The Nepal Digest - June 10, 1999 (27 Jestha 2056 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Mon Jun 10, 1999: Jestha 27 2056BS: Year8 Volume87 Issue4

Today's Topics (partial list):

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 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
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****************************************************************** To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 12:11:32 -0400 Subject: Re: Fwd: The Nepal Digest - June 7, 1999 (24 Jestha 2056 BkSm) From: AikoAnne Joshi <aiko7@juno.com>

I have to admit I did enjoy the rather facetious and satirical piece by Bhupendra Rawat, but I did wonder just how much of this was autobiographical?

However, I do have some serious issues with the subject matter. First, what sort of woman is this (fictional?) person/Rawat? looking for? While I would applaud his decision to reject "Miss Hindi Filmi" and "Miss Obsessed with America", I would question his self-esteem level in rejecting "Miss NGO Activist" and the Academically-inclined miss. And, what does this say of the attitude of this person seeking a wife?

When I first began reading this piece, I was delighted because I thought, great! here is a guy who is objecting to the humiliating and degrading experience of the arranged marriage search(humiliating and degrading for the female mostly); who wished to find a wife on his own time without pressure or help. But, as I read on, I realisd that it seemed to be a lament on not finding the "right" (arranged) mate; in other words, he didn't really object to having his union arranged for him; he just couldn't seem to find "Miss Right". Either she seemed too much of an airhead, too intelligent, or too grasping. So, while this person does not seem to object to having a match arranged for him per se, he cannot seem to find the right mixture of submissive, plain, slightly stupid(but in a charming way)mate who 1)won't spend her time watching Hindi filmi; 2) won't spend her time reading too many books, especially well-written books, and who won't be too educated ; 3) won't go off somewhere trying to "save" the world; 4) who won't mind staying in her native country
(can't disagree with that there! Wished my hubby felt that way; after all, he's the oldest son!! Hey, how many ex-pat Nepali sons are out there who won't go home to be with aging parents! )

So what's my point? My point is: why are so many men (NOT all men, now!) threatened by well-educated, intelligent women who can carry on well-rounded conversations? Because, with the exception of the film-obsessed and America-obsessed misses, this character seems very intimidated by the intelligent women who are NGO activist or well-educated and articulate, feeling -- I get the impression -- a sense of inferiority complex/low self-esteem(imagine if Pamela Anderson Lee could carry on an intelligent and deep discussion on the state of the world -- generously endowed AND smart??? How many hormonally overcharged men and boys would groan with disillusionment! HAH!) Part of the answer lies, I think, in the socialisation process. We men and women are socialised to think that males and females must act a certain way, and when someone deviates from what is considered "the norm", we tend to feel threatened. Too many women are told that while a college education is good so that they will make "good" wives(in other words, not embarrass the husband in social situations), going beyond a Bachelor's degree is bad taste; after all, who'd want to marry a Ph.D? and, what would a woman DO with a Ph.D anyway, when her ULTIMATE goal in life is to HAVE A HUSBAND AND BABIES!!! And men are taught that having a well-educated, articulate and interesting wife is demeaning to the male ego, so better to settle for a woman who is physically pretty(but not too pretty, because then SHE will tempt other men and bring SHAME upon the husband!!)and slightly stupid, and submissive enough to not argue with her husband. In other words, a well-trained pet! So, if a man wants an intelligent, articulate wife who is involved in things other than housework, he is looked on with sympathy(oh, he's "p-whipped"; or, his wife must wear the pants in the house), and sometimes may feel awkward because stupid people will be talking about the wife who isn't a wife(She as a CAREER!!! Omigod!)

So, to the fictional character in Rawat's amusing piece: good luck and if and when you find that "perfect" girl, all the best to you!!(And pity the poor girl if she has some measure of intelligence and ambition, however latent.)

Aiko Joshi (Mrs.) Master's candidate, soon to graduate and go on to be a Ph.D!!!!

"Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved."
( Mihaly Csikszortmihalyi)

****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 10:46:30 -0400 (EDT) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Can the New Replace the Old? Remembering Man Mohan Adhikary

        I have just learned that Man Mohan Adhikary has passed away, and I feel as though one's father has once again died. I didn't have a long, or any significant contact with Adhikary--just a few encounters here and there, a few 'phone calls--all about matters of public concern. But before all this happened in the nineties, when Adhikary found a legitimate structure for public role in Nepal, I used to watch him, from my roadside window, take his morning constitutional on a side street in Biratnagar. In an unassuming pair of folded trousers and t-shirt, he would saunter past below my window in a shuffling gait.

I had recently started my teaching in Biratnagar then, and the world seemed new and wonderful, a veritable repertoire of goodwill and challenges. A young man just out of my teens, I found myself impressed with his simplicity, perhaps because of the combination his scholar's bald head made with a tallish wiry frame, quite a contrast to the tumbling bellies of Biratnagar's businessmen rolling along the same road at dawn toward Jogbani. Of course, during years of study in India, I had come to know (through reading and pictures) about the dramatic and charismatic simplicity of Gandhi, which seemed to me a little labored and contrived for effect--he had to take a vow to do that faced with colonial modernity as he was. But Mr. Adhikary didn't show such tenacity about his dress. Crumpled T- shirt and trousers were fine; no affected patriotism in Daura and Suruwal. In fact, in the early morning dew of Biratnagar, he liked to walk on bare feet, his slippers dangling in his hand (I had never seen anyone so willingly forgo the privilege of walking in slippers with no slushy mud puddles around). Very often his wife walked with him, too, a rare sight of public camaraderie between man and wife in a patriarchal culture, where even educated men were expected to rule their wives and wives found it suspicious and thought their husbands "joitingre" if the husband didn't fulfil the traditional expectations of calling their wives "tan" rather than 'timi." Even then I could feel the man had no pretensions, no party-breaking ambitions. Just across the road, there were houses of Biratnagar's ruling aristocracy, and birds of the same feather were in deep awe of their secrecy and grandeur.

        Then I got caught in the maelstrom of my youth and Hindu society's perfidy, and I stopped noticing the concrete details of the physical world around. But once, a few years later, I was going back to Kathmandu by a night bus, and found myself seated next to the old man. He was still an ordinary citizen, publicly unacknowledged leader of a banned Communist outfit. Save for those glimpses of morning walk, I knew little more about him. For example, I didn't know that he had led the trade union strikes at the Jogbani jute mills, had even spent time in prison in India, fighting the British; or frankly, had spent years in Nepali prison during the Panchayat system. One knew only B. P. Koirala's well-publicized prison tenure, which had been made known when his landing in Biratnagar was opposed with "passionate intensity" by the worst of the country. These stories of Nepal's men participating in the Indian freedom struggle had by now become taboos; the general public had virtually no knowledge of it.

        Lives of Nepali public citizens are still not matters of curiosity, study, and public treasure; it was worse then. We still do not have a sense of biography of public figures in Nepal, as even the Indians have by virtue of British colonialism--Gandhi, Nehru and a few others have written their own autobiographies. Ganeshman Singh's recently publised autobiograpy is a welcome development. But Nepal's posterity needs many more--all the accounts of imprisonments and struggle, the recond of each moment and move so that the future generation can view the past of the country in clear light and judge its workers fairly. So I didn't know more, actually anything about this hushed-up, unassuming, shunted public figure. And so there was no opening for my conversation with him, and he himself sat as quietly as any ordinary elderly, wise person. What could one ask a man whose public life had been silenced for so long? It verged on tragedy. Then he asked me, "Do you live in Kathmandu?" I said, "Yes." "What do you do there?" I told him. I din't tell him that I used to see him taking morning constitutionals. It would have been too embarrassing, forcing acquaintance upon a public man who deserved people's respect but had been deprived of it and his genuine role in the deteriorating life of the country for so long.

        Then he said he had a son in Hungary or Holland, working. And he said that he was going to Kathmandu to build a house in Basbari or some such place. But still I couldn't ask him about Nepali politics; no use raking the wound. Democratic politics, I felt, would be a painful subject to talk about, and, besides, I knew him but he didn't know me so there could be an atmosphere of trust to talk about the banned subject matters. I for one knew that Chief District Officers and Zonal Commissioners in those days were particular about such anti-national conversations and those who indulged in them.

        Then in 1991, in the US, I heard that he was in New York. There was euphoria among the Nepalese everywhere about the change of 1990; expectations were high. I called from the Midwest to a place where he lived. The man he was staying with was known to me, and he asked, "Does he know you?" I said, no. He wasn't home, anyway. And then I called again and talked to him. I didn't find it necessary to remind him of our night bus ride together from Biratnagar to Kathmandu. It would have put unnecessary pressure on his memory. So I talked straight about this, that, and the other thing that every expat Nepali in the West finds compelled to speak to a visiting Nepali politician because of the former's confidence in accumulated wisdom in the West and long-distance concern for Nepal. He patiently listened and said we would have to do much work. I agreed. And I sent him an essay I had written about Nepal's 1990 change; he agreed to read.

        In 1992, while in Nepal, I went to see him. He was the leader of the opposition, living in a quarter in Maharajganj. He wore a full-fledged beard, and a black cap concealed his baldness. He looked much older than I had seen him in Biratnagar: his eye sight didn't seem to be good; I also noticed a nervous tick. This time I reminded him of the essay I had sent him, and he said that he remembered it and agreed with many of my points. In the paper I had argued that the change of 1990 was not at all revolutionary, as some people had taken to calling it, and that fundamental structures of the ancien regime were not only intact but would get the stamp of legitimacy in the transformed political system; and the political leaders would, if they retained their public ideals in the face of social and cultural structures, would begin a tug of war among themselves. He, too, said that political change from one system to another may be quick but social, cultural and economic transformation would take years. We had work to do. He also worried about the groups that had rejected parliamentary democracy as a viable path for Nepal's future. But he was hopeful that things would work out. Despite being a communist, he was tolerant and accommodating, willing to work and be criticized--virtues at times rare to find even among people who wear the badge of being democrat and liberal and flaunt it. Despite being born a Brahmin's son, he had forsaken the taboos and neuroses of Brahminism--I later learned that he had married out of his caste.

        Later, he became the prime-minister of a minority government. His full beards turned into a Leninist goatee, but with his baldness hidden under the official cap and his nervous ticks, he looked an amalgam of Marxist commitment to principles and Nepali geopolitical reality.

        The communist parties are scattered in bits and pieces in Nepal today. One kind are waging a suicidal armed struggle, in which the low ranking policemen and committed guerrillas (both poor and half-fed and half-clad) kill each other like dogs in the radically transformed world geopolitics. Capitalism has transformed the world's language and face in such ways that things have become much more complex than ever before but our communists are still talking in the language of the seventies and behaving like the communists of yore.

Without large scale political education and public consciousness, revolutionary struggles, no matter how lofty their ideals, have time and time again been termed terrorist movements. The idea of vanguard party has to be rethought for strategic reasons. Besides, no revolution has succeeded in which a large section of the populace has not participated. Other kinds of left parties are fragmented for other reasons--nationalism, anti-imperialism, personal ambitions. These slogans and their subtexts need careful scrutiny and interrogation. For example, how is this new nationalism of Nepal Communist parties different from the Panchayati nationalism, whose primary motive behind nationalism was to legitmize its own regime through this easy sloganeering. If this nationalism is invoked in order to preserve the sovereignty of the nation-state and the cultural forms within it against the onslaught of global forces, then that, too, needs to be articulated in clear terms. Otherwise, by nationalism, in the Panchayat fashion, would mean "autai bhasha, autai bhesh" and that would be detrimental for the future of Nepal. As for anti-imperialism against India and the US, these are complex matters, and I wouldn't get into them here, but both these--one the only super power and the other emerging to be one--need engagement and understanding rather than easy dismissal. Here, I would go as far as to say that if you don't understand India, you don't understand Nepal--historically, culturally, politically, and in many other ways.

While these nineteenth-century slogans need rewriting to reflect a new world picture, the genii of personal ambitions still needs old remedies, which few world communist leaders could overcome. One hopes that the death of Mr. Adhikary, the passing away of one of the founding figures of democracy in the region, will instil a sense of unity and alliance among the fragmented parties in Nepal and make the parliamentary elections the common platform for people's education and enlightenment so they can finally demand their legitimate share in the state. The killing of constables by guerrillas and vice versa is an utterly futile enterprise. There was a time when the coutiers of Nepali royal court slaughtered each other for power; times have changed, but the killing of one "dunthe pulis" by another
"bhoka-nanga" guerilla ain't gonna do anything. First and foremost, a strong democratic culture needs to be built from the grassroots that is unshakable by both external forces of volatility and internal of feudalism. In time, old institutions would grow out of use, and disappear, or remain in unrecognizable form if they learn to transform themselves. And if Adhkiary's death brings this sense of common commitment to democracy through joint platform and purpose, then this would be a true tribute to his passing away. Otherwise, each of these pre-20007 leader's death will take away a chunk of democracy with them.

****************************************************************** From: Jha Raghu Nath <jraghu_nath@hotmail.com> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Advice to Parmendra Bhagat Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 14:20:11 JST

Dear editors,

TND has become irregular these days and when it does come out, it comes out with 50% garbage of Bhagat. This person named "Parmendra Bhagat" seems to have some mental problem. He puts every thing from his term paper to the Sadhbahavana slogans in his postings every time claiming to be half Indian and half Nepali. All his postings are nothing more than junks. He is trying to masquerade as another Martin Luther king ! He is so imposing that half of the TND readers will desert your ezine if he is allowed to put his stuffs here. There is an Indian called Sid Harth in soc.culture.nepal news group and Paramendra bhagat in TND. Are these two same person in disguise ?

A piece of advice to you Bhagat, Once you are a citizen of a country and you enjoy all the privileges from her, you are liable to fulfill your duty to her too. Parmendra or what ever Bhagat you are, in plain terms you are Gaddar ! To you Berea (There is another berea in Bihar) is everything ! A person who was to sing " Kashi hile Chhapara hile...." happened to reach US and the result is, a catastrophe !

You have been a pain in entire Terai basi's neck. You have been trying to create a rift among Nepalese. Your approach to solve the terai problem is simply sick ! Promoting Hindi, claiming to be Indian, whose interest are you serving ? For GODS sake please stop vomiting your term papers and speech here. This is not a trash !

Hoping for your Cooperation RN Jha

**************************************************************** From: Prajwol Joshi <joship@pol.net> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: New Medical Graduates Date: 05/29/1999 08:23pm

Recently there has been two interesting and important matters on discussion amongst the Nepalese medical community. The first,is the ammendment made by Nepal Medical Council requiring all the medical doctors to pass its exam before being registered. Personally thinking, this is a very important and courageous step taken by the NMC and its members, they have to be Congratulated for the decision. This step has been a necessity with all those evergrowing private medical colleges and capitation fee based medical colleges in the country, to maintain a uniform standard of its graduates upon whom the health and welfare of the people depend. I hope the exams can be conducted fairly. In fact, it has been more than a decade that there has been a discussion on the necessity of such an exam. The second and more controversial matter on discussion is about the recent medical graduates from the Soviet Union who went for medical education straight after passing the SLC exam, and without taking the 10+2 or equvalent courses. NMC seems to be reluctant to recognize these graduates, while Ministry of Health reportedly does not seem to have any definite policy. This in fact, was an expected problem years back, when a lot of students left for Soviet Union for this short route of medical education after the breakdown of the then USSR. NMC in fact, had made it clear at that time that such a medical education will not be acceptable to it, but the then government probably closed its eyes at the time of political turmoil with the newly reinstituted democracy. Now the problem is in front of us, and more is expected in near future. These new graduates definitely have spent a substantial portion of their time and money in acheiving the degree. Not taking the 10+2 courses does not mean that they won't be qualified. However, it is also necessary to maintain a basic standard in the medical education. It is also not fair for the others who did get the eduaction through the traditional pathways if these new graduates, bypassing a substantial portion of their education would get the same status. Moreover, it is unfair for the population as a whole if quality service cannot be provided. This is even more important as there has been discussions on the new consumer protection acts, under which would be provisions to sue the health care providers in Nepal. It definitely is not an easy decision to make. Hope other interested health related institutions or interested indivisuals would comment on the matter.

-Prajwol Joshi,MD

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************************************************************** Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 11:29:58 +0530 From: "Swarnim Wagle" <swarnim.wagle@undp.org> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Book Review

Nepals Failed Development: Reflections on the Mission and the Maladies. By Devendra Raj Panday Published by Nepal South Asia Centre, Kathmandu, April 1999, Rs. 350 Reviewed by Swarnim Wagle

AN AUTHORITATIVE COMMENTARY

The verdict of Devendra Raj Panday’s voluminous new book is that Nepal has failed in its experiment with development. This failure, he asserts, transcends the economist’s mundane indicators like GDP per capita, asphalt roads, indebtedness, hospital beds, or tax revenue to strike at the very heart of national self-esteem and social integrity, and our ability to nurture a young democracy. Had the judge behind this verdict not been an illustrious political economist, one might have been tempted to dismiss the book as an idealistic intellectual tirade against a country’s troubled efforts to prosper against improbable odds. But Panday is a recognised heavy-weight, and when he speaks, one is forced to listen. The book's zealously argued case as well as its cogent mix of chintan, manthan and ganthan thus merit scrutiny, and a humanitarian hearing. A collection of intelligent, articulate, informed, and generally pessimistic essays, Nepal’s Failed Development trumpets an unpleasant message: hang on, we have had isolated and disjointed successes, but, overall, things have really not been that great all these years, and maybe it is time to rethink a bit to regain the lost honour that we, as a proud nation, might have once commanded; but, against a backdrop of "failed" development and the national psyche it bruised, we are not so sure of this either. It is easy for us to be swayed to be convinced in the current climate of unease, without having to probe deeper into the facts and the circumstances, that we have failed. What will be more difficult, however, is to do justice to the resourcefulness of this intensely well-read author’s 400 pages of authoritative musing, and then confirm the foregone conclusion. The greater the number of readers who do this, the grander will be the compliment paid to this book.

The author is conscious, right from the first chapter, that the word "failure" is a strong one; he regularly positions himself on the defensive, realising that he will not be able to get away with flimsy premises. He has thus done a fine job introducing a difficult case convincingly in the inaugural section. The second chapter takes up the figures, which are allowed to speak for themselves. Chapter four charts the evolution of the "idea and practice of development." Drawing heavily on the works of well-known social scientists, Panday impresses and dazzles with his grasp of this important subject. His discussion of the cognitive state of development in Nepal is illuminating; he thinks we have always known what needed to be done, but ideas were seldom translated into results. His reporting on the global "illusion of innovation” in development policy is similarly persuasive. Panday is unusually skilful in identifying the core of the synthesis of arguments and plucking it out for intelligent scrutiny. The diverse citations, ranging from works by Harvard economists to Kathmandu journalists, also speak highly of the liberal, non-dogmatic frame of his mind.

Panday is formidable when he discards the uncomfortable compulsion to appear academic, and discusses morals and principles, as in chapter three. He fully understands what it would mean to uphold integrity and live a dignified life in a democracy. He is thus palpably agitated by what he sees as the gradual erosion in the values the nation was once identified with, such as honesty and hard work, for example. He calls this an "unanticipated consequence of engaging in development". Although the author frequently resorts to passion and literary craft to hammer home a series of points, this section provides an interesting evaluation of the state of the country's civil movements. Chapter five offers a good synopsis of domestic political events. Although his premature resignation as Secretary of Finance in 1980 precluded an insider's perspective on the workings of the Panchayat regime in its final turbulent decade, his discourse on the political, economic and international dimensions that led to the rise and fall of this polity is particularly authoritative. A robust social democrat with puritanical leanings, Panday holds that, "no development effort can be called a success if the domain in which it takes place is devoid of democracy." His frustration with the culture emerging behind political notoriety - even after the transition in 1990 - is thus reasonably justified. While his own transformation during this period, from being a well-liked finance minister to an unsuccessful politician, is itself an example of the unpredictable rudeness of political cyclones, he has the authority to complain about the excesses.

Chapter six, on external affairs and influence, is probably the book’s finest. What he has written on the predicaments of a poor country "locked" by an unsympathetic neighbour is crisp, without sounding excessively patriotic. He ponders a bit on a range of loosely connected themes in the final chapter. He is sceptical on the extent of the benefits Nepal may be able to extract from instruments of globalisation like the WTO. He discusses corruption after dealing a heavy blow to donors and the government by discussing critically the perverted ways that aid resource and priorities have often been guided. He, of course, speaks like a victim, when he does not shy away from claiming how foreign money has been used to co-opt and spoil humble indigenous traits. If one of Nepal’s foremost analysts of the aid regime sneers and says, “running an aid programme is different from running a colony”, he'd best be heard. On managing the constitutional process, Panday’s plea to the parties to commit themselves to, at least, fulfilling the Directive Principles and Policies of the State as stipulated in the constitution is a sombre request, indeed. He has also reserved some sincere advice for the king.

There is a reason why this reviewer has discussed the virtues of the book in fragments. Each chapter is a fine monograph, in itself, dealing with the individual subjects with linguistic flair. But there is an unsettling paradox here. The seven brilliant chapters, when put together, like a neat algebraic equation, fail to produce a brilliant book. Weakened by the independent strength of its own chapters, the book's whole, if you will, is less than the sum of its parts. This is because it lacks a conceptual focus. Panday is unnecessarily loquacious. He hunts for arguments, but often wanders distractingly, diluting the sharpness of the discourse necessary to support a tough case. The discussions do not always connect with the central theme of "failed development", and attempts to logically link the two are distant. It has become therefore a book of good essays instead of a good book with essays. This would still have been fine, if it did not mean that the theorem of "failed development" remained incomplete. This small sin is, however, overshadowed by a holier goal. Panday wants to upset the design of the status quo in Nepal. It will be a pity if his clarion call for progressive change in all spheres of national life goes unheard. These are, after all, reflections of a very experienced man, and wisdom, they say, is the daughter of experience. What one need not doubt, after reading this book, is that Devendra Raj Panday has proved himself to be possibly one of South Asia’s finest commentators writing in English today. His wise creation, Nepal’s Failed Development, is certain to be judged not only as an insightful assistance to comprehend this diversely peopled land of ours, but it will also stay as an influential work in the art of debate and commentary.

(S. Wagle is a student of economics, politics and history)

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*********************************************************************************************** Forwarded by: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Red Cross in Nepal seeks 4-wheel drive van Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 09:52:24 -0400 From: pm@wlink.com.np (Foundation For Human Devevelopment)

Proposal for Supply of a Mobile Van to Conduct Free Mobile Check-up
(Health Camp)

The District Branch Office of Nepal Red Cross Society, Banke Nepalganj is in dire need of a mobile van to serve the needy and deprived people of Banke District through mobile check-up and health camps.

The Society was established in the year 1967 with the aim of serving those suffering from natural disasters; providing free mobile check-up; organising blood donation programmes; providing ambulance services; and organising programmes to raise awareness among the younger generation regarding aids.

Banke District is situated in mid-western Nepal. There are 46 Village Development committees (VDCs) in this district and the total population os 3,02,206. The major ethnic groups residing in this district are Tharu, Magar, Chettri, Brahmin , Chamar, Chidimar,Yadav, Badhai,Godiya, Gwala, Dhapali, Kami, Damai, Wadi, etc. Most of the people in the district are illiterate and socio-economically deprived. Due to lack of transportation, lack of awareness and lack of health post services, a majority of the people call witch doctors and faith healers instead of going to a hospital or health post when a family member falls sick. The Rapti River crosses this district and during monsoon 59,128 people of 9 VDCs which fall across the river, get isolated. Transportation to these VDCs get disrupted and the people hardly get enough to survive. During this time the only way to get to a hospital is by travelling to India and the nearest train station is 9 hours from the district. The Nepal Red Cross Society has been serving the people of this destrict through whatever limited resources it has since the last 29 years.

The main objective of preparing this proposal is to make the medical services more accessible to a larger number of people through a free mobile health check-up unit through assistance from intersted individual/agency.

The free mobile check-up will mainly target the socio-economically deprived population of the district, especially those poor who cannot even afford to pay the medical bills. In this district, many people die every year due to lack of awareness about health and sanitation. The mobile check-up will generate awareness about healthy practices among the people. The people living in remote areas will have access to free check-ups and free medicine which the society will distribute.

The Nepal Red Cross Society, Banke would like to appeal to international organisations/individuals to support this noble cause by providing a VAN with Four Wheel Drive which would enable the mobile programme to reach a large number of people needing medical services.

The total population of 46 VDCs will greatly benefit from this programme.

Interested donors may kindly contact one of the following:

USA : Eknath Belbase
        email: eknath@ad-co.com
        phone: 1-212-274-9075

Kathmandu: Dr. L.N.Belbase, FHD, PO Box: 3795, KTM, Nepal
           Email:fhd@fhdpc.wlink.com.np
           Tel: 525353/523847

Nepalgunj : Ms Narbada Sharma
            Chairperson, Nepal Red Cross Society
            District Branch, Nepalgunj, Banke
            Tel: 081-20734

****************************************************************** From: Paramendra Bhagat <ParamendraB@ChaiTime.net> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: The National Economy - Igniting a Debate on the Digest Forum Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 10:09:22 -0400

Finally that the Digest is back in motion, with three issues over the past three days after a month-long break, I thought I would comment on the lack of responses to my suggestion that we start a discussion on the National Economy. Not much of a response there, hey! I guess the Terai issue is much spicier. People respond to that. Whereas the National Economy is not contention enough, is too creative. And I wonder for the readership. Do many Nepalese attending college in the US subscribe to the Digest at all?

Some general questions before we go into the 25 broad specifics I suggested earlier:

(1) Will Nepal always remain one of the 10 poorest countries on the planet?
(2) GDP: US$25 billion GDP per head: US$165 (Source: Lonelyplanet.com)
(3) How long before the GDP becomes worth $250 billion? How long before the GDP per head becomes$ 5000?
(4) Will the gap between the most advanced economies and the poorest economies like Nepal remain relatively as wide everafter as it is now? Or does that gap stand to be narrowed down considerably?
(5) What could be reasons for optimism? Pessimism?
(6) What does Nepal stand to benefit from the global economy?
(7) What efforts are required within the domestic realm? What collective efforts at the global level in concert with the rest of the Global South?

I have been in Philadelphia for less than three weeks now and this is the longest I have been in a major American city. I was in DC during the Spring Break last year with the Executive Council of the Berea College Student Government Association, and visited Baltimore on the side with Kamal Rana Bhat and Netra Ghale, but that's about it. Yeah, I have been to Indianapolis - with my host family - Cleveland - with the Berea College Students For Appalachia - Cincinnati, Atlanta - with the Berea College Maths Club - Lexington, Louisville and some nearby destinations in Kentucky - the Danielle Boone forest is fabulous, been there camping several times, the last was with Jason Fults when we swam through a lake - but I have not travelled a whole lot in my now almost three years in the US. I am going to see Nuru Lama and Ram Prasad Subedi in New York City this weekend and that anticipation is a great feeling. Nuru is about to quit Goldman Sachs for Kozmo.com, the online videostore in Manhattan.

Siddhartha Kumai, recently completed his first year at U Penn, from the 16th batch of Budhanilkantha School, helped me find my apartment for summer - it is a sublet from a recent U Penn graduate, some Josh. If it were not for that help, I would have had to say goodbye to the attractive summer opportunity with Chaitime.com.

I went to see Sher Bahadur Karki from the 7th batch of Budhanilkantha School at his residence last weekend; Siddhartha was with me - Sid and I have been hanging out a whole lot, he cooks goood. And it was lunch with Ngwang Kersang Sherpa from the 8th batch at an Indian restaurant - goat meat - a few days back. He paid.

Recently have been in e-mail touch with Kiran Kattel, now at Stanford. Kirke is a grad student, Chelsea is an undergrad; there's a difference.

It feels like homecoming.

Paramendra Bhagat

****************************************************************** From: "Shyam Madhikarmy" <smadhikarmy@hort.cri.nz> Organization: HortResearch, Mt Albert, N.Z. To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 15:34:52 GMT+1200 Subject: Khoj Khabar

Hello to All Nepalese TND Readers

I would aprreciate if any of you could help me in finding my Nepali friend, Upendra Man Sainju who is in USA for many years. I lost his address and could not write letter. He was once in Puyallup, Washington and he is PhD in Soil Science.

Thanks in advance

Shyam Madhikarmy e-mail: SMadhikarmy@hort.cri.nz Residence: 74 Barrys Road Glendene Auckland, NZ

Shyam Madhikarmy Postharvest Science Group HortResearch Private Bag 92169 Mt Albert, AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND Ph: +64 9 815 4200 Ext 7296 Fax +64 9 815 4202 E-Mail: SMadhikarmy@hort.cri.nz

***************************************************** Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 06:39:47 -0500 (CDT) To: NEPAL-REQUEST@cs.niu.edu From: Balgopal Shrestha <Shrestha@rullet.Leidenuniv.nl> Subject: Language Rights in Nepal

Dear editor,

I dispatched following letter to "The Kathmandu Post" on 31 March 1999. It seems TKP preferred to ignore it silently. Since this letter tries to give a clear picture of rights of languages in Nepal I would like it to be read by "The Nepal Digest " readers. Therefore, I would like to request you to publish it on TND at your convenience.

Your sincerely, Balgopal Shrestha Leiden University The Netherlands

Dear sir,

I know that many Nepali speaking intellectuals in Nepal are painfully wailing about the suffering and discrimination of Nepali (Gorkhali) speaking people of Bhutan or India, but they turn cold-blooded when it comes to their own mother land. They are not only ready to reject rights to any other languages of Nepal, but also are ready to sacrifice all other languages of Nepal for the sake of their own mother tongue. I believe such fanatic behaviour suits only chauvinistic people and nobody else.
        I read Mr. Rajendra Bogati's letter (TKP 29 March). I found Mr. Bogati's letter another stereotyped voice against oppressed languages and nationalities of Nepal. Unequal treatment of lang,uages, culture and religions in Nepal is a truth as broad daylight. Everybody knows Nepal is not a monolingual country, but it is a multi-lingual, multi-national and multi-religious country. No fair minded person can agree with Mr Bogati's support to the supremacy of his mother tongue over other languages speaking people of Nepal. Razen Manandhar's article (TKP, 13 March) as well as Hamir Vatre, Geneva, Switzerland's letter (TKP, 25 March) both did rightly indicate the wrong policy of Nepalese government.
        I shall repeat Mr. Bogati's translation of articles from Nepalese Constitution 1990:

Article 6 : 1) "The Nepali language in Devnagari script is the language of the nation.
(here "nation is translated fron "Rastra" by Mr. Bogati). The Nepali language shall be the official language."

 2) "All the languages spoken as the mother tongue in the various parts of Nepal are the national languages of Nepal." (here "national" is translated from "Rastriya" by Mr. Bogati).

Article 18:
 "Each community shall have the right to operate schools up to the primary level in its own mother tongue for imparting education to its children."
 What does Hamir Vatre, the letter writer, want to say now?

        Above translated article 6 (1) of Nepalese Constitution 1990 makes it clear that the constitution imposes only Nepali language as "national"
(Rastra) and "official" language of Nepal upon all Nepalese. Article 6 (2) vaguely mentions all languages of Nepal as "national languages" (Rastriya Bhasa). "Rastra" and "Rastriya": although both these words have similar meanings, the constitution uses them to express different meanings; the first one is applied it in its real sense, while the second one is only to deceive people without giving it any sense. Article 18, makes it more clear that the constitution of Nepal is absolutely silent in giving any burden to the government for other languages and communities of Nepal.
        The government is promoting Nepali language by imposing it as only medium of education, administration and communication at the cost of all other languages of Nepal. It is spending an awful sum of money only for Nepali, while for other-language speaking communities, even to operate a school up to primary level is left upon their own faith. If the government is able to use all possible resources to promote Nepali, a language spoken by one community (Khas), why it is not ready to spend a single penny for other languages of Nepal?
        Mr. Bogati is well aware of the fact that in Nepal, not only in constitution but also in practice, people other than Nepali speakers are denied rights to use their mother tongues in educaion, administration and in courts. Mr. Bogati did not write his letter out of ignorance, but he was deliberately trying to deceive TKP readers. I would like to request Mr. Bogati to not to misled readers. May I also request Mr. Bogati to read Razen Manandhar's article (TKP 13 March) again if not twice? Then he can see what other people do think about the situation of different languages, religions, cultures and ethnic groups of Nepal. It may be difficult for him to see things as like a person from an oppressed group, but I would appreciate it very much if he begins to respect and treat all other languages, cultures and ethnic groups of Nepal as he does his own. I trust it will be a good start instead of supporting undemocratic and deceptive articles of the Nepalese constitution to mislead readers.
        I greatly appreciate Hamir Vatre, for his concern about oppressed languages, cultures and communities of Nepal. My final request to Mr. Bogati would be to read about Hamir's country Switzerland, where its constitution as well as its government treats its people of different languages and origins on an equal basis; not only in words but also in practice. Often, Nepalese people like to compare Nepal with Switzerland, but without striving to learn its any virtues. Nepal can learn a lot from Switzerland, not only its democratic way of manipulating its nature, but also its democratic way of treating its people of different origins, languages and culture.

Balgopal Shrestha Leiden University The Netherlands

*************************************************************** Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 22:39:19 EDT From: Rkarki@aol.com To: pkm@duke.edu Subject: (no subject)

Dear Friend... Things continue to be busy in Kathmandu and Nepal... once again, we thought you might be interested in an update on what's happening. We love feedback, suggestions and are open to possibilities for collaboration, so feel free to drop us a line. RS
(March. '99) News about Radio Sagarmatha (RS) and Community Radio in Nepal SAFA RADIO: THE CLEAN AIR CAMPAIGN: UPDATE

Five days a week, RS and NESS (Nepal Environmental Scientific Services) take to the streets of Kathmandu in the station's safa tempo, an electric van, and measure the levels of particles in the air at a different location in the city. Since January '99, Safa Radio has competed two rounds of thirty locations and broadcast daily reports and weekly discussions about levels of pollutants and dust in the air. The campaign seems to be having a positive effect. Several industry and public meetings on 'air quality' and 'traffic management' have been held in Kathmandu, generating some dialogue about air pollution and interest for Safa Radio.

The campaign has also helped to de-mystify the problem as well as the work and research of scientific groups. Overall... a positive response from listeners and the public. What's the situation after seventy days of monitoring the city? What are particles and where are they from? To the surprise of most, given what the capital's streets look like, the results - measured at mid- morning rush hour - say that vehicle emissions are not as big a problem as dust particles. Pollutants from diesel and petrol burning engines are within WHO standards of acceptability, but dust particles exceed safe levels.

INTERNET AND EMAIL mailto:@ RADIO SAGARMATHA After many months of looking for a public-minded partner, RS recently made a deal with a Kathmandu internet service provider to get the station online. As of mid-February, Radio Sagarmatha's online services are being provided by WorldLink Communications (more at www.nepalonline.net). The station's online programme includes a series of email addresses at our own domain - currently 'radiosag'... we hope to change it - as well as space for a website. In time, a Sagarmatha Website will support information about the media situation in Nepal and the development of community radio in the region, as well as online training resources and online audio programming from RS's FM service. The deal, which allows for up to ten hours of online time per week, is being financed through an exchange of on-air non-commercial sponsorship for internet services.

IMPROVED TRANSMISSION AND A NEW STUDIO MOVE BEYOND THE PLANNING STAGE With government approval last year for up to twenty-four hours of broadcasting and an increasingly busy local radio scene in Kathmandu and elsewhere in the countyr, there has been a lot of pressure to improve RS's ability to make radio programming, get production facilities up to speed and improve FM reception. After nearly two years on-the-air operating with one radio studio and a minimum of basic equipment, RS began construction of a new studio facility in March 1999. New space will allow the station to dedicate one studio exclusively to the work of programme production, the other to broadcasting of RS's growing daily programme service - tasks previously done in the same busy studio. New facilities will also be a major boost to training. Future plans include the inclusion of digital editing facilities and overall integration of computers.

There is also some action up on the roof. Although RS broadcasts from the crest of a hill over-looking most of Kathmandu offering pretty good coverage of the valley, a new roof-top tower will increase the height of the station's antenna elements up to 100 feet above the ground, offering an even better omni-directional view of RS's broadcast area. Thanks to Eco Himal for a grant to undertake construction of the new studio and tower as well as for some basic studio equipment.

LOCAL TRAINING This week, RS begins a formalised in-house training programme on basic radio skills with assistance from international cooperants living in Kathmandu. Though there has always been a lot of day-to-day , hands-on, on-the-job training at the station, RS is looking forward to more regular local training programmes to meet the needs of an expanding local service and national sector. Alongside the development of local resources, the station is also trying to mobilise some international cooperation in the coming year for curriculum and programme design, training of trainers as well as more advanced programmes. RS takes great pleasure in announcing that Deutsche Welle's training centre recently agreed to come do a training with RS in the Fall.

************************************************************* Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 22:02:43 -0400 (EDT) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Yoga and Meditation Cure for Nepal's Ills

        So, finally, we are about to see the inauguration of a majority Congress government in Nepal once again in this decade. Apart from the fact that we have already seen such a triumph turning sour once, there is an additional knot in the throat this time. The prime-minister is going to be K. P. Bhattarai. And Mr. Koirala is committed to making Kishunji the PM in order to keep his word. When I said in my "Two Cheers for Election '99" that "they are talking about saddling Nepal with Mr. K. P. Bhattarai's leadership," it might have irked many readers, I'm afraid-- particularly because I didn't elaborate any more than just saying in a kind of vague way, "tried- and-failed" leadership. Now I explain it a little more.

        Before I proceed any further, however, I must make it clear that I have nothing personal against Mr. Bhattarai. On the contrary, from what I have heard and read about him, I have high regard for his contribution to the cause of democracy, his dedication to his party (which was by the way on the brink of collapsing), and the kind of life he has led as a bachelor. My problem begins with what he aspires to do as the leader of Nepal's government for the coming four years and what he accomplished as the prime-minister of the interim government.

        A man is a composite of his words and deeds. Just a few weeks ago, while giving an interview to Reuter (posted on SCN), Mr. Bhattarai was asked something to the effect, "Where do you plan to take Nepal or what do you plan to accomplish during your years as Nepal's prime-minister?" Mr. Bhattarai said something to the effect, "If you return after four years, you may not find Nepal better materially, but you'll find Nepal much better spiritually."

        Now, this statement is worth musing about. One may think that if a prime-ministerial candidate of one of world's poorest countries makes such a statement, he doesn't know what he is talking about because of his insanity or possesses unfit ideas; in both cases, he is instantly disqualified to lead such a country. Or, if you think that Mr. Bhattarai pulled off a GURU trick before a Westerner, you may be right. The Congress Party does represent the interests of Brahminism; and nobody would object to that. But putting the spiritual over the material needs some serious thinking, particularly if it happens in the case of a potential prime-minister of one of world's poorest countries. Or, one can even think that spiritualism is the only way a man from South Asia (a la Deepk Chopra and countless other gurus, both fake and genuine) has any chance in squaring off with a gullible Westerner--temporarily fed up with his mansions and airplanes and passports and return tickets and credit cards. But not for long. Mr. Bhattarai is firm in his convictions about this spirituality business. Even after the Congress party won the majority, Mr. Bhattarai repeated in the pages of The Kathmandu Post (May 21, 1999; see www.nepalnews.com) that what Nepal's people need to do is to get the thought out of their mind that they are poor and work hard and Nepal would be rich in certain number of years. Just get the thought out of your minds, my countrymen, that you are poor, get the thought out of your mind. Why not? After all, a man lives by his mind, not his bread.

        This is what happens when lofty words from a complex thinker falls into the mouth of a lesser mortal, like the complex personality of Gandhi in India getting simplified in Binoba Bhave, who gave up all complex ideas and programs of Gandhi and made a ridiculous life out of the failed crusade for banning cow slaughter and promoting Bhoodan (Land Donation) in communally torn and feudal India. If the starving Nepalis of my village, and other towns and villages of Nepal, performed Yoga and meditated and chased the thought of poverty out of their mind and worked hard empty belly on the clod fields, they will be fine; Lord Vishnu would descend to rescue Prahlad. One wonders at times what Mr. Bhattarai learned about Nepal in his fairly long life in politics and what he struggled for all those long and arduous years. But Mr. Koirala is committed to making KP the prime-minister. Hail parliamentary system of government! The people of Nepal didn't know what they were in for. Or, maybe they did want to do yoga and meditate and enhance their spiritual life and work hard empty belly instead of eating two square meals and covering their children's bodies with cloths and sending them to school.
        Two thirds of my villagers, as I have said more than once in the pages of TND, even now can't afford two full meals a day all the year round; 90% of the children my village have not gone and do not go to school because they are hungry and work for someboy else and have no cloths and their laborer parents can't afford the darn admission fees. And Mr. Bhattarai wants all of them to enhance their spirituality as though there was a ban on enhancing spirituality in Nepal so far and Mr. Bhattarai's arrival as PM to usher spiritual freedom. Just don't think about hunger and poverty and it would go away. I sincerely think that Mr. Bhattarai is unqalified qualified for Nepal's prime-ministership at a time when Nepal needs a kind of emergency measures to save its future from disasterous consequences on more than one front, but none of the Nepali newsmedia that I have browsed has raised this issue of Mr. Bhattarai's plans for spiritual enhancement for Nepal during his coming tenure as Nepal's chief executive. Why haven't the newsmedia scrutinized Mr. Bhattarai's past work, present plans, his interviews, his ideas and programs, his knowledge, his awareness of Nepal's economic and cultural condition? In a country where literacy is low, the role of the newsmedia becomes all the more important in this respect to ensure quality in public leadership.

        But it's not just words, Mr. Bhattarai's deeds as the prime-minister during the interim government were no better. Let's give him his due. The constitution was ratified and the first elections held, even though the whole process contained myriad loopholes. But one can say that anyone would have done those jobs; they were already in the works after the 1990 movement. But Mr. Bhattarai failed in the area where his leadership would have been tested. Mr. Bhattarai could not successfully execute the difficult work of the time--the publication and resolution of the Malik Commission Report. I had the opportunity to meet his Home Minister, who had later become the ambassador to the US. We were asked if we wanted to meet His Excellency. I said sure. I was frankly eager to meet the first high-ranking official of the Nepali government in the United States after the advent of democracy. The conversation turned to the Report, and Mr. Ambassador said that the Report was biased--"tilted" was the word he used, prepared by people who were biased. Then he said that even if it were not biased, he would have done nothing about it, for he didn't believe in punishing the wrong doers. Even though I was puzzled a little for confusing revenge with justice and establishing a tradition of fairness in the country for the future generation and democracy itself, I felt so far he was reasonable; I thought he was overly influenced by Gandhi. Then he said, "If I were in a position to decide, I wouldn't have held even the Nuremberg Trial. And if I were the judge, I would have let the Nazis go free. What if Hitler had won the War?" Mr. Ambassador definitely showed an awareness of world history but I was dumb-struck at his answer and more dumb-struck at his question about Hitlar winning the war and letting the world live in peace. This was a mockery of Gandhism. This new possibility had never occurred to me till then.

Now, it was not important whether the government would have followed literally the words of the Report, but it had the responsibility to do something about it in order just to set a precedence. How about Truth and Reconciliation sessions with the relatives of those who had disappeared during the Panchayat era. The people of Nepal had the right to know the working of their government, good or bad. Otherwise, such repressed anger lay buried in the people and eventually rise in distorted form and create havoc. Singh Darbar is not an Ashram nor a Chaukadi, which these people seemed to have made it.

        And I remember a response Mr. Bhattarai, as Nepal's prime-minister during the interim government, gave to a journalist in Delhi to his question about the people of the Tarai not allowed in the Nepal Royal Army. He said something like, and I'm sure he must have felt witty, "You don't go to Nepal to recruit our Taraiwasis into your army, do you?" Now, Mr. Bhattarai had no clue that General K. Sunderji, a Mahar untouchable from Maharastra (this Mahar regiment was especially raised after the Indian Independence in order to raise the morale of this repressed group), traditionally considered one of the most intimidated groups of India, had just been one of the best Army Chiefs of the Indian Army. In the US, General Colin Powell, the descendant of slaves, was still a war-winning general when Kishunji gave his interview, helping America get behind its Vietnam syndrome. Mr. Bhattarai didn't seem to read even the world's newspapers critically and put two and two together, let alone read Richard Fox's "The Lion's of Punjab" or other critical studies of Nepali Gurkha recruitment.

        But the question then arises, Why is Mr. Bhattarai so keen on becoming Nepal's prime- minister? He is rather old, past the time of retirement; he should devote his time in peace and meditation and write his memoirs of his struggle. Why not let others--Mahesh Acharya, Ram Sharan Mahat, Ram Chandra Paudel, Sher Bahadur Deoba, Shailaja Acharya, and others--lead the country? Of course, glamor of power. But surely, glamor may not be the sole reason to be the prime-minister. He wants power at a time when he should retire and groom the next generation of leadership for the post rather than hankering after it himself. You can't say that a Brahman always wants to rule, never renounce. Renunciation is only a cultural pretext for gaining power indirectly. Gandhi and Ganesh Man can give up power but not people like Nehru and Mr. Bhattarai. It would be too simplistic, against the true tradition of Hinduism, to come up with this theory.

        In my view, there are two reasons why Mr. Bhattarai wants to be the prime-minister. First of all, to satisfy his clientele. In a lifetime of doing powerless politics, Mr. Bhattarai has built up a sizable clientele--people who have been close to him, consider themselves his disciples, followers, swear allegiance to him rather than to any principles and ideals. And yet, they have never been able to hold any posts for any significant period with power in exchange for this unquestionable lifelong devotion. This is the chance to fulfil their ambitions. After all, that's what has been happening in Nepal's long history. Nepal has come to a pass that it has because of the history of collecting and gratifying the courtiers--from giving away the Lal Mohar to Jung Bahadur to making your disciple a political appointee, irrespective of his merit or talent to identify and perform the job and achieve the set goals. But one can say that the business of making your followers somebody is true of many places and climes. After all, one has to choose and appoint somebody to carry out the business of the state. I buy that.

        The second, and more convincing, reason, as I have stated through out, is that Mr. Bhattarai wants to experiment if Yoga and Meditation could drive away poverty from Nepal. He wants to know if the Nepali people could work hard and get away from the thought that they are poor--and through this planning become affluent. It was no wonder that Dor Bahadur Bista blamed fatalism to be the chief reason for Nepal's underdevelopment, contrary to the ideas of scholars of Marxism and postcoloniality who have blamed Colonialism and Capitalist World System, established by the West, the primary reason that has strangled the non-Western world's economic growth. As long as Brahminism (and that means a set of ideas and structures rather than necessarily people who are born from Brahman parents) prevails, Nepal is going to see more Yoga and Meditation gurus disguised as leading politicians with aspiration for premiership. But Mr. Bhattarai may change his mind, who knows?, and save his reputation and his life's work for democracy for posterity, as Ganesh Man did. Or, he may learn a thing or two from another Bhattarai, who has been the "hardest boiled" materialist in Nepal's history.

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