The Nepal Digest - Sept 10, 1994 (7 Ashoj 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Saturday 10 Sept 94: Ashoj 7 2051 BkSm Volume 30 Issue 2

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********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 22:07:37 EDT To: From: (Koirala and Associates (P) Ltd.) Subject: Re: Nepalese in Korea lose their hands

In article <> writes:

>Nepalese dehumanise themselves for high salaries. Of the 7000 Nepalese in
>Malaysia about 500 are in jail. 1000 jobless and the rest are working by
>paying off the police. A Nepali with a MA degree in English Literature is
>workingas a labourer in Japan, so did Om bikram Bista, the popular singer.
>Prakash Adhikari, an actor, has also gone to Japan for job. Dr. Bhupendra
>Giris a pokhara physiian, joined Hwajin Chemical in Korea as a labourer.
>The lour act of Nepal authorises a fee of upto rs 3000 per person for
>placement but often they charge Rs 45,000 per head.

Of those working in Japan, Nepalis are comparatively safer than in Korea. There was one letter published (may be Bimarsa) last year , written by one nepali working in Korea. He said he worked in radioactive waste disposal area, he further regrets neither he could leave the job whic he got after paying Rs 50000 nor he liked to stay there. He said many nepalis were caught by Korean police and they seized all money whatever they had and beaten. Most of them were brought by certain peoples in nepali (some are politicians) and left them in Seoul airport as "Alpatra".

I have never met Om Bikram Bista, but, I heard he went back after getting sick and he spent all whatever he earned. He was singer in Kantipur restaurant in Tokyo. I have gone once in a room (through some friend) where more than 10 peoples were living and in that area 50 nepalis were there. There I heard many sad stories of those Nepalis. Most of them are from rich class familie with Masters degree. One of them was son of Amar Bahadur Karki, late savapati of Kaski for 15 years,
(one of richest person in Kaski district:I guess he is richest in kaski district), he was working in construction site. Most of them work in construction site. That is best job in japan for overstay foreigners. They are paid upto Yen 500, 000 (US$ 5,000) and are free after 6 pm. There are some brothers from one family. Unfurtunately, one of them died due to hard work (died on regular sleep). There are some cases where Japanese hospital didnot accept them for treatment, with question #"Who will pay the bill?". LAst year one case where one women was burned and police tried to find hospital unfortunately 5 hospital denied to admit her because she is illegal foreigner i.e. overstay. Then finally police forced to admit her in one hospital and the total amount came out Yen 4, 000,000 (US$ 40, 000). Thus she spent whatever she had and went back with scars. There are many nepalis who were denied in the hospitals and went nepal to get the treatment from a country where state-of-the-art medical treatment was available.

The other side of these illegal overstay peoples including nepalis is how they survive from police raids ?

        Generally, police get some regular money from the group leaders of those overstays. one nepali told me, whenver there is chance of police crackdown those police getting money inform the leaders and they move to other cities. There are some volunteer (? as they say)groups of japanese nationals they inform beforehand. So, they move from one city to another. The construction company owner also helps them in hiding while raids in the site. The construction company owners have some permanent apartment owned ( very old house) for such peoples.

        I even heard from someone, there were some nepalis went to surrender to police. Then police asked him why you want to go back, how much you earned ? Then the police told the guys to work for another 6 months and then only you surrender. The guys again went to work. This is true. In Japan, even police catch someone they never snatched anyone 's money. If someone said he don't have money to buy airticket, they keep him on custody and ask him to work at the minimum wages i.e. US$ 5.40 per hour. Thus polic here treated much better than in Korea ? Why ? Because it is Japanese government policy to employ foreign overstay peoples because of shortage of labour to work in worst situations* like cleaning machine, etc.............

It is already long and if I get time I will write next time. about those Nepali national players, movie actors and university teachers, medical doctors and one bangladeshi minister who hided them self when came to the land of money. Japan has currently total US$ 600 billion trade surplus which is 50 billion dollar more than America's total trade deficiet.


Gyaneswor Pokharel Till now legally stayed, but, not sure in future if Girija continues ruling the country and cannot provide decent job (according to my education)/.

******************************************************************* Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 22:09:35 EDT To: From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) Subject: In search old friend From: (Joyce Tan) Subject: In search old friend


I would appreciate any assistance in locating a friend I made in the UK about 14 years ago. I understand that he returned to his native homeland of Nepal, after completing his law degree and barristers exams.

His name is Jitandra Basynet.

Are there facilities/organisations in Nepal, which could assist with such a search? The only other information I have is that he was working for a international bank in Kathmandu, but this was some years ago.

kind regards, Joyce Tan

********************************************************* From: Date: 26-AUG-1994 06:30:46 Description: Another Girija favour for the Royals

Girija govet has recently initiated process to legitimize some 24 ropanies of land valued at Rs 12 crore or $ 2.4 million to Helen and Ketaki Shah.
  The land parcel no. 121 in Swayambhu was originally under the name ofthe Guru Nanak Guthi but the Royals had been using it to build their houses in the heydays of Panchayat without any official titles to the land. This title Girijai is now willing to give to ingratite himself to the Royals who have supported his advice to dissolve the parliament.

Description: Four Stars/ 8 Schisms: the Congress Parties!

About eight versions of the Congress parties have been registered with the Election Commission. They are:
  Nepali Congress (Krishna Prasad Bhattarai) Nepali Congress (B.P.) (Tulsi Ram Kafle) Nepali Congress B.P. (Viswo Raj Sharma) Nepali Congress "Subarna" (Prahlad Humagain) Nepali Congress Party (Socialist) (Basant Gautam) Nepali Congress (Democratic socialism) (Tulasi Bastola) Radical Nepali Congress (Krishan Kumar Sharma) Nepal Bahujan Party (Dalbir Viswokarma)
  Source: Dristi Weekly, Aug 24, 1994

Description: "Save the Nation " Party

If any of you want to save the nation you can join this party which swears by this name. this party is really an agglomeration of several smaller parties which hope to get at least 3% of the votes to remain "the national" party.
  The party is said to be a front for former Prime Minister Marich Man Shrestha.
  Source: :Samakalin Weekly, Aug 25, 1994

Description: Peace, Pashupati, and Gun Shots

The sanctity of the environs of Pashupati, one of the oldest temples of Nepal and one of the holi for the hindus is now being destroyed by the sounds of gunshots.
  These gunshots come from the army barrack stationed at Slesmantak forest. The army practices shooting every morning and discourages people commuting from Bhaimal village to Kathmandu. Yet, the spokesperson for the Defence Ministry asserts that they have had no complaints so far.
  It may be recalled that Swayambhu was the firing range for the Barrack stationed in Chauni too until this firing practice was discontinued.

Description: Idol Theft in Bhaktapur

The Kuldevta and and Bhadrakali idols belonging to the Aangan of the Karmacharyas of Ward no. 13 of Bhaktapur have been lifted.
  Persons accused of theft include a traffic police bhim Bahadur Ghale and
 some of the priests who have exclusive access to these idols for worship
  Source: Mahanagar daily Aug 24, 1994

Five priceless idols have been from Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, the golden courtyard of Patan.
  the idols are said to be at least 2-300 years old. The theft occurred despite 22 guards, searchlights, and electric fence.
  Source: Jana Swotantra, Aug 25, 1994

Description: T.C.N or Timber Corruption in nepal

About 1500 cubic foot of Sal logs valued at Rs. 200 per cubic feet have been sold at Rs 80 per cubic feet, pocketing the difference in Birgung branchof Timber Corporation of Nepal, at Chandranigahpur.
  It is alleged that further that 300 cubic feet of sawlogs were sold without keeping any records while the Adarshnagar timber depot was decommissioned.
  Source: jan Swantantra, Aug 24, 1994

Description: T.C.N or Timber Corruption in nepal

About 1500 cubic foot of Sal logs valued at Rs. 200 per cubic feet have been sold at Rs 80 per cubic feet, pocketing the difference in Birgung branchof Timber Corporation of Nepal, at Chandranigahpur.
  It is alleged that further that 300 cubic feet of sawlogs were sold without keeping any records while the Adarshnagar timber depot was decommissioned.
  Source: jan Swantantra, Aug 24, 1994

Description: Leftist Electoral Strategy

Under the banner of "one place, one left" Professor harsh Narayan Dhoubadel of the leftist Council of Intelligentsia said the United Marxist Leninists would be contesting for 120 seats, allot the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) 40 seats, and 8 to Nepal Peasant's Organisation,

Description: Poaching in Prajatantra

Wildlife poaching seems to have increased during multiparty democracy.
  recently, 12 kg of tiger bones were confiscated and upto 42 rhino havee been killed by poachers while 12 have died due to natural causes.. 40-50 cheetal deers have also died from pesticide poisioning called "Fored 10% C.G." broughted from Gwalior.
  source: jan Swotantra, Aug 25, 1994

Description: Demand for Republic

Gore Bahadur Khapangi, the general secretary of the National Liberation Party
"Rastriya Jana Mukti Party" demanded that communists should be clamouring for a republic instead of prostrating before the feetof Prithvi Narayan Shah for 5 minutes. Khapangi denied that his party was "casteist" but for "ethnicity"
  President of the party chapter in Dharan claimed that 198 congress activits under janak Subba, 123 UML activists underKiran Rai and 370 other political activists had joined their party. He blamed the ruling party for not allowing it to register for elections.
  Source: Jan Swotantra, Aug 25, 1994

Description: Tobacco Development Company to be Liquidated?

Janakpur, the Tobacco Development Co. has started distributed Rs 500-600 to its 336 emplyees because of debts totalling rs 150 million ruppees according to the liquidator Satish Chandra Lal.
  The rising Nepal, Aug 22, 1994

Description: Bank Employees demand pay raise

Employees of the Nepal Bank Limited demanded their pay to be raised as followes:
  Special Class (Upper level Management) = Rs 7600 per month ($ 152) Department Heads = Rs 7,000 Manager = Rs 6400 Deputy Manager = Rs 5800 Assistant Manager = Rs 5200 Superintendent = Rs 4650 Peon = Rs 2250
  Note a university lecturer with 12 service gets Rs. 2800 per month.
  Source: Rastra Pukar Weekly, Aug 24, 1994

There has been a 75% reduction in bookings of Tourists coming to Pokhara this year. These reservations are usually made 6 months in advance and upto 70,000 tourists visit from all over the world. Lately the spate of cancellations of reservatins has increased.
  source: Rastra Pukar Weekly, Aug 24, 1994
  Description: Multi-Party = 71 Parties

71 political parties have registered themselves with the Election commission for the Nov elections there.
  There are some curious ones:
  1. "Swoniga" Party, headed by Juju Tuladhar, St. Xavier batch of 1973 and proprietor of the Nepal Printing Press tyoda. "Swoniga" literally means
"Three kingdoms of the Valley" an effort to stop the deterioration fo kathmandu cultural and ecological environment.
  2. "Real" congress party (pro-B.P" ) yes that is what the real name is and the president is Shyambol Bhattarai.
  3. "Ratriya Prajatantrik Party" of Matrika Prasad Koirala
  4. "Nepal Rastriya Green party" hopefully an environmental party of Lekhnath Poudyal
  5. "Nepal Harit Shanti Party" or Nepal Greenpeace Party, another trying to cash in on the environment by Shiv Prasad Sharma and "prakritic satta dal" or Natural Law party, another nature party of Nawaraj Adhikary.
  6. Other unusual names of parties are:
  Nepal Nepali Jagau Party or Waken Nepal Party Prajatantrik Lok Dal of Devendra Raj Pandey, former Finance Minister Shanti Party or Peace Party Mongol National Organization of Gopal gurung Prajatantra Sagarmatha Party or literally Democratic Peak (Everest) Party
  Source: Kantipur, Aug24, 1994
  Description: Leftist Electoral Strategy

Under the banner of "one place, one left" Professor harsh Narayan Dhoubadel of the leftist Council of Intelligentsia said the United Marxist Leninists would be contesting for 120 seats, allot the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) 40 seats, and 8 to Nepal Peasant's Organisation,

*********************************************************** Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 17:04:17 EDT From: Shailendra Shukla <> Subject: Women in Hiduism To: NEPAL DIGEST <>

I try to refrain from getting into religious arguments because it is a sensitive issue and generally not subject to any rational discourse. Pramod Mishra's articles and responses by Tilak and Lokendra prove my point. But being a person who loves a good argument any time, I could not resist jumping into the fray and offer this critique of Mishra's articles.

It is hard to find flaw with Mishra's basic thesis, which seems to be that
"Hinduism practices double standard and is biased against women". The problem with this statement to many of the readers, I think, is not that it is wrong in what it says but in what it does not say. By mentioning Hinduism, and Hinduism only, it seems to imply that this is not so in other religions, which obviously is untrue. This may explain the knee-jerk reactions made by some against Mishra's articles.

I am much impressed by Mishra's erudition and agree with much of the substance of his articles. The problem I have is with the style which is highly provocative (perhaps deliberately so) and pompous ("Buddha tried to reform Hinduism, so did Sankhya and Charvak and now it is my turn...", or explaining authoritatively in one sentence the reason for demise of Hinduism in Indonesia and Cambodia). Making provocative statements is a standard tool of extremists (as a statement like "All men are rapists" made by extremist feminists) and is sometimes even necessary to arouse people's awareness. Perhaps this is the motivation of Mishra, in which case I wish him all the success, but if he sincerely believes in statements like in a Hindu society
" .. a father is a daughter's first enemy.." and " a Hindu woman is not allowed to laugh..." then one has to wonder about the sincerity and seriousness of the articles.

There are methodological problems with his analysis as well. To give one example, the title of his article is "Women in Hinduism", whereas the sample he chooses to prove his points seems to include only "parbate" brahmins, who make a very small portion of Hindus the world over. I say that he seems only to consider "parbate" practices from the example he cites regarding initiation rite of Menstruation. To my knowledge, this practice of incommunicado "gupha basne" is practiced only among "parbates"; the Newars do it also but theirs happens before first menstruation among groups of young girls and appears to be a truly festive occasion (Newar women who have had personal experience on this could perhaps shed some light on this matter). I have not heard of this practice among "madises" or Indians. Even among
"parbates" this practice seems to be dying, not because of any "consciousness raising" by the ilks of Mishra but the practical difficulty associated with stopping daughters from going to school for twenty days and finding a room at a neighbor's. Even the now almost dead practice of making women effectively
"untouchable" for four days during routine menstruation used to be practiced by "parbates" only. In the rest of the Hindu society that I know they were only barred from kitchen and worship rites. Not that I am supporting this practice in any sense, but I just want to point out that one has to be careful before indicting a religion practiced by more than half a billion people.

Mishra articles are also full of provocative and exaggerated statements. Does Mishra truly believe that by going through the menstruation rite, girls are
"convinced that they are a vessel, a medium, a seed pot or a flowerbed" literally or metaphorically? I have not met a single woman who is convinced of that; the closest one can come to such a woman is in the centerfolds of Playboy. And I am amazed to learn from Mishra that the purpose of shaving my head during my "bratbandh" was to make me look as "bad-looking" (a strange choice of words) as you can get? Hell, I thought I looked pretty cool, except for that "tuppi" of course. Neither did I feel that I am made for "abstract, spiritual, transcendent contemplation and for high virtue of unflinching bravery, indomitable courage, rock-solid manly dignity '. Wow! all this and all I was contemplating during the bratbandh was "when does the damn thing end so that I get something to eat".

The discrimination against women is real and is a serious problem in Nepal and all over the world. We should all be aware of our own biases and prejudices and try to raise a society where no one is discriminated because of gender, caste, race etc. Mishra has raised an important issue which needs to be discussed. Perhaps he thinks he can achieve this only by using hyperboles and provoking us; he may be right. Or perhaps he has been bitten badly by the "over-analyzing" bug which runs rampant in American academia. In any case, lighten up a little Mishraji.


*********************************************************************************************** From: Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Aug 18, 1994 (5 Bhadra 2051 BkSm) To: Date: Mon, 29 Aug 1994 10:32:25 +0100 (BST)

Dear Editor, I will be here in Aberdeen until the end of January 1995. Therefore, I will appreciate your cooperation to mail to me all your new edition of "The Nepal Digest". Sincerely yours.

BB Kshatri.

*************************************************************** To: From: (David A. Spencer) Subject: KURA_KANI: Education

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************************************************************* Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 22:05:53 EDT To: From: (S TULADHAR) Subject: TV Channels In Nepal

        As of June 13, 1994 - THE KATHMANDU POST - the Nepalese, especially
        from Kathmandu Valley, enjoys the following TV Channels:

                Channel Broadcast Time

                NTV(Nepal TV) 07:00 - 08:00
                                        18:00 - 23:00

                Star Plus 24 Hours

                BBC 24 Hours

                CHANNEL V 24 Hours

                ZEE TV 14:15 - 01:00

                PRIME SPORTS 24 Hours


        Star Plus is broadcasted from Hong Kong, Zee TV from India,
        Prime Sports from Australia.

        Above channels sport the programs: Santa Barbara, Donahue,
        World News (Every Hours from BBC), The Bold & Beautiful,
        Force Five, World Business Hours, Sophia, Indian movies
        and serials fron Zee TV, Soccer, Golf, Billiard, Wrestling, etc.

                A Typical Daily Program of NTV(June 13, 1994)
        Morning Program
        07:00 Opening with Sadhana Sangam
        07:15 Gillette Sports
        07:40 News
        Evening Program
        18:00 Openign followed by Educational Programme
        18:30 Gillette Sports
        19:05 News
        19:45 Sangeet Sandyha
        20:30 News
        21:00 Pakistini Tele Serial 'Sikast-E-Aarjoo'(Part 10)
        21:50 Hamro Sampada Prastar Murtikala (Documentary)(Episode 5)
        22:15 News in English

        The above listings are as of June 13, 1994. It may have changed
        now. The communication is changing very rapidely in Nepal,
        especially in TV. I heard from a recent traveller to Nepal that
        Nepalese can watch music video 24 hours and is very popular.
        He observed that most of the roofs of the Kathmandu homes are
        attired with Satellite Disks.

********************************************************************* Date: Sat, 03 Sep 1994 15:20:47 EDT To: From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) Subject: Panchayat is still here, stupid!!!

  Today we can talk ,write & protest in Nepal. If we compare the panchyat system & the present democratic system the only difference we can find is the freedom of speech. In Panchyat we had no right to talk against the government. After the sacrifice of many Nepali sons we just got the right to protest. To be honest, the people in Kathmandu valley played the vital role in bringing the change in Nepal. The rest of the nation had not been affected. It was hard to find many instances of protests and demonstrations outside the Valley. Most People still do not know the meaning of democracy, and their rights and obligations in it. In such a condition it is hard to preserve a democracy. We have a long way to go. To achieve the countrys' long term goals, things should change towards better. On the contarary, everything is getting worst and worst. Every aspects of development has been devastated. Kathmandu, the capital is like hell now. Even the supply of drinking water is irregular & dirty; hospitals are over crowded; the daily life is catastrophic in Kathmandu valley. In such a serious times the congressi government is busy with corruption. All government offices have same bureaucrats & same system. The corruption has increased. For example the P.M. Girija & his family were poor before he came in power. Right now he has captured a lot of land
& properties. They are now multi-millionors. I don't think they got all that wealth in just four years from the meager government salary the PM and other member of his family get. In other countries people enter into politics after a long run of success in other fields or because they want to public servents. But in Nepal, people enter into politics after they have failed in every field, and then enter make money. As a result they become corrupt. At last, all I want to say is what right do we have to criticized past panches, when our present conduct is worse than theirs ? If we want our country developed, then we have to do politics on moral ground. The rule & regulation should be tough for every body. We are stupid if we think "Panchyat" is gone, because more than anything else
"Panchayat" was an attitude and we haven't lost it a bit.
    Dil Basnet Alliance For Nepal

************************************************************** Date: Sat, 03 Sep 1994 15:23:59 EDT To: Subject: arun 3 crackdown Subject: Arun 3 Spawns Terror Attacks
  World Bank Backgrounder #38
    Nepali Citizens Terrorized For Asking Too Many
       Questions About Proposed World Bank Dam
  Nepali citizens who dare question a proposed World Bank hydroelectric project in the Himalayan Kingdom are being physically intimidated by what some are calling a government sponsored mob.
  Last month, a judge, two university professors and three other members of the Arun Public Commission, formed by Nepali non-governmental organizations to conduct an independent investigation into the controversial Arun III dam project in the remote Arun Valley, were assaulted in their office by 60 terrorists led by a government official.
  And because the well-known attackers made no attempt to conceal their identities, dam opponents believe the mob members may be protected from police action by the Nepali government.
  After being manhandled to the floor, the commissioners were warned to stop holding hearings or expect further attacks against them and other NGOs that oppose the dam, including the Arun Concerned Group and the International Institute for Human Rights, Environment and Development (INHURED).
"Hell is breaking loose over this $770-million dam project in Nepal," said John Thibodeau, a researcher for Probe International. "Despite recent talk about reform, World Bank officials are ready to finance the environmentally disastrous Arun III dam, and thugs are trying to make things easier by silencing local opposition. Like the Bank-backed Narmada dam project in India, force is being used to manage a public relations nightmare."
  The World Bank, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was created in 1944 at the Bretton Woods conference in New Hampshire, where leaders from around the world met to plan the postwar international monetary system. Since then, the institution has often been criticized for funding what Probe International calls the "underside" of foreign aid.
  World Bank officials have said the 201-megawatt Arun project would serve twice as many people who currently have access to electricity in Nepal, and allow the country to export surplus power to India. Critics, however, argue that less harmful alternatives are being ignored and that the dam would cause irreversible damage to six major ecological zones and one of the area's few remaining pristine forests. They also say that a planned 122-km access road would have a devastating cultural impact on the region's 500,000 indigenous people.
  These dam-critics point to an environmental assessment, conducted by the Asian Development Bank, which concludes that the Arun project would cause severe erosion, stream disruptions, floods, land slides, and the diminution of the valley's rich biodiversity.
  Critics also note that independent studies by international and Nepali experts have proposed smaller scale and cheaper hydro projects that would pose fewer economic, environmental and social problems.
  Members of the Arun Concerned Group met in July with World Bank officials in Washington to try to stop the institution from lending $140 million to the Nepali government, which has disobeyed a Nepali Supreme Court order to release relevant documents to the group.
  The activists also wanted to learn what Bank management thought about the project's size and environmental and cultural impacts, but Probe International says the Bank has a history of ignoring human rights and environmental issues.
"The World Bank doesn't have a good track record," Mr. Thibodeau said. "In fact, World Bank President Lewis Preston recently said he wasn't ashamed of the Bank's involvement in Narmada, and that project has displaced thousands and killed four young children."
  Donal O'Leary, the Bank's project task manager, told the Nepali citizens that the World Bank is not in the business of
"negotiating" its projects with the people they affect, said sources present at the Washington meeting. And the frustrated Arun Concerned Group left the U.S. capital under the impression that the loan was a done deal.
"We wanted to meet and talk to Bank management, but they did not really give us their opinions. It seemed more like a public relations exercise to me," said Gopal Shivakoti, a member of the Nepali group. "It is useless to talk about public participation since there is nothing in which to participate as a result of the absence of relevant information."
  According to Lori Udall, Washington bureau chief of the International Rivers Network, the World Bank has sent another mission to Nepal, postponing the decision about whether to fund the project until November.
  Ms. Udall, who was in Nepal when the commissioners were attacked, has written a protest letter to Nepali Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. "We strongly urge your government to ensure that these threats do not recur and that the safety and security of all individuals and organizations raising questions about Arun III project is ensured," she wrote.
  The governments of Japan and Germany are also considering financing the project.
  For more information contact John Thibodeau, Probe International, Canada, at 416-964-3675 ext. 235.

********************************************************* Date: Sat, 03 Sep 1994 15:26:06 EDT To: From: (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: Re: arun 3 crackdown

I deplore the acts of violence carried out against opponents of the project. Such acts are not befitting to a democratic society. Decisions should be made through dialogue and consensus, not violence. This is not to say I agree with the anti-Arun people. In fact I find arguments such as the one quoted above highly objectionable.

        As the quote above claims, the access road would harm the native people of the region. I can understand environmentalists opposing dams (the actual Arun project), but it is beyond me why the're opposing building the road (and, by extension, all roads in mountaineous regions since one could claim that all such regions have fragile ecology). They claim it'll harm the natives. Have they gone and asked the people in that region what they think of the road? I can confidently claim that 99% of the people there WANT that road built. Most also want the Arun-3 project (which is why UML hasn't opposed the project) but it wouldn't be wrong to claim that almost ALL want the road. It is therefore ridiculous for the environmentalists to oppose the road on the grounds of helping the indigenous people. Or, do they think that they know what the people there want far better than the local people themselves? Of course, the road would have significant "cultural impact" (as well as economic impact) but will that be "devastating"? I don't thinks so. Do we have the right to deny the people there modern economic and material benefits in the name of preserving their culture? Shouldn't they have the say?

Just musing.

******************************************************************** Date: Mon, 05 Sep 1994 10:38:44 PDT To: From: (Bill Reid) Subject: Info re self

I'm a plant ecologist and mechanical engineer with long experience in both academia and industry. Currently, I am working with biological resources management at the Hanford Site in Washington State (U.S.A.), climatic change studies and habitat analyis by G.I.S. at a nearby training area. I love the great mountains and great people and great ideas.

***************************************************************** Date: Mon, 05 Sep 1994 21:07:34 EDT To: From: (VIVEK S. RANA) Subject: The Struggle for Democracy in Nepal

        Title: The struggle for democracy in Nepal

Source : Green Left Weekly

  On August 19 the Nepalese government arrested some 3000 political activists including the parliamentary representatives and national leaderships of the major opposition parties and the head of the student's federation and the womens' movement.

The mass arrests follow the King's unconstitutional dissolution of Parliament on July 10 and the formation, by the sacked Prime Minister, of an interim council of ministers. Tens of thousands of people took part in the third general strike to sweep the country since then. Activists fear that the move signals a return to a form of one-party rule similar to the Panchayat system imposed by the King of Nepal in 1960. Under Panchayat all opposition parties were banned and the Parliament was dissolved.

RAJAN BHATTARAI, a member of the All Nepal National Federation of Student Unions (ANNFSU) and the Asian Students Association International Secretariat, attended the Students Science and Sustainability Conference in Sydney in July for the Asian Students Association. Green Left Weekly's MICHAEL TARDIF talked to him about the struggle for democracy in Nepal.

Question: The current constitutional crisis has focused attention on the mass campaign for democratic rights. What are the origins of this movement?

Nepal's mass movements, an exceptionally strong political force, include all sectors of the population. This has been the case since the 1950s. It was particularly the case in the 1960s despite the repression after King Mahendra Bir Bikran Shah Deva dissolved the parliament and banned all political parties imposing the Panchayat system.

Despite this setback, the mass organisations continued underground, especially at the local level. It was this which led to the overthrow the King and the establishment of limited democratic rights.

In 1990, the King was forced to grant some concessions after a massive 50-day campaign. All the left parties, mass organisations, youth, trade unions and even some of the bourgeois politicians who were against the absolute monarchy came together to organise strikes and other mass actions. During this period, more than 500 people were killed and over 50,000 arrested before the King finally agreed to dissolve the Panchayat system. An interim government was formed between the Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) [CPN (UML)]. National elections, widely believed to be rigged, resulted in a Congress Party government.

Question: Besides campaigns for basic democratic rights people have raised a range of economic demands. How has this helped shape the movements in Nepal today?

The impact of the programs of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been very severe for many countries. The campaigns against these international agencies in South Asia are very political.

In Nepal the left has been campaigning against the government's economic program for two years. This has centred around the economic programs of the IMF and the World Bank, including the privatisation of industry, unemployment and an annual inflation rate of 200-300%.

The left and the peoples' organisations have been demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister G.P. Koirala, particularly since the debacle of the Tanak Pur Dam, a World Bank project on the border with India. The resources harnessed by the dam were supposed to be shared equally between our two countries, but Koirala signed them all to India. The people have demanded that this agreement be retracted.

This has even caused splits within the ruling party, resulting in some members also calling for Koirala's resignation.

Question: And this is the issue that has led to the constitutional crisis and to the most recent mass campaigns?

Yes, when the voting took place on the annual budget of the government more than 40 of the ruling parliamentarians crossed the floor and voted with the Communist Party against Koirala's program. Following this, he resigned and asked for a mid-term poll. The King is supposed to ask the second biggest party - the Communist Party - to form the government. Two days after Koirala's resignation the King unilaterally dissolved parliament. Since the collapse of the Panchayat system the King has been trying to control the new parliament. This is a very sensitive issue because it is exactly what happened in 1960 when the King first imposed the Panchayat system which lasted until 1990.

All over the country people are coming onto the streets and saying that this is a conspiracy, another attempt by the King to regain power.

Question: The significant electoral gains made by the ANC in South Africa and the Workers Party in Brazil have spurred on debate about the parliamentary struggle. How has the Left approached this in Nepal?

I think the basic question is still the class question. Class contradictions are still the main contradictions in society. While there are different classes in society there is no way to fundamentally change the social and economic structure of society. At the moment we are using the parliament as a tactic, but this doesn't mean that we can continue with that.

One CPN (UML) leader was giving a speech at a mass rally and he said that the struggle of the movements and the left not only depends on how the left operates, but also on how the reactionary forces respond. If they respond violently, then we have to defend ourselves. At the moment they have not chosen that as their principal path. Now, while we have the opportunity, we are emphasising the need for militant mass movements. In this context the parliamentary tactic is secondary. The primary struggle is the mass movement struggle.

Question: What led to the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist Leninist and what impact has this had on the left in Nepal?

It is a very good example of how the left can work together despite having different perspectives on certain issues. There are many tendencies in the CPN (UML). Democratic expression is important within the party especially during the campaign for the party's reunification.

If the left wants to be effective they have to unify. From the 1970s to the 1990s there were up to 25 small left groups; most of these came together to form the CPN (UML). Today the party is very big with a strong mass base, particularly in the cities.

Question: What sorts of differences did the CPN (UML) have to overcome?

The left split in the 1960s over the differences between Russia and China. The debate centred around tactical rather than strategic points, about how to organise and achieve our strategy. In the past the two main trends to achieve revolutionary social change were, either through parliament or by armed struggle.

Now the left is emphasising the militant mass movements and, at the same time, using different tactics. They are in the parliament and also in the street. This emphasis has been very successful and the left is now able to organise the majority of the people.

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