The Nepal Digest - May 25, 1995 (12 Jestha 2052 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thursday 25 May 95: Jestha 12 2052 BkSm Volume 38 Issue 11

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * Consultant Editor: Padam P. Sharma sharma@plains.nodak.edu *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta k945184@atlas.kingston.ac.uk *
 * Book Reviews Columns: Pratyoush R. Onta ponta@sas.upenn.edu *
 * News Correspondent Rajendra P Shrestha rajendra@dartmouth.edu *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" - Sirdar Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

************************************************************************* Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 09:20:58 -0400 From: Anita Regmi <aregmi@mailbox.econ.ag.gov> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Sexual Harassment via the TND medium.

It has been a long time since I have voiced my thoughts. This is because of a lack of time rather than the lack of desire. I have enjoyed reading a lot of the material on the TND and have felt like commenting on them but my duties as a working mom have never given me the time. Finally I am hit with the reality that "SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE". And here I am!

Let me briefly comment on a few of the previous articles in "general". I do not remember them in their entirety. I applaud the authors and do not consider this in any mean spirit. This is just to voice my opinions especially since they relate to the very important matter that I wish to discuss.

The thing I had noted was the vein of Pratyoush's piece on ASCOL. My reaction was "how sanitized!" "Just like a man!" I dwelt in a different ASCOL. It was everything he wrote about plus HORRIBLE! Choice between PK and ASCOL was not just in academic issues, in choosing ASCOL you had to have undergone a thorough evaluation of your ability to endure unrelenting humiliations. From the moment we (women) left the house till the moment we entered it we were on spotlight. The intensity increased geometrically everytime we crossed the road to enter our math, english, nepali and "Nepal Parichaya" classes on the hostel side.

The above leads me to comment on A. Tiwari 's piece that dwelt on something like "affirmative action" issues. It is fairly out of context (I acknowledge). I am using the term "affirmative action" loosely and in a generic way for lack of a better term. He talked a lot about "token gestures" in placing women at various positions. I think for a given level of education a woman is generally far more capable than a man in performing "most" duties. This is because for every one battle a man fights a woman has to fight five more battles. It may appear at times that a man is better qualified. This is because we live in a man's world where the yardsticks for performance evaluations have been designed by men over the generations based on their needs and desires! How about it if women were to make the rules? Studies keep showing how a man and a woman's brain works differently. Our values appear to be different. We don't see eye to eye. Therefore what is important to most men may not be important to most women. BUT AS FAR AS ABILITIES GO, I CAN VOUCH FOR IT; WOMEN ARE NO LESS. If men had to fight the battles women fight to get an education they would have long quit.

Finally in the US, many of us thought we were free. We could fearlessly say what we wanted, be where we wanted and study what and where we wished to study. But not quite so. A fairly new female member of the TND posted a note on TND. Her note was read by a male member of TND and since then he has taken to harassing her. This follows the latest requests for more female participation in the discussions going on in TND. Now I call for "affirmative action". Yes, if the verbal gestures indicated by the "mainly male run" TND is anything more than a mere gesture we need to ensure the freedom of women to participate in this forum.

My solution? PUBLIC LYNCHING! Let the punishment be so severe that it deters future scoundrels from doing the same. Yes, expose him. Let everyone know him for who he is. He is Durga Dahal!

I realize I was the first to call for censorship when a male publicly sought to humiliate his ex over a failed romance. In that case it was a totally personal matter. The TND was not involved. Here it is different. The man learnt of the victim's mailing address via her posting on TND. She does not know him from adams! He may have seen her and known her from back in Kathmandu.

Editors, this is the litmus test for me. Fail it and you will prove that TND is indeed "Naya Sadak ko Pipal ko Bot", i.e. a "world of men, by men and for men".

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 19:06:58 -0500 (CDT) From: RAI@UTSW.SWMED.EDU Subject: Interplast in Nepal To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

Dear TND readers,

Nepal has been one of the regular destinations of Interplast- a California based non-profit organisation. It has been sending its team to Nepal twice a year. The team provides service through the univ. teaching hospital at Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. The team consists of not only plastic surgeons but also anaesthetists, peadiatricians and of course nurses. The last expedition was in April and was led by Larry Leonard MD from Salt Lake City. His team consisted of four plastic surgeons, three anaethesiologists, a pediatrician, a gynaecologist, three nurses, a photographer and a secretary. Ninety two people were operated and two doctors from the hospital received inservice training.

Larry, like few other plastic surgeons from US has an interest in helping Nepal develop her own plastic surgery service. It is high time that we learn how to catch fish, or else we will always live on one given to us out of kindness. Larry, Joe Rosen, Kris Stueber and many more are more than willing to help us learn catch fish. A patient from Kathmandu with bad burn injury was operated by Dr Stueber for free in US at her facility. This was also posted in TND. I think you all will agree to join me thanking them for their big hearts. Joe and Kris are planning to go to Nepal every two years leading Interplast. Joe was there with his team last November for his second trip while Kris has signed up for April next year which will be her second trip as well.

I have Larry's email ( lleonard@u.cc.utah.edu) for those who want to mail him thanking personally. I wish had those of Joe's and Kris'but I have their phone #s which I can pass on.

Shankar M. Rai Dallas, Texas
  
**************************************************************** Date: Sat, 20 May 1995 15:03:12 EDT From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu>

        Note: What follows is somewhat long; but I have tried to be as clear and prasta with my arguments as possible: If you do not have time or interest in economics or policy-making, this is best skipped:
---------------------------------

        I read Ratna Shrestha's piece on carpet industry with great interest. It was well-written, perhaps a bit more descriptive than I argumentative, but a great piece nontheless.

        Here is my take on ONE of the issues Ratna raised; and, I hope, he and others will feel free to correct my errors and misunderstanding re: the idea of minimum-wage in the carpet factories that hire children.

Ratna writes:
>The PM is right to some extent as long as they get fair wage under
>a good working condition. This can be ensured by a minimum wage
>legislation and other related legal codes!!!.

        
        I wish Ratna had argued HOW exactly "fair wage" and "a good working condition" for ALL child-workers of carpet factories could be ensured by the enforcement of minimum wage.

        Empirical studies in the US show that the minimum wage applies MOSTLY to teenagers holding PART-TIME jobs to earn extra pocket money.
(Many fastfood restaurants may and do hire illegal aliens full-time BELOW the minimum wage to cut costs). And it is not in the interest of the firms to give these part-time [teenage] employees health-insurance, paid leave and other job benefits. Why should the firms incur additional costs, right?

        But, in Nepal, children, lest Ratna forgot, are NOT working PART-TIME in a carpet factory. They are working full-time, i.e. 8 to 12 hours a day, maybe even more. Since these children are working that much a day, then as a "fair" compensation, would they not need a health-benefit package, a paid leave, a pension scheme, Dassain "pesky" and so on? In other words, when children are working FULL-TIME or even OVER-TIME like real adults, how "fair" is it to hold them on to "minimum wage" with NO additional benefits?

        Now a catch-22 situation comes. Carpet factories that do pay for these additional benefits will incur EVEN higher cost, and that will drive their profits even down. So it is in their interest NOT to pay for these additional benefits. And that leaves them with no option but to continue using, er . . exploiting the children. And we are back to square one.

        Now, leaving the idea of "fairness" to John Rawls, a strictly ECONOMIC argument IN FAVOR :-) of minimum-wage, I would think, is this: In this case, a minimum wage may be -- quite ironically for Nepali economists who are taught to think that MW is bad because it distorts the labor market -- a desirable policy instrument because it will drive up the labor cost.

        That means hiring laborers would be more expensive. That, in turn, means, at the going wage, carpet industries would hire fewer laborers, i.e., in this case, fewer children. And fewer children working may arguably mean that factories now have fewer children to exploit.
[Side "benefits" for the children may be: Less crowded work-space, and that may translate into less-crowded working conditions, which may be
"better".)

        ((And to all this I would add: That means MORE children are now FREE (unemployed). This further means, there is no reason now why state cannot move in and send these kids off to schools where they can take school courses and learn vocational/technical skills. So, to make an intertemporal case, more children unemployed to go to school TODAY mean BETTER and HIGHER-QUALIFIED labor force for Nepali industries TOMORROW. So, as a REAL long-term policy instrument, should Nepal NOT therefore crack down on child labor NOW and push for sending kids off to schools?))

        Ratna's other points about "introducing new technology" sound nice; but I am not convinced of the strength of his logic. To present my case, let me argue now argue from the perspective of the carpet factories:

        When carpet factories are facing such UNCERTAIN future and declining profits as they are now, where is the INCENTIVE for them to invest more on "new technology" to reduce pollution? Everything else being equal, capturing markets is their prime concern, not reducing pollution. I mean, as it is, they are paying no fee for dirty air or dirty water; and it's in their interest NOT to pay pollution tax. Why should they invite the government to levy a tax on them? They'll simply fight such regulation. And they will.

        If government does enforce a pollution tax, then that undercuts Ratna's other points: Given declining profits and shaky markets, and now RISING COSTS in the name of "minimum wage", new machines for less pollution, pollution tax and "skilled labor", these factories do not even need to locate out of Kathmandu, they'll go bankrupt and be forced out of the market.

        And I am not sure that's what Ratna was arguing for, because the title of his essay was "Can Carpet Industries Survive?", with clear implication that they should be allowed to survive because they are "important" to the national economy. Letting them survive through the enforcement of minimum wage then may not be such a good idea.

        Note: Just my thoughts to generate a discussion. That's all.

namaste ashu

**************************************************************** Date: Sat, 20 May 1995 10:45:31 -0700 (PDT) From: Dahal Durga <daha9014@uidaho.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - May 15, 1995 (2 Jestha 2052 BkSm)

Dear, Amulaya,

As a Mountaineer, and experienced Liaison officer for several Mountaineering teams, also trained in Nepal Mountaineering School Manang, so far I know is if taking the risk of giong above the base camp is farely the personal decision. Also, people supposed to go above the base came should perform their job, for they are paid. For misearies and sorrow there is an insurence system, not big amount, but just to wipe the tears. Above all, the mountaineers (risk takers) are solely responsible for their life only, in case of trouble, they do not, should not, and must not care others in real field troubles, let them die who arre dying, otherwise more people can die in place for one. I wish to pray to god for Heavenly Abode, Peace and comfort to Expired Sherpa. Thank you.

For Janet. You might be looking for Krishna Raj Aryal, who got a poppet education ministership in Panchayati Kalaratri Period. Now these days in a fare democratic system this type of personality is disappeared. Thank You.

Cow and Hindu Puran. Cow I love it no doubt. Some people love dog, snake, fish, pigeons, goat, pig, cock-for cock fighting, or several other animals. I am not worried who ever what slutters or eats? People eat all of them. My understanding is--- NOBODY IS HINDU. Hindu word came from River Sindhu, which in present day Pakistan. The Pakistanis might be Hindus. Before the Name was published by the European Travellers, there, in South Asia, people used to stay. They did not mean any thibng by Hindhu, but Sindhu is a Sanskrit word representing the ocean. I as an attorney in Nepal do not wish to confuse any one that we shoul discuss about Hindu.
        My judgement is that about the cow, the cow we worship is not the same cow, yak, or American beef cows. I respect my cow as a cow. not all the cow variety in biological sciences should I respet. I saw the yak, I did not feel sheyak (Chaunri Gaai) as respectable. That was my mistake. What ever I wish to conclude is eating the canned stake cow of American packing in the hotels of Kathmandu is not cow eating. The real cow of nepal are cows. If some body dares to slutter a cow he deserves to be sluttered. Protein of what? Cow protein-lazy guys? Protein came from our Moms when shucking her breasts, protein may come while shucking our boy/girl friends. Do people want to eat all protein sources? Hell! If this is enough, Thanks You guys and gals of the planet earth.

*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 22:06:45 -0700 From: hsb957120@rccvax.ait.ac.th To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: subscription

Dear Editor !

I will be highly obliged if you could include my address in your subscription
 list.

Thanking you

Ramesh Adhikari HSB957120@RCCVAX.AIT.AC.TH

********************************************************************** Date: 21 May 95 22:59:48 EDT From: Rajendra.P.Shrestha@Dartmouth.EDU (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: News5/17-21 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

May 17 Mysterious Illness claims 8 lives Xinhua report

   A mysterious disease with symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea and fever has claimed the lives of eight people in Makawanpur district, according to news reaching Kathmandu today. Seventy-one others are at present suffering from the mysterious disease, according to the Makawanpur District Development Committee. A team of doctors has been dispatched from the Hetauda hospital in the district capital city of Hetauda to provide treatment to the patients. It is reported that it is the first time that such a disease has spread in the area.

New Universities on Planning Stage Excerpts from Xinhua report

   The government is exploring the possibility of setting up more universities due to the growing pressure of student enrollment in the existing universities. Minister for Education, Culture and Social Welfare Mod Nath Prasrit held a meeting at his office on Sunday and discussed the matters concerning the proposed Western Regional University, Lumbini University, National University, Open University and Agricultural University, local press reported today.

 May 18 Eight Killed in Landslide DPA report

    Eight women were killed in a landslide Wednesday near the Nepal
-Tibet border, a newspaper report said Thursday.

    The Nepali language daily "Mahanagar" said the landslide near the Nepalese customs office at the Tatopani checkpost, about 90 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu, was triggered by ten hours of incessant rains.

    The landslide hit the village while residents were sleeping and the bodies of only four of the dead women had been recovered so far, the newspaper quoted police as saying.

 May 19 Ruling Party Holds Talks with Opposition Excerpts from Xinhua report

   The ruling Communist Party of Nepal (UML) has started dialogue with the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), the second largest opposition with 20 seats in the lower house, to thwart possible political uncertainties.

    Initial talks between the UML and RPP were held Wednesday, the
"Kathmandu Post" today quoted UML sources as saying. The dialogue was
"a first step to save the minority government (led by uml) from collapsing," the UML sources said. No concrete agreement on alignment of sorts have been reached, participants said.

 "The RPP may put forth some serious proposals in the next meeting," a UML MP said. One participating RPP MP said: "We cannot say anything at present, anything can happen in the future." "We have the responsibility to save the country from the brink of political instability," he stressed, adding the party will think seriously before taking any steps.

   The next meeting between the two sides is scheduled for May 25 as most of the MPs, participating in the talks, have left for the Maldives to take part in a regional seminar.

May 21 Another Round of Political Uncertainty faces Nepal Excerpts from Xinhua report

    Nepal is facing a new round of power struggle for the country's governing status between the ruling communist party of nepal (cpn-uml) and the opposition parties as the budget session of the lower house will start at the end of next month.

    leaders of the nepali congress (nc), the main opposition with 83 seats in the 205-seat lower house, said in a statement saturday that the nc would continue its efforts to form a coalition government. in the statement made at the end of a three-day training workshop of the party, the nc leaders said, "the uml ruling party was unnecessarily talking about mid-term polls when the constitution still allows the formation of a coalition government." if the opposition could prove their majority in the house, the present minority government can not recommend a mid-term polls, said girija prasad koirala, senior nc leader and former prime minister.

   "we are still holding talks with the rastriya prajatantra party
(rpp) and the cpn-uml over the formation of a coalition government," said nc president krishna prasad bhattarai. "but there has been no formal dialogue." however, koirala had ruled out any alliance with the uml. "any reconciliatory move aimed at supporting the uml government will bear no fruits at all," he said in a press conference monday "but talks with other political parties in this connection had shown positive signs."

   at the same time, nc leaders also indicated that their party wanted to form a government of its own by creating understanding of some sort with other parties while bhattarai said that "there is now a consensus on official party strategy." bhattarai also stressed that the nc, unlike the uml, is clear on policies and will continue its socialist policy together with the liberal economic trend.

   earlier, some nc leaders also declared that it is time to have the present government removed, saying, "if we let the uml continue in power, the national economy will crumble down." and koirala also said,
"it will be difficult to overcome all situations if we are defensive." but some other nc leaders said the party should concentrate more on training party members and strengthening the party organization than on campaigning against the present government.

   on the other hand, the ruling cpn-uml, which set up a minority government last november after winning 88 seats in the lower house to become the country's largest party, has also formed several working groups to initiate dialogues with other parties in parliament, mainly the rpp. the rpp holds the decisive 20 seats in the house since no party could command a single majority. however, reactions from rpp are reportedly different on the possibility of forming a coalition government.

   during the talks with the nc on a coalition government, rpp president surya bahadur thapa said that the rpp would like to take the premiership in the future coalition government. but it has not been accepted by the nc side so far. as the rpp parliamentary leader, lokendra bahadur chand who is supported by 20 rpp mps, preferred to take a wait-and-see policy and disagreed to oust the present cpn-uml minority government.

******************************************************************* From: Sanjay Kumar <sanjay@physics.purdue.edu> Subject: no subject (file transmission) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Sun, 21 May 95 22:40:41 EST

COOLIE (Porters) and SAHIB (Mountaineers)
        
    This is in reaction to the recent death of a Nepali porter in the Himalayas and Amulaya's note in the last edition. Besides regular readers of NDP it is also intended towrads many Westerners who have made enquiries about traveling to Nepal, in some of the past issues.
         Though many of the First world travelers to the third world are non-racist and also anti-racists, it is also true that the whole of social mode of such travel and adventure sports like mountaineering is colonial and racist. This comes out most clearly in the the interaction between affluent travelers and porters. While the travelers go to the mountains,
'Simply because Mountains are there' ( at least they claim so), the porters are there to work for money so that they and their families can survive. Under the supposed adventures of the western spirit to Shangri-Las lies the classic contradiction between the seller and buyer of human capacity to work. If anything, under those tropical skies, or on tricky mountain tracks and slippery snowfeilds, when the spirit is labouring to enjoy the beauty or conquer a mountain peak, the sting of this capitalist relation is only sharper. So sharp, that a mere scratch and the racism inherent in the Neo-colon ial divisions of the current world oozes out. How else can one explain thousands of pages written in travel books and Journals about lazy porters ever ready to deceive the traveller, stopping for a smoke every hour or so, starting late stopping early, etc.etc. Thick skinned dumbos, what do you expect? That a person should cheerfully carry 50-70 pounds of someone else's luggage
(which is often 30-50% of the body-weight of most of the undernourished porters) and dutifully follow all commands. All at the price of a cup of coffee in the affluent countries. Why don't you switch roles with him/her for a couple of months and experience what it feels being a porter?
         One often comes across (including in TND) the comment like the socalled
''SIR' Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Guide Norgay ........' This is not the place to discuss that title given by a Monarchy which presided over the massacre of millions of Indians, Chinese, Africans, Maoris and Australian Abroginals. Regarding that comment one might as well have said, 'Sir Hillary and HIS German Sheperd Guide...' What, if some people paid Norgay, did they own him? More exploits of that famous expidition following which Western mountaineering in the Himalayas truly came out of age! After Norgay's and Hillary's climb, a wrong message about their failure was sent to Indian Wire Services. Meanwhile a coded message was sent to the British ambassador in Kathmandu who forwrded it to London for the newly coronated Queen. Poor Nepalis, in whose country the mountain lay came to know of the successful ascent a day later from the other corner of the world.
         Ascent of so many Sherpas to the mountain tops is often explained on the basis, that mountaineering expeditions give them a chance to the top to pay back for their services and that the promise of a shot to the top keeps them pepped up. This may or maynot be true for others, but it was definitely not true in the case of Tenzing Norgay. At that time Tenzing was one of the two persons to have reached highest on the Chomolungma
(I prefer not to call it after a British colonial surveyor's name), other was the Swiss mountaineer Lambert. He and Tenzing had reached the highest point a year before. If anything, the British got the services of an experienced mountaineer, who had been to the mountain only a few months ago, at an extremely low price.

sincerely Sanjay Kumar

DEATH OF PASANG KIKULI

        To me, the two of the most moving events amid the adventures of Western mountaineers in the Himalayas, are the deaths of Sherpa Gemayal on Nanga Parbat in 1934, and of redoubtable Pasang Kikuli and two others on K2 in 1939. All these men deliberately took the risk of losing their lives to save White Sahibs and all died.
        During a bout of very bad weather an extremely weak and exhausted mountaineer ( I think his name was Dodley Wolfe) was left on K2 in camp 7. Remaining mountaineers in the Base Camp were too weak to attempt a rescue. But Pasang Kikuli( he was the Sherpa Sirdar) and Sherpa Tshering climbed 7000 feet in a day (that must be a record in those days) to Cmap 6 and reached the struck montaineer the next day. All this was undertaken under raging storms. They found the mountaineer too weak to move on his own. Since there was no space for them on Camp 7, Pasang and his comerades came down to Camp 6. Next day, Kikuli along with two others attempted another rescue. But the storms closed in fast and they were never seen again. Somehow the 4 remaining sherpas on Camp 6 managed to scramble down the mountain and survive to tell the tale.
        In the thick of howling storms, on the trickiest of all the mountains! One is left wondering, Why did they do it? Under similar weather, many mountaineers have shown an examplary insitinct and will to survive. But Kikuli and his comrades didn't just mean to survive. Long time ago I had read a Western account, where Kikuli's behaviour was thought inexplicable, It was implied that these people wanted the sick mountaineer to sign a chit or something exonerating them of their responsibility. If it was really so then Western Mountaineers should be truly ashamed of their sport, which forces living beings to almost commit suiscide for the sake of a scribble from a failing White Sahib.
        Did Kikuli had that typically feudal allegiance of the servant to the master? This doesn't seem to be the case from other accounts of Kikuli (See Tilman's Ascent of Nanda Devi) and such feudal allegiance develops only after long personalised relationship, something which obviously couldn't occur between Kikuli and the Mountaineer. Was this a case of foolhardiness? Kikuli was a veteran of many many expeditions. Mountains, and particularly the Himalayas, are great sifters, the foolhardy ones break a bone or two too soon to survive many years like Kikuli. Did Kikuli want to ingratiate and get a big financial reward? The ingratiating ones are cunning enough to not risk their lives, and from his experience of many expeditions Kikuli must have known that at most a Sherpa can expect a generous Bakhsheesh.
        Then Why did they do it? Perhaps Kikuli was the sort of man who doesn't leave a job unfinished, come whatever may. Did behind the high altitude porter lay a person of dignified determination and strength. Or was it that Kikuli could feel the agony of the stranded mountaineer, aware of his impendiong death? And eventhough the man was a virtual stranger to Kikuli, he decided to attempt the rescue. The ethico/moral bondage of one human being to another, the best thing in humanity, did it flicker on that mountain slope? Someone once said that humans show both the best and worst in them under extreme circumstances. Were Kikuli and his comerades among the very few humans to pass the test?
        Illiterate Sherpas didn't leave behind any accounts or journals. Perhaps it is all the better because, as Ashu wrote in his last note, any writing, as a self expression, is always a bit of ego-trip. Unassuming Kikuli simply lived for what he felt was worhwhile. He went to the mountain, not because 'they were simply there', but first for his livelihood, and then to do a more meaningful thing than just a climb.
        
********************************************************************** From: bpandey@metro.mccneb.edu (Bhuban Pandey) Subject: Looking for Prashant Raj Pandey To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 22 May 95 9:02:50 CDT

Hi Netters!

I'm looking for Mr. Prashant Raj Pandey's present whereabouts. He came to this country about three years ago. He used to be a student at a community college in Wichita, Kansas.

If you have any information about him, please let me know. My phone number and e-mail address are:

402-451-5856

bpandey@metro.mccneb.edu Thanks.

Bhuban Pandey 5730 North 30th., Bldg. 14S Omaha, NE 68111

************************************************************************ From: Bhikkhv Seevali <BS4@soas.ac.uk> To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 16:17:14 GMT Subject: happy to find you <The Nepal Digest>

Dear Editor,

I am so glad that I came through your digest with the help of a friend. It's pity that I didn't come across your digest before. I went through the news which keeps me upto date with Nepal.

I am a student at SOAS, University of London, since last year doing MA study on religious study.

Here I would like to request for TND membership with your approval.

My e-mail number is :-
        
        Bhikkhu Seevali <BS4@SOAS.AC.UK>
       **********************************
        Looking forward to hear from you.

Your sincerely, Seevali

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 13:16:35 -0600 (MDT) From: Kabin B Pradhan <kpradhan@carbon.cudenver.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Need info on dual citizenship program

I have been residing in Denver, Colorado since last five years. I hold the permanent residency status in this country and I am a citizen of Nepal. I would like to apply for US citizenship, but at the mean time I do not want to lose my Nepali citizenship. I wonder if Nepal allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship as many other countries in the world do? If so, how do I proceed for this dual citizenship program?

I would really appreciate if you could provide me this information at following e-mail address.

kpradhan@carbon.cudenver.edu Thank you very much. Kabin

********************************************************************** Date: Thu, 18 May 95 11:40:16 EDT From: eknath@math.cornell.edu (Eknath Belbase (Durrett)) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Moo

To the Editor, TND [Re: Cow Slaughter and Hinduism]

I have been following the debate on this with great interest. First of all, beef *is* available in Nepal. For example, if you go to Sangamitra, a restaurant in Thamel, there are atleast 4 beef dishes on the menu. A complete prohibition on beef would be comparable to the "complete" prohibition of alcohol that exists in Saudia Arabia. However, I think the situation is more similar to that in, say, Bangladesh or Pakistan, where if one chooses, one can consume alcohol despite the countries having large Muslim majorities.

I have no objections to removing the prohibition on cow slaughter based on my personal convictions. However, this sort of thing seems practically impossible from a political viewpoint or from the viewpoint of keeping the peace. Can you see the government that does such a thing getting re-elected? Can you see the riots and protests that might follow? And what would be the gain in practical terms - to attain this "ideal" of a secular state, or atleast get closer to it. Lifting the ban probably would not change overall consumption that much. What it would do is allow McDonald's to set up branches in Kathmandu [hey, this is a pretty good reason to oppose changing the law! ;) ].

Even the US, which is often *seen* as a much more secular state has some strange laws that are intolerant of other religions. Poly gamy/andry is illegal despite the first amendment and the fact that it goes with some religions like Islam (or Mormons!). One can argue that this prohibition derives from the mainstream Christian viewpoint. Also note the various laws all over the US dealing with when alcohol can and cannot be sold, having to do with Sunday, the day of Sabbath. Then there are the various sodomy laws... the list is rather long.

All of this is not to justify the existence of such laws. One can easily say BOTH need to be changed rather than using the existence of "bs" elsewhere to justify the existence of bs at home. Perhaps one day we WILL move to a society where the rights of minorities to actively do things which may offend the sensibilities of the majority are safeguarded more. However, I don't think such things can be done just at a legislative level while preserving social harmony.

Finally, a note on this prohibition. If you believe Marvin Harris [as far as I know he is still alive, perhaps emeritus at Columbia], an anthropologist who wrote a number of books looking at many things similar to and including this prohibition from a cultural materialist point of view, this prohibition hasn't been with Hinduism since "the beginning". If I remember correctly he says Hindus did eat beef as recently as the 1100s. If anyone is interested I recommend "Cows, Pigs Witches... " a more popular work, and "Cultural Materialism", a more academic work. According to him this prohibition is deeply rooted in the economic infeasability of raising cows for meat in our climate/ environment/economy. If you subscribe to this school, then if and when it does become feasable, the prohibition may "naturally" go away (give or take a couple of hundred years for the environmental change->social structure change lag).

Eknath Belbase

***************************************************************** Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 17:52:39 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu> Subject: News from Boston, Mass. To: stuladha@lynx.dac.neu.edu

        For the months of June, July and August, RAJU PRADHAN, the general secretary, will serve as the president of the Greater Boston Nepali Community (GBNC). All who know Raju and have worked with him agree that he is an incredibly hardworking guy, and easily one of the most reliable and respectable Boston Nepalis who'll do a great job.

        Those of you from outside who want to visit Boston this summer to attend GBNC functions, (there will be those mouth-watering BBQs and more!) or simply want to keep in touch with GBNC, you may reach Raju at stuladha@lynx.dac.neu.edu

        Also, GBNC is pleased to welcome SAPANA PATHAK, an undergrad at Boston University, as the editor of its bimonthly newsletter. She replaces ANISH BANIA, as the latter makes professional plans that may take him beyond Boston.

        Anish, a graduate of prestigious Babson College, has been an incredibly talented GBNC member, juggling myriad community duties such as serving as the GBNC's president and general secretary last year; cheerfully editing both the Samachar-Bichar and the bimonthly community newsletter; patiently running GBNC meetings; and being a formidable presence on the basketball and volleyball courts. GBNC can never thank him enough for all the volunteer work he has put into the service of Nepali Community in Boston.

        All Nepalis in Boston join in warmly to wish ANISH all the best on his proposed professional ventures.

namaste ashu

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 12 May 95 2:55:15 EDT From: "Neal Cohen" <ncohen@usaid.gov> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Macro-Economic Performance Part IV

Macro-Economic Performance Part IV

New Business Formation

Small Business

Figures on new business formation have been bandied around in the press recently with the opposition and government trading charges of whether registrations are up or down. Unfortunately we do not have data on new small business registrations for the current year. In 1993/94 there had been an increase in the registration of small enterprises of 40%. These firms increased their fixed capital investment by 82% and employment by 86%. 1993/94 was a very good year for new small enterprises.

Medium and Large Business

While new registration of medium and large enterprises fell by nearly three- quarters in 1993/94, total investment increased nearly four-fold and new employment generated fell by 77%. Because of the size of the changes, there is some justification for questioning this data.

We have data for new registration of medium and large businesses for the first seven months of the current fiscal year, through mid-February 1995. There has been an increase of 59% in new registrations; total capital invested is up 172%.

However, for the first four months of the fiscal year, through mid-November, registrations had been up 113% and investment up 172% compared to the same months in the previous year. For the three months of the UML government these registrations are still up, 13%, and capital investment is up 44%. Thus, there is still considerable growth in business formation but the pace of expansion appears to have slowed. The firms being established are both fewer and smaller in terms of capital invested.

Foreign Investment

In 1989/90 29 new foreign or joint venture enterprises were established. This grew to 61 new foreign enterprises established in 1992/3. Last year (1993/94) there were only 38 new joint ventures. Total new foreign investment also fell from Rs3.7billion to Rs0.9billion. Still, these 38 new enterprises employed 5,800 people.

For the first eight months of the current fiscal year (through mid-March), new foreign investment has fallen further to only 6 firms, with total foreign investment being one-eighth of last year's figure, or Rs110million. They have added 690 new jobs.

The foreign firms being established this year are not only fewer, but they are smaller than in previous years. Average investment is under Rs30 million, compared to last year's Rs70 million last year; the foreign firms being established this year employ 110 people, compared to an average of 150 people last year.

******************************************************************** From: MH8@soas.ac.uk To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 14:39:08 GMT Subject: Parijat

I am puzzled by the appearance of what appears to be a new school of literary criticism: the critic begins by admitting that he hasn't read a single book by a particular author, and then proceeds to give us an informed opinion of their worth! I took Amulya Tuladhar's pieces on Parijat seriously and read them with interest, none the less.

With Parijat's permission, I began to retranslate Shirishko Phool some years ago because I felt that although the translation by Acharya and Zeidenstein ("Blue Mimosa") was reasonably accurate it did skim some important passages and generally did no great credit to Parijat's superbly mellifluous prose. Other things got in the way and so my translation remains unfinished and unpublished.

I visited Parijat several times between 1987 and 1992 to discuss this translation and the poems I published in translation in the book
'Himalayan Voices'. I do not think that Parijat herself thought of Shirishko Phool as a work of nihilism, existentialism or anything else until other people began to apply these labels to it. She had become rather tired of being thought of as the author of only Shirishko Phool, and wanted her later novels and poetry to be taken into account as well: specifically, I seem to remember, the novels Bainsko Manche and Mahattaheen.

Parijat certainly did take great care over her choice of metaphors: she named herself after a flower, her room at Mhepi was always filled with flowers, and Amulya's identification of the 'Blue Mimosa' may well be correct. Even a cursory glance at the novel establishes that the flower that is the central motif of the novel is blue: hence Acharya's and Zeidenstein's title.

For the record, Parijat wrote Shirishko Phool after she had moved to Kathmandu. It remains one of the most complex and startlingly original Nepali novels of all time: the terms that have been used by critics who have analysed it may have been 'borrowed', but the characterisations, metaphors and themes of the novel spring from a wholly Nepali context, albeit an urban one rather than the rural environment beloved of Mainali et al. If any TND users haven't read it, I recommend that they do so- but please read it in Nepali.

Michael Hutt Lecturer in Nepali, Editor 'South Asia Research' School of Oriental and African Studies London tel. 71-323-6240/6251 fax 71-436-3844 e-mail mh8@soas.ac.uk

******************************************************************************** From: <rjha@irgate.tnrcc.state.tx.us> Subject: To All Those in Favor of Cow-Slaughter To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Fri, 19 May 95 10:58:21 cst

TO ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT COW-SLAUGHTER IN NEPAL
===============================================

Dear friends:

The current flooding of TND with the issues on cow-slaughter in Nepal has compelled me to make some comments on the topic. Let me very categorically declare that I'm not an expert on Theology or Hinduism or the Veda, but just an ordinary Nepali. Here are my cumulative comments on all those articles surfaced on TND recently on the subject topic:

        * Fanaticism, in any form, is WRONG and it should be discouraged
          and stopped immediately. However, if a minority can strive hard
          to make one's entity CONSPICUOUS, what is WRONG if a Hindu in Nepal
          claims to be the MAJORITY?? There're several Muslim countries in
          the world, with the same ratio of Majority and Minority as Nepal
          has, which have promoted Islam by declaring, among many other things,
          Islamization of Democracy, Islamic Republic, Islamic Court/Rules
          and what not... No Hindu ever opposed that. Accordingly, in the
          only Hindu Kingdom in the world where the majority Hindu people
          worship cow and consider her a God, can tolrate anyone saying
          Cow-slaughter should be made legal in Nepal?

        * Thick or Tasty milk had never been the criterion for revering the
          cow as "Gomata" in Hinduism. It's very easy to throw mud, but I
          would like to extend my sincere suggestion to all those who just
          beleive, as reflected by their articles, that by criticizing
          every aspect of Hinduism in the light of Western culture can make
          them ENLIGHTENED. Beleive me you're wrong. And I must also say
          here as "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.", "A Partial
          Enlightenment can be a DISASTER."

Thanks.

Ratan K. Jha Austin, Texas

************************************************************************ Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 15:53:29 -0700 (PDT) From: Dahal Durga <daha9014@uidaho.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - May 22, 1995 (9 Jestha 2052 BkSm)

ARUN III, MY HOME AREA, IF I PISS GOES DOWN TO ARUN. I BY HEART ACCEPT ARUN III, THAT MAY LIT MY VILLAGERS, AND ALSO USE LESS TIMBER FUEL. PROVIDED POWER FIRST TO THE LOCAL PEOPLE, IT WILL BE GREAT. I ACCEPT TO CONSTRUCT ARUN III, IN A REASONABLE PRICE, AND USING MAXIMUM POWER INSIDE THE COUNTRY. wHO EVER WHAT SAYS ARUN USED TO BE MY PLAY GROUND. TAHNKS READERS.

**************************************************************************** Date: TUE, 23 MAY 95 09:40:40 JST From: 193041@JPNIUJ00.BitNet Subject: Ghoorki matter rethought To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>

Dear editor,
            Every member of TND is equal and no one should be given extra imp. However, only the number does not matter. For example, there are innumerable crows in Nepal but the govt. and people give much imp. to danfe (forgot the Eng lish word!), why? (This example plagiarized&adapted from a post by certain pers on on Ind.Dig.) Among the 1400 members(?) of TND if we minus some, say, 5 per cent 'important' members it would not be worth reading, even if it can manitain its existance. Shiva Gautam is one of them, for my rading at least.

            Amulya's harsh comments on Ashu's previous post simply shows his

..... sentiments.

Thanks and regards.

Bishwa Subedi Japan

************************************************************************* Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 12:34 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Comments on Fine Tnd Artcles To: nepal@cs.niu.edu, mmaskey@acs.bu.edu, sconlon@world.std.com,

This is in response to an excellent plate of fine articles TND has been serving the readers recently. I would like to respond to some random questions provoked by some of the articles in the last May 22 TND issue.

1. Ashu's Congratulations: Corrections Two graduates of Clark, Sanjay Sthapit and Rajesh Shrestha's BA subjects are inaccurately listed as economics and music for Sanjay and economics and computer science for Rajesh. It should correctly read:

Sanjay Sthapit: BA with high honors in Computer Science, Phi Betta Kappa, Gryphon & Pleides, summa cum laude, with a minor in Music

Rajesh Shrestha: BA with high honors in Computer Science, Phi Betta Kappa, magna cum laude, with a minor in Economics.

Ashu will forgive me for supplying incomplete information for the GBNC and gloating in the accomplishment of Nepalis at Clark...

2. Ratna and Cohen's Economic Analysis

I am very happy with the fine effort of Neal cohen and Ratna Shrestha to bring economic analysis of Nepal to the readers of TND. I wish to urge them to continue so in the future, perhaps with a little response to my comments.

First of all I find both articles too dense for my understanding despite my sincere effort to labor through all the words cause i understant how important economics is of Nepal. I will be immodest if I say i understand 2% of what they write and I presume other readers understand more than me since everybody is keeping quiet. I find the articles too heavy on textbookish use of economic terms and definitions and assumes all of us have had basic and advanced economics background. For that matter, I find very few Nepali economics majors who are among TND readers rarely responding and or commenting to these important articles. Could it be that they all agree with what Cohen and Ratna says, if so, that belies a stereotypical joke of economists, that if you put 10 economists together, you get 11 opinions.

Seriously, could Cohen or Ratna please give some fairly descriptive summaries describing the broad picture and save the empirical figures flaunting for anyone who dares to questions your logic or conclusion, that way I can think you canget across to a wider audience. I am interested in some simple questions such as: a) Can UML govt take credit for economic performance or is the influence of a govt on national economic policy too limited (i.e. global macroeconomic patterns dictated by IMF/*world BAnk and India as well as the monsoon patterns and agricultural productivity being greater source of influence?)

Ratna seems to suggest that he is committed to this project of bringing economics of Nepal to the wider audience by an excellent opening para summarizing that Nepal was trying to adopt an "evolutionary approach of South Asia tigers" in its economic policy but as he goes further he also falls prey to displaying his familiarity with economic theory of Hirsh, Scitovsky and Pigeou-meade (which for all purposes could mean pigeon meat and some russian sounding vodka of Nepal) and his relating economic theory to what is happening on the ground becoming thinner and thineer as when he discusses the meaning of govt "octroi" policies. Daggone, that "octroi" has been propping up ever since i had training in India in 1981 whenever kathmandu municipality announces the theka for octroi tax at Thankot, that irritable bansko pole that is hanging on a truck tyre to collect some crores of taxes for goods coming into the city, but i still find it difficult to dissociate octroi for octopus, an equally disagreeable beast, yuck.

Nevertheless, I will attempt my "danchi -baga" (that is half a paisa in Newari of those days when 1 paisa bought some 10 paun strips!) opinion on Ratna's following passage:

"Industrial planning in many economies has been motivated by "economics of scale" and "interdependent investment" theories of Hirschman, Scitovsky and Pigeou-Meade, but the current policy identifies agro-and forest based industries as targets of promotion without sufficient study of such theories and categorically neglects industries like tourism and supporting businesses in which Nepal has a comparative advantage due to its unique landscape and culture..."

Questions: 1. What is wrong with agro-and forest-based industries as targets of promotion, other than "lack of sufficient study of such theories?" From what little I know, it was Schultz who got a noble prize for economics for suggesting that agriculture, as opposed to heavy manufacture based urban industries, CAN lead a country's economic growth especially in developin in countries. Developed in the 1960s this theory took some lag time to win converts until it is now "mainstream" conventional wisdom in bodies like WB and donor community who dictate economic policies through super-unoriginal economists such as Ram Sharan Mahat or Maheesh Acharya of Congress or economists such as Dr. Kishore Gharana of UML who either have no original economic study of Nepali situation other than maybe their old dissertation topic (which is often a mismatch cloaking of some extant economic theories over a bundle of questionable statistics of Nepali economic performance, witness the doctoral dissertation of N subedie from Japan that came up on theEco-Nepal network, or Dr. Kishore Gharana who also ties together uncritically a bunch of forestry plantations and deforestation statistics with some equally suspect population statistics and publishes it in the Economic Journal as the Nepal's Policy on forestry and population, without much critical analysis, same can be said with Dr. Mahesh Banskota, the premier Cornell agrieconomist study of the Bagmati macroeconomic linkages throuch ICIMOD). So I really do not know what Ratna means by "sufficient study of such theories" Does he mean local economists such as Ram Sharan Mahat, Dr. Kishore Gharana, Mahesh Banskota should slap-dash some local studies to supplement and test Shultzian type Nobel prize quality economic theory to justify a govt policy?

Frankly, I find this whole assumption that Nepal govt makes independent policy not based on ground truth. Whether it is the great BKS debate or the debates on forest deforestation or now R ARun III, external agents supply all the theories and money and the so-called Nepali leaders, both political and scholar alike are more interested in what it means for them in terms of material advantange for political votes of the constituent district in which projects are drawn (e.e Sindhupalchow got a lot of projects thanks to pashupatis shummsher and Biratnagar got its development dollars to bolster Girija's electoral chances) or more narrow advantage like money for foreign trainging of their relatives and cousins, the famous "Natabad kripabad, that sabotages economic rationality in Nepal" and we wax eloquent of economic rationality needing to guide economic policy . I think such writers are in the Alice in Wonderland of their textbooks.

3. Ghimirez's assertions:

"However, nepal has never tried to force a religion. In fact hinduism does not believe in changing religion."

This is a famous and dear cock-and-bull story supported and perpetrated by the Panchayat regime which drew its legitmacy from the notion of a King and an indigenous political system (remember the famous, 'mato-suhaondo" byabastha implying that democracy and communism are both foreign and mato-un_suhaodo".

This is a political constuct to legitimize the continued hegemony and status quo in whcih caaste heirarchy are perpetraed within development and modernization social change policies, a construct that is not supported by historici facts.

There have been numersous "forcing of Hindu" religion and more than religion it is the system of social norms and mores of hieracrchy and distribution of economic and social goods in the country.

During the Rana times, the forcing of Hindu religion was most blatant, banning Buddisht religion by disallowing the celebration of Buddha jayanti and exiling Bicchu Amritanand and his cohorts for daring to celebrate Buddha jayanti in Bhojpur. This in a land where Buddha was borne. Why one may ask we are not a Buddhish nation in a land where Buddha was born if not for Hindu forcing it self throught State suppressions.

History is replete with the horror stories of Shankaracharya who kicked around stupas in Sankhu because he was alarmed that kathmandu, then Nepalwas too overwhelmingly Buddhish. Dr. Majpuria in his pop-tourist theory of why there was temple erotica in the temple eves of Kathmandu valeey posits that this was meant to sabotage the Buddhish project of depopulation by having everyone turn a celibate Bhiksu.

Nepali Buddhish scholars from Fr. Locke who studied the Bahals of Nepal document how the Bahals originally housed celibate Buddhish monks who were supported by land trusts that brought in income to practive their religions. It was the gradual and deliverate forcing by Hindu kings who taxed these trusts that these bahals could not exist on their own economically that we begans to see Bhikschus become lays priest who has to cultivate their clients called jajman for additional support. it was during this time, Buddhism had to develop different version called Mahayana in which the core Hinayan buddhist teachings of no soul, no god, and ultimate compassion was translanted to buddha as an incranation, some of whome liked animals sacrifices, and sex and power, a distinct meeting half-way to Hindu tantricism. Historians posit theat these esoteric developments in Buddhist religion was based on material realities of Buddhish monks that had to respond to a distinct privileging of Hinduism over Buddhism in malla times, unlike the story of syncretism HIndu scholars like to propagate.

The whole process of Sanskritization, Nepalization, and Hinduization has been amply documented by scholars in Nepal and a summary of this research is reviewed in Dor Bahadur Bista. It is the repudiation of this forcible dissolution of non-Hindu identities of many previously Hinduized groups such as the Gurungs, the Rais, the Limbus that are awakening and shaking the dream world of Hindu amity-ville that Nirmal Ghimirez and other opposers of cowslaughter believe.

4. New Army Chief: Still a private club?

We now a have a ARmy chief called Gen DharmaPal Bar Singh Thapa, a surname that rhymes with mathbar singh Thapa , the great uncle of Jung Bahadur Rana?

So howlong do we have to Army chiefs drawn from the select coteries of Bharadari families: the Basnyats, the Thapas, the Ranas, the Shahs?

When will we have a Newar General to lead (there are afew in the technical services such as medicine and engineering) or a Bahun or a madhesi or a Rai or a Limbu or a Gurung?

How come the Tibeto-Burman "martial tribes" that have brought so much fame and glory with Victoria Crosses for bravery are systematically excluded from the climb to General ship.

One hint comes fromthe "objective" criteria of merit such as training, a category that is open to subjective manipulation. Gen Thapa is said to be a graduate from Sandhurst military academy, implying somehow he is more qualified from other alternate candidates.

Well all new entrants to Second Lieutenents are technically eligible to stand for going to the Sandhurst college. in the seventies, the min qualification was a Senior Cambridge or an Intermediate in Science and soe basic physical parameters such as chest diameter and heights. I remember clearly how a Rana Xavierite used his Rana dad connections to get to Sandhurst despite being too short and small chested, and some of his other Xavierite contestants thought was also effete and intellectually sub-average, he went and got rejected in 2 months not being able to take the grueling physical or intellectual training.

It is clear that distinctions may not be that sharp but for every old
"bharadari" family that uses their connections to get to Sandhurst there are many more more deserving on the "objective " criteria of grades or physical vigor that gets rejected and put on a track that will never get to be generals. This is why the Sadbhavan party alleges of systematic bias in the Nepal Army.

When we discussed about Royaal Army was buying anti-aircraft guns, one hypothesis was that they were init for the hefty commissions, while some readerrs objected to this insinuation, it is ironic that shortly after we have to have the commander in chief himself and his second iin command resigning in a corrumption charge. And anyone who is related to the Army know of the systematic corruption that goes in the award of ration theka to supply food for barracks or supplies, the commissions go all the way to the top, also sad is the repeated reports of the brave Peace Soldiers who lose most of their passport privilege profits because their supervisors insist on monopoli\ing the corruption and silencing them in the name of "discipline".

It is time we expose the Royal Army to being a true NEPAL army in which all the nepalies have equal chances of serving and leading the institution otherise the democratic support will erode fast. I guess the Royal Army could not care less, when it petitioned before the Constittion Drafting committee that they would accept only the command of the King and not of the democratically elected prime minister.

5. Hutt's Parijat Comments

And Lastly, i welcome the scholarly comments of Michael Hutts of the School of Oriental and African studies on my questions about Parijat's works.

Not having read a single Parijat book, I was happy to enlightened to know that
"Shrish ko Phool" was written in Mhepi in Kathmandu and the "Blue Mimosa" was definitely a Blue flowering tree that grew around the house at Mhepi. At least that lays to rest a claim by a friend who claimed to have the rea dthe book that "Shrish" was special flower with its own unique metaphoric allusions on par with "Sungaava" or orchid that grew around Darzeeling her place of birth.

I have to read the book and the Nepali version at that.

but before I get this opportunity, I wonder if Mr. Hutt or other scholars would enlighten me about the metaphorical meanings of the "Shrish" motif.

That she was writing from Mhepi has a unique series of meanings in the Nepali actually newari context, and I wonder if Parijat was accessing to these ambivalence as most literary writers like to do.

Mhepi, for those who do know kathmandu, is the rich agricultural lands behind Naya Bazaar on the way to Balajus from Paknajol on one side and bounded by the compounds of Indian Embassy, British Embassy compounds from Golkhu Pakha on the North east side.

This area has unique series of historic and cultural and maybe political meanings which literary figures may want to play and explore with ambivalence that is not reducible to bounding lables such as nihilism, existentialism, or progressivism.

For instance, Mhepi is named after the goddess the Mhepi Ajima one of the many Ajima or Grandmother goddesses, that predates the advent of more formal religions of Hinduism and Buddism. These goddesses embody raw power, compassion, fertility, of the feminine self that constitutes the most fundamental notion of the feminine subject, and dare I say may hearken back to a base matriarchical society and social mores that were colonized and replaced, maybe not fully by patriarchical religions and social mores of Hinduism, Buddhism, and now Capitalism. There are all kinds of these Ajimas but I will tell what Mhepi Ajima stands for.

Mhepi Ajima is said to the patron god mother of the "bokshi" or the witches. It is Mhepi Ajima that bestows power to women who worship her for power and for that alone she demands the ultimate: husband and babies in their stomach. In pictures that are displayed in the Patis or sheds at Mhepi Ajima, an acolyte ofMhepi Ajima is shown as determined wife who worships Mhepi for 30 nights and in the New Moon, she casts a spell on her husband who believes he is a docile goat led to sacrifice when fitten with a "tufi" for nepali Kucho broom for tail, walks on all four, led by neck with a string, while the
"bokshi" lights the way by the light of the flame that is furning from index finger and sloughters the husband and the baby in her stomach to propiate Mhepi Ajima.

I find in the picturization of the Mhepi Ajima acolyte the typical modern feminist: one who "sacrifices" her husband to divorce, the baby to daycare, and worships the power of reason from her burning finger in ultimate celebration of feminine power.

Lest people jump on me for defaming modern feminists, I would posit that the subsequent appelation of the term "witches" to these archetypical feminists of Nepal may reflect a Patriachical project of colonize and appropriate the feminine subject in the subservient role under Hindu and Western patriarchical ideologies.

Despite this decidedly unflattering rendering of the source of power of Mhepi Ajima, this goddess is still actively worshipped by both Newars (mostly Urays, Jyapus, the Manandhars and surrounding ethnic groups) for her power and dependendability to deliver goods and while this is done her stories are propagated for enrichment of cultural meanings.

I wonder if Parijat as an exotic outsiders that Darzeeling_lers are considered by the autochthonous Newars of Kathmandu had access to this archetypical cultural meanings associated with Mhepi, but I would guess that after living several years in that area and she would definitely have come in contact with these stories. I wonder to what extent she decided to use this as a metaphor and dig in to historically embedded meanings with modern metaphors.

MHepi Ajima hillock still exudes a slightly sinister ambience, it is kind of haunted, and even in during *april in the seventies when as a young kid I indulged in the Huckleberry finn_ish pranks of stealing Pumpkins from the Jyapus with my brothers while living in my mama ghar in Paknajol, we always had our hairs on our spines standing up while going around Mhepi ajima hill.

Not far from Mhepi on the northeast is the cemetary, the girza ghar, or the British Embassy and Indian *embassy, another sinister area I used to walk while birdwatching around the patch of Rani Ban behind what is now Shangrila Hotel. In the seventies, the area wwas sparsely populated and still considered a "periphery" by the snobby downtown core newars and activley looked down upon. It was in this area that spooky characters like Brian hodgson spend 20 some years confined by the Ranas to the premise without a woman, using his colonial passions to name and spy about all the birds, animals, butterflies, bureaucracy about nepal. In 1975 while working forDan Edwards on the development of bureaucracy in Nepal, I chanced across of microfiche of Hodgson who described in quaint english of "quotidian (means daily) uniforms of a Nepali soldier who had buttons made out of copper whose alloys he set out to explore and trace to the copper mines of nepal, how much fuel they burned and how much labour they used and under what social conditions they got the copper mines working!"

Yet Mhepi and the surround area of Samakhusi, area around Gonga Bu where we have the new Bus terminal in the Ringroad and which now boasts the costliest real estate in Kathmandu as Rs 3 lakh an anna (390 sq ft ?) is among the earliest settled place of kathmanddu. It is said in the Vamshavali that when Manjusrhi drained the Valley by cutting a fjord in Chovar, he settled the valley with the Gopala, the cow herders. Where was this place? Some historians think it might have been Samakhusi area, This is based on the interpretation of the golden letter texts displayed by the Buddhish Pradhans of Thamel Bahals where a reference is made to the eaerlier kingdome in Sama khusi area (refer to Fr. Locke's book on Bahals).

All this points to a rich history a complex deposittory of cultural meanings attachedto the place this Mhepi and the flower motif is just one, this I know is definitely jacarand Mimosifolia, an exotic tree which has been rather casually labled a shrish in the vernacular sense a Nepali refer to small birds that belong to the warbler family as "phiste" which Robert Fleming's books on
"Birds of Nepal" referes to at least 10 pages of small birds of different species of warblers. There are all kinds of theories why certain cultural groups have a rich collections of lables of certain phenomena (the eskimos are said to have 36 names for different types of snows, while we nepali finds all africans "habsi" and all whites Europeans Jews, latin americna, and americans
"Kuhires". The beginning of naming is the beginning of power and colonizations so says Foucault but I will leave that discussion aside.

The reason I have gone to this lenght of Mhepi and Shrish is to wonder to what extent Parijat's metaphors are original and indigenous and to what extent they are drawn on Western experience. Michael hutt comments that all the labeling was done by her critics and commentators who might suffer from their wish to demonstrate how modern and knowldegeable they are about the latest cultural fads in Vieena or Paris and that Parijat was tired of being pigeon-holed in a category. Fair enough, most literary figures hate to be reduced to bounded object and insist on ambiguity, and indeterminateness, but I wonder how much Parijat succeeded.

As Hutt suggessted I have to read the book and decide for myself. But as I suggested earlier, from what I have read of her including hutt's comments, he she has not succeeded.

Amulya Tuladhar

Clark University May 23, 1995, USA

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