The Nepal Digest - November 26, 1996 (10 Mangshir 2053 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Tuesday 26 Nov 96: Mangshir 10 2053BS: Year5 Volume56 Issue4

Today's Topics:
                          Nepal News
                          A love poem
                          Adjective hurling critics
                          Volunteer Opportunities in Nepal
                          Michigan State University introduces Nepal Program
                          Hong Kong: Gurkha Farewell
                          Subject: essays for TND sent from Kathmandu

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: RJP Singh *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh B. Shrestha *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
 * *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 12:14:11 -0400 To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Nepal News

Thapa slams UML (Source: Kathmandu Post) By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Nov 21 - The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa today lashed out at the opposition CPN-UML, saying that it was trying to destabilize the current political situation by utilizing its easy money to buy members from other parties in its favour.
   In a press statement issued Thursday, Thapa accused leaders of the main opposition with accepting corruption as natural even as they talk much in public about idealism and morality.
   "Lately, UML and other party leaders have levelled serious corruption charges against RPP leaders, which has hurt us very much," Thapa said. "We have taken these allegations as a challenge to RPP leadership."
   The RPP chief said it is crystal clear before all that the CPN-UML during its nine months in power institutionalized corruption both at macro level and on an extensive scale and amassed massive fortunes.
   Fortunes worth hundreds of millions accumulated through corruption, horse trading aimed at disrupting political stability and the flaunting of property amassed throught unfair means amount to nothing less than the face of corruption, he added.
  The aristocratic life-style, modern bungalows, Japanese motor vehicles, etc now flaunted by a leadership that arose from among dedicated the committed party workers leading their hard lives would only have been possible through corruption, said Thapa.
  Thapa's statement comes at a time when rumours were rife that UML was negotiating a coup in alliance with the RPP to bring down the coalition and form a new one at its own leadership.

Nepal enjoys trade surplus with Germany (Source: Explore Nepal) By EN Reporter

  Germany is the biggest export market for Nepalese products. Export to Germany in the fiscal year 1994/1995 amounted to Rs. 6550 million, that is 36.6 percent of total export earning of Rs. 17927 million.
   Nepal enjoys favourable trade balance with Germany. Nepal imported goods equivalent to Rs. 1748 million from Germany during the same period. Chairman of Nepal German Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dibyamani Rajbhanadari says the main export to Germany from Nepal is carpet which declined after the 1993. To sustain carpet export to Germany we have to control quality, initiate promotion activities and guarantee the removal of child labour in the carpet factory, he strerred.
   There are other exportable items in Nepal such as garment, medical oil, power, leather, handicrafts and jewellery, he says adding this is the age of competition so we should give attention in quality and professional expertise. Mr. Rajbhanadari suggests that government should make the law easier to invest and the shortcomings in investment policy should be removed.
   According to him hydro-power is one of the main sector where German can invest which can be exportable to India and Tibet. Assembling industries and tourism development sector can be equally fruitful for Nepal, he maintains.
   After the restoration democracy the Nepali Congress government initiated of liberal economic policy but the investment has not been poured as expected. His Majesty's government has focused its attention on economic diplomacy but the work has not been done in accordance with the policy, he says.
   Export to Germany increased from Rs2779 million in 1990/991 to a record high of Rs. 8354 million in 1994/95. Nepal exported more than 30 different products to 59 countries in 1994/95. Decline in the export of carpet is the sole reason for decrease in export to Germany in the last few years. Carpet alone constitutes nearly 96 percent of the total export to Germany.
   Nepal exported 2.89 million sq mts. of carpet to the world market at value of Rs. 7703 million and Germany alone has bought 2.30 million sq.mts. (value at Rs. 6246.1 million.) Total carpet export had gone down by 12.90 percent in 1994/95 in comparison to 1993/94 export of 3.32 million sq.mts.
   Import of German goods into Nepal is limited. In 1994 out of Nepal's total import worth of Rs. 64500 million only 2.7 percent (value at Rs. 1748 million) came from Germany. Nepal imported more than 100 different products from 57 different countries in the same period.
   Export to Germany from Nepal besides carpet includes handicrafts, silver jewellery, garments, leather, wooden and bamboo goods, lentils, tea. Essential oils of herbs and aromatic plants. Joint venture companies have started to export micro transformers and high value garments and knitwear to the German market. Nepal imports mainly industrial raw materials, chemicals, machineries, equipment and parts, electric and electronic goods, vehicles from Germany.
   As of December 1995, number of approved Nepal German joint venture projects was fifteen. Among them six were in operation, one under construction five were granted license and three were approved. Authorized capital of the projects in operation was Rs. 165.09 million.
   Established with the objective to promote Nepal German economic activities specially in trade, industry and tourism. NGCCI has extended all possible support to Nepalese and German Business community to realize existing business potentials, Mr. Rajbhandari informed.
   German President Roamn Herjog is visiting Nepal next week and a group of businessman and a group of businessmen is coming with the German president and the meeting with them will be fruitful to attract investment and promote trade between the two countres.

CIAA orders IGP Bohra to explain his position (Source: Kathmandu Post) By a Post Reporter

KATHMANDU, Nov 20 - The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has ordered the Inpector General of Police (IGP), Motilal Bohra, to explain his position regarding a complaint of 'corrupt activities' against him recently filed with the Commission. A source at the CIAA told The Kathmandu Post today that the order, sent a couple of days ago, has already been received by Bohra. The CIAA's order, demanding clarifications, is based on a complaint believed to be from police officers which alleges Bohra owning property and other valuables disproportionate to his known source of income. The complaint, said the source, accuses the IGP of violating the law for his personal interest. "He constructed a mansion worth millions in Achham, his home district, another house in New Baneswor (Kathmandu) and has purchased a big plot of land in Budhanilkantha," the source quotes the complaint as alleging. The complaint also says that the IGP has purchased land in Biratnagar, Chitwan, Birgunj and Kailali.

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 12:14:11 -0400 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: (Namita Kiran) Subject: al ove poem

A love poem

Sitting across from you I look at your qivering hands so close but so far away so near but miles apart

I lean forward, trying to tell you but the reality checks in a cold draft ...
"ma'm shall I tell you today's special?"

Silence. Empty plates. I look into your eyes very quiet but tells volume

I hear you talking but I am not listening I am in my own reverie in a different time zone light years away

I am waking up with you. I am walking along with you in the midst of swirling fog I am listening to your whispers
"I love you, I love you, I love..."

"Coffee or tea?" The rude awakening
"No, thanks. Just the check please" you are signing off and I feel - also my life, my world
 and my soul

Goodbye. Au voir. Till we see next time...

Namita Kiran

******************************************************************* Subject: Looking for info on education To: Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 13:16:25 -0500 (EST) Forwarded by: "Rajesh B. Shrestha" <rshresth@BBN.COM>

Hello, I'm looking for any inofrmation re primary/secondary education in Nepal, or the Educational System (history/analysis/critique etc.), or any data on education in Nepal .... in terms of resource people, journal articles, books, other publications, or even a book/article list .... any response or materials would be helpful. Thank you. Sajeev Rana

********************************************************************* Date: Wed, 20 Nov 96 22:11:09 EST From: Seira Tamang <> Subject: adjective hurling critics To: Nepal Digest <>

This is in response to Ashutosh Tiwari's rejoinder (in 10/6/96 TND for those wh o are trying to follow - I can't do the whole quoting directly thing cos it is too high-tech) to my critique (in 8/10/96 TND) of his "generational essay"
(8/7/96). I apologize for taking so long, part of that excuse being that I was
 trying to track down the "generational essay" so I could remember the intricac ies of the target at which I hurled my adjectives. Having re-read the article again, I understand what Ashutosh is trying to do, ie bring to light the genera l differences that appear to be emerging between the how the "old politicians" and new "Nepali professionsals" conceptualize and mediate the political. Howev er, I understood this before. My critique of his piece, was not to hurl anythi ng - especially of a slanderous nature, but to merely engage in this debate

as a means with which to further conversation. Re-reading his piece, I still think that it paints too simplistic and dichotomous a picture, which as an orie nting piece is useful but can be misleading. I believe I was forwarding the debate (contrary to Ashutosh's response) by taking it a step further and proble matizing the dichotomy and bringing out the difficulties in "older generation"= bad, "new generation" = good dichotomy which I thought was the overall TAKE HOM E MESSAGE - there were no nuances in that "generational essay" to suggest that Ashutosh had taken into account that which he then states he did in his rebutta l to my response - ie, it was not at all clear that he was aware that "every professional of the old generation in Nepal is necessarily bad". This is not to say that I thought he did not know this - it is just to say that his essay did not convey this message. So my response was meant to push the boundaries o f this analysis. Furthermore, I had never branded his as being "intolerant".

What I did say was the the "hubris of the author of the "generational essay" ON BEHALF OF THE "young professional" side of the dichotomy" - which fa r from branding Ashutosh "intolerant" was couched in such a manner as to a) poi nt out the dangers of good/bad dichotomies and b) warning OUR WHOL GENERATION A S A WHOLE (myself included), not to let pride and hubris lull us into complance ncy and/or claiming the higher moral ground. Consequently,I read my piece as
 not closing the debate but introducing nuances so as to complicate the dichotomy and thus allow us to take the debate in more meaningful directions. Now, I had admitted when using my Goldhagen/Holocaust analogy that I was teeter ing on "overstretching" and I had put in my caveat that I was in no way compari ng the Holocaust to any of Nepal's or our experiences ( a caveat which an earli er respondant had missed) - but it seems my TAKE HOME message was missed - so it appears that both Ashutosh and I have failed as writers. As an alternative to accusing people of "interpreting the text way too loosely" I apologize for not being clear and indeed for using an analogy laden with emotional and distur bing imagery. Perhaps my perchant for "one sided, personal, negative character
-stretching" has clouded my ability to think in non-provocative terms. Seira

******************************************************************* Date: 21 Nov 1996 13:08:40 EST To: Nepal <> From: "Gregory D. Bullion" <104111.3341@CompuServe.COM> Subject: Information Request

Dear Sirs:

My 5 year old son's kindergarden class is studying geography in a very unique way. They are following a pair of cats called the "Scaredy Cats" around the world. The "Scaredy Cats" are a pair of blue and yellow cats. This is make believe because these cats are only toy cats.

The children learn about our world when the "Scaredy Cats" send them a post car d from a particular country or place. The post card is usually post marked in that country. On the card the "Scaredy Cats" write a short note about what they are doing in that country. Mrs Synder, the childrens teacher, helps the kids find the country on the globe and talks about that country. The kids really learn a lot about our world and have fun in the process.

You can help by sending the kindergarden class a post card to the following address:

        Messiah Luthern Kindergarden
        7211 Stellhorn Road
        Fort Wayne, IN 46815, USA

On the card please write a short note about something you might do in your country. The note might be something like this:

        "We are having fun in (insert the name of your country). We saw
        (insert something that is fun to see). The weather here is (insert the
        type of weather you currently have). Love, Yellow Cat and Blue Cat.

Thank you for helping. Perhaps you might not be the appropriate person to send a post card. If not, then please send me the address of the person(s) who is o r forward my e-mail message to them. Thank you again for helping the children i n my son's kindergarden class to learn about the world!

                        Dale and Tracy Bullion
*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 23:17:26 PST To: From: "Earl H. Parrish, M.D." <"eparrish "> Subject: Volunteer Opportunities in Nepal

Dear Info/Nepal

I and my wife have been going to Nepal at least once per year to offer volunteer reconstructive plastic surgery to the Nepalese people. We generally work at Patan Hospital, but we also work at TUTH. From time to time we take non=medical personnel with us and they usually want to volunteer their services at other sites outside the hospital setting.

In February of this year we will again be at Patan Hospital. We are bringing with us a retired, but very active, former High School teacher and counselor. Do you have any ideas for a volunteer position for him?

He is tentatively planning to work with the Missionaries of Charity of Nother Teresa of Calcutta.. I am sure he would like to hear of any other possible jobs that he could do as a volunteer.

I thank you for your advice and assistance in this matter.

Sincerely Earl H. Parrish, MD

********************************************************** Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 19:29:30 -0500 To: The.Nepal.Digest.<> From: (Alpha Amatya) Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - November 22, 1996 (6 Mangshir 2053 BkSm)

> I was wondering if there was anyway possible for you guys to send my
subscription to Nepal digest as a file.The email system we have in school doesn't let me read large documents if it is not received as a file.I am so tired of getting only half of the Digest all the time. Thanking you, Alpha

****************************************************************** From: (Elizabeth M. King) Subject: ganesh himal To: Date: Fri, 22 Nov 1996 08:57:58 -0600 (CST)

I was in Nepal in 1993 and learned of the Ganesh Himal lead zinc mine that was attempting to start production, depending on funding from the UNDP. On my subsequent trip to the country, I heard nothing of the mining operations there. Does anyone know the status of the project? did it get funding, is it still exploring or did it give up? I would appreciate any news any one has about it.


******************************************************************** From: karma@MIT.EDU To: Subject: The newly elected GBNC Council Date: Fri, 22 Nov 1996 15:01:09 EST

The Greater Boston Nepali Community (GBNC) hosted its annual Dashain Party on Oct 26 at MIT. The party was attended by some 250 Nepalis and friends of Nepal from various parts of the northeast. The annual election for the GBNC council was also held at the same event. The newly elected council members are :

        President: Bhupesh Karki
        Vice-President: Raju Pradhan
        Secretary: Prabhat Adhikari
        Treasurer: Rabi Karmacharya
        Members: Sri Krishna Pandey
                        Ramona Chitrakar
                        Kiran Manandhar
                        Sabeen Bania
                        Anoop Shrestha
                        Sanjay Singh Karki
                        Dilip Parajuli
                        Bibek Chapagain
                        Rajesh Shrestha
                         Besides the annual social gatherings, this year we have undertaken the hosting of the ANA Convention in July 1997. We have already started working on making this event a memorable one for all the participants.

Rabi Karmacharya GBNC Council

************************************************************* From: aiko <gs07aaj@panther.Gsu.EDU> To:

Hello! This is for all you students out there: if you are on the quarter system like me, we are almost finished and we can relax for a month or so. Great isn't it!! If U are all on semester system, well, hang in there, you don't have that much longer, and at least you have two major holidays to break the monotony!!(Smile!) Well, this has been a very interesting quarter for me as I have just begun my Master's in the Women's Studies Program, and I would like to put a question to all of you - males and females - and ask how your grammar and high school experiences were both in Nepal and in the U.S. or Britain(assuming some of you went to grammar and high school in the U.S. or Britain). For the women, how were the attitudes of your male classmates and teachers towards you? Were there attempts to steer you away from "male-dominated" courses like Maths and Sciences? Was there a difference in the way boisterous, loud female students were handled and boisterous, loud male students? Do you feel the education you received was equal to what the boys received, or. . .? Any opinions would be gladly welcomed. I enjoy a lively debate! Traditionalists, modernists, and moderates, welcome all! Anne Joshi

****************************************************** Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 13:21:00 -0700 (MST) From: Mohan Dangi <> To: Subject: Request

To The Editor Nepal Digest

Dear Sir,
        Thank you very much for listening my last concern about getting Nepal Digest directly to me and up to us. Beside that, I have some more concerns that I want to share with you or anybody who have ideas about these concerns:

i.) First of all, I want to know more about the opening positions that you have posted in Nepal Digest for TND executive officers, Board of trustee members as well as other openings. Would please tell me the required qualification, post-description and selection critaria which you need for the selection of these vacant posts! And also would you tell me person's location would matter or not.

ii.) Secondly,I want to talk about our Nepalese friends who are in Russia and other part of former USSR. I know we frequently share our cultures and ideas with our Nepalese brothers and sister throughout the world, the example of which is Nepal Digest. Most of the time I see people from Nepal and rest of the world, but I don't see anything about our Nepalese brothers and sisters in Russia. Is there anyway that we can keep in touch through e-mail or some other system with them? Anyone who have idea about it, would you please write me!

iii.) I know there are number of Nepalese in Australia around Sydney and other parts of the continent. Since past few years, I have been trying to get hold of some of my friend from Amrit Science College who are currently in Australia, but I could not. I am sure they have e-mail address. For instance, I have been trying to find Upendra Singh's address. If anyone please who have better ideas of how to find right person properly in Australian network system, let me know. Please let me also know Upendra's address if anyone knows.
        Thank you again, we have been appreciated with your help!

Sincerely Mohan
*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 10:44:21 -0600 To: From: (Anil Shrestha) Subject: Michigan State University introduces Nepal Program

Michigan State University, East Lansing is introducing "Spring semester in Nepal", a part of its multidisciplinary studies under the Office of Study Abroad Program. The University already has programs in a number of countries, but the Nepal program is being introduced from Spring Semester 1997. The academic program is designed for students from all majors. Majors in social siences, food and natural resource systems, rural development and environment will particularly benefit from the program. The program will be based in Pokhara with classes in the Institute of Forestry and Prithivi Narayan Campus. The introductory and wrap-up program will be held in Kathmandu. The program also includes field trips to places such as the National Park at Chitwan and other places. In spring '97 the program will run from January 16-March 27. According to official sources, there are 24 students (a big number for a new study abroad program)leaving for Nepal this January. This program is also open to students from other Universities. Additional information on this program can be obtained from: Office of Study Abroad 109 International Center Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1035, USA Phone: 517-353-8920 Fax: 517-432-2082

I personally wish the program a good success and the students going there a very exciting and rewarding stay.

***************************************************************** Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 14:23:12 CST To: From: MEENA SHARMA <> Subject: namaste

Dear Sir/Madam

I am seeking some information on Nepal to complete my paper on "Media in Nepal". I a student at University of North Alabama doing my graduation on Radio/TV/Film production.

I need information on media in Nepal, especially electronic media. I would appreciate if you can provide me any information related to the subject.

I hope to hear you soon. Thanks Meena Sharma

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 18:00:51 -0600 To: From: Nischal Shrestha <> Subject: Taylor Series.

        Who invented the Taylor Series? Someone might say Brook Taylor(1685-1731). But he did not. James Gregory was already working with Taylor series when Taylor was only a few years old, and he published the Maclaurin series for tanx, secx,tan(inverse x), and sec(inverse x), ten years before Maclaurin was born.
        Nicolaus Mercator discovered the Maclaurin series for ln(1+x) at about the same time. Taylor was unware of Gregory's work when he published his book
'Methodus incrementorum directa et inversa' in 1715, which contained what we now call Taylor series.
        Maclaurin quoted Taylor's work in a Calculus book he wrote in 1742. The book popularized series representations of functions and although Maclaurin never claimed to have discovered them, Taylor series centered at a=0 became known as Maclaurin series.



*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 19:14:15 -0600 From: (Padam Sharma) Subject: Hong Kong: Gurkha Farewell To:

Courtesy: India Digest (11/23/96)

 Associated Press Writer
   HONG KONG (AP) -- When Khem Bahadur Gurung was 16 and growing up in the Himalayan foothills, joining the British army was a family thing -- the honorable way for a young Nepalese to escape the poverty of village life.
   Now 40, his wiry body still muscular from years of service, the former warrant officer has gone from guarding the empire to signing visitors in and out of the office block where he is a security guard.
   "My father was in the army, and our grandfathers, they joined the British Army in India," he explains.
   The Gurkhas, who have assumed legendary stature during their 180 years of service under the Union Jack, are winding down worldwide as the British Army downsizes.
   Nowhere is the retreat more palpable than in Hong Kong, which says farewell to Her Majesty's troops on July 1 when China regains sovereignty over the colony.
   It is proving a long goodbye, as unit after unit disbands in simple, moving ceremonies across the tiny, crowded territory.
   There's a hint of hard feelings too, over the meager pensions the Gurkhas are receiving, compared with their British comrades-in-arms -- not that they complain outright to the media. Loyalty is ingrained in these mild-mannered men.
   In 1992, 7,500 Gurkhas served in the British army, down from 250,000 in World War II. By next year, just 2,500 will be left.
   "There is still a place in the British Army for them," says Army spokeswoman Ruth Vernon.
   But not in Hong Kong, where the British Army will be replaced by Chinese troops. Gurkhas who choose not to return to Nepal must find civilian jobs and, like other ethnic minorities, face an uncertain future under Chinese rule.
   Gurung says he doesn't know whether he can stay on.
   Although he has lived here for 15 years, army rules prevented him from applying for permanent residency. And since the post-handover residency laws have not yet been written, he can't be sure he can stay and work in Hong Kong.
   "I'm unlucky, I wasn't born here. Will I have a job after 1997? I don't know," he said.
   Gurung says he didn't mean to end up as an office guard. He returned to Nepal when he quit the army five years ago, went into business, but failed and came back to Hong Kong. His wife stayed in Nepal with their 17-year-old daughter, who was born in Hong Kong.
   "The Gurkhas have had to take their slice of pain," says Maj. Stuart Thornborough, a British officer assigned to resettling retired Gurkhas.
   At its height, the Gurkha battalion in Hong Kong numbered 4,800. According to British army figures, 650 ex-servicemen have stayed on, most of them guarding hotels, offices and the homes of the rich and powerful.
   "The future of our country is not so bright," says Gurung, standing with the perfect posture learned from years of military training.
   "So mostly we prefer to join the army. Even with a degree or diploma we don't get very much money in Nepal."
   Some Nepalese villages depend entirely on the money sent home by their sons, who earn $1,750 a month in pay and benefits. It takes them less than a week to earn what the average Nepalese makes in a year.
   But pensions are far smaller. Under a deal struck in 1947 based on Indian Army pay, a retired Gurkha soldier gets $36 to $127 a month, about 8 percent of a British soldier's pension.
   Cpl. Priti Narayan Rai, 29, is one of the lucky ones who are being transferred to Britain and remaining in uniform.
   Rai, whose grandfather served in the army, is glad he still has his job, but says the experience is painful nonetheless.
   Pointing to a copse of tall trees which he helped plant in his camp long ago, Rai said: "I feel very sad. But it's going to be cut, and nobody can stop it."

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 11:18:35 +0100 From: (Andre COISSAC) Subject: Looking for pen correspondent To:
     Dear Sirs,
     For a long time , I've been looking for a pen correspondent
     in your country.
                I found your E.mail address on the Web and perhaps could
     you help me to get a friend (male or female) interested by exchanging
     leeters with a French man.
                I am 40 yo, computer engineer in a Business Bank in PARIS.
                My main hobbies are reading, stamps, photography, theater,
     movies, hiking, horseriding.
                                                Andre COISSAC
                                                102 rue de l'Ouest
                                                75014 PARIS - France

************************************************* From: "Anne Jellema" <> To: Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 12:01:29 Subject: informatin inquiry on primary education

Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing with regard to enquiry of informaiton on primary education.Anne Jellema International Education Unit ACTIONAID Hamlyn House Macdonald Road LONDON N19 5PG tel +44 171 2814101 fax +44 171 2637599

********************************************************** Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 14:27:10 PST To: From: Arun S. Rana<> Subject: poem

                            Serpent of Death

                        The serpent of death
                        awaits us all,
                        w/ his hollow eyes
                        looks within our soul,
                        standing there, in front of Yama.
                        Flashing before our eyes,
                        glimses of our lives,
                        all that we did
                        & those moments
                        when we strayed from the truth.....

                        Live w/ no fear
                        for when you conquer your deepest fears
                        the truth is revealed.
                        look death in his hollow eyes
                        & if your heart feels no fear
                        the empty hole in the serpents eyes
                        fills with the truth of life
                        & in them we shall see ourselves
                        dancin' around in the divine dream....

                        Our eyes deceive us all,
                        for they show us beauty in nothingness.
                        autumn leaves floating in the wind.
                        We all dream our own dreams
                        find yours..........


****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 13:57:58 +0100 To: From: (Lazima Onta) Subject: essays for TND sent from Kathmandu

Writings from Kathmandu

The following two essays have been forwarded from the Centre for Social Research and Development, Kathmandu.

I) Book Review (Published in The Kathmandu Post, 24 November 1996) A Life Worth Reading

Title: Shadow Over Shangri-la: A Women's Quest for Freedom. Author: Durga Pokhrel with Anthony Willett Publisher: Brassey's, 1996 Price: Rs.1425

by Abana Onta

Shadow Over Shangri-la: is an autobiography of Durga Pokhrel, written with the help of her husband, Anthony Willett. Born in the dominantly Brahmin village of Kachiday, Dhankuta, Pokhrel's childhood was a happy one. Against the wish of her father who wanted her to be married when she was about 12, she set out to achieve certain educational goals. As a result, she was able to get her B.A. and M.A. degrees in various academic fields.

Even as a young person, she was very determined, courageous, and vocal. Perhaps because of these personal qualities, she was selected to be the president of her school union as a ninth grader. At that time she was invited to attend a student meeting where she learned about the brutal Panchayat system. This meeting influenced her deeply and she became determined to fight for democracy. Her difficult political life began from this point. After finishing her education she worked as a lecturer in Tribhuvan University, a job from which she was fired in 1975 because of her active membership in the banned Nepali Congress Party. Subsequently she applied for many jobs but was turned down each time due to her political background. Later, she, with the help of some friends, started a press business and began publishing 'Manas,' a Nepali language monthly, and
'Horizon,' an English language quarterly. The business was taking off when she was suddenly arrested without any charges in May 1981. She was imprisoned for about nine months, first in a jail in the Mahakali zone and later in Kathmandu. After she was freed she was forced to flee Nepal, and with the help of friends, she made it to the United States.

In this book, the author reveals various aspects of her life in a lucid way. Her detail account of the prisons is very poignant: it describes the poor surroundings, the miserable condition of pagal cell, the sufferings of the women prisoners, and the ways in which jail officers harassed women prisoners. This book is an inspiring story of a woman who had to fight against her own family and the society to stand for what she believed in.

In our patriarchal society, women have always been vulnerable. In one place she writes: "I was seen in the context of our society as a vulnerable, unprotected woman." For people in power, Pokhrel thus became "an easy object for victimization." The author also touchingly describes her emotional state when her family disowned her. Similarly, she provides interesting accounts of her student life at Harvard University from where she obtained a Ph. D. in education and her life with Willett in general.

In the epilogue, Pokhrel writes, "Nepal needs a vision" and goes on to give her suggestions for the country's political, social, and economic development. Although some of her suggestions seem useful, most of them show her poor acquaintance with today's Nepal. She firmly believes that Hindu culture should be maintained everywhere and suggests that the study and the wide implementation of the Vedas are necessary for the development of the country. She further writes, "A Hindu democracy is the unique political path for Nepal. Nothing else will provide remotely the same positive uniting force." In today's democratic political context, these suggestions show the author's narrowness in thinking.

She further condemns the activities of various ethnic groups to promote their language, script, religion, and culture as "communist" activities that create, "secularism and anti-Hindu feeling in Nepal." She also mentions that such activities "might abolish the institution of Hindu monarchy and replace it with some faceless alternative totalitarianism." This kind of alarm is clearly unwarranted. As many commentators have pointed out, national unity in post-Panchayat Nepal will come from a vision that can embrace all kinds of diversity within Nepalis and not from an imposition of imputed uniformity. This reviewer can't help but ask the author what kind of democratic society she had in mind when she was working against the Panchayat system.

Moreover, her other suggestions such as street children can be turned from pickpockets into conscientious young tour guides, and Nepal can become a Himalayan Switzerland are not backed up by practical guidelines as to how these might be achieved. Hence her "vision for Nepal" does not seem to come from a one-time freedom fighter but from a development 'expert' with very little familiarity with today's Nepali society. However, despite these criticisms, the book is worth reading.

Abana Onta is waiting for her BA results.

II ) Investigative Essay:

The author of the following essay, Shailesh Gongal, is a civil engineer now doing interesting and important research on the pollution of the Bagmati River System. He is currently writing a conference paper which discusses some of the points mentioned in this essay in greater detail.

The following essay is an edited version of a longer text in English. The present version was edited by Pratyoush Onta in his capacity as a member of the Editorial Board of the bimonthly Nepali language Himal. It has been translated into Nepali by Biplav Pratik and Subhash Devkota. The Nepali text which has been further edited by the Himal editorial board will be published in Himal (Kartik/Mangsir 2053 v.s. issue). This issue will be published by the end of Mangsir.

Removing the Fog over the UN Park By Shailesh Gongal

        To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, a UN Park is to be built from Sankhamul to Teku Dovan on the bed of the Bagmati River. Proponents of this 3.6-kilometre park claim that it will provide a clean, green and healthy environment for the residents of and visitors to the Valley. This park, along with its kiosks and trees, will be a place to walk and breathe fresh air, a place to sit down and read newspapers, and park cars, so they claim.
        Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba laid the foundation stone for the park on Dec 31, 1995 (Poush 16, 2052) on a sandy patch of the Bagmati near the Maternity Hospital. This signalled that the idea of the park was a fine one. But is it?

Foundation Stone Before Planning

        Mr. Purna Prasad Kadariya, director of the UN Park Development Committee (UNPDC) stresses that the decision to build the park in the Teku-Sankhamul area was based on some pre-set criteria of the steering committee that was created to select the best possible site for the park, and that the foundation stone was laid based on this decision.
        Mr. Kadariya and Mr. Himalayan Shumsher Rana, member of UNPDC and the executive chairman of Nepal International Centre (NIC), an organization of former Nepali diplomats that vigorously supports the idea of the building of the Park , both claim that the decision to build the Park does not represent a case of bad planning. They claim that the real planning for the Park has not even started! "Whatever we showed in the NIC Seminar at the Rastra Bank (6 Sept. 1996) is tentative," stressed both of them. According to them, everything is in a conceptual stage and nothing is definite yet.
        "As far as the hydrological studies are concerned, private consultants are doing the research on the whole river system as assigned by the Department of Irrigation," said Kadariya. "The actual design and work will start only after we get complete reports from all the sectoral studies, i.e., hydrological data, meteorological data, drainage and sewerage data and architectural proposal. The panicky reaction from some men are premature and un-called for," added Kadariya.
        If that is true, then was the laying of the foundation stone by the Prime Minister also not premature and uncalled for? Both Mr. Rana and Mr. Kadariya refused to comment when asked this question. Mr. Kadariya added that he could not say why and how the foundation stone had been laid when real planning for the Park is at such a preliminary stage. However he added that the UNPDC was now committed to building the park at least in the area where the foundation stone exists. He added that the park had to be built because such an intention has been officially announced!
        Eleven months after the laying of the foundation stone, there does exist a UN Park report, which shows a "crude and likely to increase" budget of 35 crore rupees, with nothing set aside for maintenance. Since the Park's total proposed length is 3.6 kilometers, the per-meter cost comes out to about one lakh rupees.
        Inspite of the fund raising seminar held at the conference hall of the Rastra Bank, no donors have committed themselves to this project. Kadariya and Rana hope that they will be able to raise funds both inside and outside the country once they have a complete design in their hands. Contrary to popular belief, the UN has no role in the building of this park. Ms. Carroll C. Long, the resident representative of the UNDP, categorically stated that the UN will not be contributing to the building of the park.

Justifying Their Idea

        The proponents of the UN Park go on record to warn that if the UN Park is not built now, unwanted settlements will encroach upon the Bagmati's sandy bed. Theirs may be a legitimate concern but since there are no law enforcing agencies to check against river encroachment in the first place, such a warning can only mean this: It is all right to encroach upon the Bagmati River under the banner of the United Nations, and with the blessings of the Prime Minister, before the sukumbasis and the hukumbasis
(the powerful rich) usurp it.
        In this respect, the process taken up by the proponents of the UN Park seems no different from that taken up by the people of Raj Ghat area
(opposite Pacahli Ghat near Teku Dovan) who have converted a dry portion of the River into a football-field. They both make a mockery of Nepal's heritage preservation laws which allow neither parks nor football fields to be built over any holy river.
        But Mr. Kadariya stresses that the UNPDC has no intention of acquiring more land in the name of the UN Park. Nor does it intend to train the river. "River training will depend completely on the report submitted by the consultancies," explains Kadariya. "We will build the park on the area as directed by the reports. If the report allows only 5 meter for the park, we will do accordingly. But, at the place where the foundation stone was laid, we are obliged to build the park on about 2/3 ropani of area. We will do only what is suitable to the existing and historical values and ambiance."
        In the UN Park report there is no mention of maintaining the original width of the river. In fact a recently published plan of the UN Park (The Sunday Dispatch, Sept. 15) shows that it will occupy 50% of the river's right of way. According to the UNPDC logic, this plan will provide equal park area to the citizens of both Patan and Kathmandu so that there will be no dispute between them. The idea is to build the park in the area presently not covered by water. Mr. Kadariya justified this by saying that the river has changed its course.
        To argue that the river's right of way has never been as broad as its sand span might suggest, Kadariya added that our ancestors built ghats along the river only in those places where there was water. "That's why we don't have ghats everywhere. For example, there is a ghat only on one side of the river at Sankhamul." Huta Ram Baidya, one of the foremost critics of the Park idea laughed at this logic. "People built ghats near those areas where the population was dense and where it was convenient for them, " Baidya says. He argues that the people of Patan built a ghat at Sankhamul because it is nearest to their homes. "At the opposite side of Sankhamul, there is no ghat because it was sparsely populated. And where there were population on both sides - for example at Thapathali and Kopundole - there are ghats on both sides of the river. People built their ghats at the boundary of the river's right of way" adds Baidya.
        It is true that today, the water has changed its course. But that is because of excessive extraction of sand. If we were to equally distribute the sand in the river, the water may touch both sides and at least cover its right of way during monsoon.
        Looking at Bagmati, it appears as though the river is drying up. But such a casual glance is not the right way of estimating the flow-rate and the force of water, especially at times of flood. When the river is forced through the remaining half of its width along the 3.6-km stretch of the proposed park, a bottleneck effect will come about. This bottleneck in turn, will create a high water pressure, pond-formation, and overflow and flooding will occur not only on the main Bagmati, but also on its tributaries such as Tukucha, Dhobikhola, Manahara and Bishnumati Rivers. All these will then make the water run faster, deeper, through a narrow gully - providing a high force of erosion, which may eventually wash away the entire UN Park. Even if the UN park is fortified against being washed away, that will only direct the river's assault to the religious monuments and ghats.
        From an engineering point of view, this is a dangerous proposition because when you build a park right on the river bed or streamline and channelize the river, you end up diverting the course of the river, making it easier (as in New Baneswor in 1993) to lash out against its new course during the monsoon season.
        Kadariya said that the concern about the bottleneck was unfounded. He added that no permanent structures will be made and that floods will be allowed to flow over the park. However, the tentative budget estimate has allocated the highest share of the budget (more than 8 crore rupees) for river training under the heading of "River training using stone masonry".
        If people who are interested in building this Park want to save the Bagmati river system their concern should turn toward complete restoration of the river. This would include the restoration of the river bed, strengthening of the bridges, protection and repair of the ghats and interception of the sewers. All of these things can be done by using locally available skills and resources, and with a sum of less than 35 crore rupees.

Real Ways to Save the Bagmati

        Raising the river beds: The idea of the park without first raising the river bed is not convincing enough. Through a look at some of the parks that already exist at the Bishnumati and Rajghat area, one can see that it really does not enhance the beauty or the atmosphere of the river. These parks were built without raising the river bed and widening the river.
        To save the Bagmati we have to raise the river bed to its original level as far as practical. This can be done, as has been suggested by Baidya, by constructing a series of low gabion or similar dams across the river at predesignated sites throughout the length of the Bagmati River Family including Bishnumati, Dhobikhola and others. A special dam is necessary at the Chobhar Gorge. These low dams will keep the river wide, cause ponding without exerting a high pressure on any single dam, allow the silt to collect, raise the river bed, and create a park like ambiance.
        Some positive effects of low gabion dams are already evident around: a) The bridge at Manahara River between Koteswore and Satdobato; b) Balaju Bridge on the Bishnumati; c) Prayag Ghat bridge on the Bagmati d) Tilganga Bridge on the Bagmati. Though designed for bridge protection, these can also be modified for river restoration. Another advantage of building these dams is cost: their construction is relatively cheap, can start in phases, after the end of rainy season every year. And because it is already tried and tested, and the results have been positive, the first phase can start without a lot of hydrological datas. Raising the river beds will also help protect the ghats by covering the presently exposed foundations of many ghats. Where the ghats are already damaged, they of course need to be repaired before dams are built.

        Protection of bridges: Not many of us can forget that the Thapathali Bridge had dangerously sagged in 1991 because of excessive sand extraction near its foundations. The foundation piers of Tilganga bridge were also similarly exposed in 1993, and was repaired by the low dam built on the downstream side(albeit for a different purpose) nearby. And the result is there for all to see in Tilganga: A higher water level has covered the piers allowing sand to collect and consolidate and giving a firm grip to the foundation of the bridge. Height of some of the existing dams need to be raised too and sand extraction needs to be banned completely.

        Dealing with the sewage: Another major challenge to the UN Park idea is to keep the untreated sewers from flowing directly into the rivers between Sundarijal and Chobhar. Kadariya streesed that the UNPDC had already floated tenders for sewerage works to keep the river clean.
        But it is important that all sewers be designed with respect to the original level of the river. Because if we were to design the sewers with respect to the present level of the rivers, they will be blocked when we build low dams to raise the bed. The river restoration will not be complete until we raise the river bed.
        As Madan Shanker Shrestha pointed out four years ago (The Rising Nepal, July 17, 1992), there do exist ways of eliminating sewer by constructing Branch and trunk sewers that intercept all the sewage flowing into the river. And building effluent treatment plants to treat the collected sewer could also be an integral yet inexpensive, part of the river-cleaning campaign.

        Adds value to the conservation of riverside monuments: Twenty-two percent (Rs. 7.85 crore) of the budget of the UN Park is allocated for conservation of monuments. This is commendable but worthless before the health of the river has been restored. Take Pachali Ghat for example. Originally there were no more than 12 steps. Now because the water level
(not the volume though) has gone down (due to extraction of sand), the ward no 12 authority has added four more "go down" steps so the devotees can reach the holy river. The result is less than aesthetically pleasant. As long as the river is not healthy, any monument related to the river cannot serve its purpose and would possess no charm in itself. If the river and not a 7m wide canal (as per the UN Park Proposal) flows touching the ghats, it will add value to the monuments in the ghats.


        Mr. Rana stressed the fact that the UN Park had at least provided the forum for discussing the problems of Bagmati. He said that we should be grateful for this opportunity. The fact is, the problems of Bagmati have been under discussion long before the idea of UN Park was born.
        At this point, all criticisms of the Park idea, no matter how positive are refuted simply by saying everything is tentative and it is too early to criticize. And since there are no counter criticisms from the UNPDC, the general public does not know many issues related to the park. And when I inquired as to why the UNPDC has not responded to any of the criticism it has received in the papers, Mr. Kadariya replied that it was not the job of his organization to do so.
        Because the planning is not yet complete, because the hydrological reports are yet to come, one cannot help but wonder if the UN Park project is a product of misplaced priorities. Despite its favorable media coverage, the project is destined to be of benefit only to the contractors and fund raisers, and not to the people of Kathmandu who will continue to suffer from river pollution. In the currently proposed avatar, the Park is not the way to save the Bagmati. It is rather a product of elite political gimmickry than a project based on sound knowledge, scientific and social. It is, at the moment, simply a fanciful project proposed by a group of people representing high levels of the political-financial complex in Nepal
(this is why they were able to have the Prime Minister lay the foundation stone of a project with no plans). Interested more in the ritualistic aspects of statecraft and hence devoting more energy to the managing of the public perceptions of what is being done to tackle Nepal's real environmental problems than in finding workable solutions to them, this group demonstrates its politico-financial muscle by concocting projects like the UN Park.
         If only Kathmandu's citizens mustered the necessary commitment, the entire Bagmati system-- and not only that mere strip of 3.6 km -- can be restored to its former natural and spiritual glories. That means, not only will there be clean water and wide river, but also well-protected ghats and banks with lush green trees. If realized, this will amount to multiple UN parks.

------------------- Do you plan on being in Kathmandu next month? Check out the following discussion groups at Martin's Chautari in Thapathali if you want some intellectual stimulation!!

Centre for Social Research and Development Martin Chautari/Nepal Studies Group Discussion Series Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: 228850; Fax: 223194

December Program

Mangal Bare is a forum for general discussion on various topics related to Nepal. It meets on alternate Tuesdays. Nepal Studies Group's Research Discussion Series consists of presentations of papers by researchers. The series normally meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Both forums meet at the premises of Martin Chautari (tel: 246065) in Thapathali (behind the first V.S. Niketan school building after making the right turn from NEFEJ office). For more information, please contact Pratyoush Onta at 228850.

Mangal Bare (5:30 pm ) 3 December 1996 The Royal Nepal Academy after the Jana-Andolan (in Nepali) Bairagi Kainla, RNA

17 December 1996 How Should Nepal Generate Hydroelectricity for Export to India? Bikash Pandey, Martin Chautari and UC Berkeley

24 December 1996 Who are the Janata (People)? (in Nepali) Dr Saroj Dhital, Model Community Hospital

Research Discussion Series (5:30pm) 28 November 1996 Nepali Judiciary after the Jana Andolan (in Nepali) Satish K. Kharel, Nepal Law Campus

12 December 1996 The Status of "The Status of Women in Nepal" Reports Yasuko Fujikura and Shizu Upadhya, Independent Researchers

26 December 1996 Bir History after the Jana Andolan (in Nepali) Dr Pratyoush Onta, NSG

Lazima Onta Department of Anthropology McGraw Hall Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 15:08:00 PST To: From: Arun S. Rana<> Subject: poem

                               Mother Cow

                        years gone by,
                        still on the same road.
                        Going where, I don't really know,
                        driven on by a flame of desire
                        ignited a long time ago
                        still burning somewhere deep within my soul,
                        hidden behind a transparent veil.....

                        Everywhere around me
                        desparate souls fighting their way
                        up an illusionary ladder,
                        Blinded by a lust for money,
                        for power, dominance, control.
                        Day after day
                        after week after month after year
                        training to become the master of them all
                        to conquer,
                        and proclaim himself the King.
                        The blind King of the blind audience.....

                        And the cow walked through the crowd
                        gazing at the passersby,
                        witnessing the divine dream
                        unfolding before her very eyes.......

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