Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [126.96.36.199]) by library.wustl.edu (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id PAA27398; Mon, 14 Jul 1997 15:56:25 -0500 (CDT) Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA27693 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Mon, 14 Jul 1997 12:41:38 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA27689 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Mon, 14 Jul 1997 12:41:36 -0500 Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 12:41:36 -0500 Message-Id: <199707141741.AA27689@mp.cs.niu.edu> Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: The Editor <email@example.com> Sender: "Rajpal J. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Nepal Digest - July 14, 1997 (4 Shrawan 2054 BkSm) To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Content-Type: text Status: O X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 236
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The Nepal Digest Monday July 14, 97: Shrawan 4 2054BS: Year6 Volume64 Issue 1
Women and Marriage
Volunteer in Nepal (opportunity)
Martyr Memorial Park, Hetauda, Nepal
Kathmandu Post Review of Books
Murder in Lumbini
The Joys and Sorrows of Teaching Nepali
A dinner conversation - a playful satire
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
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* +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
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* "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
****************************************************************** Date: 23 June 1997 To: The Nepal Digest <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Women and Marriage Source: ASIAWEEK Online
The best and brightest are snubbing men, marriage and baby-making for work, fun
and adventure. Should Asia be worried?
By Susan Berfield
HENRIETTA CLAUDIA "BONJIN" BOLINAO, a 40-something who runs her own
public-relations firm, was planning to
get married -- just as soon as she could find the time. First she had to help
produce a book, The Philippines: A Journey through
the Archipelago. Then her firm won two prestigious accounts, carmakers
Volvo and UMC Nissan, and that kept her busy. She
also decided to redecorate her apartment, improve her golf game, travel
around the world and spend more time meditating. Her
fianci, a writer in Manila three years her junior, didn't seem too
perturbed by the delays. As any sensible woman would, she
considered that a warning sign. He was "a good guy, with a thinking
mind," Bolinao says. Even her mother liked him. But maybe,
she thought, he was scared to settle down. Or maybe, her friends thought,
he was worried that she wouldn't.
Bolinao reviewed the situation: "He let me pursue my career and saw me through
hard times when I set up my company. But at
the same time he expected me to assume the role of the traditional Filipina
woman. I was supposed to make sure everything was
spic and span at home, be the perfect cook and ironing lady -- he even taught
me how to iron properly. That whole thing can get
really tiring." Bolinao and her fianci eventually called off the
wedding. "I really think we are soul mates. But we are better off as
friends," she says now, two years later. "I will always love him. But I
don't know about getting married."
For Bolinao, and women like her throughout Asia, marriage is not the first
priority in life. Nor is it the last resort, the only way
to secure a home and place in society. Marriage, for some, has become
almost an alternative lifestyle: it is a choice, not a
necessity. The majority will one day wed, but they will do so on their terms.
Single women don't all put marriage -- and
childbearing -- at the end of their list of things-to-do. Some are dating,
some waiting to meet their destiny in a taxi queue. Others
try their luck with the personals. But few of these single women -- or at
least fewer than men might imagine -- are laying awake
at night worrying about finding a suitable match. "A man for me is a bonus,
like winning the lottery," Bolinao says. "With or
without a man, I am fulfilled."
These single women have a few things in common: a high degree of educational
and professional success, financial security,
ambition and pride. For them being single at age 30, or 35, or older, is
not a stigma; it's a status symbol. Some might even call it
chic. They work hard. They travel. They are independent. These
women won't settle for men who don't inspire them or nurture
their aspirations. A good husband, they say, can keep pace with his wife
without stepping on her toes. These are women who
are used to having their own space. They want a man with maturity, not just
money; someone who will be a companion, not a guardian.
These women are quick to add that those kind of men are scarce. Or already
spoken for. Some suggest that it's not even worth
looking, given that too few marriages succeed. "If I were starting all over
again, I'd stay single," says Ellen Tan (not her real
name), a 37-year-old divorcie in Singapore. "Marriage is not everything.
It creates more problems. Some of my single friends say
they're lonely. But the burdens of a marriage are worse than being alone."
Some call that type of thinking sacrilege. And despite the changing mind-set,
the notion that a woman must be a wife and a
mother is powerful. Societies and families exert considerable pressure on
women to settle down. Most eventually do. But until
then it is usually easier for mothers than fathers to understand why their
daughter is still single. On the whole, women still bear
most of the responsibility for maintaining a home and raising a family. In
some countries women are expected to care for their
in-laws, boost their husbands' careers and ensure that their kids get onto the
fast track. Even if the couple can afford help in the
house, the woman still has to take the lead. Men will pitch in: they will take
the kids to the park or go to the supermarket. But that might be it.
For women, and men, who marry later the decision to have kids is just that: a
choice. Most couples will have children, though
smaller families are the natural consequence of rising prosperity the world
over. But to some the idea of women forsaking the
right, and responsibility, to bear children is profoundly unsettling. Listen
to Yi Mun Yol, 49, one of Korea's most famous
novelists and the author of a controversial book that challenges feminism.
"I have to be concerned about women evading marriage altogether because that has the same effect as evading childbirth," he says.
"I see that as a threat to the continuation of the world as it is." The trend has some governments worried too. In places like Japan and Taiwan, the pattern is most pronounced; in Singapore and Malaysia the changes are most pronounced upon. Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare forecasts that one out of seven girls born after 1980 will remain single for the rest of their lives. If current Japanese childbearing trends continue, the population could shrink to half its size by the end of the next century. The government is trying to prevent this by spending some $536 million on such programs as expanded day care. A few towns offer tax breaks and housing benefits to young families. In a classic sign of the times in Taiwan, family-planning officials have updated the island's 1960s slogan: "Two children is just right" has been replaced by "Go for two." The Singapore government provides matchmaking services -- one for college graduates, another for non-grads. It also offers child-care subsidies for working mothers and housing incentives and higher tax rebates for having more kids. In Malaysia, Works Minister Samy Vellu cautioned last October that a nation-threatening
"bachelor-girl syndrome was creeping into society." (Most
"bachelor girls," though, considered Vellu's comments to be a bigger cause for alarm.) At the heart of the matter is money or, to put it more delicately, national prosperity. "Working women have contributed to these economies," says Fanny Cheung, head of Hong Kong's Equal Opportunities Commission. They should be thanked for helping build up their societies, she says, not blamed for destroying the family. Indeed, many women stay single precisely because they are so successful. And in some cases, married women may be at a disadvantage in the workplace because bosses think their loyalties are divided. "My female executives are very committed to their jobs," says Khatijah Ahmad, managing director of the KAF Group of finance companies and doyenne of Malaysia's businesswomen.
"They are very serious and are probably not giving much priority to finding a mate." Not much at all. Professional women throughout the region are clinching deals, winning promotions, starting their own companies. Who has time to date? Or, as Malaysian Sheryll Stothard puts it: Who wants to make time to date? Stothard, 30, is the managing director of Hikayat, a Kuala Lumpur publishing and public-relations company she helped found 18 months ago. She hasn't seriously thought about marriage since breaking off a longterm relationship some seven years ago.
"Right now I'm more concerned about finding a good joint-venture partner than I am about finding a good man," she says. A few weeks ago Stothard was out to dinner with an associate; midway through the meal he mentioned that this was his first date in a while. To which she replied: "Oh, is this a date?"
"I am not lacking without a boyfriend," Stothard says. "If I were -- being the selfish person I am -- I would look. And -- since I'm ambitious and usually successful -- I would get him." Single men are the only ones still gauche enough to ask why she hasn't married. The last time three of her male colleagues posed that question, Stothard asked them why they weren't. "They went on about working too hard, not wanting the responsibility of a family, too many expectations," she says. "And I said, 'Yeah, those are the same reasons I haven't married.'"
Many successful women today see little reason to settle
for marriage. D. Katrina, a 31-year-old financial analyst in Kuala
Lumpur, is in no rush to make any compromises. "I think there is a lot
of sense in what Virginia Woolf wrote: 'A woman must
have money and a room of her own. The former stands for the power
to contemplate, while a lock on the door means the power
to think for oneself,'" Katrina says. "I've got that and I'm going to
enjoy it for a little while longer."
Time is a luxury women were not able to afford a decade ago. "It used to
be that women older than 25 would rush to marry,"
says Ikeda Keiko, a director at OMMG, one of Tokyo's biggest
matchmaking companies. "They would lower their demands
about the bridegroom year by year. Today it doesn't happen that way.
Women no longer give up their wishes after 25, or even
35." They are more likely to give up on the bridegrooms.
Irey Lau, a 30-year-old media director at Grey Advertising in Hong Kong,
hasn't given up on marriage. Just dating. "I don't waste
time on people I am not sure about," she says. Lau is about to join a new
company in a more senior position and move to
Beijing. During the next two years in China, she says, she won't waste
any time on men at all. The only people she will be
wooing will be her clients. Her father doesn't get it. Lau recounts a
recent exchange between them: "My dad said: 'You started
going with boys when you were 14. Now you're 30, and you're not interested.
What happened?' So I replied: 'I've seen enough for now.'"
She expects a boyfriend to be able to match her drive, if not her salary.
Lau's most enduring relationship was with a man a year
older but not as established as she was. "He would compare our positions.
He felt uncomfortable since I was earning more than
he was," she says. "I don't want to stop for anybody. I told him that my
career was more important than our relationship. So we broke up."
It is a familiar story. "Asian men are not yet used to the idea of Asian
women who are successful, who may outshine them,"
says Khatijah of the KAF Group. Some women, of course, will choose to stand
back -- Irey Lau would probably call that
standing down. She recounts one such instance: a colleague at another
advertising agency turned down a promotion because she
thought having a more senior title would complicate her search for a husband.
Others tell of women whose mothers admonish
them not to show off their intelligence; drop the Ph.D from your
business card, one anxious parent pleaded.
But dumbing down doesn't suit most single women. "I have money, a good job;
I can be demanding about the company I keep,"
says Susan Liang, a 49-year-old solicitor in Hong Kong. Liang divorced 10
years ago, built her own practice and raised three
children. Today her former husband is remarried, she is a leading lawyer
with a thriving firm and her kids are studying overseas.
"I don't want to remarry unless I meet someone exceptional," she says.
"I'm like the Europeans who visit China: I've gone to the Great Wall; I've got my t-shirt." In today's parlance: Been there, done that. It's true. Other women often are not the best advertisement for marriage.
"My sister-in-law has to take care of the kids, help my brother with his career, and do many things for my parents. She has a lot of pressure," says Laura Chao, 30, a radio deejay and MTV Asia music programmer in Taipei. "By comparison I am quite free. I can go wherever I want, do whatever I want." In Taiwan a person like Chao is called a dan shun gwei zhu, or Single Noble. To Chao that's a pretty accurate depiction. "My priorities are work, spending time with friends and family, and travel." Since graduating from college, she has toured through Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the United States. Her next trip is to the clubbing hot spots of Ibiza in Spain and the western Indian state of Goa. In pursuit of leisure. That is how many single women might describe where their money goes. "I just cannot give up my juicy life where I buy just what I like," says a 31-year-old hospital clerk who lives with her parents in Tokyo. She is not alone. There are more than 1 million unmarried women in their late 20s and 30s in the capital area, and developers these days are designing condos with their needs in mind (for instance, bigger bathrooms and more central locations). Insurance companies structure policies suited to single women (they, not their beneficiaries, receive pensions). Some funeral homes even offer single women places in specially reserved graves (since they don't inherit a traditional spot with their husband's family). It is all too much for some men. "Young women have indulged in too much freedom from responsibilities, which often are the base of real joy in life," says Takahashi Masato, a 53-year-old science teacher at a Tokyo grammar school. "They only seek pragmatic pleasures." But it is not just a material world. Women who can provide for themselves want men who can provide emotional support. It is the most precious commodity today. Betty Wei, 30, is a marketing manager for financial news at Dow Jones in Hong Kong. She is the youngest executive in a company known for its hierarchy. But her corporate existence is accidental. Wei grew up in Shanghai, attended university in Britain, married a man introduced to her by family friends, gave up a chance to work at the BBC and moved to Hong Kong because her husband got a job there. It seemed natural then. In Hong Kong, she couldn't find the inspiration for her real love -- creative writing -- and was frustrated that her husband fell asleep at ballet performances. He needed someone to put a hot meal on the table, talk about his work and go to barbecues with on the weekend, she says. He preferred that she stay at home. She wanted to work. "We didn't know how to care for each other emotionally," Wei says. "We were floundering, and eventually we drowned." They divorced after three years. "It turned out that I will pursue my happiness more seriously than I thought I would," says Wei.
"I would like to support my partner's career but I wouldn't un-do myself for him. In a good marriage, both people have to compromise." Thirty years ago these women would have been considered eccentrics, or worse. Today, double standards still prevail in many societies: bachelor men are envied, bachelor women are pitied. Call these women spinsters or old maids, though, and you'll hear about it. "I have a social life that's pretty fantastic, thank you," says Katrina. Despite their accomplishments many women still have to defend their decision to stay single, without seeming too defensive. A date with someone, anyone, invites the question, "Could he be the one?" Family gatherings are trouble, weddings are bad and family weddings are even worse. "I dread going to family weddings because of the inevitable, 'So when is it your turn?'" Katrina says. "I have to smile and mumble something polite. The question doesn't upset me, but the tone does. It is as if nothing else I've achieved in my life is worth anything if I'm not married." Indeed, single women are no strangers to those who calculate their merit by number -- and that doesn't mean their salary. Any would be able to tell you about the time her friend, aunt or colleague hinted that her sell-by date is fast approaching. Or that her saham dah turun (Malay for, her shares have gone down). Koreans say that single women should lower their eyes (in other words, their standards). In Hong Kong, they say that a 30-year-old woman is like a used tea bag. Of course part of the pressure to bear children is real, or at least biological. The clock is ticking, though not as fast as some insist, or as loudly as some would-be grandparents would like. They find subtle and less-subtle ways to remind their daughters that they, at least, are ready for a little one. For Chinese New Year, Wei's father gave her a statue of Guanyin, a Buddha sitting on a lotus leaf holding a baby. Some couples delay having children so they can save up; others so they can savor their marriage. Other career women say they just aren't meant to be mothers. Many men seem puzzled. Consider Korean author Yi's thoughts on the subject: "I think bees create the most perfect society. Every bee except the queen bee works. I highly value the fact that the bee that gives birth is the queen. I don't understand why women abandon the path of a queen and strive to become a work bee." But they do. One couple in Hong Kong have a three-year-old son, a full-time nanny, full-time jobs and a stack of books on child-rearing. She is teaching her son to read and supervising piano practice on the weekends. "I'm aggressive in learning how to give him the best," mom says. Her mother-in-law would like a second grandchild, but the 37-year-old has ruled that out. "I barely have enough time for one," she says. "How can I have two?" Wang Shih-sue, 29, secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and her husband David Liao, 31, decided they don't want even one. "Our work means everything to us," says Wang.
"Neither of us wants to quit working to raise a child. My freedom and quality of life are very important. I don't want to lose what I have for the sake of a child." Liao, director of the Taiwan Labor Front, adds: "The most important reason is that we don't want a third person interfering in our relationship." Their parents haven't been able to accept this notion. They wonder who will care for the couple later in life. "They also think we have a social responsibility to contribute a child to our society," says Wang. So do many governments, which, for now, are mostly run by old fathers. But some women believe that society should count on them for more than childbearing. And they are delivering.
With reporting from Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo
From: Bhikkhv Seevali <BS4@soas.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 17:22:20 GMT
Subject: Nepalese Buddhists with Candalika in UK
1st June 1997, London, Hammersmith Town Hall.
In the history of UK, for the first time Nepalese (Buddhists) took
part in the International funtion. With the guidence of Venerable
Bhikkhu Seevali the LUMBINI NEPALESE BUDDHA DHARMA SOCIETY (UK)
took active role in this celebration. It was the day where all
Buddhists in UK joint together to celebrate the Buddha Jayanti.
Although the Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, his teaching has no
such limit. As the teacher of human kind the Buddha is respected and
honored by the wise world. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal,
China, India got together to celebrate the Swanya Puni. Gathering of
over 1000 (thousend) started with administration of Panca Sila and
meditation. It was followed by speaches of Ambassidors and invited
gestes. Ambassider for Nepal in UK, Dr. Singha Bahadur Basnet also
represented Nepal. In the second half Buddhist cultural performans
took place. From Nepal with the supervision of Bhante Seevali
Candalika was staged. This performence was based on Buddhist story.
Caste system was very strong at the time of the Buddha for which he
was againest. Sadly it is still same in Nepal. Person is high or low
by action not by birth. Candalika, a young women, was born in low
caste. She had to live as slave. One day she was near the well
fetching water. ven. Ananda thirsty after alms round (pinda pata)
came to Candalika for water. She was shocked. She, as low caste
slave, was not allow to give water to high caste. This action is to
be punished. Out of fear she asks ven. Ananda to go to high caste
house for water. Ven. Ananda says: I asked for water not for caste. I
am thirsty so please give me water. Is is the first time that she was
treated as human. With full of joy she gives water. Ven. Ananda
blesses her and go away. With joy she dances. For the first time
Candalika enjoyed the bless of life.
Supervised by Venerable Bhikkhu Seevali,
Candalika was played by Miss Agni Gurung,
Ven. Ananda played by Mr. K.B.Lama,
stage arranged by Mr. Anand Gurung,
Narration presented by Miss Srijana Shakya,
Organised by Mr. Nima Lama.
Congrigation acknowledged Candalika as one of the best event in the
celebration for which Nepalese are proud. Having seen this
performence Candalika was invited to be staged on 22nd June 1997 at
Miltonkings, UK. The invitation came from Japanese Temple to
commamorate the 17th anniversary of Miltonkings peace pagoda. Over
300 people from differnt religion and Nationalites are invited.
Candalika will be staged with grate dignity in guidence of Bhante
Lumbini Nepalese Buddha Dharma Society (UK)
From: Bhuban Pandey <email@example.com>
Subject: Home Page for Nepalis Living in Texas
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 8:31:44 CDT
Hope everybody is enjoying the summer!
Please visit a new site in the Internet--the Homepage for Nepalis Living in
Texas. The site is at:
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 22:23:24 EDT
From: Michael Schell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Nepali tutor
Namaste. In preparation for a trip to Nepal this Fall, I am looking for
someone in New York who can give me Nepali lessons during the summer. Of
course I'd prefer a native speaker versed in the standardized spoken
version, as I'll be both in the Valley and the Hills.
Please feel free to forward my email address to suitable people. Thanks.
I enjoy reading the Digest on the Web, and keeping up with the Nepalese
diapora's view of events back home...
- Michael Schell
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 17:57:50 -0230
I would be most grateful if you could post the following message on
I am a journalist--a 36-year-old male--coming to the University of Maryland, Co
for a ten-month study starting from August 9, 1997, attached with the
College of Journalism. I am looking for a housing, shared or otherwise,
somewhere near the university. I don't have any particular preference
on housing options, except that the rent is reasonable and the place not
too far from the campus. A friend here who lived for some time in
Maryland suggested Wayne (?) Street, as being near the campus.
But there may be other choices.
I would be glad to hear from anyone on the above. My e-mail address
Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists
POB 5143, Kathmandu NEPAL
Tel: 231991, 230348
From: "Naresh Koirala" <email@example.com>
Subject: Initial Contact
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 16:48:27 -0700
The purpose of this mail is to re-establish contact with all Nepalese and
none Nepalese friends with whom I have lost contact over the years. My
name is Naresh Koirala. I have been working internationally for over 25
years as a civil/geotechnical engineer and I am presently in Vancouver,
Canada. I go whever I want to go, find a job there and stay as long as I
want until I decide to move ahead. My work so far has taken me to Hong
Kong, Iran and Thailand.
I, like every one of us is interested in the events in Nepal, and have been
thinking for a while what someone like me ( us ) could do to help bring
about a meaningful change in the lives of at lest some of our countrymen
back home. The news coming out of there sounds increasingly depressing and
I feel those of us leaving abroad may be able to change things for the
I would like to have a forum for a positive discussion on the role of
Nepalese abroad towards the development of Nepal. I urge those interested
to write in the TND columns with copy to my e-mail address which is as
I am certain the electronic brainstorming such as this will eventually lead
us to find something meaningful and practical.
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 12:29:58 -0800
From: "Douglas E. Butdorf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: I need an Indian Movie Distributor
I am in the need of an Indian Movie Distributor who has high quality
product. We are the Planet's Largest Movie Store, and will soon be selling
and renting Indian Movies over the internet along with the other 80,000
titles that we carry. Please let me know if you know anyone who can do
this job, I would like to give the business to a Nepali Company, but the
product needs to be of high quality.
The Planet's Biggest Movie Store
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 19:52:03 CDT
From: "Rajpal J. Singh" <a10rjs1>
Subject: Re: Volunteer in Nepal (opportunity)
In article <33B067C6.15B5@baka.com> you write:
>For anyone looking to volunteer in Nepal, I'm posting an announcement
>(on behalf of a non-profit org, Educate the Children, Inc.) that may be
>(A contact address is listed at the end of this post, and the 'reply to'
>function is set to send replies to them and not to me. However, I've
>volunteered with this organization myself, so if you'd like, I can give
>you my perspective as well.)
>Here it is:
>Immerse yourself in Nepali culture and make a difference by volunteering
>with Educate the Children (E.T.C.), a non-profit organization
>dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished women and children in
>There are two types of volunteer opportunities:
>1.) E.T.C. interns serve three- to five-month stints as English
>instructors in boarding
>schools at Kathmandu; room and board is free in exchange for teaching.
>These schools are
>a second home to the ETC-sponsored children who live there (as well as
>to other students).
> Interns develop warm and mentoring relationships with the children,
>many of whom come from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds.
>E.T.C. provides orientation and supervision, and charges a small
>fee. (Occasionally, placements in rural and/or public schools are
>Nepali language skills are usually required.)
>2.) The other volunteer option is for professional people with
>specialized skills who
>would like to dedicate several months to a good cause;
>placements are available in Kathmandu or in the village project area.
>Kathmandu office is always in need of technical support. E.T.C., as a
>pioneer in early childhood education in Nepal, also needs experienced
>educators for teacher training and development of innovative learning
> E.T.C. carries out its mission of educating women and children
>primary projects. The first is sponsorship of children in private and
>schools, which encompasses improvement of schools facilities,
>materials and learning techniques. The other is its innovative womens
>development program, which through literacy classes, group process and
>income-generation training, and micro-lending techniques, gives women
>tools to improve their lives and their communities.
> If you are interested in working with E.T.C. to touch peoples
>Nepal, please contact Kelly in our Ithaca office:
> Educate the Children
> P.O. Box 414
> Ithaca, NY 14851-0414
> e-mail: ETCithaca@aol.com
> (607) 272-1176
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 13:16:22 -0700
From: "Suren Shakya" <email@example.com>
Subject: Martyr Memorial Park, Hetauda, Nepal
I'd like to invite you all to visit a webpage I have put up about
the Martyr Memorial Park being developed in Hetauda, Nepal. I
also have a guestbook for you to sign and pay your tributes to
those people who gave up or lost their lives for some noble cause.
The url is:
I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions. ALso, if you have
information on personal lives of the martyrs mentioned in there,
I'd love to have them and add more pages to the site.
From: "Rajpal J. Singh" <a10rjs1>
Subject: Re: work in america
>I am currently a student at U. Wisconson. This past year, I spent five
>months in Nepal, studying the environment, language and culture. For
>three of these months, I lived with a family in Naxal, Kathmandu. The
>eldest woman's (aamako) daughter (Sushila) was my language teacher, who
>herself has two daughters.
>I am currently trying to help find work for Sushila in the United States.
>She is an excellent nepaali language and culture teacher, who has worked
>with many international programs, including SIT, Sojourn Nepal, and many
>private classes. She has also studied the dances of all nepal, and
>actually came to america for two weeks, travelling around the states with
>a visiting dancing group. there was no opportunity for her to explore
>America, its people or places. She wants to see america on this side of
>the world (she has only really seen it from the photos of students), to
>live in america for a short period of time and discover our way of life,
>as she has seen so many do in her country.
>She is, besides a wonderful language (spoken AND written) and cultural
>teacher, the best cook I have ever met, or had the pleasure of tasting the
>food of, and a wonderful mother. She is 32 years old and has raised two
>daughters without a husband (he left her because she refused to stop
>working) in a society that looks down, and makes it very difficult for
>women who do so. She is my didi (older sister) and I would trust and
>recomend her as I would a blood sister.
>She is not looking for a lot of money, for in Nepal, a few dollars is a
>hell of a lot of rupees, only the experience, and money enough to be able
>to send her daughters to quality universities in India or the west.
>Personally, I think she would be excellently suited as an au pair, working
>for at least six months in the US or Canada.
>please reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information as to where I
>could help find my sister work.
>Thank you very much,
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 15:51:39 PDT
From: Jigsaw Puzzle <email@example.com>
I am a Singaporean interested in volunteering my services to Nepal but
what are the requirements? Please inform accordingly because I cannot
find such information on your web pages. Thank you.
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 12:50:57 +0700 (GMT)
From: "Mr. Sagar Onta" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Help Needed
I am in my final year in B.E Civil Engineering student in SIIT, Thammasat university, Thailand. I am very egar to continue my studies abroad, preferably States, and I will be very glad if anybody can give me information on scholorship program. I have heard that one can join a PhD program straight from bacholars and that it has a better prospect of getting some aid. Pls clearify on these matter and if you know any university which has such a program, pls be kind enough to let me know. I will be grateful for any kind of help. Thank you.
A Needy Friend,
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 1997 01:34:22 +0545 (NPT)
From: email@example.com (Mary Des Chene)
Subject: Kathmandu Post Review of Books
This is the May edition of The Kathmandu Post Review of Books. The KPRB is
published on the last Sunday of every month in The Kathmandu Post. If you
would like it to be available in the internet version of the K. Post, let
the newspaper's editors know. Meantime, we will continue to make the full
version available in The Nepal Digest.
In this issue:
Making Conservation Affordable (by Jharna Joshi and Sailesh Gongal) Reviews: Water Rights, Conflict and Policy (reviewed by Kumar Pandey) Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India
(reviewed by Manesh Shrestha) Notes from a Small Island (reviewed by Swarnim Wagle) Aanandamaya Aakaas (reviewed by Pratyoush Onta)
************* THE KATHMANDU REVIEW OF BOOKS, 25 May 1997
Making Conservation Affordable
By Jharna Joshi and Shailesh Gongal
The restoration of Kathmandu's Hanuman Dhoka Durbar in 1970 with
UNESCO's help was the first major foreign-assisted architectural
conservation project in Nepal that went beyond the research and
documentation phase. Two years later the Germans restored the Pujari Math
in Bhaktapur. These projects heralded the era of international assistance
in the conservation of Nepali monuments.
In 1974, the Germans started the Bhaktapur Development Project, an endeavour that went on until 1986. In 1979, seven sites within the Kathmandu Valley were selected for inclusion in the World Heritage Site List. In collaboration with the Department of Archaeology (DOA) which was itself established in 1952, many foreign consultants are today involved in different heritage conservation projects in Nepal. The three-decade long history of foreign assistance and involvement in this field has been so pervasive that heritage conservation is today perceived as something that can only be pursued with foreign monetary and technical aid.
Prior to the restoration of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, conservation as a
'project' was non-existent in Nepal. Rather, the work of conservation was done in the form of rituals - periodic or seasonal - by responsible guthis. They also carried out minor repairs (such as replacing the jhingati tile roofs with brass roofs) during festivals or pujas. These guthis generated the necessary revenue for such repair and maintenance activities from the lands endowed to them.
The 1934 earthquake devastated most of Kathmandu Valley's monuments such as the Pachpanna Jhyaale Durbar (55-window palace), Taleju, Degutalle, Dharahara, etc. The restoration work that followed, perhaps the greatest one in Nepal's history, was achieved without any foreign assistance as far as we know. This was done using local skills and resources mobilized by the individual guthis and the Rana government of Juddha Shumsher.
The Documentation Relay: In post-Rana Nepal, with the loss in the overall efficacy of guthis, the inability of the Nepali economy to find alternate financial sources for the upkeep of the monuments, and the failure of governmental institutions to implement building by-laws, the business of conservation gradually shifted to international development agencies. Today, agencies such as UNESCO, UNDP, ICROM, ICOMOS and GTZ have taken the form of global guthis; their conservation works spread all over the world.
When international agencies first got involved in conservation work in Nepal, they funded various documentation and research projects, and helped prepare the plans of the cities and locational maps of different monuments. Some of these reports include: Recommendation on Archaeological and Architectural Monuments in Nepal (1963-64, Paor, UNESCO), Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Nepal (1964, C Jest, UNESCO), Development of Cultural Tourism (J. C. Pallaco), Recommendation on the Preservation of Historic Properties and Development of Cultural Tourism (1968, E. A. Connelly, UNESCO), Preservation of Monuments in Nepal (1970, N. R. Banerjee, Indian Co-Operation Mission), etc. These exercises definitely helped in the delineation of the Monument Zones for the World Heritage Sites. But except for the first few original works in this genre, the subsequent reports and their recommendations have been somewhat redundant. Since research and documentation involve the use of expensive hi-tech instruments by specialists, such redundancy has come at a high price. The on-going conservation work of Patan Durbar Square is an example of this.
The documentation of Patan Durbar Square was completed as early as 1981 by a Japanese team from the Nippon Institute of Technology. Latest technologies available at that time, such as stereo camera meter, were used for measurements and recording. But in 1993, UNESCO/Japan Trust Fund supported yet another study of the same at the cost of $375,000. This study was completed in two phases (the responsibility for each was given to two different teams) by 1996 using electronic theodolites to produce digital maps and drawings. A major part of the first phase of this study was done manually. Ultra-detailed documentation, especially of Sundari Chowk, was made. This is an excellent work of fine art but it lacks construction details. From the point of view of actual conservation work, it was also unnecessary given the existence of the 1981 Japanese Report.
Significant restoration of the Sundari Chowk, estimated at $265,800 by the DOA and UNESCO, could have been achieved with the money spent for the latter study. Another example of an expensive project was the restoration of Keshab Narayan Chowk in the same Durbar Square which took fourteen years (with many interruptions and controversies in between) and
$1,000,000 to complete. This restoration is exemplary from an architectural view point even though it may be unconventional from the perspective of
'pure' conservation because steel and cognate materials have been used.
The irony is that when these great monuments were built, the simplest of hand-made tools were used with great skill by local craftsmen. We are not even sure whether they used any scaled drawings to produce these masterpieces of architecture. And the entire cost of building was, of course, borne by the then Malla City states.
Affordable Conservation: Conservation work need not be prohibitively expensive. The restoration of Bhairab Mandir in Bhaktapur by that town's Municipality Office can offer us an example of affordable conservation. This restoration was completed at the cost of Rs.31 lakhs as against DOA's estimated cost of Rs.75 lakhs. The money came from the Municipality's own coffer and cost reduction was achieved, in the main, by the non-delegation of the project to a third party. Under direct supervision of the Municipality, local expertise was used for the restoration work. Without losing sight of the fact that the Bhaktapur Development Project initiated by the Germans had laid the foundation for conservation work in Bhaktapur, it has now become capable in preserving its heritage.
The case of the Bhairab Mandir should prove that conservation need not be expensive and that the necessary funds and expertise can be located within the country. Hence, after three decades of working with international agencies, it is time to assess where we stand in the field of conservation of our heritage. We need to assess what research has been done and what affordable non-redundant research needs to be done for future conservation work. We need to also assess the actual restoration work completed thus far and come up with ways to increase Nepali participation, both financially and technically, in future conservation works. We need to start an era of Nepali leadership in heritage conservation.
(Joshi is an architect. Gongal, a civil engineer, is an organizer of Martin
Studying Water Rights
Water Rights, Conflict and Policy
Edited by Rajendra Pradhan et al.
International Irrigation Management Institute, 1997
By Kumar Pandey
A workshop entitled Water Rights, Conflict and Policy was
organized in Kathmandu in January 1996 by International Irrigation
Management Institute (IIMI, Sri Lanka), Legal Research and Development
Forum (FREEDEAL, Kathmandu), Department of Agrarian Law of Wageningen
Agricultural University, Netherlands, and the Sanders Institute of Erasmus
University, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its proceedings have now been published
Water Rights, Conflict and Policy contains thirteen papers on water related issues. The discussions are diverse and deal with the existing legal system for irrigation, the customary practices in the villages regarding water sharing, water rights, family managed irrigation systems, inter-sectoral uses of water, state intervention, conflicts in the usage of water, and policies required for conflict resolution. Most of the papers are based on studies carried out in Nepal. The conference, and subsequently the proceedings deal mainly with water rights for irrigation, although issues of domestic usage, industrial usage, etc. are also entertained.
Usage of water, its distribution, rights of traditional users verses those of new users, the upstream and downstream rights all should be subjects of water rights legislation. Water Resources Act (WRA) of 1992, which broadly nationalizes the water resources of Nepal, does not clearly address water rights issues. The paper by Durga K.C. and Rajendra Pradhan describes real-life situations which put the WRA to test as far as water rights go. This paper specifically looks at "priority use rights, ownership to both land and water, access rights, rights to turn (for irrigation) in rotation, rights to convert pakho (upland) to khet (low land), full rights to use water, rights during monsoon or winter only, rights for way (for a canal), rights for compensation (for a physical structure), rights and obligations to contribute labor..."
Since conflict in water usage is often a very local problem requiring immediate and on-the-spot resolution, the court system or the nationally ordained Acts may not be the appropriate forum for resolution of such conflicts. In "Analysis of Supreme Court Cases and Decisions Related to Water Rights in Nepal" Bishal Khanal and Santosh K.C. show how the Supreme Court has dealt with very few water related litigation until now because the local bodies have been settling disputes on their own. For its part, the WRA provides leeway for settling water usage related disputes in the traditional ways. But given the nature of water related problems, and the promulgation of the WRA without sufficient study of the existing management systems, the Supreme Court may be drawn into resolving local conflicts as well.
State intervention for the welfare of the people is generally thought to be important and essential. This is especially true in the case of water where its uses can vary from traditional and relatively cheap irrigation canals, to large networks of drinking water supply for urban population, to very capital-intensive hydropower industries. In
"Inter-sectoral Water Allocation: A Case Study in Upper Bagmati Basin" Ajaya Dixit discusses the changes in the life-style of the traditional users, and argues that they can be partially attributed to the loss of their original rights to water after a drinking-water scheme and a hydro-power plant were established.
Inter-sectoral approach also requires coordination amongst the government agencies to carry out nationally defined goals. In the case of water usage a number of governmental and political bodies such as the Department of Irrigation, the Agricultural Development Bank-Nepal, the Village Development Committees, the District Development Committees, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Water Resources and all the legal and quasi-legal establishments are involved in one way or another. When these agencies cannot get their act together, inter-sectoral programs cannot be pursued with success. The article on Bagmati successfully shows the complex nature of water management problems and how "deficiencies result from institutional weaknesses and a lack of clarity about...water use and rights."
Other chapters in the book do well in studying how communities solve their local problems, how they manage their requirements, and how they solicit and find external help to meet their needs. They provide significant insights into current problems in the field of water rights.
This book can be fairly esoteric for the non-specialist readers. But for those involved in the field of water resources, especially irrigation, it should be an essential reading material. The book will also be useful to those development organizations whose obsessions include subjects such as public participation, community development, and legal support. Given its importance, IIMI needs to make an extra effort to make the book widely available.
(Pandey, a hydropower engineer, is an organizer of Martin Chautari)
India: State, Community and Individual
Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India
By Veena Das
Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1995, Rs.
Available at: Mandala
by Manesh Shrestha
Where does the anthropologist stand in the traditional (as
represented by caste and religion) -modern (as represented by law and
bureaucracy) dichotomy of India? Where does the
individual stand when, on the one hand, the state and, on the other, the
community demand her loyalty? Why does a person have to undergo suffering
just because she is a woman from a particular community? These are some
questions that the eminent Indian sociologist Veena Das has addressed in
Critical Events, a book full of brilliant analyses, though at times
inaccessible to the reader uninitiated in social scientific discourse.
Das discusses the critical events - the violence on women during the partition of India, the Shah Bano case of 1985, the Roop Kanwar sati in 1987, the Sikh militant discourse of the 1980s and the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy - to "arrive at the truth of the victim, a truth which is made up...of the daily suffering, the daily humiliation and the everyday experience of being violated." Das begins by talking about the dilemma facing the Indian anthropologist today. If she deals with caste/religion she will be accused of looking at it either from the "western" point of view which would be interpretation through an alien culture or from the
"Indian/Hindu/Islamic" point of view which is often labelled backward looking. The way out for the social scientist, Das maintains, is the
"destruction of certainty" by continuing to voice her concerns even when analytical consensus is unlikely.
When India and Pakistan were created in 1947 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh women were subjected to sexual violence. Women were separated from their families by abduction. Subsequently agreement was reached between the two governments to locate these abducted women and return them to their original 'families' so that the 'honour and purity' of these families and by extension those of the states were left intact. The state thus deprived the women from making their own choices. Many women refused to go back (and their new families supported them) but the state callously said that its honour was at stake. Even if an attachment had developed between the abductor and the abducted and such marriages had received community support, the state did not recognise such marriages and the offspring was labelled as a "blot" on Hindu society. In short, the state laid down the norms to govern women within the family.
Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: "In those states in which ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of their groups to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language." This implies that the community is a threat to the power of the state and vice versa. Das illustrates the point with the help of the Shah Bano case in which the Supreme Court ruled that her ex-husband provide for her maintenance; and the Roop Kanwar sati after which the state, through legislation, decreed "glorification" of sati a criminal offence.
In the former case the conflict was apparent since the Muslim personal law states that the husband is free of any obligation to a divorced wife. In the latter the community alleged that the state was interfering with its freedom to practise religion as glorification of satis, it claimed, is part of its religion. Das views these two interferences as the state's attempt to control the community's history and to submerge it within that of the state. This conflict can be resolved, says the author, only if both the state and the community recognize the paradox facing the individual. But then what? Das does not say and the answers are not simple.
In the Sikh militant discourse, Das argues, the feminine Other
(meaning the Hindu majority) must be rejected by the masculine Self of the Sikh if the community's historically 'valiant' narrative is not to be
'forgotten'. Sikh militancy was such a potent force in the 80s because Bhindranwale and others were able to transform personal injustice into misfortunes of the community. The violence carried out by the Sikh community was thus justified in this manner.
The last of the critical events is the Bhopal gas tragedy in which about 2500 people were killed and 300,000 were affected. Das concludes that the judicial and medical discourses insisted, though indirectly, that the victims accept the responsibility for their own suffering. Union Carbide and sadly the Indian government, which had taken over as the plaintiff on behalf of the victims with the Bhopal Act, proved that much of the suffering was exaggerated. It was even contended that since the victims were suffering from malnutrition and various diseases it could not be ascertained that the suffering was caused solely by the gas. The Supreme Court finally ruled that the government and Carbide settle for 470 million dollars, a pittance considering the damages caused. Had the government not represented the victims, Das says, the Court could have ruled that Carbide must pay a much higher sum. The victims were never given a chance to prove the suffering caused to them.
In the final chapter, Das analyses pain from an anthropological perspective borrowing from Durkheim, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, among others. Pain, she argues, must be collectively experienced to create a moral society.
(Shrestha is an MA student in sociology/anthropology at TU)
Notes from a Small Island
By Bill Bryson
Black Swan, #6.99, 1996
_________________________________ by Swarnim Wagle
Notes from a Small Island is travel writing at its best. Bryson,
an American who has lived in Britain for seventeen years decides to move
his family back to his native land but before he does this, he sets off on
a journey around the small island of Britain crisscrossing its many towns,
cities and villages. The book is an account of this travel.
Travel writing as a genre has always been a difficult one to fathom. One could easily do with a guide-book for facts and if one fancies being dazzled by prose one might as well run through a classic fiction. But good travel writing has always been about a delicate balance between the two and works that stand out do really have something distinctly theirs. Notes, however, vividly reminded me of Paul Theroux - another establishment figure of the genre, widely quoted by Bryson himself. Theroux, too, lived in Britain for exactly seventeen years, has done a similar travel around Britain's coastline and ended up writing a book (The Kingdom by the Sea) as funny as Bryson's. Similarity does not end here. Both men are Americans and the reason this is so interesting is that their foreign origin probably explains the phenomenal success of their works (Notes has been in The Times Best Sellers List for the past nine months). Having entered Britain
"positively radiant with ignorance", Bryson, like all foreigners would have had a large appetite for knowledge about the rain-soaked island. So when national traits that the natives tend to take for granted are cleverly remarked upon, it delights them.
This book is full of humour but what makes it additionally funny is Bryson's knack for sharp observation ("make a face like someone who's taken a cricket ball in the scrotum but doesn't want to appear wimpy because his girlfriend is watching"). Britain in itself is, of course, a peculiar place and a witty observer won't find it terribly hard to poke fun at the country's weird traditions and attitudes. It is the latter that Bryson almost exhausts describing. The immense diversity of regional accents and typically British idiosyncrasies are most wonderfully captured
- be it boring Welshmen recommending boring mining tours or London cabbies not bearing to admit not knowing the location of something they feel they ought to know, like a hotel, for example.
The British are understandably proud of their sense of humour. As I was once told - not as an exaggeration - that in other countries if people disagreed with you they might call you names or say you are a fool, but in Britain it is always "You don't have a sense of humour". Bryson has definitely picked this up and mastered the art of self deprecation that the natives so prize. The British are very good at laughing at themselves and Bryson seems quite comfortable joining in. At one stage, he writes "I looked uncannily like a large blue condom".
One thing I did realise as I read on however was that the book's full appeal may not be availed of by general readers detached from the British milieu. It would be difficult, for example, to appreciate a joke about, say, Morecambe and Wise if you have little idea who they are or what they are. But I will not say that is a pity because Bryson's strength lies in his ability to bring out the quintessence of an intelligent prose full of wit. This is one of the funniest books I have ever read and would happily recommend it.
(Wagle is a modest anglophile)
Remembering a Lost Era
By Madanmani Dixit
Gyangun Sahitya Pratisthan and Advance International Model School, 2053
v.s., Rs. 75
__________________________________ By Pratyoush Onta
Aanandamaya Aakaas is writer Madanmani Dixit's autobiography of his
childhood years between his birth on 17 February 1923 and the time he
entered Queens College in Banaras in mid-1940. At the time of his birth,
his father, Laxmanmani Acharya Dixit (1955-2025 v.s.) as well as his
grandfather, Mahila Pundit Kashinath Acharya Dixit (1920-1994 v.s.) served
in the court of the powerful Rana premier Chandra Shumsher (r. 1901-29).
Mainly due to Chandra's patronage, Kashinath and his seven sons and their
families lived a life of relative comfort in Kathmandu.
Madanmani begins by describing the moment of his birth as he had heard it from his mother Bishnukumari Devi (d. 2014 v.s.). His granduncle, Sadashiva had then predicted that the like of Madanmani had not been born in the larger Mani family. After Chandra's death in 1929, Bhim Shumsher punished all of Chandra's favorite courtiers and the fortunes of Kashinath's family took a nose dive. Laxmanmani was imprisoned for a good part of Bhim's 33-month reign and Madanmani provides glimpses of the poverty that ruled his family then. Most of Laxmanmani's property had to be sold off to pay back the money he had borrowed to pay the Rs. 70,000 plus fines charged against him by Bhim. In mid-1934 the family left for Banaras and the next two decades of Madanmani's life were spent outside of Kathmandu.
For aficionados of history, the details this book provides on life-cycle events, life in a huge joint family, the division of property, and gender & intergenerational disputes carried out across long-distances through post-cards will prove to be fascinating. We learn a few things about what it meant for electricity to arrive in the author's new house, his childhood desires for toys, or the various efforts carried out to educate him. The narrative and the few photographs provide testimonies of the desires and anxieties of members of a Hindu proto middle-class family dependent on the patronage of the Ranas during the early years of this century. This book also enhances our understanding of how Hindu patriarchy and strictures of caste purity combined with the forces of an increasingly more consumption-oriented modernity to produce the kind of complex childhood of Madanmani and his cohort.
It is also a document of how the ravages of nature (the earthquake of 1990 v.s.), and diseases that routinely killed children and adults affected even relatively better-off families of Kathmandu and Banaras. A historian interested in the social history of disease and early death will find much evidence here (much in the manner of Hari Shrestha's memoir, Atitko Smriti). Analysts interested in 'subaltern' historical worlds will find Madanmani's descriptions of people who fulfilled various domestic service roles (including some ex-slaves) to be helpful. In the absence of wholesome testimonies that might enable historians to reconstruct the worlds of such subalterns, they have to rely on fragmentary evidence derived from such elite writings.
Those readers who remember Madanmani's earlier memoir, Hamra Ti Dinharu (also republished as part two of the present book), will regret that the flow of that writing is missing in this book. Moreover this text should have been rigorously edited for clarity and erasure of contradictory details. One expects as much from a writer of Madanmani's stature.
(Onta is an editor of Studies in Nepali History and Society and convenor of
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 1997 23:08:30 +0545
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anil Sakya)
Subject: Murder in Lumbini
The tragic event has happen in Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha, in
Nepal. I am posting you an account which I have written based on the
information that is made available to me from firsthand sources at the
This matter is of great concern to all who believe in peace and the freedom
to pursue one's religious beliefs.
I hope you will use this information to raise awareness of the issues that
are faced by Buddhists in Nepal.
Yours in Dharma,
Bhikkhu Sugandha (A. Sakya)
Murder in Lumbini
Abstracct: (Lumbini, Nepal. 3 July 1997) At 10:45pm, Reverend Y. Nabatame,
a Japanese Buddhist monk, was killed by 6 masked men as he slept in the
open fields near the construction site of the World Peace Pagoda at
Lumbini. Dawa Tamang, a labourer was stabbed in the shoulder when he tried
to raise the alarm. The 6 men disappeared into the night.
To escape the summer heat in Lumbini, the construction labourers of the
World Peace Pagoda and their supervisor, Reverend Yutaka Nabatame often
slept in the open fields. On the night of July 3rd 1997, the peace of
Lumbini was shattered by 6 masked men who appeared at the construction site
armed with knives and pistols. At about 10:45pm, Dawa Tamang, who was
sleeping about 10 metres away from Reverend Nabatame, suddenly woke up with
a knife held to his throat. A masked man told him (in Nepali) not to move
or make a sound. Shocked and bewildered, he cried out "Guru!" (Teacher!)
and the masked man immediately stabbed him in the right shoulder to quieten
him. His cry alerted Reverend Nabatame, who woke up and asked "Kon hei?"
(Who is it?). He rose from his bed, and as he took two steps forward, another masked man came up to him and shot him once at the back of his left ear. Unable to help Reverend Nabatame, Dawa Tamang and another labourer, who was also held at knifepoint, helplessly watched him crumple to the ground. The Reverend died immediately, and the masked men then disappeared into the night. Thirty minutes later, the police arrived at the scene and found only a slipper which the murderers have left behind.
Reverend Nabatame was 45 years old, and was a disciple of Fuji Guruji of
Nipponjian Myohoji, Tokyo Japan. He had been in charge of the Lumbini World
Peace Pagoda since its inception in August 1993. The decision to build it
in Lumbini makes this project even more special, given the fact that it is
also the birthplace of the Buddha, whose teachings also emphasized peace.
Situated in the New Lumbini Village Cultural Zone, just 1 km away from a
Thai Temple, the Pagoda was to be 156 feet high, built at a cost of US$ 1
million. It is ironic that the Pagoda, like the more than 100 other World
Peace Pagodas around the globe which symbolize peace, should now also be
the site of a murder.
Japan is the first foreign country to express its interest to develop
Lumbini into a historical-religious site. When the most venerable Fuji
Guruji visited Lumbini on 24 February 1931, he sat at the site and recited
"Nam-myu-mo-ho-reng-gye-kyo" night and day, beating hand drums till people came and asked him what was he doing. He replied 'This is the Buddha's birth Place but I could find neither a road to come here nor accommodation to stay. I wish to see monasteries and the World Peace Pagoda around this place. I am determined to do whatever is necessary in my lifetime and if it is not finished it is my wish that it will completed in my next life.'
This news carried far and wide until it reached the head of the country at
that time. Fuji Guruji also sent a written request to the government of
Nepal, who replied in writing, 'This is Nepal. Foreigners cannot do
anything here. We will build our own.' With such a negative response from
the government of Nepal he left for India and started several projects
In 1974 Min Bahadur Gurung of Pokhara requested Fuji Guruji's help in
building a World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara. Construction of the pagoda went
smoothly until one night in 1975, when the Nepali military marched into
Pokhara and demolished the structure, which was already near completion.
The Japanese monk who was in charge of the project, Reverend Marioka (a
friend of Reverend Nabatame) was nearly killed in the process. Nepalese
Buddhists peacefully protested the cruelty and injustice shown by the Hindu
government of Nepal. Despite all their efforts, it was only in 1995 that
the Nepalese government permitted the Buddhists to build on this site
Worries are escalating that the murder in Lumbini is an echo of the Pokhara
tragedy in 1974. The initial reaction was to point the finger at
foreigners, in particular to Hindus from across the border. However, the
first-hand report given by Dawa Tamang, who was stabbed by one of the
masked men, revealed that the man spoke fluent Nepali, indicating that the
perpetrators were local. Due to the lack of impartial coverage of the
murder, there is little that can be said with any certainty. Religious and
political groups are maneuvering delicately around the issue, which seems
to be the rapid development of Buddhism in Nepal. Of late, a lot of
international attention has been focused on Lumbini, which only 2 days ago
was declared a World Heritage site. There are fears that the murder may be
the work of religious fundamentalists who are opposed to Buddhism. The
(only) oral clue left by the perpetrator seems to indicate that it is a local group. Unfortunately, a language or an accent cannot identify one's ethnic or religious background. Even if that clue is admissible, the
'professionalism' of the murder means that these are trained killers.\ and that anyone could have planned the murder.
But one thing remains clear: a heinous crime has been committed in a sacred
Buddhist site. It was not a robbery. The perpetrators knew exactly what had
to be accomplished that night: the Buddhist monk was to be killed. The
crime was well-planned, and professionally executed. The reason why is
still unknown. Right now, the senseless murder of Nabatame has to be made
meaningful. Not just to quell the worries of the Buddhists in Nepal. Not
just to allay the fears of the investors who are currently pouring money
into Lumbini. An innocent man has been murdered in cold blood. That alone
should be enough for the Nepalese government to start asking some
questions, and more importantly, to honestly answer them.
Bhikkhu Sugandha (Anil Sakya)
Srikirti Vihar, Kirtipur
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 17:37:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Puspa Man Joshi <email@example.com>
Subject: The Joys and Sorrows of Teaching Nepali
The Joys and Sorrows of Teaching Nepali to Nepali in the U.S.
By: Puspa Man Joshi and Arun Laxmi Joshi
(Presented at the 16th Annual Convention of Association of
Nepalese in Mid-West America in Chicago on May 25th)
Respected Chairman, His Excellency Ambassadar Thapa, Ladies, and
Let us imagine a scenario: a Nepali in the U.S. calls his Mom in
Nepal. Before the actual conversation has begun his Mom wants to
talk to his son. The person asks his son who is playing Nintendo
to talk to his Grandma. The boy reluctantly picks up the phone.
But within 10 seconds he is back playing Nintendo complaining
that he can't understand Grandma. At this point, the person may
respond in one of the following ways 1) becomming upset with the
boy for being rude to his Grandma, 2) feel sorry for his Mom not
learning to speak English or 3) blame himself for creating this
Five years ago, we were in this exact situation and realized that
we had been making a big mistake. So we began to teach Nepali to
our children immediately. Surprisingly, at the outset, we had to
face opposition from a relative. While the relative was visiting
us we requested him to talk to our child, Ashish, in Nepali. He
argued that since the child was born in the U.S. he is an
American. As the child is learning English we should not bother
ourselves by teaching him Nepali. Despite his opposition, we not
only continued to teach our children, but also started our
language class in Columbus in March 1995 in memory of our late
father, Moti Man Joshi, who was very much concerned about
worsening condition of our children's Nepali language skills.
Within two years since the class started, we have received
several inquiries regarding our class. Last year, Mr. Dambar
Gurung (1996) published an article in Yeti Views regarding our
language class. As the theme of this convention is "Nepalese in
America", we thought that the discussion of issues related to
Nepali language learning is very appropriate.
However gratifying the language class has been, we have not been
able to meet our expectations. If the test of success is
children's speaking ability, we can't claim that we are getting a
reasonable return for our investment. But we think it's
important to view the class from a long term perspective.
Now before we present some of the problems and issues related to
this class, we would like to detail some of the positive results
of our class.
1) At one parent-teacher meeting, one parent mentioned that
before joining the language class her child used to refuse to
speak Nepali in public because she felt that people stared at
them. Now after participating in the language class, the student
enjoys speaking Nepali in public because others can't understand
them. In her mind, the language has changed from a symbol of
shame to one of status.
2) During the New Year holiday, we went to visit Dr. Tamot and
his family who moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Columbus one
and half year ago. When we met them their first comment was:
"Because of the Nepali class, our son, Abhisekh, had begun to speak some broken Nepali in Columbus. After being away from the class he does not speak even a single word."
3) While we were summing up the advantages of our language
class, two students expressed their feelings: "Though we cann't
understand Nepali well we are still doing better than our big
sister who can neither write nor read Nepali."
In our class, we not only teach Nepali but share the heritage of
our Nepali culture by incorporating them in our lessons. We
teach them the difference between the Nepali calender and the
international calender, and the legends behind our Nepali
festivals such as Bhai teeka, Dashain, Gaijatra or Buddha
Indeed, one very important benefit is obvious. Had not we
started this class we would not have been sharing these
experiences with you.
We also should not forget other fringe benefits of our language
class. Every week, we have an informal social gathering of
teachers, students and parents who bring their children to the
class. We often have a chance to eat special Nepali snacks such
as choyela, momo, alu dum, lal mohan and ras bari etc.
Of course, we cannot be satisfied with these secondary benefits
unless children learn basic conversations. We have experienced
some difficulty, and would like to solicit some response from
1) Though we were both teachers in Nepal and have degrees
from the Institute of Education, before starting the class,
we did not have any experience of teaching language to children
who are partly Nepali and partly American and who have barely
been exposed to the Nepali language.
2) Although we do distribute handouts in the class, we are still
looking for a suitable text book. Because of our limited time,
we have not prepared a syllabus.
3) We would like to take children to the Zoo or Museum so that
they can learn language with some fun. However, as ours is an
informal organization, we must be cautious about travelling with
the students for legal reasons.
4) There is a considerable variation in the language skills of
children in the class. Some students have spent their entire
lives in the U.S. and others have been here only a short time.
5) The class runs only one hour a week. Children don't feel that
they have time to spend more than that because they have their
regular school homework. Thus, we have not conducted any exams.
6) Even during the Nepali class children are always tempted to
speak English, as you can imagine, it is a greater problem
outside the clas. Sometimes we are helpless. It is easy to
understand that children as well as some parents who have just
arrived from Nepal want desperately to learn to speak English
like other people who have been here for a long time. Besides,
English is an essential tool here in the U.S. We are also
struggling to learn it. So we can't be strict and force students
to speak only Nepali with other Nepalese outside our class.
7) One half of the students are teenagers and most of them have
been been attending the class regularly. But we wish they could
be less passive and act as role models for youger kids learning
8) Not all the families speak Nepali at home and our intention
is not to teach Nepali at the expense of the Newari or Thakali
language. Doing so would defeat our purpose, though we wish
parents could spend some more time to help their children.
9) If one of the parents is a non-Nepali speaker and he or she is
not interested in learning Nepali we may have another problem.
It would be a little odd if the child has to speak two languages
with two different parents.
10) Unlike in Chicago or Washington D.C., in Columbus, we have
only a few Nepali famiies, so children have less chance to
interact with Nepali speakers.
Another observation is that when we know a child is learning
Nepali we like to ask him or her questions using Nepali as a
test. But when the child can not answer quickly or answers in
broken Nepali we lose our patience. We begin to talk in English
because it is much more comfortable and saves our time, though it
reduces the opportunity for the student to practice Nepali.
Because it is a Nepali class, we have been operating on the
Nepali time table. Keeping our native culture in mind, those
whose lives are on a tight schedule should think twice before
running such a class. Though the class is one hour in length, we
usually spend much more than one hour because of tardiness and
It is important to note that these are our experiences running a
free, private, language class at home. A public language class
with or without fees would involve different issues and problems.
While solving some of these problems, such as finding a text book
or taking tests on a regular basis may not be difficult, some
other problems like asking children to speak Nepali outside the
class may have some practical difficulties. However, we plan to
run our language class with continuous improvements provided we
receive strong support of the parents.
The paper presented by Mr. Daya Ratna Shakya (1996) in Maryland
last year had several good suggestions for the parents who want
their children to learn nativity. Of course, some suggestions
are applicable to our class as well. But we also would like to
have comments and suggestions from you.
To close, we have one suggestion. Teaching our children Nepali
is a strong priority. We do not want to be blamed by our
children in the future for not teaching them our native language
and culture. We recommend that ANMA sponsor a two to three week
summer program where Nepali can be taught intensively by
professionals using effective multimedia techniques. We would
support such a program with our time and effort.
We are thankful that the Columbus Nepali community has been very
supportive of our language class. We would like to take this
opportunity to express our appreciation to Baidya, Phooyal,
Gorkhali, Sherchan and Tamot families, and to Mary K. Rose for
strong support to our cause.
Special thanks to two ladies- Mrs. Beena Baidya and Ms. Gyanu
Sherchan who never hesitated to drive and drop the children even
during the record breaking cold temperature.
Thanks all of you.
Gurung, D. "Nepali Language Class in Columbus, Ohio: An
Interview with Puspa Man Joshi." Yeti Views, Newsletter, NASA,
SC. Jan./Mar. 1996.
Shakya, D. R. "Nepali Language : A Question and Dilemma."
Presented in the Second National Convention of Nepalese and
Friends of Nepal at University of Maryland, May 25-26. 1996.
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 12:51:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Cheapest Airfare to Nepal
If you are looking for the cheapest airfare to Nepal, You got it. Visit our
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 56 21:04:05 0000
From: Parijat Desai <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: (no subject)
Pardon me--who is this Parijat you all are discussing?
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 00:28:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: A profile of musician Sharad Gurung.
The Road Back to Kathmandu
by Mike Zwerin
(of the International Herald Tribune)
While Sharad Gurung was learning Western music at the Berklee College of
Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, a carpet of dish antennas has
spread over the rooftops of Kathmandu.
Tourists in five-stars hotels have replaced the hippies in their crash
pads who "discovered" his native Nepal in the late '60s. Vulgar "Bombay
Mix [Hindi film-i]" music blares from ghetto-blasters. And kids wearing
baseball caps backwards and Ice T T-shirts can be seen drinking Pepsis
by the side of a road in the middle of nowhere.
After what he's learned during six years in Boston, Sharad would like to
change that. Well, not exactly. His goals are more realistic, more
modest -- and he thinks within his province. Still, it's a big gig.
When he returns home to Nepal at the end of the year, Sharad wants "to
start a conservatory for formal musical education emphasizing the use of
Western musical techniques in contemporary Nepalese music." He wants to
start an orchestra: "I'm looking for a new balance. Progress means
intellectual and artistic enrichment as well as materialistic
As a teenager in Kathmandu, Sharad was a member of the Brotherhood, the
first Nepali band signed to a contract to work in a big tourist hotel.
Their repertoire, which included standards like "Autumn Leaves", was
largely picked up from listening to the Voice of America. He had
"absolutely no idea" why he moved his fingers the way he did across the keyboard. And there was nobody in the country who could tell him.
When they heard a tape of Segovia playing Bach for the first time, the
three Gurung brothers wondered how one guitarist could play all those
lines. "Polyphony is not natural to Nepali music," says Sharad, the
youngest brother. "We don't have harmony. Or rather, we do, but harmony
usually means violins going up and down the wrong chord changes. We
accept this in Nepal. I really don't know why."
With a diploma in guitar from San Francisco Conservatory, his eldest
brother Kishor became the first Nepali with an (American) college degree
in music -- he has now opened a classical guitar society in Kathmandu.
His middle brother Prakash graduated from Berklee before Sharad, and now
works as a composer in Kathmandu.
Retired now, their father Ambar Gurung is a "well-known composer, singer
and teacher" who was a pioneer in what are called "modern [aadhunik]
Sharad, who is 32, has not visited his home once during his six years in
Boston. Although his family is not poor, the flight for him and his wife
is way too expensive. And although his father "holds a respectable
place" in the society, it's a poor country: "There are not more than 20
pianos in Nepal. There is only one public university, one national radio
station, and no music conservatory."
The modest four-track cassette tape recorder his eldest brother brought
back from San Francisco was the state-of-the-art hardware in Nepal. "We
were amazed," says Sharad. "We could record and record until we got it
right. It was a miracle." (At Berklee, Sharad elected to take a course
in recording engineering.)
Sharad's eyes shine when he speaks of his homeland. Abashed by its
material primitiveness, he is at the same time proud of its culture and
beauty. He has a combination of intelligence and naivet=E9, of energy and
reflection, and a mixture of humor and the philosophic that one thinks
as particularly Nepali.
Now there are more four-track cassette recorders in the country. You can
buy cassettes by Nepali singers now, and Nepali popular music includes
both Indian modes and Western scales. Although musicians play
traditional instruments like banshuree (a transverse flute) and the
madal (a kind of maraca), there are also acoustic guitars.
Sharad flashes a disarmingly direct self-deprecating smile before
admitting: "But mostly there are Casios everywhere." Casios are cheap
elementary electronic keyboard often used as children's toys in the
West. He keeps on smiling until he is sure you get the implications of
that, and then he shrugs: "Mozart is not generally known in Nepal."
"Except for some Indian classical pieces, we do not have purely
instrumental music. Nepali music is vocal. It uses many microtones, and
it is full of embellishments. We have no notation. Our tradition is
"The complex social structure of our country," he continues, "is greatly
influenced by Hinduism, from which comes the caste system. The musician
caste, known as Damain, is one of the lowest. My family caste is Gurung;
socially, we are considered higher than the Damain. Most educated
Nepalis might not believe in the caste system, but the mass population
Sharad was "lucky enough" to have attended St. Xavier's -- a school run
by American Jesuit priests in Kathmandu. He had no piano to practice on
until a friendly official of the USIS let him use the one in his office
during lunch breaks. Sharad sent a tape of his music along with an
eloquent "personal statement" to the president of Berklee. He received a
"The psychedelic rock the flower people brought with them gave most
Nepalis a narrow understanding of Western music as just loud noise
accompanied by drugs and long hair. People did not realize that in
America rock, jazz and classical music are taught in universities."
When he first arrived in Boston, "all of those fast and inventive jazz
piano players blew my mind," he says. " I was breathless, in shock, when
I heard them. "So THIS is jazz?!' I said to myself." And to learn about
the lives of historic jazz musicians, he read every issue of Down Beat
magazine since the '70s.
Sharad first years in Boston were "thirsty years". He couldn't get
enough. He carried 16 to 17 credits (a lot!), and he took a double major
-- piano and composition. It came easier later, but at first it was like, "I was confined between four walls, with no way to break through them. I had to learn the grammar of music until it became a part of my own language."
Sharad can hardly wait to sit down and talk to his father: "I've been
absorbing all I can in Boston. When I go back, I want to share what I
have learned with my fellow musicians in Nepal. I have put together lots
of teaching cassettes. And I've attached hard covers to better preserve
all my notebooks." THE END.
From: "sudheer birodkar" <email@example.com>
Subject: Book on Web - Ancient India's Contribution to Modern
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 23:39:09 PDT
On the occasion of the 50th year of Indian Independence, I have uploaded
the entire text of my book "India's Contribution to the World's Culture"
at the site:
The site is illustrated with fast downloading colour illustrations.
I invite you to visit the site.
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 1997 19:56:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: A dinner conversation - a playful satire
(What follow are REMEMBERED extracts of a conversation between a
socially insecure and intellectually unsophisticated, 18-year-old,
first-semester Nepali student and three of his American friends at a
dining-hall at a college in Massachusetts.)
By Ashutosh Tiwari
Hi! Where are you from?
Nepal. That's a country between India and China, you know.
But you look kinda like an Indian from India.
Well, I'm not as dark as the Indians, you see. I'm a Nepali. And Nepal
is an independent, peace-loving country. We have Mt. Everest there, you
Mt. Everest? That's so cool, man! Are you a Sherpa?
Not really. The Sherpas are a different group altogether. They live up
in the mountains, where it's very cold.
Mountains, wow!? Do you guys, like, go skiing a lot? It must be fun,
Well, not really. You see, the Himalayas are really tall mountains.
They're difficult to ski on. We just kind of worship them from a
Worship them? Are you religious?
Yeah, I guess. I'm a Hindu.
You're a Hindu? That's so cool, man! So you guys have, like, the
Yeah. But I don't really believe in it. Besides, these days, that's only
practiced in rural areas.
So, like, what's your caste?
Um, Brahmins. You know, that's like what you have here in Boston, I
guess. It's kind of, like, being at the top of the caste-system . . .
Does your Brahmin caste, like, dominate over all others?
Well, it's not really that. I mean, there are good Brahmins and there
are bad Brahmins. Historically, a lot of domination used to happen in
the past. But that's kind of dying out now. These days, we all get along
fine in Nepal. Like I said, mine is a peace-loving country.
But you guys are also famous for wars, right? I mean, for my
social-studies project at Exeter, I remember writing a paper on the
Oh, the Gorkhas!! Yeah, they are us. They're really brave and bold. You
know, they wield this special knife called khukuri that can hack a
person to pieces. Because of them, my country Nepal is known throughout
the world as the land of brave soldiers.
Are you a Gorkha yourself?
Well, not really. I'm only a Gorkhali, which is just another name for a
Hey, now I remember. My sister's college-classmate's boyfriend was on
the Peace Corps in Nepal. I think he found Nepal an awesome place. He
had, like, some amazing slides of a village where he had spent two
years digging a canal . . .
Yeah, my country is really beautiful. It is an awesome place. And the
people there -- though they may be poor -- are always friendly, happy ,
helpful and smiling, you know. You guys should visit it someday. You can
even go trekking from Kathmandu.
Katmandu? That's such a cool name for a place. How much snow do you get
there every year?
Snow in Kathmandu? Never. Much of the snow falls on the high mountains
-- the ones that are much taller than the green ones you have up in New Hampshire.
The air you breathe in Kathmandu must be very crisp, right? And the
water, very fresh?
Yeah, something like that. It's also very spiritual. Kathmandu's also
known as the City of Temples, you see.
How's the economy in your country?
Well, Nepal's a poor, underdeveloped country. Still, we have our pride
intact. While India next door existed as a colony, Nepal has always held
its head high as a brave, independent nation. But we need development
there. Fast. In fact, there's much we have to learn from the First
World. And, I guess, that's partly why I decided to come here, you know,
to learn from and to share ideas with you guys so that I can go back and
help develop my motherland someday.
Wow! That's so neat. I guess this is what the admissions office [at
Byerly Hall!] means when it keeps on sending out brochures saying that
diversity is the hallmark of this place. Imagine having dinner with
somebody from Nepal! I'm now going to call my Mom and tell her that I
just met a really nice Brahmin from Kathmandu. I bet she'll get a good
kick out of it.
Yeah, do that. I have to go to the Science Center, and finish that Expos
paper on Orwell that's due tomorrow.
[You were reading remembered extracts of a dining-hall conversation
between a socially insecure and intellectually naive, 18-year-old,
first-semester Nepali student and three of his American friends.]
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 17:35:23 +0545 (NPT)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mary Des Chene)
Subject: Kathmandu Post Review of Books, June 1997
This is the June edition of The Kathmandu Post Review of Books. The KPRB =
published on the last Sunday of every month in The Kathmandu Post. If you
would like it to be available in the internet version of the K. Post, let
the newspaper's editors know. Meantime, we will continue to make the full
version available in The Nepal Digest.
******* In this issue: Essay:
Two Global Villages: Yours and Others (by Khagendra Sangraula) Reviews:
China and the Maoist Economic Strategy (reviewed by Mahesh Maskey=
Everybody Loves a Good Drought (reviewed by Stephen Mikesell)
The Social Dynamics of Deforestation (reviewed by Amulya Tuladhar=
************* THE KATHMANDU REVIEW OF BOOKS, 29 June 1997
Two Global Villages: Yours and Others
by Khagendra Sangraula
A month ago, breaking through at Kathmandu's Thankot, I managed a chance =
get away. Throughout the bus journey, the mantras of the global village
were resounding in my consciousness - 'development', 'human rights',
'empowerment', 'decentralization', 'liberalization', on and on. My mind w= as crushed under a multi-ton heap of glossy reports containing the saga of those very mantras' magical achievements - 'development', 'human rights',
'empowerment'=8Aon and on. But on the secret inner leaves of those romant= ic reports there was also an unforgiving reflection of reality. Saturating that reflection, a parliamentary Pajero, a Minister's grand building, a robber baron's landed estate, the female sex's open trade, the music of AIDS, and Coca Cola's terror. In my view, the signal identity of today's global village is precisely that - that reflection and the meanings concealed within it.
To talk about today's unipolar global village without donning the costume
of the Ram-devotee Hanuman, is not without risk. To do so, moreover, amid
the English-speaking Nepali community may be yet more risky. Reading the
pages of English publications it often seems as if ancient Hanuman's new
global-editions are being born at a rapid rate beneath the devotional
banner of an English language, white skinned, dollar-shaped Ram. As the
devout labours of those who sing the glories of the global-village thus
intensify, new Ramayanas may be produced by the ton in our Nepal! And, it
can easily be imagined, those Ramayanas will be in English. And those
Ramayanas' divine characters will be financial capital, guns and
technology. In those Ramayanas the International Monetary Fund will take
the place of Raja Ram. And, surrounding those new emperors of the global
village will be loyal robots called 'independent countries' and
One need not go far to find an example; the robot-herd in our country is
not insignificant in size. Absorbed year round in the dirty games of
coalitions, our Pajerian parties are mere robots. One builds their
coalition, another tears it down. One writes their destiny, another erase=
it. They neither think with their own brains, nor make decisions accordin=
to their own consciences. The gift of the Mahakali package comes to them
from Delhi's brain trust. And then? And then the messenger of the global
financial market's emperors unexpectedly arrives in Nepal. And he makes a
threat - if the Mahakali Treaty is not ratified aid will be cut off. Good
enough - after receiving the hint of the financial global master the Nepa=
robots known as 'independent parties', singing the master's praises all t=
while, rush to enter the competition to stamp approval on the treaty. And=
in the master's own language, they speak - The Mahakali treaty is a
dazzling sun shining on the courtyard of the hungry-naked Nepalis on a
moonless night! This is not the sole story of the world's financial
emperors parading, via native robots, through every field of Nepali life =
there is an endless series of such stories.
In Nepal, under the banner bearing the global village's message, the
process of roboticization of the Pajerian parties and self-indulgent
intellectuals is a speedy one. Go anywhere, meet whomever, read whatever =
everywhere the fierce influence of the global village's philosophy will be
experienced. In robot-fashion, and in a mysterious language, Hanuman
parties, Hanuman intellectuals and Hanuman developers are reciting mantras
Om, Global Village, Coca Cola is Brahma, Aid is Vishnu, Pajero is the God of Gods, on and on. No matter how strong the willpower and power of resistance within you, this epidemic of global roboticization is not easy to escape. And so this writer has felt - under the shadow of the pressures temptations and threats of the robot parties and robot intellectuals perhaps, without knowing it, he too is turning into a robot. Go anywhere = to find a humane person, the few left behind in the global robot-harvest must be searched for. Ask whomever - to find a creature who refuses to become a robot is nearly impossible. At this cursed moment in history, the desire to find humane, simple, innocent, hardworking people to be portrayed in a novel led me to the dalit settlements of Parbat district.
In the hell-like settlements of dalits, sitting within their circle, I
sought for sensitive means to measure the influences of the global
village's development mantras. What kind of gifts has the global village
been sending to dalits? The chain of mantras came to life again on the
slate of my memory - development, human rights, empowerment=8Aon and on.
Taking the measure of the hellish life of a dalit settlement from an
intimate vantage point I felt - the boons of the global village portrayed
by Kathmandu's development paper factories are simply illusions. The harsh
reality of the global village is precisely the cruel life of dalits. If
that's so, then what is the presence of the global village in the lives of
Development comes there as mockery. In the village, though a few
development pipes arrive, not a drop of water comes. Roads arrive there as
terror. A road runs through the bottom of the village settlement. The road
has snatched away the load-carrying of the poor, confiscated their bread
and butter. A bridge has reached there as a hobgoblin. The bridge built
over the river has eaten up even their little ones' scarce gruel. Before
the bridge was there, dalit women would search the forests and jungle for
firewood and, taking their very lives in their hands wading the swollen
river, would go to Baglung bazaar to sell the wood. Nowadays, from the
bridge, an armed sentry guards against use of the forest. A new occupation
hasn't been created; the bridge has snatched away the old one. School has
arrived there as a torture-chamber. Aspiring dalits do not have the
financial wherewithal to send their sons and daughters to school. Those
who, regardless of whether they eat or not, do send them, their children
flee the school as humiliations and beatings become unbearable.
Those of dalit lineage must not touch the drinking water vessels of those
of Bahun-Baraju lineage; if they touch them they'll be thrashed. Dalits are
Hindus, but to enter a Hindu temple is strictly forbidden to them. When
drinking tea in tea shops they must wash their own glasses; if they don't
the Bahun-Baraju lineages form an All-Party United Front to suppress them.
There, the development, human rights, empowerment, decentralization,
liberalization and other such things portrayed in the stacks of glossy
reports of Kathmandu's development-dandies, are completely absent.
Some things are there: underdevelopment is there, demons' rights are there
disempowerment is there, centralization is there, un-liberalization is
there. The Pajerian parties' people, coming in search of votes, look just
like humans; after the votes are in the bag, while advocating Pajeroism
they are intent on suppressing dalits materially and spiritually, and
protecting the dominance of their own jati and class.
In the urban marketplace developers multiply like monsoon mushrooms. But
among these developers, who never tire of intoning, 'human rights;,
'people's empowerment', and other development mantras, it is hard to imagine one who is usually a critically thinking, independent person. It seems as if their individuality is also undergoing rapid roboticization. The global masters, in their role as dollar donors, have fixed strict limits on their outlooks. Confined within those narrow limits, they seem just like helpless frogs in a water tank. I'd like to ask these multi-hued intellectuals and developers who have contracted to eliminate the hardships and dry the tears of dalits, the exploited and the humiliated: Lords and Lordesses! Without bringing transformation to the putrefied social structure, how can transformation be brought about in putrefied human relations? But the developers are helpless; they have no order from the dollar donors to lay a finger on the putrefied social structure. Cocking an ear from the hellish courtyards of dalit settlements, a slogan can clearly be heard in the undertones of the global village's enchanting metaphors: "Lords of the world unite!" In the end, what for? To intentionally cause the desertification of all of nature and of human souls in order to satisfy greed and jealousy! The unfortunates of the world also have some aspirations and dreams, and they too have families and relations. Just maybe, they too worry for the future of their descendants. The roboticized parties and intellectuals may say - 'the philosophy of today's global village, based on greed and jealousy, is the eternal and final philosophy of human civilization. Therefore, there's no alternative to it.' But just like the tyrannical lords, dalits, the exploited and the humiliated also have their own slogan: "Dalits, exploited and humiliated of the world unite!" In the end, what for? Reversing human relations based on greed and jealousy, to lay the foundation for a life of bread and poetry based on love and collectivity. It is not only the world's tyrannical lords who harbour a dream of a
"global village"; such a dream sleeps within the simple and innocent souls of the world too. Trying to look insightfully into the minds of Nepal's and the world's dalits, exploited, and humiliated, it seems as if a sleeping volcano lurks there. One day it will awaken and explode. And the global village's other, new and living stream of banners will begin to wave. Respected ladies and gentlemen! Whose global village are you on the side of?
(Khagendra Sangraula is a fiction writer and essayist. Recent story collections include Hastakshep and May Diwas).
Mao, "Maoism" and Social Transformation
________________________________ China's Economy and the Maoist Strategy By John G. Gurley London: Monthly Review Press, 1976 by Mahesh Maskey
Advocating socialism over capitalism, Albert Einstein rejected a system
that trained individuals to "worship acquisitive success" in favour of one
that develops "a sense of responsibility for fellow men in addition to
promoting [one's] own innate abilities". He argued that all should reflect
on socialism, for what was at stake, in Einstein's understanding, was human
It is thus worthwhile to reflect on Gurley's book which, though 20 years
old, combines an exceptionally clear exposition of the fundamental
principles of Maoism with a detailed analysis of Mao's economic strategies
from 1927 onward. Such analyses can help to move today's debates from the
level of "for or against" to a deeper understanding of Mao's own principles
and activities, against which Nepali versions of Maoism may be measured.
Like "Marxism", "Maoism" is a much abused term. Lin Piao eulogized Maoism
as universal truth; for the Russians it became a derogatory term. After
Mao's death, the Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) revived the
term, giving it a sense close to Lin Piao's. Mao preferred "thought" to
"ism" for his philosophical understanding, for some very practical reasons, and fought against any tendency to transform his thoughts into an imposing doctrine. Deng's China reduced "Maozedong thought" to the experience before the Great Leap Forward negating, in effect, its very substance. Gurley uses the word "Maoism" for the coherent ideology evolved by the integration of Marxism with Chinese reality, helping us to see into the heart of Maozedong thought and its practical applications in China. During the late 60s and the 1970s, the Chinese development experience was widely admired in Third World countries. Shifting the dominant paradigm of development from an emphasis on growth and "development of productive forces" to the primacy of distribution and participation, it asserted that productive forces can be released and developed by continuous effort to change the social relations of production. China's achievements and experience in mass mobilization, debureaucratisation, health and educational policies, reliance on local initiative, and appropriate technology, provided a comprehensive alternative for development in the searching decade of the 70s. For socialist revolutionaries, China also provided inspiration for theoretical regeneration of Marxism. Dissatisfied with the soviet type
"bureaucratic state socialism" and Yugoslav type "market socialism", they looked towards this new path of "transition to socialism" which, many serious thinkers claimed, revived the original socialist values of equality, participation and collectivism. Renowned economist Paul M. Sweezy went so far as to assert that, "Mao was undoubtedly the greatest Marxist and revolutionary since Lenin, and history may in time rate him even higher". John Gurley's book helps us to appreciate the reasons for such praise of Mao and his thought. It provides rare insights into his policies and activities by linking them to their underlying philosophical rationales. The first chapter, after summing up key differences between Maoist and capitalist economic views, brings the essence of Mao's approach to us. Gurley writes:
Perhaps the most striking difference between the capitalist and Maoist
views concerns goals. Maoists believe that while a principle aim of nations
should be to raise the level of material welfare of the population, this
should be done only within the context of development of human beings,
encouraging them to realize fully their manifold creative powers
Development is not worth much unless everyone rises together: no one is to
be left behind, either economically or culturally. Indeed, Maoists believe
that rapid economic development is not likely to occur unless everyone
rises together. Development as a trickle-down process is therefore rejected
by Maoists, and so they reject any strong emphasis on profit motives and
efficiency criteria that lead to lopsided growth.
This emphasis on collective cultural transformation was central to Mao's
philosophical thinking - ever alert against slipping into what Einstein
called the "worst evil of capitalism - the crippling of the social
consciousness of individuals" by the exaggerated competitive attitude
driven by the profit motive. Gurley's discussion of Mao's thoughts about
markets, prices and profit motives, and his criticism of intellectuals and
economists who divorce theory from practice and promote rote learning,
clearly conveys the Maoist theory of knowledge.
How to realize fully the manifold creative powers of human beings is
central to debate among different currents of socialist thought. Maoists
reject a one-sided emphasis on material development that belittles the
question of human nature, and encourages development of productive forces
by all means. Such emphasis coupled with bureaucratic centralized planning,
Mao contended, only reinstates worship profit and accumulation of property,
fueling a reverse process of capitalist restoration and displacing human
beings from the centre. The post-Mao China under Deng accords well with
Gurley's book will be most informative if readers keep these issues in
mind. It provides a step-by-step account of the economic and social
construction of Chinese society during the struggle of 1927-1949, and after
the communists came to power. Giving a clear exposition of Mao's
dialectical thought, Gurley describes Maoist policy making as "the act of
choosing the form of struggle most suitable for resolving a contradiction.
"For Maoists, he says, "an economic policy is a form of struggle intended to expand society's productive forces by resolving a contradiction". Gurley shows how the different economic policies that came into existence during and after the revolution were tailored to the changing nature of principal contradictions. These highly specific adjustments are succinctly demonstrated in relation to the changes in land reform policies and deserve serious attention of readers. Whatever the system of reform, these class struggles were conducted through the active participation of the masses.
"Mass line" for Mao was the essence of revolutionary practice with the human factor always taking priority over "labor power". In accordance with Mao's emphasis to understand things and processes in motion, Gurley periodizes the economic policies of Maoist China in six distinct "waves" from the post-1949 land reforms through industrialization and collectivization, the Great Leap Forward, a period of readjustment and the Cultural Revolution, to post-1970 policy of balanced growth. Though the book does not treat the post-Mao era, it helps us to understand what was at stake: whether China followed a model giving primacy to productive forces or one giving primacy to struggle to change production relations.
Collectivization in China following land reform, and proceeding through
various levels of cooperatives, seems distinctive in the lack of coercion
as compared to the Russian experience. China's experiment with 'The Great
Leap Forward' and 'Cultural Revolution' provided alternative paradigms to
the world. In academic circles, there are equally strong criticisms of
high-handedness, abuse of authority and anarchy in these periods,
especially the Cultural Revolution. However, Gurley notes, quoting Mao,
that the central principle Mao wanted to turn into a
social reality was that epitomized in the slogan "serve the people".
Despite Mao's intent, "Maoism" has been subject to abuse from a wide
spectrum of political interests, from terrorist groups to the political
currents that visualize it as absolute truth or infallible dogma. The word
"Maoism" itself has come to bear a different connotation, at the insistence of RIM, which attempts to distinguish it from "Maozedong thought". The result has been a forced attempt to copy the strategy of Chinese revolution in other countries, despite Mao's own repeated cautions that his strategies were specific to Chinese conditions. In doing so these "Maoists" have missed the very essence of Mao's dialectical vision of things and processes in movement and change, of integrating universal principles with the particular realities of a country. Gurley's book provides a foundation for understanding the Chinese experience and its lessons for social transformation today, for both critics and adherents of Maoism. This is particularly critical for students of Mao's thoughts since, as Gurley concludes, in order to learn from the revolutionary development experience of China, one has to develop the ability to discern what aspects of that experience are suitable and appropriate for the realities of one's own country.
(M. Maskey, a physician and lecturer in the Dept. of Community Medicine,
TUTH, is presently studying epidemiology in Boston, USA.)
Reporting on Poverty
Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts
By P. Sainath
Penguin, New Delhi, 1996, Rs. 295
Available at Mandala
by Stephen L. Mikesell
This volume of reports by award winning journalist P. Sainath to the Times
of India (1993 - 1995), not only draws intimate descriptions of the poor as
human beings, largely in their own words, but analyzes in great detail the
processes that give rise to poverty.
As Sainath tells us, not a single newspaper in India has a correspondent
covering the issues of poverty and development exclusively. The full-time
'beats' covered by the mainstream press are business, politics, sports and fashion--in short, the doings of the "beautiful people." When the media does cover the poor, poverty is presented as an event, such as drought, cholera, or a minister cutting ribbons. Poverty, however, is not an event but a process, requiring in-depth research among the poor and asking uncomfortable questions. Usually it arises over long periods of time due to the convergence of many different factors: unequal landownership, usury, IMF restructuring, government corruption, imposition of big dams and so forth. The result of treating poverty as an event is that it leads government and agencies to impose simple solutions aimed at the immediately highlighted problem: tube-wells for the drought or an income-earning scam to mitigate emigration. Because these ignore the deeper roots of the poverty, the original problems persist and usually worsen, oftentimes disastrously. The biggest problem is that the poor are not asked to participate in the planning and decision-making of projects imposed supposedly for their own good. Thus, even if projects hit at the right problem, they provide totally wrong-headed solutions. The book documents projects that people don't ask for and don't want: artificial insemination in a region famous for its stud bulls; roads for tribals and untouchables that open them up to exploitation by plainsmen and enrich contractors; displacement of millions of people by dams, mines, national defense, and other "development" projects, creating the largest but least-reported refugee group in the world: "development refugees"; and ubiquitous debt and labor bondage, and destruction of rural society and agricultural production in India. From the perspective of the banks, contractors, and NGOs, however, such projects succeed because they spend money and their organizational objectives are met. Drought is good press and is treated as a problem of lack of water when it is generally due to unequal distribution of water. Pumps and irrigation projects for alleviating "drought", usually in water-rich areas, ruin traditional water collection and distribution systems and create "water lords" who squeeze communities of their land and labor. Big dams displace millions - especially the most vulnerable, tribals and dalits - while benefiting city dwellers and wealthy landlords. "Resource management" of forests, bamboo groves, and rock quarries means the state takes resources away from local control and turns them over to powerful contractor Mafias who exploit communities once dependent on them. Compensation for private land takes decades, if at all, and is never given for commonly-held forests, streams and pastures, which provide essential elements of the rural life, or for the community support institutions wiped out by development. The devastating losses of landless people, such as dalits, who depended not on land but on providing services to the displaced communities, receive no recognition. The book finishes on a note of hope. Gravel quarries taken from the contractor Mafia and grasping petty officials and contracted to women workers in Tamil Nadu transform the lives of their families. The government recovered Rs. 25 lakhs seniorage fees per year compared to the mere Rs. 525 collected from contractors. Said an official, "'The women's groups'=8Aare 'infinitely more productive, law-abiding and always regular in their payments.'" - food for the thought for those World Bank and USAID-wallas in the business of blindly promoting privatization of public resources into the hands of the contractor Mafia. In Tamil Nadu, newly literate women organize against country liquor, which by soaking up men's wages is directly connected to rural debt; and villagers' organize "van committees" to stop the forest department from turning the forests they've planted over to private contractors. In Madya Pradesh, the reservation of 30% of local panchayat seats for women promises to revolutionize local politics. In Tamil Nadu 100,000 neo-literate women learn to ride bicycles as a way out of breaking enforced routines and male-imposed barriers. For the mainstream press, NGOs are the great hope, and it treats them as standing outside the establishment. However, most are deeply integrated with the establishment, government, and funding body agendas. INGOs use NGOs to dump unwanted commodities and obsolete technologies, while providing white-collar employment to those who might otherwise object. As Sainath points out, "Nepal, next door, has over 10,000 NGOs--one for every 2,000 inhabitants. Compare that with how many teachers, doctors or nurses it has per 2,000 citizens." The main thing is that the poor, especially women, receive control over resources and planning. In his intimate reporting from rural India, Sainath calls the lie on mainstream coverage of poverty and points the way to very different paths of development. It should be required reading for all.
(Stephen Mikesell, an anthropologist and editor, consistently votes for
Deforesting Deforestation Scholarship
The Social Dynamics of Deforestation: A Case Study from Nepal
By John Soussan, Bharat K. Shrestha, and Laya P. Uprety
The Parthenon Publishing Group, New York, 1995
____________________________________________________ by Amulya R. Tuladhar
Just when the thick stand of deforestation discourses about Nepal is being
rapidly deforested by academic critiques and on-the-ground forest
realities, we see this one last wolf-tree. Why this book? Who do the
authors want to convince? These are questions I will explore while
But, first, a quick overview of its contents. The book contains four case
studies of deforestation (Koshi Hills, Rasuwa and Nuwakot, Kailali and the
Dhanusha districts), sandwiched between chapters on the deforestation
debate and on forest policy in Nepal. The key research question was whether
any generalizable lessons could be drawn from the case studies. The attempt
is laudable since, although Nepal is swamped by place-specific studies of
deforestation and forest change, even basic questions have not been
answered with a respectable degree of scholarly consensus. These include:
Are the forests increasing or decreasing? Are the primary causes of forest
change state, market, resource scarcity, ethnicity, labor shortage or what?
Despite many local case studies on each of these questions, we are at a
loss to figure out what is going on for the entire country.
Soussan, Shrestha and Uprety (hereafter Soussan) attempt, unsuccessfully,
to fill this void. The only general inference they manage is that
deforestation in Nepal is really two distinctive problems in the hills and
in the Tarai. The studies are limited to place-specific descriptions of how
factors like dams, urbanization, resource scarcity, or roads are at work.
Such issues have already been treated in fuller analytical detail by
others. While the bulk of recent scholarly work on forest change has moved
from a preoccupation with deforestation and other crisis creation to
careful exploration of factors promoting stabilization and recovery of
landscapes with trees, we have Soussan still pointing us to deforestation
as the central problematic.
Given that the book's focus is on local-external interactions that shape
forest-related social dynamics, it is strange that its "social" does not
include the Western scholars who mediate, with great influence on how
forest change is understood, between the local (Nepali) and the external
forces (Western donors interested in sustainable development). Soussan may
think this is peripheral (the introduction grants that "that there is an
element of political opportunism that surrounds current interest in
environmentalism"), but a number of recent scholarly works deal
specifically with this nexus: Western academia's role in constructing
deforestation and other crises to justify their continued intervention. In
the global social dynamics of deforestation academics are active players,
not just scribes, and Soussan is no exception..
The 'social construction of deforestation' asserts that deforestation,
especially its alarmist version, and the politics of external intervention
into the environment and sustainable development of developing countries
are steeped in the political economic interests of the West. Most
disturbing in this theory is the implication that the vaunted scientific
objectivity and authority of scientists and scholars is subservient to
larger political interests. Critiques of the role of Western scholars in
constructing a deforestation crisis can hardly be dismissed as mere,
leftist, out-of-touch theoretical rantings. Not only are these theoretical
critiques supported by in-country, dirty-boots experience, but also by
mainstream, empirical scholars with long experience in Nepal and far from
the theoretical and political lineages of these critiques.
Soussan justifies this book as a contribution to "an understanding of
sustainable development=8A in Nepal where the livelihood of the majority of
the population is intimately connected with the fate of tree and land
resources." In Nepal we have plenty of examples of negative effects
resulting from the altruistic sounding goals of Soussan's book. In the
1970s, characterization of Nepal's environmental crisis as massive soil
erosion brought interventions like USAID's $32 million Resources
Conservation and Utilization Project. After massive afforestation of Chir
pines, foresters had to confront local villagers who wanted broad-leaved
fodder trees not unpalatable pines. Moreover, villagers suffered from the
capture of local common property used for grazing.
While the interests of poor Nepalis are on the mind of authors, the end
results for Nepalis and their environment are far less benign and certain
than the payoffs of grant and consulting monies that European academic
institutions tap from international sustainable development agencies. Both
the funding sources and the publication venue of this study hint at its
real audience: not cutting-edge theoreticians in the field committed to
greater understanding, nor on-ground policy makers in Nepal, but the large
pool of money controlled by the donor community. These do-gooders with
money still subscribe to the notion that there is a deforestation crisis in
Nepal driven by population explosion and "primitive" social relations. For
this scientifically semi-literate audience, cutting-edge theory is too
abstract, and on-ground feedback from Nepal is too far beneath them, so
there remains a niche for bridgers like Soussan.
(Amulya Tuladhar is a forester currently doing a Ph.D. in geography at
Clark University, USA).
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 23:05:39 CDT
From: sikka19 <sikka19@IDT.NET>
Subject: Please help
My name is Robby Sikka and I live in Minnesota in the USA. I knew
Bhasker Dhungana and would like to contact him. If you could please
help me obtain his e-mail adress or his whereabouts it would be
greatly appreciated. I am from India and would like to visit him
while when I come next time.
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