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The Nepal Digest Tues Nov 9, 1997: Kartik 26 2054BS: Year6 Volume68 Issue 1
Re: Separation of Powers?
Please help me
Pollution on Mount Everest
Volunteering in Nepal
Re: business institution
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
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****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 09:25:45 -0600 From: Joel Hafvenstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Separation of Powers?
I have been following the exchange on Nepal's political and economic woes
with immense interest. Though an American bideshi, I spent many years as
a child in Kathmandu and Galyang Bhanjyang (my father was one of the chief
engineers on the Patan Hospital and Andhikhola Hydel projects). My love
of Nepal has not faded in my seven years back in America, and this summer
I was able to go back on a university scholarship to study the political
situation in Nepal.
Thus, as a student of politics (with a special interest in Nepal), I hope
my perspectives will not be unwelcome in this discussion.
> Rupesh Pradhan wrote:
> > Let me briefly summarize the argument I forwarded on the reasons for the
> > current political problems of Nepal as demonstrated by frequent changes of
> > equally hopeless governments. I pointed our current constitutional setup
> > as the primary reason for this. For a healthy democracy, the three primary
> > pillars of democracy --the executive branch, the legislative branch, and
> > the judicial branch--need to be independent of each other while providing
> > checks and balances against excessive power accruing upon any one of them.
> > With our current constitutional arrangement, while the judicial branch is
> > independent, the other two branches are not.
This is my main point of disagreement with both Rupesh and Ajay -- the
issue of independence between branches of government. I do not think that
Nepal's problems would be solved by making the executive independent from
the legislature; I think, rather, that this step would create a new and
probably worse set of problems.
Let me clarify a few of my thoughts on this matter. I'm sure Rupesh would
not disagree with me when I say that there are many "healthy" democracies
which do follow a parliamentarian model -- in which, like Nepal, the
executive and legislative branches are codependent. In Britain, the
Scandinavian countries, Spain, Japan, and Israel, to name but a few,
democracy has survived _and_ brought economic growth under a parliamentary
system. For this kind of system to work smoothly, the two branches must
each be dependent upon the other. Traditionally, this is done by giving
the legislative branch power to appoint the executive, and giving the
executive power to dissolve the legislature. Under this system, there are
checks on power (but not independence) between all branches of government.
The alternative is a presidential system, in which the legislature and
executive are independent of each other. Both have fixed terms and
independent authority. This is, of course, the American system -- and
classical American political science (of the type usually called
"Madisonian") has held it up as a first principle of political science. Yet it has not worked so well outside of America. In countries that have adopted presidential or semi-presidential systems -- Mexico, Poland, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, and so on -- both democracy and economic prosperity have been threatened.
Democratization, especially in the Third World, has been considerably
harder for presidential than for parliamentary governments. For example,
many countries in Africa began their independent lives as presidential
republics. None maintained a continuous democracy. In Latin America,
presidents are prone to declare states of emergency and seize power
undemocratically -- a process with which Nepal should be all too familiar,
after 1960. Juan Linz's book _The Failure of Presidential Democracy_ lists
a number of reasons to prefer parliamentary systems in new democracies:
1. In presidential systems, the executive and the legislature have
independent democratic "mandates". Both can claim that they represent the
will of the people. This leads to a confusion of who _really_ rules the
country... and has led (frequently) to the president and parliament both
claiming that the other is illegitimate and breaking off relations with
each other. In Nepal's case, imagine a situation with a Congress
president and an A-malay parliament... where they're both democratically
elected, and both stuck with each other. _Maybe_ they'd be forced to
cooperate. More likely (as illustrated by both Nepali and American
political history), the executive and legislature would spend most of
their time undercutting the other's authority, and nothing would get done.
2. In parliamentary systems, when nothing is getting done, there is a
democratic way out. Either the PM dissolves the parliament, or the
parliament can vote "no-confidence" against the PM. As the Nepali case
shows, this can be overused and destabilizing. But in a presidential
system, gridlock is much more serious. When the executive and legislature
disagree, there is nothing either one can do, except wait for the other's
fixed term of office to expire. Latin America has many instances of this
-- when the president and parliament have different economic ideologies, both can block _any_ economic plan from being fully implemented. The economy becomes stagnant and the political system fragile. And the only way for either side to break the deadlock is to stage a coup of some sort. The military often serves as a tie-breaker. The country survives, but at the price of democracy.
3. In presidential systems, the executive goes to whichever person gets
the highest amount of votes. The losers have _no_ role in the executive
branch; presidents form their own cabinets. In a parliamentary system, on
the other hand, even minority parties frequently end up holding various
ministries. Coalitions can have real power. Cooperation is encouraged.
Fewer groups have incentives to seek power undemocratically.
4. In a parliamentary system, a weak or corrupt executive can be replaced
smoothly, within the system. He may even be replaced by a better member
of the same party. In a presidential system, if the executive is corrupt
or incompetent, replacing him is far more difficult. There is less
adaptability to changing situations. In Nepal's case, I would argue that
the replacement of both Deuba and Chand was on balance a good thing.
Nepal's political and economic condition would not have been much improved
by allowing either of these men to stay in power. In a system where the
executive is independent, however, there would have been no way to remove
them -- short of an enormously destabilizing impeachment process.
5. In a presidential system with fixed terms, there is no way to hold
either branch continually accountable for their behavior and choices --
especially the executive. Once they are in power, they can act with
relative impunity. This is often cited as a positive aspect, especially
when the executive needs to implement necessary but politically unpopular
reforms without fear of removal. But as Rupesh pointed out, few if any
Nepali government leaders have a very clear idea of how to guide a modern
economy. Giving them a free hand to impose their idea of economic reform
on the country is _not_ a good idea. Holding them accountable for their
successes and failures is much preferable.
6. Even in the United States -- which is certainly the most stable and
successful presidential democracy -- the rate of ministerial turnover is
very high, higher than in most comparable parliamentary democracies. The
independence of the executive does not assure stability in government --
which is of course one of Nepal's greatest needs.
To sum up -- I agree that in any democracy, checks and balances are needed
to prevent too much power from accruing to one branch or another. But I
disagree that making the executive and legislative branches independent of
each other is the best way to check their power. Rather, I believe that
this would only increase instability in Nepal. For independent branches
of government to work, the political culture must be one of cooperation
and mutuality; if major political groups are unable to compromise, the
only result of a presidential system will be complete stasis between the
executive and legislative branches. In Nepal, where parties cannot even
cooperate _internally_, a presidential system would be a disaster.
Nepal's parliamentary system is not working smoothly for a variety of
reasons. First, it needs a less politicized civil service. For
parliamentary regimes to work, you can't have every ministry changing with
every change in executive. (Note from point 6 above, however, that I
don't believe this problem would be relieved by making the executive
independent of the legislature). Second, it needs an executive with more
power over parliament. A key element in the parliamentary balance is the
ability of the Prime Minister to dissolve the legislature. Ever since Man
Mohan failed (for good reason, I might add), it has been very hard for the
executive to make credible threats in this regard. As a result, no one is
holding the legislature accountable for its failure in articulating a
policy for national growth. Third: one of the great strengths of a
parliamentary system is that it doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. See
point 3 above. There is always room for smaller or opposition parties.
However, ever since G.P. Koirala took power, Nepal's major parties have
been fighting to shut the others out of politics entirely. There needs to
be a greater regard for diversity of views and a "loyal opposition."
These are just a few of the problems that need to be solved for the
executive and legislative branches to truly be codependent and productive.
However, I felt they were the ones most applicable to this particular
topic. For anyone who's interested, I recommend Dahl's famous _Preface to
Democratic Theory_ for a good critique of Madisonian political theory...
he challenges the notion that the independence of government branches
really increases their democratic effectiveness.
I was going to offer some comments on Nepali entrepreneurism and party
politics as well, but this post is long enough already. Also, it's 2:30
AM over here. So I'll wrap it up and go to bed.
Disagreements or challenges are always welcome.
Date: November 5, 1997
To: The Nepal Digest <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subjet: Nepali News
Source: The Kathamndu Post, The Rising Nepal
The selling of innocents
By Kavita Sherchan
KATHMANDU, Oct 27 - A woman tries to stand up, saunters and falls back. The men whove come to
rescue her and her likes ask: "Whats wrong?"
She doesnt say anything...cant say it...The words dont come out. Shes embarrassed. Shes sick.
Shes a sex worker.
The camera captures another scene. A woman is being sold to another woman who promises her work in
Mumbai. The father is making the deal. "Fifteen hundred!" he counts and folds the money. "My girl is yours".
The innocent girl-woman smiles coyly and pulls the shawl over her head, oblivious of the fact that shes just
been sold..... to entertain men in some dingy rooms of the dark streets of the notorious Mumbai city.
This is a scene from The Selling of Innocents, a documentary that was filmed here today at Film South Asia
97, held at Russian Culture Centre.
The Selling of Innocents is a documentary....to the makers and to the organisers who are holding "the
exhibition of documentaries" but to women in Sindhupalchowk, where the trafficking is at its height or the
women dying of AIDS in the brothels in Mumbai...it is not. Its a sad tale of their life. Its not a fiction or
even a work of art. It is the naked truth. The stark reality.
The reality that haunts the life of many girls and women from poor families. The result of their "bad karma",
as one of the young sex workers tells another whos just been forced into the flesh trade.
"This documentary has further victimized the victims. Why were their faces shown?" asked some after watching the documentary. "But why not? Why should these women hide behind the veil for the crime they havent committed?" countered others. Inside the crowded auditorium some cried openly. Others were bleeding inside. Some were too stunned to react.
That was the reaction it evoked. None were unmoved. And it was possible because the pain, the sufferring
and the sense of terror the innocents felt were written all over their faces. These women didnt have to tell it.
Their faces said it all. Had their faces been covered, words wouldnt have been enough to convey what they felt.
How can one explain in words the pain one feels when one sees young children of these sex workers
sleeping on the floor, oblivious of the pain and humiliation their mothers go through while entertaining
someone who wants cheap sex? Some naked, some half covered and some in tatters. "They may be the
future generation to take on the trade", says a voice. The thought is scary. The sight pathetic. Is it possible to
Youll have to see it and hear the unsaid words. See the unshed tears.
Ruchira Gupta, who received Emmy Award 1997 for best investigative journalism for this documentary, has
touched the wound that hurts. She has picked up the most horrid problem women face in Nepal and made it
into a documentary. The documentary, which is blatantly honest, reveals their condition in "take it in your
But are there any takers?
Here is the documentary telling us how the women of our community get sold but those who really matter -
the young woman from the hinterland, the old man who gives away his daughter proudly to a stranger for
marriage, the young brother who sends his sister to des to earn - arent there to witness the consequences of
their ignorance. The dirt behind the glitz they are promised. To hear the cries of those sold innocents who are
trying to have their voice heard outside the confines of the Red Light Area.
The elite educated crowd watching the documentary shake their heads and dissect the intricacies of the
documentary, discuss what should be done. But in the place far away from the madding crowd where young
girls are bargained every day, things are still the same. Everyday some one is sending his daughter or his
sister to Mumbai. Jewelleries, money, fancy clothes and Hindi movies are luring girls to the cold city of neon
lights away from the warm lap of the cool mountains.
No doubt, this will go on for a long time. No doubt, many girls will sacrifice their happiness and freedom to
free the parents from the burden of heavy debts. But someone has to stop it. But who will stop....the selling
of the innocents.... and when?
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 14:03:22 -0500
From: Amanda Jacobs <email@example.com>
Subject: JAN KARI: Classifieds
The following description is a promotion for the Cornell-Nepal Study
Program. We would like this announcement to part of "The Nepal
The Cornell - Nepal Study Program
The Cornell-Nepal Study Program is a pioneering joint venture
between Cornell University and Tribhuvan National University of
Nepal. The program is unique in its commitment to support the
work of both Nepalese and North American students and faculty
through a challenging academic program of class work, research
and fieldwork. The goal is to give undergraduates an initial
exposure to academic study and cultural immersion in a developing
country; graduate students will have the opportunity to pursue
research for their dissertations. Participants may attend the
program for one semester or for the academic year.
Courses are taught in English by Nepalese faculty at the program
facility and at the main Tribhuvan University campus in the medieval
hill town of Kirtipur, near Kathmandu. Students chose a major
theme, either the cultural diversity or the ecological diversity of
Nepal. Nepali language instruction is mandatory throughout the
program. Previous study of Nepali is recommended, but not
required. Field work options include subjects such as environment
and ecology development studies, rural sociology, the anthropology
Program participants live in houses that have been renovated as
student residences. North American students are paired with
Nepalese roommates. During holidays home stays with Nepalese
families can be arranged.
In Nepal the program is administered by a Resident Administrator,
with the services of an Academic Coordinator, working with the
Tribhuvan University faculty.
The application deadline for Fall 1998 or the 1998-99 academic
year is March 1, 1998. The deadline for Spring 1999 is October 15,
For more information and application materials, please
474 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Web Site: http://www/einaudi.cornell.edu
From: "Kabindra Thapa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 17:11:30 PST
Does humanity exist among Nepali people? Sure it does
I am positive that quite a few people living in north America and other
parts of the world have noticed a news published in the Nepal Digest,
where people were asked to contribute whatever amount they could to a
Nepali medical doctor named Dr. Sunil Sinha, who was suffering from an
aneurism of the brain. After a frantic search, all over the world, to
find a specialist (neurologist) who could operate on Dr. Sinha, the
family and the relatives of the patient came across the name of a doctor
and a hospital in the United States. This was St. Josheph's Hospital's
Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. It was later
discovered that the doctor, whose name is Robert Spetzler, was the
number one neorologist in the world. Imagine the amount of relief this
must have provided to the family.
Now, the doctor is there, the hospital is there, the hope is there but what about all the expenses? It was estimated that the total cost would exceed $100,000. Dr. Sunil Sinha's(patient) brother Dr. Bimal Sinha also happens to a medical doctor and has accompanied the patient. Even if the whole family is doctors, being able to come up with more than Rs.60 lakh is rather difficult. So a little money raising campaign was launched so that at least some help could be available.
Imagine, in a totally foreign land, your own blood brother goes through a surgery that the doctor himself does not know what the outcome might be, and have absolutely nobody to share the agony with. Imagine having to bear the pain when your brother goes through five consecutive brain operations and the whole scalp is taken off and put back on like a motorcycle helmet. Imagine, having to deal with frustrations and depression in a strange land where you know nobody while your brother is in comatose two months after the operations. Of course, money is the prime problem in this situation but what about moral and pschychological support to the patient's brother who is 10,000 miles away from home and prays to god every moment for his beloved younger brother's recovery.
But fortunately for us Nepali people, in every corner of the world, there is people like Dr. Rameshwar Adhikari, Seema Adhikari and their family. Dr. Adhikari, perhaps many people know him personally, had never even heard of Dr. Sinhas while they were in Nepal. He, one day received a message from Nepal that a patient was to come to Phoenix for a brain aneurism treatment. He announced it to every Nepali living in the phoenix area and open heartedly welcomed the patient and his older brother to his home. The older brother has been living with Mr. Adhikari's family for the last two months. Mr. Adhikari and his family gives so much pshychological support to him that it is beyond description. It is very usual for Mr. Adhikari to take days off or get off of work early so that he can be with the patient. It would not be an exageration if I said that Dr. Bimal Sinha is part of the Adhikari family. Dr. Bimal told me that he would have gone literally crazy had he not found the support from them. For the last two months, taking the older brother to hospital in the morning and picking him up in the evening is one of Mr. Adhikari's many routines. The best part is that Mr. Adhikari's family does not consider this a favor. That is because I have seen numerous times their house being served as sort of a motel for transient Nepali people. What a greatness, what a human being.
From: Greta Rana email@example.com
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 13:51:07 +0000
Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - October 27, 1997 (13 Kartik 2054 BkSm)
Dear Nepal Digest,
Re: the political alternative for Nepal, if as an outsider who has been inside for 27 years I have the right to comment at all, I would like to comment on what the author had to say about the Westminster System.Tthere is no fixed democracy. When the Greeks first coined the phrase it arose out of
a revolutionary law suit when, for the first time in Greek history(or anybody's history for that matter) the demes or ordinary citizens(none of whom were women by the way) dared to challenge the feudal overlords who had grabbed their farmland while they were away fighting in the army. The demes triumphed. The law suit established the fundamental ,immutable principle of democracy- the rule of law rather than the rule of influence ,class-caste, creed , and so on and so forth.It took a long time before disparity between classes began to really disappear and until women were also seen as citizens. It was a long drawn out evolutionary and sometimes revolutionary process. The spread of democratic forms of government is in itself a fascinating history and one that has many steps backwards compared to the steps forward.
What I think we witnessed in Nepal during 1990 and afterwards was a
desire from the younger ,professional generation for change.
Unfortunately, the men ( and they were mostly all men) who took
charge after 1990 , however sincerely they look to themselves as
democratics, are not democratic to anywhere near the degree needed to
establish a firm and fair system in this country. Mostly they form an
elite class. Appointments are still made on the basis of who you know
and not what you know.The bureacracy should never have been
politicised- if you are a good civil servant it shouldn't matter what
your party allegiances are. Ambassadors are quite often political
appointees- so what's changed since the Panchayat System? So many
people were dismissed from service on the basis of how many years
they had been working( during the time of the Koirala government). this
is discrimination. In Nepal today there is more discrimination than
ever before.there is still no single political leader who can get up
and say to the nation that any government that makes decisions about
critical government posts, bureacratic posts, posts in the
enterprises on the basis of caste, class, creed, gender , and age is
not fit to govern. Any democrat who truly believes that any one human
being is intrinsically of more value than another and thus deserves
more in terms of justice and equity is not a democrat but a bigot-
and the latter just sums up the collection of individuals who ,on a
turn by turn basis like musical chairs, has been running this
The results- our only airlines ( established round about the same
time as Thai International) is in a shambles, our other public
enterprises have been looted and gutted and are all up for grabs. Our
credibility sinks because corruption grows, the cost of living is in
the moan and groan category. yet Kathmandu is full of Pajeros and
bigger and bigger houses built by new industrialists. Our airport
officials are known for their sticky fingers- it makes one wonder
what Visit Nepal Year will be like. One can envisage that there'll be
fights to get into airport duty.
I wouldn't be writing all this if I wasn't truly disappointed. it's
very frustrating to be a citizen who in many senses cannot take full
part in franchise because of different racial origins. Were this the
land I had been born in ,I would have had an awful lot to say-and
that too to the useless ,third-rate politicians we have who forever
want their hands in some lucrative pocket or another. Government is
about service and governing, not ruling- and these fellows truly
don't know the difference.Were we a rich country , some of it could
be laughed off, but I think of all those who have been carrying
dhokos on their backs from dawn to dusk since early childhood- all
for the privelege of dhiro and radish stew twice a day. It doesn't
paint a pretty picture.
Having said all this, because I think these are issues that politics
and systems of governance are about, let me say that the bright line
on the horizon is the attitudes of the young of this country.They do
know something's wrong and they do want to put it right.And I don't
mean the politicised young ,perpetual students ,I mean the ones who
are keen to make their own ways in this world. Nepal can be proud of
them. It is a pity that my generation couldn't have got its act
together enough to make our offspring proud of Nepal.There is much to
be proud of and many people to be proud of.Unfortunately few ,if
any,of them are sitting in parliament.
I just hope that all this gai jatra in Gallery Baitak does not
discourage all our youth and instigate them to fly away and never
come back again.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (off.)
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 14:28:33 -0500
From: Jonathon and Rhona Miller <email@example.com>
Subject: Please help me.
I am trying to re-establish contact with a company that I had some
dealings with a couple of years ago. Unfortuantely I do not have a
working phone or fax number for them.
The company name is Amar Prem Gems and Jewellers.
The address is 15/6 Chhetrapati, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
I would be most appreciative of any help that you may be able to
Is there any online searchable telephone directory for Nepal? I can't
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997 15:50:33 -0800
From: Sam <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: pollution on Mount Everest
I was concerned about the pollution on Mount Everest. I decided to
write my research paper regarding this issue. I found very little
information so far. Can you provide me with any information? I would
like to know if the Nepali government is taking any action to control
this problem? Your help would greatly be appreciated.
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 18:01:50 PDT
From: Shae Garwood <email@example.com>
Subject: Volunteering in Nepal
I am interested in volunteering in Nepal beginning in Jan/Feb 1998,
especially with a women's organization. If anyone knows of any
volunteer opportunities please send me a message at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also interested to know if anyone has
any information on Insight Nepal, a centre for language and
cross-cultural experience, in Kathmandu. I have corresponded with
Naresh Shrestha, the Director, but would like to hear if anyone has had
any experience with the organization. Thanks.
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 21:52:05 EDT
From: carol demech <email@example.com>
Subject: volunteering in Nepal
On November 20, I will be traveling to Calcutta to volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity. I have also been looking into other volunteer opportunities in both India and Nepal. I hope to remain in India/Nepal until April doing volunteer work. Please give me any information that you have about volunteer opportunities in Nepal.
I have done extensive volunteer work in the US. I have
worked with the elderly, children, immigrants, people with AIDS, built
houses, organized groups, tutored both adults and children and I was a
teacher in New York City. I have several degrees, have attended law
school and have some technical skills. I am a very young 50 year old
woman. I look forward to hearing from you about volunteer opportunities.
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 16:51:18 -0600
Subject: Re: business institution
>>Rupesh Pradhan <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
>> the main point: the lack of entrepreneural spirit in Nepal is a bigger
>> hurdle in Nepali economic development than political mess.
>I applaud Rupesh's efforts to make a case for Nepal's needing MORE
>businesses. I also applaud his defence of the "marwaris". Defending
>"marwaris" in this public a forum (where hollow nationalism and mushy
>patriotism are easy and intuitively appealing and, as Pratyoush has also
>argued in another essay, ultimately worthless staples) with reasons and
>evidence takes guts, and I admire that.
>But that said, I strongly disagree with Rupesh in that I don't think that
>there is this "lack of [general] entreprenurial spirit in Nepal". Sure,
>Nepal may not have entrepreneurs in the league of Bill Gates or Richard
>Branson, but that makes no difference from an economic point of view. As
>Rupesh will agree, a new business is a new business, regardless of whether
>you produce computer chips or potato chips.
>Let me give some anecdotes. First, as most Nepalis who have built houses
>in Kathmandu and other urban centers well know, it's quite
>'entreprenurial' to make sure that ground floors could be rented out as
>'shutter-wallah pasals'. In fact, one can even say that the whole system
>of entrepreneurship is so developed in Kathmandu that at times the whole
>city looks like a city of shopkeepers! (Here, I need not even talk about
>the proliferation of department stores, restaurants, cinema-halls,
>taxi-cabs and so forth in Nepal in the last two years.)
>Second, as a stroll through any major bus-stop on any highway shows, there
>are plenty of Nepalis who are entrepreneurial enough to leave their 'pahad
>ko ghar', come to the Tarai, and start and run their new businesses --
>whether dal-bhat restaurants, fruit-stands, 'kirana pasals' and what not.
>These people have taken incredible risks to be where they are today, and
>we can't really say something like: "well, opening a fruit-stand in the
>middle of Narayan-ghat bazaar is not really being an entrepreneur".
>So, it's not difficult to argue entreprenurship ON SOME LEVEL does exist
>well and alive in Nepal, and on that level that Nepalis are as capable as
>any other people when it comes to exploiting their own income-enhancing
>That's why rather than saying that there is this "lack of
>entrepreneurship" in Nepal, and thereby end up making a vague and rather
>subjective judgement about Nepal as a whole, I'd think that a more
>convincing step would be to examine whether or not MOST Nepalis do face
>INCENTIVES to be DIFFERENT kinds of entrepreneurs doing DIFFERENT kinds of
>things in Nepal in the first place.
>Here, I'd say, most Nepalis -- and almost all foreign investors -- face
>very little incentives to be entrepreneurs and run their own businesses in
>Nepal. The misalignment of incentives has a helluva more to do with the
>lack of business institutions in Nepal than Nepalis' being maybe
>temperamentally unsuitable for the rough and the tumble of doing
>1) After all, think: in a country where a business contract -- the
>lifeblood of any business -- cannot be enforced, and is often flouted;
>2) in a country where tangible expressions of your ideas and inventions
>enjoy no legal protection (hence others are free to 'steal' them! And all
>you can do is get mad),
>3) in a country where opening up a credit-line from private and public
>financial institutions is almost next to impossible (you need land as
>collateral or your father needs to be a millionaire);
>4) in a country where your foreign partner is rarely given a long-term
>visa even when one wing of the government never tires of crying hoarse
>about attracting foreign investment and 'technology-transfer' schemes.
>5) in a country where, in practice, tax laws DEMAND that you show profit
>every year, and pay correspondingly higher taxes every year EVEN when you
>are actually operating on a loss.
>6) in a country where your industry prices are dictated not so much by
>the market forces as by the whims of the buddy-buddy cartel-members of
>your own industry. (If you can't join this buddy-system, you are out there
>fending for yourselves.)
>7) in a country, where getting a phone line and a post-box office (in
>Soon.dhara) for your business frustratingly eats away at your start-up
>8) in a country, where property rights are not well-defined, and where
>there are many legal barriers (not to mention financing barriers) to
>buying up properties to locate your firm, office, company, factory . . .
>Then what INCENTIVES do you or most Nepalis -- with ambition, ideas,
>risk-taking attitudes, energy but with little money -- really face to be
>entrepreneurs in the first place? Forget it, the barriers to entry in most
>markets in Nepal are just too many and too COSTLY for MOST Nepalis who --
>by definition -- are neither rich NOR well-connected to the overall
>business/political networks in Nepal.
>In light of this, I actually think that the STATE in Nepal does have a
>SERIOUS role to play. To borrow Amartya Sen's phrase from another context,
>the policies of Nepali state need to be more MARKET-FRIENDLY, and a lot
>less in the mode of "controlling the market", as government after
>government in Nepal tend to do. (Aside: there's no rational reason WHY
>Nepal still needs a Ministry of Supplies, for example -- the market can
>easily supply noon/chini and chamal to people at very competitive rates!)
>So, in an ideal world, there will be a Nepali government which will LIMIT
>1 providing and enforcing COMPULSORY (primary) school education on all.
>2. Taking care of public health/social security concerns for all.
>3. Taking care of foreign policies.
>4. Maintaining the army and the police, and maintaining the law and order,
> and ensuring that individual rights and property rights figure
>5. Adopting market-friendly policies to free up Nepali janata ko
> talents, visions, ambitions and energies to do what they think is best
> for themselves.
>6. Smashing the notion that desh bikas comes from the government. (As
> Rupesh pointed out, desh bikas comes from many janata doing millions of
> sano-sano kaam in their own way.)
>7. And, above all, by learning to TRUST the janata.
> Nepali janata, as Fr. Stiller
> has pointed out in his history books, are truly remarkable for their
> sense of energy, wisdom, compassion, hardwork and resilience. The
> dominant elite thinking that goes in the mode of "our janata
> are illiterate and they have no 'consciousness', no awareness, hence
> desh bikas is impossible without our janata's first changing their
> whatever attitude' IS absolutely BOGUS.
>The challenge facing any Nepali government, then, is NOT to do
>everything right, but to do FEW THINGS right, and LEAVE the REST to the
>Given that, I, for one, have no doubts that Nepali janata will prove to be
>as remarkable entrepreneurs as their counterparts anywhere.
>As Bill Gates famously remarked, "The distribution of raw entreprenurial
>talent is roughly the same everywhere." Assuming Nepal too has its share,
>the question then is how do you let that talent flourish?
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 15:11:55 GMT
From: H Brown <email@example.com>
Subject: New Interactive Web Site on Nepal: Travel, Trekking and Trafficking
Over the last few months I have been working on an international
grass roots organizing project in cyberspace which will hopefully
have some important real world implications.
I have been collaborating with Robert Markey, a tireless and
experienced activist who founded "Witness to Violence" to address
issues of violence against women.
We are targeting the sex trafficking of women and girls from Nepal
to the brothels of India as well as rape and sexual harassment of
women tourists by tour guides in Nepal, and have created a web site
both as a resource and a point of direct action on these issues.
Phase one of the project is now up and running -- an e-mail campaign
to the government, media and tour companies in Nepal to stop the
pervasive practice of rape and sexual harassment of lone women
tourists in Nepal. As tourism is a high economic priority in Nepal,
we are hoping that this campaign will not only stop this practice
but also give us leverage to help put an end to the sex trafficking
industry there. (phase two)
The 'tourism e-mail campaign' page contains a simple form to
automatically send emails to the appropriate people in Nepal.
Please help this effort by visiting the site and sending an e-mail.
While there check out the rest of the site.
The URL is: http://blue-fox.com/nepal/sexh-tour.html
Also - and this is important - please send emails to your friends
and colleagues who are on-line asking them to join the campaign and
visit the site. (Just add a brief note to this and send it) Thus
we have a quick chain letter type response to really get this
campaign going with maximum impact.
Thanks so much for your help with this.
Helen Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
--"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do
Check out the New - Interactive -
NEPAL - Travel, Trekking and Trafficking home page at:
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 09:31:12 -0400
From: Anne Joshi-Atlanta <AJoshi@RussReyn.com>
To: 'Nepal Digest'
Could there be a correlation between collapse of Socialist govts. and
plummeting of females in power? Is capitalism hostile to gender
equality? Comments and insights heartily welcomed! Esp. viewed in
context of Nepali politics.
>Subject: [B95: ] World's Leaders: Men, 187 Women, 4
>Los Angeles Times
> Tuesday, September 30, 1997
> From Albania to Yemen, the number of females in power
> plummeted after the transition from socialist governments,
> which had helped them get the access and funding they
> needed to win elective office.
> By ROBIN WRIGHT, Times Staff Writer
> NEW YORK--Dinner was deliberately light fare--acorn squash
> soup and lamb, with dessert of green-apple sorbet and
> berries. Guests described the evening as cozy and autographed
> each other's calligraphic menus as souvenirs. But conversation
> at the opening session of this powerful new group with members
> from four continents centered on weighty world problems, from
> human rights to environmental dangers.
> Hosted by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the
> dinner Friday night at the National Historical Society in New
> York marked a threshold in the world of politics, for the
> guest list was limited: female foreign ministers only.
> "Guiding the world is no longer an exclusively male
> sport," one attendee noted with a chuckle. "Today there are
> enough of us that we can form our own unofficial club."
> Yet the exclusive party underscored the bad news as well
> as the good about women and political power at the end of the
> 20th century.
> In a world with 191 countries, just eight female foreign
> ministers sat around Albright's table. They came from
> Colombia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Lichtenstein
> and Sierra Leone. (Two other female foreign ministers, from
> Barbados and the Bahamas, were not in town.)
> "The number of foreign ministers is growing, but the line
> in the women's toilet is still not too long," said Finnish
> Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen.
> While women have made progress in some quarters, as is
> evident in Ireland, where four of the five candidates in next
> month's presidential election are women, female politicians
> remain on the periphery in major powers such as Russia and
> China, and in the minority globally.
> Worldwide, there are just four female heads of
> government, 10 U.N. ambassadors and 17 speakers of parliament.
> None of the prime ministers today are as powerful as past
> leaders such as Britain's Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi of
> India or Golda Meir of Israel.
> And the trends are not encouraging for women.
> Exactly 90 years after Finland became the first country
> to elect women to public office, the number of women in 173
> parliaments worldwide has declined from almost 15% in 1988 to
> less than 12% today, according to a survey this month by the
> Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva.
> The reason does not speak well for the outbreak of
> democracy. Open societies, it turns out, haven't been as
> generous as socialism and communism to women who want to serve
> in public office.
> From Albania to Yemen, the number of women in power
> plummeted after the transition from socialist governments,
> which sought to develop female as well as male proletariats.
> As those governments died, so went the socialist ideals of
> equality and the subsidies for social programs that aided
> women. In many countries, traditional patriarchal cultures
> Together, those forces made it more difficult for women
> to get the access and funding they needed to win elective
> Setbacks in the East
> The biggest setbacks for women in power have been in the
> former Soviet states and Eastern Europe, where representation
> has plummeted from highs of between 25% and 35% during
> Communist rule to as low as 4% in some of those countries
> today, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
> From 1987 to 1994, the number of women in Albania's
> parliament dropped from 28% of the total to 6%; in Romania,
> the comparable number plunged from 33% to 4%, according to
> U.S. Ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt. In a recent article in
> the periodical Foreign Affairs, she warns of disregard for
> "talented and highly educated women in post-Communist
> democracies" in Eastern Europe.
> Under free-market reforms in Vietnam, competition for
> resources has mushroomed, and women have suffered. "When
> resources are limited, men get priority," said Tran Thi Mai
> Huong, head of Vietnam's National Committee for the
> Advancement of Women.
> The number of women in Vietnam's National Assembly
> dropped from 32% in 1975 to 18% in 1996, according to the U.N.
> Development Program. Representation on provincial, district
> and communal bodies is even lower.
> The reason, officials agree, is that Vietnam's doi moi,
> or "economic renovation," has reduced social services, from
> child care to free education, that were key in freeing and
> promoting females. The ebbing of a socialist culture has also
> brought back the strongly patriarchal practices of
> Both trends do not bode well for the future. The number
> of Vietnamese women in college, for example, has dropped from
> 43% in the early 1980s to 30% today. "Fees for secondary
> school and university are now high, and families prefer to use
> money to pay for males, so sons are getting priority," Tran
> Turning to Quotas
> The worldwide slump in female leadership would be far
> worse but for a counter-trend that has seen participation grow
> in some countries. An increasing number of countries, even
> democracies, are turning to a controversial technique to
> ensure women are empowered--quota systems.
> India, for instance, brought a staggering 1 million or
> more rural women into politics in a single election after a
> 1993 constitutional amendment mandated one-third of all seats
> in local councils be allocated to women.
> "The quota is a necessary first step to change the myths
> about women," said Devaki Jain, a leading Indian political
> reformer. "In India, male leaders claimed women had no time,
> what with children, dishes and housework. But the emergence of
> a million women disproved the belief that women are not
> available for politics."
> In many cases, women defeated men in open races for seats
> that had not been designated for women, which further
> "disproved the theory that women lose against men. And all of
> them are proving that they know what power and politics is
> Six countries have now legislated similar laws on a
> national level. Dozens of political parties are following suit
> by stipulating that up to 50% of their candidates be female.
> "Because women are finding it impossible to break the
> male hold on politics and the money it takes to get into
> office, quotas are becoming the main means of bringing women
> into power today," said Christine Pintat, director of women's
> projects for the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
> France's Socialist Party last year pledged that 30% of
> its candidates would be women, a move largely responsible for
> doubling the number of female members of Parliament to 11% in
> elections this summer. New Socialist Prime Minister Lionel
> Jospin, whose Cabinet is 30% female, has since suggested a
> constitutional amendment requiring changes that in a decade
> would mandate all elected bodies be split evenly between the
> In Europe, only two other countries have tried
> constitutional quotas. In Belgium, a recent law stipulates
> that by 2000, one gender cannot make up more than two-thirds
> of parliamentary candidates. But similar "positive
> discrimination" legislation in Italy was ruled
> unconstitutional last year.
> In the four Scandinavian countries, women hold 33% to 40%
> of parliamentary seats--the highest percentages in the world.
> The numbers are due in part to political parties that
> have adopted voluntary quotas for candidates, said Kari
> Helliesen, a Norwegian member of parliament. Norway's Equal
> Status Act of 1988 also requires that each sex hold at least
> 40% of the seats on all public boards, councils and
> In South Africa, President Nelson Mandela's African
> National Congress imposed a 33% quota on its candidates for
> the National Assembly, while the government has created a
> Women's Empowerment Unit to identify and address factors that
> hinder women from being part of the lawmaking process.
> South Africa's post-apartheid Constitution bars
> discrimination not only on the basis of race and religion but
> also on the basis of gender, marital status, sexual
> orientation--and even pregnancy.
> The impact is obvious. Women now hold 113 of 400 seats in
> Parliament--or 28%, almost three times the U.S. average--and
> both the speaker and deputy speaker are women. Those figures
> put South Africa ninth in a ranking of female representation
> in the 173 national legislatures.
> In that same ranking, the United States is 39th, with
> women accounting for 9% of the Senate seats and 11.7% of the
> House. At state levels, women hold 21.5% of all seats in the
> 50 legislatures, and hold three governorships.
> But the gains from quotas are not without a price. The
> systems are producing a political backlash, from outright
> rejection of women by male politicians to the perception that
> "quota women" wield little clout because their route to power
> was aided.
> "Quotas only further segregate society," Zimbabwean
> legislator Charles Ndlovu has said.
> Leaving a Bad Taste
> Quotas imposed by the Eastern European socialist regimes,
> where the legislatures often lacked real power, left a "bad
> taste," Pintat said. "Many women were only tokens. Quotas
> didn't help generate a culture where women were partners in
> politics. So when freedom came, they disappeared from the
> political space."
> In India, the backlash has led to repeated delays of a
> constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the same one-third
> participation at the national level they have locally.
> Despite endorsement from every major party, from the
> Communists to Hindu nationalists, Prime Minister Inder Kumar
> Gujral backed down from a promised vote in May after being
> shouted down by members of his own party.
> The stickiest point for India's 93% male Parliament is
> that the one-third of lower house seats reserved for women
> would rotate among districts, so every region would have
> female representation every third election. The provision
> would in effect bump men from office after two terms.
> Quotas should be a transition tool only, said Swedish
> Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen, in a sentiment shared
> around Albright's table at the dinner. "They can help create
> equality in the beginning, but to have quotas in the long run
> is artificial. So the idea should be to get rid of them as
> soon as possible."
> Perhaps the ultimate irony, however, is that not a single
> quota in any country comes anywhere close to guaranteeing that
> female participation mirrors women's numbers in society--which
> are higher than 50% in virtually every nation.
> Pockets of Progress
> Yet there are some significant pockets of progress. Only
> nine of 173 countries with legislatures today have no women
> representatives, the Inter-Parliamentary Union reports.
> Political parties only for females have been formed in
> Armenia, Colombia, Iceland, Lithuania and Chad, where there
> are four women's parties--although only Iceland's Women's
> Alliance has put candidates into office.
> Maria Emma Mejia Velez, one of the women at Albright's
> soiree, is the second female foreign minister in Colombia,
> which enfranchised women only 40 years ago. The first is now
> running for president.
> The ultimate barometer of success, however, may be what
> impact women have on policy. In the U.S., Albright has called
> for new emphasis on expanding women's political participation
> among allies.
> She has also advocated using part of U.S. foreign aid for
> female education and to help eliminate violence against women.
> She pushed hard to make rape an offense prosecuted by the
> International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
> "Advancing the status of women is not only a moral
> imperative, it is being actively integrated into the foreign
> policy of the U.S.," she said in a speech March 12 to mark
> International Women's Day. "It is our mission. It is the right
> thing to do, and, frankly, it is the smart thing to do."
> The State Department has published a monthly progress
> report on the advancement of women worldwide since the 1995
> U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing. Albright has not,
> however, been able to persuade Senate Foreign Relations
> Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) to ratify the U.N.
> treaty barring discrimination against women, which has
> languished in the Senate since 1979.
> * * *
> Women in Power
> Despite gains through much of the 20th century, women are
> still a small minority in leading political jobs
> worldwide--and the number is shrinking. Only in Nordic
> countries do women come close to power sharing today, while in
> much of the world, the collapse of Communist or Socialist
> governments has led to sharp declines in the number of females
> in national office.
> Percentages of women in national legislatures
> Nordic countries: 36%
> Asia: 13%
> America: 13%
> Pacific: 12%
> Europe*: 11%
> Africa: 10%
> Arab states: 3%
> * excluding Nordic countries
> * * *
> Of 191 governments worldwide, there are . . .
> 4 female heads of government
> 5 female heads of state
> 10 female foreign ministers
> * * *
> Top of the List
> Women in Women in
> lower or upper
> Rankings** single house house
> 1. Sweden 40.4% --
> 2. Norway 39.4% --
> 3. Finland 33.5% --
> 4. Denmark 33.0% --
> 5. Netherlands 31.3% 22.7%
> 9. Germany 26.2% 19.1%
> 16. China 21.0% --
> 21. Canada 18.0 23.1%
> 30. Mexico 14.1% 2.5%
> 41. U.S. 11.7% 9.0
> 46. Russia 10.2% 0.6%
> 50. Britain 9.5% 6.9%
> 72. France 6.4% 5.6%
> 83. Japan 4.6% 13.9%
> 107. Kuwait 0.0% --
> -- means lawmakers serve in single house
> ** rankings based on representation in lower or single
> * * *
> Leaders of legislatures
> Women: 7%
> Men: 93%
> * * *
> Members of upper house
> Women: 10%
> Men: 80%
> * * *
> Members of lower or single house
> Women: 12%
> Men: 88%
> Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union
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