The Nepal Digest - March 10, 1999 (26 Falgun 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wednesday Mar 10, 1999: Falgun 26 2055BS: Year8 Volume84 Issue1

Today's Topics (partial list):

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * 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: Sat, Feb 13, 1999 To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Nepal News Source: various nepali newspapers

Smugglers misuse refugee ID cards By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Feb 9 - Amid reports of the misuse of diplomatic passports by the aides of former parliamentarians, police has uncovered a new racket involved in the misuse of refugee identity cards for smuggling.

According to sources with the authorities concerned, officials have found the misuse of fake travel documents in the name of Tibetan refugees. "Such travel documents are not only used to travel to such destinations as the United States of America (USA) but are also used in smuggling", the source added.

Furthermore, police has also found the evidences of the involvement of officials with the National Investigation Department (NID) in such deals. According to a source with Crime Investigation Department of Nepal Police, NID officials- Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Keshav Bahadur Singh, Inspectors duo Rejendra GC and Sarad GC - have been taken into custody.

The connection of NID officials was revealed after police arrested one Lakpa Lal Shreshtha of Chundevi who according to police was involved in smuggling. Police said that the NID officials had taken Rs 1.4 millions as bribe from the miscreants. Commenting on the colleagues taken into custody on charges of collaborating with smuggler, NID chief Hari Babu Chaudhary said he is "not going pardon those involved in such crimes". Some NID sources,meanwhile, said "not only NID officials but Nepal Police officials and Immigration officials are also involved in this collaboration with smugglers."

Although not a single refugee identity card has been issued for the last three years or so, police suspect the misuse of such cards in significant numbers. Chief District Officer (CDO) of Kathmandu district, Usha Nepal, confirmed that the local administration office has not issued any card since the last four-five years.
"If any body claims to have owned a new refugee identity card, the card is a fake one," CDO Nepal said. "Although we very often get reports of fake refugee cards, we canít take action for the lack of evidences."

-------------------- Who are traders of red passport?

In April last year, Nima Tshering of Manang was arrested in Australia with the passport of then Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat. However, no action was taken. Later, a news item was published that smuggler Amir Gurung was arrested with a red passport of then Assistant Minister for Health Ram Chandra Adhikary, and that former state minister Hasta Bahadur Malla, while trying to send three women to London using red passports, was arrested in New Delhi. He was released by the Indian authorities after the Nepalese ambassador intervened.

Nepali Congress expelled Adhikary and Malla from the party for a period of one year. People had also expected the government would take action against them. The government formed a three-member commission chaired by Sri Kant Regmi, special secretary at the Ministry of Home. The formation of the commission was a mere drama. The commission was authorised only to submit its report on how the misuses were carried out and recommendation to prevent them. The commission has not power to take any kind of action. There is doubt as to whether any action will be taken against the 60 or more people who have misused their passports. It is also said that INTERPOL had informed the Nepalese police about the misuse of red passports by more than 40 MPs.

During the Panchayat period, action was taken against King Mahendraís ADC and Nepalese Cultural Attach&#142; Manik Lal Bajracharya for misusing his passport. But it is a matter of shame that no action has been taken action against such mis-users at present. But the government have not made the names of those who misused the passports public. Some of those who misused the passports include Ram Sharan Mahat, Ram Chandra Adhikary, Hasta Bahadur Malla, Bala Bahadur KC, Mani Lama, Meen B. Khatry, Bipin Koirala, Palten Gurung, Chinkaji Shrestha, Anis Ansari, Mahendra Dhoj G.C., Rajdev Goit, Dr. Dhruba Sharma, Ramjanam Chaudhary, Deepakjung Shah, Chakra Bahadur Shahi, Moti Prasad Pahari, Gopalji Jung Shah, Surendra Hamal Krishna Prasad Gautam, Sushil Man Sherchan, Surendra Prasad Chaudhary and Devendra Kandelóall from the Nepali Congress.

Similarly, Kashinath Adhikary, Majhilal Tharu Thanet, Dana Lal Chaudhary, Jhalanath Khanal, Ishwor Pokharel, Dev Shankar Poudel, Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Himanchal Bhattarai, Ram Nath Dhakal, Birodh Khatiwada, Jagrit Prasad Bhetwal, Mitharam Sharma Bajagain, Lila Shrestha (Subba), Nil Bahadur Tilija from the UML. Likewise, Keshab Lal Shrestha, Hemraj Rai, Jagat Bahadur Bogati, Dev Bahadur Poudel, Ram Lakhan Mahato and Hikmat Bahadur Shahi from the ML, Ravindra Nath Sharma, Khovari Raya, Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani and Rajiv Parajuli from the Rasriya Prajatantra Party.
(Jana Khulamancha, Wednesday, Feb. 3)

-------------------- Gold rush at TIA as election nears

The flooding in of gold through the Tribhuvan International Airport custom and the government keeping silent about it says only one thing. The government is approving the smuggling of gold inside the country. According to sources at the airport custom, every day 150 to 250 kilograms of gold is imported into the country. The custom of the gold amounts to more than Rs. 35 million. However, the actual custom paid is much less or even negligible. Big smugglers have made agreement with the chief of the custom. According to it, they have to pay the custom officials Rs. 7,000 for every 10 kilo of gold smuggled in. Similarly, the police, the special police and the Revenue Investigation Department at the airport have their own agreements with the smugglers. They are paid Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 each for the same amount of gold imported.

(Janasatta, February 6, Saturday)

--------------------- Oli worths Rs. 600 million

It is a matter of surprise that Khadga Prasad Oli, who used to walk around with slippers in Jhapa is now a billionaire. According to an infamous businessman, Oli had told him that he wanted to start a business. When the businessman said he would invest Rs. 60 million, Oli was disappointed. During the meeting, Oli said he had 600 million rupees. But the businessman said he could not invest more than 60 million rupees.

(Janata, Saturday, Feb. 6)

-------------------------------------- RNAC suffered Rs. 8 crore loss in Chase Air scandal

The Royal Nepal Airlines suffered a loss of Rs. 8 crore in the Chase Air Boeing scandal, disclosed Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Rawal. Addressing a press conference at his office recently Mr. Rawal assured that the culprits of the scandal will definitely be penalized. But he is not much hopeful of refunding the money from the owner of the Chase Air Co. who is currently serving a jail term in the USA on the charges of cheating and deception as the company does not have more than 378,000 dollar in its bank account. The amount has been freezed by the US court, it is learnt.

The then management of RNAC handed over the contract to lease a Boeing to the Chase Air without fulfilling any formality, Minister Mr. Rawal informed adding the airlines has even violated the financial regulation without securing bank guarantee before making the payment. Former Minister for Tourism Yam Lal Kandel could not give satisfactory answer to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representative, during the investigation, he said. The former Minister could not counter the charge labelled by the PAC that a deal might have been made while signing the contract, he added.

The Chase Air Co. is involved in more than 50 cases of deception and cheating in USA and the financial report of the company provided to the RNAC was false, he said.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has been investigating the matter. The government has already removed the then MD RR Shrestha and Hong Kong Rana, Board Chairman, who were responsible for signing the contract with the Chase Air, without following proper rules and regulations of the RNAC. Even the RNAC board was not informed in the matter, it is learnt.

RNAC has already spent US $ 115,000/- to file a case against the American company in the US court. The airlines appointed advocate Bishwokant Mainali to settle the legal matters, but the appointment is yet to get approval from the RNAC board, it is learnt.

Big hand might be involved in the scandal, it is believed and that to take action against the culprit by CIAA is unlikely as many such cases have been dismissed, says an observer.

****************************************************************** From: "Biplav Gautam" <> To: Subject: Nepal Football Homepage Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 17:03:16 PST

Believe it or not, there is more than just politics going on in Nepal!

For the latest on Nepali Football please go to:

I have created a Nepal Football HP and I would appreciate some feedback on it. I have had great response to the site from football/soccer enthusiasts, but unfortunately, I have yet to hear from any Nepalis. Remember wathcing the World Cup this Summer and all the emotions that it brought within you? Well, Nepal can get there in our lifetime, but it will not happen if we are apathetic to the plight of football in Nepal.

I have created the site to bring exposure to Nepali football with the hopes that it will lead to more enthusiasm and support towards Nepali football and Nepali sports in general. I have already received several resumes from foreign coaches who want to coach in Nepal and several people have asked me how they can purchase Nepali team jerseys. Unfortunately, I had to tell them that I am not the All Nepal Football Association, just a fan living in the USA. As you can see, the web-site has already brought attention to Nepali football, which is the ultimate aim of the site. I hope you enjoy the site and please feel free to spread word of the web-site. Thank you.

Nepal Football Webmaster

************************************************************** Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 13:04:01 -0500 (EST) From: Bipulendu Singh <> Subject: Reply to Deepak Khadka To:

I read your criticism on the TND. Thanks for taking the time to response. But you seemed to have misunderstood many of the points I am trying to make.

I have never said Hinduism is "superior" to other religions. My only assertion is that it is a more tolerant religion. I say this not out of disrespect for other religions but based on some solid evidences that I have repeatedly qouted in my articles.

Secondly you allege that my points are self contradictory but you take no trouble to explain how it is contradictory. Many readers have appreciated the points I am making (including many who were opposed to the argument at first) so could you please be more specific in your responses form next time.

And lastly Khadka ji I hope you will not take it personally but you sound very bitter in your e-mail. You tell me that Nepal Digest is not the place to sell Hindu Religion. Please remember that it is not you who makes the decisions as to what should or should not be published so please refrain from making such comments in the future.

----------- I do not understand how a preacher of a tolerant religion can=
 say other religions are bad.

(Don't create fiction. Show me one instance where I said other religions are bad and I will quit writing for the TND. If anything it is the Christian and Islamic religion preachers who call hinduism bad - term hindu gods as "satans" and hindus as

"It does not require a hard look to see several contradictory,=
 wrong and absurd concepts and ideas in any religion."

(Maybe it is just that you don't understand any of these religions So watch what you write.)

46irst of all, if the contributor is out to sell Hindu religion or any=
 religion for that matter on TND, I think he has come to the wrong place. He=had better look for a market somewhere else

(Now that is very very arrogant. Remember the TND is not your personal property either. and for your info I am not trying to sell any religion but only educating you of the facts you seem to be so unaware.)

****************************************************************** From: "Hari Thapa" <> To: Subject: Response to polictics of ethnicity Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 07:52:45 PST

My response here is directed to Parmendra Bhagat, so wanna be called
'the savior of 'Madhises' and the 'Janajatis'.

(Although the Teraiwasis are half the population, they are less than 20% of the national parliament, less than 10% of the state bureaucracy, less than 5% of the police force, and virtually non-existent in the army.)

Hari-->> That's because they don't choose to participate or they can not get elected. Why are you blaming others?

(And here is one forum where one Teraiwasi is speaking his mind just like all other contributors, 95% of whom are NSHCWHM, and I am not surprised you cannot live with that. I am glad you are speaking your mind.)

Hari-->> I don't care if you contribute or not. It's not going to make any difference especially all you do is 'label' people and create hypothetical crisis. Sorry, I forgot you are politician(or wanna be); that's how you are going to make your living. Most people in this forum are not even slightly interested in politics. And I personally don't care. Nepal is going straight to hell, there is no question about it. It's useless talking about racism when you don't have food to eat. Priorities you idiot.

(Racism directed against the Teraiwasis in Nepal is a problem NOW, not one that will emerge in 500 years. So it has to be dealt with NOW. Besides, you don't decide the timetable for the Teraiwasis. Hold your breath, wait a couple election cycles.)

Hari-->> Don't have to wait for any cycle. You guys are all over already; on our politics, Businesses, even our backyards. The only place that's left is the Army and who gives a damn about Nepali army anyway. All you need is money and there are plenty of PAHADE traitors in the government that would do anything for money. And, you have it already.

(On the contrary, I think Nepal is incapable of rapid economic growth, as long as it refuses to acknowledge the Teraiwasis as "genuine" Nepalese as the Pahadwasis. When I am bringing up racism, sexism, casteism, and Hindu supremacism, I am talking The National Economy, Stupid!)

-->> Not acknowledging Madhises or Tibetans has nothing to do with Nepal's economic growth. I have never seen any Madhise that claims himself/herself to be a proud Nepali. You guys are Nepalis as long as she serves your needs(scholarship, citizenship). After that you would not hesitate for a second to reveal your true identity. Believe me I have seen it. Beside, when did you really start talking about 'National Economy'? Nepal does not have any 'Economy' and neither is there any hope. All Nepalis are waiting for a miracle to happen. If it wasn't for generous foreign donations that country wouldn't even survive for a week. Now you tell me how bringing more Madhises and Tibetans and giving them quotas would suddenly spark economic growth. Get a clue you idiot.

(I am the one having a hard time understanding why YOUR American education does not help you see the plight of the Teraiwasis. What prevents you from acknowledging the bias against the Teraiwasis in Nepal's state structure?)

Hari-->> What plight? Pahades aren't living in any luxury either. That country was unified by Pahades and they have been living on those hills ever since. Proportionately, there are more poor Bahuns and Chhetris than anyone else. You can not judge the entire country by looking at some corrupt elites and their kids in Kathmandu. Elite Bahuns and Chheris in Kathmandu do NOT represent the plight of majority of pahades who are dish washers and even prostitutes so that they can support their family. They became rich because they robbed our nation. Majority of the Pahade Bahun Chhetris are extremely poor if you have not already noticed on your way to the Capital, selling fruits and tea on the highway all over Dhading district. You would think Dhading would be more prosperous place because of its proximity to the Capital. Now think about far west. They even don't know what country they live in despite living there for thousand years, and have never seen a motor vechile in their life. And, here you cross the border overnight, populate our cities, smuggle gold and drugs, kill tourists AND HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT BIAS AND QUOTAS? People like you should be deported or jailed as a matter of national security interest. There are plenty of Bahuns and Chhetris in the government that let this country in the verge of collapse. The country is in the worst shape ever. Now you are suddenly going to rescue us with your ethnic games.

(Careful sound awfully like Govinda Raj Joshi. Not that I am implying Joshi was behind what happened to Mirza....There is no real proof, but that is very much a possibility.)

Hari--->>> I have my own brain and I don't worship any leader like yourself. Whether it's Govinda Raj, Jhala Nath, Girija, Baburam Bhattarai, Surya Bahadur, I have no respect for any leader in Nepal. They are the people that I hate the most and if Baburam had any brain left he would take care of these leaders first but obviously he is mentally ill. I don't see what he is going to accomplish by killing innocent teachers and civilians. Well, that's beside the point.

Having said all this I would like to reiterate that I have nothing against 'geniune' Nepali Madhises. Everybody is suffering from the same plight whether is Pahade, Madhise, Gurung or whatever. It's not the Pahade that is taking advantage of any other ethinic group. It's the people in the Power that have been robbing our nation and inability of so called 'democratic' parties to bring them into justice. Instead they have been teaming up with the same people. No political party or a leader has any moral, ethics, and integrity. People with high school degree are running that country for god's sake. What can people ever expect form them? All they care about is money, their kids and relatives. I have seen your Sadhvawana party teaming with these parties as long as they get a 'Ministry' and rob some money for next election. In no way or shape is your party or any other party in that case, is going to fight paverty, education etc... Just quit your bs; people like you will turn that country into Bosnia, Rawanda.

______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at

>From Sat Feb 13 10:15:06 1999
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Dear Mr. Singh, I think the Bhagavad Geeta that we read today is 8th century Sankaracharya version of the universal geeta. In the original form of geeta, krashna says he will explain things according to sankhya darsan (of Kapil) and yoga darshan
(of Panini). So what he is saying is in either way you can attain the universal one (para brahma), not as in your writing in any other religious way. Would you make me more clear here. In his time these religions did not even exist. So I think your rebuttal rest on the Krashna's words "In whatever form you worship me you will find me" does not validate the point you are making.


>From Sun Feb 14 04:46:27 1999
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Reply to Bipulenduji:

My criticism was towards your way of advocating for a particular religion based on your assertion that it is a more tolerant and at the same time using it to justify your intolerance to other religions. It was also towards your failure to recognize that so far as intolerance is concerned, secularism bits all other religions including

I believe that TND is a forum to excersize the freedom of expression. I was just suggesting that it is not an ideal market to sell things like a religion. Thing like a religion is too narrow to excersize the Freedom.

Deepak Khadka Ben Gurion University Sede Boker Israel

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---------- Forwarded message ----------

Feb 14, 1999. Vol III No. 20, Coordinator Manjushree Thapa


by Bhaskar Gautam

What do the books The Faulty Glasses, Sugata Saurabha and The Window of the House Opposite have in common? All three are Nepali writings that have been translated into English, and in each case, it is not the original authors - B.P. Koirala, Chittadhar Hridaya and Govinda B. Malla respectively - but the translators who hold the copyright for the translations.

        Surveying a range of translated Nepali literary works, it becomes clear that translators and original authors have been left to their own devices in terms of working out the legalities of their enterprise. In some of the most equitable cases of literary translation, the original Nepali writer and the translator both share the rights to the translated work.

For example, the poets Manju Kachuli and Benju Sharma shares copyright with the translators for their poetry collection Two Sisters. In most cases, the translator alone holds copyright. In yet other cases, the publisher holds copyright; this is true for the translated version of Laxmi Prasad Devkota's Muna Madan, for which the publisher Sajha Prakashan has reserved copyright.

In many other translated works, like Shankar Koirala's Khaireni Ghat, an "all rights reserved" notice is found after the copyright symbol, leaving open the question of who actually owns rights to the translation. And in some of the worst cases, the original authors are not even aware that their work has been translated.

This has been the case when the copyright for the original-language work remains with the publisher; the translator is obliged only to seek the publisher's approval before beginning translation.

        Despite recent amendments made to the 1965 Copyright Act of Nepal, the Act still lacks some important provisions on authors' economic and moral rights, neighboring rights (referring to protection granted to performers, producers of phonograms, and broadcasting organizations) or other related rights. The Copyright Act also has no clear provision regarding the ownership of copyright for translated works.

        While such oversights may not seem urgent when considering literature - for there is hardly any money to be made in writing, or translating, Nepali literature - the problems they create become clear when considering more lucrative intellectual enterprises in the entertainment, computer software, and business industries.

Snail-paced initiatives in the development of Nepal's copyright industry have hampered not only the creation of many kinds of intellectual works, but have created obstacles to other initiates such as the development of collecting societies (organizations which help coordinate the rights of users and creators) and the provision of fair use (involving permissions and acknowledgments). This problem has prompted a study by the Center for Economic Development and Administration on the problems of the copyright industry in Nepal.

        Though some South Asian countries, especially India, were against joining the International Copyright Act till the 1970's, some experts involved in the research of copyright acts have claimed that Nepal's joining the International Copyright Act would help boost not only the copyright industry, but the economic conditions of creators and authors, as well as translators.

They have called for concerned authorities to prepare to join the Berne Convention, since it is already going to be mandatory for Nepal to be affiliated with the Trade Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement ten years from now. Their argument was that intellectual property rights, one of the determinants of foreign investment in a country, automatically becomes protected after joining the Berne Convention. After a country becomes a signatory to Berne, its creators of intellectual works need not register their works in the concerned premises of the Copyright Registrar.

        But while there are clear benefits to Nepal's becoming a signatory to the International Copyright Act, there are also some potential risks. For example, the translation of international writings into Nepali - an urgent need for Nepal's intellectual growth - may be hindered by the high costs of international royalties. The unequal economic positions of local and international publishing industries can serve to deprive Nepali readers of much needed access to translated international creative works.

        In the absence of clear copyright laws protecting the interests of both native or foreign original authors and their native or foreign translators, the undertaking of Nepali literary translations will remain haphazard. While those in more lucrative intellectual industries search for equitable laws pertaining to their own trade, it is urgent for Nepali writers, translators, and publishers of literature to consider possible amendments to the Copyright Act to protect the interest of literature in Nepal.

(B. Gautam is a Kathmandu-based journalist.)



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---------- Forwarded message ----------

KPRB Feb 14, 1999, Vol III No. 20, Coordinator Manjushree Thapa

THE ACADEMIC TRANSLATION A review by Manjushree Thapa

BOOK: The Window of the House Opposite AUTHOR: Govinda Bahadur Malla Translated by Larry Hartsell Delhi: Book Faith India, 1998 Rs. 168.00

First published in Nepali in 1961, Govinda Bahadur Malla's novel Pallo Gharko Jhyal has recently been translated into English as The Window of the House Opposite. As the book's title indicates, translator Larry Hartsell has opted for straightforwardness in his translation, transcribing from Nepali into English dutifully, but, often, artlessly. What has resulted is a book that reads erratically, in flat, unnatural rhythms and tones; but which does succeed in making the content of Malla's well-known novel accessible to an English readership.
         Malla's protagonist Misri is an exceedingly sheltered twenty year-old who finds herself to be the object of interest for Hiraman, a neighborhood hooligan. Married three years to an insipid, sickly man, she spends much of the novel fluttering from room to room alternately cursing Hiraman, wondering about him, and fearing that word of his interest in her has spread. She is a very young character, indecisive, restless, impetuous, petty, quick to cry, and, in Freudian terms, so frustrated that she seems on the verge of hysteria.

Hiraman's glances from the window of his nearby house are enough to make her frantic. When he begins to send letters, and even to wrangle his way into her parents' house to meet her, she is so overcome by guilt, curiosity, and excitement that she begins to relent to Hiraman's aggressive stalking, and to fall in love.

        Never an agent of her own free will but a pawn controlled by the dictates of social stricture, Misri is a character to pity, rather than admire. She belongs to a genre of sexually suppressed Nepali heroines who suffer for the sake of the reader's liberal enlightenment. Gender constructs her entire being. She is trapped in her roles as daughter, wife, daughter-in-law and object of sexual prey, either conforming to these roles or rebelling in reaction to them. So devoid of reasoned, rational thinking is she that she even envies a woman whose husband used to beat her: unlike her husband, at least this man was a man, and had some passion.

        Translating this story for a millennial English-reading audience cannot be an easy task. One runs the risk of presenting the struggles of a Madame Bovary at a time when such sexual mores seem melodramatic, of putting forward Freudian theories at a time when "that Viennese quack" has been discredited, and of making a tale that was new in its time sound very traditional. Much of the meaning of the book comes from its social and historical context.

        And so much depends on the treatment of the story, the nuances of its language, the beauty of its prose. Much depends on the reader's being able to feel, through the writing, Misri's confusion. But The Window gives the reader no such chance to feel. Hartsell prefers the academician's approach to translation to the poet's approach, and, for the most part, he faithfully transcribes the content of Malla's novel from one language to another, caring little about subtleties of tone, pitch, and art. His translation does not fail at literary elegance because it never aims to achieve it.

        There is, of course, a respectable tradition of this kind of arid, academic translation: perhaps most famously, VN Nabokov refused any artiness in his translation of Pushkin's five-thousand tetrameter long poem Eugene Onegin and condemned other more literary attempts. In Nepali literature, Michael Hutt's anthology may be the most successful academic translation. The benefits of such scholarly translations are that the contents of the original become available to literary specialists. But the disadvantage of a translation in which the literary is sacrificed for the literal is that it tends not to appeal to a general audience.

        And so The Window raises a question that must be asked of all translations: who is the intended audience for this work: a narrow group of foreign specialists and "Nepal experts" or a wider audience who will read anything, from any culture, that is moving and well-written? In this book, Hartsell has made his choice, and it may be revealing for translators, and for Nepali authors who authorize translations of their own writing, to study it for its successes and failures.

(Reviewer Thapa is a writer based in Kathmandu.)

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BP AND THE WESTERN READER Reviewed by Siobhan A. O'Riordan

BOOK: The Faulty Glasses and Other Stories by B.P. Koirala Delhi: Book Faith India, 1997

Translations - of language and culture - are slippery as morning eggs, fish in a stream, a monsoon-washed path; and so it is with the English translation of The Faulty Glasses and Other Stories by Nepal's esteemed BP Koirala. Originally published in 1950, this collection of stories translated by Kesar Lall offers a public reflection of Koirala's inner attempts to both understand and change the society he lived in and clearly loved. Though the English translation is efficient, and at times illuminating, it is the cultural reading that Faulty Glasses offers which both enlightens and confuses the western reader.

        The collection is varied in both what it attempts and how effectively it translates. The complex, pluralistic nature of Nepali culture, and the altogether different expectations of the western reader, makes Lall's task of reaching his audience difficult.

For example, when a westerner thinks of Nepal she/he may either "see" it - wax prolific about the spectacular peaks, sculpted valleys, and misty lowlands - or turn an eye towards the mystic. Yet in the Faulty Glasses, only "A Story," about the old man who meditates, takes a turn at the mystic. Throughout the collection, physical description of the land, places, and people, is sparse - though there are moments of beautiful and earthy language where the fluidity of Koirala's Nepali transfers in to the English.

        To the western reader, Nepali customs of marriage take on a poignancy in several of Koirala's stories. The young bride begrudgingly married to the old colonel in "The Colonel's Horse" finds a moment of happiness when his horse becomes hers, responsive to her commands and touch. The end however is tragic, and as she raises her hands to cover her face as it goes "black and blue instantly." Koirala drives home the trap marriage frequently is, and, in this story, Lall captures this moment in its stillness and its horror, with the smoking gun and blood pouring from the horse's belly.

        Some of these cultural translations are more effective than others. In "The Marriage" Koirala subtly attacks the arranged wedding of a child-bride of 14 with a widower. Koirala reveals his agenda through the storyteller's reflections: isn't the child a school girl, shouldn't her bridegroom be worrying like a father who should marry off his own daughter? This is one of the more difficult stories to translate culturally; in a western novel, the relationship of a child to an old man would explore issues of pedophilia and living outside social norms. Koirala's success here comes from his subtle attempt to encourage the questioning, and not blind acceptance, of tradition.

        The recurring theme of marriage has less success in the story "The Bet." Koirala's attempts here seem less clear - though certainly the position of women within marriage and Nepalese society is a concern - and the language, more reportorial than descriptive, fails to direct the reader. Is the story intended as a parody, a mocking of a man's manipulation and a woman's jealousy? The protagonist Padma declares early on that "all women are alike.

They have feeble hearts that float constantly on short-lived joys.... They are accessory to the happiness of men. They are by nature weak and without strength of character." The language, roundly chauvinistic, seems almost implausibly simple to a western reader. Padma's wife Laxmi refutes his assertions, and the couple arranges a bet in which Padma must seduce within fifteen days any woman Laxmi names.

Predictably, before the fifteen days are up, Laxmi is consumed with anger - their marriage bed once so playful is now shared with jealousy. Resigning to Padma's victory, Laxmi accepts that women lack "strength of character." This conclusion, which was likely intended as parody, is not played hard enough. The problem seems less a translation of character - the battle of the genders is world-wide - than that of language; this is a story that needs a forceful and even sarcastic tone to highlight the hypocrisy of such a judgment, such a "bet."

        The stories in Faulty Glasses also touch on other aspects of social etiquette bound in the caste system which leave foreigners tripping over their jutho feet. Nepal's myriad social rules can only be successfully learned by the very young who imbibe such knowledge with their mother's milk. Koirala's title story "Faulty Glasses" concerns the preoccupation's of Keshavraj whose very subsistence, and certainly self-worth, relies on the Rana General's benevolence. Having not recognized the General's car, and therefore failing to give proper obeisance, Keshavraj is wracked by guilt, and a foreshadowing of doom.

"If the misunderstanding cannot be cleared up, it will be my own ruin, and I will have to face starvation. Should we little men stand up to such great personalities?" Koirala's answer would have been yes, yet in this story Keshavraj receives the pardon he requests from a confused and somewhat annoyed General. Again, something of the appropriate ironic tone doesn't translate in the conclusion. Keshavraj's relief doesn't seem to highlight Koirala's own efforts to overturn this system of chakari, but instead confirm that a man's happiness should be so easily given, and taken away.

        The success of Nepali fiction translated into English is dependent both on the original intent of the work and the translator. Such an attempt begs a comparison to the success of both translated and English-written works in India. As a long-time colony of England, India is more familiar territory to the western reader than the valleys and tribes of Nepal. Yet Indian writing in English succeeds in reaching its audience because of the attention to explaining, within context, the details that render India full and colorful on the page. Translators too insure their success by nesting what is Indian within language that explains how it is to be Indian.

        Ultimately Koirala's stories in Faulty Glasses read like his public reflection on the society he cared for and changed so much. For this reason, these stories may generate interest in a selective group of English speakers, particularly those familiar with Nepal. Though this collection can not be dismissed, it is also not the best effort in explaining, through the clarity of fiction, what life in Nepal is all about.

(SA O'Riordan teaches history in Kathmandu.)


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

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WATER POEMS by Wayne Amtzis

BOOK: La La Kha: Kabita Muna by Purnabahadur Vaidya Samyojan Guthi, Khwapa, 1996

Purna Vaidya, the Newar poet, has written a remarkable collection of poems in Nepal Bhasa: La La Kha (Water is Water). These intently crafted poems written over twenty years reflect a mind intimately involved with its own reflection refracted through the manifest and various forms of a single element.

>From "My Image"

Upon water an image, pruf of being I, ...By that stance I read my very substance ..If stones strike, puzzled, by ripples shaken, ..fearing to be torn from me, he grasps my leg This I know, yet stand unmoved No surge displaces nor water sinks -- he sets himself above all Where a drop remains so lasts my image

Water is Vaidya's element. He sings water as Walt Whitman sings the self. Unlike St. John Perse of France and Derek Walcott of the West Indies, two modern poets who made water a vehicle of their singing, Vaidya is drawn to water with the curiosity of an amateur naturalist and the sensibility of an innocent lover.

Perse and Walcott praise the elemental and historical force of the Seas, and poets of all times have spoken metaphorically of water as they have of the other elements. Vaidya, however, speaks of water with the mirroring clarity of a single moment and a single drop.

Water Is Water

Water -- never blocks the light -- its ever moving skin radiates; its single vision parsed into colors explicates what's embodied within light

That rainbow water sketches on a blue slate is a disquisition -- -- what is and what is seen borne forth in their fullness by light

Me? -- That very drop! that attempts to write of light: self emergent; the enlivened heat of it, and the gentleness resplendent on its surface To express that outside itself

Feeling with our own hands and seeing with our own eyes, we shift shape and shine, as water does, yet as readers we stand apart. If we were those drops spoken of, what would we be? Not I, not we. Were we simply drops of water, before undoing our separateness, we would be gone. Vaidya recognizes our dilemma. Out of the dialectics of involvement with self and other, he offers an inner dimension of experience.

What he expresses we share, and if we learn to look at the world as he does, we know what it is to feel revelation at hand in each moment of living. With him (The River Has Not Sung For Nothing) as with the current: "Striking (our) head so many times/ in life's moveable struggles/ overcoming many hindrances/ with each step--Yell! Jump!/(we) strike the stones of the real."

To say that Vaidya is a religious poet, a celebrator of the spirit made incarnate, and on that basis a revolutionary poet, is to name what he is not. The political subtext is there, as is the religious, but it is subservient to the artist's unwavering attention and clarity of mind. Whether we let our separate selves fall away and take on the force of that which moves us, whether we reshape what we live by or are shaped by it, there is experience, exposure, pain.

The Surface Of The Water Rises With Each Blow

Struck by stones the silent sleeping water suddenly crying spreads

like a pigeon in a cat's paws fluttering, its anxious waves flee in all directions

But water held by its own banks where could it go!

Hitting out here and there it returns again to the very place it had escaped from in fear

Terrified by its death am I like one who leaps yet cannot escape the earth

But, with the hardness of each blow which must be swallowed, with the diet of each blow the surface rises

its experience increased

Vaidya recognizes our mortality; he observes what is endured and taken from us, and reclaims from our threatened humanity the assuredness of its having been. He does this by transmuting the tension between What are we? and This is what we are. Disquiet initiates the poems.

In the moment of looking the world flees from him; his words are the afterimage of seeing. One phrase leads to another--question reverberates in answer--one poem to the next. This is what we are is never spoken without echoing What are we? With his subdued avowal to continue, as if with the persistence of water, our knowing deepens; his questioning becomes ours. Through Vaidya's poems we re-learn to see. If we hear them spoken, read them aloud, think them through, separateness momentarily overcome, we speak ourselves whole.

Vaidya is one of many contemporary poets working in Nepal Bhasa. Their poems, like his, deserve a wider audience both in Nepal and internationally. The effort and talent behind La La Kha should not go unrecognized, and the restrained quality of Vaidya's voice, his insight and expressiveness in his native tongue, will surely enrich the languages, through Nepal Bhasa, Nepali or English, and their listeners.

(W. Amtzis's translations from Nepal Bhasa appear in "A Representative Collection of Nepal Bhasa Poems." Translations in this review are by Amtzis with the assistance of Vaidya.)


-- -------------------------------------------------------- "Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved." Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

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KPRB Feb. 14 1999, Vol III No. 20, Coordinator Manjushree Thapa

Translating Devkota by Geeta Khadka

BOOK: Laxmi Prasad Devkota: Selected Poems Translated by Murari Madhusudhan Thakur Kathmandu: Sandesh Griha, 1998. Rs.150 (300 Hard Cover)

Murari Madhusudhan Thakur, who has published several books and translated Tulsidas' Hunumanbahuka from Hindi into English, has recently published Laxmi Prasad Devkota: Selected Poems. But being a gold medalist, and hailing from a 'most illustrious family of scholars dedicated to the study and teaching literature' does not seem to make a person the most suited to translate Devkota. Even for a native speaker, translating from Nepali into English is a difficult task.

It is therefore very important for interpreters to realize the complexity of such an undertaking. It is not easy to interpret meanings without knowing the essence and feel of what is being said. Devkota, like the English Romantic poets, sought to rise above the lethargic customs of daily life, he was very conscious of earthly problems, and the main subject of his poetry was humanity itself. Poetry came to him as naturally as "the leaves of a tree" emerge. Thus, a good reading of this celebrated Nepali poet requires an eye and taste for his complex expressions, deviant structures, and inventiveness.

Several foreign scholars have now translated Devkota's poems, the most well known of which is David Rubin's effort. Translating Nepali literature into English was a subject of interest for Devkota too. A desire to be known outside Nepal was a strong motivating factor, as well as the fact that he was himself well versed in literature written in foreign languages, especially in English and French from the West, and Hindi and Bengali from India.

As early as 1956, six years after Nepal's interaction with the outside world, the writer felt the need to internationalize Nepali writings. In his introduction to the translation of some well-known Nepali poems, he writes, "The present translations are in English, because of its extensive use in India, especially in the Deccan and the different parts of Asia and the world."

Devkota, who had a good command of English, was one of the greatest native translators of Nepali poems into English. He translated several of his own poems, as well as the poems of other writers, into English, and published them in the mid-50's in the bilingual literary periodical Indreni. His own proficiency as a translator makes it problematic for non-native translators to grasp the essence of his poetry.

Thakur's translations, and the poet's own translations of these same poems, give some insight into the challenge of translating Devkota. These insights may be considered in light of translation as a creative practice, or as an effort to break from what Devkota asks of translation: respecting the "limits set by differences in the genius of two different languages."

Devkota uses English for a creative rendering of his poems, and as such, these translations require special treatment. His translations are very close to Nepali, and he conveys through translation a concept of his, and his native poets', values. His translations of his own poems are transcreations, which come from the depth of his inner being and his Nepaliness.

Though Thakur has done a commendable job, and must to be appreciated for accomplishing such a task, I take the liberty of criticizing the rush to publish such an important work without more careful study. His haste to publish the book has led to some very gross mistranslations. He has also liberally used the poet's own translation, adding minor changes and major flaws. Thakur might have done a better job if he had read Devkota's poems with a native scholar or a writer.

Instead, he has opted for the easier, more literal aspect of translation. In spite of 'knowing Nepali very well and publishing some original articles in the language' he has failed to translate Devkota's creativity. The question involved is not his English, but his authenticity. How authentic is Thakur's translation of the poems that the poet has himself translated? I would like to review Thakur's translation by examining them alongside Devkota's.

A precise understanding of the work is necessary for a good translation. Devkota gives his readers more space, and allows a greater range of possible responses. Thakur, however, strictly follows the method of literal translation, with often uses the poet's translations liberally. Several examples of the differences between the two follow. To begin with, in Nepali, Devkota uses exclamation marks at the end of practically each line, as does Thakur in his translation. Yet the poet's own translation of "The Lunatic" uses full stops instead of exclamation marks.

Then, in both translations, the first six lines of "The Lunatic" are exactly the same, while the other lines have little or no changes. In this poem, Thakur is quite unable to capture and fathom the depth of what the poet is saying, and at times mistranslates the feelings and expressions of the poet. His changes do not render the same effect of the poet's own translation.

For example, 'Those things I touch-' (Devkota) and 'I touch things' (Thakur) covey quite different things. While Devkota experiences the sounds, visions, and fragrances whose existence the world denies, Thakur's 'I touch things' lacks intensity and reads very stiffly.

The poet sees 'a flower in the stone-' and contemplates it, while Thakur sees a 'flower in the stone/In the moonlight.' When the poet says, ' Ripple by ripple' he shows the movement of the river and the reader can feel and visualize the water.

'Ripple on ripple,' (Thakur) creates a sense of stagnation, and the translation becomes hurtful to the eyes and the ears! Devkota: 'They exfoliating, mollifying,/ Glistening and palpitating,/ Rise before my eyes like tongueless thing insane,/ like flowers,/ A variety of moon birds.' Thakur's translation of the same line is: 'They burst into leaf, mollified,/ Glistening, palpitating,/ They rise before me like mute insane creatures,/ Like flowers, a variety of chakor-blossom!' Though the translator has used the same adjectives, 'exfoliating,' 'mollifying,' 'glistening,' and 'palpitating,' 'unintelligible,' and 'ineffable,' the essence and the intensity of the poet's imagination is missing. The poem "Spring" provides another opportunity to compare Thakur's translation with Devkota's. The poet conveys an urgency, in vivid and pulsating rhythms: 'Earth-rainbowing, hare maddening,/ Bee-buzzing, bird-quickening,/Pulse-palpitating, heart-agitating' (Devkota). This vision and pulsation, Thakur is unable to capture in his translation, 'Making a rainbow of the earth, making the hare mad,/ Making the bee to buzz,/ Quickening the birds, the pulse itself,/ Stirring up the heart.'

However, in spite of these flaws, Thakur has also accomplished a good degree of success. Though he is not the first to fill 'a long- felt need for the poetry of the great poet in a world language,' he has contributed towards this. It is not easy for a non-native speaker to perfectly translate one of the greatest poets of Nepal, but Thakur deserves to be congratulated for the broad range of Devkota's poetry that he has chosen, and the actual translation that he has accomplished.

(G. Khadka is a Reader at TU's Department of English.) --------------------------------------------------------


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Beyond the Victory over New Tempos

by Pratyoush Onta

Tempos have been in the news this past week. The decision to allow the registration of new tempos in Kathmandu =96 an activity that had been put on hold for the last seven plus years =96 was made quietly during days of political instability in December 1998. On the day Girija Prasad Koirala resigned as the PM of the last government (Poush 7), the Ministry of Transportation decided that under its as-yet-to-be-announced "phasing out of the polluting tempos in Kathmandu scheme," there would be a shortage of tempos serving Kathmandu's residents! Concerned by this, the Ministry - under the able leadership of Nepali Congress (NC) stalwart Mr Bijaya Kumar Gacchedar - made this decision moments before the latter was to vacate his ministerial chair!

Although the first notification regarding this decision was made public on 29 December, media personnel and environmentalists were slow in responding to it. A front-page reportage in Kantipur on 6 February, it so happens, caught PM Girija's attention who, we are told, was unaware of the above decision until then. Acting promptly he is supposed to have asked for explanations from the secretary of the concerned Ministry who in turn passed the buck to the ex-minister Mr Gacchedar. An equally aggressive coverage of the same by Deshantar on the following day pretty mush ensured, in the words of a member of the Environment Conservation Council Surendra Devkota, that the "grand design of the tempo mafia" was to fail this time. As Devkota pointed out in the program Dabali hosted by this writer over Radio Sagarmatha (FM 102.4) on 10 February, this design was first made active last year when permitted pollution levels for vehicles were relaxed. "Since then mafia was waiting for an opportune moment to lift the tempo registration ban and that moment came on 7 Poush," adds Devkota.

By revoking Gacchedar's decision, PM Girija has acted correctly this time. However, I remain unaware of any intra-party investigation on what prompted the former to lift the tempo registration just months before the forthcoming elections! If NC means business when it comes to the subject of corruption, it would not be too much for us to expect PM Girija to initiate such an inquiry as well. That could either put to rest public speculation regarding the involvement of kickbacks (estimated to be Rs 50,000 per tempo) or prepare the grounds for the legal punishment of those involved in the racket.

Even as the media and environmentalists celebrate this victory for the residents of Kathmandu, we must begin to think vigorously about the future of mass transportation in the Valley if we are to make sure that this celebration is not short-lived. The reason for this is obvious: while pollution from additional tempos might have been stopped, the existing level of vehicular exhaust pollution is already severe and very harmful to the health of Kathmandu's residents and Nepal's economy. If big buses, mini-buses, taxis, tempos, cars, motorcycles, rikshaws and bicycles are the means for transportation within the Valley, then we need to give attention to the composition of this set as well as create limitations for the operating conditions of each type of vehicle.

In terms of per capita emission, there is no doubt that big buses (diesel-fueled) are the most appropriate vehicles for the big streets of Kathmandu. However the dominant present scenario whereby old buses that can no longer ply the long routes are relegated to Kathmandu must be resisted. Consumers must demand =96 as has been the case in Kirtipur =96 that they want new and less polluting buses. When plenty of electricity becomes available in 2001 and beyond, trolley routes must be expanded to the Ring Road and other roads where possible. However, these big buses will not be able to serve in the smaller streets of Kathmandu. For that we will have to rely on smaller vehicles. Most of the mini-buses running in Kathmandu are old; many have been dumped here after years of use elsewhere (some still retain their foreign identification numbers!). Consumers need to emphasize that they will not ride old mini-buses and demand that the efforts to manufacture electric vehicles must also be targeted toward mini-buses and vans.

With respect to taxis, environmentalist Amod Pokharel (of the NGO LEADERS Nepal) suggested in Dabali that share-riding must be made fashionable in Kathmandu. Such a concept is in operation already in the evenings in certain routes (eg Jamal-Balaju) and was the dominant mode in Pokhara for years. With respect to tempos, Devkota maintains that all tempos =96 diesel and petrol =96 must be banned from the streets of Kathmandu. If this is to be done, then tempos and four-wheel electric vehicles (EVs) must be encouraged. A study done by Anil Baral, Ramesh Parajuli and Bimal Aryal has found that current EV tempo manufacturing capacity in Nepal is about 300 per year but this can easily be enhanced if more players enter EV related operation and manufacturing industries. If the proposed EV battery bank concept becomes operational, initial investment necessary for EVs will be reduced and the number of people wanting to own them will surely go up. Concerns about pollution from batteries used in EVs must be addressed but at the moment used batteries seem to find their way to kawadi markets in India.

Environmentalist Sanjay Parajuli (of the NGO Pro-Public) argued in Dabali that two-stroke motorcycles must be banned from Kathmandu. The current tax-induced discouragement of such vehicles will not work (as someone who can afford a motorcycle can easily pay the additional few hundred rupees) and hence a phased-out restriction plan must be executed with respect to imports of the same. Finally Kathmandu's mass transit planners must promote rikshaws and protect the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians by ensuring that their space on the road is not encroached upon but increased. After all, the making of the Valley is very conducive to bicycle riding and walking. Unless we execute a more efficient, less polluting, consumer-friendly mixed-mode strategy of mass transit in Kathmandu, the recent victory over tempos will not mean much.

>From Tue Feb 16 09:03:53 1999 Received: from ( []) by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id JAA08478 for <>; Tue, 16 Feb 1999 09:03:52 -0600 (CST) Received: from ( []) by with ESMTP id KAA23632; Tue, 16 Feb 1999 10:03:50 -0500 (EST) Received: by with ESMTP id KAA28657; Tue, 16 Feb 1999 10:03:50 -0500 (EST) Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 10:03:50 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: Complaints are fine: actions are greater. Message-ID: <> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

I read Namita Kiran's impressions of Kathmandu with great interest. She seems to have had nothing but negative experiences there. That's just too bad.

My question: Instead of asking a lot of rhetorical, obvious questions to Kathmandu-baasis, and instead of complaining "yo bha.yena, tyo bha.yena", has Ms. Kiran, with all her education, sophistication and globe-trotting, done something -- anything -- to alleviate the plight of her beloved Kathmandu?

If she has, great, and could she please share those efforts with us? If she hasn't, then may I request her to get involved in or even start -- even from afar -- civic initiatives/volunteer organizations whatever to make Kathmandu better?

My point is not that everything is great and fine in Kathmandu; it isn't. Just that when even smart, young, educated Nepalis like Ms. Kiran are reduced to complaining, then on whom shall we pin our hopes to better our city?

oohi ashu

-------------------------------------------------------- "Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved." Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

****************************************************************************** * * * The Nepal Digest(TND) is a publication of TND Foundation, a global * * not-for-profit information and resource center committed to promoting * * issues concerning Nepal. All members of will get a copy of * * The Nepal Digest (TND). Membership is free of charge and open to all. * * * * TND Foundation Home Page: * * * * * * For Information: * * webmaster: * * * * TND Foundation contributions (TAX-DEDUCTIBLE) can be mailed payable to: * * TND Foundation * * P.O. Box 8206 * * White Plains, NY 10601 * * USA * * * * Subscription/Deletion requests : mailto:TND@NEPAL.ORG * * Provide one line message: sub nepal "lastname, firstname, mi" <user@host> * * [OPTIONAL] Provide few lines about your occupation, address, phone for * * TND database to: <TND@NEPAL.ORG> * * * * Postal-Mail Correspondences to: TND Foundation * * P.O. Box 8206 * * White Plains, NY 10602 * * USA * * * * Digest Contributions: mailto:NEPAL@MP.CS.NIU.EDU * * THE EDITOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ARTICLES FOR CLARITY. * * Contributors need to supply Header for the article, email, and full name. * * * * Postings are divided into following categories that are listed in the * * order below. Please provide category-type in the header of your e-mail. * * * * 1. Message from TND Editorial Staff * * TND Foundation News/Message * * 2. Letter to the Editor * * Letter to TND Foundation * * 3. TAJA_KHABAR: Current News * * 4. KATHA_KABITA: Literature * * 5. KURA_KANI: Economics * * Agriculture/Forestry * * Health * * Education * * Technology * * Social/Cultural Issues * * Environment/Population * * Women/Children * * Tourism * * Foreign Policy * * History * * Military/Police * * Politics * * 6. CHOOT_KILA (Humor, Recipies, Movie Reviews, Sattaires etc.) * * 7. JAN_KARI: Classifides (Matrimonials, Jobs etc) * * 8. KHOJ_KHABAR (Inquiring about Nepal, Nepalis etc. ) * * 9. TITAR_BITAR: Miscellaneous (Immigration and Taxex etc. ) * * * * COPYRIGHT NOTE * * -------------- * * The content contributors are responsible for any copyright violations. * * TND, a non-profit electronic journal, will publish articles that have * * been published in other electronic or paper journal with proper credit * * to the original media. * * * ******************************************************************************

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Jan 11 2000 - 11:16:07 CST