The Nepal Digest - May 16, 1997 (3 Jestha 2054 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday May 16, 97: Jestha 3 2054BS: Year6 Volume62 Issue 3

Today's Topics:

               Remembering Parijat.....
               A POEM
               Nepal News
               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 *
 * Chief Editor: RJP Singh (Open Position) *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh Shrestha (Open Position) *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
 * *
 * *
 * +++++ 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 <> Subject: Remembering Parijat..... To: The Nepal Digest <>

Remembering Parijat.....

         "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.

mahesh maskey 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 To: Subject: A POEM
     The streets covered with every
     Color imaginable,
     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
     Glancing lovingly,
     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
     Coming out from somewhere in this
     Melancholically beautiful city.
     -Satish Mishra
****************************************************************** Date: May 6, 1997 To: The Nepal Digest <> 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 Sub-Metropolitan City 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 DIG Shrestha. 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.

****************************************************************** From: To: 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 names ?

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 society. 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" <> To: Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 15:08:07 GMT+1200 Subject: Dhannyabad

To, 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. Obi Khanal The University of Auckland NZ

******************************************************* Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 11:58:31 +0100 To: From: (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 Broadsheet Dailies Ashutosh Tiwari

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) From: Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - May 6, 1997 (23 Baishakh 2054 BkSm) To:

Hi !

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.

Ankeey Rima

****************************************************************** Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 09:39:37 -0500 (CDT) From: SeBaStIaN VaLeNtInO BhAtTaRaI <> To: The Nepal Digest <>

Dear Editor;
   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 the star.

Subhasan Bhattarai

****************************************************************************** Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 12:28:17 CDT To: From: 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) From: Subject: There is NO DEFORESTATION in Nepal: scrutinizing data. To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <>

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: by Amulya Tuladhar Clark University

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 statistic muster.

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:
* Country-wide
* 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).

* Sub-regional
* 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) To: From: Puspa Man Joshi <>

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 firm.

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 usual.

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" <> To: TND <> Subject: Survey of Tharus studying/working abroad

Dear editor,
        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.
                                Yours Sincerely,
                                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) From: 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:

Large Holdings
>1.50 ha
16% of the Farmers 35% of the Land

Medium Holdings 0.75 - 1.50 ha 34% 40%

Small Holdings
<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 Recent Past: 1994 Forest User Committee organized to formally regulate Forest Use[COMMENT1] 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%". 1650 (circa)

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.

1769-1847 The p 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 from services. 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 for production.

1847-1951 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 histories.]


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 above. 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 irrigated land. 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 come up. 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 ascertained.] 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 their nutrition.

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 ICIMOD study. 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:

Land Use 1954 area in ha 1991 area in ha

change in % Agriculture 765 1966

Shrub/Grazing/ Pasture 861 265

Forest 1294 719
-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 privileged status. 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) in % Now in % Forest 37 45 Farm lands 42 43

Eroded lands 5 5

Reclaimed lands 1 2

Abandoned land 2 2

Grazing land 13

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 following: 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 Clark University

******************************************************************** Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:38:44 EDT To: From: Subject: News

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 in 1984.

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 time.

``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 was 18.''

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 effectively than

********************************************************** Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 11:16:23 BST To: From: Subject: Inquiry??

Dear Sir/Madam 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?

Sincerely Rajesh Giri Amsterdam

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