The Nepal Digest - March 13, 1997 (29 Falgun 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday 13 Mar 97: Falgun 29 2053BS: Year6 Volume60 Issue 1

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
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****************************************************************** Subject: THE GOOD BANKER (Independent, 5 May 1996) Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 12:32:02 -0400 Source: Social Culture Nepal

THE GOOD BANKER Alan Jolis in The Independent on Sunday Supplement, 5 May 1996

Muhammad Yunus believes that he can eradicate world poverty, all by the use of one simple idea. Now the world's leaders are starting to take him seriously. Cynics roll their eyes to the ceiling, but Muhammad Yunus, a 56-year-old banker from Bangladesh, is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream, which he is actively pursuing, is the total eradication of poverty from the world. "One day," he says confidently, "our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like." But what is truly amazing about Yunus is not the extravagance of his vision but the fact that, after two decades of working in anonymity, his ideas are winning converts among the world's top policy-makers. Bill Clinton said in his last election campaign that Yunus deserved a Nobel Peace Prize and cited his experiment in Bangladesh as a model for rebuilding the inner cities of America. Since then, the World Bank has made him the head of its advfsory committee to propagate his vision worldwide. He has also won countless prizes and accolades: hailed by "Asia Week" magazine as one of the 25 most influential Asians, by the "New York Times" as the star of the UN's Women's Conference last year, and by ABC TV as Man of the Week. When he's not busy receiving prizes -- the World Food Prize and the Care Humanitarian Award among them -- he is escorting Hillary Clinton on a field trip to his borrowers or preparing for a visit by Queen Sofia of Spain. In July he will come to England to receive an honorary doctorate from Warwick University. What this man has invented that excites so much interest is something called micro-credit. It is both terribly simple and, in the field of development and aid, completely revolutionary. Rather than donating billions to help large infrastructure ventures, Yunus gives loans of as little as A320 to the destitute. A typical borrower from his bank would be a Bangladeshi woman (94 per cent of the bank's borrowers are women) who has never touched money before; all her life, her father and husband will have told her she is useless and a burden to the family; finally, widowed or divorced, she will have been forced to beg to feed her children. Yunus lends her money -- and doesn't regret it. Kept on the straight and narrow by a mixture of peer pressure and peer support, she uses the loan to buy an asset which can immediately start paying income -- such as cotton to weave, or raw materials for bangles or a cow she can milk. She repays the loan in tiny weekly instalments until she becomes self-sufficient. Then, if she wants, she can take out a new, larger loan. Either way, she is no longer poor. His bank provides no training, no education, no infrastructure for its clients. "I firmly believe that all human beings have an innate skill," says Yunus. "I call it the survival skill. The fact that the poor are alive is proof of their ability. We do not need to teach them how to survive: They know this already. Giving the poor credit allows them to put into practice the skills they already know. And the cash they earn is then a tool, a key that unlocks a host of other problems." The Grameen Bank ("rural bank" in Bengali), which Yunus has built over the last 20 years, is today the largest rural banbk in Bangladesh. It has over 2 million borrowers and works in 35,000 villages throughout the country. Assuming that each borrower has six dependents, it is possible that 10 per cent of the population of Bangladesh (or 12 million people) now live directly from the benefit of Grameen loans. By 1994, the bank had lent a total of A3650m; in 1995, it made loans of A3250m. By 1998, it plans to increase its lending to A3650m a year. The bank actively seeks out the most deprived in Bangladeshi society: beggars, illiterates, widows. Yet it claims a loan repayment rate of 99 per cent. Most western banks would be delighted with such a bad debt ratio. And, since 92 per cent of its shares are owned by the borrowers themselves (the balance is owned by the government), it truly is a bank for, and of, the poor. Each borrower is issued with one non-tradeable share and has to start a saving scheme as a form of insurance against disaster. "What Yunus has achieved is simply brilliant," says Bruno Lefevre, who just completed a study of Grameen for UNESCO.

The man whose vision has made this all possible is a soft-spoken, bespectacled ex-professor, who lives and dresses simply -- he earns only A3160 a month and is, in public, unassuming and shy. In private Muhammad Yunus is funny, charming and approachable. His best work is done in a two-bedroom apartment at the bank's headquarters in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, where he lives with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, Deena. He does not own a car, and, although he was recently persuaded to get a credit card for hotel bookings, he has never actually charged anything to it. Yunus was born in 1940 in Chittagong, the business centre of what was then Eastem Bengal. His father, a goldsmith, did well for himself and pushed his sons to seek higher education. But his main influence was his mother, sofia Khatun, who had 14 children, of whom five died in childbirth. "Mother always helped any poor who knocked on our door," he explains. "Thanks to her I always knew I would have a mission in life, though I didn't know what form it would take." Tragically, a congenital illness reduced her mental abilities in later life. In 1965, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and went to do a PhD at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he stayed for seven years. Returning in 1972 to become the head of the economics department at Chittagong University, he found the situation in newly independent Bangladesh worsening day by day. The terrible man-made famine of 1974, which by some estimates killed 1.5 million Bangladeshis, changed his life for ever. "While people were dying of hunger on the streets, I was teaching elegant theories of economics. I started hating myself for the arrogance of pretending I had answers. We university professors were all so intelligent, but we knew absolutely nothing about the poverty surrounding us. Why did people who worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, not have enough food to eat? I decided that the poor themselves would be my teachers. I began to study them and question them on their lives." Yunus spent most of 1975 and 1976 leading his students on field trips to the nearby village of Jobra. It was easy to see the problem, but what was the solution? He introduced improved rice-farming techniques and he realised that targeting farmers was not helping the truly destitute underclass -- the landless, assetless, rural poor. Then he made his big discovery. One day, interviewing a woman who made bamboo stools, he learnt that, because she had no capital of her own, she had to borrow the equivalent of 15p to buy raw bamboo for each stool made After repaying the middleman, she kept only a lp profit margin. With the help of his graduate students, he discovered 42 other villagers in the same predicament.
"Their poverty was not a personal problem due to laziness or lack of intelligence, but a structural one: lack of capital. The existing system made it certain that the poor could not save a penny and could not invest in bettering themselves. Some money-lenders set interest rates as high as 10 per cent a month, some 10 per cent a week. So, no matter how hard these people worked, they would never raise themselves above subsistence level. What was needed was to link their work to capital to allow them to amass an economic cushion and earn a ready income." And so the idea of credit for the landless was born. Yunus's first approach was to reach into his pocket and lend each of the 42 women the equivalent of A317. He set no interest rate and no repayment date: "I didn't think of myself as a banker, but as the liberator of 42 families." Immediately, Yunus saw the impracticality of carrying on in this way, and tried to interest banks in institutionalising his gesture by lending to the poorest, with no collateral -- Bankers laughed at him, insisting that the poor are not "creditworthy". Yunus answered, "How do you know they are not creditworthy, if you've never tried? Perhaps it is the banks that are not people-worthy?"

Undeterred, he started an experimental project in Jobra, the village he and his students had been studying, and staffed it with his graduate students. Between 1976 and 1979, his microloans successfully changed the lives of around 500 borrowers. But it was hard work combining the project with his full-time job as a Professor, and he continued to lobby the state-owned Central Bank and the commercial banks to adopt his experiment. In 1979, the Central Bank was won over and arranged for the Grameen project, as it was then called, to be run from the branches of seven state-run banks -- initially in one province, and, by 1981, in five. Each expansion confirmed the effectivenesss of micro-credit: by 1983, Grameen had 59,000 clients in 86 branches. Eventually, Yunus decided to quit academia and go it alone. Grameen was incorporated as a separate legal institution in 1983, and since then it has moved fast -- some would say too fast -- to expand its operations. Grameen is not noticeably "bank-like". It does lend money, and it does get repaid with interest. But there are no telephones in its branches, no typewriters or carpets -- most borrowers are visited by Yunus's staff in their villages -- and no loan agreements. Borrowers who are not destitute are excluded, and so, usually, are men. Yunus soon discovered that lending to women, who traditionally have the least economic opportunity in Bangladeshi society, was much more beneficial to whole families; and that women were more careful about their debts. All that an assetless and landless person must do in order to be eligible for a loan is to prove that they understand how Grameen works. Over the years, representatives of the borrower-shareholders have agreed with the bank certain principles and commitments which they will undertake to help improve their lives and their ability to meet their debts. To Westerners these may seem at best paternalistic; however, the slogans are chanted enthusiastically by the microborrowers. They pledge to abide by "the 16 decisions", a set of personal commitments such as "We pledge to send our children to school," and "We pledge not to demand or pay dowry for our daughters' marriage." the most important of these commitments is to join up with four fellow borrowers, none of whom can be a family member, to form a "group". The group dynamic provides a borrower with the self-discipline and courage needed to enter into these uncharted waters. Peer pressure and peer support effectively replace collateral: if one borrower defaults the whole group is penalised. The system also saves the bank the costly business of screening and monitoring borrowers. Transactions are kept simple. Loans are always for a year and interest is fixed at 20 per cent simple interest, not compounded. Repayment starts the second week of the loan which, though it may sound punishing, releases the borrower from the need to produce a lump sum at the end of the year -- and typically builds her confidence. All loan disbursements and repayments are made publicly in "centre meetings" (in front of eight or 10 groups) on a weekly basis. in a country steeped in corruption at all levels of administration, Grameen prides itself on being as transparent and open as possible. Hajeera Begum was born in 1959, in a village not far from Dhaka. Her father, a farm labourer, could not feed his six daughters, and he married her off to a blind man simply because he demanded no dowry. Hajeera and her husband survived on what little she earned cleaning houses, but she was unable to feed her three children regularly. One day she asked her husband for permission to join Grameen, but he had heard it was a Christian front organisation bent on destroying Islam. He threatened to divorce her if she joined.

Without telling anyone, she travelled to a nearby village and attended some introductory sessions where Grameen workers explained the principles of the bank. The first time the members of the group she had joined took the oral exam to show they knew the rules of Grameen, Hajeera was so nervous that she couldn't answer the questions. "All my life I was told I was no good. I was told I brought only misery to my parents because I was a woman and my family could not pay for my dowry. Many times I heard my mother say she should have killed me at birth. I did not feel I was worthy of a loan, or that I could ever repay it." She would have given up, but the other members of her group encouraged her, and shepassed the exam. At last the day came when she mustered the strength to ask for a loan of 2,000 thaka ( A335). When she received it, tears ran down her face. Her group persuaded her to use the loan to buy a calf for fattening and a share of the rice harvest to process and sell. When her father brought the calf to the house, her husband was so excited that he forgot his threat of divorcing. Within a year Hajeera had paid off her first loan, taken a second loan and used it to rent a piece of land, planted it with 70 banana seedlings, and used the balance to buy a second calf. Today, with a mortgage, she owns a rice field, and goats, ducks and chickens. "We now enjoy three meals a day," says Hajeera. "We can even afford some meat once a week. I intend to send all three of my children to school and college, even university. You ask what I think of Grameen? Grameen is like my mother. She has given me new life."

Independent studies by the World Bank and others indicate that within five years, about half Grameen's 2 million borrowers manage to pull themselves up over the poverty line, while a further quarter hover near the line. In addition, studies of the Grameen method suggest that after a wife joins the bank, her husband is likely to show her more tenderness and respect. Divorce rates drop among Grameen borrowers, as do birth rates. Why does micro-credit work? What theoretical framework does it rely on? Yunus avoids jargon and graphs; instead, he states simply: "Poverty covers people in a thick crust and makes the poor appear stupid and without initiative. Yet if you give them credit, they will slowly come back to life. Even those who seemingly have no conceptual thought, no ability to think of yesterday or tomorrow, are in fact quite intelligent and expert at the art of survival. Credit is the key that unlocks their humanity." That is not to say that micro-credit solves all problems. One quarter of Grameen borrowers do not manage to repay their loans and remain trapped in poverty, often -- like the woman I met recently who had been featured four years ago on an American television programme as a "Grameen success story"
 -- because they are too sick or infirm. It is this 25 per cent which is now giving Yunus the most worry; often, he believes, problems arise from the lack of social infrastructure. Meanwhile, critics of Grameen abound. The most vocal are the fundamentalists who believe the bank is anti-Islamic. These conservatives regularly spread wild rumours about Grameen: Hajeera Begum's blind husband was told that if she joined Grameen she would secretly be forced to abandon her faith. I also heard of women being told that Grameen would turn them into Christians and feed them to the tigers; or that they would be tortured, tattooed on the arm and sold into prostitution. One woman was beaten repeatedly by her family to prevent her from joining in 1987, while in 1994, in the conservative north-west of the country, a branch of Grameen was burnt down. Yunus denies that he is in an undeclared war with Islam. Indeed, Cirameen claims to be more Islamic than ordinary banks, because it builds up self-employment, instead of forcing women to seek factory jobs away from their families. Furthermore, it does not violate lslam's ban on charging interest because its borrowers own the bank, so that in essence they are paying interest to themselves. When opponents try to prevent Grameen from entering a village, his staff have orders to remain outside, avoiding confrontation, and wait for the women to come to them. Another frequent criticism is that Grameen charges too much interest initially 16 per cent and for the last four years 20 per cent. Yunus's answer is simple: if anyone can run a bank for the poor and charge less, please go ahead and do so. He has promised to reduce interest rates if and when he can. This is significant, because in l995, for the first time in its existence, Grameen finally made enough profit to operate on a fully commercial basis without the need for any more preferential loans (which it has received in the past from Bangladesh's Central Bank and sympathetic banks in the West), or grants from charitable trusts such as the Ford Foundation. Yunus also intends to pay cash dividends to his borrowers. Within the international development community, many people working in traditional aid agencies distrust Yunus's self-help philosophy. They argue that what keeps poor people trapped is inadequate social and welfare policies. It isn't micro-loans that are going to bring water, sanitation, health care and schools to desperate communities. The success of microcredit is distracting governments from their responsibilities, they say. Even those who generally approve of him sometimes ask why Yunus's programme needs to be profit-making at all.

Yunus answers this last point with the observation that any institution for the poor that is not self-sufficient is bound to be hurt by reliance on donors: "It is like telling a patient that he can breathe by himself for 23 hours a day, and the balance of the time the govemment will provide the oxygen. That means you are at their mercy. Any time a politician changes his mind, or a bureaucrat forgets, you die." Many aid programmes, he says, are just trying to make poverty tolerable rather than to eliminate it. Despite the opposition, Yunus's method is gathering supporters. Grameen is being copied in 52 countries. The methods are adapted to suit local conditions, but the solution of creating a counter-culture that empowers individuals with their own capital is the same. The United States alone has over 500 Grameen spin-offs. Englewood is a murderous crack-ridden ghetto on the south side of.Chicago, where you would never imagine a Bengali professor would have any role to play. But the Full Circle Fund, a Grameen clone created by the city's South Shore Bank, has operated there for 10 years. Here the borrowers are mostly welfare mothers: they take out loans of as little as $375 ( A3250) to buy nail-sculpting boxes; they start beauty salons, make and sell jewellery, open bookstores, create daycare centres and rehabilitate buildings. In Chicago dowries are not an issue but, as part of joining FCF, borrowers pledge not to waste money on expensive funerals. The bank has entered into an arreement with the Governor of Illinois so that borrowers can continue to receive welfare benefits in the transitional period until they become self-reliant. To see women weep for joy when they inform the authorities that they no longer need welfare is a moving experience. Group solidarity works well in America's black ghettos, on Indian reservations, in rural Arkansas -- wherever the social life of the poor is tightly knit. But in many urban settings in the West the lack of it has been the greatest stumbling block to the Grameen method. Maria Nowak, a worker for the World Bank who has set up Grameen replicas in Albania and in Bosnia, has not had the same success in France, where she is based. "There is simply no solidarity among the poorest of the poor here," she says. "Why would a Zairean tortured in prison in her country and now living in Paris care about a fellow borrower living in a train station out of garbage bags? There is not enough social fabric left on which to hook the group solidarity." But even replicators in Asia and Africa report that it is more difficult to make microcredit work in urban areas, especially among those who have no fixed address and thus few links to their neighbours. Yunus does not pretend to have solution for all problems. What he does say ts that by creating wealth in the countryside, Grameen can reduce the pressure on those moving to the urban slums. He also points to the success of the newly formed Shokhti Foundation, which has 118,000 micro-loan borrowers in the shanty towns of Dhaka; and to the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), which has many more in Indian cities. It has also been suggested that microcredit cannot flourish in Westem countries without Bangladesh's long history of self-employment. But Yunus believes that self-employment is the future. He has visited China, where Grameen loans have helped starving peasants who have too little to keep warm in winter; he has travelled to South Africa and met with the poor who jump at the chance to start their own car repair workshop or timber-sawing business, or plant wheat. All this has convinced him that, as Jan Piercy, US Executive Director of the World Bank, puts it: "Creating jobs requires huge investment, management, overheads ... It is extremely complex and time-consuming to set up, whereas self-employment is inunediate. It may be tiny, but each tiny bit contributed by the millions adds up." It is Yunus's very pragmatism, and his refusal to be cornered by ideology, which his supporters say may prevent him from getting the Nobel Prize for economics -- which usually rewards theoretical work. But Yunus is far too ambitious for Grameen to worry about a mere prize. What he has set his sights on is the total eradication of poverty from the world and to hear him discuss it is spine-tingling: "There are 1.2 billon poor in the world. Grameen has reached 2 million of them, our copycats service another 1.5 million in Bangladesh. Our international replicators have 2.5 million borrowers. That means so far, counting dependants, we've helped 36 million. If we can reach 100 million, that will be a critical mass. The rest will be easy.
"People say I am crazy, but no one can achieve anything without a dream. When you build a house, you can't just assemble a bunch of bricks and mortar, you must first have the idea that it can be done. If one is going to make headway against poverty, one cannot do business as usual. One must be revolutionary and think the unthinkable."

Naeem Mohaiemen HBO Interactive Media

********************************************************* To: Subject: English Spelling Lo-Sar Date: Wed, 12 Feb 97 9:48:55 EST

Cross-posted from SCN:

Tashi Delek and Happy Losar to All!

In case you were curious, the English transliteration (that is, the character-by-character re-spelling) of Lo-Sar from the original Tibetan is LO (meaning year) and SAR (meaning new).

The L is a plain English L rather than LH or other sound. The S is a plain English S rather than SH or TS or other sound, although the character-by-character rendering of SAR would be 'gSar' or 'gSar-pa'.

If you would like to know of an easy-to-use dictionary, Norbu Chophel's "New English-Tibetan Dictionary" published by the Tibetan Library in Dharamsala and printed at Indraprastha Press in New Delhi is simple and clear! (Our local Nepali goods store in Berkeley sells it.)

Enjoy a prosperous New Year under the magic of the Fire Ox!

B.P. Lama Nepal Tashi Taki Trekking - USA

************************************************* Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 10:26:19 -0400 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: (Namita Kiran) Subject: Anybody in Heidelberg?

Dear Digest readers,

I am wondering if any Nepali or friends of Nepali live around Heidelber
(Germany), or Frankfurt. If you do, could you please write to me?

Namita Kiran

***************************************************** Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 10:41:04 -0400 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: (Namita Kiran) Subject: a poem

                Trying to Forget

Living away from my home I am trying to make this "home" I am willing to forgo some of my dreams to replace with the "American Dream"

I have forgotten my friends, their names, my childhood and my beloved I have forsaken my temple and my gods I have even changed my name for my "American Dream"

I am here to stay; and please; don't remind of the good old days, don't try to torture me with the reverie of our foolish dreams of innocence; please let me be leave me alone with my "American Dream"

Lying on our back, trying to count the stars in a chilly night, forgeting the world around us the far away summoning of my mother to come home soon or face the wrath

I still do try to count the stars I still do look for forgotten faces and my head turns when I hear the names from the past but I know as you know past is past and present is the "American Dream"

Namita Kiran

*********************************************** To: Subject: New College in Kathmandu Date: Wed, 12 Feb 97 15:53:11 EST

Cross-posted from SCN:

The World Studies Project of New College of California in San Francisco has set up a site in Kathmandu, Nepal.The college is offering several study trips to the Himalayan region for undergraduate as well as graduate credit (6 units) in 1997 as well as 4 month semesters at the site in Nepal for 16 units in Interdisciplinary Humanities. Financial aid is available for registered students. Non-credit participants are welcome. For more information please contact our site at:
<> or contact directly below for general information:

Jerry Dekker The World Studies Project New College of California 741 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110
(415)437-3406 or 1(800)335-6262 ext. 406 email:

******************************************************* Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 08:16:36 -0500 (EST) From: To: Subject: A Feb-March-April memo from KBS

(1) The Kathmandu Book Society is proud to present Mr. Ram Chandra Timothy of Ekta Books Publishing House. Mr. Timothy will speak on what is arguably the most consistently profitable of Nepal's industries: -The school/college ko text-book/guide-book industry-. Date: Sunday, February 16, 1997. Place: Martin Chautari, Thapathali, Kathmandu (phone: 246-065). Time: 5:30 pm.

(2.) Similarly, on Sunday, March 23, 1997, at 5:30 pm, The Kathmandu Book Society presents Mr. Kanak Mani Dixit, Mr. Basanta Thapa and Mr. Deepak Thapa -- all from HIMAL Associates, the organization that publishes the highly influential HIMAL Magazine. They will share a DETAILED version of
 their VISION for establishing a new kind of book-store in Kathmandu.

Briefly: a book-store which will be more than just a book-store -- a place to get coffee and snacks, a place to meet Nepal's poets, writers, artists, performers, philosophers and academics, a book-store that would also hold PERIODIC discussion on contemporary concerns; host art/photo exhibitions, slide presentations, poetry recitals, music performances, book-signing ceremonies, and showcase a tasteful display of Nepal's prize-winning literary books and more. [Aside: Let's hope that a few wealthy
 book-lovers in the audience and/or on the Net will pitch in to make this idea a reality in Kathmandu someday.]

(3) Testai gari, on Sunday, April 23, 1997 at 5:30 pm, the Kathmandu Book Society presents Mr. Madhab Maharjan, the proprietor of the Mandala Book Point. Mr. Maharjan will speak on the production, distribution and consumption of Nepal+s academic-book industry.

>From the month of May onward, the Kathmandu Book Society plans to invite
writers to discuss their books and writing-related ideas and concerns.

Everyone+s warmly invited to attend the KBS meetings at 5:30 pm on the last Sunday of every English month. Everyone is also invited to contribute reviews and
(thought-) essays (email them either to: or to: for the KBS-coordinated monthly -The Kathmandu Post Review of Books-. Upon publication, all writers will, of course, get
 handsomely/beautifully paid. And that reminds me, a special thanks to Mr. Hem Raj Gyawali, Mr. Shyam Bdr. KC and Mr. Ramesh Suwal at Kathmandu Post for raising the +paari-shramik+ of all the KBS

book-review writers and coordinators. Jai Hos.

********************************************************* Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 17:52:44 -0600 To: From: Nischal Shrestha <> Subject: greeting!

To all netters,
                Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!!!

            love love l ove love lo
        ve love love love love love love lov
      e love love love love l ove love love love love
     love love love love love love love love love love
    love love love love love l ove love love love love lov
   e love love love love love love love love love love love
   love love love love love love love love love love love
    love love love love love love love love love love love
     love love love love love love love love love love lov
      e love love love love love love love love love lov
        e love love love love love love love love love
          love love love love love love love love l
            ove love love love love love love love
               love love love love love love lov
                e love love love love love lov
                  e love love love love love
                    love love love love lo
                    ve love love love lo
                       ve love love love
                        love love love
                          love love
                           love lo

Take care and enjoy life, Regards, Nischal Shrestha.

************************************************* Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 22:47:12 +0700 (TST) To: From: Subject: Gurkhali Diplomacy

I'm pleased to send the following article for your website. I hope you can use it. I'll be most delighted to hear any comment at my e-mail address: I can also be reached at (home number) 66-2- 5710760 Fax: 924 0501 Thank you Ramesh Shrestha

Gurkhali Diplomacy Nepalese diplomats doing more harm to Nepal than good by Ramesh Shrestha in Bangkok

Are the Royal Nepalese embassies and diplomatic corps abroad doing mroe harm to Nepal than good? Asking the question are long-time Nepali residents who have had the opportunity of observing scores of Nepalese ambassadors - both "political" and "career" appointees, and their support staff at close hand. No doubt, there have been some excellent postings of individuals who have made Nepal proud. But a large majority of them, the Nepalese community are beginning to believe, continue to remain as mere "subbas, khardars and section officers" rather than diplomats,or "officials trained in the art and practice of establishing and continuing relations between nations

"In the first place, they should never have left Singha Durbar for the sensitive diplomatic desks overseas as they are either too obstinate or too dumb to learn about the culture of the host country, to appreciate their ways, take pains to get to know well their counterparts and other important people in the private sectors" say the growing Nepali community in Thaiand who have found the Bangkok-based Nepalese diplomatic corps a misnomer, a total contradiction in term.
"Most of them are completely unqualified to represent Nepal, are ignorant about their roles, and too poorly trained to keep even the elementary diplomatic protocol much less abide by the simple etiquettes of the host country," says one Nepali who has been working with Bangkok-based UN agency, ESCAP for over a decade. Most embarrassing of all,he adds, are the functions organized by the Royal Nepalese Embassy when our poorly trained officials fail to recognize and provide proper protocol to the invited high officials from the Thai government, including the privy councillors representing the Thai palace. I have been in Thailand for the last 16 years and I, too, have seen terrible bunglings by our Embassy in this respect. Worst of all was the reception the Nepalese Embassy organized for His Majesty the King and the Queen of Nepal, no less, last January, 1997. There must be something wrong with the body-politic of Nepalese diplomacy if the Nepalese Embassy cannot even get right their reception for their own King, the absolute monarch ony a few years ago and still arguably the most popular and the only hope for Nepal in future. The function was even more of a disaster in the eyes of the Thai guests attending the crowds milling around the royal visitors, some taking pictures right in Their Majesties' faces posing security nightmares. The final, tragic scene of the Nepalis taking picture with the Royal guests - with the Royal family seated on the chairs and the Nepalis passing behind them, some laughing aloud, in the pell mell manner, was nothing less than an insult to the institution of monarchy in the eyes of the Thai guests and of those Nepalis who have been in the country for sometime and appreciate the Thai's legendary respect for their royal family.

Thais consider standing when the members of the royal family are seated a sign of disrespect for the latter. We long-time Nepali residents of Thailand were mortally embarassed thus when one of the Embassy secretaries waiting on the royal visitors refused a request from some Thai guests for permission to take a picture with the Nepalese royalties with them seated on the floor rather than standing behind. "No, you are not to sit on the floor. You must stand behind, if you want your picture taken" he decreed. Noticing a potential disaster in the making, some of us tried to intervene. We even explained to the visiting Royal aide de camp, who actually did waive at the Thais to proceed to take the picture but were brazenly stopped by the same secretary. As if having taken the cue from the Thai request, the same official later took a picture with the royal couple seated on the floor, which infuriated the Thais even more. What stupidity! What utter disregard for local people! What insensitivity to local culture! What a totally senseless show of power! Is that Gurkhali diplomacy? Goru-kahli diplomacy- let Bhupi Serchan's soul rest in peace?? Sital Niwas cum Singha Durbar diplomacy, or what?? What kind of diplomats do we produce in Nepal? A hollow frame in the garb of
"doura-suruwal-topi"? What kind of training does Sital Niwas/Singha Durbar provide them so these inept secretaries are stopped from ruining the image of Nepal in foreign countries.

Still interested? then read on for more sordid details from the Royal reception. I received a call late Tuesday night (January 21) from an Embassy official inviting me and my wife to a reception on Thursday 6:30 pm at the Oriental Hotel. The receiption was an important one, being held to welcome Their Majesties the King and Queen who were on an unofficial visit of Bangkok that week. But where was the invitation card? A reception for Their Majesties the King and Queen of Nepal without a formal invitation? The question crossed our minds. But then may be everything was being organized in a hurry, we thought. (Question: how long in advance are the Embassies informed about such VIP visits?). In my 16 years in Thailand, it was only the second time we had been invited to a reception for the Royal couple. Naturally, we more than excited. We braved the Bangkok evening traffic and got to the famous riverside hotel on time. The hotel lobby was milling with the Nepalis from various fields university students, United Nations officials and their wives, businessmen, engineers, and other local residents. Going up a flight of stairs took us to the Ballroom, the venue of the reception. On the foyer was a "reception desk", where two Thai ladies, a young one who handles the Embassy's visa section single-handedly and the other a middle aged lady who has been the Embassy's chef for over a decade, were making valiant attempts to hand guests their name badges. There was nobody greeting anybody. The Ambassador was not around. A third secretary was busy peering through the list of invitees. No wonder badges could not be found to match the guests name. And embarrassing for me personally, they couldn't find a badge carrying my wife's name.
"Was I really invited?", she asked. "Don't you have a blank card I can write my name on?". She suggested helpfully. Of course, they didn't have a blank name card, either. Thankfully, it turned out that there were to be more people without their badges. Waht beats me is why bother making name cards (badges) when you can't even issue proper invitation cards in the first place?" Even more importantly, without a competent embassy official present at the reception area, the whole process of maintaining protocol was in disarray. Isn't diplomacy to a large measure about observing protocols?

Inside the ballroom were more Nepalis and many Thais. I ran into one Dilip Pradhan from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and asked him how many had come from the AIT. "One hundred and fity", he answered. "And plus their families??", I tried to get to the number correct. Indeed, 150 plus Nepalis had been ferried in three buses to the Oriental from the AIT. Why not? I told myself. Every Nepali should have the right to see their king, especially while they are living overseas. For some reason though, the Embassy's generosity in inviting as many Nepalis people as they could did not match their effort in making sure that everyone was properly fed and taken care of. I have seen again and again that the food is the first thing to vanish from our Embassy functions. We Nepalis are not exactly the most moderate eaters even when we know that it's just a cocktail party. But then our Embassy should know how we eat. And then what about the non-Nepalis guests? The lack of sufficient food has been so constant and so embarrassing that quite a few of us have stopped attending the December 28 party organized by the Embassy altogether. Does the Embassy not have enough money to celebrate the King's birthday? Or is it due to the inherrent incompetence of the Embassy officials? They should know that you can't invite 300 people to a cocktail party and order only ten food courts, some with only nuts and sweets. Anyone with any experience in selecting menus for parties should know that noodles, being a little smelly, are a poor choice for any official function. And yet the noodle station had the longest waiting line throughout the night. (Thanks to the Oriental banquet manager, who must have taken pity and ordered his staff to continue to serve the noodles). I saw one frustrated Nepali student who had come from Mahidol University after more than three hours of bus ride opening and shutting the food trays loudly one by one one to discover that the food was gone from every one of them. The event started at 6:30 pm. No one communicated with us when the Royal guests were arriving. What was the programme? How would we receive them? With most stomachs still rebelling that one had to go hungry even at a Bhoj held in the King's name, the news of his arrival sparked our herding instinct, lining up in disarry and almost jamming up at the two sides of the door. Some looked about ready to join with noodle bowls still in their hands. Some started running now for the noodles as they appeared within easy reach. The King and Queen went through the "reception" lines, talked to a lot of us asking what we were doing, offereing their hands to the Thais. One could see that the King was more relaxed and was enjoying himself talking to us more freely than the last time we saw him 10 years or so ago when we met him under similar circumstance when his conversation with his people seemed to be restricted to mere nods of his royal head. The Thai physicians attending the King, who are also the physicians for the King of Thailand, were stillaround, having kept themselves to a courteous distance. There was not a word uttered between any Nepalis and these physicians, not a single bridge built. Among the Thai guests invited were the Thai King's representative, the Lord Chamberlain and his consort staying away at a respectable distance mostly unnoticed until they too had to introduce themselves to the King and Queen before they left. And soon our own Royal guests too left, just as we all did -- with an uncomfortable feeling deep down inside whether the Embassy had realized that there was a total lack of management. It was along night, tragic, and typical- for at least my 16 years in Thailand. No doubt, the embassy staff are not only to be blamed. They are seriously understaffed, their job is hopeless, especially when every visiting minister worth a name, a privileged person or a relative of so and so and any "VIP" expects full service from them when they are in Bangkok on a shopping tour or on a mental health holidays, often at the expenses of those barefoot
"janata" when thy happily govern.

One should also make allowances for the fact that the Foreign Ministry has not made up its mind to send a replacement for the last Ambassador who left almost a year ago. Not that it really matters, given the quality of people they choose to represent us in a foreign country. The real problem is not the appointment of a new ambassador. They come and go. What is lacking is a sense of continutity, a system under which new diplomats, both junior and senior levels, are trained on the cultural sensitivities of the host country before or after they leave for their new postings. Are the departing Ambassadors debriefed for the benefit of the new ones? It appears the Foreign Ministry sets no goals while sending an ambassador to a country for his/her tenure. There is simply no mechanism of performance evaluation mid-way and at the end of the tenure to see what was achieved and what was not based on the goals and objectives set at the beginning. It appears they follow the same practice in posting an ambassador as they did with appointing a Anchalidish during the autocratic corrupt Panchayat regime. Without any method of keeping the continuity, each new diplomat starts at zero and by the time he begins to understand anything, four years have elapsed and it's time to pack and go. Pack and go leaving behind all unkept promises. Mo new joint Nepal -Thai business ventures. No new programmes. Nothing. They just disappear into quietness, the same way as they happened into their position. Obviously, they need help while they are in Thailand. Why don't they attend cultural orientation courses ? Why are they so stubborn to learn? Why don't they use expatriate Nepalis and long-time residentswho would be too happy to comply. By the same token, the Nepalese community too need to be more organized and get involved so they can help Nepal and its image be saved from being hurt by those bungling embassy clowns who go around the world calling themselves "Nepalese diplomats".
(A Fullbright Scholar (1974-76) and East West Centre Professional Associate
(1979), Ramesh Shrestha taught English literature and linguistics at Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, between 1976-79, when he also doubled up as a researcher at Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies.In Thailand, since his arrival in 1980, he has been a teacher of English (Thammasat University),business journalist (Bangkok Post, the Nation, Business in Thailand, Media, A& M, Advertisign Age),and publisher (The Advertising Book).

****************************************************** To: Subject: Holy COW! Holy SMOKE! Date: Sat, 15 Feb 97 12:35:32 EST

Cross-posted from SCN:

       Why cow became holy? Perhaps the hindus first domisticated cow and became part and parcel of their life. It could be because they benefited a lot and hence cow was considered wealth of a family. It became a tradition to keep a cow. It is our tradition to worship anything we benefit from: like even car, bycycle, etc. (and during Dasain it became a tradition to sacrifice goats and rooster thinking that Kali is a blood thirsty goddess will take revenge by causing accidents if not done this way). Because of too much dependence, the hidus started worshiping Cow as the Goddess of wealth. Cow's milk is considered to be the best and its milk product such as ghee (uncultured butter) brings financial gain to the family.

     The cow droppings are used for painting the floor by mixing with red clay and it is a tradition and culture of the hindu society to cleanse any place in this way. Dried cow dung is used to replace firewood. Cow dung is also used as manure in the farm. After death the skin of the cow is used for leather products and others. Cow became so close to the hindu culture that even hidus started worshiping cowdung (as we know Gobardhan puja during Tihar). Perhaps "Holy Sh..t" must have come from here (perhaps taken by the british raj and used all over the world) and also the expression Holy Cow!!

     Other animals didn't get the same status as the Cow. In the villages in Nepal people prefer she-buffalow now these days I think (? ) because it gives more milk than the cow. But still interestingly holy cow remains holy because of the hindu tradition.

     "Holy smoke" must have derived from religious sacred fire performed by the Brahmins such as "koti hom" etc.
         Are Cows holy in Nepal?

     When you look around Kathmandu and in the middle mountain region, it is true that Cow is very sacred. Also law forbids any slaughter of Cow in the country. What about in the higher mountains? I have seen in Helambu, just a days walk north of Kathmandu people do it cows meat. They don't slaughter the cow but instead they take it to the bhir (steep slope) and they push the cow down the bhir and then they butcher meat and keep it in the fire place as Sukuti (dried meat). Similar thing I saw in Khumbu region also. Slaughter of Yak is a common practice in the Higher himalayan region. Meat is important diet for the people in the higher Himalayas as they grow virtually nothing except buckwheat and potatoes.

     In Pangboche monastry, a monk showed me what he believed to be the skull of the famous Yeti and bones. When I examined it carefully it was the hump of a brahmin cow (oxe) with heir grown in it and some monkey skeleton. I am pretty sure it was not the skull, it was a dried hard skin.

     I think it is ok to be called Nepal a hindu country as long as all the cultures are satisfied in their own way of life.

Gopal Dongol


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 20:17:28 -0800 From: Sanjay Shrestha <> To: Subject: Re: An interesting NGO: TEWA

Dear Editor: Please post this article on your upcoming issue. Thanks in advance.

> Last december, I was in Kathmandu for couple of weeks. A close of friend of
> mine, Rabi, works for TEWA(NGO), and he invited me for a tea session. I had
> the opportunity to meet several participants, majority of them were
> volunteers and donors. I must say that TEWA is not just any NGO. I was
> impressed by their mission, goals, fund-raising strategy, staffing,
> organization and structure. Let me give you a brief introduction:
> TEWA, in nepali means "support". TEWA comprises of 21 women members, a
> growing circle of both men and women volunteers and allies, and a
> gender-balanced team of advisors committed to building an equitable, just and
> inclusive society. Initiated in January 1996, TEWA was registered under the
> NGO Act with Lalitpur District Administration Office in April 1996, and with
> the Social Welfare Council in November 1996.
> -> to adress the issues owing to rapid urbanization and consumeristic values
> fragmenting the Nepalese society.
> -> to bring women and men into equal partnership in the development of the
> country
> -> to help support efforts to build a holistic society
> -> to encourage Nepalese to participate in their own development and develop
> self-reliance and sustainability
> -> to inculate the habit in Nepalese men and women to donate on a regular
> basis for the sustainable and equitable development of the country
> -> to pay special attention to the upliftment and empowerment of Nepalese
> women through awareness-raising and self-sustaining programmes
> TEWA will tap on philanthropy and altruism iherent in Nepalese culture, by
> urging men and women to donate on a regular basis, for the establishment of a
> TEWA trust fund.
> TEWA will identify and prioritise partners in need of its support, and for
> the allocation and disbursement of TEWA funds.
> TEWA will indentify and train a cadre of village-based development workers,
> who will not only help to identify potential beneficiaries, but also act as
> facilitators and monitors.
> YOU can become a "Friend of TEWA" by helping TEWA achieve its goal, and
> donating as much as you can on a regular annual basis or biannual basis. You
> can also help TEWA immensely, by spreading word on its ideologies. Your
> belief and trust in TEWA, will have a multiple effect, when you urge your
> friends and relatives to help us Nepalese, and more so Nepalese women, help
> ourselves.
> Your fund can be directed to TEWA's bank account:
> Nabil Bank, Kantipath Branch, Kathmandu
> Savings Account.
> For more information contact:
> GPO BOX 11
> Tele/fax: 977-1-524647
> Email:
> or
> Sanjay Shrestha
> Chicago, IL
> 773-275-2541

*********************************************************** To: Subject: MacDonald's Goat Burger? Forwarded By: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

     The famous MacDonald's of the west doesn't serve beef burgers in India, although slaughter of the cow is not illegal like in Nepal. Instead they serve goat burgers. Holy Cow! not even Buff burgers? Buff burgers would have been a lot cheaper than the goat burgers (IC Rs400/?). I think to some extent like the holy cows; Buffaloes also have his or her holiness status maintained undercover in India like in the Farwestern region of Nepal.

     Where does most of the Buffaloes go? Large herd of buffaloes are loaded into the trucks from India and are brought to Kathmandu for slaughter and are in high demand. Likewise illegally large herds of cows from Tarai are taken to the slaughter house in India. Perhaps, so called beef steak of the Thamel resturants are actually buff-steak. Beef is available in tin cans only as far as I know.

     I think when the cow is dead the "sarki" (low cast) comes and take it away and they eat the meat and the skin is used for making leather products. This is true in the middle mountain region from east to west of Nepal.

     The cast system in Kathmandu is slowly disappearing. The so called low cast people are becoming richer and richer. They own several resturants in Kathmandu. The usual customers are people of all casts from high cast brahmins to low cast pode( the toiler in the street as long as they are properly dressed). Poverty and filthiness or hygine are the main pilars of the castsystem in big towns like Kathmandu. These can be removed by means of education.

     The cast system is still deeply rooted in the Far-western region of Nepal like Bajang, Bajura, Acham, Doti etc. Most of the inhabitants are Rajpoots like Kunwar, swanr and high class brahmins. Once I bought a grape fruit (Bhogate) from what happened to be a low cast Damai (tailer) in Acham and walking a minutes uphill I asked for salt from a brahmins house and to my surprise I was refused because he saw me buying grapefruit from Damai. High cast people would not sell milk from cow or buffalo to low casts. It is a religious belief in the far western region of Nepal that Devi (the goddess) may get angry and would kill the cow or buffalo (the only wealth of the family ) if they do so.

    There is always ways and means of getting around the law. Cows are holy and so are the she buffaloes and she goats. Not anymore these days as the demand of meat is growing rapidly in Kathmandu. What appears to be he buffalo's meat could be she buffalo; or she goat for he goat. Under the law the holy cow must die first to be eaten by sarki and damai (the low casts). Clever enough in the higher mountains of Nepal, the unwanted holy cows which doesn't give milk or bullock that cannot plough any more due to old age are thrown over the cliff and are butcher later for "sukuti" (dried meat). The answer of these people to the curious law enforcement officer is simple "Gai bhir bata khasyo ra Maryo" ( The holy cow fell from the cliff and died). They didn't break the law.

     My point is there is no law in Nepal that you cannot eat cow's meat. The thing is cow must die first to be eaten by the sarki (low cast). Only the slaughter of the cow is prohibited. It is up to the readers to think themself how far are we from seing Thamel resturants serving beaf steak.

     I am actually a vegetarian.

Gopal Dongol

**************************************************** From: (Sushrut Dhital) Subject: DV-98 program (Green Card Lottery)! To: Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 11:15:26 -0500 (EST)

Forwarded message:
>From Sun Feb 16 16:46:27 1997
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 15:54:13 -0600 (CST) From: Rajendra KC <> To: Sushrut Dhital <> Subject: Re: THE DV-98 (THE GREEN CARD LOTTERY) (fwd) Message-Id: <> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

Ke chha Bruit Ji? Try this lottery for your fortune. KC from JAX STATE.
---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 15:50:17 -0600 (CST) From: Rajendra KC <> To: kalyan pant <> Subject: Re: THE DV-98 (THE GREEN CARD LOTTERY)

THANKS MAN Save this address for other guyes too. Have you mailed your entry for your self?

On Tue, 28 Jan 1997, kalyan pant wrote:
> Hey Everybody!!
> Don't missout!!
> ACT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> The Immigration Act of 1990 provides for an annual diversity immigration program, making available each year by random selection 55,000
> permanent residence visas in the United States. Visas are apportioned among six geographic regions based on immigration rates over the last five
> years, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration.
> Africa includes all countries on the African continent and adjacent islands; Asia extends from Israel to the Northern Pacific Islands, including
> Indonesia; Europe extends from Greenland to Russia, including all countries of the former USSR; North America is Canada and the Bahamas;
> Oceania includes Papua New Guinea and all countries and islands of the South Pacific; South America includes Central America, Mexico and the
> Caribbean countries .
> Entries must be received between FEBRUARY 3, 1997 AND MARCH 5, 1997. Entries received before or after those dates will be disqualified
> regardless of when they are postmarked.
> STEP ONE: Can I enter?
> You are not eligible to apply if you were born in one of the following countries:
> - For 1998, the high admission countries are: CHINA (MAINLAND and TAIWAN), PHILIPPINES, VIETNAM, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except
> Natives of HONG KONG and NORTHERN IRELAND are eligible to enter.
> - If you were born in an ineligible country but your spouse was not, you can claim your spouse's country of birth instead of your own. If you were
> born in a country where neither of your parents resided at the time, you may be able to claim one of their countries of birth. (SEE #5)
> STEP TWO: Do I meet the education training requirements?
> Applicants under the diversity program must have either:
> A High School education or its equivalent defined as successful completion of twelve years of education comparable to a U.S. High School
> degree; or
> Two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years training or experience;
> U.S. Department of Labor definitions will apply.
> (Documentary proof of education should not be submitted at this time. It will be required later if your entry is selected.)
> STEP THREE: How do I complete an entry?
> Only ONE entry may be submitted by or for each applicant during the registration period.
> Submission of more than one entry will disqualify you.
> There is no special application form. Simply provide the following information on a plain sheet of paper, typed or clearly printed in the English
> alphabet:
> Last Name, First Narne and Middle Name
> EXAMPLE: Svensson, Sven Ake
> Date: Day, Month, Year
> EXAMPLE: 15 November 1961
> Place: City/Town; District/County/Province; Country
> EXAMPLE: Stockholm, Sweden
> If you are selected, your unmarried children under 21 years of age, and your spouse can also apply for visas.
> The mailing address must be clear and complete, since that is the address where the notification and instructions for persons selected for registration
> will be sent. A telephone number is optional, but useful.
> Clearly specify your claim of chargebility to another country (see above).
> STEP FOUR: Where do I mail my entry?
> Submit your entry by regular mail or air mail to the address matching the region where you were born.
> Entries may NOT be sent express mail, fax, hand, messenger, or any means requiring receipts or special handling.
> Envelopes should be business or letter size, between 6 and 10 inches long (15cm to 25cm) and between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 inches wide
> (9cm to 11 cm). Postcards are not acceptable.
> You must list your country of birth (see STEP ONE on previous page), name and mailing address in the upper left corner of the envelope.
> Failure to comply with these instructions will disqualify your entry. Complete your envelope following the example on the envelope
> below.
> Use the correct ZIP code for your region.
> Registrants will be selected at random from among entries received according to the instructions above.
> A computer will make a random selection from among all qualified entries in each geographical region no later than July 1, 1997. Successful
> applicants will be notified by mail, at the mailing address listed on the entry. Persons not selected will NOT be notified. (U.S. Embassies and
> Consulates will not be able to provide a list of successful applicants.)
> Individuals selected will be registered to apply for immigrant visas, and will be provided further instructions. Their spouses and unmarried minor
> children can also apply for visas. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements under the U.S. Law to be issued visas.
> There is NO FEE to enter the DV-98 selection. The use of an outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a DV-98 entry is entirely at
> the applicant's discretion. Qualified entries received directly from applicants or through intermediaries have equal chances of being
> selected.
> Persons who think they have been cheated by a U.S. company or consultant in connection with the Diversity Visa Lottery may wish
> to contact their local consumer affairs office or the National Fraud Center at (202) 835 0159 or 1-800-876-7060. The U.S.
> Department of Stats has no authority to investigate complaints against businesses.

******************************************************************** To: Subject: JavaScritized Patro (calender) frot he year of 2053 and beyond Date: Wed, 19 Feb 97 16:01:33 EST Forwarded By: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

Many of you must have yearned for an automatically updating " Nepali Patro
" over the Internet. You will be able to view it when you on my homepage. This was written in JavaScript by Ima STUDIOS Inc. It was originally meant for English calender. I did some here and there manipulation on the coding part to bring out the Nepali Dates. Most of the credit goes to them. Feel free to put a link onto your site. There are other titty bitty stuffs done in JavaScript. Feel free to comment about my homepage and if you have any interesting java snippets do pass it on to me. Any queries email me. I might be able to find a way out. After all, a homepage without some java applets or some kinda JavaScript embeded is not really fun to hang around. ain't so?

Click here to cruise along my JavaScriptiZed hideout

see ya! Kunga Tshering

************************************************************* Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 14:40:42 PST To: From: Gerald A Dekker <> Subject: Announcing the World Studies Project

Announcing the World Studies Project of New College of California
( )

The World Studies Project of New College of California is an academic field program based in San Francisco with a site in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Project evolved from the World College Institute, a New College study abroad program, and from the World Tree Project, a non-profit affiliate of New College of California which is dedicated to promoting public awareness of the relationship between culture and the natural environment. The World Studies Project has been designed to combine the philosophies and goals of these programs to provide a high quality field study experience.

The mission of the World Studies Project is to facilitate communication and develop relationships between our New College community here in San Francisco and friends and colleagues in other parts of the world. We believe that the lives of those participating in these programs will be enriched through their exposure to ideas and cultures different from their own as will as through the relization that despite these differences., we have much in common and a great deal to learn from each other.

The World Studies Project has developed a variety of forums through which this mission may be realized. The first is the Semester Abroad Program which enables students to fully immerse themselves in Himalayan cultures. Currently, semesters abroad are spent in Nepal, where a four month field studies program is divided into rural and urban components. The semester is divided into classroom experience, with classes given by professors from Tribuhavan University in Kathmandu and other experts in various fields of study, and practical research, supervised by our World Studies Project coordinator in Nepal. Courses of study are within an interdisciplinary humanities framework in order to complement our curriculum at the home campus in San Francisco and can be individualized according to the needs of the student. The culmination of the semester abroad is a research project. In the past these have ranged from papers on the impact of tourism on Nepal, to the religious and cultural practices in a Gurung village to contemporary women's issues in the Himalayas.

The second component of the World Studies Project is the three to four week academic study tour. This program offers excursions that range form multidisciplinary studies of the Kathmandu Valley, combining lectures from local scholars with guided tours to sites of historical, social, spiritual, and cultural significance, to adventurous journeys through the Himalayas of Nepal, Tibet, India and beyond. All in-field studies programs are available for undergraduate and graduate academic credit, but non-credit participants are also welcome.

The World Studies Project, while currently focused on the Himalayan region, has been established at New College of California to promote an understanding of world cultures while searching for community solutions to social and cultural conflicts between politics, economics, culture, geography, and spirituality. The Project was created to enable students to take an active role in their education by connecting what they have learned in the class room with the ourside world through experience in the field. The international community that grows out of these experiences helps to foster understanding through communication among peoples of a varity of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. It is this vision of truly global community which we hope to carry with us into the twenty first century.

For more information, visit our website at or contact:

Jerry Dekker, Director The World Studies Project New College of California
(415) 437-3406 1 (800) 335-6262 ext. 406 FAX: (415) 776-7190 Email:

Ricky Fishman, Faculty The World Studies Project New College of California
(415) 214-1302 ext. 783 FAX: (415) 441-9238 Email:

************************************************************ Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 14:28:03 EST To: From: Cat-Man-Do <> Subject: Info on BaghChaal

Could you please post this on the next issue of TND or point me towards where I can find information on any documented rules on BaghChaal.

I am looking for information on BaghChaal. I would like to have the rules on playing the game. If there is one out there already documented, I would like know its where abouts. If not, I would appreciate anyone's help on this.

You could email the information to me at "".

Thank you. Rojal Pradhan

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 12:39:14 EST To: From: "root user" <> Subject: SITE SPECIFIC SEARCH ENGINE

I have developed an external Personal Site Specific Search Engine.

It works like any normal search engine, but it will only return web pages to yo ur site in particular when accessed from your site. Many companies are charging thousan ds of dollars for a site search engine but mine is free. It does a word specific inde xing of your entire site. If you are interested check out the rsonal.htm You simply add the URLs to your page use it once and our code does the rest. ( It really is that easy :) Hope to hear from you soon - John Woolsey
 PS If you wish to take a look check out jwoolsey@ Flagship Software Limited Home of the Site Specific Search Engine

******************************************************* Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 15:52:46 PST To: From: Wolfgang Keil <> Subject: RESHAM FIRIRI


Dear Sir,

I would like to know the text of the beautiful song "resham firiri".

I would appreciate very much if you could provide this text and its english translation on INTERNET NEPAL MUSIC PAGE or send it by EMAIL. The same is desirable for all of your folksongs.

Thank you Best regards Wolfgang Keil

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 16:14:48 -0600 From: Padam Sharma <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: News on British Gurkha's

Courtesy: India Network Digest (2/17/97) Gurkhas win right to bring families to Britain

    By Paul Majendie
     LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuter) - Gurkha soldiers from Nepal won the right on Monday to bring their families with them to Britain under a one million pound ($1.6 million) package announced by the government.
     "We expect that under these arrangements some 900 Gurkha dependents,wives and children will come to the United Kingdom," Armed Forces Minister Nicholas Soames told parliament.
     With the handover of Hong Kong to China due in June, the British army took the opportunity to stage its first major review for 40 years of Gurkha terms of service.
     These terms were originally laid out in a 1947 tripartite agreement by Britain, Nepal and India, which also takes Gurkhas in its army.
     Nepali soldiers, famed for their hardiness, loyalty and combat skills, have served with the British army for 180 years. They suffered 43,000 casualties in the two world wars and have been awarded 26 Victoria Crosses, Britain's supreme medal for bravery.
     The British Army currently has 3,250 Gurkhas serving in Hong Kong, Brunei and Britain. Numbers have been sharply reduced in the British Army since the end of the Cold War.
      The handover of Hong Kong to China will focus the Gurkhas much more in Britain where an extra 450 married quarters are being made available for them.
     Ministers had felt it was unjust to separate Gurkha families and believed that the Nepali-born soldiers should be treated the same as soldiers born in Britain.
     Soames told the House of Commons: "Taking advantage of the drawdown in Hong Kong and the relocation of most of the (Gurkha) brigade to the United Kingdom, the ministry of defence has undertaken a major review in order to restore fairness and equity."
     Pay levels will now be standardised with the new average salary for corporals at an across-the-board rate of 13,000 pounds.
    Under the new conditions announced by Soames, Gurkha soldiers will also be able either to send their children to British schools or get education allowances back home.
    He expected that most Gurkhas would opt for Nepali boarding schools for their children. The soldiers get five months' leave every three years.
    Gurkha veteran associations had campaigned for a rise in the pensions that are now paid to old soldiers.
    The current pension stands at 26 pounds a month but British defence officials were quick to stress that this compared favourably with the country's per capita annual income of 200 pounds a head.
     "These revised terms of service are emphatically good news for the Brigade of Gurkhas," said their commander, General Sir Sam Cowan. "This will enable us to keep our operational eye on the ball."

****************************************************************** To: Subject: Himalayan Explorers Club Date: Thu, 20 Feb 97 23:48:41 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

The Himalayan Explorers Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the Himalayan region. If you have a special interest in this region, check out our club homepage at
  1. We have a newsletter, trip reports, website, and our
   clubhouse in Kathmandu keeps tabs on the many trekking
   and guide services. If you have questions about your trip,
   that can best be answered from Nepal, you can email our
   clubhouse staff in Kathmandu.
   2. We have a moderated mailing list titled "HimalayaNet," so
   that members can exchange information and advice.

3. While in Kathmandu, you can stop by the clubhouse to use
   the telephone or email, pick up your snail or emails,
   store your baggage, or just relax and have a cup of tea
   at our home away from home.

4. We assist the local people of the region through a
   home-stay program, sales of local handicrafts, and
   a volunteer service placement program.
 If you email me your snail mail (postal) address, I will send you more information about the HEC and how you can join us. Hope to see you in the Himalaya! Regis Chapman

Regis L. Chapman

************************************************** Subject: Condolences To: Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 08:21:59 -0500 (EST) From: "Anil Shrestha" <>

Our heartfelt condolences to Shambhu and Banu Oja of Ithaca, NY on the tragic and untimely death of their son Binaya Oja, a student at Clarkson University. May God give you two the strength to bear this irrepairable loss Sambhu dai and bhauju. We cannot experience the amount of sorrow this has caused you but we can definitely feel it and would like to share it. Anil and Reeta

%%%%%Editor's Note: On behalf of TND Foundation family, I would like to %%%%%
%%%%% extend our heartfelt condolences to the Oja family. %%%%%

**************************************************** To: Subject: Nepali Sahitya Award Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 11:57:13 EST Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

Cross-posted from SCN:

Subedi's Ankur Novel Wins The Ratna Shrestha Award

        February 18th, Baglung, Nepal. Ratna Shrestha Puraskar Sansthan awarded the "Ratna Shrestha Pashchimanchal Kshetriya Puraskar" to Mr. Hom Nath Subedi. Mr. Subedi, currently in Woodbridge, Virginia, received the award for his novel Ankur. This award is given every two years for the best book of the western development region of Nepal. Twenty-six books from sixteen districts of western Nepal were evaluated for the award. The judging committee selected Ankur as the best book. The award included a certificate with a logo of Dhawalagiri Himalaya and cash prize.

        On the behalf of Mr. Hom Nath Subedi, his father Mr. Harilal Upadhyaya accepted the award from Mr. Prem Chhota, President and founder of the Ratna Shrestha Puraskar Sansthan. On his letter of address to the award distribution ceremony, Mr. Hom Nath Subedi declared that the cash received from prize will be donated to the International Nepali Literary Award Fund, a sum of money being collected by International Nepali Literary Society, Inc., Washington, D.C. Baglung Campus Chief Laxmi Raj Sharma read Mr. Subedi's address to the ceremony. Mr. Sharma, Dol Bahadur Gurung, Amrit Sherchan, Saru Pant, Teja Shrestha, Gyanuwaker and other dignitaries highlighted the significance of contributions of Nepalese living abroad to Nepali literature and emphasized the importance of such.

        On the occasion, Ratna Shrestha's statue was inaugurated and
"Sashwath Swarharu," a book of poetry collection was presented to the public. A poetry seminar was held; Thirty poets from different districts recited poems. The ceremony was attended by story writers, poets, novelists, parliamentarians, judges, CDO's, social workers and a big mass of general public. The award distribution ceremony was inaugurated by Gopal Prasad Sapkota, chairman of Baglung District Development Committee. His Excellency Royal Nepalese Ambassador to the US, Dr. Bhekh B. Thapa had sent a letter of congratulation and thanks to the ceremony and was recited. President of Association of Nepalese in the Americas (ANA), Mr. Pramod Sharma and President of International Nepali Literary Society (INLS), Mr. Kiran Dhungana also extended their pride to the ceremony in Baglung. Novelist Subedi, past president of INLS and Chairman of ANA Editorial Board, living in Woodbridge, Virginia, has received congratulatory notes from INLS board meeting and INLS members. During his fifteen years stay in the US, he has written eight books and has been actively working in developing Nepali language and literature in international level. The ceremony was unique due to the participation by both the Nepalese from abroad and the Nepalese in Nepal. Mr. Prem Chhota, President of the Ratna Shrestha Puraskar Sansthan, said that there had never been such an excellent award distribution ceremony.

Hom Nath Subedi

******************************************************* From: "Usup Lal Rajbahak" <> To: Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 14:30:28 +0200 Subject: Please send me your Issues

Howdy fellow countrymen,
   My name's Usup Lal Rajabahak, currently studying Computer Engineering in a city called Lviv, Ukraine (ex-ussr). I'm doing my last course here. Recently my brother from the motherland recomended me your number saying that, if I write to U guys, then I'll be given a priority to receive the issues of the electronic magazine 'Nepal Digest', via email, free of cost, right?. So I thought, then, why not drop in a line to U, so that I could read some fresh news concerning Nepal. So, please, do mail me the latest issues your magazine. My number's "". Thanx. Your's Usup

************************************************************** Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 15:43:48 +0000 From: bill lowe <> To: Subject: Nepali alphabet and name

Can you spell "Janelle" in the Nepali alphabet? It would be greatly apprieciated!

Please send to:

******************************************************* From: mask0161@Blue.UnivNorthCo.Edu To: Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 08:51:30 +0000 Subject: Internship Oppertunity In Nepal

Dear Sir / Ms I am student of MPH (Master in Public Health) in UNC, Greeley, CO. I am interested to do Internship in Nepal. I have a great desire to serve in Nepal. What shoud I have to do to get an internship in Nepal's Capacity 21 program. Would you please send me more informations. Thankyou. Sincerly Raj B Maskay 719 20th Street # 4 Greeley CO 80631

************************************************************ Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 14:15:11 -0500 (EST) From: GANESH GHIMIRE <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Where about of a friend !!

Hi there, I would like to request to you all about Sabin Dungana, used to be in London and moved to the US about over a year or two ago. If any of the TND readers know or have contact to him please inform me of his where abouts. If you are reading this Sabin, I need to contact you. Rajiv Rana, Mani dai's son, from London is in Boston these days and he is looking for you since he arrieved here about eight months ago. Hope to hear from you. Thanks !!


********************************************************* Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 17:12:04 -0500 (EST) From: SURAJ BASNET <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Seminar on New Immigration Law

Nepali Youth Organization welcomes you to a free seminar on Immigration Law, this Sunday, March 2, 1997 at the George Mason University. Please forward this message to individuals who do not have access to email or the Internet. Instructions to get to the GMU campus, from several directions, are available at the end of this message. More information about NYO activities can be found at

Please feel free to ask questions about recent changes in immigration laws especially as it affects members of the Nepali community. NYO volunteers will assist in completing forms for the DV-98 Visa Lottery Program. Furthermore, tax experts will be available to answer and assist you with completing all IRS forms.

Speaker: Waseem A. Shah
                Kooritzky & Associates
                Fairfax, VA Place: Market Place Hall
                Student Unions II
                George Mason University
                Fairfax, Virginia

Date: March 2, Sunday

For more information on the seminar, please call Simon Dhungana at (703) 208-9844, Amod Katwal at (703)242-6268, Kabindra Sitoula at (703)931-6699 and Suraj Basnet at (410)243-6608 or a NYO volunteer near you.

Directions to the GMU campus:

DIRECTIONS TO CAMPUS FROM CAPITAL BELTWAY To reach George Mason University from the Capital Beltway, Route 495, take exit 5, Braddock Road West, Route 620. Follow Braddock Road West for approximately 6 miles. Turn right at Nottoway Lane to the stop sign and then turn left onto Patriot Circle. Turn right on Mason Drive; parking is available in the Parking Deck, the last building on the right. An information kiosk is located outside the third level of the deck to help navigate the campus.

DIRECTIONS TO FAIRFAX CAMPUS VIA I-66E FROM FRONT ROYAL To reach George Mason University from I-66E, exit at Route 7100, Fairfax County Parkway, South. Exit the Parkway at Braddock Road and turn left. Take the first left past Route 123 onto Roanoke Lane. Go right at the fork in the road. Take your first left on Mason Drive to the Parking Deck, the last building on your right. An information kiosk is located outside the third level of the deck to help navigate the campus.

DIRECTIONS TO FAIRFAX CAMPUS VIA I-66W FROM WASHINGTON, DC AND ARLINGTON To reach George Mason University on I-66W from Washington DC and Arlington, take exit 60 at Route 123 South, Chain Bridge Road. Follow Route 123 through the city of Fairfax, and turn left at University Drive. Take your first right at Occoquan Lane. Turn right at the stop sign onto Patriot Circle. At the pond, bear left to stay on Patriot Circle. Take your first left on Mason Drive to the Parking Deck, the last building on your right. An information kiosk is located outside the third level of the deck to help navigate the campus.

DIRECTIONS TO FAIRFAX CAMPUS FROM FREDRICKSBURG/RICHMOND VIA I-95 To reach George Mason University from Richmond or Fredericksburg via I-95 north, take exit 160B, Route 123 North at Lake Ridge/Occoquan. Follow Route 123 north for approximately 15 miles to Braddock Road. Turn right on Braddock Road. At first signal, turn left on Roanoke Lane. Bear right at the fork in the road. Take your first left onto Mason Drive; parking is available in the Parking Deck. An information kiosk is located outside the third level of the deck to help navigate the campus.

******************************************************** To: Subject: correspondence From: rajendra lamichhane <> Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 12:08:45 +0900

To The Editor The Nepal Digest

Sub: Correspondence

I would like to receive the information from TND through e-mail. I would appreciate you very much if you include my name in your membership list.I do not have much idea about how this process could be done so please suggest me if there are any alternative ways.

Thanks for your kind consideration. My e-mail number is:

********************************************************* Date: Wed, 26 Feb 97 10:17:06 EST From: rshresth@BBN.COM Sender: rshresth@BBN.COM

                    The Slogan Generation
                    a short commentary by
          Cycling to Baneswor last Wednesday, I suddenly realized that as someone between the age of 20 and 29, I am one of 3.4 million Nepalis who belong to 'The Slogan Generation'. Why the slogan generation? Very simple. Ever since our childhood in the '70s, the keepers of the Nepali state, regardless of their politics, have been feeding us nothing but slogans.

          The first slogan we were taught in primary school was the famous
"bikas ko mool footau noo parcha" [translation: the source of development must be ? found]. Nobody ever explained what bikas really meant; but whatever it meant, we were assured that its 'source' would be 'reached' through the then 'national soil-appropriate' Panchayati system.

          Imagine our shock when -- twenty years later, all grown up -- we saw not only that "soil-appropriate" system+s biting the dust, but also that our predecessors had confused the seeds of binas with the fruits of bikas. And the result? Today as members of the slogan generation, we remain unsure as to how to reconcile our slogan-washed image of a +proud and independent nation+ with that of our emerging global identity as the world's second poorest country -- shyly squatting, as we do, on the world's door-mat with a begging bowl.

          In social-studies classes, we learnt "hariyo ban, Nepal ko dhan"
[trans: green forests; Nepal's wealth]. Again, only later did denuded hills and devastated Tarai jungles show us that the green forests were really the then Panchayati Ministers' lottery to untold wealth, which they continue to enjoy even to this day. And as impressionable students in high-school in the
'80s, we chanted to the tune of blood-boiling nationalism. Only today are we waking up to understand why the brightest among us quietly emigrate to the West, while many brawny Nepalis increasingly risk their lives in sweat-shops from South Korea to Saudi Arabia.

          And of course, ethnic diversity was always there for tourists to click their cameras at. But to us, it always came wrapped up in "euta desh, eutai vesh" [one country, one dress] -- whether we liked it or not. Still, state-sponsored slogans spun its own web of mass hypnosis. Remember the ones about fulfilling every one's basic needs by taking us all to the heights of
 "Asialy Maap-danda" [Asian standards] by the year 2000?

          The year 2000 is only 35 months away. But even with a new political system with its attendant Constitution, what have we been hearing? Vapid speeches and empty slogans, one after another.

          One group that has squandered all its goodwill shouts "BP ko sapana sakar parau" [Let us fulfil BP's dreams], while its opposition calls for "safeguarding democracy" and then goes on to engage in spectacular fist-fights inside the Parliament. Still others are vowing to breathe life into their Panchayati skeleton, whereas some with glinting khukuris sway to the slogans of Chairman Mao -- shattering the impoverished monotony of mid-hills like Rolpa.

          Pedalling along, I was tempted to theorize why foreign companies doing business in Nepal too have started flashing one-liners to attract the slogan generation. Then again, raised on easy, empty slogans, what else could stir my generation's almost-Pavlovian reflexes? "Wear your attitude" was one hip slogan I found on a large billboard on my way to Baneswor.

(Originally published in The Kathmandu Post.)

*********************************************************** Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 13:41:05 +0800 To: From: auv <> Subject: A letter from China

Dear Sir:
 I'm a Chinese. I found your email address on the web.
 This summer I'll travel to Tibet and
 I know Nepal is a beautiful country. So I plan to visit by the way.
 Now I need a invited letter. Can you help me?
 Thank you very much.
  My address is :
 Zhongguancun Building 823 Room402
 Beijing China
 My name is :
 Liu Zehua

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