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The Nepal Digest Sat Sept 26, 1998: Ashwin 10 2055BS: Year7 Volume78 Issue4
Today's Topics (partial list):
Dasain Celebration in Connecticut
Sexual harassment and tourism
Martin Chautari Discussions
Happy Bijaya Dashami!
Earn some money on the side
NSP for amendment in constitution
From Himal Magazine
CME in Nepal
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
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* +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
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* "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
****************************************************************** From: "Dr. J. Joshee" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Dasain Celebration in Connecticut Content-Type: text/plain Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 08:01:29 PDT
This year, the DASAIN celebration in Connecticut will take place on
Saturday, October 3, 1998 at the Puerto-Rican/Latin American Cultural
Center, University of Connecticut. All Nepalis and friends of Nepal are
cordially invited to attend the pooja ceremony and a grand BHOJ. The
following is the progam of the day:
2:00 PM Arrival and Khaajaa
3:30-5:30 Activities for Children
6:00 Puja and Tika
7:00 Dasain Bhoj
9:00 - 10:30 Naach Gaan Cultural Program
$10 Individual $20 Couple $30 Family
Please send your contribution to:
Holinko Estate Apt. # 4A
Storrs, Connecticut, 06268
For more information please call Hemanta @ 860-487-0046.
>From Hartford take Interstate 84 East and from Boston area take 84 West.
Take Exit 68. Take Rt. 195 south towards the University of Connecticut. Pass jct. of Rt. 32 and then 44. Continue on 195. As you enter the University pass the sign UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT at a traffic light. At the next light (church at right hand corner) turn right on North Eagleville Road. Then there is sort of a fork. Take left there on Glenbrook Road. Puerto-Rican Latin American Cultural Center is on your left before the next STOP sign.
We hope to see you all.
Dr. J. Joshee
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 15:02:38 +0100 (BST)
To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Helen Brown)
Subject: Sexual harassment and tourism
I have just read the post by Terence Hay-Edie in TND [Sept 8th]
forwarded by Aiko Anne Joshi to TND. I had written a long post to
the Bol mailing list on the subject of the sexual harassment of tourists
in Nepal, which makes it plain why these offences are kept quiet
although they certainly occur.
I am certainly not alienated by Terence's answer because he pointed
out that nothing can excuse real sexual harassment. In my years of
travelling and working in Nepal I have met a very small minority of
western women who talked about their sexual liasons with Sherpa
guides and other Nepalese men, and a far greater number of Nepalese
men who bragged tediously about sexual conquests. It seems to be a
case of the few spoiling things for the many....
I would like to respond to this point in more detail, but I was
supposed to be on holiday and delayed my departure because
I was on a deadline to edit and submit a paper for inclusion in
an important journal, which will hopefully lead to the points I made
being more widely accepted by the travel industry. Now I am home
only for a couple of days....I will certainly post more information to
TND in the future.
Terence Hay-Edie also mentioned a problem with accessing my site:
Nepal, Travel, Trekking and Trafficking: http://www.blue-fox.com/nepal.
This now appears to have been fixed.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 10:34:54 -0400 (EDT)
Forwarded by: Ashutosh Tiwari <email@example.com>
Gurkhas and British Morality
On paying a Pakistani cricket umpire less than his British counterparts,
England's Umpires Association chairman Barrie Leadbeater said among other
things "[i]t is difficult to justify paying the others so much less but if
they were paid the same they would be rich men in their countries, where
the living standards are lower."
It is quite admirable that the British - of all people - are so concerned about issues of class equality, albeit in countries other than their own. Their "moral courage", with the unspoken implication that of course that they would only be too willing to pay equal wages would it not be so unfair for those at home, is most excellent.
And most in line with their logic in the equal pension debate for British Gurkhas. But it seems to me that the real, underlying issue remains untouched. Dare we be less coy, and more straightforward?
One of the main problems is that we don't have the written memoirs of those soldiers for whom "doing chakkas in polo with those other chaps" was but a vicarious experience. Neither do we know exactly what was going on in "Johnny Gurkha's" mind during the time in which, as his British captain recorded later, "his eyes steely concentrated on only one goal - to capture the hill, he fearlessly marched forward with only his kukhri in hand as bullets whistled past him". Nor is it widely known what really lay behind those "ever-cheerful faces", "that amazing courage typical of Gurkhas",
"the undying bonds of loyalty formed between the Gurkha sipai and his British officer" etc.
What we have is one-sided myths formed from the very biased opinions of those who held the power to decide with one word, the future of the lives of the Nepali men under their command.
And the other side? I have some bits of it. My father speaks very rarely of his experience in the British army - especially the war time. And you see, no one makes movies recounting the horrors experienced in war by brown men. Their emotions, their feelings, their fears or hopes remain mostly unrecorded - thus "not real."
My father and I watched the opening scenes of "Jacob's Ladder", the film about the flashback experiences of a white, American Vietnam veteran. Out of the blue, my father said "I used to get those." Some minutes later he added "It was just like that in Malaysia. You never knew where the enemy was. You had to be tense all the time. It's very hard being tense all the time. And it was hot, rainy and sticky. And the leeches were everywhere. And you had to leave your friends behind to die cos you couldn't carry them". He left the room 5 minutes later.
I've never asked him if he killed anyone. I did ask him if he was scared. He sneered. "Of course I was. Everyone was. Who wouldn't be? We could die any moment. Many wanted to run but we needed to earn our living. Who would support our families? I was nearly killed three times. I didn't know if I would live to see your eldest brother being born. I used to be so scared"
So much for inherent courage, fearlessness and bravery.
My father told me how terrible the conditions were when he was sent in 1949 to fight in the "Communist Insurgency" in Malaysia. Many of his friends were sick with malnutrition and diseases because of inadequate food and shelter. He said "we were treated like dogs by the British". It wasn't that they didn't complain. But whenever anyone complained to the British officers, and this was true for all his service years, the immediate response was "You'll be put back on the plane and sent home." So how deep exactly are those bonds again from British officer to Gurkha soldier?
That there are many more questions that need to be answered is clear. As is the fact that my father's age, rank and privilege provide only a certain picture, a slice - but an alternative none-the-less to the myths constructed by British officers.
What is also clear is that because they do not have written memoirs, does not mean they do not remember. Because they cannot articulate themselves in English does not mean that they are stupid. Because you did not hear them complain did not mean they were happy. Because they did not talk about their children, it did not mean they did not want to go home and be with their families, who were waiting hopefully, just like British wives and children, for their husbands and fathers. Because they were Nepali, it did not mean that their blood was any less valuable. Because they are brown, does not mean they do not feel. They feel, they hurt, they remember.
The British have made a mistake. They thought that they could get
people like my father to risk their lives, undergo much physical and
emotional hardship and be satisfied with less pay and pension than that of
their British counterparts. A colonial era ago they got away with it. But
To continue pressing the argument of paying according to "their country's standard of living" is in today's age, embarrassing in its straightforward racism. For what that really means, is the standard with which the "natives" should be satisfied, the lifestyle with which they should be accustomed, the amount for which they should be grateful according to the station of life to which they belong.
Past mistakes need to be rectified because the world is watching what the British will do for "those cheerful chaps" who shed their blood for the Union Jack. It is British honor and prestige that is now at stake. Let the world see how much they really valued our fathers, brothers and sons.
Do the British have the moral courage?
S. Tamang, a social science researcher, is an organizer of Martin Chautari
Biased Agrarian Restructuring
The Beginnings of Agrarian Change: A Case Study in Central Nepal
By Jagannath Adhikari
Kathmandu, TM Publication, 1996
Since the 1970s, several scholars have predicted that Nepal's society is
headed toward a crisis. They have identified Nepal's overwhelming reliance
on peasant agriculture as the major element of this crisis whose causes,
they have argued, include over-population, ecological collapse in the hill
areas, depletion of natural resources and increasing food shortages.
However, after observing the restructuring of the rural communities from
subsistence farming towards small-scale commercial agriculture and off-farm
employment, researcher Jagannath Adhikari contends that rural Nepal now
seems likely to escape that 'crisis.'
The Beginnings of Agrarian Change examines the process of agrarian
restructuring occuring in the villages of the middle hill region of central
Nepal. The book, based on a Ph.D thesis, is the outcome of field data
collected from four major ethnic groups: Brahmin, Gurung, Chhetri, and
occupational caste during intensive research in two villages of Kaski
district, Lachok and Riban in 1989-90 and 1992-94. It is divided into three
parts. In the first part, Adhikari discusses how the present unequal social
and economic situation evolved. In the second, he discusses the recent
changes in economic relationships between ethnic groups while in the last,
he examines the reasons for the continued plight of the occupational caste
and the prospects for their upliftment.
After describing the process of agrarian restructuring in ethnically
diverse hill communities of central Nepal Adhikari argues that this process
has not had uniform impact in the different sections of the society. The
existing internal divisions have prevented the lowest income class - the
occupational caste group - from receiving substantial benefits including
those from natural resources. In spite of this the restructuring process
resulting from changes in the livelihood strategies of different ethnic
groups has been critical in putting off the state of extreme poverty.
But how exactly has this restructuring occurred? Firstly the population
pressure on land has been contained as more Gurungs have retreated from
farming. Some marginal, swidden land previously used by them has been
converted into forest plantations which has helped in the conservation of
forests. Secondly the accumulation of outside earnings - British Gurkha
remittances in the case of Gurungs, civil service incomes in the case of
Brahmin-Chhetris - has decreased their dependence on subsistence farming.
Many have become 'hobby farmers' with dual residences. This has created
more wage employment opportunities within the villages from which members
of the occupational caste have benefitted.
Thirdly, agricultural intensification and commercialization has increased
due to better irrigation facilities, new technical inputs and
transportation network. Gurungs' retreat from farming has enabled Brahmins
and Chhetris to expand their cultivation by renting their land. Even
occupational caste members now rent more land. But here also, the intra and
inter-ethnic economic disparity has widened. Fourthly, economic
interdependence across ethnic boundaries has strengthened because of
economic transfers among them. This has helped many rural poor to live
marginally above the threshold of extreme poverty.
What have been the stimulants to this restructuring process? According to
Adhikari, increased migrations and differential access to off-farm
employment both within and outside the village community have been the most
important influences. Foreign army service and the state have provided
employment to Gurungs and Brahmins-Chhetris respectively. It is only for
the occupational poor that things have not changed much in this front. Low
wage employment within the village farm sector and the nearby urban areas
and traditional occupations like tailoring, metallurgy, mat and basket
weaving are their main sources of income, even as the latter is gradually
declining as a source.
But Adhikari argues that there has been no real change in the structure of
production.The peasant mode of production and the tradition of ethnic
inequality still predominate. This is evident even in the management of
forests where the untouchables have had relatively little access to its
resources. The caste-based forest management has denied them equal access
to the 'community forest' and it is the 'high forest' which has provided
relief for those without ownership rights over the forests located near the
village houses. This differential access has not been without conflicts.
However, it has forced the villagers to try to find a solution that
provides more equitable access to forest resources to untouchables.
So, here is an indigenous effort to describe the possible course of the
socio-politico-economy of an ethnically diverse rural community. It is not
the first study of the rural Nepal. There is an abundance of such studies
but very few of them have accurately explained the persistence of the rural
economy in its largely traditional form. Nor have such studies appreciated
the intricate intra and inter ethnic relationships in view of social,
political and economic structures at large. Adhikari's attempt is hence
commendable. It is an excellent research work and should be read by all
social science researchers and policy planners.
But the book also comes with some shortcomings. This is reflected in the
tendency of the author to generalise his research findings to a wider rural
society without conducting similar studies of other villages in the more
extreme localities of the country. And the still peripheral but important
rural Tarai may be restructuring in a very different manner. Similarly,
the author exposes the plight of the poor but offers no real, workable
solutions for their upliftment. Simply to assert that their current problem
can be solved by creating a conflict free situation and by improving their
skills and educational abilities is to acquiesce to the forces of
traditional domination. Finally I could not help having my reservations
about change. While research 'experts' are constantly busy digging out all
sorts of changes, I wonder if the people, who are often the former's
research guinea pigs, are aware of this 'change' as well!
P. Bhatta is doing a masters in sociology at TU
Living by Poetry
Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life
Ed. Robert Hass
New Jersey: Ecco Press, 1998
A review by Manjushree Thapa
Robert Hass begins his new poetry anthology with this quote from William
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably
of what is found there
Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life tries indeed to save its readers'
imaginative lives by introducing them to poems of lyric intensity which
provoke much sensation, feeling and thought. The book is a compilation of a
newspaper column Hass authored while appointed the Poet Laureate of the
United States from 1995-97. His original goal was to introduce readers used
to the "debased public language" of popular media to the elevated language
of poems in the hope that the refinement found there would teach them to
make more sophisticated judgments as democratic citizens. The book makes
the same attempt. Hass's ambitions for poetry are not modest.
He goes about fulfilling these ambitions with disarming ease. Following the seasons, he provides readers with poems which suggest the particularities of that time of year. This haiku by Basho, for instance, is a poem about "the permissions of summer:" Napped half the day=F3 no one punished me. As is the following one, also by Basho: As for the hibiscus by the roadside, my horse ate it.
Most poems in the anthology are considerably longer than these haiku. Each comes with an introduction by Hass, and sometimes a brief commentary about the author's life and some aspect of the work. Hass's musings on these poems are themselves eloquent, and they always make the selected work more approachable for the reader. Paul Celan's poem about the Holocaust "Deathfugue," for instance, becomes immensely vivid once the reader knows that Celan spent his life trying to write poems =F1 and create beauty =F1 in his native German tongue after barely surviving the Third Rei= ch concentration camps where both his parents were murdered. His torment rings clearly through this small, urgent excerpt: Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night we drink you at morning and midday we drink you at evening we drink and we drink a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margareta your aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays with his vipers The poem is translated in such a way that it slowly switches from English to German so that the reader may share Celan's harrowing relationship with his language of expression. It ends by contrasting, in German, the golden-haired Margareta, who is the object of an SS Officer's fantasies, to Shulamith, a Jewish woman described hauntingly as having ashen hair.
Poet's Choice includes work by renowned contemporary poets Amiri Baraka, Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, Denise Levertov, WS Merwin, Sharon Olds, Robert Pinsky and Derek Walcott, along with strong works by lesser known poets. A few older poets such as Dickinson, Frost, Rilke and Yeats are also included. By his own admission, Hass tends to select English-language poets, but he does make room for some translations of works by important world poets like Bei Dao, Joseph Brodsky, Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, and Wislawa Symborska. In addition, the book contains an excellent chapter on children's poetry which teachers of English might be interested in examining. Chief among Hass's recommendations for early childhood are Mother Goose, the songbook Go In and Out the Window, and Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library. Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, and the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are recommended for middle childhood. For late childhood, he recommends the stories of CS Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the simpler poems of writers such as Shakespeare, TS Eliot and Emily Dickinson, which can be found in the anthologies The New Oxford Book of Children's Verse and A Child's Anthology of Poetry. Obviously, Hass's recommendations are western in focus, and should be viewed as such when creating reading lists for the Nepali child.
Adult readers, Hass steers towards subtler verses, some sad, some celebratory, and some philosophical like this excerpt from Stanley Kunitz's
"The Abduction": Our lives are spinning out from world to world; the shape of things are shifting in the wind. What do we know Beyond the rapture and the dread?
With Hass acting as an expert guide, Poet's Choice offers a rare chance for those unused to poetry to reach its rarified heights. Readers wishing to experience the fullness of life that beautiful language offers will find much of value in this book.
M. Thapa recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of
History of Nepali Photographers
Changing Faces of Nepal
Compiled and written by Susanne von der Heide
Kathmandu, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1997
by Pratyoush Onta
Until recently photography in Nepal was in search of a historian! Some
recently published evidence of scholarly interest in this subject now
suggests that the wait is almost over. Changing Faces of Nepal is one such
evidence. It is a catalogue prepared for an exhibition at UNESCO (Paris,
December 1997) of selective photos taken by the Chitrakars of Bhimsensthan,
Kathmandu over the 20th century. It has been compiled and written by
Susanne von der Heide, a familiar Nepal hand.
After several prefatory remarks, we come across a brief statement with the
title "The Past in the Present" where Heide discusses the cultural
developments witnessed in Kathmandu in the modern era of Nepali history. In
particular she highlights how the Ranas cultivated a "taste for Western
cultural and consumer goods." This change meant that Chitrakars who had
access to Rana courts had to redefine their traditional role as painters
and artists. When photography entered the scene in late 19th century, some
took it up even as they continued to paint. The new technology also gave
birth to the hybrid product of 'retouched' photos (photos that had been
reworked with the painter's brush).
In the following essay (spiced with relevant photos) entitled "Pioneers of
Early Photography in Nepal: Photographers, Artists and Patrons" Heide
provides substantial information on pioneering Nepali photographers and
wealthy Rana individuals who patronized them. The book also contains 60
photographs, 59 of which were taken by the father and son duo of Dirga Man
Chitrakar (1877-1951) and Ganesh Man Chitrakar (1906-1985) between 1909 and
Heide identifies Dambar Shamsher (1859-1922), younger brother of Rana RM
Bir Shamsher (r. 1885-1901) as the first Nepali photographer. Dambar had
set up a photo studio in his durbar with money provided by his father Dhir
Shamsher. It seems that Dambar had learnt the art in the mid-1870s from
European photographers who had visited Nepal from India, namely Bourne and
Shepherd. Dambar's son Samar Shamsher and grandson Bal Krishna Sama (one of
the founding pillars of modern Nepali literature) were also good
Heide names Purna Man Chitrakar (c. 1863-1939) as an important early
photographer who was patronized by Dambar Shamsher and Gehendra Shamsher,
son of Bir Shamsher. Purna Man is said to have learnt photography from the
former around 1880 and was sent to Calcutta in the early 1880s for further
training. Even as he continued to paint, Purna Man also received
instructions from a Bengali photographer Neel Madhaba Deen who was invited
to Kathmandu in 1888.
Dirga Man Chitrakar came under the tutelage of Purna Man in the early 1890s
when he was in his early teens. Later he was patronized by Chandra Shamsher
(r. 1901-1929) who gave him a job in the art department in Singha Durbar and took him in his entourage to Europe in 1908. Whether Dirga Man took any pictures while he was there has not been ascertained but it is known for sure that many cameras were brought back to Nepal at the end of that trip. It is with them that Dirga Man began to photograph, and this also explains why the earliest photos taken by him included in this exhibition date to 1909. He set up an enlargement studio in his house in Bhimsensthan around then as well and later taught photography to his son Ganesh Man.
Purna Man taught photography to many Chitrakars: his brother Badra Man,
Badra Man's brothers-in-law Ratna Bahadur and Hira Bahadur; Krishna
Bahadur, Tej Bahadur and possibly Harka Lal Chitrakar and his son Prithvi
Lal. Other pioneering Chitrakar photographers mentioned by Heide include
Chaite Chitrkar and his son Purna; Prithvi Man Chitrakar, the brothers
Laxmi Bahadur and Tulsi Bahadur (grandsons of the famous artist Bhaju Man
who Jung Bahadur had taken to Europe in 1850) and the latter's sons Buddhi
Bahadur and Krishna Bahadur.
Other early photographers included Chakra Bahadur Kayestha and his three
sons: Tej, Darsan and Sahilu; Madan and Sri Man Kayestha; Ghyan Bahadur
Karmacharya and his brother Shanta Bahadur, latter's son Samar; Narayan
Prasad Joshi, Pashupati Lal Shrestha, Bharat Shrestha and Tirath Raj
Manandhar, Govind Vaidya, Bishnu Dhoj Joshi and his son Hiranya Dhoj.
Heide also briefly discusses the first photographers in Nepal who were
almost certainly Europeans. As was reported in a 1992 article by J. P.
Losty, the earliest photographs taken in Nepal that can be
uncontroversially dated are those taken by Clarence C Taylor, an officer at
the British Residency in Kathmandu, in 1863.
Among the 60 photos exhibited, some have been developed from the original
glass negatives; some have been published before. We get a glimpse of many
of Kathmandu's monuments before they were destroyed by calamities such as
the 1934 earthquake or catastrophic fires. Shots of Rana courts and
families can also be seen. Other photos show different Kathmandu locations
during festivals and ordinary occasions. Clothings of the Ranas and
ordinary people seen in different photos make for an interesting
comparison. Of great interest are two pictures that depict a Chitrakar
marriage in 1927 and the extended family of the photographers in 1947.
To conclude then, this is an important contribution to the history of
Nepali photography. Heide's presentation, however, suffers from some
omissions. She provides no photographs of Purna Man Chitrakar. In the
references given at the end of the book, the title of this reviewer's
article on Balkrishna Sama published in Studies in Nepali History and
Society (vol 2, no.1) is inaccurate. More surprising is her lack of
references to Mark Liechty's article published in the same issue on how
Nepal's modern rulers have consumed foreign goods and foreignness and to my
10,000-word, six-part article entitled "History of Photography in Nepal"
published in this paper in 1994. In the latter, I had proposed a scheme
within which we can understand the consumptive history of photography in
Nepal and Heide's analysis could have easily made use of some of the
insights provided therein.
P.Onta is an editor of Studies in Nepali History and Society
TRAFFICKING/PROSTITUTION - THE CONTINUUM
MEENA POUDEL, OXFAM NEPAL
Trafficking - the selling of women and children for monetary profit, most
often leading to bonded prostitution - has come to be one of the most
visible topics in South Asia. The media is saturated with stories of women
and children sold to sex slavery, where they are deprived of their most
basic human rights. Social movements in the sub-continent are by now
actively involved in working with this issue.
The debates, however, still see no clear-cut division between trafficking
and prostitution. As the phenomena of large numbers of women working as
sex workers in urban areas continues to increase, the need has come to
take this beyond the discourses of trafficking, to include larger issues
of the economics of migration and labor, and the difference between forced
and voluntary prostitution.
For our first discussion on Bol!, we have invited Meena Poudel, the
Programme Coordinator of Oxfam Nepal and a longtime activist, to answer
questions on what the South Asian activist networks have been doing on
this issue. We invite your to write in and ask Meena questions and respond
to her comments.
Meena, who recently initiated a debate in a public forum about the
difference between trafficking and prostitution, was answered with polemic
by a high profile journalist in two Nepali national newspapers. In the
articles, he accused international non-governmental organizations (INGOs)
and individuals working within them as acting as agents of trafficking due
to their positions regarding prostitution.
The choices of the majority of Nepali women are seen to be so limited that
the idea of "voluntary" prostitution is considered a paradox. People fear
that decriminalization and legalization will lead to massive numbers of
women who will have little choice but to engage in sex work. The
difficulties of working with this issue, as the recent response suggest,
that prostitution is still a long way from being seen as a labor,
livelihood and health issue.
Is poverty the main cause of trafficking?
Trafficking is caused not just by poverty, but has underlying political
causes. The recent market oriented economic policies of the Nepali
government, especially the liberalization and privatization, has opened up
the labor markets and spurred the movement of trafficking. The move
towards privatization, which started in 1987, has become more active since
1993. This has led to Overseas labor companies actively recruiting women.
There was a recent case were a Hong Kong labor company sent in a demand
for 300 girls, who were below 25 and semi-literate. This was sent to the
Labor Department! But after the International Women's Conference in
Beijing, even the governments have become aware. Fortunately, the Labor
Department sent that order to the Women's Ministry, and it was stopped.
The scope of trafficking is expanding, and prostitution is not the only
reason. Women from South Asia are now even going to Eastern Europe, Burma,
Thailand and the Philippines.
Still, they are primarily being contracted by labor companies and taken to
Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia, where they might be working as domestic
workers and factory workers.
Do the women who get recruited by these companies go of their own free
will, or they are also being trafficked?
In the Nepali context, it's more of a trafficking mode. Even when they go
through these employment agencies, they don't know where they are going,
what they are going to do, how much money they are going to get for it,
and for how long. As I mentioned, they don't know. Finally, they end up at
the brothels; there is no way to escape, and they end up in sex
If they want to come back, they can't. Some women manage to escape and
come back but they are not accepted by their community, so they have to go
back, or start prostitution in their home country. So is this real
prostitution? Is it real trafficking?
The question is complex, very complex -
What criteria do you use to define 'trafficking'?
We look at a number of factors when we decide whether a person was
trafficked - had she been told where she would be going? Was she told what
she would be doing? How much she would be getting paid for it? Is she
getting the money paid for her work? Can she leave when she wants to? Does
she have the travel papers in her hands?
What's the laws in Nepal regarding trafficking?
They have the Muluki Ain - they say that prostitution is prohibited and
trafficking is a crime. But the legal system doesn't support women, it
supports the traffickers. The law demands a lot of evidences which is not
possible for women to provide in this society. Harassment by the Police
and government lawyers doesn't encourage women to come out. The Police
often use this opportunity to rape them.
Women in Nepal also can't read and write, and the government people who
are assigned to help them put false names and charge other people in order
to get commission. There's a lot of political corruption. They charge high
rates, even for women who have been rejected by their families. Women
cannot pay that amount of money for lawyers and people who help to write
the applications. There's no standard fees.
What connection do you see between health and decriminalization?
Prostitution has always been connected with exploitation of female labor -
there are historical connections where women's bodies have been sold by
political powers. In Nepal, trafficking has become a highly profitable
business, with high profile political connections.
With decriminalization and legalization, prostitution will be valued as
labor that has to be paid. As soon as it stops being a question of crime
and starts being a question of labor, we can turn the debate to questions
to rights to good working conditions, sanitation, clean drinking water,
The Nepali government released statistics that said that more than 51% of
HIV/AIDS cases in the country come out of that sector. With legalization,
women will have easier access to medical care, they will not perceived as
criminals, raped by the police, shuttled back and forth from one
organization to another. But unless its seen as work, things will not
change - the government remains unconcerned about labor conditions abroad
and at home...
Many people in Nepal are afraid that if you legalize prostitution, it will
come to be seen as the only job option for many women who are unemployed
in a formal economy at the moment. What are your thoughts about that?
We're not saying lets legalize all of the sex industry - but make sure
that there are certain mechanisms that make sure that women who are
already working in this sector get paid for their work, have the right to
work without getting harassed by the police, the clients and the brothel-
owners etc. If women in this business see no other alternative, then they
should be allowed to continue - without police harassment or state
But there should be mechanisms to think about ways to get paid fair wages,
their social security, the future of their children. There should be
mechanisms to insure that they can get legal citizenship - if families are
not willing to recognize these women as their daughters, how can they get
citizenship? The country should be responsible for this - if they say
these are our citizens, then they should have citizen's rights.
What steps have been taken at the regional level about this issue?
India plays a vital role in South Asian politics - through SAARC. It
dominates all of South Asian politics. Nepali, Bangaldeshi and Pakistani
women are trafficked to India, and again through India they are trafficked
to Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia. India, therefore, is
both the receiving country and the transit country.
We finally managed to get to SAARC in the Ninth Summit in Maldives, 1997.
We met all the leaders and got them to add an article about trafficking in
their convention. Finally, they decided it was in their official agenda.
What kind of steps are you taking at the international level?
We have three proposals. One is a regional court to deal with the issue,
because its a cross-border issue, one country can't deal with it. Another
is a regional convention.
International conventions are not working here, we're calling for a South
Asian one. The drafting process of that convention has already been
initiated by an NGO from Bangladesh, the Resistance group. We are asking
SAARC to hold a conference to draft the convention on a regional level.
The third is to initiate bilaterial talks between country of origin and
Meena Poudel, a Nepali activist, has a long history of working for women's
rights. She has been a member of the Asian Women Human rights Council,
where she participated as a member of the taskforce on the prevention of
trafficking. She has worked as a strong advocate against trafficking at
the regional level - has been on a fact finding mission to Japan to find
out about trafficking in Thai women, helped organize an Asian level public
hearing in Tokyo, and was also present at the public hearing in Banglore.
She is a member of a South Asian network, Resistance, that comes out of
Bangladesh. She is presently working with Oxfam Nepal, which has initiated
work on this issue in Nepal, as Programme Coordinator.
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 17:39:47 +0545 (NPT)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pratyoush Onta)
Subject: Martin Chautari Discussions
Martin Chautari discussions
22 September 1998
Are NGOs agents of imperialism?
An open discussion to be led by Dr Narayan Pokharel, Dipendra Chhetri,
Krishna Murari Gautam et al
29 September 1998
No meeting due to Dasain holidays
6 October 1998 (Gender series: first Tuesday of the month)
Safe Motherhood: Implications for Nepali Women
Dr Arzu Rana Deuba
11 October 1998 (Note SUNDAY; time: 5:30)
Literature and Politics
13 October 1998
Examining the Culture of Science in Nepal
Dipak Gyawali, Pragya, RONAST
18 October 1998 (Note SUNDAY; time: 5:30)
Tourism and Public Health
Dr Stephen Bezruchka, University of Washington
20 October 1998
No meeting due to Tihar holidays
Martin Chautari weekly discussion series meets EVERY TUESDAY at 5:30 pm at
the premises of Martin Chautari (tel: 246065) in Thapathali, Kathmandu
(behind VS Niketan School's first building when going from Thapathali towards Babarmahal - past the Maternity Hospital, turn left, turn right after passing the NEFEJ office, NOT towards UMN and St. Xavier's College; on electric pole you will see a sign for "Martin Chautari"). Discussions are held in Nepali or/and English (the latter when the main speaker is a non-Nepali). This is an open forum and anyone interested can participate.
Do you listen to Radio Sagarmatha (FM 102.4) between 6:30 - 9:30 every
morning and evening? Dabali, a weekly discussion program, goes on air on
Wednesdays at 8:30am.
From: Bhuban Pandey <email@example.com>
Subject: Happy Bijaya Dashami!
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 8:36:12 CDT
We like to wish you a very happy Bijaya Dashami festival.
Bhuban, Prabha and Bhumika Pandey
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 02:16:10 -0500
From: Diwas Khati <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Happy Vijaya Dashami
To all friends around the world,
Happy Vijaya Dashami....
May Bhavani be there for you, as ever, crushing the demon of earths.
From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <email@example.com>
Subject: Earn some money on the side
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 11:18:54 PDT
...write for <http://www.chaitime.com>
Contact Bhana Grover at <firstname.lastname@example.org> for further
Subject: NSP for amendment in constitution
NSP for amendment in constitution
By a Post Reporter
BIRATNAGAR, Sept 22 - The Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP)
Morang organised a procession
shouting various slogans and demanding that the
constitution be amended, citizenship problem be
resolved, "Madhesis" be given reservation and price
rise be controlled.
The procession organised at the end of the 5-day hunger
strike in response to the circular of its central
office in an attempt to fulfil the 5-point demands was
attended by about 5 thousansd men and women.
An appeal written in the Hindi language, distributed at
the procession said the constitution should be
amended because the questions of
citizenship,reservation, formation of provincial government are all
related with constitution.The appeal said the party
would continue to agitate to press for its demands.
The party has said in the appeal,'the constitution is
faulty because it cannot ensure the welfare of the
"Madhesis.' The party has said if the constitution was
not amended, it would burn the constitution on
A mass meeting held after the procession was chaired by
NSP Morag president Dr Hiralal Shah.The
hunger strike was broken before the mass meeting.
Similarly, in Rajbiraj also, the 5-day hunger strike of
NSP was organised. Shailesh Kumar Chaudhari
blamed that the government had no positive attitude
towards their demand.
Thirteen party members had taken part in the strike to
press for their 5-point demand. At the programme
marking to end the hunger strike, different people
associated with the party expressed their views in
support of their demands.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 13:51:15 +0000
Subject: From Himal Magazine
Attached with this e-mail please find two files containing two
articles appearing in the 1998 September issue of Himal, the South
File no 1. 'Sex and marriage' titled "Sex and marriage in Nepal" is on the Nepali
Supreme Court's landmark decision against virginity tests.
File no 2 'kalapaniSEPT98.m titled "Badge of nationalism" is Himal's
commentary on the Kalapani issue.
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 08:43:26 +0545 (NPT)
From: email@example.com (Pratyoush Onta)
Subject: P Onta's essay 25 Sept 1998
Source: The Kathmandu Post, 25 September 1998
The Politics of Knowledge
Reprint Books for Students!
by Pratyoush Onta
Nearly five years ago, I published an article with the title "Reprint
Market Booming" in the Kathmandu weekly, The Independent (13 Oct 1993). In
it I wrote, "Never before in Kathmandu's book-market have book buyers seen
as many reprints of erstwhile out-of-print books (written in English) on
Nepal....Academics and others who would have otherwise had to look for them
in libraries (in Nepal this can be quite frustrating) or in the elusive
rare-book market can only welcome this inundation."
The article then went on discuss two chief characteristics of the reprint
market. First, the reprint market of the pre-1950s books is dominated by
publishers mostly based in India. These include Cosmo Publications, Asian
Educational Services, Daya Publishing House, Low Price Publications and
Anmol Publications. Between them they have reprinted a wide variety of
books related to Nepal (by now, the total has probably crossed the one
hundred mark). Reprinting of some post-1950s books has also been done by
Nepali publishers such as Himalayan Booksellers, Mandala Book Point, and
Ratna Pustak (the last having been associated with the Bibliotheca
Himalayica series). Second, I also discussed the South Asian reprint
editions of books on Nepal that were originally published in Europe and
America. Here both Indian and Nepali publishers have been active. One can
think of titles such as Sherry Ortner's High Religion (1989) reprinted by
Motilal Banarasidas or Mary Slusser's Nepal Mandala (1982) recently
reprinted by Mandala.
The earlier article concluded by listing several out-of-print books that
the reprint industry had overlooked. Since these have not been reprinted, I
re-list them here, along with other titles, with the hope that they will
grab the attention of the concerned Nepali publishers.
Included in the prescribed readling list of various MA programs at
Tribhuvan University (TU) are several books that have long been
out-of-print. These include two books by economic historian Mahesh C. Regmi
- A Study in Nepali Economic History 1768-1846 (1971, Manjusri Publishing House) and Land Ownership in Nepal (1976, University of California Press); Nepal in Crisis (1980, Oxford University Press) written by P. Blaikie, J. Cameron and D. Seddon; Frederick H Gaige's Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal (1975 University of California Press, later reprinted by Vikas Publishing House); Resources and Population: a Study of the Gurungs of Nepal (1976, Cambridge University Press) by Alan Macfarlane; Lionel Caplan's Land and Social Change in East Nepal (1970, University of California Press). Both of Regmi's books are indispensable sources for students of Nepali history and society. The earlier book was once reprinted in the late 1970s but has not been available in the market since the 1980s. His 1976 book was never reprinted in a South Asian edition and has been virtually inaccessible to students studying inside Nepal all along. The earlier book, printed as part of the Bibliotheca Himalayica series should be reprinted by EMR Publishing House (which is a joint venture of Educational Enterprises, Mandala and Ratna Pustak) as it has revived the series recently. Regmi has the permission to reprint his 1976 book from the original publisher and hence it shouldn't be difficult to reprint it as well.
The other four books are especially essential reading sources for students
of Nepali society. Blaikie et al. 's use of the dependency shade of Marxian
analysis to judge Nepali society and economy in the 1970s is often referred
in all social science writings in Nepal. Its shortcomings have been
demonstrated by other (Marxist) scholars but how are students expected to
understand the subtleties of the argument made in this book and its
criticisms by others if the original text is not available to them for
reading? Gaige's and Caplan's books are taught as examples of "conflict
theory" to hundreds of students of sociology and anthropology at Tribhuwan
University (TU), most of whom have never seen the hard copies of these
books. In addition to being studies of the tarai and east Nepal
respectively, they serve as fine examples of the strengths and weaknesses
of early foreign field-work based social science writings on Nepal.
Macfarlane's book is of interest to students of ethnography, demography and
Books published in the US that have never been reprinted in a South Asian
edition include Judith Justice's Policies, Plans and People (1986,
University of California Press), Nanda Shrestha's Landlessness and
Migration in Nepal (1990, Westview Press) and Lionel Caplan's Warrior
Gentlemen: "Gurkhas" in the Western Imagination (1995, Berghahn Books).
Justice's book - a study of the politics of health in a society flush with
foreign aid - is prescribed in several development related programs;
Shrestha's book would make a fine addition to reading lists in demography
and social history, and Caplan's would be of interest to not only those who
have a fascination for the Gurkhas but also to those interested in
post-modernism and discourse analysis.
The list could be made longer in each of the above categories but the
titles mentioned are sufficient to make my argument. These books need to be
reprinted so that interested students (i.e. those who do not take the exams
after just reading the guide books) might have easy access to them. This
would facilitate competent engagement with the arguments contained in these
and other books. Given that the student enrollment numbers in the past five
years in TU's department of sociology & anthropology alone have totaled
several thousands, a few hundred copies of the above mentioned books would
easily sell in the form of relatively cheap paperbacks. Apart from these
students, there are other local researchers who will also buy them. Then
there are tourists, expatriate bikas wizards, donor agencies, and foreign
academics who will also want to buy these books.
So are there any takers? Or are Nepali publishers only interested in
becoming distributors of sexy glossies on the Himalayas or doing reprints
of books that are of little use to Nepali students? Beware publishers, some
readers are watching your business!
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 14:02:09 -0700
From: Nepal Embassy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: On the happy occassion of Vijaya Dashami 2055
The Editor in Chief
Dear Mr. Editor,
Would you please post the following messages in your space as soon
as your earliest posting.
" On the happy occassion of Vijaya Dashami 2055 the Royal Nepalese
Embassy in Washington, DC cordially invites all the Nepalese
Nationa living in the USA to a luncheon to be hosted by Royal
Nepalese Ambassador and Mrs. Damodar Prasad Gautam at their
residence at the following place and time.
Place: 2730, 34th Place NW
Date: Saturday October 3, 1998(Ashwin 17,2055)
Time: 1200 hrs -1530 hrs.
RSVP.By 30th Sept. 1998
Phone (202) 667-4550 "
Royal Nepalese Embassy
Washington, DC USA
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 16:04:00 -0400
From: Arjun Karki <Arjun_Karki@brown.edu>
Subject: CME in Nepal
Dear colleagues and friends,
In pursuit of its cherished goal of helping Nepal improve its medical
cappabilities, America Nepal Medical Foundation (ANMF) is engaged at
present with several activities. Besides collecting and shipping the
standard medical text books and peer reviewed medical journals to the
medical school library in Kathmandu, ANMF is also initiating a CME program
in Nepal. Sponsored by ANMF and organized in collaboration with Society of
Internal Medicine of Nepal (SIMON)- a national organization of Nepali
internists-this CME program is accreditated by SUNY Health Science Center
at Syracuse, NY. This educational event is the first of its kind in Nepal
and will be held on 5th of November, 1998 in Kathmandu. Following are the
speakers and topics for this year :
1. William J.Williams, M.D. (Professor of Medicine, SUNY HSC Syracuse)
a. Current concepts in anticoagulation
b. Chronic Lymphocytic leukemia- current concepts and Rx.
2. Edward T. Schroeder, M.D. (Professor of Medicine, SUNY HSC Syracuse)
a. The Nephrotic Syndrome: Pathophysiology and Rx.
b. Acute Renal Failure: Pathophysiology and Rx.
3. Donald C. Blair, M.D. (Professor of Medicine, SUNY HSC Syracuse)
a. Multiple drug resistant Tuberculosis
b. Malaria: Is the parasite winning?
4. Roshan Shrestha, M.D (Asst. Professor of Medicine, University of
Colorado HSC, Denver)
a. Current management of Hepatitis C Virus infection
5. Harihar Sharma, M.D. (Nepali Internist, Corning Hospital, NY)
a.Pre-operative assessment of surgical patients.
6. Dr. Nylen (Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington
University Medical Center, Washington, DC)
a. Management of Type II Diabetes Mellitus.
(Two additional speakers are yet to be confirmed)
I am delighted to inform you that American College of Chest Physicians
have agreed to send its faculties for similar CME program in Nepal to be
organized during January 2000. I would like to express my deep appreciation
to Sidney Braman MD (Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep
Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Professor of Medicine, Brown University
Scool Of Medicine) for this commitment from ACCP.
William Brant, MD (Associate Professor of Radiology from UC Davis Medical
Center and member ANMF Board of Directors) has been working for CME on
Radiology in 2001.
In addition we are also initiating preliminary dialogue to organize CME
events in Nepal in areas such as Evidence Based Medicine, Neurology,
Pediatrics, Dermatology, OB/GYN, Telemediicne etc etc in the days to come.
I thank you all for your enthusiastic support in this effort of ours and
look forward to your continued cooperation. Please feel free to send any
comments/suggestions in this regard. If you would like to visit our web
site, the address is : http://www.mednetsystems.com/anmf
Thank you again.
Arjun Karki, MD
America Nepal Medical Foundation
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