The Nepal Digest - September 2, 1998 (8 Bhadra 2055 BkSm)

From: The Editor (nepal-request@cs.niu.edu)
Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 15:41:57 CDT


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The Nepal Digest Wed Sept 2, 1998: Bhadra 8 2055BS: Year7 Volume78 Issue1

Today's Topics (partial list):

          Enough, TND!
          Lets move on
          EDITORIAL POLICY-suggestion
          RE: Mediation and The Free Press
          Start new TND
          Letter to TND editor
          Shame on all of us
          Sediment data
          The (seemingly) endless debate
          Re: Book review (fwd)
          Charities for Nepal
          Some more economics

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
****************************************************************** From: Greta Rana <greta@icimod.org.np) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:11:52 +0000 Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - August 18, 1998 (23 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

Dear Editor,
                      Does Nepal Digest have a set of objectives in the context of information, standard of articles etc? if so , would you you circulate them. I think there's a lot of 'received opinion' rather than basic ligic floating around. Discussions become insular when that happens. I don't see what time spent in Nepal has to do with credibility of statement. Time serving is not an indication of
'insight' and intelligence , but rather durability. Were it so, after 28 years,I'd be an 'expert' by now.
          Greta Rana Senior Editor email: greta@icimod.org.np (off.) grana@saligram.mos.com.np (res.)

****************************************************************** From: "Pawan Shakya" <pawansh@hotmail.com> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Enough, TND Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 23:16:45 PDT

Dear TND,

May I have the opportunity to make few comments on the recent issues that it is really a senseless and useless discussion being held between the two persons for long back on the issue of national interest between Nepal and India. This certainly reflects that the TND is not having any other chapters on the matter of general interest to the common readers. I think that the TND should give importance to the general readers first and consider if the discussed matters will be of their interest, not to the interest of few persons. If the TND continues delivering such matters which are totally out of interest , the days are not so far that people will loss their belief and interest on it so that instead of subscribing their names, they will start deleting their names from the subscribed lists. May I, therefore, draw the attention of the concerned editors for taking this matter into consideration and keep delivering the matters of common interest only so as to keep the TND long run.

Sincerely, Pawan Raj Shakya Ben-Gurion University Israel.

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 20:08:39 -0400 (EDT) From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <pkm@acpub.duke.edu> To: The Nepal digest Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Call for Participation

Dear Editor and TND readers,

Have you seen how much energy Nepali nationalism has generated in the recent issues of TND and SCN? It's amazing how nationalism could still possess such force in people's lives in the age of globalization! Or, is it that because of this new phenomenon of globalization nationalism has become a new form of anchoring one's identity on cyberspace, as has been said? Nepal's case may be complicated in yet other ways.

        In any case, a look at some of the postings on both TND and SCN made me think that many of the participants were either too inadequately informed or unable to sort out issues or too choked with emotion to articulate their views without taking resort to expletives and slurs, name- calling, and sloganeering. And I'm referring not only to anonymous postings but also to responsible ones, the office bearers of parties.

        And a sampling of the identities of the interlocutors would easily reveal that among the ranks are at least the sons--yes, the sons--of well-to-do Nepalis. They have had a relatively privileged background: they have been able to come overseas to pursue education after adequate schooling; they are able to communicate in English. Many of these folks will return to Nepal and help shape or disfigure Nepal's future. Or, even if they choose to remain overseas, they would, in myriad ways, mightily shape public opinion about these vital issues.

        Perhaps I have sounded condescending above. Not so. The spectrum of opinions and ideas that have been voiced recently about Nepali nationalism on TND haven't come out out of nowhere--they represent the spectrum of views and stands on the ground in Nepal, from the illitirate farmer in the villages of the hills and the plains to the educated elites in Kathmandu. And these are the opinions, and not the unread academic books, that would shape the course of events in Nepal. And I know the existence much hatred, vile emotions, on all sides, as I also know the flicker of goodwill existing on all sides.

        The question is, Can democracy and nationalism co-exist in Nepal? Are concern for sovereignty compatible with desire for prosperity? Of course, I do not presume an easy answer either in the positive or negative; nor should any thinking person. And that's why, the conversation needs to be continued and elevated from the level of choking emotion and expletive and hate speech and reverse racism and myopic vision to that of informed and impassioned conversation without being negatively academic.

        Of course, I'd be vain if I thought that only such a conversation would shape the future of Nepal or any territorial entity for that matter; that are realities and vested interests on the ground that always militate against any rational conversation and judgement. But the continued and critical conversation do shape and help shape public opinion and affect the course of history.

        Very often I have seen quite responsible participants resorting to name-calling instead of converting the easy epithets into sound argument. To my mind, expletives and slurs and name- calling are charged with emotion and energy. They are the result of either lack of training in articulation and argumentation or lack of opportunity. In the case of Nepal, I'd say that it's the latter--lack of freedom of expression. But they can also come from vested interests that feel threaten by the new changes in the historical configuration. The only way to either transform the thinking or defeat their designs is not to resort to such dumb-head talk nor to ignore but to engage them with cold reason and cutting and passionate argument.

        At the end of the day, even responsible people everywhere are free, have been, and will be free to act--shed blood or resolve through conversation and politics--but they have to be at the end of informed conversation and debate. If such blood-letting occurs before informed conversation and exchange of ideas, then the fault goes to the intellectuals of the society, and those who make a career out of studying that society, for failing to have done their job properly.

        Therefore, I ask the readers of TND, particularly those who have had academic training in particular aspects of Nepal and have written about and thought about seriously, to participate in the coversation as guides, as moderators, as educators, encouraging and directing the conversations if you get time and if you feel it was not adequately covered and needed input from somebody like you. Of course, TND's commitment to complete freedom of expression and the chance of having to engage in one-on-one conversation may discourage such a move--after all, TND is not a peer reviewed organ nor is it financially remunerative--but it'd be a precious contribution to Nepal. And I sincerely hope that such a participation would occur.

The End

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 06:03:33 +1000 (GST) From: JHlawrence <jhl@guam.net> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: lets move on

Editor TND:

Let us move on to other issues. I for would prefer to let the Nepal/India merging with India/Nepal debate continue at another forum. Thanks.

Bart

****************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: EDITORIAL POLICY-suggestion Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 13:30:35 -0400

Dear Editors:
-------------- As a third alternative to either ending the current India/Nepal/Economic Union debate or continuing it (encouraging uninterested parties to scroll a lot) I have a SUGGESTION. How about if, for the next 2-3 weeks, you bring out separate issues of TND, issues focusing exclusively on these topics and issues on everything else. Uninterested people could just delete the whole issue. Contributors can route their messages by appropriate subject headers. I hope this is practical given whatever method you use to create TND.

To All Writers:
---------------- On the topic of getting tired of this debate I have a few opinions of my own to express- I'm not tired of the topic, but there are certain recurring *techniques* of debate which are making me tend towards blanket deletion rather than reading on. First, the messages which simply go "be patriotic, how can you consider such a thing?" or "how can you have the name Nepal and write this or that" and the movement towards ad hominum slings, aspersions on peoples education, intellect and so on - I think we would all enjoy the debate more if these were left out. Secondly, lately the debates have had a certain armchair-detective (sub: economist) character where extremely grand, sweeping, general statements are made with a sophisticated vocabulary but no data/references whatsoever, all in articles of ever-increasing length. Similarly blanket dismissal of other's points, again with no rebutting argument ("you are wrong because I say so!"). If we are going to pretend to be economists, let's atleast do a good act and have some DATA at hand. How about it?

[PS if anyone wants to delete all messages from a certain contributor, I have written a program in C where you can enter their name and all messages coming from that name-string will be deleted before you read TND. - just kidding :) ]

********************************************************************* From: "Sudhir Shrestha" <sshresth@amfam.com> To: <Nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Nepal/India Discussion Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 09:02:04 -0500

Dear Editor(s):

We are sick and tired of reading the useless discussion/argument on Nepal/India issue. Frankly, I think any article(s) that degrades Nepal and Nepali should be edited and if necessary unpublished especially since TND involves discussion on Nepal and Nepalis.

This discussion/argument has gone too far and as a regular reader we can no longer digest it. Apparently, Mr. Bhagat has a completely different perspective. We look forward to the more fruitful/informative discussion on education, DESH BIKAS, end etc.

We are proud to be Nepalis. Thank you!

Namaste,

-Sudhir and Julee Shrestha
-Sudha and Raju Shrestha
-Padam K.C.
-Roshan Tandukar Milwaukee, WI

************************************************************ Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 15:33:32 -0400 From: Umesh Giri <ugiri@uswest.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: RE: Mediation and The Free Press

Dear editor,

I'm a regular reader of The Nepal Digest. I strongly feel that Nepal/India issue should be terminated from our Nepal's forum. Please do not waste your limited space by publishing such unhealthy and unproductive issues raised by self-claimed handful of Nepalese???

Thank you! Umesh Giri Denver, CO

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 19:49:16 -0400 (EDT) From: aiko <gs07aaj@panther.Gsu.EDU> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - August 12, 1998 (17 Shrawan 2055 BkSm)

I have been following the thread of discussion re whether or not Nepal should link up with India with interest, and have been encouraged by the amount of pride Nepalis feel in being from Nepal, and the emphatic way most have declared NO! Nirmal Ghimire voiced his opinion quite well in pointing out the reasons why it would be foolhardy to have Nepal absorbed by India. As he wrote, there is certainly no guarantee that Nepal would be any better off economically should India do what it did to Sikkim. And, as many besides him have already mentioned, why would anyone want to sell their own country anyway? Such thoughts smack of treason, surely! Rather than solve their own problems, those Nepalis who advocate such an ungodly alliance seem to think it easier to just let India take over. Well, there is a price to pay for such economic and political laziness! I come from Korea which was colonized -- off and on -- by Japan for 500 years, and shortly before and during World War II, Japan forced as many Korean households as it could, to speak, think, and act Japanese. Because of the poor Korean economy, many Koreans(those who had not been taken off as slaves)migrated to Japan to make better living, but ended up in the
"ghettoes", doing the dirty jobs, forbidden Japanese citizenship and the rights that go with citizenship. While my own family was educated, we,too, migrated to Japan for a better life and as a result, I was robbed of knowing my mother tongue and culture. Speaking only Japanese, growing up in Japan, I feel more affinity to Japan than Korea, and sometimes it makes me sad esp. when around Korean friends. No, I think Nepal needs to stay independent. It is its own nation in its own right. The varied ethnic groups that comprise much of Nepal would be further marginalized. It is unfortunate that the Nepali government does not pay much attention to their needs, but at least they would remain free Nepali. The track record of the Indian governemnt with regard to its own ethnic/tribal groups is not exactly great. Why would it treat Nepali ethnic/tribals any better? From the little research I did as an Anthropology student, many of the tribal groups tend to be a bit more egalitarian towards their women than those of HIndu background; that is, those of the Tibeto-Burmese groups give more elevated status to their women who seem to have more economic power than those of Hindu(Aryan)groups. But those of the Tibeto-Burmese groups that have migrated to the Terai region for economic reasons have taken on the culture and attitude of its Hindu neighbors, and the women have lost what little status they had. On that level, the women would REALLY lose -- not that women have that much empowerment within any ethnic group.

To the Nepali person in New Zealand who did not want TND to post anymore on the on-going debate on to join India or not: I understand your dissatisfaction at the way some of the ways the responses have been worded with regard to this debate. It is unfortunate that some cannot seem to disagree without being unpleasant. I am member of several listgroups, and it always amazes me at the degree of meanness some people display when they wish to voice their disagreement. the annonymity of the internet gives some a boldness they otherwise would not display in person, and some seem to take it to mean it's okay to be rude, crude and insulting. However, at the same time, I don't think any of us should stifle the different opinions of people no matter how crudely they voice them. We cannot expect everyone to agree, and while I hope that everyone would observe the rules of good conduct and write like mature adults, we cannot expect much of that either -- given the vast and varied personalities that come through via TND. Censorship would not be the answer. I hope that you will read the posts that are written with some measure of pleasantness, and just skip over the more unintelligible/unintelligent ones. That's what I do. good luck!

In regard to Paramendra-san's (*sorry, i did not catch your last name; so I added the japanese-style polite form of address, "san") comments on
"Meow Nepal's" commentary: could it be the "Meows" were being tongue-in-cheek? I took it to mean that way; that they were being a bit sarcastic? Meows: how about it? Thanks a lot!

Aiko Joshi

******************************************************************* Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 01:10:12 +0000 From: Subarna Pradhan <spradhan@pol.net> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Start new TND

Dear editor,

Thanks for your intervention regarding NEPAL-INDIA discussions. Recently there are lot of flamings rather than constructive discussions or criticism. In your list of posting there is no subheading for flaming. So my suggestion is either delete those nonsense or start a diferent TND where ther are some civility along with constructive criticism and discussions. As you wrote the free press does not mean the right to say or write what ever one wants but also to (to quote you) "solemnly swear to uphold and practice the REALITY of responsible free press"

Thank you. Subarna Pradhan

****************************************************************** Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 20:03:16 +0200 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - August 12, 1998 (17 Shrawan 2055 BkSm) From: 320049391996-0001@t-online.de (Namitakthuene)

Letter to the Editor,

(please edit it if you seem fit)

Dear Editor,

I have a question for you. It might not be a profound one but it is something that is bothering me. What is the wisdom behind publishing Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari and Mr. Pramod Mishra's squabble in the internet? Could you please ask them to carry on their "dialouge" through their own personal e-mail. Do these two honourable poeple think the readers are benefitting from their highly personal so called debate? For, I don't think this on-going "dialogue" has any value to me when they try to tell each other what one should do and how one should think and what one should read. It has gone too far from the central issue.

Thank you very much, Sincerely, Namita Kiran Thuene

*********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 18:44:43 -0400 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: Madhusudan Bhattarai <mbhatta@CLEMSON.EDU> Subject: Letter to TND editor about the recently on going debates

Dear Editor,

Recently, there has been much written and argued in TND about issues like, Madishe-Pahadi, INDIA and NEPAL merging, and economic pact, and few weeks earlier also about the religion issues of Hindu and Christianity, some of the few in the list. It seems, these regular authors, or so called columnists, are forgetting the "code of ethics" and "norms" of writing in the public forum. In fact, these so called "intellectuals" are abusing the opportunity of "free press" policies adopted by the TND.

Most of these recently posted discussions are subjective type of arguments, and mostly expression of their frustrations. There is no end for this kind of arguments. I believe that continuation of such arguments only brings hate and mistrust among we Nepali living abroad and also back in the country. Because of these postings, the quality of TND as such has also recently been deteriorated enough, which can also be sensed from the contents of most of the letters to the editor in some of the recent issues of TND.

Besides, I would also like to request the TND editorial board to establish, at least, few "norms", or "code of ethics" which each columnist, or so called "regular writer" of TND has to follow publishing any posting and material in the TND. Let also post these "code of ethics" on every issue of TND (at least, for the coming 20-25 issues) so that these so called "neo intellectuals" would be reminded while writing or arguing their views in TND in the coming days.

It is also not wise to forward 80 k.bytes message twice a week, entirely covered by one or two persons' frustrations. If one is so much interested publishing his or her frustrations, then there are also several other places for that, why we should be forced to read all that kind of frustrations and junk messages. Before writing this, I called about 10-12 persons in different places in the USA, and got same kind of conclusion from each one them about the recent on going arguments and debates in TND. These arguments are not to the minimum standard of debate. Of course, one can also argue, what is the minimum standard for that?. The minimum standard as such also depends upon person to person, one's intellectual ability, vision and wisdom.

Moreover, we are now getting two issues of TND per week, but all with same junk type of reading materials, full of few persons' frustrations and bankrupt ideas. May be this is due to "summer break" here, so that these Peoples- SOME OF THE FORTUNATE ABROAD EDUCATED NEPALI, have got more leisure time now to create more imaginary problems and hypothetical crisis about Nepal. It seems, already existing problems and political chaos back in Nepal are now inadequate, therefore, the parliamentarians, decision makers, and intellectuals in Kathmandu have to furthermore, engage in debating on these "issues" and hypothetical crises and problems raised by the so called ABROAD EDUCATED NEPALI INTELLECTUALS. What a fate of the country? or what, insult of the education as such?

Most of the recent postings on these above controversial issues only looks like the expressions of these peoples' own frustrations and hypothetical crises such INTELLECTUALS; most of these raised issues are far away from the present realities, problems, opportunities, and constraints back in Nepal. By reading these postings and arguments, it seems some of these so called intellectuals are only trying to self-justify his or her interest of staying in this part of the world by looking every thing back in home in the negative way. These raised issues are not only the reality of Nepal. If the whole purpose of these arguments, or creating hypothetical crises, are the reflection of such self justifying mentality of immigration to this part of the world, or migration from Nepal, then this is a different case.

By reading these recent arguments in the TND, I remember one of the CHANAKYA's quotation, written more than 3000 years ago in BAISHALI CIVILIZATION, India, " ALL INTELLECTUALS, TRADERS AND .........ARE SAME, AND THEY HAVE NEITHER RELIGION NOR COUNTRY". One thing, we should not make TND only a place to vomiting our frustrations of living outside the country.

Madhusudan Bhattarai Clemson University, SC, USA 864-656-7144

****************************************************************** From: PRAKASH@hbl.mos.com.np (PRAKASH BHANDARI) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 17:15:04 Subject: INDO-NEPAL STUFF

Dear Editor,

I think that the Indo-Nepal stuff has crossed its frontier. So I suggest to start new topic of discussion like "Human Rights","equal rights to women", " pollution and environmental degradation" and so on. While discussing about these topics, we may find out the key solution of the problems existing all over the world obviously giving high emphasizes to Nepalese context.
              
******************************************************************** Date: 19 Aug 98 04:26:12 EDT From: mkarki@idrc.ca Subject: Mediation and Free Press To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu

Dear Editor:

I have been reading the recent discussions on Nepal/India nexus in the TND columns. While I am all for freedom of expression, I find some of the outbursts, specially the initial one which attracted the responses that followed to be childish, biased and unethical. The crux of the issue is how can you discuss to eliminate a country (Nepal) in a forum (TND) whose very existence is based on this entity i.e Nepal. I for one feel that Mr. P. Bhagat's outbursts which I think are based on his isolated personal experience during his school days should not be the basis to debate whether Nepal should join India or vise versa. I went to school in Gaur and I was called Pahadiya, topi and so forth by my compatriots. But I hold no grudge against a particular community based on my school experience. The irony and futility of these discussions is that, as far as I know, no Indian citizen has proposed to unite Nepal under India. I feel that the question does not arise as India does not want to annex Nepal. They already have problems with likes of Bihar and what have you and more importantly international community (read China and US) will not let it happen. I do not understand why so called Nepali citizens are proposing to give away their country to India on a platter. I think the proposal is coming from people who are suffering from identity crisis. What do you call the likes of Gajendra and Hridesh who did nothing for their community while they were in power but are planning to burn the constitution when they are out of it. They made millions through corrupt meansby occupying ministrial positions in a country which they are now planning to destroy. The persons who is promoting Nepal's integration with India probably will not be welcome in India if they genuinely applied for formal immigration. So who cares a two hoot if the people like them propose to unite Nepal under India.

Please stop this senseless debate in TND. We should be discussing the issues which make or break Nepal's image abroad. For example, the democracy in Nepal is collapsing, environmental deterioration has accelerated and poverty and impoverishment is everywhere. Let's put these topics and spend our time and mind on these more intellectually rewarding topics.

cheers, Madhav

**************************************************************** Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 21:16:20 -0400 (EDT) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Do NOT terminate Nepal/India, Racism etc discussion

Editor writes:

>As much as editors HATE to intervene, and in many situation
>s/he DARE NOT :), by the request of the larger audiences
>and readers, s/he may have to. Is this that time of RARE occasion?
>I ask and seek your advice.

No, not at all. Let free press be ABSOLUTELY free press. Let TND be as free as it can. No exceptions. No excuses.

Let any TND discussion -- whether it be on India/Nepal, racism or on anything else under the related-to-Nepal sun, run its own natural course (with ideas and criticisms), without the need for any editorial scissors.

Those who want to read such discussion will do so. Those who want to participate in such discussion will do so too. And those who do not want to read and/or participate will not do so. It's really that simple. Everybody has the right to NOT read stuff they find uninteresting, and that right is best exercised on a personal level in the privacy of one's TND-reading time.

So, let there all kinds of ideas -- no matter how stupid or brilliant -- come to the fore, and debated and discussed by all those who are interested. This interplay of free and frank ideas, hitherto unknown to any consumer of Nepali media, is what makes TND TND. And it's the readers' contributions too that make TND TND. Let these unique aspects of TND not be lost due to some purported readers' complaints.

As a reader, I would rather receive TND that, on occasions, challenges my assumptions, attacks my long-held beliefs, shatters my ideas, confronts my thinking, and makes me to be in awe of or be amused by the sheer brilliance or crass stupidity of my fellow-Nepalis from all around the world,

THAN the one that would presumably come "filtered and sanitized", and which would teach me nothing new about Nepal that's worth caring/fighting and discussing about.

oohi ashu

************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 07:21:38 +0530 From: "F. A. H. ('Hutch') Dalrymple" <hutch@wlink.com.np> To: editor Contributions <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: India and Nepal...

I have to chuckle at this rather 'heated' debate going on whether Nepal should consider itself 'India.'

I'm afraid it's a 'moot' point since it's already happened... a fait accompli.

There are many ways to combine cultures... And India has it done it the intelligent way (without Nepal hardly knowing). Not, like the Chinese did in Tibet.

Wake up! Nepal... It's almost too late, as it stands (or falls)! India, sending all it's people to live in Nepal, is in the process of
'absorbing' Nepal... Soon, you will hardly notice the difference between Kathmandu and Dehli...

Namaste! hutch@

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 16:36:08 -0500 (EST) From: BIPULENDU NARAYAN SINGH <singhb@wabash.edu> Subject: nepal is a hindu country - reply To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu

I said Nepal is a Hindu country. And I stand by that again. Not you, not me and not certainly the few words in the constitution saying
"Nepal is a secular country" is ever going to change that. But I make a distinction between Hindu as you understood me to use it and the way I actually meant to be.

When I say Nepal is a Hindu country I meant it in the broader sense of the word. I mean it as a term that is strongly linked with the land - as a concept that signifies a way of life in pursuit of truth.

After all is it not what it is supposed to be. If my knowledge of history serves me right was not the term hindu first coined by other civiliasations to refer to people that lived across the Sindhu river. So how can any body living in Nepal not be a hindu ? They might follow different paths ( Budhism, Christianity, Islam, materialists, Tantriks, Saivites, Hare Krishna's), but how can they say that they are not inhabitants of this land. In my opinion thus, all Nepalese (and indians for that matter) are Hindu's first and then only something else. How can they say that loyalty to the land
(which goes back thousands of years) is greater than their loyalty to a faith they picked up only a few centuries ago. ( which many of them did not really pick on individual will but were coerced (through money and power) by people who think that only their religion has monopoly over the truth)

Hinduism (as a way of life) always had place for everyone (believer as well as non believers). It has allowed seemingly opposing views and faiths( like the materialistic Carvaka, the sexual Tantrik, the conventional Vedic, and Budhist philosophies) to flourish within its bounds. It is in doing this that it has become a truly secular "religion"(way of life) and it is in being a Hindu Nation that Nepal has become a "truly secular" (not pseudo secular like other countries) nation.

*************************************************************** Date: Fri, 14 Aug 98 11:43:14 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: People's Review's continued bias against the Sadbhavana

I wrote a protest letter in the last TND issue protesting against the People's Review's equating the Teraiwasis as Indians. Their blatant bias continues as evidenced in this recent article.

http://www.info-nepal.com/p-review/1998/08/130898/sadbhavana.html Thursday, August 13-August 20, 1998

Sadbhavana prepares poll strategy

BY OUR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

According to discerning analysts, the Terai-based Nepal Sadbhavana Party -- whose strength in parliament was slashed from a puny six following the 1991 general election to a laughable three after the 1994 polls -- has clearly been emboldened by the lucky break it received when it became a coalition partner in three successive governments preceding the present minority government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

(The governments were those headed respectively by Sher Bahadur Deuba (NC/RPP/ NSP); Lokendra Bahadur Chand (RPP/UML/NSP); and Surya Bahadur Thapa (RPP/NC/ NSP).)

The NSP which is widely perceived as "Indian" in outlook and character, it may also be recalled, was able to safeguard its "national party" status by polling a fraction of one percent above the minimum of 6 percent of all votes polled.

Despite those hard political facts, the NSP, following a two-day party conclave in Birgunj, July 24-25, recently came out with a press statement proclaiming that its main adversary is the Nepali Congress, now the leading party in parliament, which, it claims, is apprehensive of the NSP's "growing influence" in the Terai and is therefore determined to "quash" their party.

That bombastic claim, observers feel, is nothing more than a promotional or morale-boosting gimmick for a party that is preparing for the next general election after which it hopes to improve its current insignificant parliamentary strength.

For the very same purpose, it has concluded that the means to project itself is to call for an amendment of the Constitution on the citizenship issue. As explained by NSP MP Hridesh Tripathy at a recent Kathmandu press conference, his party would be focussing on two other issues in the near future.

Those are: a call for a reservation system for the "backward class" and for a change in the national polity to a federal system of government.

To gain propaganda mileage on such a divisive platform, as far as national integrity goes, the NSP party chief, Gajendra Narayan Singh, announced would on August 17 present a 30-day "ultimatum" to all district administration offices in the kingdom.

Following that, if there was no "positive response" from HMG, it would begin a five-day hunger strike in all district headquarters from September 16.

Thereafter, it intends to launch a 9-day hunger strike in front of the national secretariat in Kathmandu from November 1. If those pressure tactics don't succeed in obtaining expected results the NSP would on November 9 -- that is, on the anniversary of the promulgation of the basic law of the land -- burn the Constitution.

Clearly, the NSP has its eyes on the forthcoming elections, which is now generally expected only in Spring next year. Given the dismal state of the party itself -- and its widely perceived image as a party more loyal to India than to Nepal -- it has in the post-Pokhran II era decided to move on an openly confrontationist political track.

How the Nepali Congress and the other parties that were so eager to share their beds with the NSP not too long ago tackle this threat remains to be seen. What also remains to be established convincingly is whether the NSP electoral strategy has been conceived through extraneous inspiration.

One thing is clear, though, say political observers: if more Indians are granted citizenship rights, not only will the NSP sweep the elections, specially in the Terai, but it would well mark the beginning of the end of this country's separate identity, sovereignty and independence.

****************************************************************** From: "Lomash Regmi" <lomash@hotmail.com> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: Shame on all of us Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 09:17:18 CDT

 Dear editor,

Shame on all of us for even having to think such a thing. As a Nepali I feel that it is our biggest misfortune that we are even discussing whether we should join a different country. Have we completely ran out of any ideas and resources that we have to give up our status as a sovereign nation in order to make our lives livable?

The first thing we should do is get rid of all those power and wealth hungry shahs and ranas and their chamchas (bhrasta panches) who have been bagging the majority of our country's wealth for the past one hundred and fifty years. We should start with the maharaja himself, the richest man in the whole Nepal who doesn't have slightest interest in our well being. If he had wanted and tried, and if he was a good person, as rajas are believed to be, from their birth, (ha! what a bunch of crap) we would have been much better off than our present situation.

It is of little use to discuss about who is pahade and who is madhise when the real villeins in the whole game are watching people quarrel and fight among each other from their new buildings and with their fat bank accounts. Has anybody wondered why the likes of Mr. marich man singh and Mr. surya bahadur thapa wore the same pradhanmantri's pagari before and after at least five hundred people died in the jana andolan? A lot of people made it out of the country with a huge chunk of nepal's treasures and nobody said or did anything. Everybody knew Dhirendra was a murti chor, but he made it out of nepal with all his swiss bank account intact. Now his sons are terrorizing nepali girls just like their father did some 20 years ago. And there is nobody to even try to stop them. How long will this continue? Not for long if I had my way.

The sole reason we hindus, or all nepalis for that matter, regarded
(please note my past tense) raja as bishnu's avatar was because of our faith on him that he would have good intentions towards us and our country. Who needs a freaking king when he is only interested in amassing wealth for himself and letting all his relatives suck the country dry and make everybody's lives miserable?

So this is the time for all the educated and open minded souls to set aside our skin color differences and rise up against the main cause of our ill-being. For it is not the pahade, eking a living out of a strip of land in darchula, (even if he is bahun or chettri and has all the 7 characteristics of an indophobic pahade as suggested by someone) that is our problem. As I said earlier, our problem is the political elites in rajdhani whose sole purpose in life is to rob as much money from us as possible. We need to get rid of them, and fast, as they don't deserve to be there.

Jay nepal. Lomash Regmi

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 15:00:51 +0200 From: Dominik Mayr <mayr@kwb.tu-graz.ac.at> To: nepal-request@cs.niu.edu Subject: sediment data

Dear sirs!

For my studies I am searching for observed bedload and suspended sediment data of himalayan rivers and brooks.

I would be glad if anyone could help me

Thanks in advance! Dominik Mayr
****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 16 Aug 98 14:09:35 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Racism : From the Nepalese to the Global Context(II)

Racism : From the Nepalese to the Global Context(II) compiled and edited by Paramendra Bhagat
_____________________________________________________________ http://www.antiracist.com/events/lawhate.html

Fighting racism takes a concerted effort which must be directed by an accurate understanding of the nature of the problem. The importance of forums to share information and to discuss how to fight the right cannot be over emphasized: Discussions about the ideology on the far right, their nature, social composition and ideology are essential.

    -the Klan in the early 1980s was trying to tell the people of British Columbia that all people of colour should leave North America and that all the aboriginal people should be placed in the far North.
    -developing the policies and programs, and to further develop the role of education that will increase the acceptance of cultural diversity and the benefits which derive from that acceptance
    -the issues of human rights, hate crimes and discrimination are complex and that solutions are not easily found. If we were to deal with it just within our own families the solutions would be very easy. We would just demand that hate stop.
    -Most of all we are going to have to change attitudes.
    -Multiculturalism is not a program to promote differences. It is a policy of acceptance and of planned action for the eventual appreciation of cultural differences.

    -how people get caught up in racist dogma and how they are not able to think any other way about people
    -organized racism: Who is responsible for spreading hate propaganda? What are the connections between individuals and groups locally, nationally and internationally? What kind of situations arise in which people take the opportunity and take the advantage of people's fear, and people's xenophobia?
    -the link between foreign governments and extremist organizations.
    -white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups
    -the Aryan Nations, which we all know is one of the more dangerous anti- Semitic organizations on the continent
    -neo-Nazi skinheads
    -Holocaust deniers
    -the Libyans were funding neo-Nazis and ultra-leftists groups.
    -a "Socialist" government would be playing footsie with the Canadian far right. .............Canada, specifically Edmonton and Ottawa, had become centres for Libyan espionage since about 1986.
    -also funding groups at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum such as the American Indian Movement and the Anti-Semitic Nation of Islam.
    -made connections with far right types in Alberta and with an Albertan Cabinet Minister, known for his right wing views.
    -Why was Libya and, as I later learned, Iraq, in the case of British neo- Nazi groups, and Syria, in the case of the Silent Brotherhood in 1984 - why were these countries funding the far right?
    -Quadafi in his Green Book ...........other radical Arab leaders
    -a fusion of Maoism, apartheid and neo-Nazism.
    -anti-capitalist, anti-Communist and anti-Jewish
    -one of the fastest growing racist ideologies in Europe at the moment
    -called the Third Position
    -traditional left-right considerations have been largely abandoned in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    -The Aryan Nations conferences in Hayden Lake Idaho every July have seen neo-Nazis come from Canada, from all over the United States and even places as far away as South Africa.
    -securing funding from Iran, Syria, and Libya.
    -the Third Positionist groups worried him the most because "they are pledged to building organizations of street-hardened young soldiers".
    -the biggest white supremacist organization in Canada, the Heritage Front
    -The Nationalist Party has also received direct funding from Libya.
    -that a group of skinheads would be sophisticated enough to know exactly who to write to in the Libyan power establishment
    -the Libyans, Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians are making increasing in roads into North America's racist right and they are using the Third Position philosophy as a passkey.
    -the leaders of the racist right here in the U.S. and in Europe have been forging links with foreign governments who share some of their views
    -describe the white supremacist movement which is not the same as to describe racism. Racism is a much bigger problem than just the white supremacist movement. The United States was founded as a racist country and it permeates all the institutions and structures so I cannot discuss it in its entirety.
    -One of the preconceptions that we have is that essentially we are dealing with a bunch of small-minded bigots who do not know how to organize and are mostly incendiary; that is, if we could lock them up in mental institutions, we would have taken care of what is really just a marginal problem on the criminal gutter side of our society.
    -if you took a demographic slice of white U.S. life, you would find that it mirrors pretty accurately a demographic slice of the white supremacist movement in the United States. In other words, for the blue collar folks there is a particular type of organization, for the middle class professionals, there is a particular type of organization, for the intellectuals and for the lawyers and for the chiropractors, there is a particular type of organization.
    -We tend to think about the white supremacist movement as congruent to the Ku Klux Klan. In the United States over the last dozen years the Klan has declined in size. It is roughly half the size it was before, but the white supremacist movement has grown.
    -Even those Klan organizations that exist today have developed an alternative strategy to that of the late 1970s and early 1980s when their strategy was to be very public, to get on T.V. and to stage public cross- burnings. They are today a much more secretive organization. The Klan now refers to itself as the Fifth Era Klan - an attempt to return to the secrecy and clandestine type of organization it was in the 1870's when they smashed the Reconstruction Movement in the southern United States. The Klan today is highly secretive, relatively small and mostly consists of blue collar workers. There is no single Klan organization. There are approximately two dozen Klan factions in the US and many of them have partner organizations in Canada.
    -the neo-Nazis. Those are the groups that are the open imitators of Hitler and open advocates of National Socialism. Although they are relatively small, their influence has grown within the white supremacist movement. Neo-Nazi ideology has infected both the Klan and other sections of the white supremacist movement
    -The Nazi ideology came to be viewed as more `revolutionary' to those in white supremacist organizations wanting to increase membership. Furthermore, they gave a certain political sophistication to the rest of the movement.
    -Nazi organizations have continued to grow in the United States and internationally. They have grown large and spontaneously in the U.S. Particularly Nazi skinhead organizations.
    -the skinhead movement is that they are young and most of them are neo-Nazi in their organization. There are Nazi skinhead organizations in every major metropolitan area of the United States. Increasingly, what we have is a situation where people that first came into the movement in the period between 1986-1987 are now assuming leadership roles. They are now in the process of being recruited into the older adult organizations. This is a different kind of organizing phenomenon than that of Klan youth recruitment in the 1970's and the early 1980's in which the adults organized the kids. The older group went out and they set up the Klan and then brought the kids in. Now it is 20 to 27 year olds recruiting and organizing younger kids. These 20-27 year olds, in turn, are being supported financially and politically by older more established Nazis' in business suits with international connections. In Germany the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP AO) is also organizing youth into their racist movement. This is not just a United States, Canada, Germany and France problem this is an international phenomena.
    -organized racism
    -Mullins has worked with David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan and James Warner of the American Nazi Party. Mullins promotes the idea of an international Jewish conspiracy.
    -maintains that the Jews are behind virtually every historic massacre.
    -a book called "Last Battle Cry" by Identity pastor Jarah Crawford of Vermont, which is a 600 page diatribe advocating the genocide of all Jews and homosexuals and the forceful subjugation of people of colour.
    -a copy of the "Protocols of World Conquest" was distributed. This anti- Semitic pamphlet pretends to be a secret letter to all Jews on how to demoralize the white race and take over the world
    -recorded messages demanding white supremacy and denying the Holocaust
    -demanding an end to non-white immigration and which refers to people of colour as "dark and sullen mongrels"
    -the use of armed violence against black people and also the creation of a whites-only ethnostate
    -Saunders has written letters that state that the death of a Jewish scholar
- Bernard Vigod - in an automobile accident was the will of God and happily crowed that "there was Jew juice all over the tarmac."
    -an international network of lawyers providing legal assistance to the various Klan and neo-Nazi groups. What you might not know is that there is an international organization of neo-Nazi lawyers called CAUSE headquartered in Nashville, North Carolina and lead by Kirk Lyons and Sam Dixon. CAUSE stands for Canada, Australia, United States, South Africa and Europe. What CAUSE is attempting to build is a neo-Nazi organization among lawyers across international lines and is primarily concerned with free speech defence and Holocaust denial.
    -a growing fascist movement
    -the position of the law enforcement agencies dealing with organized white supremacist violence and then the position of the Justice Department in dealing with hate propaganda
    -shooting and other violent incidents by organized hate groups. But what we often see in government is denial that there is a problem.
    -the Invisible Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
    -the Grand Dragons of two different factions of the Invisible Empire
    -there is a lack of cohesive and co-ordinated effort in addressing hate propaganda in Canada
    -the Klan, which has chapters in all provinces
    -What is going on in Germany is quite specific, but it is also the same as what is going on in the States. There is the same recipe; there are some really good players here in this country. By the mere fact that most people think that these individuals are just a bunch of lunatic whackos allows them to freely organize
    -Every time I go to local schools, administrators tell me, "I don't have any racism in my school". But that is not the message I get from the students or sometimes even from the teachers. However, for the School Boards and the administration, there isn't any racism. And what they do not understand is that by denying the existence of racism in the school system, or by trying to put it aside thinking that it will go away, is that they are giving an open field to racists who are attempting to organize the younger generation. That is what we have to be concerned about the far right recruiting and training future leaders for what they believe will be a "racial war."
    -white supremacists represent all socio-economic classes
    -we cannot look at white supremacists as merely representing fringe elements
    -these individuals are very well connected and belong to highly structured organizations with national and international networks
    -It cannot be assumed that John Ball is an isolated individual acting alone. Although he is no longer attempting to run for a mainstream party, we have to ask ourselves, "How was John Ball able to come up through the political structure in Canada almost invisibly?". We must also realize that he is somebody that can bring in money. ................the various aspects and socio-economic backgrounds of these well connected individuals and groups.
    -there isn't enough research being done
    -organized hate groups represent an embryonic movement which is not yet fully developed. It is very unevenly developed between different countries and across locations within countries
    -In the U.S. the first significant breakthrough that white supremacist groups made was in the Mid-west farm belt................ in communities which were and remain, economically distressed
    -They used shared Christian beliefs and hard economic times to reach people that otherwise would not ordinarily be attracted to their movement. They were able to recruit otherwise stable members of the community rather than just transients and lunatics that often populate these groups
    -Duke received over 50% of the vote each time he ran on a state-wide basis.
    -support for Duke was the lowest in the under $15,000 and the over $75,000 income groups. Another surprising finding was that education was not a strong a correlate for predicting support for Duke: It appears that it did not matter whether voters had a university degree or a high school diploma in terms of support. Income appears to be the strongest indicator for support. The highest level of support was from the $30-50,000 per year group. This is a comfortable middle class standard of living and Duke was able to pull in between 62 and 64% in both elections from this group. He was able to do quite well among the supposed stable well educated middle and upper-middle class electorate. Another important finding was that Duke's level of support was twice as high among young white males under 25 than it was in the white population as a whole and it was worse among white women. These findings closely correspond to the demographics of the Republikerner vote in the West Berlin City Parliament in 1990. The first time the far right took seats there the main base of support came from young white male voters under 25. As you can see, the problem of far-right candidates running for government is not unique to Canada or the United States. It is an international phenomena, and so is the rise of hate crimes. Since the beginning of this year there have been around 2,000 hate crimes reported in Germany. The popular conception is that these crimes have all occurred among Eastern German unemployed youth. However, there are studies that show that over 75% of the people who were arrested had jobs. It is not the unemployed lumpen-proletariat committing these crimes. Of the almost 2,000 hate crimes reported to the German government, 714 occurred in the East compared to 1,124 in the Western districts according to an article in the New York Times, November 27, 1992. Reports in the press both in Germany and Internationally tend to analyze the incidents of hate crimes in terms of the high unemployment rates in the East. As a result, we tend to take these reports uncritically and think of hate crimes in Germany as economically motivated crime rather than a politically motivated phenomenon where German Nationalism is the driving force. Although we can argue that the mechanisms for recording and reporting hate crimes may be more reliable in West Germany and that East Germans now living in West Germany may be committing the bulk of the crimes, it appears that the situation in West Germany is also bad. According to media reports, the situation in West Germany has been bad for some time. It is important, therefore, to investigate to what extent nationalism, or a combination of nationalism and ethnic issues, rise to the fore as a defining political feature not just in Germany, but also in Canadian society
    -avoiding conjecture such as the uncritical assumption that unemployment necessarily results in a decrease in tolerance. One of the things that is happening in the world today, is a loss of hope among large segments of the population and a sort of looking backward to an ideal golden age, resulting in a climate where people are susceptible to the myth of ethnicity, and ethnic purity, that has been chosen by far-right groups as a focus for organizing and as a way of resolving socio-economic and political crisis. This has become the ideological rallying point of ultra-right nationalists

***************************************************************** Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 15:10:31 -0400 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: hdirlam@madison.main.nc.us (hilary dirlam) Subject: The (seemingly) endless debate

Dear Sir,

      Why not publish one article per issue on the India/Nepal debate? This would take up less space yet continue the discussion which many are finding so interesting. You could publish in the order recieved (starting with the backlog you undoubtedly have already). This would slow down people's responses and the whole discussion would become (one hopes) more thoughtful. Or maybe it would die out, as people could not jump on the bandwagon so quickly (part of the fun, i suspect.) Hilary dirlam

****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 20:49:28 -0400 (EDT) Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Re: Book review (fwd)

BOOK: The Snake Charmer Author: Sanjay Nigam Publisher: William Morrow, New York, 1998

Charmed To Death

Reviewed by Samrat Upadhyay

In Sanjay Nigam's The Snake Charmer, the main character Sonalal asks a doctor, "What's the matter with me, doctor sahib? What?" And Dr. Basu, looking Sonalal straight in the eye, tells him, "It's called guilt."

Around this central concept of a man's guilt and his search for redemption, Nigam concocts a novel that perhaps should have remained the short story
(published in the magazine Grand Street) from which it grew. In short, the novel is too long for what it does.

That's saying a lot about a work of a "mere" 223 pages, especially when compared to the mountainous books Indian authors are capable of producing, such as Seth's A Suitable Boy, Chandra's Red Earth and Pouring Rain, and Mistry's A Fine Balance. The main problem is that Nigam fails to create a character compelling enough so that we can joyfully participate in his physical and psychological journeys. One quarter into the book, and Sonalal appears as a whiner, and the reader is inclined to say, "Get on with it, man! What's wrong with you?"

The novel starts with Sonalal, the best snake charmer in Delhi and possibly India, as he bites his favorite snake Raju in two in front of foreign journalists because the already-defanged Raju strikes him on the calf for playing a wrong note. Sonalal's subsequent fame and fortune only add to his intense guilt at having killed a pet he considered his eldest son.

Accompanying the guilt is the fear that Raju's mate Rani will seek him out for revenge. Thus begins Sonalal's odyssey seeking a melee of doctors, magicians, his favorite prostitute Reena, and at times even his wife Sarita, who appears as the only interesting and endearing character in the novel, primarily because she is down-to-earth and doesn't suffer the annoying maladies with which the author relentlessly afflicts Sonalal.

The main problem with Nigam's storytelling is that he promises too much but delivers little. In the end, we know as much about Sonalal as we did at the beginning: that he bit his snake in two and is feeling guilty. A confused, muddled quality marks the various stages of his journey in search of remedies to his ailments.

The overall effect is that The Snake Charmer, while constantly driving home the point as to how, and in what ways, Sonalal is tormented, lacks the emotional intensity of good fiction. Sonalal's relentless fluctuation between hope and despair provides the novel several bizarre instances of denouement, each time making it seem as if Sonalal's understanding of his situation has gone to a higher level. Unfortunately, this turns out to be illusory, and once more we are mired in Sonalal's thoughts, listening to the same weeping, whining, whimpering voice, ad infinitum.

There are other ways in which The Snake Charmer doesn't deliver what it promises in the first several pages. Sonalal's relationship with Reena the prostitute is intriguing, but why Reena loves and understands him more than others do remains a bit of a mystery, especially given that she is a prostitute.

Nigam never fully shows what about Sonalal she finds charming enough that she's willing to go with him to Udaipur to spend a week--at her expense. Also, her abrupt, congenial break-up with him at the end of the vacation comes across a heavy-handed authorial device to compound Sonalal's misery. Moreover, it is odd that while Sonalal feels a larger-than-life guilt over his murder of Raju, he shows no remorse at leaving his wife and children at home and gallivanting to Udaipur with his favorite prostitute.

If The Snake Charmer is indeed the journey of a man seeking moral absolution, as it seems to be on the surface, then Nigam could have done better by at least showing in Sonalal a modicum of love towards his wife, who actually emerges as the true heroine of the novel, someone who is earthly, judiciously takes care of money, and tries to knock sense into Sonalal.

The metaphor of a snake biting its own tail recurs throughout the novel. While explaining the structure of benzene, a chemical that "makes marvelous aromas," Dr. Seth tells Sonalal that a scientist named Kekule dreamt that benzene looked like a snake biting its own tail. This image gets imprinted upon Sonalal's mind, and he also understands that the benzene smell is the same as ether, which links the universe.

But Nigam uses the metaphor so conspicuously that it becomes a convoluted device to hold the novel together and to perhaps show how history nearly repeats itself in Sonalal towards the end of the story.

The Snake Charmer is an unimpressive debut by Nigam, who is a physician on the Harvard University faculty in the USA. Roughly a quarter into the novel, a circus master offers Sonalal a lucrative job in the circus: get into a cage with a harmless tiger and pretend to bite it. Sarita wants him to take the job. "I could die," Sonalal roars. "Nobly," says Sarita. One gets the feeling that the novel, too, could have ended nobly had it encountered an early death.

(Samrat Upadhyay is a student of creative writing).

The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power. Editor: Wolfgang Sachs. Publisher: Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1997 (South Asian Edition)

Pramod Parajuli

This collection of articles by 17 well known critics of development focuses on what editor Wolfgang Sachs calls the "obituary of development". For the authors, the epoch of development that had dominated the arena of north-south relations for the last four or five decades, has come to an end. "The idea of development," writes, Wolfgang Sachs in the introduction, "stands like a ruin in the intellectual landscape."

This collection heralds a unique phase in the history of development thinking. Until recently, the critics of development were like the legendary mice who talked about capturing the cat, subduing it and getting rid of it, but were unable to find the one who will bell the cat. This volume tries to catch development by its throat, announcing its demise. Inspired by the intellectual magnetism of Ivan Illich this group of scholars is engaged not only in the "archeaology of development ideas" but also in the enunciation of possible alternatives to traditional
"development".

All the contributors share the premise that the other side of development is the invention of underdevelopment. This they trace to the inaugural address of U.S President Harry Truman on January 20, 1949. This address sets the stage for a discursive formation comprised of the "developed" and the "underdeveloped" worlds. On the one hand, the "developed" does not remain in the developed region; it becomes a project, not a place.

It becomes a multi-layered enterprise claiming transparent universality. On the other hand, after this invention of underdevelopment, two billion people become "underdeveloped". Now two-thirds of the humanity is relegated to a state of underdevelopment. Gustavo Esteva, captures this paradox of how the triumph of the new order led to another colonization of the world. On that day, two billion people became underdeveloped.

In a real sense, from that time on, they ceased being what they were, in all their diversity, and were transmogrified into an inverted mirror of other's reality: a mirror that belittles them and sends them off to the end of the queue, a mirror that defines their identity, which is really that of a heterogenous and diverse majority, simply in the terms of a homogenizing and narrow minority (p. 7).

The issue is not merely that of who said what to whom but precisely about the impact of this announcement on the equation of global power. By this announcement, so called underdeveloped populations were rendered manageable entities in a homogenizing enterprize. As Arturo Escobar has elaborated, this manageability was expressed through the discourse of "planning."

Along with planning, other practices such as "strategizing," "monitoring," and "evaluating" were the mechanisms which set the milieu for intervention by the self appointed angels of development to the rest of the world.

Probably one of the most original contributions of this volume is demythicizing all the subsequent attempts to make development seem still plausible by adding prefixes to it. Aptly deconstructed are concepts such as ethnodevelopment (Esteva), participatory development (Rahnema), the currently popular discourse of sustainable development (Sachs, Shiva) and the innocence of the developmentalist state (Nandy).

Several of the contributors make it clear that no amount of sugarcoating to the bitterpill of development is feasible. Development, they argue is intrinsically anti-participatory, anti-dialogical, anti-empowering for the so-called underdeveloped people. And they show how these so called development alternatives share the same premises underlying the original development discourse.

This book also questions socialist alternatives to capitalist patterns of development. This is where they differ starkly from even the neo-Marxian variants of social intervention such as the experiments in popular culture inspired by Antonio Gramsci and in critical pedagogy inspired by the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire. Both these approaches have informed a variety of initiatives in which development can be used as a form of empowerment of the popular classes.

Esteva puts it succintly, "Development became the central category of Marx's works: revealed as a historical process that unfolds with the necessary character of natural laws. Both the Hegelian concept of history and the Darwinist concept of evolution were interwoven in development, reinforced with the scientific aura of Marx"(p. 9). In a similar vein, Majid Rahnema in his contribution on "participation" has commented on the Freirean experiment of consciousness raising in which the developmentalist mind set of the so-called intellectual/activist is never questioned.

One of the core messages of this book is that doctrinaire socialism cannot offer an alternative to existing capitalist order because it tends to pose itself as a metanarrative by subordinating diversity. In one essay on socialism, Harry Cleaver writes that "we can avoid a great deal of conceptual and communicative difficulty by stopping using the terms
'socialism' or 'socialist development' as shorthands for what we want
(p.247).

The contributors argue that the project of development is set up in such a way that it has already destroyed diversity in both culture and nature. Vandana Shiva makes an apt observation that "since nature needed to be developed by humans, people had also to be developed from their primitive backward states of embeddedness in nature.

Nature's transformation into natural resources needed to go hand in hand with the transformation of culturally diverse people into "skilled human resources" (p. 207). This is how the concept of sustainable development comes into sharpest criticism.

For both Sachs and Shiva, the idea of sustainable development as articulated by the Brundtland Commission, is not about sustaining nature or people's survival but development itself. As Shiva writes,
"sustainability in this context does not involve recognition of the limits of nature and the necessity of adhering to them. Instead it simply means ensuring the continued supply of raw materials for industrial production, the ongoing flow of ever more commodities, the indefinite accummulation of capital" (p. 217).

The contributors to this volume definitely want us to go through an
"epistemological break" from the developmentalist concepts, which did invent as well as perpetuate the myth of global scarcity (as opposed to maldistribution of resources and unequal access) and a sense of backwardness among the majority of people living in the so called Third World.

All this is very welcome. However, I feel a tremendous incompleteness in the theoretical assertion of this kind when these authors are unable to link their critiques with the emergent voices at the grassroots. Blending of such a worthwhile critique with the voice of the voiceless would definitely strengthen the import of this exercise.

I do not mean to imply that such deconstructionist critiques are not needed; they are urgent. Because in many respects, people at the bottom might not be cognizant of the importance of their day to day critical practices or even equipped to articulate their implications to the knowledge empire and industry. Even while shouldering the duty of a committed intellectual to do so, it should be our own moral imperative to link our alternative theories to the voices from the grassroots.

(Pramod Parajuli is interested in organic farming and grassroots movements. Revised version of a review published in American Ethnologist, Aug. 1996.)

************************************************************** From: "Eknath Belbase" <eknath@ad-co.com> To: <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: some statistics and sources/Nepal, India and globalization Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 09:33:34 -0400

To put my money (time=money being the defining equation of our times) where I put my mouth: Some comparitive statistics on poverty in India and Nepal.
[Source: United Nations Human Development Report, 1997, UNDP, Oxford University Press.] dates for data are mostly either 1994 or 1995 depending on primary source used by UNDP.
------------ India Nepal
                                        ------ ------- population not surviving to age 40: 19.4% 19.9% without access to health services: 15% n/a* not available
   " " to clean water: 19% 37%

population illiterate 48% 72% [note primary source in Nepal 5 years older] primary school age pop not making it to grade 5 38% 48%

GDP per capita for poorest 20% $527 $455 GDP per capita for richest 20% $2641 $1975 pop living on $1 or less/day equiv 53 % 53 %

underweight children age 5 or less 53% 49% female pop economically active 50% 68% female illiteracy as multiple of male 181% 146%

exports to GDP ratio 12% 25% Export to Import ratio 80% 76% Internal Renewable Water Resources 12 25 in 1000 m^3 per year per capita

Unfortunately I could not obtain a Bihar to Nepal comparison to address the emprical question that was raised about physical infrastructure by 3 previous posts. However, an example of the variation within Indian states is given: HPI (Human Poverty Index) for Kerala 15% for Bihar over 50% Note that the HPI could not be calculated for Nepal because of the missing value above (*). If someone can find a source for that data value, I can compute the index. The overall mean HPI for India is around 38%. To read about the HPI/HDI methodology, which tells you why its a hell of a lot better to talk about poverty (development)with HPI (HDI) than straight GDP etc. and the underlying mathematics/economics see Technical notes I and II on pages 117-25 of the source named above or the original paper by Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen (in Econometrika I believe) Some understanding of calculus and statistics is required. For a balanced overview of links between poverty and globalization see Ch4 "Globalization - poor nations, poor people" of the UNDP report. It has data, causal explanations and sources galore to explore both the advantages and many pitfalls of globalization w.r.t. underdeveloped nations (pages 82-93). This chapter seems to *mostly* side with the undereducated student from the "best liberal arts college in the US" on the case of Mexico. By the way, I take offense to Middlebury being given that title. The best one is Ohio Wesleyan University, delaware, ohio.

Eknath
(OWU class of 1992) ;)

************************************************************* Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 16:33:56 -0400 From: Harold J Drabkin <hdrabkin@MIT.EDU> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Charities for Nepal

Our lab head's father recently passed away in Nepal. We would like to make a donation to a charity in Nepal in his name, and were wondering if you knew of any charities in the US that would channel funds to something in Nepal (US so we wouldn't have to deal with currency exchange matters, etc.). Thanks in advance

Dr. Harold J. Drabkin MIT hdrabkin@mit.edu

****************************************************************** From: "Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield, CO" <Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com> To: "'NEPAL@MP.CS.NIU.EDU'" <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Should we continue the discussion of Nepal/India Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 09:06:26 -0600

Dear Editor,

Why shouldn't we? I think I have learned quite a bit about Terai since this discussion started. I think we ought to be educated about our people and understand our country. Just because we close our eyes won't mean the problems will go away. I think the Terai discussion has been the greatest accomplishments of TND. Most of the issues Mr. Bhagat raises are legitimate issues that are important for us as a nation. Afterall, isn't "Nepal a garden of 4 species and 36 colors"? This is a time to think about it and understand what it means. Do we really believe it?

When Bibhuti Nepal put forth an argument why Nepal should join India, he did put forth some reasons. I myself thought they were not sound reasons, however, I can't really say he doesn't have a right to put forth his opinion. Several readers also answered why that was a bad idea. We all learned some things from it. My point is why are we afraid of ideas? If we don't agree with someone, we shouldn't throw stones and scare him/her away.

For example, when K.P. Bhattarai said to the Indian press "We don't have the Terai people in the army for the same reason you don't have them", I thought K. P. was very clever. Little did I realize, my countrymen were equally offended by those comments, although from the hindsight I should have realized it.

I reiterate again, Terai discussion has been the best discussion that has happened to TND. It has allowed some of us to understand the essence of being a Nepali. So, the people who don't want to read the articles in Racism and Terai, please scroll down. Afterall, do we want to go back to reading "Ram Looking for Shyam's phone no" articles in the TND?

Sincerely, Prakash Bhandari

********************************************************** From: "Sitaula, Raju" <RZS@crai.com> To: "'nepal@cs.niu.edu'" <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: some more economics Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 15:45:56 -0400

The main economic reason behind forming economic unions is to increase the size of the market so that businesses can benefit from the economies of scale. The argument would be that in a big unified market, different regions within that market would develop a comparative advantage in certain goods and produce those goods not only for that region, but also for the whole market. Putting political and cultural factors aside, let me explain why this economic reason will not work in the context of Nepal. Indian industries already benefit from economics of scale and are very competitive compared to Nepali industries. Indian businesses can easily crush the existing businesses in Nepal. In the case of Nafta, eventhough many Mexican businesses suffered due to competition from the US industries, Mexican economy also benefited because many American firms relocated to Mexico due to low labor cost there. This is not the case between India and Nepal. There are many places in India where labor cost is less than in Nepal. If an Indian company based in Bombay wants to sell its product in the Nepali market prior to the economic unification, it might think about opening a plant in Nepal to avoid tariffs. But after the economic union, that company has a choice of any place in Nepal or India to open its plant. It will look for a place where it can find all the infrastructure and cheap/qualified labor. The probability of that place being in India is far greater than it being in Nepal. One can argue that many Nepali businesses will have access to a vast Indian market and can benefit form it. But the point is Nepali businesses are not able to benefit from whatever piece of Indian market they have access to even now. It is because Nepal has very little to sell to India. Whatever Nepal produces, India produces much better and much cheaper. The common market will only make it easier for Indian businesses to totally dominate Nepali economy. Some economic books would argue that even if one country produces everything more efficiently, trade is still good because (in this case) Nepali consumers are better off buying cheap and better quality Indian goods. This might be true. But the arguments here has been that Indo-Nepal economic union will bring development to the remote villages in Nepal. This will not happen.
 
-Raju

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