The Nepal Digest - March 7, 1996 (24 Falgun 2052 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday 7 March 96: Falgun 24 2052 BS: Year5 Volume48 Issue1

  Today's Topics:

        1. Message from the editor

        2. KURA_KANI
              Social: My Sloth
                           Re: Child labor in Nepal
              Religion: Buddha's Birthplace Discovered in Nepal
              Environment: Safa Tempo in Nepal
              Politics: POLITICAL FALLOUT: Pop CD with Buddhist Touch
                           Bhutanese demonstrations-update 28 Feb 1996
                           News on Indian Economy & Plight of Bhutani Refugees

 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * *
 * TND Foundations: General Information *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh B. Shrestha *
 * Webmaster Correspondent: Pradeep Bista *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "LIFE: Indulgence vs Seeking Truth - Which is your forte?" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * "We have guided missiles and misguided men" -Dr. MLK *
 * *

***************************************************************** From: TND Foundations <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: TND Foundation Contribution Fund

Dear TND members:

     TND Foundations is accepting your generous contribution in an effort to
     find a permanant home for The Nepal Digest (TND).

     You are encouraged to send your contribution payabale to:
            TND Foundations
            c/o Rajpal J. Singh
            44 Greenridge Ave
            White Plains, NY 10605

     Following members have been kind with their generous contributions:

     Biswamber Shrestha Rockville, MD
     Mahesh K. Maskey Arlington, MA
     Rajpal J. Singh White Plains, NY
     Padam P. Sharma Bismarck,ND
     Lynn B. Reid Jamaica Plain, MA
     John Mage New York, NY
     Shyam Lama Arlington, VA
     Raju Tuladhar Alberta, Canada
     Robin Rajbhandari Nashville, TN
     Katharine N. Rankin Ithaca, NY
     Bhanu B. Niraula Flushing, NY
     Amulya R. Tuladhar Worcester, MA
     Rajesh B. Shrestha Worcester, MA
     Abi Sharma British Columbia, Canada
     Nirmal K. Bhattarai St. Paul, MN
     Suresh R. Sharma Rome, Italy
     Mary Deschene Baltimore, MD
     Tatsuro Fujikura Chicago, IL
     Pratyoush Onta Kathmandu, Nepal
     Anita Regmi Wheaton, MD
     Gregory G. Maskarinec Honolulu, Hawaii
     Robert Peirce Portland, OR
     Mahesh Gurung Chicago, IL
     Nirmal Ghimire Millersville, PA
     Raja Ram K.C. Somerville, MA
     Hari Koirala Mansfield Center, CT
     Sanjay Shrestha Chicago, IL
     Bal Krishna Sharma East Lansing, MI
     Subas Sakya Pumona, NY
     Marian E. Greenspan Beltsville, MD
     Sanjay B. Shah Blacksburg, VA
     Paul Johnson Santa Cruz, CA
     Bhaskar R. Dawadi Tallahassee, FL
     Damber K. Gurung Clemson, SC
     Sagar Shakya Boulder, CO
     Murari Pradhan Salt Lake City, UT
     Pramod Parajuli Syracuse, NY
     Raksha D. Malakar Amherst, MA
     TND offeres heartful thanks to all the generous contributors. If you
     have sent the contribution and do not see yourself on the list, please
     accept our apologies and let us know.

Sincerely TND Foundation

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 22:38:11 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <> Subject: My Sloth

Dear Editor,

I have been lax in sending my contribution to TND Foundation. I don't know why I haven't been able to muster this donation-giving courage that many Americans seem to possess so readily (the finances of PBS and NPR are but two examplses of this generous spirit of the American public) and many Nepalis back home come up with when needed (many schools and other village level public work projects there are run on cooperative basis). I have tried to look for reasons. I have found that I'm not essentially a close-fisted person, although I have never had riches to squander and so test my generosity. It's also not that I don't want my name to appear on the august list of those who have come out to help TND. It seems that I'm just slothful, victim of one of the deadly Christain sins. But since I'm not a Christian, I don't seem to fear the wrath of God. Now, the repeated editorial appeals have begun to shame me in picking up my checkbook and seal an envelope. I hope I make good of my promise.

But more slothful I have been in another department. I have been thinking about writing on Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai's revolution and on several other topics. But my sloth hasn't allowed me sit down and sweat. Unlike the contribution from my pocket, this contribution from my brain accounts may not be as desirable and as pleasing to everyone of TND readers. That's why, when I saw Mr. Baral's piece on Prime Minister Deuba, I felt happy. It was fun to read, well written with humor, wit, and good-natured criticism. I miss such genial pieces on TND, not because I can't find them in "The New Yorker," or in "Harper's" or else where. But funny, daring essays about Nepal on TND make it worthwhile to read because of their language, passion, and sincerity. In this respect, I miss Ashu's pieces and wonder if Mr. Amulya Tuladhar has already spent all his angst or is spending somewhere else.

I for one don't roll the screen of TND to get news about Nepal. I do it with this feeling that I might come across some surprising piece, some daring effort, some humor, some anger, some meditation--raw, provocative, nonetheless interesting and fresh. But I have been disappointed lately. I'm sure there are myriads of topics to write about as there are members of TND with individual perspective and outlook.

TND still has the potential to develop not only as a news magazine but more importantly as a views magazine. Let's be generous not only with our bank accounts but also our brain accounts. Bereft of the place we grew up in and people we laughed, cried, fought as children back in the villages and town streets of Nepal, even the strong emotions on the pages of TND, whether we like them or not, agree or disagree, they ease the pain and enhance the pleasures of exile. So, I repeat, let's contribute both from our bank and brain accounts, if others also don't suffer like me from sloth.

************************************************************* Subject: Re: Child labor in Nepal Date: 4 Mar 1996 14:08:38 GMT

Whils in Nepal I had the occaision to see one young boy, about 9 years of age sitting in the area of Thamel, Kathmandu with a small box and candle around midnight. He had for sale cigarettes, candy and his own mini 7- Eleven store in an area not served by others at a time when everything else was closed.

I found out he worked like this every night. The money he used was used to pay for his school.

Two thoughts went through my mind.

1. The poor kid. Having to work so hard at night when he should be in bed.

and 2. Imagine seeing a young boy here in America, with the energy, entrpreneural skills and willingness to do this instead of vandalizing or terrorizing the neighborhood from boredom brought about by this protectionist society.

I think more of this thing in America would substantially reduce crime by the young men in this country who are not spending their time studying for tomorrows exams so they can get into Harvard or Yale.


********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:08:04 EST From: Subject: Fwd: FW: Buddha's Birthplace Discovered in Nepal


   An international team of archeologists has reported discovering the chamber where Buddha was born 2,500 years ago--16 feet beneath an ancient temple in southwestern Nepal.
   The archeologists in the UN-funded project said they had found relics under the Mayadevi temple in Lumbini, 200 miles southwest of the Himalayan kingdom's capital, Katmandu.
   Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said late Sunday the discovery should end an international debate on whether Buddha, whose followers number nearly 350 million worldwide, was born in Nepal or India.
   "The discovery proves that Lord Buddha was born at this sacred place," Deuba said. "It is a matter of pride for all of us that the sacred birthplace of Lord Buddha has been discovered."
   Government officials said Nepal, with the help of the Japan Buddhist Federation and the United Nations, plans to turn Lumbini into a center for world peace and site of pilgrimage.
   Archeologists from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Japan said they made the discovery nine months ago but the Nepali government delayed any announcement until it finished consulting experts.
   The archeologists said they found a commemorative stone atop a platform of seven layers of bricks dating from the era of Emperor Ashoka, who ruled over much of the Indian subcontinent and visited Lumbini in 249 B.C. Ashoka converted to Buddhism from Hinduism and is believed to have spread the religion to East Asian nations.
   Buddhist literature says Ashoka placed a stone on top of bricks at the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism who was born in 623 B.C. and later called Lord Buddha. Ashoka also built a nearby pillar which still stands.
   Siddhartha renounced the material world to become a traveling monk
  known as "Buddha"--the enlightened one. Ancient inscriptions on a pillar above the excavated chambers claim Buddha was born there.

   The discovery of the rooms confirmed the ancient claims, said a Nepali archeologist.

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 1 Mar 1996 20:34:49 -0500 To: From: (Padam Sharma) Subject: India is our source of democracy, religion, and much more...

Courtesy: India Digest (3/1/96)

Indians say all politicians are corrupt

   NEW DELHI, Mar. 1 (UPI) -- A cross section of people interviewed in the Indian capital Friday said they were not surprised by recent revelations that many of the country's senior politicians took bribes in a $19 million corruption scandal.
   Although for weeks newspapers have carried the sordid details of the scam, average Indians on the streets of New Delhi seem to have remained largely unmoved by the disclosures.
   "All politicians are corrupt," businessman Ashok Garg said matter- of-factly.
   "In this country, everyone -- right from the peon to the prime minister
-- is corrupt," taxi driver Manohar Singh. "We have to pay bribes to traffic cops and industrialists end up paying to government ministers.
   The scandal that has rocked India's political scene in recent weeks involves the disclosure that more than 100 top government ministers and members of parliament were paid bribes by influential businessmen seeking political favors.
   Seven members of Prime Minister Rao's cabinet have resigned in the wake of the scandal and 24 politicians have been formally charged with taking bribes from a New Delhi businessman who acted as a middleman for the payments.
   At least nine politicians, including former ministers and opposition leader Lal Krishan Advani, have been issued arrest warrants, although most have since been granted bail. They are required to appear in court later this month.
   In India, where political scandals are seen almost as commonplace to many the so-called Hawala scam comes as little surprise.
   "We slog for 16 hours a day and still are left with nothing after paying taxes," restaurant owner Sudhir Chona complained. "These politicians elected by us end up counting millions of bucks."
   Most Indians are quick to criticize a political system they feel lacks morality. A scandal of such magnitude, they say, would have already brought down governments in most Western countries.
   Chona said he is completely confused about who he would support in the upcoming general elections, as leaders of all major parties have been linked to the scandal.
   But Garg concedes he'll probably "vote for the lesser thief."
   "Everybody is naked in a bathtub and we don't have much of an option," he said.
   But political analysts feel the scam will have only a limited impact on the elections expected in April.
   "People have a short memory," Samir Malik, a political science research scholar said.

Indian police impose curbs ahead of Hindu festival

    NEW DELHI, Feb 28 (Reuter) - Indian police have banned the sale of water balloons and warned revellers they will clamp down on disorderly behaviour during the festival of Holi, often marked by drunken brawls, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.
     "There are indications of indiscriminate throwing of coloured water, rubber balloons containing water and riotous, indecent and disorderly behaviour by some sections of the Holi revellers during the next few days," a Delhi police order said.
     Holi, which this year falls on March 5, is a festival commemorating the victory of good over evil. People across large parts of India celebrate it by smearing coloured powder, polish or dye on each other.
     Police and women's groups say Holi, long a harmless tradition, has been marred by hooliganism. Women are often the targets for balloons filled with dyed water thrown from rooftops and buses.
     "We get triple -- not even double, but triple -- the normal number of complaints on Holi because of intoxication," the police spokesman said.

**************************************************************** Date: Sat, 2 Mar 1996 13:57:01 -0500 From: To: Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - February 6, 1996 (23 Magh 2052 BkSm

I happen to know that someone did the research about Nepalese
  population living in the USA . Could you please send me the message that
 I can contact that person for more information . I could not
 download that information when it was placed through Nepal Digest .
                                   Thank you.

************************************************************ From: Rajesh Shrestha <> Date: Sat, 2 Mar 1996 19:26:44 -0500 (EST) To: Subject: quinacrine?

Cross-posted from SCN:
--------------------- Doug Biggs wrote:
> In article <4h2g3s$>, ji hyun lee
> <> wrote:
> > Hi! I was wondering if anyone knows anything about QUINACRINE,a new
> > non-surgical female sterilization method, in Nepal.
> --snipped---
> > Liz Lee
> >
> I must be really off track, but I remember Quinacrine as the anti-malerial
> pill we all got to take when we were Peace Corps volunteers (this was in
> the 80's). Am I right or am I thinking of a different medicine.
You're not off track at all! Quinacrine's been around since the 30's, first used as an anti-mararial drug. So, you probably did take it in the Peace Corps! Someone named Dr. Zipper somehow figured out that inserting this quinacrine drug into women's uterus caused scarring and the blocking of the fallopian tubes back in the 70' Chile, I believe. In fact, quinacrine also used in Genetics as a staining agent for karyotyping! and is still being used to counter water-born gastro-intestinal illnesses.

So this SAME drug has taken on a new form of little pellets inserted via IUD's into women's uterus and is presenting an alternative method of female sterilization which is Non-surgical, safer, cheaper, and much more readily accessible. The safety aspect is being contested right now--mainly by World Health Organization. But the whole debate over quinacrine--from what I've seen so far--seems mostly political rather than scientific.

The reason I'm interested in quinacrine in Nepal is because of the high sterilization rate prevalent in Nepal. There are international family planning/reproductive health organizations pushing for the Nepali government to try this out. There are also groups opposing WHO. Do you have any ideas/opinions on whether quinacrine should be tried out in Nepal? If quinacrine is found to be a Safe method, should the Nepali government adopt this non-surgical female sterilization method?

I've read somewhere that many women in Nepal did not fully understand that permanent nature of laprascopy. Do you think the quinacrine method--especially because it's non-surgical--could fall under the same kind of problem?

ji hyun lee (liz)

********************************************************************** From: Rajesh Shrestha <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 21:54:52 -0500 (EST) To: Subject: Safa Tempo in Nepal

Cross-posted from SCN:

On 27 Feb 1996, Frank F Kroger wrote:
> (Kiran) writes:
> > I wonder if the tempos were so environment
> >friendly, how come US is not using such product at home but endoursing
> >the product in the country like Nepal. I bet it is made in America.
> I don'd know where the electric tempos are made, but I would think that
> they are made in India, where the gasoline tempos are made.
> The Kathmandu valley is suitable for electric vehicles in that the
> distances are mostly limited so that the vehicles will not go very far
> and they will always be close to their recharging stations. Also electric
> vehicles are efficient in stop-go situations because they do not use any
> fuel when they stationary.

This is very true. Nepal has some of the worst air pollution in the world. It is visible ugly pollution as well as dirty and full of lead. Riding a bicyle on the main streets would coat me in a dirty haze that would often require a shower to get rid of. I loved riding behind the safa tempos. because they were not noizy, or dirty. They worked well and when i rode them were a little cheaper. They also ran at night. One reason many of the old blue tempo people didn't think they would be profitable was that they would not be able to take extra runs where people carry extra stuff.

> The question I have is what effect will this have on the electricity
> shortage? Will the batteries be charged by running gasoline generators?
> That would seem to defeat the purpose of having electric vehicles for
> clean air.
> Frank

At the moment i believe they are still being powered by the hydro plants. But due to the fact that hydro power takes a few years to develop, as well as has become a politically charged and internationally meddling area , there may be fewer hydro plants created. When i left in December there were still no planned power outages. but power was often dropping and our computer labs would often be trying to pull in 220 volts but were only getting 175. So possibly they will need gasoline generators. But i am pretty sure they are not.

dave laemmle email Just returned from Nepal trying to adjust.

************************************************************** From: Rajesh Shrestha <> Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 21:56:09 -0500 (EST) To: Subject: Safa Tempo in Nepal

Cross-posted from SCN:

Dhundy R Bastola <> writes:
>When I was in Nepal last summer I did get a chance to go through a report
>on air pollution due to vehicular emission in kathmandu valley, I believe
>funded by UN. To my surprise the study did not seem to show major
>problems with other pollutent expected out of vehicular emission
>except DUST.

>Although conceptually the electric tempos might be a good substitute in
>kathmandu's context. I am concerned about 2 things. The cost of the
>Electric vehicle and the dead battery (which I believe has tonns of lead
>in it) disposal once they are ready to be thrown away for good.

I haven't read that UN report, but it would seem strange that they find particulates to be the only air pollution problem in Kathmandu. Particulates are the biggest problem, but I would bet that lead in the air is a close second, especially because we use leaded fuel in all our vehicles. Since the electrical tempos would presumably not emit any lead into the atmosphere (they do not use petroleum fuel), the increased lead waste due to batteries may be offset by the decrease in lead emission into the atmosphere. I am not sure if this is absolutely right (since I don't number with me to say how much lead a typical tempo emits versus lead in the batteries), but what I am saying is that there is an upside to this also. And, of course, waste lead in batteries is much easier to deal with that lead in the atmosphere.

Rajendra Shrestha


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 20:07:33 +0000 (GMT) From: strawn <> Subject: Bhutanese demonstrations-update 28 February 1996 (fwd)

        DATE 28 February 1996
        REGARDING Bhutanese demonstrations-update 28 February 1996 Please distribute this report: Sources in India report that a group of 150 Bhutanese peace marchers held in prisons in Siliguri Jail since January 17 have been released unconditionally.

The human rights organization OMCT is reporting the marchers were released on Tuesday, February 27 after an Indian court ruled their detention was illegal. According to the OMCT report, the marchers now may "continue their peaceful march to Thimpu, Bhutan, where they will appeal to the King of Bhutan to solve the Bhutanese refugee problem through a process of national reconciliation."

Meanwhile, the former Home Minister of Nepal has encouraged the refugees in Nepal to return to Bhutan. 343 Bhutanese refugee Peace Marchers (including 69 women) crossed into India at 3.40 pm local time on Monday, February 26. They were warned by Siliguri DSP Crime Division, Achyut Pal, that IPC 144 was in force by order from Delhi and that they would be arrested. the Marchers went ahead and were arrested, being taken to Ranijunj border police post.

As this warning came before the release of the 150 marchers in detention, it is unknown as yet whether IPC 144 still applies. Some reports say the Indian Government renewed the order for IPC 144 for a third time since 16th January, and that the renewal extends until 2nd March. How this renewal pertains to the reent release is unclear.

The total of Bhutanese refugee peace marchers now in India is 766. 616 of these are believed to be still under arrest.

Before the marchers departed the Nepal side ofthe border yesterday, they were addressed by the former Nepali Home Minister, Mr. Kharga Prasad Sharma Oli (who led the Nepali delegation in the last bilateral talks with the Government of Bhutan on the resolution of the Bhutanses refugee problem). In supporting the peaceful move of the refugees he said that the matter was an issue of Human Rights, and that the regfugees have the right to return to their own country. He opined thats a friend of both Nepal and Bhutan, India should play a positive role in solving the problem.

Oli said hat the right of return to one's homeland is a fundamental Human Right and India should not stop the refugees from going to their country.
'It is the Bhutanese citizens who have become refugees and hence it is a problem between the Government and its citizens. Bhutan should talk with the refugees to solve the problem', he said. He added that Nepal as a poor country gave what it could to the refugees in a period of difficulty and now they should strive to return to their country. He wished them success.

Tulsi Bhattarai, an Indian MLA, encouraged the Marchers, saying, 'You should have conviction to be martyrs for the sake of your rights'.

"Meanwhile the Indefinite Fast is into its Eighth Day. 74 Bhutanese refugees detained in Jalpaiguri jail have gone 156 hours without food. They are reported to be fragile.

"The Court Hearing for the (second wave) 273 Peace Marchers is set for today February 28th. Because the first group was released after their similar hearing, it is assumed this groups also will be released.

"The four female Peace Marchers from the second wave who were taken to Siliguri Hospital have been discharged and returned to jail.

"Two female Peace Marchers, Jas Maya Gurung ofthe first wave, and Hema Kharga of the second wave were taken to hospital on Sunday 25th Feb.

It is an irony of history that IPC 144 was first drawn up in British India following the First World War in a futile attempt to put an end to the growing movement for Indian independence from British domination.

Well informed sources say that March 14th is the likely date for the next round of Nepal - Bhutan bilateral talks on the refugees. It is assumed that the unatural haste with which these talks are being put together reveals several things: 1) the growing discontent with Bhutan's Human Rights record and the current state of the refugess, esp. in European countries is causing concern to both Bhutan and to India. 2) that both Bhutan and India are going for a quick fix, before the Human Rights issue becomes a major European and International problem. 3) that pressure (through the recent agreements, and concessions, made by India to Nepal, amongst other things) has been brought to bear on Nepal for immediate resumption of talks. 4) that the next round of talks will be talking numbers, who takes how many, etc. to have a solution in place before the European & other HR groups can more effectively lobby, etc. and the HRs front. 5) if this is what happens it will cause great unrest in the camps, where the great majority of people wish to return to Bhutan.

Sources also indicate a senior UNHCR visit could take place very soon both to Nepal and to Bhutan. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is in Kathmandu at the moment. Mr. Jose Ayala Lasso met the Assistant Minister or Home Affairs, Mr. Deepak Prakash Banskota, on Sunday. Mr. Banskota had met the Peace Marchers then on the Border Bridge about a week before the Nepali Prime Minister travelled to India on his Official Visit. Mr. Banskota also met the Field Directors of Agencies working with the Bhutanese refugees.

The UN Commissioner for Human Rights and the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs discussed the situation of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, the and other matters of mutual concern. Mr Lasso was in Kathmandu for the inauguratioon of the Fourth Asia-Pacific Workshop on Regional Human Rights which began yesterday. promotion of human rights


1. 150 peace marchers left Damak on 14-Jan, arrested 17-Jan. Now 120males held in Jalpaiguri Jail and 30 females in Siliguri Special Jail.

2. 300 peace marchers started sit in at Mechi Bridge on 23-Jan. Dueto illness 27 withdrew and 273 forced entry and subsequent arrest onthe 14-Feb. These are now being held Siliguri Special Jail (same as the femalesf the orriginal group). Note that the location of the273 stated here differs from that reprted on 21-Feb by myself.

3. There are currently in exess of 350 marchers sat on the Mechi Bridge. It is anticipated that further marchers will join them andthat numbers may swell to around 600.

Therefore total numbersre 150 initially + 273 arrested on 14-Feb +greater than 350 sat on the bridge currently (could grow to c600)Total = 773 (could grow to c1043) - (Total 423 in India).

All the marchers have lived in refugee camps inside Nepal since being expelled from their home of Bhutan. Over the last six years international talks have failed to resolve their situation, even though many of them carry citizenship and property documents.

The marchers have had difficulty progressing into Bhutan, and have been detained inside India, many since the middle of January. The groups have resolved not to return to Nepal.

The invocation of IPC Section 144, an Indian regulation prohibiting the earlier marches, was to expire yesterday. The expectation is that this will be renewed and the 3rd group prevented from entering, as was the case with the previous group.

Of the second group group of 300 marchers, 27 were taken ill and withdrawn from the march. The remaining 273 crossed the border on the 14th Feb, and were arrested under Section 144 and taken to the same jails as the 150 were being held in. Currently there are 423 refugees in jail in India, the men being held in Jalpaiguri Jail while the women are in Siliguri Jail. Reports indicate 6 or 7 people have fallen ill in Jalpaiguri jail and 4 or 5 in Siliguri. The peace marchers have all along insisted on acting non-violently.

The first group of 150 have been in detention since their arrest on 17th January at Panitanki on the Indo-Nepal border. Peace marchers among the initial groups detained in India are reported to have begun staging hunger fasts. There are now approximately 423 Bhutanese in detention inside India.

The refugees, totalling about 1/6 of the 600,000 people populating Bhutan, were forced to leave the country in the early 1990's after a "One Nation/ One People" policy effectively rendered them stateless. The international community has been thus far ineffective in resolving their plight. Bhutan has the largest percentage of its people living as refugees in the world.

********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 20:30:10 -0500 To: From: (Padam Sharma) Subject: News on Indian Economy and Plight of Bhutani Refugees

Courtesy: India Digest (2/28/96) India wants to take lead from East Asia, China
     By Nelson Graves
     NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Reuter) - India said on Tuesday it must take its cue from fast-growing East Asia and China by opening its doors to far larger amounts of foreign investment to spur economic output and alleviate poverty.
     Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's government offered the unflinching endorsement of its neighbours' open-market policies, echoing World Bank recommendations, in the last annual economic survey before general elections expected in April.
     Rao's four-year-old economic reforms programme, which has rolled back more than 40 years of socialist controls, is expected to be at the heart of the campaign.
     The programme has lowered trade barriers, eased licencing requirements and opened up India to some foreign investment.
     Most opposition parties have said they would not reverse the course of reforms. But several have said free-market policies should be slowed to give Indian companies more time to gird themselves for global competition.
     The Economic Survey for the 1995/96 financial year ending on March 31 said the reforms which Rao's government launched in 1991 had stimulated strong growth, created jobs and ushered in a "sea change" in attitudes towards economic policies.
     It cited an acceleration of economic growth to an estimated 6.2 percent in 1995/96 from 0.8 percent in the crisis year of 1991/92, as well as falling inflation and a drop in the current account deficit as a share of gross domestic product (GDP).
     "But the task of economic reform is far from over," it said, calling for deeper commitment to change.
     "Furthermore, our policy efforts should draw inspiration and guidance from our fast-growing neighbours in East Asia," it said, noting the "Asian Tigers" had posted sustained annual economic growth of eight to nine percent and low inflation.
     The "Tigers" are South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
     The survey said: "In order to raise the living standards of India's people and eliminate the scourge of poverty from our country, we must strive to match the performance of the East Asian economies."
     The government called for a significant and sustained reduction in the fiscal deficit, estimated in 1995/96 at 5.5 percent of GDP, down from 6.7 percent in 1994/95.
     It recommended spurring revenues through tax reform and aggressive sales of the state's stakes in public companies.
     Significantly, it called for far greater foreign investment to promote output and exports, and to bring in new technology.
     Foreign direct investment (FDI) surged to $1.31 billion in 1994/95, up from $620 million in 1993/94 and $150 million in 1991/92. Between April and November last year, it totalled $1.27 billion.
     But India lags far behind China.
     "For India to aspire to sustained growth at seven to nine percent over the next two decades, we have to be prepared to encourage a rapid increase in FDI to levels comparable to China's $30 billion or more per year," it said.
     Fears of foreign investment swamping Indian industry or creating unemployment are grossly exaggerated, it said.
     "If China can absorb about $30 billion a year of foreign investment and become a powerful and independent-minded nation," it said, "we should not feel insecure about using foreign investments to augment the growth of output and jobs in our country."

India arrests 343 Bhutanese marchers

   KATMANDU, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Police in the Indian state of West Bengal arrested 343 Bhutanese refugees who attempted to march across Indian soil on their way to the Bhutanese capital Thimpu, a spokesman for the refugees said Tuesday.
   The Bhutanese protest marchers broke through barricades at the Indo- Nepal border Monday, defying an order that barred them from entering India, which lies between Nepal and Bhutan.
   "India cannot stop us," the marchers chanted. "Bhutan is our motherland. We have the right to go to our home."
   The arrest was the third mass detention of Bhutanese demonstrators by Indian authorities since refugees launched a series of protest marches earlier this year.
   The demonstrators are attempting to draw attention to the plight of more than 120,000 Bhutanese exiles who have been languishing in India and Nepal since they were driven from their homes five years ago.
   The Bhutanese exiles say they were kicked out of the Buddhist kingdom because they were members of Bhutan's Nepali-speaking ethnic minority and because they were Hindus.
   They planned to march to Thimpu to appeal to the Bhutanese king to allow them to return to their homes.
   But New Delhi, a close ally of Thimpu, has refused to allow any anti- Bhutan movement on Indian soil. Thimpu rejects the refugees' claim, saying the so-called exiles were actually illegal immigrants to Bhutan.
   Nepal has been unsuccessfully pressing Thimpu to allow the refugees to be repatriated.

********************************************************************** From: "Damber K. Gurung" <dgurung@CLEMSON.EDU> To: Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 08:34:54 +0000 Subject: POLITICAL FALLOUT: Pop CD with Buddhist Touch


 1. Pop CD leads to political fallout - Critics say the
 haunting `Sister Drum' tramples on feelings of Tibetans
>Eastern Express, Hong Kong Friday, 26 January 1996 page 16
> (feature page)
> Didi Kirsten Tatlow
> Dadawa is Zhu Zheqin, a singer from mainland China. Her music,
> inspired by the spirituality of traditional Tibetan culture, is
> mellifluous, haunting. She has clocked up impressive sales in
> Britain, Canada, Taiwan and China, where her CD, Sister Drum, is
> touted as Warner Music's "first 1 million CD in Asia".
> It is also an example of Han cultural imperialism, charge Tibetans
> in exile, and they have launched a campaign to publicise the fact in
> the run up to the January 30 release of Sister Drum in the United
> States.
> Warner Records and Dadawa have been badly advised in releasing the
> material to the public in its present form", the leaders of a
> campaign against the music, which began in London in December, say.
> The protesters want to place Dadawa's music squarely in the
> tradition of moral conflict such as that encountered by musicians
> and sportsmen during the apartheid era in South Africa.
> Led by Tenzin Gelek, a Tibetan who has settled in London, they argue
> the CD is an example of a popular art form from a democratic nation
> being used to help the image of a repressive government. In the
> case of Dadawa's Tibetan music, the political underpinning of the
> music is clear, they say.
> The first line of the CDs introduction tells listeners that Tibetan
> music "celebrates the dignity of the Chinese spirit". Exiled
> Tibetans say that is an example of how China is appropriating even
> the cultural traditions of their country. They say they are
> fighting for the survival of their culture as China's growing market
> economy envelops Tibet's traditional lifestyle and the Han
> population rises each year in their homeland.
> "There are many aspects of the CD that show little understanding of
> the present situation in Tibet," Gelek, in remarks he has also
> addressed to Warner says. It shows "little sensitivity to Tibetan
> people's feelings", he charges.
> As an example, Gelek points to the transliteration of the Tibetan
> mantra, Om Mane Padme Hum. Crudely put into pinyin, the words of
> the mantra are being presented to the world as An Ma Ni Ba Mi Hong.
> This makes sense in Chinese, as all the syllables are from the
> system of transliteration of Chinese set up by the Communist Party
> shortly after the revolution. However, it makes no sense in Tibetan.
> In fact all the lyrics are a cultural nightmare Gelek says, and
> Dadawa's distributor, Warner, is to blame.
> "From the way Dadawa's lyrics have been interpreted on the CD notes,
> I expect anyone unfamiliar with Tibetan would think it was a dialect
> of Chinese", so thoroughly have they been "pinyinised" in the clumsy
> transliteration, he says.
> Another campaigner, Tim Anasuya, says the music and its packaging
> "blurs the distinction between Tibetan and Chinese culture". "In
> its present form, Sister Drum demonstrates a worrying insensitivity
> towards Tibetan feelings," Anasuya says. "The CD's packaging and
> promotion tacitly conform to a Chinese nationalistic view of China's
> relationship to Tibet."
> To prove the charge of cultural chauvinism, Anasuya points to the
> CD's sleeve blurb on which Tibet's holiest temple, the Johkang in
> Lhasa, is referred to as "Tazhou". "Tazhou" is a misspelt
> transliteration of the Chinese word for the Tibetan temple. The
> correct spelling, "Dazhou", means "Great Cathedral" in Putonghua.
> "Tazhou" was simply non sensical, Anasuya points out. "It could
> mean 'collapsing wrinkle' and 'pagoda of abuse'," he says. Rather
> than showing active disrespect, the transliteration showed a
> damaging lack of familiarity with Tibetan culture, he added.
> Overall, the CD portrays Tibet as "unique, mystical, ancient,
> backward and romantic, but not necessarily a different country",
> Anasuya says. That point of view was to be expected from a mainland
> Chinese pop star, given the paucity of knowledge of Tibet's culture
> and the violence of China's occupation of the mountain region since
> the Dalai Lama fled to exile in 1959.
> However, the record company was irresponsible in the extreme in
> going along with the charade, he says. "That the first Chinese pop
> star to be marketed in the West is closely associating herself with
> Tibet without any mention of the realities of occupation is to be
> expected. But it leaves Warner Music open to legitimate criticism."
> Other criticisms point to the cover of the CD which shows Dadawa
> standing against a Himalayan landscape, garbed in the maroon robes
> of a Buddhist nun. As Gelek points out: "She is not a nun. I
> believe most Tibetans would be offended by this image, especially
> those in Tibet... even though they are not in a position to voice
> such criticism openly."
> Musically, Tibetans are particularly irritated by what they allege
> is the pseudo-Tibetan theme of the CD. Lyrically, all seven tracks
> have some reference to Buddhism or Tibet with song titles like Sky
> Burial and The Turning Scripture. Dadawa's songs claim to "sketch
> out the relationship between... Tibet and modern society", according
> to the liner notes. Yet Tibetans familiar with regional music are
> unimpressed. "The CD has no actual Tibetan musical content,"
> Anasuya says.
> Warner has described it as "ethno-ambient" music. "There are
> occasional motifs that are probably meant to sound like overtone
> singing or monks chanting," Anasuya concedes. However they "bear
> little similarity to the sounds they are trying to evoke".
> Auasuya and Gelek are not calling for a full-scale damning of the
> CD. "From the opinions they have canvassed, the initial reaction of
> Tibetans is that they are not necessarily out of sympathy with the
> music", which is lyrical and pleasing to the ear. "The problem
> definitely lies with the packaging," they say.
> Dadawa's public remarks about the "spirituality" of Tibetan culture
> have, however, angered some Tibetans.
> The Chinese government has admitted to "excesses" in Tibet,
> particularly during the Cultural Revolution. Independent estimates
> put the devastation of temples at about 80 per cent and estimate up
> to 1 million people may have died since the Dalai Lama fled to India
> in 1959.
> "Warner have gone about their project in a very ill-advised way,"
> Anasuya says.
> Officials contacted at Warner UK have declined to comment on the
> row.
> 2. Dadawa's 'Sister Drum' CD Causes International Outrage
> Amongst Tibetans
Joint Press Release 27 February 1996
> Tibet Support Group.UK
> The Tibetan Community in Britain
> Contact: Timothy Nunn Phone 0171 359 7573 or 0378 90 11 98 (mobile)
> `Sister Drum', a seven track CD by the Chinese popular singer Dadawa
> and composer He Xuntian, is causing deep offence to exile Tibetans
> by its insensitivity and its perpetuation of the Chinese state view
> of Tibet.
> It is clear from the marketing of 'Sister Drum' that the artist and
> record company are either ignorant of the realities of China's
> occupation of Tibet, or have wilfully disregarded the feelings of
> Tibetans.
> The CD released by Warner Music International- which has been
> available in China since August 1995 - is now being extensively
> marketed world-wide.
> Tibet Support Group UK and Tibetan Community in Britain are calling
> for the immediate withdrawal of the CD from sale world-wide.
> Warner claim 'Sister Drum' is Asia's first million selling CD - with
> almost all units sold in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the PRC - though they
> usually omit to mention that 750,000 sales are accounted for by no
> less than three pirated versions.
> Timothy Nunn, General Secretary of Tibet Support Group UK says:
> 'In its present form, 'Sister Drum' demonstrates a worrying
> insensitivity to Tibetan feelings. The CD's packaging and promotion
> tacitly conform to a Chinese nationalistic - if not overtly
> Communistic - view of China's relationship to Tibet: that Tibet is a
> unique, mystical, ancient, backward and romantic region, but not
> necessarily a different country. Needless to say, there is no
> mention of the detrimental effect of Chinese culture in Tibet since
> 1949.'
> The promotional video for single, 'Sister Drum', was filmed in Lhasa
> and includes a sequence of Dadawa 'embracing' an exterior wall of
> the Jokhang temple. This appears to be good evidence of cooperation
> between the artistes and the Chinese state who have barred the
> international media from Tibet.
> Dadawa and Warner Music are clearly eager to capitalise on the
> appeal of Tibet but anxious not to involve themselves in a political
> debate. Warner and the artist have inelegantly tried to side-step
> some of the inevitable questions about the project by being
> economical with the truth. 'Tibet has preserved the spiritual side
> of life' according to Dadawa (quoted in 'Music Week' on November
> 11th). By invoking the spirit of Tibet but making no mention of the
> Chinese occupation, Dadawa and Warner are involving themselves in
> the political issue by their own choosing.
> Dadawa and composer He Xuntian visited Tibet and recorded material
> for 'Sister Drum' there in 1993 (according to press reports this,
> involved 'sampling' Tibetan monks chanting). She cites the visit as
> both an inspiration for her music and a turning point in her life.
> In view of this and similar comments made while promoting 'Sister
> Drum', one can only conclude that she was not influenced by the
> ruins of monasteries and temples or the true history of Tibet during
> her stay.
> Aside from these general reservations about the project, Tibetans
> have called attention to a number of specific aspects of the CD, its
> packaging and promotion which they find highly offensive:
> * In the sleeve notes, Tibetan religious terms and prayers are
> portrayed in a Chinese form: the mantra usually translated
> phonetically in to English as 'Om Mani Padme Hum' is transliterated
> as 'An Ma Ni Ba Mi Hong', the Tibetan name 'Dolma' as 'Zhouma' and
> 'Jokhang temple' as the 'Tazhou temple' the Chinese term for Tibet's
> holiest cathedral, an inaccurate transliteration from the Chinese.
> * The CD itself features an overprinted circular mantra,
> saying 'Sister Drum' phonetically in Sanskrit, but which is meant to
> look like a prayer wheel or circular Mani stone.
> * On the cover of the CD, Dadawa is wearing a garment clearly
> meant to resemble a Buddhist nun's maroon robes (she is not a nun).
> In a letter to Anne-Marie Nicol, Vice President of Artist
> Development, Warner Music International, Tenzin Gelek, a Tibetan
> resident in the UK, remarks 'I believe most Tibetans will be
> offended by this image, especially those still in Tibet, though they
> aren't in a position to voice such criticism openly'.
> * Lyrically, all seven tracks have some reference to Buddhism
> or Tibet. Song titles include 'Sky Burial', 'Zhouma of Zhoumas', and
> 'The Turning Scripture'. There is also a song called' 'Di Wei Shin
> Kan, New Wei Shin Kan (Paradise Inferno)'. The title track 'Sister
> Drum' includes a chorus of 'Om Mani Padme Hum'. Lyrics appear in the
> sleeve notes in Chinese characters and English. There is a two page
> preamble in the CD booklet about Dadawa, He Xuntian and their
> insights on Tibetan spirituality.
> The release of the album has provoked strong reactions from the
> exile Tibetan community world wide:
> Tenzin Gelek, resident in the UK, in a personal letter to Warner
> Music:
> 'I grew up in Lhasa, and was working for the state tourism bureau
> before I escaped. I have seen the way the Chinese manipulate
> Western interest in and sympathy for Tibet, both for profit and to
> strengthen their occupation [...] Many Tibetans living in the UK who
> I have shown 'Sister Drum' have expressed strong objections to the
> incorporation of images from our culture'.
> (Ms) Losang Rabgey:
> 'It is highly misleading to say that Tibet has preserved its
> religious heritage under the Chinese occupation, while in fact the
> singer's own government has worked to systematically destroy all
> aspects of Tibet's cultural heritage for the last four decades
> [...W]hat this artist (and with hardly a doubt her marketers) is
> doing smacks of cultural appropriation of a dominated and colonised
> peoples [...'Sister Drum'] is using Tibet's image to capture an
> audience but at the same time she is also sinocising the material
> and making a profit'.
> (Ms) Deke Samchok exiled in Canada writing to Randy Stark, Vice
> President of Marketing and Promotion, Warner Music, Toronto:
> 'As a Tibetan, forced into exile by China's illegal occupation of my
> homeland, I am deeply disturbed by this album [...] Music and
> musicians have always been at the forefront of social and political
> issues. I would have hoped that your company would have been more
> sensitive to the Tibetan issue [...] This current regime in China
> uses any means at its disposal to try and disseminate its propaganda
> on Tibet. Dadawa and your company have inadvertently become
> apologists/propagandists for a very repressive and brutal
> occupation'.
> (Mr) Tsering Dhundup, Secretary, Tibetan Community in Britain:
> ' 'Sister Drum' is not a hymn in praise of Tibet, but rather a
> politically motivated musical weapon to sinocise traditional Tibetan
> culture and society [..] If Zhu Zeqin [Dadawa] and He Xuntian truly
> feel an admiration for Tibetan spirituality and culture, they should
> persuade Warner to support the international campaign to end Chinese
> colonial and military occupation of Tibet'.
> Warner have produced no evidence that they sought independent advice
> about Tibetan culture before releasing 'Sister Drum'.
> To date, Warner Music have declined to directly answer any of the
> concerns raised by Tibetans in personal initiatives they have taken
> to open a dialogue. Instead they have referred their comments to
> the Taiwanese arm of Warner and to Dadawa herself. This begs the
> question, who would Warner Music approach for advice about the
> opinions of Tibetans other than Tibetans themselves?
> T I B E T S U P P O R T G R O U P UK
> 9 Islington Green
> London N1 2XH
> Telephone +44 (0)171 359 7573
> Fax +44 (0)171 354 1026
> - an independent membership organisation campaigning in support of
> the rights of the Tibetan people to freedom and independence.

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