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The Nepal Digest Wednesday Nov 4, 1998: Kartik 19 2055BS: Year7 Volume80 Issue1
Today's Topics (partial list):
On Freedom of Expression
Racism : From the Nepalese to the Global Context(VI)
Kurakani - Social and cultural issues
Bhintunaa, Nov 7
Trip to Kathmandu
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
* -------------------------------------- *
* The Nepal Digest: General Information email@example.com *
* Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh firstname.lastname@example.org *
* (Open Position) *
* Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra email@example.com *
* Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana firstname.lastname@example.org *
* Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
* Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
* Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
* Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
* SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
* TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
* TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org email@example.com *
* WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
* Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista firstname.lastname@example.org *
* +++++ 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: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 03:46:23 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: On Freedom of Expression
As a freedom of expression nut, I was delighted to read Rabindra
Mishraji's thoughts on "freedom of expression" (TND October 14). As an
aside, I greatly appreciated Mishraji's mentioning our Cambridge,
Mass,-based informal Chhahari collective as a possible namuna for
initiating debates, kura-kanis and dialogues among Nepalis in Britain.
That said, I would like to add to Mishraji's thought to say that
freedom of expression, alas, is a double-edged sword. Just as the
England-based Sagarmatha Times has every right to publish articles that
may be disagreeable/offensive/unsettling to some members of the Nepali
community in Britain, those offended members of the Nepali community too
have every right to exercise their own freedom of expression in that they
are under no compulsion whatsoever to continue to support Sagarmatha Times
if they so desire.
They may, for the time being, very well choose to take their
support elsewhere, and the staff of Sagarmatha Times must take that loss
of support as "a price to be paid" for allowing freedom of expression in
its domains. Appealing to their innate sense of patriotism for a
reconsideration of their decision is fine; but I'd think that one's right
to freedom of expression transcends the confines of patriotism (as
evidenced by allowing India-Nepal discussions on TND recently), and we
have to rise above patriotism to defend the power of ideas.
Freedom of expression is a curious freedom, in that it is NOT for
everybody; and not everyone can tolerate it, especially when people you
don't like are exercising it. Listening to/reading about and ENJOYING
diverse viewpoints EVEN when you are not agreeing with everything you read
or hear is an acquired habit, and, hey, NOT everyone acquires this habit,
regardless of their educational attainments or what-have-you.
Still, here's to hoping that those offended Nepalis in Britain
will renew thier Sagarmatha Times subcriptions, NOT because they love
Nepal, NOT too because they want to read self-congratulatory stuff all the
time, BUT because they are broadminded enough to grapple with difficult,
unsettling ideas that make us ask why we do the things we do. Unexamined
life, as the saying goes, is not worth living; what better tools are there
to examine life than brilliant, stupid, contrarian, offending, pleasing
and unsettling ideas and thoughts we give free rein to in the name of
"freedom of expression"?
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 98 07:28:41 EST
From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu>
Subject: Racism : From the Nepalese to the Global Context(VI)
compiled and edited by Paramendra Bhagat
-just last night Rodney Bobiwash's centre, the Native Canadian Centre on
Spadina Road in Toronto, was defaced with swastikas. Rodney has been
instrumental in fighting the Heritage Front and Paul Fromme and working with a
number of the groups fighting racism.
-how difficult it is to identify a hate group. But do we, as human rights experts, have any difficulty in identifying those virulent hate groups that exist in Canada?
-what about the every day racially motivated crimes committed by people we are familiar with, but cannot prosecute under the hate propaganda section of that code?
-networking is important.
-when a racially motivated crime comes to our attention, the answer of the police force is that, "Well, the kid's desecrated a synagogue. I am very sorry for your loss its a bunch of kids having a good time". How many of you have confronted that attitude in the police force?
-when racially motivated crimes do not come to our attention we later learn that the accused received a suspended sentence, or probation, or community service work, or a fine, when jail was required.
-They have specific offenses in many states that punish the desecration of religious institutions because it is absurd to think that a member of a hate group who desecrates a synagogue, cemetery, place of worship, mosque or what have you, for racially motivated purposes should be convicted of mischief. Does that approach not undermine the importance of these cases in the judicial system? In my respectful view, it does.
-the most dominant, destructive and contentious issue for Canada and the world in this decade and for some years in the approaching century, is racial and ethnic conflict. The justice system is central to the resolution of this conflict in Canadian society. The justice system is the rational, civilized and peaceful mechanism by which conflicts are resolved in our society. It evolved as an alternative to trial by combat, feud, and ultimately open war. It commands respect in society, not because it represents legal authority, but because of its moral authority - its perceived impartiality, objectivity and fairness. A justice system infected with racism, however insignificant or innocent, is neither impartial, civilized nor fair. Such a system lacks moral authority; a justice system it is not. It is as political an instrument as the Start Chamber in England or Hitler's Peoples Court. It does not resolve conflict. It wages oppression and war in the political interests or agendas of the dominant racial class. Our judiciary is populated by men and women who, however brilliant and learned in the law they may be, do not understand or have a sensitivity to the pains and oppression of racism. Only a person will truly, emotionally and intellectually, appreciate the indignity of racism. As a minority lawyer with severely dented armour earned in courtroom combat, I can testify to the persuasive force of a witness or counsel for just being white. I have seen that colour projects to a flawed argument of counsel, or unreliability or faulty memory of a witness. Some judges even read perjury or contradiction from a hard accent of an East European and dishonesty from the normal reverential refusal from Asian cultures for eye contact with the judge. Judges often lack the patience to unravel the challenging cultural background of a foreign education, credentials, or even documents. Materials in a foreign language, different legal system or alien culture, whether Western, Asian or African, are often given dishearteningly low importance. The judges are often incapable of disarming the intimidating atmosphere of their courtroom for minority parties or witnesses by the use of summary, curt and often unsympathetic language or manner. The Courts often project the impression to minorities that they stand at the vanguard of defending the fundamental cultural values of Canada against these invading hordes from foreign lands. We must insist that the judges understand that ethnic communities have very modest expectations. In this regard, it is relevant to restate what I have argued before the federal Department of Justice. They accept that the fundamental cultural assumptions of our legal system and Constitution must remain intact. If certain cultural uniqueness they have brought to Canada from their home countries clashes with these assumptions, it is not their desire to change Canadian law, but to force the acceptance of their cultures. They only plead that those who are in a position of authority, such as police and the judges, be too quick in condemning their uniqueness without an understanding and objective assessment of their culture.
-I must also submit that more minority judges should be appointed to the bench. It is a lame excuse to say that there are not enough qualified minority candidates considering the calibre and quality of some of the mainstream appointments whene it appears, that political connection, not brilliance, is the dominant skill.
-cultural and racial sensitivity should be considered in all appointments and continuing cultural and racial sensitivity education must be compulsory for judges.
-In a constitutional democracy, racism practised by governments is most insidious. Compared with the ugliness of racism of an individual or of an organization such as the Ku Klux Klan, racism in governments is institutionalized, largely systemic, and hence difficult to prove. It can easily pass itself off under the bureaucratic rubric of incompetence or inefficiency of the victim, or plain frivolity of the complaint. Since the state's massive force is behind institutionalized racism and victims are truly desperate. For this reason, racism invites what constitutional democracy seeks to replace violence on the street and rebellion. That is the message of Los Angeles, Nagorno- Karabakh and Yugoslavia. Unless the judiciary understands this phenomenon, it is doomed to suffer the erosion of moral authority and to experience the mounting preference for violence as a means to resolve major societal conflicts. Equally dangerous is the conventional thinking, approved by scholars, government officials, and members of the Supreme Court in recent cases such as Keegstra and Zundel, that language rights, freedom of speech and other Charter rights are more important than the equality rights found in section 15 of the Charter. This thinking is flawed. If there is anything fundamental-primordial in the life of the people in a truly democratic society, it is that we all are equal in terms of human dignity. Those on the Supreme Court, in academia and in government who espouse a different view should be reminded that the American, French and Russian revolutions, established at great cost to life the supreme maxim that all men are created equal. To this value, all other constitutional rights must yield for they are nothing more than derivative principles, or means to achieve the equality of men.
-the Government of Canada's defence, stated in its Guidelines, is based on a spurious distinction: that a speech that promotes killing of a national group, or genocide, is unprotected under the Charter, but to "promote hatred of any identifiable group" may be protected if "there is a possibility" that the article "communicates statements that are established to be true" and "be relevant on any subject of public interest, the discussion of which is for public benefit, and, on reasonable grounds, believed to be true". This distinction is ridiculous because "hatred" and "genocide" are in fact indistinguishable.
-it is very easy for a judge to spot dishonesty or to doubt something spoken by someone with dark skin.
-a common police reaction to hearing that cemeteries are being defaced is
"Just some kids having fun". I guess the question that immediately struck me is that when somebody says, "It is just some kids having fun", I bet those kids were white. If you are driving a car fast in Toronto and get arrested, I bet you are Black.
-the police are more likely to attribute a more innocent explanation to an activity perpetrated by white men than if a minority group is involved
-you have a case of a bunch of white boys that went cruising, as is very common in the Prairies, and because an Aboriginal person was killed they decided it was not important enough to prosecute because it would ruin the rest of their futures and the girl was dead already.
-use the three most important tools that we have: the law, education and community action.
-become aware of, and come to terms with, the extent of racism and the promotion of hatred occurring in this country. Only through awareness and acceptance of the realities will we be able to mobilize the energy and resources necessary for the remedies. Just as somebody said the other day, we first have to define what is hate mongering. I
-The goal of hate mongers and hate propaganda is to portray a group as inferior and less than human. The strategy involves undermining the norms and values of a society by potentially taking control of the culture through power and sheer numbers. The targets of hatred, whichever group is the target, are the objects of prejudice and stereotyping and are often characterized by taking advantage of the rest of society; they are portrayed as a threat to society that ought to be removed. People are most receptive to hate mongering when they are looking for someone to blame for their problems so that they can feel better about themselves. As we all know, difficult economic times inevitably lead to this pattern of scapegoating, and any identifiable minority is at risk. Throughout the history of the Western world Jews have been the traditional scapegoat and anti-Semitism can be considered the prototype for racism. Jews have historically been denied citizenship, the vote, land ownership, housing and employment in this country. Throughout history Jews have been blamed for the plague, for partnerships with the devil and for every form of economic, social and political upheaval. The proliferation of hate propaganda was usually the prelude to programs of expulsion. The most dramatic example of the impact of hate propaganda, and the groundwork that it lays, was the Holocaust. The Nazi promotion of hatred against the Jews and other minority groups was so successful that many peoples across Europe, many who were not Nazis themselves, participated in the Nazi attempt to systematically murder minorities.
-Another effect of hate propaganda is to help promote a negative self-image among minority groups to the point of self hatred and feelings of worthlessness. Individuals may try to assimilate and disappear as an identifiable group, but hate mongers would suggest that this is impossible. According to avowed racists and white supremacists, minority traits remain as a contaminant of the society, or more specifically of the "pure race" and they must therefore be eliminated to whatever extent possible. How well individuals and groups can tolerate such abuse depends on the strength of their ego-defence mechanisms. It also depends on the level of group support. The importance of developing an infrastructure for each group and a supportive network - to become "institutionally" complete - is clear. But the effect of singling out the group from the rest of society achieves the hate monger's goal regardless of the personal effect on the group and it's members. Even when the audience is unreceptive, hate propaganda can do damage by playing on peoples' doubts and fears: it feeds on misconceptions, thereby increasing barriers to understanding. Hate propaganda and hate mongering contributes to disunity in society, compromising democratic values and maintaining inequality and oppression. The promotion of hatred against identifiable groups........ is not difficult to identify
-we need to use the full force of the law to see that it stops.
-racism and hate propaganda have long been part of the Canadian experience. Early European settlers promoted ideas that Aboriginal peoples were less human than the colonizers, thereby excusing the abuse perpetrated against First Nations people, some of which continues to this day. The unchecked campaign of dehumanization was so effective that it allowed abuses to go unpunished. This has resulted in low self-esteem and despair, leading to high rates of suicide. In addition to the promotion of hatred against First Nations peoples, there is evidence of rampant anti-Semitism in the early days of Canada. Regular attacks on Judaism and the Jewish community appeared in Quebec and religious publications promoted anti-Semitism. In fact, the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was promoted by various religious leaders in Canada.
>From 1910 through the 1940's, prominent Canadian names, like Edward Plamadon,
Adrian Arcane, Goldwin Smith, Henri Bourassa and MacKenzie King were associated with virulent anti-Semitism. This anti-Semitism ranged from justifying Russian programs against the Jews to openly praising Hitler's charismatic leadership and denying safety in Canada to Jews who were fleeing Nazi persecution. During this period many other minority groups were also victimized by hate propaganda, most notably Sikhs and Chinese people. Canada also witnessed the rise of hate groups during the pre- war years. According to Stanley Barret in his book, Is God a Racist, the 1920s and 30s saw the development of the Ku Klux Klan and the roots of the Western Guard and Aryan Nations. Such groups promoted hatred against Catholics, Blacks and Jews. It was not uncommon in those days to see signs along the beaches, and other areas in Toronto or Montreal, that read, "No Jews or Dogs Allowed".
-overt racism and anti-Semitism.
-increases in immigration, the reduction of systemic racism in the immigration regulations and the development of multiculturalism and bilingualism policies have resulted in an upsurge in hate group activity and hate group propaganda. Recently, the Klan has been implicated in anti-Mohawk agitation in Quebec. Klan propaganda is also distributed across the country in schools in the Eastern townships in Quebec and, as we have seen, in other areas across the country. Anti-immigration, white supremacist hate lines are operating in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto. Racist skinheads rally regularly and have been implicated in, or convicted of, a number of racially motivated crimes. Of course, Holocaust denial has also increased as a new form of anti-Semitism in schools and public venues across the country. This is occurring along with the active recruitment of young people from high schools and on the campuses. One of the things that concerns our organization is the rise of racism and racist incidents on campuses across this country. Since the League began documenting reported incidents of anti-Semitism in 1982, we have recorded a dramatic increase for the fourth year in a row. Our annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents serves as a barometer of racism in Canada. Members of the Black, Chinese and South Asian communities report their perception every time we release the audit that our statistics corroborate their perception of the increase in overt acts of racism targeting their communities as well. Furthermore, documented cases in the Human Rights Commissions, the courts and reports from various multicultural and anti-racist organizations and networks corroborate our findings. The picture is clear. We know that the activities of hate groups, hate mongering and racist incidents are on the rise.
-a co-ordinated effort on several fronts using all the weapons we have available is the most effective way to ensure the battle against racism will be won.
-our three most powerful weapons are the law, community action and education. ...............there are those who insist that taking hate mongers to court allows them a platform to spout their racist ideology. As a result some want to discourage the publicity which prosecution brings. Such detractors need to be reminded that pre-Nazi Germany had hate laws on the books that were not implemented with effective penalties. Hate propaganda proliferated without deterrent and the world witnessed the results of the worst explosion of racism in the Western world. It is essential to continue to prosecute hate mongers and to impose penalties that will serve as deterrents. In fact, if people need hard data to illustrate this, our audit of reported incidents shows that when the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the Keegstra decision there were those who saw that as a window of opportunity. The actual incidence of racism and anti- Semitic attacks increased in that area until such time as those laws were upheld in the Supreme Court. Then we saw a dip in the severity of those incidents.
-In those countries where there exists stronger anti-hate laws which have been implemented and penalties added for hate crimes, there has been a decline in hate crimes.
-if there was not the commitment and the political will to implement even the laws that we presently have.
-there are lots of incidents that go unreported. But again, you see the same sorts of patterns in other countries as we have reported. Another answer I have for those who say, "that court cases put people like Zundel on the front page, and that they allow David Irving's words to be on the television and spouted in the newspaper?" .......the education of the media and how to handle these issues responsibly, and in a balanced way is also essential.
-outrageous sensationalism by the media
-Many of us are feeling demoralized, frustrated, fearful, helpless and exhausted. I look around and I see the people who are really involved in community work and we laugh about the twenty hour days. But if I am feeling that way, how much more so the visible minority youth and their parents. To these adjectives of demoralized, frustrated, fearful, helpless and exhausted, you have to also add the words angry and betrayed. The only really surprising aspect to me of the so-called riot and looting on May 4, 1992 in Toronto is that it came as a surprise to anyone. The climate today is such that there is a perfect combination of factors that will continue to escalate racial tension and violence unless we address and resolve them. I would like to describe four serious problems facing us today.
From: email@example.com (Raju Maharjan)
Subject: Location of DABU and Nepa Pasa Puch Home pages
Please publish the following announcement in your next issue. Thanks.
Nepa Pasa Pucha Homepage at
and Dabu Home Page is located at
Please visit these pages. Thanks.
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 12:10:40 -0500 (EST)
From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Kurakani - Social and cultural issues
"Talking of tolerance, all the religions on earth preach for
tolerance and the truth as equally, if not more, as Hinduism."
The above line from Sambbhu Lama's critique of my article is
typical example of ignorance that palgues many. Are all
religions as tolerant as Hinduism? I don't think so. Do they all
preach for Truth equally? Maybe but of even this I am not sure.
Consider two examples to support my claim -
"Through me only you can realize God" ( Jesus Christ -
"All who worship idols are infidels" (Mohammud - Islam)
Just in case the impact of the two lines does not register in
your head let me explain it to you.
The first line means that only Christianity is the valid religion in
this world. All non-christians - no matter how virtuous they may
be - will burn in the fire of hell. The ideal state the world can be
is one where every one will follow Christianity. (Now you
understand the enormous amount of money they out into
The second line means that all Hindu's are infidels. Their
temples thus deserve to be demolished as happened when the
Mughals invaded India nearly seven hundreds years ago.
Now tell me who are the supremacists. The people who think
that only their religion has the right to exist, that only their form
worship or those who don't even believe in converting people
from other religions. Who is more Tolerant - the religion that
recognizes the existence of other religions as an alternative
way to the truth or those that there is only one path to the truth.
See why I am so wary of these people. Can we really trust them
when they are not even convinced that we too have the right to
(PS. I take back my assertion that Hinduism is a way of life, not
because i think it is wrong, but no body seems to understand
what I mean)
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 12:19:02 +0500
To: email@example.com, editor contributions <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "F.A.H. \('Hutch'\) Dalrymple" <email@example.com>
Subject: poem: 'Everybody Thinks They're a Cow - on the streets of
EVERYBODY THINKS THEY'RE A COW: on the streets of Kathmandu!
Everyone thinks they're a cow!
They don't care whether
They live or, 'wow!'
They wander about
They open the door
For eternal snoring!
Lack of consideration abounds!
They don't care if we drown!
The Gods are the reason...
It depends on the season,
If we suffice it to stay...
Common courtesy on the streets
If I'm going to die,
There's no need to try,
We're all small 'fry'
'Cooking in a pan!'
Everyone thinks they're a cow!
They don't know how
They might not die,
Everybody things they're a cow,
On the streets
F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple
Date: Oct, 18th, 1998
From: Madhusudan Bhattarai
Subject: Economics: Brief introduction of Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate
in Economics, 1998.
This is a brief introductory sketch of Prof. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize
winner in the 1998, which I got here through a friend of mine in the Dept.;
and have decided to share it with all of you.
>We are pleased to forward the following news release by the Royal Swedish
>Academy of Science announcing the award of Nobel Prize in Economics to
>Professor Amartya Sen, India. Congratulations to Professor Amartya Sen on
>his contributions to Welfare Economics and for the Nobel Prize. Thanks to
>Professor Arjun Gupta for bringing this important item to our attention.
kvrao@INDNET.ORG INDIA NET ORG.
>The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1998 Bank
>of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to
>Professor Amartya Sen, Trinity College, Cambridge, U.K. (citizen of India)
>for his contributions to welfare economics.
>Social Choice, Welfare Distributions, and Poverty: Amartya Sen has made
>several key contributions to the research on fundamental problems in
>welfare economics. His contributions range from axiomatic theory of social
>choice, over definitions of welfare and poverty indexes, to empirical
>studies of famine. They are tied closely together by a general interest in
>distributional issues and a particular interest in the most impoverished
>members of society. Sen has clarified the conditions which permit
>aggregation of individual values into collective decisions, and the
>conditions which permit rules for collective decision making that are
>consistent with a sphere of rights for the individual. By analyzing the
>available information about different individuals' welfare when collective
>decisions are made, he has improved the theoretical foundation for
>comparing different distributions of society's welfare and defined new,
>and more satisfactory, indexes of poverty. In empirical studies, Sen's
>applications of his theoretical approach have enhanced our understanding
>of the economic mechanisms underlying famines.
>Can the values which individual members of society attach to different
>alternatives be aggregated into values for society as a whole, in a way
>that is both fair and theoretically sound? Is the majority principle a
>workable decision rule? How should income inequality be measured? When and
>how can we compare the distribution of welfare in different societies? How
>should we best determine whether poverty is on the decline? What are the
>factors that trigger famines? By answering questions such as these,
>Amartya Sen has made a number of noteworthy contributions to central
>fields of economic science and opened up new fields of study for
>subsequent generations of researchers. By combining tools from economics
>and philosophy, he has restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of
>vital economic problems.
>Individual Values and Collective Decisions: When there is general
>agreement, the choices made by society are uncontroversial. When opinions
>differ, the problem is to find methods for bringing together different
>opinions in decisions which concern everyone. The theory of social choice
>is preoccupied precisely with this link between individual values and
>collective choice. Fundamental questions are whether - and, if so, in what
>way - preferences for society as a whole can be consistently derived from
>the preferences of its members. The answers are crucial for the
>feasibility of ranking, or otherwise evaluating, different social states
>and thereby constructing meaningful measures of social welfare.
>Majority rule: Majority voting is perhaps the most common rule for making
>collective decisions. A long time ago, this rule was found to have serious
>deficiencies, in addition to the fact that it may allow a majority to
>suppress a minority. In some situations it may pay off to vote
>strategically (i.e. by not voting for the preferred alternative), or to
>manipulate the order in which different alternatives are voted upon.
>Voting between pairs of alternatives sometimes fails to produce a clear
>result in a group. A majority may thus prefer alternative a to alternative
>b whereas a (second) majority prefers b to c ; meanwhile, a (third)
>majority prefers c to a. In the wake of this kind of "intransitivity", the
>decision rule cannot select an alternative that is unambiguously best for
>any majority. In collaboration with Prasanta Pattanaik, Amartya Sen has
>specified the general conditions that eliminate intransitivities of
>In the early 1950s, such problems associated with rules for collective
>choice motivated economics laureate Kenneth Arrow (1972) to examine
>possible rules for aggregating individual preferences (values, votes),
>where majority rule was only one of many alternatives. His surprising but
>fundamental result was that no aggregation (decision) rule exists that
>fulfills five conditions (axioms), each of which appears very reasonable
>on its own.
>This so-called impossibility theorem seemed to be an insurmountable
>obstacle to progress in the normative branch of economics for a long time.
>How could individual preferences be aggregated and different social states
>evaluated in a theoretically satisfactory way? Sen's contributions from
>the mid-1960s onwards were instrumental in alleviating this pessimism. His
>work not only enriched the principles of social choice theory; they also
>opened up new and important fields of study. Sen's monograph Collective
>Choice and Social Welfare from 1970 was particularly influential and
>inspired many researchers to renew their interest in basic welfare issues.
>Its style, interspersing formally and philosophically oriented chapters,
>gave the economic analysis of normative problems a new dimension. In the
>book as well as many separate articles, Sen treated problems such as:
>majority rule, individual rights, and the availability of information
>about individual welfare.
>A self-evident prerequisite for a collective decision-making rule is that
>it should be "non-dictatorial"; that is, it should not reflect the values
>of any single individual. A minimal requirement for protecting individual
>rights is that the rule should respect the individual preferences of at
>least some people in at least some dimension, for instance regarding their
>personal sphere. Sen pointed to a fundamental dilemma by showing that no
>collective decision rule can fulfill such a minimal requirement on
>individual rights and the other axioms in Arrow's impossibility theorem.
>This finding initiated an extensive scientific discussion about the extent
>to which a collective decision rule can be made consistent with a sphere
>of individual rights.
>Information about the welfare of individuals
>Traditionally, the theory of social choice had only assumed that every
>individual can rank different alternatives, without assuming anything
>about interpersonal comparability. This assumption certainly avoided the
>difficult question of whether the utility individuals attach to different
>alternatives can really be compared. Unfortunately, it also precluded
>saying anything worthwhile about inequality. Sen initiated an entirely new
>field in the theory of social choice, by showing how different assumptions
>regarding interpersonal comparability affect the possibility of finding a
>consistent, non-dictatorial rule for collective decisions. He also
>demonstrated the implicit assumptions made when applying principles
>proposed by moral philosophy to evaluate different alternatives for
>society. The utilitarian principle, for instance, appeals to the sum of
>all individuals' utility when evaluating a specific social state; this
>assumes that differences in the utility of alternative social states can
>be compared across individuals. The principle formulated by the American
>philosopher John Rawls - that the social state should be evaluated only
>with reference to the individual who is worst off - assumes that the
>utility level of each individual can be compared to the utility of every
>other individual. Later developments in social choice rely, to a large
>extent, on Sen's analysis of the information about, and interpersonal
>comparability of, individual utilities.
>Indexes of Welfare and Poverty
>In order to compare distributions of welfare in different countries, or to
>study changes in the distribution within a given country, some kind of
>index is required that measures differences in welfare or income. The
>construction of such indexes is an important application of the theory of
>social choice, in the sense that inequality indexes are closely linked to
>welfare functions representing the values of society. Serge Kolm, Anthony
>Atkinson and - somewhat later - Amartya Sen were the first to derive
>substantial results in this area. Around 1970, they clarified the relation
>between the so-called Lorentz curve (that describes the income
>distribution), the so-called Gini coefficient (that measures the degree of
>income inequality), and society's ordering of different income
>distributions. Sen has later made valuable contributions by defining
>poverty indexes and other welfare indicators.
>A common measure of poverty in a society is the share of the population, H
>, with incomes below a certain, predetermined, poverty line. But the
>theoretical foundation for this kind of measure was unclear. It also
>ignored the degree of poverty among the poor; even a significant boost in
>the income of the poorest groups in society does not affect H as long as
>their incomes do not cross the poverty line. To remedy these deficiencies,
>Sen postulated five reasonable axioms from which he derived a poverty
>index: P = H [I + (1 - I) G]. Here, G is the Gini coefficient, and I is
>a measure (between 0 and 1) of the distribution of income, both computed
>only for the individuals below the poverty line. Relying on his earlier
>analysis of information about the welfare of single individuals, Sen
>clarified when the index can and should be applied; comparisons can, for
>example, be made even when data are problematic, which is often the case
>in poor countries where poverty indexes have their most intrinsic
>application. Sen's poverty index has subsequently been applied extensively
>by others. Three of the axioms he postulated have been used by those
>researchers, who have proposed alternative indexes.
>A problem when comparing the welfare of different societies is that many
>commonly used indicators, such as income per capita, only take average
>conditions into account. Sen has developed alternatives, which also
>encompass the income distribution. A specific alternative - which, like
>the poverty index, he derived from a number of axioms - is to use the
>measure y (1 - G), where y is income per capita and G is the Gini
>Sen has emphasized that what creates welfare is not goods as such, but the
>activity for which they are acquired. According to this view, income is
>significant because of the opportunities it creates. But the actual
>opportunities - or capabilities, as Sen calls them - also depend on a
>number of other factors, such as health; these factors should also be
>considered when measuring welfare. Alternative welfare indicators, such as
>the UN's Human Development Index, are constructed precisely in this
>Amartya Sen has pointed out that all well-founded ethical principles
>presuppose equality among individuals in some respect. But as the ability
>to exploit equal opportunity varies across individuals, the distribution
>problem can never be fully solved; equality in some dimension necessarily
>implies inequality in others. In which dimension we advocate equality and
>in which dimensions we have to accept inequality obviously depends on how
>we evaluate the different dimensions of welfare. In analogy with his
>approach to welfare measurement, Sen maintains that capabilities of
>individuals constitute the principal dimension in which we should strive
>for equality. At the same time, he observes a problem with this ethical
>principle, namely that individuals make decisions which determine their
>capabilities at a later stage.
>Welfare of the Poorest
>In his very first articles Sen analyzed the choice of production
>technology in developing countries. Indeed, almost all of Sen's works deal
>with development economics, as they are often devoted to the welfare of
>the poorest people in society. He has also studied actual famines, in a
>way quite in line with his theoretical approach to welfare measurement.
>Analysis of famine
>Sen's best-known work in this area is his book from 1981: Poverty and
>Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Here, he challenges the
>common view that a shortage of food is the most important (sometimes the
>only) explanation for famine. On the basis of a careful study of a number
>of such catastrophes in India, Bangladesh, and Saharan countries, from the
>1940s onwards, he found other explanatory factors. He argues that several
>observed phenomena cannot in fact be explained by a shortage of food
>alone, e.g. that famines have occurred even when the supply of food was
>not significantly lower than during previous years (without famines), or
>that faminestricken areas have sometimes exported food.
>Sen shows that a profound understanding of famine requires a thorough
>analysis of how various social and economic factors influence different
>groups in society and determine their actual opportunities. For example,
>part of his explanation for the Bangladesh famine of 1974 is that flooding
>throughout the country that year significantly raised food prices, while
>work opportunities for agricultural workers declined drastically as one of
>the crops could not be harvested. Due to these factors, the real incomes
>of agricultural workers declined so much that this group was
>disproportionately stricken by starvation.
>Later works by Sen (summarized in a book from 1989 with Jean Drze) discuss
>- in a similar spirit - how to prevent famine, or how to limit the effects
>of famine once it has occurred. Even though a few critics have questioned
>the validity of some empirical results in Poverty and Famines, the book is
>undoubtedly a key contribution to development economics. With its emphasis
>on distributional issues and poverty, the book rhymes well with the common
>theme in Amartya Sen's research.
>Additional background material can be found below and in
>Sen, A.K., 1970, Collective Choice and Social Welfare, San Fransisco:
>Holden Day , also London: Oliver and Boyd (reprinted Amsterdam:
>Sen, A.K, 1973, On Economic Inequality, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
>Sen, A.K, 1981, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and
>Deprivation, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
>Amartya Sen was born in Bengal in 1933 (citizen of India). He received his
>doctorate from the University of Cambridge, U.K. in 1959 and has been
>professor in India, the U.K. and the U.S. In 1998 he left his
>professorships in economics and philosophy at Harvard University to become
>Master of Trinity College, Cambridge U.K.
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 16:04:00 -0400
Forwarded by: sthapa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Nepali News
Source: The People's Review
Sailaja represented only NC in UN General Assembly
BY OUR REPORTER
Many diplomatic observers have expressed their serious
Deputy-Prime Minister Sailaja Acharya's address at the UN
They say that Acharya represented herself as an NC
activist rather than
being a representative of the country. Acharya, in fact,
tried to make the
impression that Nepalese foreign policy was based on NC
lauded BP Koirala as the formulator of Nepalese foreign
policy. This has
become a matter of laughter to the international
community, they say.
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 20:02:32 -0400
From: "Gaury Adhikary" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Oct 14, 1998 (28 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)
To The Editor, TND
I read Dr. Joshi's note on "brain drain" with interest ( TND Oct 14th,
.). I was specially taken aback by his contention that America Nepal Medical Foundation ( ANMF) considers getting qualified Nepali Physicians to America for their residency training as a "brain-drain". Before I address to that issue I will like to , for the benefit of TND readers, highlight what ANMF stands for. ANMF is a US based non profit organization being run by the joint efforts of Nepali and North Americans and its main mission is to : help Nepal strengthen her technical capabilities in medical field so that advanced medical care is available for her people. ANMF plans to achieve its mission by 1. Sending medical learning resources to libraries, 2. Facilitating exchange visits of scholar between North America and Nepal, 3. Organizing continuing Medical education in Nepal 4. Strengthening the research capabilities of Nepali professionals and institutions. One would immediately see that ANMF's primary goal is to assist in Nepal's health care scenario. It is a common fact that many of us who get residency training in the U.S. have stayed back for our personal reasons and only very few of us have gone back to Nepal . There is a big tendency of us to stay back rather than going back to Nepal . Given such a reality, it is hard for ANMF to endorse , in its official capacity , a program whereby many of young physicians from Nepal could end up in the U.S. ANMF was established couple of years ago and is still in its infancy . It just does not have the resources and means to help these deserving physicians even if it were to attempt to help them. Any one who has gone through the process of obtaining a residency slot in the U.S. knows that it depends upon the supply and demand for the job and oftentimes, a senior resident recommending his colleague to the program director of that particular residency. I am trying to emphasize the fact that it is done by 1. The market force and 2. In a very individual level . In an organizational level ANMF just cannot solicit jobs for potential trainee from Nepal. It will take away our very limited resources with very negligible result to show. I am sure Dr. Joshi would not approve of such a proposal for an organization which is entirely voluntary and its only mission is to assist with Nepali cause in Health related issues. I think I have made my argument as why ANMF cannot attempt to assist with potential residency trainee from Nepal seeking positions across the U.S. In an individual levels, we have helped our friends from Nepal when we could, and I think, that is intuitively right thing to do. I agree with your contention that "brain-drain" is an obsolete term. People find their footage according to their capabilities , personal aspirations and ambitions and if we could help someone achieve their goal should gladly do so.
Thank you, Sincerely,
Gaury S Adhikary,
the President, ANMF
P.S. : All correspondence to my e-mail add please; I am sure TND
readers will appreciate the courtesy, thanks. Gaury.
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 15:53:48 +0300
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Deepak Khadka)
Subject: KATHA KABITA
Here is a Gazal in Nepali. A modest English translation is accompanied.
Ke dulchhau haawaa ho phoolbaareema
Badalie gulaaf sab attarko byaapareema
(What's the use roaming around the garden, Winds ?
All the Roses have become perfume traders.)
Kati sundar ghaau chhan maaleeko haatbhari
Kati kushal chhan kaandhaaharu chitrakaareema
(There are beautiful wounds all around the gardener's hand,
how skilled are Thorns at painting !)
Putalee ho pharke hunchha najaau, bagaichaamaa-
Hadtaal chha aaja chhepaaroko giraftaareemaa
(Return home, Butterflies, its useless to go to the garden.
Today there is a strike due to the arrest of a chameleon)
Maureeko chaakaamaa anikaal chha barshenee
Maha kinne bhae jaau baarulako bhakaareemaa
(There is famine in the bee-hive every year.
If you want to buy honey, go to Wasp's store.)
Basanta pani naaaune re yas paalee ta
Bhattaa kam bhayo re usko sabaareemaa
(It is heard that the Spring is not going to come this year.
People say the travel allowance was not enough for him.)
Sede Boker, Israel
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 98 11:49:51 EST
From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu>
Subject: Reply to Nirmal
The compilation Racism: From the Nepalese to the Global Context is not a term
paper. I put that together exclusively for TND. Are you with those people who
got offended we were discussing the racism against the Terai issue not long ago?
_______________________________________________________________________________ Subject: hey! From: Shoyambhu@aol.com Date: 10/19/98 5:57 AM
Don't put your school's term paper in here. U may be great, but u started
From: "Hari Thapa" <email@example.com>
Subject: Racism and Mr. Bhagat
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 18:03:06 PDT
Dear Mr. Bhagat:
I have been reading your articles on racism for quite a while now. You
sound like a sick politician who is willing to do anything to get into
power. You have no regards for 'Madhises' whatsoever. From your letter
it seems like all you want to do is exploit poor uneducated people by
playing ethnic(race) card. I am very much convinced of your ill motives
and am having hard time understanding why US educated person
like youself would have such a sick mind. If there are any true enemies
of Nepali people it's YOU and only you. We have plenty of corrupt
politicians who deserve nothing but death penalty. I have seen
a clear correlation between those politicians and future politician like
youself. Your analogy of Jews, Indonesian Chinese with Nepali Madhises
is nothing but an absurd propaganda.
Most of all, this news magazine is not your party magazine and I
guarantee noone in the right state of mind is remotely interested in
reading what your 'Kuvawana party' has to offer. So STOP your nonsense
and get lost if you can.
From: "Dal Bhat" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: An Essay
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 18:19:47 PDT
(DISCLAIMER: The following is a meaningless blabbering. If you are a
busy person, skip it. I reserve the right to not defend myself against
any subsequent attacks brought forth by this essay. Read at your own
After all that has been said about "casteism" and the
"controversial-India/Nepal" thingy, I as another "patriotic" Nepali, have decided to throw in my 2cents, for the benefit of Nepal and Nepalis alike. Whatever conclusions we may derive, and however many times we try to fit nepali racism into western words, the fact remains that we are Nepalese supposedly the owners of a rich culture, a fact every Nepali seems to mention like Everest or Lumbhini. So to define racism in western terms and tag it to Nepal makes as much sense to me as a "Holy cow" to an western farmer. However, lets look at exploitation. We Nepali are a successful bunch in labeling people. I don't think I need to give examples here. Just ask your friends, parents or anyone to tell them about someone who is not your own caste, the first thing they will say is the "label" REGARDLESS OF THE CASTE YOU BELONG TO. And within each caste there is also "casteism". But what is even worse is that we have somehow gotten into a habit of feeling better about ourselves by putting others down..As long as there is someone to be blamed and someone to be put down we are secure.... Just remember this when you go into a restaurant in Nepal, and see how the little "bus-boy" gets treated regardless of his caste. Or does anyone know the caste of the beggars being chased-around around Kings way? I am not saying that there is not a caste problem, but just stressing that exploitation is a much bigger one. While we may use "casteist" words ( I think I just invented a word:) ), they have been just that, words. But our action reeks of exploitation. I will also admit that I am making a serious generalized assumption here, but since I am a Nepali , I have been born with the "Generalizing, Plagiarizing and Labeling" (GPL)license. So exploitation occurs from the mountain to the Terai, fueled perhaps by economic hardships, which I am hoping some anthropologists are studying. So how did we, a "hindu-culture", supposedly so liberal and understanding, that it promotes betterment of the self, (all rivers lead to the ocean), somehow get poisoned by the venom of exploitation. The transformation from the Janaks of Janakpur, and Ram Shah of Gorkha, where the slogan was "Nyaya napaye Gorkha janu" , ( pardon my historical knowledge, or lack of), to the current "pajero driving in a road that barely fits my behind" era, is mystery that parallels the "unifying theory" of modern physics. Maybe its human nature, or maybe we learned it, like we are trying to learn the civilized way from the " if we can't colonize you with our armies, we shall do it with our ideals and excuses/dollars" western powers. (Sorry, I might be starting to sound like an communist, and I am not.).so the "democracy" that we have been
"blessed" with, has once more given us the opportunity to show our colors. And our leaders are doing just that. What more can we ask for? Now with the slow but sure arrival of western-Baptist-Christianity into our masses, we are guaranteed a piece of heaven (or a couple of hundred dollars) for our newfound faith. "More exploitation for me, none for you". Maybe if we are really lucky we can also use words like
"religious persecution" and ask the buddhists to join the bandwagon. In conclusion, it seems that Nepal and "exploitation" are like this, ( I am joining my two fingers to show how close they are) and we, including some "leftover hippies" (again, GPL license) running around in Kathmandu, are screwed. But for the moment at least, I am basking in the glow of the western "intellect", and at the same time trying not to get lost in these masses, by writing meaningless essays like this one to show my "patriotic" self, and drive around in my Japanese car with a bumper sticker, that reads " I love Nepal", and be mesmerized by discussions put forth by the "Budhijibi's" of the internet, while holding a can of Bud-light at the weekend get togethers, where I shall hear more about the "Whats wrong" with Nepal. The only thing more weird than this is how we "intellectuals" have not been offered a Ph.d's for our research in "Whats wrong in/with Nepal" and "Americama hairnusna.." yet. Please feel free to break down everything I have said, line by line, discredit it and I will try to comeback ( regardless of the substance) and support my claims with nothing, or leave It to my "personal experience". Happy Tihar everyone, or Happy Halloween. And for those who do not celebrate Tihar or Halloween, please do not get offended, its nothing personal okay.
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 05:45:21 -0700
From: Puru Subedi <email@example.com>
Subject: Devkota Jayanti and Nepali Sahitya Saanj in Fairfax, Virginia
International Nepali Literary Society (INLS) organized a Nepali Sahitya
Saanj on the occasion of 91st
Devkota Jayanti at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia on October
18th, 1998. The program was
divided into two major sessions; a formal literary session to celebrate
Devkota Jayanti and an informal
Nepali song and dance session to celebrate Deepawali.
Dr. Bishnu Poudel =93Parimal=94 chaired the program, and His Excellency
Royal Nepalese Ambassador to the
US, Damodar Gautam attended the program as chief guest. INLS Board of
Trustee, co-chair, Bhim P.
Regmi was the master of the ceremony. Several community leaders and
representatives from local
organizations participated the program including Rita Tiwari, past
president, America-Nepal Society
(ANS), Girish Pokharel, Secretary, ANS, Kabindra Sitaula, General Secretary, Nepali Youth Organization
(NYO). INLS president, Basant Shrestha could not attend the program but has sent his message. He expresses that everyone should get involved in promoting Nepali language and literature in international level.
H.E. Ambassador Damodar Gautam lighted a diyo to open the ceremony.
Then followed tribute
(Malyarpan) to great poet Lakshmi Prasad Devkota by all participants. INLS administrative officer Purushottam Subedi gave welcome speech and requested everyone to participate on open forum programs by reading poems, gajal, or expressing views about Nepali language and literature.
The program continued with open forum poetry reading. Mohan Thapa,
Neelam Pun, Kalpana Subedi,
Saroj Khanal and Paras Shrestha read their heart-touching poems.
Prakash Subedi and Purushottam
Subedi read poems about Mahakabi Devkota that were received by INLS from
last year=92s Devkota Jayanti
ceremony held in Myagdi, Nepal.
Midway through the program, chair Dr. Bishnu Poudel announced rules and
subject of the Moti Samsya
Samadhan poetry competition, Moti Jaha Phulchha. He requested everyone
to write and present his/her
poem at the end of ceremony.
After the poetry reading program H.E. Ambassador Damodar Gautam opened
(bimochan) Pravashi Swor, a poetry collection written by Hom Nath Subedi and recently published by INLS. Bhim Prasad Regmi presented a critique about Pravashi Swor. He expressed that Hom Nath Subedi=92s poems, written while in the US, reflect common theme, feelings and love of Nepal, that is existent in every Nepalese abroad.
After the bimochan of Pravashi Swor, results of the International
Nepali Poetry Competition, 1998, were
announced. His excellency ambassador Gautam distributed cash prizes and
certificates to first, second and
third winners. Kalpana Subedi, Virginia, was awarded the first prize
for her poem, Swodesh. Laxmi
Dhakal and Prateek Dhakal from Nepal were awarded second and third
prizes for their poems Pani, Pani,
Pani and Ksyatigrastha Astha respectively.
After the prize distribution, INLS officials, community leaders, and
various literary personnel expressed
their views. Rita Tiwari and Kabindra Sitaula emphasized that everyone
should learn from examples of
Mahakavi Devkota and support the programs such as this one that help us
preserve our identity.
Mr. Ram Kharel, the founder of Sagarmatha Television expressed his full
support for INLS and said Nepali
language introduces us as Nepali and we should try to use the language
in every way possible.
Mr. Purushottam Subedi, Mr. Saroj Khanal, Mr. Bhim Prasad Regmi
presented INLS past, present and
future activities respectively. Mr. Purushottam Subedi said that INLS
was founded in 1991 when Nepali
language and literature interested people in Washington, D.C., Nepal,
Canada, and U.K. wanted to be
organized to promote Nepali language and literature in international
level. The main mission of the
organization is to establish an international level award called
International Nepali Literary Award and
present to the best book published inside or outside Nepal every year,
to encourage writers to devote
themselves to Nepali language and literature. He also mentioned that
INLS has opened chapters in various
countries and has been partnering with other sisterly organizations such
as ANS, ANA, NAC, NCNC to
achieve its mission.
Actor and INLS general secretary Saroj Khanal outlined recent activities
of INLS such as Nepali Sahitya
Saanj in Boston and INLS chapters in Japan and Australia. Bhim Regmi
outlined INLS future activities to
be continuation of the existing activities and improvement and increase
in INLS publication. He reported
that INLS is getting close to establishing the International Nepali
Literary Award. It could be matter of
months, if trustee installments are received in time. After INLS
officials, poets such as Kalpana Satyal,
Mohan Thapa, Kalpana Subedi, Govinda Giri presented the poems they wrote
while the program in session
for Moti Sahitya Samadhan poetry competition that requires contestant=92s
poems to end with the subject
At the end of the formal program H.E. Ambassador Gautam presented his
remarks and expressed his
gratitude to Hom Nath Subedi and other founders of INLS. He described
his meeting and experience with
He requested everyone to keep heart-beat of closeness and love for Nepal
alive and to teach children the
same including Nepal history, language and culture.
Chair Dr. Bishnu Poudel cited some of his poems and a poem from the
Washington Post. He adjourned the
fromal program with his closing remarks.
After formal literary program Nepali refreshments was served and was
followed by informal Nepali song
and dance program. The informal song and dance session was led by INLS
cultural group which includes
Saroj Khanal, Sambhu Man Sainju, Dhana Thapa, Neelam Pun, Ram Pun, Mohan
Thapa, Kalpana Satyal,
Kalpana Subedi and many others. Everyone on the audience also
participated on the singing and dancing.
INLS would like to thank Ram Kharel, founder Sagarmatha TV, for
expressing his support to INLS and
covering the program, and all participating community leaders and
Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: The Nepal Digest <email@example.com>
Date: October 19, 1998
My sister next?
The Melamchi river flows placidly through
Sindhupalchowk district north of Kathmandu
(above). Many girls from areas like this in Nepal are
sex workers in Bombay, 2500 km away.
OCTOBER 1998 <VOL 11 No 10>
by Naresh Newar
Sindhupalchowk district, barely 20 km northeast of Kathmandu Valley as the crow
flies, shares with
Rasuwa District, to its west, the notoriety of being the pre-eminent exporter of girls to the brothels of
India. Like so much other information on girl trafficking out of Nepal, the history of this export is
apocryphal, there having been little in the way of serious research by dispassionate scholars.
Some of the Sindhupalchowk locals say that the sex trade originated in the supply
of Tamang and
Sherpa girls of this region to the feudal Rana court of Kathmandu. Apparently, it was just a step
away from serving as bhitrini (concubines) and susaaray (maid servants) to the
"cages" of the
Kamathipura red light district of Bombay. The antiquity of trafficking may be murky, but there is no
doubt that there is profit in selling sex. That much is obvious from even a cursory look at some of the
households of Sindhupalchowks villages such as Ichowk, Mahankal, and Talamarang.
There is a trafficking network which today continues to supply young women of
Indian cities, and the fact that the locals are fully engaged in this supply is evident from the names
of some of the largest brothel owners in Bombay: Lata Sherpa, Mala Tamang, Kabita Sherpa, Anita
Sherpa and Maya (Tamang) Chauhan all names which indicate to a fair degree the origin of the
women in Sindhupalchowk. Vinod Gupta and Sanjay Chonkar, social activists in Bombay, say that
in addition to these top five, there are many other small-time Nepali gharwalis
(madams) engaged in
running a fair number of the hundreds of bordellos of Bombay. According to them, altogether 25,000
Nepali women work in the brothels of the three key red light areas of Kamathipura, Pilla House and
Unlike other equally poor hill districts of Nepal, Sindhupalchowk has
concentrated on this particular
export trade. It has helped that powerful gharwalis from this region rule the roost at the Bombay end.
Over time, it has also become an accepted social custom, albeit a secretive one.
"The family members of the victims equally share in the crime," explains Krishna
Chhetri, a school
teacher at Ichowk, which has many of what are known as "family traffickers".
"Prostitutes who return
home after several years in the trade encourage their neighbours to send their daughters to Bombay.
With their ostentatious display of wealth, it is easy to convince the parents to part with their
daughters," adds Chhetri.
Ichowk is popularly known as Sano Bambai (Little Bombay). From across the
Melamchi river valley,
in the afternoon sun, Ichowks tin-roofs reflect a prosperity that is said to come from earnings of its
women in Bombay. Until recently, when they became more common in the hills of Nepal, these tin
roofs were proof of cash income (required to buy the corrugated sheets) and an indication of
Ichowks source of wealth, compared to poorer villages which had to make do with thatch. There
was, apparently, a direct link between a daughter in Bombay and a tin roof above ones head in
Starting from the roadhead at the bazaar of Melamchi Pul, it takes over five
hours hard hill-walking
to reach the closely-knit settlement of Ichowk. Indeed, the tin roofs are all there, with but a handful of
thatch. However, the rest of the village is in bad shape: there is no electricity, running water or a
health care centre. The fields are poorly irrigated, and the maize and potatoes they produce are
hardly enough to last the year.
Unlike the tourist region of Helambu up-valley along the Melamchi, the locals of
Ichowk are openly
hostile towards strangers. This is, obviously, the result of the unwanted attention it has received over
the last few years from Kathmandu-based activist groups, suddenly woken up to the scourge of
trafficking. When this writer arrived at Ichowk one June afternoon this year and started chatting with
an elderly Tamang woman on her veranda a middle-aged man arrived to grill me with questions, while
another man came with a register book and insisted that I write down my name and purpose of visit.
There was no unpleasantness, but the incident showed the deep suspicion that Ichowk villagers
have of outsiders.
Later, when the Tamang womans husband arrived he explained that his two
daughters had gone
with his neighbour to the "Thulo Sahar" big city, the term for Bombay. Shyam Karki, school
teacher in the village, said that the old man often travelled to Bombay to collect money from his
daughters. "There are many parents like him involved in sending their children to work in the Bombay
"Up to 200 families in this village have sold their daughters, mostly between
12-15 years old. At
least 15 girls have left the village with well-known pimps in front of my very eyes. Obviously, the
whole community knows where their girls are headed," says Karki. Everyone knows what is going
on and what "Bambai" signifies, from the elderly to the very young. "But they pretend as if they do
not know," says Karki. "Some families feel the need to show concern, and they make noises in the
village, even file a report with the police. But they wait some days before doing so, to ensure that the
coast is clear."
Sashi Tamang, a 14 year-old girl rescued from Kamathipura and now living at the
home of Maiti Nepal, an NGO providing assistance to women, confirms parental involvement in
trafficking. She even says that the girls leaving the village know precisely where they are going to
end up. In the brothel to which she was sold by her own neighbour, Sashi remembers meeting at
least 50 Nepali girls, a majority of them from Sindhupalchowk. "Most of them had come willingly.
Even their own fathers had reached some of them here. But they never knew anything about all the
suffering they would face in Bombay," explains Sashi.
In Krishna Chhetris village of Palchowk (which provides the second half of the
stands the 100-year-old temple of Shri Jai Bageshwari Devi, much revered by the Bombay veterans
of Sindhupalchowk as well as the neighbouring Nuwakot district. Travelling from far afield, richly
adorned women, escorted by their families, arrive here on Saturdays to perform the elaborate Hindu
rite of Panchawoli. Lavish spending is in order, and up to NPR 10,000 (USD 150) is paid per buffalo
sacrifice. Holy offerings are made to Bageshwari Devi, up to NPR 15,000, says Chhetri. All this
conspicuous spending has the locals wide-eyed it is "Bambai" that makes it possible.
The Bhageshwari mandir also serves as a place where sex workers and traffickers
alike come to
expiate their sins. This is evident from the large sums that have been contributed for the restoration
and upkeep of the temple. The names of contributors prominently displayed on the walls, unlike in
other temples of Nepal, are primarily those of women.
What is strange but perhaps natural is that the very young girls of
Sindhupalchowk who have
suffered at the hands of their brothel managers emerge over time as mirror images of their
tormentors. These prematurely aged women, clearly, think nothing of entrapping more and ever more
young girls from Sindhupalchowk into the maze of Bombays sex trade. The very women who have
been trafficked by their parents, or by middle-men (and -women), are more than willing, in the role of
brothel managers and gharwalis, to encourage the export of more young women from
Sindhupalchowk to Kamathipura and Falkland Road.
Mahendra Trivedi, an ayurvedic practitioner in Bombay and one of the first
persons to begin a
counselling service for Nepali prostitutes, says he has given up trying to change the attitude of the
gharwalis. At one time, Trivedi helped start the Sanyukta Nepali Satya Sodhak Pidit Mahila Sangh,
an organisation of prostitutes and brothel keepers promoting the welfare of Nepali sex workers and
"The movement was begun to help Nepali sex workers unite against the corrupt
goondas and wicked clients. It was also meant to solve problems of illiteracy and disease, and to
help those who wanted to leave prostitution," recalls Trivedi. According to him, however, now the
organisation has become a base to expand the market for Nepali prostitutes in Bombay. "The Sangh
is now doing more harm than good," says Trivedi.
The membership of the Sangh is down today to just 3000 from the 12,000 during the
Until a decade ago, about 80 to 90 gharwalis used to attend meetings every Saturday, discussing
matters of concern to the Nepali sex workers. This does not happen any more, and the main
Tamang and Sherpa gharwalis in the executive committee of the organisation actually own more
brothels today than ever before. "The gharwalis kept on expanding brothels on the pretext of
providing more rooms to their girls," recalls Trivedi. The Bombay bazaar for Nepali girls is getting
larger, and back in Sindhupalchowk, the supply is assured into the future.
N. Newar is a Kathmandu-based journalist with special interest in human rights
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 15:18:40 -0500 (EST)
From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: kurakani - cultural issues
An article for all in favor of making Nepal a "secular nation"
Nepalis Under Siege
Hindus and Buddhists, Targeted for Conversion, Struggle to
Nepal, mankind's only Hindu nation, symbolic bastion of dharma, is
being stormed by Christians and Muslims. Spirit blind
secularist officials wink while semetic zealots flagrantly break anti-
conversion laws. Fueled by foreign dollars, missionaries dig into
dharma's high home.
By Hari Bansh Jha and N.N. Thakur, Kathmandu, Nepal.
The ancient Nepalese citadel of Himalayan Dharma is beseiged.
Despite the official Hindu state status and anti-proselytization laws
barring conversion, the nation's Hindus and Buddhists are being
converted to Christianity and Islam by sophisticated outside
On January 9, 1995, the Nepalese World Hindu Federation (WHF)
held a reception for Nepal's Prime Minister, the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, Ministers and the members of the
House of Representatives and charged Christian missions with
illegal conversion of poor and ignorant Nepalese in backward
areas by means of various temptations.
Prior to 1990, Christian missionary activity was dealt with severely
under a village panchayat system backed by the monarchy. But
after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1990, political parties-the
Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of
Nepal-raised their voice in favor of a secular state. Traditional
sentiment was too strong and the constitutional provision that Nepal
be a Hindu state was preserved. Conversion of religion remained
banned under the new democratic government. But elected
officials are making no effort to protect Hindu interests. Former
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala of the Nepali Congress (NC)
is on record as having said in 1993, "If I want to change my religion,
who is to stop me?" Despite public visits by officials to
famous Hindu temples, the present Marxist/Leninist minority
government has no ideological committment to religion in any form
and simply ignores missionary activity.
Christians are taking advantage of the situation. In a recent issue of
Pulse magazine detailing world evangelism, David McBride,
Kathmandu Christian correspondent, proudly reports, "Particularly
spectacular numerical growth has been experienced since the
democratic revolution of 1990, which allowed open evangelism for
the first time, and the church as a whole has been taking
advantage of that freedom." A 1960 census said Hindus form 89%
of all Nepalese. The 1991 census showed a drop to 86% of
the total 18 million, a decline of 3%. According to the 1991 census
report, the population of Hindus (86%) was followed by the
Buddhists (7%) and Muslims (4%). Saubhagya Shah reported in
his article, "The Gospel Comes to the Hindu Kingdom," that each
of the 75 districts in the country has at least one church and that
Kathmandu Valley alone has over 100 churches and
congregations. He also presents how the Christians plan to reach
every home and set up a church in every village by the year
2000. [See below.]
Print media is a key tool. Kanchan and Udghoshana are two
monthly Christian newsletters. Mahan and Bodhartha carry Bible
excerpts, religious essays, church news and opinions on social
issues. There are now several Christian bookstores throughout the
country. In 1992, Nepal Bible Society (NBS) is reported to have
distributed 5,896 Bibles, 14,126 New Testament digests,
183,450 other booklets and 557,300 pamphlets.
International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), like the
World Lutheran Service, are very active. These INGOs launch
projects in poverty-stricken regions such as small hydro-power
development, health services and education, and gradually convert
the people by giving them one temptation or the other. Free
medical treatment, scholarships, employment or even ordinary work
are used as incentives to readily convert those poor whose per
capita income is merely US $170.
Though the influence of Christian missions has grown throughout
Nepal, their main focus is the districts around Kathmandu Valley
which is being surrounded by new Christian converts. There is
large-scale conversion particularly among the formerly Buddhist
Tamang community living in districts like Kavrepalanchowk,
Makwanpur, Dhading, Nuwakot, etc. Once the Kathmandu Valley is
encircled by the Christians from all the sides, it will serve as a
strategic center for national expansion.
For the most part, Hindu organizations remain silent spectators.
The office bearers of WHF do not seem to have any vision as to
how to deal with the invasion from the foreign religious
missionaries. Even the Hindu Swyamsevak Sangh, a sister
Rastriya Swyamsevak Sangh of India, appears confused about
how to deal with the foreign-dollar-fueled conversion thrust.
History bristles with examples where Christianity was used as a
tool to promote political interest. Nepalese Hindus view its spread
as a potential threat to Nepal's social, cultural, economic and
Since the overthrow of the monarchy, evangelists are rarely
punished. An exceptional arrest of 11 ethnic Nepalese and 10
Bhutanese evangelists last September led to three-year sentences.
Concerns are being expressed among the Nepalese Christian
community if this incident marks the beginning of enforcement of
the country's anti-proselytism laws. But it is likely that Christian
influence will only will get stronger. It is backed by huge foreign
funding and strong communication links to the West. Heavy
dependence on the Western foreign aid-nearly 70% of the
development expenditure-make politicians reticent to take action.
only way left to deal with the Christian missions is for Hindu
organizations to establish health and educational institutions based
Hindu and Buddhist values, and to actively reconvert Nepalese to
their mother religions.
Islamic Pressure Mounts
One of the unique features of Hindu religion of Nepal is its tolerance
and respect for the other religions. This is more true in the
relation between Hinduism and Buddhism. Tourist brochures often
praise the "tolerant character of the Nepalese people." Hindus
go to the Buddhist monasteries and Buddhists visit the Hindu
temples. Some deities like Pashupatinath, Muktinath or Gorakhnath
are worshipped by both religions. A small Muslim population
previously functioned harmoniously beside its two big brothers. But
recent events portend a future of confrontation.
A few months ago, Salim Khan, president of Nepal Muslim
Association, made a controversial announcement, "Today,
data on Muslims in Nepal reads 4 lakhs, far from the actual figure of
20 lakhs. Kathmandu valley alone has about 35,000
Muslims." If he is right Muslims constitute 12% of all Nepalese, a
large variance from the official census figure of 3.5% in 1991.
Promotion of this perception, right or wrong, has led to demands for
rights. Abdul Gafur, General Secretary of Nepali Jama
Masjid, and other Islamic leaders, are demanding national holidays
during their religious festivals. Gafur said, "Our demands for
public holidays on Eid and Bakrid and other Muslim festivals, airing
news in Urdu, citizenship to the bonafide Muslims should be
implemented at the earliest."
Many in Nepal are convinced that the days of amicable relations
are over. In Nepalgunj, which is also called mini-Pakistan,
communal rifts are now common-curfew is clamped down from time
to time. Even from interior regions, like Dang, there is news
of the bitterness developing between the two communities.
Recently, in Saptari district some Muslim fundamentalists created
problems for Hindus organizing their annual Saraswati Puja.
Muslims cleverly demolished their own very old, historic, small,
Nepali Jams Masjid and a huge "spanking new marble-sided,
multimillion petro-dollar-financed structure, many times larger, has
been erected in its place," with support from international
Islamic organizations. The Narayanhiti Royal Palace has been
overshadowed, and on Fridays, traffic on Durbar Marg in
Kathmandu is jammed by thousands of Namajees.
Since the Muslims faced no protest from any Nepalese community
while constructing the new mosque, their morale was boosted.
They now plan to flood Nepal with hundreds of mosques and
madrasaas. There are also reports that Pakistani Muslim activists
holed up in Nepal and big oil money is flowing to do conversion
work among the poor. This, along with immigration of Bangladeshi
and Indian Muslims is building the Muslim population. In a classic
economic pattern, already seen in downtown Port Louis in
Mauritius and in many cities in India, rich Muslim businessmen are
taking over strategic real-estate. In Kathmandu, places like
Thamel and Bag Bazar have now become dominated by Muslims.
They, particularly the Kashmiri Muslims, pay the sky-rocketing
rents for these premises.
Hindus everywhere are watchful of events in Nepal, knowing it is a
precious international archive of Sanatana Dharma for all
mankind. Though under seige from outside forces, it remains, for
now, a Hindu state with laws against unethical conversion. Time is
running out if Hindus are to fulfill the urgent needs for active
programs of dharma-based education and social upliftment in
Sidebar: Massive Modern Crusades Target Third World
A recent report from the Houston Chronicle alerts the world that
serious modern Christian crusades are underway. A recent
meeting of 800 Christian leaders in Nepal launched implementation
of "Nepal 2000," part of a global movement whose main fields
of activity will be Asia, Africa and Latin America. Started in 1977 by
the Southern Baptist Convention, the group then launched a
programme named Bold Mission Thrust. Their goal was to take the
gospel to everyone in the native language by 2000. Later, the
Southern Baptist leaders realized that the goal was impossible.
Then a meeting of 10 mission organizations was held to consider
collaboration and prepare for the 1989 Global Consultation on
World Evangelization, which gave birth to the "AD 2000 and
Beyond" organization, Colorado, USA. Director Luis Bush, says, "A
church for every people and the gospel for every person by
AD 2000" is the aim of the 5-year-old organization. The year 2000
has been chosen as many Christians believe that the world will
end that year. Therefore, they wish to "save" as many souls as
possible. The international organisation collects and promotes
evangelization plans from the world over. Its activities include
evangelization research and data bank development, recruitment of
specific groups like women, youth and pastors as evangelizers and
Bible and gospel literature evangelism. The Chronicle says that
there are 2,000 plans at present, including national plans in
Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria and Bangladesh. In May of 1995,
44,000 leaders from 200 countries are meeting in Seoul, South
Korea, for another Global Consultation on World Evangelization.
Again, Asia, Africa and Latin America will be the main fields of
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 17:41:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tulsi Maharjan <email@example.com>
Subject: Bhintunaa, Nov 7
Daju kija, Tata kayepi phukasita Newaa sambat 1119 Nhu da ya BHINTUNAA
We look forward to seeing you during our Bhintuna Celebration on November
7th in Washington.
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 17:54:47 +0400
Subject: Trip to Kathmandu
Could you please get me the e-mail address of any air company office in
lathmandu (desirably Austrian Airlines), to get the reservation of the
round trip ticket Tbilisi, Georgia -Kathmandu-Tbilisi. I know there is no
direct flight , but to come up with best connection flights and prices.
At the same time I understand that you are not the right person to ask for
such favor, but may be you can forward my letter to someone who can help
Thank you in advance for assistance and best regards.
From: "Anil Shrestha" <SHRESTHA@plant.uoguelph.ca>
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 14:59:56 EST
Subject: Benefit concert
Can you please include this message in TND? It is for TND readers in
Toronto, surrounding areas and anyone interested.
"A benefit concert for Opportunity Village, a safe home for young
girls in Nepal will be held featuring classical concert pianist
Clark Bryan on Sunday, November 8, 3.00 PM at St. Andrew's
Presbyterian Church, 161 Norfolk Street, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Cost of admission is $10 per person."
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Forwarded by: email@example.com (Ashutosh Tiwari)
Subject: On child labor in Nepal: by Abana Onta
Date: 25 Oct 1998 03:26:50 GMT
__________________________________________________ Situation Analysis of Child Labour in Nepal by Centre for Women/Children and Community Development (CWCD) Kathmandu, National Planning Commission, 1997
_____________________________________________________________ A review by Abana Onta
Of late issues concerning child labour have received enormous attention
from both the government as well as the non-government sectors in Nepal. It
has also been the subject of several research projects.Situation Analysis
of Child Labour in Nepal is an outcome of one such research done by CWCD
for the National Planning Commission (NPC).
This study covers a total of
6500 households: 4000 rural, 1500 urban and 1000 bonded ones in Banke,
Bardia, Dang, Kailali, and Kanchanpur districts. In addition, Kathmandu,
Morang, and Rupandehi districts were included in the study as the highest
number of industries are located in them. A total of 9732 children between
6-14 years of age (5885 rural, 2094 urban and 1753 in bonded families) were
The study reveals that most of the working children are engaged in domestic
work. 26 per cent of the children work either as non-domestic workers or
domestic workers with no access to schools. Most children work 8 to 10
hours per day earning less than Rs.500 a month. Among the domestic workers,
most work less than 60 hours a month, but children of bonded families work
61hours or more.
Children in the industries work under hazardous
conditions. Most of the parents of child labourers are alive. Poverty and
parental enforcement are described as the two major reasons behind child
The report provides recommendations for "prevention, protection, and
gradual elimination of child labour in Nepal". Firstly, it calls for the
amendment of both Children's Act,1992 and Labour Act,1992. In the meantime,
the study suggests that the government enforce the current laws, provide
free legal aid to exploited children, and conduct advocacy programs to
create awareness against child labour.
Secondly, it urges the government to
adopt the policy of free and compulsory primary education for children,
providing facilities such as scholarship, free textbooks, food, and
flexibility in scheduling of school hours. Other suggestions are generic
ones: implementation of income generation programs, credit schemes, poverty
alleviation, employment generation, rehabilitation and vocational training.
Finally it suggests that mass awareness should be created through the
mobilisation of community based organizations and NGOs. Similarly, a
special focus on gender is also essential.
According to Burden On Childhood: Child Porters in the Kathmandu Valley
(CONCERN-Nepal, 1997), there are approximately 2.6 million child labourers in Nepal as per a national level survey conducted by the Central Department of Population Studies at Tribhuvan University. This is 60% of the total population between the age of 6-14. After 1990, new legislation to protect children's rights has been passed in Nepal and our government has signed many international conventions related to these rights.
commitments, millions of Nepali children are denied their rights. Lately,
there have been some commendable efforts from various (I)NGOs, donors,
individuals, and the government to curb the problem of child labor. However
these efforts have yet to produce noticeable improvement. The inconsistency
in the programs launched by these agents have reduced their efficacy.
Interventions become complicated when plans are made on a vast scale for
the benefit of laboring children and their parents whose view of their own
pressing needs are never cared for. For example not a single voice from a
child labourer has been included in this report. Thus, all the concerned
sectors must figure out a way to fill up the gap between the people on the
receiving end and the planners so that research and programs may achieve
the most beneficial result for the child labourers and their families.
Though the study boasts that it "has attempted to provide a new dimension
and perspective on child labour in Nepal," it is hardly so. The study is a
mere interpretation of the survey data. It does not provide an analysis of
"the root causes of the problem in the context of the socio-cultural-economic dynamics prevailing in the country" and has nothing new to recommend.
It seems like the remedies to every single problem in our
country are income generation, credit scheme etc. Such generic band-aid
recommendations can be provided without doing such a study! More specific
interventions will have to be sought in approaches that identify the
structural causes behind child labor in Nepal.
(A.Onta is doing an MA in Sociology at TU)
Subject: Gayatri Spivak and the subaltern Woman: by Manjushree Thapa
Spivak and the Subaltern Woman
An essay by Manjushree Thapa
The Bengali Marxist-feminist critic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's 1988
article "Can the Subaltern Speak?" remains controversial for her assertion
that the subaltern cannot speak. In making her case, Spivak fundamentally
disagrees with Michel Foucault and Gilles
Deleuze's suggestion that truly oppressed groups can speak if they are only
given a chance to.
This, because their narratives become subsumed by more
hegemonic ones. She takes the case of sati as an example of this dynamic.
In response to colonial British criticism of this practice - and the threat
of "white men saving brown women
from brown men" - nationalist patriarchs argued variously that the widow
actually wanted to die, that she attained a higher freedom (from the cycle
of rebirth) through sati, and that she should be admired for the courage of
The widow's own utterance on the matter was always interpreted
according to the these two dominant narratives; she was either a victim of
barbaric "brown men," or she was anti-national. She (as a subject in
possession of her own agency) thus disappeared from public discourse. This
disappearance, Spivak argues, is "not into a pristine nothingness, but into
a violent shuttling which is the displaced figuration of the 'third-world
woman' caught between tradition and modernization." ("Can the Subaltern
Speak?" p. 306)
Though in later articles and interviews Spivak concedes that women as a
whole cannot be defined as subaltern, she remains clear on the matter of
women's systematic silencing. While a woman can alwaystalk, Spivak claims,
she cannot alwaysspeak insofar as the act of speaking requires a listener,
which the female subaltern always lacks. It is in this sense that Spivak
declares that the subaltern as female cannot be heard or read.
In making this statement, Spivak defends Marx's claim about the oppressed
classes: "They cannot represent themselves." While some have criticized
this comment for its elitism, Spivak cites the work of the Italian Marxist
Antonio Gramsci (who authored the
concept of the subaltern) in defending it.
According to Gramsci, subaltern
social groups are by definition disorganized, lacking in class
consciousness, and entirely excluded from the histories of dominant and
hegemonic classes of civil society. Any attempt on
their part to become heard brings them into the domain of political and
textual representation, which is to say, into civil society. They are then
able to speak for themselves in ways that (as I will elaborate upon next)
Spivak still finds partial. But there remain other groups who never move
into the realm of representation, and
these groups remain subaltern.
Spivak's argument with representation derives from her observation that
there is a common misunderstanding of its function: as in political
(parliamentary) representation, textual representation is not a matter of simplyspeaking for others, but ofworking for them ("Subaltern Talk: Interview with the Editors," p.296). Those who seek to work for the subaltern should not merely write or speak about them, or depict them in images; they must abolish the subaltern space by bringing those who live there into the sphere of representation.
Spivak's debt to Marxism is clear in such positions. Yet her readings of
Marx are marked by her deconstructivist method, and as such contribute to
current rereadings of Marxism. Her article "Scattered Speculations on the
Question of Value," for example, argues that the indeterminacy of the term
"use value" opens up for question Marx's sealed-off chain of Labor -> Value
-> Money -> Capital.
The semiotic indeterminacy of use value (defined as
the value generated when a person immediately uses the product of her own
labor, which still leaves open the question of what exactly it amounts to)
is something that Spivak claims materialist and idealist philosophers alike
ignore in order to serve their own
interests. Echoing Jacques Derrida, she then insists upon a "scrupulous
declaration of interest in the text of the production of value," and she is
always ready to declare her own interest in wresting Marx free from those
who claim to have the final word on him.
Marx aside, Spivak's debt is also to Paul de Man, who articulated the
deconstructivist position that all readings are necessarily misreadings.
Spivak was de Man's student, and her work pays the kind of close attention
to language that he called for. Derrida, who to his own chagrin is called
the "father" of deconstruction, is also a major influence, and Spivak is
the English translator of his early bookOn Grammatology.
Deconstruction is fundamentally concerned with dismantling structures (of
any particular logic) along their own fault lines. Primarily aimed at
rereading texts and narratives, it is as much a strategy as a philosophy.
For this reason, though some feminists find the deconstructivist focus on
rereading to be too removed from the "real" (political) concerns of women,
Spivak argues that it can be used towards feminism's political ends. For
rereading is an activity fraught with subversive potential, and feminism
must concern itself with constantly subverting the narratives that write,
and thus regulate, women.
One of Spivak's most ethical gestures in this regard is to constantly point
out the silencing of women's own narratives. In "Can the Subaltern Speak?"
she writes about the 1926 suicide of a young Bengali woman, Bhuvaneswari
Bhaduri. Bhaduri had been unable to carry out the political assassination
assigned to her by the pro-independence group she was secretly part of; she
hoped to demonstrate her political loyalty by killing herself instead.
Unable to reveal her political motives, and unwilling to let society
interpret her death as proof of illicit love (for why else would a young
woman commit suicide), she waited till the onset of menstruation to hang
herself. Because of this decision, her death could fit neither into popular
narratives about women's love
tragedies, nor into independence activists' hegemonic narratives about
women as Durga, and thus became insignificant. The subaltern woman is
always forced into this kind of silence.
Spivak's commitment to bringing the subaltern woman into the sphere of
representation is not limited to her work as a literary critic. She is the
English translator ofImaginary Maps, a collection of Mahasweta Devi's
stories of tribal women in their capacities as workers, bonded kamiya
slaves, mothers, lovers, Naxalite insurgents and organic intellectuals.
Just as Devi "works for" tribal women through her writing, Spivak works for
women both within and without civil society by taking up the task of
She thus exemplifies the engaged intellectual committed not
just to cultural criticism, but also to cultural activism.
(Manjushree Thapa is writing her first novel in Kathmandu.)
>Subject: A timeless Tale: A review by C K Lal
A Timeless Tale
_______________________________________________ Starless Starr by Lita T. Cruz Grand Prairie, Texas, H & L International, 1998
___________________________________________________ A review by C K Lal
It is said that every one has at least one tale to tell. Often, the story
is about someone loved and lost. No wonder, Mills and Boons sell by the ton
and Star comics have an eternal appeal. Lita Cruz's Starless Starr, her
debut novel, is one of those books that would make you long once again for
the sweet suffering of lying awake all night long.
This story could have happened anywhere. The author chooses the setting of
Philippines, a country where she grew up herself. The protagonist of the
story, a lady named Starr, grows up in an environment where the doctrine
that "girls should learn only how to read, cook and clean the house" is
held dear and where "red roses meant love.
The white ribbon stood for
honesty." When her "cheeks were pink like a newly harvested
apple" and the thought of love "melted her like butter," a TDH--that's
tall, dark and handsome, in case you have forgotten--guy next-door starts
sending her love letters through her sister. Isn't that charming? Quite
naturally, her brother soon finds it out, forbids her from meeting her
lover and the poor guy agonizes.
"Jack felt tears rolling down his cheeks while he played with his small
guitar. His heart was so heavy. If only he could rip his aching heart apart
from his body, and throw it out of the window, he could have done it," is
the way Lita puts the pain of the separated lover, and like most women,
gets the torment of male character all wrong.
The problem is
tears do well up, but they refuse to spill over. Your head is so heavy, you
feel like banging it to the nearest wall to lighten it up a bit, but the
heart is as light as a dry leaf, having no control over itself. The moment
tears start to roll, the piercing pain stabilizes and, like poor Jack in
the story, you switch on the radio for your favorite lament. The
succour of the soulful voice of Narayan Gopal, may his soul rest in peace,
continues to bring many 'broken-hearts' out of their suffocation.
The puppy pulp story develops as the girl becomes a teenager, learns to
commit her own mistakes and grows into a woman in the process. Like the
author herself, Starr graduates in Business Administration. She works her
way up, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and raises her kids
on her own. She fights the advances of her male colleagues, petty
jealousies of female ones and emerges as a formidable manager in her own
right. But, remember, it's a love story and there are no dearth of suitors
for this pretty young thing. One of them is no less than a Senator and a
business tycoon to boot.
Unlike in life, compromises don't have to be made in stories and true love
always triumphs in the end. In traditional ones, lovers ride into the
sun-set towards the mountains. Lita makes one concession for the
modernity--Starr's true love flies to greener pastures with her as well as
her children. At the end, Starr is a "Starless Starr" no more. Presumably,
she lives happily ever after. And when she becomes a grandmother, she
writes a book, "that teens can relate to, that women and men will cherish
and that will touch even the most unbending heart." Isn't that a tall order
by any standard?
The book is well organized. The SVB format, that's subject-verb-object
syntax that English teachers every where love so much, makes it an easy
read. One can only pray that the writer follows up this work with another
story. How about a lovable stranger for a theme? You see, Lita, a Filipino,
is married to Hari Pandey, a Nepali. Now, that would be some story to look
(C K Lal is a prolific columnist, writing out of Kathmandu.)
>Subject: On industrial Relations: by Bimal Aryal
On Industrial Relations
_______________________________________________ Industrial Relations in Nepal: A Book of Readings Ed by Prem R. Pant and Narayan Manandhar Kathmandu, Industrial Relations Forum, 1998 Rs 300
A review by Bimal Aryal
In Industrial Relations in Nepal , well known academics Prem Raj Pant and
Narayan Manandhar have collected useful articles on various aspects of the
industrial sector in Nepal. It adequately deals with the inter-relations
that exist among employees, employers and the government, the major actors
in this sector. It also forwards probable remedies for the problems often
faced by these actors.
The book consists of forty papers (under nine major sections), mostly based
on case studies carried out in the private sector. The first section,
Concepts and Dynamics of Industrial Relations discusses industrial
relations theory, the existing legislative framework, labour issues, trade
union activities and management attitudes.
The next section, The Actors in
Perspective deals with the role played by labour in the economy. It
provides micro study of government performance, labour administration and
the role of employers' organization. It also focuses on the check and
balance relation between the management and labour and explains the view of
workers in this regard.
The third section, Labour Legislation explains the
legislative situation prevalent in Nepal in historical and recent context.
It discusses the changes in labour legislations and acts that have taken
place from time to time. Issues such as the suppression of labour by the
government during 1959-1972, political influence in trade unions, and
welfare of the labour are also discussed.
Microanalysis of the inter-relation between labour and management has been
presented in the fourth throught sixth sections by discussing workers'
participation and collective bargaining, conflict management and wage
issues in industrial relations. It is pointed out that in Nepal, less than
2% of the total labour force is engaged in industrial sector and hence
labour organizations are not very powerful.
In addition, neither market
forces nor any other tool has been used to determine labour wages. Thus
wage increases between 1965 and 1997 have not kept pace with inflation.
Wage increase for unskilled labour has been 11.33% and for highly skilled
The sixth through ninth sections deal with the work place environment,
workers' social attitudes and commitment, International Labour Organization
and Nepal, and emerging trends in labour organizations. Management tools in
Nepal are not strong enough to solve industrial disputes.
stoppage of work by labour cannot be dealt with by the government due to
its limited participatory mechanisms. Industrial relations are not only
dependent on above-mentioned actors but also on others such as the
International Labour Organization whose role has been properly explained in
the book. The book also describes the narrow boundaries of socio-cultural
and socio-psychological terrains of the working environment in Nepali
All in all, the readings collected in this book give a good introduction to
various aspects of industrial relations in Nepal. Although there is some
repetition of materials, the book is reader-friendly.
(B Aryal teaches economics in Kathmandu)
>Subject: Surendra Sthapit on sustainable tourism
(This and other preceding book-reviews and essays have appeared in
the latest edition of the fortnightly
Kathmandu Post Review of Books -- edited and co-ordinated for this
issue in Kathmandu by Abana Onta, a master's student in Sociology
_________________ Sustainability in Mountain Tourism: Perspectives for the Himalayan Countries Ed by Patricia East, Kurt Luger, Karin Inmann Delhi, Book Faith India and Innsbruck-Vienna, Studienverlag, 1998
A review by Surendra Sthapit
As tourism develops as a major industry, various studies of the impact of
tourism on the culture, eco-system and economy of the host countries are
being carried out. Comparisons between similar geographic regions and
assessment of the benefits of tourism to the local community have been made
The tourism sector in Nepal has become a major foreign currency earner.
With geometric rise in services catering to tourists (hotels, travel
agencies, restaurants), some of the localities have totally changed, e.g.
Thamel and Pokhara's Lake Side. But the quality and cost of the services
provided have gradually declined. A tourist can trek in Nepal for as little
as $ 2.00 a day.
While Nepal is marketing itself as THE tourist destination, with VNY '98,
the increasing pollution in Kathmandu, the unreliability of air transport
service and the chaotic policies in the immigration department have perhaps
repelled the potential visitors rather than attracted them. Nepal has been
marketing the same destinations repeatedly, resulting in over-crowding of a
few locations while many more areas remain unaffected by the tourism
economy. Clearly, the present state of tourism in Nepal can be attributed
to a lack of proper vision.
Sustainability in Mountain Tourism attempts to discuss critical issues
related to tourism. Oeko Himal, an Austrian NGO, took the initiative to put
this volume together, and several contributors have provided their opinions
on the subject. Among them, articles by Harka Gurung, Kamal Banskota/Bikash
Sharma give information on the trend and breakdowns of numerical data on
Although, these articles are informative, they read like project
reports. Refreshing articles are contributed by Kanak Dixit on the lack of
media coverage of tourism, and Ludmilla Tueting on her personal style of
Part I deals with Sustainable Tourism: Theories for Mountains. Friedrich
Zimmermann provides the European perspective with examples from Austria.
His paper reflects the commitment and initiative taken by the government
bodies (the EU) to develop the eco-tourism sector sustainably to the year
2000 and beyond. This could provide some guideline for policy makers in
Part II talks about Pitfalls and Policies (or lack of) of Mountain Tourism.
Women's perspective is provided by Nina Rao's article, and Malcolm
Odell/Wendy Lama analyze the benefits of small-scale (tea-house) trekkers.
Other contributers talk about eco-tourism in Pakistan, tourism marketing,
impact on local people, and tourism masterplans. Les Clark provides a
positive and practical suggestion on planning for mountain tourism.
In Part III, the oft-repeated success story of ACAP is cited by Siddhartha
Bajracharya. Zac Goldsmith is more skeptical in his Ecotourism: Old wine -
New Bottles? Citing his experience in Ladakh, he criticizes the western
concept of wealth & development and concludes that "^Jthere is more than one
way to create prosperity." Karin Inmann/Kurt Luger talk about the
cooperation between Nepal and Austria, particularly in the Makalu-Barun and
Focusing on eco-tourism, the projects aim at an
ecologically and socially responsible tourism with special consideration of
the needs of the local people. These include keeping the environment
intact, aiming for economic profitability without degenerating the
resources, providing value for money in clean and comfortable services, and
effective communication and marketing.
Clearly Nepal needs to learn more about how to market itself as a major
tourist destination in Asia and manage its resources sustainably. This
book, with a broad coverage of various issues on mountain tourism, can help
Nepali policy makers, planners, and enterpreneurs reach that goal.
(Surendra Sthapit works in an environmental NGO.)
Nepal: The Kingdom in the Himalaya
by Toni Hagen
Revised and updated fourth edition with Deepak Thapa
Lalitpur, Himal Books, 1998
A review By Pramod Bhatta
Toni Hagen first set foot on Nepali soil in 1950 when Nepal was still a
'forbidden country.' A Swiss-born geologist entrusted by the Nepali government to do a geological reconnoissance survey of the entire nation with support from the United Nations, Hagen traversed a total of 14,000 kms by foot in the 1950s. The first edition of Hagen'sNepal: The Kingdom in the Himalaya , published in 1961, was a product of these travels. This fourth edition, revised and updated with journalist Deepak Thapa, includes spectacular photographs (121 color and 51 black & white) plus the original reports by Toni Hagen. In addition, it brings the reader abreast with the changes in Nepal since the late 1950s.
The book, in the main, consists of 15 chapters. The first two discuss Nepal
of the 1950s and the modernisation trends that have taken place since then.
Hagen's geological explorations are described in the next four chapters
which are a mixture of the author's troublesome yet exotic adventure in the
Himalayas and his extensive and pioneering geological survey of the entire
kingdom. In Orogenesis of the Himalaya, Hagen rightfully asserts that the
Himalayas are not rich in mineral deposits.
In the next two chapters, Hagen appreciates the ethnic, linguistic and
cultural diversity of the people of Nepal and their history and culture.
Among other things, he discusses the myths of the "Yeti", primeval
civilization in "Nepal Khaldo", unification of P.N.Shah, and the two
democratic revolutions including the Jana Andolan. Nepal's developmental
sectors - including agriculture, transportation, hydropower and tourism -
are discussed in four of the last five chapters. Hagen insists that nature
did not make Nepal poor but Nepalis themselves have created their poverty
by looting the forests, by 'exploding' their population, and through poor
governance, among others.
Hagen is also critical of Nepal's process of modernisation, especially road
building. Road construction, he argues, creates activities but no
development. Hardly have roads had a positive effect on local economic
productivity; when there have been such effects, only a few businessmen,
traders, truck owners and landlords have felt them. Instead, he calls for
improved foot trails, ropeways and suspension bridges which may increase
the amount of trekking and quality tourism in Nepal.
Like others, Hagen sees an immense potential for hydropower development in
Nepal. But he writes, "one of the most striking aspects of Nepal's lack of
socio-economic development for me is the confusion and lack of direction
that has pervaded the power sector management of Nepal". He appreciates the
contributions of young Nepali experts who opposed Arun-III while
propagating alternatives in which development would be 'self driven' rather
than 'donor driven'. In such development, he adds, there is both
sustainability and accountability. While we Nepalis have become pessimistic
about all developmental and democratic practices, Hagen is optimistic about
a better Nepali future. He sees hope in the more critical and enthusiastic
younger Nepali generation, although it is clear that he has direct access
to only a few Nepali youths and their activities.
An impressive amount of new information - including up-to-date data and
discussions on matters as diverse as history, development, tourism,
agriculture, geography, ethnography and the process of modernisation in
Nepal - has been collected in this edition. The first edition of this book
served as a grand introduction to Nepal as far as the international readers
were concerned; it also provided a holistic look at the country's geography
and population to Nepali leaders and administrators at a time when such
information was scarce. This revised edition, apart from its historical
text and photographs, can be read as a good introductory survey as
specialized monographs are now available on many of the themes pursued
herein. This elegantly produced book was printed in Nepal and its
international quality will no doubt boost the Nepali publishing industry.
(P.Bhatta is doing an MA at TU)
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