The Nepal Digest - May 1, 1998 (14 Baishakh 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Fri May 1, 1998: Baishakh 14 2055BS: Year7 Volume74 Issue1

       H A P P Y N E W Y E A R B S 2 0 5 5 !!!!!!
  Today's Topics:

                 Nepali News
                 Fund Raising Dinner in Storrs, Connecticut
                 Happy New Year 2055
                 Economics + Environment.
                 Are Nepali women human?
                 How did Bag-Chaal originate
                 URGENT APPEAL to TND
                 The Problems of Chritianity

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****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 20:01:56 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepali News

Source: The Kathmandu Post (duely acknowledged)

UML leaders heap abuse on ML By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, April 22 - Top leaders of Communist Party of Nepal(UML) put out their venom against the breakaway Communist Party of Nepal (ML) today, alleging them as opportunists, indisciplined and highly ambitious individuals. Speaking at a meeting of party workers jointly organized by UML Central Office and Kathmandu Valley Coordination Committee, party General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal said the party was split by two individuals to fulfil their ambitions.
"Since they have come up with the strange theory that division is strength, their party will break again and again and at the end one person will be found standing alone in his village in Jhapa and another will be found alone in Bardia," Nepal said hinting at C P Mainali and Bam Dev Gautam, the two prominent leaders of ML.

Nepal said the bunch of ambitious, indisciplined, and opportunist people who are not committed to the Communist ideology have followed the breakaway party. Nepal also alleged that the party lacks ideological grounds and therefore endorses the peoples multiparty democracy, made popular by UML. "They have even made claims on sun, the election symbol of UML," he said in his two-hour-long diatribe against ML leaders. Nepal alleged the ML leaders of fighting only for posts in the party and also in the government. "They asked for 40 percent seats in the central committee after all the differences had been settled. Likewise, they bargained recently with the Nepali Congress for ministerial berths, " Nepal said. Severely criticizing Gautam on his stand on nationalism, Nepal said Gautams nationalism is a fake nationalism which falls asleep while he is in power and rixes noisily when he is out of power. Gautam, who broke the UML parliamentary party to form a new communist party early March this year, counted the chief differences with UML leadership as their attitude towards India and the USA. Nepal accused Gautam of trying to sell his fake nationalism for his personal gains in the elections. But the people will reject it, he said.

"Each and every deal with India and USA will come to light, who is hobnobbing with whom will be known," Nepal said. "Apart from fake nationalism, they have very friendly relationship with Mandale type rightists. Since they have intimacy with the rightists their views also are similar to them," he said, adding Bamdev was the first person to declare RPP as a patriotic force. Nepal accused the ML of coming down to hooliganism after the people rejected them because of their dual nature and lack of a sound ideological ground. "They have been distributing money without limit. They believe that money, power and ministerial position can do anything which is a Fascist thinking and dictatorial tendency. But the people will reject them," he said. UML President Manmohan Adhikari speaking at the same occasion accused the ML leaders of breaking the party and termed their works as political crime. He said the UML leadership was tired of the corrupt behaviour of the UML ministers in the seven-month-old cabinet of Lokendra Bahadur Chand. Bam Dev Gautam held the post of deputy prime minister and home minister in the Chand government which was embroiled in controversy about the appointment of a convicted police officer.

"The cabinet was surrounded by the mafia. What was the motive behind appointing Narahari Sangraula and deputing him at the Tribhuvan International Airport?" he asked and further said: "The only motive was to amass political fund by smuggling bagfuls of gold." Standing committee member Jhala Nath Khanal, central committee members Ishwor Pokharel, Raghuji Panta and other UML central leaders spoke on the programme held to mark the birthday of Lenin and golden jubilee year of the establishment of Communist Party of Nepal.

--------------------------------------------- ML stages mass show of strength By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, April 22 - In a massive show of strength, the newly formed Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) organised a mass meeting here today attended by over 30 thousand people from the capital and the neighbouring villages. The turnout of the meet came as a major morale booster for the top leaders of the party coming as it did only weeks after an embarrassingly poorly attended rally of the party here. So low was the turnout in the partys mass rally organised three weeks ago that it had to be wrapped up at Ratna Park against the original plan of holding a mass meeting at the open theatre. But todays rally and also the turnout was a marked improvement which also had interesting features to arouse the inquisitiveness of the people. The several thousand strong rally was led by about two hundred khaki-dress clad "volunteers," reminiscent of the Chinese Red Army, with a commander.

The organisers invited a number of people with a lot of emotional appeal to the mass to attend their first major show of strength. Among those sharing their seats with the ML leaders were Hasina Devi Shrestha, widow of martyr Ganga Lal who was executed by the Ranas for his involvement in the pro-democracy activities in 1941. Her appearance was enough to create awe among the people who offered her a standing ovation. Shresthas sister-in-law, Sahana Pradhan, incidentally chaired the function in her capacity as the president of the CPN (ML). Upbeat about the massive turnout, ML leaders launched a venomous attack on the main opposition CPN(UML) for their "anti-national and defeatist attitude," declared their target of forming the next government and, with their attacks on the USA and India, gave a clear indication that the mainstream left politics in Nepal was likely to turn left from its present near-centre line
"They (UML) have failed to accept republicanism as a principle thinking of the communist movement in Nepal," ML parliamentarian Siddi Lal Singh said. "And they are not concerned about left unity since they have offered unconditional support to the Nepali Congress government."

Taking over from Singh, partys political bureau member, Chandra Prakash Mainali, accused UML leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Khadga Prasad Oli of being anti-national. "They engineered the passage of Mahakali Treaty in the partys Central Committee through fraudulent and undemocratic practises.
"Our party has come into existence to check the defeatist, anti-national and anti-people tendencies in the Communist movement in Nepal represented at the moment principally by the UML The major attack on the UML for its "defeatist policies" came from the ML secretary general Bam Dev Gautam who accused his mother party of following the policies of Khrushchev (of USSR) in the early 1970s. His logic: the main opposition party is following the same conciliatory policies towards the
"expansionist and imperialist forces" as followed by Khrushchev then. His reference was clearly towards the UMLs political document which, unlike any communist document in the world, does not identify India and the USA as imperialist forces. Declaring his partys target of leading the left front--which is yet to come into effect--to victory in the next elections, Gautam said the present NC government was basically a status quoist and not much could be expected of it. "The Congress has formed the government not because of the peoples support to it but because of the fraudulent initiatives of the UML.

Gautam also called upon the Indian government to withdraw its army from the Kalapani site in Darchula. "We will not let the land go to India," he said. He announced the formation of the property investigation commission, as per the partys manifesto, to probe into the holdings of party leaders. At the beginning of the mass meeting, the "volunteers" offered a "guard of honour" playing to the tune of the international Communist song. The honour was followed by the hoisting of party flag by the ML secretary general Bam Dev Gautam. The presence of Prem Bhandary, a younger brother of the late UML secretary general Madan Kumar Bhandary, added to the already upbeat mood of the ML workers. His appearance on the stage came as a major morale booster for the ML activists who fought tooth and nail for days with the UML leadership to win him over to their side. As he began delivering his speech, which mainly had curses for the UML leadership, the crowd was for a moment confused that the voice could well have been of the late Bhandary. Spontaneous rounds of applause followed in memory of the late leader, a widely acclaimed public speaker.

******************************************************************************* Subject: Fund Raising Dinner in Storrs, Connecticut Date: Sat, 11 Apr 98 13:28:04 -0400 From: Ranjeet <RANJEET@UConnVM.UConn.Edu> To: <Nepal@cs.niu.edu>

The Nepalese community of Connecticut is hosting a fund raising dinner to support construction of Nepal Education and Cultural Center/Temple in Maryland on behalf of the Association of Nepalese in the Americas (ANA).

Date and Time: Saturday, May 9 1998, 6:30-9:00

Place: Bishop Center (Room 7), University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut.

For more information please contact me (860) 423-5564 or Hemanta Shrestha
- 860-487-0046

Please plan to attend the fund raising dinner and pass the information to family and friends.

See you on May 9th.

Bidya Ranjeet

---------------------------------------------------------------------
                    RESERVATION FORM: ANA FUND RAISING DINNER
                              Storrs, Connecticut

Meals: Adults (___ Persons X $15.00 each) =
 __________
          Children (17 years and younger; _____ persons X $5.00 each =
 __________

Additional Donation
     (Optional, but your generosity will be greatly appreciated):
 _________
                                                       Total:
 _________

Your Name _________________________________ Tel# ____________________

Address_______________________________________________________________

Please send this form and check (by May 1st, made out to the ANA)to:
                                                            Hemanta Shrestha
                                                            16-Nothwood Apt.
                                                            Storrs, CT 06268
               (Note: Any donation you make is tax deductible)

*********************************************************************** To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Happy New Year 2055 From: Shrestha Bijaya Krishna <shrestha@ud.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp> Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 16:28:30 +0900

The Nepal Digest Family
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Bijaya K. Shrestha Urban Design Laboratory University of Tokyo

********************************************************************* Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 13:57:13 +0200 From: Devendra Rana <devendra.rana@wwfnet.org> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu, ida@wlink.com.np Subject: TO TND : KURAKANI - Economics + Environment.

Happy new year to you all. with regards, Devendra Rana

2:38 AM ET 04/13/98

Enron pulls out of giant power project in Nepal

          By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU, April 13 (Reuters) - U.S. power giant Enron Corp has withdrawn its application for a hydropower project in Nepal which was to have involved investment of up to $6.0 billion, a senior government official said on Monday.
            ``They have withdrawn their application for survey licence,'' a senior official of the Water Resources Ministry told Reuters.
            However, the official quoted Enron as saying that it would continue to monitor the power market and might reconsider the project at a later date.
            ``After reviewing the power and financial market...we withdraw our application for survey licence,'' the ministry official, who asked not to be identified, quoted Enron as telling the Nepali government.
            In 1996, the Enron Renewable Energy Corp had proposed building a dam on the Karnali river in western Nepal to produce a maximum of 10,800 megawatts of hydropower for export to India and China.
            The Houston-based company had applied to the government for a survey licence for the plant, which was to be among the world's biggest and would have taken several years to build.
            Enron had also planned to build transmission lines across the Himalayas to supply power to China. The plant was to have been handed over to Nepal after 50 years.
            Analysts said the move could be a blow to Nepal, which has been wooing foreign investment to lift its sagging economy.
            In August 1995, the World Bank abandoned plans to lend $175 million for the $1-billion Arun III hydroelectric project in eastern Nepal, saying that the Himalayan kingdom needed to focus on smaller and less ambitious power plants on its many rivers.
            Nepal's numerous rivers cascading from the snow-covered Himalayas have a combined potential for generating up to 83,000 megawatts of power.
            Water resources and tourism are two key areas in which the Nepali government is trying to attract foreign investment.
            Nepal last year allowed Australia's Snowy Mountain Engineering Corp to build a $1-billion, 750 MW dam on West Seti river in western Nepal.
            One of the world's poorest nations, Nepal uses just over 300 MW, or less than 0.5 percent of its estimated potential, in the absence of funds and technical know-how to utilise the resource.
            Only 15 percent of Nepal's 22 million people has access to electricity.
            In 1996 Nepal and India signed a controversial treaty to build a dam on the Mahakali river on the kingdom's western borders with India.

*********************************************************** Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 23:49:19 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Are Nepali women human? An essay by Seira Tamang

Are Nepali Women Human? An essay by Seira Tamang

To ask "Are Nepali women Human?" may seem at first too obvious and indeed a little bizarre a queston to pose. It thus might be helpful if we first inquire "Are Nepali women Citizens?", as a means with which to set up the context for asking and responding to the initial question.
         If the debates on the right to property of women have made clear anything, it is that women are not the same citizens that men are in the state of Nepal. In fact, from the laws of property to those on divorce, citizenship and adoption, it is obvious that Nepali women are not real citizens.
    Ours is a pseudo - citizenship. A fake, mock, phony citizenship carrying limited rights, abridged liberties, and restricted prerogatives. Given that Nepali women are not Nepali citizens in the sense that Nepali men are Nepali citizens and that trying to say that one can be "a sort of a citizen" (usually phrased as being "a second-class citizen") is akin to saying that one can be "sort of pregnant", - the answer to the question "Are Nepali women citizens?", becomes a clear "No".
   Citizenship-less, and hence state-less in that no state has bestowed upon us full rights and duties, our legal status as persons only appear to be fully protected via our "human rights"; ie. those minimal rights as living beings gained in part from our differentiation from animals, vegetables and objects and in part from our membership in a community of equal human beings. Yet,even this status of "human-ness" appears not secure

I point here to the clauses in the Mulukin Ain which state if a man rapes a female over the age of 14, he is punishable with 3 to 5 years of imprisonment and if he rapes a prostitute, he is liable to a fine of up to Rs. 500 or up to 1 year of imprisonment. Leaving aside the logistics of law implementation and general inadequacy of rape laws, and looking solely at the legal consequences of the above clauses, it appears that raping a prostitute is not really the same as raping a woman.

Judging by the prison terms to be served by rapists, if the criminals serve the minimum sentence of 3 years for raping a woman who is not a prostitute, and the maximum amount of 1 year for raping a woman who is a prostitute, the equation appears that the prostitute is at the most equal to one third of a non-prostitute woman. Clearly, the prostitute is not a "real" woman, a "real" female human being.
         It thus does not matter that she too, despite her protests and physical efforts, has had her body used against her will to satisify the rapists sexual drives. Her identity as a human with sovereign rights and authority over her own body equal to that of other humans in the community of human beings, is not only challenged, but over-ruled .
   The basic necessity of recognizing her "human-ness", and indeed her differentiation from an object, comes into question by virtue of her virtue - or the purported lack thereof.
         To make a reference to prostitution is of course to acknowledge that unsavoury under-world inhabitated by "those" sorts of people. The impact of the above legalities appears inconsequential for women safely esconced from such "seedy" activities. In fact, it is by their very distance from the world of prostitutes that these uterus-bearers "earn" the privilege of being described as "ladies" - the paragons of virtuous "real women".
  However positions on the "ladies" to "prostitute" moral continuum is far from being stable and/or guaranteed. Indeed, our existence, from birth to death, is circumscribed by societal norms and values which seek to ensure our "safe" positioning on the continuum. What clothes we wear, with whom we talk, the volume of our laughter, the hours we keep, how we sit, our cooking ability, the length of our hair, where and how much we speak, the way we serve food, the profession we choose, how we show our anger, the amount of noise we make, where we walk - all these and much more have to be daily policed to match the standards regulated by society.

For to be a woman, and more specifically a socially acceptable woman
(the "true lady"), is a craft that has to be learnt and a role that needs to be constantly performed.
         To fail in the daily regimentation of our performances is to endanger our moral status and concomitant "respectability rank" within society. It is furthermore to slip towards the "women of disrepute", "prostitute" end of the continnum, where with each slide, our status as "real women" and
"humans" fit for equal respect and proprietary rights over our bodies increasingly comes into question. The dividing line between being a woman and being one third of a human is most permeable - if indeed it exists at all.

To return to our question "Are Nepali women human?", it thus appears t hat for us Nepali women, the claim to being human is neither self-evident, not guaranteed. It is at best tenuous and based on our ability and willingness to perform and adhere to societally imagined moral roles.
   In such a context its seems pertinent to ask, patriotic rhetoric aside, what exact stake do we non-citizens and tenuous humans have in this country's dominanat project of "national development"? And is our stake the same stake as that of our inalienably human, fully citizen-ized fathers, brothers and sons?
    
    Seira Tamang

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:51:37 -0400 (EDT) From: Gaury Adhikary <adhikary@umich.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - April 10, 1998 (25 Chaitra 2054 BkSm)

To the editor, The Nepal Digest

I was absolutely taken aback by the very simple, yet profound analysis of present day Nepali situation ( The Politics of Knowledge our Oppresive present by Pratyoush Onta, The Kathmandu Post, March 13, 1998.) posted in this forum. In the article Mr. Onta succinctly describes our present day malady under the heading of Capsule history of betrayal-- in which he describes the modum operandi of the Rana, the Panchayat and present day political system of Nepal . After reading the article one comes with the feeling, we, as a Nepali society have changed very little in our thinking and our democaracy and rhetoric thereof is limited to what it actually is: rhetoric only! Needless to say I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Onta's analysis, in doing so I could not resist to post this response. Unfortunately TND did not post the whole article (from the Kathmandu Post) but towards the very end Mr. Onta seemed to ask for some feedback from the readers as to how we could actually get out of this oppressive web of affairs.

Here is my two cents worth: I think first of all Mr. Onta's article must be published in Nepali (if already not done so) and made avilable to widest possible group of people. There should be a group of people (all inclusive citizen group) willing to work for the sake of finding the truth/ facts. People must be drawn from all walks of life (Administrative apparatus: high and low, army, Police, politician, journalists, professionals, farmers, business houses).In short, Nepali of all colors and creed i.e: acceptance without prejudgments. If Nelson Mandela can do it in Post Apartheid South Africa, surely Nepal can do it as well! These people should then inform (deliberate leaks) the public through the Citizen group. The facts provided by the informant are studied dispassoinately and deliberately and if the facts merit further action it should be brought to the judicial enquiry and efficiently dealt with. It is imperative that group acts based only on documented evidence; the simple dictum is: if it was not written it did not happen! The Citizen group will organize the townhall meeting/ street corner meeting to keep up its profile very much people oriented and people feel less fearful and come forward to divulge the facts more readily.Townhall meeting/ village meeting must be the hall mark of the group and it should be held all across the country. People working for Citizen group must understand the gravity of the mission and if they see a conflict of interest at anytime, while working for the group, should leave the group voluntarily. People working for the group must understand that there is no tangible compensation to their effort other than the power of making the "wrong" "right" and ultimately making Nepal a little bit better place to live. I think these are hard choices but difficult time demand strict discipline in life , more so if we are to work for the greater good of the people. Jai Nepal!

Gaury S Adhikary. Ann Arbor adhikary@umich.edu

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 18:34:57 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: How did Bag-Chaal originate

Does anyone how the popular game of Bagh-Chaal originate in Nepal?

I've been told that it was invented by gothalos (shepherds) in some Nepali village as a way of amusing themselves under the shade of a atree while their goats and baa.khras and sheep grazed nearby.

(If so, whoever invented Bagh-Chaal must been one helluva brilliant person, as any strategy-buff who has played Bagh-Chaal can testify!)

A gothalo's inventing the game plausible: but does anyone have stories, from their villages and so forth?

Please either send a response here or send me an e-mail.

thanks ashu

-------------------------------- The Mahakali Dance Revisited by Pratyoush Onta

In the weeks leading up to and since the official split of the CPN-UML into the majority UML camp and the minortiy ML camp, the Mahakali Treaty has been evoked many a time to promote each side's nationalistic credentials. The viewspapers that each camp sponsors have carried writings on this theme.

Weeklies such as Chalphal, Dristi, Budhabar, Suryadaya and Sambodhan have carried the UML view and others such as Nava Awaj, Prakash, Sourya, Janaastha, Janadharana, Samadristi, and Pratipaksha have carried the counter views of the ML camp. For media watchers, this war of words - carried at the level of the high netas, their middle-level idealogues, and low-level reporting cadres - has been one of the most sorry spectacles in the recent history of this beleaguered nation.

In this essay I do not revisit this exchange to provide any dignity to it. Instead I question the assertions made by the respective camps regarding each side's claimed connection between the Mahakali Treaty and its championing of nationalism. I suggest that beyond engaging in what can only be called an absurd Mahakali Dance in the national political stage, it is utterly bogus for both parties to tie up notions of nationalism to their proclaimed commitment or opposition to the Treaty.

So let us examine one extant version put forth by the minority ML camp. This camp alleges that in a rush to pass the Treaty without working out the details, the UML camp led by Madhav Nepal and Khadga Oli joined its hands with the NC (under the then PM Deuba). This was done to please Delhi Durbar without whose blessings the CPN-UML could not come to power here.

This need to please ones political masters explains the wierd accounting of Oli when he claimed that the Mahakali Treaty would accrue an annual benefit of rupees 120 arabs to Nepal (never mind the fact that even an essential detail like the height of the dam to be built in Pancheswar has not been determined). This also explains why the Treaty was passed despite its text limiting Nepal's rights over the waters of the Mahakali (a provision that was said to have been improved upon through a resolution passed in the Nepali Parliament even when it is not clear why India would have to honor a resolution that is not an integral part of the Treaty).

It also becomes easy to understand how the Treaty could be passed without there being an agreement with India regarding the "avoided cost" principle under which the power generated from Pancheswar would be bought by it
(being paid under the so called "cost plus" principle means we have foregone the position to bargain for the market-prices for our product, the power generated).

The ML camp further claims that its leaders such as Bamdem Gautam, C P Mainali and others had pointed out these deficiencies of the Treaty before its signing. It further claims that these leaders had suggested that the conditions of the Treaty that put Nepal in a disadvantage should be rectified before the Treaty was signed. However when the Nepal-Oli camp thought that its position was weak inside the Party regarding the Treaty, it resorted to both threats and position-buyings and hence the Treaty was passed.

Nearly 20 months later, when the DPR (which was said to be finalized within six months) has not been finalized, the UML has remained quiet, so the ML camp claims, because it is obliged to certain "power centres" and hence can say nothing in public.

This ML version then goes to claim that the Nepal-Oli camp and hence the UML, consists of 'rastraghatis' - traitors. Perhaps hijacking the main agenda of smaller communist parties to its own left, the ML camp has been riding the nationalist wave by displaying its camp leaders' self-described oppositional role during the signing of the Treaty. But ML's attempts to build up its nationalistic credentials based on this 'record' needs to be exposed for what it really is.

To begin with we need to point out that during the actual voting, except for one lawmaker who is now in the ML camp, all of the ML leaders including Gautam and Mainali did not vote in opposition to the Treaty; they simply abstained from voting. Secondly we need to ask how a major political party can drum up the nationalistic cause over a project that is most unlikely to be built.

To elaborate on the second point, we need to consider some specifics of the so-called Pancheswar Project to be built under this Treaty. Large projects like Pancheswar (Nepal's proposed version will make it a 6500 MW project) are unlikely to be built because the necessary funding is not going to be forthcoming from multilateral banks. The private sector has thus far not shown a willingness to invest in projects larger than medium size (that too of the run of the river type).

The largest hydropower project under construction by the private sector at the moment anywhere ranges in the vicinity of 500 MW and hence it will be some time before much larger projects will be taken up by the private sector. Furthermore, with a proposed dam height nearing 300m, the private sector will not invest in Pancheswar because, in the spectrum of possibilities, experts now argue that big dams are not economic and they contain too many uncertainties, technical and otherwise.

There are many other arguments (whose details I have omitted) that make the building of Pancheswar unlikely. Moreover, even it is built, Nepali politicians will not be able to clinch a financially rewarding deal for Nepal. Hence the revenues promised are more like fruits in the sky.

While the two biggest Communist Parties do their Mahakali Dance and they and the rest salivate over the prospects of private sector investment in mega-projects such as the Karnali Chisapani, we must remind ourselves that none of the political parties are concentrating on real policy issues that would result in practical, manageable within our own resources (savings of the Nepali financial institutions could easily be used to construct a 30 MW scheme every year) and imminent hydropower projects.

They hardly engage in the longterm work that is necessary to prepare a solid position on such relevant themes as the Power Development Fund, the private sector's role in small and medium scale projects, and even on Karnali until they are actually in power. In such a scenario they end up with no ready alternatives but continue to succumb to the temptation of promising big projects for "making Nepal a Singapore."

The ideas proposed by Nepali experts and engineers and the work of the small private sector within Nepal in the 1990s should convince anyone that a lot could be done in the hydropower sector now if our political leaders decide to build up the sector from the ground up. Instead we are left to watch the theatre of the absurd where much of the political rhetoric about hydro development is about projects that are unlikely to be built during our life-time or those which entail giant uncertainties regarding benefits for the country even if they were to be built.

It is time that the nationalistic gimmicks of CPN-ML (and those of the UML, NC, RPP camps as well) be exposed for what they are: rhetorical political warfare that will not increase the living standards of the Nepali people at large. Mahakali or any such dance in the name of nationalism must be thoroughly rejected, for once and all.

****************************************************** Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 22:21:41 +0530 To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu From: Mary Des Chene <deschene@mos.com.np> Subject: URGENT APPEAL to TND

1 May, 1998 Kathmandu

Dear Rajpalji,

The Kaalo Kanun has been introduced in the parliament once again. Below is an appeal for support for abroad which we sent out a few days ago. Like last year, Dr. Mahesh Maskey and Chitra K. Tiwari have quickly responded, and have once again written a statement of protest and are circulating it for signatures. That statement is appended here following our letter and a translation of core parts of the current bill.

Time is of the essence - and Dr. Maskey and Dr. Tiwari have set a deadline of Monday, May 4 at 5pm to receive the name of anyone who wants to add their signature to the joint statement. We are requesting that you immediately circulate this message in its entirety to the subscriber list of TND so that the greatest possible number of people will be informed and have the chance to add their names to the statement. Thanks in advance for your help in keeping alive the right to speak about Nepal *in* Nepal.

Sincerely, Mary Des Chene Saroj Dhital
(N.B. Requests to add your name to the joint statement should be sent directly to mmaskey@bu.edu or cktiwari@erlos.com)

******************** 29 April 1998 Kathmandu, Nepal

Dear Friends,

Not even a year has passed since we appealed to you to join us in protest of a proposed "Anti-Terrorist" Bill that contravened the constitution and international treaty accords, and would have provided the government with a license to terrorize any citizen. At that time many of you responded and we believe that the international outcry was an essential element of the successful protest against the bill.

Sadly, it is time to begin again. The Thapa government (RPP/NC coalition), which has just relinquished power, had called such a bill unnecessry when it came into office. But in its final days it reintroduced the essence of the anti-Terrorist bill into the parliament. The NC government of Girija Prasad Koirala which is now in power is preparing to push for its passage.

This time it has been presented not as an independent bill, but as an amendment to the Anti-State Crime and Punishment Act, 2046 v.s. (an Act, it should be remembered, that was created in an effort to crush the 1990 People's Movement). The strategy of amending an existing law is no doubt meant to make it easier to pass and to divert public attention from its import. Be assured that the evil, anti-democratic, anti-people heart of the Anti-Terrorist bill is preserved in the proposed amendment bill. The proposed bill, though short, would accomplish overriding of the judiciary and of the public's basic rights.

We are appending a translation of core portions of the amendment bill below for your information. We bring your attention particularly to the following:

1) Objectives and Reasons: "since there has been no law yet to discourage individuals, groups or organizations engaged in creating fear and terror among the people."

Comment: A working paper prepared by lawyers during last year's protest, which set out the existing legal powers to control actual terrorism, murder, violent crimes against individuals and destruction or stealing of property, under many separate current laws, clearly showed that this claim is manifestly false. What is really at issue is the public right to dissent. As anyone who recalls the Panchayat era will know, there were many means inscribed in law to arrest at the will and whim of the government. The great majority of those laws remain on the books. The Public Security Act in particular, is being increasingly used to arrest at will, and the definition of "anti-state" activities is quickly heading toward the Panchayat-era definition of any hint of deviation from the views of those in power.

2) Destructive and Terrorist Acts: "creating fear and terror among the general public".

Comment: It is important to understand the scope that this line gives, in practice, to the government. As we emphasized last year, the definition of
"terror" being used is so broad as to include raising any doubts in the mind of the public as to the government's every act being first of all devoted to the people's best interests, creating any alarm regarding safety, security, the present condition of the country, the future, etc. Thus it amounts to terror to think critically in public. From such a definition it is a short step to harsh censorship of the press, arrest of dissenting intellectuals, and silencing of the majority of the population in the countryside. We are already seeing acts like the arrest last month in Kathmandu of 52 members of a Peasant's March which had travelled by foot through 7 districts for 1 1/2 months. Their crime? Peacefully distributing leaflets about their march and its purposes. During the commemoration of the massacre of 24 Chaitra, 2046 at the end of the People's Movement, many were arrested during peaceful marches. Journalist Shakti Lamsal has just been released. Suresh Ale Magar, President of the Akhil Nepal Janajati Sangh, whom some of you may have met during his recent participation in a conference at Harvard University, continues to be incarcerated. After the weekly paper Jana Astha reported that the Maoists had obtained a copy of the army's counter-guerrilla warfare plan, and published a photo of the cover of that document, military personnel held the paper's employees at gunpoint, ransacked the offices and the editor interrogated. These acts and many others are being perpetrated under the Public Security Act.

3) "6a. TO BE DECLARED ILLEGAL: Any union, association, organization or group engaged in crimes punishable under this Act can be declared illegal by His Majesty's Government of Nepal."

Comment: Under the extremely broad definition of terror and harm to the public inscribed in this Act, this amounts to a right to outlaw any group distasteful to those in power or antithetical to their interests, including citizen's groups of all kinds, rival political party's organizations, and the media.

We wish to stress that speaking out against this act *does not equal* voicing supporting for the Maoist People's War. The government claims it is compelled to seek the powers of this act in order to "meet the Maoist problem". First of all, it has much scope in present law to punish actual crimes and acts of violence, by Maoists or anyone else, if it is able to exert its authority. Second, the government is at once claiming that it wishes to seek a political solution, and has appointed independent MP Padmaratna Tuladhar to seek talks between the government and the Maoists. By bringing this bill to the parliament again at the same time it clearly shows its lack of seriousness about dialogue and undermines those efforts. Third, as the history of many countries shows us, whatever the challenges that face a government, legalizing state terrorism is never a means to the protection or promotion of democracy. Finally, the government's current abuses of Panchayat era laws show that, while it seeks passage of this act in the name of controlling the Maoist People's War, it is ready to use such powers widely against citizens of many political views.

The Movement to Save Democratic Rights (MSDR), which was formed last year to work against passaage of the Anti-Terrorist Act, has remained active on other issues since that time. It it now, once again, concentrating its attention on the revived bill. Yesterday it organized a press conference at the offices of the National Journalist's Association. A public discussion forum will be held on Saturday at which legal experts will speak and as many people as possible will be given a chance to speak in order to collectively devise effective protest strategies. 9 opposition parties are also jointly organizing in protest of the bill. A few days ago a march through the city and rally in the Tundikhel was organized by this group.
(Interestingly, the CPN(ML) recently formed from the split of CPN(UML) has joined in this protest group. The CPN(ML)'s leader, Bam Dev Gautam, as Home Minister last year, was the primary advocate of the Anti-Terrorist bill. Apparently the view from the opposition bench looks different! But it remains to be seen whether this change of heart is genuine). Many women's organizations are also joining together in protest of the proposed bill.

Although protest is organizing quickly, admist the many crises of government and daily life, it is a difficult task to raise public awareness about the implications of a dryly worded amendment to an existing law. Protests in many forms and from many quarters are needed.

We thus appeal to you to once again make your objection to this anti-democratic act known to the government and the political parties. We believe that collective protest has the greatest impact. If, however, you wish to lodge your own protest instead, or in addition, fax numbers are provided below.

Sincerely,

Dr. Saroj Dhital Advisor, Physicians for Social Responsibility Nepal

Dr. Mary Des Chene Martin Chautari

***********

Unofficial Translation of key portions of proposed Anti-State Crimes and Punishment (First Amendment) Act, 2054 v.s.:

OBJECTIVES AND REASONS
"This bill is being presented for the addition of articles 5a and 6a in the Crimes against the State and Punishment Act, 2046 (1990) to make legal arrangement to prevent terrorist and destructive acts in various parts of the kingdom since there has been no law yet to discourage individuals, groups or organizations engaged in creating fear and terror among the people and that there have been legal problems of their release on bail once actions are taken under the existing law that provides less than three years of imprisonment leading to further increase in the confidence of terrorists and destructive elements creating serious disorder and the situation of anarchy in the country against the Preamble and the main spirits of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 2047 (1991)."

"5a. DESTRUCTIVE AND TERRORIST ACTS: Anyone engaged in robbery, vandalism, attack, destructive act or by any other means or harms to private, public or government's property; creating fear and terror among the general public or involved in carrying bombs, gelatin or other explosive materials or collection, transportation, sale or use of arms with such objectives or similar conspiracies; provided assistance or encouragement or gathered to commit such acts or engaged in publicity or collection of donations for such acts in cash or kind or provided protection to individuals engaged in such acts or involved in training for such acts or made attempts to commit destructive and terrorist acts shall be punishable from four to 10 years of imprisonment with fines as equal to the loss of property, and life imprisonment in case of a death."

"6a. TO BE DECLARED ILLEGAL: Any union, association, organization or group engaged in crimes punishable under this Act can be declared illegal by His Majesty's Government of Nepal."

******** Fax Numbers for Letters of Protest (country/city code: 977-1)

1. Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Fax: 977-1-227286 (tel: 228555) 2. Hon. Govinda Raj Joshi, Home Minister Fax: 977-1-240942 (tel: 228031) 3. Hon. Achyut Krishna Kharel, Inspector-General of Police Fax: 977-1-415593 (tel: 412432) 4. Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Leader, Nepali Congress Fax: 977-1-227747 (tel: 227217) 5. Hon. Man Mohan Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition, House of Representatives, and Chairman, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist & Leninist (CPN-UML) Fax: 977-1-278084 (tel: 278081/278082) 6. Hon. Bam Dev Gautam, MP & Secretary-General, Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist & Leninist (CPN-ML) (third largest opposition party in the House of Representatives), tel/fax: 977-1- 223827 7. Hon. Surya Bahadur Thapa, MP & Chairman, National Democratic Party Fax: 977-1- 417341 (tel: 423722) 8. Hon. Lokendra Bahadur Chand, MP & Chairman, (New) National Democractic Party Fax: 977-1-411633 (tel:223044/223089)

AND PLEASE COPY TO YOUR LOCAL NEPALI EMBASSY/MISSION.

********************************* JOINT STATEMENT OF PROTEST:
********************************* Dear friends,

Following is our statement against the proposed amendment to Anti-State Crime and Punishment Act, 2054. This statement reiterates the main points of our earlier statement against Anti-Terrorist Bill (7 August,1997), then introduced by RPP/UML government . Since we are receiving urgent calls from Nepal to respond from our side, for the sake of time efficiency, we have presented this statement with the signature of the all the persons who had signed earlier. Those who have not signed before are requested to sign their names in. For some reason if people whose names are in the list, but do not wish to be included as signatories, please inform us latest by 5 pm Monday, 4th of May 1998. To those whose names are not in the list but want to sign in we also want to request the same. We intend to fax the statement at 7PM of Monday evening.

Thank you.

Dr. Mahesh Maskey, MD MPH Boston University mmaskey@bu.edu

Chitra K. Tiwari, PhD Washington D.C cktiwari@erlos.com

STATEMENT AGAINST "ANTI-STATE CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT (FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 2054"

About eight months ago, responding to the concern of the intellectual community in Nepal, and in solidarity with them, we had strongly condemned the then RPP(Chand)/UML government's efforts to pass the infamous "Anti-Terrorist Bill" from the parliament. We were witness to fierce public opposition inside and outside the country which forced the government to backtrack and abandon such anti-people adventure. And it had appeared to us that government do fear public opinion in Nepal. However, in utter disregard to this historical precedent, the newly formed minority government of Nepali Congress led by G.P. Koirala has again tried to revive the old Anti-Terrorist Bill as "amendments" to the existing Anti-State Crime and Punishment Act.

The Anti-Terrorist bill was originally hatched in the tenure of Nepali Congress/ RPP government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, passed by the cabinet in RPP/UML government but prevented by the public pressure from being ratified in the parliament. RPP/ NC government led by Surya Bahadur Thapa government initially claimed such an Act unnecessary but introduced the above-mentioned amendment bill in its last remaining days. At the height of public protest last year G.P. Koirala too had called the bill unnecessary but is now trying to bring it into law in the form of an amendment to the Anti-State Crimes and Punishment Act - 2046 v.s., retaining the despotic essence of its predecessor.

Those who do not learn from the mistakes committed in the past are condemned to repeat them again. And Nepali Congress is no exemption. The fury of public opinion, inside and outside Nepal, is already being unleashed against the government's attempt to pass this amendment bill into the law.
 We the Nepali people in USA and abroad , and Friends of Nepal, reiterate our condemnation of this draconian bill. We believe that no government in Nepal can curb the sovereign rights of the Nepali people, any attempt to do so would only discredit and ultimately lead to the downfall of the government in question. We express our solidarity with all the intellectuals, human right forums, political parties and the people at large who are standing firmly against this nefarious bill. And we further believe, this combined strength will again force the government to refrain from passing this draconian bill that will give unlimited and extra-constitutional powers to security organs of state.

Signed: Nepalis in USA and abroad and Friends of Nepal.

Dr. Mahesh Maskey, MD MPH Boston University, MA, USA
 Chitra K.Tiwari, Ph.D Arlington, Virginia, USA
 Dr. Balram Aryal Maryland, USA
 Sukh Dev Shah, Ph.D. Arlington, Virginia, USA
 Stephen L. Mikesell, Ph.D. Birmingham, Alabama, USA Dr. Jamuna Shrestha, D.M.S. Madison, Wisconsin, USA Dr. Karl-Heinz Kraemer Hennef, Germany Lhapa Sherpani Hennef, Germany
 Dr. Andrew Russell University of Durham, U.K. Sherry B. Ortner, Ph.D. Columbia University, NY, USA Dr. Arjun Guneratne,PhD Macalester College, MN, USA Kamal Raj Adhikary University of Texas,Austin, USA Dr. Stephen Bezruchka MD, MPH University of Washington, USA Kalyani Rai, Ph.D. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Bikash Pandey Berkeley, California, USA Manisha Aryal Berkeley, California, USA Krishna Pradhan, Ph.D. Madison, Wisconsin, USA Bishnu Pradhan Madison, Wisconsin, USA Sil Kumari Shrestha Madison, Wisconsin, USA Lauren Leve Princeton University, NJ, USA Katharine Rankin Cornell University, USA Coralynn Davis University of Michigan, USA David Kirkman
(Asst. Atorney General) North Carolina Department of Justice, USA Lazima Onta-Bhatta, Ph.D candidate Cornell University, New York, USA Pramod Parajuli, Ph.D, Syracuse, NY, USA Allison Macfarlane, Ph.D. Harvard University, USA Rakesh Karmacharya New York, USA Manju Thapa, Seattle, Washington, USA Rajesh B. Shrestha Cambridge, MA, USA Shree Krishna Pandey San Diego, CA, USA Bikash Thapliya Vienna, VA, USA Robert B. Keiter,
(James I. Farr Professor of Law) University of Utah College of Law,UT , USA Robin Sharma Durham, NorthCarolina, USA
 Mandira Sharma Durham, North Carolina, USA Arun Sharma Chicago, Illinois, USA Sushma Sharma Chicago, Illinois, USA Santosh Basnet Chicago, Illinois, USA Niraj Ojha Chicago, Illinois, USA Debra Skinner University of NorthCarolina, Chapel Hill, USA Ann Forbes Dartmouth College, USA Ashok Gurung Columbia University.
 Bikas Joshi Columbia University, NY, USA. Bernardo A. Michael University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA Clay Leonard Susan Hangen University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, USA Tika Gurung University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin, USA Damber K. Gurung, Ph.D. Clemson, SC, USA Ellen E. Skeele Mill Valley CA , USA Upendra Dev Acharya SJD candidate,Univeresity of Wisconsin,Wisconsin,USA Parashu Nepal Basant Shrestha New Hampshire College , NewHampshire, USA Mary M. Cameron, Ph.D. Auburn University, AL , USA Pramod Mishra , PhD Duke Univeristy, USA David Seddon MA Ph D Professor of Development Studies
                                                       University of East Anglia UK Guenter Rose, Ph.D. University of Michigan, USA William F. Fisher, Ph.D. King Beach Sociocultural Research Group (SCRG)
                                                    Michigan State University Madhav P. Bhatta School of Public Health
                                                   University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA Aiko Joshi Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA USA Katharine N. Rankin City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, USA Rajiv Rawat Harvard School of Public Health Malinda Seneviratne Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
 Ali Mir Assistant Professor, School of Business
                                                   Indiana-Purdue Univesity, USA Eknath Belbase Cornell University, Ithaca, NY USA Shuchi Kapila Cornell University, Ithaca, NY USA Saurav Dev Bhatta Cornell University, USA Stacy Leigh Pigg, Ph.D. Simon Fraser University, Burnanby BC Canada Abi Sharma, North Vancouver, BC, Canada Nalini Visvanathan School for International Training Dr. Mahendra K. Karki General Sciences Corporation
                                        NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
                                                Greenbelt, MD USA Dwight R. Holmes Florida State Univeristy, Tallahassee FL USA Cabeiri deBergh Robinson Department of Anthropology, Cornell University
 M. V. Ramana, Ph. D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA Dr. Andrew Russell Department of Anthropolofy, University of Durham , U.K.

********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 13:53:12 -0400 (EDT) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Problems of Chritianity
 
> I'm not suggesting that Nepali leaders should only examine religious
> issues through rose-colored spectacles. The growing Christian community
> within Nepal, not to mention the Christian foreigners who come to the
> country with an interest in converting Nepalis, present very real and
> knotty problems -- especially when so much of Nepal's rich and beautiful
> culture stems from its traditional religions. Allegations that Christian
> groups have sought to make conversions by offering money or education
> opportunities to potential converts should be investigated, and (if proven
> to be true) the perpetrators should be punished.

I agree with you partly here. But the question I ask is, Why is it that not many alumni of St. Xavier's and St Mary's, many of whom live and work in the West, have converted to Christianity in spite of long association with the parphernalia of Christian missionary education? And why is it that many of Nepal's poor and oppressed in the remote areas have so easily converted? As long as the powerful in the Hindu religion continue to treat the oppressed among them as sub-humans, these oppressed have every right to find other dispnsations. I think that sooner they did, the better for the sake of recuperating their humanity. And those among the oppressed who are adamantly refusing to convert and staying as Hindus, it's their greatness and generosity. High caste Hindus would do well to worship them; their children should be taken by the Sanskrit schools in order to teach them Sanskrit and make them priests free of cost. I know that not everyone could be B.R. Ambedkar, the Indian dalit leader, who, was sent to school by a Maharaja, later drafted the Indian constitution and, defeated by Hinduism's intrangency, converted to Buddhism.

However, individual Christians have
> _undeniably_ done a great deal of good for Nepal. My father (to pick a
> close-to-home example) was responsible for the construction both of Patan
> Hospital and of the Andhikhola hydroelectric project. The late Father
> Gafney was respected by all, as a man whose Christian convictions led him
> to do good works (without expecting those he helped to convert to
> Christianity).

People like your father and other such individuals (Gandhi's friend Joseph Andrews comes to mind) have been the saving grace in any religion. No doubt about it.

And I've personally witnessed the efforts of many Nepali
> Christians to improve the food, shelter, and life of those around them.

Laudable as they are, I'm not sure if this is going to amount much in the long term. I don't have much faith in such feel-good work. For centuries such works have not been able to bring about much change in fundamental lifestyle of the people.

> Subject: It is dangerous to fall in love with Jesus
>
> Like many before him, he confuses the church and Jesus. He follows a well
> worn path of four centuries of critics of the church in western culture. The
> Enlightenment philosphers have "progressed" from scepticism to atheism, to
> meaningless despair. Now in post-modern, post-Christian times, western
> culture is on the brink of spiritual collapse. People like Jason, in
> rejecting the roots of their culture have come to reject the culture itself.
  Dr. Lewis, what do you say about the colonial studies? It's not the Enlightenment philosophers, who themselves have come under heavy criticism, but scholars of postcoloniality who have questioned both. I'd like to hear your engagement with postcolonial discourse.

> For those who come to know Jesus there is a dangerous decision to make - a
> life turning decision. I am no longer my own, now Jesus lives in me. For
> this reason I went to Nepal and spent seven years working in the health
> field.

You talk like a veteran missionary here. While I respect the work of your kind, I have no faith in your unquestionable faith in only Jesus. Sure, Jesus was a great men, but so are many others--Gandhi, Buddha, Mohammad, Vardhamana Mahabira, Zoroaster, Kabir and so on. Why not Buddha, too? However, it's your personal choice, and I have nothing much to say about it.

> Listen too, you Nepali secularists - which is a bigger threat to you,
> Christianity or global cultural imperialism via the market and the media?

You speak as though there's no third choice for Nepal. This and your tone again reveal what you think of Nepal and the Nepali people.
 
> After four years back in Australia I still read TND because I love Nepal,
> and I still pray for it and my Nepali friends.

Nepal has gone down the tube because of too much prayer. So, Dr. Lewis, Nepal doesn't need your prayers as much as it needs the foresight and vision of its political leaders. It needs infrastructure-building foreign aid. It needs the sanity and selflessness of its democratically committed political leaders instead of their inter and intra party quibblings like children.

I'd be interested in your response, but please don't talk as Joel did about Jason's paper, using terms like "lies" and "chips on the shoulders."

Best wishes and God speed.

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