The Nepal Digest - Nov 6, 1994 (3 Mangshir 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sunday 5 Nov 94: Mangshir 3 2051 BkSm Volume 33 Issue 4

  Today's Topics are:

          1. KURA_KANI:
                              Please, do not fool the people this time
                              Re: Caught Between Cultures: A True Story
                              Re: Women in Hinduism

          2. TAJA_KHABAR: News From Nepal

          3. KATHA_KABITA: Ke Vanchau

          4. Entertainment:
                              Humor - Politically Correct Dict.

          5. Article: The Girl Child

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********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 11:45:28 -0500 From: rshresth@black.clarku.edu (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Baghachal

  Hi!!
  
  I'm a mexican student with a problem:

  I have to learn how to play Baghachal (my teacher says that this game come from Nepal), I alredy have the rules of the game and what I need is some tips like how is better to start the game, it means, whats positions are better for the tigers and what for the rams?, how I can get most probabilities of win? and other things like that.
  I realy apreciate any help that you can give me.
  Please e-mail me
  dgarcia@campus.mty.itesm.mx
  al199875@academ01.mty.itesm.mx
  my project is programming the Baghachal in Scheme.

  Dante Garcia Hdz.

***************************************************************** From: Shailesh R. Bhandari <sbhandar@garnet.acns.fsu.edu> Subject: Hasya Kabita To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 14:17:39 -0500 (EST)

From: Shailesh Bhandari Florida State University Economics Department Tallahassee, Florida 32306
 
                             KE VANCHHOU ?

             Ramro jasto lagyo vane
                          Timi malai aa vana,
             Bachcha jasto lagyo vane
                                    jaa vana
             Kehi gari budho jasto lagyo vane
                          Timi malai Baa vana.

********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 4 Nov 94 20:02:55 CST From: sbshah@gumbo.bae.lsu.edu (Sanjay B. Shah) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Entry to the Pashupatinath Temple

I am fully in favor of permitting non-Hindus to enter Pashupatinath so long as they follow the same code of conduct that we Hindus observe. Surely Lord Shiva will not be defiled by their presence because He is above all of that. We Hindus are basically a tolerant and adaptive people at heart who believe in the saying "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam"(The World is a Single Family). We should it by our actions. The spinoff could come in the form of increased revenues that should not only be used for its beautification but also for the welfare of the poor. I am sure, this is more likely to succeed than the efforts of Pashupati Bikas Kshettra's efforts to gather donations. Sanjay Bikram Shah sbshah@gumbo.bae.lsu.edu

*********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 23:50:39 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu> Subject: Politically Correct Democractic Dictionary (fwd)
                                                                
        What follows is a piece of HUMOR, published in the in the Sunday Supplement of the Kathmandu Post (Sept. 18 '94). As far as I know, the satirist, who, for some odd reason calls himself AT, has no discernably political or personal axe to grind.
        
        AT claims that he wrote this only as an antidote to boredom on one lazy, 'Nepal Bandh' summer '94 afternoon in Kathmandu. At the outset, he would like to thank Pratyoush, Bikash T, Bikash R, Manisha, Surendra, Monica, Binod and Keshab for their contributions and witticisms over chiya, momos, pizzas and pakoras at various watering-holes of Kathmandu. Thanks also to Bikas J for lending his Mac Powerbook, in which AT says he finished the final version.

                "Politically Correct" Democractic Dictionary

        Editing stories at SPOTLIGHT, a weekly nesmagazine in Kathmandu, Mr. AT soon discovered that his knowledge of Nepali politics was as incisive as Sher Bahadur Deuba's grasp of diplomatic calculus -- you know, the ability to differentiate the Bhutanese refugees from integrating into Jhapa's population. [Last time AT checked, the London School of Economics, Deuba's alma mater, did offer courses on negotiations.]

        Superficially, AT could identify Ganesh Man as the Supremo who wanted to 'privatize' democracy on account of the leader's tyag, tapasya, sangharsha and bali-daan; Krishna Prasad as the paan-chewing National Uncle who's really a good-for-nothing guy; and Madhav Nepal as the person who gets pushed into heading the sexiest julus in Ratna Park... you know, with demonstrators killed, railings torn apart, vehicles smashed, stones hurled, telephone exchanges burnt, slogans chanted and so on.

        Up to a point, this sort of political understanding was more than enough for AT to sail through the Zee-TV-soaked gazal-restuarant-circuit of Kathmandu's gliterati, literati and political-ati. But pressed to probe deeper into the what's and the why's of Nepali politics at CNAS seminars and SCOPE workshops, AT used be as nervous as Kathmandu's carpet shaus -- the same ones who would rather hide their "dirty little secrets", well, literally under the carpet than face the German television.

        But thanks to AT's supposedly heavy-duty 'phoren' training, he set about learning the ABCs the Nepali politics with all the patriotic zeal of Nepali-Americans, who -- eyeing plum puddings of jobs in Cat.Man.Do -- had pleased, flattered and sweett-mouthed Girija Prasad Koirala on his visit to New York City in October '93. Afloat on such grand bureaucratic dreams, AT lit up a pipe and sat down to prepare a something-for-everybody, all-meaning-included, useful dictionary of Nepali politics. The result:

AID: 1) An acronym for "Always In Debt"
                     2) Something that clearly explains the gap among the rich,
                the newly-rich and the poor Nepalis.
                     3) Something to keep the donors' workers maintain their jobs
                at home.

ANTARGHATI: 1) Anyone who disagrees with the Supreme Leader.
                2) Any enemy, real or imaginary, of the Nepali Congress.
                3) A label used to blame anybody for anything for any reason.

ARUN III: 1) The governmemet's pet.
                2) The nation's debt.
                3) What some NGOs hate.
                4) But what really holds some other NGOs' fate.
                5) So what if it's getting late?

BP: 1) The man who dreamt too much.

BP ko sapana: 1) An excuse to name anything, that is, schools, hospitals,
                bridges, roads after BP.
                2) The post-prajatantra rival of "asiali maap-danda" and other
                meaningless slogans of the panchayat days.
                3) Today's replacement of "sri paanch ko mahabaani".
                4) What the down and out Nepalis see every night.

COMMUNISTS: 1) The real ones still left on the planet; current
                location: Nepal.
                2) Pujaris of Marx, Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Kim Il Sung,
                Gonzalo and Castro.
                3) Those who say, "Bad, bad, imperialist America! But I'm
                sending my sons there anyway [for college]!"
                4) Those who sing, "Everything we do, we do it with violence"
                5) Those who belt-out heavy-metal rock (that is, stone)
                concert in Ratna Park based on their album, "Appetite for
                Destruction".

DEMOCRACY: 1) A very, very good thing: Yeh cheez badi hai mast mast!!
                2) Better than panchayat
                3) Worse than panchayat
                4) A way to rule, NOT represent, people.
                5) The triumph of consumerism
                6) Corruption, chakari, chaplusi and afno karya-karta.
                7) The word donors love to hear.
                8) Brought by the patarkars, the TU Student unions, the
                politicians and the "Nepalese" in Amrika for the benefit
                of simple, humble ignorant Nepali janata.

ELECTION: 1) Do in Nepal as they do in Bihar.
                2) The currency which sells dreams and buys votes.
                3) Rigging, booth-capturing, violence and murder.
                4) Aya Ram; gaya Ram.
                5) A way to strengthen democracy?

INDIA: 1) "Bad, bad, bad country!"; but, hey, "great films"
                2) "Dhotiwal Murdabad!"
                3) India-Nepal bhai, bhai.
                4) Regional bully; domestic friend; political master.

[NEPALI] INTELLECTUAL: 1) Stockbroker of politics.
                2) See no research; hear no research; do no research
                3) Any holder of a PhD on any topic from any anywhere.
                4) Anybody who calls himself one, especially the editor of the
                Rising Nepal who starts every piece by, "We, the
                intellectuals . . . "
                5) Any jagir-wallah at the Royal Nepal Academy.
                6) Those who love to identify THEMSELVES on all occasions
                as "Dr."
                7) Those who earn their daily dal-bhat and Pajero-jeep-level
                social standing by working as consultants to foreign-aid
                projects, and then turn around to bemoan the effects of
                foreign aid on the "poor and the underprivileged".

JAILS: 1) High schools for Nepali politics.
                2) The place to give the PEEs -- Politics Entrance Exams --
                on which only those who have failed in everything else get
                honors.

JOURNALISTS: 1) Retailers of politics.
                2) Shopkeepers of politics.
                3) Those who can say anything, write anything and do anything
                and all because they also "brought democracy".

JULUS: 1) A source of part-time income for hundreds of unemployed
                youths.
                2) If all else fails, go join one: That way, you avoid
                the traffic jam in New Road.
                3) Something our politicians do with such consummate mess
                that should open up consultancies in Bosnia, Rwanda and
                Somalia.

NEPAL BANDH: 1) A great sacrifice.
                2) A great pain in the . . .
                3) Babu Ram Bhattarai's part-time job.

NEPALI-AMERICANS: 1) "Driven off by the Panchayat to the foreign
                land". Yeah, yeah!!
                2) Underachievers who can't do anything noteworthy in the
                US so they spent all their time worrying and discussing
                Nepal's problems as though they know all the answers.
                3) Those who preach democratic values to Nepalis in Nepal
                from such lofty locations as New York and DC.
                4) Those who make Nepal their tax-shelters by opening up
                health-posts and running (medical) camps, and get sugary,
                syrupy profiles in the pages of the Rising Nepal.
                5) A few nice folks who are hard-working, sincere and
                who genuinely love and respect Nepal and Nepalis, no
                matter what they do and where they are.

NEPALI JANATA: 1) Consumers of politics.
                2) Those who untiringly listen to "Everything I do, I do
                it for you" -- a kind of Bihari love-song, sung by ALL
                politicians.
                 NPC: 1) National Planning Commission.
                2) Planning, planning and planning: hey, where's the
                implementation?
                3) Dominated by "rational fools"?
                4) Forget theoretical economists of high intellect; it's
                full [to use Paul Krugman's phrase] policy-entrepreneurs
                who try to peddle prosperity by selling Congressi dreams.

PANCHAYAT: 1) A thirty-year nightmare.
                2) Corruption, chakari, chaplusi and afno manche.
                3) In Palace, we trust
                4) Better than democracy?

PATRA-PATRIKA: 1) Advertizers of politics
                2) Pamphlets of politics.
                3) See politics; hear politics and do politics.
                 POLITICAL PARTY: 1) Greater than the country, more important than the
                 Nepali janata.
                2) If you need a phone-line fast, what are you gonna open?
                3) When you CANNOT do anything in Nepal, you start one.
                4) When you want to do anything in Nepal, you start one.

POLITICIANS: 1) Producers of politics.
                2) Previous jail-occupants
                3) Those who "restored democracy", now fighting over
                the size of their share of the treasury-pie
                4) Those who indulge in gai-jatra 24 hours a day, seven
                days a week.

PRIVATIZATION: 1) Koirala-ization: that is, giving the firm to your
                friends or to your relatives.
                2) Indianization.
                3) Congressization, as in: "Congress is democracy; democracy
                is Congess". Sure!
                 SUPREME LEADER: 1) Ganesh Man Singh.
                2) Leader of all - - Master of none.

        Well, folks, this is the dictionary. The satirist AT hopes that his
'politically correct' lexicon has NOT offended any of you non-political Nepalis [whoever said "Man is a political animal" must have flunked his SLC] If it has not offended you, that's great! If it has, then, simply don't vote for AT in November.

        But frankly, AT doesn't care -- as long as he gets to keep that brand new phone-line in the name of his one-man Save-Us-From-Those-Who-Act-As-Though-Politics-Is-The-Only-Thing-Happening- In-Nepal (SUFTWHAATPISTOTHIN) Party!
                                
                                The End

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

*********************************************************************************************** From: mbhatta@sas.upenn.edu (Madhav Bhatta) Subject: THE GIRL CHILD To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu (Nepal Digest) Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 11:30:08 -0500 (EST)

I wrote the following article in 1990 for my school magazine "Bhanjyang". Since the issue of the status of women in Nepal has been the topic of discussion in THE NEPAL DIGEST for a while, I thought I send this article for the readers. My basic observations and views on the subject remain the same, but I must say in past few years I have acquired some new insights in looking at the problem and its causes. I also would interpret some of the observations differently. But I still think that the article is equally relevant and applicable today, and does reflect most of my views and concerns. Any individual born in Nepal or knows Nepal well must have the general sense of the existence of the problem. From this point, I think, we have three choices to follow: 1)recognize and accept the the problem and look for solutions, 2) continue to be in the state of denial, or 3) overanalyze the problem, thus in the process loose the sight of the real issue and deviate in a wrong direction. I hope we will make the right choice.
        Hopes and aspirations that came with the popular movement of 1990 remain unfulfilled; in fact it has been quite a disappointment. I am disheartened by the general direction in which the Nepali society is going in the name of progress and "modernization" in this particular issue of the status of women. For instance, in the rural areas of the country the tradition of dowry was not and is not a problem, but we Nepalis are good at imitations and mimicking others, and do not know when to stop. A recent development in the urban areas has been trying to bring home a bride with, if not a "house and car, just a refrigerator and motorcycle." I hope as we progress forward we can do better than this.

THE GIRL CHILD

Nepal, along with the six other SAARC nations, [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka], is celebrating 1990 as the "Year of the Girl Child". Considering the changing political environment of the country, this is the right moment to discuss the issue of bias against the girl child and the status of women in Nepal. It provides an opportunity to look into the problem, scrutinize the reasons behind it and suggest some solutions.
        Bias against the girl child is deeply rooted in the complex religious, social, cultural, political and economic set-up of Nepali society. The fact is, discrimination against the girl child exists in all levels of both rural and urban societies, and at different stages of the girl's life. Although the degree of bias varies in accordance with the social status and economic position of the family, the bias has been there since the beginning of our society and has continued to the present. It has seriously affected the nutrition, health, education, social status and economic position of the girl child. Poverty and Ignorance are the two major pillars supporting the problem and prolonging its existence.
        Nepali society is primarily a male-dominated one. People are poor, ignorant, traditional and conservative. Together with social, cultural and religious orthodoxy, economic backwardness and ignorance have exacerbated the problem. The morals, values and ideals of Nepali society are deeply modeled by Hindu traditionalism which gives first preference to the male child. First, it regards the son as being the preserver of the patrilineal name; second, the son is the one who performs all the last rites and rituals for the peace and salvation of deceased soul; and finally he is seen as support and security for the parents when they are old. That's is why people have a sense of humiliation and insecurity when they are sonless.
        In the domain of the male child, the girl child is always bound to live a life of bias and disadvantage. Bias against her begins in the womb of the mother, and continues throughout her life. Even her right to life has been violated. Amniocentesis, a medical diagnostic technology used for determining any genetic defect in fetuses, is being misused in one of the SAARC nations to determine the sex of the unborn. Out of 8,000 abortions carried out after the test, 7,999 were of female fetuses. Though this appalling statistics is not from Nepal, I cannot rule out the possibility of something similar occurring in here.
        The birth of a male child is a source of joy and happiness, whereas that of the girl child is a cause of melancholy or apathy at best to the family. Whenever a girl is born the parents blame their ill-luck and try again. Since the son is so important, the parents so not hesitate to have half a dozen or more girls before finally acquiring the son as a
'gift' from god. In the community I live, I know of not one but several such cases, and I have no hesitation in saying that every other community has the same story. With the economic condition of the average Nepali, you can imagine the sort of care and rearing these girls get. Obviously, the care and attention the male child gets far exceeds the girl child, and even her basic demands are neglected to over-protect his. It is a common observation that most parents are even reluctant to do a simple thing as immunize the girl child against such diseases as diphtheria, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, measles and whooping tough. They have "many better things to do than to waste time immunizing the girl child." People cannot understand that today's girls are tomorrow's mothers, and the future of the nation lies on them. If their health is improved, then the health of the future generation will improve. The foundation of mother-child health improvement should begin with the girl child. Conversely, a great care is taken to feed the male child on special diet because he is the true jewel of the family. No special attention is given to the girl child for she is somebody else's legacy and going to another home tomorrow. This may be offensive to some people, but everyday observation does reflect such attitudes very explicitly.
        The girl child has to help the mother to perform household tasks, whilst her brother enjoys a relative freedom and spends his time probably playing or gossiping with his other male friends. If the girl happens to be the eldest, then she is certain to be burdened with all the household chores including looking after the younger ones, cooking, fetching water, washing dirty dishes, cutting grass for cattle and many more, but would be the last one to enjoy good food, proper health care, education and above all, freedom.
        The girl child is often bonded to strict family regulations and social taboos when she reaches adolescence. Parents think of her as a liability; a potential threat to the family pride and prestige. At this stage of her, her every action needs to be explained, her every step has be reviewed She is not even allowed to laugh, talk or 'think' freely. She is under constant surveillance, for the obvious reason, whereas her male counterparts will spend a relatively carefree life. Given the scenario of our society, she will be the victim, as well as responsible for any missteps taken at this stage of her life and would have to bear the consequences throughout her life. Most girls are, thus, married at the age of 15-16.
        The bias continues on to her new home when she is married. Her household tasks continue with some additional responsibilities. As a daughter-in-law her life is even harder: dawn to dusk she has to perform her duties to satisfy her in-laws. The better she performs her duties, the better she is liked and loved. In the worst households, she is often harassed and haunted for not performing her duties properly and effectively.
        Most rural people perceive formal education for the girl child as irrelevant and unnecessary because they feel however educated she is, eventually she will have to work on the farm and look after her household. It is just a waste of useful labor, which instead can be harnessed to produce more food essential for survival. It is not entirely surprising for people to have such beliefs, since they have never seen women competing with men in any intellectual fields and have little formal education themselves.
        Even many of those able to understand the underlying importance of a girl's education are unable to meet the cost of educating any child. Education is only free at primary level, and in the realm of the male child it is hard to expect the girl child to be give priority. Instead she undergoes "technical" training at home, learning to be a perfect daughter-in-law. People argue that the girl child has no ability to do mathematics or learn English, when she spends most of her homework hours washing dirty dishes. Another factor hindering a girl's education is early marriage. Even in urban societies, I feel that the girl child is not given full opportunity to develop her talents, but is merely educated for the sake of securing an educated partner.
        Education for the girl child is vitally important for the socio-economic development of the country. It is impossible for a nation to progress when half of its population is illiterate and dependent on the other half. Women can contribute to the development of the country as well as men. Education can also greatly help to improve the health of the family. Population growth is a major problem of the world today and our country is no exception. The rate of population growth in our country is high, the fertility rate is high and the population control measures are not very successful. I see the education of the girl child as the most effective tool for making family planning projects successful and reducing the population growth significantly.
        The government should make education free for the girl child up the higher levels too. Most Nepali girls have only access to high schools, and for further education they would have to go to Kathmandu or other urban centers. Many parents naturally feel reluctant to send their girl child away for higher education, even if they can afford. Taking this fact into account the government should make a definite move to establish more higher educational institutions well within the reach of girls. It is most encouraging too see Budhanilkantha going co-ed from next year with the admission of girls at O-level. This initiative should have been taken long ago: girls have been denied education at the center of excellence for so long. [Since, 1991 there are about 100 girls out of about 600 students and the number is still increasing.]
        Our constitution states the son is the sole inheritor of the family assets. For the daughter to be eligible she should be unmarried and thirty-five years of age. Similarly, in our civil code a woman is considered as an object. If a woman leave her husband and elopes with another man, the first husband can ask for compensation from the new husband. Such flaws in the constitution should be immediately abolished, and the new constitution should grant equal rights and status to both men and women. [This information may be out dated; I do not know if there has been any changes in the new constitution in this regard.]
        Although traditions like "sati" no longer exist, the bondage of a widow's life reflects the persisting male dominance of our society. If a man's wife dies, within a few months he re-marries and leads a normal life. But why should a women live as a social outcast? What is wrong with her assuming a normal life, as a man does? These sorts of traditions have greatly undermine the status and the rights of women. These traditions support the view that woman's dignity is totally dependent on a man and she herself has no position alone in society.
        In Nepal, women's employment opportunities are very limited. This does not include the agriculture sector, from which most Nepalis make their living. Most women are concentrated in middle or low paying jobs, and very few prestigious jobs are held by women. Similarly, the number of women entering technical professions is limited. Though the wrong perception of women as incapable of such work is diminishing slowly, most women lack confidence and low self-esteem to enter such fields.
        In the past, programs launched by the government to raise the status of women have not been at all effective. Most of them have merely been cosmetic and an easy way to digest the budget. Taking lessons from past experience, now is the time for the government to adopt some more effective policies and programs. Women themselves should play a significant and positive role, especially the educated women who must recognize their special responsibilities and duties in carrying out this immense task of uplifting the status of women in Nepal.
        It is most encouraging to see that Nepal and other six SAARC nations have decided to celebrate 1990 as "The Year of the Girl Child"- but it is only the very beginning of the process.

Madhav P. Bhatta University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

*************************************************************************** From: mbhatta@sas.upenn.edu (Madhav Bhatta) Subject: "The 1990 Revolution" To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu (Nepal Digest) Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 14:38:20 -0500 (EST)

In his essay, "The 1990 Revolution" [Nepal in the Nineties, ed. Michael Hutt, Oxford University Press, 1994], Martin Hoftun writes "[s]o far I have used the word 'revolution' [to discuss the events that occured in 1990 and brought about the political changes in Nepal]. One may of course discuss whether this is appropriate to describe the political events of 1990 in Nepal and even more so, to describe what happened in 1951. Usually the word 'revolution' implies a major, violent, popular uprising which fundamentally changes the whole political order of the day. Violence was certainly present during the democracy movement in Nepal in 1990, and to a lesser degree it was also part of the 1951 events. However,it may be argued that the political changes were not of fundamental character in 1951 or in 1990, because the political dominance of one cultural and social elite survived both events."

Looking at the recent events that are transpiring in Nepal, I am seriously begining to question my own beliefs in the whether there was a real 'revolution' in Nepal. No doubt, at the aftermath of the uprising I certainly believed in the 'revolution'. But now it seems like we just helped few more groups of crooks to grab the power-pie, while most of the Nepali people are still suffering. All that has been achieved in the last few years is cynicism and hopelessness!!

What do you readers think of the situation?

Madhav Bhatta University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

*********************************************************************** To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@mp.cs.niu.edu> Subject: A New Thread

Here are the next series of articles under the topic. Reminders are once again posted:

--------------------------
           Caught Between Cultures: A True Story
           -------------------------------------

    If you would like to share how your views have affected your life,
    how it has changed you, personal choices you may have had to make,
    some bitter and some not so bitter experiences, personal values,
    your solutions to some of the concerns, your compromises and all,
    please send it under the above topic.

    For the sake of privacy, contributors have a choice to identify
    themselves, or use a fictitous name or use third pronoun as long
    as the stories are NOT fabricated.

    I am looking for TRUE STORIES of a Nepali's life being affected
    due to western influences - for the good or the bad (only you
    are the judge, jury and the client).

    I believe your experiences could be a valuable lessons for us to share!

    Following rules are to be implemented under this thread:

    1. This is just a vehicle to let some of the cross-cultural
       beliefs out.

    2. This is not a discussion for East Vs. West.

    3. Please refrain from judging other people. Stick to your experiences.
       Feel free to comment on others' experiences as long as you can
       refrain from judgment (I know its hard ..... your comments will
       be dropped if it insults others).

    4. Feel free to voice your oppinion if you think a particular rationale
       holds true or works for you.

    5. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT A LOT OF PERSONAL ISSUES ARE GOING TO BE
       EXPRESSED, BE SENSATIVE, BE UNDERSTANDING AND MOST IMPORTANTLY,
       LET US HOPE WE CAN LEARN SOMETHING AND COPE WITH OUR OWN
      "CAUGHT BETWEEN CULTURES" ISSUES.

-Sirdar_RJS_Khalifa
--------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 03 Nov 1994 12:45:47 -0500 (CDT) From: RKP6723@UTARLG.UTA.EDU Subject: Divorce To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu

Dear Editor,

I am glad to see the topic you introduced "Caught between cultures". I did contribute my early experience and I have some more to say about it, but there is something more important going on my mind that I want to say and ask all the members of TND.

Should married but very unhappy couple divorce? I was brought up with Idea that divorce is bad, and I was proud to say that divorce rate in Nepal is very low. Is divorce bad? Or is it fact of life? I hated divorce more than anybody because my parents were divorced in early 1987. It's almost been eight years. I was still non believer of divorce till yesterday, althogh good friend of mine was having a bad marriage in Nepal. He wanted to divorce and she wanted to divorce, but her parents would not let them do it. All Nepali knows why? The women's reputation goes down after the divorce. But the couple were not talking to each other not engaging in sexual activity, why should they stay married? Okay they can work out...I am looking divorce in a positive way after I heard a Nepali woman cried and spit out her sorrow. Her husband treats her like dirt. She said they fight everyday. He wants to go to school so she has to work two jobs to support the family. He can go out drinking with his buddies but she has to stay home after hard days work and cook for him. She has done that for years but now she is wore out and unhappy and depressed. Now I am thinking to myself why should she stay with him? Then I asked her why should you stay with him? She answered in a sad and tormented voice, he is my husabnad and I have nowhere else to go. She is a Nepali woman, she does not believe in divorce because she thinks that there is no life after divorce.

Thank You

Robin Pandey Arlington, TX

********************************************************************** Date: 05 Nov 94 19:25:04 EST From: William Leal <73131.3554@compuserve.com> To: Nepal Digest Submissions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Submission

I read the Nepal Digest through my wife's e-mail account, but wanted to make a submission of my own. I appreciate the Digest and am grateful for the people who have kept it up year after year.

I have seen a wide range of topics discussed in the Digest, but have seen few submissions discussing religion. Nepal is of course traditionally Hindu, though there are also Buddhists, Moslems and Christians. At least until recently it was illegal for a person to convert from Hinduism, and although I think that has loosened up in recent years, I believe it is still illegal for one person to influence another for conversion. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on the exact legal situation at this moment.

At any rate, my point is that there has been a surprising growth of Christianity in Nepal recently. A friend who returned recently from Nepal told the account of an anthropologist--a thoroughly secular individual--who, upon returning to the place where he did his original research, found the area almost totally converted to Christianity. There are many more Christian churches now in Nepal than there ever have been, and attendance at one in Kathmandu (in multiple services on Sunday) runs as high as 800 or 900. Others in more remote areas run a couple hundred to as much as 700. To my knowledge, no exact survey has been taken on the subject. The interesting thing about this growth is that it has occurred almost completely without the involvement of foreigners. In other countries, missionaries played a key role in the spread of Christianity; in Nepal, as in China, where there has been a large growth of Christianity, official restrictions on religious activity have meant very little foreign involvement. So the growth has been the result of one person telling another.

Political reforms aside, it remains in most cases difficult to leave Hinduism and become a Christian. At the grass-roots level there is much pressure for a person to remain a Hindu. People who choose to become Christian frequently experience rejection, physical abuse, the loss of their inheritance and sometimes imprisonment.

Different people will respond to this report differently. Anyone who is interested in the free development and growth of the individual, as would characterize many of the readers of the Nepal Digest, will no doubt be glad that apparently it is becoming easier for people to make their own choices instead of being forced to do just as their families dictate. Naturally, this tends to disrupt traditional patterns in the family and community, and can contribute to a certain degree of instability in the country. A partisan Christian will be glad at the news while a partisan Hindu will find it unfortunate. I expect this report to stir up some discussion in the Digest.

As always, continue your good work with the Nepal Digest. Yours,

Bill Leal 73131.3554@CompuServe.Com

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 04 Nov 1994 17:03:23 EST To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu From: Nirmal Ghimirez <NGH42799Q236@DAFFY.MILLERSV.EDU> Subject: women in hinduism

 I saw the remarks I had made in last isssue, and apologize for my simple and careless mistakes. I have sometimes double written and it was sometimes due to my lack of knowledge of the computer. This time Iwillnot try to make those mistakes.Iam sorry if I troubled anyone dur to this. While I am not yet throughcommenting on Mr. Mishra's article.I know that the truth should be told and exposed,but only what is true and not the exaggerated stuff. As, I told before the title itself is misleading.Many people have viewed it as how women are represented in Hinduism. To clarify the status of women in Hinduism,and how some people have used it to their advantage is another thing.To make sure that there is no confusion I am stating this.Mr. Mishra writes we should mercilessly analyze, which is very true and a very positive approach. But, to analyze one should understand the roots of causes and meaning of it. Things should not be exaggerated .And to analyze rationally is another important factor. Taking few issues cannot be counted for the whole of it.

I went through Mr. Mishra's ,"Women in Hinduism (6)".The comments on that. He states that most of the marriages are just for the sake of bringing home a cook, a caretaker. Hinduism clearly states that marriage is a relationship between two opposite sex,and both have the equal share. It is unfortunate that many male chauvinist misuse it and overpower the female.But that is not what Hinduism states. But how many really only marry for the purpose of bringing someone just for the sake of help. I guess it is few,as far as I have seen. I don't think parents bring in daughter in law for their interest.They want the happpiness of their son , so he marries. Parents do not have a selfish motive behind it.Second thing that he states is that they look for virgin and chaste girl. What is bad of that. What is bad in remaining a virgin? Now even in West people are realizing the importance of abstinence
"Hinduism" does not focus much on sense pleasure as sex. He says that from childhood he, the male thinks about this.I don't know how many do. For we realize about sex much later than other part of the world. For our society has never focussed so much on sex abd things seem to be going alone fine. As far as virgin goes,I wguess it is good if you canmaintain it with your wish and understanding.That does not mean that evryone should be one, but if one thinks that to be better So, we do not have big problems with abortion,and other sex diseases. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying everyone should remain a virgin but that remaining virgin also has its plus points.He further states regar ding the girls education,"For parents thought the boys wanted college going girls on top of everything else,torun household." I do not think it is so. Parents give their children education to make them independent and to make them literate.They understand the value of education and make them do so.Since the house is run by both, both work and earn for the same purpose. I think it is a positive step.Now,slowly they are taking all kinds of jobs and in higher positions which is good. And besides that if they cook out of their interest what is the harm. Cooking is a art that many enjoy. It is just that it should not be done as obligation or force but out of interest.I know that Dowry is a big and bad problem increasing as time.But,it is not part of Hinduism that does this. It due to some people.Mr. Mishra must have observed a lot of this in India,but that does not mean that he can conclude that this is due to Hinduism.

He further states,"The mission of their lives becomes compromising and satisfying the family." I guess everyone sometimes in life somewhere compromises with life. As long as one feels satisfied in what one is doing I think it is good. One should not do it by force or compulsion. If someone ones to sacrifce by his or her wish I do not seeany negative in it. Maybe she does it becasuse of her wish. Maybe she finds satisfaction on that. For it is not easyto sacrifice and some may take it as a challenge. As faras marriage goes, every culture has its own tradition. It is neverstarted in Hinduism that you must accept the boy your parents choose. Sita and Draupadi infact chose by themselves .But I know we are talking about common people.As far as Ican rationalize, arranged marriages are largely based on faith.Meaning that parents choose the best boy theythink for their daughter. If they are inb love then many do understand nowdays,otherwise many try to look for the best mate for their daughter.They only give her after they believe they know a lot about the boy and feel comfortable that their daughter will like it. They do ask their daughters.I am talking about the positive progress.Faith is beyond reason, so it takes place on faith, it is not gambling but believing. And most of the maarriage are successful and they have a satisfied married life. Our society itself shows that our problem is not our culture or our religion. It is our ig norance, and selfishness.Thinking that if both are of same culture,and same background they understand each other better, they generally want them to get married in the same caste.Which I think is throughout the world. Here also many Americans marry Americans and Afro-Americans marry Afro-Americans. Similarly in different cultures usually they are married to their same culture. There is nothing bad in it ,if it is not forced and if both mutually agree.Marriage in Hinduism is the union of two with shared and equal relationship. In the old days males went for farming or hunting, while the females stayed in home to take care of children and the house. But both are doing it for their commitment for their family and for each other. Now, time has changed and if both go to work for the same purpose,I don't see what is wrong regarding this in Hinduism.He states
"arranged marriage gives you everything ,but where is the human being?" Both human beings are getting married and becoming one family. They have their future and both can plan and move. It is a relationship between two humans.Bothhave more support from each other and a true friend in the journey of life.So it looks like a decent journey.I will continue my discussion later on. I agree that womwn are not treated as they should in many paths of the world. And it is still very bad in our part of the world. WE all must certainly work towards this. Things are improving is the positive point. But exaggerating facts and blaming religion for that is not the path.It is the attitude that has to change.Our thinking has to change.I still firmly believe that "Hinduism, is a great source which shows a great respect for women as no other religion does, it is due to some people during some people who spoilt the system, but Hinduism is firmin its saying as before. " I hope many are not getting boredd.My rest comments will come soon.
 
************************************************************************** Date: 04 Nov 1994 13:55:56 EST To: <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: "Chitra K. Tiwari" <74641.3624@compuserve.com> Subject: Free and Fair Election??

While no one had believed that there would be free and fair elections in Nepal, Prime Minister G.P. Koirala, nonetheless, was paying lip-service to it until couple days earlier. But now his promise of a free and fair election has proved to be baloney. How come?

Reports from Nepal say that Mr. Koirala is abusing official resources at the cost of tax payers (or, say at the cost of foreign aid bearers). In violation of the Code of Conduct of Elections, the Koirala government is misusing the Radio Nepal, the Nepal TV, the Gorkhapatra, and the Rising Nepal. These media are made official organ of Nepali Congress.

The government, in another violation of Code of Conduct, which was accepted by all national level parties, has transferred 9 medical doctors to Koirala's constituency in Sunsari district. Official vehicle's license plates have been changed with phony private license plates and these vehicles are used to transport NC party's election campaign materials and campaign workers.

The most disturbing of all the violations is PM Koirala's blatant misuse of the Royal Nepal Army facilities for election campaign. Helicopters are regularly flown in districts with army barracks--40 of them in total. The PM goes there in the pretext of inspecting army barracks but makes campaign speeches outside the barracks during the so-called "refreshment hour."

As of the first week of November Mr. Koirala was hooted and heckled in every districts he went by helicopter. Angry mobs even hurled rocks in some places at the helicopter.

Koirala's misuse of army facilities have raised several questions: First, Koirala is preaching the lessons of democracy riding the back of the army. His campaign speeches reflect desperation. He is creating a bogey of political instability in the event of NC's defeat. In one of the campaign speech in Nepalgunj he warned the people that chaos and instability will prevail in Nepal if NC was not brought back to power. He is, thus, creating a fear psychology in the mind of the ordinary people.

What is he trying to communicate by saying this? Is he implying that the leftist alliance is not capable of ruling the country? Or is he saying that he and the king will not peacefully transfer the power to the other party or parties? After all he is riding on the back of praetorian guards, his message has dangerous indications. Is he going to act like Burmese dictators, or alternatively, is he going to behave like Indonesia's Suharto in obliterating the communist party? After all Koirala group has all along believed in the so-called "aidit formula" borrowed from Indonesia, and he appears to apply "Suharto formula" to get rid of communists in Nepal. If Koirala opts for either of these two scenario, the first casualty will be the institution of monarchy. Marich Man had become a catalyst in the downfall of Panchayat; Girija is becoming instrumental in throwing away the monarchy. It may be a good news for the Republican, though.

Secondly, why are the army generals letting him use the army facilities on the eve of elections? Is it appropriate for the army which is entrusted to carry ballot boxes all over the country in order to ensure election security, also to carry a partisan candidate to make campaign speeches on its helicopter? The army officers know that it is against the Code of Conduct of Elections. But still they are bulldozing. They have openly and blatantly involved in politics. This is not a good sign for the healthy growth of democracy in Nepal.

Now some questions to army generals: What are you doing there? Why did you have to organize army fuctions at this eleventh hour of elections? What were you doing earlier? Why did not you arrange the inspection of your barracks by PM couple months earlier? Why are you being used for this neo-fascist cause? Did'nt you know that your involvement in politics in favor of a corrupt neo-fascist group will invite civil disorder in the country? Don't you think that you will lose your respect--a respect that you had earned by being neutral in the past in politics? Are you, unconsciously, flexing your muscle for a civil war on belalf of neo-fascists? These are summaries of various questions raised by attentive public.

Why are these generals supporting Girija? Girija's HANUMANS have it to say that he is the Defense Minister and as such he has right to use army facilities to attend "military functions." Hey, does it make any sense to sensible people? Who do you think you are fooling? Yes, he has right to attend army functions, but he has no right to make campaign speeches out side of the army barracks when he is using official helicopters paid for by the tax payers and foreign aid bearers money.

The reason why these Generals of the army are supporting the Koirala faction of the NC is to put themselves in safeside. UML leader Man Mohan Adhikary's declaration to send all Bhrastacharis behind bars has shaken the corrupt generals of the army. While everybody talks about corruption in other branches of the government, very few talk about the corruption that goes on inside the army barracks because ordinary people have no access there. It may not be out of place here to remind that a General named Yogendra Pratap was recently fired and forced to pay back 97 lakh of embezzled money.

Moreover, less than three weeks before the election, in order to appease the army officers and ultimately to make use of them, Koirala violated yet another code of conduct by creating two positions of Lt. General and promoted two officers. As a result of this promotion, there was about 60 promotions in the chain of command.

General Sahibs, are you paying your tribute to Koirala for these promotions by providing him helicopters? But watch out, you will be billed for the cost of operation of the helicopter and all the refreshments. Remember, the army is created to defend the people and country from foreign invasion. Your participation in partisan politics violates the sanctity of military organization. The violation of this norm will lead to civil disorder some day. In that situation, will you kill your own brothers and sisters? And do you want to be relegated to police function of maintaining internal law and order. Thin about it, General Sahibs.

I would also like to make a note on NC President K.P. Bhattarai's utterances at recent campaign rallies. He spoke in one of the rallies in Eastern Nepal that the NC govt. is contemplating to provide old-age pension to persons aged 60 and above. Oh, really! Is not it a cheap campaign shot in desperation? Which government in the near future can do this? Where would they bring money to institute old-age pensions? About 15 per cent of the 20 million Nepalis are aged over 60. This means approximately 30 lakh Nepalis are over 60 years of age. If a nominal amount of Rs.500 is paid out to one person, it will cost the tax payers a staggering sum of 18 billion rupees per year. And everyone knows Nepal's annual budget is just twice that amount. Bhattaraiji, you have lied several times in the past. Please do not try to fool people this time.
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