The Nepal Digest - June 7, 1999 (24 Jestha 2056 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Mon Jun 7, 1999: Jestha 24 2056BS: Year8 Volume87 Issue1

Today's Topics (partial list):

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Co-ordinator: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * Editor: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Technical Co-ordinators: Ananata/Kalpana Risal *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Open Position *
 * *
 * +++++ 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 5, 1999 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: Tara Niraula <> Subject: Third Annual Nepal Medical Foundation Convention

                     America Nepal Medical Foundation
                        Third Annual Convention
                             June 12-13, 1999

"Coordinating efforts to strengthen medical care in Nepal"

                             Conference Venue:

                    University of Illinois at Chicago
                Molecular Biology Research Building
                        900 South Ashland Avenue
                                 Chicago, IL 60612

America Nepal Medical Foundation sincerely extends its invitation to those who are interested in participating in the conference. This is an unique opportunity to learn and share your knowledge in various medical fields. If anyone, regardless of of his or her profession, is interested in contributing to ANMF's effort to improve health and medical condition in Nepal is highly encouraged to join us in Chicago. If you are interested in the conference and need more information, please feel free to contact Dr. Janak Koirala, Conference Coordinator by sending e-mail to or Tara Niraula to

Hope you can join us in Chicago.

Tara Niraula ANMF General Secretary

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 14:52:53 -0400 (EDT) From: Bhupendra Rawat<> To: Subject: for your amusement (fwd)

                                A Suitable Girl
                                A fictional satire
                                By Bhupendra Rawat

        My parents wanted me to get married. Every evening, as I returned home from office and slumped down on the family couch with a cup of steaming Ilam chiya, my mother's constant "its time you got married, Bhupu," only made me switch the channels all the more. OK, I agree that my parents are not orthodox morons, hell-bent on forcing me to marry someone they have chosen.

        But I couldn't help feeling very annoyed everytime the topic of wedding came up. As a 20-something male working as a banker by day, and watching movies by night, I had yet to find my Miss Right in Kathmandu. Simply put, she seemed not to exist at all.

        Meantime, the women of my dreams seemed to visit me only in my dreams: Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson Lee and other bevy of unattainably luscious babes. What's a under-pressure-to-get-married guy like me to do in Kathmandu?

        The problem seemed to sort itself out when well-meaning relatives started arranging "dates" for me. My deal was to meet carefully pre-screened (i.e. of the right caste/class/height/weight/complexion . . . whatever) Nepali women -- one at a time, at some restaurant. She and I were supposed to talk, laugh, gaze into each other's eyes, and if sparks flew, I was to ask her out again and again, until she, I suppose in a moment of insanity, said yes.

        If no sparks flew, well, there was nothing to get burned up about. This, I was assured, was a liberal Hindu's sort of halfway between a blind date and an engagement. But would I meet my soul-mate this way?

        MISS BOOK REVIEW: I met her at Nanglo on Durbar Marg. Picking at the salad, she gushed about the Beatles, Merchant-Ivory movies and Pratyoush Onta's writings. Her idea of fun included listening to Hari Prasad Chaurasiya, spending hours at Mandala Book Point and reading back issues of Himal magazine and The Kathmandu Post Review of Books. Talking with her, I felt I had to be extra witty, extra smart and extra not-so-myself. And so, in the end, with my head bursting with gyan-gun ka kura gained from her, I decided that she would be mismatched with a Yuba Manch- and Kamana-magazine reading lowbrow like me.

        Miss AMERICA-OBSESSED: At Fire & Ice in Thamel, this youngest daughter of a corrupt bureaucrat candidly admitted that the only reason she was meeting me was to find out whether I would take her to the US. Why was America so important to her? Because her sisters were there with their computer programmer husbands. Besides, she added, "In America, there would be freedom to do whatever I want". When I explained that I was in Nepal for good, largely to take care of my parents, she got up, pouted her lips, and gave me a sweet bye-bye, leaving her pizza-pie on the table, half-uneaten.

        Miss HINDI FILMI: Fashionably dressed and strikingly made up, she was waiting for me at Aroma Reastaurant in Jamal. Since the Hindi music was blaring from the speakers, we ended up chatting about Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Soon after, over mango lassi, we compared notes about the sorry state of Nepali cinema, and, she went on to express her obligatory Kathmandu's middle-classy concerns about Nepal's losing its cultural values "due to [what else but] westernization". Sadly, in the end, unlike in that super-hit ShahRukh-Kajol movie, kuch kuch did not happen between us.

        Miss NGO ACTIVIST: Over sweet and sour chicken at Rice & Bowl in Tripureswor, she looked straight into my eyes, and explained what what she had majored at some pricey liberal arts college in America. She was articulate, and seemed to know more about Nepal than I ever hoped/cared to. Her job was in Lahan, where she was supervising poor Tharu women on some gender-based income-generating project. She was obviously very smart, earnest, dedicated, and sounded like just the woman needed for Nepal ko Bikas. And so, in the end, moved both by patriotism and self-doubts, I thought such a dynamic woman must be saved to run the country someday.

        So, there I was: Four dates, and no suitable girl in arms. Surely, there must be a few marrigeable Nepali women with a great sense of humor and a zest for life, right? But, sitting here in Kathmandu, I wonder, and I wonder.

        <<Written by Bhupendra Rawat>>
        Please send your comments, if any, to

****************************************************************** From: To: Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 08:34:19 -0500 Subject: A POEM


The streets covered with every Color imaginable, The sweet aroma of spices, The land of temples and stupas, It was the magical place You had dreamt of. You with your blue eyes And strawberry blondish hair Looked alluring in this ornate city. You came to east to be a humanist, To love and to live. I wanted to learn about the land You ran away from. You wanted me to decipher The mystery of my land. We were two idealists from Lands so different and so distant. Yet our dreams felt the same- How strange! we thought. We read Yeats, Heaney, Brodsky, Devkota, Rijal, Sherchan etc. etc. In that Caf with ancient wooden Chairs under the dim lights With curious eyes all over us. The mountains so majestic Racing to touch the sky, The debonair eyes of Swayambhu Nath Glancing lovingly, The chanting of the Holy Men and the Monks, You and I in the midst of all- The Kathmandu Valley seemed like The Garden of Eden. Now I am in your land. How ironic ! you would say. I went back to that Caf=E9 recently, Nothing had changed But nothing felt the same. I could hear the song
"EAUTA MANCHEKO MAYA LE KATI PHARAK PRADA CHHA JINDAGIMA" Coming out from somewhere in this Melancholically beautiful city.

-Satish Mishra

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 16:37:34 +0700 (GMT+0700) From: Dinesh Raj Manandhar <> To: Subject: Announcement

Could you please post this announcement in the TND news.


Nepal Engineers' Association Bangkok Center and National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal is jointly organizing an international seminar on "Challenges in Infrastructure Development in Kathmandu Valley" on May 23rd, 1999 at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

The basic aim of this seminar is to discuss various environmental issues that is deteriorating the micro-urban climate of the valley. The professionals need to come out with some resolutions regarding the matter.

For details, please visit the following web-site;

Sincerely Dinesh Manandhar General Secretary NEA Bangkok Center

****************************************************************** From: "Ken Pumford" <> To: "The Nepal Digest" <> Subject: Nepal needs a presidential system of government Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 22:18:50 -0400

The below article is from the Wall Street Journal a few days back. Substitute "Nepal" for "India" and "8 years" of the constitution instead of
"50 years" as you read, and then tell me what you think. Regards,

Ken Pumford

India [and Nepal] Needs a Presidential System By Tunku Varadarajan

India, that vast and defective democracy, is again in political tumult. Parliament has been dissolved, and fresh elections called, a mere 13 months after the last weary trudge to the polls. The elections, the third in three years, have been forced on India as a result of the collapse of the Hindu nationalist coalition of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The govemment's defeat in a vote of confidence was engineered by an unlikely alliance of opposition parties, including the once-mighty Congress Party. Once they had toppled Mr. Vajpayee, however, they could not assemble a coalition to replace the one he had led. The same old parties will be on the electoral menu, with the same old leaders, guaranteeing yet more incoherence. The recipe is maddening: Take an election, add 40-odd parties (invariably defined on the basis of region, religion, language, caste or a leader's personality), stir in 600 million voters, add violence and vote-rigging for spice, shake vigorously, and then decant the end-product into one of New Delhi's finest colonial buildings. What does this recipe yield? A hung and fractious Parliament, of course, where no party can govem independently. India's civitas faces a profound crisis. Parliament, its primary institution, is in a state of decomposition. The country's political thinkers must now engage in a debate that should be central to Indian political discourse: Should the parliamentary system of government, adopted by India in emulation of the Westminster model, be scrapped? Would not a presidential form of government, akin to that of the U.S., be ,more appropriate for India? B.R. Ambedkar, chairman of the Drafting Committee of India's Constituent Assembly, once remarked that "a constitution is as much a matter of taste as clothes are. Both must fit, both must please." The present constitution of India now neither fits nor pleases. It is appropriate that a nation like India-immense, ambitious and passionate-should review its political institutions. They were adopted only 50 years ago, in the most audacious democratic enterprise in history, and adopted for no reason that should compel the country to persevere with them now that they have failed. The framers of India's constitution, driven by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister, opted for the Westminster model because it was "familiar," a word Mr. Nehru employed in a Constituent Assembly debate in July 1947. Yet 6 many British politicians expressed misgivings about-the viability of transplanting the Westminster system to India. Clement Attlee, as a member of a constitutional commission, suggested to Indian leaders that they consider the American presidential system as a better model. But, he was to reveal, "they rejected it with great emphasis. I had the feeling that they thought I was offering them margarine instead of butter." The parliamentary system did appear to work in the first few decades after India's independence. In 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967 and 1971, the Congress Party won clear, often resounding, majorities. It was not difficult to see why: Congress was the party of the independence movement, and its leaders were
"freedom fighters." In the 1980s, however, the Congress Party unraveled, losing not just its last shreds of ideology but also the charismatic leaders whose presence had often compensated for its ideological bankruptcy. Regional, religious and caste-based parties mushroomed, and the country became an electoral battleground for a multitude of capricious tendencies. As Indian political analyst Shashi Tharoor has observed, "The parliamentary system assumes a number of conditions for its successful operation that simply do not exist in India. It requires the existence of clearly defined parties, each with a coherent set of policies and preferences that distinguish it from the next, whereas in India a party is merely a label of convenience that a politician adopts and discards as frequently as a Bombay film star changes costume." A presidential system preferably along American lines, with an entrenched separation of powers, might enable India to overcome its perpetual executive paralysis. It would allow the executive to govern for a full term, without fear of being toppled by a venal opposition. It would let the beleaguered Indian voters, presently held hostage by a push-me-pull-you of political parties, enjoy a clear choice of leader at election time. An executive presidency would also allow for a cabinet selected on merit, rather than on purely political considerations. Guarantees against an elective dictatorship-such as banning a third term in office and, perhaps, re-election for consecutive terms -would need to be put in place. A debate must now begin in India to find that mode of election that, to use Alexis de Tocqueville's words, "while expressing the real will of the people, would least arouse their passions and leave them least in suspense." For India, that system is the presidential one. Mr. Varadarajan, a writer based in New York, formerly taught constitutional and international law at Oxford University.

************************************************************** Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 15:25:18 -0400 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<> To: <> Subject: News Clippings

Electoral campaigning yet to gain feverish pitch in Sarlahi In what may be a cliffhanging contest, Khobhari Raya to face his own one-time henchman in Sarlahi
<> Consider the fact that it is the former NC District Development Committee (DDC) chairman Tapasi Yadav who has filed nomination on NSP ticket. Since this is something which can go a long way is damaging the prospects of NC candidate...............

Subject: Alien Presence!

What has it meant to be an international student on this campus? All this talk on the Balkans and Iraq have inspired me to ponder on this question. I don't want to be giving an exhaustive answer, but I will be lucky if I manage to start talk.

Of course I got told "So you go up Mt. Everest during weekends?" during my first week here. (Yeah, alright!) If it were not for the innocence with which the question was asked, it would have spoilt my entire week - like So Where Am I Now After Having Flown For 33 Hours?

And of course everyone thought I was Indian on first spotting. Well I am 50% that. My mother's side of the family is Indian but I grew up in Nepal. Curiously the Indian in me is coming out more fully here in the US. To the point I no longer refer to myself as a Nepali but a South Asian; that is a more accurate description of me anyway. Plus that makes Ferdy, Migmar, Dinesh, Cawas, Smitha, the Sri Lankan twins, Basheer, Gul and all the others - even Steve - in the gang feel included, no small feat.

And then there was that SGA experience: "If you don't like the Visitation Policy, GO HOME!" Home is where the heart is; my heart is in cyberspace! Search for "paramendra bhagat" on AltaVista.

And the money thing. First you get bombarded with all the Hollywood- manufactured stereotypes: "Do you have telephones in your country?" That must have come straight from the images from the Ethiopian famine of was it 1983.

Somewhere during my stint with the SGA I had become the Son of the Sultan of Brunei. (I blamed my upper middle class Host Family for that...what else?) Okay okay, I was lucky enough to attend the best school in my country, but I was there on a scholarship like I am here at Berea. Most of what I wear I got from the Attic. Two of my jackets were given to me by two roommates. (Gosh, I have had so many roommates). My family is not poor; it is not rich. Heck, Nepal is the second poorest country on the planet. It is the Appalachia of the world. We have mountains too, only they are higher. Half the world's highest mountains are in Nepal. (To this Dr. Lipchinsky said,"So what is your contribution to that?" Sent me thinking.)

This year, gladly that sultanaite image has gradually washed away (I hope!). I am as far away from the "limelight" as I could manage to get this year.

And the Bid Daddy of All, Hinduism. Noah cornered me my first month here to get me to tell him about Hinduism. It took us about five minutes to realize he knew more on the topic than I did. And then I have been cornered by some a couple times who somehow got the idea I was lost and needed to be found. I tell them all the Mahatma Gandhi anecdote.

Once Gandhi was asked as to what he thought of Western Civilization. He thought hard and long and said,"That would be a good idea."

And then I probably have been asked more questions about arranged marriages than any other single topic about South Asia. Well, I think people have arranged marriages here too. Most people marry people from the same race, similar educational and socio-economic backgrounds. Only the society here is more individualitic; back home things are more communal.

I mean, C'mon, 1500 students and three inter-racial couples; that is no accident.

I have recently been caught ccMailing "I want to marry an American. Law Schools don't seem to have much Financial Aid for aliens." Multiple meanings to the ad- like statement. Like my friend Laura said equally sarcastically at the beginning of this year," _______ got me pregnant. Now he gets the green card and I get the gold card."

And then you try to mingle with the black students and get told by some, "Go away, you are not even black, you are only passing for black!"

And then Jeremy Zimmerman (former Pinnacle Editor and a close friend of mine from my days with the Pinnacle in Fall 1996...he is now with played a joke on me last January. I gave a speech on MLK Day at the City Hall, and he put out a front-page, full-page article in the Pinnacle in which he put these unspoken words into my mouth: "My people are not white, they are not black, they are chocolate." His word for brown, I guess.

So much for the unfathomables of race relations.

I am so glad I switched my Major to Sociology. That is one place where a passionate discussion of Race Relations and Cultural Diversity seems to work for you rather than against you. Sociology, the Queen of the Social Sciences. Plus there is no recommended Major for Law anyway.

My latest passion, the Global South. I am the real Southerner around here. Did I tell you I would be a Southerner in Nepal? My hometown and homevillage are flat like the floor. We live less than a hundred feet above sea level and 10 miles from the Indian border. It has never for once snowed in my hometown. Summers are so hot streets go dead around 1 PM. Siesta time.

Originally written for the Berea College Roundtable Discussions Board. Subject: Re[5]: Yes--skip classes on April 30th!!!

With some good news in Belgrade for NATO, there might be an opportunity here on the RT to discuss more facets of the Iraqi situation.

(1) Can the US be held solely responsible for the tragic deaths that are
    resulting from the sanctions in Iraq? How much of that responsibility goes
    Saddam's way?
(2) What is the goal in Iraq, to topple Saddam? A US-created (partly) Cold War
    reality that has become an embarassment in its aftermath?
(3) If democracy is an issue, what's up with the King of Saudi Arabia and the
    Emir of Kuwait as the others? Why do the Arab masses find Saddam more
    appealing than the royalty in the region? Is he one step closer to democracy
    than the royal families, despite all his despotic garb?
(4) What has been the US track record as far as cultural sensitivity to the Arab
    world is concerned? I mean, look at the Hollywood-generated stereotype of
    the Muslims. Does that make the Arabs more defensive of their obviously
    defunct non-democratic norms?
(5) China could be pulled in here. It is hard to understand the entrenchedness
    of the communist regime in Beijing without looking at the backdrop of
    Western Imperialism, or the treatment of the Asian Americans by the right
    end of the political spectrum in the US NOW and TODAY, all those hawks who
    work to demonize China because that would feed the military-industrial
(6) And, true, no matter what the discussions, lives are being lost in Iraq. It
    is a serious catastrophe, no doubt.
(7) "Keep the conversation going."

PS. This ties in with my talk of democracy and the Global South, as far the relevance to TND is concerned. The Balkans and the Mid-East are relevant for TND.

Subject: Contributions Requested and a Y2K Invitation to the BKS 200s

I encourage TND readers to contribute to the two publications mentioned below by Dilip Parajuli and Nuru Lama. And a call to the BKS 200s from Wagle. Berea bhaneko kata ho po bhanchha sompe ta! Please respond. Thanks all. From: Dilip Parajuli <> From: "Lama Nuru" <> at berlink


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 17:34:23 EDT Subject: tnd and knowledge creation To: From: Seira Tamang <>

Editors: This was published in the KPRB a month of so ago. I thought it would be interesting for discussion purposes to repost this on TND - especially given the essay's topic. This revised version is posted on the KPBR web page, and differs from the original printed (I couldn't get the revisions in on time). Regards, Seira Tamang

Legitimating Marginalized Voices

        The fact that book reviews in the Kathmandu Post are being read and discussed by readers located in various parts of the globe in electronic news and discussion forums, highlights the manner in which the nature of knowledge production concerning Nepal and Nepalis has reached a certain juncture. While not seeking to over-emphasize the importance or indeed the impact of such commentaries, it is clear that authors encased in the ivory towers of academia, the world of bikas or the book publishing industry (none of these categories being mutually exclusive), can no longer continue to function as islands of privileged and unchallenged producers of "truth" and "knowledge".
        However, what has also become clear is that while critiques and commentaries from various different sources may be taking more innovative and accessible forms, underlying structures of power that gird the manner in which "knowledge" is found to be "legitimate" remains unchanged. Nepalis may be creating spaces from which to be heard, but their voices and concerns continue to be marginalized.
        For example, in a recent issue of The Nepal Digest (TND), an electronic news and discussion bulletin, Princeton University Professor Vincanne Adams responded to a review of her book "Doctors For Democracy" by Kathmandu Model Hospital's Dr. Saroj Shital - a review originally published in the Kathmandu Post Review of Books, but re-posted on TND. Her response included the following sentence: "I also resist the urge to incite and further intellectual hostilities at a time when nearly every position adopted by Nepali and/or foreigner working in Nepal is interpreted as self-aggrandizing political profiteering."
        It is apparent then, that while there is much talk about the need to create political spaces and exchange ideas and opinions, the questioning of one's work by the "natives" still can not be construed legitimately as
"constructive criticism". It can but only be "intellectual hostility". Such a standpoint is not surprising given the history of Nepali intellectuals' uncritical adulation of material produced by Westerners, embedded of course, in institutionalized hierarchies of subjects and knowledges - the Occidental and the Oriental, the scientific and the superstitious, the civilized and the primitive and the developed and the underdeveloped. Nepalis' actively critiquing work - and that too negatively - does indeed threaten to destabilize the old order.
        That much of Shital's review questions the import of Adams' underlying premises suggests that these destabilizing voices may less be concerned with "self-aggrandizing political profiteering" than sharply probing to discover what, if anything, an academic study has to offer to those immersed in the pressing problems it purports to describe and analyze. For example, he states "Adams seems intrigued by the thinness of the boundary between the use of politics for people's health, and the vulgar politicizing of medicine. She tries hard, through most of the book, to justify the political actions of medical professionals. In the Nepali context, this fact is so obvious that her exercise was not necessary at all."
        That the issue is one of difference in the subjective opinions and subject positions of the two authors is very clear. What is of interest here is Adams' response to Shital's questioning of her research premises -
"Readers unsympathetic to the ways that scholars contest scientific universalisms and acultural objectivism will be confounded and perhaps irritated by this reading." So it is that while both their stances are based on their personal, subjective interpretations and subject opinions, Adams recourse to scholastic methodology and vocabulary both renders marginal Shital's concerns and places her agenda on the higher ground. In so far as theory derives its substantiation from lived reality, surely her proclaimed goals of writing to "raise questions and place issues on the map for discussion, not just for Nepalis but many others who are questioning the nature, forms, and possibilities for democracy in the late 20th century", cannot be done without engaging in the fundamental questions of the relevance of research to experienced materiality.
        The negating of native concerns as it threatens one's authority to speak on their behalf is made all the more clear in another conversation that took place on the TND over a year ago. This particular encounter involved fiction writer Khagendra Sangraula and his critique (again re-posted on TND from the KP Review of Books) of Michael Hutt's translations of Nepali literature. It would seem obvious that regardless of the number of years one studies or "immerses" (whatever that means) oneself in an foreign language, there is always the possibility of missing some nuanced meanings. Indeed, given that Hutt is British and teaches at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London which limits his visits to Nepal; and that he has articulated feeling awkward about "bothering" his Nepali friends and teachers with pesky linguistic queries; and that he has said in England most Nepalis are either waiters or such others who are not interested in Nepali literature thus limiting his recourse to help whilst at home (these views expressed by Hutt at a Martin Chautari meeting some years back), questions of linguistic competence (as well as knowledge of the heterogeneity of the ethnically Nepali population in the England that is outside of SOAS) should be natural.
        However, faced with criticisms of mis-translations and therefore mis-portrayals of Nepali literature and society from a Nepali writer renowned for his literary skill, style and powerful social critiques, Hutt's response is encapsulated in his statement concerning his rendition of a particular stanza: "I simply cannot see what is wrong with this translation." It is also clear that Hutt is unable to see how language and its meanings are embedded in specific, socio-historical contexts, and how thus not having lived through certain periods, and lived them with the historical burden of being an inhabitant as opposed to a visitor, might impede on one's ability to fully comprehend certain facets of a country's literature.
        What he can and does see, however, is Sangraula's essay as a racially motivated rant. But in so far as literature develops within the context and content of society and its historical changes, is not the tyranny of de-nuanced, sanitized, sterilized, incorrect and perhaps even flippant translations as they strip and rob one of the felt joys, anguish and pain of shared societal experiences and realities, legitimately worthy of a passionate response? And isn't the mentioning of race by Sangraula less illustrative of a "racist agenda" than an awareness of the dynamics of living in a post-colonial, late capitalist world where structured inequalities permeate action and discourse at every level? For why else has "the foremost foreign expert on modern Nepali literature" hitherto not been reviewed by a jury of his peers (in the true sense) - Nepali or otherwise?
        To end, it is interesting to note that in the preface of the 1997 book "Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom", the editors thought it appropriate to put in the following sentence: "As foreign academics our job is simply to provide a record and analysis. It is for the Nepali people themselves to determine their own political destiny." Very analogous to Adams' own assertion that her "effort was not prescriptive but descriptive", such statements only serve to reinforce the "objective, scientific, and rational" stance from which they claim to produce "legitimate knowledge" , while reinforcing the dichotomy of who provides the theory (them) and who provides the practice/action (Nepalis). To question the relevance as well as the accuracy of work produced on Nepal is to challenge such dichotomies and the theoretical categories by which Nepal and Nepalis have and continue to be framed. It is furthermore to attempt to theorize lived experiences in conceptual frameworks which are actually relevant and make sense.

Seira Tamang

************************************************************ Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 11:27:17 -0400 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<> To: <> Subject: Coke Is It!

(Originally written for a College Friend at Berea)

I was born into this huge farming family, so many married couples and kids living under this one roof in this huge big house. My great-grandfather, who was around as late as 1989, had more land than anyone else in the village, Gonarpura in Mahottari District, Nepal of course. Then this royal dentist Baasanta Bahadur Shreshtha from Kathmandu came along. The king had granted him a third of the land in the village. The villagers did not like the doctor at all. There were riots. He was given refuge by my great-grandfather. In return the doctor offered to take my father to Kathmandu, Class 8 onwards. He did not complete college
(BIG MISTAKE...did the doctor give bad advice, did some deliberate misleading!), went to Muzzafarpur in Bihar, India - Bihar being the second most populous state in India and its poorest ... incidentally one of my mother's cousins is Education Minister of the state today, Laloo ka Admi maternal grandfather from Banjhula village in Sitamadhi District had five times as much land as my great-grandfather ...well he also had two wives and three sons and four daughters! - got some technical training and set up shop in my hometown, the largest radio and electronics shop in town until it collapsed in the late 80s; his elder brother supposedly did some backstabbing and the head mechanic Bhola Mistri (from Samastipur, Bihar) played foul, and my father really never was much too eager about book-keeping, Thulo Manchhe Ko Nati.

I started my education at home; private tutoring with Chhabilal Master Saheb. Then I did my brief stint at the village school. Then my father got me and mother to the town. I still remember that rickshaw ride when my mother failed to spot the shop and we let the rickshaw wheel right past by the shop: Natraj Sound Service, Station Road, Janakpurdham. I must have been barely five. I got admitted to about three different public schools before someone from Kathmandu set up the town's first English Medium School, Janaki English Medium Boarding School. I am the first batch of that school. They still have my picture in the Principal's office today. All this in my hometown Janakpurdham. Mohan Sir egged my father on to send me "some place else." Durga Sir gave me my cursive handwriting. Don Sir had a huge vocabulary; he gave me a little of it. Shanti Miss was tall like Don Sir.

Then of course when I was about ten I got admitted to the National School where I was set for a decade; I would be home four months a year though. I was there on a half scholarship - 50-50 between the family and His Majesty's Government. The final three years Dr.Lady Shirley Richmond from Manchester, England took my family's tab. Shirley and I are still in touch. Her brother is married to an American and lives in Denver. Her husband was (or still is) Chancellor or Vice- Chancellor of Manchester University.

During those Janakpur days, it was a family thing to go to the movies every Saturday evening. The town had only one movie theater, Hanuman Talkies; now it has three - the second, Neelam Chalachitra Mandir, is two houses from my house, 2/412 Bhagat Niwas, Kamala Path, Janakpurdham. And they would bring along a new movie every week, so it worked out just fine. Of course all Hindi movies.

That is how I became an Amitabh Bachchan fan. I grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan. At my high school I used to imitate his hairstyle. The politics bug bit me much later when I got into trouble with the school administration towards the end of my Class 10 year until when I had been the top of my class; one year I had the highest marks in every single subject. The party I was associated with will do good in the May 3, 17 elections being held. Watch out for the Nepal Sadbhavana Party. The Madhesi community I am born into in Nepal is 50% of the country's population, less than 25% of the parliament, less than 10% of the state apparatus, less than 5% of the police, and there is virtually no representation in the Royal Nepalese Army.

But then we will have to talk about the Nepali Speaking High Caste Male and the White Male later.

But now when I think of Nepal it is so only in terms of the Global South. Being the second poorest country on the planet it serves the purpose of a human laboratory I guess, a microcosm of the larger Global South; if democracy and free markets can be shown to work there, they can be said to work most anywhere else. I continue to keep abreast of developments in Nepal's politics. will help me move onto South Asia beyond Nepal and I will retain that as homebase forever; it is a fifth of the planet after all, and I need to embrace India as my motherland - Nepal is fatherland. Going to Nepal to run for public office is out of question. It is more than the economy that is going global. There is a dearth of political voice on behalf of the Global South. Maybe I can find a niche for myself somewhere there.

Before they started the movie they would show the commercials. The Coke commercials were my favorite; sometimes they were better than the movies even. They would always end with the exclamatory statement, "Coke Is It!"

Lack of 'good governance' causes poor performance of Nepali economy
<> Global Capitalism Versus Democracy
<> Confused and disenchanted nation goes to poll May 3
<> Election expectations
<> Election '99: Making a flawed transformation work
<> Day of reckoning nears for Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in Parsa
<> Majority party is not the answer
<> Living with coalitions
<> Journos guess on poll result
<> Dynamic leadership: Need of the new millennium
<> The present UML leaders are enjoying over our contributions in the party: Bamdev Gautam
<> Will Majority Government Be Stable?
<> BHATTARAI'S CAMPAIGN Approaching Voters

****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 15:50:42 +1000 From: Marcus Hardie & Megan Hill <> To: Subject: Projects in nepal

Dear Information Officer

I am Marcus Hardie, and I have been accepted on the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program (AYAD). As a Youth Ambassador I am available to work as a volunteer on development based projects for organisations based in the Asia Pacific region for a minimum period of 3 months to a maximum of 12 months.

More detailed information about the AYA program, can be obtained from the website at or from Colleen Doyle on email or fax 2 6248 0525

I am contacting your organisation to ascertain if there are any opportunities available where you may be able to utilise my skills.

I am a soil scientist specialising in crop-soil-water interactions, irrigation science and soil structure assessment. I have experience in conducting research projects in cropping, pasture and forested environments as well as an academic background in zoology and environmental impact assessment.

I completed my Bachelor of Science Degree (honours) from Monash University, Australia with majors in Zoology and Physical Geography , and a Masters of Science (Research) at Ballarat University, Australia.

Currently I am working as Research Officer for the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations (BSES) in Proserpine, Queensland. I am the supervisor of two research projects aiming to improve irrigation efficiency and crop production in the Central region of the Australian Sugar Industry. My research requires the use of weather station data, basic GIS systems, digital soil mapping, surface infiltration and irrigation optimisation models, crop simulation models, field experimentation, and extension of results for adoption by growers.

I also have considerable leadership and team member trained having been active in the emergency services for almost eight years.

I have attached my CV for your reference.

I would ask you to contact me as soon as possible to advise me if your organisation could be of assistance to me. My contact details are:-

Phone 61 7 49451844 Fax 61 7 0749452721 Email or

Yours Sincerely Marcus Hardie

Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 14:10:37 -0400 From: "Paramendra Bhagat"<> To: <> Subject: A Letter of Protest

Dear Editor(s),

I insist that this letter be published in the Digest unedited.

I have been a regular contributor to the Digest since May 1998. This past year my contributions have been more voluminous than that of any other single contributor. I have put in a lot of time into the venture and hope to continue doing so as long as everything I submit gets published unedited.

While discussing the Terai-specific issues I have taken a lot of hits from the Digest readers. I am okay with that because the hits I have taken are nothing compared to the hits the Madhesi vendors take everyday out there in the streets of Kathmandu.

And there have been many voices that have wanted the Digest Editors to silence me. There have been attempts at censorship. Although the readers have a right to express their opinions which might include the call to curtail the same for me, I have been glad the Editors have largely continued with the Digest policy of publishing every submission unedited.

Until recently.

A few months back I wrote back a response to a Princeton anthropologist; that article never came out.

I have been submitting links to news on India with commentaries so as to make them relevant to the need for the emergence of a coalition culture in Nepal. Some of those commentaries have been erased. Especially those where I suggest the large roles the AIADMK and the SP have played in India show the smaller parties in Nepal will have roles much larger to what their sizes might suggest.

I sent stuff on the war in the Balkans. I have been in touch with Ingo Jaeger of the International Union of Students. I received a lot of raw e-mails from Belgrade. I consider the topic pertinent to Nepal. I find any discussion on the Kosovar Albanians pertinent to the talks on the question of minorities everywhere. The Serbs who have blindly rallied behind Milosevic remind me of those in the context of Nepal who refuse to concede ground and admit the Madhesi community has been treated unfairly.

And then the volume of my contributions. There can never be a complaint that I write too much. I understand you all are volunteers and truly appreciate the effort you have been putting into this venture, but why can't we just put out more issues if you get more contributions than can be handled at the current pace? You have done that in the past.

But as long as you do ultimately publish every submission, it is okay if you bring out the Digest at the rate of one a week. For example if we could regularize the Digest so that you put out a new issue every Saturday or something of that sort that would be nice.

To conclude, I appreciate the time the Digest Board puts into this venture, but I request that ALL of my past submissions get published. Everything I have submited does tie into Nepal in some way. Plus I hope to raise many issues related to the Global South at-large over the coming weeks and months. All of them will be relevant to Nepal. We have to take Digest beyond a place where people look for phone numbers. Primarily the Digest ought to go wherever its contributors take it. It ought to continue being the Hyde Park it has largely been. If some day the Digest ceases to publish every submission it gets, it ceases to be The Nepal Digest.

I hope to generate a major discussion on the National Economy on this forum over the coming months.

Thanks, Paramendra Bhagat

Nepal's troubled young democracy shows ugly side Guardian article By Jason Burke, Islamabad Sunday May 2, 1999

This year, the coming of May signals more than the end of the trekking season to the people of Nepal. Tomorrow, more than five million of them will vote in the first round of the country's national election. A further five million will go to the polls two weeks later. But though the streets of Katmandu are decked with colourful posters and tourists fill the capital's hotels, this election - the third since the King introduced democratic reforms a decade ago - is taking place against a backdrop of violence, fear and cynicism. Nepal's young democracy is growing up to be an ugly child.

On 8 January, just before King Birendra called the poll, relatives of Rajendra Dhakal, a lawyer and rights activist, saw that ugliness at close quarters. Dhakal disappeared in Jamdi in the southern Tanahun District. His relatives say he was taken with two local teachers to a police station. The teachers were released, but Dhakal was not.

Police say Dhakal was involved in Maoist bomb attacks and assassinations in southern Nepal. Friends say Dhakal had been arrested repeatedly, but was not working with the terrorists. The police deny arresting him.

His family fears Dhakal is one of hundreds killed by police in anti-terrorism operations. Amnesty International alleges that authorities have a policy of extra-judicial murders,
'disappearances', torture, rape and harassment. In just one anti-guerrilla operation last year, 227 people were killed by police, Amnesty says. The government may have dismissed Amnesty's report as 'propaganda' but its precision is convincing.

Amnesty highlights three favoured methods of torture: falanga, battering a suspect's feet with sticks; belana, rolling heavy rods over the thighs; and telefono, boxing a suspect's ears.

Torture victims can seek compensation. But only 12 came forward last year and six withdrew their allegations after intimidation. 'Once we were a peaceful, moderate place,' said Srish Pradsan, editor of Explore Nepal, a current affairs weekly. 'Now we are plunging into confrontation and violence.'

Few expect the election to solve Nepal's problems. The moderate Nepali Congress Party appears likely to gather the most votes but is unlikely to win an absolute majority. Such a result will do nothing to arrest the slide into instability that has brought six governments in four years.

International lending institutions say Nepal's economy has gone backwards over the past 20 years, while corruption scandals have tarnished its parliament's reputation.

As Lal Bahadur, a nightwatchman in Katmandu, said yesterday: 'The poor will stay poor whatever I do, so what's the point of voting?'

<> Benazir may not come back

02 May 1999 Sunday 15 Muharram 1420

Benazir may not come back By Our Staff Correspondent

LONDON, May 1: The Independent newspaper said on Saturday that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was likely to live in self- exile instead of returning to Pakistan where she feared her arrest.

"When the sentence was passed, Bhutto was staying with a sister in London, and it was airily predicted that she would return to Pakistan within a couple of days," the paper said. "But Bibi, as she is known, has proved more cautious: had she gone back she would have been arrested."

After her disqualification, Ms Bhutto had said that she would return to Pakistan. However, later she said she had been stopped by her party from returning.

Gautam not sure of winning polls
<> Uncertainty in India
<> Postmodernist turn in Nepali politics
<> Women more enthusiastic about elections than men
<> NC confident of sweeping polls
"I won't contest another elections if NC does not win 130 seats this time," Bhattarai told an election rally here. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala also addressed the final day rally.
<> Bijukchhe to face tough time
<> Maoist rebels declare war on Nepalese democracy The rebels model themselves on Peru's Shining Path guerrillas and advocate a similar form of agrarian, peasant revolution.
< 90502083508.newsasia.html> Nepal goes to the polls with fingers crossed- Nepal's economy grew just 1.9 percent last year -- the worst figure in 10 years
 -- and annual per capita income is the lowest in South Asia at 210 dollars. The candidates in this election have had to face a deeply cynical electorate, angry at official corruption, economic mismanagement, rising crime and inflation. Some like Kakshapati would prefer to see a presidential style of government capable of providing some political continuity.
"Parliamentary democracy has spawned nepotism and corruption," he said. "We used to have one king, now we have 205."
< 90502064823.newsasia.html> Lynch mobs turn supporters of former Nepalese premier- Nine years of political instability, economic mismanagement, corruption and nepotism have left many voters bitter and disillusioned, and paved the way for the unlikeliest of political resurrections.
< 90502064005.newsasia.html>
  Top Indian industrialist calls for sweeping privatisation
< 90502080940.newsasia.html> Congress leaders contests election on Dawood's expenses
<> 2.5 million for PM's signature
<> NC, UML workers clash in Biratnagar
>From roads to law and order, nothing seems to go right in Janakpur
<> Nepalis Vote Amid Tight Security After Clashes----------------------------- One person was killed Monday and seven were wounded when rival party workers fired gun shots at each other at an election polling center in southern Nepal, police said......Analysts say that neither of the main political parties, the centrist Nepali Congress and the Communist United Marxist-Leninist, is likely to be given a clear majority of the 205 parliamentary seats by the 13.5 million-strong electorate.......The last election, in 1994, brought a splintered lower house of parliament and ushered in four and a half years of political instability and relative neglect of a slowing economy. There have been six wobbly coalition or minority governments since 1994.
< nepal_elections_6.html>

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