche Bazar & Everest

>
>When I was at Everest Base camp with the British Mount Everest Medical
>Expedition in Sept and Oct of this year we used one of our 40litre blue
>barrels as a toilet (only for "number 2's"!!)
>
>When it was full the environmental scientists (lucky people, but it was their
>choice of career!) emptied it out on rocks and let it freeze dry, then repacked
>it. We ended up with less than one barrel, weighing only about 35 pounds to
>be shipped back to Kathmandu for safe disposal (we averaged about 15-20 people
                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  Did you not sell it to the Jyapus of Kathmandu. They make delicious Cauliflower, you know, the taste beats any of the papery taste of the American salad cauliflowers any day. Another casualty of development. Now almost all the Jyapus use chemical fertilizers and sure the production is high but the taste is poor and for lack of choice, most succumb to the papery Cauliflowers the Jyapus bring to bazaar and now it is even worse, the Cauliflowers from the Terai, ugly, splotchedlittle things that serve more as a space occupier in the hungry belly of underpaid Nepali jagires than any thing of culinary delight.
  I remember the time about 20 years ago the "Chyam Khalas" the scavenging caste would come to "steal" choice human shit from inner chowks because the Jyapus paid a premium for a tinful and the Jyapus paid the Cham Khalas paid a premium because of all the holier-than-you, upper caste stuffy-necks daintily poked their pencil holding fingers on the cauliflowers as if they were flowers from heaven, and yes they had heavenly, full taste, the type that will blossom slowly in the inner sanctum of those tiny,tizzy taste buds.
  Before any of the scatalogical thought police on the Nepali net jump on for bring up this shitty, actually very sanctified social, agricultural,public health debate, I may point that inthose days because the market structure of premium on human shit, we had chowks and inner "charpis" enthusiastically cleaned for the Cauli-season. Now with chemical fertilizers for the Jyapu fields, the Chyam-Khalas on the Kathmandu Municipality payroll, we have all the heaving waste and shit on prime locations of the Pipal Bot, the Bhotahity, andthe public places where it was a pleasure to shop the morning vegetables.
  I would also hazard a claim that anyone who is over 10 years old and who has lived in Kathmandu for at least 10 years has tasted and delighted in the delicious taste of these Cauliflowers nurtured by the golden goodies of recycled human shit.
  As for Western shit from Everest, I do not know if junk foods such as chocolates, and oats with a copius mixture of preservatives such as nitrides and sulfa compounds would be a great diet for the indigenous bacteria who like things organic, you know. Perhaps you should take it to whereever yu came from and not leave it in Kathmandu.
  amulya
============================
>at base camp over a period of nearly 3 months).
>
>Denzil Broadhurst
>

********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 31 Dec 1994 13:34:50 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu> Subject: Blowing The Boston Trumpet Again To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu>, Ashu <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu>

        If you are tired of reading about Boston parties, please skip this. But if you want to know the names of some very hard-working Nepalis, please read on. As with Pepsi, the choice is yours!

        Almost 80 Nepalis -- students, professionals and their families -- gathered at the Talbot Lounge at MIT in Cambridge for a grand momo party yes, again!) to usher in (well, almost!) the New Year '95 on the night of December 30 '94.

        The original idea was to have a giant pot-luck party, but that idea had to scrapped early last week, when some mathematically-inclined GBNC members couldn't come up with a workable differential equation to solve the "GBNC Pot Luck Theorem"

          Well, not the mathematicians' fault, really; the equation had just too many unknowns . . . like the number of guests, the amount of beer and food each of them would consume, the thickness of each of their wallet, the size of each of their kitchen . . . and so forth!

        So, in a moment of inspired silence, GBNC members listened to some Bacchu Kailas, Narayan Gopal and Dipak Kharel, and came up with a tune to sing this true and tried, inexpensive and highly melodious song:

        "Ha ha and hee hee
        Let's have a Momo Part e e!"

        And so a momo party there was to be! And a giant one at that.

        But such a cappela aside, the party, which attracted Nepali guests from Ohio and Georgia, not to mention New York and Pennsylvania, could not have happened without the help of these following Nepalis:

        SHYAM and ROSHANI RANJITKAR, a wonderfully generous Nepali couple for supplying a whopping 40 pounds of ground turkey and momo-masala.

        RAJU PRADHAN, GBNC's virtual president, who is just one indefatigable human dynamo. [One common saying in Boston is this: "If you need to get anything done, give it to Raju". What more can I say? A hundred more Rajus, and surely Nepal could be a swarga!

        NINA ADHIKARI, who along with Roshani and Ramona, (wo)manned the kitchen in such a way that every guest had a tommy-ful of succulent momos and other food and drinks.

        RAMONA CHITRAKAR, who, with her disarming charm, wit and quiet panache, can get a lot of behind-the-scenes-things done, without ever letting the so-called real president worry about anything.

        BHUPESH KARKI, who through his contacts at this planet's best ice-cream store (The one called Christina's in Cambridge.), brought loads of ice-cream to cool off the momo-heat raging inside every stomach!

        SANJIV TULADHAR, another human dynamo who did almost all the OTHER grocery shopping for GBNC.

        PRABHAT ADHIKARI, who brought the thing that was an instant hit among the younger and older crowd: Beer; lots of it.

        SRI KRISHNA PANDEY, a meticulous volunteer who juggled his duties by helping out in the kitchen, by cleaning up, by posting signs and many more.

        NURU LAMA, GBNC's Distinguished Quad Resident, who brought his real economics training to the table where a nominal entry-fee was collected.

        RITA SHAKYA, who made sure that the vegetarians among us would not miss out in the fun by making - what else? -- Veggie Momos!

        ANIL SHAHI, known all over the universe as ET, visiting from the Big Apple, who entertained with some upbeat songs about maya, mayalu and thita-thiti with a Guy-nay touch!

        And, last but not the least, AMRIT PANT, without whom GBNC would surely be homeless . . . it was he who gets us our beloved Talbot Lounge whenever we need it. Thank you, AMRIT, as the song goes, more than we can say!

        With bright, motivated, amazing and generous Nepalis like these, what's the president to do but sit at home and write this kind of long GBNC-self-congratulatory message? You get the point . . .

        Finally, one last thing: Beantown Nepalis, the GBNC phone-directory is out with everyone's postal address, phone-number and bijuli-hulak addresses, if you still have not received your copy in the mail, call Raju at 617-924-8852

        Like I said, blowing the Boston Trumpet!

namaste ashu

                Top Ten Reasons To ... [Fill in the blanks]

        10. GBNC and Dilli Choudhary . . . .

        09. Saying goodbye to Mee.Mee.

        08. Thesis advisor's genuine enthusiasm . . . finally!

        07. Reading a real text with a cup of coffee is much better and
            deeper and more satisfying.

        06. Divorces, break-ups . . don't have a counsellor's
            training to deal with complex things in OTHER people's lives.

        05. Three dogs, two cats and 100 plants. And a dripping faucet.

        04. Egg Noodle pasta, and the NPR . . . jinda-bad!

        03. And those who want to have their homework done on-line . . .

        02. Nepal ko bikas nepal ko bikas nepal ko bikas nepal ko bikas
            In the spectrum of one's personal life, is that REEEALLY that
            important?

        01. What NEXT in life? What do these all mean?

namaste ashu

p.s. I will mail the Dilli Choudhary's interview at the end of January. In the meantime, Amrit Pant will supply some more info on Dilli. Thanks, Amrit.

***********************************************************************8 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Dilli B. Chaudhary's profile Date: Sun, 01 Jan 1995 02:44:29 EST From: "Amrit R. Pant" <arp@MIT.EDU>

Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary was a 1994 recipient of Reebok International Human Rights Award. Here is a brief profile of his work and background handed out by the Award committee.
--------- Dilli Chaudhary educates and organizes fellow members of the Nepalese Tharu minority so that, together, they can struggle to overcome their status as bonded laborers.

Since, he was 15, Chaudhary has battled a 99 precent Tharu-illiteracy so that his people can better understand their legal and civil rights. In the past 40 years, the Tharu people, who once owned their land, have lost their property and become enslaved as bonded workers because they were a non-literate society with no knowledge of their rights.

Although bonded labor was declared illegal by the Nepalese government in 1992, it is still widely practiced in an entrenched caste system where some of the members of Parliament and the police "own" bonded laborers themselves. In effect, Chaudhary fights against a deeply-ingrained practice of oppression that has been part of the Nepalese society for centuries.

Because of Chaudhary's work, however, he has been harassed, his life has been threatened, and he has been jailed on several occasions. During his last arrest in 1993, 2000 people surrounded the compound where he was detained to protest the arrest and to ensure he was unharmed. He was released shortly thereafter. As recently as June 1994, Chaudhary was again attacked by thugs connected to local landlords, but he escaped unharmed.

Chaudhary is the founder and chairman of the Backward Society Education Organization (BASE), which is perhaps the most important grassroots human rights movement in Nepal. With over 1000 instructors, 85000 Tharu members and 25000 students, BASE educates members of the lowest castes and bonded laborers about their human rights and land rights, teaching students literacy, AIDS prevention, income generation and economic self-sufficiency. BASE has also begun water irrigation programs, initiatives to plant trees to prevent deforestation, family planning programs, and the buildings of hospices for children.

Since Chaudhary founded BASE in 1985, the organization has thirved, expanding its reach this year to include poor laborer castes as well as bonded laborers. While guiding the growth of the organization, Chaudhary strives to keep BASE as apolitical as possible and to direct attention away from himself and to the work of the organization.

Chaudhary's supporters say that his successful efforts have "helped thousands and thousands of poor Nepali citizens to raise their heads and look towards a brighter future, having broken the chains of bonded slavery and illiteracy."

soon to come: GBNC's presentation of the interview with Dilli B. Chaudhary

**************************************************************** From: ponta@sas.upenn.edu (Pratyoush R. Onta) Subject: p Onta writes To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Sun, 1 Jan 1995 13:10:53 -0500 (EST)

Dear rajpal: I returned to the US 2 days ago and have been trying to catch up with everything including TND discussions. I am sending a piece that was published in the Kathmandu Post on 3 Nov. I think the argument holds even after the elections and your readers might provide me with some comments. If not, pls let me know. Happy 1995 and best wishes, Pratyoush.

Whose Nation is This Anyway? by Pratyoush Onta

Like every other consumer of politics in this country, I have become a media-junkie of late. I listen to the radio, watch the television, and read the newspapers to find out what our politicians are saying about why the people should vote for them in the forthcoming elections. Everytime I am about to be drowned in the sea of highly-charged speeches which always identify someone else or some other party for the country's present woes and election-promises that insult the intelligence of any Nepali, the words of a man I met in Syangja in July 1992 come to my mind. As an academic in training interested in doing oral historical research on the Gurkha connection, I had talked with Rana Bahadur, a Magar man in his fifties about his life and work in the Indian Gurkhas. Impressed by his service record (which included a stint in Congo in the early 1960s) and pained by the poverty which had haunted him throughout his life (but especially so since his retirement from the army in 1973), I asked him what he thought about the transition from Panchayat's partyless politics to a multiparty democracy in Nepal. He replied, "I have not been able to see this
[transition thing] very clearly. It seems like the [new] leaders are searching for their shares of the spoils. They know their problems, and we know ours....Money comes for certain projects. They put up a show and the rest [here he gestured to indicate that they "eat" the rest]. National/local elections P we do not have to get excited. Those who occupy seats eat. For us at the bottom, life is like this." The remoteness of Kathmandu and all the talk about multiparty democracy in that town that I had heard since returning from abroad in early 1992 had struck me in a way that my writing cannot adequately represent here.

Where in the present pre-election cacophony do we see an effort to understand why Rana Bahadur felt that way in mid-1992 (immediately after the local elections had been held)? When during the past three-plus years of multiparty democracy did we see the effort on the part of party-based politicians to understand the problems of people like Rana Bahadur? During the same period, why could not the party in power deliver a working program of action to ameliorate the living conditions of the majority of Nepalis? Why, we may ask, could not the main opposition provide an alternative convincing vision for our society?

The betrayal experienced by a majority of Nepalis during the past few years and expressed so pithily by Rana Bahadur is the same betrayal that has unfortunately been experienced by generations of Nepalis over the last two centuries. To be sure, today's Nepal is not identical to the feudal estate that it was under rulers of the Thapa, Rana and Shah ilk. But if cultivation of the ability of the majority of Nepalis "to use the state and the values of nationhood as an institutional resource" (to use the words of another analyst) is used as a criterion to judge the performance of the political elites of this country, then today's political parties are no better as rulers of Nepal than their predecessors of the past two hundred years.

During much of the nineteenth century, the policies of the rent-seeking Nepali state were primarily responsible, as has been painstakingly shown by historian Mahesh C. Regmi, for the progressive immiserization of the small peasantry in Nepal. The peasantry was seen simply as a place from where the rent-seeking state could extract surplus which was almost never reinvested toward increasing the productivity of agriculture. Thus agrarian indebtedness induced by the state's rent-seeking practices became the most important "push" factor behind the substantial movement of Nepalis to India as wage labourers during and since the second half of the nineteenth century. Therefore the growth of what has been called the central agrarian bureaucracy under the Ranas must be seen simply as the growth of the surplus-extraction machinery which in no way contributed toward the increment of the people's ability to use the state as a resource.

The story during the Panchayat years is similar. Regions far and near from Kathmandu were administratively conquered by an ever burgeoning state apparatus which apart from strengthening the center's ability to sell its vacuous dreams of an exploitation-free society, absorbed in its growth the semi-educated and potentially vocal products of a basically agrarian society. Helpful in the manufacturing of a small middle-class increasingly divorced from its agrarian roots and devoted to the strengthening of its own interests, Panchayat's record toward the increment of the oppressed populations' ability to use the state as an institutional resource was abysmal. While the circle of people who lay claim to the state's extractions (including foreign-aid) increased with the size of its bureaucracy, a majority of Nepal's population were denied meaningful membership in the so-called Nepali nation.

The political leaders of the multiparty democratic system inherited this legacy of the Rana and Panchayat eras. Nobody in their right mind would have thought that theirs was an easy task. But in 1991 people had rightfully expected these stalwarts of what was then a new democratic Nepal to show a serious commitment toward the understanding of the problems that beset our society. Through hard work it was expected that they would be able to fulfill even a small bit of the expectations that people had of them. It was also hoped that for once now, all Nepalis could begin to enjoy the fruits of membership in the Nepali nation. But that was not to be. Because of endless bickerings between and within themselves, our political parties have devoted hardly any intellectual energy toward a clarification of the magnitude of the problems that confront us. Choosing to engage in empty rhetorics that promise everything for everybody, they have failed to present any vision of the future. Moreover they have given us no program of action that lays out the hard choices we need to make as a society today so that we may have a viable future that can encompass even those Nepalis who have been victims of history for too long.

Endless speeches on the sovereignty of the people, unfortunately, do not meet their daily requirements. Staged histrionics in and outside the Parliament only confirm Rana Bahadur's comments about the new political leadership being interested only in the search for their shares of the spoils. As general conditions of living deteriorate on almost all fronts, it is becoming increasingly clear that the forthcoming elections will not solve the country's problems. Nor will it, by itself, increase the ability of the majority of Nepalis to use the values of nationhood as an institutional resource. This breed of politicians and their kind of politics cannot infuse any hope in the hearts of even the most optimistic Nepalis. Lost in the pre-election babble is the question: whose nation is this anyway and do the politicians care?

*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 01 Jan 1995 17:42:58 -0400 (EDT) From: ST941806@PIP.CC.BRANDEIS.EDU Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Jan 1, 1995 (16 Push 2051 BkSm) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Articles are getting too long......don't you think so.... Umanga

********************************************************** From: Dr. Purna C. Subedi <subedi@ee.unr.edu> Subject: Moving the Nepali Capital into Narayanghat? To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Sun, 1 Jan 95 23:13:32 PST

        If Nepal's capital could be moved from Kathmandu to Narayanghat, it could be beneficial for Nepal's future. Naray- anghat is more easily accessible from most areas of Nepal than Kathmandu. Also, the Narayanghat area is more spacious; it is not a limited valley like Kathmandu. The Kathmandu valley is already saturated with people and yet the rate of population increase is alarming. But the facilities are not increasing at all; rather they are deteriorating. It is beyond imagination what Kathmandu is going to be like if the current trend continues.

        Not only are a lot of unemployed people flocking to Kath- mandu in search of work, but even the well-to-do people feel that it is more dignified to own a house in Kathmandu. The main reason people are moving into the Kathmandu valley can be attributed to the fact that Kathmandu is the capital and many facilities are centralized in Kathmandu.

        The process of decentralization may have come too late for Kathmandu's recovery; moving the capital might be the only option left. Natural disasters like the washing away of the only road into Kathmandu, can cut off supplies into the valley of over a million people who depend on imports from outside the valley. The arable land inside the valley is occupied by buildings and the trend is increasing to whatever bare land is left; it's turn- ing into a "concrete jungle."

        The magnitude of the difficulties involved in moving the capital should not be underestimated. It is not going to be a po- pular proposal especially among the people of Kathmandu and else- where who have invested a lot of money buying or building houses or have some kind of business in Kathmandu.

        The cost of moving is another factor in itself; it is not going to be inexpensive. But in the long run, it may pay off since Nepal would save a lot in the transportation cost of government-related materials into the Kathmandu valley from the Terai. Narayanghat is the junction point for almost every vehicle hauling goods into Kathmandu from most of the other major Nepali cities.

        From the business point of view, Kathmandu would remain as one of the main tourist attractions. Foreign tourists could enjoy the art and scenes of Kathmandu more since moving of the capital could result in the reduction of the pollution. The Kath- mandu airport would be kept open as an international airport and major arrival point for tourists; a second airport could be built in Narayanghat for general business purposes. Similarly, it would be beneficial to duplicate many governmental offices, as a way of decentralizing government services. Only the parliament itself and related offices would be moved and not duplicated.

        In the old days, Kathmandu as a capital had many strateg- ic advantages; one of them was that Kathmandu was not easily ac- cessible from India, but Nepal does not need to worry about that in this space age.

        The reality of moving the capital is not a new one to the Nepali people. It was moved to Kathmandu from Gurkha not long ago in the historical sense.

        Though moving the capital would be a very difficult task, Nepal's other options are running out. Nepal might have to bite the bullet now since the alternative could be more disastrous. A tin can will hold only a certain number of sardines.

Purna C. Subedi, Ph.D. subedi@moriah.ee.unr.edu Department of Electrical Engineering University of Nevada, Reno

************************************************************* Date: Sun, 01 Jan 1995 23:43:55 -0600 (CST) From: RKP6723@UTARLG.UTA.EDU Subject: Happiness To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu

Hello Everybody!

       H A P P Y N E W Y E A R 1 9 9 5 !!!

I read my family friend Mr. Mishra's "Women In Hinduism IX". It is an academic literature rebelling against old religious ideas. It is perfectly natural to rebel against old religious beliefs or any old beliefs to find new religion religion or new beliefs. Many people do that including great beings like Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Jesus Christ, and Muhammed and started new religion of their time. Mr. Mishra's "Women In Hinduism IX" provoked my thoughts and lead me a reason to believe that he is troubled in his mind. Again, it is natural to be troubled. I am writing my insights neither to argue with Mr. Mishra nor to prove anything, but to have a hope to ease his and other readers mind.

Religion is faith in God. God, may it be Buddha, Shiva, Jesus or Allah. Different society of people worship different name of God in different ways. Does God exist? Believer will say that he does and athiest will say that he does not. I believe that he does. Where is he at? What does he do for us? What is he anyway? Questions like this arise in anybody's mind either he/she is a beliver or an athiest. Since I am a beliver I should be able to answer these questions. If I do not have answer then I would be believing something that I cannot answer in the form of language. Well, I do not have any objective answers. Hinduism says that God is in each of us. Buddhism says that Buddhahood is already within us. Christianity says that everybody can reach to God and be with God. There are millions of believers in the world and quite a few athiests. Athiests have many good reasons not to believe in God. Therefore, it is an individual that has to discover for his or her own because God is beyond reason, science, or religion.

I was born in a Hindu Brahmin family. I have gone to temples, been in Pujas, and read some Hindu literature. I solely did it because it is required in our family. I was not sure whether I believed in God. I think I practiced religion because of fear that if I do not practice God will punish me and send me to hell. I then did believe that God exist but in a fearful way.

I started to take a keen interest when my father bought me a science book when I was in fourth grade. I came across with a lot of theory about us and our habitat. I learned that Brahma's "Shristi" was the reason we are here from a Hindu Literature, but the literature does not give any logical explanation how and why he did it. Charles Darwin's "Theory of Revolution" explains that we evolved from simple bacteria like creature to reptiles to Cromagnun, Neanderthal, homo sapiens to finally homo sapiens sapiens. And our habitat earth was part of a star that was collided and went into pieces (from astronmy).These reasons of science were more appealing to me than old Braham's "Shristi". After learning where we come from from scientific reasons I lost all my faith in religion and God. Whenever I went to Pashupati or any Pujas after was solely to see teenage girls.

Science does explain and provide lot of objects. But, it cannot say what is my purpose, why am I here, and many other similiar questions that arise in mind. I went through years of reasoning hell in my mind to find some peace and happiness. When I was a kid I always wanted to come to the U.S. I thought I would find peace and happiness here. I thought U.S. is like utopia, free world, a perfect world. I have everything I wanted when I was a kid. I should be in Nirvana now. Why am I not in Nirvana ? Why I cannot get some peace in my mind? I studied astronomy, philosophy, psycholgy to find some answers. Nada, all I became was more knowledgable, but no peace and happiness. Finally, after six months of solitude in near world's largest rose garden in Tyler, Texas I realize that I am not going to find peace and happiness from outside sources. I can only find peace and happiness from within me. I could finally rest my mind and get some peace. This inner peace and happiness can only be brought by realizing that we have ultimate being within us. It is simple Hindu and Buddhist gift that God or Buddhahood is within us. Truly, there is no difference in Buddhism and Hinduism, or in any other religion. Basically, purpose of all religion is to realize our own self. Whichever way you do it is your own style and preference. I personally, prefer Buddhism because it is simpler for me. There was a Catholic Priest in California, who used to chant Hindu, Buddhist, Christian mantras in his prayer.

I am not a monk or a priest. I have neither reached the Enlightenment nor realize myself ultimately, but I am taking the Path. I can tell you this much that:
      I am happier since I have taken the Path to realize my ultimate self.

Before I came to believe that God or Buddha is within me I had done some research outside myself. Here are some of the wisdom from some wise beings.

Buddha: "Each of you have Buddhahood within you, find it you will be happy
         forever"

Krishna: "I reside in each of you, find me you will go to heaven"

Jesus: "Look within yourself deep for me, you will find me and go to heaven"

Rene Decartes: "All innate ideas exist, God is an annate idea; therefore
                God exist"

Immanuel Kant: "We cannot know God from pure reason or logic, God can only be
                known through true behavior or morality because God is beyond
                knowledge of reason"

Hegel: "Each of us have a universal mind, but many of us do not bother to look
        for it within ourselves"

Feuerbach: "What we believe of God is really true of ourselves"

Thus the main problem is not the religion or God, it is the people. Some of us do not search for ultimate self within ourself to find peace and happiness. Most of us look outside for peace and happiness. It only narrows our mind. Religious books, teachers, gurus, lamas are only to guide us to realize our Ultimate self. When we look peace and happiness from these outside sources, we run into terror, darkness, mistreat of people or in hell. Does God exist? Nobody no not even Buddha can show us that because God is inside us not in the outside world. To seek God outside of us is to fool ourselves. That is what's wrong with some of us to look outside. When we build soceity based on false ideas then there is hell. What is wrong with people can be found in Laxmi P. Devkota's poem "Kun Mandir ma janchau yatri, Kun samagri puja garne" He is saying that people are more concern about outside worship and worry about what temples to go to and what materials to use for woship. Indeed mandir, God and all the materials needed are in our heart.

                       O M S H A N T H I

Robin Pandey Arlington, Tx.

****************************************************************************** Subject: On Economics and NPC To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> From: Ashu <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu>

        I am not clear as to what the take-home messages in Eknath Belbase's posts on land-reforms and the National Planning Commission
(NPC) were. But Eknath's [implied] characterization of the "US-trained economists'" as people being motivated only by GREED, or even being taught that GREED alone is good is certainly off the mark.

        If Eknath were right, that is, if GREED were the only thing for the economists to hanker after, then many of the most creative economists in the US or elsewhere today would be in jail with Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky -- surely the two individuals who personified the very word
'GREED' on Wall Street of late 1980s? [In fact, in his 1987 Commencement speech at Cal Berkeley, Boesky, a coporate raider, even told the graduating seniors that "GREED is good."] So much for Boesky-ian moral philosophy!

        I urge Eknath to read the last (double) issue of the ECONOMIST, in which there appears a three-page article on "rational economic man". The article should help Eknath understand some of the interesting, yet often confusing and contrarian, debates that are raging among the
"US-trained economists". Human selfishness, I assure Eknath, is DIFFERENT from human self-interested-ness --- and lumping the two as GREED is quite misleading.

        Embedded in Eknath's "GREED" reasoning is another misleading assumption: That the United States trains all economists the same way. Again, that too is off the mark. For Eknath's informatiuon, the kind of economics being at the University of Chicago is QUITE different from that being done at MIT. Likewise, Minnesota's, Rochester's, and Carnegie-Mellon's brand of economics is also different from that being taught at Harvard. I honestly do not know whether one school's brand of economics is BETTER than that of others' -- that depends on how much one agrees with the
[ideological] assumptions, particular research tools and starting premises that economists at each school employ.
 
        Still, radically different from all of above "mainstream" departments is the one at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In addition, in many US universities, the Austrian school of economics and Nozickian libertarian brand of economics and so on flourish well and alive. No wonder economists have a wide and often contrary viewpoints on the same issue!

        As for Eknath's wonder whether economists ALONE could man the NPC, I offer two -- in keeping with the profession of economics -- CONTRADICTORY answers:

        First, yes: Because thanks to the work of Gary Becker, Amartya Sen and others, the reach of mainstream economics is wider today than ever. That is why not only do we have the economics of family, of also economics of immigration, crime, environment, law, transport, communications, public policy, information, and, would you believe it, even moral philosophy and justice. [In fact, not too long ago, I read, I think it was in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, about the economics of corruption and the economics of how man and woman choose to marry!!]

        Second, no: No first-rate "mainstream" economist -- who is primarily an abstract thinker of the highest level akin to those in other disciplines -- can be a populist sound-bite-chanting policy entrepreneur at the NPC. His/her intellectual integrity would just not allow the loose-sounding, hopelessly naive, illogical and pleasing-to-the-politicians type of economics that was unfortunately practised by Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat at the last NPC. [Mahat is a decent man; it's just that his public economic reasonings were seldom so! Read: "Does GDP mean Grossly Distorting Planners?" by Bikash Thapaliya in the Kathmandu Post of sometime last July]
        
        Finally, let me add that personally I reserve my greatest intellectual respect for these people: Philosophers, physicists and mathematicians -- in that order!

namaste ashu
        
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