The Nepal Digest - July 29, 1994 (14 Shrawan 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 29 July 94: Shrawan 14 2051 BkSm Volume 29 Issue 5

Today's Topics:
 

        Topics not printed due to time constraints.
 

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  ***************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 25 Jul 1994 08:17:30 EDT To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> Subject: Women in Hinduism IV

Dear Editor,

     The news from Nepal is very disturbing for most Nepalese and well-wishers of Nepal. The fledgling democracy now totters on its patched-up legs, and we don't know what to do and who to blame. Girija has become a bete noire of people of every persuasion; some people have started calling him even the "New King of Nepal"! The issues seem to relate to politics alone, but we should also analyze the culture that came into being during the Rana and the Panchayat regimes when Hinduism no longer remained a way of life but became an instrument of the political system. I will, however, refrain from going into these issues now. In this letter I feel an overwhelming urge to relate a couple of anecdotes.
     As a young boy, I always marvelled at the childlike smile of Paudel Baje. Whenever he smiled, (and he smiled most of the time I saw him) his otherwise creased, pockmarked, stubby face lighted up and his otherwise yellow half missing stumps of his mouth looked like the most iridescent gems God had ever given shape with His own hands. Whenever he talked to me, whenever I happened to stumble on his path, hearing my reply he would giggle like a young girl--all innocent, all divine. Although he was poor, frail, and childless, I never saw him sad, nor upset.
     The house Paudel Baje lived belonged to his distant cousin, Thulo Purohit, who walked swinging an oil-fed curve-handled rare stick and spent his winters in the plains and summers in a village in Dhankutta district. Paudel Baje himself was born in Okhaldhunga and had come down to the plains not like many others as a way of adventure and with a land grant as a gift for loyalty to the Ranas but in order just to survive. Life for Paudel Baje in the hills was too hard to bear in his advancing age. So when his artificially dentured cousin went up to the hills of Dhankutta to spend the major part of the year, Paudel Baje took care of the house and the land. Even though his body bent double with age and ailments, he went about in his grimy and torn underwear and loose kurta, tending his goats and the livestock of his cousin.
     His wife Bahuni Bajai, many in the tribal village called her
"Paudelni," collected milk from people who had milking water- buffalos and made yoghurt and sold it in the weekly markets. Both husband and wife worked hard and, although Paudel Baje was hard of hearing, his wife never tired of talking to him with bemused smile and melting kindness. By looking at the pair, you could tell they had considerable age difference between them, but you could also tell that they loved each other like two doves, one walking ahead and the other following at the heels.
     I must say I always ended up going to Paudel Baje's house at least twice a day, once before going to school and once after coming from school. Mother of course beat me up at times for not staying at home and coming home late from play, but that didn't deter me from going to Paudel Baje's courtyard. I would sit around on the wooden platform in front of his house, my feet swinging back and forth, my eyes waiting for Paudel Baje's cackles and heartfelt conversation. But he never came out during these times. I had to wait for hours. Whenever I asked for him, his wife told me that he was in the kitchen, cooking--both mornings and evenings.
     I wondered why Paudel Baje cooked himself. My father never did. Well, my father did cook himself whenever he went out to collect his gifts from his Jajmans--the Rajbanshis and others who went with him to the Holy Places--Badri, Kedar, Dwarka, Rameshwaram and Gaya, Kashi, Prayag. At home he never cooked except when Mother fell ill, which happened every month.
     But Paudel Baje cooked every day, and his wife was up and about doing other chores and singing songs as happy as a morning bird. Whenever Paudel Baje entered the Laxaman demarcation that was called kitchen, his wife remained outside, quizzically waiting for Paudel Baje to finish his cooking and eating.
     I was getting irritated at Paudel Baje's time in his kitchen. I wanted to talk to him and go back home as soon as I could, but how could that happen when Paudel Baje spent hours both mornings and evenings in his kitchen? As a result, I had to face Mother's wrath for coming home late from play.
     One day, I got mad and went home without talking to Paudel Baje. When I sat to eat my evening meal, the food didn't taste good. I asked, "Why does Paudel Baje cooks his own food at his own home, Mother?" Mother looked up at me and said, hiding something as if I asked her to tell me where I came from, "You're too small to know why the poor old man cooks his own food while his young wife waits and watches." I wondered why I had to be a grown up to understand why that happened. I persisted in my enquiry and said if she didn't tell me why, I wouldn't eat my food. Mother gave in and said, "Don't you know Paudel Baje is a second husband of Paudelni? Paudel Baje married her after she had become a widow and Paudel Baje himself had become a widower?" Well, that was news to me. I wondered why the death of her husband made such a difference. If Paudel Baje could have cooked the meal for the whole family, it would of course have given his wife some rest from cooking. But he cooked his own meal, and his wife cooked for herself and the servants of the house owner. I couldn't solve the puzzle. I was too young to understand the complications of the adult world.
     Some years later one evening in winter, Father came home and laghed haltingly as he did whenever he had to tell an amusing story. Mother wondered and asked why he laughed. Father said,
"Well, something strange happened today." "What happened Father," I asked, finding myself hard to control my curiosity. Father said, "For sometime now, I have been seeing Paudeldai growing frail and ill. But even in his illness, he cooks his own food, fetches his own water from the village well. So this morning when I saw him cooking his own food with fever in his body, I said, 'Daju, why do you take all these troubles? Why don't you let Bhauju cook your food?' At first he was a little shocked but then said, 'What to do? The scripture says so.' Then I illustrated a Sanskrit line which meant that there is no sin in eating food cooked by some one who is one's wife. Paudel Baje thought for a moment and then realizing the logic of the argument and the imminent relief from lifelong cooking, he said,
'Since you've quoted from the scriptures proving otherwise, what can I say? But I'm still afraid of Thul-Daju. I know he disapproves it.'"
     Father spoke to the stick-wielding Chief Purohit, the owner of the house, of the upper castes in the Dhankutta region. He said, "If you deem it unobjectionable to eat the food cooked by one's wife even though she had been a widow at the time of marriage, it must be right. What can I say? Moreover, it sounds logical logical to me."
     From that day, Paudel Baje could drink hot his soup in his bed whenever he fell ill, and I could talk to him as much as I wanted both mornings and evenings without facing my mother's wrath for being late.

     The second anecdote took place years later in the faculty room of the oldest college in Nepal. I was no longer the innocent boy from a remote village. On my way to adulthood and knowledge, I had eaten up a lot of volcanoes. So when I heard Mr. Jha bragging about his father's righteousness, my reaction this time was different.
     The first thing that struck me about Mr. Jha, who taught Newari, was his accent when he spoke Nepali. Unlike any other Jha who came from the Terai to eke out his livelihood in the capital city and spoke Nepali with the natural accent of a man who spoke Maithili all his life, Mr. Jha had Newari accent. Not for nothing, he taught Newari there. When I asked him, "How come you teach Newari being a Jha, a Maithili Brahmin? When did you learn the language? I have been trying to learn the language without much success." He jumped up and said with certain arrogance, "Well, I'm not from the Terai; I'm not Madhise. I have been living here in Kathmandu for hundreds of years. And you want to know something? Let me tell you, Don't be surprised at my teaching Newari. My father just retired from teaching Nepali all his life." I had seen his father a few times climbing up or down the stairs.
     I must say I couldn't believe what Mr. Jha was saying. Then I did some background check and found that people like Mr. Jha were brought to Bhaktapur, Patan, and Kathmandu long ago by the Malla kings. Not a small surprise came from my discovery that at one time during one of the Malla kings, the court language of Bhaktapur was Maithili. And the rich plays and poems written during that time were saturated in the rich traditions of both Newari and Maithili, evidence of which one can still find in the old manuscripts preserved in the national museum and in the bhajans and religious songs sung from old texts at places like Shobha Bhagawati. Once when I visited the temple to see the place where one of the four martyrs (I'm not sure among Dashrath Chandra, Gangalal, Dharmabhakta, or Shukraraj Shastri which one) shot to death, I was struck by the resemblance the devotional song in the temple bore to Vidyapati's lyrics.
     From the day of this discovery, Mr. Jha became an object of both curiosity and study for me. Then one evening, Mr. Jha, as garrulous as ever, was in the middle of one of his long harangues about one thing or another when the subject abruptly changed from politics to domesticity. Everyone in the room (most of them were Brahmins one way or another) gave his own version from family history as to what makes a Brahmin righteous. One said, "What to say of modern day Brahmins? As soon as their day's work ends, they rush to the dim, dirty pubs to eat buff and drink home-made medicine." Another said, "I hate Mr. Sharma, the sharp-tongued, spleen-filled opportunist essayist and critic; he left his first wife and married another, a rising Brahmin politician's sister." The third one said, "What kind of talk is this? In these times of the Panchayat Raj when source and force count more than any college degree, I will marry even a cobbler's daughter, if someone makes me an ambassador." It was indeed amusing to hear all these wise opinions issuing from the revolutionary intellectuals for whom no topic lay beyond the realm of defilement.
     Mr. Jha, who had so far put a lock to his otherwise relentless mouth after the initial outburst, jumped in as soon as an opening occurred in the conversation, "Well, my father is not like that." As interested as ever in his family and genealogy, I slipped in, "What about your father?" He said, his face glowing with pride, "My father remarried fifteen years ago after the death of my mother. To this day, he hasn't drunk even water from his second wife's hand." Here he goes again, I thought and asked, "Did he have any children by your stepmother?" I thought Mr. Jha's father must have married an untouchable or a lower caste for purely housekeeping purposes and must have refused to bed with her. "Yes, I have two stepbrothers and one stepsister," said Mr. Jha, this time pride spilling all over the faculty room. He also seemed glad to give me one surprise after another like incessant hits of water balloons from the hands of a grinning twelve-year-old. On the other hand, I was getting more and more irritated. "Then what caste is your stepmother and why did he marry her?" I said, getting swept away by the flow of conversation. "No, no, no; she is not a lower caste if you suspect that. My stepmother is the daughter of a Upaddhe Brahmin, but my father still doesn't drink water from her hand!" Mr. Jha's sense of pride and righteousness ballooned, filling the whole room, suffocating most of the people present; and my smoldering, bubbling volcano seemed for a moment to burst into clouds of stormy inferno but unexpectedly the heat cooled off, turning into an ocean of cold anger. One thing that had always struck me about Mr. Jha's father was his very unhappy face; I had never seen him smile. I wondered if he was capable of this simple virtue at all.

*********************************************************************** Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 16:33:17 -0500 (CDT) From: Padam Sharma <sharma@plains.NoDak.edu> Subject: To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu>

  Glimpses from our Neighbors :II. Sikkim and Bhutan
  by Padam Sharma
  ******************************************************
  SIKKIM: Tempest in cornucopia!

  I believe that most of you are aware of the history of Sikkim and its
  insertion into India. Or at least, you have read the multiple use of the
  term "Lendupism" in recent TND articles in trying to stereotype the
  Congressis in Nepal for their dealings with India. The word originates in
  Sikkim.
  
  As a protectorate of India, Sikkim was ruled by the king and his council of
  ministers till early 1970's. With limited resources at its disposal, the
  feudal system of government was very poorly managed. When the democratic
  forces agitated for more freedom and a participatory government, the
  king's police could not handle the situation. He asked India for help
  which was granted in the form of CRP (Central Reserve Police) in
  overwhelming numbers (about 1:1 ratio).
  
  Ultimately, the king was forced into having a general election for the
  constituent assembly of Sikkim. The election was won by the party
  (closely linked with Congress-I of India) of Kaji Lendup Dorjee with
  absolute majority. The ruling party then legislatively orchestrated the
  incorporation of Sikkim into India. Rumor ( I don't know if this was true
  because the rumor was prevalent only in Nepal and not in Sikkim) was that
  Indira Gandhi paid only 3.2 million Rs. for buying Sikkim (pay-off of 1
  lakh each for the 32 constituent assembly members who voted for the
  proposal). Whatever, Sikkim which already had an Indian Army contingent and
  the CRP, did not have much choice.
  
  Kaji Lendup Dorjee alienated with Congress (I) and ruled the state for a
  while. As a favor to Kaji and a state of strategic location (in boarder
  with Tibet) the Indira Gandhi government was very generous in allocating
  money to the state. With growth of political alliances, jockeying for
  position and power since then, Sikkim Sangram Parishad with Nar Bahadur
  Bhandari at its helm has ruled the state for the last 12 years.
  
  Even with rampant corruption (saying is that only 25% of centrally allocated money is
  actually utilized), Sikkim has made significant progress. Almost all
  houses have tin roofs (a sign of prosperity in the hills); there is
  electricity at every house; a school every two kilometers; there are health
  clinics and road linkages to each and every population centers; education
  to college level is free; and all educated (HS and beyond) are employed.
  In Gangtok, its capital, people talk about their second Maruti, their
  vacation trips to Kathmandu, Calcutta and other Indian cities. As a symbol
  of materialism similar to affluent bourgeois in Kathmandu, almost all
  houses have satellite disks. While Darjeeling is dying in its own slums of
  poverty and frustration, Gangtok is growing with its high-rise buildings
  and optimism. Gangtok is rapidly taking over Darjeeling as the premier
  hill station for vacationers from plains of India.
  
  I tried to explore the feelings of present day Sikkimes as being Indians
  in general and about being Sikkime in particular. While they are proud
  to be Sikkime and want to preserve their unique identity, they did not
  show any discontent with India. I asked them about Kaji Lendup (whose
  influence is at the fringe of present day political circus in Sikkim);
  there was no sense of anger or feeling of betrayal towards him. With
  everybody employed and sharing a economic boom (mostly public sector jobs
  created with plenty of New Delhi dough), Sikkimes are proudly exercising
  their freedom and prosperity. In other words, application of the term
  "Lendupism" to describe sell-out to India does not have any meaning at all
  in Sikkim.
  
  When we were visiting Sikkim, we did hear some tempest in the political
  teapot. The main reason was a struggle to share the power and the loot of
  corruption between the haves and the havenots in the Sikkim Sangram
  Parishad, the ruling party of Sikkim. In his struggle to remain in power,
  Nar Bahadur Bhandary (a chhettri) was able to head a coalition of ethnic
  Sikkimes (Lepchas, Bhotes and other Indo-Mongoloid groups) by blasting
  communal slogans against the Congress party which was mostly led by bahuns
  and newars. Bhandary's rhetoric of ethnic slurs was literally promulgated
  by militant Indo-Mongloid members of the SSP who were anxious to sideline
  Bhandary himself. With a communal fervor, they were demanding more rights
  and share of power (recent news on TND reported that Bhandary is ousted as
  chief minister by one of the militants).
  
  In recent years, the Sikkim politics has become communally selfish and there is an uneasy
  atmosphere of distrust and fear of escalation of communal violence among
  ethno-political alliances of Nepalis in Sikkim. If this theater of
  communal rift is not channeled through proper democratic processes, we
  should expect contagious intra-ethnic flare ups of serious proportion, not
  only Sikkim but also in Nepal. The difference would be, the Nepalis in
  Sikkim will be fighting due to cornucopia; those in Nepal will be fighting
  due to indigence.
  

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

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

  BHUTAN: Aparthied in Shangri-La
  
  Most of you are familiar with the current crisis in Bhutan and the refugee
  problem in Nepal. Situated east of Darjeeling and Sikkim, north of Assam
  and east of Arunanchal Pradesh in India, and south of Tibet, Bhutan is a
  small landlocked kingdom accessible by road from Siliguri. Similar to
  Sikkim in geo-political status (as a protectorate of India), Bhutan became
  more independent due to its membership into the United Nations in 1971 (I
  don't know if it was after or before Sikkim was incorporated India).
  We visited Phuntsoling, a boarder town in south Bhutan accessible by bus
  from Siliguri through the district of Jalpaiguri in North Bengal. We had
  no intention of going into Bhutan beyond Phuntsoling. Even Bhutani Nepalis
  needed special visas to visit Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan or any other
  districts in Bhutan. We had one day's stay to visit our relatives in
  Phuntsoling. In the one hand, they were excited to see us after so many
  years, on the other hand, they were scared if something might happen to us
  or to them.
  
  I did not have enough time to talk to any other Nepali families in
  Phuntsoling, one night's visit with my relatives and a look at their scared
  faces and sad eyes was enough to imagine the general plight of Nepalis in
  Bhutan. Practically, they are under house arrest. If they go out, each
  adult have to wear the Drukpa (I will explain the word in future writings
  about Bhutan) dress "Gho" or fined or jailed overnight. Every movement and
  activities of Nepalis are suspiciously watched by local enforcers of Drukpa
  culture. I saw tears in the eyes of parents whose school age children are
  herded away into far-away schools and taught strict code of Drukpa ethics
  and language. It is illegal to use, teach, and learn Nepali language. I
  saw sadness in the face of a grand-father who could not visit his grand
  children in other districts during Dashain and other occasions. He was
  struck as a prisoner in the house, but he had kept his pride, " I would
  rather die inside the house than let these Bhotes take away my Nepali
  cap."
  
  We came back to Nepal, and came across many Bhutanese living in Jhapa
  (those who could not qualify as political refugees and stay in UNHCR
  camps). I met the wife of Tek Nath Rizal in Birtamod Jhapa and saw tears in
  her eyes. Her husband, most of you know, was abducted from Birtamod by
  Bhutani Royalist thugs. He is still a prisoner of conscience in Bhutan.
  There is so much pain and suffering among the Nepalis in and out of Bhutan
  that rest of the Nepali community in Nepal and around the world need to
  raise strong voices for speedy resolution of refugee problem and human
  right conditions in Bhutan.
  *************************************
  
  This may be the end of my travel stories from Nepal, and our neighbors in
  Darjeeling and Sikkim. However, this is only the beginning of stories of
  the plight of Nepalis in Bhutan. Time permitting, and if there is interest
  among the readers I do intend to enlighten the TND readers about details of
  atrocities committed by evil forces unleashed by the government of Bhutan -
  a Shangri-La ruled by the mad monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuk.

********************************************************************* Subject: Returned mail: User unknown (fwd) To: NEPAL@mp.cs.niu.edu Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 14:52:08 -0700 (PDT)

   A Proposal on the Civic Education program Regarding the Coming
                    General Election

1. Introduction
   The abrupt dissolution of the House of Representatives in Nepal by the king declaring the mid-term poll has brought the country to a serious political and constitutional crisis. The king has also entrusted prime minister Koirala to hold the election. This action has evoked widespread public criticism and protests.The critics of the aforesaid action are of the opinion that the Article 42 of the constitution has been totally overlooked. This has deprived the dissolved parliament from the parliamentary exercise in seeking the alternatives to form another govt. while the PM had resigned. One of the main criticisms is that instead of leading the country according to the peoples' mandate expressed during the 1990 Jan aandolan, the govt. got involved in rampant corruption and irregularities. As a result, the public has been expressing its discontent vehemently through various forms including street demonstrations. These protests have been organised both by a faction of the ruling Nepali Congress and the opposition parties. The crisis, in sum, pose a serious threat for the fledgling democracy in Nepal. The need to protect and promote democracy in Nepal is greater now than ever before.

2. Rationale
   During the 1991 general election it was very essential to help the people educate themselves about the importance of democratic rights and active partHicipation in it. Similarly, the dissemination of information about the constitutional rights and practice was also equally important. After decades of the autocratic Panche rule when the multi party democracy was established the country was in need of various democratic institutions and expertise. Among them, though still young, some organisations had launched the voters (civic) education campaign which had proved to be very beneficial. Although the campaign was not sufficient enough to cover all necessary aspects of civic education and awareness, it has gathered some valuable experiences. These experiences show that without the wider, deeper civic education campaign peoples' active participation and expression of free will and free choice is not possible in Nepal. It is especially when there are only 40 percent of the population is literate and the women literacy is even under 22 percent.

Moreover, many new issues relating to the organisation of free and fair elections, functioning of the Parliament and the government, interpretation of the constitutional rights of the people and the Council of Ministers and running of public administration in a multiparty system have come up during the past three years. These issues have somewhat confused the people in general regarding the efficacy of the multiparty system and plularity. The declaration of the midterm {_poll and the division in the ruling party and the nation-wide debate on the constitutional question ralating tothe dissolution of the House of Representatives have furtheraggravated the confusion among the people. Nation-wide civic educaion campaign, therefore, is essential to eliminate such confusions from the minds of people about the multiparty democracy and enable them to participate actively in the forthcoming general election. The question of civic education is interlinked with the question of empowerment of the people. The lack of education of the importance of civil and political rights among the people has always been a hurdle on the path of development of democracy in Nepal

The mass media,e.g. newspapers, TV and radio, is not accessible to the overwhelming majority ofthe Nepali people. More than 90% living in the rural areas and about 50%, in general, live below the povertyline according to the official estimation (the world bank's is 71%). The mobility of the people is extremely difficult due to the poor condition of public transport system. The political parties, especially those which lack the commitments and accountability to the people, often try to take advantage from these weaknesses. It makes the question of free and fair election very complicated and difficult and people find themselves in a difficultposition to cast their votes independently. This sort of situation is very unfavorable for the institutionalisation and consolidation of the young democracy. The country has bitter past in this regard. The civic education campaign, therefore, has been a part and parcel of elections in Nepal. In the absence of such programs the election would be a luxury exercised only among }ithe powerful sections of the society who are not much concerned about the grassroots democracy and empowerment of the people.

3. Objectives
   a) To disseminate information and impart knowledge among the
      public about the importance of civil as well as the
      constitutional rights, to strengthen democracy.
   b) To help the people about the importance of free and fair
      election to insure their effective participation in it.
   c) To increase awareness among the people about the institu-
      tionalisation of democracy through the exercise of their
      rights in an independent way.
   d) To discourage the irregularities and use of unfair means in the
      election promoting the public vigilance.
   e) To contribute in achieving fair, free and peaceful election.

Most of us Nepalis living/studying/working here in N. America have heard of/known of/ talked to the people/organisations who have been active in North - South solidarity movements through various programs and participations. A good example of this is also in the areas of civic eleciton education programs and obsevations. Such programs have proven very effective whether in Africa, Latin America or Asia. Namibia, S. Africa or El Salvador, Chile are just to name a few. There is growing awareness in this regard also in the forth coming presidential election in Mexico, particularly after the Zapatista movement began, where electoral fraud has kept the ruling party continuously in power for decades.

In these circumstances, we together with an organisation in Nepal have worked out a proposal mainly in two areas to help in (1) civic electoral education programs through various means and ways, e.g. indigenous cultural programs (2) election observation programs.The work has already began in Nepal in this respect.Among other things needed is of course financial support. We are delighted to learn that many individuals/groups have already began their initiatives to raise funds and supports whatever they can in places like India, HK, Japan and Europe. We believe, we too can do something about it here in N. America.

Let's talk to friends, students, professors or any liberal/progressive individuals/organisations willing to listen or interested in participating in any way. Even just a talk will produce an awareness and moral support for the cause. It is another opportunity to all of us to contribute to build a better Nepal. Together we can make a difference. We are open to and invite any suggestions, criticism or participations as long as it serves its purpose.If interested in getting more info please contact me at
(604) 738-1397, ( Tel & fax). or fax (604) 737-7647. or e-mail to abi@sfu.ca

Thanks. abi

**************************************************************** Subject: Women Ambassadors to Nepal To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu From: Sanjay Manandhar <sanjaym@sni-usa.com> Date: Mon, 25 Jul 94 13:51:36 -0400

Amulya Tuladhar wrote about women ambassadors to Nepal. Although not mentioned explicitly, reading between the lines, one finds him insinuating that women are political lightweights, hence, are given token positions in Nepal, since Nepal does not amount to much in the arena of the US foreign policy.

This piece disturbed me although, in general, I like Amulya's acuity in getting good profiles by dissecting the corpus of information (e.g. the percentage of various ethnic groups represented by TND readers, etc.)

At least one reader, M. Bardsley, was disturbed enough to write back.

In a country like Nepal, where attitudes towards women are deplorable and opportunities are uneven (it's uneven everywhere but it's quite embarrassing in Nepal), I think appointing a woman in a position of such power and influence (within Nepal's context) as the US ambassador sends a great message to the people and government of Nepal. In addition, it allows Nepali women to aspire for goals that they thought were not possible. I think the US is doing Nepal a great favor by appointing, by chance or design, women ambassadors to Nepal.

Sanjay Manandhar

PS: Sorry Amulya, you're also a little off factually. Ms Julia Chang-Bloch was in the Peace Corps, but NOT in Nepal. I did some research about Peace Corps in Nepal for "Samachar-Bichar" July'92 and if my memory serves me, she went to Malaysia.

************************************************************* Date: Mon, 25 Jul 1994 17:49:34 -0400 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: rajendra@coos.dartmouth.edu (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: News7/24
                                                                    
               Proprietary to the United Press International 1994
                        July 24, 1994, Sunday, BC cycle SECTION: International LENGTH: 370 words HEADLINE: One-day strike hits Nepal BYLINE: BY BHOLA RANA DATELINE: KATMANDU, July 24
 BODY:
   A one-day general strike again paralyzed life in Nepal Sunday as opponents of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala openly align with the communists to press for his ouster. Home Ministry spokesman Sri Kant Regmi said the strike affected most urban areas areas, halting traffic and forcing the closure of shops, factories and schools. But the strike was generally peaceful, with only five stoning incidents involving buses, he said, adding that at least 426 demonstrators had been arested, including a communist member of the dissolved House of Representatives.

   In the Nepalese capital, several thousand demonstrators staged a protest march chanting ''Down with Girija'' and ''Down with the King.'' In a related development, General Secretary Mahendra Narayan Nidhi of Koirala's Nepali Congress Party submitted a petition to King Birendra on behalf of the party's central committee asking him to sack Koirala. The letter, made public Sunday said, ''I want to request His Majesty on behalf of the Central Committee to dissolve the present government. The country has been pushed into an abyss of unprecedented political crisis.'' Nidhi on Saturday joined forces with the six communist parties, the sponsors of Sunday's strike, and signed an appeal to oust Koirala. They also called for the reinstatement of parliament dissolved by Birendra in early July on the Koirala's recommendation.

    Both Birendra and Koirala have faced a barrage of criticism for the snap poll recommended by Koirala when rebels within his party abstained in an important parliamentary vote defeating Koirala's government. Koirala's colleagues allege he forced the vote without consulting the party hierarchy. He told his supporters again Saturday that he and Birendra acted constitutionally in dissolving parliament and ordering snap polls. Birendra asked Koirala to conduct the elections as a caretaker prime minister after he resigned following the vote on July 11.

    Many expressed fear Birendra might intervene to restore his powers lost after a popular movement in 1990 if the uncertainty continues as
 Nepal experiments once more with multi-party government restored four years ago.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     
                       Copyright 1994 Reuters, Limited
                             Reuters World Service
                        July 24, 1994, Sunday, BC cycle LENGTH: 324 words HEADLINE: NEPALI LEFTISTS CLAIM ANTI-KOIRALA ALLIANCE DATELINE: KATHMANDU, July 24
 BODY:
     Nepal's leftist opposition groups said on Sunday they had struck up a strategic alliance with an influential faction of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress party to remove him from power.
                                                                                
   A six-party alliance led by the largest opposition United Marxist Leninist party (UML) said it was changing its call for a three-day strike to a one-day protest on Sunday against Koirala and King Birendra.
                                                                                
   Shops, schools and factories were closed, and vehicles stayed off the streets in Kathmandu and elsewhere in the country on Sunday following the UML-sponsored strike call, but there was no violence or confrontations with police reported.
                                                                                
   "There has been an understanding with the leadership of the Nepali Congress party about a united bid to remove caretaker Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala," UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal told Reuters.
                                                                                
   "The changes (in the strike call) were required in view of a new scenario which emerged late last night," Nepal said.
                                                                                
   He said plans for fresh joint protests by Congress dissidents and Nepal's powerful leftists groups would be announced on July 30 if Koirala did not resign by then.
                                                                                
   Koirala lost a key vote in parliament on July 10 and resigned, asking King Birendra to dissolve the house and call new elections.
                                                                                
   The king acceded to Koirala's recommendations and asked the prime minister to head a caretaker government until elections in November.
                                                                                
   But some Congress faction leader Birendra should have given another Congress leader the chance to form a government rather than call early polls.
                                                                                
   The opposition demands that Birendra, who gave up his absolute powers to become a constitutional monarch in 1990 after a bloody pro-democracy campaign, appoint a government of national unity to oversee the elections.
                                                                                
   They said elections held under the auspices of a Koirala government would not be free and fair, and accused Birendra of siding with the prime minister.

************************************************************* From: tilak@maple.circa.ufl.edu To: Nepal@mp.cs.niu.edu Subject: Women in Hinduism

Dear Editor,

     I would like to express a few thoughts regarding the articles 'Women in Hinduism' by Mr. Pramod Mishra. It seems he comes from different Nepal than I come from. I am pretty amazed by his assessment of women's position in our hindu society. I am not proposing that there is no problem and every thing is milk and honey. However I must object to his incoherent and out of context statements on women's position in our society as pure nonsense. I would like to challenge Mr. Mishra to walk with me in different parts of Nepal - Kathmandu, Terai, Pahad etc. and observe objectively the real situation of women in Nepal, both good and bad. Let me show Mr. Mishra Nepalese women going about doing their business, talking, working, laughing, worrying, singing, querreling, dancing, etc. Let me also show him our loving sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, and sweet hearts. Let him show a single cowering, slavish women who are not even allowed to laugh.

     The articles only shows profound ignorance of Mr. Mishra regarding basic terms like 'Hinduism', 'Hindu society',
'Brahmanism', 'Economic and Political power', etc. It also shows his lack of understanding the historical evolution of hindu society as per different internal and external pressures, not to forget ecological and economic imperatives. We also have to keep in mind that ours is not a uniform monolithic society but rather collection of many subgroups with widely different traditions, values and behavior patterns; not to forget the complexities arising out of the interaction among such a various groups and subgroups. Besides we do not have any central authority on our religious or social issues like churches. Our system works similar to Adam Smith's unseen hand of market, where many individual decisions and attitudes slowly creates a social norm. Thus whom do we blame for obvious problem (or credit for felicity) ? That is, we have no choice but to isolate a particular counterproductive strain of social behavior and correct it (and reinforce the good one), rather than wholesale condemnation of so called 'Hinduism'.

     Another basic mistake Mr. Mishra commits is the confusing the frame of references. Surely Mr. Mishra would agree with me that social values in the times of Ramayana is different from today. In another hand where do you find a society where ideal condition of perfect equality between gender has achieved (there are also cases where female gender is decidedly dominant), other than as a pie in sky. You cannot compare a real social condition with an imaginary ideal one. It is not to minimize present real problem or use of ideal as a social goal. In my opnion the effort should be directed toward recognition and amelioration of problem, than condemnation of unrelated institution and fostering hate. Perhaps more healthier approach would be to compare Nepalese real social condition with other real social condition, for example social condition in USA. Perhaps we can learn a lot, how to enhance good and avoid bad behavior, with due respect to the economic, educational and cultural differences. Perhaps Mr. Mishra might like to compare the statistics on percentage of income, education along with divorces, rapes and children out of wedlock. It is not to criticise the present American society, but merely to state that a real condition may be compared with another real condition. Again the definition of so called ideal condition also may change with time. Perhaps some time in future there may be a demand for freeing female sexuality out of the boundary of marriage. If that occurs how would you react Mr. Mishra ?

     An ancient poet wrote 'Women's character and men's destiny are unpredictable'. So, what do you want to make of it ? Is it a gospel truth ? God's revelation ? A great hindu Mantra ? Does all the hindus goes around chanting this sloka ? After all this is one poet's one expression. From this poetic expression, who says and how do you conclude - 'She is not human being like man ... She is mere flesh ... Her character arises out of her sexual organ ... She is reduced by Hinduism to her meat ...' ? What a nonsense.

     In our culture most of the women in the four days of menstruation period stays secluded and does not do household work, sort of a vacation from house work. The reason may have to do with hygiene or simply associating menstruation as unclean. But this amazing Mr. Mishra writes 'When our mother has period, we forget about our mother's sex and her blood ... we declare her an untouchable, to see her face on such occasions makes our bad day ...'. In our culture when a young girls gets her first period, she is kept secluded for about nine to twelve days, where her female friends will keep her company and they engage in all kind of games and plays. In the last day she goes through some religios rites accompanied with a small celebration/feast and then she returns to her normal life. This system is a marker of her coming of age. Now on she is no longer a girl but a maiden fully capable of bearing children. This practice actually helps her to take a time out and reduce the trauma of her first period and related physical changes. Her status actually goes up in her family as now on she will be considered an adult. Now, on this issue amazing Mr. Mishra writes 'For to see her face would bring the greatest calamity on earth. The girl, who emerges out of this trauma never recovers her self-esteem for life, always considering herself the polluting creature on earth'. Mr. Mishra deserves Ph.D. for his ability of making a complete nonsense out of sensible things.

     I am not done yet. Rest for next letter.
     Thanks and regards. Sincerely yours, Tilak B.Shrestha.

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 27 Jul 1994 13:10:11 +0100 (BST) From: GIRI J N <J.N.Giri@city.ac.uk> Subject: Subscription enquiry To: The Nepal Digest <Nepal@cs.niu.edu>

Dear member secretary I am a Nepali student at City university and would like to subscribe to'The Nepali Digest'. I would be grateful if you could e-mail the details please.

with regards Joti Giri

************************************************************** Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 08:43:00 EDT To: a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu From: "Balkrishna.Sharma" <23012BKS@msu.edu> Subject: Need to find Satrughan L. Pradhan

In a recent professional meeting I met a Australian gentleman named Bruce Hamilton. He (Bruce Hamilton) is trying very hard to contact his old time Nepali friend Satrughan Lal Pradhan who did graduate program in Sheep production and wool Science from Australia. If anyone knows Satrughan L. Pradhan of above background please let him know that Bruce Hamilton at P.O. Box 7015, Lismore Heights, NSW 2480 is trying to contact him. This msg is posted upon request of Dr Hamilton. Thank you.

************************************************************ Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 20:43:54 PDT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: LITTLE@NAUVAX.UCC.NAU.EDU Subject: response "Women in Hinduism"

Dear Editor:

A few days ago, I mailed a respose regarding the series Women in Hidusim. Unfortunatly I failed to provide my full name and address in the end. I am also not sure whether or not my attempt of sending the response through Email was successful. Anyway, following are the infomation that you required: Usha Kiran Little 3015 South Troxler Cir. Flagstaff Arizona 86001
(602) 773-9087 Currently, I am a forestry graduate student at the Northern Arizona University. I am hoping to complete the school work by Sep. and return back to Nepal in October. I came to the Eastern US in 1979 and have been living in Arizona since last 10 years among different American Indian communities. Please feel free to icontact me if I could be any help. Thank you very much. Usha

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