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Nation Weekly November 21, 2004, Volume 1, Number 31 Upadhyay, Akhilesh 2004-11-21

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 CONSTITUTION CRISIS I KAISER LIBRARY I NEPALI HIP-HOPl RPP SPLIT?
NOVEMBER 21, 2004 VOL. I, NO. 31
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www.nation.com.np
WEEKLY
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22 Elusive Ceasefire
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli and Satishjung Shahi
With the first major explosion in the capital last week, it was clear that holiday
truce had ended. Although both the government and the Maoists still say they are
committed to peace, it's unclear what is holding them back.
COLUMNS
DEPARTMENTS
11 Stop This Nonsense
By Suman Pradhan
38 Peace By
Consensus
ByArnico K. Panday
40 On Bended Knee
ByKunalLama
LIFESTYLE
47 Food for Thought
By Sushmajoshi
The international food festival at the
Hyatt was a plateful of disappointment
6 LETTERS
9 WEEK IN PICTURES
10 PICTURE OF THE WEEK
14 CAPSULES
16 MILESTONE
16 BIZ BUZZ
28 TIHAR THAT WAS
44 CITY PAGE
52 SNAPSHOTS
56 KHULA MANCH: THE SWEET MAKER
57 BOOKS: "RIDDUM"
58 LAST PAGE
18 Constitutional
Chasm
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
With the constitution derailed for almost
two years now, there are mixed interpretations about it. But almost everyone
agrees that, it needs amendmen
26 Helter Skelter
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
Every time the RPP has been close to
power, it has split: The party itself may
have lost count of how often. This time
Thapa has departed with a bigger purpose. What is it?
31   Rap Is Da' Trend
By Satishjung Shahi
Nepali hip-hop music is starting to do
well commercially, especially among
youngsters, who are turning into major
fans
ARTS & SOCIETY
34 The Muse In The
Garden
By Veneeta Singha
The ornate surroundings of Kaiser Library speak volumes ofthe man who created it
PROFILE
42 The Education
Divide
By Sunil Pokhrel
It's been 22 years since Christine Stone
came here to teach, and she's still going
strong
SPORTS
50 Dark Shadows
By Sudesh Shrestha
It's time officials looked seriously into
sports injuries k( The leadership in
the Nepali Congress
is dead as a dodo
w
DR. AMRIT K.C.
NC muddle
I PERSONALLY THINK JOHN
Narayan Parajuli's "Leadership Muddle"
(November 14) was a sheer waste of
space in your popular magazine. There
are so many other pleasant things to talk
and write about. To put it succinctly, the
leadership in the Nepali Congress is
dead as a dodo, and who is to blame?
None other than the persons mentioned
in your magazine. I thought it was quite
unnecessary to bring in the feud inside
the Koirala family while discussing
Nepali Congress politics. Finally, I
would like to add that Dr. Shashank
Koirala has made the biggest mistake in
his life by trying to revive the already
dead dodo. Dr. Koirala, you are a highly
competent eye specialist. Your patients
need you much more than the Nepali
Congress party.
DR. AMRIT K.C.
VIA EMAIL
Everest call
THANKS FOR FEATURING
Ang Karma Sherpa in your interview page, Khula Manch
("Ever Higher," November 7).
He correctly spells out why
young Sherpas are so strongly
drawn to Everest: 'You can be
nobody today, and tomorrow
you can rise to stardom." But
that's not all—anyone who
has visited Khumbu will tell
you the attendant stardom
only partly explains  the
Everest call. To Sherpas,
mountaineering is simply a
life-support system—just as it was to the
most famous of them all, Tenzing Norgay
more than 50 years ago. Perhaps even
more so now, thanks to Tenzing. Mountaineering has now made a name for itself as a revenue-generating industry, and
Sherpas are its renowned foot soldiers.
Every single high-altitude expedition has
Sherpa sardars, who are perhaps more
important to the climbing team than the
team leader himself.
PHURBA SHERPA
VIA EMAIL
US and religion
ELECTION 2004 WAS AN EYE-
opener to me ("In
God's Own Country," by Suman
Pradhan,    November 7). I realized how
deeply    divided
the       Untied States is and how big a role religion plays
in its election. All this in arguably the
world's most vibrant democracy! President George Bush virtually campaigned
on the back of religion. Whatever happened to the secular values the rest of
the world relates to the west? So are they
just for speeches and have mere ornamental values? I am disturbed.
PRABHAT GHIMIRE
VIA EMAIL
Skirting the issue
I AM WRITING TO RESPECT-
fully question the intent of the letter to
the editor titled "Rightist slant" (November 7). As an occasional contributor
to your publication, I welcome criticism
of the content of my writing. I believe
that constructive criticism provides a
unique opportunity to broaden one's
horizons and re-examine issues from
differing perspectives.
However, in the case ofthe letter you
recently published, I am offended because the criticism outlined has, at best,
a marginal relation to the content of my
writing. The letter is more of a weak
attack on my personality, based on a
groundless assumption regarding my
supposed political preferences. First of
all, nowhere in my writing do I state
that Bhekh Bahadur Thapa made a better case for his government's anti-
Maoist campaign than Prakash Sharan
Mahat. My only point was that Mahat
explicitly called the Maoists terrorists
whereas Thapa had avoided using the
term. Second, neither the issue of human rights nor ofthe Royal Nepal Army
was raised by the audience in discussions with Mahat this year (at Columbia University). Third, nowhere in my
piece do I claim that Nepal's human
rights record is infallible or that the
RNA is immune to criticism. Fourth,
how is it that a piece about deficiencies
in Nepali diplomacy somehow indicates that Nepal's diplomatic efforts are
secondary to the RNA? Fifth, no individual was my "whipping boy," definitely not Mahat. My intent was to write
the facts and leave judgment on systemic abuses and inefficiencies to the
readers. Sixth, there was no cover-up to
be done. Anyone who was present at
both Thapa's and Mahat's presentations
can attest to this.
This necessitates for clarification that
the individual "Niraj Joshi," who wrote
that letter, was not present at either
Thapa's or Mahat's function. It is entirely
possible that "Niraj Joshi's" alter ego was,
but "Niraj Joshi" was not. He is the one
who has missed the point—it is entirely
possible to have a rightist approach and
still champion human rights. Alternatively, it is also very possible to have a
leftist tinge and be in support of the
RNA. Mutual exclusivity in this area is a
feeble excuse for undermining the
democratic norms of diversity and tolerance. Human rights abuses aren't perpetrated based on political preferences;
if such were the case, "Niraj Joshi's"
logic indicates that he/she is a Maoist.
Should "Niraj Joshi" have issues with
the RNA's human rights record, I would
suggest that he/she take it up with them,
instead of trying to use me as a "whipping boy." Should "Niraj Joshi" feel a
strong compulsion to lambast the RNA,
he should have the guts to do so publicly, using his own name and citing his
own reasons. What I wrote was based on
pure, hard facts. There was not a word of
exaggeration. "Niraj Joshi's" attack on
my writing uses facts that are completely
out of context and conjecture that should
have raised editorial alarms.
Last but not the least, I understand
that verifying sources external to Nepal
may be a challenge, but it is not impossible. Publications similar to yours successfully meet this challenge by requesting that contributors state their professional or educational associations (even
pictures in some cases).
DIPTA SHAH
NEW YORK
CORRECTION
• Hemant Arjyal's name has been incorrectly spelled as Hemanta Aryal in
"Flying High" (Cover story, by John
Narayan Parajuli, November 14).
• In "Week in Pictures" (November
14), a picture caption for the program
"Hasyabahar Kabi Gosti" at the Indian
Embassy named the comic Govind
Babu Tiwari wrongly as Govind
Bahadur Tiwari.
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NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly Week   Pictures
1. TO ASHES: Minority groups demanding quotas in educational institutions burn
the Constitution on November 8, the 15th Constitution Day
2. SLAGONEERING: Children at a Gefont rally
3. & 6. IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: Police dogs on Kukur Puja at the Central Dog Training
School in Ranibari
4. AMERICAN DREAM: The DV-2006 starts
5. FESTIVE MOOD: Deusi-bhailo program at NTB Hall
7. WHERE IS EVERYBODY: A kid collects plastic cups after tea party for
Ganeshman Foundation at Bhrikutimandap
8. MAKE HAY...: Farmers drying paddy grain
photos 1,3,4,5 and 6 nw/SS, 2, 7 and 8 B Rai
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004 FAMILY REUNION: Inus Karawee, with his
father, on his return home from Iraq where
he was held hostage by Islamic militants
nation weekly/Sagar Shrestha (^
Meanwhile
Stop This Nonsense
That Minister Mohsin raised the specter of dictatorship last week is troubling
BY SUMAN PRADHAN
Talking to a group of editors and publishers last Wednesday, Minis
terfor Information and Communication Mohammed Mohsin threw
a bombshell: If the present government fails, then an authoritarian regime cannot be ruled out. It doesn't matter that Mohsin labeled his
thoughts as "personal opinion" or "hypothesis." The fact is that such an
opinion has been expressed by a responsible government leader who is
considered close to the King.
The statement can be interpreted in two ways. It could be a last-ditch
attempt to push the Maoists to the negotiating table by raising the
specter of dictatorship. Or it could be a trial balloon to gauge public
reaction before, God forbid, the inevitable. Either way, Mohsin's remarks
are deeply troubling.
It is disconcerting because a senior government leader is openly
talking of authoritarianism as a last recourse to establishing peace. And
instead of slapping him down, Prime
Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has
stayed conspicuously silent. But we
should not stay silent. This is the time
for political parties, civil society and the
people in general to strongly condemn
such views, lest it send the wrong signals to the powers that be. History is
replete with examples of wrong turns
because people and parties slept at
the wheel. Let this moment not pass
without a vigorous response.
Throughout history, those in power
have argued for more authority to control rebellion and dissent. Indira Gandhi
did so by imposing emergency in democratic India from 1975 to 1977. It did
not solve India's problems. In fact it
made them worse and could have contributed to the rise in violence later in
several Indian states.
Further out, dictatorial regimes have
failed time and again to achieve their
military and political objectives. They
may have provided stability and peace
for brief periods, but they have inevitably failed overtime. Suharto-era Indonesia, the former Yugoslavia and
the ex-Soviet Union are all examples of authoritarianism gone awry.
None of these countries could prevent disintegration despite the recourse to draconian laws and use of military force. And the world is
shuddering today bythe prospects of what will happen after Burma and
North Korea throw off their authoritarian regimes some day. Might it be
any different in Nepal?
Those in favor of authoritarianism may want to point to Singapore
and Taiwan, two countries, which attained remarkable progress on the
back of benign authoritarian governments. True, but those countries are
the exception rather than the rule. Without the massive infusion of U.S.
aid, Chiang Kai Shek and his followers may never have succeeded in
Taiwan. It has been in U.S. strategic interests to keep Taiwan a viable
developed nation. And Lee Kwan Yeou in Singapore may have failed if
the tiny state did not possess some ofthe world's best natural deep-
water ports to keep the population busy in economics rather than politics.
We don't see any of these conditions in Nepal. This country is too
insignificant for geo-strategic interests, and it doesn't have oil and ports.
All it has is water, and no one cares about that other than India and us.
And we don't want India meddling with our water resources, right?
It is a challenge for any regime, authoritarian or otherwise, to
keep the population busy in economics. Indeed, this has already
been tried before and failed. What was the Panchayat system if not
an authoritarian form of governance
which tried to keep the population
away from politics and busy in economics? Did it work? Those who long
for the "peace and stability" ofthe
Panchayat ignore the artificial nature
of that peace. Once you take the lid
of authoritarianism off, the peace
quickly turns into violent expression,
as has happened elsewhere and is
happening here in Nepal.
The answer to our problems is not a
dictatorship, though I know the idea
sounds appealing to some. The answer
Iies in politics, specifically the politics of
accommodation. This calls for negotiations and compromise. Mohsin is right
in one key aspect though: He said the
Maoists had not shown any meaningful
response to dialogue. But that should
not foreclose the possibility of dialogue
in the other direction—among the political parties.
Has the government done enough
to begin a dialogue with the opposition? If it views the opposition leaders
as intransigent, then it should go above their heads and appeal
directly to the party workers and the people. All politicians and parties
care about public opinion. Why not use the peace constituencies
among all parties and the people as leverage to force intransigent
politicians to bridge the divide between themselves? The Maoists will
have more incentives to come to the table if all political parties are
united.
Minister Mohsin, Sir, stop this nonsense about dictatorships and urge
your government to begin dialogue with the opposition. □
X
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
11 Opinion
THINK
POSITIVE
'Thinker'
by Auguste Rodin
POLITICS
Civil Conflict
Education
Development
Business
Lifestyle
Sports
EVERY WEEK.
EVERY MONDAY.
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^ACE HOTELS 6 RESORTS Ominous clouds
Minister for Information and
Communication Mohammed
Mohsin raised a furor ■when he
stated that if a "liberal regime"
could not bring a solution to the
current political deadlock, then
an authoritarian government
could not be ruled out. He labeled his thoughts as "purely
hypothetical." The political parties reacted immediately protesting the government
spokesman's comments. Some
members ofthe CPN-UML, a
member ofthe ruling coalition,
demanded that Prime Minister
Deuba take action against Minister Mohsin. Kantipur quoted
an unnamed source as saying the
Cabinet meeting, which took
place a day after the minister's
comments, termed the comments as being positive as it
urged all forces to make the
present government successful.
Bomb explosions
Three suspected Maoists detonated a bomb at the state-
owned Sanchayakosh building
at Sundhara. Thirty-eight
people were injured in the incident. More than Rs. 30 million
worth of property including a
newly installed escalator, was destroyed in the explosion that
ransacked the first floor ofthe
building still under construc
tion. Another explosion at the
Inland Revenue Office at Surya
Binayak, Bhaktapur, on the
same day damaged the building. The explosions took place
within a week ofthe arrest of a
senior Maoist leader Prasant,
Kathmandu Valley's media coordinator. Diplomatic missions
condemned the bombings in
Kathmandu. British Minister of
State for Foreign Affairs Douglas Alexander, who was on a
visit to the country said that
"the maiming of innocent
people is not only wholly
wrong, it is completely counterproductive."
Civilian deaths
Three civilians were killed when
a Maoist opened fire on a group
of four locals in Birendranagar.
One other person was seriously
injured by the bullets and was
taken to Nepalganj for treatment. In a separate incident in
Khalanga in Jumla, an eight-
year-old child died when a bomb
exploded in a school.
More violence
In a major escalation ofthe conflict after the Dashain truce, security forces gunned down 13
Maoists, including three women,
in different parts ofthe country.
Six Maoists were killed along
the Sahajpur Bhasu section of
.L
14
the Bhimdutta Highway in
Dadeldhura, where Maoists were
attempting to block the highway.
For their part, the Maoists shot
dead a deputy superintendent of
police ofthe National Investigation Department in Butwal,
Hemraj Regmi. Regmi died on the
spot after sustaining bullet
wounds in his head, stomach and
neck.
Royal message
In his message to the nation on
the 15th Constitution Day on
Monday, November 8, King
Gyanendra stressed that constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy were articles of
faith to the Nepali people. He said
that the Constitution is only a
means to create a welfare society;
it is not an end in itself, and any
assessment of the past must be
based on this reality. To many the
message indicated that the government would sit for negotiations with the Maoists but that
constitutional monarchy and
multiparty democracy are non-
negotiable.
Bashing
Picture
Army personnel in plain clothes beat
up Kantipur's photojournalist
Prakash Mathema in Taulihawa,
Kapilvastu, for publishing a picture of an
Army man carrying an injured fellow soldier. A group of soldiers were wading a
river in Badhganga, Ramghat in the picture that came out on
Kantipur's front page. Mathema was in Taulihawa to mourn the
death of his friend's father. Mathema said the Army first took his
friend's brother into custody asking Mathema to report to their
barrack after the picture appeared on Kantipur on Tuesday November 9, a day later. The security personnel manhandled Mathema
despite the assurance from the Army authorities in Kathmandu,
who had guaranteed him of his safety Mathema told Nation Weekly.
He escaped the second time unhurt when the locals stopped the
Army personnel, saying that Mathema had come from Kathmandu
to mourn the death of his friend's father. The Army personnel
ignored pleas by the chief district officer to leave Mathema alone.
An Army lieutenant later apologized to Mathema after the Army's
Department of Public Relations was informed about the misbehavior.
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly
Border security
The Indian Special Security Bureau forces across the Indo-
Nepal border in Jhapa have
launched a new campaign to
control cross-border terrorist
activities and arms smuggling.
The new measures were being
taken following reports about
the nexus between the Nepali
Maoists and Indian armed outfits like Peoples' War Group and
Kamatapuri Liberation Organization. News reports said that
Indian forces have initiated a
probe on the alleged nexus and
deployed their personnel at all
major checkpoints, including
Galgaliya and Panitanki.
Collateral damage
Deepak Bohara, a fifth-grader
at Laxmi Lower Secondary
School in Shyalapakha,
Rukum, died when a bomb left
in the school premises by the
Maoists went off. The bomb
exploded when the student tried
to take down a Maoist flag to
which bomb was attached. The
Maoists have been placing bombs in schools in hill districts in western
Nepal even as the security forces try to use
schools as bases for their security operations,
news reports said.
Marsyangdi suspension
Fischtner Joint Venture, the consultants for
the Mid-Marsyangdi hydropower project in
Lamjung, has suspended work on the project
until it receives a security guarantee from
the government. Earlier, work had resumed
on October 29 after a two-month-long suspension due to Maoist threats. The suspension ofthe work has caused cost overruns of
more than 60 million euros, approximately
Rs. 5.7 billion, so far. The overruns almost
equal the total contract bid of 74 million euros, approximately Rs. 7 billion. About 40
percent ofthe work on the project has been
completed.
Poverty reduction
The poverty level in the country decreased
by 12 percent over the last six years, according to the preliminary result of a yearlong
nationwide survey carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Those with income
of below Rs. 6,400 per year and with less
than 2,124 calories of food per day are considered as livingbelow the poverty level. Rising per-capita income due to a large increase
in remittance inflow has been cited as the
main reason for the improvement. The survey indicated that the poverty level declined
to 30 percent in 2002 from 42 percent in
1996.
Village ablaze
More than 18 houses were reduced to ashes
when a fire broke out in Bishariya VDC in
Saptari. Initial inspection by the police revealed that the fire destroyed property worth
more than Rs. 1.5 million. Police say the accident occurred when a fire that was lit to
keep away mosquitoes went out of control.
Sobhraj secrets
A three-member investigation committee has
deemed that international criminal and French
national Charles Sobhraj had secret links with
security personnel that enabled him to procure mobile telephones inside the jail. Security personnel at the central jail were allegedly
involved in providing the phones to Sobhraj.
Police, acting upon the tip-off that Sobhraj
had plans to escape from thejail, raided his cell
and recovered a mobile phone, a UTL phone
and a laptop computer.
Dead-man sentenced
The Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision to acquit an international drug smuggler, Kevin John Miles, who had been using
the alias William Gordon Robinson. In doing so, it upheld the verdict passed by the
Special Court sentencing the drug peddler
to 17 years of imprisonment and slapping a
fine of Rs. 10 million on him. The court
decision came barely days after reports said
that Mies, a NewZealander, was found dead
on the Indonesian island of Bali. A three-
member bench of Supreme Court Justices
Dilip Kumar Poudel, Kedar Prasad Giri and
Chandra Prasad Parajuli upturned the earlier decision by Justices Krishna Kumar Verma
and Baliram Kumar, calling the acquittal
flawed.
Political prisoner
The Calcutta High Court has ruled in favor
of Mohan Vaidya, senior Maoist politburo
member, deciding to provide Vaidya the status of a political prisoner, the Himalayan
Times quoted Vaidya's lawyer as saying.
Vaidya will be entitled to certain privileges
after the ruling comes into effect, most likely
next month. The 52-year-old Maoist leader
has been in custody in India since he was
arrested in the city of Siliguri in March.
In the books
Nepal's first post-graduate scholar, Purna
Bahadur Rana M.A, died in Bir Hospital
after a long illness. He was 79. As a freedom
fighter in the democratic movement of the
1950s and as an intellectual, he has made
significant contributions to Nepal's foreign
relations, education and development sectors. He also served as one ofthe first members ofthe National Planning Commission
and was a former member ofthe Raj Sabha
standing committee.
Tarun Dal
At the third convention of Nepal Tarun Dal
in Janakpur, the youth wing of the Nepali
Congress elected Binod Kayastha as its new
president. He won the election with 169 votes,
edging out Chandra Bhandari who received
113 votes. The convention also elected 23
central committee members, four each from
the East, West and Midwest, five from the
central region and three from the Farwest.
Binda Rana, Usha Gurung and Saraswoti
Tiwari were elected to the seats reserved for
female candidates. Kayastha appointed
Hurmat Singh Neupane as the new general
secretary ofthe organization.
Highway studies
A team of experts led by J. Takahashi from
Ehime University in Japan and from the
Nepal Engineering College has agreed to
conduct a study ofthe landslide-prone sections of highways linking the capital with
the rest ofthe country. The first site the team
has chosen is the Naubise-Mugling section
of the Prithvi Highway after which they
will examine the Mugling-Narayanghat
highway. Lecturer in geo-technical engineering at Ehime University Netra Prasad
Bhandari, will guide the team to the sites.
REIMBRUSEMENT: Journalists, imprisoned duringthe Emergency period, at the Appellate
Court, Lalitpur, demanding compensation
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
15 Milestone
Appointed
Biz Buzz
Keshav Sthapit, former Kathmandu
mayor, took over the reins of Nepal's
eldest party, the Nepal Praja
Parishad, as its acting president. NPP President Ram Hari Sharma handed over the
party leadership to Sthapit on Monday, Novembers. Sthapit, after accepting the nomination, said he was joining the NPP after
turning down a request from former Prime
Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa to join his
"new political force." Ram Hari Sharma,
Tanka Prashad Acharya and other political
activists established the NPP in 1993 B.S.
to fight for democracy against the Rana regime. "My dream of handing overthe leadership to a young and dynamic leader with a
commitment to democracy has been fulfilled today," Sharma said. The NPP has been
almost defunct except for its name and a
few office bearers since the restoration of
democracy in 1990.
Sthapit was first elected as mayor of
Kathmandu as a UML candidate in the local
election of 1997. He supported the CPN-
ML after the UML split in 1998 and then
chose to remain an independent after the
reunification ofthe parties in early 2002.
Known as "demolition man" for his vigorous action against illegal and unorganized
construction in Kathmandu during his tenure as the mayor ofthe city, he was often
criticized for having grandiose ideas, some
consummated—most of the overhead
bridges in Kathmandu were built during his
terms—and some not.
16
ATM CARDS FOR REMITTANCE
Smart Choice Technology has signed up Krishi
Premura, a Hong Kong-based money-transfer
company, as an associate member of its network. Under a tripartite agreement, Krishi
Premura will provide its clients with ATM cards
issued bythe Laxmi Bank, an affiliate ofthe
Smart Choice network. The cards are accepted
at all ATM machines in the Smart Choice system, which provides the technology, business
processes and services infrastructure to support financial transactions through ATMs. SCT
currently has eight member banks.
This new service is targeted at people
who receive remittances from abroad. Under the arrangement, Krishi Premura will be
able to provide customers with pre-paid ATM
cards in lieu ofthe remittances they receive
from aboard. These customers will have
access to SCT's network of over 26 ATMs
located in all major urban centers ofthe
country. The customers of Krishi Premura
will have their cards automatically recharged
when fresh remittances are received. Apart
from ease of operation, the providers also
claim the system provides greater security
to the cardholders.
This new agreement is Laxmi Bank's latest
effort to bring out innovative services. The bank
already provides its services through a host of
delivery channels including cell phones, Internet,
ATM and point-of-sales devices after only two
years of operation.
FESTIVAL IN POKHARA
The Lekhnath Festival 2004 is being planned
from November 26 to December 2 in Lekhnath
municipality, about 15 kilometers from Pokhara
city center. The main aim of this festival is to
promote tourism in the Pokhara Valley and
Lekhnath municipality. The Lekhnath Chamber
of Commerce and Industry is organizing the
festival. The organizers believe that the promotion of potential tourism destinations in the
Pokhara Valley will be help bring in more tourists and lengthen their stay. They hope that
disseminating information about tourism
destinations through programs like
these will help increase the flow oftourists. The
festival will have stalls with local and imported
industrial goods, fish, fresh vegetables and
more. There will also be various programs including folk dances, a food festival and a music
concert.
RESUMPTION OFAIR CHINA FLIGHTS
Air China, which suspended its flight between
Lhasa and Kathmandu from October 30 this
year, will resume its operations from March 29
next year.
MEET IN PARIS
The Nepal Tourism Board organized a press
conference and a tour operators' meet in Paris.
The meet was organized to ease security concerns about Nepal and promote Nepal as a
safe destination for tourists. Various Nepali companies involved in tourism, such as Soaltee
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kathmandu Travels and
Tours, Destination Manang and others attended
the function.
GEL TOOTHPASTE FROM DABUR
Dabur Nepal has introduced Dabur red gel
toothpaste in two packages, 40 grams and 80
grams. The packages are priced at Rs. 20 and
Rs. 40 respectively. The company claims that
the gel toothpaste ensures freshness and
strong, healthy gums. Dabur's other oral hygiene product in the market is Dabur Lai Danta
Manjan.
DEBIT CARD LAUNCH BY NCC
Nepal Credit and Commerce (NCC) Bank has
introduced a debit card. Customers with any
type of account with the bank can utilize the
debit card, which is based on Smart Choice
Technology, at ATMs. Customers ofthe bank
can withdraw up to Rs. 25,000 per day with
the debit card at present.
COSMIC AIR FLIES TO DHAKA
Cosmic Air has begun flights to Dhaka. This
makes Cosmic Air the first airline in the country
to operate international flights on routes other
than to India. The airline will operate two flights
each week with its new Fokker-100 aircraft.
J
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly KRISHI PREMURA'S BRAND
AMBASSADOR
Krishi Premura has appointed singer Nalina
Chitrakar as its brand ambassador for the next
year. Krishi Premura was established in 1989
and specializes in the field of money changing
and remittance. It is the agent for Nepal Remittance, which has been approved and granted
a license bythe Nepal Rastra Bank.
CORPORATESUPPORT
FOR SANGINA
Sangina Baidya was awarded Rs. 500,000
as pledged by a group of corporate houses—
Dabur Nepal, ICTC, Jyoti Group, Nabil Bank,
Nepal Lever and the Vaidya Organization of
Industries and Trading House "as a token of
support for being the first Nepali to partake in
the Olympic Games through competitive qualification." Baidya, the taewondo star, participated in the Athens Olympics in August in the
under-49-kg weight category; she reached the
quarterfinals. The sponsors had appointed
Baidya as brand ambassador and had
provided financial support to
Baidya's quest for Olympic
'lory.
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nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
17 Constitution
4
11
..-5. r.
I
CONSTITUTIONAL
CHASM
With the constitution derailed for almost two years now,
there are mixed interpretations about it. But almost everyone agrees that it needs amendments.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
1
EXPERTS MOURNED; YOUNG-
sters burned copies in Ratna
Park. For the last two years Constitution Day has been a time of contemplation and reflection on what went
wrong with the fundamental law of the
land, the Constitution of the Kingdom
of Nepal 1990. After just 14 years, what
was once hailed as the finest constitution on the planet looks irrelevant.
Constitution Day is still a government holiday though, and the plethora
of programs organized throughout the
country to commemorate the day is telling evidence that the ideas the Constitution embodies are still cherished. But
alongside the celebrations, a consensus
18
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly about the need to change it is growing,
even among the framers ofthe 1990 document. The problem is there's no consensus at all about what the Constitution should become.
There is a general feeling that the
Constitution has failed. Some say it is
because of shortsightedness ofthe framers. Some of them readily accept the
criticism. "I concede that we were very
soft toward King Birendra because of his
personality," former speaker of the
Pratinidhi Sabha, Daman Nath
Dhungana, a member of Constitution
Drafting Committee, told an audience
last week. "We didn't push the King too
much because we had faith that he would
deliver on his commitment
[to democracy]," he said.
Has this Constitution, a
compromise document between the political parties and
the late King Birendra, outgrown its relevance? More
tellingly, has the role of this
King breached the spirit ofthe
sacred contract between the
King and the people? These
questions have become more
relevant against the backdrop
of an escalating Maoist insurgency with its long-standing
demand for the end of the
monarchy through a new statute drafted by a constituent
assembly.
"No constitution becomes irrelevant in its entirety," says Dhungana. "The
principles propounded by
this Constitution have become more relevant, although
the results have fallen short
of the people's aspirations."
The balance of power between the monarchy and the
people has been broken, but
that doesn't render the entire
constitution irrelevant, he
adds. It is the sense that the
King is backtracking on the
tacit commitments his predecessor made that makes
change seem inevitable.
Constitutional experts say
that the King has breached the
deal his brother made with
the people in 1990 by assuming extra-constitutional powers following the royal takeover of October 4, 2002.
There is a general feeling that the King
usurped the power at the first opportunity he got and that he's used that power
in an attempt to bridge the gap with the
political parties and between the state
and the Maoists, but to no avail.
The King's Constitution Day address
this year only added more controversies.
"The Constitution is only a means for
creating the welfare of society; it is not
an end in itself," he said. Many see this as
his clearest political statement on what
he thinks of the Constitution. It may be
also a clear reflection of his unwillingness to go back to the limits imposed by
the 1990 compromise on the powers of
monarchy. But the statement conceals as
much as it reveals. There is no indication if he is willing to discuss a new constitution or constituent assembly as demanded by the Maoists; amendments or
a new constitution would likely curtail
his power substantially.
The reaction is obvious. Even within
mainstream political parties that have
been pro-monarchy, the call for a constituent assembly has now become common—should that help resolve the
Maoist impasse. Framers of the present
constitution say that any future constitution is likely to have built-in checks
against encroachment ofthe rights ofthe
people and their representatives—as
happened on October 4, 2002.
Although the Constitution of the
Kingdom of Nepal 1990 says in its Preamble that the people are the "source of
sovereign authority of the independent
and sovereign Nepal," observers say in
practice it has been a mere "legal fiction,"
an "honorary title" without any built-in
mechanism for the people to exercise
the sovereignty in a real sense.
"The way the Constitution functioned during the last 14 years gave the
impression that this was a prime ministerial sovereignty," writes professor
Surya Prasad Subedi, a scholar of international relations and the recent recipient of the Order of British Empire
(OBE), in his paper titled "International
Dimension of the Constitutional Crisis
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
19 in Nepal." Subedi is referring to the reckless use of Article 53(4), which provides
discretionary power to the prime minister to dissolve the Pratinidhi Sabha.
This provision has been the most controversial of all the articles in the Constitution.
The present constitutional crisis
started with the dissolution of Pratinidhi
Sabha by Prime Minister Deuba in 2002,
following his tussle with his long-time
political guru-turned-arch-rival, Girija
Prasad Koirala, and his subsequent failure to conduct elections. Experts lament
that the Constitution provides no checks
against such abuse of authority for settling personal scores. Even the Supreme
Court failed to negate unfettered use of
prime ministerial prerogative. The court
gave a different interpretation ofthe dissolution each time it was asked to intervene post-1990. Legal experts say the last
such decision proved disastrous. The
court upheld Deuba's decision to dis
solve the Parliament when it said, "elections can be held even during an emergency." In doing so, analysts say the court
failed to play its role as a neutral arbiter
on constitutional issues.
Many don't see the King as a neutral
and honest powerbroker either. Although the Constitution is modeled on
the Westminster-style of democracy it
provided too much discretionary power
to the monarch instead of regulating his
powers.
"When you elevate the King with
words such as 'custodian and protector
of the Constitution,' what are you implying?" asked Subedi, speaking to an
audience filled with legal experts, including the framers of the Constitution.
"While trying to emulate the British, we
have doing it the Bihari way," he says.
With so much contemplation about the
cause ofthe crisis, there is also growing
debate on the ways to bridge the constitutional chasm.
X
"We don't have many choices left,"
says Sitanandan Ray former law minister and a CPN-UML leader. "Constituent assembly or restructuring ofthe state
is the only way out." This is a failed Constitution, he says. Others argue that
amendments to this existing Constitution will do. "The only way forward is
to put this Constitution back on track,
either by reinstatement ofthe Parliament
or through elections," says Nilambar
Acharya, former minister and a member
of the Cabinet sub-committee that
drafted the Constitution. The mixed
opinions on how to proceed are crucial:
The way the crisis is resolved will have a
profound impact on the country's future.
Despite differences of opinion over
what would be the best way out from
the crisis, there is agreement that if the
Constitution is to be retained, it warrants a serious overhaul in order to address the problems that have emerged in
recent years.
□
20
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly  i l> r/"/
• X£^ ^
*■■»>
■ -
With the first major explosion in the capital
last week, it was clear that holiday truce had
ended. Although both the government and the
Maoists still say they are committed to peace,
it's unclear what is holding them back.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI AND SATISH JUNG SHAHI
■ tory
UESDAY, NOVEMBER
9, 2:40 p.m., the Maoists
publicly displayed in the
capital that they are get
ting back to the battle
field. An explosion at the
Karmachari Sanchayakosh
Building in Sundhara shook the Valley.
Tremors were felt as far away as
Thapathali where people were shopping
for upcoming Tihar. Birds fluttered in
the sky and Kathmandu witnessed the
routine traffic jam—this time for hours.
"As most others, I immediately feared
that the Maoists were back. I heard the
explosion far out in Thamel," says Khem
Bahadur Karki, a tourist guide. "I knew
the country was back to fighting again."
Barely 12 days after their nine-day
long Dashain ceasefire, which ended on
October 28, the Maoists have sent a
strong signal: Since the government was
in no mood to reciprocate their gesture,
they were getting back to business. Moments later, another explosion took place
at the Inland Revenue Office in
Bhaktapur.
The ceasefire in the capital may have
just come to an end, but elsewhere in
the country it had ended long ago. The
warring parties were back to upping the
ante. A day after the explosions, the government spokesman, Minister for Information and Communication
Mohammed Mohsin raised a frightening specter, saying the country could
plunge into a "deeper crisis" with an authoritarian rule—if neither peace nor
polls materialized.
As much as Mohsin's comments reflect the government's position, it also
troubles a large number of Nepalis that
the government should adopt a "go-easy"
approach vis-a-vis the peace talks despite
its public claims that it is anxious to get
the peace process started. "The Maoists
have hinted that they are not against peace
talks," says Arjun Karki, president of
NGO Federation Nepal.
What is then holding the peace process back? Behind the veneer of all this
sweet talking, is there something that
doesn't meet the eye?
Civil society leaders blame the "militaristic forces" on both sides for the stalemate. Both the Maoists and government
leaders are increasingly getting swayed
by the hardliners in their decision-mak-
24
ing ranks. Analysts say that the government is increasingly relying on militaristic analyses in its bid to resolve the
Maoist problem. The thesis holds that
there are deeply entrenched people in
high places who are reaping huge profits
from the war-economy To them, the
longer the war, the better.
There is a widespread feeling that the
Deuba government has gradually squandered the early goodwill as the conflict
has dragged on. Many see Prime Minister Deuba as the acceptable public face of
a state that is increasingly tilting right-
ward and fast losing its own democratic
space.
Evidently the lack of clarity in the
thinking on how to resolve the conflict
is providing space to the crisis to get aggravated while people like Minister
Mohsin wonder why the Maoists can't
talk to his government. This is a letdown;
the Maoists did hold talks with the
Chand and Thapa governments—perhaps more "royal" than the Deuba government.
There are many reasons, say analysts.
Despite being royalists by inclination,
Thapa and Chand gave the impression
that they were actually in charge. Unfortunately despite having a wider political
representation and enjoying relatively
more legitimacy than the two preceding
governments, Deuba increasingly gives
the impression that he has lost the initiative to the Palace and the Army.
But above all, says an analyst, the biggest failure of this government is that it
has not been able to persuade political
parties and civil society that it is in fact
committed to peaceful resolution of the
conflict. As a member of the newly constituted Civil Peace Commission puts,
"When even the people in the political
mainstream are finding it hard time to
believe what the government says, how
can one expect the Maoists to buy the
government's claims? The Deuba government is fast losing its space to maneuver. "
Civil society leaders say if the government can rally the political parties
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly behind it, the Maoists
will find it difficult to
keep away from the
talks. Even the
Maoists know that
their military capability has come under
serious attack in recent months, a trend
that started since the
emergency November 26, 2001. The
Maoists are also getting increasingly isolated from the international community.
The thinking is that Washington and
New Delhi have in recent times have
developed a common view as far their
approach toward the Maoists is concerned. "They [the Maoists] have got to
be isolated," U.S. Ambassador James
Moriarty told Nation Weekly late July
in an exclusive interview. "And again, the
goal here is to make them realize that
they aren't going to win and [that] they
have to come up with a compromise."
And in the aftermath of President Bush's
re-election, the Delhi-Washington rela
tionship is likely to get even stronger
and there is going to be no letup in their
relentless war against the Maoists.
Many believe New Delhi's
newfound drive to nab senior Maoists
leaders in India has reinforced Prime
Minister Deuba's anti-Maoist campaign. Immediately after his visit to India in September, he publicly "threatened" the Maoists of impending military action if they failed to come to the
negotiate table. But the threat seems to
have little effect on the Maoists who
have kept everybody guessing.
Leaders of the civil society lament
that both the warring sides have displayed more rigidity than ever. They say
the onus lied on the government to utilize the opening offered by a Dashain
truce, never mind it was only a temporary one.
Emerging from the holiday truce,
the government still faces an uphill
task. It still says it is committed to the
peace. So have the Maoists. But curiously neither has delivered on its commitment so far. It is still far from clear,
what is holding them back. □
PEACE OVERTURES: The Peace Secretariat
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004 RPP split
HELTER SKELTER
Every time the RPP has been close to power, it has split: The party itself may
have lost count of how often. This time Thapa has departed with a bigger purpose. What is it?
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
WHEN FIVE-TIME PRIME
Minster Surya Bahadur Thapa
decided to quit the RPP, the
party he founded after the Panchayat collapsed in 1990, it sent Shockwaves everywhere. The surprise wasn't that the
party had split: That's happened often
enough. But the way Thapa left the party
unceremoniously and after what appeared to be only token attempts to patch
things up had party-watchers scratching
their heads. Before packing his bags,
Thapa met with RPP President
Pashupati Shumshere Rana, his long
time intra-party rival. Reporters gathered outside the meeting were confused
by the smiles on both leaders' faces.
"From now on, I don't have any political
affiliation with RPP," Thapa said.
Shocked reporters asked Thapa to repeat himself; he obliged.
Thapa and the party president, Rana,
have been at odds for most of the RPP's
history: Their rivalry was heightened
during Thapa's fifth innings as the prime
minister, when Rana withdrew party
support for him. Last week, both men
looked happy as they came out of their
meeting to part their ways under full media glare.
The RPP under Rana's leadership
took part in the street protests in May
this year with four other agitating parties who called for Thapa's resignation.
Rana also sacked Thapa stalwart Kamal
Thapa from the post of party general secretary. The internecine dispute between
the two veteran politicians became bitterly personal—Thapa famously questioned Rana's lineage, challenging him
to prove that he was actually the grandson of Mohan Shumshere, the last Rana
prime minister. Following pressure
26
from all quarters, Thapa stepped down
as the prime minister in late May. He
blamed Rana for forcing him out, and
the two have barely spoken since then.
Having been unseated by Rana, Thapa
seemed determined to return the favor
and turn Rana out ofthe party presidency.
Thapa had been threatening to split
the party for some time; lately he had
intensified his verbal salvos, asking Rana
to convene a special convention of the
party. Rana declined to oblige. Having
failed to unseat Rana, Thapa apparently
decided to break away. Former home
minister and Thapa stalwart,
Kamal Thapa, explained some of
the new thinking last week: "We        "s
won't be forming any party that        S
bears the name RPP," he said.        =■
That's a change. In the past all
the RPP splinter groups have
bore the party moniker with a
suffix indicating the leader.
The RPP has an unpleasant
history of divisiveness. Born as
twins, the two RPPs (Thapa and
Chand) merged in 1992 following a humiliating debacle in the
first general election campaign.
The 1997 elections brought a
hung parliament; the RPP split
again and the two factions alternatively headed coalition governments. The RPP inherits a 30-
year-old party-less culture in
which its leaders were always
near the center of power, in the
Panchayat years and after 1990.
Many describe the RPP as a
"club" of former Panchas. Power
has been both the glue that holds
them together and the wedge that
drives them apart.
Following the debacle in the
1999 election, in which the com
bined parliamentary representation for
the two factions fell dramatically from
the previous Parliament, the party again
merged. After October 4, 2002, both
former Panchayat prime ministers,
Thapa and Chand, alternatively headed
the government. Clearly the palace had
faith in them, especially during the time
of crisis. But there are hints that this last
split is more than just intra-party politics. Thapa has carefully not explained
what his motivation is.
There can be only two explanations,
say analysts and party watchers. One
\
^ THE RIVALS: Thapa and
Party President Rana
explanation is that Thapa may have realized that the RPP has, as a pro-royalist
party lost popular appeal. That would be
a dramatic shift in his thinking. Thapa has
always been a staunch royalist. But he has
also been an advocate for greater democratic freedom even during the Panchayat
era. He was jailed in October 1972 for
more than a year for democratic beliefs,
and he went on a hunger strike for three
weeks. A shift in Thapa's thinking would
be a huge setback for the Palace. It also
would change the political balance in the
country if Thapa sided with the parties in
the streets. There are speculations that a
new Thapa-led party if formed, would
attract NC and UML leaders.
The second explanation for Thapa's
departure is that he and the Palace have
something up their sleeves. Since tendering his resignation, Thapa has met
with the Eng twice. Rumors are flying
high that if Deuba fails to meet his royal
deadline of April 2005 for initiating the
process of elections (which analyst say
he is certain to fail), Thapa would again
be appointed prime minister. Minister
for Information and Communication
Mohammed Mohsin's caveat in his meet
ing with senior editors and
publishers last Wednesday
might have something to do
with it. "The alternative to
this government will be one
you people can't bear with,"
Mohsin said. He clearly said
that if the present government fails to fulfill its mandate by April 2005, its replacement with an authoritarian government is inevitable. Mohsin, the royal
nominee in the present government, is well positioned
to know the Palace's thinking. There are rumors that
again-Prime Minister Thapa
would be told to hold a referendum much like that of
1980. Party-watchers say
Thapa's agility so late in life
cannot be simply brushed
aside as just another incident.
They say it has huge symbolism for things to come in the
days ahead. "It won't be surprising at all if Thapa is again
asked to head the next royal
government," writes Borna Bahadur
Karki, an advocate who keeps an eye on
the RPP's affairs, in his article. Karki believes that Thapa's walking away from the
party is related with the Palace.
No doubt, Thapa, since 1960, after
the introduction of Panchayat system,
has played a key-role in sustaining the
monarchy's hold over power.
In 1980, after growing political unrest accompanied by massive demonstrations, Eng Birendra had, as a palliative
tactic, called for a nationwide referendum asking people to choose their form
of government. Thapa, who then headed
the Panchayat government, allegedly
rigged the election so that it reaffirmed
what was then called a reformed
Panchayat system. Political analysts say
talk of another referendum is speculative at this stage, but they also say that
with Thapa in the power, nothing can be
ruled out. They say he is the best there is
at the game of politics, both for his
shrewd diplomacy and his daredevilry
Thapa is a master politician with ruthless determination and lust for power.
What is he actually up to? No one knows
for sure. E
27 NOVEMBER 21,
nation weekly 1. Garlands of sayapatri and supari phool being sold at New Road
2. Diyos on the day of Laxmi puja
3. Dhoop, agarbati being sold at a vendor
4. Coconuts for sale
5. A woman buyingmasa/a for Bhai Tika
6. Fruits being sold on the roadside
7. Decorations for Tihar at the commercial hub of New Road
8. Candles for Tihar, the festival of lights
9. A hawker sells portriats of Laxmi for Laxmi Puja
10. Sweets, an important part of Tihar
11. Traditional Newari instruments being played at Basantapur
12. Various colors to be used on Bhai Tika
13. A policeman stands beside garlands being sold from street railings
14. A hawker selling diyos at Kathmandu Durbar Square
All photos nw/SS
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
29 There are two sides
to every story.
There are always two sides to every story. Who's right
and who's wrong does not depend on which side you're
on. To a third person, there may not even be a right or
wrong, just a difference of opinion.
The important thing is to move on, change and adapt
while keeping your goals intact.
The Himalayan Times is not about taking sides. It is
about positively expressing the view of both sides.
The Himalayan
A   GREAT    NEWSPAPER MTV Generation
Rap Is Da' Trend ^
Nepali hip-hop music is starting to do well commercially, especially among youngsters, who are turning
into major fans
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
Not so many years ago Kathmandu
discos and radio stations stuck
to loud remix music when it
came to getting people to shake their
bodies on the dance floor. Now they play
all sorts of international music, ranging
from salsa to hip-hop, to get people
grooving.
But the country's own rap music artists are coming up with albums that are
making it to the top ofthe charts. For a
change, even rap, an acronym for rhythm
and poetry with roots in African oral tradition, is getting airtime on major FM
radio stations; that's encouraging young
Nepali rappers to bring out their own
recordings.
"In the early days I got calls on my
radio show complaining that I had played
the same music for the last hour," says
radio jockey and rapper Nirnaya
Shrestha of Rappaz Union. "They didn't
understand hip-hop music." Shrestha is
popularly known as the Naughty Soul
Ed (NSK). "They failed to understand
that hip-hop was more about beat and
music that meant feeling comfortable
about yourself," says Niryana. Nirnaya's
hip-hop radio show "Bring Da' House
Down" is aired on Image FM every Friday night at eight. The show's sixth anniversary is coming up in December.
Recently he has been promoting young
rappers on his show: They have to sing
in rap to a certain beat played in the studio. "Hip-hop is already a fashion state-
TRENDSETTER: Nirnaya Shrestha,
a.k.a. the Naughty Soul Kid
1JI\
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
31 ment and has helped commercialize our
kind of music," adds Nirnaya.
Thanks to television stations like
MTV that constantly feature popular
and controversial rappers like
Eminem, Kathmandu's youngsters have
started including more low-waist
baggy pants and loose jerseys in their
wardrobes. These boys are the same
crowd you see dancing their way to
hip-hops wearing "attitudes" like rappers on international televisions at
music concerts these days.
"The music scene [in Nepal] is becoming more influenced by the global
music trend," says rapper Sudin
Pokharel, popularly known as DA69.
Pokharel is known for his famous hit
"Ma Yesto Chu" with Girish Khatiwada
and Pranil, who are better known as GP
"Even on the international music charts,
more than half of the top ten singles are
hip-hop. We get rave reviews while performing at pop concerts," Pokharel says.
Both the NSK and DA69 are cutting
new albums a few weeks after Tihar and
are expecting their album sales to shoot
up. DA69, who partnered as The Unity
along with Aidray and Girish of GP fame,
GR00VIN': Hip-hop is becoming
increasingly populayunongthe
urban young
- 9
if is considered to be the first
Nepali rapper. He came out
with a single "Meaningless
Rap" back in 1994 at the age
of 14. GP claims their latest
album, "Back Again," sold
over 45,000 copies.
"Rap music is more about
freedom of expression, which
youngsters relate their
lifestyle to," writes Girish by
e-mail from California,
where he went three months
ago to study mass communications. "Even when I was
back in Kathmandu, I used to
sit down with friends like
DA69 and Aidray and we
wrote down our lyrics together to vent out our frustrations."
Nirnaya agrees. At his
concerts as far away as
Pokhara, Chitwan, Dharan
and Biratnagar, he has noticed
young faces from mid-teens
to those the aged 25 dancing
to his beat. "It is always the
same age range, but the people
keep changing as they grow
older," he adds.
According to a rough estimate, there are already at least
a dozen Nepali rappers who
have come out with singles
that have been big hits on the
Nepali music charts. The
stars include Lottu Hip Hop,
Mad Zone, Nepsydaz and
Shree Eng. Singers say there
are around 50 more who can
perform extremely good rap
but haven't produced their
own singles yet. "Another
Nepali rapper by the name of
Lazy Boy is coming from
Canada in January to release
another album," says Nirnaya.
Nepali rap's popularity has
even attracted few established
pop singers to join hands with
rappers and turn their songs
into instant hits. One of them
is Nabin Bhattarai who featured Girish in "Timilai
Bhetne" and Bidan Shrestha
who gave a big break to
Nirnaya with their fusion
number "Din Pani Bityo" on
Nirnaya's third album. On his
new album, Nirnaya's songs
feature World Miss University 2003 Ayusha Shrestha,
Mausami Gurung, Nalina
Chitrakar, Pratna Shakya and
Preety Kaur. Girish and the
Unity are not far behind with
joint numbers with pop stars
Nima Rumba, Sugam
Pokharel and the late Cool
Pokharel. "We have even introduced aadyatmik rap in our
upcoming album, with Sanskrit slokas in a song titled
Hari Ohm," says DA'69.
"Most of our lyrics talk about
youth issues such as drugs,
I dreams, police atrocities,
frustrations and even
politics." One of their
songs, "Malai Vote De,"
talks about a corrupt
politician; it has already
received good airplay at
FM stations.
"We want to create a
different trend for
Nepali rap with strong
lyrics rather than just
copy the fashion and
beat of international
rappers," says DA'69.
"But there is no denying that rap music has
already made its mark in
the Nepali music
scene." n
DftOYlBI
iii busmen
ake it to W tap
Nepal's Leading
IB
:.'»'
VOIR COPY
4181153
www.readtheboss.com Arts   Society
The ornate surroundings of the Kaiser Library speak volumes of the man who created it
BY VENEETA SINGHA
The palace stands tall over the surrounding vicinity. The Muse is,
perhaps, wandering in the garden.
Imagine the glory browse through the
books and walk in the garden—the Muse
beckons.
Flanked by mirrors, paintings and
other artifacts, the Kaiser Library wel
comes the visitor with a beautiful stairway. There are books and more books—
a feast for the reader—50,000 in all. The
ornate surroundings speak of a regal era
and a painting of Kaiser Shumshere
stands tall in the hallway.
Resplendent on the walls are pictures
ofthe Rana game hunting period and full
size portraits ofthe Rana Maharajas. The
plush interiors—with a large gilt-framed
mirror on the wall and silent sitting ar-
-are beautiful and the books in them
equally so. The library is a tribute to
scholarship.
Inside one of the many cupboards lies
a thousand year-old "Sahotar Tantra"—
etched on bamboo fronds and the oldest
of its kind in Asia. Red cloth-covered
Ramayana and Mahabharata bespeak mythical grandeur. The sun made of khukuris,
mounted on the wall, gleams and signifies
strength and light. The Kaiser Library's
treasures cannot be praised enough and
their significance is still untold.
The library the private collection of
the late Kaiser Shumshere, was bequeathed to the government in 1968. It
is divided into four sections spanning
novels; books on history astronomy the
arts, religion, philosophy; and much
34
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly more. There is also a collection of newspapers and magazines.
Carefully collected books sit in the
cupboards, and this private treasure trove
is now available to the public. The collection itself is symbolic of Kaiser
Shumshere's love of books. Readers and
researchers can find a plethora of hidden sources in this rare and valuable
compilation.
Now the Muse calls to the Garden
of Dreams and the Garden of Six Seasons. The garden is inextricably linked
to the library and the collection of books
on gardening, architecture and literature.
It is one of the unique landscaping
monuments of South Asia with its neoclassical pavilions paying homage to
Nepal's six seasons.
Softly shaded pavilions and airy garden
chairs surround the focal fountain pool.
Footpaths around the garden punctuate
shrubs and flower bushes, and the garden
truly merits its name—"the Garden of
Dreams." The design can be likened with
formal European gardens—paved perimeter paths; pavilions; trellises; and various
planting areas, a sunken flower garden and
large pond at the center.
The formal array of the garden's architectural features is juxtaposed with
the informal planting—a feature that was
prominent in the gardens created in England during the reign of Edward VII.
The restoration of the garden and its
expansion as a public and tourist resource was initiated under Visit Nepal
Year 1998 and is ajoint effort ofthe Austrian Development Aid, the Ministry of
Education and Eco Himal/Nepal.
The completed restoration project
will bring to life the history ecology and
beauty of the garden. In addition,
planned are a Kaiser Cafe, a Viennese
style garden cafe; a tourism information
center; and shopping facilities for souvenirs and handicrafts. The garden will
also be available for special events and
cultural programs, and the proceeds
from the garden will help support improvements to the Kaiser Library.
The garden is picture postcard perfect—the Muse has found its home. Rare
books found in the library speak of architectural wonders, and the library
leads to an architectural wonder itself.
Kaiser Shumshere's vision of an ensemble of pavilions, fountains, garden
furniture and verandas will soon be a living testament to learning and beauty.
Perhaps, the confluence of the garden and the library can be seen in pictures of the late Kaiser Shumshere sitting on a garden bench reading a newspaper. An era has gone by but the vision
remains and the Muse wanders carelessly awakening the mind and bringing
inspiration.  □
.L
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
35 The Only Lifestyle/Culture Magazine in Nepal...
... probably the most admired too.
For the Love of Spices
In the Nepali language, spices are known as 'masala'. So too are dry fruits
Spices are treasured and indispensable, mainly because they enhance the
taste of food and do our palates a huge service.
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Peace By Consensus
To date, the peace talks have been preceded, and dominated, by presenting lists of demands and, at
best, arguing about them. It's time to change that.
BYARNICOK. PAN DAY
Once again the common citizens are yearning for peace, while
the warring parties havejust ended another, albeit brief, period
when they were not shooting at each other. The hope that the
Dashain ceasefire would result in peace talks is shattered. Since the
failed peace talks of 2003 August, thousands have died; tens of thousands more orphaned, widowed or displaced; billions of rupees of property has been damaged; and even more has been diverted away from
essential development activities into militarizatio n. We don't know when
the next peace talks will be, still that should not stop us from thinking
about how to structure them so that they succeed.
To date, the peace talks have been preceded, and dominated, by
presenting lists of demands and, at best, arguing about them. They
have been dominated by points of disagreement that have polarized
the participants—disagreements about the best form of government
and how to choose it. That has taken the attention away from something much larger—something that may hold the seed for a resolution
ofthe conflict: We are all fighting to create and to protect a better future
for Nepal and its citizens. We should focus on clarifying and then
achieving that shared goal rather than fighting about the means to
achieve it.
Compared to many other countries experiencingcivil war, Nepal is
lucky that it is not torn along religious or ethnic I ines. Our war is among
groups fighting about how to structure the government that builds a
better Nepal, and that in a country of citizens who mostly are nonpartisan and just want peace and a better Nepal. Duringthe next round of
peace talks (when that does happen), let us not get bogged down by
starting with lists of demands that we immediately and irreconcilably
disagree about, but instead step back and start to talk about what we do
agree about. Let us start by building a widening consensus about the
features ofthe better Nepal that we have been fighting for. Once we
have a fairly comprehensive shared picture, it will be easier to agree
about the most suitable form of government.
I suggest that when we sit down for the next round of peace tal ks, let
us all—royalists, Maoists, democrats—face a big blackboard upon which
we together brainstorm one statement at a time that we AGREE about
and work together to find ways to phrase them such that they are
agreeable to all of us. Let us start with the most obvious and undispu-
tableones. What might these be? Let me suggest a few:
• Nepal should continue to exist as a sovereign nation.
• Nepal should have a government that is transparent, not
marred by corruption, as well as chosen by and accountable to
the people.
• Every citizen should be able to live safely, without fear for life
or property.
• No citizen should face discrimination based on gender,
ethnicity or religion.
38
• The government should work hard to provide every citizen with opportunities to pursue a better life. Thus equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth, as well as massive improvements in healthcare,
education and infrastructure are essential.
As the pool of such consensus statements grows, we can start moving towards slightly more challenging, slightly more controversial issues
whose phrasing might require more discussion. For example:
• Past injustices, neglects and inequalities must be righted. Areas that
were neglected or under-represented in the past should receive increased
development investment.
• Nepal needs to move towards more decentralized governance and
decision-making.
• Integration into the world economy is important, but it has to happen in
ways that we don't get trampled upon.
• We need to promote healthy criticism: Citizens and the media should
be free to speak out about any issue and not shy away from pointing out
problems.
• All sides to the current conflict must demilitarize, and defense budgets
should be cut and returned to healthcare, education and infrastructure
development.
• We need to recognize the trauma that has been endured by many
people duringthe past decade and allow sufficient healing such that
pain, sufferingand revenge don't undermine the task of rebuilding.
And so forth...
As a common vision for the shape ofthe country's future emerges,
let that guide policies, institutions and governance frameworks. Instead
of beginning peace talks by arguing who should be head of state or
whether we need a new constitution or not, let us start by creating the
shared image of future Nepal and then together search for the best ways
to make that happen.
The last decade has seen huge sacrifices, all in the hopes of defending and building a better Nepal. We have to stop the violence generated
by disagreements about how to build our country by first focusing our
attention on the features and attributes that we all agree such a Nepal
should have. Let the suffering ofthe past decade not have been in vain.
Let every family that lost a loved one, let every person who was maimed—
physically or psychologically—be able to look back and proudly say that
the losses were worth it. Let them have given what they did in order to
build a better Nepal.
ARGEE TO DISAGREE:
Both sides have
failed to find nation
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On Bended Knee
It may be time to pray, but I'm not about to kneel
BYKUNALLAMA
Poor, poor Mr. Deuba. No wonder he needed the weekend break
at a forest resort in Gokarna. After stooping low and hard to dam
rakhnu and retrieve the pesky little gold coin from the red royal
palace carpet in front of their majesties (looking down from a raised
platform, resplendent in royal regalia: ceremonial military uniform, medals, honors, tiara, flowing cape; graciously receiving the humble homage
of their prime minister), his body must have ached for some salvation. In
the choice of his weekend getaway, the premier displayed excellent
taste; a clear plan of action; a welcome, almost rebellious, streak of
independent thinking; and an acute grasp of executive powers. Well
done, sir. I hope the walks in the glorious forests of Gokarna; the ayurvedic
ministrations ofthe masseurs; the lazy laps in the heated swimming
pool; the long soaks in the bubbly waters of the Jacuzzi; the muscle-
tenderizing heat and moist vapors of the sauna and the steam rooms
have helped you to stretch that bended knee. Pity you didn't indulge in
the quiet perusal ofthe constitution but, hey, does it matter anyhow,
anymore? Now we need some action
Prime Minister, some tough deci
the delusive peace and quiet we
joyed over Dashain and Tihar
be a festival-bound treat but
continue to prevail over the
days to come. Be your own
man. If you bend your
knee again, it will at least
be with self-dignity instead of traditional, formulaic humility. We wi
cheer you, but not just yet.
After his historic win, I
wonder if Mr. Bush also
holed up over the weekend
at Camp
David to contemplate whether his second presidency will succeed in
establishing him as a great leader with a compassionate concern for the
welfare ofthe citizens of his country AND those from the rest ofthe world
or as a righteous, parochial, divisive warmonger? In the words of a
columnist from Washington, "The wings and head ofthe American eagle
are clearly Democratic but its heart is decidedly Republican." The American voters have thrown in their lot with George Bush for another four
years. God bless them. Middle America decided that it was one with him
on political, cultural, religious and economic themes, however constricting, constraining and coffer-emptying, in spite of at least 54 million other
Americans thinking otherwise. They chose him and his vice president,
Dick Cheney, who, in the middle of voting and vote-counting chose to
describe Mr. John Kerry, the rival presidential candidate who could have
well gone on then to become the new president, by saying "Even a pig
with lots of lipstick on will always be a pig." Even if it is, as claimed, a
popular Wyoming (Or is it Colorado? Makes no difference: they are just
the same) aphorism, I shudder to think what 58 million Republican
Americans have inflicted upon themselves—and us!—if the leaders of
their country are so easily capable of such indelicate expressions at
such an important moment of its history. I, for one, will not be lining up
outside the U.S. Embassy in Panipokhariforavisaortotakeagamble
with the DV 2006 lottery anytime soon. Call me stupid, but I'm not going
to compromise my principles and bend my knee to a superior power just
yet.
In the meantime, over in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, lots of
potential weekend getaways for its Dashos and Lyonpos are being opened
up with puzzling alacrity all over the country. Between Adrian Zecha of
Amanresorts and Christina Ong of London and Bangkok Metropolitan
hotels fame, 7 (yes, seven) boutique hotels have either been built or
are being built in the tiny kingdom of roughly 700,000 citizens sprinkled
over 46,500 square kilometers of rugged real estate. In a country
known for its equally rugged interpretation of hospitality services, one
wonders who will cough up the US$ 1,000 for a day of lodging and
exclusive tours. Apart from outstanding views of Mt. Jhomolhari and
other lesser Himalayan massifs as well as the expected run of
monasteries, the exclusive tours might end up being
infamous for what they are not inclusive of. Lucki ly
for Bhutan, one Mr. Michael Hawley has just
done them a huge favor, literally. Purported to
be the world's largest book, standing tall at
five feet, weighing a hefty 133 pounds and
seven feet wide when opened up, "Bhutan:
AVisual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan
Kingdom" has just been published. Should
the book be flown over to Bhutan, the guests
ofthe boutique hotels might finally get something which will be worth getting out of their
exquisite but sterile environs for. But Mr.
Hawley, shame on you, the/ast Himalayan
kingdom? On bended knee, perhaps, but
notjust yet! □
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7
■*" w
INDEFATIGABLE: Twenty two
years and Christine Stone is
still going strong
ducation
<£ Divide BY SUNIL POKHREL
ustralian-born British citizen,
Christine Stone came to Nepal in
1982 as a volunteer for the United
Mission to Nepal, the UMN. It was to be
a long haul. During the 22 years of her
stay in Nepal, she has taught in a number
of government schools, trained thousands
of teachers, and helped prepare text books on mathematics,
English, civic education and social studies.
All good things come to an end; Stone, 63, retires next
year as a UMN volunteer, but would still like to continue
training teachers in the country that's become her home.
She still has unfinished business here; she firmly believes
that quality in education comes from well -trained and
motivated teachers "available at the local level." Well-to-
do city residents may have ample opportunities when it
comes to choosing good schools, not so with those in the
rural areas. The poor have no choice but to go to government schools where teachers are poorly equipped and
even the rudimentary facilities are non-existent. "Trained
and motivated teachers in the rural areas," she says, "are the
only hope for narrowing the divide in the quality of
education imparted to urban and rural children."
Stone started out in Nepal as a teacher of mathematics and
English for fifth- and sixth-graders in Janashakti High School
in Namjung, Gorkha, where she worked for five years. Her
young students were soon speaking confidently in English
and working with understanding and great enthusiasm. There
she was able to share the benefits of her own education. After
five more years as a teacher, word spread round, and she was
asked to use her knowledge and experience in training
struggling teachers. As an expert for the Secondary
Education t   Development Project she
i   traveled across the country
training teachers from both
private and government
.   schools. "Teachers around
i   Nepal are faced with an
i   impossible task," she
explains. "The government
runs numerous training
programs, but has been
unable to give continuing
input and support to
bring about changes in
skills and attitudes."
She views the job of
primary school teachers
, as the toughest of all
teaching jobs. They are
responsible for
inculcating in
> children their attitude
toward education, which in
turn lays the
foundation for
future learning.
"The Nepali
education system is
yet to fully create a
secure, happy yet
orderly atmosphere
and encourage
children to be creative,
cooperative and able to
think for themselves,"
she says. "Proper training
to the teachers helps
teachers and students
achieve the desired goal."
Her office at the UMN
in Thapathali is a testimony
to the hard work she puts in
training Nepali teachers,
who come from all parts of
Nepal: The room is full of
countless materials needed for
the training sessions, their use
in explained painstaking detail.
Financially supported by the
contributions made by her
friends in Britain, she is happy to
go anywhere around the country
to train teachers on her own expenses. Her only family is her
dog.
Stone feels that the cycle of people experiencing poor
teaching and then becoming teachers themselves has to break.
Nepali children, by and large, have not benefited from new and
innovative teaching techniques used elsewhere around the
world. Classes are conducted exactly in the same way as was
common five decades ago. Dogmatic teaching, which emphasizes rote learning, is still a widely prevalent classroom practice.
Still, there are little moments of joy. A student from
Janashakti School, Gorkha, recently wrote to her from the
United States saying that he was doing his doctorate in
nanophysics. To Stone, nothing compares with the satisfaction she gets in seeing her students excel. Learning is
another thing that keeps her motivated.  "I am always
learning new things myself," says Stone, an avid reader.
As all well-wishers of Nepal, Stone is worried that
violence will leave a deep scar in the minds of young
Nepalis. "The present generation of young people will take
many years to overcome such effects, both academically and
emotionally" she says. Grim that the present situation may
look Christine is optimistic that Nepal's education will
improve in the days ahead.
And she has her task cut out. As soon as she had finished her
training sessions in Surkhet last month, she left for Pokhara to
meet 30 more teachers. Her next stop: Sunsari, where she is
trying to help teachers for the next academic year. □
43 CHY TTiisWeek
Festiva
It's time to swing to the music! At the Latin Quater's Salsa
Bar swing your body to
tango, swing, rumba and cha
cha music along with the
German dance master
Andreas when he takes dance
classes for all age groups. This
isn't all. Various interesting
events and parties will also be
held at the bar. "You don't need
a partner to sign up for the
classes this time and you may
even make up your own dance
schedule. There's more. If
you are looking for a private
dance class, you can arrange
this as well. A special student
of 15% and couple discount
of 10% is also available.
The Dance Festival Package is divided into three
types. The first one of Rs.
2800 which includes all dance
classes, practices and parties.
The second one of Rs. 2200
which includes only 10 dance
packages and the final one of
Rs. 1200 with 5 dance classes.
Date: November 16 to 27.
Venue: Latin Quarter Salsa
Bar, Baber Mahal Revisited.
For information: 2030160.
November
Medley
ART
EXHIBITIONS
This exhibition features a rare collection of paintings and sculptures by some of Nepal's most senior artists and eminent contemporary painters. It also includes drawings, tapestries and
textile wall hangings by resident foreign artists. Artists: Dil
Bahadur Chitrakar, Durga Baral, Govinda Dongol, Jagdish
Chitrakar, Kama Narsingh Rana, Kiran Manandhar, Lain Singh
Bangdel, Lorraine Lamothe, Meredith Lama, Prakaash
Chandwadkar, Ragini Upadhya, Seema Shah, Shashikala Tiwari,
Sharada Chitrakar, Thakur Prasad Mainali, Uma Shankar Shah,
Yuki Shirai. Date: November 10 to December 1. Venue:
Siddhartha Art Gallery Babar Mahal Revisited. For information: 4218048.
Ramailo Saanjh
Dwarika's Hotel presents
"Ramailo Saanjh," where
Ishwor Gurung with his
popular group "Himalayan
Feelings" will be performing
a musical fusion of traditional
and modern Nepali melo
dies. Come and take pleasure
in this enthralling event at the
Dwarika's Heritage Courtyard, magnificently lit with
diyos (oil lamps) and superbly
set background with typical
Nepali village themes displaying Nepali household
U
-
D      L      I      S      H      E
District Development PROFILE of NEPAL 2004
COVlRAOi
Divided mainly or three parts,
rhep.iblktiti.rj.li coven
L Hafanl i. Districts HI. MunkipalillBi
1130 Pages
District Section includes-
District Maps /Development Indicators of Each District /VDC data on
Population & Infrastructure /District wise database on-
Topography, Demography, Household Characteristics, Economic Activities, Social Characteristics,
Agricuhura, Irrigation, Forest, Co-operatives, NGCVs, Transportation, Communication, Energy
System, Education, Heolth, Drinking Want Gendet Children and many more
Basic Information on all 58 Municipalities
Available at Renowned Bookstores in Town
litfafwJ SicUr hn w* t ftudr Ut^MBQ; Haiihft ItotrMti*), H*t»m; 44H3M/ E—t Utomd^nHMKMtJ HtkO* trttpgVtfwwittK.^     |
44
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
items. A 10 percent discount
is available to Heritage Plus
members. Date: November
17. Time: 7-10 p.m. For information: 4479488.
Photo Session
Photo Concern announces it
offer for the festive season.
Take along the Photo Concern Free Photo Shoot advertisement cutting available in
daily newspapers and get a
free photo shoot during
Dashain and Tihar. Valid up
to November 30. For information: 4223275.
Novem Bowl
Hotel Shahanshah presents "
Novem Bowl." Bowl and win
prizes worth Rs. 5000 and
more. The package includes
one game free for every two
games paid, two games free
for every one hour game
played, one bottle of wine for
six continuous strikes, Rs.
5000 worth of carpet for scores
above 280 and finally the top
scorer of the month gets lunch
for two at the Revolving Restaurant and three months subscription to Nation weekly
magazine. Till November 30.
ONG    N
All That Jazz
Presenting 'Abhaya and the Steam
Injuns" and the best of jazz in
Nepal at the Fusion Bar, Dwarika's
Hotel, 7 p.m. onwards, every Friday. Entryfee: Rs. 555, including
BBQ dinner, and a can of beer/
soft drinks. For information:
4479488.
Cadenza Live
The only happening live
Jazz in town. Enjoy every Wednesday and
Saturday at the Upstairs Jazz Bar,
Lazimpat. Time: 7:45
p.m. onwards. For information:
Charcoalz
This festive season Yak and Yeti
brings to you "Charcoalz" at the
poolside. The piping hot grills are
guaranteed to drive away your
autumn chills with an array of Indian, western and Mongolian
barbequed delights to tempt
your appetites. Time: 6-10 p.m.
For information: 4248999.
Rock@Belle Momo
Enjoy combo meals at Belle Momo
every Fridays 6:30 p.m. onwards
as the rock 'n roll band Steel
Wheels performs live. For information: 4230890.
Fusion Night
The Rox Bar welcomes everyone
to be a part ofthe
Fusion Night. The
rhythmic and harmonic beats of
the eastern and
the western instruments—a
treat for the
senses. Enjoy the
s a r a n gi
played by
Bharat
Nepali with
a well-
blendedmix
of western
tunes played by The Cloud Walkers. Every Wednesday. Time: 6
p.m. onwards. For information:
4491234.
Nepali Platter & Unlimited
Drinks In Splash
At the Radisson Hotel every
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
and Sunday. Come and enjoy
this special moment in the festive season. The scheme applies
to Royal Stag, Ultimate Gin &
Ruslan Vodka. Time: 6-8 p.m.
For information:
Tickling Taste buds
Barbeque every Friday Evening.
At The Shambala Garden Cafe,
Shangri-la Hotel. Time: 7 p.m.
onwards. For information:
4412999.
• RESTAURANT
'cuu.hju
"The r 'e for the
you ever had'
LAIANA RESTAURANT
Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
Kathmandu, Nepal
tel. 4413874
Parking facilities available
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
45 THE   WORLD'  S  BEST   CLOTHS
► DELIVERY WITHIN 24 HOUR
► PARKING FACILITY AVAILABLE
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i>"      A
1
QORMEUJL
Putalisadak, Kathmandu
Tel: 4412017, Fax. 977-1-5539787
E-mail: dormeuil@wlink.com.np ifestyle
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004
The international food
festival at the Hyatt was a
plateful of disappointment
BY SUSHMA JOSHI
Tnternational food fests are best done
by international types—example, ex
patriate wives with time on their
hands, understanding of their cuisine and
pride in perfection. If they have some pretensions or affiliations with diplomacy
and some insider trading in authentic
spices, the food can (though not always)
rise to an elevated level. International food
can be tolerable when done by restaurants, although it depends where the
owner and/or crew spent the last five years
of their hopefully adventurous migrant
lives. (Of course, if the restaurateur in
question is Kunal Lama, then it's a whole
new story.) International food can be
downright strange when dished up by
mountaineering crews whose understanding of haute cuisine is derived from
tin-pan concoctions they cooked over
small stoves in the high Himalaya.
The food festival at the Hyatt on
November 6 featured only the last two
of this triumvirate of international
cooks. Sadly the first category of indomitable diplomatic ladies was missing from this festival. I have fond recollections of my first fair, organized by the
Indian Embassy which featured piping
bhel-poori dishes up by the aforementioned
ladies, fabrics with mirrors embroidered
on, an elephant which wobbled along
with our oldest cousin on top (I was too
scared to ride it) and nostalgic memories of childhood fun. Surely I thought,
looking at the spicy water draining out
of my stale pani-pooris, the smiling, indifferent servers could have offered something a little fresher and with fewer
holes? And doesn't a plate of pani-poori
usually have more than five in it?
Memories of piping hotbhel-pooriwist-
fully rising to the surface, I looked around
and caught sight ofthe Indian stall. "Yes,"
said my brother, a staunch vegetarian who
gave up meat after his Kailash tour but has
been unable to kick the smoking habit,
"but there is nothing vegetarian in there."
So the search for a vegetarian dish began.
The Malaysian stall featured plates of
small items, rather like a Newari bhoj.
47 Like a Newari bhoj, it was not vegetarian.
The stall had its fans. A little further on was
the Mexican stall, which featured one burrito
and lots of meat being toasted over hot coals.
The German stall featured big fat sausages
and a salad of boiled potatoes (yum, but no
thanks), and the Chinese table bubbled with
various brightly colored broths on which
rested pots of more broth. The broth was
colored orange, and looked suspiciously like
cheap oil. The Middle Eastern (or was it
Israeli?) food stall had falafel and hummus,
but the small bowl was more like a decoration in a living room than serious chow
The most unappetizing—and I say
this with disappointment; as an Italo-
phile, I hate to have its food slaughtered—was the Italy table. It was filled
with plates of what looked like Rum-
Pum noodles with a sprinkling of
48
cheese, cold as hardened noodles can be,
sitting there, obviously waiting for the
hordes to descend and buy them.
Having spent an entire day rolling out
fresh pasta and having once helped cook
a Thanksgiving dinner of Italian food, I
have become uncompromising when it
comes to la dolce vita. Bad German food is
okay; bad Russian food is even more
okay. But bad Italian food is not okay
definitely not okay.
Let's face it, packaged pasta is just as
good as fresh (which can sometimes taste
too fresh and a bit lumpy) but hey!, there is
something to be said about eating a plate of
simple pasta that takes a whole, entire day
to make in a kitchen. And all it has on it is
olive oil and some pesto. Well, all right,
you're allowed a bit of basil and some tomatoes if they're really really fresh. The hordes may not have agreed with
me on the snob-value of fresh pasta, but
they didn't vote for the Rum-Pum look-
alike either. The Italian table remained
untouched. The upwardly mobile masses
of Kathmandu who descended on the
manicured lawns in an army of motorbikes, seemed to find other things more
palatable—for instance the momos. The
Nepal food table was swamped. I
scratched my head over that one. Surely
you come to an international food festival
to eat international food? Of course going
outside the range of your comfort food
requires a bit of adventurousness. Everything from sushi to Kim chi is an acquired
taste. Ditto gundruk Many foreigners do
try it, and those who do even like it.
Or you come to play the games. Basketball was one. Women and children were
allowed to go about two inches away from
the hoop. The prize was Milky Falls, a
candy being promoted during the event.
Shooting small plastic ducks with a toy
gun was another. Throwing a ball through
a cartoon cutout in a wooden board was
the third. And throwing a ring over various prizes on the uneven, bumpy floor was
another. You could also throw darts and
pop some balloons, just for fun. Never
mind that all the prizes (various brands of
ready-made noodles, Nepal's favorite
food) were worth less than the ticket price.
If the noodle-y prizes disappointed you,
you could console yourself with the door
prize, a grandly optimistic trip to Goa.
I do hope that the trip to Goa was not
a set-up, as I suspect most lotteries and
prizes are—think about all that gold that
the advertisers promise will pop up
from instant noodle packages—and that
some Nepali dude with gelled hair and a
taste for momos really does win that trip
to Goa and suddenly finds himself faced
with eating coconut fish. That would be
a spicy tale all in itself.
Getting back home through the traffic
jam was, predictably a nightmare. It would
have been easier to turn the other way go
to the airport and fly to Goa. In the taxi, I
mulled about how these fests are getting
more common in Kathmandu, giving the
impression that there are "more choices"
for entertainment. Like other "choices"
put together by corporate interests, however, the event left much to be desired.
Next time, perhaps they will pull in some
home-cooking divas and grandmas with
autocratic opinions about food to add a little
pizzazz to the notion of international
food.
49 • II
Dark Shadows
It's time officials looked seriously into sports injuries
BY SUDESH SHRESTHA
With all the charm and excitement
that any sport packs for its practitioners, there is one element
lurking in the shadows—injury. Especially so in the case of contact sports like
football and martial arts.
Although most injuries result in no
more than a few days off the field or a
limb in plaster for some weeks, serious
ones could keep players out for months
on end or even end their playing careers.
A recent football match between
Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers in the
English Premiership witnessed one of
many incidents relating to sports injuries.
Liverpool's striker Djibril Cisse was
left screaming in agony as he fell to the
ground after a tangle with a Blackburn
player. What looked like an innocuous
challenge at first had a horrible consequence: Cisse, a 23-year-old French
footballer, broke his left leg. He had an
operation and a statement on the
Liverpool website said: "Cisse will be
out of action for the rest ofthe season."
But thanks to immediate medical attention, he is expected to make an end-
of-season return. "If everything goes to
plan then five months out is not an unre
alistic target," said a news report, quoting doctors involved in the Frenchman's
treatment.
With competitive tournaments gradually gaining in numbers in Nepal, injuries
are not uncommon. Nepal's under-19 captain Prashant Giri broke his leg when he
was tackled by an opposition team goalkeeper during the Martyr's Memorial
ANFA San Miguel Invitational Football
Tournament held last December.
Giri had probably experienced tackles like that on countless occasions, but
on that occasion his leg could simply not
cope with the force of the tackle. Can
Giri, who has already undergone months
of rehabilitation after an operation, get
back on the football pitch?
"Definitely" assures ANFA President Ganesh Thapa, claiming that the
association has done everything it possibly could for Giri's speedy recovery.
"Sometimes, it all boils down to the
player's willpower," Thapa explains, recalling his own experience as an ace
striker, who was hounded by the opposition and injuries. And inevitable illnesses.
The year was 1981. Nepal was to play
a crucial tie against India in the Asian
Youth Football Championship qualifiers at the Dasharath Stadium.
With the match only a week
away he was diagnosed with
jaundice. German coach Rudi
Gutendorfi in charge of Nepali
team at the time, and sport officials were let down at the
prospect of playing without
their in-form striker.
"And against the doctor's advice to take two weeks of total
rest," he goes on, "I decided to
take a risk and played the match.
I scored two goals in Nepal's
4-2 win." Thankfully he escaped unscathed and the rest, as
they say is history.
Taekwondo player Deepak
Bista braved an injury in his leg
during qualifying competition
and returned home with a gold medal
from the 9th SAF Games in Pakistan earlier in the year. Nepal won a total of seven
golds—four of them were in taekwondo.
However, there is not always a happy ending. For all that golden glory he ended up
with excruciating pain. By the time the
competition ended, his knee ligament
was so badly damaged that he could not
stand on his feet. He returned home on
crutches. "I've spent the better part ofthe
past seven months trying to feel better
rather than trying to get better," he says.
The ligament was injured either
through the twisted knee or due to an
impact to the side of the knee, often the
outside. Once considered a career-ending injury the damaged ligament can be
successfully repaired or reconstructed
now, thanks to advanced treatment.
It does not come cheap, though. "I
went to Bangkok to repair the damaged
ligament. It has cost me around Rs.
400,000," he says. For worse injuries that
require reconstruction of a ligament
from a tendon elsewhere in the body
the treatment cost can be even higher.
The government agreed to fund the
treatment; Rs. 500,000 was allotted for the
treatment and Bista feels privileged to be
among the few who have survived a debilitating injury He, however, fears his career as taekwondo player might be over.
He is also bitter about the fact that he had
to run from pillar to post to get government approval for funds for his treatment.
He fears he lost valuable time for rehabilitation in doing so. Al his life, he will also
be haunted by the fact that the prognosis
could have been better if help had come
on time.
Dr. Pradeep Joshi, chief of medical
section at the National Sports Council,
insists that the council has extended support to top players to nurse their injuries.
"Players might have faced some delay as
the council has to get approval from the
ministries for the release of additional
funds," he argues.
But he expresses feelings of inadequacies. The council's medical section has three
staff on its payroll, out of them only one is
permanent. It has to manage all its expenses
through a meager development budget to
the tune of Rs. 30 million. "We've got to be
more serious about players' health and injuries if we are to put up a good show even
at the South Asian level," he says. □
X
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly Yeti Airlines
Proposed Revised Flight Schedule
(Covering remote sectors)
Effective from 16 SEP - 31  DEC04
From
To
Flight No.
Days of
Operation
Dep.
Time
Arr.
Time
Rupee
Tariff
One way
Dollar
Tariff
One way
Remarks
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
Lukla
YA111
Daily
0700
0735
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 101
Daily
0705
0740
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA103
Daily
0710
0745
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA105
Daily
0715
0750
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA107
Daily
0840
0915
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 3
Daily
0845
0920
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA109
Daily
0850
0925
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 115
Daily
0855
0930
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 7
Daily
1020
1055
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 9
1,2,4,5,6,7
1025
1100
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
YA901
3
1025
1135
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
YA181
1,3,5
1030
1105
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
YA221
2,4,7
1030
1105
1245
61
DHC-6/300
Manang
YA601
6
1030
1130
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
YA171
Daily
1130
1200
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA173
Daily
1200
1225
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA175
Daily
1400
1425
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA141
Daily
1330
1355
970
55
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA143
Daily
1500
1525
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA301
Daily
0700
0800
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA302
Daily
0705
0805
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA303
Daily
0820
0920
4800
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA151
Daily
0945
1025
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA153
Daily
1430
1510
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA155
Daily
1640
1720
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA131
Daily
0815
0840
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA137
Daily
0955
1020
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA135
Daily
1415
1440
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
YA163
Daily
1555
1630
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
YA121
Daily
1135
1225
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
YA177
Daily
1155
1250
3500
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA152
Daily
1050
1130
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA154
Daily
1535
1615
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA156
Daily
1745
1825
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA132
Daily
0905
0930
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA138
Daily
1045
1110
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA136
Daily
1505
1530
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
Kathmandu
YA164
Daily
1655
1730
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
Kathmandu
YA122
Daily
1250
1340
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
Kathmandu
YA178
Daily
1315
1405
3500
109
SAAB340B
Lukla
Kathmandu
YA 112
Daily
0750
0825
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 102
Daily
0755
0830
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 104
Daily
0800
0835
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA106
Daily
0805
0840
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA108
Daily
0930
1005
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 114
Daily
0935
1010
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 110
Daily
0940
1020
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 116
Daily
0945
1025
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 118
Daily
1110
1145
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA120
1,2,4,5,6,7
1115
1150
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
Kathmandu
YA182
1,3,5
1120
1155
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
Kathmandu
YA172
Daily
1120
1155
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
Kathmandu
YA222
2,4,7
1250
1325
1245
79
DHC-6/300
Manang
Kathmandu
YA602
6
1145
1245
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
Kathmandu
YA902
3
1150
1300
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
Kathmandu
YA174
Daily
1240
1305
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA176
Daily
1440
1505
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
Kathmandu
YA142
Daily
1410
1435
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA144
Daily
1540
1605
970
55
DHC-6/300
Sub fed to change without prior notice.
Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6, Sunday 7
i Subject to CAAN Approval
CORPORATE OFFICE
Lazimpat, Kathmandu
Ph. No. 4411912 (Hunt. Line)
Fax: 977-1-4420766
RESERVATIONS
4421215 (Hunt. Line)
Fax:977-1-4420766
Email: reservations@yetiair.wlink.com.np
TRIBHUVAN OUTSTATIONSTELEPHONE NUMBERS
AIRPORT OFFICE BIRATNAGAR   021-536612/536613 (City sales office)
4493901  4493428 021-523838 (Airport)
061-530016 (City sales office)
061-532217 (Airport)
081-526556/526557 (City sales office)
081-550637 (Airport)
POKHARA
NEPALGUNJ
BHADRAPUR
071-527527 (City sales office)
071-527528 (Airport)
023-522232 (City sales office)
023-522242 Snapshots
BY DHRITI BHATTA
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SINGING SISTER
POOJA GURUNG is young, hip and successful. As
host of several shows on Kantipur TV, the director of music videos for The Axix band and Nabin
K. Bhattarai and now an up-and-coming
singer, Gurung embodies young talent. On
October 31, Gurung was at the "Women in
Concert," singing and rubbing shoulders with
some of the best female singers in town.
Gurung, however, is modest about her sing-
g abilities. "I have always been a bathroom
singer, a performer during school functions
and the family entertainer," says Gurung.
"That's all the experience I have." She had
been performing at Moksh regularly since last
year and now she performs every Wednesday
Friday and Saturday at the Rox Bar. If you
want to catch her mellow voice you know
where to find her.
HEALING TONES
When passion comes to play, even the wildest dreams are
achievable. At least that's what SABIT SUNUWAR, an
M.B.B.S graduate who is interning at Bir Hospital, thinks.
Sunuwar soared over 15 other contestants at Hot Licks 2, a
solo-guitar competition organized by Wave magazine during
the first week of November. In doing so, he achieved his 13-
year dream—to prove himself in the music world. "It has given
me the confidence," says Sunuwar, "to believe that I am
capable of contributing something to the music industry."
Although "A Gift From Bhairawa," an album released by
Sunuwar's five-member band, Lahar, went unnoticed in
1997, he plans to come out with a new album along with
another band member of Lahar soon. "Medicine and music
are totally different fields, butl hope to succeed in both,"says
Sunuwar. "I believe I have the determination."
Tip-Topper
SABINA MANANDHAR hit the big time when she
won the Aishwarya Bidhya Padak-2060 for
securing the highest marks among all female
candidates in management exams for the
bachelor's level. Manandhar, who works in the
Food and Beverage Department at the
Shangri-La Hotel, has more work experience
than most 22-year-olds: She's been a graphic
designer at APEC Nepal, a tour officer at
Marco polo travels, an assistant tour handler
at Yeti Travels and more. So didn't she have
a hard time juggling her jobs and her
studies? Not at all, she says. "My jobs
helped me with my studies," Manandhar
says. "The practical knowledge I received
was far more useful than the books."
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly II
Career Opportunity
The Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu's leading Hotel is owned by Soaltee Hotel Limited and
managed by Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom which owns, manages,
leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, more than 3,300 hotels and 515,000 guest
rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world (www.ichotelsgroup.com). The
Group owns a portfolio of well recognized and respected hotel brands including Intercontinental
Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and
Staybridge Suites, and also has a controlling interest in Britvic, the second largest soft drinks
manufacturer in the UK.
We are currently operating 20 Hotels in South-West Asia region. Now, you too can be a part
of our team and have a rewarding career with potential for growth.
We invite applications for the post of:
PASTRY/BAKERY CHEF
The job involves ensuring quality preparation and production including desserts,
pastries, cakes etc., coordinating with the Executive Chef to plan production schedule
and special items needed for banquet functions with the use of latest technology,
training the subordinates, designing and producing special decor pieces as needed
and ensuring that all bakery product is up to the hygiene and sanitation standards and
is attractive and appetizing.
Candidate should be Diploma holder in Hotel Management and Catering technology
with specialization in bakery/confectionery items having 3-4 years of experience or
Non-Diploma holder having 6-8 years of experience in all aspects of pastry production,
of which at least 3 years in a similar position in a reputed 4/5 star Hotel shall be
given preference.
Salary and benefits will be as per qualifications and experience and in accordance with the
company policy. However, it shall not be a constraint for the right candidate(s).
Interested Nepali citizens meeting the above criteria are requested to submit their bio-data along
with recent passport size photograph and a copy of citizenship certificate and salary expectations
to the undersigned latest by November 21,2004.
The Human Resources Manager
Soaltee Crowne Plaza
Post Box. No. 97
Kathmandu
E-mail: personnel@scp.com.np
Tahachal, Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: 977 1 4273999
Facsimile: 977-1-4272205. Website:soaltee.crowneplaza.com
SOALTEE
KATHMANDU
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nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21, 2004 Khula Man
Bittersweet Times
Festivals are a good time for businesses. Close on
the heels of Dashain, Tihar wears a sanitized look;
it eschews violence. Animal slaughters are happily
over during the festival of colors and lights. Nepalis have
a sweet tooth, and the sweet makers are kept quite busy
throughout this festival. Tirtha Rajkarnikar's sweet
shop, Gyan Mithai Bhandar, has been a permanent feature
of Tichu Galli, Haugal, near the Patan Durbar Square,
for generations. The Rajkarnikars are traditional sweet makers and Tirtha, now
in her 60s, has been in the business for
30 years. She runs the shop with her two
sons, Saroj and Niraj. Yashas Vaidya
talked to her about Tihar and about
sweets in these bittersweet times.
How is business this Tihar?
It's good. But we have been troubled by
shortages of the materials we use.
What kinds of shortages?
We are short of the ingredients we use—
the sugar, especially. You cannot have
sweets without sugar. We heard in the television and the newspapers that the Salt
Trading Corporation would supply sugar
for Tihar. But, it's already Tihar and they
have not started supplying it yet. And during such times, the suppliers jack up the
prices. I bought nearly 50 kilograms of
sugar for around Rs. 2,200; that's about
Rs. 44 for a kilogram [as compared to Rs.
35 per kilogram during other times; National Trading started supplying sugar
from a few outlets at Rs. 33 per kilogram
from Wednesday November 10, the first
day of Tihar],
So you have increased the prices of
your sweets as well...
No, no. We sell our sweets at the same price
all around the year, irrespective of whether
there's a festival on or not. We've known
others who increase prices during such
times, but we don't follow that practice.
Which sweets sell the most? Is the
trend any different during festivals like
Tihar?
For us it's the usual the jeri-swari, the
burfi, the rasbari. During the festival
times, the demand does go up, more
in some festivals as opposed to others
and more for some sweets than others. For example, during Dashain demand is the highest on the days around
the days of the Tika. For Tihar, the
lakhamari is one specific sweet that is
more in demand. [The word lakhamari
is made up of two words "lakha,"
meaning something that is costly and
is thus only consumed occasionally
and "mari," which means roti or dish.]
The lakhamari is something for special occasions and is ordered for such
occasions as marriages, pujas.
The business during Tihar
is always good. This time
around it is more or less
the same as in the years
before...
You seem to be doing brisk business
today...
The business during Tihar is always
good. This time around it is more or less
the same as in the years before... It hasn't
increased significantly; maybe it is because of the state of the country.
Don't people complain about the artificial colors you use?
We only use the colors that are approved
[by the government]. We only buy those.
If we don't use any colors, then all sweets
will be of the same color—only white.
The customers demand colorful sweets,
and as we are in a business, we need to
listen to our customers. The government
should be more concerned about the
chemicals used in the "packaged" foods,
the chocolates and the ice cream that
children consume.
How are you coping with the competition of packaged sweets and those
from bigger outlets?
I don't think those sweets are of good
quality. I've had customers come to me
and tell me that. There's competition
in all areas now. It's no different for us.
But we don't engage in price wars—increasing or decreasing prices. We have
regular customers that keep coming
back to us. They introduce our shop to
their friends and family. It's about keeping the customers happy and so it's
about our quality. You need to keep the
customers happy; else you can't stay in
business.
Will future generations take up you
trade? Do you think your children will
continue the family business?
We have been sweet makers for generations. When I started out more that three
decades ago, I used to do everything
myself. I used to be the one to make the
jeri-swari, the burfi and sell them too. I
can't make the sweets anymore because
I've grown a bit old. Now my sons are
involved in the business, and I have a
few helpers too. My grandchildren are
still studying and I can't tell now whether
they'll join the fray. These days children
don't necessarily take up the trade of their
ancestors. □
X
X
56
NOVEMBER 21, 2004   |  nation weekly Books
In Their Own Words
Riddum is the Kulunge term the story ofthe
beginning of the cosmos and the
ethnogenesis of the indigenous peoples of
the world
BY MARK TURIN
Martino Nicoletti, formerly
professor of Visual Anthro
pology and the History of
Religions at the University of Perugia in
Italy is presently the director of the anthropological section of an Italian research project. He has been working in
the Himalaya for over a decade, and English translations of two of his books
have recently been published by Vajra
Publications. "Riddum: The Voice ofthe
Ancestors" is a charming and fascinating
little book, which serves as a perfect
counterpoint to "Shamanic Solitudes,"
a more traditional academic monograph
on ecstasy madness and spirit possession among the Kulunge Rai of eastern
Nepal.
Riddum is the Kulunge term for what
many of the Rai and Hranti peoples refer to as mundum, the story ofthe beginning ofthe cosmos and the ethnogenesis
of the indigenous peoples of the world.
In this short book Nicoletti chooses to
let an aged shaman, Sancha Prasad Rai,
who passed away in 1999 and to whom
the book is dedicated, narrate his own
story. Nicoletti's anthropologi
cal and analytical involvement is limited to a modest three-page Foreword
and what he terms "Card on
Kulunge Rai," which
comes at the end and situates the ethnic group in the
context of neighboring Himalayan   peoples.   This
Riddum: The Voice
of the Ancestors
By Martino Nicoletti, with photographs by Martino Nicoletti
andFabrizioGaggini
Vajra Publications (2004)
PAGES: 63
PRICE: Rs. 300
structure works
well, since the narration of the story is
as engaging as its
contents are intriguing, and we
learn that the riddum
is a "teaching tool:
it explains the origin of things and
their interconnections, bringing
them closer and
making them more
comprehensible"
(page 10).
The presentation ofthe narration
of the origin tale itself deserves special
mention. Nicoletti
has opted for a stylized and graphically-rich format with
large print on the right hand side of the
page and thought-provoking black and
white photographic reproductions on
the left. Since the allusions are subtle
and nuanced, only halfway through reading the text did I
begin to find
linkages between the content ofthe riddum
and the associated images. I
then turned back
to the beginning
and re-read the
text with a greater
focus on the photos and was struck
by how carefully
they had been chosen.
The text reads
well, although the
translation   is   at
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 21,
times a little over-wrought and archaic.
This may be put down to the fact that the
text has been translated out of the
Kulunge ritual language into Italian and
then into English. The usage of terms
such as "the gelid waters of the river"
(page 33) and "eventide" (page 34) adds a
level of lexical complexity that I doubt
the shaman had intended.
In common with the cosmologies of
other Himalayan peoples, the Kulunge
riddum is full of sex, incest, death and
other archetypical themes. The interactions between the animate world (insects, birds and humans) and the inanimate world (pebbles and the wind) make
for an absorbing tale that takes the reader
from the origin of the world to the
present moment. "Thus it was," Sancha
Prasad tells us, "without interruption,
right from the beginning" (page 55). □ s
(Turin is a Visiting Scientist at ICIMOD and
director ofthe Digital Himalaya Project based at Cambridge and Cornell universities
www. digitaihimaiaya.com)
57 Last Page
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It's Politics, Stupid
Perhaps Nepal is the only democracy ■where the debate on the relevance ofthe Constitution started
as soon as the framers had finished drafting
it. That was November 9, 1990. The dubious distinction of starting the debate should
go to the CPN-UML, which had itself been
represented in the Constitution Draft Committee. The communist party said it had only
extended "alochanatmak samarthan" (critical
support) to the Constitution.
Unsurprisingly, the first two ■weeks of
November each year since have been a busy
time for the critics ofthe Constitution. But
the constitution debate has gained added significance the last three years, ever since the
King dissolved an elected government on
October 4, 2002, and put the Constitution
into suspended animation.
This November, one clause in the Constitution that has come under intense scrutiny is
Article 116, which critics say blocks significant
amendments to the Constitution and, hence,
the possible entry ofthe Maoists into the political mainstream. The article in question unequivocally states that no bill that calls for the
amendment or repeal ofthe Preamble ofthe
Constitution may be introduced in the Parliament. The Preamble, of course, says that there
will be no compromise on the following—that
sovereignty rests in the people (in the 1962
Constitution it rested in the King); and that
there will be adult franchise, a parliamentary
system of government, multiparty democracy
and constitutional monarchy.
We believe that amendments to the Constitution will not solve the problem. First, the
Maoists have stated in no uncertain terms
that they want a new constitution and that
such a document needs to be drafted by a
broad-based constituent assembly rather than
by a Constitution Draft Committee, like 1990,
where only political parties were represented.
Second, the current impasse is a political one
and therefore needs a political solution, not a
constitutional one. It's useless to even get into
the lawyerly debate and split hairs over the
Constitution when we know full well that
the Maoists can be brought into the fold only
through political dialogue.
So what are the options before us to both
overcome the constitutional crisis (post-October 4, 2002) and the political stalemate,
taking into account that the Maoists insist
that the current Constitution is not accept
able to them? One obvious choice is to restore the Parliament and let the status quo
ante prevail: Since the 1990 Constitution
embodies the idea of parliamentary supremacy, the Parliament could then decide
■what is the best ■way out ofthe current impasse. The other choice is a constituent assembly, the option that is obviously more
palatable to the Maoists.
We believe the latter is a better option: Political parties and civil society too are increasingly inclined to agree, if that will bring the
Maoists into the political fold. But, and a big
but, we want the Maoists to spell out what
they'want the new constitution to be like. While
they have been largely consistent in their demand for the constituent assembly they have
remained conspicuously silent on whether they
believe in democracy and, if they do, what form
of democracy do theywant. So long as they fall
short of voicing unequivocally their belief in
democracy, the Nepali people will continue to
regard them with deep foreboding. Numerous
reports and analyses prove that a significant
number of Maoist followers are dogmatic communists who care little about democracy and
are hell-bent on following the classical Maoist
theory of insurgency lock stock and barrel—
surround the cities with liberated villages before overrunning them to establish a one-party
rule under communist control.
In the final analysis, the argument that
the root of Nepal's current problem and also
the solution lie in the Constitution is deeply
flawed. The Constitution can't possibly have
answers to political questions. Those have to
be responded to 'with political moves. Provisions for neither the 1980 referendum nor
the restoration of democracy 10 years later
were present in the 1962 Constitution, for
example. TerElingsson observed as far back in
1991 in his essay on Nepal's new Constitution in the "Himalayan Research Bulletin":
"Constitutions and their language may be
highly important in symbolic terms, but the
meanings of the symbols they invoke must
be determined with respect to a wider range
of constitutional practices and traditions than
the written documents themselves are capable
of embodying." That was true in 1980, true
in 1990 and true now.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
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