The Nepal Digest - June 20, 1998 (8 Ashadh 2055 BkSm)

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Date: Fri Jun 19 1998 - 15:04:40 CDT


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The Nepal Digest Tues June 20, 1998: Ashadh 8 2055BS: Year7 Volume75 Issue2

Today's Topics (partial list):

          Charity Dinner for a worthy cause
          Update about Gopal Chintan
          Re: Racist charges
          Khoj-Khabar
          A sad loss to the Nepali community in Canada
          Nepali News
          International Students' contribution to the US
          Book Reviews and essays

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
******************************************************** Date: June 19, 1998 To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> From: TND Foundation <tnd@nepal.org> Subject: Charity Dinner for a worthy cause

Dear Friend,

     TND Foundation is initiating a charity dinner to help the Panthi
     family when they come to New York for their treatment in July 1998.

     The charity dinner will be hosted at the following address:

     Whittier Cafe
     1230 Amsterdam Ave
     Teacher's College
     Columbia University
     New York, NY

     Date: June 27, 1998 (Saturday)
     Time: 6:30PM
     Contact phone number: 914-421-9129 (Rajpal J. Singh)
                           212-678-3504 (Tara Niroula)
     Email address: tnd@nepal.org (TND Foundation)

     Charity dinner donation: $20 per person. Approximately 60% will cover
     the cost and 40% will go towards helping the Panthi family. The amount
     will be donated to them "On behalf of Nepali Community" when they arrive
     to New York in July 1998.

     If you can not attend the charity dinner, you can send your donation
     (payable to RJ Singh - Panthi fund) to following address:

           TND Foundation
           P.O. Box 8206
           White Plains, NY 10602

    "A one hour Kura_Kani session (to be held once every two month on issues
     relating to Nepalis and Nepal) will be held on the same day at the
     same address at 5:00PM"

     Following donors' contributions are thankfully recognised for this
     noble cause:

        Mr. Umesh Giri, Colorado, USA
        Mr. Gopal Thapa, UN-Nepal Mission, New York, USA
        Mr. NK Ranjit and Mrs. Kopila Ranjit, Deleware, USA
        Ms. Sabina Thapa, New York, USA
                                                                            
            Regards, TND Foundation http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org

---------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 17:20:14 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: The Nepal Digest Subject: Sad departure - Panthi family appeal

AN APPEAL FOR HELP FROM NARAYAN PANTHI!

Rajan, my eldest son died, May 18, 1998. He was 24-years old. But, there is still hope for my two other children, Gokul, 19, and Parbati, 21. Please help us if you can! (please see attached photograph) My family is besieged by a deadly, genetic disorder, a virulent form of cancer called, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, made worse by exposure to the sun
(and other UV sources). Most children can go outside and play in the sun. My children have to hide indoors in the daytime and can only go out at night (after sundown). The sun, giver of life to most, is the taker of life to my child.

We have searched far and wide for help, treatment, and a solution to this situation... from Nepal to India and back, and finally, in America, we think we have found one! We, the Panthi family, have been accepted into a special ('Sundown') camp, the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society of Poughkeepsie, N.Y./U.S.A., operates every summer. But, that addresses only part of our problem. First, we have to finance a great part of this expensive trip to the U.S. (in July) ourselves, plus meet additional medical expenses. We have determined that we need to raise nearly one-million rupees
(almost $16,000U.S.).

Fortunately, God has blessed us with friends, near and far: from Japan, to Alaska in the U.S. and to the U.K.. We have raised almost three lahks/rupees to date: The Swablambi Pariwar Sangh/Nepal has donated one lahk/rupees and is raising more, the XP Society is donating one session of camp, plus $2,250U.S., Royal Nepal Airlines is donating three free tickets and three at fifty-percent off between Kathmandu and London (still have to fund the London to N.Y.C. portion of the trip), Nepali students in Japan have donated 20,000 yen (10,000 rupees), and friends in the U.K. have donated 40,000 rupees. But, we still need to raise seven lahks/rupees more, or 700,000 rupees
($11,000U.S.). Thus, we (my wife Janaki and me) ask for your help! Please consider this appeal!

I have worked all my life to support my family. I owned a successful business, a small hotel here in Kathmandu until my children were stricken with this almost unknown illness (we have been to doctors and hospitals from Kathmandu to the south of India). Now, we live on the rent from our stores below, roughly 10,000 rupees per month (roughly $125U.S.). I have had to devote all of my time and energy to trying to find a solution to this disease that's devastating my family! Now, our only hope now lies in America, where it is said they have the facilities and possible treatment for such an unknown form of cancer, Xeroderma Pigmentosum. Please, if you have access to a computer/Internet, check out a WEB site: www.xps.org for information about this disease, and the XP Society. And we would also like to thank the following individuals, and organizations that have been involved with helping us in some fashion over the past years. Without them we could not have made it!

BANK ACCOUNT FOR DONATIONS (IN NEPAL):
'Rajan and Gokul Panthi' #555555 'J' Himalayan Bank, Thamel, Kathmandu

Namaste! Narayan Panthi Anamnagar, Kathmandu, Nepal
(+977+1) 227311

WON'T YOU JOIN THE FOLLOWING LIST:

Mr. C.M. Yogi/Hindu Vidyapeeth-Nepal Mr. Lakshmon Pandey/Nepal Student Union Mr. Robby Khanal The Nepal Digest Ms. Kay Wilson, Fairbanks, Alaska/U.S.A. Mr. I.W. Strong/Penwood Inc., Denver, Colorado/U.S.A. Ms. Uma Shrestha, Bay City, Michigan/U.S.A. Mr. Shailesh N. Gongal, Cambridge, Massachusetts/U.S.A. The XP Society, Poughkeepsie, N.Y./U.S.A. Swablambi Pariwar Sangh (Independent Family Organization of Nepal) Nepal Cancer Relief Society, Kathmandu Royal Nepal Airlines, Kathmandu Bir Hospital, Kathmandu T.U. Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu Anuradha Koirala/MAITI NEPAL Matthew S. Friedman/USAID Dr. Shyam Thapa/USAID The American Society of Clinical Oncology, Chicago, Illinois/U.S.A. The Swiss Cancer League, Bern/Switzerland The International Union Against Cancer, Geneva/Switzerland The B.P. Koirala/Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu Mr. Rajan Rayamajhi/Sangrilla Business Group, Kathmandu Mr. F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple/writer-poet, Kathmandu Mr. S.K. Gautam/Industrial Service Bureau, Kathmandu Mr. Raj Kumar Basnyat/Diyalo Quarterly Mr. Bijay Shivakotee/songwriter Mr. Punya Prasad Regimi Mr. Bindu Lal Shrestha/Peace Corp, Nepal Mr. Munish Bhattarai Mr. Ngima Gyalgen Lama/Kyusha University Graham and Colleen Misbach/L.D.S. Charities Mr. Mahesh Gautam Mr. Santosh Sharma/Music Nepal Mr. Kumar Basnyat/folksinger Mr. Sandeep Singh Mahat/#1 table tennis player in Nepal Rajesh and Anuja Agrawal/Creative Minds & Travelation Bogdan Holeiciuc and Cristina Armengol-Dalmau, Kathmandu Mr. Chandra Bhandari/former General Secretary, Nepal Students Union Mr. Bijay Kumar Kidia/Kedia Organization Melody Magazine Dr. Bhakta Man Shrestra/cancer specialist Mr. Himal Rajbhandari/Treasurer, Social Welfare Council, HMG, Nepal Mrs. Kamal Panti/Assistant Minister of Women and Social Welfare, HMG, Nepal Dr. Padam Prasad Paudyal, Salisbury, N.C./U.S.A. Dr. Dinesh Kumar Dalbir, Oklahoma City, OK./U.S.A. Dr. Sharad Kumar Sharma, N.Y.C./U.S.A. Dr. Ram Saran Mahat

------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 11:32:57 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> Reply-To: hutch@wlink.com.np Subject: press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1 JUNE 1998 XP SOCIETY ACCEPTS PANTHI FAMILY IN JULY!

The Narayan Panthi family of Kathmandu has been accepted into 'Camp Sundown,' by the XP Society of Poughkeepsie, N.Y./U.S.A. The XP Society was started by Dan and Caren Mahar to help those (their daughter Katie) stricken with Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a virulent form of incurable cancer made worse by exposure to the sun (nee 'Camp Sundown' - a camp for children of the disease where activities commence at sundown). The Panthi family of Anamnagar has long been seeking help for their three
(out of four) children, Rajan, 24, Gokul, 21, and Parbati, 19, afflicted with this genetic disorder. The XP Society has accepted the Panthi family into session #3, 22-26 July in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

His Majesty's Government, the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Anand Dhungana, has graciously offered three free tickets and three at fifty-percent off via Royal Nepal Airlines to help defray travelling costs. This will get the family to London and back. The XP Society is contributing, besides the Camp facilities for 5/4 days and nights, $2,225U.S. to help defray airline expenses from London to N.Y.C. Other fund raising activities are in progress to help with travel and medical expenses: a benefit concert in July which will help, not only the Panthi family, but the Sushma Memorial Hospital. Ram Krishna Dhakal and Bijay Shivakotee have agreed to perform (more on this as it develops).

A bank account (555555'J') at the Himalayan Bank in Thamel has been set up for those who would like to contribute to this humanitarian effort! Please do... Donate rupees, or volunteer to help!

For more information contact: F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple (English) 410319 (Lazimpat) or hutch@wlink.com.np Rajan Rayamajhi (Nepali) 256701, 245780 (fax)

----------------------------------- I am Rajan Panthi, a twenty-four year old resident of Anam Nagar, Kathmandu, Nepal. I have a serious, debilitating cancer called Xeroderma Prigmentosa, and am nearing the end! One of my eyes has been removed and my other eye is so badly sollen that I am now blind! My whole body is badly infected and is completely covered with sores that ooze a puss. Black scars can be seen to cover my body. My whole body aches with severe pain, sometimes its almost unbearable. I have to remain isolated in a room. But, despite all of this I am still alive!

With the little money that my father earns from his small shop, we have made it this far... My youngest sister 21, and my younger brother, 19, both are also suffering from the same disease. They are also disfigured and are suffering. I have been from different hospital to hospital, both inside and outside of Nepal, but with little in the way of positive results. A large amount of of money has been spent at several types of treatment, but there is no sign of improvement or recovery. I'm sure too that the three of us have become an unbearable burden on my parents. The stress has caused them to become ill themselves.

I am under the impression that there is a recent invention and/or discoveries in the field of science and medicine that may help people like us...? I, from the bottom of my heart, want to stop financially burdening my parents. My last desire is that this will all be or nothing, that an institution will take on the responsibility a solution to this horrible disease. I solemnly pray that no other single human being will have to suffer from such a deadly disease. It will make me personally happy and grateful for any assistance from individuals or institutions. I am willing to donate my body for investigation, so maybe my sister and brother might be saved.

Thanks a lot for your compassionate consideration. Rajan Panthi Kathmandu, Nepal (011+977+1+227311)

Thus, anything you can donate will be gratefully accepted, as we are planning a benefit concert here in Kathmandu. Anything... As small as $1U.S. dollar... Anything, as it all goes to producing this concert which we hope will raise a substa tial amount of money for the Panthi family, as well as, call attention to this type of dreadful cancer.

Contact F.A.H. Dalrymple in Kathmandu as how you may contribute, and/or otherwise help 011+977+1+410319 or via the Internet mailto:hutch@wlink.com.np

P.S. There is a XP Society in the U.S. available at: www.xps.org to learn more about this form of cancer

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 17:58:07 +0545 (NPT) To: amnestyis@amnesty.org From: inhured@gopal.mos.com.np (INHURED International) Subject: UPDATE ABOUT GOPAL !!

Updated information about Gopal Siwakoti 'Chintan'

On June 15, early in the morning at 6 O'clock 15 policemen from Kathmandu District Police Office came again to the office of NCS (National Concern Society) and without any notice or authority entered the office of INHURED International, Global Law Associates and Consultants and WILPF International Nepal Section and seized the document from Law Firm and from NSS the Video cassette of fact finding mission organized by team with the permission of the previous government. The fact finding mission was composed of the chairman of parliamentary committee on, human right activists including Mr. Chintan. The team was supported by the local district administration office and police office in which the CDO and district police inspector themselves had their view on the Maoist activities in the Rolpa district. The report of the Fact Finding Mission was massively publicised by NCS with a view to making the public informed of the Maoist activities of the district. The aim to seize the video cassette as such proves that the government is using the same as a base to persecute Mr. Chintan. The policemen forced to open even the unrelated offices such as INHURED International, Global Law Associates and WILPF International. After investigating all three offices under the same roof with NCS, they gave written notice thereof afterwards only to Global Law Associates and not to others. Entering and investigating in an unauthorized manner the offices not related with the issue is a subject to be condemned and open violation of the right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Based on the document prepared with due permission of the then government, the police has prepared an accusation on the ground of suspicion to Mr. Chintan and has presented him on the same day at 15:00 O'clock before the Kathmandu District Court and asked from the Court the permission to keep Mr. Chintan in police custody for more three days for further investigation.

The Crime Against State and Punishment Act 2046 under which Mr. Chintan has been arrested is the one used to suppress the people movement of 1990- an act contravening the spirit and the provisions of the present Constitution guranteeing the basic human right.

The previous government had prepared an amendment of the same Act with a view to suppressing actively the Maoist movement but an international campaign launched by INHURED International and Save Democratic Right Movement compelled government to withdraw the amendment as such. It is because of this also the government is trying to hinder undemocratically the fundamental human right related activities carried either under the banner of National Concern Society or INHURED. The Act as such provides a maximum punishment a death penalty in the crime against the State which contravenes ab initio the provisions of democratic Consitution of 1990.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr. Madhav Bahadur Thapa who arrested Mr. Chintan has been suspected by the fact finding mission carried-out by Asia Foundation and Maiti Nepal and also by press of raping in gang a young woman Ms. Devi Khadka during the search of Maoist activists in the district. The NCS in its weekly forum had raised this issue and had demanded the action against such inhuman act. The document related to this issue was also taken forcefully by the police during the seizure. From all this it can be understood that, arresting Mr. Chintan has been a revengeful act also on the part of DSP Mr. Thapa himself.

Therefore we would like to request the friends and wellwishers of INHURED International and NCS to put pressure through letter writing demanding the immediate release of Mr. Chintan to already given concerned government body and individuals.

******************************************************************** Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 12:25:40 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: Racist charges

Congratulations to the TND Editorial Board for publishing the disturbingly racist comments (TND, May 18) that were left on Mr. Parmendra Bhagat's home-pages.

Congratulations to Mr. Parmendra Bhagat too for having the courage to post such racist remarks on TND so that the world can see how inexcusably insensitive, demeaning and racist some so-called educated Nepalis can be.

Regardless of the color of his skin, Mr. Bhagat is fully entitled to his political beliefs, and is free to express them in any way he pleases. If others have a problem with Mr. Bhagat's beliefs, then the way to resolve that is by engaging in an open dialogue/debate with him, NOT by anonymously taunting him about his skin color, about his particular personal past and about his political involvement in Nepal.

Any Nepali who has nothing better to do than publicly imply that Nepal's tarai-baasis are "madhisays = dhoti= nigger" is exhibiting behaviour, obviously drunk on some concoctions of racial superiority, that should be condemned by every decent Nepali.

On another note, since the good name of the Budhanilkantha School (BKS) was involved in these racist charges, I am astonished that it has not occurred to some BKS grads, some of whom I know to be decent people, to swiftly denounce such acts of blatant racism in the strongest of terms. Almost a month of TND has rolled by, and the BKS alumni at large is silent about this? Inscrutable!!

Which leads me to say that if I were associated with BKS in any way, I'd be all the more upset about and ashamed of such racist attacks on Mr. Bhagat.
  And I write the above para with tremendous disappointment, because like many of you reading this, I very well know that the only way for such demeaning racist acts to take root and ultimately triumph in our inevitably multi-ethnic Nepali circles is when otherwise DECENT and EDUCATED Nepali men and women who should know better prefer to sit back and do/say NOTHING, as though taking a stand on racism would be BENEATH their hard-won middle-class life-style.

Finally, two points; one personal, and one general.

First, I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Parmendra Bhagat once in Kathmandu, and found him to be a remarkably articulate, brilliant and positively ambitious fellow-Nepali.

Second, as a Kathmandu-bred pahadiya bahun who's had the good fortune to travel thru the tarai for some stretches of months, I, for one, remain awed by how hard the tarai-basis (of various ethnic communities) work all year round, and am positively impressed by their work-ethic, resilience, survival strategies, and their various rich vibrant cultures. There's nothing for which the tarai-baasis should be made fun of.

namaste ashu

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 15:46:07 +1000 (EST) From: "Joshi / Neela (SCI)" <n.joshi@student.canberra.edu.au> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Khoj-Khabar!

Dear Editor,

I would appreciate if you could post this message in the next coming edition of TND.

I'm looking for my friend KAMALA SHAKYA. I believe she is some where in The US doing her degreee in nursing. If anyone knows her where about could you please kindly convey this message to her or reply to me in the follwing address:

n.joshi@student.canberrra.edu.au Thank you. Neela

************************************************************** From: "Anil Shrestha" <SHRESTHA@plant.uoguelph.ca> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 15:31:09 EST Subject: A sad loss to the Nepali community in Canada

Sent by: Anil Shrestha, TND Canada Chapter

The Nepali community in Canada suffered a sad loss as Mr. Saroj Gyawali passed away in Edmonton, Alberta. I am sure friends of Mr. Gyawali all over the world would like to join me to take a moment to think of this loss and offer condolences to the bereaved family.

************************************************************** Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 10:34:38 To: vgpub@mos.com.np From: "V & G Publication Pvt. Ltd." <vgpub@mos.com.np> Subject: Kishor Gurung in Concert

Kishor Gurung In Concert on June 12, 1998 Friday at 7 pm at Russian Cultural Centre, Kamal Pokhari

For the first time in Nepal, a solo classical guitar presentation by Kishor Gurung. Works of Fernado Sor, Carulli, Isaac Alveniz, Scarlatti, Vivaldi (with computer aided music) etc.

Highlights:-
- Exhibition of books and magazines on guitar
- Kishor Gurung's protrait by internationally renowned artist Kiran Manandhar
- Cocktail reception at the end of the show

"Considering how far from the influences of Western music Nepal is, Kishor's accomplishments are perhaps unique."
- William Mathews, the world-renowned lutenist and guitarist

"...presented the choicest tunes of masters of classical guitar of the last three centuries...charmed the discerning listeners."
- The Telegraph, Calcutta, India

"Strumming away to glory"
- Amrita Bazaar Patrika, Calcutta, India

"His solo guitar sounded like one-man orchestra."
- The Rising Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal

"For Kishor....guitar is a medium of finesse and excellence."
- Sunday Magazine, Calcutta, India

Kishor Gurung in Concert Date: June 12, 1998 Friday Time: 7 pm at Russian Cultural Centre, Kamal Pokhari Organized by WAVE In association with Classical Guitar Society of Nepal

Don't miss out. Ticket Prices: Rs. 1000, Rs. 700, Rs. 500 Rs. 300

Get your tickets from:-

Nanglo Bakery Cafe, King's Way, Jawalakhel, Baneshwor, New Road and Maharajgunj Dechenling Garden Restaurant, Keshar Mahal, Thamel Rum Doodle, Thamel Pilgrim's Book House, Thamel Simply Shutters, Babar Mahal Revisited Faces, Kupondole International Club, Sanepa Suwal Video, New Road

You can also request tickets through email, telephone or fax. Just leave your street address, phone number and ticket requirements at the addresses below for delivery of your tickets:-

Email: vgpub@mos.com.np Phone: 254267, 226353, 527373 Fax: 241374 WAVE

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 20:54:11 +0545 (NPT) From: sinhas@mos.com.np (Pratyoush Onta) Subject: KPost 5th June To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

For: The Kathmandu Post, 5 June 1998 The Politics of Knowledge SAARC Academia Beyond Junkets

by Pratyoush Onta

This essay is a follow-up to my two essays previously published in this space. After discussing the institutional orientations and common topical foci found in Indian scholarship on Nepal, I argued that Nepal Studies in India currently produces garbage variety scholarship (8 May). In the second essay, I argued that India Studies in Nepal has never been a priority for our political and academic leaders and no good institutional research program on this subject exists in Nepal today (22 May). Using this set as my basis, I question what has and can be achieved in terms of regional scholarship on South Asia.

Official SAARC Process: One of the key components of the official SAARC Process is the Integrated Program of Action (IPA). Twelve areas of cooperation have been agreed upon under the IPA, each looked after by a technical committee. One area designated is "Education, Culture and Sports". The committee which looks after this area has prioritized several themes in the field of education and has listed activities such as "expert group meetings" on various subjects including higher education. In its own words, the committee is "also engaged in the improvement and expansion of the SAARC chairs, fellowships and scholarships schemes" which are described as having a "tremendous potential to facilitate greater interaction among the intelligentsia in the region."

Needless to say, this "potential" remains far from realized. As much has been admitted in government circles. It was back in December 1995 at the Commemorative Session of the Council of Ministers held in New Delhi to celebrate the 10th anniversary of SAARC that the then Foreign Minister of Nepal, Mr Prakash C Lohani said in his statement: "The SAARC chairs, SAARC fellowships and SAARC scholarships schemes need to be rescued from the limbo they have descended into....We need to expand education links."

Even before the founding of SAARC in late 1985, various academic exercises had been held regarding the potential benefits that would accrue to the entire region after the realization of the regional association. Many position papers were commissioned from academics of the various countries as part of the exercises leading to the foundation of SAARC. Several surveys focusing on different aspects of the regional economy were published in the early 1980s. During those same years, many articles entitled "Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Perspective from Country X" were published in various journals. Since its founding, SAARC organization's initiatives in academia have produced further surveys of the same nature. While these works may have added a bit to our understanding of the region, their overall superficiality has meant that despite exhortations on the part of the concerned officials or the proclaimed IPA of SAARC, the official initiative (often called "track one") has done little to facilitate serious scholarship by members of academia of the region.

Non-Official SAARC Process: Even as the official SAARC organization continues to languish amidst the pomp generated by its formal activities, various commentators have now begun to highlight the achievements recorded through what has been called the 'non-official SAARC process' - the meeting of activists, journalists, filmmakers, physicians, scholars and various other professionals in cross-South Asian forums. The non-official SAARC process obviously has a role to play. One recent Nepali participant of this process told me that a forum where former military leaders of India and Pakistan can discuss issues pertaining to their antagonistic past and present influences how defence-related matters are perceived by the concerned bureaucrats and professionals in the two biggest countries in South Asia. This has important policy implications for the security of the entire region, he added. Even though not much evidence can be located for the said influence in policy matters, such "track two" initiatives
(involving former government officials) that explicitly seek to influence governmental policies in the region and other activities now being described as "track three" by social activists who prefer to provide alternatives to government-led thinking, have provided opportunities to various non-governmental South Asian professionals to discuss some regional issues.

But how has this non-official process touched the field of academia? What is the nature of the scholarly exchange that exists? The above mentioned editorial notes: "Part of the reason why SAARC was not more effective in its first decade is that it was not challenged enough by academia and media." It further stated that good scholars had stayed away from SAARC studies mainly because "they saw the organisation as a non-starter," hence
"leaving the field open for mediocrity to flourish." Once good scholars supercede the nationalist intellectual ghettos in which they have allowed themselves to be incarcerated for the past half a century, said the editorial, South Asian regional scholarship would flourish.

To be sure, a small number of mostly English-fluent academics have met in different parts of the region under the auspices of institutions (quite a few of which that are run by ex-bureaucrats) with funds mostly provided by Western donor agencies. These meetings have allowed academics - some of whom have done very little by way of participation in the national academic exercises within their own countries - to gain professional and personal friendships as part of the building up of new regional networks, to sometimes challenge stereotyped views of each other's countries, and to circulate otherwise obscure writings amongst each other. Despite these achievements, these non-official initiatives have not produced any foundational works that are recognizably different from the official productions of the SAARC-variety.

As an researcher who received formal training in South Asian history, I am far less optimistic about the so-called non-official SAARC process when it comes to academia. The intentions is not to undermine the need for good South Asian scholarship on the region but to emphasize that more than just the breaking of "nationalist intellectual ghettos" needs to happen before good regional scholarship can flourish. To begin with, we have not taken adequate stock of the obstacles that hinder an optimistic future and this should be our first exercise. Without expecting much, we have to analyze the substantive orientations of previous scholarly research done in any one South Asian country on a neighbouring country. We then have to discuss how these orientations aid or do not aid the flowering of a good regional scholarship.

For without strong homebases for broadly defined social science research activity in each of the SAARC countries, no region-wide South Asian scholarship can flourish. These homebases in each of the regional countries should not only be active generators of research and publications but should also be evaluating scholarship on the individual countries and the region as a whole, produced both within and beyond South Asia. In effect, this means having competent research institutions within each SAARC country to focus on each of the regional countries before a region-wide scholarship can be built. In other words, we need a good Nepali research institution or group of active Nepali scholars doing significant research on India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, etc. and vice versa respectively, and so on. The case between India and Nepal, examined previously, comes nowhere near to fulfilling this criteria. While the kind of region-wide analysis of scholarship demanded here is beyond the scope of my expertise, I suspect that the situation between any two countries in the region is not much different than the India-Nepal case.

If official or non-official SAARC initiatives in the academia are to become more than just junketeering, all of the countries need to begin their work at their respective in-country research universities or centres. And if the necessary financial and creative resources were to be invested to create the possibilities for doing the kind of research suggested in this analysis now, SAARC-level academic exchanges, one can hope, can begin to assume significant meanings only by the second decade of the 21st century. But without such investments in-country, there is very little reason to be optimistic about the SAARC process in academia in any track - one two, three.

********************************************************* From: Ben Thapa <kkthapa@apollogrp.edu> To: "'nepal@mp.cs.niu.edu'" <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: International Students' contribution to the U.S. Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998 15:47:22 -0700

What Do International Students Bring to the US?
         International students are viewed both positively and negatively by people in the United States. For those who do not understand why these people come to the United States they may be looked upon dubiously, thinking that they will take away the facilities and = services that are meant for the American citizens. In fact, the opposite is true. International students generate a huge amount of revenue for the U.S. government, enhancing the country's economy and significantly contributing to the financial health of the universities.=20
        American universities have attracted students from virtually every nation in the world. The United States is the number one choice for most of the international students who are seeking a quality education abroad. Approximately 500,000 foreign students come to the U.S. each year from all parts of the world. International students and their dependents spend an estimated $9.9 billion on tuition, room and board. (Newsweek, Jan. 26, 98 p37) If this is to be measured as an export, the sum generated from international students would rank as the fifth largest U.S. commodity sent abroad (The Tennessean, Mar. 26, 1998). It is a form of foreign assistance where the money does not get out of the country. Moreover, the educators believe that the global diversity these students bring to higher education is the greatest contribution. =20
        International students introduce a whole new atmosphere in a class room. International students tend to comprehend, analyze situations and solve problems differently than their American counterparts. I conducted a survey of twenty American students (ten male and ten female) at Western International University, Phoenix, Arizona and they were asked how they felt about the presence of international students in their class rooms. All of them told me that their classes were more interesting and they learned more when there were international students in class rooms, particularly when they were participating in class discussions. The presence of international students on college campuses can be compared with an extensive garden that possesses colorful flowers as opposed to the one that is dull with no variety. =20
        International students have the power to eliminate the feeling of ethnocentrism among their counterparts by proving that if given an opportunity, anyone from any cultural background can excel in a particular area. A team that is made up of people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds will be very successful at generating a better solution to a problem than a homogeneous group might be. In = this day and age of globalization, international students play a tremendous role by allowing their counterparts to learn about them as individuals, their cultures, their countries, and some techniques to deal with the people from particular countries, thereby increasing the potential for successful business ventures in those countries. =20
        Over the past five years the number of international students in the U.S. has grown much more slowly that it did in the 1980s (Houston Chronicle, Dec. 12, 1997, p.46) Although it may not seem to be of immediate alarm, if the trend continues it may have a substantial = impact on the revenue of American universities and even the economy of the entire country. =20
        There are various reasons for the attenuation of foreign student enrollment. One of the major reasons for this is foreign competition, particularly from Japan and Australia. More and more people are exploring these countries for higher education. Most of the international students come to the U.S. from the developing countries = of the world and the educational systems in those countries are significantly improving, and expanding at the same time. This has adversely affected the size of enrollments by international students in the U.S. Another reason for this is that the amount of money available to international students, particularly at the graduate level has dwindled causing a decrease in international students enrollment in universities. =20
        In the 1994-95 academic year, the total number of enrollments from Asia dropped for the first time in 20 years. The trend has been continuing. (USA Today, Nov.8, 1995, p07-D) However, the number of students from the Asian countries still accounts for over fifty percent of all international students in the U.S.(The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 5, 1995, pA38). The recent economic crisis in Asian countries has even more adversely affected the number of international student enrollments in U.S. universities.
        Many educators say that foreign students face a common misconception. Many Americans fear that foreign students will become foreign workers, thus excluding U.S. workers from these jobs. But the statistics show that this conception is not justified. Even if the international students want to stay and work in the U.S. they have very limited options. According to American Immigration Lawyers Association
(AILA), only 65,000 people are eligible for H1-B visas, a visa that allows foreign workers to work in a specialty field. (Executive Report, Feb.10, 1997, p18) Considering the 127 million person work force in the U.S., this represents only 0.05% of total workers. =20
        International students are undoubtedly a highly valuable asset for the U.S. The growth of their number means more contributions to = the academic institutions they attend, communities in which they live, and the entire economy of the country. Not only do these students give a different perspective to American students in and out of class rooms, they take back every thing they have learned to their native countries and help develop their countries' economies. It is now time that American universities understand the value of international students = and their contribution to the entire economy, and strive to rejuvenate the stagnant international student population growth rate.=20

Kabindra Thapa International Programs Office Western International University Phoenix, Arizona

**************************************************************** Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 02:50:24 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Book Reviews and essays

Following book-reviews and essays appeared in a recent edition of The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, edited and co-ordinated by Ms. Shizu Upadhyay in Kathmandu

Praja Lives By Chris Evans Book Title: Can Orange Trees Blossom on a Barren Land Authors: Nalini Subba Chhetri, Somat Ghimire, Carol Gribnau, Samita Pradhan, Sanjay Rana Publisher: SNV/Nepal, 1997

The analogy with planting a fruit tree on barren land is a suitable one for this book. The orange tree is a symbol of productivity, its sweet, succulent fruits a source of livelihood and nutrition, created from a degraded, unproductive landscape.

Such fruit have remained largely unattainable, however, for the impoverished Praja communities in remote areas of Central Nepal.
 The communities can be described as a "barren landscape" in terms of their lack of access to basic needs: education, nutritious diet, access to credit and a secure livelihood, and diminishing natural resource base.

The book details the process by which such a study was carried out by the Praja Community Development Programme (PCDP), an SNV/Nepal-managed programme with Prajas in 4 hilly VDCs in Chitwan district. There have been many other papers on Prajas giving information on cultural, demographic, livelihood and similar issues. This book, however, while using relevant information from these previous studies, is the first fully documented record of experience in working alongside the Praja in participatory development.

The book describes the rationale behind and need for the survey, and then goes through a step by step process starting with describing the socio-economic-environmental interactions within Praja culture. Demographic, historical, economic, organizational, land use and access and gender issues are reported, followed by a surface, then in-depth look at problems, cause and effect, and how the Praja view possible solutions. Of note is that all information (except use of past literature) has been gathered and issues discussed in a participatory manner, thus allowing the Praja a sense of control and ownership over the process. This is important if they are to hold a similar attitude towards the problem-solving process, i.e. the planning and implementation of their own development programmes.

In holistic natural resource management (HNRM), much work with soil improvement needs to happen before trees like orange can even be planted, let alone blossom and fruit. This book details the stages of "preparing the soil" - of developing a relationship with the Praja communities - before development activities ("planting the fruit tree") can begin. In the same way, the basic needs of soil are water, biomass, micro- organisms and protection from damaging forces of sun, wind and rain. In both cases, these limits need identifying before true needs can be assessed, and real problems separated from mere symptoms. It is all too common, in conventional development, to treat symptoms rather than causes. This is like giving paracetamol for a headache caused by standing in the sun, instead of getting out of the sun!

Of interest is also the books' case study of putting into practice PRA theory. Its critical note is refreshing and lessons relevant. The "in" process in development these days, it says, needs to be changed and adapted to fit local conditions, in this case the needs of the PCDP. Only then can PRA even attempt to live up to its name. SNV and the PCDP should continue to share experiences such as these with the wider development community, a process started with this book. Indeed, there is far too much left to be done without repeating the same mistakes again and again.

To continue the orange tree analogy to its natural conclusion, while studies such as the PCDP facilitate the process to prepare for the planting of the tree, it is, ultimately, the tree itself
- the Praja community and its own programmes - which must grow, in harmony with its own improved environment, to supply its own fruits.

(C.Evans is Advisor to the Jajarkot Permaculture Programme)

------------------------------------ A Perspective on People's Power by Manish Gautam Book title: People's Self-Development: A Journey through Experience Author: Muhammad Anisur Rahaman Publisher: University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1994.

Muhammad Anisur Rahaman made clear his rejection of conventional planning approaches at his farewell address to the Bangladesh Planning Commission in 1974. On that occasion, he denounced what he referred to as prevailing mentalities of colonial tradition among Bangladeshi civil servants and intellectuals. This address is reconstructed in the first chapter of Rahaman's book People's Self-Development: A Journey through Experience. Personal reflections on planners' thinking is just one aspect of this book, which is based on the author's thought and experience during his long immersion in the field of development .

An economist by profession, Rahaman's paradigm of "people's self- development" is very much an alternative to economic models of development, also to liberal and socialist thought. Fulfillment of the human urge for creative engagement, says Rahaman, ought to be the primary task of any development effort. This requires respect for endogenous knowledge systems and value for the self- esteem of others. His narrative presents an interesting notion of self-reliance as distribution of not only resource control, but also of emotional identity. Theories of trickle-down have neglected questions of spirit and culture, the premises of societies. In so doing, they have perpetuated conceptions of hierarchical human spectrums which position some humans as superior, qualifying them to determine the development of others. Adoption of a truly empowering perspective, acknowledgment of popular urges and priorities and encouragement of the organic development of wider society is Rahaman's road to people's self-development.

The book adds to such theoretical perspectives also practical experiences of this human urge for creative engagement. One is the Bhoomi Sena (Land Army) movement initiated by young tribals
(adivasi) of Junglepatti, in Maharashtra, India in 1970, as a reaction to the failure of leftist parties to forward their cause for land rights, legally theirs. Led by Kaluram, the movement became an expression of people's struggle against inequality and oppression. Bhoomi Sena is now acting as political organization and pressure group for the cause of tribal rights.

 Another instance is that of Sarilakas (Own Strength), a project- driven effort initiated in 1981 to promote people's participation in some Philippine villages. This is an experience, says Rahaman, of how the rural poor, under specific structural conditions, and when provided with certain kinds of stimulation, opportunity and assistance, participate in collective efforts to improve their lives. Under Sarilakas people's groups came together to negotiate production loans for fertilizers and chemicals on fairer terms. Two years into pilot experimentation, requests started coming in from other communities for assistance in initiating similar groups. Constrained by the unconventional procedures it was having to adopt despite being an ILO-funded project, Sarilakas became an NGO in 1983, which continues to be active today in three provinces of the Philippines.

Rahaman cites many more cases, from as far apart as Bangladesh, Columbia and Senegal, in order to argue a point expressed, undeniably, by one tribal from Thana district, Maharashtra: "If everyone has knowledge, then no one can cheat others. Then only can we have true equality". This is the message of
"participatory action research". i.e., action research that is participatory and participatory research that unites with action
(for transforming reality). Despite differences in method and approach, ideological convergence on PAR seems to be approaching, says Rahaman. Its starting point is to encourage the underprivileged to find out why they are oppressed, through their own social investigation based on local knowledge, thus promoting critical awareness of their own environment. PAR also has important implications for social relations between the researched and the researcher, ideas well-articulated also by the late Paulo Freire.

The book's theoretical angle, at times over-the-top, is somewhat balanced by its practical chapters on people's self-development. It's material is wide-ranging and has benefited from the author's interaction with many intellectuals and activists throughout his career. The book will be of interest to development thinkers and practitioners, and particularly to our planners and policymakers, should they take the time to read it.

(M.Gautam is a Journalist)

------------------------------- Can Creative Writing Be Taught? by Samrat Upadhyay

It is noon and students in my English 313 Types of Creative Writing course are seated around a conference table. It is the first day of class. Naturally, they are anxious. They look at me, sizing me up, mentally calculating how tough it might be to extract an "A" out of this strange creature, about to teach them what many think impossible: the art of writing creatively. Finally, one of them, a blond surfer, blurts out, "I can't write. I am not a writer." I smile, for only I, among the fourteen in the class, know. By December, the end of the semester, when cool winds blow over Hawaiian islands, this student will churn out three stories, all of them of high- calibre and polished-- to his own astonishment.

Of course, I exaggerate. This is an ideal for my students; I dream that I will be able to turn not one, but all of them into writers of recognition, embodiments of genius, imagination and talent. Some in a writing class make no headway at all: they remain interred in poor writing, not grasping the essence of the craft. But there are others, like the blond surfer, who make tremendous leaps in their writing in spite of inhibitions of the self. Would students such as these have made that improvement without the benefits of writing classes? In other words: can creative writing be taught?
         If we look at the colossal increase of creative writing programs in America over the last twenty years, the answer is a definitive: yes. Described as "the most influential American theory of literature since World War II", creative writing as a discipline is attracting more and more American students. One estimate says that by 1984, creative writing programs had turned out more than 75,000 literary practitioners. According to Liam Rector, former director of Associated Writing Programs--an umbrella organization of writers and creative writing departments-- some 3,000 poets and fiction writers are graduating from creative writing programs every year.

At present, four-fifths of all American undergraduate English programs offer courses in creative writing, almost half offer specializations in creative writing. Most of these creative writing programs--two-thirds of them--are located in English departments that do not offer doctoral courses. As one writer notes, this means that for most American liberal arts students, the answer to the question, "What makes this text a poem?" is found not in literary theory but in creative writing. Surprised? There's more to come: of the universities that do offer Ph.Ds in English, 24 departments have now introduced Ph.Ds with creative dissertation. As a result of which doctoral students in these universities can choose to write a novel as an option, and hand that in as a dissertation.
         The primary method of teaching in creative writing departments is the workshop. A method that originated in Iowa, where Paul Engle started a creative writing curriculum as far back as 1937, it wasn't until the 1960s and 70s that workshops took off on America's literary landscape. The format of the traditional workshop is something like this: The instructor asks two or three students to distribute copies of their manuscripts
(stories, poems) a week before the discussion date. Students read the manuscript and comment on them. At the discussion, the student-writer whose work is being discussed, stays in a "box," that is, she is not allowed to speak up--defend, refute, clarify-
-while discussion is in progress.

This idea of "the writer in the box" follows the New Critical theory of understanding texts, which claims that the text is a coherent unity in itself, and its meaning can be derived by studying its parts without necessarily taking into account the reader's expectations, the intentions of the writer or the historical/political background that informs the text. The writer cannot jump up and say, "But that's not what I meant. If you look closely, you might find so and so." Under this format, the teacher guides the discussion, directly and indirectly, interrogating on the manuscript's strengths and weaknesses. The discussion will incorporate different aspects of fiction, including point of view, characterization, theme, setting and dialogue. The marked manuscript is then returned to the writer who will revise and submit it in a final portfolio. This is graded by the teacher at the end of the course.
         Since its inception, the creative writing workshop has produced writers who have gone on to teach the next generation of writers. In fact, the majority of writers in the United States are now affiliated with universities--either as permanent faculty teaching creative writing, or as visiting writers who teach one or two semesters and move on to the next institution. It follows that creative writing programs have potentially great influence on the non-academic production, distribution, and consumption of literature. Moreover, creative writing programs often sponsor writers' festivals, summer workshops, and readings-
-both of students and faculty--consequently, influencing public readership and understanding of literature.

Despite the growing influence of creative writing teaching, its critics continue to prevail. Some insist on the essentiality of a student's innate talent; workshops, they say, cannot further the skills of talentless students. What these critics overlook is the practice of literary criticism between writers which pre- dates establishment of the writing workshop as an institution. Others support the principles of the creative writing workshop, yet criticize its method of de-emphasizing the study of literature and critical theory and its predominant focus on the student writer's imaginative work. American writer William Gass bemoans that in a typical workshop, the students write like one another, show no interest in literature, and are interested only in expressing "a self as shallow as a saucer."

The backdrop of this criticism is that the study of contemporary literature is a fairly new phenomenon in the history of English literature. Until after the second world war there was no study of modern or contemporary literature in American universities. Now, studying Salman Rushdie alongside William Shakespeare is quite commonplace. Recent in origin, creative writing teaching has not entirely dispelled the romantic but untrue image of the writer as someone who writes in isolation, usually under flashes of genius inspiration. Despite its recentness, however, creative writing sequences are flourishing, following America, now in British universities as well. While admitting to weaknesses in current teaching methods, the development of creative writing as a discipline is positive and to be encouraged. In a world increasingly obsessed with crass consumerism and media overload, teaching creative writing validates the enduring nature of art. And art is one window to our souls.

(S.Upadhyay is finishing a novel as a dissertation at the University of Hawaii)
(Message inbox:31)
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Dear Editor,

I'm looking for a publication from the LUMLE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTRE in Nepal.

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