The Nepal Digest - Jan 20, 1998 (3 Magh 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wednesday Jan 20, 1999: Magh 3 2055BS: Year8 Volume82 Issue1

                     HAPPY NEW YEAR 1999 !!!

Today's Topics (partial list):

        Engineering Job opening
        Regarding Depo-Provera
        News about community radio
        Book Review IV
        Suggestions wanted
        NC, UML, NSP, RPP

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Open Position *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 19:35:29 -0800 From: Pawan Agrawal <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Engineering Job opening

My company has a need for Electrical or Computer Engineer (BS or MS grad). F1/H1 should be OK. If interested, please contact me with your resume.

Thank you. Pawan Agrawal

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 12:10:26 -0500 (EST) From: Mohan C. Thakuri <thakurim@VAX.CS.HSCSYR.EDU> Subject: Regarding Depo-Provera To:

I read with great sadness the story of Sita Devi, who died shortly after receiving an injection of Depo-Provera, a depot injection of Medroxyprogesterone acetate, used for contraception. However, I feel obliged as a physician, to clarify certain things regarding this event.

First, from the description of the event it appears to me that this lady had an anaphylactic reaction, a form of severe allergic reaction which is unpredictable and could happen to anyone with any injection of any drug. It has been well described with this particular preparation. However, what makes this so sad is the fact that this death could have been easily prevented with appropriate treatment. I do not see how one could hold the person giving the injection liable for this. However, it is criminal to give injections of this sort and not be prepared to counteract anaphylaxis, which requires the use of a drug called epinephrine. Depo-Provera is not banned in the USA. In fact it is used fairly commonly, since it provides convenient, once every three-month contraception. In fact, it is well-suited for women who would find it hard to follow rigourous instructions that come with some other methods. Low dose oral contraceptives are avilable in Nepal at a far cheaper price and in my opinion are no less dangerous. Would be very hard to convince many women to take it on a daily basis wihtout fail. Barrier method is very safe, however, has the inconvenience and does not work well if not used as instructed.

I despise open advertisement of pharmaceuticals without details regarding their side-effects and proper use. However, contraception in the developing countries is a complex issue, politically and at the individual level. A lot is involved in making this decision for the woman and the physicians. I would encourage Ms Aiko Joshi to find more detailed instruction in this matter before completely rejecting this drug, which provides women with a wider choice. When it comes to temporary contraception, there is no ideal safe and effective method.

To end my note, what happened was extremely tragic. This death was preventable. May be companies like CRS could provide health care facilities with simple, life-saving drugs like epinephrine, so that people like Mr Yadav do not get arrested for trying to serve people. May be health care workers like him could be trained better and may be CRS should be involved in this.

This should not be taken to mean that I endorse one or the other product. I'm simply forwarding my opinion that the choices in this regard are not easy to make. Burden, unfortunately, lies on the individual person as to how best to make use of avilable technology.

Thank you. Mohan Chand.

****************************************************************** Date: December 21, 1998 To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: King's Illness Source: People's Review

Confucius's teaching and the King's illness BY RABINDRA MISHRA

Recently, a friend of mine in America e-mailed me an essay written by this year's Nobel Prize winner in economics, Amartya Sen. The essay, Human Rights and Asian Values: What Lee Kuan Yew and Li Peng don't understand about Asia, was quite long and he had asked me to read it at my leisure.

Finally, I managed to do so yesterday. The essay was undoubtedly a scholarly piece and was quite enlightening. The reason I am mentioning this here is not that I want to discuss Sen's thesis. Rather I want to borrow a piece of dialogue between Confucius (551-479 BC), a famous Chinese philosopher and an educator, and his close follower, Zilu, which Sen has quoted in his essay. Zilu is said to have asked Confucius "how to serve a prince," and he reportedly replies: "Tell him the truth even if it offends him." As I read these lines I started to think about the Nepalese royal household at the back of my mind.

My unintentional inclination to relate the reply of Confucius to our royal household may well have been prompted by the recent health problem of the King. At present, the King is the only figure the overwhelming majority of Nepalese view with genuine respect and regard despite all the mistakes he is supposed to have made during the panchayat era. However, as to the information of his health, the same loyal subjects were disallowed from knowing his true state throughout the whole check-up and treatment period.

It appeared to me that there was no one to tell the King that the public was dismayed by such an approach. The press was given only a minimum of information and neither palace officials nor doctors involved in the treatment would give any further details. Palace officials would say that they couldn't add by themselves to what the doctors had told them and the doctors would say that they were not supposed to speak. For example, no one still knows whether the King had the ischemia in the right coronary artery or in the left, which is considered more serious. A news story of such public concern needs enough information and a reasonable length to be a lead or one of the major stories of the day. The reluctance of the palace to provide adequate information resulted in many of the reports being written like an obituary with the greater part of the stories dealing with King's personal and family details.

I was wondering who could be responsible for such an unnecessary and unwelcome approach? His Majesty himself or his Bhai-bhardars? I am sure none of the remaining monarchs in the world, who have witnessed the fall of many unpopular royal households, would do anything that may shorten the life of the royal institution. No doubt, like all human beings, monarchs too have self interests but as the disgraced former Prime Minister, Marich Man Singh Shrestha, once said a monarch, unlike political leaders, has a long-term interest because, Shrestha's contention was, a monarch wants the continuation of the institution for his children and grandchildren. For a political leader, Shrestha said, a portfolio matters only until he holds the post. It sounds entirely convincing to me.

Therefore, I doubt that the King, who is well aware of his growing popularity, may have instructed to do so, which was certain to disappoint the press and the public. In any royal household Bhai-bhardars play a great role in building and destroying the image of a monarch. Palace officials probably play even a greater role as they are the ones who act as a bridge between the public and the monarch on a day-to-day basis. A monarch has to rely on his advisors and officials in taking the majority of decisions and if they get things wrong the monarch cannot get it right. And if, at times, the monarch is insistent on something wrong it is their duty to correct him. So here comes the application of Confucius's answer to Zilu. Looking back at the history of our royal palace, it is difficult to believe that the King's advisors and officials are getting things right for themselves and, consequently, for the King. It is the duty of those who work for the King to try to get things right and
"tell him [the monarch] the truth even it offends him." It must be a difficult job working as royal officials but those who have faced that challenge with boldness and sincerity have always earned respect, unlike most of our palace officials who are always viewed with suspicion and, by many, with disregard. I remember a group of people celebrating the restoration of democracy in 1990 chanting "death to the King's secretaries." When I asked them why they had chosen that particular slogan when everyone else was demanding death to panchayat leaders, one of them said: "they [the secretaries] are the ones who have misled the King." He was not entirely wrong.

In panchayat days, the palace secretaries considered themselves more powerful even than the prime minister, which they actually were. They also behaved with absolute arrogance. Now, they are powerless but they still seem to treat the King as their personal asset rather than that of the public
(Probably they get a sense of security by doing so). If this situation has arisen due to reasons beyond their control they should tell the King that unnecessary interference was hindering their duties as a result of which a gap was being created between the monarch and the public.

And His Majesty should respond to such situations because in case of a crisis it is the public who will rise to save the monarchy not the Bhai-bhardars. And, finally, I would like to borrow another line from a recently broadcast BBC documentary, A Portrait of the Prince of Wales, which was produced to mark the Prince's fiftieth birthday. To conclude the programme, the presenter quotes a piece of advice given by the uncle of Prince Charles and says: the Prince remembers what his uncle wrote to him - "Realise," he said, "how fickle public support can be. It has to be earned over again every year." Absolutely. The public support for the King in Nepal is very high at the moment but this should, in no way, be taken for granted. To maintain it, neither the King nor anyone around him should be allowed to do anything which could break that "fickle" creature called public support.

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 06:56:19 +0545 (NPT) From: (Pratyoush Onta Subject: news about community radio


Things are going very well for community radio in Nepal. As a friend or at least an acquaintance of Radio Sagarmatha, the first independent community radio in South Asia, I thought you might be interested in an update about our activities.

The words of the moment seem to be opportunity and growth. It is a very interesting and important time for community radio, both in Nepal and in other parts of Asia. There's a lot of excitement and interest, stretching from local groups who want to start their own stations to international development agencies and visiting journalists wanting to know more about this new radio experiment in the Kathmandu Valley. Even if people don't always know what community radio means, the idea of small radio stations at the community level seems like something worth learning about to more and more people.

For staff and listeners alike, the big news is that Radio Sagarmatha's broadcast license was recently modified to allow for a thirteen hour broadcast service. In September of 1998, after eighteen months of broadcasting only two hours a day, Sagarmatha is now on-air daily from 6:30 to 9:30, morning and evening. New volunteers are working alongside a small core of producers, gradually introducing new programme formats. A couple of weeks ago, a daily local events bulletin was started. Heard every evening, Haalchaal examines events from the past day and announcements relevant to the next. The program is driven a group of four volunteers. Also in the evenings, a new series of weekly programme serials using musical poetry, fables and other traditional media are being adapted for radio and gradually introduced. In October, Radio Sagarmatha began live thirty minutes re-broadcasts of the BBC Nepali service, a combination of news and public affairs.

The station's strategy for sponsored and co-produced programming is successfully tapping the need for local information media and discussion fora. As awareness of community radio increases amongst local and international groups, so is the demand for access to both live and studio-produced programming. By the beginning of 1999, Radio Sagarmatha will launch the Clean Air Campaign, a daily bulletin focused on air pollution problems. The Clean Air Campaign will make daily reports from different locations around the Kathmandu Valley from an audio-equipped and clean-running Safa Tempo, sponsored by the Danish government.

Also in 1999, the station will begin a year-long series examining democracy in Nepal, a project sponsored by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, as well as a soap opera designed to promote awareness of savings and credit programmes, sponsored by the Centre for Micro Finance/CECI Nepal-Canada. Finally, momentum is gathering to extend community radio to rural areas. In mid-1998, the Madan Pokhara Village Development Committee in Western Nepal was granted the second license for a community station. With the support of Worldview, a network of fifteen NGOs was formed in November 1998 to develop local community communications, specifically community radio. As more and more local communities become informed and aware of community radio's applications and possibilities, more and more are applying to the government for a license to broadcast. Within five years it is conceivable that Nepal will have a network of local stations in as many as a dozen communities throughout the country.

Momentum is also gathering in the region overall. An Asian chapter of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) was initiated in August 1998 with offices in India and the Philippines. The Indian Parliament is expected to introduce legislation allowing for community radio in the first few months of 1999.

Radio Sagarmatha's main challenge at the moment is to develop the station's capacity, especially in the area of production. With only one studio and ever-increasing demand, facilities must be upgraded soon. Likewise human resources must be enlarged and new training programmes introduced. Other priorities include planning, networking and building partnerships with local, regional and international groups, both to support the growth of Radio Sagarmatha and the station's ability to support in turn other new broadcasters..

As you can see, community radio is a growing concern in this part of the world. I hope the update was interesting and please don't hesitate to call if you would like to discuss any aspect of Radio Sagarmatha current activities.

For Radio Sagarmatha,

Ian Pringle International Cooperant (CECI)

ps. please let us know if you're not interested in news from radio sagarmatha.

ian pringle

radio sagarmatha: gpo box 6958 - kathmandu, nepal; wk: (977-1) 528 091 fax: 530 227; hm: 422 139 mail: c/o ceci; gpo box 2959 - kathmandu, nepal; email: <> <>

radio sagarmatha (lic. 1997) is south asia's first independent community-based broadcaster representing a himalayan opportunity for public interest communications and development in the subcontinent. the initiative is sponsored in part by ceci, the canadian centre for international studies and cooperation. if you would like a one page summary of the station's mandate and activities or other information about radio sagarmatha return email.

ceci, the centre for international studies and cooperation is a canadian ngo with a country office in nepal. through the volunteer cooperation program, ceci brings canadians to work with local groups like radio sagarmatha for several years.

****************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <> To: <> Subject: RE: IRAQ PROTEST Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 15:08:59 -0500

This is the text of a pamphlet passed out at a rally organized at Union Square in downtown Manhattan this last Sunday protesting the bombings in IRAQ.
 About 1000 people attended. Contact:

39 W. 14th St., #206, New York, NY 10011 - e-mail: WHY WE ARE PROTESTING:

Even if Iraq was in noncompliance, the U.S. action would be a major violation of the UN Charter, international law, and U.S. law. The UN Charter prohibits countries from carrying out military action against other countries unless faced with the need for self-defense from imminent aggression.

The U.S. based its attack on the report by Richard Butler, chairman of UNSCOM. But IUNSCOM is answerable only to the UN Security Council and the Security Council did not authorize a U.S. bombing of Iraq. In fact, both Russia and Chin-two of the five members of the Security Council-have demanded that Butler be fired for having withdrawn UN weapons inspectors without first receiving the support of the Security Council. The unilateral decision to withdraw the weapons inspectors was clearly a U.S., not a UN, operation. The Dec.16 Washington Post suggested that the administration had carefully orchestrated the timing and content of Richard Butler's unfavorable report about Iraq. The Dec. 18 New York Times said that the U.S. air strikes had been planned since Dec. 1 and that Butler's report was simply a "formality."

So far, the U.S. bombing has hit local residential neighborhoods in Baghdad, Basra and many other places in Iraq. By conservative estimates, scores of civilians have been killed. A Russian diplomat has been killed. Major water pipes providing water in residential areas in Baghdad have been destroyed. A major civilian housing unit received a direct hit from a cruise missile on Dec. 17. There is no way to know yet the extent of the damage, but it is certain to be vast.

The whole world knows that the military campaign is coupled with economic sanctions and a major CIA subversion effort (most recently a$97 million plan approved by Congress and Clinton) that constitute the core elements of a classic destabilization strategy. The U.S. did this in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile under Allende from 1970-73, in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas in the 1980s, and elsewhere. The real goal is to replace the current government with a puppet government in a country that contains 10 percent of the world's known oil reserves.

But let's look at the specifics of the U.S. charges against Iraq right now. They too are a lie. Was Iraq in noncompliance? Neither Butler nor the U.S. has challenged the Iraqi Foreign Minister's statement that since November 17,1998, when Iraq allowed weapons inspections to resume, there have been 427 inspections, 128 of them at new sites, and UNSCOM has cited only five so-called obstructions. Five obstructions! And what were they? 1) 45-minute delay before allowing access. 2) a rebuff to an outrageous demand that inspectors be allowed to interview all of the undergraduates in Baghdad University's Science Department. 3) the inspection of a small headquarters of the Baathist political party. Inspectors left those premises after they were asked to explain the relationship between the small headquarters of a party and the disarmament mission. 4&5) UNSCOM asked to inspect two establishments on a Friday - the Muslim holy day. The Iraqis told UNSCOM that since these establishments were not open on Friday, the inspectors could visit the establishments, but they would need to be accompanied by Iraqi officials. This is in accordance with the agreement between Iraq and UNSCOM about Friday inspections. These five incidents are the supposed legal basis for raining thousands of powerful missiles into Iraq.

It is the U.S. government that is the largest producer of weapons of mass destruction in the world. Only one country has ever dropped a nuclear bomb--the U.S. did it twice on civilian areas in Japan in 1945. The U.S. has more than 10,000 nuclear warheads. It has the largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. The B-52 bombers are currently dropping 3-5,000-pound bombs from 30,000 feet in Iraq.

The death toll from this current round of criminal U.S. bombing is rising-but the biggest killer is still the U.S.-imposed sanctions. In the past eight years, over 1.6 million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the sanctions, as reported by the UN's own agencies (UNICEF, WFP, FAO, and others). Over one-third of the population is malnourished; 8,000 die each month.

********************************************************** Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 01:11:06 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To:

Post-Publication Activity: Book Reviews by Pratyoush Onta

A conference on the book publishing industry in Nepal was organized by the National Booksellers and Publishers' Association of Nepal (NBPAN) in early December 1998 in Kathmandu. More than 100 publishers, printers, booksellers, librarians, and authors participated. The number of participants and their full presence on both days surpassed the expectation of the organizers.

Various speakers spoke informatively about different aspects of the publishing industry in Nepal. At the end, the participants passed two sets of resolutions. The first set urged the government to carry out various actions to facilitate the development of the publishing industry in Nepal. These included the establishment of an autonomous National Book Development Council, the abolition of existing import duties and other taxes levied on paper and other raw materials, and making available discounted loans to the industry.

The second set of resolutions was directed toward NBPAN. These included the establishment of a National Book Publishing Trust to, "recognise and award writers, editors and translators and encourage the reading habit in the general public." In addition, NBPAN was urged to establish a trade school where skills related to the publishing industry (pre-press, press and post-press) could be imparted, organize regular book fairs, hold regular fora to facilitate the exchange of relevant information and views, publish low-priced editions, and contribute toward the establishment of libraries around the country.

        At the end of the conference, many felt that a good amount of discussion had taken place and NBPAN had been given enough suggestions to keep itself busy in 1999 and beyond. One can only hope that NBPAN and its office bearers will not only work toward the execution of the resolutions but also start a vigorous democratic discussion amongst its members regarding other problems of the industry. Enough hints about the problems suffered by small-time publishers and booksellers were given during the conference and one can only hope that NBPAN office-bearers will not behave like the proverbial ostrich with its head under the ground!

        Here, however, I want to just emphasize one small-time initiative that can directly aid the publishing industry in Nepal. This deals with the world of book reviews. Reviews are, of course, a post-publication activity. They constitute one of the most recognized ways of information-dissemination about books. When placed in mass media, they perform a public service by bringing to the readers (or listeners' or viewers') attention the book under review and also commentary on it by one reviewer. Before focusing on the review as a genre, we must acknowledge that information about books in the Nepali mass media has undoubtedly increased in the last decade. The growing print media has discovered that books too make news. We have, in recent times, read many news reports about the launching of various books.

These ceremonies come in many different forms: books by prominent authors launched by people in high offices, books by otherwise obscure writers launched by prominent literary or political heavyweights, and books published by prominent literary or other public institutions. Reportage on books too has increased in part due to collaboration between publishers and reporters. The increasing number of columns written by literary types has meant that books have been the subject of discussion in the feature sections of the print media as well. This is particularly true for the case of weekly viewspapers.

        Space for book reviews in various types of print media has also increased. For the case of broadsheet dailies, the Review of Books published two times a month in this paper, is a prominent example of what is being done in the English-language press. Started by a small coalition of book lovers in April 1996, the Review has seen more than 180 write-ups by about 62 male and 23 female writers. Now produced by Martin Chautari for this paper, the Review must be noted both for its continuity and variety.

With the aid of email, its coordinators have been able to tap, however partially, Nepali and non-Nepali reviewers located outside of Nepal. The Review's eventual presence in electronic bulletin boards such as social.Culture.Nepal and electronic magazines such as The Nepal Digest as well as its location in a home-page in the internet gives the books reviewed a presence in the world not directly served by the hard copy of this paper.

        Among the Nepali language dailies, all the big four available in the market do not have a separate section for book reviews. They do publish an occasional review or two but their inability to give book reviews a permanent place in their feature section is a reflection of how little commitment they have thus far made to inculcating a culture of book reading in Nepal. While others have made finances an excuse for this inability, it is a shame that the most financially successful print media in Nepal, Kantipur, can not devote a page to book reviews once or twice a month. Among the Nepali magazines, the book review section found in the literary monthly Madhuparka is the most extensive. One or two reviews are also found regularly in other magazines.

        Those who are concerned about the social lives of books in Nepal and about the publishing industry in general ought to challenge the publishers and editors to give more space for reviews and discussions about books in their media. For the case of print, editorial acknowledgement of this lacuna needs to go beyond lip-service. For the case of radio and TV, new programs (as virtually none exist) that focus on books need to be produced.

        Writers, critics and academics must not only demand that reviews be given more space and focus in mass media productions, but also show a commitment to producing such reviews. The art of reviewing itself should also become a subject of discussion here. All in all, books need to be made viable in Nepal, well-beyond the hardware issues related to technology, raw materials and the like.

**************************************************************** Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 13:09:46 -0500 (EST) To: From: Vincanne Adams <vadams@Princeton.EDU> Subject: review response

Dear Editor,
  I am sending a response to a review of my book Doctors For Democracy that appeared recently in the Nepal Digest. I was wondering if you would be able to post it for me? I do so in the spirit of furthering the sort of open discussions that this electronic mail and news information service fosters.
  Please inform me of your receipt and decision.
   Thank you very much.
   Vincanne Adams
   Princeton University


After reading Dr. Saroj Dhital's review of my book, Doctors For Democracy: Health Professionals in the Nepal Revolution, I thought it might be useful to offer a few comments about my intentions in the book. My motivation here is not to contest his critique. Those who read the book can assess the basis for his claims and decide for themselves whether he has accurately represented my views. I also resist the urge to incite and further intellectual hostilities at a time when nearly every position adopted by Nepali and/or foreigner working in Nepal is interpreted as self-aggrandizing political profiteering. Here I would rather restate some issues I hoped would be raised by the book with the goal of furthering productive discussions about the meanings and forms of democracy there.

I wrote Doctors for Democracy (a title my publisher insisted on) in order to raise questions and place issues on the map for discussion, not just for Nepalis but many others who are questioning the nature, forms, and possibilities for democracy in the late 20th century. The effort was not prescriptive but descriptive. It seemed to me that Nepali health professionals in particular offered useful insights here, especially concerning the links between scientific notions and practices of modernity being brought about by development, international capitalism, and new political strivings. I suggest in the book that we might read some of these practices s distinctly Western in origin, despite their appearance as acultural, universal possibilities for governance and for establishing truth. I wanted to explore the relationship between these practical demands and what might be called local forms of knowledge and practice which are shaping, informing and producing these processes as well. I knew, and noted in the book, that selecting the health professionals from among the many intellectuals who participated in this movement was risky, but, I thought, worth the risk, provided I made clear that they were only a few, among many, who played critical roles in the revolution.

The clear manner in which producing a revolutionary discourse was articulated by doctors, nurses, paramedicals was, for me insightful because they were deeply involved in life and death matters that were both political and medically factual at the same time. It was also clear that while there were many different motivations underlying these professionals' involvement
(described as four distinct orientations in chapter four), one could still see a decisive rhetoric that was organized and put in place by some of the more vocal of these participants, and it was this one that took hold enough to force nearly everyone to "dance to its tune" regardless of their initial motivations. By this I mean, there seemed to be at some point during the movement a decisive rhetoric that helped articulate everyone's motivation and perhaps even mandated the sort of participation that was allowed as legitimate. This rhetoric positioned corruption and lies opposite impartiality and truth in the same way that the monarchy was placed opposite ideals of a multiparty democracy.

This rhetoric was, however, fraught with ambiguities. I expected this insight to generate some productive engagement because it was already contested among health professionals. Moreover, I anticipated that many doctors and other health professionals would be disturbed by my suggestion that scientific truths are themselves socially-contingent and not without political bases. Nevertheless, what caught my eye was that it seemed as if the medical professionals were able to convey the idea that medicine is both by nature above politics, because it is scientific, but also deeply obligated to politicization, since politics are at the root of much ill-health. The idea that one reading of my accounts is that they simply aimed to "justify the political actions of medical professionals" instantiates my point. Here it is not entirely clear whether this point is that such behaviors simply cannot be justified (because they corrupt medical fairness) OR that such behaviors simply don't need justification (it is so obvious that all health professionals must attend to the political causes of ill-health). I found the nature of this alliance between medicine and politics was incredibly fraught with contested meanings in precisely this way. I don't think it is just medical professionals who are caught in this ambiguity. But the medical field makes it more obvious in a way. Readers unsympathetic to the ways that scholars contest scientific universalisms and acultural objectivism will be confounded and perhaps irritated by this reading.
I tried to explore this ambiguity in terms of the possibility of social critiques of science, which note that objectivist stances are themselves culturally constituted, much as is the ideal type of "individualism" one finds in many societies. My position was not that individualism was good, or bad, but that one might characterize modernity as demanding some forms of it that are new. I thought that to understand modernity in Nepal, however, one would also have to explain the process whereby modernity has asked many Nepalis, and many others in the world, to internalize development aid critiques of patrimonialism, and traditional culture in general, including various forms of reciprocity, family-based, and caste-based favoritisms. I was not arguing in the book that parimonialism is an obstacle to development. If anything, I was critiquing this development rhetoric. I was arguing that the critical view offered in development rhetoric has been internalized by many Nepalis in order to expain their failure to "develop"
(the view is exemplified in Bista's book). This, I argued, might be thought of as one of the logics of modernity found in Nepal today and my point was that it is hotly debated. Its contested nature may even help explain some of the ambiguity felt among many professionals therein over how to be both modern and democratic by participating in political processes while at the same time maintaining allegiance to family values, caste-based political processes, and new valorizations of ethnicity. It seemed as if on the one hand being political was the fruit of the revolutionary labors, and at the same time the accusation that someone was engaging in "politics" had become a new form of public slander. The insight about these ambiguities is not new, and can be found in many writings critical of colonialism such as that of Ashis Nandy and others.

What I found was that the idea that traditional cultural practices are corrupt, I noted, was articulated around the possibility of its opposite. That is, ideas about corruption became set against ideals of impartial, objectivist, meritocratic bases for decision-making. It seemed that medical professionals were particularly able to articulate this sort of opposition partly because of the nature of their own relationship to medical and scientific truths. Again, I noted then and still note that they are not the only ones doing this in Nepal, just the ones I have worked with. As an anthropologist, my appraoch was to listen to the way that medical professionals with a wide variety of interests were themselves framing the debate.

I noted that both patrimonialism and a wide variety of demands calling for
"collectivist" social action (favoritism, nepotism, caste and family-based prioritizing) present another face of the problem of ambiguity among Nepalis from all walks of life. Sometimes fulfilling demands toward family and caste, ethnic group or even village leaders is seen as a good thing, even tied to ideas of what it means to be patriotic, and sometimes it is seen as a form of corruption. Again, the latter view is, I believe, drawn partly from an (admittedly non-uniform) Nepali adherence to ideas about meritocracy, objectivism, impartiality that are found, among other places, in the biomedical professions. I argued that it is far too simplistic to attach the former to something called generically "traditional Nepali culture"; clearly, the new democracy tends toward ethnic and caste-based political processes that are generating demands for these collectivisms in an entirely new way. But the ambiguity about what is good and bad in collectivist, reciprocity-based, social networking is there. I would suggest that it may be inherent to democracy not only in Nepal but wherever it is strived for.


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 01:03:29 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: Book Review IV

Source: The Kathmandu Post, 13 Dec 1998 Recent Arrivals

* DON'T DO AS I DO! (Sunbird Publishing House, 1998) by Joy Stephens is a bilingual (English/Nepali) story book for children. The story is about Bahadur the Bull who strolls on the streets of Kathmandu. Bahadur takes the young readers with him for his adventures on the streets and teaches them different road safety rules. The story is told in a very comical way and the illustrations in the book make it an absorbing read. Bhunti the Tiger is another story for the young readers which emphasizes the importance of Tiger conservation. It is well-illustrated and easy to follow. Similarly tow other books for pre-school kids are WHO HAS EATEN THE MAIZE? and Jundle Cat. Both these books are exciting readings. All four books are put out by Sunbird Publishing House.

* INSIDE NEPAL(Nabeen Publications, 1998) by Prakash A. Raj, a well known Nepali travel writer, is an attempt to assess the major political, economic, and social issues in Nepal at the end of the millennium. Raj has rightly taken up corruption, the Maoist insurgency, janajati movement, etc. as important themes but he fails to provide an adequate treatment of them. He relies too much on secondary sources and seems to have written this book in a hurry. In one of the appendices, the author lists the names of several Nepalis under the heading "Who's Who in Nepal (beginning of new millennium)." The criterion for inclusion is not spelled out and information provided on a few of those listed is incorrect.

* HUMAN FEATURES (Shree Parmanand Kharel, 1998) By Mohan Kharel attempts to analyse and synthesize human biological, psychological, philosophical and social aspects. However, the author uses the conventional methods and relies heavily on secondary information. The book is easy to read but has plenty of spelling/grammatical mistakes. It is targeted to those readers who are concerned about the unique psychological and philosophical outlook of humans and the way it influences our mode of thought and action. Kharel discusses various controversial issues like evolution and the origin of mankind, god, and the biological influence on human behavior but is unable to create his own opinion about these themes.

* Landownership in Nepal by Mahesh C Regmi has been reprinted (Delhi, Adroit Publishers, Rs 1110). Originally published in 1976 in the US by the University of California Press, this book has been long out-of-print. As one of Regmi's early contributions to the economic history of post-unification Nepal, this volume is a solid study of "how individuals and institutions acquire rights in agricultural lands in Nepal." After discussing the evolution of these rights through the Shah and Rana eras of Nepali history, Regmi also analyzes the land reform efforts of the 1950s and the 1960s. Many students at TU for whom this book is prescribed reading will be delighted to know that it is finally available although its price might be out of their reach. At a time when Nepali publishers are excitedly talking about the publishing industry in Nepal, it is to be regretted that one of the most definitive books ever to be written by a Nepali scholar has been reprinted by a nondescript Indian publisher!

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, 13 Dec 1998 Diplomacy and Economic Development BOOK: Japanese Economy and Economic Diplomacy by Bama Dev Sigdel Publisher: Madhav Pd. Sigdel, 1997, NRs.250
___________________________ by Navin Subedi

        The emergence of Japan as an industrial powerhouse in the post world war era has fascinated many. Researchers/economists, all over the world, have tried to analyze the attributes that have contributed to the rise of modern Japan. The book "Japanese Economy and Economic Diplomacy" is yet another study in this regard by a young Nepalese economist. The author has tried to trace out the relationship between government policy and phenomenal rise of Japan as a major trading and aid-giving nation.

        The book is, mainly, divided into five chapters. The book begins with the current overview of the Japanese economy and economic development, government policies in Early Tokuguwa period (1603-1867) and Meiji period
(1868-1912). The meiji restoration of 1868 is the single biggest important stage in the economic development in the history of Japan. During the period, foundations for modern infrastructure- tax reform, nation wide post and telegraph system, and an adoption of the stock organization, import of foreign machinery and the technicians and government owned factories - were laid. It also gives an insight onto how foreign policy instruments were used in enhancing her international trade.

        By the time she surrendered to allied forces, her economy was in grinding halt. Merchant marine had vanished, major cities had been burned to ground and economy had contracted. In the first two years of occupation, she had to reel under heavy inflation coupled with wide spread hunger and poverty. In the post world war era. Japanese economy grew at an impressive rate.

        The author has attributed to various factors viz, highly educated labor force, changes in the organizational structure, wide spread use of modern management, modern technology, high domestic saving rate and inflow of foreign capital for this remarkable performance. Hit by the first oil crisis of 1973, Japan, for the first time in the post world war era, recorded negative GNP growth. Second oil crisis again rocked her economy early 80s. The author has discussed various measures introduced to nullify the effects of the first and second oil crisis. He also discusses the present economic mess in Japan.
        Nature, composition and direction of Japan's international trade since Meiji restoration have also been discussed. He has also analyzed the role played by trade during the same period and the issues of her huge trade surplus with U.S.A and European Community.
        The Japanese aid policy started as a reputation paid to south East Asian nations in the 50s. Her aid policy is directed by geo-political imperatives: to secure stable source of raw materials for her industries following the loss of Asian colonies: to promote her exports; and to augment trade deficit recorded by her economically weak trading partners. The author has noted with delight that since late 80s she is globalising her aid programs. Role of various institutions -JICA and Export Import Bank of Japan- are widely discussed. Nature and trend of aid flow to SAARC countries in general and Nepal in particular have been analyzed.
        Chapter IV discusses the ways as to how each successive government since the Meiji restoration has used foreign policy and diplomacy to enhance her international trade. In the post world war era. Japan has given utmost priority to regional economic groupings. Since they can provide stable source of raw materials to her industries fund gives chance to maintain and consolidate a pacific economic under her leadership.
        The author ends up with the conclusion that Japan could overcome present economic mess and predicts rosy future. In general, the book is highly informative and interesting to the students, policy makers and researchers alike. Though the book was first published in 1997, most of the data presented are of late 1980s. It is hoped that the data will be updated in the next edition.

(Subedi is a Pre-MBA student at Kathmandu University)

Nepali Muslim Peddlars
____________________________ BOOK: Ni brahmanes ni anc=E9tres. Colporteurs musulmans du N=E9pal.
[(Having) neither Brahmans nor Ancestors. Muslim Peddlers of Nepal] by Marc Gaborieau Nanterre: Soci=E9t=E9 d'ethnologie, 1993

Reviewed by Gregory G. Maskarinec

Walking through the middle hills of Western Nepal in 1964, Marc Gaborieau experienced a moment of epiphany that transformed his scholarly career. Requesting a mid-day meal in a village whose inhabitants appeared identical to Hindus of the surrounding villages, he was told: "There's no question of lunch. It's Ramadan!" This accidental stumbling across of Nepal's Muslim banglemakers has resulted in an impressive flow of articles, an earlier monograph, and now, this definitive work.

Curau=DDe, Muslim banglemakers, are descended from Hindu converts of Northe= rn India who began, at least as early as the seventeenth century, to settle in the various hill kingdoms that now comprise Nepal. Given land by local rulers in exchange for the glass ornaments that they manufactured, they formed small but stable communities.=20

They have been considerably assimilated. Their kinship terms, for example, show no traces of languages their ancestors spoke, but are identical to those used throughout Nepal. Although Nepalis derisively refer to Islam as "ul=DDo dharma," upside-down religion, this emphasis on differences, Gaborieau persuasively argues, is more the result of power struggles among elites than one of intrinsic practices.=20

Islam in South Asia, he shows, preserves many fundamentally Hindu practices of caste, kinship, life cycle ceremonies and calendrical festivities. It is not just that a substratum of Hindu practices survived conversion, however. Gaborieau demonstrates that a specific historical configuration arose, which he calls "medieval North-Indian Islam." This arrangement unself-consciously elaborated many Hindu themes by addition and substitution. As a result, Muslims have been traditionally distinguished from Hindus by only a minimum set of canonical practices, most conspicuously, circumcision and burial of the dead.

Some key elements of medieval North-Indian Islam are the acceptance of the miraculous interventionary power of saints and the collective impurity of the patrilineage at the time of a death or a birth. Perhaps most notable is the rite that ends the main mourning period after forty days, when a fakir, a member by birth of a heterodox Sufi order, acts as funerary priest and receives mortuary gifts from the chief mourner, who also honors him by tying a turban around his head. Gaborieau's informants even reported that within memory, symbolic food offerings (rice balls-pi=9E=8Fa, just as Hindu= s feed to their ancestors) were made periodically at the tombs.=20

In cases of a death in inauspicious circumstances, the deceased may, as for Hindus, trouble his lineage. Such cases require a spirit medium through whose mouth the spirit speaks. The medium often establishes a shrine for the spirit, where members of the lineage regularly worship. Lineage cults are common throughout Nepal, but, since, as the Prophet himself stated, "there is no genealogy in Islam," it is remarkable to find them among Muslims (these practices are, not surprisingly, condemned by reformists as Satanic).

Such close similarities with Hindu structures stimulate Gaborieau to pursue a wider inquiry into Curau=DDe kinship and social structure, the central concerns of this work. Both topics are meticulously situated into their widest political, legal, and religious dimensions, with both fine details and general issues of power and domination examined. My one complaint is that the text is frozen in an "ethnographic present" of 1964-1975, leaving the reader to wonder whether the last twenty years haven't brought further changes, whether, for example, untouchable Hindu musicians still play at Muslim weddings or whether reformists have suppressed spirit mediums.

However, the startling and wide-ranging conclusions reached, and the historical depth achieved by a careful reading of the available material, make this a minor flaw in a profoundly compelling book.

The first half of the book consists of descriptive material: ethnographic context, kinship terminology, legal constraints (permissible marriages have been closely regulated by the Nepalese state since the legal code of 1853), and religious constraints (elegantly examined in terms of life cycle ceremonies). While much of this extensive material is genuinely interesting, it is the book's second half, consisting of carefully argued interpretations, that make this work so remarkable.=20

Gaborieau discovered that while all other aspects of Curau=DDe kinship structure differ very little from that of Hindus, after six or eight generations, patrilineages break into intermarrying segments, a practice unthinkable among Hindus. The results, he demonstrates, is in an intermediate system between the extremes of endogamy and exogamy, a model that effectively undermines this most archetypal dichotomy of structuralist kinship theory. Gaborieau shows that this system is made possible because the Muslims refuse to sacralize relationships of power.=20

If there is a radical opposition between Hinduism and Islam, he argues, it is found neither in kinship nor social systems, but in the relations of power to the sacred. Conversion to Islam desacralized the lineage, permitting exogamy to fracture. Marriage became a contract instead of a sacrifice, weakening relations among affines.

Conversion likewise weakened obligations that bind a patrilineage into a corporate grouping by eliminating the ancestral deities that Hindu worship, so that clans never evolved. Consequently, at the local level, power is atomized, producing deteriorations both symbolic and substantial in the relations of authority.

Gaborieau shows that Curau=DDe occupy a precise position in the caste hierarchy as an impure but not untouchable group. He demonstrates that South Asian Islam clearly recognizes the division of humanity into multiple ranked groups on the basis of profession and birth, and that these groups have different degrees of ritual purity. To put it simply, they practice a caste system.=20

The free commensuality of Muslims is nothing but a myth, particularly when it comes to untouchables. Contrary to a wide-spread belief, conversion to Islam does not better one's status: Hindu untouchables become Muslim untouchables. Curau=DDe refuse to accept food or water from an untouchable's hand; they refuse them entry into their houses; physical contact compels ritual purification before entering the mosque.

Explicitly refuting the claim that Hindus and Muslims form two separate societies on the basis of their opposing "ultimate" values, Gaborieau convincingly demonstrates that South Asian Islam might be called a Hinduism without Brahmans or ancestors; the system is "decapitated," but not obliterated.

This work refutes Islam's modernist claim to be a necessarily egalitarian religion, as well as the assertion, as Ernest Gellner's memorable opening sentence of Muslim Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) declared, that "Islam in the blueprint of a social order."=20

Before Gaborieau's work, the questions of whether South Asian Muslims maintain a caste system and have a distinct social structure had been answered both ways, depending on whether members' assertions or observed social relations were emphasized. This book conclusively demonstrates that South Asian Muslims knowingly practice both a caste system and a social order very similar to those of Hindus, and that, at least for South Asia, hierarchy as much as egalitarian beliefs characterize Islam.

(Reviewer Maskarinec's second book Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts has just been published by Harvard University Press. Reprinted from Anthropos 91

******************************************************************* Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 20:39:51 -0800 (PST) From: Aiko Joshi <> Subject: Suggestions wanted To: Nepal Digest <>

I hope someone on TND will be able to help me out:
(Perhaps Nepalis in the UK?)

I am interested in getting suggestions on what schools in India and England have good doctoral programs in Gender and Developlment? I'm hoping to begin a Ph.D in that area in year 2000. I'm currently finishing up my Master's thesis and am scheduled to graduate in May, 1999. Would TU in Nepal have a Gender and Development program as well?

I would certainly appreciate any suggestions!! Thanks!

Aiko Joshi

While this forum is concerned with Nepal and Nepal-related things, I know that there are many subscribers who are not Nepali, and there may be those from Iraq or of Iraqi ancestry or have Iraqi friends. It is to them that I would like to take a moment to offer my thoughts and prayers as the imperialistic forces of the United States reins destruction on the city of Bhagdad. I think of the ordinary citizens of Iraq who have suffered enough through US-led sanctions; there is no justification. If the US is so concerned with Iraq being in possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of "mass destruction"(the MOST favorite term of the imperialists), then let the US -- who has the LARGEST arsenal of ANY country in the entire world -- take the first step and disarm itself!(In your dreams, bub!) As the puppets of the Clinton regime pontificate on how "they" cannot "allow" Hussein his weapons (or India or Pakistan or any other country NOT from the Western Hemisphere), let's ponder the hypocrisy of their yammerings, and let's think about the people of Iraq shivering in fear and uncertainty, and those who have been burned and wounded, lying in hospital right now. My heart goes out to Iraqi brothers and sisters, and I hope that the terroristic acts being perpetrated on them will cease soon so that they may observe Ramadan in peace.

In Solidarity, Aiko Joshi

************************************************************ Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 16:51:49 +0100 To: Subject: kein Betreff From: (Namitakthuene)

                                Around Annapurna

I did not make it to Thorung La Pass. I am spared from the honour of climbing the highest pass in the world, 5,416 m (17,700 ft). We had to return from Letdar (4,176 m or 13,700 ft). My husband got altitude sickness. Men! I am not joking : All the six people I saw in my three week trek who returned with this sickness were men! Has somebody done any research on that? Since I did not go over the pass and made a complete loop I should have titled this as
'around Annapurna that I fail to make.' As a matter of fact I didn't even want to talk about my trek up from Besi Shahar to Letdar and back to Besi Shahar. Of course, the mountains were spectacular, people were friendly and villages were dirty! These go without saying. What I want to talk about is Kathmandu where I spent some of my time. My once beautiful Kathmandu, where have you gone?

This October My husband and I went to Nepal to do some trekking and visiting my relatives. Does anybody know this year is "visit Nepal year?" You could tell by the logo you see every corner of Nepal from Kathmandu's New Road Gate to the gate of a gompa in Manang. What the officials of Kathmandu hoped is to bring some more tourists into Nepal. I heard they succeeded in increasing the numbers but alas! There is a difference between quality and quantity, isn't there? The more you don't talk about Kathmandu the better it is. But still I am compelled to. My sincere apologies to Kathmanduites.
  When I walked around Thamel and other tourist "heaven" or "ghetto" whichever you prefer, there were so few tourists you wondered if it is really October or if Nepal is really celebrating 'visit Nepal year.' The reason for this unsightings of tourist? Of course, the pollution! Who would want to stay in a city where you have to walk like a bandit covering your eyes, mouth and nose and when you come home either you have to call a doctor or start gargling with germicide liquid? I spent four weeks in Kathmandu and I got respiratory infection, bronchitis - you name it - and don't even mention about the sore throat. And, don't forget the noise and the total anarchy in the street (that Hutch mentions rightfully),and the heap of garbage. Also I noticed a peculiar mind set of Nepalese people especially in shops. Could it have stemmed from the total corrupt government or is it something else? Outside in the street or at home ordinary citizen are just tired of the so called "democracy." There was even a huge rally with the slogan "bring the king back and save Nepal." Unfortunately when they reached Tundikhel and as soon as they started to give speech they were pelted by the members of "democratic front" and had to leave the stage - bloodied. The restlessness, the hopelessness (one just has to read the daily newspaper to know the scandal about Chase air and the price of onions) among Nepali citizen is so widespread you don't want to believe these were the same people who demonstrated and dodged bullets in the streets to bring these people in power and to empower themselves.

Just before I started talking about the helplessness of people I was talking about the peculiar mindset of shop keepers. As a matter of fact this mindset doesn't limit to shop keepers. Then there are taxi drivers, pedestrians, industrialist etc. When I walked around with my husband and talked in English I was somebody special who is going to spend thousands of dollars on their goods. Ok if not thousand then hundreds. But, as soon as I changed my outfits wore kurta salwar and walked with my Sari-wearing mother, the same people would not even look at us. We had to wait and wait in shops until they would feel pity at us and grant their question "what do you want?" Just one incident among many: I went to a bookstore in Thamel to buy few books. I went around the store and looked for the books. In the mean time I had noticed when a White guy entered one of the staff had asked how he could help. So I went to the same staff and asked if they have this particular book and I told him the title. Now, he looks at me and asks how many do I want?? I thought what a stupid question and asked him "how many books does one can read of the same title?" Then he tells me the price without my asking. At this time I had to tell him that I was asking if he has the book not how much the book costs. At that time I just marveled at the stupidity of that staff then it dawned on me it was not a matter of stupidity but a subtle racism. Since I am a Nepali I may not know English and even I am capable of reading I cannot have the money! Even by chance I happen to have money then I want to buy so that I will sell later. It changes quickly as I have mentioned before, when I wear western outfit and speak in English. A Nepali being marginalised in Nepal! Do you want to take a comfortable bus to Pokhara, no you cannot. Comfortable buses are only for tourists, even when you are willing to pay their price. Forget about "comfortable bus." Do you want to eat potato and onion with your rice? No you cannot. Because the price has gone up so high ordinary citizen cannot afford to buy (what are the politicians doing?)! Do you want to have a dress made? You don't get it on time. Why? Because the tourists clothes took precedence. And on and on. When is this corruptness of mind going to change? The physical beauty of Kathmandu is tarnished as one could easily see it but why does it have to be thinking also?
>From the politicians to the ordinary citizen of Nepal they are suffering from

this ailment. Open any newspaper and the first thing one sees is how much money was swindled by which minister or which MP. Look at the crime statistics of Kathmandu valley. It is mind boggling. Is this degeneration going to continue or somehow people will realize, sort of enlightenment, and find a new path for the betterment of society. Mentioning all these things I am not saying there are some people (there are always, aren't they?) who are trying very hard to turn this negative tide to a positive one. But, for how long are these few and far between messiah going to stop this massive negative onslaught?

I intend to go to Nepal every other year and I will be recording the progress either direction; north or south. Maybe the next time I will complete the circle around Annapurna and will write about the Himalayas, the trails, the rivers and maybe about the people, if they are nice enough.

Namita Kiran-Thuene Duessoldorf, Germany

****************************************************************** From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <> To: Subject: Responses to Khati,Mishra,Tiwari,Singh,Thapa... Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 18:23:09 PST

Responding to Diwas Khati, Pramod K. Mishra, Rabindra Mishra, Ashutosh Tiwari, Bipulendu Narayan Singh, Hari Thapa, and Dal Bhat. My response in brackets.()

(Diwas Khati <> 16 Dec 1998

Copyright violations by Paramendra Bhagat...

(Mr. Khati, every time I have sent something that has not been my original writing, but has made the points I have been trying to make on this forum, I have sent the web address of my source along with the posting. In some of my recent postings, the Editor seems to have chosen to delete the web addresses. I request the Editor to please not do that. I think it helps that you can clink on the link provided and jump to the original source from the archives. There have been no attempts on my part to violate copyright.)

Pramod K. Mishra <> 8 Nov 1998

Hindu Kingdom under Siege!...I was troubled by Hari Bansh Jha and N.N. Thakur's essay of Nov. 4 in TND about Nepal, a Hindu Kingdom, under seize.

(I applaud Mr. Mishra's decision to take a stand on this sensitive issue. When I talk against the racism - for me the term racism is a term in sociology, not biology - directed against the Teraiwasis in Nepal, I do so with the knowledge roughly half the country are Teraiwasis; someday the tide will turn and the Teraiwasis will take their right share in the country's governance through the ballot box. But the non-Hindus are only 20% of the population. How are alarmists like Jha and Thakur different from those white supremacist fanatics who talk about "taking America back for the Americans?" A country that will call itself Hindu in its constitution just because 80% of its peoples are followers of that faith is also the second poorest country on the planet. That is no coincidence. A successful economy requires that the participants become more open-minded and accepting of differences. It is important to discuss racism, sexism, casteism, and Hindu supremacism...all of these debates are of direct relevance to the national economy and the abject poverty that the likes of the Maoists who point out all the right problems but offer all the wrong solutions feed on. Open up, people.)

Rabindra Mishra <> 6 Nov 1998

Nepali Congress:Is It On A Self-Destructive Path?

(Yes, the Nepali Congress is on its way down and out. "Where there is no vision," a political party shall perish. Although the chief architect of the political revolution that ushered in democracy into the country, the Congress has lost steam. It has refused to realize the country needs to focus on the national economy "with the intensity of a laser beam." How will the Congress fight corruption that it sponsors through the likes of the AKGB and the basic Laloism of Koirala? Koirala lacks vision. New generation leaders like Deuba, although better suited on questions of the national economy, lack the guts to push Koirala aside, sideline the AKGB, take over the party, redefine its basic vision, incorporate the left's emphasis on the abject poverty of half the population, the just demands of the Sadbhavana party as regards the plight of the Teraiwasis, and basically rejuvenate the party. The Congress might be big today, but then so was the Panchayat regime.)

Diwas Khati <> 7 Nov 1998

To Paramendra with Love

(Not that there is anything wrong with being gay - courtesy: Seinfeld - but I happen to be straight. Send your love to a more appropriate address and you might not be disappointed.)

Looking at the size of your postings, and the amount of hard work you have to put into its compilation and processing, I think it is time for you to start your own "Paramendra Post"

(Search for "paramendra" on AltaVista. You will be surprised you have found your solution. Goto and The Berea Inquirer. And a bunch of other places. As for your sideshow, you just come across to me as one of those Pahadwasi supremacists who is unhappy I am bringing up topics they would not like to be brought up for the next "500 years.")

On another note, don't you think you are simply posting irrelevant stuffs there?

(I have posted absolutely nothing that is not of relevance to Nepal. Be specific in your comments and I will be able to help you out in a greater detail.)

.. thought do my part to "jaatibaad" abolishion in Paramendra_Land...

(Afno ang ko bhainsi na dekhne...what's up with you people...)

Hari Thapa <> 14 Nov 1998

Like many other readers I have been wondering why you are still allowing Mr. Bhagat to publish his articles.

(Although the Teraiwasis are half the population, they are less than 20% of the national parliament, less than 10% of the state bureaucracy, less than 5% of the police force, and virtually non-existent in the army. Look at the names of any of the Nepalese organizations in the US; the Executive Committees are all peopled by you NSHCWAHM people: Nepali Speaking High Caste Wealthy Aged Hindu Males. And here is one forum where one Teraiwasi is speaking his mind just like all other contributors, 95% of whom are NSHCWHM, and I am not surprised you cannot live with that. I am glad you are speaking your mind. If you cannot live with the freedom of expression with all your American "upbringing," all that expensive degrees you might have accumulated in the "land of opportunity," the readers will wonder how your kith and kin treat the Teraiwasis back in Nepal. Do you get the picture? Thanks for helping me paint the portrait of the ground realities in Nepal for the Teraiwasis. Firstly, the Teraiwasis are as Nepalese as you NSHCHM folks - you look like the Indians in Darjeeling, we like those in UP and Bihar - but even if you were to describe the Teraiwasis as Indian-origin, in that the royal family is Rajasthani-Nepali, I guess the fact that China is an emerging superpower does not seem to help out the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, does it? It is not long before the umbilical cord that ties the NSHCHM elite in the Congress to the Delhi elite is cut and the prominent Teraiwasi politicians stop apologizing for "looking Indian" and themselves establish strong bonds with the Delhi elite instead.)

I am NOT interested in reading unedited 'cut and paste' articles from the internet. I am pretty sure most of your readers are not very interested in politics, especially when it comes to Bihar and UP. Mr. Bhagat's articles are extremely boring and lengthy. I am clueless as to WHY anyone of us should be interested in reading his articles. They have no substance and are out of context. There are other important issues that need to be discussed. We can still wait for another five hundred years to discuss about Racism, Sexism, Abortion, Homosexuality etc.

(You are referring to ...well, here is your answer. You say Nepal can wait "500 years" before it talks racism. 500 years before it becomes an economy with the sophistication of the Canadian economy? Well, I am transporting you to Canada right now through cyberspace, and having you deal with the racist instincts in you, right now. Why 500 years? Neither of us will be around that long. Canada has the sophistication of a Canadian economy! Racism has not withered away as a result. Diarrhoea and cancer are two different diseases. The cures for the two are different. Don't ignore cancer. Racism is that cancer. Be it in Nepal or elsewhere. Racism directed against the Teraiwasis in Nepal is a problem NOW, not one that will emerge in 500 years. So it has to be dealt with NOW. Besides, you don't decide the timetable for the Teraiwasis. Hold your breath, wait a couple election cycles.)

The most important issues that surrounds us now are not those social evils but education, Healthcare, and elimination of poverty. We need to bring into justice the people that robbed our nation in the past and the present. I will be more than willing to share my views on OUR issues than some hick not renting an apartment to an Indian in Winnepeg.

(On the contrary, I think Nepal is incapable of rapid economic growth, as long as it refuses to acknowledge the Teraiwasis as "genuine" Nepalese as the Pahadwasis. When I am bringing up racism, sexism, casteism, and Hindu supremacism, I am talking The National Economy, Stupid!)

Ashutosh Tiwari <> 5 Nov 1998

NYT on gurkhas (fwd)

(What about those Indians who sold Hotmail to Bill Gates for a few hundred million dollars!)

Bipulendu Narayan Singh <> 16 Oct 1998

Now tell me who are the supremacists. The people who think that only their religion has the right to exist, that only their form worship or those who don't even believe in converting people from other religions. Who is more Tolerant

(Yeah, there are those who profess to be Christians and are Christian supremacists, and then there are those who profess to be Muslim and are Muslim supremacists, those who kill in the name of God...but how does their presence on this planet excuse your own Hindu supremacist feelings which say it is okay to call Nepal a Hindu nation just because 80% of its peoples are Hindu? What about those Nepalese who are Buddhists, Muslims and Christians? Yes, it is okay for the Christian missionaries to preach Christianity in Nepal, just like it is okay for those Americans who might be born Christian to adopt Buddhism. That is what has been promised by the country's constitution ushered in after the re-installment of democracy. It is for the individual to decide what faith they wish to adopt. Just because someone is born Hindu does not mean they hereby give you the right to rob them of their inherent freedom of religious faith...Yeah, it is okay for those Nepalese who might have been born Hindu to convert and adopt Christianity, if that is what they want for themselves...isn't it pathetic 80% of the Hindu population should fear the Christian population in Nepal which stands at less than 1% or that it should fear that one Masjid in Kathmandu....what if it is close to the Royal Palace! I especially deplore those Brahmins who are alarmed the so-called low-caste Hindus and the so-called
"tribals" and the "Adivasis" and the "untouchables" and the "hill tribes" have especially warmed to the Christian missionaries. If I were an "untouchable" give me one good reason why I would cling on to the Hindu doctrine for another second. It would be like being black and paying dues to the KKK in the American context. Why would anyone in their right mind want to do that? What surprises me is as to why all those deemed "untouchable" do not bid farewell to a religion that seems to be incapable of ridding itself of its casteism do not abandom the ship Ambedkar style? Ambedkar died a Buddhist.)

Hari Thapa <> 19 Oct 1998

Dear Mr. Bhagat: I have been reading your articles on racism for quite a while now.

(Scroll go on to say noone in their right mind would do that!)

You sound like a sick politician who is willing to do anything to get into power.

(I am no politician. I am a college student, an undergrad at that. Am I sick? No. The FBI tried to say Martin Luther King was "sick," not that I am comparing myself to MLK, but I just thought would let you know those who have dared to discuss racism as a topic have been called "sick" in the past.)

You have no regards for 'Madhises' whatsoever. From your letter it seems like all you want to do is exploit poor uneducated people by playing ethnic(race) card. I am very much convinced of your ill motives and am having hard time understanding why US educated person like youself would have such a sick mind.

(I am the one having a hard time understanding why YOUR American education does not help you see the plight of the Teraiwasis. What prevents you from acknowledging the bias against the Teraiwasis in Nepal's state structure?)

If there are any true enemies of Nepali people it's YOU and only you. We have plenty of corrupt politicians who deserve nothing but death penalty.

(Careful sound awfully like Govinda Raj Joshi. Not that I am implying Joshi was behind what happened to Mirza....There is no real proof, but that is very much a possibility.)

I have seen a clear correlation between those politicians and future politician like youself. Your analogy of Jews, Indonesian Chinese with Nepali Madhises is nothing but an absurd propaganda.

(I think there is a clear analogy between the "Indian" Nepalese, as you people like to label us, and the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, and the African-Americans in the US. Cancer is cancer is cancer. Racism is racism is racism. Dr. Shah, a Teraiwasi who works for the IMF, said in a speech at the Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu that it is worse for the Teraiwasis in Nepal than it is for the blacks in the US.)

Most of all, this news magazine is not your party magazine and I guarantee noone in the right state of mind is remotely interested in reading what your 'Kuvawana party' has to offer. So STOP your nonsense and get lost if you can.

(Not that you will succeed, but you are trying to deny me the rights that every other contributor of this forum, over 95% of them NSHCHM like yourself, have, and that is to freely express themselves. Your hatred for the Teraiwasis is expressed in your hatred for the Sadbhavana. Sorry, bad news for you, I am here to stay.)

Dal Bhat <> 19 Oct 1998

(Dear Dal Bhat, whatever your opinion, your presence might have been more valid if you had disclosed your real identity.)

Whatever conclusions we may derive, and however many times we try to fit nepali racism into western words, the fact remains that we are Nepalese supposedly the owners of a rich culture, a fact every Nepali seems to mention like Everest or Lumbhini. So to define racism in western terms and tag it to Nepal makes as much sense to me as a "Holy cow" to an western farmer.

(I consider myself a student of the political process like someone might be a student of medical science. You are not alarmed a student of Economics might bring up the topic of inflation, but you are alarmed a student of politics brings up the topic of racism. You don't ask if a doctor who might treat cancer has personal experiences of that disease, but I have been repeatedly asked on this forum to prove I have personal experiences - which I have in plenty ...what Nelson Mandela in his autobiography calls "a thousand daily indignities" - of racism; meaning, if I don't that proves racism does not exist! Most of the doctors in Nepal have gotten western trainings, either in South Asia or the west, or in Nepal itself. You don't tell them that because the training they received was not on the native soil, they are "western farmers." Racism is racism is racism. And it does not help for you to tell me both of us are Aryans and thus members of the same race. To me racism is a term not in biology but sociology.)

I am not saying that there is not a caste problem, but just stressing that exploitation is a much bigger one..... exploitation occurs from the mountain to the Terai, fueled perhaps by economic hardships, which I am hoping some anthropologists are studying.

(In bringing up racism, I am not denying the existence of er problems like sexism, casteism and Hindu supremacism, or poverty. I think poverty IS the number one issue for the country to deal with. But you cannot say I will ignore the rest and focus just on the poverty situation.)

Now with the slow but sure arrival of western-Baptist-Christianity into our masses, we are guaranteed a piece of heaven (or a couple of hundred dollars) for our newfound faith.

(This alarmist tone of the statement is but another expression of Hindu supremacism.)

---------------------- Subject: NC, UML, NSP, RPP

The NC, UML and the NSP have come together to form a coalition cabinet with four members each from the NC and the UML and one each from the NSP and the RPP, should the RPP decide to join hands. The RPP has refused to get inducted stating Koirala has not stated free and fair elections as his prime concern.

It is heartening the proposed size of the cabinet is small. It is also heartening the four nationally recognized parties might actually come together to form a national government.

Just like the May 1990 movement saw the coming together of the otherwise disparate forces who saw common ground in a call for a multi-party framework, this might be a chance for the otherwise disparate political forces in the country to lay down a firm commitment to free and fair elections, both through appropriate legislation and through a firm introduction of fair practices. Can we expect the introduction and adoption of any legislation in near future whereby all political parties would have to keep their accounts transparent, disclose all their sources of funding as well their expenditures?

The political process so far has been hampered by a non-practice of free and fair elections and a fundamental lack of anti-corruption legislation which would ask all politicians and bureaucrats at all levels of the state apparatus to disclose their wealth and income annually. If only the major political parties in the country could cash on this new-found common ground to also lay ground for such legislation, the political process in the country could make a leap to a genuine exchange of ideas primarily focused on the national economy.

The system needs greater transparency than it has been accorded so far so as to deliver more to the Nepalese people. The country adopted democracy in 1990. These new steps would be the next few steps in that direction.

Democracy is as western a concept as the Theory of Relativity is Jewish. The same would be true of free markets. Or of information technology.

----------------------- I will take care to send along only the web addresses of the links that I might find relevant to the point I might be wanting to make in my future postings. Besides, those who visit the archives' site can always point and click and visit those links should they so wish. Thanks for pointing out.

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