The Nepal Digest - July 15, 1999 (4 Shrawan 2056 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thurs July 15, 1999: Shrawan 4 2056BS: Year8 Volume88 Issue2

Today's Topics (partial list):

       Men of Conscience and Principles
       Women and Environment
       A POEM
       MaHa in America tour
       Re: Visa
       Literary South Asia
       News Clippings

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Co-ordinator: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * Editor: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Open Position *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** From: "Rohini Sharma" <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Fw: Men of Conscience and Principles Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 09:01:45 -0700

Dear Friends,

A friend at work forwarded this to me at work. Its interesting fact and I am not sure how many of us knew it. I was not aware of it. Thought you may like to read as well. Happy 4th of July to all of you. With regards,

Rohini Sharma President, Nepalese American Council

-----Original Message-----

Men of Conscience and Principles

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted...we shouldn't.

So, take a couple of minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid..............

Lest we forget:

"You would be surprised how much we can get done if we don't care who gets the credit."

****************************************************************** From: SHREEJANA THAPA <> To: <> Sent: Saturday, July 03, 1999 1:00 PM Subject: Re: article for TND

Women and Environment: A Symbiotic Relationship By Shreejana Basnet-Thapa

 Nepalese women's population outnumbers men almost fifty-three
 to forty-seven percent and, naturally, they play a paramount role in our
 country's overall development. Most of these women are still
 self-employed and homemakers. To this end, women are the primary consumers of water, fuel and food since they carry the responsibility of cooking and cleaning for the entire household. But their work is not limited to doing household chores - it extends from the farm to the forest. As Bennett and Pradhan state that sixty-seven percent of their time is spent working in agriculture farming: planting, harvesting, irrigating and taking care of the animals. Women do over half the tasks associated with agricultural production in Nepal (WRCUN 1), where more than ninety percent of the people depend in agriculture for sustaining their livelihood.

 If Nepal truly wants to enhance its development efforts, it must recognize women as the primary producers of goods and services. This awareness must be based in the inter-relatedness of women to household work, agriculture, forest and other natural resources and the factors contributing to rapidly increasing environmental degradation in Nepal.
 Hence, women, protection of environment or natural resource conservation and economic development in Nepal have a very intrinsic and intertwined relationship. However, this symbiotic relationship may no longer be possible without the Nepalese women's renewed and proactive participation.
 It is obvious that the Nepalese women play a much larger role
 in the society than just performing the task of procreation and doing household work. Therefore, their role in preserving the environment cannot be overemphasized. But, their contributions are recognized neither by policy makers nor by planners who are responsible for the political and economic management in which women rarely participate (or are rarely allowed to participate). Consequently, most projects have given only verbal commitment to the inclusion of the rural female in their activities, and have bypassed the female farmer in their education and extension programs (Schroeder and Schroeder, 1979). So far, the most devastating impact of the depleting environment has been on women as Vandana Shiva points out in Development, Ecology and Women: "Insufficient and inadequate participation in development was not the cause for women's increasing underdevelopment; it was rather, their enforced but asymmetric participation in it, by which they bore the costs but were excluded from the benefit, that was responsible . it destroyed women's productivity both by removing land, water and forests from their management and control, as well as through the ecological destruction of soil, water and vegetation systems so that nature's productivity and renewability were impaired."
 In any event, we are slowly beginning to understand by now that conservation and management of natural resources should be the prime concern of any development plan in Nepal. In other words, development cannot and should not be achieved at the cost of the environment. We must seek a harmonious balance between development and ecology. Because of their heavy involvement in agricultural fields, soil, water and forest, Nepalese women are uniquely suited to fulfill a crucial role in conserving and nurturing our precious natural environment. In the same vein, not only Nepalese women fulfill a crucial role in this critical area, but they are also cost effective and it is the most convenient way of preserving our environment. Furthermore, it will also increase self-reliance while reducing outside assistance. Women
 are already familiar with the management of soil, water, plants, animal and agriculture production. Their knowledge must be augmented with modern and scientific know-how, improved agricultural skills, technology, innovations, and so on. These new skills can be taught to the local women with a minimum of cost rather than bringing outside experts to work in the villages. Moreover, Nepal also must search for new ideas or paradigms because old ideas have simply not worked. To begin with, we must learn to efficiently manage our domestic resources; they include both human and material resources. A broader participation of not only the urban elite but also the vast number of rural poor (both men and women included) should be the criteria of any development plan. The prevailing state-centered, top heavy or top down bureaucracy-led development plan is not working. It has never reached down to the society where the vast number of people live at the lowest rung of world's economic ladder, especially women. Nor it ever will as long as we stay on the current course. No one can, perhaps, honestly argue that we have outlived the utility of all public sectors. But the state-centered development policy has been too dominant and it has given no real opportunities for private enterprises or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to grow. Neither the state nor the NGOs will solve the developmental problems single handedly. There must be a combined efforts from both sectors. The history of NGOs in Nepal is very short. They started during mid eighties and began to grow rapidly after the ninety's revolution which reestablished democracy in Nepal. Already few women-led NGOs and environment-related NGOs have established an impressive record. However, many of them are burdened with over regulations and others, because of lack of regulations or proper supervision, are functioning without any accountability. They lack an effective central regulatory organization that helps them to be in proper place. In addition, these NGOs are also not very well linked with international organizations. As a result, these organizations are not performing what voluntary organizations should be performing. In fact, they have become as inefficient and corrupt as most government agencies are, if not more. Nonetheless, voluntary organization should be encouraged with proper regulatory guidelines. They have the potential to create "participant" political culture like they did in Western Europe and the United States of America.
 To encourage the people to understand the importance of women's involvement in the conservation and protection of environment, we must emphasize women's participation in forestry, agriculture and development activities. Most of the rural people hold opinion that no investment should be made on things that do not give immediate return because most peasants live on marginal or insufficient land to support their basic livelihood. The government and the media should take the initiative of disseminating information, educating and creating awareness about the significance of our environment. But more fundamentally, Nepal must work towards restructuring its political and social institutions, values, behavior, and attitudes, which conform to the present-day nation's need and global reality. Thus, the role of women and protection of environment should be the prime concern of any development plan. Only, then, a genuine and sustainable development may ensue in Nepal.

****************************************************************** From: To: Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 15:03:51 -0500 Subject: A POEM

A Captive

Traditional wedding band sound is Travelling swiftly in the thin air of This mountain valley. There is excitement in this Serene village with mud huts. Mass of humanity focused for this Occasion and others who are trying to Look busy are milling around. I can't help to wonder How perfect the setting is ? The heart piercing music echoing Through the white peaks And the prayers flag fluttering In the wind sending prayers To the heaven.

The color red everywhere ? The mocha color sunburned Forehead covered with red powder The soft arms of the women Covered with red bangles And their slim hard working body Covered with beautiful red saris Mouth watering food covered With red paprika The red hue of the sun reflecting
>From the mountains in this crisp evening,
It all seems like a very surreal Painting from Dali?s canvas. Even the flickering flames of oil lamp And candles seem crimson red.

Red is auspicious I have been told. But when I go to bride?s room to Satisfy the hungry eye of my camera I can?t believe what I am Seeing through my lens. A terrified child made up like a doll.
 I want to scream she should be Doing homework for her 5th grade class Or playing with dolls , or jumping rope With her friends carefree. But she is the bride. Tomorrow her whole world will change, She will be far away from the world she knows Thrust into an alien universe- A child in captivity. I hear people rushing through Pushing my frozen body. I hear a sound barely audible She is needed on the Stage for the ceremony.

I walk out of that narrow Mud hut room To the twilight of the evening. I can?t stop walking, Can?t stop cursing the cruel joke Destiny is playing with this child. Hot streams of tear Burn my cheeks. In the distance I see a bird fly out of a Pipal Tree. I run toward that tree Where the birds are Free to fly??

-Satish Mishra 7th Grade

************************************************************* From: "John Whelpton" <> To: <> Subject: Writing on Nepal: a reply to Seira Tamang Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 23:54:13 +0800

As a foreigner who has been involved with Nepal in various capacities for the last twenty-five years, I should like to comment on Seira Tamang's essay `Legitimating Marginalized Voices' originally published in the Kathmandu Review of Books and then posted in the June 7 issue of TND. I will not get into detailed discussion of Michael Hutt's translation of Bhupi Sherchan's poetry nor of Vincanne Adam's essay in medical anthropology but I think I may be qualified to respond on some of the broader questions.

As Seira Tamang makes explicit, the background to the controversy is the concern voiced by Edward Said and others over the way in which western academics come to be regarded as `authorities' on aspects of non-western cultures. The central arguments are that such `Orientalist' scholarship has often produced dubious and belittling generalisations which obscure the
 real complexity of the cultures under discussion, and that it reduces the members of those societies to mere objects of study or, at best, to providers of `raw' facts which can only be interpreted by the Western scholar. Whatever their nationality, virtually everybody now studying non-Western societies would acknowledge there is something in that criticism but many of us would also argue that the critique of
`Orientalism'. (particularly in the hands of Said's disciples rather than Said himself) can itself become a dangerous over-simplification. Said's own book is in itself an example of the complexities involved. He wrote it in protest at his own `marginalization' as an `Oriental' but the finished product is now quite central to `Asian studies' : you may agree or disagree with it but you cannot ignore it.

In the Nepali context. both Khagendra Sangraula and Seira Tamang exemplify a trend amongst Kathmandu intellectuals to react against anyone who enjoys a reputation as an expert on some aspect of Nepali life whilst spending most of their time outside Nepal. I think `outside of Nepal' is probably the key factor since resident `kuires' such as Ludwig Stiller
(a naturalised Nepali citizen) usuallly seem exempt whilst Nepalis who have settled in the U.S.A. sometimes come in for similar criticism. Nevertheless the `kuire factor' may also be important as shown by Sangraula's reference to `white skin' and some of Seira Tamang's other writings. She is quite right to point out that Europeans generally are sometimes still treated with excessive deference by Nepalis, but, in reaction to this, there seems a tendency now in some quarters to go to the opposite extreme and react with indignation when outsiders express any definite opinion on Nepali. Ideally, of course, whether anyone is based in Kathmandu, New York or London he or she should neither be regarded as some kind of oracle nor as an intruder but simply have his or her work examined on its merits.

The reason why this ideal is often not realised has a lot to do with the fuzzy boundaries between the different arenas in which discussion about Nepal takes place. If, for example, there was a clear linguistic demarcation of labour with people outside Nepal writing about the country and its culture in English whilst those within it normally wrote in Nepali
(which is roughly the case with the use of English and Chinese in writing on mainland China), there would be less of a problem: most people would be seeking a central position within one arena but accepting as natural a more marginal one within the other. The role of English as a second language in Nepal, not just a foreign one, complicates matters and is itself, of course, partly a reflection of Nepal's dependent position within the international system. In some ways this `intellectual globalisation' is very helpful, since it facilitates the rapid exchange of ideas but it also makes it easy for people in Nepal either to welcome foreign `products' over-enthusiastically or to feel there is an inherent bias against publication of their own work in the
 English-medium, international `market.'

Though there is not now any sharp boundary between these two spheres, their relative importance differs as you move from one academic discipline to another. As Pratyoush Onta pointed out some years back, there is an interesting contrast between anthropology and my own field, history. Anthropological work in English on Nepal, particularly in its more theory-laden varieties, is very much centred on Western academia whilst Nepalis (by descent or adoption) who work in Nepal are much more prominent in history. Earlier this year, with help from Michael Hutt and other friends and colleagues in Nepal, Britain and France, I compiled a select bibliography of just under two hundred works (English with one or two in French) on different aspects of Nepal published over the last ten years. The brief from the publisher was to cater for non-specialists and to give preference to work which would be easily available to library users in western countries. That latter requirement automatically created a bias in favour of work published in the West and thus also of writers based there. However, trying to give adequate coverage to each field and including items we felt were particularly outstanding resulted in a list with only 50% by outside scholars (normally foreigners), 40% by people based in Nepal (normally Nepalis) and 10% collaborations between the two categories. Not surprisingly, the anthropology and history sections were out of line with the overall average: `outsiders' were solely or jointly responsible for twenty-nine out of thirty-four of the anthropological works included but accounted for only one of the twelve on pre-1951 history. In contrast, there was roughly a fifty-fifty split for the thirty-three titles on `development' issues
(economy and environment). I don't claim the selection criteria were particularly scientific - as I was responsible for drawing up the initial list it often came down to what one not-yet-dead white male happened to come across or particularly like. However, as I was concerned with what I felt would be most useful and accessible to a non-Nepali reader, not with advancing the interests of either Nepali or non-Nepali writers, the proportions I ended up with may be representative of what the average non-specialist would come across as they began investigations.
 Whether these figures represent `marginalization' of Nepalese voices clearly varies from topic to topic, and, of course, we are only talking about marginalization in one particular forum - academic writing readily available in Western countries. Such a forum is itself quite marginal for a field such as Nepali literature, where what really matters is publication in Nepali for a Nepali-reading audience. In some disciplines, however, the figures will probably reinforce the feeling of a lot of Nepali scholars that they do not have enough direct access to an international audience. They also raise the question of whether the predominance of an `outsider' perspective might skew the picture of Nepal given to that audience.

On the access point, it is important to remember that an `outsider's' account will often be only the first port of call for the new enquirer who will then move on to works by `insiders'. Particularly in history and literature but also in politics and economics you would not be able to explore the subject in any other way. In addition access is likely to get easier. Publication of Nepalese scholars' work in the West is likely to be more common, particularly as more and more Nepali students pass through North American PhD programs, though those Nepalis who actually stay on in the West will have the best opportunities in this regard. Most fundamentally, as Seira Tamang notes, the rise of `instant publishing' via the Internet means that anyone can speak to the international academic community as long as they have a command of English and access to a computer - the real `marginalized voices' , of course, are those who lack those attributes. ( The Internet would be an even more effective tool for Nepali authors if there were better arrangements for work published in Kathmandu to be distributed abroad. Many books on Nepal in print in the West or in India can be ordered on-line through Amazon but not those from Nepal. )

The seond question concerns not the identity of the messenger but the message itself - how much does the kind of misrepresentation Said and others are woried about characterise writing by foreigners on Nepal? There are certainly some examples of this but you would have a hard job discerning a general `foreign and inauthentic' line to contrast with an
`authentic and local' one. Outsiders writing on Nepal disagree with one another on many points, those disagreements frequently mirroring ones amongst Nepalis themselves. In addition, problems of representation can occur for Nepali writers as they do for foreigners - whether an American or an American-educated Nepali writes about life in a remote part of the western hills you most likely still have a case of someone analysing a world that is very different their own daily experience.

Overall, I can see why a Nepali scholar would naturally want to have a louder voice in the international arena but I am puzzled by the depth of indignation that some people are expressing. It would be more understandable directed aginst a World Bank consultant writing his report on the basis of one brief visit to Nepal but seems odd when directed against foreign academics who spend many years studying and writing about the country.

 If anyone in Nepal thinks that a particular work by a foreign scholar has got something wrong then, obviously, they have the right to say so and TND is a marvellously convenient forum for doing that. It is equally obvious that Khagendra Sangraula's views on Michael Hutt's translations of Nepali literature should get a careful hearing because he is himself a distinguished writer of Nepali, and also that Saroj Shital, as a Nepali doctor, is in an especially good position to review Vincanne Adams' Doctors for Democracy. However, anybody reviewing someone else's work, and anyone responding to criticism, surely ought to consider the other person's views carefully and throughly and to show respect for the person even if they thoroughly reject the views. On that criterion, it seemed to me that what Shital wrote, though quite critical, was fair comment and so also was Vincanne Adams' reply: it is perfectly normal for a reviewer to question the value of what a writer has tried to do and for the writer then to suggest that he did not in fact fully understand her purpose. The case with Khagendra Sangraula's criticism of Michael Hutt's translations of Bhupi Sherchan's contribution posted in December 1997 was very different. Instead of simply putting forward his alternative version and his reasons for preferring it he launched a personalised attack on Michael Hutt, making broad allegations and drawing sweeping conclusions that clearly do not follow even if we grant that he is right about all the passages he thinks have been inadequately translated. It is quite absurd, for example, to argue that the omission of a reference to `the commando gang' in the translation of one passage is evidence of sympathies with the Panchayat-system and its strong-arm methods. As Michael Hutt himself demonstrated in his own response (TND, 20/12/97), only who was wholly unfamiliar with his other writings could reach such a conclusion.

Whilst not going to quite the same extreme, Seira Tamang also seems to be reading things into people's words that were not intended Vincanne Adams may want to reply for herself, but surely she was suggesting not that a
`native' is not allowed to criticise a foreign scholar's methodology but rather that a reader trained in a different field might have problems with the thoretical formulations currently in vogue in anthropology. As I myself am sometimes not sure I understand fully what an anthropological text means, I don't think anyone need feel insulted by her suggestion. Of course, Vincanne Adams could probably have made her point with less specialised jargon but then Seira Tamang also writes in `social sciencese':
 `acultural objectivism' (Adams) and `experienced materiality' (Tamang) both represent a very specialised use of the English language.

Seira Tamang herself goes on to quote a statement from the preface to a book of which I am a co-editor: `As foreign academics our job is simply to provide a record and analysis. It is for the Nepali people themselves to determine their own political destiny.' Our point, of course, is that foreigners are entitled to join in the analysing but only the Nepalis can decide what should happen in practice. She interprets us as meaning only foreigners can provide the analysis. Looking again at the words with a lawyer's eye I admit that technically speaking both interpretations are possible but surely readers would naturally assume the former one: if we did have the strange belief that foreigners had a monopoly on analytical powers, why would we have invited two Nepalese scholars to assess the other essays and add their own views in the book's concluding chapters?

To end, I return to what I think is the fundamental question of how academic debate should be conducted between people of any nationality wherever they are working. Seira Tamang sought to defend Khagendra Sangraula's intemperate language as a legitimate response to his own situation in a
`post-colonial' world of `structured inequality.' There is, of course, nothing particularly `post-colonial' about `structured inequality' since the latter has been a feature of all societies since the invention of agriclture. It is no reason why one 20th. century scholar cannot express disagrement with another in a spirit of mutual respect. We are all usually ready enough to criticise the squabbling politicians, so why can't we deal with each other in a way that sets them a good example?

John Whelpton

Hong Kong

************************************************************* Source: People's Review
 Thursday, June 24-July 01, 1999

 Subarna Shamsher Ranajee tells Of how Mohan Shumsher reacted to King Tribhuvan's asylum

(An account from the diary of the author, who was Nepal's very first election commissioner. Rana claims he is the only living person today who was associated with the Nepal-India Friendship Treaty and the Delhi Agreement before the return of King Tribhuvan from asylum in India. He also recounts HRH Prince Gyanendra's "enthronement". In fact, he says that decision was not accepted by King Tribhuvan, the Government of India or the British government.

The account below has been provided as it sheds considerable and interesting illumination on a little known aspect of modern Nepalese history. - Ed.)

On Tuesday, 7th November 1950 (22 Kartik 2007), that eventful day at 7 am, the Maharaja Prime Minister, the undisputed plenipotentiary ruler of Nepal, briefed the Bharadars and elected members of parliament about the situation in the country following India's granting of political asylum to His Majesty King Tribhuvan. He pointed out that this was an unwise and imprudent step by India, which had recently signed a Treaty of Friendship with Nepal. That move had come after a century of peaceful co-existence between Nepal and India.

Further, the Maharaja explained that he did not think it wise or proper for him to go to another country to try to convince the King about the unpatriotic step he had taken and request him to return. For that purpose he deputed General Arjun and General Vijaya to request the King for an audience. But the Indian Ambassador Chandraswar Prashad Narayan Singh sent them back saying that the King was unwilling to meet them. He again tried to contact the King by sending a deputation of General Vijaya and General Arun who was the brother-in-law of Yubaraj Mahendra. The Ambassador of India once again indicated that the King was unwilling to meet them. Then they requested the King -- through the Ambassador -- either to give Yubaraj Mahendra or his son Birendra permission to be the King. This request also was refused point blank. After that, Vijaya Shamsher read aloud his petition to the King at the gate of the Embassy and left it at the Embassy before returning.

The Maharaja then bemoaned that the burden of duty entrusted by Maharajadhiraj Surendra Bir Bikram to the Rana family to save the Kingdom from misrule and to rule Nepal in perpetuity, added a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of the Ranas. At present, he explained, his immediate concern was to safeguard the independent existence of a country which had no history of being ruled by others. The Maharaja emphasised that his and his successors' wish was not to break the lineage of the Gorkha Shaha dynasty like it was done of the Malla Kings of Kantipur.

The de-facto ruler of Nepal then, Shri Teen Mohan Shamsher revealed his intention to make Prince Gyanendra, (2nd son of Crown Prince Mahendra, who was intentionally left in the Palace when the rest of the family took refuge in the Indian Embassy of Kathmandu), the King of Nepal. The resolution to that effect was unanimously accepted.

Armed with the authority vested by King Surendra to rule Nepal in perpetuity to General Jang Bahadur Kunwar's family and the sanction of the Parliament to dethrone King Tribhuvan and enthrone King Gyanendra, the de-facto ruler Maharaja Mohan in the capacity of the Prime Minister of Nepal, put the de-jure ruler on the Nasalchowk throne (on which late King Prithivi Narayan the Great, had sat by himself, on that bright Chaturdasi night, of 26th September, 1768 without opposition just as Napoleon, the Great had snatched the crown of France from the hands of the Pope and put it on his head by himself) to reign over Nepal.

Thanks are due to the Government of India that the Rana regime which began after the enthronement of King Surendra was forcibly ended by the enthronement of King Gyanendra. Therefore, a new era of power struggle and intrigue began again with the end of the Rana regime. Those self-styled historians proudly try to erase that 104-year Golden Age from Nepal's history. It began with Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana and came to an abrupt end on 15th February 1951 (4 Fagun 2009 B.S.) when Maharaja Mohan Shamshere Jung Bahadur Rana received King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shaha Dev at the Gauchair Airport in Kathmandu.
************************************************************* Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 01:12:13 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: Timro tyo hasilo mu.haar ko

        Namaste everyone,

        Just a short note to let you know that this Nepali song ko web-site has been wowing visitors for some weeks now.

        Visit the site for once.

        Rediscover the joy of listening to those great aadhunik songs played on the Radio Nepal ko Farma.yashi Geet Kar.rya.kram when many of us were growing up in Nepal.

        Whistle a few tunes. Leave comments.

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 19:10:40 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: from

The following article (forwarded to me by Sagun Karmacharya) appeared a while back in Internet's hippest, coolest magazine:
---------- Forwarded message ---------- K @ m a n d u

Sanjib Bhandari may not exactly be the Bill Gates of the Himalayas. But his cyber-teahouses and other schemes are pushing Nepal down the "road ahead."


KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Back in the dark ages -- i.e. the 1980s -- phoning home from Nepal was a major project. I had to stay up well past midnight, then ride my rented bicycle down to the Kathmandu Telecommunications Center. There were endless, baffling forms to fill out. A good read was essential; connecting to the U.S. via funky trunk lines could take over an hour. And after all that, half the time the payoff was a dreaded busy signal, and a long slide back to square one. Today, the Kathmandu Valley, once the archetypal South Asian backwater, is wired to the gills. Satellite dishes yawn amid drying dung patties on the roofs of Himalayan lodges, the crown prince surfs the Net, and Radio Nepal -- the Hindu Kingdom's flagship AM station -- is online in real time, on RealAudio.

But the coup de grace is coming in the next couple of weeks, when Sanjib Bhandari, founder and CEO of Mercantile Office Systems (MOS), opens Nepal's first cyber cafe. Called K@mandu and situated just 50 meters from the high, spiked gates of the Royal Palace, K@mandu will be the first in a series of culturally hyper-conscious "Cybermatha teahouses." The phrase, Bhandari explains, is a play on "Sagarmatha," the regional name for Mount Everest. "And they won't be cyber cafes," he notes,
"because in the mountains you wouldn't drink coffee."

Bhandari, 37, is the dean of a new breed of Nepali techno-wizards. He has a round face, bowl haircut and easy, boyish charm. Like Bill Gates, he looks a lot younger than his age. Further comparisons between the Nepali tycoon and Microsoft's CEO are inevitable, though, by Bhandari's own admission, "I probably lack (Gates') killer instinct." Educated by American Jesuit priests at a private school in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhandari studied accounting in Bombay before going to the U.K. for a one-year course in computer systems. "It was very, very basic," he laughs. Still, the know-how he brought home was enough to thrust Nepal
-- essentially a medieval nation until the 1950s -- into the information age. He founded MOS in 1985, immediately after returning to Nepal. He now has 120 employees.

Bhandari decided to open his cyber-teahouses after visiting similar venues in Singapore and Sweden. It helped that improved telecom links have recently made such an enterprise practical in Nepal. But he faced a more intractable foe than technology: government censorship.
"The Communication Act of Nepal," Bhandari says, "flatly states that no form of communication can promote violence, sedition, treasonable acts or immorality -- i.e. sex. Right now the government is creating policy for Internet businesses and they know full well that you cannot guarantee -- no matter what technology you use -- that forbidden things will not come in. So we've had the buck very conveniently passed back to us. 'We'll allow you to run the Internet,' they say, 'but you can't do anything prohibited by the Communications Act.'" Bhandari's stopgap solution has been to follow Singapore's example. He'll set up proxy servers, block a few hundred of the Web's most notorious sites and hope the government credits him for observing the spirit of the law. "We think that's how it will be," he says, grinning.
"Of course, there could be one nasty guy who says, 'Oh, I saw a nude woman on a site through your service, and I'm going to shut you down!'

That's possible.
"Of course," Bhandari adds rapidly. "You can dial up India, you can dial America, you can dial anywhere, any outside line, to get access to the Internet. And they're fully aware of that, too." K@mandu will be launched later this month with five Internet stations. Two months later, Bhandari will open a larger teahouse with up to 20 stations. The design was inspired by the Sherpa teahouses you'd find on a trek into the Everest region. Like a Sherpa lodge, K@mandu won't have desks or office chairs. Instead there will be long tables and benches covered with traditional, loom-woven carpets.

But is there a market for a cyber-teahouse in such a remote location?
"Initially," says Bhandari, "I thought of tourists and expats -- people who've gone trekking and have lost touch with their electronic mailboxes for two or three weeks. For a cyber buff, an unthinkable situation! But I now think such people will constitute a very small part of our clientele. I'll tell you why: We had a computer show here in January, and we put about a dozen stations at that show. They were used from the moment the show opened until night time. All Nepalis.

They downloaded Film Fare <> (an India-based "Bollywood" fanzine), universities, chat rooms, you name it. And the average age was less than 20: people who can't afford an Internet link at home." Ever the entrepreneur, Bhandari has a number of other projects in the pipeline. One, already underway, is a "telemedical" service, a nationwide Net link that would allow doctors in far-flung health posts to communicate online with specialists at the major Kathmandu hospitals. Another -- inevitable, perhaps, though bittersweet -- is a plan to place VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminals) links in lodges or teahouses along the major trekking routes. Such links would provide around-the-clock connectivity to the MOS server in Kathmandu, and hence to the world at large. As Nepal gets about 50,000 trekkers a year, such a service could make a bundle.

"You could take a laptop with you on the Everest trek, or into the Annapurnas, and link up from there. It's a straightforward set-up." With a sigh, Bhandari adds, "The only obstacle is the governmental permission."

And a formidable obstacle it is. Despite ever-increasing baud rates at the telecom office, Nepal's bureaucracy creeps along at a snail's pace. One example? About 10 years ago, when personal computers first arrived in the Kingdom, customs officials at the airport didn't know where to list them. New customs forms have never been printed, so motherboards, modems and microchips are still being recorded right where they were in the 1980s: under "animal husbandry."


*********************************************************************************************** From: Paramendra Bhagat <> To:,, Subject: Replies to Bhupendra Rawat and Pramod Mishra Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 10:49:07 -0400

Replies to Bhupendra Rawat and Pramod Mishra

>Bhupendra Rawat
"On a serious note though: When he first started contributing to TND, Bhagat had a legitimate observation: That, all else being equal, a dark-skinned -- and excuse my choice of phrase, "madhisay-looking" -- Nepali citizen has less of chance of succeeding politically, socially and culturally in the so-perceived Nepali mainstream, which Bhagat defined as being dominated primarily by Kathmandu-based high-caste/high-class bahun/chettri/newars."

To me this is achievement. Finally someone has acknowledged the grievances are just. But Rawat continues to be sceptical of the two new strains I have introduced: the National Economy and the experiences of the Nepalese Americans. Maybe a year from now he will come around to them also. All those "links" he derides fall in the former category, and all the "personal" talk I have been talking fall in the later category. Infact I am about to introuduce a third strain: an experimental literary form of intensely personal talk. Hope that goes down well enough. To me the only real beauty about TND is it publishes stuff unedited. To each his or her own. I talk what I want to talk about, you talk what you want to talk about, read what incites interest, scroll down for the rest, and all remain happy. It is this free-wheeling attitude that keeps me here. Otherwise if TND were to change its policy, as the convenor recently has threatened to do, I will be long gone.

>Bhupendra Rawat
"Drawing upon his interest in economics, he started tooting the horns of free-market economics, and initiated a discussion on Nepal's economic performance. The discussion turned out to be a flop, with Bhagat exhorting readers to join him, with the readers typing the other way, despite there being a number of fine, young Nepali economists among us 1200-plus readers."

I wish things were otherwise. I wish those "fine, young Nepali economists" participated in a spirited discussion on the National Economy.

>Bhupendra Rawat
"It's obvious that Bhagat has a first-rate mind and is a fluent writer......"

I don't know about the former but as for the latter, you are right, all my postings herein are first drafts, and hence some of the spelling mistakes, like Joe DiMaggion instead of Joe DiMaggio.

>Pramod Mishra
"One may hate your views ..... but they reflect what many in the Tarai think in their hearts but for various reasons choose not to express. So in this respect, I must thank you for taking the time and making your views public."

Thanks for the compliment.

>Pramod Mishra
"It does not belong to TND. Who cares what you do or did or will do in your private life, how you spend your leisure, where you go during vacation, who you meet and so on?"

I have been trying to introduce a new strain on this forum: the experience of the Nepalese Americans. That is why I have also tried to take a look at the American politial spectrum as they impact the Ethnic Minorities, which is what the Nepalese Americans are.

>Pramod Mishra
"(I)t is damaging for any writer to be self-complacent, but unforgivable for an Third World undergraduate with First World opportunities and of such energy and enthusiasm to waste both his or her time and energy in posting material that has no relevance whatsoever."

I am about to get intensely personal, more than I ever was on this forum through an experimental literary forum. Bear with me!

******************************************************************** From: Bhupendra Rawat <> To: Subject: Parmendra Bhagat one oh two Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 13:25:39 EDT

Bhagat writes:
>To me this is achievement. Finally someone has acknowledged the grievances
>are just.

Don't be so smug already. You are already SELECTING only some parts from my earlier comments (TND July 1), while IGNORING others.

OK. Racism occurs in Nepal. You've established that again and again. Beautiful. Now what?

Do you expect people to sit around, beat their chests and cry themselves hoarse like you are fond of doing? What if people are interested in the issue but NOT interested in the way you keep shoving it down their gullet as though you are their saviour? After all, don't people have the RIGHT to be uninterested in your causes and in the ways you are promoting them? Scrolling is one option, of course; but what if people want to read -- Bhagat-free TND issues -- for a change. Would this be impinging upon your right to expression?

>From a polemical standpoint, though: you haven't gone beyond ASSERTING a
simple truth. A Rai could stand up and say the same thing that you have been saying. A Gurung could stand up and say the same thing. A poor bahun from Tikapur, Kailali could also say the same thing. Racism occurs in Nepal. Beautiful. Now what? And I can show you a number of "dark-skinned madhisay"
(excuse my choice of phrases) who -- born in Sirahs, Saptari wherever -- have gone to win government-sponsored scholarships for higher education, and who have gone on to hold significant positions civil service and the private sector and so on.

The point is: your assertion is so general, so vague that it is hardly useful as a debating strategy to push your points forward. And you are definitely NOT serving anti-racism's interests by intellectually ALIENATING, what I perceive to be, a large number of the people who are at least sympathetic (note my choice of word here) to your assertion.

>But Rawat continues to be sceptical of the two new strains I have
>introduced: the National Economy and the experiences of the Nepalese
>Americans. Maybe a year from now he will come around to them also.

Nice wish.

>those "links" he derides fall in the former category, and all the
>talk I have been talking fall in the later category. Infact I am about to
>introuduce a third strain: an experimental literary form of intensely
>personal talk.

Oh, Mero Bhagwan!!

Memo to myself: Be sure to cancel my subscription to TND as soon as Bhagat gets "intensely personal".

Memo to TND readers: All right, guys and gals, coming soon to a computer screen near you: The sex life of Parmendra Bhagat as he gets "intensely personal" to tell you all about that gori Kathmandu ko keti who rejected him on the basis of his skin color.

Is this the sort of stuff we will have to put up with to bear up with your
"intensely personal" chatter? I see why not, noting the directions Bhagat is moving to.

>Hope that goes down well enough. To me the only real beauty
>about TND is it publishes stuff unedited. To each his or her own. I talk
>what I want to talk about, you talk what you want to talk about, read what
>incites interest, scroll down for the rest, and all remain happy. It is
>this free-wheeling attitude that keeps me here. Otherwise if TND were to
>change its policy, as the convenor recently has threatened to do, I will be
>long gone.

Why don't you start your own internet magazine on issues that are dear to your heart and find your own subcribers? You believe in free markets, don't you? Well, dammit, become a competitor, and find your own market. Why piggy-back on TND like this?

TND, after all, is based on a socialist model: The editors work for free; contributors are free to dump anythingthey want; readers put up with enormous amount of garbage and so on and on.

A free-marketeer like yourself is better off testing the validity of your ideas by creating your own markets and own niches. This would also publicly best prove your commitments to free markets. Think about this.

>I wish things were otherwise. I wish those "fine, young Nepali economists"
>participated in a spirited discussion on the National Economy.

Bhagat: Let me not beat around the bush. Few people are going to learn anything new from you about economics at this point. So leave it at that for now. OK?

And remember the irst rule of human relationships: Barring a few, people often discuss things with people they are comfortable with. Now, that's something you can chew on.

******************************************************************* Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 09:49:28 -0600 From: "Umesh Giri" <> Subject: MaHa in America tour

Hello everyone,

All time greatest Nepalese comedian dual 'MaHa jodi' is planing to visit US with the purpose of launching its recent comedy show called 'Remote Control', a comedy show about the Nepalese in America. They have requested all individuals and Nepali organizations to provide them with necessary accommodations needed for their program. They are accompanied by other artists like Raja Ram Poudel, Kiran KC, Prakash Shrestha, Saranga Shrestha.... who will be performing other programs as well. They are anticipated to arrive in Denver, Colorado in 2nd week of September but the exact date is to be fixed yet.

Since it is not easy for MaHa to coordinate the program from Nepal, I'm taking the initiative to provide you as much information as possible. I'm sure many of us are waiting for this opportunity. We, a group of Nepalese, are arranging this program in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. We are requesting each city individual/organization to help perform the program in the corresponding city by reserving the theater/auditorium, selling tickets, etc. Before we schedule a program, it is necessary to find out how many of us are ready to have fun with the greatest comedians. As for now, the venue is still tentative because we have to have some kind of assurances to bear all the expenses Ė travel, logding/fooding, etc. Iím sure they would like to make some profit as well because this is what they do for living.

If you have any questions, I will try my best to gather information for you. Pradeep Shrestha, MaHa's colse friend, has asked me to pass the above information to all Nepalese in the US. Please pass this message to your friends/organizations. To advertise the program, I have set up a web page at FYI, Iím a huge MaHa fan and Iím doing all this as a volunteer.

Umesh Giri Denver, CO 303-624-4232

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999 10:08:19 -0400 Forwarded by: "Prahlad D. Pant" <> Subject: Re: Visa

In case you missed, here is a recent article from the New York Times. Can we now hope for some action by the Nepalese government?


                                              BY CELIA W. DUGGER The New York Times

NEW DELHI, India -- The Indian Government last week initiated a program that will make it easier for people of Indian descent sprinkled around the globe to travel to their familial homeland and to invest in it, but it stopped short of giving them the right to vote, which many of them have sought.

The hope is that doctors, lawyers and bankers, as well as executives in multinational corporations and others among the millions of people of Indian descent living around the world, will invest in India, or persuade others with deep corporate pockets to do so contributing to the country's economic growth, officials said.

"There will be a broader mass base who may be willing to invest in India," said Anin Trigunayat, an officer in the passport and visa division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

'The new program came in the same week that Indian officials announced loosened import restrictions on almost 900 consumer and agricultural goods, a step aimed at encouraging foreign trade.

An interdependent world Indian embassies and consular offices last week began accepting applications for the so-called Persons of Indian Origin card, which will be issued for a fee of $1,000 and be good for 20 years.

It will entitle people of Indian descent who are citizens of other countries to travel to India without a visa, buy and sell real estate here (except for farmland), invest in government bonds that only Indian citizens living abroad could buy before, and apply for admission to Indian colleges.

The steps are part of a broader recognition by a growing number of countries that people who move abroad remain potentially valuable contributors in an economically interdependent world.

For the large and prosperous settlements of Indians in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, the new card will make it easier to sustain close ties to India. Lower air fares and telephone rates, as well as communication by e-mail and fax, have already tightened the connections between India and its diaspora of about 15 million people.

"I have seen the hunger of Indians abroad to have their children linked to their country of origin," said Home Minister L.K. Advani, who said introduction of the card was motivated by a desire for closer ties between India and its diaspora, not for their investment dollars.

Welcome back The new card is a step toward welcoming back people of Indian descent, Mr. Advani said. All Indians who have become citizens of other countries, as well as their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, will be eligible for the card.

People from neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, however, will not be eligible, because officials say they worry that the card could become a vehicle for illegal immigration.

**************************************************************** Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999 11:23:45 -0400 To: From: Thomas Baker <> (by way of "Rajesh B. Shrestha" <>) Subject: From the IT-Nepal Mailing List: Dublin Core in Nepali

I am writing to everyone I have been in touch with, directly or indirectly, about the possibility of creating a version of Dublin Core in Nepali.

The Dublin Core is a metadata (cataloging) standard that has been developed since 1995 by an international initiative and adopted by many content providers, universities, and libraries for describing their Web materials (see The most recent major workshop was held last November 1998 at the Library of Congress in Washington; the next major workshop will be held in October 1999 at Die Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt.

In its simplest form, the Dublin Core is a two-page standard that can quickly and easily be translated into other languages. The current official version resides at, but I can unofficially point you to, a draft which will be approved as Version 1.1 (with a new URL) by the end of July 1999. The minor revisions reflected in Version 1.1 have been based on several years of feedback from implementers. We expect Version 1.1 to remain stable for a long time.

We are looking for an appropriate person or project team to translate Dublin Core Version 1.1 into Nepali. Ideally, this would be someone at an institution that provides content in Nepali on the Web or is otherwise involved in Nepali resource discovery and who could host a stable Web page
(and later an RDF page) of DC-Nepali for the medium term.

In the medium term, we want to link versions of Dublin Core in multiple languages into a distributed registry on the Web using the new Resource Description Framework standard. As the Dublin Core is used in real projects and applications, it is usually extended and refined with qualifiers. Maintaining interoperability for searching across languages as the Dublin Core evolves into a more complex standard will require the participation of people from many language communities in ongoing standardization and certification processes yet to be defined. Not all language communities will want to commit themselves to this longer-term project, but all are most welcome. These goals are described in an article published last December in D-Lib Magazine

The multilingual registry, along with other policy issues related to the management of Dublin Core as a multilingual standard, will be topics of discussion at the Seventh Dublin Core workshop in Frankfurt in October
( It would be nice if Nepali could be represented in the prototype RDF registry that we will demonstrate and discuss at that time and in the version we then post on the Web.

In the longer term, it would be nice if representatives of the Nepali-speaking community could participate in managing the ongoing evolution of Dublin Core as a multilingual standard. Simply creating and hosting a version of Dublin Core in Nepali, however, does not commit anyone to participating in this broader goal.

In the meantime, I would like to invite any of you to participate in the dc-international mailing list
( Traffic on the list has been light over the past few months but will become somewhat heavier with the approval of Version 1.1, the expected resolution of the RDF Schema specifications in the Fall, and preparations for DC7.

I am writing both as leader of the Working Group for Dublin Core in Multiple Languages and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Dublin Core Initiative. I have been working for the past two years at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and return this week to GMD in Bonn, Germany, so I will be out of email touch for most of July. Please get in touch if you are interested, or perhaps refer me to a colleague who is.

Many thanks, Tom Baker

To subscribe to or learn more about the IT Nepal mailing list, please visit

****************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <> To: "'The Nepal Digest'" <> Subject: Exhibitionism Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 18:15:19 -0400

I agree completely with Bhupendra Rawat's post. Though Bhagat was right to bring up the issues he originally did, it has become clear from most recent postings that he suffers from serious exhibitionism and extreme electronic narcissism. I would like to add a couple of further flames - I am quite sure he has not asked the people he mentions about telling 1200 people who they are, where they live, and what they do. Their privacy should be respected. The reciting of names and elite institutions is decidely tasteless. But the worst impact of all this is that the quality of TND writing and the number of other contributors has fallen to the point where the cost of scrolling through all manner of electronic exhibitionism is no longer worth the trouble of reading a few scattered posts.

While the extreme idealistic freedom of expression taken by TND in the past is commendable (I suspect that it is not so much idealism as much as the time it would take to EDIT!), it is almost at the point of making the medium itself irrelevant, as people leave or delete TND issues without reading them. I would request TND to add some subject content criteria and privacy rights issues to the list of criteria (along with obscenity) by which posts may be rejected. While I do not think editing each article is possible or neccesary, I do think that rejecting articles in whole or accepting them in whole is time-feasable, and may motivate writers to keep their posts within certain very broad and very flexible perimeters.

Finally, I would like to add that selecting content for relevance to the readership is something every journal or magazine does, whether print or electronic, and in no way constitutes censorship. Just as "Discover" would not take articles intended for "Time" and "Newsweek" would not take articles intended for "Scientific American", TND should not take articles intended for or the "Paramendra Fan Club (read every trivial thought I have ever had)" club. I encourage you to consider subject content as a criteria before the only person reading TND is Bhagat himself.

regards Eknath Belbase

Forwarded by: "Eknath Belbase" <> To: "TND post (E-mail)" <> Subject: Economy Post

(cross-posted from soc.culture.nepal, originally posted by Mr. DonJ)

from KTM post
------ By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, June 25 - During the first ten months of FY 1998/99, a satisfactory performance has been recorded by the external sector with the continuation of the declining trend in trade deficit. A surplus in the current account has been registered for the third consecutive month along with a substantial surplus in the balance of payments, according to a communique issued today by the Nepal Rastra Bank.

This has contributed foreign exchange reserves to increase. The budgetary deficit has, however, increased due to higher growth in government expenditures. A decelerating tendency in the growth of money supply has been observed. The rate of inflation has still stood at the lowest double digit point due principally to the pressure of food and beverage group particularly that of rice having both higher weight and prices. The NEPSE index has shown a better performance in the securities exchange market.

During the review period, narrow money increased by 13.3 percent to Rs 51,153.7 million. The broad money also registered a growth of 16.7 percent to Rs 147,553.3 million. The significant growth of time deposits by 18.6 percent has been attributable to such a substantial rise in the broad money. As a result, the share of time deposits in the broad money ascended to 65.3 percent in the review period from 63.5 percent last year.

Net foreign assets of the banking system moved up by 17.2 percent while the domestic credit rose by 8.5 percent. Of the total domestic credit, the share of credit to the private sector remained at 70.0 percent, almost the same level of the previous year.

On the fiscal sector, the total resources marked a growth of 15.5 percent to Rs 30,477.9 million with the rate of growth of revenue collection of 11.2 percent to Rs 27,636.5 million. Last year, it had increased by 3.4 percent. The total expenditure expanded by 14.6 percent to Rs 37,065.9 million due mainly to a significant rise (20.4 percent) in regular expenditure caused by the recent general election, and 6.3 percent in development expenditure. The review period witnessed a budgetary deficit of Rs 6,588.0 million. The budgetary deficit is met by foreign cash loans of Rs 2,895.0 million (43.9 percent) and domestic credit of Rs 3,693.0 million (56.1 percent) of which Rs 843.0 million of overdraft facility has been used, the press release adds.

On the price front, the national urban consumer price index (base year 1983/84 = 100) on point to point basis surged up by 10.1 percent compared to a rise of 6.7 percent in the corresponding period last year. The rise in the price index of food and beverages group though in a sharp declining trend, helped to keep the national price at the lowest point of double digit. The upsurge in the index of rice which carries a substantial weight of 24.13 percent (31.4 percent) contributed primarily in exerting upward pressure in the index for food and beverages group. The index for non-food and services moved up by 3.9 percent compared to a rise of 4.8 percent registered in the previous year. Regionwise, the price index for Hills recorded the highest growth of 13.1 percent followed by respective growth of 11.9 percent and 6.7 percent in the Terai and Kathmandu.

On the external sector, total exports increased by 35.6 percent to Rs 29,907.0 million while total imports decreased by 4.9 percent to Rs 70,232.5 million. Last year, total exports had risen by 18.0 percent while total imports had declined by 4.1 percent. The increase in exports followed by the decline in imports has significantly contributed to reducing merchandise trade deficit by 22.2 percent to Rs 40,324.7 million. During the review period, the share of imports in total trade has moved down from 77.0 percent to 70.1 percent while that of exports moved up from 23.0 percent to 29.9 percent. As a consequence, the present exports can cover about 42.6 percent of total imports value. During the review period an outstanding performance in the exports of main exportable items woollen carpet (16.7 percent) and readymade garments (39.0 percent) is attained. These two merchandise goods carry a significant weight of 83.1 percent in the total exports to other countries. Based on the first seven months record, a surplus of Rs 330.6 million has been noticed in the current account balance for the third consecutive month in this current fiscal year, states the release.

Monetary statistics for the first ten months of FY 1998/99 showed that the overall balance of payments remained surplus by Rs 9,570.5 million. As a result as of mid-May, 1999, the foreign exchange holdings of the banking system increased significantly by 26.6 percent to Rs 75,594.9 million compared to the level of mid May 1998. Based on the available import trend, this amount is sufficient to cover about eleven months' average merchandise imports. Of the total reserves, 87.4 percent accounts for convertible and 12.6 percent non-convertible.

cross-posted from soc.culture.nepal, originally posted by
------- Gurkha Soldiers: The other side of the story

It is quite natural to show concern when any fellow citizen is killed, specially if he or she is killed in a war. When such a tragedy happens in a battle taking place far away in another country, the controversy intensifies even more.

Perhaps it sounds strange when one says a citizen of one country has been killed in the war of another country. However, Nepal has a chance of this happening more than perhaps any other nation in the world, because thousands of its young men are recruited by the armies of Great Britain and India. This has been possible through a tripartite agreement signed between the three countries.

But even before India was given independence by Great Britain, the British Army had started recruiting the hardy and tough Nepalese, specially from the hilly areas. And these people had proved their worth in the First and Second World Wars and at other battles too.

Now, some politicians and intellectuals in Kathmandu are questioning the very logic or morality in sending our young men to work in foreign armies. Some political parties had made it a point to raise this issue once in a while in the past too.

Surprisingly, joining these ranks of politicians, have been some retired personnel of the British Army itself. An Association has been formed and through that organisation a lot of pressure has been put on the British Government to treat the Gurkha soldiers in its army on par with the native soldiers.

Both the theories sound very logical and any sensible person can see the point that is being made. For example, why should Nepalese be recruited in foreign armies and then be sent to do the fighting for them? Also, after they have been recruited, why should the Gurkhas, who are well known for their bravery, be treated less equal than the British?

However, one has to answer more questions than these to understand this matter well enough.

First of all why have these young Nepalese chosen to go and work for another country? Is it for fun or adventure? Is it because they are traitors? Is it because they donít care about their country? No. It is because of the abject poverty they see in their villages and the opportunity they donít see in their own country. Joining these armies is the only way out to make something of their lives and provide a good life for their families.

One another aspect is, who are these young people? They are the youths of the various ethnic communities living in the hilly areas of Western and Eastern Nepal. The Gurungs and Magars are mostly from West Nepal and the Rais and Limbus are from Eastern Nepal.

One interesting point that could be raised here is, what percentage of the population do these ethnic communities make up? If added, just these four ethnic sides could make up about 30 per cent of the Nepalese population. But how many of the people belonging to these tribes are doing well in the country? Probably a negligible number, compared to the Brahmans and Newars, who add up to make less than half the population of these ethnic people.

In terms of employment opportunities in such places like the government bureaucracy, political parties, University, government corporations and even private sector, a handful of people may be there.

No in depth research has to be made to find any statistics regarding these numbers. How many Magars, Gurungs, Rais and Limbus are there as party leaders? How many of them are ministers? How many are secretaries or top ranking bureaucrats? How many head govt corporations? How many are ambassadors, vice chancellors, generals in the army, top ranking officials in the police or even doctors and engineers?

All such things point out that these people have not received the opportunity to go into any sector, except eke out a bare living in the hardy hills of their villages.

Some may find it too harsh when this is said, but it is a fact that there is some sort of a discrimination against these ethnic people. Yes, the Gurungs and Magars and Rais and Limbus are a straight forward lot. Specially so the Magars, but this does not mean they are slow in learning or in gaining knowledge. When given the opportunity, the members of these tribes have proved that they can compete with the best. But when no chance is given, how can they do anything?

It has been reported that even in such an extreme case like the Maoist insurgency, almost 50 per cent of the people killed by the police are Magars. And ironically, almost 50 per cent of those killed by the Maoists also happen to be Magars. How could this have happened, it does not happen even in Kosovo. It is either the Serbs killing the Albanaians or the Albanian extremeists killing the Serbs.

More interestingly, who is the leader of the Maoists? The two top leaders are Brahmans.

Now the point is, when all doors have been closed, if a young and determined boy gets the opportunity to go and find a good job from which he can make money which he could never dream of if he stayed back home, then who wouldnít take up such an opportunity?

There are hundreds of thousands of young people from these communities now, who are what they are, an educated lot and professionals, just because their fathers and other family members received the opportunity to find work either in the British or Indian armies. Had they been given the same opportunity here, it is sure they would never have left their motherland.

So ideologically, it is definitely wrong to go and work abroad, including in places like Japan, Australia and the Middle East, forget the British or Indian armies. But what can the poor people do when they have no option back home?

Therefore, if the political parties and other so called intellectuals who write from their comfortable rooms here in Kathmandu donít want to see Nepalese working in foreign armies, then they must first provide equal opportunities to these people here in their own country. Otherwise it will be sheer hypocrisy in shedding crocodile tears for them.

Now to come to the protesting former army personnel, one simple question is, did the British government drag them to go to join its army? It is common knowledge that youngsters in the hills of Western and Eastern Nepal, consider it their fortune to find a job in the British army. Their second choice is the Indian army. They prepare night and day to join these armies. There is fierce competition and only a lucky few are recruited. Furthermore, they know fully well the terms and conditions when they join the army.

Had it not been for their army job, they may have been poor porters or ordinary labourers barely making out an existence and ignorant of all their rights. Then why the protest now?

Yes, seeking to increase pay and perks through quiet dialogue is one thing, but jeopardising the future of other young Nepalese like them, who could have made a better life, is sheer selfishness. What if the British government says enough is enough and not recruit any Gurkha boy? Who will lose more?

As for sending the army men to fight in places wherever their employer finds it necessary, is it logical to ask any question regarding this? What have these tough and brave people who have proved themselves in innumerable wars been recruited for? To change guards at the Buckingham Palace or to make a march past at Indiaís Republic Day parade? It would be an insult to the bravery of these people to even think like that.

So before making any judgements and comments in newspapers, it would be worthwhile to contemplate on all these issues on why a young boy has made the tough decisions of leaving his near and dear ones and going abroad to find work. At least those people who are secure about their existence and living in the comforts of Kathmandu are not qualified to make honest comments about this.

Weekly Chronicle

****************************************************************** Forwarded by: Paramendra Bhagat <> To: Subject: Bal Krishna Joshi on the National Economy Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 15:58:00 -0400

"Hello Bhagat ji, I saw your numbered comments and I thought I jot down some lines....I thought your comments were comprehensive on the things that have gone wrong but what we need is how you and I can participate to up lift without any "political" bull shit. Remember we are all Nepalese and yes it is pretty sad to be compared our GNP with the yearly expenditure index of Dog's food in the UK. Its not very cool is it?.... I think what we need is a feeling of nationalism. Responsive act and mind set for the country as a whole than a criticism and self minded interests for political seats. We need to learn about the self subsinence. We are too spoilt by being
"favored" by foreign Nations..."ooohh the poor guy from the himalayan Kingdom." What I feel is that someone like you and me should initiate a program, a venture so that we can teach our people to stand on our own feet...learn to grow their own potatoes and onions for crying out loud...(you must have heard the price increase in veg)now tell me how someone with the average percapita income of $220 be able to afford Rs 90/kilo pyaj and Rs 50 Dharni AAlu...Pretty messed up isn't it. I am currently in the process of forming businesses that promotes Nepal to the west. My plan is to form an organization that supports different programs in Nepal. I am trying for a shot of initiating of giving..which necessary does not mean $$$ only...Thanks to the greatest invention of have any ideas or interests in development let me know...Lets form a net work of
"interested" nepalese who want to give vs complaint and complaint and make some sarcastic stupid comments on the net about Nepal.....I do admire your guts to go out there and do whatever your heart speaks only request and advise to you is try to be productive of your efforts cos its hours off your life.... Bale" Bal Krishna Joshi < >> San Anselmo, ca 94960 - Friday, June 11, 1999 at 13:47:15 (EDT)

Bale, I agree with the basic tenet of your message. I think a good starting point would be for a bunch of us to get together on The Nepal Digest forum and initiate a comprehensive discussion on the National Economy, to start with. We can follow up on that later as the momentum builds up.

Paramendra Bhagat

****************************************************************** To:, Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 11:29:10 -0700 From: Himal <> Subject: Literary South Asia

literary South Asia
                        Call for Submissions

Something is lost when stories from different parts of South Asia are not shared. litSA is short for Literary South Asia--a new department being started by Himal in an effort to bring together the literary talent of the Subcontinent. The creative voice of women and men from all over the region, we feel, are as necessary to share as the journalist's presentation or the social scientist's analysis.

Himal hopes that litSA will develop as an important forum for writers-- contemporary and traditional, and from everywhere, inside and outside, the centre and the margins, and from all sides of the barbed wire fences that attempt to divide the South Asian people. Besides featuring a wide range of literary styles, litSA will encourage experiment and adventure. Above all, it will champion the writer's right to be irreverent.

Over the years, Himal believes litSA will help develop an indigenous appreciation of the region's creative talent, free from the shackles of power publishing and marketing hype. We also aspire eventually to bring to readers anthologies and collections culled from the best writings that feature in litSA. Himal invites writers and poets, whether established or new talent, to make submissions to litSA.

Anmole Prasad Editor, litSA Radhamohan House Relli Road, Kalimpong 734 301 West Bengal, India Tel: 0091355255098/55134 email:
                                   1. litSA prefers unpublished material in the form of short fiction, poetry, memoir, travelogue, literary essays or criticism. We also welcome book reviews and literature-relevant interviews, as also book extracts which can stand alone.

2. Nationality or regional origin is no bar, as long as the submission has a link to South Asia.

3. We prefer receiving submissions by email or on diskettes. If submitting on paper, please do not send in the original. Prose should be typed double spaced, and poems should be submitted individually.

4. Translations should specify the source and, wherever possible, the author's consent.

5. Manuscripts/diskettes will not be returned unless requested and accompanied by selfaddressed, prepaid postal requisites.

6. Submissions may be edited.

Remuneration for published works will range between USD 50 and USD 150. Every effort will be made to respond to submissions and queries in the shortest possible time.

__________________________________ Himal GPO Box 7251, Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: +977-1-543333/34/35/36, 521013 (fax)

**************************************************************** From: Paramendra Bhagat <> To: Subject: News Clippings Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 11:07:28 -0400 index.htm#1 Focus on Congress politics to dominate Parliament Kathmandu: As budget day approaches and the Royal address to parliament are imminent, the Prime ministers' much postponed cabinet expansion is considered urgent in the Congress camp. In case, K.P Bhattrai doesn't deliver this much-awaited event, it is yet another indicator that the KP-GP rift has become unpatchable. GP's fastly eroding hold over the Congress organization is said to be in proportion to KP's widening reach on account of his ability to muster government offices and resources and GP's inability to deliver to his supporters such emoluments as that made possible from government. The Prime Minister thus becomes the biggest hurdle to GP's organizational ambitions.

Rana accuses election observers of dishonesty
< dex.htm>

Country heading towards Sikkimization: Baburam Bhattarai Bhattarai is a villain of the first category.

From: Paramendra Bhagat <> Subject: Baburam Bhattarai, way off the mark

To: The Editor Dear Sir,

I read the article on Bhattarai in your recent issue. Baburam Bhattarai belongs with the dinosaurs and he does not realize it. He is a one-track train headed for collision and total demise. He is a first rate mind gone berserk. He loves the poorest of the poor in Nepal so much that he gets them killed. I read news on Nepal almost on a daily basis, I have especially this summer when I am with the Current Events section of, the South Asian online community. So of course I read stuff on the Maoist circus. People killed on both sides - the Maoists and the low-ranking police personnel - look the poorest of the poor to me. So who exactly is Bhattarai for? Max Planck once said people don't change their ideas, they die with them. I doubt Bhattarai's grasp of the communist doctrine ever was better than Gorbachev's. I mean c'mon, Gorbachev lead the country where communism supposedly flowered better than anywhere else. Who on the planet ever heard of Bhattarai? And Gorbachev pronounced the market as the best vehicle for the creation of wealth ever invented by humankind. Get over it, the communist drama is over. Marx is dead.

As for his Indophobia, I as a Teraiwasi would like "bahuns" like Bhattarai to know that I feel as close to the Biharis in India as he might feel to the Sikkimes and the Darjeelinges. Bhattarai is no communist, he is a freaking racist.

Subject: What options for an Ethnic Minority politico Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 15:50:32 -0400

Bhupendra Rawat writes: "............Drawing upon his interest in economics, he started tooting the horns of free-market economics, and initiated a discussion on Nepal's economic performance. The discussion turned out to be a flop, with Bhagat exhorting readers to join him, with the readers typing the other way, despite there being a number of fine, young Nepali economists among us 1200-plus readers."

You say a discussion on racism alienates you. So I move on to what I see as common ground: the National Economy. But you don't want to participate in that because I committed the offense of bringing up the r-topic earlier. And you insist racism is relevant as an issue, that the Teraiwasis have been largely marginalized. So where does that put me? Can I or can I not discuss racism which has been The Issue of my life? Can I or can I not hold discussions on the National Economy that people like you might participate in? What are my options? How do you suggest we deal with racism whose existence you do acknowledge unlike most others who have taken their swipes at me? How can someone like me hope to dabble in both issues because both Racism and the National Economy are pertinent issues.? Or are you in a way suggesting people like me ought to just shut up because no matter what topic we dabble in we will always offend people like you?

And I really don't understand the alienation you speak of, especially when you insist racism does exist. What alieanates you? That racism does exist and people of your background have largely benefitted from it? And that people like me point that out?

I hope you realize you are suggesting a no-win situation for me, and you bet I am not about to shut up because that just is not the way things are going to play out. But then you are so different from most everyone who has gotten back with me on the topic. At least you acknowledge the existence of racism. It is structural. It is a statement on the society at-large. Why don't you suggest as to how we move from here on the racism question so that we can then together come together to discuss the National Economy and draw in more people? If the National Economy cannot bring us together, I don't know what will.

Paramendra Bhagat

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