The Nepal Digest - Jan 27, 1999 (10 Magh 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wednesday Jan 27, 1999: Magh 10 2055BS: Year8 Volume82 Issue2

                     HAPPY NEW YEAR 1999 !!!

Today's Topics (partial list):

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Open Position tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
****************************************************************** From: "Barbara Pijan Lama" <b_pijan@email.msn.com> To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Looking for Nepalese in Alaska Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 22:08:41 -0800

Namaste Nepal Digest,

    Would you please include the following message in your next edition. Thank you, Sherpa Friendship Association.

From: John N. Glor <john_glor@yahoo.com> Date: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 11:11 AM Subject: Nepalese in Alaska?

Sherpa Friendship Association,

Greetings!

My wife and I were wondering if your organization was aware of any Nepalese people living in Alaska. We haven't had any success in locating a Nepalese community in the state.

Feel free to forward this message or distribute our email: john_glor@yahoo.com

Thanks and Happy Holidays! John & Bich Maya

*********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 10:03:17 -0600 From: Padam Sharma <psharma@Soils.Umn.EDU> Subject: SEASONS GREETINGS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 1999!!! To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu>

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Empower Nepal Foundation, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Padam Prasad Sharma, President Empower Nepal Foundation 2000 Como Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108 Phone: (612) 644-3733 Email: psharma@soils.umn.edu

******************************************************************** Date: Sun, 27 Dec 1998 10:15:56 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Book Review (fwd)

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998

Educational Challenges in South Asia
___________________________________ Human Development in South Asia 1998 by Mahbub Ul Haq & Khadija Haq Oxford University Press, Pakistan, 1998
___________________________________ By Pramod Bhatta

As we approach the next millennium, it is a stark truth that South Asia will emerge as the poorest region in the world, not only economically but also socially as demonstrated by the Human Development Indices for the region. Home to one-fourth of humanity, South Asia is already the most illiterate, the poorest, the most malnourished and the least gender sensitive - indeed the most deprived - region in the world. The first Human Development in South Asia report conveyed this shocking message in 1997.

This second report focuses on the critical role of education in acclerating human development in the region. There are more than 50 million children in South Asia who have never seen the inside of a school. About 40 percent of those enrolled drop out annully. About 395 million adults remain illiterate, of which two-third are women. All South Asian nations had once stated that they would extend basic education to all by the year 2000. This is definitely beyond their reach.

But neglecting education now means adding more illiterates to the already massive pool of uneducated South Asians. As Mistral poignantly said, "Many of the things we need can wait; the child cannot .... Her name is today." Yet, despite these highly disturbing facts, Universal Primary Education
(UPE) in the next five years is not a utopian vision for South Asia but an achievable reality. Policy makers, especially politicians, must act now to end the region's shameful neglect of basic education. This is the central message of the Human Development in South Asia 1998.

Divided into ten chapters that include numerous boxes, tables, statistical diagrams and technical notes, this book begins with the message: "the challenge for South Asia today is to travel the vast distance between its performance and its promise....by a massive investment in human development whose critical components include basic education for all and building relevant technical skills." Additional evidence is collected from the experiences of the East Asian Tigers, Latin American countries and even some African nations where massive investments in education have acclerated social and economic progress.

According to the report, South Asia's educational challenge include low access, low achievement and low completion rates. Six major tasks need to be done to meet this challenge: i) enrolling all children in primary education; ii) improving the quality and relevance of education; iii) providing more and qualified teachers; iv) removing all forms of gender disparities; v) building relevant technical skills; and vi) mobilizing financial resources more properly.

This means creating school facilities for an additional 65 million children, training an addition 2.05 million teachers (three-fourth of them females), promoting non-formal, cost-effective high quality education, decentralizing education programs, and producing a socially relevant curriculum. This also requires persuading at least 20% of secondary schoolers to opt for vocational and technical education and producing skilled labour force as demanded by the market. To achieve this all, a firm political commitment not only in words but also in deeds is necessary, backed up by allocating about 1% of the combined GNP of the region for education. Thus the report not only details the meagre state of education in South Asia but also provides a strategy to ensure UPE within the next five years, provided that there is a strong committment from all appropriate sectors.

Whether any policy execution will follow from such a situational analysis is still questionable. However some promising signs have been noted. For example, in Bangladesh and certain states of India and Pakistan, the governments have collaborated with NGOs to improve the performance of educational institutions. Statistically speaking, the results from such experiences are quite encouraging. But in Nepal - where the role of NGOs has not been properly defined and other civil society institutions remain ill-developed - the same may not be easily achievable.

The report says that "income poverty is no barrier to the spread of basic education" but it also says that "Poverty has an enormous bearing on girls' chances of schooling." These are two apparently contradictory statements. A sound political committment as envisaged by the report may not be possible in the near future while the political leaders relish on the massive support of student bodies. However, this bluntly frank report should come as a rude shock to all those development practitioners of the region who still believe that economic development can be achieved independently of human development. Such 'experts' and Nepal's politicians should read this report carefully and think about meeting the challenges described therein.

(P Bhatta is an MA student in sociology at TU)

******************************************************** Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 00:09:19 EST From: CVehlow@aol.com To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: greetings

In April 13-17, 1999, the Akron Child Guidance Center will sponsor the XI world congress of the International family therapy association. It is a cross cultural experience, focused on the family. I am interested in finding a scholarship for someone there to attend the first time in the USA congress. Can you help? charles vehlow

********************************************************* Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 00:54:02 -0600 From: Padam Sharma <psharma@Soils.Umn.EDU> To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Empower Nepal Foundation: Introduction/Update and Appeal for Support

               EMPOWER NEPAL FOUNDATION
                 2000 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
                    Email: empowernepal@mailexcite.com
                Website:http://empowernepal.hypermart.net/ Dear Friend(s):

Increasing pressure from a rapidly expanding population in Nepal is impacting socio-environmental relationships, which in turn, is degrading

the environment and quality of life at an alarming rate. While reinstitution of democratic system of governance since the early 90's is

yet to show political maturity and direction, it has provided opportunities for empowerment of local communities to solve local problems. The purpose of this letter is to introduce you to Empower Nepal Foundation, which aspires to network with caring individuals like you to bring resources to these communities.

The mission of Empower Nepal Foundation is to pool together ideas and resources of individuals and institutions from around the world and disseminate the resources to empower the people of Nepal with information and support needed to help them help themselves improve and sustain the environment and quality of life.

The guiding philosophy of ENF is based on the premise that given information, education, and vocational opportunities, Nepali individuals

can excel to their best, earn a decent living, and pursue happiness through investments in further education of their children and welfare of their family, friends, and community. The personal, academic, and professional successes achieved by you and other Nepali individuals in world class academic and non-academic institutions prove this axiom. Similarly, we strongly believe that, only by investing on education, the country of Nepal can tap the unlimited potential of human and natural resources and scale

the Sagarmatha of human dignity and environmental quality.

Incorporated in the State of Minnesota, USA, ENF is a public supported non-profit organization dedicated to bring volunteered and philanthropic

resources to Nepal. In the past two years of its existence, ENF has accomplished the following:

   * Incorporated the organization, instituted the Board of Directors;
     passed bylaws and directives for fiscal responsibilities and
     administrative frugality.
   * Received IRS approval as a public supported nonprofit organization
     under US Internal Rev. Code 501(c)(3).
   * The Directors and other supporters contributed seed money and
     volunteered hundreds of hours of time for organization development,

     fund raising, and information dissemination.
   * To date, ENF has raised about $ 6500 through individual contributions
     and fund raising activities.

Initiated the following two projects in Nepal:

   * Scholarship for secondary school children in rural Nepal: With $50 per
     student per year, ENF has started supporting five children from
     socially and economically under-privileged families to attend middle
     school classes at Nangi (a Magar village) in Myagdi District of
     mid-western Nepal. A local committee of volunteer teachers and
     community leaders administers the scholarship program.
   * Sponsorship of womenís groups for socio-economic development. With

     $350 per group, ENF is sponsoring two womenís adult education programs
     at Thulagaon and Dandagaun (Gurung and Tamang villages) in Rasuwa
     District. Educate the Children (ETC), a nonprofit organization from
     Ithaca, New York and Kathmandu, administers the program. Besides
     literacy, the women participate in income generation, health,
     sanitation, environmental restoration, and community development
     activities and learn team building and leadership skills.

These projects are very small in dollar amounts and number of recipients

the programs serve at this time. However, these programs exemplify important beginnings as ENF starts to demonstrate how sponsorís contributions are being used to invest into the future of Nepal. To those of us who are actively involved in the upbringing of ENF organization, these achievements are spiritually rewarding as our love for Nepal is being translated into deeds.

The plan is to add more students and adults into the education program each year. As we collect more resources, we intend to develop and fund other

projects on education, environmental restoration, and socio-economic development. At this time, we are looking at a two track approach towards funding these projects. One, we annually solicit contributions from sponsors like you, and two, we are setting up an endowment fund that would generate income for future projects. Currently, any specifically dedicated contribution, and 20% of all general ENF contributions are set aside to develop the endowment fund for the scholarship project.

ENF is established to encourage and facilitate you to look for ways to contribute to the future of Nepal. As ENF has demonstrated in a small way, by networking together, we can show other and better examples of good deeds and get the satisfaction of working for Nepal no matter where we live in

this world. ENF is collecting money, not to hand out to individuals or give it to a self-serving NGO in Kathmandu, but to provide matching support to commitment by individual sponsors and local communities to mobilize volunteered and philanthropic resources for the project. ENF intends to

use the pooled resources to challenge and match the individual and groupís efforts to develop neighborhoods and villages. By working closely with the sponsor and the recipient community, ENF strives to maximize the effectiveness of our hard-earned dollars and minimize the misuse of project funds.

We need your monetary contribution and support to carryout ENFís mission

activities in Nepal. You decide on the amount you can afford and the cause you want to support. For example, with $15, you can double the annual budget for teaching materials of a public primary school in rural Nepal.

With $50, you can sponsor a child to stay in school for a year and help the school buy the teaching materials. With $100, you can buy materials to paint the school or add books in the library. With $1000 you can be a patron of ENF and help a 4th grader graduate through high school or renovate the school building that the child goes to. You can setup a scholarship program, build a school, or supplement teachers' salaries in

the name of your loved ones whose memory you want to cherish. You can support womenís socio-economic development programs, build a drinking water project, sponsor immunization and sanitation programs, or help develop a

cooperative business. You can help plant trees, conserve soil, build community parks, and clean neighborhoods. Together, we all help Nepal one individual, one family, one neighborhood, and one community at a time.

Needs abound in Nepal, and list of things we can do is limitless. In Mother Teressa's words, "While we cannot do all the great things that we

want to do at once, we can surely do small things with great love", one quality project at a time.

We are asking for your support in this noble endeavor of building a resource base which community leaders in Nepal can tap into. If you are

already funding your own individual project in Nepal, or considering funding one in the future, or building a Nepal support network of individuals in your city or state, let us explore how we can network together and learn from each other. You can Email us individually or give us a call to find out more about ENF and share your thoughts on how we should help Nepal. Please visit our developing Web site at http://empowernepal.hypermart.net/ and let us know how we are doing.

Please send your check to Empower Nepal Foundation, 2000 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108. All donations to ENF are tax deductible.

Thank you for considering ENF as your institution to invest into the future of Nepal.

Sincerely, Empower Nepal Foundation Board of Directors

Padam Sharma, Environmental Soil Scientist. Phone: (651) 644-3733. Email: psharma@soils.umn.edu. Bhairav Khakural, Environmental Soil Scientist and Computer Consultant. Phone: (651) 649-0952. Email: khakural@soils.umn.edu. Sambedan Bhattarai, Electrical Engineer. Phone: (612) 887-2812. Email: Sam_bhattarai@notes.seagate.com. Bhaskar Tripathy, Computer Consultant. Phone: (651) 683-9173. Email: nt_netware@topservice.com. Nirmal Bhattarai, Adult Educator. Phone: (651) 642-9145. Email: nirmal@migizi.org. Bijaya Karki, Research Physicist. Phone: (651) 645-5261. Email: karki@cems.umn.edu. Sagun Karmacharya, Computer Consultant: (612) 89-8974. Email: sagun@IPCS.net.

                         EMPOWER NEPAL FOUNDATION
              Bringing People and Resources Together for Nepal

****************************************************** Date: Jan 1, 1999 From: Anil Sakya Subject: Lumbini: A Nepalese Buddhist journal is available for free 2nd issue of LUMBINI, a Nepalese Buddhist journal in the UK is available for free

What is LUMBINI? LUMBINI is the journal of the Lumbini Nepalese Buddha Dharma Society
(UK) and published biannually (May & November). It is distributed free of charge for one who is interested in Nepalese Buddhism and Buddhism in general.

What is LNBDS? For centuries Buddhism remained the religion of the East. At present, more and more Westerners come to learn about Buddhism and practice its teachings for the spiritual and physical well-being and happiness. As a result of this interest many monasteries and Buddhist organisations have been established in the West. Most have Asian connections but some are unique to the West e.g. Friends of Western Buddhist Order. Nepalese, residing in the United Kingdom, wishing to practice Buddha Dharma for their spiritual development, turned to them as there were no such Nepalese organisations. Therefore, a group of Nepalese met in February 1997 and founded Lumbini Nepalese Buddha Dharma Society (UK) to fill this gap. The society is non political, non racial, non profit making voluntary organisation and open to all, both Nepalese and non-Nepalese, whatever their faith.

Objectives of LNBDS 1. To make Buddhism known to the wider public and to help them understand the benefits of its profound teachings. 2. To have a forum for the meeting of Nepalese residents in the UK and others with an interest in Buddha Dharma as a spiritual practice for discussion, exchange of ideas, constructive dialogue and to build Nepalese Buddhist community in the UK. 3. To establish links with similar organisations in the UK, Nepal and other countries. 4. To organise voluntary work to help reduce human suffering in Nepal and 5. To promote and publish religious and cultural heritage of Nepal

LUMBINI: A Nepalese Buddhist journal The inaugural issue was published on May 1998 as a souvenir for Vaisakh Purnima celebration in the UK. The event was organised by the LNBDS. It was unprecedented Vaisakh Purnima Day celebration in the UK as it was done in the Nepalese Buddhist traditional way.

The 2nd issue of LUMBINI is out now and distributed free of charge on request.

Highlights in LUMBINI (2nd issue): 1. Lumbini Today by Arjun Pradhan and Amrit Sthapit 2. Buddhist Ethics by Prof. Peter Harvey 3. Highland Buddhism of Nepal by Anil Sakya 4. Who's who in Nepalese Buddhism by Dhammasakiyo 5. Buddhism in Picture: Story of Kisagotami (drawings) 6. Crossword (Buddhism+Nepal) 7. Can one be a Buddhist without believing in rebirth? by Bhikkhu Sugandha 8. In Nepali language: Nepali Buddha Dharma ra Baudha Samskriti by Bhikshu Sudarshan

Anyone who is keen to receive the journal please send a written request to:

The Lumbini Nepalese Buddha Dharma Society (UK) 11 Mulburry Drive, Slough Berks SL3 7JU United Kingdom

or e-mail request to anil.sakya@brunel.ac.uk

************************************************************* Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 11:09:23 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Book review

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998

Educational Challenges in South Asia
___________________________________ BOOK: Human Development in South Asia 1998 by Mahbub Ul Haq & Khadija Haq Oxford University Press, Pakistan, 1998
___________________________________ By Pramod Bhatta

As we approach the next millennium, it is a stark truth that South Asia will emerge as the poorest region in the world, not only economically but also socially as demonstrated by the Human Development Indices for the region. Home to one-fourth of humanity, South Asia is already the most illiterate, the poorest, the most malnourished and the least gender sensitive - indeed the most deprived - region in the world. The first Human Development in South Asia report conveyed this shocking message in 1997.

This second report focuses on the critical role of education in acclerating human development in the region. There are more than 50 million children in South Asia who have never seen the inside of a school. About 40 percent of those enrolled drop out annully. About 395 million adults remain illiterate, of which two-third are women. All South Asian nations had once stated that they would extend basic education to all by the year 2000. This is definitely beyond their reach.

But neglecting education now means adding more illiterates to the already massive pool of uneducated South Asians. As Mistral poignantly said, "Many of the things we need can wait; the child cannot .... Her name is today." Yet, despite these highly disturbing facts, Universal Primary Education
(UPE) in the next five years is not a utopian vision for South Asia but an achievable reality. Policy makers, especially politicians, must act now to end the region's shameful neglect of basic education. This is the central message of the Human Development in South Asia 1998.

Divided into ten chapters that include numerous boxes, tables, statistical diagrams and technical notes, this book begins with the message: "the challenge for South Asia today is to travel the vast distance between its performance and its promise....by a massive investment in human development whose critical components include basic education for all and building relevant technical skills." Additional evidence is collected from the experiences of the East Asian Tigers, Latin American countries and even some African nations where massive investments in education have acclerated social and economic progress.

According to the report, South Asia's educational challenge include low access, low achievement and low completion rates. Six major tasks need to be done to meet this challenge: i) enrolling all children in primary education; ii) improving the quality and relevance of education; iii) providing more and qualified teachers; iv) removing all forms of gender disparities; v) building relevant technical skills; and vi) mobilizing financial resources more properly.

This means creating school facilities for an additional 65 million children, training an addition 2.05 million teachers (three-fourth of them females), promoting non-formal, cost-effective high quality education, decentralizing education programs, and producing a socially relevant curriculum. This also requires persuading at least 20% of secondary schoolers to opt for vocational and technical education and producing skilled labour force as demanded by the market. To achieve this all, a firm political commitment not only in words but also in deeds is necessary, backed up by allocating about 1% of the combined GNP of the region for education. Thus the report not only details the meagre state of education in South Asia but also provides a strategy to ensure UPE within the next five years, provided that there is a strong committment from all appropriate sectors.

Whether any policy execution will follow from such a situational analysis is still questionable. However some promising signs have been noted. For example, in Bangladesh and certain states of India and Pakistan, the governments have collaborated with NGOs to improve the performance of educational institutions. Statistically speaking, the results from such experiences are quite encouraging. But in Nepal - where the role of NGOs has not been properly defined and other civil society institutions remain ill-developed - the same may not be easily achievable.

The report says that "income poverty is no barrier to the spread of basic education" but it also says that "Poverty has an enormous bearing on girls' chances of schooling." These are two apparently contradictory statements. A sound political committment as envisaged by the report may not be possible in the near future while the political leaders relish on the massive support of student bodies. However, this bluntly frank report should come as a rude shock to all those development practitioners of the region who still believe that economic development can be achieved independently of human development. Such 'experts' and Nepal's politicians should read this report carefully and think about meeting the challenges described therein.

(P Bhatta is an MA student in sociology at TU)

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998 Book, or Glossy Vanity by C K Lal

Professionals crave peer recognition. Acquiring acceptance by building up a series of successes in one's chosen field of endeavor is a long, arduous and time consuming process. It's relatively easier to write a jargon-filled book to establish your credentials. The fear of being found out is not there because every one indulges in this kind of 'ritualistic scholarship' all the time. Lack of originality can easily be compensated for by copious quotes and thick bibliographies to prove that adequate 're-search' has been done. Thus, one witnesses a rush of professionals responding to the urge of getting into 'blue covers.'

To attempt to review Urban & Environmental Planning in Nepal: Analysis, Policies and Proposals by Dr. Ambika Prasad Adhikary (IUCN Nepal, 1998) is in itself giving it more attention than it deserves. If it were not for its excellent production, I would have hesitated to do it. Color printing on a thick glossy art-board cover is arresting. Overall layout of the book matches international standards.

Print quality is beyond reproach, though I couldn't find printers' name anywhere in the book and am unable to say whether it was produced here or abroad. Dilip K. Munankarmi, the designer of the book, deserves all the credit for making me buy this book. Quite naturally, it's him that I blame for having prompted me into wasting two hundred rupees of my hard-earned money in buying a book that I could have easily done without.

On the credit page, author asserts that views expressed in the book are those of him and should not be construed as the official views of IUCN Nepal or IUCN. All right, but that disclaimer does not bar me from blaming either IUCN Nepal for publishing the book or the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for supporting this enterprise. Aid-money should not be squandered away in financing ego trips of ambitious professionals. Oh, I am straying. I am supposed to discuss the content of the book.

The 'contents' page is innovative. It uses 'all caps' for chapter headings and 'all small' for sub-chapter titles. However, once inside, the chapter titles have also been demoted to small letters. Does Munankarmi have a message hidden somewhere there? Does he want readers to concentrate more on the accompanying quotes, sketches and photographs? Tables of figure, graphs and illustrations are interestingly displayed. I am having difficulty focusing upon the contents. Well, I guess I must, otherwise the Coordinator of this review page will throw this piece in the nearest waste paper basket and, in total ten-hours of my effort involved in trying to read this book, along with it.

In the first section, author says, "In this book is expected to contribute towards better understanding of urban and environmental problems in Nepal and to help in the development and implementation of practical solutions to the problems of planning and environment." The author is Ivy League quality
- Harvard - with a stint each at MIT and easy going University of Hawaii. Obviously a comparatively illiterate person like me can't dare question his assumptions (The role of a book in implementation of practical solutions, understanding of urban and environment, not urban environment, issues in one slim volume), ambitions (planning and environment, development and implementation, urban and environment) or his English ( In this book is expected ... ). I am one of those who hold the view that even if a Ph.D. commits a mistake, it must be deliberate. A pundit is always right.

Let me face failure, it's extremely difficult to talk about the contents of the book. For a "better understanding of urban and environmental problems of Nepal," issues should have been analyzed in context, in content and with contemplation (The 3Cs of the jargon) for a proper diagnosis. In stead, we are given loads of generalization like "Baneshwarisation" and some more of pontificating on "Standardization" as prescriptions of all illnesses afflicting our urban centers, and even those are too Kathmandu-centric to be of any use any where else in Nepal. I give up the pretensions of a review altogether. Why discuss a book that is not meant to be read by any one? One is expected to buy this kind of books to decorate one's book-selves.

The small-town characteristics of a thriving rumor culture still hold sway in an otherwise cosmopolitan Kathmandu. One such rumor that floated for quite a while in the circles of intelligentsia concerned IUCN. It appears that Dr. Harka Gurung and Dr. Ambika Adhikary were two of the main contenders for the post of Country Representative of that organization.

The contrasts in the personalities of these two imminent individuals are spectacular. Dr. Gurung is an ethnic non-caste Hindu, an earthy geographer, a former politician, a prolific writer, shows up in Nepali topi and talks about his travels in Nepal rather than Naples. In short, he is a man one would like to have tea with. On the other hand, Dr. Adhikary is a high-caste bahun, an aesthetic architect, a former teacher, impeccably turned out, articulating his words carefully and dropping Ivy League names meaningfully. He is just the kind of person you would like to tee off. Elite institutions like IUCN prefer the later types and publish books that can be inscribed upon by their high profile authors on the golf courses in between holes so that holes can be made in deep pockets while raising funds for a cause. This book can serve that implicit purpose exceedingly well.

Finally, I regret having taken up the responsibility of reviewing this book. I am not a very good critic because I like to be liked. To be praised, one must praise and I must make one last ditch effort in that direction. If you want to buy some items of interior decoration, pick up this book along with the crystal ash trays, bone-china flower-vases and jade figurines. This book will look good on your carved coffee table and will show your class. It has been thoughtfully produced in soft-cover so that you can get it hard-bound in leather by hand before having it monogrammed in gold. However, like all precious possessions, this book should be handled with care and never opened if possible. At least, not unless absolutely necessary to show the biography of the author on the back cover to adulatory guests.

See the power of this book? It has made me fill sentence after sentence with 'Is' and 'mes'. Vanity rubs off as easily as the gloss on expensive covers. That's the highest accolade one can give to a book of collection of rehashed essays published to impress rather than inspire.

(C K Lal is waiting to defend his Master's thesis on Urban Planning at the Institute of Engineering, TU)

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998 Nepali Christians at Large
___________________________ BOOK: Nepali Around the World: Emphasizing Nepali Christians of the Himalayas by Cindy L. Perry Kathmandu: Ekta Books, 1997, Rs. 600
___________________________________

by Carrie Williams

It's a pity that Cindy L. Perry's Nepali Around the World is not as approachable as its lovely cover and simple title promise, because its subject is one that many will benefit from exploring. The work was originally presented as Perry's doctoral thesis at the University of Edinburgh under the less misleading title, "The History of the Expansion of Protestant Christianity among the Nepali Diaspora." Although the book is written from a Christian perspective and primarily intended for a Christian audience, the history Perry describes and the issues her work raises are of much broader relevance.

As its original title suggests, Nepali Around the World explores the history of emigration from Nepal and conversion to Christianity among various Nepali diaspora groups. Perry begins with a chapter entitled "Who is a Nepali?," in which she gives a taxonomy of the cultural and ethnic groups who populate Nepal and discusses some reasons for emigration. In the following four sections, she gives a hefty region-by-region description of Nepali emigration and conversion. Perry divides this analysis into four sections:

The Eastern Himalayas; North East India and Burma; North, North West, and Urban India; and The Gurkhas and Nepali Overseas. For each section, she gives a brief history of emigration followed by more detailed descriptions of specific communities and the history of the spread of Christianity among them. Analysis of this information is almost entirely confined to the concluding chapter, in which she discusses the
"missiological issues" raised and suggests effective methods for "reaching" more of the Nepali diaspora with the Christian message.

The sheer volume of information collected here -- and the work that was obviously involved in this book's construction -- is impressive in itself. Perry describes some of the challenges involved: "dearth of comprehensive documentation or published accounts available....[t]he common practice of lumping Nepali together with Indians, and the generalised use of the term
'Gurkhas' (not differentiating between soldiers and the general populace)." It quickly becomes clear that the process of writing this was, in Perry's words, like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but first having to find the pieces.

Because of its groundbreaking nature, this book will certainly be welcomed by members of Nepali Christian communities who, Perry points out, are often not in touch with Nepali Christian groups in other locations. Likewise, Christians of all nationalities will welcome Nepali Around the World as an addition to the record of Christian history.

For others, this book might serve to open up new avenues of thinking about conversion of Nepali people to Christianity. Perry's detailed accounts of the spread of Christianity among groups of Nepalis outside of Nepal show the variety of reasons and contexts for conversion, giving depth and texture to a phenomenon that's often looked at one-dimensionally, particularly by those who oppose it. Similarly, Perry's descriptions of the ways in which Christianity has been brought into Nepal by Nepalis who converted outside the country may surprise those who attribute the growth of Christianity in Nepal solely to Western money and coercion.

A disturbing weakness is Perry's failure to state her point of view or to examine the effects of her biases on her portrayal of historical events. Although she never states it explicitly, Perry's evangelical Christian perspective is evident, particularly in the final chapter, where nearly all of her analysis is pointed toward discerning which methods are most
"effective" in "reaching" Nepali diaspora communities with the Christian message.

While the effect of Perry's religious point of view on her analysis is fairly transparent, its influence on the body of the work -- the accounts of Nepali immigration and conversion in various areas -- is much less clear. As I read I wondered what this same work would look like had it been researched and written by a non-Christian. What sorts of information were emphasized or overlooked as a result of Perry's religious orientation? As a Christian, Perry may have goals quite different from a non-Christian academic's, and it wouldn't make sense to ask her to set those aside. But in a scholarly work such as this, it seems reasonable to expect an explanation of her perspective and some attempt at analyzing its effects on the types of information she's obtained.

Even without that sort of self-reflection, this volume can be of interest and help to students -- both Christian and non-Christian -- of history and religion, or to anyone interested in the dynamics of emigration and conversion. The region-by-region descriptions, though thick, can be informative if read with a critical eye; the bibliography is superb; and the appendices include intriguing primary source material.

All in all, this is an impressive and important compilation of previously uncollected information, but it's a shame the finished product doesn't seem to be meant to be read. In fact, while slogging through the densely detailed historical accounts peppered with somewhat embarrassing copy editing oversights, I wondered occasionally how many other people had managed -- or ever would manage -- to read the entire volume. Nepali Around the World is a Ph.D. thesis, the main goal of which is not to enrapture or inform the public but to compile and analyze information and to demonstrate the author's prowess as an academic. Perhaps it would have been better to keep this version for the historical archives and publish a slightly more reader-friendly digest rather than the detail-heavy, analysis-light tome lurking between the friendly looking covers of this volume. However, in the absence of such a publication, Nepali Around the World is worth a look.

(Williams is a Fulbright grantee studying expatriate missionaries in Kathmandu)

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998 Documenting Pastoral Landscapes
________________________ BOOK: Fields of Grass: Portraits of the Pastoral Landscape and Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas by Daniel J Miller ICIMOD, Kathmandu, 1998, Rs. 2200
___________________________________

by Pratyoush Onta

Fields of Grass will come as a surprise to those who associate the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas to snow-covered desolate lands only. Its immaculate photos - over 220 of them - and the accompanying texts, however, will be a feast to those interested in the nomads and grasslands of Nepali and Tibetan highlands. Nomads or nomadic pastoralists are people who
"specialize in animal husbandry that requires periodic movement of their herds."

The American photographer-author, Daniel J Miller, first came to Nepal in 1974 as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He spent four years in northern Nepal, working and living with yak herders. "Yak herding," Miller found out "was a fascinating way of life and the pastures the yaks grazed in a remarkable landscape." He sometimes accompanied yak caravans to the Tibet-Nepal border but could not actually visit Tibet as it was closed to foreigners. After returning to the US, Miller studied ecology of rangelands - areas that are unsuitable for agricultural cultivation but serve as source of forage for animals. He returned to this region in 1983 and worked in the field of range-livestock development and wildlife conservation in Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia and Pakistan.

For two years starting in 1995 Miller worked as a rangeland specialist for ICIMOD. He first visited Tibetan grazing lands in 1988 and by 1997, he had made 15 trips to pastoral areas in Tibet and passed through similar areas of Nepal and Bhutan on numerous occasions. In his introduction to the book, Miller provides a brief history of nomadic pastoralism in the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas and compares it with pastoral regions of Eurasia and Africa. He also highlights the many characteristics shared by the nomads of the region.

The photos included in the book span the years from 1975 to 1997. Documenting in photographs "the nomadic way of life and the transformations nomad society was going through," Miller has created a visible archive "of the landscape and the uses it had been subjected to by people and their livestock." The photos and the texts are presented under titles such as pastoral landscape, pastoral production, livestock, nomads, changes and future challenges.

Miller's photos show the internal variety in the rangelands found in China, Nepal and Bhutan. They also record the various pastoral production practices and strategies that have been historically adopted by nomads in these countries who usually own a mix of different species of animals. This is a strategy that maximises their use of rangeland resources and minimises the risk of losses that can result from diseases. Livestock photographs show yaks, sheep, goats, and horses. Photographs of nomads show women and men from Langtang, Solu and Dolpo in Nepal; from Yunnan, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Tibet in China; and from Sakten in Bhutan.

Under "Changes", Miller documents transformations in the use and conditions of rangelands, and in the lives of pastoralists. The long-term prospects of nomadic pastoralism in the region, according to Miller, are good but will require suitably designed research and management programs. A reading list and a selection of photos from the book that are useful for repeat photography, a valuable tool to analyse changes, are included at the end. All in all, this is a fascinating book.

(P. Onta hosts Dabali, a discussion program on Radio Sagarmatha FM 102.4, two times a week)

Source: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, vol 3, no 17, 27 Dec 1998 A Mediocre Compendium
________________ BOOK: Contemporary Nepal Edited by Pashupati SJB Rana and Dwarika Nath Dhungel Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1998, IRs. 395
________________________________________ by Anil Baral

Nepal is endowed with bountiful nature. Snow-clad mountains to the north, fertile plains to the south, and beautiful valleys interspersedwith green lush hills in the middle set a perfect landscape one could ever dream of. Moreover, her multi-ethnic setting, varied languages, colorful rituals, richness of traditional arts and crafts together constitute the icing on the cake for foreigners willing to venture into Nepal. Hold on! Nepal is not only a paradise of touristic imagination.

There are also disquieting and dismal faces of Nepal that belittle her charm. Grinding poverty, glaring gender discrimination, poor access to basic social services such as education, nutrition and health services, mounting ecological imbalance are there for everyone to see. Contemporary Nepal is an invitation to look at the partly composite picture of Nepal through the eyes of Nepali scholars from diverse backgrounds, and at best to judge their analyses. Partly composite in a sense that it fails to cover some important facets of Nepal, notably contemporary arts and literature, tourism, health and education. However, it must be acknowledged that to undertake the task of representing the composite picture of contemporary Nepal in one book is itself an arduous assignment.

For common readers accustomed to reading novels in which plots captivate him/her from the beginning to end, textbook-like Contemporary Nepal will be a difficult read. It contains thirteen articles from eleven writers who deal with themes such as nationalism, culture, economy, foreign policy, environment and gender. An introduction by the editors summarizes the contents of each article.

Beginning with "The Land and the People" by Sant Bahadur Gurung and ending with Arju Rana Deuba's "Empowering Nepalese Women: What are the Chances?", the book is an amalgamation of a few provocative and many insipid articles.

Gurung's essay and Sushil Bhattarai's article on "Ecology and Environment" are congregations of facts not bolstered with good analyses. "The Evolution of Nepalese Nationalism" by editor Rana, on the other hand, is analytical in its treatment of the theme. He describes four different types of developments in the history of nationalism, namely territorial nationalism
(British or French pattern), linguistic nationalism, anti-colonial nationalism and created nationalism and relates them to the evolution of nationalism during different phases of Nepali history.

"We are standing in the phase of created nationalism which is partly cemented by anti-Indian sentiment" argues Rana. In addition, the emergence of regional, communal and linguistic issues in the course of electoral politics has established sectoral nationalism which is threatening the nation's integration. Rana is rightly justified in arguing that "representation and distribution are the major mechanisms required to resolve the conflict of this phase of
'created nationalism' in Nepal." Binayak Bhadra's essay on energy, environment and human development is a down-to-earth presentation in which he advocates small hydro power plants for rural electrification. This, he argues, will reduce the dependence on fuel wood, generate small enterprises and uplift the rural economy.

The other essays - "The Culture of Nepal" (Jagadish SJB Rana), "The Nepalese Administrative System" (Dhungel) and "Prospects and Retrospect of NGOs in Nepal" (Diwakar Chand), Nepalese Foreign Policy (T.N. Jaiswal) - begin with a historical background and describe the developments in the specified subjects through the contemporary period. It is hard to understand why the editors chose to include both "Gender and Development: Nepalese Perspective" by Padma Mathema and Deuba's "Empowering Nepalese Women." The former alone adequately depicts the gender issues in Nepal. Had the latter been replaced by an article on the arts, literature or tourism, it would have expanded the coverage of the book.

Few titillating potentials and recommendations aside, most articles are implicitly pessimistic regarding Nepal's development. For instance, editor Rana whines "Nepal lacks a charismatic leader with a broad vision and strong political commitment to steer the country out of the prevailing chaos."

The articles can be classified broadly as good and mediocre. Rana's earlier mentioned piece and Gunanidhi Sharma's "The Economy of Nepal: A Macroeconomic Overview" are good articles; Gurung's, Bhattarai's and Deuba's essays are mediocre ones. The rest fall somewhere in between. The book comes with a dull layout and occasional spelling errors. On the whole, it is unlikely to generate much inspring debate about contemporary Nepal.

(Baral is doing research on environmental issues)

********************************************************* Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 14:37:27 -0500 (EST) From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu> Subject: madhuri dixit episode - matter of great shame To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

The Madhuri Dixit episode to me is a matter of great shame to Nepal. Here we have a actress saying some what rightly that Nepal was once a part of india and a whole group of students shouting slogans against her.
  Has our sense of self fallen down so much that we have to prove it everytime by embarking on yet another anti-India rhetoric? I am a nationalist and I believe in nationalism but I refuse to be a part of a nationalism that is built on hatred of others and even more on hatred of a country with which we share so many historical and cultural ties.

Afterall what is Nepal and what is India? Aren't there as many (if not more) nepali speaking people in India (remember Darjeeling, nagaland) as there are in Nepal. Aren't there as many (if not more) Maithali speaking people, bhojpuri speaking people, as many Sherpa's, and Limbu's in india as in Nepal. Did not Buddha who was born in what is Nepal not gain enlightement in what is India now? Did not Sita who was born in Janakpur marry Ram in Ayodhya? Aren't our own kings decendents of Rajasthani Rajputs? Can you please tell me what was Nepal then and what was India? wasn't everything just made up of small kingdoms which together were known as Bharatbarsa ( or India to foreigners). What was Nepal before Prithivi Narayan shah conquered a group of kingdoms just a few centuries ago?.And if this not enough there is some more.

Did not BP koirala fight for the Indian independence (there is a road named after him in calcutta) as did he for Nepal's independence. Do not many of our citizens fight for the Indian army? Haven't many of our political leaders spent the greater part of their lives in India? Haven't Manisha koirala and Udit Narayan embraced by India in the indian movie industry. Does not India allow Don't many of our people (especially in Terai) have strong links with people in India.

Can you just cut everything into two pieces. Say this is Nepal and that is India. Aren't we being anti-Nepal in being anti-india . Isn't our hatred based on an imperfect knowledge of our self? Will we not destroy ourself if we destroy india?

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 03 Jan 1999 16:10:57 -0500 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<paramendra_bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Bhattarai : Burnt-Out and Out-Of-Touch

Koirala has made an attempt to project Krishna Prasad Bhattarai as the next Prime Minister after admitting he orchestrated Bhattrai's defeat in the parliamentary bi-election held while Koirala was Premier. This is too little, too late. Bhattarai will go down in history as the Premier who lead the interim government that gave the country its current constitution. He is no doubt a towering figure in the country's five-decade-long struggle to institute democracy in the land. But he is someone from the past. In the post-democracy phase the country needs those who are more comfortable with the basics of a free market economy and can engineer confidence in the political fabric of the country so as to foster rapid economic growth. Bhattarai is not it. Koirala never was. The likes of Deuba, who might be better suited, do not seem to be able to muster the political strength to openly challenge Koirala within the Nepali Congress and possibly even break away, Bamdev-style. I guess we are in for yet another hung parliament where the largest party, whichever that might be, itself will not have more than 60 seats. Nepal might be going Indian. In that in India neither the BJP nor the Congress is anywhere near the majority mark. In Nepal that is to be the fate of both the Congress and the UML. The politicians in Kathamandu better brace themselves for a nascent culture of coalition politics.

<http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1998/12/311298/dis.html>

The dissatisfied NC MPs include; Siddhiraj Jha, Bhakta Bahadur Balayar, Naresh Bahadur Singh, Chakra Bahadur Shahi, Hasta Bahadur Malla, Moti Prasad Pahadi, Ganesh Bahadur Khadka, Deepak Jung Shah, Chabi Prasad Devkota, Surendra Hamal, Shivaraj Suvedi, Hari Prasad Chaudhari, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Dip Kumar Upadhaya, Dhundiraj Shastri, Duryadhan Chaudhari, Devendra Raj Kandel, Amar Raj Kaini, Indu Sharma Poudel, Krishna Bahadur Gurung, Shusil Man Sherchan, Palten Gurung, Chirinjeevi Wagle, Ramchandra Adhikari, Chinkaji Shrestha, Kamala Pant, Arjun Narsimgh KC, Gangadhar Lamshal, Surendra Chaudhari, Ramesh Rijal, Radhechandra Yadav, Mohmad Aftab Alam, Uddav Dhakal, Harihar Yadav, Bajrakishore Singh, Ram Hari Joshi, Mina Pandey, Mahendra Yadav, Saradsingh Bhandari, Dhurba Sharma, Hemraj Dahal, Bhim Bahadur Tamang, Bimalendra Nidhi, Pradip Giri, Suresh Chandra Das, Raj Dev Goit, Bijaya Gachhedar, Laxuman Mehta, Harinath Banstola, Badrinarayan Basnet, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Bal Bahaudr Rai, Chandrakanta Dahal, Bal Bahadur KC, Dipak Baskota and Mani Lama.

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 05 Jan 1999 08:34:19 +0500 To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> From: "F.A.H. \('Hutch'\) Dalrymple" <hutch@htp.com.np> Subject: 'Kathmandu Distopeia'

KATHMANDU DISTOPEIA!

Oh, poor Kathmandu! Decaying, Graying, Crumbling, Inefficiency Laughing! What is your legacy...?

A peaceful place? Development? Over population? Violent revolution? Earthquake? A Tethys Sea again? Oh, poor Kathmandu, The tank of the serpent!

Why can't 'the serpent' get Its tail straight again? Why can't you rise to Himalayan heights? You were once great!

Uncoil your Kundali! Ignore the 'giants' To the north and south! Overcome your penchant to accept Things as they are! Raise the bar!

Or, poor Kathmandu! The rotting wooden temple! Down, And all around! Garbage in the streets! Choked air, I dare you!
(Note: I challenge everyone living in Kathmandu to change the course of history!)

Clean up your act! Blame not the government You are! Wish not patriarchal help! Do it yourselves! We! We are the 'wons!' We! You and me, citizens of Kathmanwho?

Stop leaving at 5, Shooting the jive! Stay and work!
'Stop not until the goal is reached!'

Arise, awake! Stop not until The 'gold,' is reached! Feed your teaming masses Yearning to be free!

Arise, Awake! Stop 'knot!'

Copyright, 1999 F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple Kamaladi, Kathmandu, Ne-is-my-pal 225183 hutch@htp.com.np

***************************************************************** Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 16:49:55 +0300 From: JFAX <jfx@diogen.asc.rssi.ru> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Contact

Dear Sir,

Could you help me? Two years ago I had contact with Mr. Santa Subba from "Kaila Himalaya Trek" Ltd. Unfortunately his e-mail address seems out of work. Please if you have any information about his contact address pass it to me or advice Mr. Santa Subba to contact with me via e-mail: vitaly@diogen.asc.rssi.ru.

Thank you in advance
   Valentin Bozgukov.

********************************************************************* From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <paramendra@hotmail.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Links for future discussions on the National Economy Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 16:26:17 PST

Nepal Human Development Report 1998
<http://www.nepali.net/undp/keydoc/nhdr98/contents.html>

Info-Nepal.com: Economy
<http://www.info-nepal.com/nhp/econ/econ.html>

The World Bank Group: Country Data on Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html>

The World Bank in Nepal: Development Indicators
<http://www.worldbank.org.np/worldbank/indicator.html>

Structural Adjustment in Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/html/oed/pr122.htm>

Nepal: Environment and Development
<http://www.info-nepal.com/nhp/econ/env/unced.html>

Nepalnet: Economy
<http://www.PanAsia.org.sg/nepalnet/ecnoframe.htm>

Peopleís Review: Economic gloom and doom
<http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1999/01/070199/pol.html>

Nepal Human Development Report 1998
<http://www.nepali.net/undp/keydoc/nhdr98/contents.html>

Info-Nepal.com: Economy
<http://www.info-nepal.com/nhp/econ/econ.html>

The World Bank Group: Country Data on Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html>

The World Bank in Nepal: Development Indicators
<http://www.worldbank.org.np/worldbank/indicator.html>

Structural Adjustment in Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/html/oed/pr122.htm>

Nepal: Environment and Development
<http://www.info-nepal.com/nhp/econ/env/unced.html>

Nepalnet: Economy
<http://www.PanAsia.org.sg/nepalnet/ecnoframe.htm>

Peopleís Review: Economic gloom and doom
<http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1999/01/070199/pol.html>

Economy of Nepal
<http://www.emulateme.com/economy/nepaeco.htm>

Theodora.com: Nepalís Economy 1995
<http://www.theodora.com/wfb/nepal_economy.html>

Library of Congress: Nepal, Economy
<http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+np0009)>

CIA World Fact Book: Nepal
<http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/np.html>

Nepalpages.com: Doing business in Nepal
<http://www.nepalpages.com/pages/business.htm>

Center for Global Trade Development
<http://www.cgtd.com/global/asia/nepal.htm>

Webnepal.com: Economy
<http://www.webnepal.com/nepal/economy/economy.htm>

Ministry of Commerce: Export Promotion Board
<http://www.info-nepal.com/epb/>

Nepal Information Center: Business and Economy
<http://infosys.zdv.uni-mainz.de/~baadj000/economy.htm>

************************************************************ Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 02:55:47 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Micro-credit in Nepal

                        MICRO CREDIT IN NEPAL
                       Investing in the future-1

 - By Rollie Del. Rosario
 Senior Multimedia Coordinator, Asian Developmeent Bank

 Nirmala Chaudhari begins her day at 2.30 a.m. By the flicker of a gas lamp and earthen stove, she
 prepares a light snack from the previous night's leftovers for her younger children and brews tea for
 the whole family. After cleaning the kitchen and attending to a few other household chores, she
 treks to the paddy field in the morning mist, carrying the farming implements dictated by the season.
 However, since last year, another task has been added to her morning ritual before farm work:
 feeding and milking the buffalo.

 Although the buffalo has added at least another half hour to her 12-hour workday, Nirmala does
 not mind the added chore. Purchased through a loan of Nepali rupee (NRs) 15,000
 (approximately US$250) from the Ghorahi branch of Nepal Bank Limited, one of the banks
 participating in the ADB-financed Microcredit Project for Women, the buffalo is Nirmala's new
 pride and joy. With milk selling at NRs 10 (US$ o.16) for a half liter, she makes an average of
 NRs 70 (about US$ 1.16 ) a day during the 14-odd months that the buffalo produces milk.
 Female calves are valuable since they can be used to breed and provide more milk, while males
 can be sold straight away or raised for plowing. Even the dung is used for fuel as well as for
 plastering exterior walls.

 Nirmala has another reason to be happy. With an emergency personal loan from Samaj Sewa
 Bhaisi Palan Samudaya (Social Service Buffalo Raising Group) the all-female savings and credit
 group that guaranteed her loan for the buffalo she was able to repay her debt of NRs
 10,000(approximately US$166.66) to a village loan shark. Settling this debt released her son from
 kamaiya (bonded service for debt).

 "Our son Chandra Prasad was a kamaiya. We had borrowed NRs 2,000 (about US$33.33) from
 them. We sent our third son to work for the money. He was 15 years old. Later, my son did not
 want to continue. He complained about being ill-treated. He complained about being asked to
 work on very difficult chores. He complained of not being fed well. We asked him to continue but
 he did not agree. The next year when he was to continue as kamaiya, they came for him but he just
 fled to India in anger.

 "We had borrowed NRs2000 (about US$33.33) but later the loan amounted to NRs 10,000
 (approximately US$ 166.66). Then we borrowed from this group and paid back the moneylender.
 But my son is still in India."

 Nirmala is a typical farmer housewife in Pakwauai, a small village in the Dang valley, Western
 Nepal. Born a Tharu (one of the largest Nepali ethnic communities) 34 years ago, she is the mother
 of 12 children. Her family lives on public land and has very few possessions. With no steady job
 and no real property, she and her neighbors cultivate a small paddy field and share its produce with
 the landlord. Like most of her neighbors, she can only write her name and copy a few letters of the
 Nepali alphabet.

 Dharma Kumari Gurung did not have much going for her a little more than a year ago. Now a
 single mother, she had given her small plot of land for her two sons' dowries a few years earlier.
 With very few and simple needs, she managed, at the age of 54, by doing household chores for her
 sisters-in-law with whom she lived. She also had a goat whose milk she sold to make ends meet.
 While collecting fodder for the goat, she fell from a tree and suffered an open fracture in her right
 leg which had already been fractured in a previous accident. The goat had to be sold to pay for the
 operation on her leg, and the medicines. Already frail to begin with, she could no longer perform
 heavy manual labor.

 Physically handicapped, possessing meager savings, and emotionally devasted, Dharma gathered
 her wits and resolved to overcome her crisis. She moved to Pame, about an hour's drive from
 Pokhara, and joined one of the women's groups organized by the Women Development Division
 (WDD) of the Ministry of Local Development as part of the Microcredit Project for Women.

 Even then, it was not easy for Dharma. Because she was still recovering from her leg injury, she
 could not attend all the training workshops, which were part of the program. Her group members
 also harbored reservations about her disabilities.

 "There was a time when others in the group had a very negative impression about my being a
 member of the group. There were doubts whether a physically impaired person like me could
 follow the rules of the program. I was badly ignored, but Sita Madam (one of the motivators) came
 to my rescue and talked to the rest of the group and then we all received the loan.

 "I have the courage to face the future I feel that I will have quite an amount by the time I pass
 away. I can take care of guests who visit me like my daughters and their children. I can feed them
 well. I cannot promise them wealth or property, but I can keep them happy when they visit."

 She has had no trouble paying back the first four of six instalments of the loan. In fact, she is
 seriously considering applying for a second loan once the first one is repaid.

 "I am the most regular in the group in terms of paying back. I am very conscious about the fine that
 results if I pay late.

 "From this experience, I have developed self-confidence. Let me pay back the remaining two
 instalments. I will definitely apply for a second loan to produce bhujiya
(a Nepali delicacy of spiced
 and salted flour noodles). This will net at least NRs 8001,000 (about US$13.33-16.66) more a
 month."

 The difficulties encountered by Nirmala and Dharma are typical of the sad state of rural women in
 Nepal. In a country where about 40 percent of the people live in absolute poverty, poor women
 constitute the most marginalized group. About 94 percent of the poor live in rural areas and 48
 percent of these are women. More than 95 percent of economically active women are engaged in
 agricultural labor. Although they bear the brunt of farming as well as household chores, they have
 very little access to productive resources such as real property, cash savings, and credit. Women
 generally work harder and longer than men; plowing seems to be the only agricultural activity
 performed solely by men. With a female life expectancy of 52 years, Nepal is one of only three
 countries where women die earlier than men, who normally live to 55 or 56 years.

 The Project has three major components. The group formation and Training of Women
 Beneficiaries component provides support to the WDD in the formation of self-help women's
 groups. Following a baseline survey of households in the 12 districts and 5 towns covered by the
 Project, women development officers and volunteer motivators from participating nongovernment
 organizations (NGOs) started forming the groups. At the end of November 1997, a total of 2,524
 groups, each consisting of 5-15 members, have been formed.

 Each group has to open a savings account in one of the banks participating in the Project. The
 members decide among themselves the amount of the monthly contribution per member, but the
 average is NRs 215 (about US$0.41). Membership in a group entitles each member to make a
 loan of each member. However, only the groups whose monthly contributions are up-to-date can
 guarantee the individual loans of its members.

 Aside from group formation, this component also provides for training the groups in the rudiments
 of savings, credit management, and bookkeeping, as well as various income-generating and
 livelihood activities, and the operation of micro-enterprises and small business projects.

 Because of the large number and extensive influence of NGOs in Nepal, the Project has a separate
 component for the institutional support of selected NGOs. The management, accounting, technical,
 and capital-generating capabilities of participating NGOs are being strengthened with the aim of
 enabling them to function as credit agents of the participating banks. The partners NGOs are also
 empowered to form grassroots savings and credit groups. For example, Nirmala's buffalo-centered
 self-help group was organized by the NGO Gramin Mahila Bikash Sanstha
(Association for Rural
 Women's Development).

 The most apparent Project component, the provision of credit to women, makes funds available to
 beneficiaries who have been organized and trained by WDD and partner NGOs into stable and
 functioning savings and credit self-help groups. The loans are channeled through two participating
 banks: the Nepal Bank Limited and the Rastriya Banijya Bank.

 Medium-term loans up to NRs 30, 000(about US$500) are granted for agriculture-based, income
  generating activities. Owners of microenterprises such as handicrafts, small restaurants, and
 convenience stores can benefit from loans up to NRs 40,000
(aboutUS$666.66). Operators of
 small businesses in urban areas can borrow NRs50,000-250,000(about US$833-4,166). The
 loans have a repayment period of up to seven years. They are guaranteed by the security of the
 group's savings. The loans for small businesses are backed by adequate collateral.

 As of mid-November 1997, 9,292 loans amounting to NRs114.7 million (more than US$1.911
 million) had been disbursed. The average repayment rate is 97 percent. Beneficiaries can apply for
 subsequent loans after full payment of their current account. Dr. Shambhu Dhungana, consultant
 team leader for the group formation and training component, explains, "We would like to cultivate
 the savings and credit habit. These women, the majority of whom used to borrow money at very
 onerous rates rates and under outrageous conditions, are now becoming aware that other sources
 of funds with comfortable rates and terms of settlement are available.
(To be Concluded)

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 13:00:53 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, 10 Jan 1999 Vol 3, no. 18 coordinated by Dinesh Prasain.

Art and War

BOOK: Dancing in Cambodia, At Large in Burma by Amitav Ghosh Delhi: Ravi Dayal Publisher, 1998, IRs. 125

Reviewed by Manjushree Thapa

Amitav Ghosh is foremost a superb narrator. Whether writing novels like The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines or Calcutta Chromosome, or literary non-fiction like In an Antique Land, he is capable of moving forward several stories simultaneously, shifting gracefully from character to character, setting to setting, genre to genre, fiction to non-fiction, and past to present to future. His latest work, the travelogue Dancing in Cambodia, At Large in Burma is marked by hi usual narrative deftness, offering the reader the chance to read about many facets of Cambodia and Burma in the three short pieces within.
         Dancing in Cambodia's title piece is perhaps the most skillfully crafted and most intensely felt, focusing ultimately on what it means to be able to perform a traditional dance in the war-torn Cambodia of the late 1980's. To place this question in historical context, Ghosh begins his narrative with the story of the 1906 arrival of King Sisowath in France, two years after the Cambodian ruler came to power and handed France final control over his nation.

The dancers accompanying King Sisowath stunned the French; the painter Rodin was so infatuated with them that he marveled in gratitude at the "royal honour" they had displayed by dancing and posing for him. Through the story of King Sisowath's travels to France, Ghosh also sets the stage for the history of French colonialism which has torn Cambodia apart. The question of what it means to dance in present-day Cambodia cannot be answered without an examination of what national culture means.

        Then the narrative cuts to 1993, to a meeting between Ghosh and Pol Pot's sister-in-law Chea Samy, a onetime dancer in King Sisowath's court who is currently working to revive traditional dance after the devastation of the 1950's and 60's struggles for independence and American saturation-bombing, the 1975 Khmer Rouge revolution, and the 1979 Vietnamese invasion.

The meeting with Chea Samy takes place under telling circumstances. Ghosh's interpreter for the meeting is a woman in her thirties whose father, two brothers, and a sister were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Facing the brother and sister-in-law of Pol Pot is not without considerable anguish for her; and yet she does it, and somehow nurtures within her the complex emotions of reconciliation: "I wanted to attack him when I first saw him.... But then I thought-it's not his fault. What has he ever done to me?"

        Indeed, most people in present day Cambodia seem haunted by the proximity of those who belong to the "other side" and have, at some point, wreaked grief upon themselves and their families. Accepting this grief, and forgiving those who caused it, is part of what it takes to put on a traditional dance. One of the spectators describes his experience of gathering to watch the dance: 'We cried and laughed while we looked around to see who were the others who had survived. We would shout with joy: "You are still alive!" and then we would cry thinking of someone who had died.' To dance in Cambodia is to defy the inhumanity of war.

        This first piece in Dancing so eloquently raises questions about the survival of humanity it can make the reader cry. Ghosh is very mindful of history, but he never weighs down his narrative with it; instead he adopts so light a touch that the delicacy of the whole piece brings to life the very fragility of art.

        The remaining two pieces of the book are more journalistic in tone, and as such miss the shock and vibrancy of the first. Still, they are complex portraits of contemporary Asia told by a narrator who pursues difficult questions. "Stories in Stones" is a short portrait of a man who survived Khmer Rouge labor camps and decided, the day he saw Angkor Wat, to spend the rest of his life there. In Ghosh's hands, his story becomes one of the many carved into the stones of Angkor Wat.

        "At Large in Burma" is a longer piece which wends its way through Burma's postcolonial era to arrive at the present situation with Aung San Suu Ki and the democracy movement. Ghosh's portrait of Suu Ki is personable; his hesitation to ask her intensely personal questions is refreshingly respectful, and (it is tempting to conclude) unique to an Asian narrator. Suu Ki comes across vividly in her imprisonment and defiance.

But it is through Ghosh's portrait of a Karenni rebel that he reveals the complexity of Burma's current political instability, rife as it is with ethnic tension. The rebel Ko Sonny is of Indian origin, and his original name is Mahinder Singh. He is as much a vegetable farmer as a warrior, as much a philosopher as yet another Asian adrift in the strange displacing tides of our postmodern era. Ghosh's rendering of him gives a glimpse of the complex Asian futures to come.

        Dancing in Cambodia is travel writing at its finest, with a narrator who takes the trouble to locate both his subject and his own narrative position in history, and who has the skill to write stories of war with the art they deserve.

(Manjushree Thapa is writing her first novel in Kathmandu)

____________________________________ BOOK: Nepal: A Himalayan Kingdom in Transition by Pradyumna P. Karan & Hiroshi Ishii The United Nations University, 1996, Rs 560
____________________________________ Reviewed By Abana Onta

Nepal: A Himalayan Kingdom in Transition analyses Nepal's efforts towards development since the 1950s. It examines issues such as environment and natural resources, land use, forests, agriculture, human resources, cultural patterns, demography and urbanization, tourism, industrial development and communication in the context of the mountainous terrain and landlocked character of Nepal.

The authors assert that Nepal is presently experiencing a period of major changes in its economy, society and environment. Since 1951 Nepal has achieved much in its quest for economic and social development, but much is left undone. Significant achievements in developing transport infrastructure since 1951 have not been accompanied by faster economic growth, reduction in the rate of population growth, increase in food production, and employment generation needed to alleviate poverty. Further, the authors emphasize the landlocked situation of Nepal and go on to say that its consequences are difficult to quantify.

The authors also review the five year plans and policies from the years between 1951 and 1995, and conclude that these plans have failed to fulfill their purpose. Four decades of planning have not only increased the development disparities between the eastern and the western regions of the country but also between the mountains and the tarai regions as a result of unequal investments in various geographic areas.

Further, the urban-centred development approach has not only widened the spatial disparities between various areas, but also engendered a non-sustainable and fragile economic base. The authors attribute several factors to Nepal's failure in development planning. For example, a weak and poorly developed organizational structure to formulate and implement the plans contributed to disappointing results.

Top-down, donor-driven planning process devoid of concern for the local people, selection of development projects on an ad hoc basis, heavy dependence on external aid without regard to its socio-economic justification, or long-range sustainability are few more examples of ill-planning in Nepal's development. The authors conclude that the planning process has taken place without genuine citizen participation and the development decisions have beeen largely made by feudal bureaucrats working under the influence of foreign aid regimes.

The authors do a good job in assessing the issues mentioned in the first paragraph. Each issue has been discussed from various perspectives including historical facts, planning and implementation aspects, emerging problems, and pragmatic suggestions. The book points out gender and urban-rural disparities, complex bureaucracy, lack of genuine community participation, corruption, lack of skilled manpower, and political uncertainty as hindrance to the development of Nepal.

The concluding chapter takes up three specific development challenges facing Nepal: sustainable development and conservation, integration of poverty alleviation programs with development strategies, and integration of population issues into mainstream development. However the remedies they recommend are so commonplace among the prescriptions suggested by foreign scholars of Nepal that one can not find anything fresh in them.

The authors seem to have failed to properly appreciate the information on local issues they had at their disposal while proceeding through the book. The authors, in the preceding chapters rightly point out the fact that development failures in Nepal are bound up with complex social, political, economic and cultural forces. After coming up with such analysis, it is a pity that the authors revert to various "foreign development models" and perhaps unjustifiably see great hopes in them for Nepal's redemption. Had they ended the book with the same rigour with which they started it, the conclusion would have been better. In conclusion, the book will be useful to fresh college students in Nepal and neophyte Nepal hands abroad.

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, 10 Jan 1999 Vol 3, no. 18 coordinated by Dinesh Prasain.

RECENT ARRIVALS: BOOKS

A Study in Nepali Economic History 1768-1846 by Mahesh C Regmi has been reprinted (1999, Adroit Publishers, Rs 720). Originally published in 1971, it was reprinted once in 1978 but has been out of print for over a decade. One of the most fundamental texts of Nepali history, this book, in the words of the author, "is essentially a description of the economic policies and programs followed by the Gorkhali rulers to mobilize human and material resources for territorial expansion."

Reprinted almost 30 years after its first appearance, it would have been nice to see a new preface by Regmi, incorporating his comments on how his early emphasis on the "economic" seems too one-sided to him now (as can be gathered from his comments in his 1995 book Kings and Political Leaders of the Gorkhali Empire), and why his hope that this text will channel "Nepali historiography along new directions" has not been fulfilled.

Lumbini Chakra: Geometric Interpretation of the Archaelogical Remains
(1998, Sashi Rimal) by Shankar Nath Rimal was written in response to a request by the Lumbini Development Trust regarding how the Mayadevi temple complex could be reconstructed and developed. Through various diagram-generating exercises, Rimal tries to prove that Lumbini did not grow on its own without formal planning, and shows how the remains that have been located at the birth-site of Gautam Buddha are related to each other in a geometric pattern. He suspects that "the planning process could have been initiated by the Emperor Ashoka." We should expect expert commentary on Rimal's attempt from archaelogists who have studied the site.

Bemousam ka Ragaharu by Lekhnath Bhandari is a mini book. The author calls it an ensemble of fifty-one word meanings, which are in fact satires; most of them are cheap, political, and trite. About a five-minute read, the book is nonetheless worth five rupees, its price.

Jivanka lagi Youn (1998, Udgam Publications, Rs.120) by Shreeramsingh Basnet explains the importance of sex in human life. It deals with themes such as menstruation, masturbation, homosexuality, menopause, pregnancy, etc. with frankness. It reads well and will be useful to readers of all age. Since the talk of 'sex education' is looming large of late, the book can be a good reference source.

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, Vol 3, no. 18 10 Jan 1999 Coordinated by Dinesh Prasain

Meals for the Mind C. K. Lal

=09Books are said to nourish the mind. While good books are as rare to come across as fine cuisine, one still has to find sustenance in books that may not change the world but are potent enough to keep a person going. Francis Bacon has observed, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested." However, one must first take a bite before deciding what to do with the fare.

=09I love to read all kinds of memoirs. I believe most readers do so, because it gives them an opportunity to live one added life, that too in the company of people who have made their mark and left an imprint on the society. But a biography is a different kettle of fish. Perhaps the expression should be modified and I should rather say a different pot of khhichadi altogether. The specific example that I have taken this time is the biography of Aditya Vikram Birla, and he was a vegetarian.

=09By the time Aditya was born, Birlas were already a name in India. At eighteen, when he was due to leave for Massachusetts Institute of Technology with two of his cronies, his grand-father Ghanshyamdas, the legendary industrialist-friend of Mahatma Gandhi, sent him a =91not-to-do=
=92 list. Among other instructions, it advised him not to dive, not to swim in the sea and never to study late in the night.

=09Biographer Minhaz Merchant thinks that the readers who have forked out three hundred and ninety-five Indian Rupees for the hard bound edition would be interested even in such minutia as, "The boys then caught a connecting Air-India flight to New York. They checked in at Hotel Lexington before flying, two days later, to Boston." When an author gets largest ever fee for a book from the sponsors of an =91authorized biography=92, what else can one expect except an out and out hagiography? While this book may be important for those who subscribe to the view of Carlyle that biography is the only true history, the truth as depicted in this volume is hardly stranger than fiction. This book makes a bland reading, like consuming a mountain of Bhaat without accompanying side dishes. [Aditya Bikram Birla, A Biography by Minhaz Merchant, Viking Penguin India, 1997]

=09Reminiscences of Nancy Cooke De Herrera, the American lady who claims to have launched Maharishi Mahesh Yogi=92s multi-pronged marketing blitzkrieg makes more compelling reading. A much-married socialite of Beverly Hills with friends high in the glamour world, she seeks salvation in the company of the Beach Boys and the Beatles in the Valley of Saints, learns to levitate in Switzerland, goes in search of Shirdi Sai Baba, dines with Greta Garbo and Dr. Gayelord, poses with the royal family of Bhutan and travels to Lhasa with Tensing Norgay. When one does all that, there are stories to hear, however vane the narrator may be. The book has spiritual pretensions too, but it=92s the anecdotes that make it a fun-read. It=92s a vegetable curry masaala of a book, full of spice but not too hot. [Beyond Gurus by Nancy Cooke De Herrera, Rupa, New Delhi, 1994]

=09After the industrialist and the socialite, Akhtar Hameed Khan is a person that would not fit any single description. He has been a member of Indian Civil Service, a teacher at the Jamia Milia Islamia in India, a visiting professor at the Michigan State University, an innovator who created the famous Rural Development Academy of Comilla (now in Bangladesh) with Foundation Funds and Harvard advisors and a social reformer who headed the legendary urban slum development of Karachi named Orangi Pilot Project. The man had donned so many hats over the years that by now he must be having a sizable collection of head-gears.

=09Not all, but quite a few of those caps come shinning through in a collection of essays. Recently, Akhtar Hameed Khan had expressed in a media interview that he had only one regret, that to have left Patna. At eighty-two, one does get a bit reflective and start longing for one=92s roots. All around, his dreams lie shattered. The Biharis who made Pakistan possible have been rejected by Bangladesh and disowned by Pakistan. May be, at the back of his mind, Akhtar Hameed Khan carries a sense of guilt for having deserted the land of his forefathers for the promise of a rainbow at the end of the horizon. Now he has discovered Sheikh Saadi, "Have you arranged your earthly homes properly that you are flying to arrange things in the sky?"

=09This is one book that I would recommend without reservation to any one even remotely interested in development studies. Forget the prose and style, it=92s the substance of the book that is enriching. Like Daal at our daily meal, it=92s liquid, it=92s easy to digest and it=92s all protein=
=2E For those of you who have read about him in Himal, the full-serving would be hugely satisfying. [Akhtar Hameed Khan: Orangi Pilot Project, Reminiscences and Reflections, Oxford-Karachi, 1996]

=09What would be our daily meal without a selection of pickles--the tasty, tangy, sour and hot achar marinated in mustard oil and lime juice with loads of salt? Manohar Malgonkar=92s selection of Dropping Names is exactly such a fare. To read it on its own may prove to be a bit hard on the palate, but if you are reading it in bits and pieces along with more serious stuff, both become more enjoyable.

=09Before acquiring the status of a famous author, Malgonkar spent some time with the Indian Army. His prose is crisp, no non-sense and point-blank. There is more in this slim volume of less than two hundred pages than many other thicker tomes. From Paul Scot to V. S. Naipaul, from Vijay Raje to Sonia Gandhi, from Khuswant Singh to P. D. Malgavkar
(Never heard of him? Check the India Office Library in London.), one gets to sample the idiosyncrasies of a galaxy of celebrities, some richer than famous, some more famous than the rich but all of them either rich or famous or both. By the way, I read this pack of pickled chilly-and-tomato in one sitting, going to the extent of reading by the candle light when load-shedding attempted to interfere with my indulgence. I intend to read it once again! [Dropping Names by Manohar Malgonkar, Lotus Roli Books, Delhi, 1996]

=09That was quite a feast I had during Dashai-Tihar vacations. I would have given an uncivilized belch, but then I bought Alvin and Heidi Toffler's War and Anti-War, Paul Kennedy=92s Preparing for the Twenty-First Century and Helga Drummond's Power. Appetite of the mind is strange--the more you partake, hungrier you get!

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, Vol 3, no. 18 10 Jan 1999 Coordinated by Dinesh Prasain

BOOK: Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India by Akhil Gupta Durham, Duke University Press 1998, USD 21.95

Reviewed by Tatsuro Fijikura

        In the farming village that Akhil Gupta describes in his Postcolonial Developments, the farmers use apparently non-Western notions, such as 'heat', 'wetness', and 'wind', to describe their agricultural practices. At the same time, the same farmers are avid users of such modern inputs as chemical fertilizers. In other words, the farmers whom Gupta describes are not unlike many farmers in contemporary Nepal.

Part of what Gupta tries to do, and succeeds through his ethnographic description of a village in Uttar Pradesh, is to show that most farmers in South Asia and other 'developing countries' cannot simply be categorized either as 'modern' or 'non-modern'. The mainstream development ideologues and the romantic environmentalists, in their different ways, tend to view such farmers as lagging behind in the ladder of 'modernization', or as representing an alternative ('indigenous') way of life outside modernity.

        Arguing against those views, Gupta maintains that what are often called 'traditional' or 'indigenous knowledge' ought to be reconceptualized as representing "culturally constituted recipes for dealing with the varying conditions and exigencies encountered in farming activities" in the present - in the particular condition of modernity that those farmers are engaged in. The ethnographic part of the book, which includes lengthy excerpts from interviews with farmers on various aspects of their agricultural practices, shows the villagers' actions as at once more complex and more sensible than the overarching pictures that some modernist or anti-modernist writers tend to present.

        Gupta's aim, however, is not only to provide ethnographic descriptions, but to make a further and far-reaching theoretical point. Gupta argues that the "distinctiveness" of the situation he describes is that it lacks any "higher-order unity" that is able to coherently explain all the seemingly contradictory statements and actions observed in the field.

        I personally think it is not necessary to debate here the merits of his version of 'post-colonial theory'. (The book, by the way, includes useful summaries of the literature on post-colonial, ecological and cultural theories.) Rather, I would point out that Gupta's post-modernist claim of fundamental incoherence seem to be contradicted by his own analyses of political economy at the village, national, and global levels. For those analyses, Gupta utilizes such notions as 'class' and 'structural positions' that seem, indeed to explain much of the phenomena that he describes.

        Indeed, I would argue that one of the very strength of this book is the authors very clear and informative (albeit sometimes disjointed) discussions on the dynamics of political economy from local, national to global levels. Gupta covers such wide ranging topics as technological, socio- economic and environmental changes brought about by the 'Green Revolution', populist policies of the Indian government under Indira Gandhi, various peasant movements, global political economy of food-grains after the Second World War, discourses and politics of environmentalism,
'sustainable development' and the Rio Earth Summit, and protests and resistance in India against multinational seed companies and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

        In his discussion of the village political economy, Gupta also provides analytic- descriptions that tend to corroborate earlier insights on the transformations in rural South Asia. One example is the notion, advanced by Adrian Mayor among others, of the shift in the nature of local leadership in the post-Independence India from patronage to brokerage.

        Outcome of this shift is that "Village leaders no longer cultivated clients chiefly through the use of their own property - by leasing it to tenants, by employing an unchanging group of laborers and so forth (that is, by acting as a patron) but rather by facilitating the delivery of state programs and services (that is, by acting as a broker)." Another, related example involves the utility of the twin concepts of entitlement and enfranchisement proposed by Arjun Appadurai.

        Appadurai argued that changing dynamics in rural South Asia involved "a change which gives poorer persons a wider voice in the conduct of public life [i.e., enfranchisement], but fewer claims upon subsistence in local economic system [i.e., entitlement]." Gupta finds this process accompanying the decline of patronage and increasing proletarianization in the village he describes.

        Possible shortcomings of the book include that it is too long
(over 400 pages) and literally too heavy to carry around. More serious perhaps is the total lack of village women's or children's perspectives in the book. The descriptions of the village politics and agriculture derive almost totally from the author's interviews with male household heads. This lack severely limits the level of ethnographic complexity that the book is able to attain.

        However, the book contains enough insights and information about the conditions of agrarian life in northern India, seen from the village, national, and global contexts that makes this book extremely useful for those of us who want to understand better the conditions of rural life in Nepal or elsewhere, especially by providing us with regional, comparative and global perspectives.

(Fujikura is an anthropologist doing research in Nepal)

********************************************************** To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu, tiwari@fas.harvard.edu From: <ipringle@mos.com.np> (ian pringle) (by way of sinhas@mos.com.np (Pratyoush
 Onta)) Subject: Recent News

(Jan. '99) A Page of News about Radio Sagarmatha and Community Radio in Nepal

SAFA RADIO: Measuring and publicising air pollution The new year promises a lot of excitement for community radio in Nepal. To start it off right, Radio Sagarmatha (RS) launched a new initiative on January 3, 1999: 'Safa Radio - The Clean Air Campaign'. Air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley is becoming worse and worse day by day. People are routinely shocked by the sooty toxic smoke that spews from the exhaust pipes of a mind-boggling array of vehicles floating around the streets of the capital. While the particular geography of the Kathmandu Valley is partly to blame, the total lack of vehicle emission-control is the real culprit.

Safa Radio - The Clean Air Campaign has been in the works for a while, but the key elements only came together recently. Led by RS (Radio Sagarmatha), the project is a partnership with NESS, the Nepal Environmental Scientific Society, and DANIDA, the development arm of the Danish Government.

Five of seven days of the week, RS's DANIDA-financed 'safa' (Nepali for clean) tempo - a van-sized three-wheeled electric vehicle that carries a half dozen or more people - measures the level of air pollutants from a different location in the city. The results are tested and analysed in a laboratory, then explained and broadcast the same day during the station's evening community news bulletin, Haalchaal. In all, there are thirty locations in which monitoring is carried out on a rotating basis. Following five days of readings and broadcasts, the cumulative results are discussed on-the-air in a special weekly forum; monthly, the results are presented to the media and the public in a press conference.

Safa Radio is an example of how a community radio can not only present news and issues for discussion, but also take a leading and visible role in tackling problems, not just program from the studio, but take to the streets and work in the community.

Mobile Radio: On the Road Taking the radio out of the station into the communities that the majority of Nepalis live in has been a long time goal of many at Radio Sagarmatha. The station's establishment has always been envisioned as a beginning, a starting point for a wider role in community-based radio in Nepal. Although several communities outside the Kathmandu Valley have already initiated the process of starting local stations of their own, most people have never been exposed to radio other than national and international services... certainly not a type of radio they do for themselves.

In November 1998, to the surprise of many given the five year struggle to get a license for Radio Sagarmatha itself, the station received permission to run a mobile radio service anywhere in Nepal using the station's Kathmandu frequency, 102.4 FM. The idea isn't to extend RS's Kathmandu service, but rather to bring the idea of local radio to some of Nepal's 90% who live in rural areas and small communities. Beginning the next few months, Radio Sagarmatha, in partnership with MS Nepal (Denmark) will outfit a vehicle with a small studio and transmitter and hit the road. By keeping it simple, doing basic training and getting local people involved, Sagarmatha Mobile Radio will work to demystify radio and get communities interested in starting their own local radios.

Cultural Programmes: Bridging Gaps Nepal has a long and powerful tradition of oral folk media. As recently as fifty years ago, the main source of news for many communities were roaming artists who spread the word about happenings through specially composed songs. Other varieties served more educational and entertainment roles, some relating history, others religious epics, some using poetry, other using question and answer styles of interaction. These folk media were in many respects the pre-cursors of today's radio and television services and provide a culturally appropriate model for newer media. RS has introduced a daily radio serial which explores these cultural traditions, some featuring rare selections and recordings, some using adaptations to bring them into today's context and still others employing traditional methods with modern materials.

Building Training and Resources for Nepal and South Asia RS has gone through a lot of changes in the past four months and is poised for growth in the near future. In October of 1998, the station made the jump from a two-hour to a six-hour daily programme service. A month later, permission came for a twenty-four hour service and approval was given to run a mobile service. Communities in other parts of Nepal are thinking about their own local stations. Two licenses have already been granted. As RS continues to expand its own services and more and more communities, both in Nepal and other parts of South Asia, get closer to broadcast, the demand for general support as well as training in radio broadcasting skills and organisational management will increase. It is essential that steps be taken now to prepare for the challenges.

With this need and urgency in mind, Radio Sagarmatha is working to lay the foundations for an effective training and resource infrastructure which can support the development of other independent community-oriented media. As with all of its current plans the station is looking for international partners to help get the ball rolling. As more and more public-interest and community-based radio initiatives turn to Radio Sagarmatha for advice, assistance and training, the impact of such a resource promises to be significant and extensive. Naturally, the real beneficiaries are radio listeners and as a result of increased public dialogue and participation, South Asian communities and societies overall.

'Things You Wanted to Know About Radio Sagarmatha' is an organisational profile of Nepal's first community-based, public-interest radio station. It covers things from mandate to the Nepal broadcast environment to current programmes to technical specifications. If you're interested in seeing a copy, send us a note and we'll email you. (It is available in MS Word, with for Windows or Mac... or by post).

And just in case you didn't already know: Between January 18-21, Tambuli Radio is hosting the third national gathering of community radios in the Philippines.

ian.

Note: Radio Sagarmatha envisions this update about community radio activities in Nepal as an occasional service for at least as long as we've got interesting things to say. For one reason or another, we though you might be interested. Please feel free to share news and if you'd rather not receive it, please accept our apologies and send us an email letting us know.

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: <ipringle@mos.com.np> <ipringle@vcn.bc.ca>

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 canadian professions to work with local groups like radio sagarmatha.

-------------------------

Book Review: contd....

State Dept. Magazine's "Post of the Month" for july 98. Found on the internet:

Kathmandu: A Mecca in a Land of Legends

By Micaela Schweitzer

While the metamorphosis of the hair and lice may be questionable, that the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake and that the valley has a beauty capable of captivating a god are certainly fact. Though pollution clouds the air of the valley now, when the skies are clear and the Himalayas tower over the northern hills, one can imagine the splendor that evoked such devotion from Manjushri. Over the years, Kathmandu's beauty and magic have entranced many visitors. Many have been so captivated they're unable to leave. Approximately 3,000 American expatriates, for example, live full time in Kathmandu, and others return year after year. In all, more than 25,000 Americans tour Nepal annually.

Closed to all outsiders until 1951, Nepal has heartily embraced its role as a tourist hot spot and manages to offer something for everyone. For outdoorsmen, trekking in the Himalayas provides spectacular views, breathtaking climbs and charming encounters with yaks and Sherpas, while trips down the sacred rivers from Tibet offer exciting white- water rafting and glimpses of unspoiled terrain. Those interested in less strenuous entertainment visit Nepal's grassland nature preserves in search of rhinos, tigers and bears or shop for precious gems, handwoven carpets and unique Nepalese crafts.

Nepal is certainly a place of contrasts. Its geography ranges from hot, steamy plains to glacial mountains. Although its people are friendly and welcoming, their culture and religion remain a mystery to most. Closed to the outside world for centuries, Nepal has since embraced the residence of many foreigners, including large populations of Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees. While Nepal has attracted investment from some of the biggest American firms, it remains one of the world's poorest countries.

Nepal's variety is reflected in the U.S. mission's work. The consular section, for example, has gained world-wide attention for assisting American mountain climbers, most recently in May 1996's dramatic helicopter rescue on Mount Everest. Other mission efforts, though less dramatic, include supporting Nepal's young democracy
(the country was an absolute monarchy until 1990); promoting U.S. business, especially in developing Nepal's hydropower; and assisting more than 110,000 refugees.

Global issues, too, have taken on particular importance in this region. Kathmandu is the Department's regional environmental hub for South Asia. U.S. officials are conducting research to find a vaccine for hepatitis E. Nepal's famous soldiers, the "Gurkhas," find their modern-day counterparts in the Royal Nepalese Army, which staunchly supports U.N. peacekeeping. The U.S. Agency for International Development has a $26 million annual program focused on agriculture, health and women's empowerment. The oldest and largest Peace Corps program in Asia is in Nepal, with about 150 volunteers doing everything from providing basic health education to creating wildlife data bases. (At least two Nepal Peace Corps alumni, Peter Burleigh and Peter Tomsen, became U.S. ambassadors.) The U.S. Information Service maintains active programs for a very receptive audience (see USIS sidebar).

Both at work and at play, Kathmandu, a mysterious city hidden among the world's highest mountains, offers a fascinating experience that makes it a popular post and that causes many mission members to seek repeat tours.

The author is a junior political/consular officer in Kathmandu.

***************************************************************** Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:51:22 -0500 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<paramendra_bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: A Total Spread of Democracy and Free Markets

To: Dean Schmidt Cc: Dr. Boyd, Dr. Burnside, Dr. Crowden Bcc: Dr. Heyrman, Dr. Rifai, Dr. Berheide

Dear Dean Schmidt,

I am a Junior, Political Science Major. I request a change of Major to Sociology and two additional semesters of stay that this change will entail. I would greatly appreciate the help on your part.

After a long period of cerebral creative confusion I have come to the conclusion it is best for me to make Sociology the focus of the rest of my undergraduate studies. This shift on my part is akin to the urge to dip into chemistry before going onto Medical School, to delve into high-falutin' mathematics before going on to do complex work in Economics at Graduate School: it is about going to the basics so as to refuse to take even the fundamental and the obvious of group dynamics and the political process for obvious.

I have come to believe life is best lived one step at a time. Life is more fulfilling when you commit yourself to a process rather than some distant destination so as to better appreciate the flux of the circumstances along any possible career path. This is my chance to explore my abilities and aptitudes, strengthen them as well my weaknesses as seen in light of those strengths. There are so many uncertainties, so many changes one can not hope to foresee until the very final moments when change faces us a galore, and this might be my time to explore myself more fully, expand the contours of my mind, now when I am not yet in the straitjacket of a particular career path. It is said of most people in my generation that we will have had seven different careers before we retire in earnest.

Why do some dedicate their lives to obscure theoretical explorations that whisk them off onto lonely tangents whereas others jump into the the thick of the largest of crowds where the possibilities of being whisked off onto lonely tangents are equally large? A modest explanation would be aptitude. People serve themselves and the world they are a part of best when they get to cash on their aptitudes. Although I would hope my curiosities will burn all my life for all domains the human mind roams in, I can comfortably say I find myself in the domain of the social sciences. I consider myself a student of group dynamics, of the political process.

Cells are made up of atoms, but no matter how much you learn about atoms, you will still have to study cells as cells to learn about them: you can not study atoms and be able to understand cells. There is a perspective Sociology throws that is unique and in some ways central to the various themes of the social sciences in general. Why do social institutions act the way they act? Why do people act the way they act in different social settings? How does one's socio- cultural upbringing end up having such a central grip on one's sense of identity and end up affecting one's thought processes and behavior in ways most often not acknowledged even to oneself?

After one talk on Relativity Albert Einstein went onto say,"And the rest is merely details!" I am afraid a lot of the thinkers and the power brokers in the established democracies tend to take a similar attitude about democracy, not a super form of government but the best that we have, as Churchill said, or free markets, the best method to create wealth humankind ever came up with, as Gorbachev put it.

As a student of political economy, I look around and see the Total Spread of Democracy and Free Markets as the next Giant Leap. No one can really tell if the Leap will be gradual or sudden as in the case of the demise of the Soviet Union. Coming from the second poorest country on the planet that has had British-style parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy for over eight years now, a country where the largest political party is socialist, the second and the third largest presences in the parliament are communist (and there are about nine other smaller communist parties; armed Maoist guerrillas affect almost half the country in some ways), a country where it is taken for granted that elections will be rigged, campaign contributions are totally opaque, a huge chunk of the state budget simply disappears in a routine fashion - these to show that democracy has not yet taken firm roots in the country - and there is not a single major political party that claims to be a proponent of the free market ways; having been involved in active politics for a couple of years in a modest capacity - I was with a tiny political party that had two Members of Parliament in its ranks - what I see is it is not hard to see the ultimate goodness of democracy and free markets. When you bring those two together in fairness, social justice is a foregone conclusion as is genuine creation of wealth as opposed to the professed distribution of wealth you do not have; what is gripping is to try and understand the conditions that prevent those huge populations in the Global South from embracing these two fundamental concepts, hence my curiosities about the more raw social sciences.

I for one believe Democracy and Free Markets are as western a concept as the Theory of Relativity is Jewish or the Universal Law of Gravitation is English. Beyond a point the fruits of labor of the thinkers and the academics is the common property of all humankind to dip into and make the best use of for the largest possible common good.

It seems it is not enough to say popularly elected governments are better. It is not enough to say markets are the best mechanism created to date by humankind for the creation of wealth. I think the greater challenge lies in first understanding why those populations not yet under democratic regimes act the way they act and put up with what they put up with. If they are the less enlightened, as they are constantly told, it is the greater responsibility of the "enlightened" to first understand their conditions prescriptions are offered.

I think this is my time to spread broad and crown my undergraduate years with the queen of the social sciences - Sociology - with room to explore the rest of the social sciences, and the other areas of studies so that I can better concentrate on possibly acquiring a degree in International Law, law being the what societies gel into, the law being the true reflection of group dynamics in concrete action, the ultimate application, and at times the thick of the fight for simple and momentous social changes.

I earnestly hope I will get the requisite help from you.

Thank you for your support and your caring interest in my progress here at Berea College.

Yours sincerely, Paramendra Bhagat

Mainstreaming the Nepal Sadbhavana Party by Paramendra Bhagat
<http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9511>

Nepal Human Development Report 1998
<http://www.nepali.net/undp/keydoc/nhdr98/contents.html> The World Bank Group: Country Data on Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html> The World Bank in Nepal: Development Indicators
<http://www.worldbank.org.np/worldbank/indicator.html> Structural Adjustment in Nepal
<http://www.worldbank.org/html/oed/pr122.htm> Nepal: Environment and Development
<http://www.info-nepal.com/nhp/econ/env/unced.html> Nepalnet: Economy
<http://www.PanAsia.org.sg/nepalnet/ecnoframe.htm> Peopleís Review: Economic gloom and doom
<http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1999/01/070199/pol.html>

Emergence as a constitutionally-recognized national party----------

It was no small feat for the Nepal Sadbhavana Party to gain its national status in the aftermath of the first parliamentary elections held after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990. It garnered the required minimum of five per cent of the votes cast, alright, but barely that. For the first time, the dignity of the Terai had been placed as a distinct issue on the national political landscape. In the aftermath every political party of some import has had to deal with the issue. That has been the Sadbhavana's first major accomplishment.

Poor performance in the second elections contested in Gajendra Narayan Singh's leadership--------------------------------------------------

Although the Sadbhavana retained its national party status in the aftermath of the mid-term polls Girija Koirala rushed the country into, its size in the parliament was a reduced one and so was its share of votes. In the aftermath Gajendra Narayan Singh, as reported by those in his close circles, was blaming the Teraiwasis rather than the deficiencies in his leadership style for the sorry debacle. In the business world, they say, the consumers are always right. In electoral politics the voters are the consumers. What Singh failed to ask himself was as to why the Teraiwasi voters were not turning to the Sadbhavana en masse even when its espoused cause is just and in the Terai's best interests.

There were expectations then that Sarlahi District, the strongest Sadbhavana district in the Eastern Terai, might send some Sadbhavana stalwarts into the parliament; that wish did not materialize. There were some close losses owing primarily to the Congress misuse of money and muscle.

Saptari did good in that both Gajendra Narayan Singh and Anis Ansari won, although some ascribe that to a disproportionately large expenditure of the Sadbhavana funds in Singh's constituency. The Sadbhavana candidate Dilip Dhadewa, a Biratnagar Marwadi, gave tough competition to Shailaja Acharya in her Morang constituency. That too was remarkable. The candidate still holds promise. And, of course, Harka Lal Rajbanshi put up a strong showing in Jhapa.

But there was a downslide in the western Terai. Mirza Dil Sad Beg went over to the RPP ranks. Some say Gajendra Narayan Singh was pressured to send him out. Others say that Mirza did indeed have underworld links and felt it safer to gang up with the crooks in the RPP and so willingly defected. Whatever the underlying fact, the western Terai that had sent five Sadbhavana leaders as MPs the first time around sent only one during the second hustings in the person of Hridayesh Tripathy of the Public-Accounts-Committee-fame. The-then Vice-President of the Sadbhavana, some Triyogi Narayan Chaudhary, who had been a Sadbhavana MP the first time around, ran against Tripathy on a Congress ticket. Tripathy won anyway, but Sadbhavana lost four MPs in the process. The story goes that Girija Koirala first tried to buy off Tripathy. On failing that he bought off Chaudhary - some put the figure at eight lakhs - and sent him running against Tripathy.

But thanks to the hung parliament, the Sadbhavana has managed to get into power several times in the second, hung parliament, even when it had split, and had two MPs in one party and two in another - in the Nepal Samajwadi Janata Dal - for all practical purposes. Although its agenda was not advanced - though promises were made by the dominant coalition partner each time it came into power - the Sadbhavana did get its first tastes of power. All its four MPs, Rameshwar Raya Yadav of the Upper House included, made it into the Cabinet at one time or the other. Mirza too made it, though as a RPP candidate. Thanks also to the hung parliament, Tripathy got himself elected Chairperson of the all-important Public Accounts Committee (Atal Bihari Vajpayee held the same Chair in the Indian parliament before he went on to become Prime Minister of India). Again, Mirza also got himself elected Chair of another parliamentary committee.

And then we have the newest coalition that is to hold the next elections, and Gajendra Narayan Singh is in again.

In hindsight it might seem the hung parliament brought myriad windfalls to the Sadbhavana, but the party has failed to cash on that so as to grow and mature ideologically, expand organizationally, both within and beyond the Terai, and hold promise as a party that might send not six not three but 10, 20, 30, or more MPs onto the national stage.

Gajendra Narayan Singh's greatest blunder: Not accepting Tripathy's election as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee----------------

Gajendra Narayan Singh must be credited with having made sacrifices spanning a lifetime that the Sadbhavana has cashed on - there is no doubt about that - though he is not the only one as those in the Sadbhavana who have been trying to build political careers out of an unquestioning hero-worship of Singh would like you to belive: there are myriad giants of various political persuasions from the past on whose shoulders he stands. And the first general elections the Sadbhavana contested benefitted greatly from his leadership, no doubt, but just when the Sadbhavana had a chance to grow organizationally and expand ideologically after the second, hung parliament gelled and Tripathy got himself elected Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Gajendra Narayan Singh blew it. Singh ought to take sole responsibility for the massive waste of energy as evidenced in the split of the Sadbhavana party.

Tripathy, a MP of a party that had only three seats in the Lower House, managed to get himself elected Chair of the largest and most prestigious parliamentary committee that had 33 MPs on its rolls, and instead of seeing it as a huge victory for the party Singh felt dwarfed instead. Here was a chance for the Sadbhavana to become a two-issue party - the dignity of the Terai and the fight against corruption - as opposed to the single-issue party it had been all along. The Terai-specific issue was its identity, but it also hindered it from growing organizationally. Here was a chance for the Sadbhavana to grow and Singh blew it. The energy that would have gone into expanding the party's organizational presence went into an overblown intra-party warfare.

The break-away Nepal Samajwadi Janata Dal joked that all those who had been garnering at least 10,000 votes - Harka Lal Singh Rajbanshi, Dilip Dhadewa, Rameshwar Raya Yadav, Rajendra Mahato, the star-figure Tripathy himself, and several others - had come with the Dal, the rest who made political careers hovering around the party office 10-5 were left with the Sadbhavana.

And the Dal took another giant leap besides accepting corruption as a major issue in projecting Rameshwar Raya Yadav as its President. If at the national level, there was the Teraiwasi-Pahadwasi issue, at the Terai level there was the politics of the backward and the foreward castes, Bihar-style, and the Dal responded to that ground reality sensitively. The Sadbhavana, even after coming back together, has not managed to do the same.

The re-united Sadbhavana will have to project Rameshwar Raya Yadav more forcefully than it has so far. Maybe the Sadbhavana, at its next national convention, ought to imitate the Nepal Samajwadi Janata Dal, and put forth Yadav as the first in command and Tripathy as its second in command figure. That would be more appealing to the voters of the Terai than the current makeup where most of the Sadbhavana leaders are high-caste personalities. If not the Sadbhavana will fail to project an image of a party that stands for social justice. High-caste domination is the status quo in the Terai as in the country at large.

The Vertical Splits in the UML and the RPP: To the Sadbhavana's Advantage ----------------------------------------------------------

One would think this would be the Sadbhavana's chance. The-then largest party in the parliament, the UML, underwent a vertical split, and so did the third largest party, the RPP. The Congress might have become the status quo but so was the Panchayat regime once. The Congress has lost steam as exposed in the lack of spine on the part of its second-generation leaders to outdo the Koirala-Bhattarai duo and speed up the modernization of the party.

On the contrary a split Sadbhavana, that in its splitting might have set off the chain reaction that caught the UML and the RPP, finally came together. The Nepal Samajawadi Janata Dal was dissolved and Hridayesh Tripathy, Rameshwar Raya Yadav, Rajendra Mahato, Dilip Dhadewa and Harka Lal Singh Rajbanshi came back into the Sadbhavana mainstream. The Sadbhavana might still get more than 10 seats in the parliament, but the question is can it hope to emerge as a party to have crossed the 50-seat mark over the next few national election cycles? That is the question the Sadbhavana faces right now.

So far the Sadbhavana seems not to have managed a massive organizational expansion the vertical splits in the second and the third largest parties allowed it. It continues to parrot its four or five points as if to say the Sadbhavana leaders have been right along, if only the voters would get the message! The party ought to change its defeatist mentality and adopt a the-voters-are-always-right attitude.

Three Mantras: The Economy, The Economy, The Economy----------------

The most important question that the Sadbhavana faces is does it wish to continue to be a political party that has an organizational base only in the 16 districts of the Terai as opposed to the 75 districts in the nation at large even if the 16 Terai districts cover half the national population? Does it hope to continue to be a party that will get anywhere between 5-20 seats election after election or does it hope to go on to become a party that will cross the magic figure of 103 some day over the next 3-4 electoral cycles? Does it wish to continue having a Central Committee peopled exclusively by the Dhoti-Kurta people or does it wish to bring some Topi-Kurta-Suruwals into its folds at the central level?

If it is the latter and the Sadbhavana does wish to enter the national mainstream rather than continue staying on the fringes it might be time the Yadav-Tripathy duo moved towards providing leadership to the party and gave the party ideology a major restructuring and focused on the National Economy "with the intensity of a laser beam" without abandoning the four or five issues the Sadbhavana has been touting since its inception. Microsoft underwent a major restructuring of its vision in 1995 when it finally made internet the focus of all it does. For the Sadbhavana the focus ought to be the National Economy. It is only with such a change in focus will it be able to make progress also on its current pet issues.

None of the pet issues of the Sadbhavana will materialize unless the Nepalese in the hill districts agree to them. But then if the Nepalese in the hills and mountains are to understand the urge for the issues espoused by the Sadbhavana leaders over the past eight years, would it not be understandable that they would expect the Sadbhavana leaders, at the same time, would acknowledge there can be no larger issue than the National Economy for the peoples of the second poorest country on the planet? In fact the Sadbhavana ought to make the National Economy its number one issue even if it were to continue to be a Terai-based outfit. The National Economy is the number one concern also for the voters in the Terai, more than half of whom are dirt poor anyway.

Otherwise the Sadbhavana has, in its past eight years of its existence, managed to be the voice only of a tiny segment of the middle and upper middle class high caste voters in the Terai. Either it changes or it keeps to its single-digit-figure presence in the national legislature for the foreseeable future.

Economy of Nepal
<http://www.emulateme.com/economy/nepaeco.htm> Theodora.com: Nepalís Economy 1995
<http://www.theodora.com/wfb/nepal_economy.html> Library of Congress: Nepal, Economy
<http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+np0009)> CIA World Fact Book: Nepal
<http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/np.html> Nepalpages.com: Doing business in Nepal
<http://www.nepalpages.com/pages/business.htm> Center for Global Trade Development
<http://www.cgtd.com/global/asia/nepal.htm> Webnepal.com: Economy
<http://www.webnepal.com/nepal/economy/economy.htm> Ministry of Commerce: Export Promotion Board
<http://www.info-nepal.com/epb/> Nepal Information Center: Business and Economy
<http://infosys.zdv.uni-mainz.de/~baadj000/economy.htm>

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