The Nepal Digest - June 17, 1994 (4 Ashadh 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 17 June 94: Ashadh 4 2051 BkSm Volume 28 Issue 5

Today's Topics:
        1. Letter to The Editor - Promod K. Mishra

        2. TAJA_KHABAR:
                    Little Ones Love to Hate India

        3. KURA_KANI:
                     I. Social Issues
                            Shifting Roles of Women (Vedic Days and Now)
        4. JAN_KARI:
                    Libraries in Kathmandu
                    Any info on ANA in DC?
                    Looking for Anil - Sunita

        5. TITAR_BITAR:
                     Yatra Barnan - Re: Glimpse of Nepal Part V.
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****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 14:09:56 EDT To: "Rajpal J. Singh" <> Forwarded by: Sirdar_RJS_Khalifa <> Subject: Analysis - Shifting Roles of Vedic Women

Independent Study


By: S.P., Massachussettes, USA

    The pillars of the Hindu religion as we know it now are probably the world's greatest epics - The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. Passed down from generation to generation for centuries in the Hindu society, these influential literary works have molded and guided the people of the Hindu religion even to the present day. The heroic story of the Ramayana concerning the chivalrous hero Rama and the elegant heroine Sita are across the lips of every child raised in a Hindu family. Even though these mighty epics appear as the basis of the religion, one must not forget the periods that preceded it; the Vedic Era, when Hinduism emerged as the leading religion of south east Asia.

    The leap from one era to the other witnessed many transformations in the ideals and expectations of the religion, especially with regards to women. The epics reveals much more in regards to women and the direct stories about the situation the they faced in those days provides a better understanding about the way women were treated. But this vast amount of knowledge confuses us as to the development of the position of the women in the Hindu religion: did they experience more or less freedom in comparison to the Vedic Era? The stories in the Epics took place during the Vedic era, the tale of Rama occurred before the war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Ramayana was written down between 200 BC and 200 AD . The Mahabharata was written between the period of 850 BC and 400 AD. Therefore its perception of women varies throughout the Epic.2

     Sita, the goddess of field furrow in the Vedas, is portrayed as the daughter of the earth who is ever faithful and loyal, spiritually, emotionally and physically, to her husband Rama in the Ramayana. She abandoned the comfort and luxuries of the royal palace to accompany her husband in his banishment to the forests for a period of fourteen Years. Her entire life and reason for living is only her one idol Rama who she worships as her deity. Such is the role model of the Hindu women.

       The Vedas talked of wives as
"dampati", partner of the husband. But the impression of Sita provides is not one of equal relationship but more one of servitude. She worships her lord even after being publicly humiliated and rejected proceeding the slain of Ravana. Only after an "agnipariksha"- fire test- is Rama convinced of her purity and willing to accept her once again. But even then, what bravery did Rama show by turning away a woman who had forcefully been abducted against her will? Was is not his duty as a husband to welcome her with open arms even if she had been ravished and over powered by a being of much greater physical strength? Here is Rama, the same one who absolved Ahalya from the curse of her husband for being wrongfully tricked into the arms of Indra, condemning a pitiful soul for a crime that would have been beyond her ability, and yet he is worshipped as a god, praised as the ideal model of humanity and loved by all.

    The Rigveda mentions the sympathy Indra had towards ruined women. They were not to be scorned but pitied and taken care of as they were victims of crimes against their will. But the Ramayana presents a hero who does not desire to raise the ruined Sita, his own wife. The story of rishi Gautama also illustrates the same view: he curses his wife after she is falsely tricked into believing that Indra is her husband and ruining her. Ahalya, the rishi's wife, is first victimized by the powerful Indra and then instead of finding refuge in her husband's arms, she is faced with a curse for a deed that was not her wrong doing. It would seem that the Epic Era was not very sympathetic to defenseless women nor very forgiving. Also the compassionate Indra has transformed into the very being he condemned- one who takes advantage of a venerable female. So was it that the female species were regarded expendable? Were they mere objects that could be thrown away when the husband felt he had no need of her any more? There are definitely passages in the Mahabharata where kings offer rishis gifts of hundreds of women slaves. Dhritarashtra proposed to give hundred female slaves to Krishna as a token of his regard for him.

       Such activities were carried out by the most prominent and renowned of kings. Also the presentation daughters to serve and please sages was not uncommon as can be observed in the case of Kunti where her father sends her to please a rishi greatly angered by him. She is able to calm him down and please him greatly with her services. King Harishchandra sells his wife in the market because that he believed Taramati was his property since she was his wife. As for Draupadi, when Yudhishtira loses her while gambling, she does not pose him the question as to whether he considered her property, instead she asks him whether he had waged her after losing his own freedom in the bet.
    But the Mahabharata also tells us how the assembly started to hiss loudly when Yudhishtira staked Draupadi. Plausibly the ownership of the wife by the husband was recognized but not respected in society. The Ramayana teaches that no greater gift is there than a wife. But the phrase gift to a man gives the impression that the wife is merely an object to provide happiness for the man. Equality in the marriage appears to have disappeared.

    Such use of women as property is not observed in the Rigveda. Even the selling of a bride or purchasing of a groom is highly disrespected. It would appear as if the liberation of women went down hill during this era. But such a conclusion can easily be argued. For the first time polyandry is exemplified in these stories. Draupadi herself had five husbands, Kunti bore sons from four different gods and Madri by two gods. All three women are highly respected and considered as truly great female models of power, grace and "patibrata"- husband worshipping. A society that excepted a women loving more than one man must undoubtedly have been very accepting of the liberties and independence women might have sought.

    The five Pandavas were regarded as handsome and gallant, they definitely would not have had a problem wedding a women of high birth and beauty, yet they all chose to be the husband to the fair Draupadi, it did not bother them that each one of them was not the only single idol of her love. But ironically the motive by which this arrangement was made contradicts this feeling once again. Keeping their mother's word, they divided Draupadi amongst themselves as if she were an object. This situation arises when Arjuna announces to his mother that he has brought home a prize that he so skillfully won.

      It is true that he was able to receive Draupadi's hand by completing a difficult and skillful task, but she was not a prize that he won because it was Draupadi's swayamvara; she had the right to chose her own husband. Arjuna only proved himself worthy, Draupadi herself made the true decision. She could have married Karna who could have also performed the same task, but she denied him permission to participate. Then did not Arjuna degrade Draupadi by claiming her a prize and did not Yudhishtira further insult her by carrying out their mother's wish by treating her as if she were a prize object?

    One could believe that women gained more liberty after the Vedic age to do things that were not permitted to them before, but it would also appear as if the respect society placed upon then decreased. In the Gita Krishna said, "Even those who are born of the womb of sin - women, Vaisas and Sudras too - if they resort to me, go on the highest way."4 A god has degraded women to the lowest of positions. But today we do worship these same women even though we are unsure whether the same respect was given to them during the Epic age. The puja of the Panchakanyas (five maidens)- Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, Ahalya and Mondodary. All five women had more that one man in their lifetime. Yet paradoxically we worship them as maidens.
     This brings me to the question of the virginity of women in this age. The Rigveda does not talk about the requirements of a women in terns of sexual purity at the time of marriage. It is oblivious as to what the expectancy of where the boundary was drawn in the premarital relationships. Sons of unwed mothers was not desired but such women were pitied as they were considered defiled. But the Epic era seems more adamant to ensure that newly wed brides were virginal and untouched by another man. Both Satyavati and Kunti had become mothers prior to their marriages, both had thrown their child into the water and kept it a secret from everybody. And both had become willing of the union with the father of their child only due to the fact that they had been promised maidenhood after the union was over. Most likely both women would have refused no matter what consequences if the rishi Parasara (in the case of Satyavati) or the sun god (in the case of Kunti) had not offered them this purity following the birth of the child.

    Virginity and the need to be married for men has still not been mentioned in the Epics, it was only enforced on the women. This change from the Vedic Era where marriage was encouraged but not required or forced to the necessity of a "pure" bride eventually resulted in the introduction of child-marriage into vogue. But the Epic Era does not yet witness this since all the heroines, Sita, Draupadi, Kunti, etc., were grown mature women at the time of their marriage.

    The Mahabharata informs us that it was the sage Dirghatama, who laid it down that women ought never to remain unmarried in future. Subhru was the daughter of sage Kuni. Her father wanted to give her in marriage, but she would not consent. She remained unmarried for all her life, practicing severe penance. At the time of her death, however, she learnt to her great surprise that she could not go to heaven because her body was not consecrated by the sacrament of marriage. With great difficulty she then induced sage Sringavat to marry her, stayed with him for a one night and was then enabled to go to heaven.5
        The requirement for a women to be married caused anxiety amongst fathers. It is said that when Sita came of age, kind Janaka was is a mental state similar to a beggar who had lost what little money he had. Even a man of noble birth and accomplishments had to endure many insults if he was the father of a daughter. This unnecessary pressure on the family caused daughters to be unfavored. When Draupadi had a daughter, named Sikhandini, she was transformed into a son, named Sthuna, by Yaksha who did it from the desire of doing her good.6 In the Ramayana, when kind Dasharath had no children he prayed to the sun god for a son, not just any child. Kunti asked all the gods she had summoned for a son, she did not have any daughters.

     In both the Vedic and the Epic era, sons were favored but the Vedas does not testify to the lamentation of the birth of a daughter. The Epics describe the daughter as the root of all evils and misfortunes. But there were some who pointed out that patricides have been a monopoly of the male sex; no father is ever known to have been liked by a daughter either to history or to legend. There are cases on record where daughters like Kunti and Lopanudra have saved their parents from dire calamities. In Marriage it is the daughter and not the son who enables the father to get the great merit of prithivi-dana or the gift of the earth. She is thus really better than the son.7

      For the first time though, society is exposed to profit of having a daughter instead of a son. But most likely it can be assumed that this theory did not prevail in the practical society considering the fact that the cost of marriage was great and the pain of giving a child away was enormous.

     The Vedas do not encourage the performance of sati. Passages in the Rigveda encourage the widow to leave the side of her dead husband and find another life partner amongst the living. The Epics do not advocate sati but women who have committed it are definitely highly regarded. The most famous is the sati of Madri. Her devotion to her husband is praised and immortalized and such a role model in society might have encourage such a practice amongst women of high birth and nobility. But Madri's sati was not one that was encouraged. She was asked by rishis and other not to go ahead with it. Most of the wives of Krishna, the incarnation of the god Bhishnu, threw themselves on 3 funeral pyre on hearing the death of their husband. But not all great women followed this fate. All widows of the great Mahabharata battle all lived on to perform the death rituals of their husbands.
        Sati may have come into vogue after this period inspired by the great women in the Epics who had chosen to follow their husbands even in their death. Though both the Vedic and the Epic age did not promote such customs, it seems that the Epics practiced it more often than the Vedas. One of the reasons that may have promoted this is the status of the widow. The Rigveda encourages the remarriage of the wives, especially if she does not have any children. Remarriage is not a common custom in the Epic. Both Tara and Mandodary married their brothers-in-law after the death of their husband, but this is not one of the most popular and well known facts of the story. The fact that one woman was a money and the other a rakshasa suggests that such a custom was only practiced amongst the lower society. The Mahabharata does not even mention any such act at all. The dependency of women on their husband and the inability to find a new husband after the death of the first one left the life of the widow a very undesirable and cruel one. The choice of death with such honor instead of the harsh life with no one to look after her, especially if she did not have any sons, did not seem such a vile decision. So even though the Epics did not promote the burning of women, it may have paved the way towards it for the following centuries.

    The occupation of women is one factor to be greatly considered. In the Rigveda, Kasakritsnas and Upadhyayas (as explained in earlier paper,"Women in the Vedic Age") are present in society who contributed to the education of society. The education of women was a necessity for marriage and even though not all women became scholars, they did have the opportunity to seed a life of study and knowledge. But the Epics very rarely mention any lady scholars at all. There is no mention of the schooling of any of the heroines as there is of all the heroes. In the Vedic age, women were are observed performing sacrifices and reciting mantras(chants).

   As Sanskrit became the exclusive language of ritual and the performance of Vedic sacrifices became increasingly complicated, the number of Years required for proper initiation into the Vedic rites increased. It consequently became difficult for girls to absorb the requisite Sanskrit hymns and associated lore during the period of their Upadhaya preparation. High class women began to fall behind men in knowledge of the Vedas.

   Kunti had the ability to summon any god. But this skill that she learned was not obtained because her parents had sent her to acquire knowledge from a learned acharya. She had gained this power by pleasing a rishi who won by her service had taught her this skill.

   In one part of the Mahabharata, women are said to be sex crazed. They cannot be trusted and seeking more than one man is in their nature. The Ramayana states that they are unstable and restless. Also one cannot help but blame a women for all the sufferings and pain brought about in the Ramayana and the battle between brothers in the Mahabharata. But is this a negative portrayal of women and her destructive nature or is a display of the power she had over matter of a man's emotions, politics and the affairs of the state? They were not allowed in the Sabhas and it is hard to predict whether women had any hand in the politics of the Vedic time. But it is evidently clear that the women in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, though not directly involved in the government, had a strong position in the movement of the state. They appear to have gained more publicity and importance in an indirect fashion. In the Ramayana it is mentioned that it was desired that Sita take the thrown following the banishment of Rama. Bhishma advised Yudhishthira to sanction the coronations of the daughters of those kings, who had died in the war and left behind no male issues.

    The difference of status for women in the Epic and the Vedic age was brought about by certain social and political changes. In the Vedic Age the greatest kings, like Sudas, were but renowned warriors and leaders of hosts, owned cultivated lands and herds of cattle like other people, and were of the people. On the other hand, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are legends about great kings who ruled illustrious lands and about a struggle for power. In place of petty states carved out by sturdy fighters in the land of the Indus, we find populous and spacious kingdoms ruled by august sovereigns in the valley of the Ganges.

     A central purpose of the epics was to teach new codes of behavior based upon Brahmanic and Kshatriya values, including the rights and privileges of kingship and a cataloging of the different caste dharms. The main characters involved in the Epics are the kingly class- the Kshatriya worriers. The other social classes and women bad very little to do with the politics the two Epics and focused around.

   The position of women in the changing society of the Vedic Era and the Epic Era is very hard to explain. In some ways it would appear that their situation deteriorated severely and in other it would seem that this was the period in the history of the religion that women have gained the most power. An argument can be made for both cases and the liberation of women increased in certain respects and decreased in others. Women played a very significant role that affected great empires, but they were also subjected to
 much more restrictions than during the Vedic age. But one thing is obvious, that these ages saw the most glorious days for women in the Hindu religion.


1 Lynn E. Gatwood, Devi and the Spouse Goddess, Maryland: The Riverdale Company Inc., 1985, p.53.

2 Benjamin Walker, The e Hindu World, vol. I & II, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1968, p.9.

3 A. S, Altekar, The Position of women in Hindu Civilization, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi: Varanasi: Patna, 1973, p. 213.

4 Mildreth Worth Pinkham, Women in] the Sacred Scriptures o Hinduism, New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1967, p. 167.

5 Altekar, p.33.

6 Ibid., p.l47.

7 Ibid., p. 6.

8 Gatwood, p.37-38.

9 Altekar, p. 185

10 Romesh Chunder Dutt, e Civilization o of India, London: Ballantvne, Hanson & CO., p.15.

11Gatwood, p. 53.

- S.P., Massachussettes, USA


*********************************************************************************************** To: The Nepal digest Editor <> Date: Tue, 14 Jun 94 15:07:37 MDT From: Don Messerschmidt <> Subject: Libraries in Nepal

Dear Pramod. Namaskar. Halkabar ke cha?

I just read your note to the Nepal Network regarding the lack of libraries in Nepal, and the special "plight" of your American-educated children needing library facilities... The following might be of help to you (feel free to forward this whole message to the Nepal Net):

In Kathmandu, opposite and down the hill a bit from the Himalayan Hotel
(Patan side) on the second floor of a building, there is the large-volume AWON LIBRARY. This library is a relatively inexpensive (nearly free) service to Nepalese and expatriates. It is run on a purely voluntary basis, mostly by Nepali volunteers. Its books are mostly gotten from donations of interested and concerned people. The library has thousands of volumes (mostly paperbacks), in every category: literature, history, travel, biography, mystery, adventure... and a HUGE children's book and magazine section.

The rules of joining and using the AWON LIBRARY are easy. Family (or individual) membership costs Rs.100 or perhaps a little more (I've forgotten, and it has been many years since I joined). You can join in several categories -- individual and family, and local and "out of valley". If you life in Biratnagar, for example, you can join the Kathmandu AWON Library and check out books for up to 3 months to be taken and read "out of valley" (they are marked "OV"). If you live in the Kathmandu Valley, and use the books there, I think you have a month's time on each item checked out.

AWON Library is a tremendous service to the community. On Saturdays it is packed with patrons (mostly Nepali)... it is very busy. Turnover is huge, as is the number of volumes.

It is worth checking into, for you and your family. Good Luck.

- Don Messerschmidt < >
(formerly on contract to the Inst. of Forestry, Pokhara (1989-93)... 31 years in and out of Nepal)

******************************************************************** Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 18:54:43 EDT To: The Nepal digest Editor <> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <> Subject: Hindi on the 'phone

Dear Editor:

I agree with much of what Mr. Bista has to say about the Hindi voice one gets while calling Nepal. But my reasons are slightly different. While Mr. Bista fears Nepal would be gobbled up by India (maybe his fears are not entirely unfounded), I fear that because the routing of the international call to Nepal from the United States is done through India, I may not get through to the party waiting for my 'phone call on the other side of the globe. In fact, this has happened many times and it happened even last night. I kept calling and the recorded message kept telling me in Hindi, which, I must confess, understand, read, and write quite well. The otherwise pleasing language of the Hindi filmy songs--Main Aawaaraa Hoon--and Ghazals soon became cacophonous and zarring. I must say my heart beat paced up a little; sweat drops broke through my forehead and armpits, for without my realizing it had struck midnight! Finally, I called my MCI customer service and asked in a patriotic tone, evincing complete ignorance of the Hindi language, as though I had in any of my previous incarnations never heard of a word of the language. The superviser, not just the poor operator, mind you, told me in a quite befuddled voice: "Well, Sir, maybe the satellite link is through that country which you are talking about." I said, raising my irritation a little, "Now what can you do? I'm mad; I've been calling for hours, and my parents must have been waiting on the other side at the public 'phone booth, where they have reached after a three-hour-walk through knee-deep mud puddles and what not." "Well, Sir, I can't help you," moans the voice, as sweet as honey.

Now, what can be done? Calling the local company, I don't think, could help, as Mr. Manandhar has suggested, but we can try. I think the problem is not merely one of "ideology," but also of asking the right to have a separate, more relaxed satellite route. Certainly, we don't want to join the crowd, but the capitalist machine runs on only one gas: that is, supply and demand. Let us find out some practical solution by calling wherever it's possible, so that we may get easy access to our friends and family in Nepal; so that our sweet taste for popular Hindi songs may not turn bitter; so that we, the foreign educated ones, may not easily give in to our jingoistic selves. Let's try to fix the problem and see where we land.

Sincerely, Pramod Mishra

********************************************************************** From: (Dileep Agrawal) Subject: conference in DC To: Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 21:22:16 -0400 (EDT)

I would really appreciate it if someone can forward me info on the conference to be held in DC during the 4th of July weekend. Thanks.

********************************************************************** From: "Khatri, Sanjay" <khatri@msgate.columbiasc.NCR.COM> To: 'nepal' <> Subject: Comments on P. Sharma's "Glimpses..." Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 11:08:00 edt

Once again, thanks for the recollections of your visit, Mr. Sharma. The objective analyses of the three political forces was objective and candid.
 The pros and cons were well sumarised, but I would like to know if the conclusions you drew were based on the analyses or did you have more to work on?

Sanjay Khatri

************************************************************* Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 11:42:21 -0400 From: Isha Sharma <> Subject: (fwd) SOUTH ASIA NEWS FROM DHAKA To:


DHAKA, (June 10) IPS - In Bangladesh, they are burning Indian saris, in Nepal there is talk of stopping Indian-registered cars. Sri Lankans are deeply suspicious, and even in the tiny Maldives there is subsurface wariness about India.
   But Indian consumer goods flood Dhaka markets, Kathmandu is overrun with Indian tourists and traders, Sri Lanka's trade with India is booming and in tiny Male Hindi film songs blare out of music shops.
   India is Big Brother -- and its South Asian siblings love to hate him.
   India-bashing is a rage in the sub-continent these days. And nowhere more so than in Bangladesh where the whole western section of the country is drying up because India has diverted the Ganges River.
   Under a 1977 agreement, the Ganges barrage at Farakka on the Indo-Bangladesh border is supposed to let enough water through for Bangladesh's needs. But this year, as during every dry season, the Ganges is little more than a creek.
   "Farakka is a life-or-death issue for Bangladesh with immense repercussions on its fragile economy and ecology," says Iftekhar Zaman of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies here.
   Given India's crucial support for Bangladesh's liberation war in 1971, it must have taken a lot of dismantling to bring mutual ties to their present level.
   Since it affects a basic need like water, Ganges-sharing has become the core issue in Indo-Bangladesh relations. Says Zaman: "Farakka is so symbolic that it has a political dimension as well."
   But there are signs that New Delhi's decision-making elite may have realized that Bangladesh was unjustly treated, and that squeezing the smaller neighbor may be counterproductive.
   Even if the Farakka barrage is removed, however, Bangladesh would still get only a trickle because upstream Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar remove up to 68 percent of Ganges water before it reaches the Bangladesh border.
   India has proposed a link-canal to bring water from the Brahmaputra River to augment lean-season Ganges flow which would traverse northern Bangladesh, but Dhaka has opposed it.
   Some Indian analysts warn that the water row may turn even sympathetic politicians in Bangladesh against New Delhi.
   "Those to be blamed are the faceless bureaucrats and unthinking ministers in New Delhi for whom the answer to problems with our neighbors is a display of muscle," writes political commentator Ajit Bhattacharjea in New Delhi's Pioneer newspaper.
   For hapless Bangladesh, if it is not lack of water it is too much of it. Annual floods, like the deluge of 1988 which submerged three-fourths of the low-lying delta country, bring colossal damage.
   But India has blocked Bangladesh's attempts work towards a basin-wide flood-control plan to include upstream Himalayan countries Nepal and Bhutan. New Delhi would rather work one-on-one with neighbors.
   Water is also a sensitive issue in India's ties with Nepal, where public perception is that New Delhi has bribed, cajoled, and wrested concessions from Nepal on every major river project so far.
   Nepal's left opposition is using this popular anti-Indian theme to bash Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress government, which it says has "sold out to India."
   "The sense of Nepali nationalism has never been so hurt and goodwill towards India has never been at such a low ebb," says Ganesh Raj Sharma, a senior Kathmandu-based advocate.
   To make matters worse, in March a posse of Indian policemen carried out a botched raid on a house in a well-to-do Kathmandu subdivision without realizing that they were in another country. Publicity about the raid confirmed the average Nepali's hunch that India has always been a bully and ignited another anti-India flare-up.
   Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal has historically tried to steer an equidistant path between its giant neighbors.
   But when Nepal tried to buy Chinese arms for its military in 1989, India closed its borders and strangled Nepal with a 16-month economic embargo. Landlocked Nepal's claim for better access to the sea and a more open market for its products in India was never addressed.
   Another chronic sore is the 150 Indo-Nepal treaty which Nepalis say is unequal and signed with Nepal's former feudal rulers. Nepal thinks provisions in the treaty will allow their country to be swamped by Indians.
   "Things are going from bad to worse and one day it is going to blow up in our faces," warns Rishikesh Shaha, Nepal's former ambassador to the United Nations who favors a multi-purpose identity card for all Nepalis to keep tabs on cross-border migration.
   None of India's little neighbors share a contiguous border with each other. This has helped New Delhi's policy of bilateralism. But, as one Dhaka-based editor put it: "You don't see that magnanimity in India that should come from its size. You see only pettiness."
   The little countries envy Pakistan, which they regard as the only one that can stand up to India and they know that even jointly they cannot do the same.
   For Anirudha Gupta, professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, this explains why both Hindu/Buddhist Nepal and Sri Lanka would rather fraternize with Pakistan than India.
   "In building such a fraternity the smaller states can show the measure of their independence of India," Gupta writes.
   India's backing for Sri Lankan Tamil separatists and its military interventions in Sri Lanka and Maldives in 1988 have also sharpened security concerns among the neighbors.
   Nuclear-armed India with its medium-range ballistic missile and blue water navy wants to be a world power. It wants to play with the big boys in the block and is impatient with sniffling little brothers who keep tugging at its trousers.
   India's gravitational tug of culture and history, instead of binding the countries together with a sense of common heritage, seem to have done the opposite. Nepalis see themselves as being less landlocked than
"India-locked". And Bangladesh has tried to assert a different Bengali identity from West Bengal.
   Even Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which do not have land borders with India feel the tug, and look increasingly to Southeast Asia to diversify trade and investments.
   What has not helped is that opposition parties in the nascent democracies of Nepal and Bangladesh have used populist anti-Indianism to strengthen their political base.

*****************************************************8 Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 12:59:10 -0400 (EDT) From: Sunita Rajouria <> Subject: ANIL SHRESTHA of CORNELL To:



- Sunita

********************************************************** From: (Gopal Shah) Subject: Keep up the good work To: Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 16:39:33 EDT

Dear Editor,
           I would like to thanks Mr. Padam Sharma for his recent articles about Nepal.It was really well written.We all would like to see clear picture of Nepal in details not just politics.His observation about the roads,daily life,pollution and politics of Nepal is very touching.We would like to see such articles in future again.Mr. Sharma may share more thoughts about Nepal.
                                      Gopal Shah

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