The Nepal Digest - Jan 6, 1995 (22 Push 2051 BkSm)

From: The Editor (nepal-request@cs.niu.edu)
Date: Fri Jan 06 1995 - 15:58:20 CST


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The Nepal Digest Friday 6 Jan 95: Push 22 2051 BkSm Volume 35 Issue 4

               Happy New Year 1995!

                               - TND Editorial Board

  Note: There was a file update problem on the system last week. If
         you or one of your friends are not getting TND, please re-subscribe!
         Apologies for the inconvinience.

  Today's Topics:

        1. From the Editor's

        2. KURA_KANI
                  Economics - Re: NPC
                               Ethnic Bias in NPC?

                  Social - Is Trekking Safe?
                               Re: Tamang People

        3. JAN_KARI
                  Book Review - Nepali Society and Culture
                     
        4. SODH_PUCH/KHOJ_KHABAR

                  Kali Gandaki Area?
                  Research/Internship in Nepal?

 ******************************************************************************
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Date: Jan 6 1994 From: TND Editorial Board <nepal-request@mp.cs.niu.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@mp.cs.niu.edu> Subject: Thank you and welcome aboard!

Dear TND Members:

     Happy New Year 1995 and welcome to another year of TND marathon!

     We all hope that this year will be as exciting as it has been
     for the past three TND years. TND Editorial Board would like to
     thank all of the existing members for their contributions, both in
     the huddles and in the sidelines. We want to welcom all the new
     members - Welcom aboard! Please continue to provide your thoughtful
     or not-so-thoughtful views.

     My personal thanks to all dedicated TND Editorial Board members
     for their generous time to make TND a stimulating, curious, encouraging,
     perhaps sometimes a bit frustrating and a fun environment for
     exchanging, from challenging ideas to momo recipies.

     Kudos Gentle(wo)man!

     A new sub-title "Matrimonials" has been added under JAN_KARI. Please
     be aware that TND does not wish to be your "lami" or "dating service"
     but would be glad to entertain any matrimonial requests. Please use
     it responsibly and we wish all the singles best of our luck in finding
     your soul-mates.

     On behalf of TND Editorial Board ......

Sincerely Yours, Rajpal J. Singh Founding-Editor/Coordinator The Nepal Digest <nepal-request@mp.cs.niu.edu>

********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 14:10:15 -0500 (EST) Subject: From Neal Cohen To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> From: Neal Cohen <ncohen@usaid.gov>

1. I had an opportunity to meet three senior members of the National
      Planning Commission over the last two days: The Vice Chairman, Dr.
      Manandhar; the member for economic analysis, Dr. Khanal; and the
      member-secretary (handling administrative reform, monitoring and
      evaluation) Dr. Shakya.

2. Dr. Manandhar was a Professor of Geography and Demography and is
      a well-respected researcher. Dr. Khanal, the only member who is an
      economist, had been a consultant with the UNDP National Planning
      Strengthening Project. His interest remains econometric modelling
      and forecasting. Dr. Shakya is also an economist and has done
      excellent work coordinating and designing liberalization policy.
      He was a member of our Policy Dialogue Committee. He is a civil
      servant and had served under the previous government.

3. Dr. Khanal prepared the economic elements to UML's Election Mani-
      festo, led the team preparing their budget and most accurately
      represents their views on the economy. He has long been the econ-
      omic voice of Nepal's Communist Party. He is a very good econom-
      ist, but tends to jump to conclusions without analysis, alleging
      something is true without having seen or done any study, and with-
      out analyzing the implications of the allegation. In our dis-
      cussion he noted that 10-12 families control the prices of most
      major goods in Nepal and the result is higher inflation. There is
      no information on who are these families, which goods they con-
      trol, what would happen if prices in Nepal were significantly
      higher than in India (smuggling) nor how they can enforce their
      control.

4. Privatization: "The new Government is in favor of privatization,
      but has disagreements with the process". When pressed, the dis-
      agreement amounts to selling one company to an Indian (no Nepali
      bid), and another company raised prices after privatization (the
      state company was losing money and there was large-scale corrup-
      tion in the allocation of the product). Allegations of non-trans-
      parency in the process, not selling to the highest bidder, selling
      the companies at below market prices (as it was an open bid, this
      was the market price) were also made. He noted government ought
      not sell a firm that is in profit or where there is a social obli-
      gation. The members of government's Privatization Cell are to meet
      him today to review the process and current proposals. Efforts to
      get government to agree to proceed with privatization have come to
      naught, partly completed efforts have been stopped.

5. Tax Reform: they will begin a high-level task force to review the
      tax structure and make recommendations for the mid-summer budget.
      This will review the octroi, wealth and VAT. However, their pref-
      erence is for direct not indirect taxes. There is little under-
      standing of what is a Value Added Tax (VAT) or about the corrup-
      tion in Nepal's direct taxes.

6. Protectionism: Government wants to protect national investors for
      a limited time. He as much as admitted that he made a mistake in
      increasing tariffs on soaps, detergents and textiles as these have
      increased prices for the poor and profits of the "rich". I do not
      think he is aware of the floodgates that have been opened by the
      budget speech's statement on protecting national investors.

7. He would like assistance in developing an econometric forecasting
      model (CGE) for Nepal and in doing some small studies on whether
      Nepal ought to join GATT, role of SAPTA, foreign investment.

8. Dr. Manandhar is incredibly charming, knowledgeable about his
      field (especially GIS) and is anxious to completely digitize
      Nepal. He also does not appear to be very clued in as to economic
      policy and the problems of certain decisions.

9. Foreign Investment: he does not understand why Government cannot
      allow foreigners to buy and sell on the Stock Exchange (maybe
      beginning with only institutions). We explained why UML might have
      a problem (selling the country to the Indians). He also appeared
      to favor the development of a Central Depository System for the
      stock exchange to facilitate transactions. Further, he thought it
      made sense to reduce the minimum investment by foreign service
      companies. In all of these he comes across as sincere, wanting to
      please, but unlikely to represent UML policy.

10. Electric Tempo: he thinks it would be a very good idea to reduce
      duties on the electric motors and encourage the change from diesel
      to electric motors.

11. Small and Market Town Development: this was the idea he had put
      into the budget speech. It is apparently because of work that Earl
      Kessler of RHUDO did with him last year. He also likes the model
      village program to uplift backward villages.

12. Direct Grants to Villages: this is the first time they are being
      given autonomy to make their own decisions and have the money to
      implement. The District Government's might be able to provide some
      technical services.

13. Dr Shakya had been asked by the Deputy Prime Minister to make
      suggestions for members of NPC. He made a few but basically asked
      for professional economists who can command considerable respect,
      understand how government works and understand the development
      process. He noted that many of the under-secretaries at National
      Planning are senior to the only professional economist and ques-
      tion the depth of Dr Khanal's knowledge. There has been grumbling
      backstage at NPC because of many of the proposed changes, the lack
      of analysis or poor analysis.
                                                                Neal

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 16:50:26 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: jobs in Nepal? From: benshneid@aol.com (BenShneid)

Hi there. Does anyone know of (or know who I could contact about) research/internship/job opportunities in Nepal?

I'm an undergraduate at Brown University double-majoring in Religious Studies and Anthropology. I've recently returned from half a junior semester abroad in Nepal -- I had a trekking accident, broke my ankle and arm, and had to come home early for surgery. Assuming that my ankle heals properly, I'm planning to return to Nepal and complete my program, beginning in mid-October
'95, but I'd also like to spend next summer and early fall there.

I will be available from June to October of 1995. I'm already conversant in basic Nepali and know my way around Kathmandu, if that helps.

I'm particularly interested in gender issues in Buddhism and Hinduism, but I'm open to working on almost any Buddhist/Tibetan/Himalayan/South Asian Studies subject.

If my foot is not fully healed by June, I will be looking for summer internships on these same subjects in the U.S. Any suggestions?

Please send any responses to me privately. Thanks very much in advance for your help!

--Sara Shneiderman

********************************************************** Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 16:53:31 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Tamang people From: john h milligan <1420@fox.nstn.ns.ca>

My family sponsers a foster child in Nepal. He is an 8 year old boy called Ratna Tamang and lives in Sangla Panchayat. I would like to know the following :-

a) Anything about the Tamang people. b) Where is Sangla. c) What language will he speak and does a dictionary of it exist. d) If so, see (c)) how can I obtain one. e) How can I send vegetable seeds to his farmer father.

John H. Milligan nstn1420@fox.nstn.ns.ca

********************************************************** Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 16:56:20 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: tiwari@husc7.harvard.edu (Ashutosh Tiwari) Subject: Re: Tamang people

john h milligan <1420@fox.nstn.ns.ca> writes:

>My family sponsers a foster child in Nepal. He is an 8 year old boy
>called Ratna Tamang and lives in Sangla Panchayat. I would like to
>know the following :-

>a) Anything about the Tamang people.

HIMAL magazine had run an article on the Tamangs in its issue on Ethnicity two years ago. Send me your postal address, I'll mail you the article by the end of January.

By and large, the Tamangs live on the rims of the Kathmandu Valley, and have historically served as porters to traders going in and out of the Valley. Owing to various historical, political and ethnic reasons, the Tamangs in Nepal have not done that well economically, socially or even politically . . . though their cousins in Darjeeling, India have made definite marks in literature, arts and education.

>b) Where is Sangla.

If I am not mistaken, it's sort of outside of Kathmandu, past Balaju, past Gonga-bu, past Baniyatar. Or, in other words, from the center of the city, say, from Ratna Park, it takes about an hour by bus PLUS some good 2 hours of walk to get there. Ratna Park, BTW, was named after the Queen Mother!

I was there last in 1986; At the time, Sangla did not have electricity or running water.

Does the address you have say, Bagmati Zone?

>c) What language will he speak and does a dictionary of it exist.

Assuming my answer to b) is correct, he probably speaks Nepali due to the proximity of Sangla to Kathmandu. Chances are high that he might be an illiterate. But if you are paying money to send him to school, well, . . . he might be going to school.

>d) If so, see (c)) how can I obtain one.

Any major university library in the US would have one. But other SCN folks might have better ideas.

>e) How can I send vegetable seeds to his farmer father.

First, find out the types of vegetables he grows. Still, potatoes, cauliflowers, tomatoes are good bets! (Just my speculation!).

Then mail the seeds c/o the agency (I assume there's one! that's being a go-between between you and the child). That should do.

Good luck!

namaste ashu

************************************************************************ Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:28:51 +1030 (CST) From: John Gray <jgray@arts.adelaide.edu.au> Subject: New Book on Nepal Society and Culture To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

I hope the readers of this group do not mind me announcing the publication of my book, "The Householder's World: Purity, Power and Dominance in a Nepali Village", Oxford University Press (India), 1995. The easiest way to describe the book is to use what is provided on the fly-leaf:

"The Householder's world is an important contribution not only to Nepalese and South Asian studies but also to the theory and method of constructing ethnographic accounts.

"Through a detailed study of a multicaste village in the southern district of the Kathmandu Valley, Gray proposes a new approach to the anthropological analysis of societies such as Nepal, with multiple layers of social life. The narrative structure of the account starts with the household (which is understood as a 'dense and intimate context of practices') and places ethnographic priority on it, 'spiralling outwards' to wider society. The author avers that being a householder in an ontological and everyday sense is central to the lives of the villagers. He describes how as householders villagers construct social relations both within and between domestic groups and how these relations inflect their understanding of asymmetry and its various dimensions, such as purity, power and dominance in wider social contexts."

************************************************************* Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 19:05 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Jan 5, 1995 (21 Push 2051 BkSm) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Ethnic Bias in NPC
====================

So it is out: 1 Newar 4 Brahmins 1 Chettry

That makes National Plannig commission.

Is that Nepal?

Should we have a representation of Nepal or a representation of Western disciplines?

What happened to our Terai Friends? No one worthe the "Calibre" or
"ideological" seniourity among the communists?

What about our ethnic Mongoloid "Jana jati"s who feel increasingly marginlaized by mainstream politics, religion, and society, are there no educated ones among them?

Let us keep on watching how the communists manage the issue of drawing the marginal oppressed peoples into mainstream nation-building.

The cabinet was too crucial and hasty to have a "propah" ethnic, gender, or regional balance, so would the apologists have us persuaded.

Fair enough, let us wait to see NPC: More of the same...

Are we seeing a pattern here?

Are we going to say we are going to go by "objective" critieria of education: harvard, LSE, or economics or lah blah... They do not mean a thing to our village brethren and sisters as Pratoush Onta so poignantly wrote, " Whose Nepal is this anyway?" I summarily reject that Nepal belongs only the educated and their petty academic subdisciplines.

Caste and regional and ethnic are real categories that Nepaliese recognize and live day to day, and their feelings of marginalization should not swept away in the name of education cause there are few if any educated nepali who has not taken advantage of caste privileges or have been discriminated by such ethnic social ascriptions.

amulya

*************************************************************** Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 15:46:25 +0800 From: frerking@hs.hkis.edu.hk (Pat Frerking - HKIS) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: member request

I am interested in information concerning Nepal and the area around the Kali Gandaki river. I am an Earth Science teacher at Hong Kong International School and will be taking a group of 20 students down the Kali Gandaki river on a white water rafting trip. Presently the students are gathering information for research topics and I am looking for additional resources. Any help you may provide will be appreciated greatly.

Students have a large spectrum to choose from, cultural, geographical, religion, plant and animal life, are broad areas of interests that some students have selected so far.

Thank you for your response.

Patrick Frerking High School Science Department Hong Kong International School e-mail: Frerking@hs.hkis.edu.hk

********************************************************************* Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:29:01 -0500 From: eknath@math.cornell.edu (Eknath Belbase - Math Grad) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Jan 5, 1995 (21 Push 2051 BkSm)

Subject: Trekking Safety

This summer I went on a trek to Rara Lake via Jumla. In the planning phase and during the trek I encountered a number of trekkers (even in the low season). There were very few going alone. Most had heard of the murder incident mentioned in Peter's post but thought that it was a very isolated incident
(which seems close to the truth based on how many such cases we read about). However, a lot of things can go wrong, all of which you are more likely to live through if you aren't alone. You could get some intestinal ailment which puts you flat out for 3 days, you could trip and break a leg (this had actually happened to one man we met), you could have gone to the Terai before and acquired malaria and then only find out about it or get bitten by a dog and lose some blood. These things are probably MORE likely than danger from individuals (although I think petty theft isn't that uncommon). Personally, I wouldn't go alone even on a 3-day trek unless I knew the area well (and some people along the way). If you go to Nepal alone and are planning to go on one of the more popular routes you can always join up with a group...just go to Thamel and hang out at Ben and Jerrys, KCs, Hem's and such and you'll meet tons of people headed your way.

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:46:02 -0500 From: eknath@math.cornell.edu (Eknath Belbase - Math Grad) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Jan 5, 1995 (21 Push 2051 BkSm)

Ashu wrote:
>So, what have we now? Legal greed and illegal greed? Your reasoning
>implies that being "greedy in more accepted ways" is ok, while being
>greedy otherwise is not. I don't know what to make of this.

Yes! As long as you take the "ok" to be what laws like those against insider trading say is ok (not my own personal view of what is ok). Certainly greed, like any other concept, is subjective. Why does the word carry negative connotations? I would think that in the context we are discussing it is partly a result of middle-class resentment against wealthy people. In a broader context, I guess a Judeo-Christian explanation exists. I am curious - how would an economist define greed? [you might want to send this just to me since a lot of people are probably getting sick of this on TND]

>I would rather have a rigorously trained (in ANY
>discipline, including mathematics or history!) intelligent GENERALIST who
>shows these three qualities...

I definitely agree with you there. Certainly "experts" who have been doing narrow research for years would be better in universities. However, experts who have a multi or interdisciplinary education and work experience
(preferable lots of it) would, I think, be great.

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:04:44 -0800 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: bhushan@Tanner.COM (Bhushan Mudbhary) Subject: Is Trekking alone in Nepal safe?

..By the by, I just recently returned from a visit to my beloved Nepal. My equally cherished American spouse was with me. We went on a short hike to Gandrung from Biretanthi. I am Nepalese, the route is a so called "tourist" route, and yet I hired a guide( I knew the way). Why? SAFETY FIRST!!!(Imagine the fuss if we hadn't the guide and I got sick or injured, my wife don't do Nepalese). Trekking alone is a bad idea. And of course there are assholes in Shangrila. So please do not trek alone! Hire a guide( sometimes the hotel you stay in can help you find a dependable chap). It will only cost you Rs.200(4 bucks or so) per day plus all the food he can eat. My guide, Raju, the one with many hats( he was also the plumber, electrician, waiter, etc.. at the hotel we stayed in Pokhara) was by far the best investment of $15 bucks or so( hey I am a good tipper) I made in Nepal.

So who wants to join Raju and me to Tilicho this fall? I figure right around Dasain!

Namaskar Bhushan

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