The Nepal Digest - October 21, 1993

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The Nepal Digest Thursday, 21 October 93 Volume 20: Issue 10

Today's Topics:
      1. From the Editor's Desk .....
      2. Jan_Kari: Telecomputing
      3. Hasya_Byanga: Get Real Mr. Z
      4. Jan_Kari: Talking on the net
      5. Taja_Khabar: Nepal News
      6. Yatra_Barnan: Traveller's Tale
      7. Kura_Kani: More Rambling
      8. Kura_Kani and A word from Editing_Editor

  * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh *
  * SCN Correspondent: Rajesh B. Shrestha *
  * Discussion Moderator: Ashutosh Tiwari *
  * Editing Editor: Padam P. Sharma *
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  It has been an immense pleasure and great honor for last twenty odd so
  months to edit TND for inquisitive and intellectual minds like yourself.

  I feel deeply gratified that we Nepalis have courage to break down
  narrow mindedness and the rigid walls of age, class, caste, religion,
  and party alliances to grow together in a common platform to exchange
  practical ideas and enlighten eachother. Every word in your articles and
  thoughts has been an educating one for me.

  I would like to inform you that for next few weeks Editing-Editor
  Mr. Padam Sharma and Guest-Editor Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari, with the help
  of active TND Editorial Board will bring out more issues of informtive,
  thought provoking, and stimulating TNDs. During that period I am
  retreating to home Nepal.

  Just wanted to remind you that, yes TND is a place to hang out, much
  more better, if we can make it a forum to discuss Nepal issues.

  On behalf of TND Editorial Board,
  Wishing you all Happy Bijaya Dashami and Dipawali.
  Rajpal J. Singh
  TND Editor/Co-ordinator
************************************************************** Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1993 19:16:36 CDT From: USER1@UTTYL.TYL.UTEXAS.EDU Subject: INFORMATION from To:

Hello Fellow TND Members, I was enlightened by Mr. Ashu Tiwari that TND is like a place to hang out. We share ideas, discuss problems, and sometimes pick on each other. So, it is fun to be here, and good place to learn different stuff about Nepal as well as just general knowledge. I have came across something that I'd like to share with you.

                    The Highways of Information
                    --------------------------- By Robin Pandey

I am one of those person, who likes to work in different time, instead of working 9 to 5 all the time. Sometimes I just like stay home. When I mention this to my family and friends I get hundreds of answers. Who do you think you are...and so on. Those answers only bring me down. But now I don't have to listen to their sad story because I may be able to make my own schedule, stay home and work.

How is it possible to set your own hours and stay home and work? Are you a salesperson? Are you an executive? Do you own a business? What's the deal here? My family and friends might ask me that. No, the answer is Telecommuting on the Highways of Information.

What is Telecommuting? Telecommuting is the way you commute to work through the telephone line, a modem, and a personal computer. In other word you stay home and work.

Is Telecommuting starting out? Yes, it definitely is. According to Randy Ross from "The Telecommuting Imperative" (PC World Sept. 1993) that there are currently 4.5 million telecommuters in the U.S. "Telecommuting isn't just a good idea, it may soon be a law. Two new acts of federal legislation make it necessary for employers to develop strategies to let staff work at home." said Randy Ross.

Why are they passing this law? The idea of this law came from the Amendments to the Clean Act passed in 1990. "The Amendments stipulate that employers in certain high-pollution metropoliton areas must develop plans to reduce the number of commuters." said Randy Ross.

It sounds good idea personally to me as well as for the sake of environment, and commuters fighting bad traffic everyday. The end.

P.S. I am glad Mr. Leader Shrestha brought up about Gopher. Yes, it is like havind thousands of CD-ROM and a PC with optical drive.

>From TELNET you can type in <CONSULTANT.MICRO.UMN.EDU> this will get you
hooked up with University of Minnesota. Type <GOPHER> to log in, after this it is self explanatory. If somebody knows more about Gopher please write down your knowledge. I would appreciate it.
************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1993 22:29:08 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <> Subject: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Z To: Nepal Digest <>

Of late, some pieces on TND have been on tourists (or lack thereof), tourism and travel travails. In keeping with this "touristy" spirit, here's a tongue-in-cheek piece by Pratyoush Raj Onta. For TND purposes, I have taken the liberty to modify this a little bit, from the original that had appeared on one December '92 issue of the Kathmandu-based English weekly, The Independent. Sit back, relax and enjoy!!
                Surely You're Joking, Mr.Z
        In The Independent of 11 November 1992, Mr Z wrote an article calling for an end to the "gruesome version of 'cultural' tourism" occurring on the ghats of Pashupati. Nudging our attention to that Pepsi-sipping, casually-clicking, halter-topped blonde who was seen
"paying attention" to the explanations of a "guide" as Agni consumed a body, Mr. Z argued that the problem "lies not with the tourist but with our awareness and self-image." We Nepalis, ranted Mr. Z, are not exposed to the "issues of the day". Thus, he implied, we cannot register that invasion of privacy when it happens in the burning ghats. He went on: "We do not know enough to demand from tourists the same respect they would expect from us in their countries."

        Surely, Mr. Z must be joking when he says we Nepalis don't know awareness, self-image, issues of the day, and respect. Hey, man! Where have you been? We might be poor BUT we are "simple and happy". We are always smiling, and are super-friendly. Death does not bother us because, hey, don't you know, we believe in the next life. Do you want examples?

        Ok. Let's start with respect: We Nepalis believe in
"athithi deva bhava" --that is, guests are our gods. And we make sure that no stone is left unturned for their "plasant, happy and complete" stay in Nepal. We go to extreme lengths to see that their everyday needs are met. We carry Pepsi to Jomsom so that when they arrive from the other side of the pass, they can enjoy the choice of the next generation. We carry tables an cutlery all ovet the mountainous landscape so that they can have their romantic dinners as the last rays of the sun hit the Fish Tail. We even rename our streets for their convenience: You know Freak Street? Monkey Temple?

        Issues of the day: Hey, we are timeless people. From time immemorial, peace has been our issue. We are shanti-priya folks here. We don't protest, for instance, when a travel glossy selling the "Exotic Orient" describes our land as: "Perched high atop the Himalayas is Kathmandu, the capital of the Buddhist kingdom of Nepal -- a busy trading port in modern times and the "Shangri-La" of ancient folklore." Buddha was born around the corner, you know. And we beleive in non-violence. When people offend us, we smile at them. Aren't we the "friendliest" people around?

        Self-image: The same glossy describes Nepal as "an unusual blend of medieval villages, exotic temples. and bustling bazaars." We love it when they describe us as exotic, primitive people. That's our primary self-image. And that image has adorned many a slick pages of fat, heavy and expensive picture-books that fill up the Ratna Pustak's shelves. One need not be a papparazzi photographer to catch us at our best.

        Awareness: We are spiritual here. And, you know what, spiritual folks are definitely aware. Listen to what guidebooks say about us: In Nepal "deities mingle with mortals". Sadhus and Swamis -- sure signs of sageness and greatness -- we'be got them. Meditation? No problem -- plenty in Boudha. We do TM, and Zen. Yoga? Sure. We do that too.

        Privacy: OK. Mr. Z. This, you win. We are not into privacy here. Just check out what our temples strut. Public display of sex -- oh, we do it in so many ways. We fantasize in public . . . Have you checked the elephants doing it the "misssionary style" near the Bhaktapur Durbar Square gate?

        Yes, we don't know what privacy is, and perhaps, that's why, we also don't mind the presence of others who share this openness during their tourist avatars.

        Lastly, Mr. Z, remember that we are peace-loving folks. We smile all the time. We are simple. We are very friendly group of people. OK. We might not know what privacy is, but we surely know our self-image, the issues of the day, the respect for our guests. And, yes, we are defintely aware.

        Mr. Z, quit joking, and get real!
                        The End

(Pratyoush, a PhD candidate at UPenn, is presently in Nepal, India and England -- not necessarily in that order, (nor ubiquitously) -- researching Nepali military/diplomatic history.)
************************************************************************* From: IO20856@MAINE.BITNET To: Date: Wed, 20 Oct 93 13:24:31 EDT Subject: for those of who likes talking in the net

          Most of you might know this already, if so, just ignore it.For those of you, who does not know about this, be ready to expand your horizon of net using a bit more. There is a wide spread net connection CALLED RELAY FOR DIRECT COMMUNICATION , USING THAT CONNECTION, YOU can chat, discuss and exchange messages directly, it is like/ kind of chating on the telephone. Only difference is that you speak verbally on the telephone and your ears listen the responses but in the net your hands talk and you read to listen. This is also a world spread network COMMUNICATION SYSTEM, YOU CAN TALK WITH ANYONE YOU LIKEFROM ANYWHERE, BUT only restriction is that the protocal says this system should be used for educational purposes ONLY.
            I let you decide if you wanna use it for personal communication or educational research, conference or for something else. But remember BEFORE USING THE SYSTEM YOU SHOULDN'T FORGET TO READ THE RULES AND GUIDELINES. Okay here is the way to use this system: TO DO THAT TYPE (WHEN YOU ARE IN EMAIL MODE)
      After you get the adress, type:
                 TELL RELAY AT and the host name
            e.g if your host is yale, type
                 TELL RELAY AT YALEVM /REGISTER and your full name. Enter. Once you are registered, they will send you their user guide and rules including policies.
              EVERYTIME YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING TO THE OPERATOR, YOU HAVE TO type TELL RELAY AT and NAME /and COMMAND. to get a complete list of commands YOU NEED TO TYPE /RULES COMMAND. IF YOU DON'T USE / BEFORE YOUR COMMAND, that won't go to the operator, it goes to the people who are on that channel, and this is how you talk with people.
             It is not a complex system, you will know everything once you are logged on. To avoid typing TELL RELAY AT ....... everytime you say something, you can set a pf key; that makes it a lot easier.
             I hope you all will enjoy this. Any further question? If you have one, please contact me, I will try to help.

                    Happy Vijaya Dashami to All of You. SURESH RAUT
********************************************************************** Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1993 20:38:15 PDT To:,, From: "VIVEK S. RANA" <RANA@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU> Subject: Israeli shell wounds three .[7mNepal.[mese peacekeepers

        TYRE, Lebanon (UPI) -- Three Nepalese soldiers of the United Nations peacekeeping force were injured when an Israeli shell crashed on their position in southern Lebanon, U.N. and security sources said Sunday. y A 155-mm shell fell on an advanced post of the Nepalese battalion affiliated to the U.N. Interim Force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the village of Majdel Zoun, located east of the southern port city of Tyre and just outside Israel's self-proclaimed ``security zone.''
        Three Nepalese peacekeepers were wounded and evacuated to the UNIFIL makeshift hospital in the border town of Naqoura, the U.N. sources said. Two were declared in a critical condition.
        The shell was fired from an Israeli position inside the border zone, the security sources said. Israel confirmed the report and said it crashed on an advanced Nepalese post.
        Three Nepalese soldiers have been killed by Israeli fire since the UNIFIL force deployed in southern Lebanon in 1978 following an Israeli invasion of the region.
        The 5,200-member UNIFIL is made up of contingents from Nepal, Sweden, Norway, Fiji, Italy, Finland, Ghana and Ireland. It recently was joined by Polish and Russian peacekeepers.
        A total of 192 UNIFIL members have been killed and 250 wounded, most of them in repeated violence between guerrillas and Israeli forces.
        Also Saturday night, Israeli artillery blasted villages in southwestern Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon, causing material damage.
        Some 30 shells of 155 mm poured on the Ein El Tineh, Maidoun and Jabal Abou Rashed villages, security sources said. The shelling inflicted no casualties but caused material damage.

           P.M. Koirala's view on Peacekeeping Forces
        KATMANDU, Nepal (UPI) -- Nepalese peacekeepers will work only under the command of United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, and not for any other country, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said Sunday.
        ``Nepal will be involved only under the U.N. umbrella,'' Koirala said in response to a query on Nepal's future involvement in peacekeeping work. ``Our troops will not work under any other country. This is because we have confidence in the United Nations.''
        Koirala's commitment followed his return home after an appearance before the annual session of the U.N. General Assembly.
        Nepal has committed 720 troops to operations in Somalia. The troops are scheduled to be airlifted later this month at which time Nepal's commitment to the U.N. will number 2,000 troops, an army official said.
        Nepalese peacekeepers also are working in Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.


*********************************************************************************************** From: Subject: A Traveller's Tale Reposted To: Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 6:55:09 EDT

  28.02.92 Kathmandu Pokhara
  (Bus ride to Pokara)

Early in the morning I left a bag with the stuff that I would not need on the trek at the hotel's safe. On the trek you would only need the minimal amount of stuff and I figured that things like deodorant, shampoo, shaving cream, etc. -- are all western extravagances and should never be taken up in the hills. I also left my old sleeping bag and took the down-filled sleeping bag that I bought the day before. I got to the bus stop at 6:45 and found my bus. Someone took my pack and put it on the roof of the bus along with the other packs, bags, suitcases, random pieces of furniture, a bamboo basket with chickens and a goat. The bus left after about 40 min of noisy ceremonies, counting the passagers, writing up the passager list in duplicate, drinking milk tea, etc.

Bus driving in Nepal is a complicated business. It requires cooperation and coordination of efforts of several people (about 6-7). Most of them seat in the front of the bus in the separate compartment along with the driver. The driver's job is to drive as fast as possible in the middle of the road. Whenever an oncoming bus/truck appears (also driving at the middle of the road) the driver would speed up and about 5 metres in front of the oncoming vehicle would sharply swing to the left.
  There is usually a little boy (or two) whose place is on the roof of the bus. Whenever the driver needs to get through a narrow part of the road (or to pass another bus) the boy would knock on the bus roof to indicate if there is enough clearance. A fast series of knocks is a negative signal indicating to the driver that he should slam on the breaks immediately. A slower sequence of knocks, two at a time, is a positive signal indicating that there is enough clearance on the appropriate side of the bus (2cm or so).

Yet another helper would hang out of the bus's open door and inform the driver of what's going on on that side of the bus. There would be another guy who will check your tickets and another that would load/unload the luggage on the top of the bus. There would usually be two or three more helpers with randomly defined responsibilities, ready to help the others. All of the bus's ``official'' crew would constantly move from the front of the bus, to the door and then to the roof and back (while the bus is moving).

On the way to Pokhara we got stuck behind a broken truck that was blocking the road. The truck driver was walking around asking other drivers for some special wrench. Luckily the driver of our bus had the wrench and went to help the truck driver to fix the truck. In less than an hour the truck was fixed enough to move away from the spot and leave enough space for other busses and trucks to pass.

It is worth mentioning the busses themselves. The busses are Indian made and are marvels of mechanical engineering. If they tell you that the bus is new, it is sure to be at least 20 years old. The local busses look as if they were made in the last century. It is amazing that the busses and trucks function at all after the beating they get on the roads there. One can apply the Darwinian evolution theory to the busses and other moving mechanisms that function in Nepal - the strongest ones survive. I cannot imagine any new European or American bus surviving even a quarter of the road from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

Between Kathmandu and Pokhara there were two scheduled food stops. The first one was in the middle of nowhere, next to a little store. There one could buy tea and crackers at exorbitant prices (10NR for tea, even in the hills they would charge you only 2-3NR!). The second stop was in a relatively big town Mugling, about half way between Kathmandu and Pokhara. This stop was relatively long, next to many restaurants where one could get Dhal-Bhat. There were two or three other stops; I feel that those were unscheduled and caused by some of the crew members needing to go to the toilet (on the side of the road).

We arrived to Pokhara at around 4pm and there the situation was worse than that upon the arrival to the Kathmandu airport. The hotel peddlers seemed to be even more aggressive. Me and two Australians immediately chose one of them and went to look at his hotel (after making sure that the hotel was on the Lake Side). The Australians decided to stay there, but I wanted to walk around and find a better place. I paid my 15NR for the cab ride and in 15 min found a room with private facilities for only 80NR per night.

  29.02.92 Pokhara
  (Pokhara; Sarangot; ``Guides'')

Pokhara is a very large (geographically) city. It really has two centres - the local centre, near the bus station and the bazaar, and the tourist centre in Baidam, or Lake Side. Most of tourist hotels and restaurants are located along the road that follows the lake side. The lake - Phewa Lake, is relatively large, with a small island that has a little Hindu temple. Pokhara is very near to the Annapurna and Daulaghiri ranges and early in the morning, when the air is still clear, one can see the snowy peaks of Annapurna South and Machapuchare.

This day I had a slow and relaxing breakfast and went up to Sarangot. Sarangot is a hill, 1592m, about 1.5 hours climb from Pokhara. The way there lies through the terraced rice fields at the bottom, next to the lake and then through the forest up to the top of the hill. It seemed that during and after mansoons the rice fields would be completely covered with water.

On the way up I was surrounded by dozens of little kids, each offering me their services as guides and wanting 20NR in return. One saw me from afar and run up to me, starting up this conversation (he was about 9-10 years old):
        - Hallo frend! Where you from?
        - Canada.
        - Oh, Kanada! I like Kanada! Kanada is nice kontri! My girlfriend
          is from Kanada! Nice kontri Kanada! You go Sarangot? Yea? Want
          a guide? I good guide! Weri cheep! 50 rupies! Yea, Sarangot
          nice! First easi then difficalt, difficalt! You need guide?
          After that hill werri difficalt! I show you! OK? I will be
          quiet! No talking! OK? 40 rupies! OK?
        - Get lost!
        - 30 rupies, OK? First easi, then difficalt, difficalt!!
          I show you! 20 rupies OK?
        - F**K OFF!
        - F**k off, yea?? 20 rupies, no much! I good guide!
   At this point he started running on the path right in front of me repeating the whole thing again (``Kanada nice kontri...''). I tried to ignore him for a while, but that proved to be impossible. I can imagine that many people would pay him just to get rid of him. After a couple of hundred metres he became really annoying and I thought that if I let him talk longer I might end up killing a child. So without waiting any longer I just brushed him off the path into the bushes. I think that brought the point across since after that he stopped following me. Later in Kathmandu, I tried to replace ``Canada'' with ``Albania'' once, and what I got, was almost the same thing all over again
``Albania, nice kontri! My broder go to Albania!...''

On the way up I met some Swiss and Canadians, for the rest of the day we walked together. At the top one could see the other side of the Pokhara valley and the contours of Daulaghiri, Annapurna South and Machapuchare. Unfortunately it was very hazy, so the contours was the best we could see. I would imagine that the view from Sarangot is really amazing after mansoon (Fall) when the air is clear. There are a couple of small restaurants right at the top of the hill where we had lunch. By the time we got back, it was about 4-5. We met later in the evening for dinner at the Tibetan restaurant ``Little Tibetan Tea Garden''. This restaurant serves probably the best Tibetan food in Pokhara. Momos are absolutely fantastic. I do not remember the exact name of the dish I ate there, but those were vegetarian momos in a bowl of soup with all sorts of vegetables and Tibetan bread. There were 6 of us and we paid the equivalent of 7 for all our meals including drinks
(non-alcoholic) and desserts and tea.

  01.03.92 Pokhara Phedi Lumle Birethanti Hille

This was the day I started trekking. My intent was to go towards Jomosom and Muktinath - that path follows up Kali Gandaki river, and to try to fly back from Jomosom either to Pokhara or directly to Kathmandu. I found out that RNAC - Royal Nepali Airlines were on strike and that the flight situation from Jomosom was a bit iffy. There were rumours that Nepal military was operating the flights, but there was no definite confirmation of that. So I decided to walk as far as I can get in 5-6 days and then head back unless the flight situation clears up.

I was also a bit apprehensive of trekking alone, but I was told that I would meet lots of people en-route. Early in the morning I went for breakfast in ``Boomerang''. This is the best place for breakfast in Pokhara, located right on the lake. They have an excellent German bakery and the most comfortable chairs. Sure enough there were other people with packs and it took me only about 2 min to find other 4 people to split the cab with. They were going towards the Annapurna Sanctuary, but we all needed to get to Phedi - the beginning of the trek. They told me that they have arranged for the cab via their hotel and that the cab would cost 300NR for all of us. They thought that they were getting a minibus, but we all ended up cramming into a little 2 door toyota. That must have been a record - 5 people with large backpacks and a driver. When we got to Phedi, an argument ensued - apparently the driver wanted 600NR. He got hold of a 500NR bill and would not give change. There was nothing we could do except to accept the fact that the ride costed us about $2 each (instead of $1.20).

At Phedi there is a tiny restaurant serving dhal-bhat and lots of kids trying to sell you walking sticks. After telling them that I would only pay 1NR (they wanted to sell them for 10NR) they thought that was unreasonably low and left me alone for a while. I needed to get to Lumle. One could walk there (about 2-3 hours) or catch a ride with a Chineese dumper truck. The Chineese are helping Nepalis in many road construction projects in Pokhara area, they lend and donate lots of equipment, including trucks. The truck driver wanted 100NR to Lumle, but eventually he agreed to take me there for 40NR. On the truck I run into two Israelis on the way to the Annapurna Sanctuary, trying to get to Gorepani first.

Once we got to the point the truck was to dump the gravel, we had to get out and walk towards Lumle, about 30 min away. As we were walking we joined another group of people, two Americans and two Canadians along with a guide (Hari). The guide was hired by the Americans, but we all ended up walking together for the next 2 days. The path took us through Lumle to Birethanti in about 2 hours. It is a beautiful village in the forest with lots of nice lodges. There is the first police check where a guy looking very official stamped our permits and we had to write out names in a big black book. We had a lunch there. From Birethanti we walked for another 2 hours to Hille. The walk took us through a lot of little villages, rice fields and forests. There was not much climbing this day (except for the very end), but this was a long day anyway.

On the way to Hille we passed through a tiny village where we encountered very strange procession. A porter was carrying a large basket with an umbrella attached to it. There was a woman in the basket and at least 5 people accompanying them. There were a couple of other completely loaded porters. As soon as I raised my camera one of them shouted that they do not want pictures to be taken, so I did not take any. I am not quite sure what the procession was about, I wanted to ask Hari about it, but by the end of the day I forgot. Someone suggested that this was either a marriage procession delivering the bride to her husband, or a mountain ambulance (the last was more likely since the mood was not very festive).

My policy to taking pictures in places like that is to take a picture only if I am sure that the person does not see me taking the picture
(from the hip, etc.) or if I have a reason to believe that the person would not mind having a picture taken. I usually raise the camera half way and wait a couple of seconds. If there is no protest I go on, otherwise I explicitly move the camera down. I also never pay for pictures. The attitude towards pictures differ from one village to another. In one place a woman protested when she saw I was going to photograph her child. In another village a woman saw me changing the film in my camera, picked up her kid from the ground and gesticulated that she would want me to take a picture of her with the kid. I was afraid that she would ask me for money afterwards, but took the picture anyway. She did not ask for money and we had a few laughs since the kid was cute.

Once we got to Hille it was already 5pm. Hille is a small village stretched along the ``main'' road. Altogether probably 4 houses, two of them lodges. The lodge we ended up staying in had tiny rooms with mattresses. To stay overnight in that place costed me 25NR. There was no glass in the windows, just shutters - I was very happy to have bought the down filled sleeping bag in Kathmandu. After the long day it was wonderful to take a cold shower (it was actually a bucket of water). They could warm the water for me, but Hari convinced me that the cold shower is better, so I decided to try it. He was right.
  The food in all these small villages is very similar. They all have the same menu and prices. Apparently the menus and the prices are regulated by some park authorities. Most of the time the only choice you have is between dhal-bhat and vegetable fried rice. What they have, however, is cooked very well, tasty (although a bit bland) and there is plenty of it. The only variety is the ``special'' section on the menus that consists mostly of desserts. Practically every lodge features some sort of an apple pie and the Jomosom trek is sometimes called the
``apple-pie trek''. They also have fruit fritters, but everywhere outside of Kathmandu and Pokhara ``fritter'' is creatively spelled as
``filter''. So you get ``apple filters'', ``banana filters'', etc.

************************************************************** Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 14:47:16 -0500 (CDT) To: Nepal Digest <> From: Shailendra Shukla <> Subject: more rambling

Since everyone seems to have come to the defense of "rambling" with gusto, let me myself use this freedom to ramble on a few issues.

1. ARUN III: The discussions on subjects like Arun III, soil conservation, and deforestation have been truly enlightening for an non- expert like me. Although there seems to be disagreement between the correspondents even in dull factual matters, perhaps it is not entirely unexpected in a project as big and controversial as Arun III.

Mr. Pandey's (the one with the Deep Thoughts) question regarding the fruitfulness of these sort of discussions is not entirely invalid. After{all, do any of the decision makers, who turn out to be mostly politicians, read TND? Do they care at all about technical merits or are they more guided by the desire for their own personal benefit? Even so, this sort of discussions raise peoples' awareness of the issues and an informed citizenry is certainly desirable, if not necessary, for the development of a country. Even those who do not return to Nepal rarely sever all their ties to Nepal and as such can and do influence, perhaps in subtle ways, the thinking back home. We should continue to have these discussion, but perhaps with modest expectations as to their utility.

"Wade Wade Jayate Tatwa Bodhin": From debates, truth shall be known
(pardon my Sanskrit, it was never great but now is dismal). In that spirit, let me ask some questions to the correspondents; although each question is posed for specific contributor, others are welcome to jump in; we may also need help from economists regarding cost-benefit issues. Additionally, since people seem to take things too personally in this forum, let me explain that I am not asking these questions to challenge or test someone's ability. My hope is that the responses to my questions may help elucidate the matter so that one can come to a reasoned conclusion.

(i). To Mr. Sharma: You advocate a moratorium on hydroelectric constructions. Certainly it makes environmental sense, since it seems to me that for environmentalists (at least the radical kinds) any human activity is detrimental. However, considering the fact that it takes at least ten years or so to complete another project, what is Nepal supposed to do in the meanwhile for its energy need?

(ii). To Mr. Ganesh: Should the Arun III project be canceled just because the projected power is not 405 MWh but only 197 MWh? (All these mega and giga sound big enough to me!) Or should it be canceled since it would no longer be cost efficient at that level? Should all big projects automatically be banned because some businessman may make a big, legitimate, commission? What is your alternative suggestion for Nepal's power needs?

(iii). To Mr. Raut: Should Nepal go ahead with this project even if the expected power output is not quite 405 MWh? Can Nepal afford this expenditure? Can it afford this, even if there is no possibility of selling the power to India?

2. Politics: To answer the question raised by Ashutosh regarding why we talk about politics so much? There seems to be an inverse correlation between the economic condition of a country and the amount of political discussion its educated public engage into. There must be many reasons for this, however one of the reasons is obvious. It is the availability of free time to make idle conversations. And, unlike soil-erosion, or hydroelectric power, one need not be an expert to talk about politics. One can get away with making any statement, however outrageous, since there is no objective way of proving or disproving it.

3. Use of proper names: Use of proper names while referring to someone's work is certainly desirable. However the electronic media is not conducive to making hard-copies. Unless one writes back immediately or stores all the TND's in the computer for future references, it is not easy to remember the names of correspondents. If someone does not mention the proper name, it should not be taken as a snub. After all, one is discussing ideas not personalities.

4. Age and inter-generational communication: Generally, in debates or discussions, the ages of the participants should be irrelevant. Irrespective of ages, people need to be polite to each other, specially in public forums like TND's.

The difficulty in communication between generations seems to exist in all societies. Since we grew up in Nepali culture, it may seem to us to be even worse than in other societies. How, for example, can one communicate with the older generation if it responds with a proverb like
"Babu bhanda chhoro janne......?". Now think about it; is not the whole idea of progress that younger generations know more than the older generations? If sons are always supposed to know less than fathers, then grandsons will know even less, and great-grandsons even lesser ... and so on and soon the whole generation will become morons!

On a more personal level: The whole age issue seems to have started because of Sharma ji's allusion to my age in defense of my comments. Although I tried to clarify this issue by suggesting that I am not that old, still I am sure I am much older than most of the correspondents in TND. But as I have said, and so have others, age really should be irrelevant in discussing issues. I for one enjoy having heated dialogue with my own father and his colleagues, and I equally enjoy similar discussions with the younger generation of students that happen to come to the University of Florida. One of the reason I started to participate in this forum was to open dialogue with younger generation. It was not because I had some pearls of wisdom acquired through experience to impart.

***************************************************************** Comments on ramblings -- some editorial some personal. By: Padam Sharma

   I am taking, perhaps undue, advantage of the privilege of being "Kurakani" Editor to instantaneously clarify and add footnotes to above ramblings by Shailendra Shukla. The editors of TND appreciate such constructive ramblings. Without a feedback, TND could be wandering in its own world of "technical", "political", "fictional" or whatever ramble of thoughts the contributors put into.

   My personal apologies to Shuklaji for making him look old. I did enjoy the age ramblings my mistake has brought about. Please ramble on...

<<Shuklaji wonders about the futility of technical discussions... Do the politicians and decision makers now in Nepal read TND, even if they do, do they care?>>

   I don't believe that articles in TND are intended for any target groups either in Nepal or abroad. We are just utilizing this wonderful, modern technology to exchange ideas, educate, and amuse each other. We are speaking our minds without being physically challenged by people with opposing view points. In other words, we are indulged in an ideally democratic exercise of freedom of expression.

    Since each right of expression comes with responsibility of not offending somebody else personally, we are setting some rules and norms to follow. Some of the current TND readers are/will be involved in decision making activities in Nepal, we are also involved in developing an informed citizenry. As Ashu Tiwari put it sometimes back, "We are adding soonma sugandha" and to compliment his comments, we are trying to avoid the
"durgandha" of political, racial, ethnic and personal blasphemy.

   I agree with the contention that the articles are getting too technical and too long. As a technical writer, I am part of the problem. When I strongly believe that soil erosion control is vital to the survival of Nepal, I want to inform as many people as I can. As a writer, it is a challenge for me on how to effectively communicate the technical information to a general audience. For readers also, it is a challenge to be patient and understand the point of view of technical writers. With feedbacks from readers, we do hope to learn more in the future.

 << To Mr. Sharma: You advocate a moratorium on hydroelectric constructions.....>>

    First of all, I would like to thank Om Bahadur Raut for clarifying recent numbers on Arun III and Chisapani. My reference to them were only meant as examples. My numbers came from Sill and Kirby's "Atlas of Nepal in the Modern World", if they are erroneous, I appreciate Rautji's rectifications.

Back to Shuklaji's comments:

   I do not advocate `environmental' moratorium on dam construction. Dam construction may have some site specific environmental hazards, which, if made aware rationally, can be rectified in the planning, construction and execution phases of the project. What I am advocating is implementation of a watershed management program to control erosion and reduce sediment load reaching the proposed dam site before dam construction activities are authorized. The planning and cost of the watershed management program should be built into the overall cost of the power generation or irrigation project. If it takes 10 years to meet the objective of reducing the sediment load by a technically feasible percentage point, we should start dam construction only after that. This approach is different than saying 'we should not build dam at all'.

   By reducing fuel-wood needs of the populace, hydro-power generation serves the comprehensive goal of a successful watershed management program. However, key to making watershed management program in Nepal sucessful is unlocking the vicious cycle of poverty and resource abuse by hill farmers. A precondition of watershed management before dam construction will force the government to satisfy the preconditions by concentrating on rural development programs in the hills for the benefit of watershed residents. It will generate cooperation among various ministries in the government to work towards that goal. It will also make Nepal's bargaining position stronger when dealing with energy and environmental interest groups in the subcontinent. We can say, "If you invest in the power plant and associated watershed mangement program, we can guarantee you a steady supply of clean water". Not only it makes environmental sense, it makes economic sense.

Best of all, it makes social sense. By involving farmers in the watershed management program, it makes the hill farmers feel proud of the dam being constructed downhill. After all, why should most of them sleep hungry in the dark looking at the `jhilimili' in the far distant valley below? This makes even more sense when we feel the pain of sad parents whose `bahadur' son is guarding that 'jhilimili', and their daughter is being sexually exploited in the darkness of the 'jhilimili'!

Sorry, I got carried away with these ramblings..... Wish you happy Vijaya Dashami, 2050.
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