The Nepal Digest - July 2, 1998 (18 Ashadh 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday July 2, 1998: Ashadh 18 2055BS: Year7 Volume76 Issue1

Today's Topics (partial list):

              Mt. Everest
              Lamjung Electricity Development Company (LEDCO)
              School Books
              Donations to Panthi family
              What Kind of Leaders
              Re: Can Creative Writing Be Taught?
              re: racism III
              Regarding Racism II or III
              Book reviews
              Khoj-khabar(anyone there?)

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
************************************************************* Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 07:41:28 -0700 From: "Emily S. Weeks" <> To: Subject: Mt. Everest

Dear Sir or Madame,

I was appalled to read of the abuse of the Sherpas during Mount Everest climbing expeditions. My first concern is the lack of credit the Sherpaas recieve for ascending and descending Mt. Everest's peaks while lugging tourists' belongings. Thier services are taken advantage of daily by ambitious climbers. Though they recieve a pay that is significantly higher than the majoriy of their country men they are underpaid in comparison to the enourmous cash flow fouriegn mountain guides are recieving eg. Mountain Madness.

It is a shame that so much recognition is given to foreigners who risk their lives to climb against natures powers to the peak of Everest for the sake of standing on top of the world, rather than the suffering suffering Nepalis on the foothills of Everest and the brave Sherpas that climb Everest in order to put food on the table for their family.

Is there anything being done about this problem ? Is there anything I can do to help? Is there a way to give recognition to these brave and amazing Sherpas of Mt. Everest and other mountains throughout the country?

Thank very much for taking the time to read my comments. I hope others have the same feelings as I do on this issue.

Regards, Emily Weeks

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 23:50:13 -0700 From: Douglas Butdorf <> To: Subject: Lamjung Electricity Development Company (LEDCO)

June 29, 1998 For Immediate Release:

The Lamjung Electricity Development Company (LEDCO) announces the launch of a web site for investor information, and information on Hydropower in Nepal.

Company Information:

The Lamjung Electricity Development Company (LEDCO) is a community owned company dedicated to providing modern forms of energy to Lamjung District through renewable energy technologies. Supported by a strong base of local investors, LEDCO aims to produce and distribute electrical power to Lamjung District through practices that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and in line with local development objectives.

LEDCO's GOALS are to:
   *Empower the people to harness their own resources.
   *Promote rural electrification.
   *Produce high quality electricity for local communities and the
    National Power Grid.
   *Improve the standard of living in rural communities.

Please take the time to learn more about our planned 10 MW Hydropower scheme and Integrated Energy Plan in Lamjung District of Nepal.

Nyadi River 10 MW Hydropower Project:

Integrated Energy Plan

International Support:

The international development community strongly supports LEDCO. There are currently two volunteer engineers from the Canadian Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI)( ) providing expertise in project management and hydrology. A third volunteer, an alternate energy specialist from Canada, is spearheading the Integrated Energy Planning exercise for two villages with funding from the Canadian Cooperation Office ( ). LEDCO is collaborating with the Community Based Economic Development Project (CBED) and the Australian Oversees Bureau (OSB) ( ) to provide technical and managerial support to three communities in Jumla district developing micro hydro schemes. GTZ ( ), the German development Agency, provided 75,000 USD for the desk study and Energy House (E&Co) ( ), an American foundation, will be providing a forgivable loan of 200,000 USD for the detailed feasibility study.

Investor Information: Investment is a direct channel for development
  LEDCO develops environmentally sustainable energy technologies
  LEDCO was founded and is managed by the Lamjung community
  LEDCO develops local expertise and builds local infrastructure

LEDCO provides investment opportunities

Opportunities are available for investors, engineering firms, and development agencies to become partners in the 10 MW Nyadi Hydropower project. This project will cost approximately US$25.5 million, of which US$6 million will be raised through shares and the remainder from debt financing. LEDCO will acquire US$2 million and has proposed that two partners become involved, each with a contribution of with a US$2 million, either in cash or kind.

Opportunities are also available for individuals and small organizations to make an ethical investment. LEDCO shares are sold for NRs. 100 each (approx. US$1.59). At present, US$80,000 is available for foreign investment, however this amount is expected to increase to US$200,000.

For further information about LEDCO and other information about hydropower development in Nepal, please visit our website at: Or, please contact Francois Vitez, Project Engineer ( )

***************************************************************** Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 16:09:32 -0300 From: sabah tourism promotion corporation <> To: Subject: (no subject)

wonder if you can help me.

we organsing a monutain climbing at kinabalu park, sabah, malaysia on the 3-4th october 1998 called the mt. kinabalu international climbathon. it will also be the venue for the world mountain running trophy 1999.

we are searching the location of the record holder, mr. kusang gurung. he used to work as a soldier in hong kong in 1991 and wonder if you can provide any clues how to trace him.

thanks richard lupang event director

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 12:05:16 +0800 From: John Champion <> To: Subject: School Books


My son, Mark, is currently doing voluntary work teaching English in a school in Ilam in Nepal. The headmaster has saidthat he would like to gt a set of encyclopedias fro the school but they can not afford to buy them. Can you tell me of any charitable organisations that could help??

Thankyou for your kind attention. John Champion

************************************************************** Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 11:47:45 +0000 From: Celia Snapp <> To: Subject: service

My name is Trevor Snapp and I am making the tranistion from High School to College , In the meanwhile I am really interested in volunteering for a service program in Nepal if there is any help or information you can give me it would be much appriciated. Thank you.
                                         Trevor Snapp

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 22:22:43 +1200 From: Krishna Hari Gautam <> Subject: Donations to Panthi family To:

The following members of the New Zealand-Nepal Friendship Society Christchurch New Zealand donated for the support of Panthi family. The amount shown against each name is in NZ$. Of this total collection of NZ$305, equavalent amount in (US $ 151 USD @ 67.85 day's exch.rate ) NRs 10245 is deposited in their bank account (s/a No.555555 'J'of Gokul Panthi at Himalayan Bank,) in Kathmandu on 19th June 1998.

1. Narayan KC, Christchurch $50 2. Jill & Peter Lemon, Christchurch $50 3.Chandra Man Dongol, Lincoln University $30 4. Murari Raj Joshi Lincoln Uni $30 5. Basanta Raj Dhungana Lincoln Uni $30 6.Krishna Hari Gautam Canterbury Uni $24 7. Umed Pun Lincoln $21 8. Gyan Pd Nyaupane Lincoln Uni $20 9 Giri Dhar Amatya Lincoln Uni $10 10. Bodh Raj Subedi Lincoln Uni $10 11. Madan Kumar Gautam $10 12. Naveena Karki Canterbury Uni $10 13. Arjun Lama Nz Wool Research centre $10

Hope this will be of some help. Krishna Hari Gautam Krishna H Gautam Postgraduate Student School of Forestry University of Canterbury Private Bag 4800 Christchurch, New Zealand Fax 64 3 364 2124 Email:

****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 09:01:32 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <> Subject: What Kind of Leaders To: The Nepal Digest <>


God... What a challenge! To keep a printed magazine going in these economic times in Kathmandu, Nepal.

One note... I don't know if you're familiar with a mental discipline named NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programming) developed by two thinkers in California/U.S.A. about twenty years ago...?

It simply put, says: What we think and say, manifests itself in our
'reality.' It becomes your reality. So, if you say you can't change anything, better anything, that's exactly what's going to happen!

Thus, when you say something like, 'We know, we cannot help better the education system.', you are, in fact, condemning 'yourself' (the situation) to that fate.

What I've discovered since being in Kathmandu, Nepal, for four months is the negativity, fatalism, depression, and hopelessness in the Nepali psyche.

What Nepal needs is a psychic 'facelift.' You've been down so long, you've got so many problems (that you believe you have) you've begun to believe you can't do anything about them!

When in fact, as president F.D.R. once told Americans, at the beginning of WWII, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' I would amend that for Nepal itself (in 1998) to: The only thing 'we' have to fear is negativity, hopelessness, and defeatism!'

Americans don't have that problem (although many others)! We believe we can change anything, anytime for better! And if there's anything I'd like to impart to the Nepali people, it's that!

You've given up! Stop! You can STILL change things for the better
(including private education)! It is this defeatist mental attitude that's crippling you!

I have an idea to build a skiing facility and host (in the year 2,014), the Winter Olympic Games in Nepal (the Switzerland of Asia). But, one of my Nepali friends said, when hearing about this, 'Oh, we'll never be able to do that!' Well, with that attitude, he's right!

I hear it all the time from Nepali people: "Oh, we can't do that! That's impossible, you'll see! Don't try to change things here. That's the way it is here. It's a cultural thing! It's the government
(objectifying the problem)! It's the corruption! Our politicians don't care about us!" It's this, it's that... Always an excuse!

YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT IN A DEMOCRACY! If you don't like something, get involved and change it! That's what democracy is all about!

"Optimism is a strategy for making a better tomorrow! Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it is unlikely that you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope! If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things! There is a chance you may contribute to making a better world... The choice is yours!" (Norm Chromsky)

The people of Nepal just have not yet understood that democracy is participatory ("Democracy perishes among the silent crowd!" Sirdar Khalifa)! YOU ARE IN FACT THE GOVERNMENT! And when you think you can't do anything, you've lost the battle!

And thus, you (we) find ourselves in this vicious cycle of complaining, of identifying the problems ad infinitum (I'm reading the 'Nepal Human Development Report - 1998')!

What I want to hear and read about are solutions! Where are the solutions? Who has the solutions? It seems to me that identifying what's wrong has become a 'cottage industry!'

I'm beginning to understand Nepali culture (vis a vis my own).

I noticed something recently in Asia Week that caught my eye... They had one of those lists! In this case it listed (rated) the fifty most powerful/influential people in Asia (the Dalai Lama is rated 48th). But, I noticed, and what got my attention, is that there WERE NONE, NOT ONE, FROM NEPAL... WHY? Why are there no 'influential' people from Nepal? Out of 23 million citizens why are none rated 'influential' or

I'm beginning to understand too, that Nepal lacks the mythology, that other cultures have been blessed with...

You have the mythology of the historical Buddha (Gautama Siddhartha):
"It is the nature of all things that take form to dissolve again! Strive with your whole being to obtain perfection!"

You have the mythology of Hinduism, although its pantheon somewhat amorphous (at least to me)... With 360K gods! (Note: I am not a Christian either.)

You have the mythology of the Gurka soldier: service, courage, endurance, and resourcefulness!

You have the mythology of the high-elevation Sherpa, who gets to the top of mountain peaks!

But, where is the mythology of success in contemporary society? Where is the mythology of overcoming? Where is the mythology of equality of opportunity? Even more important... Where is the mythology that right will overcome might, that goodness will prevail over evil?

DEMOCRACY IN A NON-DEMOCRATIC CULTURE: I now understand why so many young Nepalis want to go to America: they see it as a solution to their lives, having been 'enslaved' in a culture fettered by an inflexible system of caste, patriarchy, hierarchy, religion, that inherently discourages freedom of thought and choice (especially for women and lower caste people).

How can you have democracy in a non-democratic culture? Not easily Nepali people are finding out?

The reason that 'democracy' (although technically speaking America is not a true democracy but a 'Republic') has worked in America, is a mythology that says: everyone is created equal! Theoretically
(although not really true in practice) that everyone in America has the same equal opportunity (to better themselves); that everyone starts on the same level.

What does this do for the American citizen (no matter from where)? It gives him/her hope. It gives her hope that s/he can be Bill Gates too
(although I'm not sure that's such a good idea...). The only measuring stick is the money you have in your pocket (although this is true everywhere in the world).

The difference in Nepal versus America is the equality of opportunity
(mythology). In Nepal, if you're female, or of lower caste, or rural, or uneducated, you've got an 'uphill battle.' Worse, there is no mythology to support otherwise!

In America, I grew up on Horatio Alger stories, John Ford and John Wayne movies!

I got a job when I was 17-years old at a television station (in small town Tucson, Arizona), and put myself (working full-time, forty hours a week) through five years of University, coming out with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Marketing, and a commission in the U.S. Army. By the time I was 28-years old I was producing/directing network television programs in New York City (my dream fulfilled).

To this day there's nothing I don't think I can't do! No problem I can't solve!

I intend to be the oldest anglo man to reach the top of Sargamantha in 2,003, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the first ascent by Hillary and Tensing! I will be 63+ years young! The current record is 60+ years held by Ramon Blanco, a man from Spain! Note: a Sherpa, Ang Rita Sherpa, has 'strolled' to the top ten times without oxygen! It must be like a walk 'in the park' to him!

Now, whether or not I make it to the top of Mt. Everest is unimportant
(actually). The important thing is to have a 'near impossible' goal! Maybe I can inspire some people in the process!

What Nepal needs is leaders, not politicians! What Nepal needs is a Mahatma Gandhi to inspire, to lead, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Winston Churchill!

I can still hear (in 1943, during W.W.II) Winston Churchill's whiskey drinking/cigar-smoking 'filtered' voice crackling via the BBC airwaves
(from bombed out London): "We will fight in the alleyways... We will fight in the streets... We will fight until the battle is won! We will never give up!" And guess what happened?

Nepal needs the same kind of leaders!


************************************************************* Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 11:03:55 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <> To: editor Contributions <> Subject: Re: 'Can Creative Writing Be Taught?'

Being a professional writer I had to respond to this... I hope that Mr. Upadhyays will forgive... It has nothing to do with the fact he's Nepali and I'm anglo... It has more to do with the fact he's an academician and I'm not (nor do I have much respect for them). There's an old American/English expression that goes: 'Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach!'

In all the time I spent in American institutions, from Kindergarden to the University (18 years), I learned more in one month of actual experience (once out of the bondage of institutions), than I did in all those years of being 'taught!'

I come from the Ernest Hemingway school of writing: live it, experience it, and do battle with thy self!

I started to learn how to write at age 30 when I rewrote a synopsis for a documentary film over one hundred times (until I got it like I wanted)! That was the beginning, but you never 'graduate' from the E.H. school of writing, it's a never-ending process!

You learn at some point that, writing (the act of creation) and language
(grammar, etc.) have little to do with one another, like Leon Uris once said.

Additionally, I thought all writing was 'creative.' Is a novel more
'creative' than a non-fiction biography...? I think not!

This idea of calling it, 'creative writing,' is an invention of academicians, in order to differentiate from the gobbledegook stuff of the thesis; of the disertation. It's also a way to 'sell,' a new degree, now that you can write a novel as thesis (later making money with it). As Orson Welles would say at this point: 'This is just
'thumbs up the ass' time! Note: I worked with Mr. Welles a couple of times.

Ah, you can fool young people most of the time, Mr. Upadhyays, but you can't fool me any of the time (after 40 years experience in the 'reel' world).

By writing your article for The Nepal Digest, you were just marketing your school in Phoenix (Arizona is my home state, by the way). You're hoping more wealthy Nepalis will come to your school (from Nepal), paying exhorbitant fees to learn how to write 'creatively!' No doubt saving your job in the process! This is what 'bureaurcrats' are good at, saving their jobs!

God! Ernest Hemingway is rolling over in his grave at this point! Whatever happened to dodging bullets, drinking all night, sleeping with women whose name you don't know, and having to meet a deadline (with a hangover) the next day? Whatever happened to depression and spending time in mental institutions (like LP.Devkota did). 'Papa' blew his brains out with a shotgun!

To be a 'reel' writer you have to earn it... the old-fashion way!

But, to each his own as to the idea of what 'creative' and being a
'reel' writer is...

For Mr. Upadhyays is must be going to the 'cliche jar,' and using words like 'polished,' and 'high calibre!' The 'nuvo' literate...

Papa! Where are you, in what bar? Please come and rescue me from these new immigrants who teach 'creative writing!'

Namaste! F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple


1) I will say this on behalf of people whose native language is one they have to discard, and learn/write in another to make money. Bravo to all the Nepali expatriates for this! Your English is much superior to my Nepali (although I'm learning)! When I can write 'creatively' in Sankrit, then you can read and comment also!

2) The extent of graffiti in Kathmandu: Found on the bathroom wall at the Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center:
    "Due to an ongong water shortage, please conserve water! Do not flush toilets unnecessarily! (in handwriting someone had written:
'Please define?' The answer, also handwritten: 'Minimize the amount of water used!') Thanks for sharing this precious resource with your fellow guests!"
    How's that for being 'creative?'

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 22:02:45 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: re: racism III

        My thanks to Lokesh Sagar Shrestha for valiantly trying to clarify what he tried to clarify in TND's last issue (June 26).

        That said, it's logical to assume that private, friend-to-friend mollification among a few enlightened BKS grads must NOT have worked for Mr. Bhagat, for the matter did not die privately, and Mr. Bhagat went on to post those remarks on TND (May 18) for the whole wide world to read and comment on. (Why else would he post it publicly, if the matter had been satisfactorily resolved?)

        Perhaps, in retrospect, Mr. Bhagat should have cared more about preserving his high school -- where he admits he had had nasty racial spats with some admin/faculty members -- ko reputation than sully it even in the slightest by publicly complaining about attacks on him? Oh, well. Poor, Mr. Bhagat. What on earth was he thinking?

        Anyway, once stuff like that gets in the PUBLIC domain, you know, it becomes visible on a more glaring level - inviting its own sets of viewpoints, criticisms and concerns by all kinds of people. Against this backdrop, how refreshing and admirable would it have been if Shrestha et al had chosen to deal with my comments NOT by self-defensively touting the virtues of their private (ultimately ineffective) actions, but by:
        a) PUBLICLY denouncing such attacks al the more, and

        b) PUBLICLY assuring everyone that NEXT time around, hey, no one
        could accuse Shrestha et al of somnolence on matters like this.

        Finally, my best friends are also my greatest critics. There's, I have learnt, much one can learn from mistakes and omissions -- pointed out by other critics. And on that note, I consider this matter closed.

namaste ashu


*********************************************************************************************** From: "Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield" <> To: "''" <> Subject: Regarding Racism II or III or whatever... Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 00:30:11 -0600

I missed the original article by on this topic, however, the comments by Mr. Tiwari deserves some comment. First of all, this whole deal about Budhanilkanth graduate and St. Xavier graduate, what is this about? Aren't we departing from the context here? If something is racist, it is racist. It doesn't change which school you graduate from.

Frankly, I am getting tired of all this which school someone graduated from crap. Just grow up, will you? It doesn't matter which school you graduate from. The state of Nepal is screwed up no matter however much importance you try to give to your respective schools. Who cares? Or are you telling me that if you graduate from a particular school your opinion matters more?

"my readers well know that I have been equally, if not more, critical
(publicly, of course) of the failures of STX School (despite its high-minded motto) to produce leaders who matter."

What did you expect? That STX School is a factory to make leaders? Geez...

I'm not saying not love your school. I'm just saying you guys are making too big a deal about where you came from rather than objectively presenting your opinions. Also, personally, I don't care whether you have criticized STX or not. Why is that important? If you think that's important, then, I think you should bring down your ego down a tad bit. That's all I've to say in that topic.

Well, this is what I have to say about racism. Nepal belongs to the Terai people as much as to any other Nepali citizen. Just because they resemble Indians and speak languages spoken in India doesn't make them any un-Nepali. There are some Parties like Sadhbhabana who act more Indian than Indian themselves. However, they are politicians. They are getting money from India (I can safely assume), which makes it essential to serve their masters. However, they do have the right to express their opinion no matter however outrageous. Well, if we want to express our opinions as citizens how can we ask them to not express theirs? They are also citizens. If they break laws then they should be punished as should any other Nepali.

I also think this whole issue of National Dress of Daura Suruwal (Why is this a national dress?)? Who decided that? If you think about it not all Nepalis wear Daura Suruwal,anyway. Most of them can't afford it, unfortunately even if they wanted to. Not wearing a Daura Suruwal (just that), will that make anyone unpatriotic? I don't think so. Just like wearing one doesn't make anyone more patriotic. Otherwise, corrupt ministers and politicians (who are pretty nicely dressed) should be the perfect patriots. Instead they loot and pillage us out of our future. We should be focusing on the essence not merely the appearance. Is anyone as naiive as Ram Chandra Paudel to think just by dressing his MP's will fool Nepalis into thinking his boys are doing a good job? So, why the dressing up? The MPs should start solving real problems rather than focussing on meaningless endeavors.

Sincerely, Prakash Bhandari

****************************************************************** From: <> Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 15:53:33 EDT To: Subject: Request for information and contacts

Dear Sir,

I am trying to locate an organization in Nepal called "Maiti Nepal." They deal with a rehabilitation issue. If you may be able to help me find an address or phone number (english or spanish speaking please), I would most sincerely appreciate it. Also, I'm interested in contacting any Muslims in Nepal. If you can help, please email me:

:^) have a happy day!

******************************************************************** Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 12:06:44 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: Book reviews

BOOK: People and Participation in Sustainable Development Edited by: Ganesh Shivakoti, George Varughese, Elinor Ostrom, Ashutosh Shukla, Ganesh Thapa. Publisher: Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis: Bloomington, Indiana, USA, 1997

Sustainable Development through Research by Sameer Karki

Rarely do proceedings of international conferences get disseminated to those that did not attend them. This is the publication of the proceedings of the conference on "People and Participation in Sustainable Development: Understanding the Dynamics of Natural Resources Systems" organised in March 1996 at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Nepal in collaboration with the Indiana University Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and WINROCK International. It provides an opportunity to look into work being done in Nepal and South Asia and examine some on-going debates in natural resource management. The book includes twenty-one papers in seven sections. Each section begins with paper summaries, which helps get a feel for each part. However, the linkages between the different parts of the book are less clear.

Three papers are presented in the report's first part on
"Conceptualizing Sustainability". The paper on "The Human Dynamics of Natural Resource Systems" identifies sustainability, participation, decentralization, accountability and collaboration as among the key issues in natural resource systems in the twenty-first century. Interestingly, it also identifies "human greed and corruption" as one such key issue. Human greed and corruption are not concepts which social science literature typically addresses. The paper recommends that
"natural resource professionals may need to acquire greater skills in the use of local language, and in knowledge of social and cultural patterns, in order to obtain valid data and make appropriate decisions". This appears to suggest that most
"natural resource professionals" are non-locals, and that it requires the input of informed outsiders in order to control corruption!

The paper on "Sustainability Measures for Natural Resources" concludes that overexploitation and mismanagement of natural resources have had two major underlying causes. These are "(a) traditional institutions and organizational structures (that) are incapable of guiding management of natural resources in the present context, and
(b) some traditional practices and beliefs (that) retard or prevent the introduction of desirable resources and land use management systems". While possibly true in some cases, such analysis over-simplifies more complex realities. In my own experience, traditional institutions and beliefs have often prevented overexploitation of natural resources, which, in turn, has been exacerbated by "modern" institutions and consumerism.

The book's second part, "Diverse Forms of Participation", includes two studies on forest management and one paper on diversity in participation. The authors of the paper on
"Organizational Structure, Performance and Participation: Forest User Groups in the Nepal Hills" identify local communities' preference for formalized organization recognized by the Government over informal organization, opting also for "general assembly" kind of decision making rather than one based on executive structure. However, no reasons are offered for these preferences, nor any examples given to show whether people have been actively seeking official recognition or have moved towards the decision making structure of their preference. The paper on
"Forest Management Under Common Property Regimes in Kumaon Himalaya" suggests that institutional variables, rather than variables pertaining to local community, make the greatest difference to effective forest management. Closer analysis of the Nepali case study may well have arrived at the same conclusion.

The section on "Demographic Issues and Use of Natural Resources"
(the book's third part) includes three papers, two on macro- level issues and one that argues for more micro-level empirical research on this complex issue. The paper on "Demographic Patterns and Natural Resource Dynamics in the

At first sight, the proceedings appear to focus largely on irrigation issues, to which six papers directly relate. However, a closer read reveals that irrigation issues have relevance to other natural resource systems as well. The book is a good example of international collaboration, with papers authored both by well-known Western academics, such as Elinor Ostrom, Nancy Axinn and George H. Axinn, as well as respected Nepali professionals. It will be of interest to development workers, policy makers and researchers, and is likely to influence new research and insights into natural resource management issues.
(S.Karki works on community forestry in Sindhupalchowk.)

------------------------------- Moran of Kathmandu by Donald A. Messerschmidt White Orchid Press, Bangkok, 1997
(Distributed in Nepal by EMR Publishing House)

A Life Worth Remembering by Kumar Pandey

Very few people are able to create possibilities and persevere for success in the face of unimaginable odds. Fewer leave behind lasting legacies which future generations will remember and admire. And there are not many with the diversity to be priest, teacher, radio operator, social worker, sports enthusiast and more, in one. Fr. Moran was endowed with all these skills and abilities, and his is a life worth remembering and celebrating.

Donald A. Messerschmidt presents the biography (this could be called an "authorised" biography) of Fr. Marshall D. Moran, SJ in his book Moran of Kathmandu, Priest, Educator and Ham Radio
"Voice of the Himalayas". In sixteen chapters, the book tracks Fr. Moran's life as a child and student in Chicago, his early adulthood as a novitiate and juniorate in Jesuit training schools, his journey to India and, ultimately, his adventures in Nepal. Fr. Moran's own views on events at various stages of his life are published as "looking back". Also included are anecdotes of old friends, students and fellow Jesuits who knew Moran. The book further provides some history of missionaries in Nepal over the centuries.

Fr. Moran first came to Nepal in 1949 to administer exams through Patna University, India, at Tri-Chandra College. It was at that time, during the reign of Mohan Shamsher, that he decided this was where he wanted to work. There was then only one school in Kathmandu that catered to the upper class and royal household. Few had the courage or interest to establish a modern school in Nepal. Moran had to wait patiently until the ousting of the Ranas to realise this dream. On the afternoon of King Tribhuwan's return from self-exile in India on 15 February 1951, Marshall received a telegram, "Come at once." This was exemplary of the manner in which Fr. Moran operated. He knew people in high places, sensed forthcoming opportunities and was prepared to take them up as they came.

Fr. Moran had many friends. He made friends as teacher, missionary and ham radio operator. They included royalty, ambassadors, actors and actresses, astronauts, politicians and bureaucrats: people from all walks of life. He came to know many Indian leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawarharlal Nehru, both of whom he chauffeured in Bihar during India's fight for independence. He talked to King Mahendra over his radio two times when the latter was travelling abroad. He would also talk to the King of Jordan over his radio, and encountered other famous people of whom most of us would only read about.

Most inspiring of Fr. Moran's accomplishments, however, is his establishment of several educational and social institutes. Apart from his courage to travel through India on his own (in the 1920s and as a teenager), one admires also the number of institutions he helped set up and operate while there, and later in Nepal. These included the Country School in Betiah (1930s), St. Xavier's High School for Boys in Patna (1940), the Women's College in Patna (1940), Holy Family Hospital in Patna ( late 1940s), St. Xavier's Godavari School (1951), St. Xavier's High School, Jawalakhel (1954), St. Mary's School for Girls, Jawalakhel, (1955) and the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawalakhel
(1959-1960). For Fr. Moran, nation-building was about providing disciplined education to young men and women, a true example of investment in indigenous capability building. We oftentimes lament the state of Nepal's education and the products of our educational system. Perhaps if more of our planners and educators were to internalise Fr. Moran's vision for the country, we would make more progress.

Fr. Moran, as a Christian priest, had absolute respect for the non-Christian traditions of India and Nepal, which he studied in depth. Fr. Moran shared Mahatma Gandhi's views on equality of religion and culture. In today's Nepal, these messages of tolerance and equality are important.

Overall, this book is a worthy token of appreciation for the life and work of Fr. Moran. No book, however, could do entire justice to his achievements. It is not an easy task to bring forth a character so diverse, so intense and driven to achieve the high standards he set for himself. As a former student of Fr. Moran, I read these pages with full admiration for its protagonist, his courage and accomplishments. Fr. Moran's life should inspire many others. This book is recommended for all planners, educators and pioneers.
(K.Pandey is an electrical engineer.)

------------------------------------------- A Strange Rivalry By Swarnim Wagle

Bishweshor Prasad Koirala ko Atmabritanta Collected by: Ganesh Raj Sharma Publisher: Jagadamba Press: Lalitpur, 2055 BS (1998)

"It is chemistry between people, you know", a political scientist friend once remarked, "that builds or breaks nations". What I then dismissed as rhetoric returns to me now having read B. P. Koirala's recently published memoirs (Atmabritanta) and diary (Jel jarnal). For what my friend said seems to hold true for 1950's Nepali politics. Atmabritanta chronicles an interesting period of history revolving particularly around the lives of King Mahendra and B.P., arguably two of Nepal's most influential statesmen ever. This article takes as its theme the
"chemistry" between these two figures, and the way it shaped the events that occured, based on B.P.'s anecdotes. Few would doubt that this "chemistry " has fundamentally shaped the country's destiny this century.

The bright mind behind the imaginative Panchayat project, Mahendra's character perplexed many, including B.P. It may be tempting for readers to now brand Mahendra, in a nutshell, as the ungrateful ruler of an undemocratic monarchic institution with little faith in his people. Yet such simplification should be resisted, for the relationship between Mahendra and B.P. was quite special: brutal and affectionate at once, certainly difficult to define in just one way. From his memoirs, it appears that B.P. was taken into Mahendra's confidence as early as 1952. That year, Mahendra informed young B.P., then Home Minister, of his intention of resigning as Crown Prince over his selection of marriage partner. How exactly B.P. proceeded to diffuse the situation gets overshadowed in the book by the events leading up to King Tribhuwan's statement on this occasion, "Mahendra will make the people weep floods of tears".

Many twentieth century leaders have used "cultural" or
"infrastructural" arguments to stifle the urges of men and women for greater freedom. Mahendra was one such leader, but unlike Singaporeans under Lee KuanYew around about the same time period, Nepal's people never prospered. On ascending the throne in 2011 BS, Mahendra began to publicly voice his reservations concerning democracy, whether it was suitable at all for Nepal, and, if so, whether its installation was premature for a population that was virtually illiterate. His inner convictions resurfaced some years later in 2017 BS, when Mahendra ordered the imprisonment of all elected politicians two days after the royal coup. Among the four questions he asked of B.P., now in jail, one was on the "infrastructure requirements" for democracy. To this, B.P. answered as follows: "Democracy requires only a faith in democracy itself, instilled in those who are in a position to deny democracy to others."

The years between 1956 and 1960 were unique in Nepal's history as a period when two leaders, armed with conflicting legitimacies, vied for a single seat of power. One sought traditional, almost medieval legitimacy rooted in the past, the other derived his from the ballot box, symbolic of the future. Mahendra harboured a dislike for Nepal's young democracy and an irrepressible desire for absolute power. He was impatient, too. Yet it seems he also held his rival in unusual appreciation. This becomes apparent in his behaviour towards B.P during these years. What should one make of the poem the poet-king drafted in honour of his Prime Minister in Dang, for instance? Or his confessions of loneliness to B.P., or, say, his private sojourns with B.P. on the banks of Lake Phewa? Mahendra also arranged sumptuous dinners for B.P. on more than one occasion.

Moreover, having himself received no higher education, Mahendra was impressed with B.P.'s voracious readings in literature, philosophy and the classics. A lawyer by profession, B.P. in his often brilliant arguments drew on this wide reading, making Mahendra aware of his own shortcomings. This helps us to understand, perhaps, the nature of a king who, while all too eager to borrow a book authored by Camus, would be the first to admit that he hadn't read it.

It is based on anecdotes such as these that B.P. held his friendship with Mahendra as one that was genuine. A few years earlier, as Home Minister, he recalls having had a similarly close relationship with Tribhuwan, though their relationship was less elusive. Tribhuwan was less ambitious, as evidenced in his life-long pursuit of hedonistic frivolity. B.P. was somewhat of a womaniser himself, a fact to which he refers when he, with courage, questions his "resource of character" in the book. B.P. also quotes candidly the words of Biju Patnaik of Orissa who used to warn him of the implications of his well-publicised liaisons with high-society women of the day.

In this habit, it seems B.P. was influenced by Tribhuwan's own addiction to beautiful, obliging women. Tribhuwan once said to B.P., "We share the same attitudes to life. This is not the case with Matrika babu (and possibly other comrades of the revolution). Still, the two of us do not seem to agree on things." Unlike Tribhuwan, B.P. and even Mahendra were serious nationalists conscious of the vulnerable sovereignty of a new state, and the potentially dangerous mindset of meddlesome Indian envoys with extraordinary interest in the internal affairs of Nepal. In retort, it is said, though not in these memoirs, B.P. later named his dog after C.P.N. Sinha, one of India's early ambassadors to Nepal.

What comes across strongly in these memoirs is Mahendra's ambition which, ultimately, overrode his amity with B.P. This determined the way their relationship was to evolve. The ruling establishment was hardly prepared for the Nepali Congress party's stunning two-thirds victory in the 1959 elections. In fact, it is B.P.'s view that had Mahendra's bada hakims not assured him of a hung verdict, his ardent reluctance to hold the elections is very likely to have held sway. It was only a full month after Congress' victory that Mahendra summoned B.P. to be sworn-in as the new Prime Minister. It was during this embarrassingly worked-out delay that army laws were revised in haste, effectively setting the stage for the forthcoming showdown. We may wonder why Mahendra ended up waiting for another seventeen months for what was to come. Atmabritanta implies that this could not have been otherwise; Mahendra was forced to wait.

As Prime Minister, B.P. began to make a mark on the international scene, standing tall as the popular leader of a sovereign nation. Whether at the UN, during prolonged tOmegate-a- tOmegates with Nehru or brief encounters with the likes of Eisenhower, Khrushchev and Chou En Lai, B.P. made positive impressions as he grew in stature abroad. Knowledge of this only fueled Mahendra's ambitions; back home, he was by now well into engineering his coup. He had found a natural ally in the powerful landed elite which had been much affected by the Congress Government's progressive land reforms. Mahendra also sought to win for himself the support of B.P.'s friends, including the likes of Tulsi Giri and Bishwo Bandhu Thapa (who later, and infamously, fell prey to the king's "betrayal trap").

What is more, Mahendra encouraged circulation of gossip and rumour surrounding B.P. among the likes of Rockefeller and Eisenhower abroad whilst at home, fancy jogis (with particular reference to Jogi Naraharinath) traversed the superstitious mountain-land propagating B.P.'s alleged atheism. The end had drawn near by the time B.P. made his historic trip to Israel in 1960, before the new country had been officially recognised by either India or Pakistan. Thus attempting to assert Nepal's sovereignty in foreign affairs, B.P. returned a confident statesman with Israeli assurance of armaments assistance. In Nepal, Mahendra's imminent offensive was already being speculated on. B.P. recognised what as was coming, though he was caught unawares at the time. This was because his reliable comrade, Subarna Shumsher, argued that Mahendra was likely to delay his plans until after the upcoming visit of the British Queen. When the royal coup finally occurred in December 1960, not only was it a grave setback for democracy, it was also the triumph of frustration over patience; the victory of long-brewed ambition over the faculty of reason.

(S.Wagle is a student of economics with an interest in modern history.)

******************************************************** Of bargained wives by Shizu Upadhya

Two girls walk into the photo studio as dusk sets over Rajbiraj bazaar. They talk quietly to one another as they wait their turn. Before long they are beckoned to the far corner of the room. One of the girls steps into the spotlit circle. There she stands, fiddling with the shawl of her orange kurtha surwal. Her expression is serious as she looks into the camera lens.
"Smile!" demands the photographer. She doesn't. Why should she?
     Thoughts crowd my mind as I stand and watch. A photo of a bride- to-be; the girl doesn't look more than sixteen. To be sent to some man, possibly double her age. A wealthy landowner's son is considered a good catch. He may glance at the photo, his eyes may skim over the girl's features briefly before he begins to inquire on her father's property, her worth's equivalent in Nepali Rupees. He won't be bothered that she doesn't smile.

I arrive at conclusions just having spent the past few days with the Bageswori Sewa Samiti: a group of Maithili Brahmins advocating against dowry practices in the eastern tarai. I've come to know a close-knit community scattered across parts of Dhanusha, Morang and Saptari. This was Mithila, realm of King Janak in ancient times. Legend has it that Sita, his daughter, received a large dowry when she was married to Ram. Not a price but a gift, a share in parental property for a daughter denied inheritance rights. That was the age of dowry in its untainted form, I'm told. An important facet of Hindu culture, to be nurtured, respected.

Centuries later, Lila, youngest daughter of Pandav Dev, resident of Saptari district and founder member of the Bageswori Sewa Samiti, kills herself to escape the material demands of her husband and in-laws. The tragedy establishes the Samiti with its mission; that was seven years ago. The advent of modernity, say Samiti members, has transformed dowry into an act of social compulsion, an instrument for satiating the greed of a small but increasingly wealthy middle class. The going rate for an eligible bachelor last year was as high as three lakhs; tales of parents selling themselves into poverty in the interests of their daughters circulate frequently in these parts. It is also in their daughters' "interests" to have their schooling curtailed so as to save up for good husbands and ostentatious wedding ceremonies.

Tarai society is demanding and agreeing to pay more for the preservation of caste purity in changing times. Dowry's irony is that while it is a woman's right, it is conditional on her marriage, its amount in others' hands. Moreover, control over the goods in kind, which is what dowry consists of today, passes to the parents of the groom in most instances. A woman's ultimate commodification occurs when the groom's family begins to insist on post-marriage dowry, the kind demanded also of Lila.

Meera Dev, associated with the Samiti, was married off at the age of fourteen. She has two sons, both still studying. Her pride in their declared opposition to dowry is apparent in the tone of her voice. It's a start, I think to myself: young men dissenting against a custom created by men, justified by them. The other task at hand would be to persuade brides' parents to abstain from offering dowry in the first place. However, given the overall insecurity of a bride's situation in her new home, and her parents' hesitance to exacerbate this insecurity, this change of attitude would appear to be more difficult to bring about. This is because dowry is all about endowing women with value which otherwise, by being daughters and not sons, they are perceived to have less of. And what I've been told has left a lot unsaid. For even in ancient times, when social thinking was, supposedly, more pure, it questioned Sita's fidelity and instigated her public humiliation on this count as the story goes.

Despite anti-dowry rulings under Nepali and Indian law (however mild), there has been in recent times an increase in its phenomenon across the subcontinent, among communities, even, where it did not prevail before. Metamorphosis of dowry into an act of coercion is evidence of women's further devaluation, in Nepal particularly of tarai women, alongside and in spite of modernization. In this setting, advocating against dowry, as the Bageswori Group is doing, becomes a protest against women's poor and decreasing status, refuting in substance the bulwarks of patriarchy by targeting social thinking. This is a laborious task, and the road ahead is long and inclined.

What we should be striving for is, ultimately, to raise irreversibly women's positions in the eyes of parents, husbands and in-laws. To this end, fighting dowry is a means. Women's upliftment in the current context also requires its share of compulsion, or else it will not happen. It is for this reason that inheritance rights under Nepali law that discriminate between sons and daughters need to be amended without further delay. An equal right in ancestral property, not just access to fridges and jewellery, is a stand which allows women to demand for their share of value. Until a future time, no other policy change is as likely to transform women's status, their perception by others, as radically. This is a prerequisite for women's greater say in shaping their destiny: to study and for longer, for instance, marry later and to men of their choice, or not marry at all.

As I dream for the girl in the orange kurtha surwal, I watch her return to her companion who waits at the front of the studio. The photograph won't be ready for another day or two, they're told. So they make an advance payment, and recede into the bustle of a Rajbiraj evening. (S.Upadhya recently visited east tarai.)

************************************************** Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 22:49:55 -0400 (EDT) From: Kanak Limbu <gs05kll@panther.Gsu.EDU> To: Editor/Nepal Digest <> Subject: Khoj-khabar(anyone there?)

Hello Everyone,

My name is Ramyata Limbu and I will be working for the St. Petersburg Times(daily) in St. Petersburg, Florida till December. I'm curious to know if there are any Nepalis' in the florida area. If there are any interested people who would like to converse please reach me at: Thanks.

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