The Nepal Digest - July 25, 2000 (15 Ashadh 2057 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Tues July 25, 2000: Ashadh 15 2057BS: Year9 Volume98 TIssue449

Today's Topics (partial list):

       Delhi, Kathmandu, Islamabad: Birds of the Same Feather
       Prostitutes in Nepal
       Nepal Visit
       Borders Exploration Group - Nepal 2001 expedition
       Separation of Nepalese Siamese twins
       Himanchal Educational Foundation
       ANMF Press Release

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****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 00:13:59 EDT To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@duke.edu> Subject: Delhi, Kathmandu, Islamabad: Birds of the Same Feather

        I am getting a little fed up with the coverage of the so-called Nepal Game Plan in the Indian and Nepali media. From the jingoistic to moderate editorials, reports, interviews, newspieces, and so-called opinion polls, everyone of these descriptions, analyses, interpretations somehow seems to have missed the point of the geopolitics of South Asia and the problem of the Third World. Or, really almost everyone's viewpoint comes from living too long in the cocoons of Kathmandu and Indian cities. And this is the tragedy of the Third World. The knowledgeable don't know or don't want to know, and those who know by virtue of lived experience do not have the wherewithal to express their views in places where they could count.

        Let me first of all begin with India Today associate editor Farzand Ahmad's interview with Nepal's foreign minister C. B. Bastola. What comes out most strongly in the interview is Ahmad's Hindu patriotism that has suffused Indian politics these days. After getting tired of Laloo-bashing in Patna for Laloo's country ways, substandard Hindi and ignorance of English, now Ahmad has moved to Delhi to champion India's Hindu nationalism. I mean it's ridiculous how because of the constraints of earning a living, an educated Muslim loses sight of ground realities
(if he ever had such a sight) and cannot distinguish between communalism and community among the people who inhabit the borders between India and Nepal.

        The point here is not whether Pakistan has made Nepal the playground of ISI activities and has been smuggling arms, terrorists, hatred, and sabotage into India through the open border, the point is, How India and Nepal have handled the issue of Pakistani activities in Nepal between themselves and made the peoples of the open border the target of their deplorable wrath and condescension.

        The leakage of the intelligence report to India Today is no doubt libelous, worthy of trying in an international court of justice for defaming people based on rumors, hearsay, he-said-she- said, the primary source of the report. It shows not only the shoddy standard of the Indian intelligence establishment but the immaturity and knee-jerk nature of present Indian leadership; even after fifty years, or because of fifty years, they haven't learned how to conduct their affairs with a virtually dependent and more or less friendly neighbor. But if the report was leaked to the press without the Indian government's consent, then the responsible officers must be punished for their lack of judgement and violation of international protocol in conducting affairs between two sovereign nations. And here, one cannot but endorse the strong reaction expressed by those whose names have been sullied in the report.

        That said, one needs to pause and think about how the Nepali side has handled this serious charge. There's no doubt that the publication of the report in the media is libelous. But if the report is even a bit true that many of Nepal's politicians, businessmen, officials--the elite--have taken ISI money and joined Pakistan's own failure to sustain the institution of democracy, communal harmony, and general prosperity and so this frustration-adjusting crusade against India, whose roots are quite different from Nepal's grievances with India, this only shows how degraded some of Nepal's ruling elites have become. Until now they had bungled only foreign aid and office budgets that were given to them in the name of Nepali people. Foreign aid, office budgets, bribes--these could be justified as patriotically neutral sources for building houses, buying land and car, winning elections. But taking money from another nation-state, whose own sources of this money comes from dictatorship, cold war foreign aid, and so on, in order to conduct clandestine activities against India is patriotically reprehensible. Please note the adverb I'm using here--patriotically, not morally. Who gives a darn about public morality? In this respect, Nepali patriotism has sunken to a new low. To the tally of foreign aid, office budget, and bribes has been added money for espionage. For money, these people would sell even their mother's milk. So, it's the business of Nepali government to conduct internal investigation and see if the allegations against the people and organizations implicated in the report are true and if found true, book the individuals responsible, for they have shamed the country.

        But the most reprehensive matter in all this is the coming together of the media and political elites of Pakistan, India, and Nepal to vilify the people who inhabit the India-Nepal border and cross it on either side to make a living. Yes, Pakistan, too, has joined in vilifying the honest, hard working Muslims who have lived in the border region for decades, if not centuries. Does Pakistan gives a darn about them? I don't think so. Otherwise, it wouldn't use the innocent Muslim communities as base for its fundamentalist activities against India, because sooner or later the matter would come to light. Now on, all Muslims who live near the border, either on Nepal or India side, would be viewed with suspicion, making their condition further worse. By becoming true or rumored agents of Pakistan-engineered India-hating Islamic fundamentalism, the zealots would endanger the already precarious livelihood of the majority of the Muslims who live in the uncertain zone between India and Nepal.

        But Pakistan is the least of my concerns here. Its leaders have shown gross disregard of democratic values and aspirations of its people and never hesitated to use whatever means necessary to grab power and indulge in corruption. This has been true from Ayub Khan to Bhutto to the present dictator. If the Nepali and Indian governments really want it, the Pakistani spies could be driven out of the region and zealots silenced in a week. Nepal should be the last place for these people and their activities. My main concern here is the recent Indian and Nepali elites' vilification of those people who live near or cross the Nepal-India border, either from Nepal to India or India to Nepal, for living. Who are these people? Let me try to characterize these people to the best of my knowledge.

        From the Indian side, the nature of these border crossers has changed over the years. There was a time when, about forty or fifty years ago, farm laborers and petty traders crossed the borders. There was drastic shortage of manpower in the malaria infested Tarai. The farm laborers, both Hindus and Muslims, came from some of the poorest regions of Bihar, Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. The carpenters helped build for the migrants from the hills the wooden houses out of the timbers of the felled forest of the Tarai; the barbers cut the hair (in eastern Nepali Tarai, there were no indigenous Nepali barbers), some farm laborers joined the local Musher, Dushad and other low castes and tribes in planting rice in the muddy monsoon and helped harvest the crop in the winter. The Muslims, mostly Khotta and Bengali from eastern Bihar and Bengal, worked the jute fields from weeding to washing.

        The trader groups were multifarious in origin. The Marwaris among them from the Indian state of Rajasthan brought their whole culture and self-contain cultural community with them; they were the elites among the traders, staying mostly in trading centers and working as intermediaries between retail purchase of cash crops and their whole sale supplies to jutemills and foreign demands. Only rare few among them ventured into the remote villages that other Indian traders plied their trades in. My first idea of industrialization comes from the huge chimneys of rice mills these Marwari traders ran in a small town in eastern Nepal. But the majority of petty traders and stationers and fishermen worked the villages, buying grains and jute in retail and selling small time consumer items, such as soap (I remember Lifebuoy and Sunlight vividly, package and all), kerosene, salt, and other trinkets, including the tiny fishing hooks. The cloth merchants among these were the privileged ones, and the Marwaris nearly monopolized this trade and for the most part stayed in the trading centers.

        To be sure, those who came and saw opportunities in the Tarai towns for large scale trade and prosperity came to stay, but most of the petty traders earned their seasonal income (this trade was wholly dependent on the crope cycle, the main source of revenue from the hinterland) and either sent their money to their villages in India or themselves went after the season was over. Every year, this was the routine they followed.

        These people crossed the Nepal border from certain parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal--and these parts were almost always ravaged by extreme poverty. And what caused this poverty? A combination of nature and culture. Annual calamities of floods, draught, population increase joined by the forces of history--the Hindu caste system, Muslim and Mughal tyranny, and the exploitative policy of revenue-based British colonialism--not the least the failure of elite Indian leaders after Independence to bring about fundamental changes in the political and economic structure of the country. The same reasons that drove people from Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the nineteenth century across what was called kalapani to the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Africa and the Indian Ocean regions as indentured laborers drove them after Indian Independence across the borders to Nepal. Many of these people, more settled among them, went to Calcutta and other Indian cities to eke out a living. Even now in many north Indian villages, the women and children live in the village and the able-bodied men work in India's big cities, visiting their villages once or twice a year.

        Now, a literate few among these (gloriously called in my childhood in Nepal as Matric- Fail, which could mean that these could have finished anything from elementary to middle school) became our first school teachers. I still feel hatred for a few of these sadists who beat their wards to no end (making my already miserable childhood further worse), but I also understand that their brutality came from their near illiteracy. The more educated among the stray migrants (I.A.-Fails and B.A.-Fails) went to more famous areas to become high school teachers. A few I.A.-Fails came our way as a well to be our science, math, and English teachers in the short-lived High School, joined later by such -Fails of hill origin from Darjeeling, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Assam. Almost always it was joblessness that drove them to the vacancies in Nepal, where the darkness of the middle ages had covered until 1950.

        Now of course the scenario has changed. These migrant workers don't come to the villages anymore, nor do the school teachers find jobs in Nepal. Nepal has now its own crop of educated Nepalis, both men and women, to man its schools. But many college teachers in Physics and English still come from India to teach in Nepal's far flung colleges, and many get daily abused by their culturally proud India-hating jingoist students. But we, too, in our time in the village school demonstrated our student power by looting the sweetmeats of quite a few Indian hawkers.

        But the majority of these migrants now work in Nepali cities (and not all are Indians), including Kathmandu, as grocers, garment workers, and richshaw pullers. Trade brings more money than farm labor, and the urban abuse that you can see heaped on them on a daily basis by the patriotic Nepalis in the cities, I guess, brings its won rewards in brisk business and quick profit. Do they stay in Nepal, increasing its population? I don't know. Maybe some do.

        But who are the Nepalis who cross the borders to India? These are primarily of two types, and depending on the history of India and Nepal, their composition has varied. The migration that occurred as a result of British rule in India that transferred labor to various regions of its empire according to local needs is a different matter. I am not speaking here about the retired soldiers of the Gurkha regiments, the inhabitants of Darjeeling, Sikkim, the kingdom of Bhutan, and the republic of Burma. I am also not speaking about those who go to study either with scholarship or on their own to various Indian colleges and universities or those who go for medical treatment or on pilgrimage. I'm speaking about the laborers.

        In my childhood, some of the famous Nepali songs were those that told the story of a man who went to "Muglan." These were the people who didn't or couldn't join the Indian Army and go "Lahur" but had to go away anyway from the hardships and feudal tyranny of the hills in order to earn a living in various Indian cities as darwans, chaukidars, peons, gatekeepers, nightwatchmen, cooks, waiters and so on. Quite a few of these fled their homes in childhood or adolescent. These were then, and even now, called "kanchas" and "bahadurs." In every Indian city, one can still find isolated cases of Nepalis working in various low-paying jobs. But these were achievements, especially when the Indians themselves from the rural areas couldn't get these jobs. And of course, now the uncertain number of Nepali girls, mostly from the lower castes and hill tribes, cater to the Indian customers in various Indian cities. They are prized commodities in the Indian flesh market.

        But things have changed over the years. It's not only the oppressed and the adventurous from the hills that cross the border and go to India. The poor youth from the entire Tarai has emptied into Indian farmlands in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi--and factories everywhere in India. The last time I visited my village, they said that only the old and the children were left in the village; the rest are in India.

        The fact is that at various levels, both India and Nepal have become sources of labor supply--from technical and academic coolies to maids and factory workers--both to each others' regions and abroad--to the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia, and to the industrialized world in this age of globalization. But why is it that the experts, the sundry politicians, the media pundits cry migration in Delhi and Kathmandu? The Indian report went so far as to state that the demographic of the border region has changed because of migration, and a recent poll conducted by Media International (the name sounds big and I wonder who they polled, the men with the telephone in Nepal's urban centers or the villages where there's still no electricity or roads) also suggests that the border needs to be regulated. One so-called population expert went so far as to suggest that the primary reason for Nepal's population increase is migration from India, and I wonder which migration he was talking about--in the past ten years or since the Tarai was inhabited by malarial mosquitoes or the Treaty of Sugauli in early nineteenth century.

        So, New Delhi says the population has multiplied (they have said only the Muslims have increased), and Kathmandu says the same thing (only that for the elites of Kathmandu it's the Madishes, one politician saying that Nepal's sovereignty itself is in danger). Then, what's the problem? Seal the darn border. See what happens. Elite Hindu Delhi and Kathmandu and elite Muslim Islamabad live in their fantasy world of patriotism, nationalism, cultural preservation, national security, sovereignty and all the lofty slogans. For them the threat to this utopia is the laborers who cross the borders to earn a few rupees in each others country in the face of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. But in reality, both Kathmandu and Delhi have lost touch with their populace. No, it's not so much that they have lost touch but that they have never been in touch with the daily lives of the people in the first place.

That's why, the Hindi poet Dinkar said about Delhi, Baibhaki Diwaani Dilli Krishak Meghki Rani Dilli Anachaar Apmaan ki Chubhati hui Kahani Dilli Dou Din ke hi Ball Dance mE Naach hui Bepaani Dilli

        About Kathmandu, nobody has spoken in the same language, but Bhupi Sherchan, the common man's poet, has said as much, Ghumne Mech Maathiko Andho Manche.

        Now, this blind man is not only the bureaucrat and the politician of the Panchayat system, but also the population experts, politicians, the media, and so on of post-1990 Kathmandu. It's partly because of Kathmandu's blindness that the Maoist movement is raging in the remote regions of Nepal. Now, what is it that will make Dilli once again dance to sweats and Kathmandu see? I don't know, but what I know is that Delhi has joined in the long-time posturing of Kathmndu about the lives of the people who inhabit the borderland--geographical, cultural, and economic-- between India and Nepal. Kathmandu had little pretensions of democracy before 1990 but now Delhi's pretensions are also exposed. Is this irresponsible gesture a portent for the future of Indian democracy in the hands of the Hindu elite? As for Islamabad, if its rulers had cared about their people, there would be no military dictatorships nor corrupt Bhuttos or irresponsible Sharifs. The Hindu elites in Delhi don't care about the Hindus, the Muslim generals or ideologues in Islamabad don't care about the Muslims, the media and political elites in Kathmandu don't care about the Nepalis; what they care about is the ways they can continue to be in power. And the easiest way since the rise of nationalism in Europe in late eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries and decolonization in the second half of the twentieth century in the Third World has been nationalism and patriotism.

        Even when the officials meet to discuss bilateral and trilateral matters, they skirt the real problems--the issue of poverty in the border and outlying regions. Do whatever you want to do to those who go to Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, etc., by air from Nepal or to those who fly to Kathmandu from India's cities. But you can't ignore and make wilful assumptions about those who walk across the border to earn a living on the other side. They are part of the international biopower; they don't cross the border to lose money in the casinos or conduct mega business deals. They earn every penny by the sweat of their brow, selling groceries door to door or pulling two-legged humans like four-footed beasts. Nobody has a moral or legal right to abuse them, look down upon them, and make irresponsible statements about them. Both India and Nepal have an international obligation to safeguard the rights of those who cross the borders and supply the needs of its labor market in each other's countires. Both need to form joint committees all along the border region from Mechi to Mahakali at the district level, not to harass them but to make sure that their rights are safeguarded in each others' territories and their contributions duly recognized. If the experts and the media people continue to speak nonsense about the people who live along the Nepal-India border and cross the border to supply the volatile, uncertain labor market, whatever credibility they possess at the international level will go only down, if it hasn't done so already.

        At this point I remember an interesting anecdote related to me recently by an eminent Indian scholar of South Aisa based in Delhi. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the man many would say was soley responsible for the establishment of Pakistan, wrote to Nehru after Partition. In the letter, Jinnah didn't talk about old enmities or quarrels but asked Nehru if the former could buy a piece of land to build a resort house in Simla. I don't know what Nehru said or whether he replied but it goes to show how the elite in the capital cities serve their private interests by stashing away cash, buying real estate for private use in foreign lands and learning the hated foreign language but in public give hoarse slogans about patriotism and nationalism. In this particular case, Delhi and Islamabad are as much guilty as Kathmandu in once again denigrating the lives of the border people between India and Nepal in the name of terrorism, crusade against India and migration.

****************************************************************** From: "prashant ramlakan" <pramlakan@hotmail.com> To: <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: need help... Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 16:49:02 +0100

Hello there!

  I'm a young French man who has always been fascinated by leaving = everything behind to find himself happy in an unknown place, so I have = been seeking for informations and I happened to fall in love with Nepal = a couple of mounth ago (I believe my love for a life as simple as = possible in the mountains comes from my youthness spent in Africa until = I was ten years old for my parents were teachers there).=20
  So I have been looking for visa informations but I learnt that the = longest visa period to be obtained was three mounth, and since I = wouldn't stay there as a lawbreaker, I contacted the French embassy in = Katmandu to ask for any possibilities to get a longer visa, but I didn't = get any answer, that's the reason why I E-mail you, to check if you = could tell me more about getting any long period visa or any way to spend a couple of years there without aving the Nepalese = government against me....

>From advance thancks a lot.
Sincerely, Frederic Gautron.

********************************************************** Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 17:37:35 -0600 (MDT) From: Rajani Adhikary <Rajani.Adhikary@Colorado.EDU> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - May 26, 2000 (13 Jestha 2057 BkSm)

Subject: Prostitutes in Nepal

Yes, even I, a student who has studied the causes, affects and issues that deal with prositution could not believe that this topic made it into the Nepali Digest. I am sure that many of you all are shocked and more appalled than anything else by this information. I am glad that this topic made it into this somewhat mainstream discussion, but I do have some critiques.

First, why was this study based purely on the fact that women are engaged in these acts? What about the men who openly and actively sought this kind of relationship? Why aren't we studying them and asking them what they do to their bodies after they engage themselves and these women in unsafe sex (and most likely, from their own request?)? Why do we blame these women for making use of what men have decided to exploit? Why do we always point the finger at the women and excuse the men for this behavior- as if we can expect it from men, and therefore, it is more okay?

The so called "prositution problem" in Nepal that exists in the Valley is only a symptom of a larger problem, and the fact that once again, the brunt of this blame is focused on women is ignorant and mistaken.
  These women are taking advantage of the situation that they find themselves in- men are creating the market, so lets start talking about that as the real issue.

Rajani Adhikary

******************************************************************* Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 18:27:40 -0700 To: webmaster-tnd@nepal.org From: ileana <libeccio@sysnet.it> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

I am trying to found a little girl,that i sponsored by actionaid-italy. She was lost of his village with her family ? i hope,can you tell me how i know where she is come ? her name is :Hurmata Kumari Kama discrict of jajarkot zona di Bheri. I hope you answer to me,thank you very much Ileana De Paoli

****************************************************************** Date: 29 May 00 06:04:49 MDT From: priya bains <bainspriya@usa.net> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Information Needed!

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I am a student of Masters in Business Administration, University Business=

School, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.I am currently undergoing my=

summer training in a Company developing Publishing Software=92s. As a part of my training, I am required to get some information and addre= sses of Non government organizations and international organizations propagati= ng the cause of Indian languages-namely: Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Newari language of Nepal in your country. I would appreciate if you could kindly look into this matter and if you = have any significant information relating to these organizations propagating = even a single language. Please be kind enough to inform me as soon as possibl= e.

Thanking You,

Yours truly Pbains

********************************************************************* Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 18:35:50 -0400 To: (Recipient list suppressed) From: Martin Chautari <chautari@mos.com.np> Subject: Registration of EVs cancelled

1. Registration of EVs canceled
    Martin Chautari, 31 May 2000

Time and again the irrational things happen in Nepal. This time the government has shown its incompetency and illogical approach to manage traffic problem. The government today made it public that registration of three-wheelers (Safa tempos and Tuk-tuks) and taxis has temporarily been canceled for three months in Kathmandu valley. It is the government contention that there is an urgent need to review the carrying capacity of roads in Kathmandu valley and restrict vehicle movements. The notice issued by the Department of Transport Management states that the decision is taken to buy some time to conduct study on the carrying capacity of roadnetworks in Kathmandu valley and determine the vehicle number. Though it is a good idea to restrict vehicle movements, the decision is flawed on the following points.

1. While at one hand it concedes that a sheer number of vehicle number is a
 problem, it does not stop 500 plus microbuses to enter Kathmandu. If the number is a problem, why should microbuses be allowed before the study is completed and the department decides how much vehicles are needed.

2. The decision does not stop registration of private vehicles while it is a known fact that private vehicles are a major contributor for traffic congestion. Instead they should be encouraging public transport system for air pollution control and improving traffic management. If the number is a problem for traffic police and the department of transport management, why should not the private vehicles be prohibited from registration as well? What comes as surprise that environmentally vehicles are punished while private vehicles which contribute to air pollution and traffic congestion are left free.Nowhere in the world are environmentally friendly public-transit vehicles are barred from operation on the ground of traffic congestion. =20

The Department of Transport Management either has no idea what steps need to be taken to improve traffic management in the valley or they are influenced by muscles and money of some groups. We strongly urge the Traffic Police and the Department of Transport Management to revoke its decision and take fair, practical and logical policies in managing traffic problem in the valley.

2. Ban on Electric tempos : Blow to environment, 45 crores industry collapsed

      Taken from Kantipur daily, 1 June 2000

The 45 corers EV industry has come under the imminent danger of being collapsed after the government decided to prohibit operation of battery operated Safa tempos. The Department of Transport Management issued an important notice on 30 May stating that " all three wheelers including Safa tempos and taxis are barred from registration.'

It's a decision of state minister Surendra Hamal to stop registration of Safa tempos. But Prime Minister who holds the portfolio of transport is reported to be unaware of the decision. " I have no idea of this decision," said Hari Sharma a private secretary of Prime Minister, " Before making the decision, it should have been studied carefully."

Environmentalists are dismayed over the incidence of ban on environmentally friendly vehicles. Even concerned authorities have no idea how it happened. " There has been no study on the carrying capacity of roads in Kathmandu," said Krishna Murari Sharma. Answering the question whether it makes any sense to make decision without having completed a thorough study, Sharma replied," it's a government decision, I can't say anything on it."=20

EV manufactures are angry over the government's decision to stop registration of Safa tempos. " I could not believe it first time, when I heard it second time I realized it was true. We are badly hurt," said Tara Kattel of Green Electric Vehicle Pvt. Ltd. "We have already begun our protest and hope people will support us."

In the meantime, manufacturers, and other EV entrepreneurs submitted a letter together to the office of Prime Minister on Wednesday. The letter demands revocation of the decision citing that EV industry is a more than 45 crores industry, utilizes off-peak hour electricity, generates 2 crores revenue for Nepal Electricity Authority, provides employments to 6000 thousand people directly/indirectly and helps reduce air pollution. =
=20

Today, there are about 600 Safa tempos in Kathmandu valley. "As it is zero emission vehicle, it plays a positive role in alleviation of air pollution," said Amod Kumar Pokhrel, " One can feel that air has really improved in the valley." Pokhrel said that EVs are being promoted worldwide, but nowhere have EVs been restricted from operation. " The government should withdraw its decision."

In a statement issued by Martin Chautari, an NGO working in the field of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, it was said," It is not a logical act to prohibit Safa tempos at a time when the world is busy with research and development of alternative fuels such as electricity, wind and solar. " It is an irony that environmentally public-transit systems are restricted while private vehicles are left unfettered. The Transport Department has not prohibited the registration of private vehicles. =20

3. Katmandu Tests Out Battery-Run Fleet,But Fans of Diesel Fuel Offer Resistance

By MIRIAM JORDAN=20 Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Wall Street Journal May 31, 2000 =20

KATMANDU, Nepal -- An experiment in pollution-free transport and environmental politics is under way in this poor South Asian capital: It's home to the world's largest fleet of electric public-transit vehicles.

Some 550 battery-powered three-wheeled vehicles, each carrying up to 12 passengers, ply the temple-studded streets in this city of 1.2 million. Known as Safa Tempos, or "clean three-wheelers" in Nepalese, they ferry tens of thousands of residents every day.

Introduced commercially in 1996, the vehicles, which are white or green and advertise their environmental friendliness, illustrate that it isn't just high-tech inventions that can improve people's lives. The batteries running the vehicles aren't revolutionary. They are the ones that run golf carts in the U.S. But they could change the face of Katmandu -- if the private sector and government officials let them.

Air quality has actually improved in this windless city since electric vehicles took to the streets. The World Bank once denounced air pollution in Katmandu's bowl-like valley as an "assault" on health. Streets are crammed with aging motorbikes, trucks and buses. Poor fuel quality adds to the noxious fumes, as do brick kilns and cement factories on the city's outskirts. Dirt particles are trapped in the windless air.

But the air quality does seem better since 1996, when for-profit companies first began assembling the electric vehicles, which have replaced older diesel-powered three-wheelers. Although hard figures aren't available, environmentalists say the gray-brown smog that blankets the city in winter is thinner. The snow-capped Himalayas in the distance are visible more=
 often.

Residents say they are breathing easier. One is Mayan Tuladar, a housewife who travels daily to a downtown market to buy food and supplies for her family. They "look just like the old three-wheelers," she notes, after paying five rupees, or 11 cents, for the ride. "But they are much more comfortable -- they don't release fumes, they don't make noise and they don't vibrate."

World-wide, alternative-fuel vehicles are beginning to gain some ground. U.S. cities such as New York and Chicago are introducing or boosting their fleets of electric or electric-diesel buses, and auto makers in the U.S., Japan and Germany have developed both all-electric cars and gasoline-electric hybrids. Still, in the West, all-electric vehicles are generally regarded as too slow and too limited in range.

Speed isn't an issue here, with bicycles, pushcarts and cows jamming the streets. Nepal's electric vehicles can travel 28 miles per hour =96 but congestion means the average speed for all vehicles in the city rarely surpasses 7.5 miles per hour.

In many ways, the city is an ideal test bed. Its population grew by almost 50% between 1980 and 1990. "We still can't say that the electric vehicles have made a huge impact," says Bikash Pandey, director of the Nepal branch of Winrock International, a Morrilton, Ark., volunteer group that supports alternative-energy and agricultural projects. "But they're a very important trend that offers hope for the future and environment of Katmandu."

Katmandu's electric-transit fleet came to be following a 1993 ban on the sale of new diesel-run three-wheelers, which were being imported from India. The Nepalese government enacted the ban out of concern with Katmandu's deteriorating air quality and the potential impact on tourism.

But it allowed diesel-run vehicles already in the streets to remain. Some environmentalists estimate that the diesel vehicles, although cheap and convenient, were contributing as much as a quarter of city's air pollution.

It was also in 1993 that the city of Katmandu invited a Eugene, Ore., nonprofit organization, Global Resources Institute, to design electric three-wheel vehicles. A pilot vehicle hit the road in September 1993 and soon caught the attention of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which pledged $497,000 to expand the program, train mechanics and promote the emission-free vehicles.

Peter Moulton, executive director of Global Resources, recalls that early local press coverage of the Safa Tempos "treated electric vehicles as a joke." To change perceptions, Mr. Moulton and his colleagues met with Nepalese newspaper editors and bankers and urged them to offer loans to parts-importers, manufacturers and fleet operators to create a viable industry for the Safa Tempo. Crucially, they persuaded the government to reduce import duties on several electric-vehicle components to 1% from 60%.

When the AID funding ended in 1996, two local business groups had started assembling, servicing and operating electric vehicles in the city. Today, six companies make Safa Tempos. The production cost of each vehicle is about $3,500, and they sell for about $6,000. Several battery-charging stations have popped up to serve the vehicles, which have to change or recharge their batteries every 37 miles.

The largest manufacturers, Nepal Electric Vehicle Industry Ltd. and Electric Vehicle Co., sold only a handful of vehicles a year during their first three years of operation. But local environmental groups, many backed by Winrock International, staged rallies supporting the Safa Tempos and demanding the removal of diesel Tempos. neighborhood associations plastered posters and distributed pamphlets. "I got threats to my life," from diesel three-wheeler operators, recalls environmentalist Bharat Basnet, who took part in the rallies.

In September 1999, the government went a step further and banned existing diesel three-wheelers. Filling the void, NEVI and EVCO each sold more than 100 electric vehicles between October and January. "We had a bonanza," says Ashok Raj Pandey, managing director of NEVI. EVCO's general manager, P.P. Pokhrel, said the brisk sales signaled two things: "People have accepted the technology, and there is profit to be made in operating electric vehicles."

But the victory for electric transit is suddenly uncertain. Citing demand for more public transportation, the government recently approved the import of 300 15-seat minibuses. It still isn't clear whether the vans will run on liquefied petroleum gas or diesel fuel, but they will probably have an impact on the electric-vehicle industry.

Mr. Pandey says NEVI already is seeing a decline in orders for its vehicles. The company made a small profit for the first time last year, but now, he adds, "there is a lot of concern." Makers and operators of Safa Tempos privately accuse senior politicians of pandering to interests of vehicle importers. In the case of the 300 vans, the imports will receive the same preferential import duties given to Safa Tempos -- although they aren't emission free.

Nepal's environment minister, Shiv Raj Joshi, insists that the government is serious about pollution control. "I'm very much in favor of the electric-vehicle industry," he says, adding that the decision to import vans wasn't his.

Adam Friedensohn, chairman of Lotus Energy, a solar and alternative-energy company that holds a 10% stake in EVCO, notes that "Nepal could be a model for the world in electric vehicles, but this will hinge on government policies." Unfortunately, he cautions, "there is more money to be made with less-wholesome transportation methods."

In Nepal, both NEVI and EVCO hope to expand their market by introducing cargo versions of the Safa Tempo. But recently, EVCO says, the government blocked trial runs it had been planning of a larger, four-wheel electric vehicle imported from Britain. The government said it objected to the trial because the electric vehicle was designed to transport milk, not passengers or other goods.

Environment-conscious residents are trying to keep the pressure on the government. In mid-April, about 1,000 protesters demonstrated in downtown Katmandu against the plan to import vans. Mr. Basnet, the environmentalist, says his next objective is to put pressure on the government to eliminate polluting motorbikes and motorized two-seater "auto-rickshaws."

Until then, 26-year-old Katmandu resident Zalvin Sherpa will continue to don a green mask over his mouth to guard against the exhaust. "Katmandu feels a lot less polluted since the Safa Tempos arrived," he says. "But, I still need to wear the mask."

From: Martin Chautari <chautari@mos.com.np> Subject: AFVs news

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

*********************************************************************************************** From: "Nischal Shrestha" <nshresth@papersoft.com> To: <Nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: visa Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 10:21:13 -0500

Hello!!

I need some good licensed/certified lawyer who has experience with h1-b = visa. I need some information on transfering H1-b visa to other company = at this time. I am hearing that the cap has been reached. Does this = affect the=20 transfers? Please let me know by writing an email .

   Thank you.

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 00:13:10 -0700 From: Ela Sandra Joy <sjoy@uswest.net> To: info-tnd@nepal.org Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - January 8, 1996 (24 Poush 2053 BkSm)

I m looking for the term in tibetan to describe the sill of seeing in to the body in tibetan medicine if you can tell me where to look or what it is i would be greatful ela joy

************************************************************* From: jeanhelis@net-up.com To: <webmaster.tnd@nepal.org> Subject: informations Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:18:19 +0200

 Namaste,
 Can you send me some further informations about
 demonstration,international meeting,marchandise
 show,for year-end 2001(august-december).
 In wait read you;
 Thank you and sincerely your .
    Jean

************************************************************** Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 20:44:51 -0400 (EDT) From: Bob Wong <robertwo@mail.med.upenn.edu> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: help

To whom it may concern,

I am a 2nd year Medical student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. I recently applied to go on the American Medical Students' Association Study Tour to Nepal this coming October 2000. I've always wanted to visit Nepal and I'm ecstatic that I finally have the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, I am having trouble raising funds for my trip
(cost approx $5000 for 1mth). I was wondering if you might have any suggestions as to how I may be able to raise some money to help curb the costs of the trip. I heard of such tactics of contacting local newspapers for funding in return of writing a series of articles for them, but that hasn't exactly panned out. My medical school did not have any suggestions or funds for me to venture on such a trip.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I would love to visit Nepal, but it may not be so easy for me to go.

Thanks,

Bob Wong University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine M.D. Candidate 2002
(215)-985-4672 robertwo@mail.med.upenn.edu

******************************************************* From: "prabhu g." <g__prabhu@hotmail.com> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: Nepal Visit Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2000 10:46:38 IST

Hello,

I happened to browse the different sites regarding Nepal

Let me introduce myself - My name is Prabhu and i live in the United Arab Emirates, near Dubai. I am employed as an Engineer with a Petrochemical company - my job profile also is related to Major Projects.

I intend to be in Nepal for a Vacation stating August and will be interested if there is any way that you can find me useful to yr many activities that benefits the people.

pls advise. Appreciate yr reply at the earliest - but,if this email offend you,pls forget this request.

Regards Prabhu.

********************************************************* From: "Smith, Barry" <BSmith@scotborders.gov.uk> To: "'tnd@nepal.org'" <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: Borders Exploration Group - Nepal 2001 expedition Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 11:26:50 +0100

Hi

I am trying to obtain information relating to trekking in Nepal. I am a leader of Borders Exploration Group's Nepal 2001 Expedition. The expedition will take approximately 25 young people between 16 and 25 as well as 11 leaders and 2 doctors on a four or five week trip to Nepal.

The trip will comprise of 4 stages: Community, environment/scientific, Adventure and Cultural. I am the Adventure phase coordinator and would like to organise a trek which causes minimum of environmental disturbance and perhaps encompassing some aspect which could be of benefit to a local community.

I propose to spend around 1 week on this phase and am looking to gain as many ideas/contacts/ pieces of information as possible at this stage.

If you have anything that you think could help us or would be of use or even the name of someone else to contact I would be delighted to hear from you.

Thanks for your anticipated consideration of this letter. Barry Smith 15 Hallhill Steading Dunbar East Lothian 012368 865535

Work : Eyemouth high School
        Coldingham Road
        Eyemouth
        TD14 5BY
        018907 50363

*********************************************************** From: "caroline hilti" <carolinehilti@hotmail.com> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: Information about your projects in Nepal (volunteers possible?) Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 06:54:09 PDT

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am very interested in your social projects located in Nepal. Two years ago I started with my studies in Biology in and I gonna finish my base studies this autumn. I would like to take off a year to help people. During my researches in the web I found your adress and want to ask you if I could take part as a volunteer in one of your - either social or environmental - projects in Nepal. I don't have experiences in medical things, but taught children in Math and Physics and already did a social practica in a Hospital for two weeks. Please, may you send me some information about your projects in Nepal
(costs, duration, necessary experiences, visa, if you take volunteers, where to live and so on) It would be very helpful for me if you could send me these information as soon as possible to the following adress: It would help me if you only could let me know other adresses of Organisations in Nepal, who need volunteers.

many thanks for your efforts and a nice day!

Caroline Hilti Hörnlistrasse 7 8057 Zürich-Oerlikon Switzerland Europe

************************************************************ Date: 29 May 00 05:59:28 MDT From: priya bains <bainspriya@usa.net> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: Information Needed!

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I am a student of Masters in Business Administration, University Business=

School, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.I am currently undergoing my=

summer training in a Company developing Publishing Software=92s. As a part of my training, I am required to get some information and addre= sses of Non government organizations and international organizations propagati= ng the cause of Indian languages-namely: Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Newari language of Nepal in your country. I would appreciate if you could kindly look into this matter and if you = have any significant information relating to these organizations propagating = even a single language. Please be kind enough to inform me as soon as possibl= e.

Thanking You,

Yours truly Pbains

************************************************************ From: "Aryal, Santosh (CLW, Floreat)" <Santosh.Aryal@per.clw.csiro.au> To: "'tnd@nepal.org'" <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: Separation of Nepalese Siamese twins Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 16:55:59 +0800

Dear Editor

This is to raise the issue of recently born Siamese twin baby girls by Mrs Sandhya Shrestha in Kathmandu (Kantipur, The Kathmandu Post, May 25, 2000).

I was just wondering if those people who are close to the medical fraternity and others could arrange for these twins' "safe" separation in one of the hospitals with the facility to do so (in USA or other countries).

I believe we can raise funds for this through individual contribution as well as seeking contributions form organisations like Rotary clubs and courtesy of Airlines and Travel Agents. Can we find out hospitals that are willing to perform this operation free of cost or with minimal charge.

I am floating this idea to see if we can take it any further. Having been father myself recently I can imagine the agony of the parents to see their child in such predicament. I believe this will be an act of great benevolence to a fellow citizen in Nepal.

Yours sincerely

Santosh Aryal Perth, Australia Ph: +61-8- 9333 6318 Fax: +61-8- 9333 6211

email: santosh.aryal@per.clw.csiro.au

************************************************************ From: "Fred Kempf" <fkempf@doitnow.com> To: <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: Himanchal Educational Foundation Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 08:59:28 -0500

There is a foundation in America called the Himanchal Educational = Foundation. The purpose of that foundation is to provide educational = assistance to Nepal, specifically to the hill country village of Nangi, = the Khopra campground area (which is on the trekking trail toward the = Annapurna Sanctuary) and ultimately to encourage ecotourism in Nepal. I = would appreciate any information you could give me about any = organizations which might assist the Himanchal Educational Foundation in = attaining its goals. =20 As to the non-profit Himanchal Educational Foundation, we have = established an endowment fund and the profits from the investments of = the endowments will go to support the high school in Nangi, to develop a = 10+2 high school in that area, and eventually to develop a private = teacher's college. =20 In 1998 I came to Nepal and spent some time in Katmandu, Pokhara, Beni = and Nangi. While there I taught English composition in the Nangi high = school program and I realize the value of encouraging lots of = English-speaking volunteers to come to Nepal to help in the schools. = The University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska, USA, has an academic = program designed to help students gain college credit for doing exactly = that kind of active volunteer work in Nepal. So, we are busy! =20 If you have any interest in having me write an article for the digest or = having my Nepali friends who attend the University of Nebraska at = Kearney (we have over 60 Nepali students at present) write for the = digest, please let me know. =20 I look forward to future contacts with your digest and your = organization. Namaste! Fred Kempf

************************************************************** Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:56:00 -0500 From: Janak Koirala MD <jkoirala@siumed.edu> To: TND <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: ANMF Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

Atlanta, June 12.

America Nepal Medical Foundation held its fourth annual convention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, on June 9-10. Physicians, surgeons, public health and other health care professionals from North America and Nepal attended the meeting. The theme of this year's convention was- "Public Health in the Third Millenium: Perspectives for Nepal". Addressing the conference, Dr. K. C. Gautam, Deputy Director of UNICEF, stated that the illness of greatest concern in Nepal is not malnutrition, respiratory tract infections, or even poverty, it is fatality and cynicism. Dr. Gautam asserted that these are

the country's greatest afflictions and the major barrier to development.

He pleaded to the ANMF members to keep their optimism and share that optimism with the health care workers in Nepal.

Dr. M. Zimmerman, Medical Director of Patan Hospital, one of the 3 major

hospitals of Nepal also addressed the conference. Dr. Zimmerman is a native of New York who has been working in Nepal for past 14 years as an

internist. He stated that although Nepal's medical care is improving, the pace is slow. ANMF can make a difference by providing support for the medical education of Nepalese physicians in Nepal and the recent growth of medical schools in Nepal . He invited interested Nepalese physicians working in USA to come and work in Nepal for a month or two to train and boost the morale of their Nepalese counterparts. In his message Mr. D. P. Gautam, the Nepalese ambassador to USA, applauded the effort of ANMF in enhancing the skill and knowledge of the health care providers of Nepal through its various activities. The conference was also addressed by several other speakers including Dr. J. Daniell of Nashville, TN, and Prof. D. Blair, who is the current chairman of ANMF Board of Directors.

Nepal is located in the south Asia between India and Tibet. It has a population of about 25 million with an area about the same as Illinois. Most of Nepal consists of hills and mountains, including Mt. Everest and

other 8 of the world's tallest mountain peaks. The America Nepal Medical

Foundation was established in 1996 by physicians and other American and Nepalese health care professionals residing in USA and Nepal. The Foundation has been supporting medical education activities in Nepal on a regular basis including continuing medical education (CME). The last CME was organized in a collaboration with American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and Society of Internal Medicine of Nepal (SIMON). ANMF also collects and ships books, medical journals, software, and medical equipment to Nepal.

For further information, please visit ANMF website: /www.anmf.net/.

******************************************************** Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:59:04 -0400 From: Rod & Cheryl Berry <burlingtonstigger@home.com> To: info-tnd@nepal.org Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - August 18, 1997 (2 Bhadra 2054 BkSm)

 Good day,
                  My name is Rodney (Rod) Berry, and am enquiring is it possible to ask, If there there is any way that I could contact any Gurkhas who served in Malaya
'59, at Ipoh in Perak. I was told the 6/2 G.R. where there, maybe the Grandfather of Dhiren Gurung, rank Sgt or S/sgt? who phoned me from Texas, offering his help to research my web-site.
   In fact anyone who would care to help in any way, For example, the shoulder patch for the 17th Gurkha Div.& the 27th Gurkha Div. in the south. I was in the ROYALS, 1st Royal Dragoons,
 now the Blues & Royals, " The Royal HorseGuards" now in Windsor Barracks,Bucks. I was a
 Royals Musician, and met 4-5 young Bdsm, all Rhambuhadur............' of course I did not realize
 the difficulty ( at 18yrs ) in recognizing Gurkha Names. I 'tried' to deliver their mail at Kneller
 Hall. And we beat the Gurkha Basketball Team in the finals,Great game and it was close, I walked
 rather strangely after that Game...........gurkhas know where to Aim, that I know,I corresponded
 with S/sgt Dharmaraj Rai whilst he was/is? at the Gurkha Museum, in England. I think he may
 have retired now. I was the only non- Gurkha In the gurkha married quarters,1964? the 6/2 I
 think.? for 8 months. I hope they enjoyed their stay. Thank You Rod Berry.

******************************************************* From: "Ram Khadka" <khadka_ram@hotmail.com> To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu Subject: translation in text format Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 23:09:08 EDT

      Agham Singh Khatri had a big desire, a desire to boost his social status by having his children marry into wealthy and prestigious families. As a father of a daughter of nubile age, he was looking for a suitable groom. Not that there was a scarcity of single young men in town. In fact, many young men had shown interest in Prabha but Khatri Budha would not entertain them. First, they were not as well-off as his family. Secondly, they would ask for a big dowry in marriage. He rejected them on grounds that were not worthy enough. Agham Singh and his wife had serious disagreements over this issue; they got into arguments and didn't speak with each other for some time. Even then, he would not budge. Khatri Budha was out of touch with time. While looking for a prospective spouse, young people care less about caste; they were more interested in some one who is good looking and easy to get along with. Totally unaware of the change in attitude, Khatri was still chasing caste and social status.
     Most girls in town were married. Some came to their parents' house with toddlers; others were pregnant and expecting. Prabha, at 20, was still single. When her friends came to visit her, they told her about the joys of a married life. They would tell her how much their husbands loved them and cared for them. How their spouses tried to soothe them when they were angry and so on.
     It's hard to tell how Prabha felt upon hearing all this. In our society women don't have the freedom to express their feeling freely and openly. When they do, they are accused of being wayward. They have to accept the injustices; they can't speak up and challenge the traditions. For this reason, many regard women's fate as being wronged.
       There is a song that compares our life to a river. We get only one life; once it's gone, it does not return. It's like water flowing in a river. If you don't enjoy the bliss of a married life when young when will you? Although the scriptures do stipulate that there is after life, many people don't buy this anymore. If after all, this belief turns out to false, then those who didn't get to enjoy this life will not get a second chance.
      Prabha was gorgeous. She was not very tall, just the right height, medium built. She was fair, sported long hair, a pair of big eyes and a good set of teeth. This combined with a good posture made her look beautiful-like a sculpture painstakingly carved by a seasoned sculptor.
    Most young guys in the town walked by her house even though this route was longer. College students returning home in the evening also took the same route. When close to the house, they would put on their glasses and peek at the window. Some times they would be lucky and get a glimpse of Prabha; at other times they would walk away disappointed. Narendra Bikram, son of Major Chandra Bikram, used to frequent Juju Ratna's shop in the evenings these days. Just completed I. Sc, he was not married. His brother was a lieutenant at the Forestry Office. Narendra was from a wealthy family.
"These days you seem to hang out here quite a lot. Enjoy it," some college students would tell him. Narandra would stretch his body and smile.
       Juju Ratna was an interesting character. A stocky man dressed in black daura suruwal, he was a skilled goldsmith. Between his work, he would take brief breaks to smoke his hookah. His clients included people of all castes-Bahun, Chhetri, Gurung, Magar, Gharty, Tamang and so on. Juju entertained them by offering them hookah smoke. In fact, he had about 5-6 different hookahs. He offered different hookahs to different castes. It's hard to tell if he was always consistent, but people trusted him and never questioned his judgment.

     Winning a woman's heart can be difficult but not impossible. One needs to keep working on it. Prabha knew Narendra had a crush on her. She also started sneaking glances at Narendra. This went on for some time.
      One day, Narendra told his mother that he wanted to marry Prabha. She thought it wasn't a bad idea. Prabha was good looking and educated. They could expect a pretty handsome dowry, too. Narendra's mother informed her husband of their son's desire.
       Major Budha was angry at what he considered as his son's poor judgment. "Aghame's maternal uncles were so poor that they worked for others to survive until recently. Now Narendra wants to marry his daughter! He thinks he found a good family. If you care about looks only, Dhamini, Kamini can be beautiful, too. Take for example, Jabare Damai's daughter. She is gorgeous. This is what happens when your children study English. My father warned me that teaching children English would lead them astray from our traditional values. Old people are right after all. Young people these days don't care about caste, etc.," he went on for hours.
      Narendra was in his room listening to all this. What his father had to say did not make sense to him. His father's ideas were obsolete and out of time. They were traditional views that were losing much of their appeal. Civilized and educated people all over the world don't care about caste; they are more concerned about character and looks. Caste is nothing more than a class that evolved over generation as the rich and the powerful mistreated and disrespected the poor.

      Women started gossiping early in the morning at the well. They were only talking among themselves; but the word soon spread. Agham Singh Khatri was embarrassed beyond description; his wife was crying. He locked his door and started crying, too.
   Every morning, Ahgam Budha took a bath at the holy Bagmati. He was too embarrassed to come outside is house today. People in the town started talking about the incident and commenting on it.
" Well, this is what happens when you don't have your daughter married on time."
"They were looking for 'kul gharan'-they have got it now!"
    Everyone talked about it. Major Budha also heard about it. He was worried about something else. Narendra had not brought Prabha home but he was sure it was Narendra. He frantically started looking for a suitable bride for his son.
     It was a small room; both the windows facing the town were shut. Prabha was inside, like a felon in a prison cell. She very much regretted her decision to elope with Narendra. She began to ponder about the incident and its implications. People in the town must have found out by now. Women at the well might be talking about it. Must be a commotion at my house. May father's adversaries are having the last laugh. How can I show my face? Don't know if I can go to my husband's house. Only the wife formally married gets the respect of the in-laws. Oh, God! What can I do? I wasn't thinking. Whom can I blame?

    Prabha felt like she was stumbling while walking. It appeared to her that she had chosen a path to a hard life for the rest of her life. Covering her face with the edge of the sari, she wept for a while. Her eyes were red. After some time, Narendra came into the room.
"You brought me here and left me in a limbo." She complained, wiping tears.
" Dear, I am not the first one to do it. Others have done it, too. They have arranged temporary places for their wives to stay until they are brought home. We will go home once the fervor about it subsides."

      It was the month of Falgun, a time of the year when many weddings take place. From the time the canons are fired in the morning to evening, as many as 12 -15 marriage processions went by. It was around 5 pm. The streets were crowded with soldiers returning from Tundhikel. Women on their way to sell firewood were resting and having snacks. As Prabha was combing her hair, she heard a wedding band playing in the streets. Both Prabha and the Dhaiama looked at the wedding procession. Everyone was dressed up. Wedding band, followed by a car carrying the bride and the groom and jantis on foot. When the car was close enough, she saw something she could not believe-the groom was Narendra. To his left was his bride, a little stooped, her face half covered with a shawl.
    Her sight became hazy; she felt like some one was pulling her heart away. Prabha felt dizzy and weak. Her face went dry. Too weak to stand on her feet, she fell on the floor.
      She was pregnant. She fainted. Dhaiama panicked. She sprinkled some water on Prabha; she gained consciousness. With tears in her eyes, Dhaiama asked.
"How are you feeling now? At one time it got serious. I started to panic."
"I am having a burning sensation in my chest. Please give me some water; I am very thirsty." After drinking a glass of water, she took a deep breath.
"Are my eyes betraying me?" she asked.
" No dear. What you saw is true."
       Three days later. It was around noon. Prabha's room was still closed. There was no response when knocked so Dhaiama went in. Prabha was not there!

      Like a felon with guilt oh his face, Narendra slowly climbed up the stairs of the house. The door was shut and locked. Nervous, he went to the top floor. In a dim light, Dhaiama was stitching duna and tapari. She was surprised to see Narendra after quite a while.
"What made you stop by today?" Narendra let a smile. One could see that his smile concealed sorrow.
"Dhaiama, where is Prabha?"
" I don't know where she went. On the day you returned with your bride, she fainted. It took some time for me to bring her to consciousness. She did not eat anything that night. She used to close the door and stay inside and weep. Prabha was there until a couple of nights ago. Yesterday, the door was closed until afternoon. When I went in to check, she wasn't there. Left all her possession. Poor Girl, she is pregnant. She is going to face many hardships." With tears swelling in his eyes, Narendra spoke.
"I didn't betray her. What I did later was under duress. Did she say she was hurt?"
"In the beginning she didn't talk about it. About a month a go, she was in the room crying. When asked if she was bored, she said no. Prabha said she could forget all the hardships and the anguish she has been through because she has found a husband like God. For that reason she said she was happy though she admitted it was like living in a jail." Tears rolled down his cheeks as he sighed.
    Four-five years later, Narendra joined a medical school in Calcutta. After two years, he wrote home saying that had dropped out of school and was heading to Haridwar.

        At the base of the hills was a small village settlement. A trail ran through the middle of it. On the side was a small kuti. Next to the kuti was a temple. The kuti and the temple were clean. A river flowed close by. Two women lived in the kuti. One was old, the other one looked young. Dressed in yellow, the young woman had ohm inscribed on her forehead with chandan. Her hair was neatly done in a bun. She was good looking but her face reflected deep sorrow. People here called her Bhakti Shala.
       It was dark. One could see light on houses across the river. Some villagers could be heard singing folk songs. The sound of the river flowing in the distance was also audible. A young man came to the pati and asked if he could spent the night there. One could tell, from his clothes, he was from a rich family. However, he was not feeling well. He appeared weak and had difficulty standing up.
  With the baby in her arms, Bhakti shala stood by the door. "Where are you from Paradeshi?" She asked.
" I was on pilgrimage. I am not feeling well: I have high fever. Please take me in as a guest. God will reward you."
    For some reasons, Bhakti shala ran inside the kuti. The old woman arranged a bed; the Paradeshi lied on it. Bhakti Shala came with a lamp and a glass of milk and attended on Paradeshi. She felt his forehead; he had high fever. Seeing his condition, she cried. He didn't want to eat anything. Bhakti Shala strongly insisted that he eat something. Unable to say no to such a caring gesture from a woman, he drank some milk and fell asleep. She was by the Paradeshi, attending to him all night.
   For the first 4-5 days, his fever went even higher. With good care, he felt better. One day, when Bhakti shala had gone somewhere, Paradeshi asked the old woman about her.
"This is all I know about her: She came with two pilgrims from Nepal 3-4 years ago. She was pregnant then, gave birth to a son. She asked me if she could stay here. Her maiti is in Nepal; she is from a rich family. She said that her husband betrayed her and took another wife. I was alone; I feel like God has sent me a friend."
"How is her character Maiama?"
"She is as pure as the holy Ganga flowing by. She knows the Gita by heart. She takes brata. She shows a lot of compassion to the poor and the unfortunate. A devout woman, she is like an angel. She mistakenly came to the earth somehow."
  The Paradshei sighed. He started having a flashback of his past. He remembered everything that happened after he fell in love with Prabha.

     As usual, he got up early in the morning. Some one had left a letter under his pillow. He could tell it was from Prabha from her the handwriting.
  He was excited to get a letter from her after a long time. He read it.

Hridayashor!

I consider my life a success; I was able to meet you again. Unable to find some one to hand over this infant, I was worried. Please take good care of him. I can't bear the anguish and pain anymore. If I made any mistakes or wronged you, please forgive me. When our son grows up, tell him how his poor mother died. Bye! Bye! Bye!

Yours, Prabha

     Narendra started breathing faster. He felt like he was being crushed by a mountain. Running towards the river, he wailed, "Prabha...!" The echo from the mountains disturbed the calmness of the early morning.
"Hajur...!' came a reply from the edge of the river.
"I still love you; I never betrayed you. I have been looking for you for the last three years dear."

Narendra reached the bank of the river crying. Prabha's body could bee seen moving with the waves in the river. He could still see the chandan tika on her forehead.

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        Sun, 09 Jul 2000 15:52:33 PDT X-Originating-IP: [139.78.190.251] From: "Kala Pandit" <kalapandit@hotmail.com> To: tnd@nepal.org Cc: archana_pandit@hotmail.com Subject: Khoj-Khabar/ Dr. Dinesh Koirala of Biratnagar Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 15:52:33 PDT Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed

Dear Raj Pal jee:

Could you please post the following message in your forthcoming issue of TND.
------------------------ I am trying to find out the whereabouts of Dr. Dinesh Koirala (son of Narayan Koirala originally from Biratnagar) somewhere in the US. If anyone knows his whereabouts (contact telephone number, e-mail etc.), please let me know.

Dinesh Koirala jee! if you happen to read this message by yourself, please contact me or Mr. Bharat Upadhyay in Pullman, Washington (@509-332-5088), or my family in Denver, Colorado (Archana Upadhyay, Rama Upadhyay, Rammani Prasad Upadhyay @ 303-235-0441).

Thank you.

Kala Nidhi Pandit, Ph.D. Oklahoma State University Stillwater, Oklahoma Tel # 405-744-5003 (Work)
      405-377-7286 (Home)
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