The Nepal Digest - Sept 26, 1998 (10 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)

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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

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 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
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****************************************************************** From: "Dr. J. Joshee" <bandipure@hotmail.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu 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

Contribution:

$10 Individual $20 Couple $30 Family

Please send your contribution to:

Hemanta Shrestha Holinko Estate Apt. # 4A Storrs, Connecticut, 06268

For more information please call Hemanta @ 860-487-0046.

Directions:

>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.

Sincerely, Dr. J. Joshee Coventry, Connecticut

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 15:02:38 +0100 (BST) To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: freespirit@innocent.com (Helen Brown) Subject: Sexual harassment and tourism

Namaste,

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.

Regards,

Helen Brown

carin@gn.apc.org freespirit@innocent.com http://www.blue-fox.com/nepal

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 <tiwari@fas.harvard.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

Gurkhas and British Morality Seira Tamang

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?
        Racism.
        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 no longer.
        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

Pramod Bhatta

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 Carlos Williams:
        It is difficult
        to get the news from poems
        yet men die miserably
        for lack
        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 Washington.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

History of Nepali Photographers Changing Faces of Nepal Compiled and written by Susanne von der Heide Kathmandu, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1997 Rs 950

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 1970.

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 photographers.

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

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

***********************************************************************************************
                                BOL DEBATE#1
       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.

 INTERVIEW

 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 slavery.

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, medical care.

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 interventions.

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 receiving countries.

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) To: nepal-list@mos.com.np From: sinhas@mos.com.np (Pratyoush Onta) Subject: Martin Chautari Discussions

Please announce 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 Narayan Dhakal

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 <bhubanp@admin.stedwards.edu> Subject: Happy Bijaya Dashami! To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 8:36:12 CDT

Dear friends:

We like to wish you a very happy Bijaya Dashami festival. Thanks.

Bhuban, Prabha and Bhumika Pandey

***************************************************************** Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 02:16:10 -0500 From: Diwas Khati <khati@ssu.southwest.msus.edu> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu 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.

Diwas

************************************************************ From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <paramendra@hotmail.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu 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 <niche@spruce.libertynet.org> for further details.

To: nepal@cs.niu.edu 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
                                            Constitution Day.
                                        
                         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.

************************************************************************ From: himalmag@mos.com.np To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu 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 Asian magazine.

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.

Regards Salil Subedi

himalmag@mos.com.np http://www.himalmag.com

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 08:43:26 +0545 (NPT) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: sinhas@mos.com.np (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 resource management.

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 <nepali@erols.com> To: tnd@nepal.org Subject: On the happy occassion of Vijaya Dashami 2055

The Editor in Chief TND

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 "

Yours 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.

Sincerely,

Arjun Karki, MD America Nepal Medical Foundation
 

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