The Nepal Digest - Sept 8, 1998 (14 Ashwin 2055 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Tue Sept 8, 1998: Bhadra 23 2055BS: Year7 Volume78 Issue2

Today's Topics (partial list):

        Visa Lottery for Year 2000
        Nepal News
        Himal Magazine
        Martin Chautari discussion schedule
        Reconciliation on the Terai question
        Khoj Khabar
        Kathmandu Review of Books, 30 Aug. 98
        Release of a Publication

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information tnd@nepal.org *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Editorial Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra pkm@acpub.duke.edu *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana avinayar@touro.edu *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal HamalK@dist.gov.au *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Anil Shrestha SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
 * TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org tnd@nepal.org *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista tnd@nepal.org *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************
****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 12:14:42 +0100 From: Barbara Bonnema <barbara@ctsv.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: translation

Hi, my name is Barbara Bonnema. I work for Corporate Translation Services in Vancouver, WA. We are currently looking for somebody who can help us translate some material into Nepalese. Is this something you could possibly help us out with, or do you know someone who might? Please contact me at barbara@ctsv.com, or call 1-800-208-2620, ext. 108. Our client is waiting to hear from us, so if you can, please let me know as soon as possible.

Thank you very much! Barbara Bonnema

****************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1998 To: The Nepal Digest Subject: Visa Lottery for Year 2000

US announces visa lottery for 2,000

The United States has opened diversity visa lottery for the year 2,000 under the section 203 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1990 which makes available 55,000 permanent (immigrant) resident visas each year by random selection through a lottery. The DV-2000 registration will be held from October 1,1998 through-October 31, according to a USIS press release. The entrant must have either a high school education or its equivalent or within the past five years have two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training, the press release says. Persons born in high admission countries are not eligible for the programme, it says. The high admission countries include China, India the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, UK and dependent territories, Canda, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Colombia, and Dominican Republic. The interested persons should send a application to National Visa Program along with a recent passport size photograph. The addresses is DV-2000 Program, National Visa Centre, Portsmouth, NH; ZIP code 00210, USA.

************************************************************************ Date: 28 Aug 1998 To: The Nepal Digest Subject: Nepal News

Humanism and Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh By Dr Padma B Singh

It has been only a few decades, a positive trend has emerged to accord due honour to the heroes and builders of the nation obscured from the annals of history. Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh is one of them. Those who have heard of Jai Prithvi, know him as an advocate of world peace and brotherhood, a preacher and thinker of humanism more than a ruler of a princely state and son-in-law of the then Prime Minister Chandra Shumshere Rana. Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh was born on August 21, 1877 in Bajhang Chainpur as the eldest son of Raja Bikram Bahadur Singh. His life span of 63 years can be viewed in three distinct phases: first as Bajhangi Raja, second as the influential member of Rana Bharadari Sabha, and third as a humanist.

Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh became the ruler of Bajhang at the age of 12 (that is why he is popularly known in Bajhang as Bala Raja) as the then Prime Minister Bir Shumsher compelled his father to abdicate in favour of Jai Prithvi due to the rift between Bikram Bahadur Singh and Bir Shumshere. Jai Prithvi obtained education in Kathmandu and Prayag India. He returned to Bajhang in 1898 after his education and marriage and initiated various reforms. First he established a school named Satyavadi school, an iron industry was established, a dispensary -" Khaga dispensary" was established with doctors from Calcutta medical college on deputation. In 1910, he initiated land reform programme and land registration for general public was started. He initiated the construction of mule trails from Bajhang Bithad to Julaghat and Dashey Phadely to Tanakpur. It is because of his initiation in road construction, His Majestys government has named the road form Dadeldhura to Bajhang as Jai Prithvi Marg,

Jai Prithvi was very close to the power centres during Rana rule due to his relationship with the Rana family. Between 1907-13 he was chief of the court
(Bharadari Sabha), the position usually held by the ruling Rana family members. He could take stand in his opinion even if it differed with that of his father- in- law Chandra Shumshere. He served as Consular General in Calcutta from 1902 -1905 and returned to Kathmandu with a hand press to meet the shortage of text books in Nepali language. Jai Prithvi was the founder of Gorkhapatra. He wrote several books in Nepali language to meet the shortage of text books notably Prakrit Vyakarna and Shikshya Darpan.. In 1907 Jai Prithvi wrote -history of Japan. This book describes how the sovereign emperor (Makado) were kept in virtual imprisonment and rendered powerless by the powerful family autocratic rule of Shoguns. The agitation foreign educated youths had overthrown the Shogun rule. When Chandra Sumshere read the book he felt threatened and implied that the book was an indication of conspiracy against Rana family rule which corresponded to Shogun family rule. Then onwards the gulf of rift between Jai Prithvi and Chandra Shumshere started to enlarge over time resulting into self exile of Jai Prithvi to India where he found fertile ground to think and envision the philosophy of humanism.

In 1916 because of his growing dissatisfaction with the Rana rule and his empathy with the poverty striken people, he handed over his title of Bajhangi Raja to his father and went to Nainital where he lived for eight years and prepared manuscript of three volumes of Philosophy of Humanism and then he migrated to Bangalore in 1924 where he settled rest of his life. The devastation and suffering of great war had impinged the heart and mind of Jai Prithvi. He was looking for a practical way that could restore communal harmony, good will and brotherhood. He proposed humanism as the solace to those who lived in a period of what has been labelled as the "lost generation." Jai Prithvi held the view that humanism is a trait whereby man has become man out of the animal and has every prospect before him becoming something higher than what he has at present. Whether man or animal, the chief desire of both is to live as comfort and happily and as long as possible which Jai Prithvi calls the law of self-preservation. Jai Prithvi contends that there are two ways of observing the law of self-preservation. One is by force, aggression and brutality; the other is by unity, cooperation and order. The former methods are relegated to the lower forms of life like animals, while the later methods are employed by man as distinct from other sentient being. Man being endowed with the exclusive faculty of reason and deliberation, adapts himself to a higher principle of life which he has termed the principle of deliberative action. This is with this deliberative action man can rise to the level of divinity or fall to the level of lower animals. In practising humanism, Jai Prithvi goes on to say " put head together to draw boundary line between the humanistic and animalistic way of life, and weigh and examine every thought, word, deed, accepting those which are humanistic and rejecting those which are animalistic". For this man needs to correct and elevate his deliberative capacity, second, in view of his enhanced deliberation he has to make the proper use of physical means which can ultimately lead to extinction, and finally, he has to adopt only such things that encourage growth and get rid of things or passions hindering the progress of mankind.

In advocating his idea of humanism, Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh opened a humanistic club with its headquarters in Bangalore India. It was from there three volumes on humanism authored by him were published and the Humanist magazine and the book - flag of peace (Shanti Ko Jhanda) were also published. Between 1929 to 1936 he travelled to various parts of the world on his mission of humanism. He gave series of speeches on humanism in Geneva, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Hungary, Belgrade, Bucharest, Warsaw, Paris, London, Chicago etc and emphasized the need for brotherhood and good will among the persons of all caste, creed, religion and sects. He is the first Nepali to travel so widely across continents. Jai Prithvi passed away on Oct 15, 1940 in Bangalore, India. The tenets of Jai Prithvis humanism can be summed as follows:
* Instead of entering into unhealthy competition and dogmatic contradictions human behaviour should be directed towards a path of reconciliation so that security, privileges an prosperity can be ensured through mutual understanding.
* If the doctrine of self-security is based on humanistic ground, the path leading to peaceful society will open up automatically.
* Whatever is done to destroy civilization, it is the symbol of animalistic instinct.
* Humanism is that principle which all human beings should observe, being distinct from animal, as a duty not as a religion.

************************************************************************ From: himalmag@mos.com.np To: "Himal information" <himalmag@mos.com.np> Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:48:58 +0000 Subject: August Issue Of Himal Magazine

Dear readers,

In rural flight begins urban blight. That's the cover theme of Himal
(South Asian magazine) for August. With South Asia's cities struggling to cope up with the unprecedented influx of jobless villagers, our writers bring to you the trials and tribulations of urban life, and most importantly, some pragmatic ways to quell the chaos. And since any look at urban South Asia has got to begin from its biggest urban icon, Bombay provides the classic case study material. While the lead piece by Delhi-journalist Patralekha Chatterjee describes Bombay's civic nightmare and the solution in community self-help, a moving personalised feature by writer Suketu Mehta captures the undercurrents of life in India's "biggest, fastest, richest" megapolis. Bombay may be throbbing with communal hatred, but the hands that stretch out from trains to take in the late passenger show that there's compassion as well.
 Success stories in urban management may be a rarity for the
 Subcontinent, but they do exist. The Karachi township of Orangi, for
 example. Once typical of the desolation of many Third World
 shanty-towns, Orangi is today a "development miracle", according to
 writer Tarik Ali Khan in another cover piece titled "Sufism and the
 art of urban healing". The article and the interview that follows
 brings you Akhtar Hameed Khan upclose, the man who made it all
 possible, but who says poignantly, "I should never have left Patna."
 But sentimentality is the last thing you would find in the concluding
 cover piece by MIT scientist M.V. Ramana who presents a
 not-so-hypothetical scenario of Bombay being nuked. This doomsday
 piece is an excerpt from a report to be published by the
 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Now to
 our regular columns. In Briefs, we have radio personality Mark
 Tully's account of crossing Bangladesh's newest engineering marvel,
 the Bangabandhu Bridge over the Jamuna; extracts of a Deccan Herald
 interview with Kashmiri leader Sabir Shah; and, among others, BBC's
 Subir Bhaumik in Thimphu reporting on the developments following King
 Jigme Singye Wangchuk's reform proposals. July was also the month when South Asia lost two of its remarkable visionaries in Nikhil Chakravarty and Mahbub ul Haq. As Himal salutes their contributions, we carry a fitting tribute by commentator and former Pakistani senator Javed Jabbar. The Opinion section has a piece comparing the English and vernacular press in India and Pakistan. Lahore journalist Khaled Ahmed suggests how Indo-Pak barriers can be broken down by tackling the media. Pakistan's Urdu press, he says, would be forced to be more sober, responsible and amiable if it were to find readership in India, and likewise if India's English press were to be read in Pakistan. In the other pages, you'll find a passionate lament on the decline of volunteerism in the non-governmental sector by Bunker Roy; and the need to settle the rehabilitation matter first before the earth mover lifts its claws for the big dam, by Amit Mitra. And to keep you further occupied till September, we have two book reviews (one on Mustaq Gazdar's work on Pakistani films and the other on Jamila Verghese's Her Gold and Her Body), a feature on an alternative bookshop in Goa, besides Mediafile and the ever-irreverent Abominably Yours. As we are fond of saying, the choice is yours, you can either laze around, or read Himal.

****************************************************************** Date: Sun, 23 Aug 98 22:45:24 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Subject: Replies to Rayamajhi,Singh,Kattel,Wilkinson,Bhandari,Belbase

My response to Thirendra Rayamajhi, The Editor, Giri Raj Kattel, Constance Wilkinson, Prakash Bhandari, and Eknath Belbase in brackets ().

Thirendra Rayamajhi 7 Aug 1998 <thiren@cegt201.bradley.edu>

    Dragging critical issues like race into politics doesnot solve the problem,
    rather it escalates it. Take a look - A political party with race and
    sectarian values is an entity within the race only. We need to come up with
    solutions regarding the present and it's implication for the future.
    Presently, Nepal needs more of education and food. The last thing Nepal
    needs right now is to be polarized into segregate islands.

(On the contrary, racism has to be subjected to full-blown discussions. Political action is the cure to the social disease that racism is. You have to expose it. Being hush-hush about it only festers the wound. If you are implying the Sadbhavana is a party that speaks for only one or the other group, you are mistaken. It speaks for the 50% Teraiwasis and the 30% Janajatis. "Education and food" is all good, but racism is too fundamentally present - like gravity - to be ignored. Discussions on racism does not polarize the country. They try to bring together a country that is already polarized along lines of racist hatred.)

The Editor's Desk RJ Singh August 14, 1998

    Much has been said about "Nepal/India" lately. Perhaps much more than one
    would want to digest as some of our readers have noted, and to acknowledge,
    understandibly so.........If you, the readers feel that we ought to
    terminate the "India/Nepal" stuff, be it so.....

(The beauty of TND is it is an unedited message board. Its freewheeling discussions are its character. Any attempts at censorship, for whatever reason, would take away from TND its fudnamental identity. Let its readers decide, by writing or not writing, as to how long they wish to continue with this or that topic. TND should stay as it is.)

Giri Raj Kattel 14 Aug 1998 <giri.kattel@stonebow.otago.ac.nz>

    Recently, I have found that TND is losing its quality drastically. The main
    reason is, publishing unhealthy and destructive issues to our nationality.
    I have a request that if any one who raises the issues like "Nepal should be
    under India" again, should be deleted from the TND mailing list. Otherwise,
    I will no longer be a reader of TND.

(When the Mandal wave created by VP Singh hit India and the backward castes became assertive and started getting into seats of power in one state after the other and HD Deve Gowda, the first "backward" to become Prime Minister of India was "enthroned" in Delhi, a lot of upper middle class high caste Indians left the country to settle overseas. The social engineering upset their personal equilibria. I wonder if Kattel is similarly upset. If to discuss racism as directed against the Teraiwasis is anti-national, I wonder if the nationalism that Kattel subscribes to does not exclude the Teraiwasis in the first place.)

Constance Wilkinson 14 Aug 1998 <dawa@cape.com>

    I applaud the work of the writer who presented ten reasons that India should
    join Nepal. Frankly, I think that China should join Nepal, too.

(Why not, as for your sarcasm.)

Prakash Bhandari 10 Aug 1998 <Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com>

    Sadbhabana hasn't done a good job in separating itself from being more for
    India than for Nepal.

(To be for the Teraiwasis is seen by the likes of Bhandari to be for India. In the minds of the Bhandaris the Indians and the Teraiwasis are one and the same group.)

    Man, you are really paranoid......I think you are too absorbed in this
    subject about racism to talk objectively. You are fantasizing about this
    whole Negro thing. Look, you even invented the terminology......That
    (racism) comparison is invalid because lot of Nepalis who speak Nepali are
    of Indo-European origin. Mongloid-Nepalis don't control the government
    machinery of Nepal, Indo-European Nepalis do. Actually, you are the same
    race as me as lot of Nepali speaking Nepalis. So, there is not even a
    question of racism. If anyone should raise a question of racism, then the
    Mongloid-Nepalis should.

(AIDS in Nepal is not a different disease from AIDS in the US. Cancer in Nepal is not different from cancer in the US. Infact the Nepalese doctors who treat cancer derive their knowledge from their basically western training. AIDS and cancer are biological diseases. Racism is a sociological disease. Hence my regular comparison of the Teraiwasis to the African-Americans in the US. As for the genetics you talk, to me racism is not a debate in biology. It is a debate in sociology. So don't even go into that Mongol-Aryan talk. I agree with your last point : yes, the SETAMAGURALI need to wake up.)

    I am beginning to think that you think everyone who disagrees with your
    view point is a racist. There is nothing wrong with stopping the influx
    of foreigners into your country. Why can't we make the law so that
    they can visit but they can't live and work. What's wrong with that?
    That can still be done while keeping the cultural ties intact. I still
    think the Nepal-India border should be better regulated. May be it
    shouldn't be closed (as in completely and fully closed - you all know
    what I mean) however, there has to be a better mechanism in place.

(To you a Teraiwasi is an alien. As for the work permit laws, the Nepalese government has always been free to do what you suggest, but has stuck with the status quo as it is in the best interests of the Nepalese people. The Nepal- India open border in Terai's lifestyle. It will stay that way.)

    I feel that Sadhbhabana Party seems to be more Pro-Indian than the Indians
    themselves. May be they are trying for us to not distrust India too much
    (giving them benefit of doubt). (I realize that you don't agree with
    Sadbhabana). However, they are not doing a very good job in convincing the
    Nepali speaking populace about that. This brings discomfort to most Nepalis
    (at least the Nepali speaking ones). Actually, the cultural proximity of
    Teraiwaasis to Indian peoples in Indian States of Bihar and UP could be the
    bridge to India and Nepal in the future once we have a fuller sense of
    ourselves as a country(Mr. Bhagat, I mean that in a good way).

(Of course you buy the Nepalese media's bias against the Sadbhavana. You realize wrong. I agree with the Sadbhavana completely. My point has been it should expand its manifesto and become a party with branches in all 75 districts.)

    Ethnic Politics has been one of the most tragic events of the '90s. Bosnia,
    Rwanda, Congo and now Kosovo has consumed closed to a million lives this
    decade. The only people who benifitted from those tragedies were a selected
    few politicians. Nepal hopefully, will not go in that direction. However,
    for that There needs to be a common goal of 'All Nepalis', no matter what
    language they speak, what they look like, And which part of the country they
    come from. Whatever, is the best for all Nepalis will be the best for Nepal
    too. Once we start thinking about 'Greater Mithila ' or 'Greater Nepal'
    then we are inviting disaster.

(The way to avoid ethnic tensions is to cure racism, politically and legally. But people like you who grow suspicious every time the issue is discussed are not the best hope.)

    Noone likes losing identity, not me, not you. That is the essence of
    our being. Nepal should never be a one language, one culture country,
    and I don't think will ever be. However, I believe, most of the Nepali
    fear arises of possibility of being overwhelmed by the current influx
    of Indians to Nepal. I feel that if we really want to address the issue
    of Terai we also need to deal with that issue in conjunction with that.
    Once we do that I think the problem becomes a whole lot simpler.

(Nepal is a one language, one religion country as it is. Therein lies the problem.)

    All things said and done, ultimately, the well being of all the people
    should be the goal of a nation. Just like you said, prosperous South
    Asia, where all the people can live in harmony and peace should be the
    ultimate goal. May be later political borders won't mean anything.
    Europe is close to that ideal. However, South Asian countries are way
    behind and may annihilate themselves before they reach there. With
    corrupt politics of the South Asian countries, and the pettyness,
    paranoia, and compulsion to dominate everything of Indian policy makers,
    that process hasn't even begun. At this stage, believe me, I am not
    eager for that to happen. "

(An economic union makes even more sense for South Asia, which holds 40% of the world's poor, than for Europe, which is one of the three richest regions on the planet anyway. A South Asian economic union is for you if your fear Indian hegemony. It will be a superior arrangement to SAARC.)

Eknath Belbase 11 Aug 1998 <eknath@ad-co.com>

    ......the myriad of hazards of "free trade". The first problem is that there
    are dozens of varieties of free trade - trade in labor, capital, trade in
    particular types of products. Rarely does free trade mean complete and total
    free movement of capital, labor and all products. Free trade agreements are
    negotiated over many months and it is quite possible that larger countries,
    or larger companies, or more powerful interests will come to dominate the
    terms of such an agreement so that they are in their favor.

(That is why there needs to be a national and regional consensus for free trade so that the region is strong at the bargaining table with the "larger countries, or larger companies, or more powerful interests.")

    Your statement that it is "basic economics" is an outright lie. It is an
    ongoing debate within the economics (and broader) academic literature.

(The law of comparative advantages.)

    I've read about 15 books on the question of liberalization/free trade and
    happen to be working as an econometrician/ finance professional.

(I guess that explains your economic literacy in that you favor global free trade.)

    To prevent any misrepresentation- (A)I am in favor of more free trade than
    less with some qualifications (B)I think the form it is taking in *Europe*
    is "good for most" for a variety of reasons which may or may not apply to
    South Asia.

(Good.)

    the economic union idea with India - I don't really see how it would change
    anything. In my opinion India and Nepal have more economic union now than
    any set of countries approaching a free trade agreement will have anywhere
    in the world. We have a currency peg to the Indian Rupee, our inflation rate
    has over a 95% correlation with almost no lag with India's, and 80% of our
    trade is with India. All Ocean trade goes through an Indian port. How could
    it get worse?

(I am not for a bilateral economic union with India either. I am for a South Asian economic union.)

    A *SOUTH ASIAN* economic union could be better as we would diversify our
    dependence to 4 countries rather than one

    If your true concern was economic improvement for Nepal, why did you
    choose 4 of the 30 poorest countries on the face of the earth? We have a
    neighbor to the north you did not even mention. Could this omission in fact
    demonstrate that your entire "economic" reasoning is actually motivated by
    an underlying cultural bias?

(If China will come along, I am all for it. My stand for a South Asian economic union is economic, not cultural.)

    If we really want some action, though, we need the ability to auction our
    hydropower-generated electricity to the highest bidder rather than having to
    sell it to India each time. A one-buyer one-seller market where the one-
    buyer can also produce the underlying commodity is NOT that good for the
    seller(*)! THAT is basic economics. In fact, if your true underlying
    motivation was economic, you should have said WORLD FREE TRADE is desirable
    for Nepal. That would mean the ability to sell stuff to someone other than
    India, which is pretty much the only country getting enough of our stuff to
    be worth mentioning!

(Global free trade is a far superiour arrangement to regional free trade. We are on the same wavelength.)

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:52:56 +0545 (NPT) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu From: Martin Chautari <chautari@mos.com.np> Subject: Martin Chautari discussion schedule

Please announce Martin Chautari discussions in Kathmandu

1 September 1998 The Anthropology of Gender and Caste in Far-Western Nepal Dr Mary Cameron, Auborn University, USA

8 September 1998 Poverty and the issue of livelihood (food) security Dr Jagannath Adhikari

15 September 1998 Deconstructing nationalism Bishnu Sapkota

22 September 1998 Are NGOs agents of imperialism? An open discussion to be led by Krishna Murari Gautam et al

29 September 1998 No meeting due to Dasain 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.

***************** Have you read the new issue of the Nepali language bimonthly Himal with the cover story that examines "Democracy in Nepal"?

************* Do you listen to Radio Sagarmatha (FM 102.4) between 7 - 9 am everyday? Dabali, a weekly discussion program, goes on air on Wednesdays at 8:30am.Radio Sagarmatha will extend its broadcast hours (also in the evening) soon.

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 22:40:20 -0400 (EDT) From: aiko <gs07aaj@panther.Gsu.EDU> To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Bol!: Response to Sex Crimes and Tourism (fwd)

Can we afford to ignore this, esp. in view of Nepal attempting to entice foreign tourists?

Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 01:21:38 +0530 From: sushma@mos.com.np To: bol@mos.com.np Subject: Bol!: Response to Sex Crimes and Tourism

From: Terence Hay-Edie, Ph.D Research Student (Cambridge, UK)

I have just read your e-mail on sex crimes against tourists in Nepal and tried to visit the web site but with no success. Could you confirm the address if you have the time?

I am conducting Ph.D research on World Heritage sites in this country and have increasingly had contact with tourism related people as a result. Tourism is a package of responsibilities as far as I see it, and other forms of irresponsibility both by travel agents as well as tourists should be publicised as you have done on the Web. You could perhaps include other forms of malpractice such as violation of cultural heritage in an expanded complaints page - or would this dilute your aims?

In Sagarmatha recently, my Sherpa guide boasted of his sexual adventures with foreign women - apparently wilfully. The same was the case with one porter in Langtang in January. I found both graphic accounts distasteful in their contrast to the mental image I had of mountain cultures. Is this an inevitable aspect of tourism encounters with distant "others"? How common are such consented acts?

As an aside, you may be interested in a presentation I attended at the American Anthropological Association in Nov 1996 which described how desire should seriously be considered in female tourists' encounters while travelling. The researcher, an American woman, conducted fieldwork in Delhi with the strategies used by Kashmiri men to sell their masculinity as "real men" as opposed to a juvenile Indian sexuality and feminised sexuality of Western men. In this instance, the objective was often to sell carpets... however, there exists an element of female agency in falling prey to particular versions of the "other" presented by tour operators. This can never excuse real sexual harassment, but it exists.

Appearance and conduct by tourists should also be examined in a code of conduct. My guide in Khumbu was recently married and seemed to have lost interest in his wife linked to his affair with a Canadian woman who apparenly put pressure on him to have sex with her. It made me wonder how such experiences do have knock-on psychological effects. Perhaps he was lying, I don't know.

I am very sympathetic to your endeavour and hope not to antagonise you with any of my remarks which I do not mean to be victim-blaming. Thank you and I wish you well with your work,

Terence Hay-Edie

******************************************************************** Date: Fri, 28 Aug 98 16:31:17 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu, Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com Subject: Reconciliation on the Terai question

My reply, as usual, in brackets ().

   "Bhandari, Prakash" 8/24/98 6:28 PM<Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com>
 
    I have never said to be for Teraiwasis is to be for India. To be for India
    is seen by people who are the likes of you to be for Teraiwasis. I
    specifically said Tanakpur and Hindi are the two key points Sadhbhavana
    shows(ed) they are more for India.

(Hindi is as much of an Indian language as Nepali. Over 10 million Indians speak Nepali as their first language. Okay, Hindi is the predominant language in Northern India. But then it is also the link language of the Teraiwasis in Nepal who constitute half of the country's population.
    On the Tanakpur issue what I know is the Sadbhavana party had the same stand as the Nepali Congress and that the issue was ultimately resolved to Nepal's satisfaction. But look where the Nepalese people have put the Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala. He is the Prime Minister of the country.
    I do not know enough of the details of the Tanakpur issue to make any further comments as of now.)
  
    I was saying that because you told me 'You look like Nepali speaking people
    in Darjeeling'. Racism (at least in the US) is primarily based on the color of the skin (which is biology). The color of the skin is a subject for
    biology and the feeling of racism is subject for sociology. So, my question to you is doesn't there need to be a biological difference first for
    'racism' to occur? Can a black person be racist to another black person?
    If so, how come no one raises an issue when they call each other niggers?
    Or discrimination which occurs due to different shades of skin color can
    also be racism, although the subjects under consideration are from the same
    'race'? So, Indians who call Biharis, 'Biharis' with contempt are racists or not? Or are they just discriminatory? There is a difference.

(For racism to occur, it seems, at least in Nepal's case, a difference in cultural and geographical background seems to suffice! A Pahadwasi acting racist towards a Teraiwasi is not the same as a black calling another black "nigger." Those Indians who hold the Biharis in contempt are acting racist too, I would say.)

    Now, if you want to really use the term willy nilly, because then you can
    give a dramatic twist to your rhetoric then I don't have anything to say.
    Teraiwasis have been treated unfairly, there is no argument there. Sure,
    political and legal steps need to be taken in order to include the
    Teraiwasis in all aspect of Nepal's national life.

(Thanks for speaking the language of reconciliation. Once the Pahadwasi own up to what you have owned up to, reconciliation can begin, political and legal solutions to the imparity can be sought.)
 
    A Teraiwasi is not an alien for me. But a Bihari is. I have been saying
    that all along. That's why I was arguing for work permit system. If your
    thinking is that the implementation of work permit system won't be fair just like the citizenship hasn't been, then that is a implementation problem.
    The concept still stands. If you think the work permit system is basically
    designed to exclude Teraiwasis, I suggest you look at the US. Here everyone has to prove their identity to gain employment. That will end the argument
    that Darjeelinges are getting better treatment than Teraiwasis in their own
    country.

(The BJP government in Delhi would be more than happy to implement the work permit system, I would guess. L K Advani seems to want the same in the case of the Bangladeshi immigrants in India. There are manyfold more Nepalis working in India than there are Indians working in Nepal.
    My problem with this work permit debate in Nepal is it is too often used to justify the racism against the Teraiwasis. Look at how the poor Teraiwasi vendors get treated out in the streets of Kathmandu.)

    If you don't understand these sentences, the I don't know how else I can
    explain. Actually, I am not against Biharis either. Why should I be?
    India will take care of them, Nepali government needs to take care of
    Nepali citizens. I am for Nepal and Nepalis. As far as Nepali government
    doing keeping status quo in the interest of Nepali people, I don't buy that.
    The government is just taking the easy way out.

(I disagree. You accuse the politicians now in power of incompetence. I accuse them of that and institutional racism.)
   
    I have said all along, I would have no problems with a Sadhvabana which
    fights for all unpriviliged, and unrepresented Nepalis. As far as me
    realizing wrong, I was for building a peaceful, prosperous and a vibrant
    Nepal from the very beginning. It is not just the problem with Teraiwasis,
    but all the poor people in Nepal, bahuns, chettris, gurungs magars, etc.
    that have been oppressed in Nepal. Mismanagement, lack of accountability,
    and incompetence percolates to all aspect of Nepali national character.
    Yes, Nepal government hasn't been fair to Teraiwasis. But it hasn't been
    fair to anybody. Democracy so far has only worked for a few politicians.
    While saying that, I agree with you there has been/continues to be
    discrimination against Terai in an institutional level.

(Like you I too see deficiencies in the Sadbhavana. For all practical reasons the Sadbhavana continues to be a regional party and that has been its undoing. It comes across as a single-issue party. Okay, the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis have been discriminated against, but should you end up in power, what is the kind of economic leadership will you provide? After all, more Nepalese suffer from poverty than from racism anyway, the Teraiwasis and the Janajatis included. As of now, if I were a Jumli or someone from Pokhara, I would not find a reason to vote for the Sadbhavana even if I were a Pahadwasi like you who agrees with its basic claims that the Teraiwasis have been wronged in the country's long history.)
 
    Why do you blame me? It is you who consider India your motherland, although center of Maithili people is Janakpur. People like you who read between the lines of everything I have said are not the best hope either. When I said
    there is an constant Influx of Indians to Nepal, that's what I meant. I
    didn't mean Teraiwasis coming to Kathmandu. Teraiwasis should come to
    Kathmandu if they want to. It's the capital of their country. Now if that
    is factually incorrect, i.e. if there is not an influx of Indians to Nepal
    (and the people are just Nepalis from Terai), then I have indeed been
    influenced by the media, then I stand corrected.

(That India being my motherland was plain rhetoric. My participation in the discussions on Nepalese politics stands independent of the autobiiographical details of my personal life. Yeah, my mother is Indian and I happened to have been born in a hospital in Durbhanga in Bihar where a "mausi" (sani-ma) of mine lives, but that is besides the point. I carry a citizenship card. That is the only thing I need to claim my citizenship. My family history is a family matter.)

    I was raising the issues that I thought (and still do) were valid issues
    that had to be dealt with by Sadhvabana if they wanted to be a truely
    national party. However, the issues that Sadhbhavana campaigns for is Hindi
    to be a national language. Maithili is spoken by Nepalis in Terai.
    Maithili should be a national language, not Hindi. Sadhbhavana is getting
    money(that's my speculation) from Indian govt so they have to campaign for
    Hindi.

(Maithili is my mothertongue. It was the court language when the Mallas ruled in Kathmandu. 30 million people speak Maithili worldwide. Its literature is richer than that of Nepali. It deserves its due place in Nepal. But Hindi is the link language of the entire Terai peoples.
    As for the Sadbhavana getting money from India, believe me the Congress, the UML, the ML and the RPPs are much richer parties than the Sadbhavana, especially the Congress. I can tell you from my days with the Nepal Samajwadi Janata Dal we often barely had enough money to even keep the office running. Paying the rent was a big deal.)

    If they raise citizenship issues, I agree with them. Economic issues I agree with them. Recruiting Teraiwasis in the Army and police sure I would I
    would agree with you.

    But when Sadhbhabana says Hindi should be the national language, and taking
    Indian side in the Tanakpur issue, then it forces me to be suspicious.
    Wouldn't you be?

(Please refer to my points above.)
 
    One of the solutions, I think will work is decentralization of the
    government. Then, the local problems will be solved by local people. The
    government in Kathmandu can look at the overall direction of the country and let the local people spend their share of the money whereever they wish.
    That will solve to some extent solve every region's problems. That would
    work for Terai and that will work for the Mountains. As far as the language is concerned, there is always a problem when a country doesn't speak the
    same language. Why did the hispanics vote overwhelmingly to end the
    bilingual education in California?

(I agree with you. We should have a federal form of government. Five states : Eastern Terai, Western Terai, Eastern Hills, Western Hills, and the Kathmandu Valley. The current arrangement of five "development regions" is a joke. The language situation in Nepal is slightly more complicated in Nepal than it is in California.)

    Free trade in the region is a good goal. World-wide free trade is even
    better. However, we need to keep trying to to do what we can do right now.
    BTW, there was a piece of news in TKP about India levying additional taxes
    in Vegetable Ghee exports to India which was against Nepal-India trade
    treaty of 1996. That tells us how far we have to go as far as free trade
    with India is concerned.

(Free trade. It does ask for a wide range of political skills to get a fair bargain, both at the regional level and the global level. I agree with you.)

*************************************************************** From: "Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield, CO" <Prakash.Bhandari@cexp.com> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: RE: Reconciliation on the Terai question Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 16:51:07 -0600

> As of now, if I were a Jumli or someone from Pokhara, I would not find
> a reason
> to vote for the Sadbhavana even if I were a Pahadwasi like you who
> agrees with
> its basic claims that the Teraiwasis have been wronged in the
> country's long
> history.
        [Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield, CO]
        Actually, once (if) Sadhbhavana has established itself as a National Party where then I don't
        think it will have the shortage of candidates the people will be willing to vote for. You can have
        a Jumli to fight the election from Jumla with a Sadbhavana ticket. They will be campaigning for Janajati rights, or the geographical discrimination they have been suffering. Then as the country
        becomes more aware of its own peoples, then you can have Teraiwasis fighting for elections
        in Jumla and vice versa.

> (That India being my motherland was plain rhetoric. My participation
> in the
> discussions on Nepalese politics stands independent of the
> autobiiographical
> details of my personal life. Yeah, my mother is Indian and I happened
> to have
> been born in a hospital in Durbhanga in Bihar where a "mausi"
> (sani-ma) of mine
> lives, but that is besides the point. I carry a citizenship card. That
> is the
> only thing I need to claim my citizenship. My family history is a
> family
> matter.)
        [Bhandari, Prakash - Broomfield, CO]
        Fair enough. Personally, I would like to have a country which all of her citizens can be proud of. At such a time we can teach our children about the intricasies of Newari festivals, and our children can do PhDs in Maithili literature and art, and they can dance in the tune of Tamang Selo. I suppose, we will start dreaming that after everyone in the country gets to eat a full meal.

******************************************************************* Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 10:24:19 +0530 From: ajaya bhadra khanal <rashmi@mos.com.np> To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu Subject: Khoj Khabar

I am Ajaya Bhadra Khanal, a journalist, working in Nepal. Currently I am doing some research on Enron. The possible entry of Enron Renewable Energy Corp for BOT of 10800 MW Karnali Chisapani has resulted in some surprising stunts by politicians in Nepal giving signs that there may be something sinister in all the dealings. As I have been following this issue and doing further research, I would be grateful if you could kindly post these queries in TND on my behalf. 1. Does the MNCs pay commissions like the World Bank. 2. Why is Enron really interested in Karnali? 3. How is Enron using the Federal government officials for entry into Nepal. Is it offering money to Nepali politicians? Thanx for your help.

********************************************************************** From: "Shiva Gautam" <sivahari@hotmail.com> To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Khoj khabar Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 21:07:19 PDT

Hello & Namaste I would like to know if there are any Nepalese in Duluth, Minnesota, or nearby, as I will be coming there very soon. If any one could share any information about that place with me, it would be highly appreciated. Thank you very much

Shiva Gautam

Christchurch New Zealand sivahari@hotmail.com

************************************************************************************ Date: Tue, 01 Sep 98 09:22:09 EST From: "Paramendra Bhagat" <Paramendra_Bhagat@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> Message-Id: <9808019046.AA904666548@smtpgtwy.berea.edu> To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: The South and the West (Canada, Australia, US, Europe)

                                 DECCAN HERALD
                          Tuesday, September 1, 1998
                                        
           Indian scholars discriminated against in US, says top scientist
                                        
                                               NEW DELHI, Aug 31 (UNI)
                                        
      A noted biochemist of the country has sparked off a row in a leading
             international scientific journal with claims that most
 US-trained Indian scientists feel they were being discriminated against in the
                                     West.
                                        
  Dr G Padmanabhan, former director, Indian Insititute of Science, Bangalore,
                  wrote a letter in a recent issue of Science
     stating that the general perception among Indian scientists in leading
            institutions, most of whom are US- trained, is that they
                        are being discriminated against.
                                        
   ''Research papers sent to top international journals from India seem to be
               reviewed with a bias. Even if I manage to publish
 one of my papers in one of the best journals, it will seldom be quoted or have
                 an impact unless I have a US-Western pedigree
          or connection with an inner circle,`` writes the scientist.
                                         INHERENT DISBELIEF: He says there is an inherent disbelief in the West that good
                         research can be done in India.
    ''Even if I am invited to deliver a lecture at an international research
              conference, I am made to feel like an outsider or am
   aware that I have been invited to satisfy a condition that someone from a
              developing country be included for the conference to
         be eligible for funds from an international agency,`` he says.
                                         Dr Padmanabhan claims that a feeling of alienation permeates segments of Indian
                   society that have anything to do with the
                     West, the United States in particular.
                                        
   Although India has made giant strides in food production, space programme,
                   information systems and possesses a stable economy, the West has always depicted India with bias and sarcasm. ''It has been
                     persistently represented by the United
 States and the West as the home of poverty, filth, disease and backwardness,``
                             the scientist argues.
                                         Under such circumstances the country`s nuclear tests in May this year created a
                   ''tremendous euphoria`` among the people.
  This is because India has been persistently portrayed in the West as having
               negatives qualities. ''Given such a treatment, one clutches at any victory that makes one feel like an entity to be counted. It can
               win in cricket, chess match, or a beauty contest,
                or even a nuclear blast,`` says Dr Padmanabhan.
                                        
 CLAIMS REFUTED: However, Dr Padmanabhan`s remarks were pooh-poohed by another
                          Indian scientist working in the United States in the subsequent issue of Science. Dr T Balakrishna Reddy of
                    the Centre for Molecular Genetics at the Univeristy of California, says he fails to understand how the ''euphoria`` over
                   the nuclear tests could be related to the
             western alienation and bias against Indian scientists.
                                         WRONG POLICIES: He claims that the experiences undergone by Dr Padmanabhan were
                           not unique to only Indian
              scientists but for anyone from a developing country.
                                        
   The feeling of alienation and purposelessness among Indian scientists have
                  historical roots in the policies pursued by
 post-Independent India. ''Instead of revamping the educational system to meet
                       India`s societal needs, successive
   governments made few changes in the colonial legacy, mainly for political
               reasons,`` Dr Reddy points out. The result is that
  the kind of research undertaken by leading Indian universites and institutes
                   today has nothing to do with the immediate
                societal, economic or scientific needs of India.
                                        
 The brain drain from the country is a natural consequence of all this, says Dr
                  Reddy, who has done his Ph D from Jawaharlal
                            Nehru University, here.
                                        
   The same issue also carried Dr Padmanabhan`s rejoinder stating that he has
                received about 250 e- mails, mostly from Indians
 in the United States in response to his letter, and about 95 per cent of them
                            agree with his analysis.
                                        
   ''India`s image in the West is in general unfairly negative and there is a
              feeling of alienation and discrimination even among
         scientists and professionals settled in the US,`` he contends.
                                        
   He says that his letter seems to have touched off a sensitive chord among
              intellectuals concerned about India, which needs to
  be put to a positive use. ''May I suggest an international conference in the
              country with non-resident and resident Indians...to
               set an agenda for the 21st century,`` he appeals.

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

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 19:22:55 +0530 From: Mary Des Chene <deschene@jhuvms.hcf.jhu.edu> Subject: Kathmandu Review of Books, 30 Aug. 98 To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

Kathmandu Post Review of Books Vol. 3, No. 9 (30 August 1998) Issue Coordinator: Mary Des Chene

Contents: Essay: CTBT Bogey: Red Herring of Nuclear Nationalism (Anand Patwardhan) Reviews of: 1) Geographical Thought: A Contextual History of Ideas by R. D. Dikshit
(C.K. Lal) 2) We Sinful Women: Contemporary Urdu Feminist Poetry transl. and ed. by Rukhsana Ahmad (Carla Petievich) 3) The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh (Kathryn Hansen)

****** NOTE: All issues of The Kathmandu Post Review of Books (from April 1996 on) are being made available on-line on The SINHAS Web Pages. About one dozen are already available, the rest will be uploaded shortly. They're currently available issue by issue. A subject index will be added later. To access the KPRB go to: http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/kprb.html
*********

CTBT Bogey: Red Herring of Nuclear Nationalism

Anand Patwardhan

In recent times one of the few issues to have united left and right, secular and fundamentalist, is the understanding that India must refuse to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). As the CTBT appears to favour those who have already amassed and tested their atomic devices (the USA, UK, France, Russia and China) over newer aspirants of the nuclear club
( India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Iraq and other threshold nuclear powers), anybody who argues in favour of its signing is branded as an American stooge.

Perhaps some anti-imperialist credentials, whatever these are worth today, are in order. For one thing, I must be one of a handful of Indian citizens to have spent time in an American prison for the act of opposing America's military policy.

In 1970 as a student in Boston, I became a part of the anti-Vietnam War movement and was arrested for peacefully protesting the war. We blocked traffic outside the gates of Raytheon Corporation known to be a manufacturer of deadly anti-personnel weapons such as grenades filled with plastic pellets that could not be detected by an X-ray machine.

In April 1971, during a peace march to Washington DC which culminated in war veterans throwing their medals back at the Pentagon, I was part of a 200 strong group that linked arms and marched towards police barricades. We were beaten, gassed, and finally arrested and charged with attempting to
"break police lines". As a non-white and a non-US citizen I was singled out for special treatment, stripped, searched and abused. The authorities noted my passport and visa number and threatened to send me back "where I came from".

The camaraderie that formed between the protesters over the next few days in custody was worth it all. I got to meet many anti-imperialist Americans. One was Dave Dellinger, a long term pacifist who had been the prime accused in the Chicago 8 Trial along with Abbie Hoffman and the Black Panther, Bobby Seale. Another was a much loved author of child-care books, the eighty year old Dr. Benjamin Spock. My sociology professor was amongst those arrested. I graduated, spent a further six months working with Mexican immigrant workers ( Cesar Chavez's United Farmworkers Union ) and returned to India.

This was meant to be a brief preamble to my CTBT argument, but perhaps it is just as well that I spelt out where I am coming from and why I cannot divide the world into pro and anti-American, or pro and anti-Indian or Pakistani. Today the counterparts of Vajpayee, Advani, Fernandes, and Abdul Kalam are being felicitated in Pakistan while brave voices of peace and dissent continue to speak out for sanity in both countries.

It is true that the CTBT is not fully satisfactory because the big powers escaped the chance and the responsibility of declaring a time bound schedule for total nuclear disarmament. But in that it says "Thus far and no further" with regards to nuclear testing, the CTBT applies to all nations equally. It could have been better than a mere test ban treaty, but it is still a necessary but not sufficient first step. To reject it is to reject a consensus that was arrived at with great difficulty at a time when the nuclear clock is ticking.

There are plenty of nuclear hawks in America like Jesse Helms and other lobbyists of the military-industrial complex who have always opposed America's signing of the CTBT. Republican leader Newt Gingrich's support for the Indian tests may have come from such an agenda. They would not only like to see America resume testing, they would like to keep selling American military and nuclear technology in the markets of the world. Tragically India would emulate such "greatness". There was no more shameful aftermath of the Indian nuclear tests than an announcement by Defense Minister Fernandes (it is useless to dwell on the fact that in 1974 this man was an opponent of the Pokhran test ) that defense technology would now be shared with private industry to create opportunities for nuclear exports!

CTBT then is not an American plot but a multi-lateral agreement signed by all the countries approached other than India and Pakistan. And Pakistan has long stated that if India signs, so will Pakistan. Indeed if India and Pakistan do not sign, given that the treaty is dependent on full consensus and not on a vote, the treaty will become null and void, fuelling another international arms race. So Greenpeace, an organization that has long fought against American, French and other nuclear weapons and tests believes CTBT to be a necessary but not sufficient first step. The Hibakusha (Japanese victims of the American atomic bombs) believe the same. Hopefully no one in their right mind will accuse the Hibakusha of being pro-American.

The BJP and the Hindutva brigade have used machismo and nuclear nationalism as a passport to power. This is not forgivable, but it is consistent and predictable. Their whole existence is predicated on recreating a hated
"other" and their self-esteem depends on delusions of greatness and a rejection of the "effeminate" and the "debilitating".

What of the secular and Left forces? They have raised their voice against weaponization but the fact is that if the Indian government had signed the CTBT last year (before the BJP came to power) , Pakistan would have been forced to follow suit and our region and the world would have been ten tests safer. Unfortunately the Indian Left which could have influenced Prime Minister Gujral to sign CTBT, did the opposite, perhaps because the Left did not want to be left behind on the "nationalist" bandwagon but primarily because nuclear weapons are seen as a tactical rather than ethical issue. This preference of the "materialist" over the moral overlooks the fact that most of us began to identify with the Left precisely out of a moral conviction, to make the world more just, more peaceful and more humane.

The Hibakusha have no such ambivalence. They know what the bomb does. They know that nuclear weapons are not bargaining chips. You cannot say no to other nations' nukes if you have your own.

America is the only nation in the world to have used weapons that no human has the right to use. America continues to be the biggest weapons-monger in the world, nuclear and otherwise. Yes the Americans have no right to lecture us. But we should not need a lecture to know what every child knows, indeed what Vajpayee knew when he was a child, what Fernandes knew in his youth. Opposition to weapons of mass destruction cannot be a matter of tactics. It is an ethical imperative without which we cannot but betray the human race. Let us disarm unilaterally. Without waiting for America. Without waiting for China and Pakistan. In the present atmosphere of nuclear nationalism it will take courage to revive the spirit and language of internationalism. Anti-nuclear people of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our bombs. And a world to gain.

How much cleaner the air already feels as we utter these words.

(Anand Patwardhan is a documentary filmmaker. This essay was written in early July during his efforts to organize South Asia-wide protests on 6 August against a nuclearized sub-continent, while commemorating the victims of America's atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In Kathmandu, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Nepal took up his call).

*********

Geographical Thought: A Contextual History of Ideas Author: R. D. Dikshit. Publisher: Prentice Hall of India Private Limited, New Delhi, 1997. Price: IRs. 175.

History of Geography

C K Lal

        "Chunder Seekur Opedeea", Agent on the part of the "Rajah of Nipal", who handed over the Treaty of "Sugaulee" to Ochterlony, Agent of the Governor General of the East India Company, must have been a learned man to have been entrusted with such an important task. However, he evidently had not recognized the importance of either geography or history. Geography would have told him to be precise about the location of Kali and history would have warned him to be wary of a treaty drafted by the stronger party to establish and perpetuate its hold over the weaker one. Had he done that, King Mahendra's concession to the Indian Army could not have been construed as submission and it would not have resulted in the continued occupation of a part of Nepal by that army. A sound case to ground our policy makers in geosophy. If some of them need to make a beginning, Prof. R. D. Diksit's new book is an exceedingly well compiled primer.
        For the definition of geosophy, Dikshit turns to J. K. Wright who regarded the subject to be "to geography what historiography is to history, it deals with the nature and expression of geographical knowledge, both past and present--with what Whittlesey called 'Man's sense of territorial space'". The discipline also deals with "geographical ideas both true and false held by all manner of people, accounting for human desires, motives and prejudices". Extending this line of thought, W. Zelinsky demands that a geographer must be involved as a diagnostician, forecaster, and an architect who could present the blueprints for achievement of the preferred future. One may not agree to this all-encompassing role for a geographer, but a study of geographical ideas through the ages makes one appreciate the strength behind this seemingly audacious argument.
        More than the depth, it's the breadth of scholarship in this book that is truly breath-taking. Even though billed as a textbook by the publishers, it's an attempt by the author to appreciate the vastness of the area of study undertaken by him. Consequently, what readers get of the great geographical ideas is merely a taste; for their fill they'll have to go back to the originals themselves. Diskhit leafs through history till the 18th century for geographical ideas and decides to build upon the philosophical contributions of German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Thereafter, his path demarcated by chorology (space) on one side and, on the other, by chronology (history), he takes readers on an exciting tour of ideas, deftly guiding them through the maze of theories and the milestones in Physical Geography, Spatial Analysis, Humanistic Geography, Political Economy of Geography, Regional Analysis, Historical Explanations, Ecological Thoughts, Environmentalism, Human Geography, Geography of Gender and Post-Modernism before bringing them back to the holistic view of the subject propounded by old Greek masters. The tour is a journey of discovery and Dikshit is a competent, even if sometimes dull, guide for this exploration.
        The book can perhaps be summed up in one sentence of the author,
"More recently, the emerging convergence between historical geographers and social and economic historians and historical anthropologists on the one hand, and between historical geographers and palaeobotanists, historical climatologists, and archaeologists on the other, has been... a major source of interdisciplinary integration, evidenced by the increasing methodological convergence between historical geography and the rest of the subject, as also general recognition given by geographers to the important role played by historical specificity in the explanation and understanding of problems of human geography". However, as you must realize, one needs to read the whole book to take the impact of that one sentence.
        The book sparkles with luminous quotes that throw an entirely new light upon old ideas. For example, it puts Collingwood's claim that all history is history of thought up against Marx's adage that all history is history of class struggle and then pits them together against the view of geographer Samuels that, "The history of mankind is ... always a geography of man's search for roots. The first man is, as it were, the man who invented a boundary to delimit his place, and human history is, therefore, a history of boundary-making, maintaining and changing". Do you still wonder why our Crown Prince Dipendra chose geography as his field of study? In the realm of historical geography, insists Harris, "There is no useful disciplinary line separating present from past, space from time". Such a subject would be indispensable to any one keen upon understanding human civilization.
        Readers would be well advised not to rush through this book. An academic work, it is meant to be studied, not read. The effort is rewarding as one listens to the masters down the ages speaking through an interpreter who clearly knows the language and is a fellow student of the subject. Dikshit knows the road, has some idea about the destination that often proves to be another beginning, and enjoys the journey along with the readers. How often does one come across such efforts at humanizing knowledge?
        Professional geographers are not the only ones who stand to benefit from this book. Perhaps it would be of equal use, if not more, to any scholar engaged in interdisciplinary studies. The volume would have been immensely more interesting had some thoughts of Eastern thinkers been included in it. Then the relatively cursory overview treatment meted out to Economic Geography annoys. Settlement Geography gets even less attention and Planning Geography barely a mention. Although no book can be comprehensive on any subject, one expected an introduction to these ideas of far reaching implications in a venture as ambitious as compiling a contextual history of ideas in geographical thought.
        Lastly, remember that it's the work of an academician and a specialist aimed at an audience mature enough for the force of sometimes raw ideas. The language is no Archer, nor the flow of narrative that of Michener. The book needs effort but the view from the peak, once reached, is breathtaking and well worth every drop of sweat generated in reaching there. Marx insisted that we must always be aware of the historicity of our conceptual constructions. Paying attention to geosophy would take us far in that regard.

(C. K. Lal would like to believe that he is a student of interdisciplinary studies)

*********** We Sinful Women: Contemporary Urdu Feminist Poetry. Translator and editor, Rukhsana Ahmad. Publisher: The Women's Press, London, 1991.

Challenging the Canon: Urdu Feminist Poetry

Carla Petievich

This collection, published first in Pakistan as Beyond Belief (ASR, Lahore 1990), will be of interest to any reader of contemporary South Asian feminist writing as well as those more specifically interested in Urdu literature or progressive poetry. In an informative and accessible introduction, the editor-translator boldly asserts her belief that "the most innovative, the most radical and the most interesting poetry of our time is being produced by women" in a literary tradition that is
"male dominated and devoted to the past". These may prove to be fighting words, as even the token acceptance granted to feminist criticism in the academy during the past decade has yet to be manifest in the world of Urdu letters where publishers, critics and patrons still tend overwhelmingly to be male. Readers will judge for themselves whether they agree with Rukhsana Ahmad's assertions, but all should be glad of the opportunity she has afforded us by bringing together for the first time these 51 poems by 7 modern female poets.

The volume suggests an alternative literary canon, comprised of poets whose work represents "brave departures from that [male dominated] literary tradition [devoted to the past]". Readers will not be surprised to find represented here such famous writers as Kishwar Naheed and Fahmida Riyaz (indeed their selections comprise about half the volume, and the title itself is taken from one of Naheed's acclaimed poems). Kishwar Naheed and Fahmida Riyaz are undoubtedly the two best known female names in modern Urdu poetry, and even a casual dabbler on the scene will probably have been exposed to both, repeatedly. Their fame in no way compromises their credentials for inclusion in this volume, for both have consistently written woman-centered poetry over some thirty years. Furthermore, both are responsible for establishing an authentic female voice--a voice of feminine desire--within Urdu poetry while casting their nets far beyond the prescribed concerns of gender-segregated "female" realms to include, for example, contemporary Pakistani electoral, legal and linguistic politics.

Indeed, the editor poses anti-sexist values and social content explicitly as criteria for feminist writing in Urdu. In her explanation of why such a beloved poet as Parveen Shakir is absent from We Sinful Women, she writes that "the acceptance of sexist values and the absence of a social context makes
[Shakir's] writing distinctively un-feminist". This explanation underlines another major contribution of the volume, one that is long overdue in Urdu literature: the exercise of a critical distinction between feminist writing and any work by a female writer.

At the centre of this collection are three poems by Sara Shagufta which constitute a call to arms grounded in articulate rage. Their focus on mothers, daughters, and the isolation of being a woman identify the logical base from which to launch feminist struggle. Tragically, the call came too late for the poet herself, who committed suicide at an early age,
"deeply pained by the indifference of a chauvinistic poet husband who was surrounded by 'critics/friends' ready to deride her work". A complement to Shagufta can be found in Ishrat Aafreen, whose first volume of poetry heralded the arrival of a young, vigorously intellectual, perhaps neo-traditional (?) poet. Aafreen, who hasn't published since her marriage, writes such direct and piercing lines as:

        Mera qad I grew
        mere baap se uncha nikla Taller than my father
        aur meri maa jeet gayi And my mother won.

("Dedication" [Intisaab ], p. 141)

Ahmad points out that the best-accepted female poets tend to be those who conform both to socio-political norms of gender identity and the literary tradition. As someone who puts little faith in the notion that those voices which get heard are a matter of any coincidence, I offer an inverse illustration: I had never before read anything by Saeeda Gazdar. whose powerful nazm "Twelfth of February, 1983" is included here. This long poem expresses fiery protest against the police violence encountered by women in Lahore when took to the streets on that date in opposition to Laws of Evidence curtailing women's status as citizens. Zehra Nigah, on the other hand, writes poetry far less overtly political or expressive of protest, and perhaps less challenging to the status quo. The editor notes that the poems included here
"illustrate the pathos of her resignation" to the forces working against feminist writing, and "stay well within the bounds of 'protest' expected and permitted in women's writing from the subcontinent". Zehra Nigah is a much-loved and highly respected poet in Pakistan. Rukhsana Ahmad's point is well taken.

The translations themselves are very competent, and where one might find herself imagining slightly different choices occasionally, they would only join a continuum of legitimate possibilities, rather than claiming to be corrective in any way. Translation is always a matter of choice, and subjective, and we can but applaud the translator who takes the risk of displaying her choices so unguardedly. One also commends her decision to put the Urdu original on the page facing her translation, a welcome convention gaining increased popularity in recent years.

Some of the selections--especially works by Naheed and Riyaz--have appeared in translation before. While one always hopes to increase the volume of Urdu poetry in English translation, Ahmad here makes yet another contribution with her own selection: by putting her own translations up against those of, say, Bedar Bakht (translator of Kishwar Naheed's The Price of Looking Back, Lahore 1987) she affords us the opportunity to engage in a dialogue concerning the nature and implication of translation itself, a subject that is necessarily comparative.

A central concern of both We Sinful Women and this review is that of access and exposure, of canon formation. Who owns Urdu poetry? Whose tradition is it? Who selects and represents it to the outside? Who translates it? What gets translated?

During an interview, Rukhsana Ahmad spoke of this project as having helped to bring her back to her own roots, to a tradition she was losing but is glad to reclaim. The catalyst to undertaking this project was a query from a young British Asian feminist who spoke some Urdu but did not read or write. Her appeal was simple: was there anything in this literature with which she could identify? Were there women poets in Urdu? Is there any tradition of feminism in Pakistan? The fact that she did not know speaks volumes about who and what represent Urdu literature to the non-Urdu world.

By seeking out and presenting the poems in We Sinful Women, and by framing them as she does with her introductory remarks, Rukhsana Ahmad has taken a giant step beyond those who ruefully shake their heads, agree that the tradition--nay, the society itself--is male dominated, and carry on editing and publishing anthologies which neither offer increased representation to women poets, nor indicate that male poets are tackling the problem on their own. It is no exaggeration to say that We Sinful Women represents the first serious attempt to really challenge the modern Urdu canon (anyone proving me wrong will do me the favour of exposing me to more poetry I am keen to read).

An Indian or Nepali edition of this collection would be most welcome. Because of its script and the increasing hazards of communalism in a world where the language is associated so exclusively (and incorrectly) with Muslim culture, Urdu has gradually lost the wider readership its literature enjoyed in the past. But the literary and social concerns evident here reflect very closely those of other literatures across the subcontinent.

(C. Petievich is the author of Assembly of Rivals: Delhi, Lucknow, and the Urdu Ghazal (Manohar, 1992), and many articles on Urdu poetry and the historical politics of Urdu literature).

*********

Amitav Ghosh Title: The Calcutta Chromosome Publisher: Ravi Dayal Publisher, Delhi, 1996. Price: IRs. 190

Malarial Imaginings

Kathryn Hansen

In The Calcutta Chromosome, his fourth novel, Amitav Ghosh takes on a new persona by writing a history of science thriller. With breathtaking agility, he leads his readers on a merry chase between Calcutta, Manhattan, Secunderabad, and Renupur, a remote Bihar village. The romp has a serious side, for at stake is the cure for malaria, one of mankind's most ravaging and unvanquishable diseases. Events pivot around August 20, World Mosquito Day, established in honor of Sir Ronald Ross, the Nobel laureate who discovered that malaria was a mosquito-borne disease. In classic science-fiction fashion, the geographic planes are connected by travel through time, so that the narrative crisscrosses between the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, creating a sort of triple helix. Ghosh drops clues in dizzying succession, challenging the reader to identify the correspondences between characters that will solve the final mystery. If his patterns seem finally to demand computer analysis, his comic vignettes buoy up the book and return solid entertainment.

A bifocal gaze on scientific progress emerges as the principal theme of the novel. Ghosh's fascination with the annals of medicine animates its central pages. Here the focus is the career of Sir Ronald Ross, a poet and gentleman who almost inadvertently becomes a scientist. Sent off to join the Indian Medical Service, Ross gets entangled in the search for the malarial parasite vector. Medicine is at such a primitive stage at the end of the 19th century that malaria is introduced into patients suffering from syphilis to relieve their symptoms. Ross's adventures in the lab are paralleled by the manic quest of L. Murugan, an archivist for an international health organization, who is searching for the "Calcutta chromosome" exactly one hundred years later. This elusive bit of genetic material has the potential, Murugan believes, to transform the human personality and maybe even to extend life.

For both Ross and Murugan, the process of scientific discovery is vexed and fraught with peril. Partly this is due to the limitations and irrational impulses of the scientists themselves, but even more to the fact that they are part of a larger experiment controlled by a higher power. The two quests are lodged within a third time-frame, indeed are visualized with the help of Ava, an all-knowing and all-seeing master computer. In the dystopian world of the 21st century, the progress created by science has run amuck. Computers know the dialects of the world better than their native speakers, and the lives of their operators, like the depressed Antar, are arid wastelands ruled by the clock and Ava's panoptical scrutiny. Humanity still seeks not only for the relief of physical ailment but for liberation of the spirit from the everyday.

Science then is countered in the novel by a fascination with the mystical, the arcane, the hidden. Spiritualists on the model of Madame Blavatsky hold seances in late-Victorian parlors where scientists go into trance. Ross's lab assistants lead double lives as cult figures with strange nighttime rituals. The microscope, tool of discovery, itself becomes a mystical icon, appearing in the hand of a terracotta image at the shrine to Ronald Ross's memory. Delirious visions contribute a hallucinatory quality to the novel's texture, becoming the trajectories for glimpses into the other world. All three protagonists, Ross, Murugan, and Antar are infected with malaria, and during their bouts with fever they experience altered states of consciousness. Extrasensory powers are also associated with the novels' female characters, Tara, Urmila, and Mangala, all of whom contain a secret force that enables their male counterparts to make their discoveries. In this quality, they suggest the great goddess of Hinduism, worshipped as Shakti in Bengal.

A curious subplot concerns a writer named Phulboni, a fictional amalgam of such real-life literary figures as Tagore, Bonophul, and Phanishwarnath Renu. Phulboni on first acquaintance appears on stage at an official award ceremony, delivering a soporific speech on his lifelong pursuit of Silence. Later he gets his comeuppance in the tiny railway station near Renupur, but only after finally communing with the splendid, vast northern Bihar plain at sunset during the monsoon. Phulboni is the subject of the research of Urmila, a young journalist. Her particular interest lies in the "Laakhan stories," written during an early part of the author's career. Laakhan links a number of strands across time and space, transforming into Lutchman, Lachman, Lucky, and a nameless adolescent in a T-shirt throughout the book's pages. Nonetheless Phulboni's purpose in the novel is rather opaque. Is he there as Ghosh's alter ego, or as a signal to the debt Ghosh owes to his literary forebears?

These are only a few of the questions that the reader is likely to pose at the end of this bewildering book. What we have here is a puzzle or anagram rather than a study of character and environment. Although Ghosh borrows from Renu in particular for snatches of regional color, he seems less sure of his language and sense of place than in his earlier fiction. Murugan's monologues in their attempt to mimic a trashy American tone are often unconvincing. Nor can the feel of Calcutta be conjured simply by reciting the map of its urban landscape. Yet if the reader wishes a window into the fevered aspect of Ghosh's imagination, there can be no better starting point than this. The Calcutta Chromosome is recommended as a unique journey into the uncharted domain of Indian science fiction.

(K. Hansen is the author of Grounds for Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India, and has translated the short stories of Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu.)

The KPRB on-line: http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~deschene/sinhas/kprb.html

********************************************************** Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 03:32:13 +0530 From: NMC &NMCTH <nmc@mos.com.np> To: Nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Release of a Publication

Release of a Publication Kathmandu, August 26

A publication, Fertility Transition in Nepal, was released today by Dr. Jagadish Pokharel, Member of the Planning Commission, amidst a function jointly organized by Tribhuvan University's Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS), Population Association of Nepal, and Family Health International. The function was attended by social scientists with special interest in population, authors/ coauthors, writers and reporters representing selected newspapers.

Dr. Pokharel noted that a wave of social change has been underway in Nepal, although it has affected certain population subgroups and certain geographic areas more than others have. "After several years of efforts, we are witnessing the emergence of a new culture of contraception and a new culture of preference for smaller family size," he remarked. Dr. Pokharel underlined the importance of high quality research aimed at assessing the achievements made by the various population and development programs.

The publication contains 11 articles by 16 authors and co-authors. The papers range from assessing levels of fertility to exploring various social, cultural and economic factors that have contributed to the decline in fertility. Prem K. Khatry, Executive Director of CNAS observed that the release of the publication coincides with the 25th year of the publication of CNAS' journal, Contributions to Nepalese Studies. Dr. Robert D. Retherford, senior associate at the East-West Center, Honolulu, noted that the local publication plays a vital role in reaching a wider audience in Nepal. According to Dr. Shyam Thapa, Scientist with Family Health International and senior editor of the volume, the publication represents the first ever collection of papers on the topic of fertility transition in Nepal. Dr. Ram Hari Aryal, Vice President of the Population Association of Nepal, informed that the papers are based on an international conference held in November 1997 in Kathmandu.

Volume 25 Special Issue July 1998

FERTILITY TRANSITION IN NEPAL

Editors SHYAM THAPA SHARA G. NEIDELL DILLI R. DAHAL

Based on the conference on Fertility Transition in Nepal: Changing Context and Dynamics Kathmandu

CENTRE FOR NEPAL AND ASIAN STUDIES TRIBHUVAN UNIVERSITY Kirtipur, Nepal

July 1998

CONTENTS

Preface v ARTICLES The Global Fertility Transition and Nepal 1
        JOHN C. CALDWELL Fertility Trends in Nepal, 1977-1995 9
                        ROBERT D. RETHERFORD
                        SHYAM THAPA Tamang Transitions: Transformations in the Culture of Childbearing and Fertility among Nepal's Tamang 59
                        DILLI R. DAHAL
                        THOMAS E. FRICKE Fertility Transition in Kathmandu 79
                        RAM HARI ARYAL Determinants of Fertility in the 1970s and 1990s in Nepal 95
                        LAXMI BILAS ACHARYA Moslem and Non-Moslem Fertility Differences in the Eastern Terai of Nepal 109
                        SHARA G. NEIDELL
                        BHANU B. NIRAULA
                        S. PHILIP MORGAN
                        SHARON STASH Socioeconomic Changes, Women's Autonomy and Timing of First Birth in a Semi-urban Community in Nepal 129
                        DEVENDRA P. SHRESTHA Regional Patterns of Fertility in Nepal 145
                        BHIM P. SUBEDI Women's Autonomy and Reproductive Behavior in Two Urban Areas of Nepal 157
                        BHANU B. NIRAULA
                        DOVAN LAWATI The Contextual Web of Fertility Control: A Case Study of Chisang Village 173 DEBENDRA KARKI Understanding Fertility Transition: Back to Basics 199
                JOHN CLELAND
                ABSTRACTS 215
   AUTHORS FOR THIS ISSUE 221 ABSTRACTS The Global Fertility Transition and Nepal
        JOHN C. CALDWELL The global fertility transition has now been progressing for two centuries and still not all countries have begun their fertility declines. The first to do so was France in the late eighteenth century. The most recent is Nepal which is now the poorest country in the world with declining fertility, although at the onset of its decline it probably compared in per capita income with Bangladesh and possibly with France at their onsets. New data sources now allow us to compare fertility transitions across the world in terms of the speed of declines in individual countries and in the diffusion of their onsets from one country to another across regions. The similarities, at least over the last 125 years, are more striking than the differences. The Nepal decline is a typical Asian one with leadership provided by the government and elites, and resembles India in the predominant role played by sterilization. Nepal's fertility transition is of particular interest in three ways: (1) the low per capita income at which it is occurring; (2) the difficult topography of the country, which divides the population into those with easy access to the outside world who have joined the global economy and exhibit declining fertility and those without roads or schools who are still characterized by stable high fertility; and (3) the reliance for most fertility control on sterilization.

Fertility Trends in Nepal, 1977-1995
        ROBERT D. RETHERFORD
        SHYAM THAPA This article presents estimates of fertility trends in Nepal for the period 1977-95, derived from two national surveys-the 1991 Nepal Fertility, Family Planning and Health Survey (NFFPHS) and the 1996 Nepal Family Health Survey (NFHS). Various fertility measures are estimated, including age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs), the total fertility rate
(TFR), period parity progression ratios (PPPRs), and the total fertility rate and the total marital fertility rate derived from PPPRs (TFRp and TMFRp). Trends in these measures are estimated for the 15-year period before each survey in the case of ASFRs and the TFR, and for the 10-year period before each survey in the case of PPPRs, TFRp, and TMFRp. For any given fertility measure, each survey yields a trend for years before the survey, and the two trends estimated from the two surveys overlap during some of these years. If the data were perfect, the two trends would coincide during the period of overlap. But the data are not perfect, and the trends do not coincide. Analysis of the discrepancies allows an improved assessment of the true trend in fertility. The principal finding is that fertility has been declining somewhat more slowly than commonly thought. The total fertility rate is estimated to have declined from 5.80 to 4.95 between 1977 and 1995. It declined more rapidly in urban areas than in rural areas, and more rapidly among women with more than a primary education than among women with a primary education or less.

Tamang Transitions: Transformations in the Culture of Childbearing and Fertility among Nepal's Tamang
        DILLI R. DAHAL
        THOMAS E. FRICKE This article reviews significant findings from over 15 years of research on the culture of fertility and family transitions in two Tamang communities of Nepal. Data sources include both qualitative ethnography and quantitative survey materials collected from the collaborative Tamang Family Research Project. Major findings indicate that behavioral transitions in familial and childbearing patterns are closely associated with changing economic contexts away from earlier subsistence production to increasing involvement in the monetized economy. More recently, research has further indicated the beginnings of transitions in the cultural contexts of family and identity. The authors suggest that the moral entailments of Tamang patterns of meaning are the key to variations in behavior in response to changing material conditions.

Fertility Transition in Kathmandu
        RAM HARI ARYAL Using data from a survey carried out in Kathmandu in 1997, this paper analyzes the onset of the fertility transition. The analysis uses the index of marital fertility control (m) and parity progression ratios to document the onset of fertility changes. The results show that women tend to have children shortly after marriage. Nevertheless, there is evidence of a transition toward two and three child families. Additionally as educational attainment rises, women's fertility declines.

Determinants of Fertility in the 1970s and 1990s in Nepal
        LAXMI BILAS ACHARYA Using data from the 1976 Nepal Fertility Survey and the 1996 Nepal Family Health Survey this paper examines how selected socioeconomic variables and two proximate factors, age at marriage and ever use of contraception, affect both recent and cumulative fertility. The total change in fertility is decomposed to assess the extent to which changes in fertility behavior were due to compositional changes in the distribution of women or were net of these effects. The results show that socioeconomic variables have begun to play an important role in fertility reduction. Age at marriage has a strong inverse association with cumulative fertility; contraception, however, has a positive association. This could be due to the tendency for Nepali couples to use contraception only after achieving their desired family size.

Moslem and Non-Moslem Fertility Differences in the Eastern Terai of Nepal
        SHARA G. NEIDELL
        BHANU B. NIRAULA
        S. PHILIP MORGAN
        SHARON STASH Using data collected in early 1997 from three religious/ethnic groups
(Moslems, Mahato and Tharu) in the Eastern Terai of Nepal we examine the effects of religious/ethnic differences, other background variables and measures of women's autonomy on reproductive behavior. Moslem women have lower levels of autonomy, greater desires for additional children and are less likely to be using contraception than either Mahato or Tharu women. Multivariate analyses reveal the persistence of these religious/ethnic variations, thereby suggesting that women's autonomy differences cannot explain differences in reproductive behavior. We discuss other explanations for these fertility differences.

Socioconomic Changes, Women's Autonomy, and Timing of First Birth in a Semi-Urban Community in Nepal
        DEVENDRA P. SHRESTHA Using micro-demographic data gathered from a single ethnic group, the Newars of Kirtipur in the Kathmandu Valley, this paper examines the influence of family and individual experience variables on the timing of the first birth in the context of social transformation. The cohort analysis finds that the first birth interval has been declining in the study community. The results show significant effects of birth cohort, respondent's outside exposure before marriage and the interaction term, gift times time. The effects of several other variables, while not significant, are in the expected directions, suggesting that women's literacy, higher age at marriage and having one's own choice of spouse may encourage the establishment of intimacy between a husband and wife and, therefore, lead to a shortening of the first birth interval.

Regional Patterns of Fertility in Nepal
        BHIM P. SUBEDI Using ecodevelopment regions as the units of analysis and data from the 1971 and 1991 population censuses, this paper examines regional-level changes in fertility and its association with selected development factors. The results suggest a mixed pattern of fertility changes in the 15 ecodevelopment regions during the 20-year period. Fertility has clearly declined in two of the 15 regions, which are characterized by high levels of social and human development. In some districts there is a plateau in the level of fertility, while in other areas, fertility may even be rising. Some of the apparent differences and changes may be related to the quality of the data as well as changes in mortality. These preliminary results suggest further research is needed to understand fertility differentials at the regional level in Nepal. Women's Autonomy and Reproductive Behavior in Two Urban Areas of Nepal

        BHANU B. NIRAULA
        DOVAN LAWATI Based on data collected in 1997, this paper examines the interrelationship between gender roles, women's autonomy and fertility behavior in two urban settings, one in the hill and the other in Terai. The results confirm gender-specific division of work. The Terai setting, however, shows comparatively more gender-balance in tasks performed and decisions made than the hill setting. Following from this, women's autonomy in the Terai was found to be higher than in the hill. This is not, however, associated with differential patterns of reproductive behavior. The hill women, in spite of their lower autonomy, are less likely to have an unmet need for contraception than those in the Terai. We surmise that there may be some threshold level of modernization above which further improvements in women's autonomy may not lead to continued increases in contraceptive use.

The Contextual Web of Fertility Control: A Case Study of Chisang Village
        DEBENDRA KARKI The paper examines how various village and family/individual level factors have triggered measurable changes in reproductive attitudes and behavior in Chisang, a village in the Eastern Terai of Nepal. The research design employed a combination of survey questionnaires and unstructured interviews, complemented by participant observation. In Chisang, fertility change is occurring as a result of changing sociocultural, economic and development factors including increased educational opportunities, changing roles of women and local availability of family planning methods in addition to infrastructure development. This case study underscores that analysis of fertility changes in the village should not be viewed in isolation from the regional or national socioeconomic changes which form the context of the fertility transition. The majority of the Chisang residents are migrants, and are therefore receptive to changing norms and practices. They are innovative and are breaking away from many traditional ways of thinking; one of these innovations is increased fertility regulation achieved principally by delaying age of marriage and increasing contraceptive use within marriage.

Understanding Fertility Transition: Back to Basics
        JOHN CLELAND A review of developing country demographic trends since 1960 demonstrates that fertility decline has occurred in a wide range of economic, social and cultural circumstances and that it will probably become universal in the near future. It is argued that the huge gains in life expectancy that occurred in the twentieth century constitute the most plausible underlying cause of the near-ubiquitous falls in fertility. However, explanations of the precise timing and speed of national fertility transitions need to take into account many other factors.

AUTHORS FOR THIS ISSUE LAXMI BILAS ACHARYA, Ph.D. is Lecturer, Central Department of Population Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu. RAM HARI ARYAL, Ph.D. is Under-secretary, Population and Social Committee, House of Representatives, Kathmandu. JOHN C. CALDWELL, Ph.D. is Professor of Demography and Director, Health Transition Centre, Australian National University, Canberra. JOHN CLELAND, M.A.. is Professor, Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London. DILLI R. DAHAL, Ph.D. is Associate Professor, Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, and Associate, Department of Anthropology/Sociology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu. THOMAS E. FRICKE, Ph.D. is Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Senior Study Director, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. DEBENDRA KARKI, Ph.D. is Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine, Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu. DOVAN LAWATI, M.B.A. is Women's Development Officer, Agricultural Projects Services Centre, Kathmandu. S. PHILIP MORGAN, Ph.D. is Professor, Population Studies Center/Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. SHARA G. NEIDELL, Ph.D. candidate is Fulbright Fellow, Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States and Nepal, Kathmandu, and Population Studies Center/Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 BHANU B. NIRAULA, Ph.D. is Senior Sociologist/Demographer, Agricultural Projects Services Centre, Kathmandu. ROBERT D. RETHERFORD, Ph.D. is Senior Fellow, Program on Population, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. DEVENDRA P. SHRESTHA, Ph.D. is Associate Professor, Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu. SHARON STASH, Ph.D. is Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. BHIM P. SUBEDI, Ph.D. is Lecturer, Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu. SHYAM THAPA, Ph.D. is Senior Scientist, Family Health International, North Carolina, and Technical Advisor, Family Health Division, Ministry of Health, Kathmandu. If you are interested in ordering a copy of this Publication please contact Dr Debendra Karki at nmc@mos.com.np. If you require additional information on the Publication, the Fertility Transition in Nepal Conference or the Authors of the Publication, please contact Dr Shyam Thapa at sthapa@fhi.wlink.com.np.

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