Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [184.108.40.206]) by library.wustl.edu (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id QAA22773; Thu, 15 May 1997 16:47:49 -0500 (CDT) Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA23377 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Thu, 15 May 1997 14:28:28 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA23373 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Thu, 15 May 1997 14:28:27 -0500 Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 14:28:27 -0500 Message-Id: <199705151928.AA23373@mp.cs.niu.edu> Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: The Editor <email@example.com> Sender: "Rajpal J. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Nepal Digest - May 16, 1997 (3 Jestha 2054 BkSm) To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Content-Type: text Status: O X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 232
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The Nepal Digest Friday May 16, 97: Jestha 3 2054BS: Year6 Volume62 Issue 3
There is NO DEFORESTATION in Nepal
Survey of Tharus studying/working abroad
Tauthali: a hill side village in Sindhupalchowk
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
* -------------------------------------- *
* The Nepal Digest: General Information firstname.lastname@example.org *
* Chief Editor: RJP Singh (Open Position) email@example.com *
* Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra firstname.lastname@example.org *
* SCN Correspondent: Rajesh Shrestha (Open Position) email@example.com *
* TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
* TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org firstname.lastname@example.org *
* WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
* email@example.com *
* +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
* "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
* "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 22:20:01 -0400 (EDT) From: mahesh maskey <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Remembering Parijat..... To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
"Such Faces Do Not Die Even After Death"
Once again a new year has come. Once again we have sent and received
greetings to and from our dear ones. Once again the blossoms of plum and
rhododendron mark the coming of spring. But how different this new year
is from that of 7 years ago! Then the historic people's movement had
thrown the Panchayat out of power, and with it, its last prime minister -
Lokendra Bdr. Chand. Then the new year had come with the hopes of building
our nation anew, with a vow to realize dreams of martyrs , of fallen
comrades in the street.
This new year comes carrying on its back the very same Lokendra Bdr Chand
as the prime minister of a cabinet formed by UML. Suffocated by the foul
smell of political opportunism, produced in kind by both Nepali Congress
and UML, this new year witnesses claims of realizing the dreams of martyrs
by the very people whose hands are stained with their blood . And they
exhibit this marvel of hypocrisy from the top of Singha Darbar, mounting it
at the head of the government and other responsible posts. Who deserves the
credit for such a bizaare show on earth? The "revolutionary" UML of course!
Harping on the excuses of "for the sake of the people" "a compromise
thrust upon them" , "forced circumstances" etc., what UML had done has
shown their true colours. If Mr. Chand now declares that he was the first
prime minister of "multi-party democracy" (which he did immediately after
taking the office again) UML should be held responsible for making us hear
that load of crap.
Though UML and its intellectual bards are trying to rationalize their role
in handing key posts to Lokendra and his cohort, it would be a mistake on
their part to assume that all is well and people will swallow their cooked
up excuses. Prof. Mathura Prasad Shrestha and Dr. Devendra Raj Pandey, two
prominent figures who spearheaded intellectuals' participation in the
historic people's movement 7 years ago, and who became ministers of the
Interim government in post-Panchayat Nepal, have condemned this
horsetrading of political power - calling it "criminal" and a "betrayal of
the people's aspirations". Dr Sundar Mani Dixit calls it "against the
aspiration of the people's movement of 1990". Ashesh Malla calls it " a bad
omen for the nation" and cautions about those who "taking the reins, even
now race the black horse behind the scenes". Khagendra Sangraula calls it
"the climax of the competition between Nepali Congress and UML to embrace the criminals of the people's movement."
Amidst such sad turn of events I remember Parijat and wonder how she would
have taken these events. Would she line up with those intellectual bards of
whatever party, who try to find some excuse for justifying their own acts
but lend fiery criticism if the other party does the same? Or would she
again walk through the lines where now only the memories of fallen martyrs
reside and bring their dreams back to us? Long before this turn of events,
it seems her sensitive mind had already sensed this process of betrayal
and condemned it in the most strong language. Let us read these words,
which she had said to musician Ramesh:
"It's all wasted Ramesh, the democracy that we had brought by offering our
lives. The fish escaped the frying pan but fell into the red hot fire.
Damn! What misfortune for the country! Now another movement has to rise in
the country. People should seize and punish each and every one of the
traitors. Now again another powerful movement has to rise in Nepal. "
(Parijat Smriti Grantha, 2051, Samsmaran Khand, p. 51).
A person who would say such words not long after the People's Movement
would not keep quiet today - one can assume that with a fair degree of
assurance. More than any other writer perhaps, she would have raised her
voice with the most powerful of words. We have no way to listen to what she
might actually have said since she is no more with us physically. But we
can imagine again with a fair degree of certainty what she might have said
to these power brokers who comfort themselves in thinking that the blood
shed for the cause of building a new society will be forgotten by the
people. In the last scene of her "Anido Pahad sangai" there is a paragraph
where she comments on the deaths of main characters of the novel, brutally
murdered by the Panchayat regime. Let us listen to that again:
"Jamuni was looking at the place where the corpses had been burnt as if she
had become mute. There were no tears in her eyes, other formidable feelings
were playing there. All the villagers, each taking up a fistful of soil,
vowed to fight with the exploiters while the last drop of blood coursed in
their bodies. Nature stood dead still. Even so, the villagers were
believing in a truth, that as flowers spring forth in the place where
flowers have fallen, martyrs spring forth in the place where martyrs have
fallen. Like the scent of flowers, the blood of martyrs too has a special
kind of scent that diffuses far and wide in the air. Indeed without men*
dying and men killing revolution is not accomplished. The foundation of a
new society is not some mirage that can flee away. From the history of
men, it is a reality which comes into the hands of men." (Anido Pahad
sangai, 2039 (reprinted 2052), p. 91)
Yes, Parijat would have been disgusted with the present but her optimism
for the future would have remained unshaken. Perhaps she would have evoked
the memory of the martyrs and, like Chandrakanta of "Anido Pahad sangai",
declared that " such faces do not die even after death". She would have
used her powerful pen to give voice to the people who feel that their
aspirations have been betrayed. And she would have made the traitors feel
haunted by their own acts of betrayal.
Let us remember Parijat this year then, by keeping the memory of martyrs
alive in us. Let us hope that, no matter how burdened is this new year with
the weight of those who once tried to block people's move toward democracy
and social justice, the scent of its blossoms will continue to bring with
it the scent of the blood of the martyrs, reminding us about the
uncompleted tasks of the historical people's movement. And let us hope
that, when politicians lose their sense of destination in ugly games of
power, they will turn to literature like that which Parijat has bequeathed
to us, to light their path again.
May 4, 1997
* Note: 'Men' here and throughout is translated from 'manchhe' which is a
gender independent word in Nepali for mankind.
Date: Mon, 05 May 97 09:36:36 CST
Subject: A POEM
"YOU IN KATHMANDU"
The streets covered with every
The sweet aroma of spices,
The land of temples and stupas,
It was the magical place
You had dreamt of.
You with your blue eyes
And strawberry blondish hair
Looked alluring in this ornate city.
You came to east to be a humanist,
To love and to live.
I wanted to learn about
The land you ran away from.
You wanted me to decipher
The mystery of my land.
We were two idealists from
Lands so different and so distant.
Yet our dreams felt the same-
How strange! we thought.
We read Yeats, Heaney, Brodsky,
Devkota, Rijal, Sherchan etc. etc.
In that Caf with ancient wooden
Chairs under the dim lights
With curious eyes all over us.
The mountains so majestic
Racing to touch the sky,
The debonair eyes of SwayambhuNath
The chanting of the
Holy Men and the Monks,
You and I in the midst of all-
The Kathmandu Valley seemed like
The Garden of Eden.
Now I am in your land.
How ironic! you would say.
I went back to that Caf recently,
Nothing had changed
But nothing felt the same.
I could hear the song
"EAUTA MANCHEKO MAYALE KATI
PHARAK PRADA CHHA JINDAGIMA"
Coming out from somewhere in this
Melancholically beautiful city.
****************************************************************** Date: May 6, 1997 To: The Nepal Digest <email@example.com> Subject: Nepal News
Source: The Rising Nepal
Over 230 UML activists join RPP
Biratnagar, May 5 (RSS) :
Chairman of Biratnagar sub-Metropolitan City Ward No 18 Baldev Yadav and
238 other CPN-UML
activists joined the Rastriya Prajatantra Party today.
President of the RPP Morang District Committee Janak Bahadur Basnet
provided RPP ordinary
membership to the CPN-UML activist joining the RPP at a function organised
by the RPP Biratnagar
Sub-Metropolitan City committee here today.
At the function chaired by President of the RPP Biratnagar Sub-Metropolitan
City committee Shailendra
Bahadur Basnet, RPP candidates for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Biratnagar
Ramkrishna Bhattarai and Kedar Koirala also expressed their views.
Source: The Rising Nepal
Maoists kidnap activists
BY A STAFF REPORTER
Kathmandu, May 5:
Fourteen political workers affiliated with the NC, CPN-UML and the RPP were
kidnapped by suspected
Maoist activists in Rolpa, Rukum and Salyan districts recently, apparently
in a bid to prevent them from
filing their candidacies in the local level elections.
According to the Deputy Inspector General of Police Krishna Mohan Shrestha,
8 persons were kidnapped
in Rolpa, 5 in Salyan and one in Rukum in the period between May 1 and May
4. "There have also been
some unconfirmed reports that some of the kidnapped have already been released
Posters disseminated by Maoists in these districts carry the message that
people will be barred from filing
nominations for the local elections as part of the poll boycott campaign and
they will be freed at the expiry
of the hour to file nominations. "There is much ground to believe that the
abductors are the Maoists," said
Mr. Shrestha also informed that filing of nomination by candidates could not
take place in 36 polling
centres of Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan, Jajarkot and Gorkha districts due to
intimidation created by the Maoist activists.
Meanwhile, in Kathmandu, Surendra Hamal, MP representing Rolpa constituency
No. 2 has said that no
candidate of any political party has been able to file nominations in six of
the 51 VDCs in Rolpa district
due to the terror created by the so-called Maoists. The six VDCs are
Jinabang, Ota, Pachhawang, Nakot, Thawang and Gajul.
In a statement, MP Hamal complained that some 25 workers of the RPP and the
NC including DDC
chairman Judha Bahadur Dangi were kidnapped on April 29 and 30, and no
information is available about their whereabouts.
Demanding security for the life and property of ordinary people in Rolpa, a
remote hilly district, Mr
Hamal urged the government to take steps for the immediate release
of those kidnapped.
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 20:08:08 PST
Subject: Few questions to Mr Pradhan
I have few questions regarding Mr. Pradhan's book review. I would
appreciate if any of the reader can forward this to him or send me
his email address as what I learnt from his review that he is totally
misguided. He should do a great deal of research before writing on so
called Bahunbaad. His explanation is totally bias and seems to me
deeply reflected his anti- brahmin feeling.
First of all, he writes that there are ethnic groups and leaders who
are using there own ethnic names. O. K., here is my first question
How many ethnic groups or leaders are using their ethnic names ?
Only Few, Why the majority still prefers so called bahun or sanskrit
Here's my second question regarding bahun's marrying non bahuns.
I agree that not many bahuns marry non bahun girls, but,how many Non
bahun boys marry bahun girls & get the respect they deserve from the
As far as politics is concerned, I agree there were other ethnic
groups beside bahuns, who faught for democracy, but it's totally bias
to blame bahuns for being MP's. Afterall they were elected by people
& I don't think only Bahun's voted for bahun MP's. There were people other than Bahuns who voted for them. It's totally wrong to say that there is no caste system within Newars. As far as I know , Newar society has a caste system parallel to Bahun's. For example Shrestha, Mishra, Rajbhandari, Rajkarnikars, Pradhan are considered priest class or high class & people with some family names (whih I do not want to disclose here), are taken as low class & marriage between high class Newars & low class Newars is very rare. These are the questions, which I think every reader should take into consideration . There are many people in Nepal other than Bahuns & I think every group is responsible for nation's development, so, how come Mr. Pradhan Or Mr. D.B.Bista , can only blame bahuns for the poor condition of nation..
From: "Obi Raj Khanal" <OKHANAL@tmknov1.auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 15:08:07 GMT+1200
The Editor Nepal Digest
Thank you very much for your publication.Indeed, I, became very happy
by getting this electronic journal in my e-mail and I am, enjoing now
in the context of the journal. I hope that I will get regularly this
publication in my e-mail address.
I wish the bright future of the journal.
Thankking you very much.
The University of Auckland
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 11:58:31 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lazima Onta)
Subject: re: announcement of discussion series in Kathmandu
Martin Chautari/Nepal Studies Group Discussion Series
This series now meets every Tuesday at 5:30 pm at the premises of Martin
Chautari, Thapathali, Kathmandu (tel: 246065). Hence the older practice of
meetings on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays has been discontinued.
Program for May
6 May, Tuesday (in Nepali)
The Experience of doing a Masters' Thesis at TU (on Soil Erosion due to
Rainfall in Nepal)
Ngamindra Dahal, TU
13 May, Tuesday (in Nepali)
UML: A Political Party caught in an Emotional Whirlpool
Raghu Mainali, NEFEJ
20 May, Tuesday (Kathmandu Book Society)
Evolution of a Nepali Writer Writing in English
Prakash A Raj
27 May, Tuesday (in Nepali)
Deformities in Democracy in Nepal since the Jana-Andolan
Dr Rajesh Gautam, TU
III) CSRD/NEFEJ Anupacharik GuffGaff (at NEFEJ)
6 April Sunday
National Dailies, Local Analysis: An Evaluation of Private-Sector
5 May Monday
"Gifting Gaindas!": An interaction program on the practice of rhino-gifting by the government of Nepal to other countries Participants will include ex-bureaucrats, present ministers and journalists who have been following this issue
Date: Mon, 05 May 1997 19:04:44 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - May 6, 1997 (23 Baishakh 2054 BkSm)
I am looking for the possibilities of volunteering in Nepal. The possibility
that I am looking for American Padiatrician who wants to volunteer in Nepal,
either short term or possibly long term. I shall appreciate the cooperation by
providing me an answer or at least where to go about getting information or if
there is any opportunity at all. Thank you in advance.
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 09:39:37 -0500 (CDT)
From: SeBaStIaN VaLeNtInO BhAtTaRaI <email@example.com>
To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
I am finally graduating this May and am in process to move back to Nepal.
Finally, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the time with
The Nepal Digest. Thank you all for your very hard work. I wish the best
wishes for the continue sucess of the Nepal Digest and hope it would reach
Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 12:28:17 CDT
Subject: Need info!
Can the Nepalese in Canada help me on this please?
Are Pallavi Shrestha and Narendra Shrestha, who used to be members of ANA
Canada Chapter, still in Canada or have they returned to Nepal?
Thank you for your help!
Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 16:32:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: There is NO DEFORESTATION in Nepal: scrutinizing data.
To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
Here is a discussion that claims that current remote sensing analysis, if
their errors and confidence levels are accounted, does not support the
contention that there is deforestation in Nepal as a whole, the Hills, and
surprisingly even Terai, for the period 1978/79-1990/91.
I welcome questions and discussions
Forest Change in Nepal:
Remote Sensing : Aerial Photography
Two types of remote sensing have been used to characterize forest chang
in Nepal: aerial photography and satellite imagery analysis. Aerial
photography of general land resources have been surveyed in 1954, 64,
78/79, and 90/91 to 97/99. Data derived from these sources are considered
more reliable than those derived from satellite imagery. The key reasons
for this are: finer scale and greater opportunity for ground truthing and
more consistent definitions of forests used. Aerial photography for land
resources have been at 1:50,000 scale for country wide survey and 1:10,000
for some specific projects. Forest change studies done on this data use
tree stands with over 10% cover as "forests". For characterization of
forest cover change, comparison is made from forest cover estimates of
1964 and 1978/79 as the best scientific data available for Nepal.
According to this comparison, forest cover change for the country changed
from 6.47 to 6.08 million ha over a 15 year period. The deforestation rate
for the country was estimated at 5.9% for these two periods.
Is this deforestation "significant" given the uncertainties? Under the
best of circumstances, an error rate of 15% is considered acceptable for
accuracy of aerial photography. So, if the 1964 estimate was an average
estimate of 6.5 million ha, a 15% error margin means that forest area could
have been anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5 million ha; for the 1978/79 estimate,
the forest area could have been from 5.2 to 7.0 million ha. In other words
the net change in forest area is statistically insignificant. Only if we
assumed that forest area in 1964 was really 7.5 million ha, the higher
estimate, and the 1978/79 forest area was the lower estimate of 5.2 million
ha can we ponder statistically significant deforestation.
Details of remote sensing in Nepal does not allow us this scientific
liberty. For instance, the 1964 forest cover estimate was derived from a
15-year survey at 10% sampling, in which the 3 million ha of High Himalayas
and 1 million of Middle Himalayas was not covered in aerial survey: this is
nearly 30% of the total area of the country for which forest area is really
a guess-estimate. Add to this the vexing issue of mountain shadows that
render forests on north slopes of hills invisible to remote sensing.
Despite such uncertainty, the scholarly community has characterized
Nepal's forestry as undergoing deforestation. One reason for this is a
clearer picture of deforestation in Terai plains for which better quality
data is available. Data is better here because the topography is mostly
free of shadows and the terrain permits quicker access for ground truthing
and close monitoring by control plots. In Terai, therefore, the forest
cover change from 1964 to 1978/79 is estimated at 191,000 ha, from 784 to
563, 000 ha. This is a change of 24 percent. Taking the confidence limits
for a 15% error margin around the estimates, the lowest estimate for Terai
forests in 1964 of 666,000 ha is still higher than the highest estimate for
1978/79, which is 648,000 ha. Deforestation for Terai can therefore pass
The rate and direction of forest change are derived analysis of the 1964
and 1978/79 aerial photos. For the country as a whole, the forests were
reduced by 6% in 15 years, a statistically insignificant change. It was 24%
for the Terai, a significant change and for the Hills and Middle Mountains
forests actually gained 1.8%, a number statistically insignificant, but
interesting because it points to a reversal in the trajectory of forest
change. Before the 1990/91 aerial photos were taken, the Ministry of
Forests projected more deforestation, an annual rate of 0.4% for the
entire country, 3.9% for the Terai plains, and 0.1% for the Middle Hills
(Master Plan, 1985).
While we have no country-wide aerial photo survey since 1978/79, (although
it is currently being carried out in two phases with Finland, the Terai
phase completed in 1993 and the Hills and Mountains scheduled for
completion by 1999), we do have subregional studies based on aerial photos
taken in 1990/91. They are listed in Table x. Virtually all of these
studies report forest increase in the Middle Hills from 1978/79 to 1990/91.
Remote Sensing : Satellite Imagery
Two country-wide, and three subregional satellite imagery analyses have
been reported for Nepal as follows:
* 1983 National Remote Sensing Center study supported by World Bank and GTZ used Landsat MSS imagery for the whole country for 1975-77, the report is authored by the Chief of Remote Sensing, K. B. Malla (1983).
* 1980 Integrated Watershed Management Project study supported by FAO/UNDP using Landsat TM imagery for the whole country for 1975, in a report by DeVon Nelson (1980).
* 1988-89 Spot Imagery Analysis of Kathmandu Valley by Haack and colleagues at George Mason University.
* 1989-91 Landsat TM imagery analysis of Dhading and Sindhupalchowk by Clark University (Millette et al, 1995)
* 1990-91 Landsat TM Image comparison of forest cover in Terai with 1978/79 aerial photos of 1978/79 by FinMap, Forest Resources Survey (1993).
Satellite imagery shows promise in cheap (relative to aerial photos) and
regular monitoring of forest change in Nepal. But this promise has been
belied by various problems with methods for remote sensing in the
mountains. These include: a) difficulty to include small patches of
forests (World Bank study); b) definition of forests as 10% and 50% crown
cover; c) difficulty in distinguishing forests from dry soil back ground in
dry season (Haack); d) the effect of mountain shadows and mixed pixels
(Millette); and continued difficulty in comparing imagery data with aerial photo data (FinMap, 1993).
Despite these caveats, the most recent comprehensive satellite imagery
study in Terai have called into question the projected deforested rate
generated from the comparison of 1978/79 aerial photos with 1964 aerial
photos. Instead of the 3.9% annual rate of deforestation in the Terai
projected, actual measurements showed only 1.3% annual rate of
deforestation from 1978/79 to 1990/91 for the Terai plain. In addition some
districts of Terai actually registered an increase in forest area.
What does this mean, given the traditional standards of error tolerance in
remote sensing of 15%?
In 1978/79, the area of forests in the Terai was estimated to be between
548-742,000 ha, the average being 645,000 ha. In 1990/91, the Terai forests
was estimated to between 464-628,000 ha, the average being 546,000 ha.
Since the high estimate for 1990/91, 628,000 ha is well within the
confidence margin of 548-742,000 ha for 1978/79 estimate, the "decrease" in
forest area is statistically insignificant.
The results of remote sensing for both Terai and the Hills would suggest
that in 1990s, forest change over the last decade has changed from
unmistakable deforestation to a stabilization, if error margins are
considered. The trajectory points to a forest increase if two factors are
considered: a) that remote sensing have traditionally ignored woody
vegetation outside stands over 10% crown, and b) that most of the
ground-reports of forest recovery document trees recolonizing areas less
than 10% crown cover. Clearly, any remote sensing to assess current forest
change has to take these factors into consideration in addition to other
problems documented before.
The Promise of AVHRR
1. The use of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) time series
satellite imagery over 10-12 years offers to reduce the major uncertainties
in two ways: a) the use of a relatively consistent sensor allows for more
standard definition of forests (a threshold Global Vegetation Index) than
air photos or Thematic Maps and b) the use of high temporal resolutions
offers greater opportunity to pick up more diffuse pattern of forest change
defined as growth of tree vegetation in all types of lands : forests over
10% crown cover and agricultural and interstitial spaces.
* 1954 Aerial Photo survey and mapping of country by Survey of India
1964 Aerial Photo survey for forest resources in Terai and some Hills
USAID/ Nepal Forest Ministry
* 1978/79 Aerial Photo survey of land resources for the entire country CIDA/Nepal Topographical Survey
* 1980/85 MSS Satellite Imagery mapping of the entire country World Bank/GTZ/Nepal Ministry of Forests
* 1991/92 MSS/TM/Aerial Photo/GIS survey of Terai Forest Resources FinMAP/Min of Forests/Topo Survey
* 1997/99 Aerial Photo Survey of Land Resources for rest of the country FinMap/Topo Survey: project signed and started.
* Forest resources of Marsyangdi Watershed (Malla, 1986)
* Forest Change in Jhikhu Khola Watershed (Schrier et al, 1996)
* Forest Change in Eastern Hills of Dhankuta (Keith and Virgo, 1994)
* Forest Change in Sindhupalchowk and Kavre (FACTS, 1995)
Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 00:16:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Puspa Man Joshi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tidbits from Columbus
By: Puspa Man Joshi
The Nepali community in Columbus, as usual, celebrated the Nepali
New Year 2054 at the Buckeye Village Recreation Center on Sunday,
April 13th. Nearly 50 people attended the party, including a
newly appointed member of Royal National Council, Mr. Lain Sing
Bangdel and his wife, Manu Bangdel, who were visiting the U.S. for
medical treatment. This time, Nepali students at the Ohio
Wesleyan University and their friends could not attemd due to a
last minute transportation problem. Fortunately, Arati Joshi,
her husband Mr. Bill Caccioalfi, and their children from Dayton,
Ohio were able to join us.
Most of the people who attended the party prepared Nepali dishes
and desserts. The food was so delicious and of such great variety
that it looked like those who heated the meal were competing for
best chef in town.
After the dinner, Mrs. Sarala Singh organized a cultural program
which began with her bhajan (prayer song). Then, Dr. Maheshor
Baidya, the President of ANMA (The Association of Nepalese in
Midwest America) on behalf of the organization wished everyone
present a happy and prosperous Nepali New Year. He also requested
the audience to make plans to attend the 16th annual ANMA
convention to be held on May 24 and 25 in Chicago.
During the program, Puspa Man Joshi, on behalf of the Nepali
Language Class in Columbus, honored Robin Baidya, the son of
Maheshor Baidya, for organizing a Nepali booth at the Internationl
Festival held at the Wellington Middle School in Upper Arlington.
Sunil Shrestha, a graduate of the Ohio State University took this
opportunity to say good bye to everyone as he is leaving soon for
Nepal. He takes back to Nepal both our good wishes for success and
some valuable experience gained working with a Columbus consulting
The program included many songs and dances and ended with a group
dance in which almost all the attendees participated. The new year
party ended with people carrying many more doggie bags home than
The list of cultural program participants:
Solo, dual, and group songs by:
Ajaya Phooyal, Allen Gomez, Alpana Singh, Anak Shrestha,
Ananda Tiwari (a new student at Capital University),
Arun Laxmi Joshi, Bandana Gorkhali, Bijaya Phooyal, Bivakar Shakya,
Deena Shakya, Jeff Smith (Jazz Vocalist), Mary K. Rose,
Rakesh Singh, Rupa Hamal, Sarala Singh, and Sharmila Phooyal.
Dance by: Rakesh Singh and Sarala Singh
Nepali flute and a poem recitation by: Puspa Man Joshi
Tae Kwan Do by: Ashish Joshi
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 22:24:49 +0700 (GMT+0700)
From: "S. K. Chaudhary" <email@example.com>
To: TND <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
Subject: Survey of Tharus studying/working abroad
I will be greatful if you could kindly post it in upcoming essue of TND.
I have been conducting a survey of Tharus studying or working abroad. So far I have already traced out most of the Tharus in United States. But still if somebody is not aware of it or want to confirm his/her name is requested to write me. In other countries, I am not successful to make it. So, I have posted it here expecting help and contribution from you all. In case of any query, you are most welcome to write me through e-mail or snail-mail.
Sushil Kumar Chaudhary
Mail box 562
Asian Institute of Technology
P.O.Box 4, Khlong Luang,
Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 12:56:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tauthali : a hill side village in Sindhupalchowk
ABSTRACT: To assess environmental criticality in the Middle Hills of the
Nepal Himalayas, Tauthali was chosen as a study area. This chapter
describes the methods used by ICIMOD to characterize this area as one very
degraded and economically undeveloped micro-watershed. The current
geography of Tauthali is described. A preliminary reconstruction of the
development and environmental trajectory leading to the current situation
follows. Key events, processes, and actors are identified. Questions for
further verifications are identified.
Why Tauthali: the ICIMOD study
Tauthali was selected on Jodha's recommendation. Jodha considered Tauthali
as an area that was very degraded and little developed (Shrestha, 1992)1.
Their methodology led them to first screen the districts of Nepal for the
most degraded watershed conditions (UNDP/FAO/HMG, 1983)2. Out of the 75
districts, 15 were identified. Further narrowing was done by using ten
major biophysical and socioeconomic criteria. These included indicators
for degradation such as declines in food production, per capita
availability of fuelwood, out-migration, and increase in density of people
and livestock to arable land, high occurrence of land slides and abandoned
lands. Sindhupalchowk came out leading as a degraded district. Within
Sindhupalchowk, the micro-watershed of Tauthali was chosen because of a
high ratio of environmental degradation. Examples of such degradation are
degraded forest land, steep slope cultivation, extent of barren land, and
the prevalence of landslide/soil erosion/abandoned lands.
The ICIMOD study was based on RRA and detailed interviews with key persons.
Key persons were interviewed both individually and in groups. Finally, a
comprehensive review of the archival database from 1954 to 1991. Based on
this study, the Tauthali micro-watershed recorded 157% increase in
agriculture area while having 69% decline in shrub/grazing land and a 44%
decline in forest area between 1954 and 19913 (Shrestha, 1992).
Geography of Tauthali
The political boundaries of Tauthali Village Development Committee (VDC) is
bounded by Piskar river to the north, the Tauthali river to the south,
Lakuri VDC to the east and Tekanpur VDC to the west.
Tauthali is a micro-watershed considered a part of the Sunkoshi river
watershed. This micro-watershed is 90 km northeast from Kathmandu. The
total area is 2,950 ha. The physiography is characterized by steep relief
ranging from 800 m in Tauthali Khola (stream bed) to 2,800 at the ridge
top. The altitude of Tauthali village is 1950 m asl. The high relief and
alignment of the aspects allow for a variety of microclimates ranging from
subtropical to temperate. Most of the agricultural land and the houses are
on the south east slopes while its forest resources are on the northern
Northwestern slopes. The annual rainfall ranges from 2000-3000 mm. Between
80-90% of the precipitation is during June to September but 2-3% in the
winter may be snow.4 The temperatures range from 11.4oC to 22.5oC. Soil
ranges from sandy loam to clay loam.
The total population of the entire Tauthali micro-watershed is 394
households. At an average household size of 6.5, the village population
would be 2600 (Shrestha, 1992) but in 1994 village survey, the VDC
populations was reportedly 5150. Tauthali settlement alone has 75% of the
VDC population. While the micro-watershed has communities belonging to
different caste and ethnic groups, Tauthali settlement is 100% Newar of
which 95% is Shrestha with the rest being Jogis.
Literacy is at 35.3%; the average family size is 6.8 and 88.6% are
supported by agriculture (APROSC, 1982). According to the APROSC 1982
Tauthali Irrigation Feasibility Study,
the productivity of Tauthali was as follows:
Paddy 1.0 ton/ha/yr
Maize 0.7 ton/ha/yr
Millet 0.8 ton/ha/yr
Wheat 0.8 ton/ha/yr
Similarly the distribution of agricultural land was as follows:
16% of the Farmers 35% of the Land
0.75 - 1.50 ha
<0.75 ha 50% 25%
Tauthali is within the Integrated Hill Development Project (IHDP) area. It
is 10 km from Danda Pakhar, the headquarters of the IHDP. There is a
Tauthali youth Club, a local NGO that meets regularly to motivate and
inform people of good sanitation habits.
KEY HISTORICAL EVENTS AND PROCESSES AFFECTING TAUTHALI
1994 Forest User Committee organized to formally regulate Forest
1990 Massive Land Slip below Firke Danda which shook Tauthali village and
resulted in the loss of agricultural land.[COMMENT2]
1988-89 Tauthali Villagers protest to the Chief District Officer, Mr. Bimal
Koirala, that the blasting and magnesite dust of the Kharidhunga
Magnesite Quarry on the ridgetop was ruining upper agriculture terrace
productivity. They ask for the quarrying to be stopped. The quarry stops
for another reason: quarrel between the partners owning the mine and the
non-payment of electricity charges for the ropeway.
[COMMENT3] 1981 Fire guts 29 houses with thatch roofs in Spring. Forests cut for timber to rebuild the village. All new roofs are tin, not because they could afford it but because it was necessary. 1982-83 Lamosangu-Jiri road building started by the Swiss aid, Tauthali effectively marginalized as the road does not pass through the village, skirting it by 2 hours walk from both Lamosangu and from Kharidhunga.
1973 Sunkoshi Hydroelectric Dam and Barrage work is started 2 hours down
from Tauthali. Many find wage labor here, reducing seasonal migration to Indian
coal mines by "70%".
Tauthali settlement begins with Shresthas from Bhaktapur.
Malla Kings ruled Kathmandu Valley and were at their peak during the reign
of Mahendra Malla when Nepal (i.e. Kathmandu valley) got the right to mint
all of Tibet's coins in Nepal.
It is possible the settlement of Tauthali in the trade route to Tibet may
have been associated with the peak trading and influence Nepal had over
Tibet.That Tauthali was settled exclusively by Newars, and Shresthas in
particular, from Bhaktapur may be due to the Tauthali area being under the
political influence of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur ws the eastern subkingdom
within the Valley. Or, the banishment of Bhaktapur Shresthas to Tauthali
may bespeak some courtly or political falling out after having supported
the wrong powers.
Oral history shows Tauthali as a convenient resting place for wayfarers to
camp overnight, get meals, arrange porters before trekking into Tibet. This
means, Tauthali residents cultivated enough food not only for themselves
but also for the passing populations. Production was more than consumption
and there was land-based agriculture income and trade based service income.
ost-Unification period began from 1769 when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified
the country into a nation state and ended with the rise of Rana Oligarchy
of Jung Bahadur Rana in 1847.
Following unification, trade and political relations with Tibet
deteriorated. The minting privileges for Tibetan coins in Nepal, the
preferential treatment for Nepali tradesmen in Tibet, and the payment of
tributes to Nepal all declined when China increasingly started to exert its
suzerainty over Tibet. This process culminated into two wars with Nepal and
China with Nepal ransacking border areas in the beginning and later having
Chinese army teach Nepal a lesson by bringing the Chinese army all the way
to Trisuli bazaar at the mouth of Kathmandu valley.
Trade volume to Tibet declined which meant Tauthali had declining revenues
Trade and transactional services must have increased as Tauthali gained a
new role as a service station to Eastern hill settlements of Jiri, Dolakha,
Ramechap, Sankhuwa Sabha, Bhojpur etc.
The reduction of strife and antagonism between kingdoms because of security
of the nation state meant the mortality decreased and the population
increased.opulation may also have increased by the increased use of
agricultural technology, namely maize and potato introduced in the Nepal
hills in the nineteenth century, which allowed hitherto unirrigated rainfed
sloping terraces to yield food crops. The population increase was also a
policy explicitly encouraged by the Shah kings. Labor was the constraining
factor for agricultural productivity increase in the hill. The new
nation-state needed more production so more surpluses could be extracted to
pay and sustain centralized services as the national army and bureaucracy.
The hypothesized increase in population and the increased use of landscape
with maize and potato meant that more of the environment was transformed
The Reign of the Rana Oligarchy
Beginning 1847, power effectively shifted to the hands of the Rana
Oligarchy of Prime Ministers. The Ranas adopted a policy of keeping Nepal
closed to the outside world except where it had specific benefits to them.
In neighboring India, British India was consolidating its Indian empire and
developing it as a market to dump its manufacturing products of the
industrial revolution back home.
For Nepal, British India had only a Resident Representative whose travels
outside of the Valley were severely limited but was effective in linking
Nepal to the regional economy of India.
In particular, British envoys were sent to extract timber for railway
sleepers from riverheads in Nepal Terai. Collier laid the Collier railways
in West Nepal Terai while Smythies inventories the flora of the Nepal
Terai. Revenues from these forests came into the government coffers which
were synonymous with the Prime Ministers's and his oligarchic cousins who
indulged in ostentatious consumption building stucco palaces.
The British India progressively facilitated trade with Tibet and China
through northeast India by way of Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Even Nepali
traders began to take advantage of this route. The net result was a decline
in overland route by way of Tauthali.
The Rana regime intensified surplus extraction from corvee labor and tax
revenues and gifting of Birta and Jagir lands to loyal government
functionaries during its reign. This meant more volumes of agricultural
surplus were flowing through the eastern hill kingdoms of Bhojpur, Dolakha,
Ramechap. Administrative centers in the eastern hills extracted surpluses
from Terai croplands, seasonally farmed during non-malarial winters.ince
Tauthali was the hill settlement linking Kathmandu valley to the eastern
hill administrative centers, it is possible Tauthali gained more than it
lost from decline in north south trade of Kathmandu-Tibet. However, this
has to be verified with archival records.
One could expect that the combined increase in the demands for corvee labor
and the higher agricultural surplus extracted from Tauthali to maintain and
sustain hill administrative centers (most of them were required to sustain
themselves with local resources) could have resulted in reaching a
political ecological carrying capacity (i.e. a biophysical carrying
capacity for a particular grid of technology and political economy matrix).
This would result in a) further deterioration of the landscape due to increasing, taxed population pushing the margins or b) more people "voting with their feet" and emigrating out. Blaikie paints this picture for Nepal hills around this period but the macroprocesses must be articulated for individual villages and watersheds.
For Tauthali, empirical evidence has not been collected. Theoretically,
one would not expect too great an increase in surplus extraction. The
landscape is very hilly and there is very little, "productive", irrigated
bench terraces or khet that could be granted by the Rana oligarchy for
surplus extraction. Second, since the population has always been
homogeneously of one caste and ethnic group, the type of social dynamics in
which Brahmin moneylenders progressively appropriate prime irrigated lands
by charging high interests from lower castes and non-Hindu ethnic groups
has not occurred in Tauthali. So the need to emigrate outside is deferred
because ecological and economic options do not run out as fast as in other
hill areas. No major emigration was reported until recently when Tauthali
residents went to work in the coal mines of India before 1973. After 1973,
a good deal of villagers got seasonal wage labor working at the
construction of the Sun Koshi Hydroelectric Dam and Barrage. After thism
more work was found during the construction of the Lamosangu-Jiri road, the
Swiss road, within a few hours from their village. Now most Tauthali
villagers migrate to iron workshops to make grills for Kathmandu. But
generally, other anecdotal histories of the village sticking together
cohesively in times of disasters such as fires point to collective
resourcesof socio-cultural support that provide a safety net for villagers
in hard times.
We would, therefore, expect a slow but systematic trajectory of increased
pressure on land due to increase in population as a result of a) decreasing
mortality due to interkingdom strifes and b) as a result of declining
non-agricultural incomes as its geographical trade position declines. [All
of this need to be verified with more archival research and oral
THE MODERN PERIOD OF INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT
Nationally, 1951 marked the year when Nepal opened herself to the outside
world and development aid came flowing in increasing volumes. There was a
relative period of political stability under the one-party Panchayat system
of the King. For the hills, the major policy was to increase the road
network to enhance security and integration into the nation-state and to
promote emigration to the Terai plains. Nested within this policy was
development and nested within development was environmental amelioration.
"Development" for the hill areas meant a) access to motorable road b) access to drinking water, c) access to school education, and d) access to health services. Once this wish list was met, villagers wanted irrigation where possible and access to modern agricultural inputs such as high yield varieties, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Environmental services including forestry activities follow this wish list priorities.
For the area of Tauthali, the building of the Swiss road from Lamosangu to
Jiri linking Kathmandu to eastern hill district headquarters of Chainpur,
Bhojpur and Dolakha is the key development activity. This development has
had major implications in development and environmental implications of
Tauthali. How this road came into being given the political and ecological
situation of this area is illustrated in the oral history of the Headmaster
Generally, Tauthali got bypassed by the road which meant it did not get any
integrated hill development interventions nor community forestry
development. The only "development" that came to Tauthali was the relay
station for the magnesite mine. The Tauthali residents objected the
blasting and the lime that coated the agricultural terraces. The mine site
was closed due to high energy charges from ropeway.
Given the state of enforced autarky, the people of Tauthali had to make do
on their own. They haul in chemical fertilizers on their backs to try to
maintain declining yields. They also invest in landesque capital by
rehabilitating land slips and protecting degraded shrubland and pine
plantations. The forests are need as the fuelwood source and a timber bank
to rebuild the village after the fairly frequent fires that raze half the
village houses. This is because more than half have thatch roofs.
Not many people have moved out permanently although some have moved 2 hours
way to the minesite to set up shops on the Lamosangu-Jiri road and more
have trickled into the iron grill workshop artisanship in Kathmandu and
have done well in Chabahil area of Kathmandu city. These people still
maintain their house and farms and use some of their income to buy
fertilizers to maintain their farm productivity.
Statistics have shown over 157% increase in absolute agricultural land but
farmers complain how they lose big chunks due to huge land slips.
Tauthali village has about 100 households of which 29 have tin roofs. The
tin roofing does not indicate affluence but poor houses whose thatch roofs
were burnt in 1983. The thatch comes from agricultural wheat stalks or
"khar". Fire has occurred over the last 20 years and the forest is needed to supply timber to rebuild houses. The wood used is oak trees, or Quercus semecarpefolia so the forest is conserved zealously as a insurance bank for the village without the government inducement. The pine plantation on Firke Danda or Dhok Masan Danda really is on the burial ground of the Jogis. The Jogis are the small percentage of Kusle Newars who bury their dead instead of cremating them. The Jogis are a minority who are considered untouchable initially protested the usurpation of their sacred lands for "development." This plantation was initiated by the Swiss integrated development project. They were persuaded that they can still use the space between trees for burying.
[This intercaste relation and conflict in resource use needs to be further investigated especially by privileging the undercaste.]
The Swiss Hill forest development project started in 1979 in SATA.
There was a major land slip below the Firke Danda in 1990 possibly due to
geological reasons. The land slip sounded like big thunder the tremours
could be felt in the whole village of Tauthali. A lot of agricultural land
was also lost. The foot of the land slip has started to be reclaimed for
Most of the rice is cultivated in lower slopes near the Tauthali river. The
paddy so cultivated is almost all sold/consumed in the Tauthali village.
The upper slopes near the village are used for rainfed agriculture of wheat
and maize. Most families have 5-6 ropanies or 0.1 ha and a family will
have 5-6 children.
There were two major fires that gutted many houses in the village, one in
1972 and the other 1982. Many oak trees had to be felled to rebuild the
houses. The Swiss Integrated hill Development Project intervened to have
enrichment plantation in the shrub forest with pine trees. The Nepal
Australian Forestry project provided the money for the watcher. In 1990, a
Forest User Committee was formed to look after the forest. The villagers
are not allowed to cut any trees without the permission of the management
committee. The Forest User Committee fines if anybody breaks the rules.
There is an understanding that every resident of the Tauthali village is
entitled to collect deadwood, leaf litter and bedding only when required.
Illicit tree cutting is persecuted by reporting the culprit after due
warnings to the Forest Department for persecutions. About 8% of the people
have to pay Rs 2-3000 rupees that is a substantial sum of money and enough
hassle to dissuade the rest.
The villagers rehabilitate the gully with stone checkdams and planting
trees of Prunus, bamboos, and Ficus nemoralis and allowing wildlings to
Out-migration: The male adult members have been reported to migrate to
India to work in the coal mines. [Since when and how long has yet to be
Farmers report that agricultural productivity is not enough to sustain for
more tan 6 months a year. Out-migration to India declined by 70% when wage
labor opened with the building up of Sun Koshi Hydroelectric dam and
barrages around 1973.
The Lamosangu-Jiri road was built and completed in 1982-83 and many male
members found wage labor in this venture.
About 30% of the Tauthali adult male population is said to be employed in
seasonal labor in Kathmandu as iron-grill artisans. [This figure needs to
be verified.] Generally, the female members of the household do not go out
of the village for employment. This is significant because many women
around this village have recently been inducted into labor for carpet
factories or prostitution.
Livestock Management System: Buffaloes are kept for milk production. They
are stall-fed with farmland residues of corn stalks, paddy straw, and wheat
straw and are grazed on the village pasture land during the monsoon.
Compost in made in pile and use this farmland manure for fertilizing their
farms. The farmers also use forest fodder to supplement cattle diet. The
primary objective of the cattle is for the generation of farmyard manure.
Farmyard manure is needed to maintain declining agricultural fertility.
Chemical fertilizer is both difficult to get in a cash-poor economy and
difficult to carry up from the nearest road head.
The magnesite quarry is said to have destroyed 400-500 ropanies or 20-25 ha
of bench land but erosion stopped after protest since 1981-82. The
scrubland has since improved because of protection.
The Sunkoshi hydroelectric dam was established some 20 years ago and the
people of Tauthali all have electricity for lighting but not for heat or
other wise. There is no telephone in the village, the nearest one is 2
hours walking distance, in Barabise. The availability of electricity for
light has reduced the use of wood fire for light. The reduced use of
kerosene lamps and firewood light has reduced the fire hazard that has
resulted in fires gutting the village in the past.
Drinking water was provided by UNICEF and Integrated Hill Development
Project of the Swiss with 25 taps all over the village. This has
considerably saved the labor for hill women who had to walk several hours
each day to fetch some pots of water daily. The waste water is used for
kitchen gardens and for the production of green vegetables to supplement
This reconstruction is based on the in-depth interview with Bishnu Bhakta
Shrestha, supplemented partly with interviews with our guide Gagan Shrestha
and another Shrestha farmer in whose shed we spent four hours sheltering
ourselves from a snowstorm.
Tauthali was settled where it is as it was a convenient stopover in the
trade route to Tibet. It was fairly strategic vantage point, offering
strategic views of major confluences (the Sun Kosi and the Bhote Koshi at
Barha Bise and the Sun Kosi and Indrawati at Dolal Ghat). It was also on
the trade and administrative route to the Eastern hill kingdoms of
Charikot, Dolakha, and Ramechap. Oral history places the first settlement
to at least 300 years ago in Malla times. (Nepal was unified in 1769). All
the settlers were from Bhaktapur and all are Hindered Newars with the
surname Shrestha. The present Shresthas retain a Newari dialect similar to
that of Bhaktapur. Kathmandu Newars regard this dialect as somewhat
bastardized and impure. The dressing habit and general lifestyle seems
indistinguishable from their Chettri-Bahun hill men. The Chettri-Bahun hill
men are referred to pejoratively as the "Pakhe" or the slope dwellers after
"Pakho" for the upper, sloping terraces rainfed agriculture with trees that merges into the scrubland forest, bringing up connotations of being close to forest and far from civilization, (my interpretation).
(I guess/hypothesized) The decline of Tauthali must have started with the decline on Tibet trade following the Unification. During the early part of the Shah rule, the Shah Kings tried to hold on to the trade advantages the Malla kings had over Tibetan economy and polity. For one, since Mahendra Malla, all the coins of Tibet were minted in Nepal and huge profit was made
(can be documented from history texts). Second, Tibetan state continued to pay tributes of suzerainty to Nepal kings and accorded monopoly rights to Nepal trade houses of Newar merchants in Lhasa. Both practices were slowly discontinued as China started exerting more active pressures in affairs of Tibet. For one tributes were extracted by China and second the minting rights were discontinued. This resulted in a couple of wars in which the Chinese army literally came to the gates of Kathmandu. The net result was a drastic reduction in the volume of trade with Tibet. Concurrent with this was the opening of China through the sea route. The alternate land route was opened through the Kalimpong route between Sikkim and Nepal for British India in the early nineteenth century. The control of trade routes to China and Tibet obviated the need for British to annex Nepal after she was defeated in 1816. So while trade activity to Tibet declined but not vanished, trade and administration of the Eastern districts of the unified Nepal increased. Tauthali had a redefinition of its role somewhat. (This is my reconstructed speculation, need more documentation to buttress this statement.) All this decline in trade revenues for Tauthali would imply that more of its subsistence would now come from agriculture. An expansion of agriculture was the function of increase in labor supply from increases in population, following reduction in interkingdom strife and mortality from hostilities, and increase in production by bringing more infertile areas (higher, drier slopes) under cultivation with the introduction of maize and potatoes in Nepal in early nineteenth century. We would thus the first ratcheting up of pressures on the local forest environment beginning early nineteenth century. (This hypothesis can be rejected or accepted by following the trail of historical documentation and life histories from the childhood memories of 80 year-old residents or similar documentary evidence from surrounding districts.) Some reconstruction of economic change and environmental change can be deduced from sanads and administrative orders to eastern commands during the Rana regime. Here archival research is in order.
Another major constriction of Tibet trade occurred after Tibet was annexed
by China in 1959. Trade was reduced to a trickle obviously further
marginalizing income opportunities for Tauthali. How much was this offset
by increased volume of traffic moving through Tauthali? Surplus extraction
and integration of the Eastern Hill economy with the Kathmandu core need to
be researched for post-1959 period.
Recent Environmental Trajectory in Tauthali
We start getting better documentary evidence after 1954/55.
In 1954/55, the Survey of India prepared topographic contour maps for the
entire country based on both aerial photos (? verify this) and on-ground
surveys. These maps also contained information on land use including
forest and agriculture land and location of hamlets. These maps serve as
the benchmark for most environmental change studies in Nepal, including the
The ICIMOD study (Sugandha Shrestha, 1992) show over 150% increase in
agricultural land over 35 years from 1954 to 1991 with declines in both
forest and shrub/grazing/and pasture lands:
1954 area in ha
1991 area in ha
change in %
-44 Discussion and critique:
The increase of agriculture land may be a function of the increase in
absolute population in the hills. In national census statistics, the
population in the Mountain and Hill region has increased nearly 5 million
from 1954 to 1991. The population growth rates for the hills and mountain
region is 1.67%, much less than the average of 2%. Out-migration has
increased over the last two decades. There is a still a net increase in
absolute number of population in the hill areas. Stagnant technology, or
marginal improvement in irrigation and modern inputs confined to accessible
areas, means there would be a scaler increase in PPD population pressure
induced degradation on mountain slopes.
However generalized pictures for the nation or regions can have misleading
manifestations on specific smaller scales. Tauthali is different from
other Hill villages which are witnessing increasing articulation with the
market. Tauthali is witnessing a much slower integration into the market
economy and nation state because it has been bypassed from its earlier
The increase in agricultural area may also be due to the lessening of
economic options, namely development project largess. As a result, Tauthali
residents still depend more on agriculture for subsistence.
Land Cover (1994)
Ten Years Ago (1984)
Now in %
HOW TAUTHALI GOT MARGINALIZED OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS
I had asked the headmaster why was Tauthali so "undeveloped" when the
district of Sindhupalchowk (where Tauthali is located) is famous for having
a high concentration of development projects? His answer was the
This whole area is generally dominated by the feudal castes of certain
Chettri families with very good political connections. He was probably
referring to Mr. Netra Bahadur Thapa who was the district for a long time
during the Panchayat era from 1959-1989. So the people of this area thought
that to get outside this dominance, they needed to bring in someone with
more stature and legitimacy to get things done. Out comes Pashupati
Shumsher Rana of the subroyal line of the Ranas who were historically the
rulers for 104 years from 1847-1951 and was the grand son of the last Rana
Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher. Pashupati is among the richest Ranas and one
of the few who is in active Politics these days. He is married to the
daughter of the king of Gwalior and is well connected to Indian politics
with his brother-in-law, Madhav Raj Scindia one of the leaders and cabinet
minister in the Rajib Gandhi Congress and the mother-in-law, Vijay Raje
Scindia, the patron of the Hindu revivalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the
party that sees itself as the national alternate to the Congress in India.
Pashupati has a lot of real estate in India including a palatial home in
Bangalore. He was educated in Oxford, speaks fluent English. He ran the
development think-tank, the Center for Economics, Development, and
Administration, CEDA before going into politics. Although one need not be
elected to be a Panchayat Minister, Pashupati thought he should cultivate a
constituency somewhere near Kathmandu. He could not cultivate Kathmandu,
where a Rana would have very little chance of winning even in the rigged
politics of the Panchayat days. What would be a safe constituency than
where he had his lands and former clients who would still treat him as a
"raja" or king than Sindhupalchowk. Pashupati's ambition converged with the ambition of the people of Sindhupalchowk. The people of Sindhupalchowk were looking for deliverance from the Thapas. Pashupati was looking for a reliable constituency he could nurture because the Panchayat system was slowly democratizing itself. So Pashupati needed to establish residence so he could fight elections and he chose Sindhu palchowk.
"Why Danda Pakhar?" referring to the village south of the Tauthali river. It was through this village the Swiss built the infamous link road to eastern hill districts and effectively marginalized Tauthali from its preeminent trade position. To this, the Headmaster replied that Danda Pakhar had the major geographical or ecological advantage of having better access to drinking water. The village on the southern slopes was thickly vegetated because of the abundance of streams. (I suspect an additional reason is that Danda pakhar is mostly habited by Tamangs. Tamangs are historically much suppressed Tibeto-Burman ethnic group. They are described as much more "sojho" or naive and implying they are much easier to push around. (Tamangs are the ethnic groups that do the most menial and socially denigrated jobs such as pushing carts, dishwashing as children, manning Dickensonian sweat-shop carpet factories and getting inducted to prostitution). The Newars who are notorious for being difficult to push around with their own cultures and not trusted with development largess and political upliftment by the Shah dynasty and the hill alliance because they just took power from the Newar kings and community in the Unification drive.) With the ascendance of Pashupati Shumsher Rana in national politics, development projects began to flow to his district and to his "resident" village of Danda Pakhar. One of the first entrants were the Swiss under the SATA (Swiss Agreement for Technical Assistance) who came in and established base in Danda Pakhar and began their long programs of Integrated Hill Development with efforts to address agriculture, forestry, roads and communications and education. Subsequently, the Swiss helped build the Lamosangu-Jiri road linking Kathmandu to eastern hill districts by was of Kodari Highway to Tibet. this road served as the death knell to Tauthali. At this point it is interesting to bring out the discourse on Tauthali brought out our ICIMOD driver Jaya Bahadur Acharya, a Brahmin. Jaya speaks fluent Newari and had served 7 years with the SATA as their driver. He was telling me that Tauthali residents are "anti-development" or
"bikash-birodhi" in Nepali. This is a rather serious appellation in the days where bikash or development is the unquestioned goal of the nation. It is a label, the government Panchayat media often used, to derogate multi-party political activists of the underground Congress party. These activists were supposedly fomenting agitations to derail the country from its resolute path to progress. I did not see what the driver was referring to in Tauthali, was he implying that it was a hot bed of political agitation?
"NO" he said, "there was actually a link road built halfway from Lamosangu up to Tauthali along the historic Tibet route. This road opposed by the Tauthali residents on grounds that the road contractors would bring all the evils of development. These contractors and hired labor would looking around for prostitutes with their extra cash and alcohol, corrupting the village women. So they took delegations to the district development committees to get rid of the road." A very curious tale because I knew of only villagers taking up delegations to have roads built by their villagers. Before entering Tauthali, I recalled a new item that while the mine site was operating, the Tauthali residents had opposed the blasting for its deleterious effect on the productivity of the terraces. An attitude was built against Tauthali residents as a result of this discourse. This was successfully confirmed by the Headmaster who said he took active part in this. After the Swiss road was built, Tauthali missed out on being the prime beneficiary of Swiss integrated hill development projects, community forestry projects, irrigation projects and access to subsidized modern agriculture techniques. The magnesite mine was built on top of the hill. The Swiss road to Jiri ran through the minesite. The village got a relay station and lots of blasting and dust. Several families moved residence near the mine site to set up shops for the mine employees and the bus loads of travelers. The mine stopped functioning after 5 years because of a quarrel between the owners and the government over unpaid electricity charges to run the ropeway. The people were left on their own. Lately, more and more residents ( exact figures to be worked out) have gone to Kathmandu to indulge in iron-grill work for the Kathmandu windows and doing successfully. Some have built houses in Kathmandu but most use the extra income to buy chemical fertilizer to put into the terraces for extra food. Forests:The species are Quercus spp. , Rhododendron, Juglans regia, Daphne phyllum, and Chir pine. The forests are perceived to come up positively due to the following reasons: 1. Control of free grazing from within the Tauthali village, 2. Protection by forest watcher for fire and grazing 3. Neighboring villagers have their own forests so there is no
stealing 4. People are conscious of the need for forests as a timber bank after fires in the village and for regular fuelwood. 5. Due to frequent contacts and help from the forestry staff.
Land-holding in the village: There are no landless farmers here. 12
households have 2-3 ropanies of land or 0.1 ha while very few have more
than 20-25 ropanies or 1 ha. Very few farmers own more than 4-5 ropanies
of khet land (0.2 ha or irrigated land for paddy cultivation near the
foothills). All the other lands are rainfed agriculture. Maize and wheat
are the major crops in the upland areas.
1Sugandha shrestha, 1992, Mountain Agriculture: Indicators of Unsustainability and Options for Reversal. ICIMOD, Mountain Farming Systems, Discussion Paper No.32. Kathmandu, Nepal. 2 UNDP/FAO/HMG. 1983. Watershed Conditions of the Districts of Nepal, Kathmandu: Department of Soil and Water Conservation. (Amulya's note: This study was based on detailed helicopter based surveys to rank districts on the basis of the number of "active" hot spots which were contributing significantly to local land erosion and land slides and sediment loads rather than "incipient" sheet erosion. The classification was based on visual identification, comprehensive empirical measurements of sediment loads and land erosion for all the hot spots were not made.) 3Note that these numbers present a false sense of precision with percentages at the units of 7, 9, and 4. The method used the Topographic Survey Sheet Map produced by the Survey of India, in 1954 and most of these are dark ammonia prints in which forest and vegetation can hardly be distinguished. Even in the original copy we saw at the Geodetic Branch Office in Nepal where forest and agriculture were differentiated with green and yellow colors with settlements as black squares, the boundaries can hardly said to be accurately measured in its many convolutions. Dr. Thomas Millette, a Remote Sensing Professor with extensive training in Cartography who was with me when we saw the maps, thinks there are a little better off than guesswork and cannot be taken to be a reliable base for boundaries!
It is also not clear how ICIMOD and Sugandha Shrestha, in particular,
"measured" the boundaries, by themselves manually or having a professional cartographer do it. 4Snow seems to occur for 4-5 days in January at the ridgetop of Kharidhunga magnesite mine site (now defunct) through which the Swiss-built Lamosangu-Jiri road snakes by but the snow is light and less than a few inches. However, Tauthali experienced 6 inches of snow this year at the height of 1950 m some 800 m below the mine site. Tauthali residents said this last occurred five years ago.
[COMMENT1] This is based on the in-situ report sent to me Headmaster Bishnu Bhakta Shrestha in April, 1994.
[COMMENT2] The size of this land slip may make it visible in the satellite image even after the foot is being reclaimed for irrigated terraces and the upper scars are being rehabilated by shrubs.
[COMMENT3] This is one of the first examples of indigenous social resistance around environmental effects on economic livelihoods in Nepal. What is significant was that there was no "NGO" involved.
Amulya Ratna Tuladhar
Graduate School of Geography
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:38:44 EDT
By Avinaya Rana
Touro College NY
- The British Court of Appeal is to decide on Tuesday the fate of a young Nepalese man threatened with deportation six years after a millionaire fulfilled a ``debt of honour'' to the boy's father by bringing him to Britain.
Twenty-year-old Jay Khadka and his guardian, Richard Morley, hope the
country's new Labour government will influence the court and grant Khadka
permanent residence, overturning a deportation order issued last year by then
Home Secretary (interior minister) Michael Howard.
``I'm a bit hopeful with the new government, but we really won't know until
Tuesday,'' Khadka told Reuters in an interview. ``Whatever happens I just
want to remain with my family.''
A High Court judge last December upheld the deportation ruling although it
agreed the decision might appear harsh.
``The Home Secretary (Jack Straw) has the right to personally decide this
matter,'' said Morley. ``(Prime Minister) Tony Blair has made a great stand
about a new compassionate society after his election. Now we expect him to
deliver that pledge and be as good as his word.''
Khadka's case has attracted widespread attention because of the unusual
circumstances surrounding his arrival in Britain as well as the communal
living arrangements of his self-styled 'family'.
Morley brought the young Khadka to Britain to honour a pact made with the
boy's father, a policeman in a remote area of Nepal who saved Morley's life
when he collapsed with a punctured lung while on a mountaineering expedition
The policeman walked for three days to summon help but refused financial
reward, instead imploring Morley to take care of his son should anything
happen to him.
Morley returned to Nepal in 1991 to find that the elder Khadka had died and
so brought the boy home with him.
But because Jay Khadka's papers stated his age as 18, Morley was unable to
adopt the boy legally. It was later determined that he was only 14 at the
``The age of children in poor parts of Asia is often exaggerated without
their knowledge so they can work at a much younger age,'' Morley said.
``He looked much younger than his age. When he came to England, we gave him a
bath and the obvious was immediately realised. In Nepal when I took him over
I didn't investigate such things. I took him at his word and he thought he
Khadka now lives on a commune with Morley and six other 'family' members --
ranging from ages 18 to 43 -- based in a castle in west England.
The group has vowed to leave Britain permanently if Khadka is deported. ``The
family intends to stay together,'' Morley said. ``We are a new type of family
structure which we think copes with the problems of tomorrow far more
Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 11:16:23 BST
First of all, I would like to thank a lot for publising the best
articles on Nepal, Nepalese politics, envirionments etc. etc. I surely
hope that there will be even more interesting and comprehensive articles
in future. Anyway, when I read last year's Nepal Digest, there was an
interesting article about producing THE EDUCATIONAL VIDEO FILM AND
TEACHING PACKET ON THE HIMALAYAS AND NEPAL. Has this vedio released and
if so, where can I buy one?
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