The Nepal Digest - July 7, 1995 (24 Ashadh 2052 BkSm)

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        % N N EEEEEE PPPPPP AA L %
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The Nepal Digest Thursday 7 July 95: Ashadh 24 2052 BkSm Volume 40 Issue 2

 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" - Sirdar Khalifa *
 * *

********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 19:32:40 -0400 (EDT) From: Nirmal Ghimirez <NGH42799Q236@DAFFY.MILLERSV.EDU> To: Subject: Name just a name

"(THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO TILAK'S ASSUMPTION OF MY NAME.I WROTE IT TO CLARIFY. IT IS NOT RELATEDTO MANY, SO FEEL FREE TO SKIP FOR YOU MAY GET BORED) I did not want to mention aboout the z in my name, but it seems now I have to respond to it. I must say that Tilak is very creative that he found a meaning of my last word. first of all I would like to say that it was just a mistake and once I got that name I kind of got used to it. The "Z" that i write, I never pronounced it "gee" but it was known as" zed" in my school. As in "z" for Zebra. If I wanted to be addressed as my friend has written than I would be writing "gee" and not "z". I guess, I came here and only then knew that "Z" is pronounced as "gee" and not as "zed" in this place. However, I don't mind Tilak's thinking. Everyone has their own way of interperating things. The truth is that it was just a mistake and I did not realize that till my TND came in my mail. Once, I got it I did not mind and liked it. Secondly, the word"Z" itself gave a great meaning to me and I accepted it. This word has a upper surface and a lower surface, signifying that life is both ups and downs. But no matter where you are you must balance it. Secondly "Z" is the last word, the end of all, and each person is an individual ending in himself/herself.So, I kept it. I don.t care if someone calls me Tapai or ta, after all it does not make a difference.If Mr.Tilak was joking then I laugh with you but if not then remove this misconcept created by this beautiful word "Z"

Hinduism_ Brahaminism

This is in response to some of our friends who think Hinduism is more related to Brahamans. It is true that many Brahamans are Hindus. I however have not seen that sentence saying "hindu is a born Hindu" and I do not believe in it.Hinduism is open to all interested devotees. One of the prime example is "Ramakrishna Mission" of Calcutta where one can find people of different place and skin as Hindus. Yes, many Brahamans did take advantage of power and associated that with religion.That was however the misconcept and selfishness of those people. But that is not related with Hinduism.For the mistakes and conducts that some brahamns did we should not blame the religion.

This has been the hiostory. Many priests took advantage in Christanity and ruled over peole as authority.But that however is not the fault of Christanity but is of some selfish people."All religions are ultimately the different paths to the same summit". It is just how one interperates it.Any comments are appreciated.Thanks.Nirmal

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 07 Jul 1995 11:15:05 From: (Reply to: =IHE-Delft, The Netherlands=) To: Subject: Re Information

To The editor Is it possible for me to know the postal address, Phone number and E-mail address (if there is any) of Dr. Bhargav Dixit who has arrived recently on 22.06.95 to New york? Looking forward to hear from you.


%%%%%Editor's Note: Can somebody from New York area help Anil ji? %%%%%
%%%%% Thankyou. %%%%%

************************************************************ Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 09:43:49 -0400 From: To: Subject: Nepali Special Olympics Athlete

>From the New York Times, (George Judson), Stamford, Connecticut, July 6, 1995
- Coast Guard and police helicopters and boats searched Long Island Sound today for a Special Olympics athlete from Nepal who disappeared while swimming during a visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.The 21 year mentally retarded man, identified as Ramedh Mali was bathing in an unsupervised section marked by yellow flags according to the police.

*************************************************************** From: (Sanjiv Shrestha) Subject: Email addresses? To: Date: Sat, 1 Jul 1995 13:17:25 -0700 (PDT)

To any AIT people reading this digest,
    I was wondering if anybody at AIT, Thailand knew the email addresses of Sanjaya Man Shrestha or Shreela Shrestha. If you do, can you please email me their email addresses. Dherai dherai dhanyabad!
                                                    -Sanjiv Man Shrestha

******************************************************************************* From: Ashok Sainju Forwarded By: (Pratyoush R. Onta) Subject: Gurkhas Discussion: Comments from Ashok Sainju (forwarded) To: (tnd) Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 10:21:52 -0400 (EDT)

Gurkhas Discussion Comments:

With regards to Mr. Onta's discussion on the future of Gurkhas, I would like to add some of my own:

1. The question on whether the British Govt. did justice or not by reducing the size of Gurkha battalions is very complicated one. The British rationale is that they simply cannot afford to keep a Brigade size force anymore. To my knowledge, they have been informing the Nepalese govt. of their intentions since the early 1990's. They have kept a token force because a) the Tripartite Treaty between Nepal, Britain, and India is still considered valid,and b) it is befeficial to them to keep a small force and increase the size
   in case of future conflicts because the treaty allows them to do that. To
   phase out the Gurkhas completely, the treaty has to be considered null and
   void by all three parties. In the event the British decides they no longer
   need the services of the Gurkhas, Nepal and Britain can pressure the Indians to cancel the treaty and a new one for India should be arranged with new terms of conditions. The present token presence is likely to be phased out in the next decade or so if the Labour Party comes to power.

2. As we have seen from the Korean case, HMG is not capable of regulating the
   recruitment agencies, nor does it have any alternatives to keep the labor
   pool at home. They have moral and legal responsibilities when Nepalese
   citizens are endangered abroad. So it is upto the ex-servicemen to make
   their personal choice if they decide to work abroad after retiring from the services and hope they do realize the grave dangers before taking such jobs
   The valuable source of foreign exchange can be invested in Nepal as some
   other countries in Asia are doing.

3. The only time HMG or Her Majesty's govt. will say anything is when their image is tarnished. Since both govts. do not provide adequately for the soldiers after retirement, why should they have any say over what kinds of
   employment Gurkhas take?

4. Gurkhas/ex-Gurkhas can become part of the UN Peacekeeping Force since it is
   an another alternative to keep them employed with all the negative consequences for Nepal and the soldiers themselves. But, a single country force is not desirable to restore peace throughout the globe. Gurkhas should be the part of the UN Force only if all UNSC Permanent five contribute their soldiers
   as well in all UN missions. There has been support for a peacekeeping force
   of Gurkhas from British Defence officials since they are sad and are somewhat reluctant to let go of their past traditions. The image of Gurkhas as mercenaries would dissipate slowly if they are seen as successful in Peacekeeping.

5. We should not see Gurkha recruitment as embarrassment for Nepal. There is
   nothing to be ashamed of since Gurkhas fought with valor in a just war as
   one of our TND reader put it. It is certainly true as we know all know that only place they are not appreciated is in their own homeland because our own ruling elites still view these martial races as inferior to them. This attitude needs to change so people of all races, tribes, ethnic groups feel equal
   as Nepali. Those who suggest for the cancellation of recruitment, do they have any good alternatives that HMG can afford? It is not only Nepal that is engaged in this kind of business. Pakistan also provides similar service to some Gulf Kingdoms.

6. A war memorial is certainly one way to pay tribute to all those who died in
   the line of service or got disabled. Such a memorial will help keep the
   memory of our noble heritage in the younger generations and other Nepali
   races. But the govt. must also do more to help the living i.e. the families.
   The British could help build more schools, colleges, and hospitals for the
   veterans and their families. The Indians have not done enough so far if you
   look the number of the soldiers serving in their forces since 1947.

                Any comments will be appreciated from our readers. Ashok Sainju

******************************************************* Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 11:08:31 -0500 (CDT) From: Sam Bhattarai <> To: The Editor <> Subject: Temporary Subscription Termination

TND Editors:

My compliments on a your excellent efforts to keep us on top of events and concerns in Nepal.

I am moving to Minneapolis in a few days and would like to request you to discontinue sending me issues of TND till I have things set up there.

Again, cheers for a job well done!
                                        Sambedan Bhattarai

To Nepalis in the Minneapolis Area:

We will be moving to Minneapolis within a few days and would enjoy getting in touch with people out there. Please contact us at the following address. We look forward to meeting you!

                Sambedan & Samsu Bhattarai
                Apt # 201, 8070 - 12th Ave S.
                Bloomington, MN 55425
                (612) 854 - 5131 (starting July 8, 1995)

************************************************************ From: (Pratyoush R. Onta) Subject: Gurkhas Discussion To: (tnd) Date: Sun, 2 Jul 1995 14:04:29 -0400 (EDT)

Gurkhas Discussion:

I would like to thank all those who have responded to my initial note re:Gurkhas, post-army jobs, and history. As is clear from the different postings, a variety of views exist on most of the related topics. It should also be clear that the subject is multi-dimensional and no one person can expect to represent all of them in any discussion. The following are some of the points that have emerged from our discussion and perhaps more postings on them would be beneficial to all our readers.

1) As Seira Tamang has reminded us more than once, the perspectives of Gurkha family members on this whole subject is one of the least discussed topics ever. As she has emphasized, the role of Gurkha wives in the continuance of Gurkha families has been underappreciated and the influence of army's rules (family permission, etc.) in the making of women-headed households etc has not been discussed adequately. While I know that as part of the thinking that went into the preparation leading to the pullout from Hong Kong the Gurkha family has received some attention, I do not know what the new arrangements are regarding family accompaniment of Gurkha soldiers in the UK where most of them will be based after 1996-97. In the meantime, since she is both a family member and has done previous research on the subject, I would like to request Seira to share with us more of her knowledge of the perspectives of Gurkha wives on this whole subject. Perhaps long direct quotes from oral narratives from her study will be revealing to all of us.

2) Labor market: As I detailed in my initial note, Gurkhas recently relieved from the British Army are , with the help of Nepali and foreign labor agents, finding post-army jobs all over the world. These jobs tend to entail a whole spectrum of risks and benefits. While a job in the private Gurkha Reserve Unit of the Sultan of Brunei (which is separate from the battalion-strength presence loaned by the British Army to the Sultan at his expense) is the most coveted for its combination of moderate risk and high pay, many more are being employed in the private security market for terms of one or two years at a time. Some of the major labor recruiting agents that are finding jobs for the ex-Gurkhas are former British Gurkha officers with many years of work-experience. From published sources, it is impossible to figure out the exact terms and conditions under which such employment is arranged but if the growing numbers are any indication, then we must say that the terms are good enough to attract a significant number of ex-soldiers every month.

Several of those who have responded to my initial posting have suggested that the Nepali Government should be a player in the new security labor market. The inference is that if this can be done the interests of these ex-soldiers can be protected. One scenario could be that the Nepali state use its state-related resources (labor ministry, diplomatic offices, etc.) to keep a tab in the international labor market and aggresively market the labor skills of Nepalis at internationally competitive prices. While there is no consensus on whether or not this would be the best way to deploy Nepali labor (note Shyam Lama's posting on this subject), I would think that this scenario is not likely in the near future.

At an ideological level, our so-called party leaders and policy makers are at a loss as to how to deploy nationalist rhetoric at a time when the Nepali state is becoming increasingly a policeman for World Bank Inc. At a more practical level, even though there is the talent necessary to manage such an enterprise, it is not clear if the state will in fact take it upon itself to represent the interest of these people. One could plausibly argue that the same reasons - economic and political disenfranchisement that push people to foreign jobs - would indicate that a state more interested in rent collecting through party politics would hardly care otherwise. This is amply evidenced in the foreign job racket where the fraud perpetrated by many labor agents has been clear for many years. The government has been unable to do much except for cosmetic punishment once in a while. For now, it seems, journalists and other investigators might be in a better position to keep an eye on the international hiring of Gurkhas and perhaps act as advocates of fair pay and working conditions for them.

3) Memorial: Shyam Lama suggested that had the British built a University for Gurkha children in the Dharan camp when they abandoned it in 1990, it would have been a fitting memorial to the Gurkhas. THis would have been a good idea then. As we know, the cost-cutting imperatives of the Defence bosses in Britain are really forceful and unless a serious movement from the ex-Gurkha community in Nepal toward this idea happens, it is unlikely that Britain will commit itself to such a project from its Ministry of Defence budget (the gradual transfer of pension paying scheme in Nepal to Grindlays Bank is yet another evidence of the cost-cutting imperative). However, if enough support to this idea could be generated then funds for it could perhaps come from Gurkha welfare funds, private contributions of ex-Gurkha officers, British ODA, etc.

In the late 1950s, when discussions were being held in Pokhara regarding the name for the new campus that was about to be opened there, some participants proposed that it be named after Gaje Ghaley (why him and not the other VC winners, I do not know. Does any one have any info on this?). But political activist/educator Muktinath Timisina mentions in this autobiography that "from a perspective of national pride", he thought naming the college after Prithvinarayan Shah would be a better idea. His proposal obviously won the day and the campus was named accordingly. But the prospects for a "Gaje Ghaley university" are better today then they were during the Panchayat era.

Any thoughts on these and related subjects are welcome.

Pratyoush Onta

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 11:26:23 +0200 From: To: Subject: namaste

Hallo gyus,

I want to have the informations about the political situation in Nepal. If anybody is interested or has time, please do send me. I would be very grateful to you.

Danke shoen and Namaste. Rajendra Aryal from University Hannover, Germany

**************************************************************** Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 15:47:19 -0400 (EDT) From: Nirmal Ghimirez <NGH42799Q236@DAFFY.MILLERSV.EDU> To: Subject: Intelligence

This is in response to one of the very irrational statement made by Mr.Anil Tuladhar . He writes," So, all the Xaverians in particular know that their intelligence, if any, is due to money of their father than from their own"

Mr.Tuladhar first of all intelligence is not a material to be sold and bought. It cannot be bought by money. SO, your statement is a fallacy in itself. There is no connection between money and intelligence.Otherwise all rich people would be intelligent and all poor would be stupid.So, first open your intellect and understand what intelligence is.It is partly heridetiry but mostly it depends on the individual. St.xavier's is a school run by the fathers who belong to Sopciety of Jesues. It was established not to make money but to serve and spred education. These Fathers renounced their family and came to work for other people. So it has a spiritual meaning from their side.Secondly you may be surprised but St.xavier's is cheaper compared to other boarding school. A middle class family can afford it. IUt is not like many boarding schools who have opened for business purposes. Please don.t make some kiddish and irrevelant comments like this. First figure out the facts.Look at the history of St.xavier's. And Xavarians are same as normal Nepalese, don't think they can buy intelligence by money. Actually your statement is baseless ti even talk more about. This was just to clarify your misconcept. You are most welcome to comment but make a sensible, logical and a rational one please.Thanks.Nirmal

************************************************************************ Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 16:17:05 -0400 To: <>, The Editor <> From: (Anak Krishna Shrestha) Subject: Internet Access rates in Nepal

Dear Editor, I am forwarding this article which seems to be informative those wishing to send and receive email from Nepal. Please post it in the upcoming issue of TND. Thank you. ANAK K. SHRESTHA

                        Forwarded Message:

>We are the only service provider in Nepal for Internet Access. And, we have
>dial up system based on UUCP connection. In order to access Internet through
>us, one needs to sign up and subscribe at least for six months.The followng
>is the scheme of rates:
> (in Nepalese Rupees)
>Revision 2.0
> Type A
>Subscription rate for For every 6 months
>single user Rs. 5,000.00
> Type B
>Subscription rate for For every 6 months
>multiusers Rs. 10,000.00
>Transaction Charge volume/month Amount (Rs.)
>(Applicable to Type A upto 150KB 2,400.00
>and Type B ) 500KB 6,500.00
> 1.0MB 12,000.00
> 2.0MB 20,000.00
>* Users signing up for the 150K, 500K and 1MB slots will be charged Rs.
> if the volume of transaction per month exceeds the signed-up limit.
>** Users signing up for the 2 MB slot will be charged Rs. 10/Kbyte if the
volume of
> transaction per month exceeds the 2 MB limit.
>***A Security Deposit of Nrs. 3000 is applicable to all types of rates.
>AMRIT MOHAN KAYASTHA Voice-line:+977-1-220773
>Mercantile Office Systems Fax-line :+977-1-225407
>Post Box No:876, Durbar Marg, E-Mail
>Kathmandu, Nepal Res. Tel :+977-1-290510


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 4 Jul 1995 07:58 EST Forwarded By: To: From: (Silent Do Good) Description: _People_ magazine: Prince Dipendra Demanded Beheading at Eton!
        Prince Dipendra of Nepal got briefly mentioned in an article entitled "William the Conqueror" in the July 7, 1995 issue of _People_ magazine.
        The article is mainly about Prince William's (Prince Charles' son) getting admission at Eton, a prestigious elite school in Britain which Nepalese crown prince Dipendra, and before him, the present king Birendra, had also attended. Here is the excerpt:
        Academics should prove less of a hurdle. A bright student,
        William [Prince William] will study Latin, Greek, French,
        English, chemistry, physics, biology, history, and math.
        But "to be cool," says one old boy, "you either have
        an interesting personality or you're good at sport.
        (William is well-liked and good at soccer.) Position
        offers no protection. Witness the experience of Nepal's
        Prince Dipendra, who was at Eton in the 1980's. He was
        short, fat and hopeless at sport," recalls a classmate.
        "Everyone was really nasty to him, and he used to
        demand that they be beheaded."
                        (July 7/1995, _People_, page 85)
  Date: Tue, 4 Jul 1995 07:58 EST From: (Silent Do Good) Description: Kathmandu in the Bridges of Madison County?
        A recent article in _Time_ has it that in one of the earlier versions of the script for the movie The Bridges of Madison County, Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) and Francesca (Meryl Streep) were to to meet again in Kathmandu!
        The movie "The Bridges of Madison County" is based on James Wallers' national bestseller of the same title.

From: (Frank F Kroger) Date: 3-JUL-1995 00:02:58 Description: Solar energy in Nepali village (fwd)

I found this in devel-l usenet group. The original post contained reports about Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) in several countries, here is the article about Nepal.
 (PV=photo voltaic, ie generating electricity directly from the sun using solar panels.)
  June 14, 1995
  NEPAL In April 1994, SELF and its partner, The Centre For Renewable Energy, in Kathmandu, completed a 52-house
"solar seed" project in Pulimarang, a mountain village near Annapurna. The Gurkha village is the country's first PV-powered community using stand-alone solar home systems.
 Users purchase their solar-electric units with loans from a revolving-credit fund managed by their village solar committee. This seed project was inaugurated by Nepal's Prime Minister and was featured on a Nepal Television special. It has led to the development of numerous other village PV electrification schemes, and has created a large demand for solar home systems from Nepal's 3 solar electric companies. Ninety percent of Nepal is without electricity.
  Dear Friend,
  We are pleased to announce that the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) will now be NET-working by an e-mail distribution list. We will be posting occasional updates and news releases FYI, such as the Activity Update which follows. If you would like to join the SELF e-mail distribution list to receive periodic SELF updates, or if you would like to be taken off our distribution list, please send a message to
  For additional information on SELF, see updates on some of the energy and
 development-related conferences (for example,, at.general, etc.),
 and our World Wide Web Homepage on the CREST server
 (, where we will be posting and updating our brochure, articles, reports and photos.
  Our most exciting new projects are in Vietnam, South Africa and India. We will soon publish detailed profiles of all our country pilot projects. In addition, Brazil joins the list this year. Many of these pilot projects are becoming economically sustainable as we continue to help them grow into "national exemplar" programs. Financially viable grassroots solar service enterprises are being formed in the
 projects' wake.
  SELF, a non- profit charitable and educational organization, will celebrate its
 5th anniversary this year. In a short time we have been able to help catalyze
 a growing interest by developing countries in decentralized, low-cost solar
 power by showcasing solar photovoltaics for household electrification in rural areas.
  SELF is located at 1734 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 USA.
  Neville Williams President

From: (Ajay Pradhan) Date: 29-JUN-1995 15:41:25 Description: Re: Nepal won't change for the next 10 years?

In article <3susci$>, Pratyoush R. Onta <> wrote:
>The Daily Yomiuri
> June 29, 1995, Thursday
>HEADLINE: Vietnam trendiest new travel destination
>BYLINE: Yomiuri Shimbun
> Since opening its gates to individual tourists two years ago, Vietnam is
>increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination, especially for young
>Japanese women.
> The country, that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the end of the
>Vietnam War this April, is now undergoing dramatic social and economic
>changes with the adoption of the doi moi open-door policy.
> Yukiko Ogawa, a 34-year-old company employee in Tokyo, who recently
>visited Vietnam on a 10-day tour, said that although she had thought about
>going t Nepal at first, a friend had recommended Vietnam,
>saying, " Nepal won't
>change much for the next 10 years or so. But Vietnam will. It's better to
>see Vietnam now, because with the opening of its market and the doi moi
>policy, it is changing so quickly."
> Visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Ogawa said she was impressed
>especially by the hotel and office building construction boom.
> Having traveled widely in Europe, the United States and Asia, Ogawa
>said what she had particularly enjoyed about Vietnam were the glimpses she
>had caught of the simple and natural way the Vietnamese lived, and the
>Vietnamese food, such as shrimp rolls, which were more mildly flavored
>than hot Thai dishes.
> According to Peace In Tour, a Tokyo travel agency arranging travel to
>Vietnam, last year they arranged tours for about 800 women traveling to
>Vietnam compared with only a total of 200 travelers about six years ago. A
>five-day tour costing 120,000 yen is now much cheaper than the former
>price of 300,000 yen.
>"Now that there are more European-style hotels, women are finding it
>easier to travel in Vietnam," the agency said. However, they added that
>tourists still have to be careful about what they eat and should never eat
>the food sold on the stalls in the streets. Also, they advised travelers
>to behave modestly when going out as the country maintains tight law and
>order standards.
> There are five direct flights weekly from Kansai International Airport
>to Ho Chi Minh City, and daily flights from Narita airport to Ho Chi Minh
>City and Hanoi via Hong Kong.
> Peace In Tour (tel. 03-3207-3690) offers a wide choice of travel
>schedules for individual tourists. In addition to Ho Chi Minh City and
>Hanoi, these tours visit Hue, Danang and Vung Tau, where there are hotels
>from economic to de luxe class. A variety of optional bus tours by local
>agencies offer city sightseeing to visits to the Mekong Delta, beaches and
>the countryside.
  The latest issue of Asiaweek places Vietnam together with China and India as one of the three Asian countries surging forward with fast economic boom.
  In the mean time, Nepal's leaders are busy playing monkey fight. The Japanese tourist's statement (see above story) is really an understatement; she should have made it 20 years, not 10.
************************************************************ Date: Tue, 04 Jul 95 19:12:01 -0400 From: "Sher Karki" <> To: Subject: A message to Ex-BKS students

To all Ex students of BKS,

President of SEBS is trying to compile Bio-Data of all Ex-students so that the society can communicate with them on a regular basis. I have his letter, two publications by SEBS, and certificates for life memberships and I have been asked to help using the cyberspace. It would greatly expedite this effort, if all those abroad helped send theirs and of the friends that they know the email adds as well as postal adds. Please send the information to: Thnak you very much.

***************************************************************** Date: Tue, 4 Jul 1995 22:51:13 -0400 From: To: Subject: A poem by Parijat


Thank you for your beautiful translation of Parijat's poem, Manushi. You successfuly captured the essence of her poem into english. As a woman, I was very moved by it.


********************************************************************** Date: Sun, 02 Jul 95 16:48:01 -0400 From: "Sher Karki" <> To: Subject: A True Story

Note: This article appeared in Brandeis Review, a seasonal publication of Brandeis University, Massachusettes. I merely copied it from the magazine and am not responsible for the content. As far as I know this is a true story.

Daja Meston '96 West Meets East Meets West

Imagine experiencing everything as new, with a child's perspective of continual discovery, but you are an adult. Instead of a dull sense of repetition solidified into habit during the day , you are delighted by-and struggle with-constant surprises. To Daja Meston '96 that is the way life seems. "Nothing ha prepared me for this, really. Every single class I take, everything I read, I study, I hear, is all new. I,m like a sponge. It's fascinating, the things so many people take for granted," he says.

He is intrigued because the most familiar and psychically comfortable surrounding that framed his childhood and teenage years in a Buddhist Monastery nestled in the breathtaking landscape of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Nothing could be further from the experience of a typical American child. Picture a 6-year-old in the United states-he faces the huge demands of first grade, learning ti read, to write, to understand number relationships, his thought process itself molded to solve problems.

Not so for Meston. Born in Genevaa as his American parents meandered through Europe and Asia on their vintage sixties quest for meaning, he accumulated non of the underpinnings that most college students take for granted. As a toddler and a preschooler, he was able to participatein his parents journey to see the world. But at the age of 4, radical changes were in store for him. And by 6-when most Americans begin first grade- he was preparing to enter a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

His parents wended their way through life subject to whim and advice from unconventional sources. Consider his mother's approach when their van broke down in Afghanistan. As chance would have it, Americans passing through offered to take them to a city in India. Would they go? His mother consulted the I Ching, the Chinese oracle. The affirmative response sent them on their way.

Travelling south from the mountains of Afghnaistan, a slow trek on rock strewn roads past villages of mud and strae huts, they came to the northern India town of Dharmasala. The home of the Dalai Lama and a center of Tibetan Buddhism, this exotic and spiritual place captivated Meston's parents. Embracing Buddhism, they studied there for more than a year, moving to Kathmandu, Nepal to continue their search for enlightenment.

Blessed with astounding vistas ans rich with a sense of spiritual, Kathmnadu marked a turning point. The family would never be together again. Meston's father became ill and returned to the United States. His mother decided to become a Buddhist nun, living in retreats of Indian and Nepal. And Meston? A long term boarding arrangement made by his mother for her 4-year old placed him with a family of Tibetan nobles exiled by the Chinese occupation of their country.

The large pink concrete house that became his home was bustling: the father, his two wives, who were sisters, and 12 children swallowed up the little boy. "The most difficult part of this adopted family was that I looked different, and I didn't know why," Meston remembers. The man of the hose wore western-style clothes, while the wives wore the traditional silver jewelry and Tibetan dress, skirts with bright, embroidered aprons. Like the other children, Meston was required to memorize lengthy Buddhist prayers by the strict strap-wielding father. " I was terrified of him,"Meston says. "But inspite of him I started seeing these people as my family. I didn't comprehend the arrangements that they had made with my mother." By the time Meston's mother came to visit, to talk and bring him candy, he spoke Tibetan, not English, and she could not communicate with him.

She was also part of an American culture of which he knew practically nothing. What did seem natural to him was her decision that he would become a Buddhist monk. Having his head shaved and being fitted for red monk's robes, Meston describes himself as excited and happy. "Its not uncommon in Tibet for a small boy to go to a monastery," he explains.

A typical day in his young life began at 5:30 am with a splash of cold water on his face to wash. "There was no hot water at the monastery and the monks (the oldest were in their mid-30s) didn't shower We didn't bathe very often," Meston explains. "And I never wore shoes. I was black with dirt, but I wasn't aware that I was dirty," he remembers.

Isolated, with no access to television or magazines, the 80 monks' world centered on memorizing prayers, reciting what was learned, debating philosophical questions, and cleaning assigned areas. Sparse meals were served with numbing repitition. "The worst thing about the monastery was the food. It was always very bad and always the same-but I never had enough. I was constantly hungry," Meston remembers.

Breakfast? Tea and a kind of pit bread, eated between morning prayers and late morning memorizing and oral exams. Lunch? Rice and Dahl, an Indian lentil dish, before afternoon lessons in philosophy. Dinner? Not until 7:00 pm, when noodle soup was served. The evening hours were spent discussing philosophy, and reciting the material learned that day. A strict regiment but- nothing like education as taken for granted in the west. " I was taught to read Tibetan, but not to write,"explains Meston. "I had no math or history. The teachers emphasized Tibetan Buddhist philosophy." What he has retained is not the ritual, for which he says he has little use, but a core mandate to treat others with kindness and compassion.

That was not how he was treated. Taller than most of his Asian peers and looking different, he was teased. I knew I was different because everybody noticed. They called me names,"he says.During the time he stayed at the monastery-from 1976 until 1985 when he was 15-he had no close friends.

Ther was one hiatus in 1980-a brief trip,four months visiting his mother in London and about 10 days in Los angeles to see his great grand-mother. He packed in a cornucopia of experiences in stunning contrast to the preceeding four-year litany of repetition. Suddenly lots of people looked the same as he did. "I felt liberated, to be one of the crowd instead of always standing out," he says.

And of America? "I loved every bit of it." It was California's sleek endless freeways that dazzled him, in contrast to Nepal's primitive roads. And the swimming pools, he recalls with delight:"I'd wake up at six or seven O'clock just to get into the pool. In the whole of Kathmandu, there was only one public swimming pool, where we went once a year on a special occasion."

The compelling taste of western culture lingered when Meston returned to Nepal, its intrigue amplified when he was sent, in 1985, to a massive monastery with over 3,000 students in southern India, near Mysore. There he describes hitting bottom. "It was unbelievably difficult for me. Sick and miserable, I finally decided I didn't want to be a monk anymore."

So he left. Frightened and alone at 16, he was willing to venture into completely unknown and forbidden territory, sustained by the knowledge, he says, that his natural curiosity and enjoyment of learning new things would always be with him. Selling his monks robes and sleeping bag for fare to travel, Speaking Tibetan, Hindi, Nepalese, and very little English, what he got was a crash course in survival skills. But also, says Meston, it was time that he felt"free". Touring London for a month, he pedaled a bicycle around the magnificent city wearing a walkman and listening to Madonna, relishing spontaneity. Then it was a year in Italy-Venice, Florence, Rome-and a Buddhist center near Pisa, staying not as a monk but as a handyman and cook.

But this lifestyle did not satisfy when Meston describes as {a driving force in me-to get an education." With that in mind, he came to America in 1987. Meston had a lot of catching up to do. "I remember not being able write, not being able to subtract," he says. Staying with family friends in southern California, attending high school in Orange County, he was such an oddity that he was the subject of a profile in The Los Angeles Times. Indeed, almost everything was new for him. Accepting the owner's suggestion to work in a factory on weekends, meston was astonished when he was offered money. He was doing it, he thought, as a favor. And paid by the hour? To him that seemed impossibly extravagant; in Nepal, workers are paid by the month.

Attracted by the large choice of colleges in Massachusettes, he enrolled in a junior college in Worcester. But the course there did not satisfy his vision. Transferring to Brandeis brought him to the place of discovery.

Now he is exploring his heritage. In 1989 he learned that both his parents were Jewish. In fact he is related to famed Zionist leader and Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold. "Before I came to America, I really didn't know what a Jew was," says Meston. Eager to take Judaic studies courses at Brandeis, and to someday visit Israel, Meston, a sociology major, is focused first on getting a good education.

And of his unusual life journey, he says, "for me, I am happy I went through all those experiences because it gave me a unique background. And everything here is remarkable to me." Savoring the novelty, he is bringing a far-flung past into perspective with American culture. The juxtapositions are extraordianry. In the same breath that he mentions his Tibetan name, Thubten Wangchuk, he can also tell you that his grand mother wrote and produced the old western TV series "Gunsmoke."

Married to a Tibetan woman from India whom he met in the United States, Meston struggles with a sense of identity and lack of roots. Soft-spoken, with a ready smile, he notes with amusement that his appearance is completely misleading, as if he lives in a white body that houses a Tibetan. He enjoys his ability to straddle two disparate cultures, to be able to choose either to participate in the subtle intricacies of each or to step outside and look in witha foreigner's cool eye. And he has a way of being in the world that stems from Buddhist philosophy-something Westerners often seek to quickly obtain-impossible to put into words, acquired only gradually, over many years. Presently, he greatly appreciates the opportunity to be a Brandeis student. His joyful curiosity sustains him and provides a steady source of strength. "I feel that i am always growing, that i am very curious, and I keep finding out there are a lot of interesting things to be learned and understood. I get a lot out of seeing that process in myself," Meston explains. He is convinced that adventure in always available to him.

Date: Wed, 05 Jul 95 20:47:01 -0400 From: "Sher Karki" <> Subject: Chootkila


A little boy came home from school one day and said to his father,
"Dad, what can you tell me about politics? I have to learn about it for school tomorrow." The father thought some and said, "OK, son, the best way I can describe politics is to use an analogy. Let's say that I'm capitalism because I'm the breadwinner. Your mother will be government because she controls everything, our maid will be the working class because she works for us, you will be the people because you answer to us, and your baby brother will be the future. Does that help any?" The little boy said,"Well, Dad, I don't know, but I'll think about what you said.

"Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, the little boy was wokenup by his brother's crying. Upon further investigation, he found a dirty diaper. So, he went down the hall to his parent's bedroom and found his father's side of the bed empty and his mother wouldn't wake up.Then hesaw a light on in the guest room down the hall, and when he reached thedoor, he saw through the crack that his father was in bed with the maid.Because he couldn't do anything else, he turned and went back to bed.The next morning, he said to his father at the breakfast table, "Dad, Ithink I understand politics much better now." "Excellent, my boy," heanswered, "What have you learned?" The little boy thought for a minute andsaid, "I learned that capitalism is screwing the working class, governmentis sound asleep ignoring the people, and the future's full of shit."

***************************************************************************** From: Samira Luitel <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - July 5, 1995 (22 Ashadh 2052 BkSm)

Dear Editor, I am a new suscriber and very much interested to know what is happening in Nepal especially the political issue. But in this issue I could not find anything, and was disappointed. Yet I was pleased to read Bhanu Nirola's message. Bhanuji how are you? When are you leaving for Nepal? We were talking about you in the morning and I got you in the telnet what a co-incidence. Will you write something about you? I am also hoping to complete my studies by September. May be we will see each other soon. How is your family? My regards to all. Samira Luitel

(Message inbox:1021)
 -- using template mhl.format -- Date: Thu, 06 Jul 1995 15:52:53 EDT To:

From: "Robby Khanal" <> Subject: Error sending E-mail to Nepal

X-Priority: 3 (Normal)

To everyone,

I have been receiving a lot of E-mail from various different people stating that they have received errors when they tried sending E-mail to Nepal. One thing I've noticed is I also get the errors when I send it during the day. So, these days I only send e-mails to Nepal in the evening or at night. Please try doing this, and see what happens.

                                                Robby Khanal

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