The Nepal Digest - May 6, 1998 (19 Baishakh 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wed May 6, 1998: Baishakh 19 2055BS: Year7 Volume74 Issue2

Today's Topics:

                  Nepali News
                  Re: Pramod Mishra's concerns
                  Intensive Nepali Program
                  Contents of SINHAS vol 2 no 2
                  Affordable Housing
                  Wonderful Losar(Sherpa new year) in New Year
                  Employment in Nepal
                  News from Sagarmatha Times, UK
                  "Please rescue me" - child prostitution and AIDS

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, 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: May 1, 1998 To: The Nepal Digest Subject: Nepali News

Source: The Hindustan Times

Sex workers want licences to operate NEW DELHI, May 1 (HTC)

Sex workers at a Press conference in Delhi on Friday - HT photo In their first-ever Press conference in the red light district of the Capital, the sex workers here demanded the status of workers for those involved in the
"profession". The demand was raised on the occasion of May Day in the red light district of G. B. Road today. Talking to mediapersons, Nimmi Bai, secretary of the newly formed National Network of Sex Workers said sex work was like any other occupation and the stigma attached to it was a form of violence against the sex workers.

Another sex worker, Rekha, who has been in the profession for the last 21 years, claimed that in the battle against AIDS, they were the best educators of their clients. "Child prostitution and child sex abuse would get eradicated if the sex workers are given their due status and recognised as workers," she claimed. United by an NGO, Jan Shakti Vahini, which had earlier staged street plays in the red light district highlighting the causes and problems of AIDS, the sex workers gave a slogan on the workers' day -"Sex workers of the country unite".
"The government should concede that we also exist in the society and provide service to our clients" said Nimmi Bai. When asked whether they would adopt any other vocation if the government came out with a rehabilitation package, most of the sex workers replied in the affirmative. "We are in the profession because of abject poverty," said Rekha. The sex workers narrated their tales of woes and blamed the society, the police and the government for their plight. They wanted proper licences to operate, facilities for those sex workers who grew old, an end to harassment by the police and proper medical and educational facilities for their themselves and their children.

**************************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 11:28:47 -0400 (EDT) From: To: Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Dear Editor,

First I would like to thank TND very much for the space it granted me a couple of months ago to air mine as well as most other Nepalese resident in the UK's feeling about Yeti. I would also like to thank many people around the world who emailed me to congratulate me on such a brash article. I was very much intrigued to read the reply that the General Secretary of Yeti, Mr Suresh J. Shah has submitted. Reading his reply , it is so vague that it does not in no way deny the allegations that I have made upon Yeti. Are we to assume that Yeti has no reply to the issues that I have raised in the article ? Yeti officials would like me to find out the facts ; What facts are these that we are talking about ? Everything that I wrote in my last piece to TND as well as other newspapers in Nepal and the Royal Nepalese Embassy can be quoted as MY fact. I have had many dealings with various officials of Yeti. Each time when the issues that I had raised were put forward to a certain executive committee member of Yeti whom I would not mention, I was greeted with a great big silence and was give the treatment that I was not allowed to question Yeti. In a time and age of free speech, Yeti will not stop me/others from asking questions as to its deterring condition, then why do they think that they are so far superior that they are not answerable to anyone. As an association representing the Nepalese community in UK, they are answerable to every Nepalese citizens that are in the UK. Yeti seems to generate the feeling that what they do is always right and therefore no one should question them.! As representatives of the Nepalese community in UK, I would not want a self centred association like Yeti to be representing me and I am sure that no one else does.

I would next before I go into anymore, look into the comments that have been submitted by Yeti.

It has been suggested that I meet face to face with the Yeti officials whom would like to meet me to meet them and discuss my disapproval. Well that was the reason that I met this certain individual and was met with great disapproval for having my own views on what was going wrong. However, I am prepared to meet them again. I will contact the people necessary and make arrangements to see the person whom I feel is necessary to air my opinion, the president, Dr Dhital.

The other matter of me showing absolute ignorance on the qualification of the Ambassador, I had sent those article to many organisations including Yeti and Royal Nepalese Embassy, but it is strangely odd that the only person that is defending him is the people that I have labelled as his "Chaakri walas". How true that meaning has become. I have no disrespect for Dr Basnyat, but what I am totally against are his activities and treatment of others as a Royal Nepalese Ambassador. Many instances where I have seen our Ambassador, he has deflected from his duty as an ambassador. One perfect example that I can probably give you : When all of the South East region's ambassadors were giving a speech, he has no courtesy to listen to what he says, instead he is too busy chit-chatting to other Nepalese officials whom he has contact on a daily basis. What is worse is that, he does not seem too bothered to represent Nepal and join them on the stand to give his speech. It is a platform for h! im, as a Royal Nepalese Ambassador to capitalise on his position and let the people know about Nepal. Instead, I have seen him walk away to an open space of the building just so that he can have a smoke. To me, as an Ambassador that is not the right way in promoting Nepal. Others may view that differently, but I have seen that happen time and time again.

The letters also brings into question, the credibility of TND amongst the Nepalese living in UK. I would like to take this opportunity to express to you that articles such as that, has only enhanced the image of TND amongst the Nepalese living in UK as the communal feelings between us are all the same on Yeti. Many people in the UK, who have access to Internet/email look forward to the TND and I can assure you that the credibility of TND can only be enhanced. As for them being concerned that the article, was a sole purpose of damaging the good reputation of the association, well I am very sorry, but I think someone had already done that many months ago, Yeti themselves.

In my earlier email to this media, I had informed the readers that the Northern chapter of Yeti, was in the process of severing all ties with this farce known as Yeti, well I am now able to confirm that they have gone their separate ways and renamed themselves to "Himalyan Yeti" and will no longer be attached to this farce of an association.

Also another issue that I had raised in my earlier email was of Yeti being a self promoting association, the website address that it has provided in its email is quite sufficient. When an association has been registered as an charity and is actively seeking funds for the purpose of building its own house, then why has it leaped into the information highway era when its budget clearly does not allow for such spending ? Also I get the feeling that, Yeti is still to familiarise itself with the laws with regards to Internet. There is no such laws governing the airing of a persons views via any media provided that the person has sufficient proof to make such claims. I have and should Yeti officials still wish to teach me the laws then I would be very happy to discuss my proofs with them. And also, I would be very grateful if any TND readers out there could explain the Interment Systems rules as the word Interment in my dictionary only seem to be used for a person funeral/burial.

It is also ironic that the person whom I had written about in my last article and questioning his loyalty to his country is the person who himself has submitted the letter. Many people who emailed me are also curious, so I would like to ask Mr Shah to answer the question as to how he can claim to represent the Nepalese community in the UK when he deserted the country he is representing, and is settled in UK under a political asylum status claiming that he would be killed the minute he went to Nepal and even after claiming to be a target of the Nepali royal family, still manage to greet them at official HM visits ? I challenge for Mr Shah to answer that question.

I have many questions that I would like to put forward to Yeti as per the contents of it Internet site, particular its Aims and Objectives as well as its constitutional articles. That may be too long to broad here, so I will write to the General Secretary personally, however, I would be very grateful if any of the Yeti officials can please provide me with an official count of its members so that I can use that quotation on any future articles that I may have on Yeti. Also a question, as an registered association, does Yeti release any financial reports to show where and why money from the association was spent. If so, then could they please send to me via post/email so that I can study it for its worthiness. My postal address is 212 Holloway Road, Upper Holloway, London, N19 2BJ.

Thankyou very much again for the readers of TND who have read my article and have shown very encouraging response via email to the sad state of the Nepalese association in the UK, Yeti. Thankyou also to TND for publishing my last article and will hope that you also allow for the opportunity for this one to be published as we can only sort out the problem if it is talked about. In a world of free speech, like you have mentioned, let the readers decide.

Many thanks

Kamal Shrestha 212 Holloway Road Upper Holloway London, N19 2BJ.

*************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 16:49:19 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> To: Subject: re: Pramod Mishra's concerns

Pramod Mishra Writes: (TND. May 1)

>But the question I ask is, Why is it that
>not many alumni of St. Xavier's and St Mary's, many of whom
>live and work in the West, have converted to Christianity in spite
>of long association with the parphernalia of Christian missionary

I can't speak for St. Mary's graduates or even for most other St. Xavier's graduates, but let me just share this with you.
         As a Nepali liberal Hindu student, I never experienced any sort of religious discrimination at STX. I did not think that the "paraphernalia of Christian missionary education" was there, to be used in any way to convert students to Christianity. Sure, we started every day with a secular prayer, and rastriya-gaan, but there was no pressure from anybody to give your religion in favor of Christianity. The school gave holidays during BOTH Hindu and Christian festivals.

In fact, I fondly remember, to speak of my own personal experience, having many long drawn-out discussions with American Jesuit priests -- namely Fr. Casey Bailey (who's now a Trappist Monk in Oregon) and Fr. Larry Brooks -- about various aspects of a religous/spiritual life of various faiths.

As an impressionable student, I was amazed then, as I am now, that highly-educated Americans from Chicago, Illinois and Cincinanti Ohio, would spend a number of years prepering to enter priesthood, and then go live in a foreign country Nepal -- dedicating their whole lives to teaching (as many Jesuits at STX did), to research (as Frs. Miller and Stiller have done), to social service (as late Fr. Gaffney did), and so forth.

In the late-'80s, the school also taught Bhagvad Gita (English-language versions), Ramayan and other holy Hindu books in its 'moral science' classes.

I hope this addresses some of Pramod's concerns.

Some more stuff, he writes:

>Nepal has gone down the tube because of too much prayer. So, Dr.
>Lewis, Nepal doesn't need your prayers as much as it needs the foresight
>and vision of its political leaders.

Pramod is entitled to his never-ending cynicism regarding various aspects of Hindu religion, or for that matter, any aspects of what he would call
"feel-good" Christianity. Still, this is the first time I have ever heard of any country going "down the tube because of too much prayer". But, hey, Pramod, being Pramod, knows more about the state of Hinduism in Nepal than any of us. So, there.

I, for one, believe that foresight and vision regarding anything in life do NOT come from brilliant technical competence alone, but also from values and beliefs and convictions that emanate from a well of life-affirming spiritual concerns. For some people, those spiritual concerns are best understood in terms of their religious practices
(regardless of how absurd those practices may appear to others); while, for others, being a secular, conscientious humanist helps.

>It needs infrastructure-building
>foreign aid. It needs the sanity and selflessness of its
>democratically committed political leaders instead of their inter and
>intra party quibblings like children.

Sanity and selflessness and democratic commitments on the part of elected Nepali netas? Maybe Pramod can use some prayer himself.

namaste ashu

********************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 13:29:23 -0400 To: From: "Kathryn S. March" <> Subject: Intensive Nepali Program

The deadline for application to the Intensive Summer Nepali Language Program at Cornell University this year is May 1, 1998. Cornell University will offer Nepali language instruction at all levels, from beginner to advanced, for 6 weeks (June 1-July 10) and 6 credits. Tuition is $3470. Scholarships are available. For information and applications contact immediately: South Asia Program (607) 255-8493 or <>

Thank you, Kathryn March

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 08:45:15 +0545 (NPT) To: From: (Pratyoush Onta) Subject: Contents of SINHAS vol 2 no 2

Contents of Studies in Nepali History and Society, vol 2 no 2 (Dec 1997)

Political Economy, Culture and Violence: Children's Journeys to the Urban Streets Lazima Onta-Bhatta pp. 207-253

[Abstract: This paper analyzes children's displacement from their homes and the development of the phenomenon of street living in urban Nepal. Emphasizing the theoretical importance of articulating political economy with cultural ideologies, practices, power, violence, and human agency, it explores the shifts in children's lives from rural subsistence settings to urban commodity production. Street children's experiences and interpretations of work, violence, and the power relations between them and the adults are elucidated by utilizing their narratives. The paper also presents the children's guardian's narratives to show how they have experienced the ramifications of the various ways in which political economy manifests within families. The processes of impoverishment, displacement, and urbanization are analyzed in the context of capitalist penetration, and the articulation of these processes with cultural systems of domination, violence, gender, and seniority are highlighted through the street children's and their guardian's narratives.]

Raksadal Revolt and the Ban on the Nepal Communist Party: A Brief Study of the Historical Event and its Longterm Effects (in Nepali) Surendra K.C. pp. 255-272

[Abstract: On 22 January 1952, 1200 members of the Raksadal revolted in Kathmandu under the leadership of Dr K. I. Singh. Government forces quashed the rebellion the following day and Singh and some his supporters escaped to Tibet. Although the exact role of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) in the revolt is still unclear, the government of Nepal imposed a ban on NCP on 24 January 1952. This ban lasted for over four years and was eventually lifted in April 1956. This paper argues that the political circumstances related to the lifting of the ban on NCP had two primary effects: first, because of the compromises reached with the Palace, the revolutionary nature of the communist movement in Nepal was greatly tamed and its leadership then and since has demostrated a level of deference toward the Palace unbecoming of a communist movement (please edit here). Second, the role of the Palace during the lifting of the ban on NCP engendered a process of internal divisions within the communist movement in Nepal, one based on a crisis of mutual trust among NCP leadership and one that continues till today.]

Demographic and Environmental Effects of the Mining Industry in the Hill Region of Western Nepal Om Gurung pp. 273-290

[Abstract: This paper examines the demographic and environmental effects of the mining industry in the Baglung region of the Western Nepal hills. Based upon ethnographic as well as locally available historical data, it argues that the population growth and environmental degradation in the region have historically resulted from state appropriation of local resources. State control over lands, forests and mines and oppressive measures of tax appropriation in the form of various kinds of compulsory unpaid forced labour (rakam and jhara) systems significantly affected the demographic structure of the region, on the one hand, and disrupted the local environmental balance, on the other. More importantly, the government's policy of land appropriation was an additional force to create demographic upheaval and environmental imbalance in the region. Examples of such twin effects of the state policy of resource appropriation come from many hill villages of Baglung district where mining was a predominant economic activity among certain ethnic communities during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries in Nepal, but I will demonstrate it with particular reference to Tara Khola (located at the northwestern corner of Baglung district) where I did field research from 1992 to 1994.]

Commentary (pp. 291-405) Nepali Women's Movements: Experiences, Critiques, Commentaries Nepali Mahila Andolan: Kehi Anubhav, Tippani ra Alochana

Editorial Introduction The Simplicity and Complexity of Women's Movements Mary Des Chene

I. Thoughts on Mukti, Mahila and Movements Mukti, Mahila ra Andolanharubare Kehi Chintan

Kamala Parajuli: Mahila Andolan Bhaneko ke ho? Sashi Shrestha: Nepalko Mahila Andolanko Dishaa Sambandi Kehi Kura Bimal Phnuyal: Exploring Alternatives to Patriarchal Pedagogy Gyanu Pandey: Nari Mukti Andolan ra Trutipurna Samuhik Avchetana Man Sulochana Manandhar: Mahila Hastaksharko Itihasma Motilakshmi Manjushree Thapa: Nine Million Rebellions

II. Women in the Bikase World Bikase Samskaramaa Mahilaharu

Seira Tamang: Questioning Netribad Stephanie Tawa Lama: The Political within the Nepali Women's Movement Kavita Sherchan: Political Divisions among Women's Groups Rupa Joshi: Going with the Flow of "Careermati"

III. Mahila Mukti: Realties, Laws, Plans Mahila Mukti: Vastaviktaa, Kanun ra Yojanaharu.

Pramod Mishra: Manu's Lies against Hindu Women's Lives Durga Sob: Utpidan Bhitra Dalit Mahila Shova Gautam: Mahila Swasthya: Karan ra Nirkaran Aruna Uprety: The Seeds of Activism Yuvaraj Sangraula: Mahila Ansh Hak: Swadhin haisiyatko paksha Anita Tuladhar/Bikas Joshi: Perspectives on the Failure of the Women's Property
        Rights Movement in Nepal Khagendra Sangraula: Nari Samantabare Dui Tippani (Chhorilai Sampatti Adhikar
        and Mangaliko Adhuro 'Ka') Amrita Banskota: Jangali Yugko Samapti Kahile?

Further Reading Writings on Nepali Wowen: A Reference Bibliography (of materials in English and
        other European languages) pp. 406-427 Lekhanma Nepali Mahila: Sandharva-Samagri Suchi (of materials in Nepali)
        pp. 428-433

SINHAS is available at the publisher's outlet, Mandala Book Point (tel: 227711, 245570, 249555) and several other bookstores in Kathmandu. Mandala can also be contacted at

More information about SINHAS (including about subscription) can be found at

Editorial inquiries must be placed to Pratyoush Onta: Mary Des Chene: Lazima Onta-Bhatta: Mark Liechty:

******************************************************************* Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 01:04:00 +0000 From: Shiho Shinoda <> To: Subject: Excuse me

I would like to know the name of the University in the Pokhara-city.
(may be tribvann or so).and homepage address .

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 00:21:09 EST From: To: Subject: red bakal puri?

Greetings! I am seeking information about a plant reportedly grown in Nepal. It is called "Red Bakal Puri" and I came across a description of it:

"A striking, bright red 6-8 foot Okra relative can be found cultivated in the lower regions of the Nepalese Sub-Himalaya. Plants are tree-like and beautifully colored with leaf, branch, and pod all eye-catching shades of red and make nice border plants. They 2x2 inch ridged and pointed pods are well known in at least one remote village where they are cultivated along the pathways for all to use. The pods, when eaten raw, are crisp, juicy and have a tangy cucumber-lemon flavor."

Please, are you familiar with this plant? If so, please, I would like to communicate with you about it's culturing needs and cooking uses, plus perhaps obtain some seeds. What is it's latin name?

If unfamiliar, please, who would you recommend I email for more information?

Thank you very much!

Ralph Arnold in Oregon (USA) email:

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 18:08:27 -0600 From: BOB KINSLOE <> To: Subject: Affordable Housing

Namate!, If you can put this in your bulletin, Please do!, Thanks.

Robert J. Kinsloe 1947 N. Bissell St. Chicago, IL. 60614 Phone/Fax - 773-404-9239 E-Mail:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you asking for your support for Habitat For Humanity International. I am traveling, at my own expense, to Kathmandu, Nepal in April 1998 in order to support the local affiliate. This affiliate has just started operations recently and has already started the first house with two more ready to go. Early support for a new affiliate has proved in the past to secure its long tern success. With this in mind, I am hoping for your generous support. Checks made payable to Habitat For Humanity, Nepal can be sent to me at the above address. This donation is tax deductible. We have raised just over $1,000 US dollars so far, unfortunately only about 5% of this has come from Nepalese here in the USA, the rest is from my family and friends. I am hoping for more support from the Nepalese community here in the USA. Every penny going to the affiliate.

Habitat For Humanity believes in a hand up not a hand out. Each homeowner has to perform a certain amount of sweat equity, usually 300-500 hours, and pay for a no interest mortgage on the home they help build. I have worked on several projects around the world, (USA, Mexico, Canada, Hungary and Ethiopia), and have seen the incredible benefits a simple decent home can make on a family's life. So thanks in advance for your support.

My contact at HFHI is Hal Corlew or Sheryl Shannon. They can be reached for verification of my involvement with HFHI at the following phone #=92s and /or email addresses:

Hal Corlew, 1-800-422-4828 Ext. 297 or email at Sheryl Shannon, 1-800-422-4828 Ext. 545 or email at

God Bless,


This is the most recent information on the progress of the Habitat For Humanity, Nepal affiliate as reported by their national coordinator..
=20 Thank you for the email we received here in Kathmandu. Thank you for your interest to raise funds for the newly approved Nepal Affiliate as Member of the Habitat for Humanity International. In that direction, it will be of interest to you to learn that Nepal Habitat for Humanity has just started building the first house in Tikapur, the far western district in the plains of Southern Nepal, bordering with India in the South. It used to be a dense forest area with severe tropical malarial fever (just a decade before),making the place not suitable for habitat for people migrating from adjoining hills as well as for local inhabitants. The first stone was placed for the first house on December 29, 1997, on the King's Birthday and the Affiliate reported on Jan.13th that they finished walls and placed the windows & doors. They only need to put the roof on it. In the mean time, they started the foundations for the second house and began digging to put the foundation for the third house. This is very encouraging for the Nepal Habitat.

The owner of the first house is Dibu Chowdhary from the Tikapur Village development in Kailali district. The cost of the house will come to $ 1200. The house will have wooden doors and windows, burnt bricks are used to build walls. The local people use cement tiles for roof. The community is very united, Mr.Kharel, the coordinator of Tikapur reported that even students from the schools are engaged in the work. It was very exciting, he said, with the whole community working together to build houses for people who lived in Sub-standard houses before. I had visited the area many time this past months. We are developing Affiliates in two other places, on in the hills near Pokhara and another in semi-hills, they call it inner terai(plains). Thus, we are now working in three different land areas, the plains, semi-hills and the hills. This is some of the information in brief but we will be prepared to send you information that you need when we hear from you. Sorry, we haven't developed sponsorship sheets so far but we can work on that right away. Our International representative, Ed LoPuma is expected back from holidays tomorrow. So, we will write to you further on this. Thank you for your willingness to work for Nepal and I am sure your visit to Nepal and the fund raising program will be successful. We look forward to hear from you. The international/Asia Pacific section will have more information you will need.
=20 Purushotam Nepali National Coordinator

Habitat for Humanity Nepal

Average house cost: $1,200-$1,500 (estimated)

Statistically, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to UN statistics, 75 percent of its people live below the poverty line, with one in every ten infants dying before the age of five. Nearly 90 percent of its 20 million people live in the rural plains and mountain areas, primarily as agricultural workers and on a subsistence level. The country is still struggling to emerge from its fledgling democracy and the economic, political, and social problems that plague any developing country.

Shelter is an intricate element in Nepal, religiously, socially and culturally. A house and land are passed on within a family for generations. Housing is a mark of not only prestige, but also of the achievement of the basic human goal to have one's own place to live in harmony with nature, to be part of a community, to have security and to be protected from harsh weather.

While many basic necessities are needed, HFH Nepal believes that through the empowerment of leadership at the grassroots level, housing can be a cornerstone for broader integrated development for Nepal's poor.

HFH Nepal intends to build in every major geographic area of the country, providing an affordable and decent house using the resources available in each location. These homes will replace the thatch, straw, mud and bamboo that are now being pieced together by those who have no other means to obtain a decent shelter. Habitat estimates that these houses can be built for $1,200-1,500.=20


Location: Land-locked country astride the Himalayas between India and China.

Population: The population of 22 million is spread over an area of 147,000 sq. km. The capital, Kathmandu, is the largest city with a population of 500,000.

Religion: Hindu 90 percent, Buddhist 5 percent, Muslim 3 percent, other 2 percent.

Literacy: 27 percent.

Language: Principally Nepali, with other Indic languages.

Climate: Varies according to altitude, from rainy and tropical, to cold in the high mountains.

Economy: Industries such as sugar and jute mills, tourism.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Religion: Hindu 90%, Buddhist 5%, Muslim 3%.


Questions about affiliates outside the U.S. can be addressed to Habitat's International Department. If you have other questions about Habitat for Humanity, please write to or call

***************************************************************** Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 13:02:28 -0500 (EST) From: ngawang sherpa <> To: Subject: Wonderful Losar(Sherpa new year) in New Year

As the bus struggled its way up the steep slopes of Wood Stock, my memory kept on flashing back to Nepal. Finally, we reached the destination, but the thick fog blocked the view of the gomba even though it was less than a hundred feet away. The fog also did a good job in hiding all the hills of Woodstock. As we got off the bus, there was still a lot of snow remaining on the ground. Even the air was more fresh, and a little thinner. As we walked north, the gomba gradually came into view. The magnificent building was just like any other gomba in Nepal, specially Katmandu. It was hard to believe that I was on US soil.

Although it was not as big, the complex carried all the air of a Buddhist monastery, be it in Tibet, Nepal, India or even the US. However, the best element was the people. There were about 150 Sherpas, mostly in the native dress. Just like most of themales, I was proudly wearing Chhuwe, the male costume and all the women had Aengeese, the female dress. This in itself said a lot about the relationship between the Sherpas and their determination or the pride in their culture.

As we circumambulated the monastery, chanting the usual mantras, I felt all the tension and the pressure that I had brought from the university melting away. The fresh air helped farther on, and so did the constant chanting from the fellow Sherpas. Inside the monastery, we lit "chomens" and bowed to the majestic and venerable figures of our gods. My classmate decided to meditate for a while as I went around bowing to all the gods. Soon the joint prayer started outside. As I hurried out, the fresh smell of burning juniper came from the small fire that was being set in the middle of the gathering. As the head lama continued to chant the "mantras," we simply closed our eyes and prayed to god for more peace and prosperity. The prayer took about half an hour. It was then followed by more circumambulating around the gomba.

A strictly vegetarian meal was provided before the entertaining part of the day started. There was Shebru (Sherpa dance), Nepali Lok Geet and of course some disco as well. As I was holding my friends' hands trying to match the beat of the footsteps, I was definitely back in Khumbu. This was not NY, it was simply a part of NY taken to Khumbu for a couple of blissful hours. Or should I say, it was a part of the Khumbu brought to NY.

As 90% of the Sherpas were from Solu, I know only about thirty of them. But that was enough, as there was not much time to talk and pray on a single day. That is why I am looking forward to the Sherpa Losar Party on March 14. It is always great to catch up with one's life in Khumbu, and with about 400 fellow Sherpas to meet there, I am sure there will be a lot to catch up.

It is always wonderful to be with one's friends and families. However, the most important aspect of the day was fact that the Sherpas were continuing to celebrate the cultural and religious festivals in spite of the difference in the surroundings. The continuation of the festivals from Khumbu and Solu to Katmandu, and now to New York says a lot about our determination to continue our heritage in spite of the changes in our living style in the last fifty years.
             Ngawang Karsang Sherpa University of Pennsylvania, GSFA, Department of Architecture 207 Meyerson Hall Philadelphia, PA 19104--6311

********************************************************* Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 11:25:15 EST From: Yakandyeti <> To: Subject: Employment in Nepal

To Whom it May Concern,

I am an American who was raised in Nepal. I am fluent in Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, English and several Nepali dialects. I am seeking employment either in Nepal or in the U.S. with frequent travel to Nepal. If your organization could benefit from someone with my skills, please contact me at Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, David Seaman


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 20:31:02 -0700 From: Sohan Raj Panta <> Subject: News from Sagarmatha Times, UK

Dear Editors,

Happy New Year 2055 to you and your valued readers !

Please find enclosed articles and Nepalese activities in UK from Sagarmatha Times, UK March issue along with some latest news from UK for necessary coverage in your newspaper.

Courtesy :- Sagarmatha Times, UK


Mr B.P Joshi - Editor-in-Chief Mr S.R Panta - Editor Email - WWW -

Sagarmatha Times music page launched on the WWW. The Sagarmatha Times, UK proudly included music page in its web site on Thursday 16th April 1998. As an initial stage, Sagarmatha Times has included 3 Nepali songs, " Ghumti maa na aau .....Prem Dhoj Pradhan, Ke bhanu ma kaso gari......Film: Prem Pind and Tadha aba ma timi bina..............Babin Pradhan". Sagarmatha Times has launched a music site on its internet pages to entertain and remind people of the sweetness if Nepalese music and to remember our culture in foreign land. There shall be three Nepali songs (five from next week) on the web site and those will changed every week. If any of the listeners have an particluar interest in a song and it is available in the Sagarmatha Times collection, we will be very happy to receive your request. However if you do not have your requested song, then we will inform you via email.

Himalayan Yeti formed Nepalese nationals residing in UK have decided to form Nepali association named "Himalayan Yeti" with its Head Office in Manchester, UK. As per our correspondent, the association will be spreading its branches all over UK to facilitate Nepalese residing in various areas. The main motto of association is to unite all Nepalese in one main stream for strengthening and development of Nepalese nationalism, culture, religious and other matters.

Friends of Nepal set up in Britain At the initiation of Dr Basant Shrestha and Dr. Tribhuvan N. Vaidya, a group by the name Friends of Nepal has recently been formed at Chesterfield in England, states a joint press release by Friends of Nepal, Chesterfield and Pulimarang project.

The principal objective of this group is to support Nepalese people, preferably in rural, rather remoter part of the country by sponsoring smaller projects, useful as well as purposeful to the targeted community. At present, the group comprises of two Nepalese doctors from Chesterfield and their spouses and 16 local people who have shown keen interest on Nepal and the Nepalese people, the release says.

Sagarmatha Donation Sagarmatha Times has decided to donate one year's complimentary subscription to Nepal Support Society raffle to be drawn on 12th April during charity dance & dinner.

Seminar on Nepal Britain-Nepal Chamber of Commerce (BNCC) organised a seminar "Opportunities in investment in Hydro Power in Nepal" at Grindlays Bank on 25th March.

Col. Jimmy Evans, the Chairman of BNCC initiated for the success of the seminar. Dr. R. N. Vaidya, the member of National Planning Commission, Nepal attended a seminar and submitted a lead paper to the seminar which was widely welcomed by all the participants of the seminar. His Excellency Dr. Basnyat also spoke on National Background .The Seminar was attended by Sir John Nott, Lord Swaraj Paul, Mr. P. K. Prasai, Counsellor of the Embassy, and other business men of UK.

Friendship Day Nepal Kingdom Foundation is planning to celebrate Friendship Day on 27th April. As per Mr. Padma P. Shrestha, Friendship Day is unique celebration going to be exists in the universe soon. Mr Shrestha has requested all citizens of the world to participate in the celebration through physical appearance as well as writing articles on Friendship in any language.

Charity Dinner Nepal Support Society (NESS) established in November 1997 for helping less fortunate village people in Nepal is organising a charity Dance & Dinner on 12th April 1998 for raising fund in support of Nepal..

Mrs. Nelia Rana, the NESS chairperson expressed her hope to achieve successful goal of the Society for the cause.

Embassy hosts Dinner Royal Nepalese Ambassador Dr. Singha B. Basnyat hosted a dinner at the Royal Nepalese Embassy on 22nd March to meet the officials of Nepalese Associations and Nepalese Organisations established in UK.

The main purpose of the dinner was to meet and exchange views among each others. The dinner was participated by about 50 officials.

Yeti to celebrate New Year The Nepalese organisation Yeti, is to celebrate Nepalese New Year 2055 on 14th April 1998 in the Priory Hall at Acton, West London.

Speech on Sanskrit Dr. Kamal N Rauniar delivered a 45 minute speech on the importance of Sanskrit Language in the Modern World at Gita Bhawan , Manchester on 21st March 1998 in presence of more than 200 audience.

His researchful speech on the scientific basis on Devanagari script and reversion extra ordinary qualities in Sanskrit language were widely lauded by the audiences. Dr. Rauniar is a permanent columnist of Sagarmatha Times on various subjects.

Activities of Yeti Midland and North UK: Audience with Ambassador: A five members delegation led by organisation President Mr. Pushpa Shrestha met with the Royal Nepalese Ambassador Dr. Singha B. Basnyat at Royal Nepalese Embassy on 29th March and discussed on the importance of forthcoming second Nepal Himalayan Festival 1998 to be held in Manchester at end of May. Royal Nepalese Ambassador Dr. Basnyat assured financial help to the delegation for the festival.

VNY 98: Mr. Pushpa Shrestha requested all Nepalese nationals residing in UK to make success of second Nepal Himalayan Festival to support the success of VNY'98.

New Year Celebration: Nepalese New Year 2055 is to be celebrated on 12th April at Hough End Centre, Manchester. The chief guest of the celebration will be Royal Nepalese Ambassador Dr. Basnyat

Congress.. Congress.. In real sense, the democracy of Nepal is in a test. It is not because the people are on the road with agitation's and movements. It is also not true that army is in revolt against the system. And it is also not true that the invisible power hatching conspiracy to overthrow the democratic system. But the main problem at the moment is government and equation of political parties to govern the country. The creation and devolution of political parties are the salient features of democratic norms. There is no hard and fast rule for having numbers of political parties in the country as per the size and economic conditions of the country. The number will be determined by the will and political maturity of the people. Very recently two more political parties emerged in Nepal. It is obvious that creation is devolution of some things, is the rule of natural science. Because of this change, the position of parliamentarian parties changed and the congress has become number one from number two. This also qualifies the congress to form government with preference as per the Constitutional provisions . Congress is also an equation partner and is waiting to form government as per their agreements with its coalition partners. Now the change will take place very soon - in a few days; not even in weeks. It is for sure that another government will definitely headed by Nepali Congress.

The new government will play as turning point for congress. The existence and development of congress lies in the hands of forthcoming congress led governments. The past shows that the importance of congress was diminished by congress themselves. When people gave mandate to the party with clear majority having elected 114 members in 206 member parliament, they called for mid-term poll because of conflict within party power blocks. People gave mandate to the party, but government was run by kitchen government of
 the boss. The force retirement of staff machinery on personal vendetta was one of the black days of historical party congress and its government. That was the one of the main factor of congress debacle in mid-term poll. Another factor was, the treatment to party and party activists in the hands of immature advisers of kitchen cabinet resulted ruin the party and its prospect in mid-term poll. At the moment, the party President, Mr Girija Prasad Koirala is the most appropriate candidate for the post of Prime Minister. He has seen all the ups and downs of history in party and personal life. He is one of the most dedicated nationalist leader. He is determined for development of the nation. The nation is hoping for him to remove Pajero culture, imposition of immature ministers and advisors, corruption's and politicising in staff machinery.

In Search of Mahathir and Museveni
                                        - Rabindra Mishra Eight years ago when democracy was restored many felt a great sense of triumph. Today, many fear, Nepal may be heading towards a tragedy. People are becoming increasingly frustrated with the present political situation. The general view is that politicians have shown utter disrespect to the wishes of the people and politics has become a divisive factor, not a unifying force. It has created cracks among ethnic communities and divided even the administration on political lines. Those who have links with politicians benefit and for others democracy has not delivered. Assessing the current political situation of the country, a prominent Kathmandu-based journalist recently said there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Nowadays, many share a similar sense of pessimism. Does it mean that democracy as a political system has proved unsuitable for Nepal? Or is it just the lack of good leadership? Probably many won't dispute the view that current problems in the country have much to do with the lack of dynamic leadership than with the system itself.

History is witness to the fact that the ills of a nation have never been cured by political systems but by able leaders. Though communism is despised by most of the world at present, it is under that system China's economy is booming making the West fearful of its overall prowess. It is not the system which is credited with the success, it is the leadership, especially that of late Deng Xio Ping. It was Mr Deng who enunciated his famous line in response to his critics that it did not matter whether a cat was black or white as long as it killed the rat.

There are some leaders around the world who share the similar view. Because of their extra-ordinary contribution to their countries they are vary popular with the masses. Though, at times, they have gone beyond the universally accepted norms of democracy to achieve their goals, the majority of their countrymen tend to turn a blind eye towards their approach.

 One such leader is Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamod, who has been in power for 16 years, making him the longest-ever Prime Minister of the country. It is not by force that he has held the post, but by virtue of his excellence. He has relentlessly worked throughout his premiership to turn Malaysia into an economic giant. He has confronted sensitive issues of race and religion and has made Malaysia's voice heard worldwide.

In 1991, he unveiled his "Vision 2020" agenda which aims at making Malaysia a fully developed nation by that year. Commentators say if the country's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman is credited with creating Malaysia, Mahathir can claim to have reinvented it. In the process, the country's constitution has been amended many times under Mahathir's leadership. He has enacted tougher laws, at times at the expense of institutional and individual liberty. Some call him autocratic, some a benign dictator, but many accept it as a price to pay for what the country has achieved under his leadership. In the general election held in 1995, after being in power for 14 years, he won 64% of the popular vote proving himself the most popular premier the country ever had.

Another such leader is Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. A former guerrilla leader, who toppled the bloody and repressive regime of Milton Obote after a five-year bush war, became the president of the country in 1986. Now, after over a decade in power, he is not only hugely popular in Uganda but also widely respected in whole of Africa. His dynamic leadership has given the country devastated by dictatorship of Idi Amin and Obote a new life.

In the past decade, Uganda has seen peace, stability and an average economic growth rate of six percent a year. Foreign investment has also increased. He says he does not want aid from the west, simply investment, trade and tourism. However, he does not refuse soft loans for infrastructure.

Unlike most other leaders of the world, Museveni rejects pomp and glory of his official status and chooses to live a modest life at his own cattle ranch in a village three hours from the capital, Kampala. There he is surrounded by "bright, young advisors" whom he values a lot. He calls his style of governance a "non-party democracy" and strongly believes that multi-party system is divisive in a tribal society like that of Uganda. His critics call him authoritarian. But who cares? He is now a favorite son of the International Monetary Fund and the favorite leader of the country. He won 74 percent of the vote in last year's direct presidential election, which was declared by observers as generally free and fair.

Considering the present situation of the country, many may wish Nepal too had leaders like Mahathir and Museveni - honest, visionary, hard-working but also tough. Leaders like Mahathir, Museveni or even former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, all of whom have been regarded as benign dictators by many, are no harm to the nation as long as they are honest and accountable to the people. History shows that dynamic leaders have always had some dictatorial tendencies.

Ours is not a nation ravaged by war or famine, nor is it a nation blemished by ethnic and communal violence. Nothing is wrong with the country and nothing is wrong with the people. If anything is wrong it is our leadership. To build our future we simply need good leaders.

**************************************************************** Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 08:47:09 -0400 From: Anne Joshi-Atlanta <> To: 'Nepal Digest' <> Subject: "Please rescue me" - child prostitution and AIDS

I would like to enlist the help of concerned and dedicated Nepalis and friends of Nepal in helping to spread an awareness of this problem. I am trying to form a Nepal Focus Group/Southern regional office here in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and moral and practical support would be extremely appreciated. I think we owe it to the next generation of Nepal's and India's girls.

Aiko Joshi

>Date: Wed, Apr 22, 1998
>From: Nancy Phillips <phillinj@SLU.EDU>
>Subject: [B95: ] child prostitution and AIDS in India (long)
>Scripps Howard News Service
>Toronto Globe and Mail
>SANGLI, India - The prettiest girl in this leafy, tropical town in western
>India's sugar belt doesn't have much time to talk. Dressed in a stunning
>mauve silk sari, with gold jewelry dripping from her ear lobes and nose,
>18-year-old Chandra must get to work.
>"My entire family depends on me," she said with a laugh as her alcoholic
>mother stood at the doorway ordering her back to the family's brothel.
>A prostitute since she was 12, Chandra expects to net the equivalent of $50
>for her day's work, because in her state of Maharashtra it's the annual
>snake festival and a time for local men to celebrate another good monsoon.
>In an average month, Chandra figures she can bring home $500 - an amount
>many of her customers don't earn in one year.
>"My family, my brothers, they sit around all day and do nothing," continued
>Chandra, who has a five-year-old son from her initiation as a commercial
>sex worker. "Everything they have is from me."
>Far from the chaotic brothels of Bombay and Calcutta, where many children
>are kept in forced custody, Chandra represents what many experts say are
>the majority of India's 100,000 or more child prostitutes: girls put to
>work by their families for no other reason than the enormous, if brief,
>profits they can earn.
>They can be found at truck stops, dingy small-town hotels and roadside tea
>stalls. They often do double duty as kitchen help and sex workers.
>And they have little choice - not when their parents, siblings and other
>relatives depend so much on their earning power.
>With her movie star looks, Chandra was virtually destined to become a sex
>worker at the age of 12. It was her mother's occupation, too.
>But as with many Indian children, she wasn't sold directly into
>prostitution. Instead, Chandra's mother confirmed her as a "devadasi," a
>Hindu temple servant who before reaching puberty is dedicated for life to
>the goddess Yallamma.
>Traditionally, the divine and elaborate marriage would transport a
>low-caste girl such as Chandra into a devotional career of temple singing
>and dancing. In modern times, the outlawed ritual, which is believed to
>absorb as many as 10,000 girls a year, often means sexual enslavement to a
>temple priest or prostitution.
>The devadasi system is only one of countless traditions of child sexual
>exploitation in rural India that seem sure to endure, driven by the
>economics of poverty, tyranny of caste and compulsions of culture and
>"Some of these forms of child prostitution in India emerge from deeply
>rooted, traditional practices and beliefs which still prevail," said
>Richard Young, chief of community development for the United Nations
>Children's Fund in India. "They may be legally outlawed, but they do
>And they present a serious challenge to the world. As the international
>community tries to crack down on the sexual exploitation of children with
>stronger laws, better police enforcement and community-development
>projects, it remains to be seen whether the culture of child prostitution -
>from the parents who sell their children to the people who buy them - will
>change anytime soon.
>"Attitudes and mind sets, corruption and apathy are major obstacles which
>will not be overcome by any scheme," Young said.
>In the Indian desert state of Rajasthan, where Rajnat tribals once served
>maharajahs, the communities now set up camp along highways to serve truck
>drivers. At puberty, each girl's virginity is auctioned to a man, and she
>is then put to work in a mass market.
>In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the "basavi," or "female bull,"
>ceremony consigns low-caste girls to a life of ritual devotion that is so
>unremunerative that they usually resort to prostitution as well.
>In the Bedia tribe, one girl is selected from each family to serve as a
>community prostitute; if she becomes pregnant, she is ritually married to a
>one-rupee coin.
>But it is the illegal devadasi system that accounts for up to one-fifth of
>India's child prostitutes, UNICEF says. The devadasi dedications, often
>held in private homes to avoid police raids, prey on parents' fear and
>Many of the girls, and in some cases boys, are chosen because of ailments -
>such as skin diseases, mental retardation, leprosy, the matted hair of
>malnutrition - that render them undesirable for human marriage.
>It also saves the family an onerous dowry, as the girl is married to the
>god for life. In return for their divine devotion, the devadasis are
>accorded special status in their villages, not least because of their
>earning power. They receive comfort and caring when they are ill. Some are
>even eligible for a government pension of $4 a month.
>As with thousands of other women in her district, Durga, a mother in her
>mid-20s, was put through the ritualistic devadasi ceremony and married to
>an icon before her first menstrual cycle.
>"There was no question of being happy or sad," she said. "I didn't know
>what they were doing."
>It was just another part of an unforgiving childhood. Durga had been raised
>in a Bombay brothel, where her mother was sold into prostitution by her
>father. She remembers being so poor that she carried pails of water for the
>equivalent of less than one penny a trip. She also remembers being raped at
>13 for refusing a customer, and being bruised so badly that she had to go
>to hospital.
>But now Durga earns the equivalent of about $120 a month - enough to care
>for her two children, two brothers and mother - and knows there is no other
>way for her now.
>"Once you're in the business," she said, "it's very difficult to get out."
>In Sangli's red-light district, in a downtrodden corner of the city near
>the railway tracks, most of the 260 prostitutes are devadasis who serve a
>prosperous farm belt from a squatter camp of cinder-block houses built on
>land allotted by the local government.
>Each room is fitted with a cassette player, ceiling fan, cot - some with
>two or three - and a sheet hangs from the ceiling to serve as a curtain.
>Outside on the footpaths, well-dressed young men loaf about in indecision
>or relaxation. The tradition seems unchanged in many ways, except one.
>"Men come and ask for younger and younger women," said Kamla, a local madam
>and devadasi, whose rotund frame and grimacing face is enough to keep
>troublemakers away.
>Even in far-flung Sangli, 10 hours by bus from Bombay, the fear of
>contracting AIDS has hit the brothels like a monsoon cloud. One young
>prostitute, who calls herself Seventy Jasmine, asked if AIDS really is a
>deadly disease with no cure.
>Durga told her that it is, and that two of her co-workers died last month.
>One had four children. Durga then told the others about Ichalkaranji, a
>textile-mill center not far from Sangli, where eight prostitutes died last
>month. There, the red-light district's population, which once numbered
>around 70, is down to 35.
>Durga once assumed she would dedicate her daughter, who is now 6, to be a
>devadasi, like herself and her mother. But not anymore.
>"We are afraid of death," Durga explained. "We do not want our children to
>Sep 10
>Scripps Howard News Service
>Toronto Globe and Mail
>BOMBAY, India - The note of desperation came from a 16-year-old girl named
>Rani. "Please come to rescue me," she wrote in Hindi from the depths of
>Bombay's red-light district. "I am in custody. Please help me."
>The letter was all that Vinod Gupta, one of Bombay's brashest millionaires,
>needed to spring into action. The 66-year-old textile magnate, who has
>devoted his retirement to fighting the evils of India's most corrupt and
>crime-ridden city, dispatched his volunteers and police contacts to Rani's
>brothel and soon the girl was free.
>The disgruntled pimps, who paid a small fortune for Rani, could do little
>but watch their investment walk out the door. Bombay's most powerful Good
>Samaritan had struck again.
>"All the police have connections with the brothels but they cannot say no
>to me. They are afraid of me," Gupta boasted from the dank back room that
>serves as a nerve center for his organization, Savdhan.
>After more than a decade of storming brothels and rescuing girls - 5,800 by
>his count - Gupta feels he's winning the war.
>According to many accounts, Bombay's sex trade is declining, albeit slowly,
>but the reasons appear varied: the threat of AIDS, the exodus of
>blue-collar jobs to the cheaper hinterland and the rise of communal
>tensions that rocked the city with bombings and rioting in 1992 and 1993,
>forcing many prostitutes to flee.
>"There are 60 percent less clients now than in 1991," said I.S. Gilada, a
>physician who runs an AIDS awareness and prevention program for prostitutes
>and their clients. "It is mostly because of the AIDS scare."
>Reputed to form Asia's largest sex bazaar, Bombay's red-light districts are
>far from closing down, however. Thousands of women continue to sell their
>bodies in dilapidated Victorian townhouses, tumble-down apartment buildings
>and, in some spots, cages.
>But as business declines, many brothel owners have turned to younger girls
>to attract customers from as far away as Africa and the Middle East.
>"Younger ones fetch more money and get more clients per day," Gilada said.
>At K.K. Palace, on a garbage-strewn and rat-infested alleyway known simply
>as 13th Lane, a lanky teenaged boy named Kumar leads potential customers
>upstairs to a plush, air-conditioned hall he calls "the showroom."
>When the door is shut, Kumar rings a buzzer and girls from around the
>country parade through the room as if in a grotesque Miss India contest,
>with only their home state or city given as identification.
>"We have Madras, Hyderabad, Calcutta," Kumar said. "You like Nepali girls?"
>There is an Arab customer, a few Africans and several well-dressed Indians.
>Kumar offers the girls for the equivalent of $3 for a short visit - most
>girls go for $1 to $2 - or $100 for the night with one of his young
>Outside, a long line of taxis has formed, waiting to take the girls and
>young women, with their sinewy pimps, to hotels and private residences,
>where prices run much higher.
>Across 13th Lane, up a broken cement stairway and down a dark narrow
>hallway, another room offers Nepalese women and teenagers who sit on
>couches watching television, playing cards or staring blankly at a wall of
>peeling, cream-colored paint.
>Down the street in another brothel, a manager flicks on two lights in a
>green-colored waiting room and marches out his girls from "Calcutta," which
>usually means Bangladesh, Bombay's newest source of prostitutes. Social
>activists say Bangladeshi girls may now be the most vulnerable in South
>Asia as awareness campaigns in Nepal and India take their toll on
>trafficking networks.
>The youngest girls, however, those barely entering puberty, are not so
>readily available. Social workers in the red-light districts say the girls
>are hidden in secret rooms and offered only through special brokers.
>Gupta startled Bombay in 1982 by rescuing a 13-year-old Nepalese girl who
>was being prostituted to foreign sex tourists in luxury hotels. More than a
>decade after the case made international headlines - and more than a decade
>after India and Nepal signed a treaty to stop child trafficking - Gupta
>estimates prostitution is still worth about $800,000 a day to Bombay's
>underworld mafia, pimps and local politicians.
>He should know. For more than 30 years, he served as state treasurer for
>the powerful Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and said the brothel
>owners made contributions to every party, including his own.
>"No government wants to stop this, not the state, not the center," Gupta
>said angrily. "I wrote to every prime minister. Only Rajiv Gandhi replied.
>He put it in his 1991 election manifesto, to stop child prostitution, and
>then he was assassinated. Since then, nothing."
>He said the only way to control child prostitution would be to legalize the
>industry and subject it to strict employment rules.
>Fed up with politics, Gupta took matters into his own hands. He has helped
>about 800 girls return to Nepal and in 1990 chartered a train to send 900
>more back to their native state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
>"When I rescue a girl, I ask her, `What do you want?"' he said. "She often
>says, `There is a boy I want to marry."'
>Gupta figures he has played matchmaker to about 500 teenaged prostitutes,
>usually to one of their regular customers. Many also get a free wedding
>reception from him at, of all places, Bombay's police-officers' club.
>Many social workers disagree with Gupta's methods, arguing that most of the
>girls and young women don't want to return to their homes, where they face
>ridicule and possibly rape. Many also don't have homes to return to, which
>is why they turned to prostitution in the first place.
>Social groups studying Bombay's prostitutes find the majority of child
>prostitutes come from families in distress.
>"We're looking at systemic problems," said Farida Lamba, a Bombay activist.
>"Child prostitution is a symptom, like child labor and street children."
>Homes broken by divorce, children frightened of stepmothers, villages
>displaced by dams or highways, communities unsettled by earthquakes or
>floods: The litany of rural disasters that consign girls to servitude hangs
>like stale air in Bombay's brothels.
>Priti Patkar, a social worker who runs a night-care center and school for
>children of Bombay prostitutes, says work such as hers can serve only as a
>bandage for a very deep social wound that most governments continue to
>"No one is talking about the rural economy, the education and shelter for
>destitute children in villages," she said. "No one is talking about strong
>and efficient `panchayat' (village council) systems. No one is talking
>about helping the girl and boy child while they are in their family
>Sep 10
>Scripps Howard News Service
>Toronto Globe and Mail
>KATHMANDU, Nepal - They're the lepers of the late 20th century: young
>prostitutes suspected of carrying the AIDS virus, chased from their
>brothels, detained by police, ostracized by their own families.
>In Nepal's capital of Kathmandu, and in several Indian cities, 456
>prostitutes, including more than 100 children, have spent the past six
>months in forced custody, where they've been subjected to mandatory HIV
>tests and public ridicule.
>None has been charged with a crime.
>"You cannot find any worse succession of violations of basic rights," said
>Colin Gonsalves, a legal activist in Bombay, where the women were first
>detained. "They were kept in places worse than prisons for months and
>months and months. They were denied legal aid. They were denied proper
>Bombay police took the women and girls during a Feb. 5 raid on brothels
>that was ordered by the state court to clear the city of HIV-infected
>prostitutes and illegally employed children.
>During the first weeks of custody, six women died from what police said
>were AIDS-related causes such as tuberculosis.
>As the world tries to face up to a global crisis of child trafficking and
>commercial sex abuse, many child-rights activists say the "Bombay rescue"
>does little to curtail child prostitution, and often adds to the stigma of
>"It is far better to concentrate on prevention by working with the
>communities where most of them come from," said Gracy Fernandes, research
>director of Bombay's College of Social Work.
>A college survey of the detained prostitutes found that 41 percent said
>they wanted to return to their brothels.
>"They feel they will not be accepted by their families and their marriage
>prospects are slim," Fernandes said. "They feel their lives were ruined.
>They feel they really have no human capital in them."
>The survey also found that 20 percent of the detained prostitutes said they
>were under 18 years of age, and another 46 percent said they were between
>18 and 21.
>But Fernandes said the number of minors and children is probably much
>higher, as many girls overstate their age to avoid police harassment.
>And several prostitutes rounded up in the raids said in interviews that the
>younger girls in the brothels - some as young as 11 - were hidden by madams
>and pimps before police arrived.
>The raids were designed to collect only 456 girls and women - the number
>that could be accommodated in state-funded homes. (Prostitution is not a
>crime in India, although both soliciting and sexual contact with children
>under 18 are.)
>After a public uproar over the forced custody and conditions of the Bombay
>homes in which the women were held, the state government agreed last month
>to send 124 Nepalese prostitutes and four of their children back to their
>About 100 more Nepalese women refused to leave Bombay, telling counselors
>they intended to return to their places of work. However, a legal appeal by
>non-governmental organizations in Bombay to release the women was dismissed
>by a judge who accused the NGOs of helping brothel owners win the
>prostitutes' freedom.
>Most of the Indian prostitutes were moved to group homes in other cities,
>where conditions are so poor that in one home in Bangalore women rioted and
>smashed windows to protest the quality of meals, a daily diet of millet and
>The Indian courts responded by ordering state governments to increase the
>prostitutes' monthly food and care budgets to the equivalent of $40 a
>woman, from $20, the amount reserved for children.
>The random raids on three red-light districts were the first of their kind
>in Bombay. They followed an Indian press report in January that stated that
>65 percent of the city's estimated 70,000 prostitutes were HIV-positive.
>"I think the real motive of this raid was the HIV-AIDS scare," said Richard
>Young, a senior official with the United Nations Children's Fund in New
>Delhi. "It wasn't really motivated by a great concern for the girls."
>In Nepal, the repatriation launched an avalanche of public criticism as
>newspapers and politicians whipped up fears that Kathmandu would become an
>AIDS dumping ground for India's commercial-sex industry. An estimated
>100,000 Nepalese women and girls work in Indian brothels.
>"They are full of diseases but we can accept that," said Durga Ghimire,
>president of ABC Nepal, an agency caring for 28 of the repatriated
>prostitutes. "It is their right to return to Nepal, and if they return, we
>can give them good lives."
>Some Nepalese, however, fear that India will take advantage of the
>rehabilitation effort.
>"This is a very short-sighted, emotional reaction by these NGOs," said
>Harish Joshi, a dentist. "Maybe they can handle 100 girls, but what happens
>if India sends back 1,000 or 50,000? Will their families accept them? Will
>they go back to their old jobs? Probably."
>"People really have a problem with this issue. They don't see these women
>as victims," said Anjana Sakya, a women's-rights monitor at the
>Kathmandu-based International Institute for Human Rights, Environment and
>At ABC Nepal, Ghimire said most of the 28 women and girls in her care show
>signs of TB and anemia. She said about half are HIV-positive.
>Desperately short of funds, the seven Nepalese agencies caring for them
>have set out to provide temporary housing, HIV and AIDS counseling and
>skills training in fields such as tailoring and fabric painting.
>A stigma and public curses, however, trail many of the women and girls.
>In one Kathmandu halfway house, a teenaged girl named Devi cried
>frantically and clung to a door when her brother, appearing unmoved, came
>to collect her at the request of police. She pleaded with the home's
>managers not to let her go back to the village that had sold her into
>prostitution before she was 16.
>The managers said Devi could return to the halfway home as she wished, but
>that she should make peace with her relatives.
>Devi's friend Sunita, 18, figures she doesn't have the same choice. She was
>kicked out of her father's house five years ago only to land in a carpet
>factory and then in a Bombay brothel. She doubts anyone will come for her.
>"I know my father will not come," she said. "But I want to see him once to
>tell him what I went through."
Nancy Phillips, M.D. phone:(314)577-8782 Pathology fax:(314)268-5120 St. Louis University Hospital email: 3635 Vista Ave. St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA

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