The Nepal Digest - Oct 8, 1998 (22 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Thurs Oct 8, 1998: Ashwin 22 2055BS: Year7 Volume79 Issue1

**** HAPPY VIJAYA DASHAMI AND HAPPY DIPAWALI TO ALL TND FAMILY MEMBERS! ****

Today's Topics (partial list):

        News for publication
        Kurakani - social and cultural issues
        Traffic in Kathmandu, Nepal (1998)
        Bagha Chal
        Preserve Nepal's Uniqueness
        Daylight Robberies
        Girija Koirala's Real Face
        Book Review -2
 
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****************************************************************** From: Balgopal Shrestha Sent: Friday, September 25, 1998 3:07 PM To: mailmgr@mos.com.np Subject: News for publication

Dear editor,

I would like to request you to publish a small news about the award our film "Sacrifice of Serpents: The Festival of Indrayani, Kathmandu, Nepal" has won. Below is the news.

Yours sincerely

Balgopal Shrestha Leiden University

The American Anthropological Association, Society for Visual Anthropology Film, Video, and Interactive Media Festival-1998 has announced that
"Sacrifice of Serpents: The Festival of Indrayani, Kathmandu, Nepal" has won an award of Commendation for this year.

There will be an award ceremony at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association on Wednesday, December 2, 1998. The annual AAA meeting and the film screening will be held in Philadelphia,the USA this year Dec.2-6. Twenty-four films under different titles are selected to be screened on the occasion. On December Dec. 4, the "Sacrifice of Serpents" film will be screened.

The first screening of the "Sacrifice of Serpents" took place at the opening of the Film South Asia documentary festival in Kathmandu, October 25th, 1997. The Dutch premi=E8re of the film took place in Leiden on Februa= ry 26,1998. Later, this film has been screened at Cornell, Princeton, Harvard and Columbia Universities in the USA and at University of Bergen in Norway.

The documentary "Sacrifice of Serpents" by Dr. Dirk Nijland, Bal Gopal Shrestha and Bert van den Hoek offers an insider's view of a local festival in metropolitan Kathmandu: that of Indrayani, a goddess belonging to the northern quarter of the old city.The main title refers to the climax of Indrayani's festival, the sacrifice of living serpents into the sacrificial fire. It is a Dutch-Nepalese co-production, supported by the Research School CNWS of Leiden University and the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies of Tribhuvan University.

********************************************************* Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 16:14:07 -0500 (EST) From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu> Subject: Kurakani - social and cultural issues To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

I have drawn flak for saying that Nepal is a hindu country and should remain that way. I have been told that this is a supremacist way of thinking - I am a facist thus. But I beg to differ. I don't consider wanting to preserve the heritage I have recieved from my forefathers supremacy. I refuse to buy the idea that an way of life that flourishes on the ideals of tolerance can ever be facist.

If there are any supremacists and facists, they are those who believe that only there religion has the right to exists. People who believe that the path to the ultimate truth is only through their religion and that all others (like us) are doomed to burn in the fire of hell. They say they want to "rid us of our ignorance by showing us the path of their lord" (by converting us) but they forget that it is they who are ignorant not us. They forget that such narrow minded intrepretations of the truth not only does great disservice to the idea all knowing and all pervading god, but also puts them on direct collision course with other religions.

Making Nepal "a secular country" is the first step towards the erosion of Hinduism in the country. We get converted but we don't convert so any law that allows for conversion ( free practise of religion) is tantamount to giving a go ahead to the dessimination of Hinduism. The immense wealth and power of these religions will only hasten our end.

************************************************************* Date: Sat, 03 Oct 1998 14:53:06 +0500 To: editor contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu>, editor <kanti@kpost.mos.com.np> From: "F.A.H. \('Hutch'\) Dalrymple" <hutch@htp.com.np> Subject: Traffic in Kathmandu, Nepal (1998)

TRAFFIC IN KATHMANDU, NEPAL (1998)

        I ride a mountain bicycle all over the Kathmandu Valley (for the past several months), and Kathmandu has the craziest traffic situation I think I've every encountered (including Calcutta, Hong Kong, or New York City).
        In an eight-day stretch, two weeks ago, I was involved in three separate accidents, two while riding my bicycle. Luckily, these were all minor, thank God, but the cost was 5 stitches in my forehead, and 500NR, plus cuts and bruises, a cracked rib and a sore right side.
        Ironically, in all three of these 'accidents' the 'evil,' came from the left and injured the right side of my body.
        I guess considering I'm 58-years old, the toll wasn't too bad, except for the cracked rib, which reminds me every time I sneeze.
        'What to do?' my friend Siddha asks, as he is dismayed that I might continue to ride a bicycle in Kathmandu.
        Try to understand, an inner voice tells me.
        The first accident was at night (10P.M.), when it's actually better to ride, as the traffic is greatly reduced.
        Note: Kathmandu is interesting in that at 5P.M. it's honking madness on the streets, yet only four hours later this is lessened, and by 10P.M. there's hardly anyone on the streets.
        Thus, I was lucky that night as had it been 5P.M., I might have been crushed to death by an oncoming truck or bus.
        Riding home that night from New Banishor to Swayambhu, I was pedaling up one of the few wide, one-way (going north) boulevards, Kantipath, just opposite Rani Bari, when out of nowhere a woman on foot, walked right into me and knocked me off my bike. And I use a flashlight (torch) too. I only saw her for a second just before, and not at all afterwards (hope she's all right), as I went flying onto the pavement hitting my head.
        I was never unconscious and quickly there were people, and a traffic policeman, and the next think I knew he was walking me to Bir Hospital just across the street (lucky again). My guardian angels were in full force that night.
        Amazingly, all my property (backpack, bike, even hat) were recovered and intact.
        And, all in all, if you're going to have an accident, best to have it as such.
        I have to tell you I'm pretty impressed with the Kathmandu infrastructure, based on this experience, even though I'd heard how bad it can be... The policeman, who was there at the scene, never left me in the hospital (although maybe he was looking for 'bacseech' (sic) - as I did ultimately give him 100NR for his help, but...). I've heard nothing but complaints about the Kathmandu police and the hospitals here, but my experience that night was about as good as you can have in these situations (as I've been through this before in different ways in other countries, especially America).
        Thus, I have nothing but praise for the Kathmandu Police Department and Bir Hospital! They were all, whomever I encountered that night (although it's a little hazy), were polite, courteous, helpful, and professional.
        Now, maybe it was such because I'm a white man with a white beard, but I can only tell my own story. They probably thought I am a tourist (long-term resident in Nepal), and wanted to impress me with the service. But, again, for whatever reason, I was in and out of Bir Hospital sewn up and on my way for 400NR (including the policeman's tip).
        Maybe it was because I was so bloody (the head bleeds profusely), but I was cared for quickly and efficiently. I remember the administrators reminding me to use the telephone and call 'family.' When I was concerned about my bicycle, the policeman took me to a room and showed me it (along with my backpack) was safe. And the doctor who sewed me up was informative, and efficient (I wish I could remember his name).
        I can tell you one thing... Had this same incident happened in America, it would have been much more involved, and much more expensive. Think about it... Here in Kathmandu it cost $7.50U.S., and I was pedaling home in one hour.
        In America, here's what would have happened... There would have been police cars, an on-site investigation (probably taking an hour itself). I would have gone in an ambulance to the tune of $200+U.S., to an ER at whatever hospital... I'm sure I would have been there six hours or more! And the total tab would have been $500-1,000U.S. for the gash in my head. Then there would have been the insurance aftermath, sorting that all out, and taking much time.
        You can have the situation in America... I'll take Kathmandu any day, including the horrendous traffic congestion (and pollution).
        By the way, the $7.50U.S. included painkillers and antibiotic medicine (which I didn't use but have in case).
        Besides a sore head and right side, that accident was hardly debilitating, as I rode my bike to work the very next day. It was more a conversation piece than anything else, people commiserating with me about the traffic situation (and how dangerous Kathmandu streets are).
'What to do?' asked my friend, Siddha. Another friend, Marina, wants me to purchase both a pollution mask, and a helmet!
        I was recovering, when the thought occurred that things always seem to happen in 'threes,' but I concluded that I'd already had two 'other incidents,' that would qualify. Ah, the mind compensating... But, I should have never had that thought!
        For sure enough, in one day I had two more accidents on the streets of Kathmandu, and not more than a few days later.
        The second (of the three) I was walking across Kantipath and ironically not too far from the site of the first accident. This time I thought I'd made it successfully across the street when a motorbike came from nowhere (the left) and knocked me to the pavement. This was pretty minor. I simply got up and continued on my way, ironically again, to retrieve my bicycle, which was being worked on...
        I picked up my bicycle and headed home to Swayambhu.
 I remember at the Bishnumati Bridge, I looked up to see the stupa at Swayambhu, with a sunset behind, and thinking I should stop here, rest, and enjoy the view and the river from the bridge. But, no, I pressed on thinking, no time, no time, etc. Will I ever learn to stop and 'smell the roses' along the way...? Yes! The answer is yes, a lesson learned here with all of this!
        Right after the bridge the road turns abruptly left and climbs a hill. It's a blind corner, and sure enough as I was 'pouring on the coal,' to make the hill, a motorbike, cutting the corner too closely (we're supposed to bear left in Nepal), came around the corner and we collided head on! I remember seeing the whole thing happen. First, I was surprised that the motorbike fell over spilling its two riders onto the pavement. Then I hit the street. This time I hit pretty hard and was slow to get up... my right leg and knee again, and they hurt. When the motorbike driver asked me if I was O.K., I thought for a moment and said, 'I hope.' They, with this news quickly departed, and I was left with a crowd of onlookers, and a pain in my leg.
        Immediately, I checked to see if my leg was broken, but I decided it wasn't. My bike didn't seem much worse for the impact either (although later I had to have it repaired). But, I walked most of the way home, pedaling only some of the distance (the down hill part).
        I've been sore ever since (now two weeks), but again, considering I'm coming on to 59 years, I'm amazingly unscathed (and just had my stitches out of my head).
        But, I can tell you I'm much more careful on the streets of Kathmandu now. Accidents can be beneficial... Maybe I needed to wake up!
        I'm still riding daily, as this is my means of transportation (generally) getting around Kathmandu...
        But, how careful can you be in the craziest of all traffic situations... And some Nepali person needs to explain, as it's so different from the U.S., where things are more organized, and people seem to care more about their lives.
        Here Nepali people use the street like it was their living room at home. I think they must observe the cows and dogs, lounging about, and take their cue from them.
 People seem to have the classic Nepali fatalistic attitude about life... If I get killed I guess I was supposed to, as I have little control over what happens... Thus, they act like they don't care on the street, walking without looking (most of the time), children playing, running out in front of traffic.
        When I first arrived in Kathmandu, and walked around, I noticed a rather dour mien on people's faces, some stress obvious. I couldn't understand why, as I was so happy to be here in Kathmandu I was always smiling. Now, I understand. I also deplored the incessant vehicle honking of horns. But, now I understand why... Pedestrians will hardly get out of your way.
        If this Nepali attitude was transposed to America, there would suddenly be thousands more fatalities, as American drivers expect you to get out of the way, or get killed.
        Here it's assumed you'll be your 'brother's keeper,' on the streets, avoiding what you can, regardless.
        But, there's one thing I still don't understand... Maybe again, a Nepali person can explain it to me.
        In social (especially hierarchical) situations Nepali people are amazingly courteous, polite and deferring. On the street it's just the opposite. You could be the King (disguised) and you'd be treated like dog meat (maybe dog and cow are bad examples as they're revered in Nepal).
        In social situations I'm treated like a king. On the street, it's every person for themselves! It doesn't matter who you are: I was here first, or I'm in a hurry, or my truck is bigger than your bicycle, and I'm more important! All social graces are forgotten here! It's funny what happens to people (all over the world) when they get in control of a motor vehicle!
        And the pedestrians on the streets in Kathmandu... They obvious hate any wheeled machine! If they are there first, they're not going to yield, or move, unless they hear that familiar horn! Thus, us bicycle riders have to dodge every manner of everything on the streets, from cows, to dogs, to children, to just about everything using the streets. Of course, there's the problem of narrow, and over-crowded 'streets' (they think 'alleyways' are streets).
        I wonder sometimes if there is a Nepali word/concept for simple 'courtesy,' and/or 'consideration' (of others)?
        I wish Kathmanduans would take some of the courtesy they show in social situations and transplant that to the streets. Kathmandu would be a nicer place to ride a bicycle (safer for sure).

        As it is... it's absolute madness out there! Anything is possible, because others don't seem to care about anyone but themselves!
        I've had women refuse to yield, drivers open car doors right in front of me, vehicles stop anywhere, at any time. I've been faced with water buffalo running me off the road, as well as goats running me off the sidewalk. I've had other bicyclists cut me off, or ride against the traffic and almost collide with me. I've had motor vehicles try to run me off the road (don't care if you're killed or not). I've had to deal with the push carts laden with commerce (Note: Any slowing of traffic causes potential disasters, because everyone tries to go around-facing on-coming traffic.) Then there are the topos (three-wheeled vehicles), bicycle rickshaws, and the big buses! And then there's the pedestrians that act like they own the road. They'll walk right down the middle of the street, and veer right or left without warning. Literally, anything can happen on the streets of Kathmandu. I've seen people hurt, one child killed!
        And I'm afraid it's going to get worse (unless we do something about it)! On the other hand, fixing it, improving the situation would be relatively easy! Traffic police could actually issue summons, vehicles could be towed off (at owner's expense), and traffic made to move smoother.
        It always amazes me, wherever I go in the world, when things aren't right, the masses have a way of rationalizing it. Instead of working to make it better, people's apathy allows it to grow worse (Of course, this changes when it's your child that's killed.)... Instead of believing it can get better, people just accept their plight in life, feeling helpless. I guess it's the fatalistic nature of (at least in this culture) of mankind.
        I always want to make things better... Whether it be in the U.S. or Nepal!
        Of course, we can start with ourselves! Maybe we can be a little more courteous when we're out on the street. Maybe we can yield to some other vehicle. Maybe we can not drive so fast. Maybe we can walk off to the side of the road, and be more aware of the hazard we create to wheeled vehicles. Maybe we save someone's life in the process. Maybe we can only honk our horns when absolutely necessary (reducing the noise pollution)! Maybe we can think of others, rather than just ourselves... What a unique idea...?
        Maybe we can start a campaign called, 'Common Courtesy!'
        Ultimately, all of this has to do with consciousness! It ultimately has to do with being aware of the value of life (everyone's) and our roles in helping to preserve and/or conserve it (as well as other resources).
        Finally, we might think about how each one of us can make, wherever we live, a better place to live! Wow! What a unique idea that is!

        Namaste! From Kathmandu, Ne-is-my-pal! Where the street traffic is the craziest I've ever encountered! Please explain, or help me to change it!

        F.A.H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple
        Dba / Tethys.To
        Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal
        e-mail: hutch@htp.com.np
        977+1+282038

**************************************************************** From: "Margolin" <margolin@isdn.net.il> To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>, <Svanur@tvi.is> Subject: Bagha Chal Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 00:27:10 +0200

Hi I am Gil and I am very interested in the Bagha Chal game too. I only = found one site I can play the game in. but I am looking for strategies = and wisdom. Did you find any?

Thanks Gil.

********************************************************** Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 05:00:59 -0700 From: "Jack W. Rucker" <jackruc@IDT.NET> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Preserve Nepal's Uniqueness

Dear Editor and Readers of TND:

My slow PC takes an hour and a half to down-load 2 issues of TND when they are sent a day or two apart. I was off line for a couple of days, and then tried to catch up on IMPORTANT eMail.

I once deemed TND part of my "important" eMail, until this India-Nepal nonsensical diatribe began, and continues adnauseam to this date. Unlike Hutch Dalrymple, I no longer print out TND issues and pass them around, nor do I still forward issues to friends. The Sept. 28th issue is an exception, with its two exellent articles, "Moving beyond the Racism Issue" and "Making Children Read". Lets 'move beyond the India absurdity', and continue on some constructive ideas listed by Paramendra Bhagat in the "Moving - -" article under "1) Lead the Nepalese economy toward rapid economic growth"

One only has to go to Delhi, Bombay, Dhramsala, or any town in India larger than Bir, to see myriads of reasons not to encourage more Indians, or Indian influence, in Nepal.

A personal example of one problem in India: I waited in line in a Delhi Post Office for over 30 minutes to buy a stamp. Perhaps 10 people pushed into the line. At one point, I was #6 in line. A few minutes later, I was
#10 from the stamp window. When I worked up to #1, a man held out his extended arm to wedge up to the counter ahead of me. When I asked him if he spoke English, he replied: "A little". I told him I had been in line patiently for over 30 minutes, only to have him push in front of me. He said he only wanted to buy a stamp. I informed him that was precisely why I had waited in que for 30+ minutes. He laughed as he bought his stamp.

The nicest people I met in 8 trips to India turned out to be Tibetans, or people born in India of Tibetan parents. The best thing I can say about India is that Tibetan refugees were allowed to settle there when they were run out of Tibet by the Chinese in 1948.

If you want to see Nepal with minimal Indian influence, visit the Solu Khumbu region, - even its "capital", Namche Bazaar. If you would like to see the Sherpas with NO Indian influence, go to the Tibetan side of Mt. Everest, and meet Tibetan high-altitude porters and their families, who are of the same lineage, but have lived for generations on the other side of the border.

My airline dumps me in Delhi, so I have to make two more trips via India this fall, enroute to and from Nepal. Oh well, I enjoy the 4-in-one Nerulas' Restaurant at the Circus. At least I found out how to make the trip from the airport via bus, so I can avoid the taxi hustle.

When making the trip between the domestic and international airports in Bombay, don't change money in the cab enroute. After you realize you have been short-changed 40 or 60 dollars, you complain. The cab detours through side streets, a hidden engine cut-off switch is thrown, and you are handed off to a second cab, with the assurance that your second fare has been covered. It is 3AM on a dark street; you know you have been set up, but your efforts to start the cab also fail. After this experience, I am tempted to smile while arguing with KTM taxi drivers about being charged 75 rupees for a 50 rupee fare. In KTM I can walk a few miles, with the snubbed taxi driver making many slow passes, with ever lower offers. This is an amusing pasttime, and can be fun in Nepal. Bombay was not fun.

Then there was my "short" mid AM bus trip from Dharamsula, India, to Bir, which took 3 buses instead of 1, and 26 hours vs. 2. It was very frustrating at the time to be told by each driver: "Yes. I go to Bir.",
(because that is the answer they knew I wanted to hear), only to have them take me dozens of miles out of the way, and put me out to wait for another bus that not only did not go to Bir, but took me further off course, and then parked in a very tiny village at 5PM, without a word - just left me sitting on the bus. At 6PM I learned that the bus had parked for the night. By then it was raining, and getting dark. The good news: there was a lodge 1.5 miles up a mountain trail, across a bridge, and out of sight from the main trail. There were no visable signs; several trail junctions later, and several miles wandering down each one, I gave up. I set up my little one-man tent, undressed in the rain, and, foot-first, inched into my tiny shelter. I was thinking about those bus drivers as I went to sleep in my thin bivouac bag. The next morning, I took a picture of 15 men push-starting the bus - the battery was dead. I never did see the lodge.

The above are anecdotal musing of a tourist who has spent 44 weeks in Asia since 1990, in Nepal, Tibet, India, and China. The majority of the time was spent in Nepal, 3.5 weeks in Tibet, and 2.5 weeks in India. I spent some time in all four countries in 1990, and would not have returned to Asia had I not enjoyed Nepal, and the Nepali and Sherpa people, so much.

Jack W. Rucker
"Our greatest duty in this life is to help others. And please, if you can't help them, could you at least not hurt them?"

                                           ---- The Dalai Lama

*************************************************** To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 08:43:49 -0400 From: aiko7@juno.com (AikoAnne Joshi)

And one can transfer India to Nepal or any other non-Western nation that views the "West/North" as some sort of miracle place to get to. . . .And the peoples of the less-industrialized nations are paying the price of their governments' slavish admiration at their expense! <Aiko Joshi>

From: diwanr@rpi.edu

Globalization: Myth vs. Reality

   by Ramesh Diwan
   Professor of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
   12180

    diwanr@rpi.edu
     _________________________________________________________________

   There is, these days, an euphoria in the international business
   community about a new phenomena euphemistically called
   "globalization." Globalization has become a buzz word. It is a popular
   term in the lexicon of bureaucrats, consultants, journalists and
   policy analysts; only a few years back it could not be found in a
   respectable English dictionary. Like other similar buzz words, such as
   sustainable development, it is rarely defined but used to promote
   arguments favoring business interests. It has acquired both a
   legitimacy and an aura of "sacred", "goodness", "desirability" etc.;
   such is the power of subtle propaganda. Unpopular, even flawed,
   business policies are justified by it, and in its name; e.g. income
   inequality, large scale firings, low wages. It arrived in India as a
   bolster , and through the backdoor, of "economic reforms." For the
   Indian ruling elite, already mesmerized by the superiority and glitter
   of West, it had all the trappings of a "white angel." The sanctity of
   economic reforms has been derived from it. The argument is couched in
   the following two propositions:

    1. Progress is taking place through globalization.
    2. Economic reforms are the only means to join in this process.

   Hence, it follows that economic reforms are necessary, and the only,
   alternative for India's future. Unfortunately for the masses and
   India, both these propositions are flawed, inaccurate and illusive.
   That globalization is a road to progress, or prosperity, is, in fact,
   preposterous. Let us look at "globalization." Globalization refers to
   a phenomenon that involves, basically, a fast international spread,
   over the past decade, of two entirely different entities: (i) finance
   capital through multinational corporations, and (ii) new technologies
   such as computers and telecommunications.

   The spread of finance capital is old. The new part of the phenomenon
   is the spread of new technologies. The Western scientific tradition
   and rational thought has created, and maintained, the prejudice that
   technology, whatever it is, is a good thing because it has been
   repeatedly asserted to be the only source of growth and therefore
   progress.

   The spread of new technologies therefore is "good" and "desirable';
   answer to a question like, good for whom, is generally left for
   footnotes or somewhere in the inside pages. The question arises: what
   is the relationship between these two entities? The only common thing
   among these two entities is that both of them have grown
   internationally, and at a fast rate, over the same period. Such
   commonalty suggests a positive correlation. Any beginning student of
   statistics will recognize that such correlation is spurious; i.e. it
   is apparent and not real. However, the "bought priesthood" of experts
   and journalists in the media, from the countries where multinationals
   reside, has taken this spurious correlation at its face value and
   created a false impression that there is a positive relationship
   between the two entities. They have taken an additional,
   scientifically unwarranted, step and asserted that the finance capital
   is necessary for the internationalization of technology. Repeating it
   ad infinitum they have given this assertion the advantage of
   familiarity. This subterfuge has helped the virtual manufacture of
   proposition 1.

   This perception and false impression has a desirable effect. It has
   rubbed some of the glitter and sanctity of new technology on finance
   capital. One can now make a reasonable argument that the growth, and
   internationalization, of finance capital is "good" and "desirable" for
   progress because it promotes growth of technology. This is the myth.
   Reality is different.

   Let us now look at the reality. The facts are quite the opposite.
   There has been a continuous growth, and internationalization, in
   finance capital. During 1980 -1992, the annual growth rate of
   financial assets among the OECD countries outpaced the growth rate of
   their real economies by more than two-to-one. The total stock of
   world's financial assets reached $35 trillion in 1992 and have been
   growing further.

   The transactions in the foreign exchange in the various stock markets
   in the world is more than 50 times that of trade in goods and
   services. Finance capital is reflected in the stock market
   transactions. The success and growth of the finance capital is
   verified by the rise in the value of shares in the stock markets
   measured by such indices as Dow Jones.

   Real economy, on the other hand, is defined generally in terms of jobs
   and its the success is measured in job growth. There is now
   irrefutable evidence that the stock market has gone up when the real
   economy declined suggesting that there is a negative relationship
   between the growth of finance capital and economic progress. This
   negative relation is confirmed by the evidence from the U.S. In fact
   the overall stock market seems to do best when economic growth is far
   from robust. Last year, 1994, was the market'sworst year since 1990,
   but it was the economy's best year, as measured by job growth. 1984
   was also a poor year for the stock market, even as it was a great year
   for jobs and economic growth. Growth is much slower this year, stocks
   are up a lot more.

   There are two reasons for this negative relationship between finance
   capital and real economy. One, is the nature of profit making in the
   past decade. A recent study by the {Economic Policy Institute,
   Washington D.C.} has concluded that increased profitability in the
   U.S. business firms in the 1990s is not the result of greater
   investment or an acceleration of productivity but has come from
   stagnant wages and falling wage bills. The hourly wage of the median
   male worker in the U.S. declined 1 percent per year from 1989 to 1994.
   Wages over last 6 years fell or remained stagnant for 80% of men, and
   70% of women, a period when profits have been high.This phenomena is
   becoming worldwide. Second, finance capital is also a source of
   increased income and wealth inequalities. As finance capital has
   grown, so have the income inequalities. According to UNDP's Human
   Development Report 1994, the richest 20 percent of the world's
   population had an average income 32 times that of the poorest 20
   percent, in 1970. Two decades later, in 1991, this ratio has virtually
   doubled; from 32 to 61. While the poorest 20 percent received 2.3
   percent of the world income in 1970, twenty one years later this share
   fell down to 1.4 percent.

   One can observe in the U.S. these days growing attendance in soup
   kitchens, homelessness and income inequalities. This is happening in
   other advanced countries as well.The negative relationship between
   finance capital and real economy is not particular to the U.S. It is
   valid internationally. As the finance capital has grown, the
   international economy has stagnated. The impact of this part of the
   globalization phenomena is to spread stagnation. This is part of the
   international reality. There has been for quite some time, and still
   is, a serious stagnation in the international economy. World
   Development Report 1992 [table 1, p.219] gives the annual average per
   cent growth rate of GDP per capita for the world for 1965 - 90 as
   1.5.; a rate which for the period 1980 - 92 is reported as 1.2 in {
   World Development Report 1994 }[table 1, p.163]; a pretty large
   decline. These numbers suggest that the growth rate in 1980s has been
   rather low when both new technology and finance capital have been
   growing. Internationalization of new technology is a response to this
   stagnation. It is not a source of growth in the international economy.

   The reality then is that far from a path to prosperity, globalization
   is undermining the growth potential of the international economy.
   Globalization is setting the stage for a serious deterioration in the
   international economy and the probability of a great depression in the
   not too distant future is by no means low. If globalization is suspect
   and economic reforms depends on it for success, some policies for
   economic reform are misguided.

   I have dealt with the fallacy of economic reforms at length elsewhere.
   The Enron case is perhaps the best example both of globalization and
   fallacious reasoning. It was basically a move of the finance capital
   promoted through its association with technology. It made an excellent
   myth. Once opened to scrutiny, the myth evaporated and the reality
   became obvious. One can not help but admire the new Mahrashtrian
   government; for both integrity when it could have been a beneficiary
   of "education" and, courage to withstand the wrath of international
   myth makers.

   It is not accidental that the large part of the Indian population has
   rejected the governments promoting such reforms. People at large have
   wisdom. They can, and do, distinguish between myth and reality. They
   yearn for an alternative based on reality and not a myth. Gandhian
   ideas of swadeshi provide such an alternative: that is integrative not
   divisive, where there is personal integrity, quality of character and
   commitment to public good instead of corruption; that exalts,
   strengthens and stabilizes and not destroys, family and neighborhood,
   mohalla, and village.

****************************************************************** Date: October 1, 1998 Forwarded by: Rajpal J.P. Singh <a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Daylight Robberies

Source: People's Review Privatisation or plunder of national exchequer? BY JAN SHARMA

If you need to know how and why not to privatise, look at the mess created by the Nepalese leaders. The long-standing suspicion that the transfer of some of the key public enterprises to private hands at dirt cheap prices has now been authoritatively confirmed by the Auditor General's 35th Annual Report 1998 released recently. While political leaders may have siphoned-off profits, the net losers are the government and the Nepalese people.

So far 16 public enterprises have been privatised in two phases. The sale of enterprises earned the state coffers Rs. 720.8 million. Of this, Rs. 368.4 million went for settlements, leaving a balance of Rs. 352.4 million to the so-called privatisation fund. The Auditor General's Report says the progress in realising the objectives of the privatisation -- increasing production by augmenting capacities, reducing financial and administrative burden on the government and promoting private participation in the management of the public enterprises -- are far from satisfactory.

The 1,216 pages, three-volume report by Bishnu Bahadur K.C., the Auditor General, is a blow by blow account of the economic mismanagement. Nepal may continue to cry for a political leadership with courage and determination to punish the thieves under the existing framework of laws and regulations. Nevertheless it clearly reflects the sharp erosion of administrative norms and values particularly under the so-called democratic dispensation.

The report says that contrary to policy pronouncements of the Finance Ministry that the assets of the public enterprises would not be undervalued, the reality is just the opposite. At least five public enterprises were sold for between 1.58% and 44.12% less than their real asset values. This alone incurred a financial loss of Rs. 18.4 million to the government.

A typical example is the privatisation of the Raghupati Jute Mills in Biratnagar, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's hometown. The total asset of the enterprise, excluding land, was estimated at Rs. 80.3 million. However, the enterprise, including land, was sold for just Rs. 82.2 million. This included 34 bighas of land at the dirt-cheap rate of Rs. 55,000 per bigha, the report says. The Land Tax Department, which normally calculates the land price at the lower fringes, roughly calculated the real value of the land at Rs. 2.5 million per bigha. This means the land alone was sold at less than a quarter of the actual price.

The total land asset of the Raghupati Jute Mills is 34 bighas. The actual market value of the entire land at the time of privatisation of the mill was Rs. 86.3 million. The lone buyer of the enterprise bought the land just for Rs. 1.8 million. The total loss for the government, according to the Auditor General's Report, in the privatisation of the Raghupati Jute Mills in land alone exceeds Rs. 206 million.

The report also notes that the actual land under the mill is not 34 bighas only but more than 44.2 bighas. This means the buyer has not paid at all for 10 bighas. Officials as usual are tight-lipped on whether any action is even under consideration to rectify this financial crime in the interest of transparency and accountability the political leaders profess so liberally in public speeches.

The valuation of the 522 ropanies of land in possession of the Harisiddhi Brick and Tile Factory is at Rs. 237,000 per ropani. The market price of the land in the area has remained at Rs. 1 million ever since the enterprise was privatised.

These findings make little sense if the tendencies indicated therein are not nipped in the bud. The Auditor General has done an excellent job for which he must be congratulated. The next move should be for other organs of the constitution, such as the Commission for the Abuse of Authority, to rise to the occasion and prove their worth of salt.

****************************************************************** From: "Shakti Aryal" <rcaryal@sunset.backbone.olemiss.edu> To: "The Nepal Digest" <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Greetngs and something to cheer you up. Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 12:30:38 -0500

Dear TND readers:

Wishing you all the best of health, happiness and prosperity on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami and Deepabali.

Here is something to cheer you up: Sardarji jokes:

While Santa Singh and Banta Singh were sitting on a tree, Santa Singh started singing. After 4 songs Santa Singh hung himself upside down and started singing again. Banta Singh : Santa Singh, what is the matter with you? Why are you hanging upside down. Santa Singh : I am singing the B side of the tape.

====================================================

This sardarji goes to see Jurassic Park and when the Dinosaurs start approaching he cows down under his seat. His friend asked him "kyon sardarji, kya baat hai? Dar kyon lag raha hai cinema hi to hai" to which the Sardarji replies "Aadmi hoon aur akkal hai, pata hai ki cinema hai, lekin voh to janwar hai, usko kya pata."

========================================================

A sardarji with two red ears went to his doctor. The doctor asked him what had happened to his ears and he answered, "I was ironing a shirt and the phone rang - but instead of picking up the phone I accidentally picked up the iron and stuck it to my ear". "Oh Dear", the doctor exclaimed in disbelief. But ... what happened to the other ear?; That scoundrel called back.

==================================================== Sardar Gurbachan Singh is appearing for his University final examination. He takes his seat in the examination hall, stares at the question paper for five minutes, then in a fit of inspiration takes his shoes off and throws them out of the window. He then removes his turban and throws it away as well. His shirt, pant, socks and watch follow suit. The invigilator, alarmed, approaches him and asks what is going on. "Oye, I am only following the instructions. The question paper says to answer the following questions in brief"

====================================================

Banta Singh finished his English exam and came out. His friends asked him how he fared in his exams - to that he replied "Exam was okay, but... for the past tense of THINK, I thought, thought, thought ... and at last I wrote THUNK !!!".

====================================================

Once a Sardarji was travelling on a train. He felt sleepy so he gave the guy sitting opposite him on the train 20 rupees to wake him up when the station arrived. This guy was a barber, and he felt that for 20 rupees ,the sardarji deserved more service. So, when the Sardarji fell asleep,the barber quietly shaved off his beard. When the station arrived, the Sardarji was woken up, and he went home. Reaching home, he went to wash his face, and suddenly screamed when he saw the mirror. His wife asked him what was the matter to which he replied that the cheat on the train took his Rs.20 and woke up someone else.
====================================================

There's a funeral procession of a sardar going on a busy street. All the sardars in the 'mayyat' are dancing the bhangra and singing 'balle balle". The people on the street find it strange that instead of mourning everyone is celebrating as if its marriage baraat. So one of them asks Santa Singh, "Sigh Saab, aapka koi sage wala gujar gaya hai aur aap naach rahe ho?".....comes the reply, "haan ji! Hai hi baat badi kushi ki!!! Aaj paheli baar ek sardar brain tumour se mara hai!"

   ====================================================

So this sardarji while walking comes across a banana peel on the road. Can you guess what he might be thinking?? Sala aaj bhi girna padega...

====================================================

One great day in Bombay, a couple on their honeymoon visitied Bombay. In front of one of the hospitals they saw one Sardarji trying to fill in some form. The couple asked the Sardarji "aare Sardarji kya kar raahe ho?" to which the Sardarji replied that he had a baby and was filling out an application for a birth certificate for the baby. The newly weds congratulated him and left.

The newly weds next visited Delhi and on one of the city tours noticed the same Sardarji queing to fill up a similar form. So once again young couple curiously asked the Sardarji "aare Sardarji kya kar raahe ho" the Sardarji once again replied I had a baby and was filling out an application for a birth certificate for the baby. The couple looked puzzled and told him that he filled up the same form in Bombay so there was no need to fill up another one in Delhi. The Sardarji laughed and said to the couple
"Aare ye form mein leekha hai ki FILL IN CAPITAL".

Shakti Aryal

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 15:03:58 -0500 (EST) From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu> Subject: Kurakani: Social and cultural issues To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

(This is a Hindu supremacist way of defining my faith. I am as much of a Hindu as you are and a proud one on that, though Buddhism is my favorite religion. You do not speak for me. The non-Hindu religion s on the sub-continent - Islam,Buddhism, Christianity and others - are not subsets of the Hindu faith. They deserve equal respect in daily conduct and equal political rights as themainstream Hindu religion. Your line of thinking is fascist. I am glad you donot define my faith, you only propagate your own personal, narrow definition ofthe faith to which you also are a subscriber.Besides pride in my faith does not prevent me from attacking the caste system which is deeper than any racism anywhere I know of. Is it a coincidence that high-caste Hindus like yourself are more prone to being Hindu supremacists thanVaisyas and other "backwards" like myself?)

Your criticism of my argument is based on superficial understanding of both what I had written and what constitutes Hinduism. That you should descend to a personal confrontation
(high caste hindu's like yourself) on such an understanding is even more deplorable. It just goes to show how little knowledge is dangerous. I would advise you to not take such extreme postures without knowing what you are talking about. As for the flaws in your argument they are as follows:

FirstlyYou overlook the way I define hinduism. Hinduism to me is just a way of life (not a religion)- a way of life that is based on tolerance and is guided only by its concern for truth. It is not as you understand me to say a religion like Christianity, Islam or even Budhism. Thus in saying that Nepal is a hindu country I mean not that "Hinduism the religion" (as understood by most people and you) is superior, but that Nepal is country that subscribes to the trait of tolerance found in a hindu way of life. It does not as some other ways of life think that there is just one path to god. All it cares for is the ultimate truth which it believes is the same for all human beings.

Secondly you adopt completely false assumptions on what I believe. I oppose the caste system as much as you do if not more. In making false assumptions like these all that you do is expose your own hatred and bitterness. But let me tell you such negative emotions have never done any good to anybody and will not do good to you too. I admire the sincerity with which you pursue some very relevant and genuine issues like ethnic discrimination but in picking personal battles with people for no reason you are only creating divisions where none exist.

And lastly your referring to me as "high caste hindu" and yourself as "backward" , just shows its you who the "casteist" is, not me.

*************************************************************** Date: Sun, 27 Sep 98 16:44:50 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Girija Koirala's Real Face

"Barbara Adams manhandled at TIA, sent back to aircraft"

If this is what Girija can do to an American national, imagine what he is capable of doing to those Nepalese with limited access to political power, to his political opponents, his political enemies. It is incidents like these that make you wonder if indeed Madan Bhandari's death was a simple "road accident." Girija's men first tried to buy off Hridayesh Tripathy when he first came into the national legislature in 1991, freshly elected, dynamic, having fundamental disagreements with the Nepali Congress. Tripathy, one of the handful - to my knowledge the only - of principled politicians in Nepal, refused. In response Girija's men bought off the-then Sadbhavana Party Vice President, some Choudhary, and had him contest elections against Tripathy in Tripathy's constituency. That Tripathy won re-election anyway is another story.

The infamous AKGB (Arjun Narsingh KC, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Govinda Raj Joshi, Bijay Kumar Gachhedar) have been instrumental in the dirty tricks that has marked Girija's reign of terror. Not only do these hoodwinks participate in massive state corruption - after all a large part of Nepal's state budget has been proven by the Tripathy-chaired Public Accounts Committee to simply
"disappear" - but, considering their character, there is no evidence these thugs do not have links with the underworld too. With all that money from institutionalized corruption and partnerships with the underworld, is it a surprise these handful of Congressias think they can buy their way to being in power for ever? The biased Nepali media constantly flogged the supposedly underworld connections of another Teraiwasi MP, former Miyan Mirza Dil Sad Beg, who was shot down in Kathmandu earlier this summer, but the same are tolerant of the Jekyll-and-Hydes of contemporary Nepalese politics like the AKGB. I pesonally don't know the truth or lack thereof of Mirza's supposed underworld connections, although I did know him personally. But he was the Terai politician who announced at a mass meeting in Jaleshwar in Mahottari District : "Bol do unhein, sau Girija ka ek Mirja paida ho gaya." (Tell them, one Mirza has been born to counter a hundred Girija Prasad Koiralas.) If the AKGB have underworld connections, did they manage to get rid of Mirza to appease their Don Girija and make it look like Mirza's death was the result of the gang rivalry between the two factions of the Bombay underworld, the one lead by Dawood Ibrahim based in Dubai, the other lead by Chhota Rajan based in Malaysia?

Girija's gameplan is transparent : He has partnered with the ML, a constitutionally unrecognized national party. The ML candidates, when they finally contest elections, will not have one symbol. This will be a serious disadvantage for them. Plus, the ML and the UML will try to finish each other off, resulting in an obvious advantage to the NC, according to Girija's calculation. The two RPPs, likewise, will follow the example of the two communist parties, a further advantage to the NC, as they think. This leaves the Sadbhavana in the fray, newly re-united, energized, with a coherent ideology. The NC knows the Terai is its homebase. It knows the direct electoral fight is between the NC and the Sadbhavana in the Terai even if the Sadbhavana currently is a much smaller party than the Congress.

So what's next? The Congress will try to pitch the ML against the Sadbhavana feeding the ML with the false hopes that there might emerge only two large parties in the aftermath, the NC and the ML. The ML might even buy that.

The question is how mighty is the Congress itself. How much is it willing to spend during the forthcoming elections? Girija Koirala dreams of having a NC majority in the parliament. "I will not rest until that happens," he has declared. He might never get to rest, then.

If the NC has a fat wallet - thanks to its bites into the state budget for most of this decade, and its partnership with the underworld - what prevents parties like the Sadbhavana from going wherever to counter the massive offensive of the Congress? Those nationalists who accuse the Sadbhavana of having Indian sources of funding should feel the need to look at the NC first. Afno ang ko bhainsi na dekhne, aroo ko ang ko jumra dekhne? First, make corruption illegal. Enforce those laws. Pass a law such that all parties have to disclose their sources of funding, and keep their accounts transparent. Otherwise what prevents the Sadbhavana from indeed reaching across the border to counter the Congress' dirty tactics? Marta Kya Na Karta. What prevents the Sadbhavana from ganging up with some of the larger parties in India? What prevents the Sadbhavana from cashing on Hridayesh Tripathy's personal friendship with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, or Rameshwar Raya Yadav's personal friendship with Laloo Prasad Yadav? Is it time the likes of Tripathy and Yadav started attending the American Embassy functions like Gajendra Narayan Singh has been accused of attending too many of those Indian Embassy functions? After the Nepali Congress' having made the worst mistake in its history - BP Koirala up there can not be feeling awfully proud of his hawaldar brother - of ganging up with the ML, it is time for the Sadbhavana to see a new opening.

If the Nepali Congress is looking forward to an election campaign that is not much to do with issues, and a lot to do with money and muscle, what signal is it sending to the Sadbhavana?

That the Girija-AKGB Mafia Raj has to come to an end. Reach out to all your friends, within and beyond the borders of Nepal !

<http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1998/09//240998/bar.html>

                    Thursday, September 24-October15, 1998
                                        
                                                
            Barbara Adams manhandled at TIA, sent back to aircraft
                                        
                                BY OUR REPORTER
                      Barbara Adams, a regular columnist of this weekly, was
                         manhandled by women police and
                      forcefully sent back to the aircraft she had arrived on
                     yesterday morning. Adams, an American
                    national has lived in Nepal for more than 40 years, and she
                       was coming back after a holiday in
                                             the US.
                                        
                     It may be mentioned that Barbara Adams wrote regularly in
                        this weekly and other vernacular
                      newspapers too. It is said she had made enemies of the
                       powerful by writing against them.
                    Adams was also actively involved in human right activities.
                        Nepalese human rights activists
                             were there at the airport to greet her.
                                        
                     According to a source at the airport, Adams was told she
                     would not get a visa unless the orders
                    came from the Prime Minister himself. Ms. Adams had written
                          scathing remarks against PM
                   Koirala, present IGP Achyut Kharel and the then Home Minister
                             Khum Bahadur Khadka.
                                         Date: Sun, 27 Sep 98 16:53:15 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Reply to Bipulendu Narayan Singh

My reply in brackets ().

BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH 9/27/98 4:21 PM <singhb@wabash.edu>
    
    Your criticism of my argument is based on superficial
    understanding of both what I had written and what constitutes
    Hinduism. That you should descend to a personal confrontation
    (high caste hindu's like yourself) on such an understanding is
    even more deplorable. It just goes to show how little knowledge
    is dangerous. I would advise you to not take such extreme
    postures without knowing what you are talking about. As for
    the flaws in your argument they are as follows:

    FirstlyYou overlook the way I define hinduism. Hinduism to me
    is just a way of life (not a religion)- a way of life that is based on
    tolerance and is guided only by its concern for truth. It is not as
    you understand me to say a religion like Christianity, Islam or
    even Budhism. Thus in saying that Nepal is a hindu country I
    mean not that "Hinduism the religion" (as understood by most
    people and you) is superior, but that Nepal is country that
    subscribes to the trait of tolerance found in a hindu way of life.
    It does not as some other ways of life think that there is just
    one path to god. All it cares for is the ultimate truth which it
    believes is the same for all human beings.

(Well then, you will have to use another term. How about "South Asian?" For all practical purposes, Hinduism is the name of a religion. How many non-Hindu South Asians will let you call them Hindu! As for tolerance, is it tolerant to try and force the Muslim and the Buddhist and the Christian minorities to call them Hindu! They are non-Hindu, just like you are non-Christian.)

    Secondly you adopt completely false assumptions on what I
    believe. I oppose the caste system as much as you do if not
    more. In making false assumptions like these all that you do is
    expose your own hatred and bitterness. But let me tell you such
    negative emotions have never done any good to anybody and
    will not do good to you too. I admire the sincerity with which
    you pursue some very relevant and genuine issues like ethnic
    discrimination but in picking personal battles with people for no
    reason you are only creating divisions where none exist.

(I am glad you are against the caste biases.)

    And lastly your referring to me as "high caste hindu" and
    yourself as "backward" , just shows its you who the "casteist"
    is, not me.

(I was just noting that most, if not all, Hindu supremacists I have met or known or read about have tended to be high caste!)

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 17:21:31 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Book Review -2

Telling a tiresome tale Conflict in the Himalayas: Onslaught from Three Directions by Mani Dixit, Kathmandu, Ekta Books, 1998 Rs. 175.00
____________

C. K. Lal
        The book starts on a very promising note. Author tells us in his foreword that he intends to narrate the tale of three tormented souls traveling in time and space to end up in the twentieth century Nepal.
        The first flight is temporal as the reader is transported into the court of a Rana Maharaj, at the end of World War II. By the time the first chapter ends, spatial sweep of the story spans across religious persecution in England to bitch Laika in space abroad a sputnik; with American Expeditionary Forces in France, a manor in Maine, massacres in Punjab, bonded labor in Ceylon, fighting in Afghanistan and winds of change in Nepal thrown in-between for good measure. Before beginning the second chapter, an average reader would need some rest. Only the loyal ones would have the energy left to take up the book again.
        "The secret of being tiresome," says Voltaire, "is to tell every thing." Trust the master for an apt expression. The author has a lot to say and he wants to say it all in this book. The second chapter recounts the getting together of characters from various parts of the world. One of them, a certain Neeta, feels drowsy as the second chapter concludes. One can empathize. So does a reader by the onslaught of several twists in the tale. Only those who are determined not to fail the test of endurance persist with the third chapter and are rewarded with the gem of an observation about Kashimiri handicraft shops in Kathmandu, "Were such innocent looking commercial units just fronts to mask undertakings more sinister?"
        That's the thread that binds this otherwise scattered story. The assertion is that Nepal is evolving into a center of terrorism, drug dealing and clandestine arms' bazaar of the region. How often have we heard that one before? That's exactly the charge Indians make every time they come to a negotiating table with the Nepalese. For the learned author of this book, "Wildest allegations of RAW / Are facts of Kathmandau."
        Stalking on the trail in the fifth chapter is best done. There is a map, and even a snapshot of Himalayan peaks, to assist the understanding and appreciation of the narrative. Had the author not succumbed to the temptation of inanities like, "Morning ablutions or toiletries following this fourth night on the trail was easy for though they did not have hot water, it was certainly cold and running!" probably it would have been an easier and more enjoyable read. One has to go through innumerable
'apparentlys', 'in facts' and 'obviouslys' before coming back to square one towards the end of the book.
        By the time the mess is cleared and loose ends are tied, the Kajakh is killed, Tamils commit suicide, the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing, the external espionage agency of the Indians) agent gets back to his wife, Neeta finds a foreign lover and everyone else make grand fools of themselves. The puppeteer that emerges with his power intact is a British gentleman. Remember the very first line of the book that had told us of Victory in Europe in the World War II? Former Prime Minister of India Indra Gujral is wrong. England is not a third rate power. It's just a ploy to hold on. Sir Michaels of the old world still sip Camus as they plot to keep the Union Jack flying all over the world. Anyway, when the book ends, a reader takes a sigh of relief.
        In his afterword, the author comes to a surprising conclusion. "In the context of Nepal, the fiefdoms of the Rajas and Rajautas, the Baises and Chaubises which King Prithvi Narayan had brought together as a nation is in the danger of being broken up," says he and worries that, "... it should not become another Bosnia Herzogovina or for that matter even Yugoslavia of Josef Broz Tito." Surprising, because such a thought does not arise anywhere in the main story of the book. One is left wondering why the idea crossed author's mind at all. If it's a hunch, let's wait for its elaboration in his next book.
        Quite frankly, the book disappoints in totality. It takes a vast canvass and then paints it with tiny dots. There are too many characters and there is just not enough room for all of them to evolve and grow. The narration is rushed. It gives the impression that the author hasn't crafted it with love and affection but merely wanted to get this story out of his system as fast as possible. The spontaneity is lacking. Finally, no amount of narration can substitute a bit of emotion in a novel. The book is anti-septic no doubt, but that only ends up making it listless
        One top of all that, the 'short-circuit' that the author alludes to in his note shows only too well. The prose is far from chiselled, let alone sand-papered. Rough edges are often visible. It appears like a first draft, and no one, however gifted, can produce a passable first draft. As it's often said, writing means re-writing. If the author lacks the patience to do the fine tuning, it's the reader who has to endure shifting through the maze. At the end of it all, you realize that you have just read one of the thickest hundred and fifty pages book that you had ever come across.
        It's such a pity, because Nepalese readers know that Mani Dixit is capable of doing much better. He is one of the very best local writers whose preferred language of expression is English and his mastery over that medium is almost unquestioned. Perhaps it's too taxing for a part-time writer to be so prolific? Otherwise, with such an enticing array of ingredients--mountains, arms, and an all international cast--the book could have been a heady mix guaranteed to set the pulse racing.
        But even an inferior Mani creation is better than many of the best coming out of other local English authors. For one thing, his learning is stupendous. Secondly, he writes in the classic story-telling style, so one can read his books as many times as one wishes without getting bored by them. Whoever tires of listening to grand-father's tales again and again? And then there is an instinct of a teacher in him that wants to lift a reader to his level. Not so much fun, but very touching. That's the book for you.

Traditional Worldviews for the Future The Sacred Balance : Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by David Suzuki, Allen and Unwin, 1997
_______________________ by Jagannath Adhikari

        In recent times, resource management policies all over the world have largely been shaped by the western thought of positivism which treats resources merely as physical entities. Resources have been treated as a means to fulfill the unlimited greed of human beings. This has led to a culture of consumerism, which is now commonly referred to as modernization. Various environmental and social problems have resulted from this process. Environmental degradation has reached such an extent that the ecosystem is on the verge of losing its resilience. Despite material progress in a few western countries, poverty has increased tremendously in developing countries.
        In Sacred Balance, David Suzuki, a noted geneticist and environmentalist, questions the validity of positivism not only on the grounds of its impact on environment, but also on its inability to explain the balance in the total universe. He contends that as positive science is not able to comprehend the totality of the universe and the intricate interconnections among its various components, it has given us only an incomplete picture of our place in the universe. Even though that science is able to study the minute details of a part of the universe, the sum of this information, according to the author, is least useful for the understanding of total universe because of the synergetic relationships between various components.
        The Sacred Balance, on the other hand, argues that traditional worldviews (i.e., the knowledge acquired and accumulated through generations of observation) take into account the whole universe and describe it in a way to reveal the interconnectedness of everything with everything else. These worldviews have considered the balance in universe as something sacred that has to be worshipped. Similarly, the utilization of resources or the various components of ecosystem in excess to basic requirements is considered sacrilegious. The book further argues that value systems and everyday practices of people, which are shaped by these traditional worldviews, are beneficial in preserving the ecosystem.
        The book, apart from giving specific examples of environmentally friendly worldviews and value systems from traditional cultures, describes four basic elements (air, water, earth and fire) of life as listed by Greek philosophers (in Hindu tradition, there is one more element - sky). The basic conclusion that can be drawn from the discussion of these elements is that human beings are the creatures of the earth and are dependent on its gifts of air, water, soil and energy from sun. The diverse webs of living creatures help in replenishing air, water and soil and in capturing sunlight to vitalize the biosphere. Therefore, all species are partners of human beings. The author also adds three more elements (diversity in life form, loving relationships and spiritual connections) to the above list because of human beings' social, emotional and spiritual needs.
        The author argues that diversity is created by the life form itself because of its adaptation to the natural conditions. As human beings are adapted to the natural conditions through their local communities, the author maintains that the key to human survival is autonomous, vibrant and self-reliant local communities that emphasize sharing, co-operation and living lightly on earth. As social animals, human beings have an absolute need for loving relationship. This provides the security, especially during childhood, which is essential for the psychological balance and for physical and mental growth. The author illustrates this fact with the help of very high incidence of mental retardation among children raised in childcare centers run by the state in communist Rumania.
        Spiritual connection to the natural world is essential, the author explains, for the creation of harmony and in avoiding conflicts. Myths, shared beliefs, values and rituals, which are also the outer manifestations of spiritual connection to natural world, bind the communities together providing a source of inspiration and belongings to the inhabitants. Because of perceived spiritual connections to both animate and inanimate things, traditional cultures live in animate world and see the existential value of inanimate objects. This worldview helps in maintaining the natural world in its own form. The modern science until now has not recognized this sacred force. As a result, practices based on it have been instrumental in the destruction of the natural world.
        Apart from important information on scientific as well as traditional knowledge on ecosystem, the book also provides important messages for development practitioners. Even though it is very critical of the industrialization model of development, which is emphasized by our politicians, it can help them overcome the weaknesses in the model. In its full spirit, the book suggests us to change our way of life so that we and our children can lead a quality life by living close to nature and by adopting the value system friendly to the 'sacred balance'. To this end, the author argues for the creation of self-sufficient and autonomous communities so that the diversity they have achieved in their process of adaptation to natural environment can be preserved. This can positively be achieved through decentralization and local governance. The centralized planning process imposing uniform intervention mechanism - this has been the common practice here - would destroy the biological and cultural diversity, the very foundations of human survival. By telling the stories of people who have been successful in creating a sustainable and just society, the book shows optimism and hope in the future.
        It is also useful for the younger generation as it asks for a critical examination of the consumerism culture. Similarly, the book tells us to look back to our own traditional culture, values and knowledge system so that institutions that play positive social, economic and ecological functions can be identified and preserved. This would also provide a baseline for planning an intervention process to bring about the changes that are necessary for our own welfare and that of the coming generations. This is also validated from the experience gained from the resource management policies in Nepal as most policy disasters (e.g., nationalization of forests) have occurred because of the practice of overlooking the traditional knowledge and value system.

(J. Adhikari , author of The Beginnings of Agrarian Change, is currently doing research on food security)

Sex and marriage in Nepal

The Nepali Supreme Courts landmark decision against virginity tests is not any more progressive than it needs to be.

by Shanta Basnet Dixit

 In the changing social context, to preserve virginity, or to indulge in sexual activities with
 the person of ones choice is an individual decision. Some people are open about their sex
 lives; others have secret relationships. Having a sexual relationship does not change a
 womans legal status.

 Some people first have a child and then decide to get married; others live as husband and
 wife for all practical purposes but never tie the nuptial knot.

 Since society is modernising on all fronts, and individual freedom is being emphasised more
 and more, having sex alone cannot establish that a marriage has taken place. Neither can
 parents absolve themselves of their responsibilities towards a daughter who has had sex.

 Loss of virginity and marriage are not considered the same in legal terms. Loss of virginity
 cannot be construed to mean that marriage has taken place. A grown up woman having
 sex with a man has become common. In such cases, a child can be born, intentionally or
 otherwise. That is natural.

 Only if a girl has been married in the traditional manner or has married in a simple
 ceremony or has registered her marriage according to law can a marriage be said to have
 taken place. (writers translation)

 The above was part of the land- mark decision handed down on 29 July by a bench of Nepal Supreme
 Court made up of Justices Arbindanath Acharya and Rajendra Nath Nakkha in response to an appeal
 filed by petitioner Annapurna Rana against a lower court decision.
 Annapurna Rana had filed a case in the Kathmandu District Court seeking sustenance from the
 family property administered by mother Ambika Rana and the legal heir brother Gorakh Bahadur
 Rana (who last year married King Birendras only daughter, Shruti). The respondents had claimed that
 the petitioner had already been married in Naini Tal, India, and had even borne a child, and was thus
 ineligible for sustenance (mana chamal), which the law provides only to unmarried daughters.

 The mother and brother pleaded with the judge to order physical tests on Annapurna to confirm her
 marital status. These tests were to prove that: a) she was not a virgin; and b) she had given birth to a
 child. The district court acceded to the request and ordered a medical examination on Annapurna; a
 decision that was confirmed by the appellate court. It was only on further appeal that the Supreme
 Court handed down what is seen to be a precedent-setting decision.

 This progressive and forward-looking judgement by the Supreme Court, which has a public image of
 being composed of staid gentlemen (no women up there), must be seen as an attempt to establish
 new principles of social relations in a traditional society that is being buffeted by demographic and
 cultural changes. The judges sought to inject new mores into existing middle class morality, which
 assumes that anyone who is a mother has to be necessarily married.
 There is no doubt that the Supreme Court has corrected the travesty of the lower courts decision,
 both on a womans right to privacy and on the principle of what constitutes marriage. The judges
 were correct to stay with the legal definition of marriage, which requires either registration or a
 socially accepted ceremony (which in a society as diverse as Nepals, changes from one ethnicity
 and caste group to another).

 Quite expectedly, the judgement was lambasted and lampooned in the Kathmandu press for having
 sanctioned Western-style promiscuity in Nepali society. Media commentators asserted that the
 ruling would unleash rampant pre-marital promiscuity, and lead to insecurity among young women
 who give birth out of wedlock. Wrote a columnist, The ruling has brought shame to every Nepali girl
 because she can go ahead and live with a man, have children and still not be married to him...A man
 can now have sex with a woman, have children and then abandon her.

 These arguments, advanced by men, patronisingly ignore the obvious fact that women are also
 endowed with innate intelligence, and can make proper decisions for themselves. Women are not so
 vulnerable that they are unable to fend off the sexual advances of men. In fact, women are, by and
 large, careful about their sexuality and seek to protect its so-called market value. They know fully
 well that sex without marriage is a tricky affair, and that in a society to live a good life and to bring up
 children, having a man in the house helps. The verdict, that having a child does not constitute
 marriage, should ring as a strong warning bell to all women.

 Should the verdict be well-publicised, men used to having their way with women may now find them
 less accommodating. It is likely that a woman will be more insistent on knowing the mans intentions
 before entering into sexual relations. By encouraging both sides to weigh the pros and cons of their
 actions, it makes the sexual act itself more meaningful, and if such a union can be idealised,
 sacred. As for promiscuity, the licentious did not have to wait for a court verdict to carry on.

 To reiterate, now that responsibility for individual action rests upon oneself, it becomes all the more
 important that every woman in Nepal get to know about this Supreme Court verdict, and all its
 nuances. The present case should become part of adult literacy classes as well as senior-level
 school textbooks.

 The Annapurna Rana case is also significant in that it compels Nepali society to take another look at
 parental/familial attitudes towards non-conformist individuals (read women). The dominant
 conservative forces are usually able to undermine individual rights in the name of tradition; in this
 case the law was sought to be used to implement the yardstick of a set of norms that militates
 against the very concept of individual choice.

 The issue of property rights for women, which has generated much debate in Nepal, is one area
 where the court decision could have far-reaching implications. The law at present provides only for
 unmarried daughters who have reached the age of 35 to be equal heir to parental property. The
 definition of marriage as laid out in the decision makes it possible for a woman in a live-in relationship
 to demand a share of parental property.

 All told, the Nepali Supreme Courts decision is not any more forward-thinking than it needs to be,
 and will not necessarily force modernisation on the Nepali population. In a real democracy, there is
 room for people with contesting philosophies, opinions and lifestyles. We must realise that Nepal is a
 country with a multitude of ethnic groups that have very different norms and values regarding lifes
 rites of passage. If there is polygamy among some groups, there is polyandry among others.

 The Supreme Court decision, in being broad and progressive, emphasises and empowers these
 diverse streams. It reaffirms that as long as people are law-abiding citizens, it does not matter what
 their personal lifestyles are. A functioning democratic society does not allow for the undue advantage
 of one group at the cost of another. Blind and selective adherence to tradition, without a feel for the
 pulse of changing norms and values, will not help us determine our direction as a democratic nation.

 S.B. Dixit is an educationist based in Kathmandu.

****************************************************** Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 08:44:15 +0800 From: bpant@mail.AsianDevBank.org (Bishnu D. Pant) Subject: Vijaya Dashami ko Subhakamana! To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu
     
     TO ALL READERS OF THE TND AND ITS OFFICE BEARERS THE PANT
     FAMILY EXTENDS HEARTY GREETINGS ON THE OCCASION OF VIJAYA
     DASHAMI AND DEEPAWALI.
     
     The Pant Family
     Manila, Pfilippines

********************************************************* Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 23:58:05 -0400 (EDT) From: Nirmal Ghimire <ngh42799@marauder.millersv.edu> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Sept 28, 1998 (12 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)

Hi:

I was curious if anybody knew how to convert the Nepali date into English calender.

For the recent ones, I could look up the calender. The date i won't is quite old. Is their some kind of formula.

The date I need to know in English is of Sawan 4, Sawan 24, Bikram Sambat 2024. Asad 22, Asad 28, Biukram Sambat.

Thanks Nirmal

*********************************************************** From: parajuli <tv6047pk@ex.ecip.osaka-u.ac.jp> Date: Tue, 29 Sep 98 13:04:49 +0900 To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Sept 28, 1998 (12 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)

 Hey ,is it only me who feels that TND is changing into a battlefield ?

KP

*********************************************************** From: "Shrestha Nilesh" <XSHRESTH@hwlab.felk.cvut.cz> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 12:48:33 MET-1MEST Subject: Finland = Friends

Thank you for publishing this mail.

    I am likely to go to Finland for my MSc in LUT university. The date is scheduled in January 1999. If there are any Nepalese friends in Finland, please contact me. I have few questions and I would like to see you there.

Bye.
    Nilesh Shrestha xshresth@hwlab.felk.cvut.cz

****************************************************** From: Neshal Shrestha <nshresth@papersoft.com> Subject: Dashain To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:36:03 -0500 (CDT)

Hello folks! First of all "Happy Vijaya Dashamii" from all of us here in Birmingham. We are organizing Dashain party/picnic/get-together this year on Saturday Oct3rd. We are inviting all of you to this ocassion. For further information please check at the web-site - "http://surf.to/dashain.com" or
                "http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Stage/8452/dashain.html"
                        Contact:
                                205- 2908283
                                205- 943-8522
                                205-4430700(5019) p.s. For direction please call us at one of the above numbers or go to the web.
                                Thank you.
                                Nischal Shrestha.
                                 
************************************************************* Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 20:33:22 -0400 From: "Kelly O'Neill" <kelly.oneill@sympatico.ca> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: for Kunda Dixit

I hope that someone was kind enough to forward this message to you, Mr. Dixit.

I would like to quote you from Choices, the UNDP magazine. I am using a rather dishevelled photocopy of the original article. I am missing the full title and the month of publication. The piece was about the limitations of IT particularly vis-a-vis the South.

Could you please provide the missing information?

Thank you, kelly o'neill

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 12:52:58 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: kprb-2 (fwd)

Improve Social Sciences in Nepal! Social Sciences in Nepal: Some Thoughts and Search for Direction edited by Prem Khatry Kathmandu, CNAS, 1997 Rs. 125
_____________________________

A review by Prabodh Devkota

Social Sciences in Nepal is a compilation of papers and comments presented by nine scholars and seventeen intellectuals on different aspects of social sciences in Nepal at the National Conference convened in late 1995 by the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) of Tribhuvan University (TU). Prem Khatry and Prayag Raj Sharma begin by revisiting a similar seminar held in 1973, the context for which had been provided by the New Educational System Plan of 1971.

In "Sociological and Anthropological Research and Teaching in Nepal" Krishna B. Bhattachan argues that in order to understand the riddles of Nepali society, culture and economy, multiple and indigenous paradigms should be adopted since the Western paradigms are inadequate for this purpose. He is worried that Nepali researchers are following the foreign trend in social science research.

He also adds that most of the research being done is not very pragmatic. In addition Bhattachan argues that the teaching of sociology and anthropology in TU is being done under the
'boot-camp' model: "Central and other department programs and activities are heavily regimented; hiring and firing, tenure, promotion, family housing for faculty members are highly regimented. Also admission of students, examinations and grading are highly regimented. These all are remote controlled from 'above'." Instead TU needs to adopt a 'bazaar' model under which "departments should be given full authority to run their teaching and research programs."

Commenting on Bhattachan's paper, Dor Bahadur Bista disagrees with Bhattachan's remark that all foreign funded research are serving only the
'overdogs' or donors. Also, in Bista's view, not all of sociological studies on Nepal by foreign scholars are romantic as claimed by Bhattachan. Bista's concern, in turn, is to identify, isolate and help fight the syndrome of 'fatalism' fostered by several hundred years of bahunbad in Nepal. Ganesh M. Gurung, another commentator, disagrees that all sociologists working in Nepal continue to duplicate the western paradigms.

In "Teaching And Research in History" Tri Ratna Manandhar highlights the significance of historical studies and the need for more research works on history at TU. After potraying the physical and technical inadequaces of the history department, he recommends solutions for a better academic environment. Commentator T. R.Vaidya agrees with Manandhar and provides further suggestions to enhance historical research at TU.

The book also contains papers on other subjects: Shankar Sharma on economics, T.N. Jaiswal & Panna K. Amatya on political science, C. M. Bandhu on linguistics, Shishir Subba on psychology, B.D. Joshi & Bhim Subedi on geography, B.R. Shakya on education, B.K. K.C. on population. Comments from several academics on each of the above are also included.

At a time when major concerns are being expressed about the state of higher education in Nepal, the reflective exercise contained in this book is valuable. Though the contents of the individual papers vary, they identify some common issues that need to be rectified to improve TU's social science teaching: lack of communication between students and teachers, politicized educational environment, lack of resources in departments and lack of sufficient research works. The focus is also on casting off the prevalent practice of prioritizing "imported" ideas. All of the contributors call for a substantial change in the existing academic practice even as it remains to be seen if any of their recommendations will be taken up by the concerned authorities.

Such seminars should be held regularly and the critical issues raised therein should be made available to the public. This book should be read by all those concerned with the state of higher education in Nepal.

(P. Devkota is doing an MA in English at Tribhuwan University)

Tharu Mahabharata Mahabharata: The Tharu Barka Naach as told by the Dangaura Tharu of Jalaura translation by Dinesh Chamling Rai with Ashok Tharu and Kalpana Ghimere edited by Kurt Meyer and Pamela Deuel Kathmandu, Himal Books, 1998 Rs. 475
________________________

A review by Rama Parajuli and Pratyoush Onta

"It is not known when the Barka Naach, the Dangaura Tharu version of the Mahabharata, was first performed in Dang Valley," write editors Meyer and Deuel.

Early in this century a village leader named Mahatawa Rul Lal Tharu of Jhalaura collected scattered manuscripts that contained parts of the text of the orally rendered Barka Naach, which literally means "big dance". After teaching himself to read and write, Rup Lal produced a single version of it in Tharu language in 1922 and with the help of some Tharu priests, organized its performances in five-year intervals until the early 1960s. Funds necessary to support a complete production of the Barka Naach, the editors report, then dried up. When he died in 1970, Rup Lal's manuscript was passed on to his son, Chandra Prasad Tharu.

During their pan-Tarai study of Tharu material culture and architectural designs, Meyer and Deuel met Chadra Prasad in 1993. Impressed by his knowledge of Tharu songs, they provided financial support for the production of an abridged version of the Barka Naach in February 1994. Some weeks ago a full version of the same was performed. The book is a textual introduction to the performance and a guide that could accompany its video version.

The editors claim that the Barka Naach is culturally unique to the Dang-based Dangaura Tharu and constitutes a part of their larger legend of the Barkimer ("the Big war"). Its performance, they write, "is closer in form to the classic Greek drama: the story is told through the dancing of performers and the singing of the traditional Tharu text by a chorus." They also describe, in brief, how the Tharu version of the story differs from that of the classic Sanskrit Mahabharata.

The Barka Naach consists of an opening prayer, ten songs and the closing prayer. The opening and the closing prayers, it is reported, are mandatory in each performance while selections can be made from the main body of dance songs to suit the circumstances of the performing groups. These dance songs are, as the editors note, action stories, largely devoid of the
"philosophical teachings that pervade the Mahabharata." They are also very much Pandavas-oriented. In particular, the second brother, Bhim receives attention.

Many of the heroics of the third brother Arjun in the classic version is attributed to Bhim here, he being a particurlarly popular folk deity of the Dangaura Tharu.

The ten dance songs describe the following episodes of the Mahabharata: the conspiracy of the Kauravas to kill the Pandavas by burning them inside a wax house; Bhim's killing of Raksasa Danu; Draupadi's swayamvara; the dice contest in which the Pandavas lose everything; Pandavas in a 12-year exile; their 13th year of exile (living incognito) in the house of King Bairath
(Virat); Bhim's fight with King Bairath's elephant; Bhim's killing of Kichaka who had harrassed Draupadi; attack on King Bairath by Duryodhan's company (longest song); decimation of the Kauravas at the end of the battle in Kurukshetra. The epilogue describes the Pandavas' journey to heaven. Each song contains a refrain. While only those who are familiar with the original Tharu version can say how authentic the English one is, the translation reads well.

The chief intended audience of the book is clearly the lay western reader who is only sparingly familiar with the classic version of the Mahabharata. The glossary is mostly helpful even as it does not contain the word paidhar which forms a part of the title of each song. The family tree of the Kauravas-Pandavas provided at the end is useful even as it does not contain all the characters encounted in the songs.

Some of the introductory text could have been better edited (DDT did not eliminate malaria from the Tarai in the 1960s as claimed; 'controlled' is more the case). The book is produced elegantly. However the publishers would have done the readers a service by keeping the title consistent. The front cover title is as given here but the inside jacket says The Barka Naach: the Tharu Mahabharata which should have been the title for the front as well. The jacket blurp
(which contains an incomplete sentence) and the inside text would have benefited from a close reading by a careful editor.

It will be left to those who are familiar with the published large corpus of Nepali folklore to compare this Tharu Mahabharata with other folk versions. For scholars of south and south-east Asian folklore, a larger comparison could be a worthwhile project. A study of Rup Lal's (as yet unpublished?) book "describing the role of the Barka songs in Tharu culture" mentioned by his son should also be done. Finally some contemplation on how Rup Lal's rendition might have reified the oral tradition of the Dangaura Tharu Barka Naach as performed in the 19th century would also be useful to understand how the written word intervenes in the reproduction of a largely oral culture.

(R. Parajuli is a reporter for Kantipur and P. Onta, among other things, hosts the discussion program Dabali over Radio Sagarmatha on Wednesday mornings)

Examining Practices of Development Developmental Practices in Nepal edited by Krishna B. Bhattachan & Chaitanya Mishra Kathmandu, Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, 1997 Rs. 200
_______________________________________ A review by Dinesh Prasain

Developmental Practices In Nepal is an outcome of a seminar organized by the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University with the support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in February 1997. Edited by two Nepali sociologists, the book contains six papers by Nepali social scientists and a summary of the seminar discussions.

In the first chapter, Chaitanya Mishra provides a succinct overview of the career of the currently dominant developmental discourse at the global and the national level. Mishra contends that the plurality in the conceptions of what constitutes development and how it should be pursued virtually came to an end after the modern developmental era emerged immediately after World War II under the aegis of the increasingly hegemonic western capitalist establishment.=20

Since then, in a one-way Western monologue, development=92 has been equated solely with economic growth rendering concerns with other crucial components such as equality, democratization and social cohesion as irrelevant. Mishra implies that this specific conceptualization of development was tailored to serve the interest of the global capitalist establishment rather than the poor and marginalized sections of the population. That the gap between the rich and the poor at the global and national level started increasing at an unprecedented rate precisely with the emergence of the modern developmental era=92 is the logical conclusion of this process.

Mishra attributes the development failure in Nepal to such a global atmosphere and also to the action of the small section of self-serving brokers of development at home who preventedthe evolution of indigenous notions and practices of development. He argues that development can take root only through deep and plural struggles=92 which in turn can take place only through "incessant politicization of all dimensions of development." However, he is silent about when and how such a process can be set in motion. Hence his otherwise insightful essay contains ideas which at times strike as ideal rather than achievable.

In "State-led Development Strategy in Nepal=92" Kishore Kumar Guru-Gharana equates development solely with economic growth. He quotes extensively (so much so that sometimes the reader feels that she is reading not Guru-Gharana but the different authors he quotes) to prove, what is already a conventional wisdom, that economic growth can be achieved by the best possible mixture of the market and the state.=20

Guru-Gharana is all praise for the East Asian Tigers, whose developmental success he says hinged on good governance rather than democracy and suggests Nepal should follow suit. The criteria by which good governance is to be judged, according to Guru-Gharana, is accountability, transparency, predictability, openness and rule of law. He is unclear as to how good governance is possible without democracy. If the reader is in the mood to read a list of clich=E9s on the advantages and disadvantages of planned and free-market economies and the need for striking a balance between them, she should read this article.

Badri Prasad Shrestha provides a more balanced views on "State-led Growth Strategy in Nepal." Shrestha's main point is that despite the planned process of development for a long time, Nepal's economy remains dualistic with an increasingly affluent modern sector and a vast, stagnating rural sector. He argues that the state should gradually withdraw its participation in the modern sector=92 while expandin= g its participation in the rural sector, with especial efforts directed at the rationalization of the agriculture and greater allocation of government funding to the social sector.=20

He adds that decentralization is the key to fast economic development. He, perhaps unjustifiably, sees great hopes in the newly formulated 20-year Agricultural Perspective Plan which, he implies will bring about "dramatic change in the Nepalese economy in terms of higher growth rates, substantial alleviation of poverty and correction of dualism." The problem with Shrestha is that he seems to see a neat correlation between economic policy making and development while ignoring other intervening variables (such as the socio-cultural structure and different perceptions of development among actors at different levels of the polity) which affect the way plans are translated into practice.

In his paper "Market-led Development Strategy in Nepal" Shankar Prasad Sharma presents a straight-out-of-the-text-book view on how full market orientation would pay in the long run despite certain hiccups in the short run. He provides details of how the Nepali government is aware of this
'fact', what steps it has already taken and how the country is already showing encouraging developmental trends. Sharma's paper reads like a typical report submitted to the IMF by a pliant Third World bureaucrat.

In Chapter 5, Meena Acharya presents a critical and informed analysis of the "Non-Government Organization (NGO)-led Development Strategy in Nepal." Having set a theoretical framework for the rationale for NGO activism in development nationally and internationally, Acharya goes on to analyze
(I)NGO sector in Nepal. Alhough conceding that (I)NGOs in Nepal have made some contribution in channeling resources to the poor, she points out that they leave a lot to be desired. Despite the rhetoric, their activities lack transparency, and are top-down, informed by their own interests and not those of the intended beneficiaries. Moreover, many NGOs are set up just to siphon off the available donor funding. She calls for better NGO-INGO-government coordination. Acharya sees a need for soul searching among the NGOs to "reexamine whether they are adhering to the basic principles of volunteerism, cooperation and caring, paramount to the good functioning of NGOs." Although Acharya reverts to trite ideas at times, there is much that is useful to students of development in her paper.

In the last paper on "People/Community-Based Development Strategy in Nepal," Krishna B. Bhattachan puts forward a bold idea that genuine grassroots development is possible only if we switch to a paradigm which recognizes caste/ethnic groups as the key agents of development. He attributes the failure of the past development programs for their misplaced adherence to induced (as distinct from indigenous community based) approach and blames the mainstream developmental practitioners as being biased against the ethnic groups and 'low castes'. He criticizes the prevalent assumption among developmental practitioners that communityhood/peoplehood is defined just by territoriality, neglecting its caste, ethnic, linguistic and religious dimensions. Although original, his ideas fail to take any direction even after 40 pages (the paper is a cumbersome read and the reader wishes that it had been properly edited for coherence).=20

He reverts to a too simplistic sociological analysis by giving prominence to only one variable of caste/ethnicity in analyzing development, and seems to have missed the point that development failures are bound up with complex and intricate interrelationships among the global, national and local historic, economic, political and cultural forces. Moreover, Bhattachan is silent about how his caste/ethnic based developmental paradigm would respond to the realities and needs of heterogeneous (both urban and rural) caste/ethnic areas.

Except for a couple of stimulating articles, the book fails to move beyond the mediocre development debate so prevalent in Nepal. Rather than providing fresh and theoretically robust perspectives, most of the authors resort to clich=E9s, textbook rhetoric and unsubstantiated generalizations. There are plenty of editorial errors. These shortcomings notwithstanding, the book is successful in bringing together ideas and experiences from prominent Nepali social scientists and brokers in various developmental experiments in Nepal.

(D. Prasain is doing an MA in sociology at TU)

From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 02:04:57 -0400 (EDT) To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: A little propaganda for the TKP Review of Books

                http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/kprb.html

                About The Kathmandu Post Review of Books

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books was begun in April 1996. It appears in The Kathmandu Post, Nepal's largest circulation English newspaper. For the first two years it was published monthly, on the last Sunday of each month. From May 1998 it has been published on the second and last Sunday of each month. Each issue includes three or four reviews plus a feature essay on a topic we believe is, or should be, of concern to the public.

The majority of books reviewed are about Nepal, but significant books about South Asia, and a few books of more general interest are also reviewed. Parts of The Kathmandu Post are available on the internet; thus some reviews can also be accessed electronically on the editorial page of issues in which the KPRB appears. However, the bibliographic information about the book under review is generally missing on the Kathmandu Post site.

The full text of all reviews and essays that have appeared to date are being made available here (not all are yet uploaded). This site includes two indexes, one chronological giving you access to the KPRB issue by issue, as it appeared in the newspaper. The other is a subject index which will guide you to reviews and essays in a particular field/subject. In the future we may add author, title, and reviewer indexes.

The Kathmandu Post Review of Books was brought into being by Ashutosh Tiwari. It has been produced ever since by a small collective who take turns coordinating and editing issues. Current coordinators are: Anil Bhattarai, Mary Des Chene, Pratyoush Onta, Kumar Pandey, Seira Tamang, Shizu Upadhya and Swarnim Wagle. Ashutosh Tiwari and Shailesh Gongal have both been coordinators in the past. The Kathmandu Review of Books is a project of Martin Chautari which is run by the Centre for Social Research and Development.

To read past issues, and so forth, please check:
        http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/kprb.html

Interested in Reviewing for the KPRB?

     We welcome new reviewers. If you are interested in reviewing for The Kathmandu Review of Books, write to the KPRB at Martin Chautari. Include information about the book you are interested in reviewing and your qualifications as a reviewer. Please note that submission of a review does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit submitted reviews. Significant changes in content will be checked with the author prior to publication.

     Remuneration: Reviewers are paid a small amount. This is available in Nepali rupees only and cannot be sent out of the country. For reviewers abroad and others who can afford it, we encourage contribution of your remuneration to the Martin Chautari Lekhanmala translation project. A number of the reviews and essays from the KPRB have been translated into Nepali and published in Nepali newspapers, magazines and journals through this project.

     Please note that, unlike when reviewing for an academic journal, the reviewer does not receive a personal copy of the book reviewed from the KPRB. Books received for review are placed in the Nepal Studies Group library. Books in our possession are made available to local reviewers. Reviewers are also free to propose books for review that they have access to from their own libraries or bookstores.

     Length: Reviews of 600, 800 or 900 words are published. In exceptional cases, we may publish a slightly longer review.

     Previously Published Reviews: In the first issue of each month we sometimes include previously published reviews. Review authors interested in having a review reprinted in the KPRB should contact us (see below) and provide a copy of the review (in disk or by email). It will be the responsibility of the review author to acquire reprint permission from the original publisher. We reprint based on relevance to a Nepali audience and available space in the KPRB.

************************************************* From: Ubilan@aol.com Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:01:07 EDT To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: info

Hi, I was looking for information on how to develop my spirituality and I found your Nepal newsletter in the www. Can you give some information on where is the best place to do it? I want something thorough and deep and I'm willing to travel.

Thank you so much, any information or opinion would be apreciated.

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