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Nation Weekly December 5, 2004, Volume 1, Number 33 Upadhyay, Akhilesh Dec 5, 2004

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 EVEREST IN TROUBLE | REFUGEES IN MIDWEST | FILMMAKER RHITAR
15,2004 VOL. I, NO. 33
% no\<\ rt i, stv ^
www.nation.com.np
WEEKLY
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 20 Porn Business
By Indra Adhikari and John Narayan Parajuli
In early November, officials raided seven movie theaters and recovered one of
the biggest hauls of pornographic films so far. Although officials say they are
doing everything possible to beat the sleaze, the laws are inadequate.
Interview: Ashok Sharma, General Secretary, Film Development Board
COLUMNS
11 Ultimatum Season
By Suman Pradhan
33 In Defense
Of Mohsin
By Jogendra Ghimere
34 A Closer Look
By Pratyoush Onta
SPORTS
DEPARTMENTS
48 So Close,
Yet So Far
By Sudesh Shrestha
Nepali cricket is on the throes of
getting its biggest prize. But there are
still some hiccups.
6
9
10
14
16
16
44
50
52
56
58
LETTERS
WEEK IN PICTURES
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
CAPSULES
MILESTONE
BIZ BUZZ
CITY PAGE
SNAPSHOTS
KHULA MANCH
BOOKS
LAST PAGE
BUSINESS
36 Coming Online,
Slowly
By Indra Adhikari
The use of technology in banks is on
the rise, but it will take another decade
before ATMs and online banking are
available to all Nepalis
18 Strategic Victory?
By Satishjung Shahi in Paandyun
The Army says that the battle at
Paandyun was a major victory, and it
later flew in dozens of journalists to
the battlefield to ensure massive media
coverage
26 Internally Displaced
By Sushmajoshi in Kohalpur, Banke
A major attack in the district headquarters often precipitates a sudden exodus,
but the trickle of people leaving a way
of life has become commonplace
28 On Thin Ice
^^vh^^m     Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
Global warming is
affecting even the
Everest. UNESCO is
being asked to put the
mountain and two other sites on its
danger list. But how much can it do?
ARTS AND SOCIETY
38 Mountain
Panoramas
ByAditya Adhikari
The Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival is here again.
Beginning December 9, there will be
four continuous days of shows at the
Russian Cultural Center.
42 Shooting Karma
By Sushmajoshi
Tsering Rhitar is a perfectionist who
works his scenes meticulously, getting
take after take until he's ready to move
to the next scene
46 Made In Japan
By Satishjung Shahi
Two foreign photographers show us why they
have fallen in love with
Nepal over the last
decade
 ILLEGALLY
ABROAD
Dcjpetste N««lb art
mniggled to foreign landi
ii The mass is in no
mood to capitulate
to the political
rightwing
predators ■■
BISWO NATH POUDEL
Religion without reason
KUDOS TO NATION WEEKLY AND
Aditya Adhikari for the brilliant essay
"Religion Without Reason" (November
28). Much like Adhikari, I have long
wondered why few of us publicly question our countless Hindu rituals and the
sorry state of temples and shrines. Why
do we blindly follow our forefathers (or
grandmothers and mothers when it
comes to visiting temples) in accepting
that our temples should be coated with
thick coats of grime, that pilgrims to the
Pashupatinath should endure the smell
of burning pyres at Aryaghat? (Can't we
at least have a more hygienic crematorium now that Nepal's population is no
more what it used to be when Aryaghat
was a quiet place next to the Bagmati?)
Science tells us that the holy cow dung
is in fact a serious hazard to health, but
then why the passive acceptance of a
preaching pundit who delivers lengthy
lectures on its hygienic value? Why the
long patient lines, the pushing and the
shoving, and finally just a hurried bow
in the inner sanctum? Like the Christian world that saw reform-minded Protestants turn the rituals and the act of worship upside down many, many years ago,
is it time for Hindus to reflect if all's
well with our religion, particularly the
tedious and expensive rituals? Is it time
to redefine our religiosity and bring
some reason to it?
Prakash Sharma
Kathmandu
ADHIKARI HAS WORKED MIGHTY
hard on the essay and made his case pretty
well too. But my question to him is very
simple: Can you really find the rationale
behind one's religiosity? Either you have
it or you don't. People who throng to the
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 temples and then just leave after a quick
look at the linga are happy to do just that. It
satisfies a certain urge within them to link
to a higher being, regardless of the material surroundings around them.
Bhupesh Malla
via email
Report lacks details
I AM A BIT DISMAYED BY THE inadequacy of your report on Mohammed
Mohsin's remarks ("Back To Panchayat?"
byjohn Narayan Parajuli, November 28).
As a person who resorts mainly to Nation Weekly for recent news from Nepal,
I found the report lacking in details about
what the minister actually said, riddled
instead with some platitudinous observations and the beliefs of certain "analysts." However, I elicited from your report that Mohsin somehow thought that
the word "autocracy" was acceptable to
the Nepali press and its readers. It turned
out that even though bereft of its suffrage
rights and a representative government,
the mass enjoys whatever right there is
for them and is in no mood to capitulate
those rights to the political rightwing
predators.
Other media from Kathmandu reported that Mohsin alluded to the early
19th century politics of Germany and
France to remind the publishing industry giants gathered in his court how dictatorship was a natural development
from the chaos of limited democratic
practices. I have been an admirer of
Mohsin for his uncanny ability to scan
history and philosophy to justify the rise
of autocratic regime in Nepal, but not
the manner he has come to power. He is
among the very few persons in Nepal
who owe their present position of power
to both anti-democracy extremists: The
Maoists made elections impossible to
propel people like him to power, and
the Palace appointed him to the council
of ministers.
But a little historical fact would probably be relevant here. Indeed, as it turned
out, a bright young man who finished his
doctorate when he was only 23 in the early
1840's Germany realized that his dream of
being a professor was not possible after
the inauguration of a new king, Friedrich
Wilhelm IV of Hanover. The King was
more autocratic in his tendency than his
predecessor and had purged seven liberal
professors   from   the   University   of
Gottingen. Disenchanted, the young man
left for Paris to start a revolutionary paper,
but would soon be forced to leave France
for Brussels and later head to London. He
would in the meantime write damning,
consequential, insightful articles, challenging the value system ofthe ruling elite, the
society around him and the fledgling capitalism of his era. His books, his ideas and
his followers, though illogical and wrong
they were a lot of times, later shook the
world, forced kings and tsars out of their
throne, showing that if a democratic anarchy gives a chance to an autocratic
strongman to rule a country, the autocracy
itself becomes a transient phenomenon.
The young man was Karl Marx.
Biswo Nath Poudel
University of California
Berkeley
Moshin's threat
I HAVE JUST READ SUMAN PRAD-
han's piece on Minister Mohammed
Mohsin's tantrums and I am now worried ("Stop This Nonsense," Meanwhile, November 21). I am an engineer
based in Australia and was planning to
return home this year and begin work in
my own country. Now I am not sure.
Why does Prime Minister Deuba tolerate ministers like Mohsin, though? If
Nepal is a democracy, which I believed
for a long time, why is Mohsin not being held accountable for his dangerous
statements?
Lava Acharya
Sydney
Funny liberals
KUNAL LAMA IFYOU WERE OFfended
by someone calling Kerry a pig, you clearly
were too busy writing quasi-funny articles
to follow the U.S. election campaign
("On Bended Knee," No Laughing Matter, November 21). Rather prudish, are
you? I just find it funny how American
liberals (and their worldwide supporters) think that the majority ofthe American population who voted for Bush are
nuts. Conservative or not, stout Christians or not, anti-gay or not—they are bona
fide U.S. citizens and they legitimately
elected their leader. They were voting for
themselves, not to appease the French.
And oh, they probably won't care whether
you fill out the DV form or not!
PJ Shrestha
Kathmandu
Nation Weekly, The Media House, Tripureshor,
Kathmandu, Nepal (Regd. 165/059-060).
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VoLI
Na 33. For the week November 29-December 5, 20OT,
November 29
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nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
 The Only Lifestyle/Culture Magazine in Nepal
„, probably the most admired loo.
LIFE through the LENS
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 Week   Pictures
1.MELODIES: Namaste band
perform at the inauguration of
an art exhibition at the Nepal
Art Council
2. THAI FOOD: Press meet to
announce the Thai Food
festival in Kathmandu on the
occasion ofthe Thai king's
birthday
3. AGRO-EXPO: Products
displayed at the Birendra
International Convention
Centre
4. CALL FOR PEACE:
Intellectuals at the Reporters'
club discussing a possible
ceasefire during the peace
summit to be held in Lumbini
5. BRAND AMBASSADOR:
Nima Rumba performs at a
program organized by
Sakalaka Boom at Chabahil
6. & 7. WE WANT PEACE:
Children take part in a peace
rally organized in Kathmandu
on the occasion of International Children's day.
Foreigners participated as
well.
Photos: B Rai
i tK5j yms *»i
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
 ofthe
BREAKING NEWS, NOT QUITE: The Royal
Nepal Army flew more than three dozen
print, radio and television journalists to
Paandyun, Kailali, four days after a
major Army offensive against the
Maoists
nation weekly/Sagar Shrestha
 <f*
Meanwhile
Ultimatum Season
The government is uncertain about the prospects of polls. But pride and the Palace are getting in
its way to admit as much.
BY SUMAN PRADHAN
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba last week again issued an
ultimatum (or was it an invitation?) to the Maoists to sit at the
negotiating table by mid-January, or else... The Maoists are
probably asking: Or else, what?
As the prime minister said, if the Maoists don't come for talks bythe
deadline then—hold your breath—"We will start preparations to hold
parliamentary elections." No, he did not threaten an all-out war or promise to go after the rebel leadership, or even threaten to appeal for more
international military aid to crush the rebellion. By refrainingfrom such
options, the prime minister implicitly acknowledged the futility of a military
solution to the Maoist problem. That's well and good because this insurgency cannot be solved militarily.
But the prime minister's approach—threatening elections—is
rather novel. The Maoists could yet do the unimaginable and come
for talks, cowering with fear at the prospect of elections. But I seriously doubt it. Anyone who understandsa little bit of diplomacy or
how power equations work knows that for any u Iti matum to be taken
seriously, it must be backed by a credible threat of force. By that
reckoning, the prime minister's ultimatum (or invitation, whatever you
call it) hardly carries any weight with the Maoists.
The Maoists know that their greatest strength comes from their
ability, real or perceived, to turn any parliamentary elections into a
blood bath. Last week, a Maoist central committee member was
quoted in the press as sayingas much. If the Maoistsjust sit tight and
let the deadline pass, the most the government can do is continue its
security operations in a regular manner and prepare for the polls. The
entire country knows that elections cannot be held at a single go. The
government will have to try for phase-wise elections in different regions in a bid to shore up security for the polls.
Assuming that the rebels also know this (which they of course do),
theytoo will concentrate their firepower phase-wise. Which means, the
political parties, their candidates, and polling officers and voters, all will
be at the mercy of the security forces and the Maoists in the run up to,
during, and after the elections. Think about the legitimacy of such an
election. In reality, the Deuba government too is uncertain about the
prospects of new polls. But pride and the Palace are getting in itswayto
admit as much. Pride because Deuba can't allow himself to agree to the
revival of the Parliament that he himself recommended be dissolved in
May 2002. And the Palace because King Gyanendra's order to hold
elections by April 2005 hangs like a Damocles' sword over his head. The
prime minister knows that if he can't strike a peace deal by then and also
fails to hold elections, his government will be swept aside just like his
predecessors'. Therefore, the new ultimatum to the Maoists.
But the Maoists have the initiative in this war of nerves. They have
held the initiative for a longtime, ever since Deuba dissolved the Parliament and later advised the King to postpone elections slated for November 2002. One way to seize back the initiative is to get a functioning
Parliament up and running again. But new elections are not only dangerous, but its results could also lack in legitimacy.
So, are we stuck in this Catch 22 situation? Not necessarily, if only
the prime minister cares to listen. Deuba should listen to all those who
favor a revival ofthe dissolved Parliament. Restoringthe 1999 Parliament would neutralize the Maoist threat of violence as well as bring all
the political forces back on a single forum to debate, discuss and to pose
a united front against the rebels. Only then would the rebels be interested in talks. The prime minister can do this by getting his Cabinet to
decide on reviving the Parliament and forwarding the recommendation
to the Palace for formal announcement. The onus will then lie on the
Palace to demonstrate its democratic credentials.
The problem with the Parliament revival option is that, it is being
pushed by Deuba's archenemy Girija Prasad Koirala. Even if this is the
best option, Koirala's association with it immediately takes away its legitimacy in the prime minister's eyes. Advice to Koirala: Tone down your
rhetoric and let others, especially civil society groups, argue for revival of
the 1999 Parliament. That will make the pill less bitter for Deuba to
swallow.
We are already seeing encouraging signs on this front. The Nepal Bar
Association has pushed for the revival ofthe Parliament and has indeed
asked the Supreme Court to expedite a hearing on a related writ. Now a
large trade union associated with Deuba's own party has also come
around to accepting it as the most viable option. If more such groups—
from environmentalists, journalists, doctors, teachers to students and
peace activists—continue to clamor, it will be difficult for the prime minister and the Palace to ignore such voices.
So countrymen, let us all unite and issue our own ultimatum to the
government: Revive Parliament by December end, or else... or else, we
will just stay home and continue eating dal bhat. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
11
 Opinion
THINK
POSITIVE
'Thinker'
by Auguste Rodin
POLITICS
Civil Conflict
Education
Development
Business
Lifestyle
Sports
EVERY WEEK.
EVERY MONDAY.
nation
The Notion of Nationhood
www.nation.com.np
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 sides
PROTEST: An employee ofthe Nepal Oil Corporation at the Nepalgunj
airport wears a black armband to demand an increase in the price of
petroleum products
Anti-Maoist sentiment
Thousands from 13 VDCs in
Dailekh took part in an anti-
Maoist demonstration on Monday, November 22. They ■were
demonstrating against violent
Maoist responses to an earlier
demonstration on November
18. That day the villagers had
protested against Maoist attempts to force them to join the
CPN-Maoist party. The rebels
responded by attacking the
demonstrators and killed three
villagers, including a child, and
abducted over two dozen villagers. The Maoists, in response to
the recent protests, have formed
a three-man probe committee to
investigate the killings and punish those responsible, said
Diwakar, a Maoist leader.
Mass resignation
Sixty-two VDC secretaries in
Parsa handed in their resignations to the district development
committee citing security reasons. The Maoists had issued a
15-day ultimatum to VDC officials in the district to quit their
jobs or face serious consequences.
Pressure on UML
The All Nepal National Free
Students Union has intensified
its pressure on the CPN-UML,
its parent party to pull out of
the coalition government. The
student wing asked that the
party make public its reasons for
continuing in the government
even after it had failed to restore
peace. It blamed the party for not
fulfilling the promises it made
when itjoined the government.
The ANNFSU is on a month-
long campaign to pressure the
UML to pull out of the coalition.
Missing villagers
Forty-two villagers of Handi
Khola in Makwanpur have gone
missing after a raid by security
forces in the Royal Chitwan
National Park. A total of 48 villagers had gone to the park to
collect vegetables, said reports.
Only six of them returned. Park
officials said that 17 villagers had
been arrested. The family members of those missing have demanded information on their
whereabouts from the local security officials.
Passing away
Nepali Congress leader and
former parliamentarian Dr.
Dhruba Prasad Sharma Dhakal,
passed away at Om Hospital. He
was 57. Sharma, a surgeon, was
suffering from lung cancer. A
personal doctor of the late BP
Koirala, Sharma was elected
twice to the Pratinidhi Sabha
from of Sindhuli. He was the
head ofthe BP Koirala Cancer
Hospital in Chitwan.
Petition to SC
The Nepal Bar Association has
requested the Supreme Court
to respond to a writ petition
filed for the reinstatement of
the Pratinidhi Sabha. A delegation, led by the bar President
Sambhu Thapa, met Chiefjus-
tice Govinda Bahadur Shrestha
to call for urgent action to end
the current constitutional crisis. The apex court had upheld
the decision of Prime Minister
Deuba to dissolve the
Pratinidhi Sahba in August
2002. The writ petition asking
the court to review the decision was filed by advocate
Dhruba Koirala in October
2002.
Fund crunch
Those displaced from the
Karnali region due to the conflict and now living in
Rajhena, Banke, are unlikely to
get any relief from the government. The reason: lack of
funds. The Home Ministry had
been asked to allocate funds for
the purpose, but the local administration said that it had not
received a response yet. Hundreds of families from Mugu,
Humla, Jumla and Dolpa have
flocked to Banke after the
Maoists began a forced recruitment drive. From the third
week of September, 87 families
have arrived in Banke from
Mugu alone, reported
Kantipur.
TU graduates
More than 15,000 students
graduated from the Tribhuvan
University in the last academic
year. The results for the university exams-2060 showed that
13,209 students had passed their
Bachelors-level exams; 2,674
students had passed their Masters-level exams; and 26 students
got doctorate degrees.
Military hardware
India will supply a third Advanced Light Helicopter to the
Royal Nepal Army after one of
the two helicopters it delivered
earlier crashed in Lumbini on
October 28. India donated the
two Advanced Light Helicopters to Nepal in June.
Amnesty extension
Malaysia extended its November 14 deadline for foreigners
working illegally in the country to leave. The new deadline
will be the end of December. Amnesty will be given to
those who leave before the deadline. The extension came at the
request of countries that have their citizens working illegally in Malaysia. Malaysia is host to illegal workers from Bangladesh, China,
Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines and Vietnam, among others . Nepali officials say that at least 15,000 Nepalis are working illegally in Malaysia.
J
14
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Bus accident
Six people died and 32 more were
injured when a bus and a truck
collided at Jayasingh,
Makwanpur. The bus, which
was heading towards
Mahendranagar from Birgunj,
collided with the truck, which
was going to Hetauda from
Narayangarh. Twelve of those
injured underwent treatment at
Bharatpur Hospital and
Bharatpur Medical College,
while four were brought to
Kathmandu.
Deaths in Iraq
Four former Gurkhas working
at Global Risk Strategies, a
British security firm, were
killed in a mortar attack in
Baghdad, reported London's
The Independent. The British
foreign ministry confirmed
the deaths. The attack took
place in the Green Zone, the
heavily fortified headquarters
for the United States and the
Iraqi interim government. The
identities of those killed will
not be disclosed presently said
the firm. The families of the
deceased are to be notified first.
Landmine deaths
Four park officials at the Parsa
Wildlife Reserve were killed in a
landmine explosion at Beluwa
VDC. The Maoists in recent
months have targeted forest offices and security guards. The recent attacks have come in the
wake of efforts by Forest Depart-
ment officials in Bara and
Makwanpur, districts bordering
the wildlife reserve, to prevent
the Maoists from smuggling
timber to India.
School closure
Temporary schoolteachers in
public schools have increased
the pressure on the government to grant them permanent
status. They ordered the indefinite closure of the more than
26,000 community schools
throughout the country. The
move will affect an estimated
4.4 million students. The dissenting teachers have demanded that permanent status
be given to all those who have
taught an academic session and
that those displaced by the ongoing conflict be rehabilitated.
There are over 40,000 temporary teachers working in public schools across the country.
The government previously
granted permanent status to
schoolteachers working since or
prior to February 7, 2002
(Magh 25, 2058).
Corruption charges
Three city officials of Biratnagar
were arrested by the Morang
district administration on corruption charges. The trio of
Hem Bahadur Rai, Baburam
Bhattarai and Ashok Gupta
were accused of irregularities of
more than Rs. 1.1 million. The
officials were reported to have
used fake stamps and signatures
to draw money from the Nepal
Bank.
Linguist meet
Linguists from more than 10
countries attended the 25th annual conference of the Nepal
Bhasabigyan Samaj in
Kathmandu. The development
of local dialect was the subject of
discussion.
Shobraj in cell
Charles Sobhraj, serving a life
sentence at Central Jail, has been
in a high-security cell for more
than the 15 days permitted by
the law. The Supreme Court
notified the government of the
overstay and ordered it to respond within 15 days. Sobhraj
was shifted to the cell after a recent foiled escape attempt.
Delhi visit
The Chief of Army Staff General Pyar Jung Thapa was slated
to leave for a three-day visit to
New Delhi on Sunday, November 28. During the visit
Thapa is to attend the passing
out parade at the National Defense Academy of India. The
Army chief said that he would
not discuss security issues with
New Delhi during the visit.
The Press Trust of India, however, said that Thapa would
"hold high level military talks
to chalk out joint measures" to
deal with "the threat of Maoist
violence growing in Nepal and
spilling over to India." This will
be the focus of the talks that
General Thapa will hold with
his Indian counterpart Gen N
C Vij, according to the PTI.
This is the third visit of the
Army top brass to India.
Buddhist Summit
The World Buddhist Summit
gets underway in Lumbini this
week on November 30. Over
150 delegates from over three
dozen countries, including Australia, Bhutan, China, France,
Germany, India, South Korea
and the United States, have confirmed their participation. King
Gyanendra opens the three-day
summit.
More security
India will set up 15 additional
Border Security Force checkposts
along the Nepal-India border in
view of increasing Maoist activities and the threat it poses to
India's security according to a
UNI news report. Union Minister of State for Home
Sriprakash Jaiswal said that there
were 15 Border Security Force
battalions deployed along the
sensitive border and that the
force would soon be increased.
Police posts had been set up every 10 kilometers along the border. Now on, there will be a post
for every five kilometers.
Judicial reform
The Supreme Court has introduced a five-year plan to reform the judiciary. The overhaul will cost Rs. 6 billion.
DANIDA, the Danish aid
agency, will provide support to
the Supreme Court plan. The
planned reforms cover financial and administrative changes
as well as the development of
judicial infrastructure.
**£gSSSf*-
*
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
15
 Milestone
5 dead in Qatar
Five Nepalis died in an accident in Qatar,
while one had a close shave. The six
were employees ofthe Al Sewadi paper
factory in the Sanaiya industrial area of Qatar.
The incident occurred while they were cleaning
a water-processing tank at the factory. The five
died from inhaling poisonous gases inside the
tank that was two and a half meters deep. The
gases were meant for processi ng the water.
According to reports, Balkrishna Simkhada
was the first to enter the tank. He lost consciousness inside the tank due to the toxic gases.
Seeing him lay unconscious, Ram Bahadur
entered the tank to rescue him. Likewise, four
more Nepalis followed one another in the tank.
By the time the managers at the factory cal led
the police and the emergency services, itwas
al ready too late for five of the six workers.
Those dead have been identified as
Balkrishna Simkhada, 37, of Chitwan; Bed
Bahadur Tharu, 28, of Nawalparasi; Ram
Bahadur Pandey, 31, of Tanahu; Naseer
Biz Buzz
Mansuri of Sunsari; and Salamsingh Moktan,
41, of Nawalparasi. The injured has been identified as Deepak Khadka. Khadka is undergoing
treatment at Hamid Hospital in Doha. "He is
unable to speak," Shyamnanda Suman, the
Nepali ambassador to Qatar, was quoted as
saying. Reports have however cited hospital
sources as claiming that Khadka is out of danger.
Nepali diplomats in the region say the bodies of
the dead are being kept in the same hospital
and efforts are now underway to bring them to
home. All ofthe deceased had been working at
the factory for three years.Of 125 people employed in the factory, most are said to be
Nepalis. Accordingto reports,a Qatar official said
that the Nepalis entered the tank "at their own
will" to clean it after it started smelling foul.
16
CHIMNEY RESTAURANT BACK
The Chimney Restaurant at Yak & Yeti was relaunched on November 20, on an evening
that revived many ofthe Chimney's original
dishes. The evening was aimed at recreating
"the feeling of the Chimney that was." Also on
show were memorabi I ia from the days of Boris
Lissanevitch, the restaurant's founder. The
Chimney was lit again in mid-November bringing back a ritual that was part ofthe Yak & Yeti
every year.
Boris Lissanevitch who is considered a pioneer in tourism in Nepal is the founder ofthe
Chimney restaurant. Boris's fame as a Russian ballet dancer, an entrepreneur and a connoisseur of good taste lives on at Chimney
Restaurant. His original recipes will be recreated at the Chimney afresh, as his famous
Borscht and Smoked Bekti reappears on the
Chimney menu. Also back are the Chicken a
la Kiev and the flaming baked Alaska
Sagarmatha.
NEW AGRICULTURAL POLICY
The government has put into effect the
AgriculturePolicy-2004. The aim ofthe new
policy is to encourage commercial production
among farmers. It aims to increase the productivity rate and also protect and promote
natural resources while still utilizing them in the
interest of farmers.
The policy divides farmers into two groups—
small and big. Those owning less than four
hectares of land will be classified as "small"
farmers and will be supported bythe government to boost their productivity. Also on the
cards is the establishment ofthe Land Bank to
provide long-term loans for farmers to purchase
lands. The newpolicyalso pays special attention to nurturing investments in the private sector on contract and leasehold farming.
WIPRO LAUNCHES SANTOOR SOAP
Wipro Comsumer Care and Lighting, a division
of Wipro, has launched the Santoor brand of
soap in the Nepali market. The newly launched
Santoor is available in lOOg packs. Wipro says
the soap, with sandalwood and turmeric as its
ingredients, will "enrich the skin with natural
softness." It hopes the fragrance and the packaging will also draw customers to its new product.
TEN YEARS OF EVEREST INSURANCE
Everest Insurance has completed 10 years of
operation. Everest Insurance has been providing various kinds of general insurance services, including bankers' blanket insurance,
occupational accident trekking insurance and
trekking insurance—to its customers. Accordingto the insurance company, it holds 16 percent ofthe market share in general insurance
and collected Rs. 280 million as insurance
premium last year.
AGRICULTURE EXHIBITION
The Agro-Expo 2004 got underway at the
Birendra International Convention Centre from
November 25. The Federation of Nepalese
Chambers of Commerce and Industry organized
the Agro-Expo 2004. The agricultural fair was
held with the belief that the nation's future lies
in the commercialization of agriculture. Thus the
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 main objective ofthe agricultural fair: to promote the agricultural sector by helpingfarmers
adopt agriculture in a more commercial and
professional way, and also explore international
markets. The five-day exposition was inaugurated by Queen Komal. The expo has about
150 stalls, displaying and selling agricultural
products, paddy, silk, condiments and also
books on agriculture.
NICCARD
The Nepal Industrial and Commercial Bank has
introduced its NIC Cash Card. The debit card
being introduced by NIC Bank enables customers to draw amounts up to Rs. 25,000
from 26 ATMs under the Smart Choice Technology network.
MOBILE BANKINGTHROUGH BOK
The Bank of Kathmandu, the BOK, has introduced mobile banking services. The aim of
the new service, according to the bank, is to
make life easier for its customers. The BOK
says that its "Mobile Banking" service is a
cost and time effective channel to deliver banking services in an easier, faster and convenient manner. The service includes account
balance inquiry and mobile phone bill payments through SMS—the first of its kind according to the BOK. Account enquiry through
the service allows customers to access the end
of day balance ofthe preceding day and a
"mini statement," a record on the last three
transactions ofthe previous day.
The BOK is providing its new facility to all its
customers without any additional service cost.
Customers usi ng th is new service wi 11 be provided with specific-client PIN code to ensure
high security. BOK says it plans to come out
with more specialized products and services to
keep its services to customers up to date with
modern banking technologies.
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nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
17
 STRATEGIC
Vl^Oli y-v
The Army says that the battle at Paandyun was a major
victory, and it later flew in dozens of journalists to the
battlefield to ensure massive media coverage
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
IN PAANDYUN
THE BATTLE AT PAANDYUN
called for wide press coverage.
And so it got. On Wednesday,
November 24, the Royal Nepal Army
flew 64 journalists to observe the steep,
forested hills in northern Kailali, the site
of a major offensive against the Maoists.
"This is a huge success," Brigadier
General Rajendra B. Thapa, former RNA
spokesman who now heads the Army's
Farwestern division in Dipayal, told the
press that had been ferried to Paandyun
four days after the Army claimed to have
won a major victory against the Maoists
in the rebels' Farwest hub. At hand were
42 print, radio and TV journalists from
the capital and the rest from Dipayal and
Dhangadi.
Since the Dashain truce ended, the
Maoists have renewed their military
campaign aggressively. Everyday, the
news is dominated by deaths of security
personnel, abductions ofvillagers, bandas
crippling life right across the country and
ambushes along major highways. The
most recent ambush on the Prithvi
Highway in Dhading on November 16
that left five security personnel dead got
wide coverage in the press. Nepal 1 television stunned the whole nation when
it aired a chilling footage of hundreds of
Maoists crossing over to Gurkha after
the attack on security forces.
At Paandyun, Nepal 1 was conspicuously absent. The Army spokesman
Brigadier General Deepak Gurung even
admitted during a recent press meet that
the Army had asked Space Time Network, the leading cable operator, to take
Nepal 1 off the air.
Something had to be done immediately to restore order. And so Paandyun
happened, say analysts. It does push the
Maoists on the back foot in the region
where they have largely operated without resistance.
And the Army wasn't about let go the
tactical advantage it had gained without
others, including the Maoists, noticing
it. The media duly reported that the
Army had penetrated into a Maoist
stronghold. And unlike the past, where
it was said to have avoided casualties,
the Army had been aggressive about pinning down and attacking the Maoists.
"We were in a position with our helicopters to cause more casualties on the
Maoist side. But our aim was to mentally disrupt the Maoists rather than finish them off," said Brigadier General
Thapa while briefing the media. He was
accompanied by two other commanders who had been behind the battle in
Paandyun, termed Operation
Prarambha, meaning beginning, by the
Army.
Paandyun also showed that the
former RNA spokesman still shares a
good rapport with the media, and he was
keen to make most of it. Interestingly
Operation Prarambha started barely five
18
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 days after he took over the Farwest command in Dipayal.
Locals said the Maoists had in the last
few months converted Paandyun into
their administrative headquarters for the
Farwest and also their training center in
the region. Water was carried from a
nearby well as the pipeline, the soldiers
said, had been cut by the Maoists during
their retreat. Most soldiers described the
region as extremely rural with rough and
steep terrain—a two-day walk away from
the district headquarters and the nearest
road.
The battle took place in mostly forested hills that also had small flat plains
where the Maoists were said to have conducted their drills.
"We were in a much inferior position, as we were attacking from a lower
position while they were stationed on
the hill. We were also outnumbered, as
we didn't expect them to be over 1,400
strong. We had only 200 men," a soldier
who had fought the battle said. "In some
places we even resorted to fistfights
when they came to grab our weapons.
Some of them also hurled socket bombs
from the treetops."
The battle began around 6 p.m. and
lasted until 1:30 a.m. the next day. The
Army took the Maoists by surprise when
it took a steep and much tougher approach route to the hill: The Maoists
had set up strong defensive positions and
laid ambushes across two ridges on the
main trail. Even so, at one point the
Maoists were said to have broken the
Army's lines and infiltrated between the
assault group and the fire support group.
An Army colonel escorting the reporters estimated that the Army could
have lost at least two companies (around
180 soldiers) if it had taken the regular
route uphill, where the Maoists were
waiting. "No one ran away. We fought as
a unified force until the end," said Briga
dier General Thapa, referring to the
forces that included Armed Police Force
personnel. Ten security personnel died
in the nighttime encounter; 18 others
were injured.
Along the jungle trail there were
stonewalls where the Maoists had taken
up defensive positions. The battlefield
was strewn with cartridges, unexploded
ordinance, bloodstains and medicines—
mostly Soframycin ointment that is applied to wounds—scattered about and
apparently used by the Maoists. The journalists were told watch out for socket
bombs lying by the side ofthe trail.
The Army was clearly in control of
the site, but the overall effect ofthe battle
was hard to judge. The Army claimed
that the Maoist toll was as high was 300.
The Maoists said that they had killed 19
soldiers and suffered only nine casualties, including their company commissar Amar.
During the guided tour through the
forest and across steep terrain in
Paandyun, Nation Weekly came across
more than a dozen dead bodies of
Maoists that gave off an acrid smell. Soldiers said they had discovered a total of
26 bodies, including one with a saline IV
on his arm.
Paandyun, the Army says, had been a
key transit point for the Maoists to move
essential supplies from Tarai to hill centers. "It was also being used as a training
center," Brigadier General Thapa said.
Though there were no signs of tents or
other locations where the Maoists could
have sheltered the 1,500 cadres that the
Army claimed had been present, journalists did find torn pieces of paper in
the forest that bore descriptions of military tactics.
When the government set its January
13 deadline for the Maoists to come sit
for peace talks, the implicit message was
that its patience was running out. The
Army clearly wants to portray Paandyun
as a major defeat for the Maoists.
But the local people aren't so sure.
They say that most of the Maoists in
Paandyun left as the Army approached
and are now in Kolkadi in Surkhet and
in other villages of Bajedi, Gaganpani,
Sim and Katunje in Kailali. Many think
Paandyun will once again fall into Maoist
hands once the Army heads back to
Dipayal. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
19
 PC n» I   SINESS
 In early November, officials raided seven movie theaters
and recovered one of the biggest hauls of pornographic
films so far. Although officials say they are doing everything possible to beat the sleaze, the laws are inadequate.
Pornography has always been
here, but it used to be a hid
den scourge. Raids in early
November in which offi
cials seized more than 40
pornographic films from seven theaters
in the Kathmandu Valley demonstrate
just how widespread it has become. Porn
can be rented at video shops, and porn
films are shown in public theaters, under the very noses of law enforcement
authorities in the heart of the capital.
The raid was not the first of its kind,
but it was the biggest yet. Authorities at
the Film Development Board have been
trying hard to clamp down on the sleaze.
The newly appointed officers of the
board are pleased with the raid's success.
After several days of investigation they
submitted their report to the chief district officer of Kathmandu, Baman
Prasad Neupane. Nation Weekly asked
members of the board just how widespread this trade is.
The board members privately said
that this raid was just the tip of the iceberg. Many cinema operators take porn
casually, laments one officer with the
film board. This is partly because law
enforcement officials rarely initiate legal proceedings against those guilty.
"The culprits are forgotten and forgiven
after a while," says a board official who
insisted on anonymity.
Porn has spread widely and become
available much more openly over the last
five years. India is the major source: The
open border between the two countries
makes smuggling the films easy. The
films confiscated by the Film Development Board recently are mostly dubbed
in Hindi, but only a few feature Indian
actors, says a Film Development Board
officer who has seen many of the films
during the investigation. According to
general secretary of the board, Ashok
Sharma, porn films screened in Nepal
are not the originals. Instead bits of
hardcore movies are inserted into C-
grade Hindi films.
The teams who made the simultaneous raids found the same Hindi movies with different hardcore scenes added
at different places. Officials say the worst
offender is the Jyoti Ccinema Hall at
Lazimpat, whose owner, Bikas Pradhan,
coordinates the smuggling of such films
into Nepal. They say his distribution
21
 company rarely brings any other movie
apart from C-grade Hindi movies and
porn clippings. Films were also seized
from Nischal Cinema in Thamel, Biswa
Cinema in Samakhusi, Puspanjali Hall
in Koteshwor, Kantipur Cinema in
Sitapaila, Ajima in Swoyambhu and
Ganesh Cinema Hall in Bhaktapur, according to officials.
The business certainly seems profitable. Distribution rights for an A-grade
Hindi film can cost more than Rs. 2.6
million, but a C-grade film can be
smuggled into Nepal for less than Rs.
100,000 and hardcore porn clips inserted
for less than Rs. 5,000. Theaters charge
the same ticket rates for the cheap sleaze
as for first-run films. Cinema owners
have been facing declining revenues in
recent years; some have made up for it
by screening porn. Customers are mostly
men between the ages of 15 and 40.
Pornography maybe a social taboo,
but there seems no shortage of people
who want to watch it: Viewership is increasing each year. The market is growing partly due to exposure to such material on the Internet and on cable TV
November's raid on the seven theaters
is unlikely to slow the growth ofthe porn
business. There's just too much money
to be made—more than $10 billion in
sales of videos, rentals and other fees
worldwide. There are no statistics for
Nepal, but the trade here certainly
amounts to millions of rupees.
• Twelve ofthe 30 films confiscated were
English; 18 were Hindi.
• Most were C-grade Indian movies with
hardcore clips inserted.
• The Press Publication and Distribution Act
2026 bans pornography.
• The Film Development Board, the FDB,
raided theaters after locals provide tip-offs:
Six teams comprising one official from the
board and one from the District Administration Office raided all six halls simultaneously.
The theaters had been warned bythe FDB in
the past. They had all agreed previously to
stop the screenings.
• Porn movies were shown in the daytime
as well as at night.
• Most viewers are men between 15-40
years of age, according to officials.
• The system: two films for a ticket.
 Cinema owners like those figures,
but their neighbors hate the business.
People living near some of the theaters that were raided had repeatedly
asked the Film Development Board to
take action. The pressure worked. "Public initiative is a must for banning such
flagrant breach of law," says the film
board's Sharma. "We cannot enforce the
ban on such activities effectively without a helping hand from the public." But
public pressure and the board's raids are
not enough.
This is not the first time the board
has raided theaters and confiscated similar caches of smut. But for all their efforts, the police failed to prosecute the
cinema operators. Take for instance the
Story
A Complete Ban Is Difficult
Indra Adhikari spoke with
Ashok Sharma, general
secretary ofthe Nepal Film
Development Board, whose
office raided the movie theaters and recovered pornographic movies in late November.
Who informed you about the
pornographic movies?
The board had reports and tip-
offs that some movie theaters
were regularly screening such
films. Though the board had
raided theaters previously and
recovered the contraband, no
action was taken against the
offenders. After we were appointed to the Film Development Board, we received more
tip-offs. Nearby residents of
the film halls called and informed us. So we sent two of
our officials to see if it was true.
They took four months and finally found out that a few theaters had been screening such
movies. Now we are taking
action against them.
Do you think banning pornography has helped?
We call it a social evil. When
sex has not been so open [as
in Nepal], porn films certainly
disturb social activities. They
would make our children more
prone to such activities. And
they are all illegallytransported
to Nepal. Any film that enters
Nepal without registration with
the revenue department is not
permitted for screenings.
When there is unhindered
access to Internet porn
sites, will banning the material in theaters deter
people?
Of course, it's true that a complete ban on pornography is
difficult, but at least we can
stop the public shows. Viewing such stuff through Internet
is a personal [choice] and is
not exposing the public. We
cannot stop that, and it is confined to the interested person.
What we do is follow the sentiment of large a section ofthe
society who do not want such
stuff [shown]. The posters in
public places have made it difficult for a family to walk together. This is what we are trying to stop.
Where does the porn come
from?
Mostly the films are smuggled
from India. There is no mention of the name or the producer ofthe films, so we cannot contact the producers to
find out how they are sold into
Nepal. But our investigation has
shown that these films have
not been registered at checkpoints and custom offices.
Neither have the distributors
asked for permission. Afewof
the films are in English, but we
suspect them to be made in
Hong Kong. The characters in
the movies are all Chinese.
What are the movies like?
I cannot describe the scenes,
but I can say they are
hardcore; not all though. There
is a lot of cut and paste.
Hardcore scenes are pasted
into C-grade Indian movies. In
some cases the same scene
is inserted into different
films. E
---
 lack of coordination between the FDB
officials and the police that bought time
for Ganesh Hall to hide porn reels. That
has only added to the confidence of the
smugglers and operators—they have
grown more fearless and conspicuously
more defiant. Some in the public have
even blamed the board, but the fault is
hardly confined to one administrative
body.
An effective ban on pornographic
materials is probably impossible. Worldwide, the business thrives under repression and freedom alike, and pornogra-
phers take advantage of every technology. Video parlors here are flooded with
smutty films, and the rental and sales volume of pornographic CDs has shot up
with the advent of cheap Chinese VCD
players. "Men in their 30s and 40s come
to hire such CDs; also teenagers," says
Bishnu Shrestha, who asked us not to
name his video shop. "Even girls come
for such CDs, but mostly they buy them
rather than take them on rent."
Not everyone thinks this is a terrible
thing. Some are in favor of regulating and
controlling porn rather than trying to
outlaw it. "It's better to have a control
mechanism," says Janak Bhandari, an advocate, "than to take draconian measures
at once." Some say people will always be
	
able to get it no matter what the law says,
and that it would do less harm if it were
open and combined with comprehensive sex education. Some experts say that
chief appeal of pornography stems from
the fact that it is forbidden. Philosopher
Bertrand Russell once said, "Nearly every fairly well-to-do man has in adolescence seen indecent photographs and has
been very proud of obtaining them because they were difficult to procure." He
argued decades ago that suppressors of
pornography were guilty of producing
in others, and of expressing, a prurient
attitude towards sex.
Such arguments carry little weight
in Nepal; most people want a
clampdown on porn. But law enforcement and film board officials say that
the law is inadequate. After last week's
raids, the board filed cases at the District Administration Office. If found
guilty, the theater owners could be fined
Rs. 5,000 or see their licenses cancelled
or both, apart from the seizure of the
porn materials. The relevant law, the
Press Publication and Distribution Act
2026, has no provision for a prison term.
And there are no cyber laws or mechanisms to control the free flow of porn
materials from the Internet.
Law enforcement agencies armed
with only slap-on-the-wrist laws are calling for help. Kathmandu Chief District
Officer Neupane says clearly: "Our laws
need updating." But even that is unlikely
to eliminate pornography. Violators will
circumvent their way through the meshes
of law, no matter how stringent they are
made. "As long as there is demand in the
market," says Bhandari, the advocate, "the
business is here to stay." E
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INTERNALLY DISPLACED
A major attack in the district headquarters often precipitates a sudden exodus, but the trickle of people leaving a
way of life has become commonplace
BY SUSHMA JOSHI
IN KOHALPUR, BANKE
THE TEARS ARE STILL FRESH
for Bachu Rokaya. She fled Mugu
three months ago after her husband was killed by the Maoists. He was
held in detention for four months and
then killed. They tied his feet and hands
and threw him into the Karnali, says a
fellow villager who also fled down to
Nepalgunj. Villagers suspect the man was
taken because he was a state employee
working for the government's post office system and was also active in his
community.
Bachu says: "I have nobody here, nobody." Although there are nine other
families from Shera VDC, her parents'
home, Bachu has to survive by herself in
these temporary shelters. With two sons
and four daughters to take care of and no
source of income, her desperation is all
too real.
Gayarudra Buda has a different story.
The 39-year-old is also a single parent,
although his burden is a different one:
He takes care of his two-year-old daughter himself. His wife Bidara Buda, 26,
was grinding flour in her village when
the Maoists who had laid an ambush by
the irrigation canal detonated it too early.
The security forces for whom the ambush was meant escaped unscathed.
About 60 security personnel came charging down the jungle firing their guns.
Bidara was gunned down in the crossfire.
The Army took the body to the barracks
and told the husband that he would be
given compensation. This hasn't happened yet. Gayarudra Buda, who is now
in Nepaljung, shakes his head when
asked about compensation. He has yet
to follow it up with the state agencies.
Gayarudra clutches his two-year-old
daughter Nanda Buda who cries unceas-
I ingly as he talks. There is no milk in the
camp. The baby has been eating roti and
rice along with the adults. The children
are showing signs of malnutrition.
Chandu Buda's sense of loss is palpable
as he talks about how he left the village.
Also of Sera VDC, Mugu, he says: 'We left
with only the clothes on our backs. We took
nothing. We had to let all the cattle—goats
and cows—loose in the jungle to graze. We
had to leave the fields full of crops."
The camp residents are known as
IDPs in development jargon—the internally displaced people—and refer to the
hundreds of people who are forced to
move from their homes to become refugees inside their own country
MAYHEM: Paandyun, Kailali saw s
major encounter late last month
26
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 The camp residents say that life in
Mugu's district headquarters is expensive. A kilogram of rice costs Rs. 32, forcing displaced people to move to areas
where food is cheaper.
The numbers of internally displaced
people have been rising steadily in the
last 10 years. A major attack in the district headquarters, as the recent one in
Gamgadi, often precipitates a sudden
exodus, but the trickle of people leaving
a way of life has become commonplace.
The profitable salt trade between Tibet
and the Midwest has become less so,
now that Indian salt is cheaply available.
But more damaging to this local
economy is the Maoist tax that has been
recently imposed. The tax makes it unprofitable to transport any goods, including potatoes and sheep. This is leading
to a slow but steady decline in local trade.
There are currently 115 people in the
makeshift camp here on the side of the
road. They are displaced from various
mid-western districts—including
Humla, Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu and
Jajarkot. The central district officer allocated 30 kathas, about one hectare, of
government land for them to pitch camp
on temporarily. The Red Cross has provided plastic for shelter; BASE and SAFE
(both NGOs) have provided about 15
quintals of rice and three quintals of dal,
Rs. 500 worth of spices and 10 kilograms
of oil.
SAFE also distributed children's
clothes and put in a water pump. The
Rara Club, a local organization made up
of former Mugu residents now living in
the Nepalgunj area, has donated firewood. Bigger INGOs working in conflict zones, including those who provide
educational support, have not yet arrived
on the scene.
For Bhairav Bahadur Shahi, 50, who
left Humla one night without informing even his children, the reason behind
his departure was very clear. "They al-
anted me to attend their programs," says the man as he squats on the
dusty ground. "You can't travel from one
village to another without travel papers,
and we have to give the reason why we
want to go where we do. I finally had to
leave." He thinks his children are living
in Simikot, but he is not sure.
The lack of freedom to travel made
Sriba Chanda lose his right leg. Sriba,
11, was felling a tree when it fell on top
of him. The Maoists told his father to
patch it up in the village and that there
was no need to go to the hospital. Then
the snow fell, and blockades took place.
By the time Sriba made it to the hospital, his leg had to be amputated. The boy
who has four siblings and no mother,
hobbles around the camp in his crutches
donated by the United Mission to Nepal.
Although he used to go to school while
in the village, he has now stopped.
The lack of freedom, say recent observers who have traveled in Humla, is
one reason why people are choosing to
abandon their villages and their way of
life. Even though the collective pilot
farms set up by the Maoists in the region
have brought some opportunities of
equality for women and lower caste
groups, this is not enough to stop the
mass migration. Many of the ethnic
Bhotay villages in Mugu are abandoned,
leading to the extinction of a way of life,
observers say.
The heap of rice is slowly disappearing as family after family comes to collect it in their plastic buckets. The food
is a meager replacement for a subsistence
way of life that is now inexorably over.
Chandu Buda looks over the fields
of stubble and says: "We used to have
fields of apples that we didn't know what
to do with. Now we have nothing." □
■    •
EXODUS: People fleeing the
Karnali region
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
27
 Everest
-    y '
N THIN ICE
Global warming is affecting even the Everest. UNESCO
is being asked to put the mountain and two other sites
on its danger list. But how much can it do?
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
IN THE FACE OF INCREASING
dangers to the Himalayan region from
the human-induced menace of global warming, a group of activists and organizations from Nepal and around the
world have been urging UNESCO, the
United Nations' educational, scientific
and cultural body to at least assess the
magnitude ofthe danger.
Campaigners believe that putting the
Sagarmatha National Park on the World
Heritage in Danger list would force
UNESCO to assess Nepal's glacial lakes
and stabilize those most at risk The group
known as Friends ofthe Earth has petitioned
the UN. body to include the park Belize's
barrier reef and Peru's Huascaran National
Park on the list. The problem is getting some
attention now, but it is not new:
"This is an old phenomenon," says Ang
Karma, a mountaineer and the general secretary of Nepal Mountaineering Federation, who is a frequent visitor to the
Everest region. "For decades now the
Khumbu glacier has been shrinking."
Though many in the mountaineering community are in favor of asking UNESCO
to monitor the situation, they also fear that
U.N. involvement could bring severe re
strictions for the mountaineering community and hurt the Sherpas, for whom Everest
has been a source of livelihood for years.
But even the Sherpas are divided.
There are fears that global warming, unstudied and unchecked, will make it
impossible to preserve Everest's natural
heritage for future generations.
"It's my livelihood as a tour guide and
climber," says Pemba Dorjee Sherpa, one
of the petitioners, who holds the record
for the fastest ascent of Everest. "If we
lose it, there will be nothing for our children." Pemba recounts legendary mountaineer Edmund Hillary's concern about
the retreating snowline. "Last year when
Sir Edmund came to Nepal, he told me
that a lot of snow had melted in the 50
years since he first climbed Everest."
To people like Pemba, the Everest
region is fast losing its natural beauty. In
a 54-page report, the petitioners ask for
the "immediate and urgent addition" of
the Sagarmatha National Park to
UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger
list, on the basis of serious effects caused
by climate change. They also ask
UNESCO to develop and adopt a program of corrective measures.
"Mount Everest is a powerful symbol of the natural world," says Prakash
Sharma, director of Pro Public, a public
advocacy group and one of the leading
campaigners from Nepal. "If these
mountains are threatened by climate
change, then the situation is already dead
serious. If we fail to act now, we will be
failing future generations and denying
them the opportunity to enjoy the beauty
of Mother Earth."
There are more than 300 glaciers in
the Sagarmatha National Park that is
home to Everest, including the
Ngozumpa Glacier, which is almost 20
kilometers long.
According to the 1972 UNESCO
convention, any site can be placed on the
danger list if it faces specific and serious
threats that are amenable to correction
by human action. Nepal, which became
party to the convention in 1978, immediately included the Sagarmatha National Park in its inventory of sites worthy of inclusion on the World Heritage
List. Subsequently UNESCO declared
the park the 120th World Heritage Site in
1979. But back then the dangers posed
by climate change were still not an issue.
The United Nations Environment
Program's 2002 report says that climate
change is "the biggest threat facing humankind, with extreme weather events,
droughts and rises in disease forecast for
many parts ofthe globe over the coming
decade." According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report on Asia, almost 67 percent of the
glaciers in the Himalayan and Tien Shan
mountain ranges have retreated during
the past decade. The resulting long-term
28
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 NUMEROUS: Ngozumpa
Glacier, the largest
among the 300 glaciers
in the region
loss of natural fresh water storage could
have devastating downstream effects,
warns a report by the Kathmandu-based
ICIMOD, the International Centre for
Integrated Mountain Development.
In Nepal's Himalaya, data from 49
monitoring stations show a clear increase
in temperature since the 1970s; the greatest increases are found at higher altitudes.
On average, air temperatures have risen by
one degree centigrade in that time. The
petition also cites an unspecified government report that says that Nepal's overall
temperature is increasing by 0.41 degrees
per decade. The petition warns that the
rising temperature is causing glacial retreat,
which in turn causes the formation of lakes
beyond newly exposed terminal moraines.
"There is little doubt that most glaciers are retreating at a rapid rate," says
John Gerrard, a geomorphologist and incoming chairman of the U.K.-based
Mount Everest Foundation. "This will
have repercussions for medium-term
water supply but may have more imme-
BREACH: A moraine breach by the Sabai Tsho in
1998. The village at the bottom ofthe Mera Peak
\ isTagnag.
Dig Tsho lake burst through its moraine,
destroyed 14 bridges and caused a loss of
more than $1.5 million in damages to the
almost-completed hydroelectric station
in Namche Bazaar.
Experts have said that flood disasters
are not confined to glacial lakes alone.
Melting snow coinciding with monsoon
rain can also cause flood disasters in the
Himalayan region. There's also the danger of running short of water.
If the glaciers continue to retreat at
the rates being seen in the places like the
Himalaya, experts say that many rivers
and freshwater systems could run dry
threatening drinking water supplies as
well as fisheries and wildlife.
"Climate change is irreversibly taking away priceless heritages," says Lalanath
de Silva, a Geneva-based lawyer with International Public Interest Defenders and
one of the petitioners. "Present and future generations are entitled to expect
UNESCO to act immediately to prevent
such a catastrophe." But is UNESCO in
a position to do that?
UNESCO certainly can't slow the
pace of the climatic changes unless developed countries fulfill their responsibilities under either the 1999 Kyoto protocol on climate change or the 1972 convention on World Heritage Sites, which
binds all parties to the convention to
protect sites in danger. Without U.S.
cooperation—the country has resolutely
refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol—
worldwide emission of greenhouse
gases is likely to grow.
Clearly the solution to glacial retreat
in the Everest region and elsewhere lies
beyond Nepal's borders. The petitioners hope, perhaps unreasonably that
UNESCO's intervention will make a
difference.  □
s(WITH INPUTS FROM KATHERINE
STIPALA IN THE UNITED KINGDOM)
29
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In Defense Of Mohsin	
No matter how unpopular, all ideas and expressions should find a place in the marketplace of ideas.
Isn't that what democracy is all about?
BY JOGENDRA GHIMIRE
Information and Communications Minister Mohammed Mohsin stirred
a hornet's nest two weeks ago. And the controversy just doesn't
seem to go away. Here's a recap. Addressinga small group of media
leaders in his residence, the government spokesman reportedly (mind
you, it was reported to us by those present there) said that the alternative to the current government would be something that none of the
media persons present could bear. While there are slight variations in the
exact wording he used (whether he was offering a hypothesis or pronouncing what he knew was in the offing), the press coverage was
uniform: He had hinted at the imminent danger of authoritarianism should
the present government fail.
The objective of this piece is not to defend or criticize the government's
principal publicity official for what he told the media that day. For all we
know, the ideologue in Dr. Mohsin could have been thinking aloud, or the
government's principal press secretary could have been issuingthe press
a veiled threat to be more pliant or else face a less tolerant government.
Those in the government presumably feel that they have been accorded
less than fair treatment bythe media from the word go—with questions on
such issues as its very legitimacy and its ability to vindicate the twin mandate of holding elections and bringing the Maoists to the negotiating table.
The minister deserves the
benefit ofthe doubt, something
most commentators and editors seem to have denied him.
One needs to question the way
his assertion was first presented to the public and then
interpreted in the marketplace
of ideas. While the commentators do enjoy their rights to
free expression, to criticize a
sitting minister for allegedly harboring authoritarian ambitions
and to criticize the establishment for testing the waters by
throwing the gauntlet of dictatorship at the media elite, it is
unwise not to look into the merits—however little—ofthe opinion or the
hypothesis that the minister put forward.
The problem with the way Mohsin's assertion was covered and condemned is this: In Mohsin, the media seems to have found the perfect
whipping boy of Nepali politics. A royal nominee in the Cabinet—thecte
facto Prime Minister to some—and an ideologue ofthe Panchayat,
Mohsin has always been identified with the right of center. Media professionals with different political persuasions have never been too happy
about his elevation as a key figure in the current government. Perhaps
for the same reason, without bothering to trash or support the content of
his assertions, or to analyze it in detail, the entire pack of writers decided
to pounce at the messenger. His assertion, in fact, deserves greater
attention and a dispassionate consideration.
Societies in turmoil have the capacity to throw off strange outcomes,
and one ofthe likely ones is an intolerant government of a different
variety. When the population is tired of, and feels hopeless about, the
constant infighting, or there are fears for the very unity ofthe country, you
cannot completely rule out the possibility ofthe emergence ofa Pol Pot
or a dictatorship ofthe Pinochet version. Even in free societies, when the
fear of terrorist attacks by aliens is overwhelming, you can end up with
the Patriot Act. Civil liberties can be clamped down and minorities can
find themselves at the receiving end ofthe law and order machinery.
Closer to home, terrorism in the Indian state of Punjab provided
justification for the president's rule for years, draconian laws like TADA
and its repressive implementation. Itwas only after the political process
was restored in Punjab that the worst forms of human rights violations
came to light and the heroes led by KPS Gill began to look far less heroic.
The objective here is not to club together the different versions of intolerance among governments or to suggest that one is similar to the other. It
is obvious they are not.
What must be disconcerting to commentators in Nepal is perhaps the
ready acceptance ofthe possibility of sweeping clampdowns on fundamental rights that the insecurity of a more disorderly future fuels.
For a country that has
seen six short-lived governments in the five years
since the 1999 elections
and thousands of deaths
on a yearly basis, where
speculations are already
rife about the imminent
fall of yet another government (all primarily because the successive
governments were unable to engage the
Maoists in any meaningful manner), people can't
be blamed for desiring for
peace, and law and order. And, whether one likes it or not, it is less likely to come about unless
the Maoists sincerely oblige.
If, under such a situation, all the public discourse is preoccupied with
shooting the messenger who delivers news that you don't want to hear,
it doesn't really help the dialogue. The opinion makers can surely help by
getting rid of their pack mentality and by going beyond the easy option of
shooting the messenger. To me, commentaries and opeds that trash the
underlying message in Dr. Mohsin's remarks—the possible rise of
authoritarianism—themselves smack of authoritarianism. For no matter
how unpopular, all ideas and expressions should find a place in the
marketplace of ideas. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
33
 The Essay
A CLOSER LOOK
To try to change the characteristic of our media debates
on the life of NGOs, the mainstream media needs to examine the work of NGOs with probing eyes
BY PRATYOUSH ONTA
Mainstream media debates about
the life of NGOs in Nepal almost always happen in polemical or accusatory tones. Media
write-ups on the subject, more often
than not, are bereft of good research and
ethnographic content. The repetitious
nature of such writings in the mainstream press indicates that the media falls
easy prey to routine and unimaginative
production sequences. To try to change
the characteristic of our media debates
on the life of NGOs in Nepal, I would
like to suggest that the
mainstream media take a
closer look at NGO work
with more probing eyes.
Any sector of work in
which Nepali NGOs are
involved could be chosen
for this purpose. Here I
want to highlight the participation of NGOs in the
production of print media content in Nepal. I do
so by referring to three
studies published by my
colleagues from Martin
Chautari in 2003.
The first them deals
with the life of magazines
produced by NGOs in post-1990 Nepal.
This theme has been researched by Purna
Basnet who is himself the former editor
of the magazine Bikas produced by the
NGO Atmanirbhar Bikas Manch
(ABM). Basnet looks at the life of four
magazines produced by Nepali NGOs:
Himal, Asmita, Bikas and Haka Haki.
The first three have ceased publication
as NGO entities, and Haka Haki has resumed regular publication after a hiatus
of almost a year. These magazines were
produced by Himal Association, Asmita
Mahila Prakashan Griha, ABM, and the
Centre for Development Communica
tion and Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (jointly) respectively. After carefully describing the publication
trajectories of these four magazines
Basnet concludes that they have contributed significantly to the genre of responsible and thoughtful journalism in
Nepal. These magazines contributed to
the widening of the domain of Nepali
journalism in terms of its subject matter.
According to Basnet, they also contributed to the making of a critical genre of
journalistic writing and showed how the
Nepali language could be used to dis
cuss and analyze complex social issues
facing the society.
The second study deals with the
work of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, Khoj Patrakarita Kendra in
Nepali—KhoPaKe for short. It was written by Komal Bhatta, who had earlier
published an excellent article on the life
of evening newspapers produced in
Kathmandu. KhoPaKe provides fellowships to journalists to do in-depth and
investigative stories on different subjects,
including corruption. According to
Bhatta, by early 2003, more than 50 journalists had done about 60 stories under
KhoPaKe fellowships, most of which
have been published in various mainstream Nepali language publications.
Until that time, KhoPaKe had also prepared and published five books, and this
number has increased since Bhatta did
his research. Two of these books are
handbooks regarding how to do investigative journalism, including one in the
sub-field of reporting the judiciary. The
other three books are compilations of
investigative writings commissioned by
the Centre. These three books provide
useful examples of some of the best investigative pieces produced by Nepali
print journalists.
What has been the contribution of
KhoPaKe to Nepali journalism? Bhatta
answers this question by looking at both
what the published stories of KhoPaKe have
succeeded in doing and
at the enhancement of
skills   of journalists
who have worked under KhoPaKe fellowships. On the
first    point,    he
notes two kinds of
successes. One—
the        relatively
more  successful
aspect—is simply
the extension of
the domain of the
journalistic field
and, by implication, the sphere of public debates in
Nepal. A good example of this
would be journalist Sangeeta Lama's
long expose of how gifts, both cash
and kind, offered to Pashupatinath
were not accruing to the public accounts of any properly constituted
institution but were being used by
the Mul Bhatta of the temple who
held absolute control over such offerings. In an article published in
the Himal bimonthly in 1997, Lama
argued that the Mul Bhatta and his
associates had earned many crores
of rupees whereas the money could
34
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 have been used to do many necessary repairs in the temple complex. The status
quo of fund management at Pashupati has
not changed due to this article in the
seven years since it was published, but
its details and arguments have given birth
to many other articles on the same subject in the press. The subject, erstwhile
considered outside the domain of public scrutiny has now come under the
journalistic gaze.
The same could be said of Shiva
Gaunle's and Hari Thapa's reporting on
various aspects of the judiciary. More recently after the imposition of emergency
in the country in late 2001, Mohan
Mainali's story on the workers of
Dhading who had been killed by the
state's security forces in an airport construction site in Kalikot—their only
crime was that the security forces considered them to be Maoists—showed
that good investigative journalism was
still possible at a time when some of the
fundamental constitutional guarantees
were suspended. The second success of
the KhoPaKe stories is that, in some
cases, they have managed to make Nepali
society better to a certain extent, although
it might not be easy to quantify the magnitude of such changes. Bhatta provides
TRAINING GROUND: The
Centre for Investigative
Journalism at Himal
Association
several examples of this by describing
KhoPaKe's stories on fuel adulteration,
pesticide storage and driving license
racket, and the processes of change these
stories generated.
With respect to the second aspect of
KhoPaKe's contribution to Nepali journalism, Bhatta looks at the skill enhancement of the journalists who have been
awarded its fellowships. Having done
stories that were significantly longer than
average stories in print journalism in
Nepal and more investigative in nature,
and having undergone the necessary process of theme identification, research,
writing, re-writing and editing, many of
the skills necessary to become a good
journalist were honed in the process of
executing the story during the fellowships. As the more than 50 journalists
who have worked with KhoPaKe fellowships carry on with their work in the
field, skill enhancement of practitioners
might be the most important and long-
lasting contribution of KhoPaKe to journalism.
The third study I discuss here deals
with feature services produced, in the
main, by NGOs. This article was researched and written by Krishna Adhikari
and its first version was published in the
Smrmre
for Invcs/lgatire Journalisnv Himal Books
S^-*-«*
stiVi.il
journal "Studies in Nepali History and
Society." A slightly revised version has
been published in the book "Media
Utpadan ra Antarvastu" (Martin Chautari,
2003) edited by Ramesh Parajuli and myself (this book also contains the two articles discussed above). Adhikari provides
details about much print content providing services run by several institutions,
both related and not related to the media. The institutions include those who
want to popularize the themes they work
on—for example, the science feature
service of RONAST and the
biodiversity feature service of NEFEJ.
They also include others who want to
advocate particular subjects as a part of
social activism—for example, the
women's feature services of Sancharika
Samuha or the pro-dalit feature services of Jagaran Media Centre. More
than 15 feature services have been in
operation in the last decade and a half,
and about eight were in existence
when Adhikari completed his research
in late 2002. While most services are
reliant on donor support for existence—this in part explains the short
life of some feature services—Adhikari
concludes that these services have
filled the lacuna in a diverse range of
subjects in the print media. Adhikari's
research revealed that Kathmandu's
weekly newspapers and newspapers
produced from outside of Kathmandu
published the articles from feature services in greater numbers.
CRITICAL REFLECTIONS
To conclude, it must be recognized that
NGO involvement in the Nepali print
media in recent years has been anything
but insignificant. The above analysis just
introduces some brief details about three
aspects of NGO involvement in the content of print media, and, to be sure, there
are more examples that could have been
discussed here. Readers are urged to
read the three original essays summarized
above for further details and critical reflections on the connection between
NGOs and print media production.
However, even this brief introduction
should be enough to suggest that the life
and contributions of NGOs in Nepal
deserve a more sophisticated treatment
in mainstream media than has been the
case thus far. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
35
 Banki
BY INDRA ADHIKARI
BGTHROUGH
a period of rapid change, thanks
to increasing competition and sophisticated and well-informed customers who are looking for new and convenient services. The challenge facing
banks today is to attract customers by
improving services and adding new facilities, while cutting costs too. It won't
be easy.
Efficient utilization of information
systems and the latest technology available in the market can help, but the
equipment and the software are expen
sive. Even so, private banks have started
to implement the systems, at least in the
urban areas. But it's just a beginning, and
customers, increasingly, are demanding
more.
To meet the demand, banks have deployed automatic teller machines, software-based data management systems,
and mobile and online banking services.
These facilities are new to many customers but have been quickly adopted. However, all of them are not available from
any one bank, and they are available only
in urban areas. And despite the demand
from some customers, the banks face a
challenge of convincing other custom-
COMING ONLINE,
SLOWLY
The use of technology in banks is on the rise, but it will
take another decade before ATMs and online banking are
available to all Nepalis
ers that the new technology is safe and
reliable.
Narayan Prakash Bhuju, senior IT
officer at the Kumari Bank, says that customer concerns are a major hurdle to
adding services and expanding their
availability. Information technology is
new to many Nepalis; trusting their
money to it feels risky.
Even so, Bhuju says customers are
interested. More than 700 of the bank's
customers are now paying their telephone bills from their office or home.
The service is also available for other
payments, but both payer and payee must
have accounts at the Kumari Bank. One
of the service's regular users, Rajan
Rajbhandari, a trekking guide and
videographer, says online banking saves
time. He wishes the service wasn't limited only to Kumari Bank customers: He
wants to manage all his finances from
his computer. The problem is that there
isn't a network among the banks. Experts
say that could take years.
Mobile banking is another service
introduced recently by the Kumari Bank
and the Bank of Kathmandu. Customers
can check their balance and review recent transactions from their mobile
phone. Bankers expect that many customers will use this facility. If it could
also be used to make payments, it would
sweep the market, they say. Credit and
debit cards are the most-used banking
technology in Nepal. "Young and old alike
use the cards to access ATMs and are
starting to use their cards to pay bills at
stores, instead of carrying cash. It's easy
and efficient.
But it is not always easy for the banks.
The costs of the new technology are so
high that it may take years for banks to
reap the profits. The Bank of Kathmandu,
for example, spends almost Rs. 8 million every year on information technology. Recouping such investments is also
slowed by the lack of common systems
between banks and because some banks
still haven't adopted modern systems. Information provided by one bank is not
easily transferable to others.
The degree of technology penetration in Nepal's banking sector is still low,
and it will take another decade or more
for both banks and their customers to
become familiar with the systems and
their advantages.  □
36
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
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tel. 6680045-48/80/83 I club@mos.com.np I www.nepalshotel.com
CITY OFFICE: Hotel Ambassador, Lazimpat, Kathmandu I tel. 4410432/4414432 I acehotels@acehotels.com.np
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 Movi
The Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival is here again. Beginning December 9, there will be
four continuous days of shows at the Russian Cultural Center.
These are a few movies on show:
Starkiss (Netherlands)
STARKISS OFFERS A GLIMPSE
into the lives of young girls who
perform in the Great Rayman Circus, India's oldest circus. Most of the
girls interviewed are from Nepal and
are all between eight and 24 years old.
They perform acrobatics, stunts on bicycles and even dangerous stunts on
motorbikes. We also see other people
and animals involved in the circus: the
proprietors who talk about how much
the girls are paid (between Rs. 300 and
Rs. 1000 a month), agents who speak of
the difficulties of bringing girls from
Nepal, clowns and dwarves who complain about the paradox between their
unhappiness and the funny faces they
put on for their audience. The filmmakers are careful not to pass any overt judgments on these people. We are guided
through their lives with subtlety and
sensitivity and get to observe not only
their pains and joys, but also their hopes
and dreams and the banalities of daily
routine.
The girls live a very cloistered life.
They are not allowed to meet or talk
to men, even those who work in the
circus. Their lives revolve around
practice and performance. All their
entertainment comes from the television. Seventeen-year-old Anita Das
is the most articulate among the group
of girls and so is at the center of the
film. She has been working at the
Great Rayman for the past nine years
and finds it difficult to imagine a life
outside the circus. She says she's
scared of the life outside, that she has
heard many bad things happening to
girls who leave. When we first meet
her she says that she wants to marry a
man within the circus, men outside
would not understand the lifestyle and
pains of a circus performer. Later we
meet her boyfriend, the man she wants
to marry. He is a clown at the same
circus. They used to pass each other
by and fell in love without exchanging any words. Anita says they exchange letters, as talking to people of
the opposite sex is forbidden in the
circus. The man says that the last time
he talked to her was five months before the time we meet him in the
movie. It was then Anita told him that
she would marry him and could not
even imagine marrying somebody
else.
The title, Starkiss, is the name of an
act some girls perform. This involves
biting onto the end of a rope that sways
through the air. The girls perform dance
routines while thus dangling. The
Starkiss act is a poignant metaphor for
life in the circus: The girls are in precarious positions; their lives involve
much mental and physical pain; yet, to
the spectator, the sight of these girls dancing in the air conjures up images of dare-
devilry and romance.
Into the Thunder Dragon (Canada)
HTM FROM
Vancouver        and        Nathan
oover   from   California   are
Mountain Pa
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 friends who are obsessed with a sport
many will not have heard of: mountain
unicycling. They have been riding on
their one-wheeled contraptions for many
years and especially love pushing their
skills on rough terrain. Once they hear
about "the last Himalayan Shangrila on
the planet," they head off to Bhutan with
their unicycles. Their objective: to ride
throughout the country get a glimpse of
the culture and "have the ultimate adventure practicing a rare sport in a rare
land."
After flying into Bhutan's only airport in Paro, in the west of the country
they begin cycling immediately. Their
strange riding machines attract the interest of many children in this isolated
Himalayan kingdom. They then hire a
van to take them through the country's
only highway that goes from west to east.
Their ultimate destination is Tashi
Yangste, a remote Buddhist spiritual center in the northeast ofthe kingdom. The
place is only reachable on foot; they have
to trek for 10 days after they abandon their
van at the town closest to Tashi Yangste
with drivable roads.
Besides unicycling at every place
they go to, they meet various people
who fascinate them and also take part
in various cultural events. A historian they meet tells them that though
the yeti is very rarely seen, they may
be able to attract its attention because it has never seen a unicycle.
They get involved in an archery
competition, play a game of dice with
villagers and observe a religious festival. But the greatest thrills they
find are through their obsession:
They ride their unicycles through
orchards and streets; down steep
hills and stone steps; in wind, rain
and snow. Much of the terrain is
dangerous and they do fall a number
of times, but they reach their destination intact and in high spirits.
This film offers a unique view of a
strange and extreme sport, made exciting by an upbeat soundtrack. The insights into Bhutanese culture, however,
are superficial and forgettable.
Marriage (China)
TN THE PREDOMINANTLY
AGRI-cultural society in the Qinling
Mountains of southwest China,
changes are slow. Many people there still
wear the blue suits and hats of Mao's
norama
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
time, and marriage rituals are still very
traditional. The filmmakers happen
upon four neighboring families preparing for the marriages of their children.
Jiang, a 22-year-old man is to marry
Qiong, 22; and Zhao, 23, is to marry Yu,
20. A local matchmaker plays an important role in bringing these two couples
together.
The film opens with a written introduction that states that traditional marriages are family affairs where the children getting married have little say in their
choice of bride or groom. The negotiations that take place, we are told, are a
combination of "haggle, hypocrisy and
squander." From the very beginning the
focus of the film is to show that the truth
of these words. One ofthe first scenes of
the film shows negotiations between
Zhao's and Yu's families: Yu's father offers Zhao's father 50kg of wheat, 50kg of
rice, 20kg of wine, 20kg meat as well as
six pairs of clothes, shoes and socks.
Zhao's father is pleasantly surprised.
Negotiations however, are not always
as easy. At a ceremony during Jiang's and
Qiong's marriage, Qiong's father has accepted a monetary offer that his wife is
unsatisfied with. She pushes her weight
around when the groom's party offers the
money they have agreed on before.
Qiong's mother refuses to open any of
the presents unless she is offered more
money, so causing considerable embarrassment to her daughter and future son-
in-law. We then witness a remarkably captured scene where Jiang gets upset at
Qiong and then a mortified Qiong gets
upset with her mother.
The best parts of this film are
scenes of this kind: where the camera
catches different people off guard, in
moments they would perhaps not like
to be seen. The absence of any
soundtrack music gives the film an
even, slow pace throughout, perhaps
to capture the pace of life in these hills
where big events rarely happen. The
different stages of the complicated
negotiations and marriage process are
not explained, and it is easy to get confused about what exactly is taking
place. The subtitles are of below average quality often difficult to make
sense of as well.  □
REVIEWED BY: ADITYA ADHIKARI
39
 HO
T H
LIFE
ROUG
THE
LENS
H
a
tIFE     ETERNAL     IN
MONO    AND     MULTICOLOR
a
CREATING     EXTRAORDINARY
OUT    OF     THE     MUNDANE
a
EXPLORING  THE  DYNAMISM
OF EVERYDAY LIFE
AN EXHIBITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS BY KISHOR KAYASTHA
DAILY AT INDIGO GALLERY 8:00 AM ONWARD, DEC3,2004- JAN 15, 2 005
TEL: 441-3580, NAXAL
nation  ECS
t
Indigo Gallery
3      [HT
GALLERY
>
 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
Lukla
YA 111
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
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
Subject to change without prior notice.
Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6, Sunday 7
i Subject to CAAN Approval
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023-522242
 Arts   Societ
Shooting Karma
Tsering Rhitar is a perfectionist who
works his scenes meticulously, getting
take after take until he's ready to move
to the next scene
BY SUSHMA JOSH I
Tsering Rhitar stands by the reception area in the
Sherpa Hotel, directing his film. The film,
titled "Karma," is a story about a nun who walks
down from Mustang to Pokhara to Kathmandu to track
down a man who owes money to the monastery. The
nuns need the money to do a puja. The film, says Rhitar,
is about the paradox of the co-existence of materialism
and spirituality.
"Use your own language," Rhitar urges his actor. The
director is wearing a brightly colored Nepali topi as he
directs his multinational crew—his cameraman Ranjan
Pallit is from India, his actors are Nepali, and he himself
has a partial Tibetan background. His shooting script is
written in English, with scribbled notes in Tibetan. Little
storyboards have been drawn in stick figures next to the
script. The dialogue is being translated from the only
shooting script.
"We don't have to be politically correct," says the director, as a discussion about the usage of the word "aimai"
ensues. "We want to speak like people speak." The actor
finally decides to use the colloquial word.
The actor, who has worked with the director before,
translates the gist of the dialogue into his own words.
The crew waits patiently for the director to finish. Then
the grip and gaffer move in with lights and translucent
paper that act as filters
jar I
15
X
.-
The
-*<
\
The script
for the low-budget film.
Ranjan   Pallit,   the
cameraman, says working
with Rhitar is: "Very democratic. We can always make
suggestions, and he will listen." Pallit says he loves
Nepal and has been here
10 times already. A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of Pune,
Pallit has also worked
with other Nepali filmmakers.
The clapboard says:
"scene 73, shot 12, take
1." By the end ofthe
hour, the take will
have increased to 7.
The sign of a good director is perfection. Rhitar is a perfectionist who works his scenes meticulously, getting take after
take until he's ready to move to the next scene. Pratap, the
actor, is working on a comic scene where he leers at the nun
and asks her for some Mustang apples. The line is said over
and over again until the director is satisfied. In-between takes
are long moments of lag-time as actors try their lines, check
their postures and gestures, and listen to the feedback from
the assistant director. The process could try the patience of a
saint, but the crew, remarkably, seems to hold up well. "And by
the way, give me some Mustang apples," the actor says, leering
at the nun. The crew bursts out laughing—the line, finally, has
punch. "Don't cut me!" the actor jokes as the director finally
says: "Cut."
"Karma" is being shot in digital video—which allows for
the flexibility of multiple re-takes. Unlike 35mm film, video
is cheap to shoot. Film scripts have to be more tightly re-
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 hearsed in order to get maximum mileage out of the budget.
For Rhitar's working process, which involves a lot of impromptu directing and rehearsing on the set, video allows the
flexibility of making mistakes and correcting them on location, without a lot of expensive re-shooting. Digital video is
becoming the medium of choice for many indie filmmakers
who don't want to be tied down by commercial constraints
and who can experiment without having to lug expensive and
heavy equipment around in remote places.
Padam Subba, brother of Nabin Subba, who directed
"Numafung," is assisting on the set of "Karma." "Tsering helped
us a lot during 'Numafung,'" he says. This reciprocity between
the small and tight-knit film community has worked to its
advantage—people share resources and networks, and this has
allowed for better working relationships between the different directors.
Rhitar has been shooting for 25 days in Mustang. The crew
lived and worked closely with the nuns at the Tharpa Cheling
nunnery The process, said Rhitar, was very moving, and the
nuns made good friends with the crew. The nuns cried when
the crew departed.
Like many independent films produced internationally,
Rhitar's film is being personally funded by the filmmaker.
The Rs. 3 million just covers the production and post-production costs. The rest of the funds, including the telecine
transfer process, will be raised by the filmmaker later.
"I am not thinking about distribution at the moment," says
Rhitar. "I want to make it first, and then think about it." He
says he would like to have it widely distributed in the Nepali
market, but he also wants it to be available to the international
market. Rhitar is a rare breed—an indie filmmaker who follows his artistic vision and avoids the dictates of the market.
Unlike many of his compatriots who spend their days hashing
out virtual photocopies of Bollywood hits, Rhitar spins stories out of his own experiences and his community. This integrity has brought him international recognition.
Rhitar's previous films include "The Spirits do not Come
Anymore," about the dying tradition of shamanism, which won
an award at Film South Asia. "Mukundo," shot in 35mm by the
same crew as the one shooting "Karma," won international
recognition in film festivals in Japan, France, Sweden, India
and the United States. It also won an award for the script from
the Producers Association of Nepal. Shown at such well-
known festivals as the San Francisco film festival, the film
garnered respect, although it was never formally distributed
on a commercial scale.
In the Sherpa Hotel, the phone rings, a group of German
tourists enter with huge backpacks, but the actor remains on his
job. "Okay, another take!" he says enthusiastically. "Nice. Lights
off," says the tired cameraman. "Get into emotion, Pratap-ji,"
says the director. "Don't talk anybody," the actor says as he closes
his eyes for a few seconds and allows the noise to fade out as he
enters his private world. A few seconds later, he opens his eyes
and nods. He is ready. "Rolling, and action," says the director.
The actor says his line flawlessly. The last take goes fabulously
well. The entire room of expectant spectators bursts into applause. A small miracle of filmmaking has just taken place. But
there is no time for rest—it's time for the next scene. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
43
 CIIY TTiisWeek
The Sizzling Stone
Cooking Experience
From The Mountain
Near Wild Heaven,Voice    EXHIBITIONS
Born in Tokyo, Japan,
Yuko Akiba studied photography and then
worked as a commercial
photographer in Tokyo
itself. She started working as a freelance photographer in England
and Japan from 1985.
She arrived in
Kathmandu in 1990.
Yuko is fascinated by the
splendid landscapes,
ethnic diversity and rich
culture. Her eye for nature and culture comes across in visual
images that echo from the mountains—the real wild heaven.
Visit the Park Gallery to see a range of photographs from Akiba's
collection. Date: Till December 15. For information: 5522307.
Hot stone is a unique dining
concept with quick, delicious,
and healthy meals. The volcanic stones are heated six to eight
hours in a wood char oven and
retain heat for 45 minutes on
stoneware plates specially designed to withstand the intense
heat. Fresh ingredients are
placed directly onto the hot
stones, which cook and seal in
the nutrients, juices and flavor
of the delicacies.
Rox dining combines the
ancient art of volcanic stone
cooking with modern day
technology for the preparation of sizzling tender
steaks, chicken and fresh seafood. The Signature Restaurant, with both indoor- and
outdoor-seating arrangements, makes the experience
even richer. Enjoy the beautiful view ofthe garden, fresh
air and a succulent steak prepared on the hot stone.
Time: 6 p.m. Till December
30. At the Hyatt Regency. For
information: 4491234.
Photo Session
Photo Concern announces it
offer for the festive season.
Take along the Photo Concern Free Photo Shoot advertisement cutting from 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 paid, one bottle of wine
for six continuous strikes, Rs.
5000 worth of carpet for scores
U
e    l    i    s    n    e
District Development PROFILE of NEPAL 2004
COVERAOI
Divided mainly or three parts,
rhep.iblktiti.pj.il coven
L HalkaaJ i. Dhfilcti III. Municipslhlri
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,
Agriculture, Irrigation, Forest, Co-operatives, NGO's, 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
44
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
!• A!!!•»
above 280 and finally the top
scorer of the month gets
lunch for two at the Revolving Restaurant and three
months of free subscription
from Nation weekly magazine. Till November 30.
Cine Club
Movie: Leviatha(1989). Director: Georges Pan
Cosmatos. Starring: Daniel
Stern. At the Alliance
Francaise, Tripureshwore.
Date: December 12. Time: 2
p.m. For information:
4241163.
Jazz at Boudha
The McTwisters and other
guest stars jam up at the Rox
Bar to give you a jazz-y
evening. Also dance to the
beats of DJ Raju after 10:30
p.m. Date: December 5.
Time: 7 p.m. Price: Rs. 600.
Proceeds from the event will
be donated to the Bhaktapur
Cancer Hospital.
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. Entry fee: 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.
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
ofthe eastern and the western instruments—a treat for the senses.
Enjoy thesarangi played by Bharat
Nepali with a well-blended mix 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 &
Sunday. Come and enjoy this spe
cial moment in the festive season.
The scheme applies to Royal Stag,
Ultimate Gin & Ruslan Vodka.
Time: 6-8 p.m. For information:
4411818.
Tickling Taste buds
Barbeque every Friday Evening.
At The Shambala Garden Cafe,
Shangri-la Hotel. Time: 7 p.m.
onwards. For information:
4412999.
• RESTAURANT
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Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
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tel. 4413874
Parking facilities available
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
45
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Two foreign photographers
show us why they have
fallen in love with Nepal
over the last decade
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
Nepal's beauty and her people
have called the Japanese pho
tographer duo of 74-year-old
Kazuo Saita and 66-year-old Yoshikazu
Hayashi back again and again since their
first visit in 1993. Saita has come to Nepal
11 times, Hayashi 10 times.
It took them that long before they
finally decided to show the Nepali
people, who have always been the duo's
main subjects, their own pictures right
here in Kathmandu. Saita gathered 50 of
his best and named the collection "Life
in Nature"; Hayashi gathered 70 pictures
under the title "People's Life in the Kingdom of Nepal." All 120 photos are on
display at the Nepal Art Council Hall in
Babar Mahal until November 29.
"First it was the mountains and the
hills. Then it was the ethnic people, the
village lifestyle and the people that
moved us," says Hayashi in Japanese, describing his last visit in June with the
help of an interpreter. "Our similar exhibitions in Japan have received wonderful responses."
Saita and Hayashi's pictures do win
the hearts of many foreigners. They are
perfect images that depict the beauty of
the places the two have visited. Most of
the photos were taken in well-known
tourist spots such as Baglung, Bhaktapur,
Dhunche, Janakpur, Langtang, Lumbini
and Pokhara. For a Nepali, it is fun to look
at one's own country through the eyes of
a foreigner. Apart from that, the pictures
have opened up discussions among pho-
46
JAPAN
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Photography
tojournalists here over the propriety of
using software like Photoshop to manipulate digital pictures.
Many of Hayashi's pictures were
marked as digital photography; some
show digital manipulation that gives them
a distinctly Japanese look. For example, a
picture of a rhododendron tree in full
bloom on Phulchoki has the air of a Japanese painting. In other cases the manipulation adds to the impact of the image: A
picture of butter lamps at Swayambhu
merged with soldiers in battle fatigues in
the background is quite striking. It gives
a whole new meaning to the strife that
envelops the country today.
"[Digital photography] is okay ifyou
mention it on the photo caption," says
photojournalist Chandra Shekhar Karki
of Kantipur, to the disapproval of most
of his photographer friends. "It is new
technology and a completely acceptable
form of photography that is being practiced worldwide."
The photo exhibition opened on
November 23 and was inaugurated by
the Japanese ambassador. "An initiative
such as this photography exhibition can
provide a big boost to tourism," says
Ganesh Man Lama of Lama Trans Service, who organized the exhibition.
"Not only have the photographer duo
helped publicize Nepal in their homeland, they even brought a lot of their
friends on a visit to see their
Kathmandu exhibition." Almost 40 of
the Japanese photographers' friends
came all the way from Japan to see the
exhibition in Kathmandu. The tourism
sector needs the boost; tourists are
concerned about the ongoing Maoist
insurgency. Even Saito has been affected.
"The last time a few of my junior
photography students were charged
200,000 yen as protection money by the
Maoists when they were on an assignment in Nepal," says Saito again in Japanese that is interpreted by his translator. "But I am still assured that the
Maoists will not attack tourists, and [I]
would like to keep coming back for
photography."
Saito first came to Nepal to participate
in a program at Tribhuvan University. He
says his friends back home liked the pictures of Nepal he took then but thought
there were too few. That led him to come
back for more; he now takes 80 to 100 rolls
of film each time he visits Nepal. We hope
he and Hayashi keep clicking. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
 Cricket
SUCCESS STORY: The Australian
Cricket Academy
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SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR
Nepali cricket is on the throes of getting its biggest prize.
But there are still some hiccups.
BY SUDESH SHRESTHA
After an agonizing wait, officials with
the Cricket Association of Nepal,
CAN, and cricket enthusiasts
breathed a shy of relief early this month.
The National Sports Council had formally allocated 246 ropanis, over 12 hectares, of land for the development of the
Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Central
Cricket Academy. It's a step in the right
direction; if all goes well Nepal will host
a regional cricket academy where former
cricketers of international renown will
train young talents from the Asian region.
"At long last our request for the land
has been granted," said Jai Kumar Nath
Shah, the president of CAN upon receiving the letter from sports council's
Member Secretary Kishor Bahadur
Singh.
In 2002, the ACC gave Nepal the nod
for the central academy, primarily as a
reward for the tremendous potential
shown by the country's cricketers at the
international level. Malaysia and the
UA.E. were chosen for the setting up of
satellite academies.
The ACC has pledged an initial investment to the tune of $1 million for
the academy, aimed at improving the
standard ofthe game in non-Test playing
countries of the region. It has envisaged
running the academy along the line of
world-renowned Australian Cricket
Academy, which has produced a number of cricketers currently in the world-
beating team, including captain Ricky
Pointing.
Apart from top-notch indoor and outdoor training facilities, the academy will
also have two playing grounds, a gymnasium, a dorm for 25 trainees and a swimming pool. Also planned is an administrative building with an auditorium and
conference rooms.
If all this may sound picture-perfect, it's
not quite the case. Construction work was
to start as early as August 2002. But things
got bogged down thanks to strong disagreements over the choice of venue among international and local cricket authorities. A
panel of ACC inspectors rejected Nepal's
initial offer to develop Pokhara as the venue.
They instead asked Nepali officials to find
a suitable site in the capital or risk an ACC
pullout. Soon, the differences drove a wedge
within the CAN.
Finally, it seems everything's beginning to fall into place. At least that's what
the CAN president would like us to believe. He claims all three Australian inspectors from the ACC—Ross Turner,
Peter Hanlon and Graham Watson who
were on hand at an official function early
this month in Kathmandu—are satisfied
with the developments.
"The Sports Council has provided us
land on a 30-year lease in keeping with the
ACC demand. We can start initial work as
early as March next year," Shah says.
But, sources within CAN say, that
may still not be possible. The soil test
for the land allotted in Mulpani, formerly a dumping site for Kathmandu's
48
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 garbage, has not yet been conducted. The
plot needs leveling, which is estimated
to cost over Rs. 1 million. Nobody
knows who will foot the bill. The CAN
or the ACC?
An official told Nation Weekly that
the association was having some difficulty in managing the monthly expense
of Rs. 100,000 for ground maintenance at
the Tribhuvan University, the country's
premier cricket venue. "The sooner we
find out who is going to foot the initial
bill, the better. It is, after all, a great opportunity for Nepal. Otherwise it could
cause further delays in the project,"
warns the official.
And recent developments have been
far from promising. Because of the official intransigence, the regional cricket
bigwigs are losing confidence in Nepal.
Which was all too apparent during the
ACC annual meeting held last June in
London. One ofthe issues taken up during the London meet: How wise is it to
invest in a cricket academy in Nepal
given its poor security situation?
The minutes of that meeting reveal
more disturbing facts: "With the ICC negotiation with the organizers of the
Sports City in Dubai in an advanced stage,
will it not be a duplication to create a separate ACC infrastructure of a similar nature there?"
It seems now Nepal has a battle on
its hands. Sadly, Nepal has not been do
ing terribly well on the field either. It
was defeated by the UA.E. in the ICC
Intercontinental Cup as well as in the
ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament
early this year. Are we then getting edged
out by the UA.E. in all departments?
Last September, Dubai banked up the
blessings of the International Cricket
Council for the establishment of the
first-ever global cricket academy
there. "The academy will be an outstanding resource for the ICC and our 92
members to use to continue the growth
ofthe game," Eshan Mani, the ICC president, said in a statement.
The academy, which is expected to
be completed by 2007, will boast of fa
cilities aimed at helping cricketers and
others associated with the game to
develop their abilities. Apart from
indoor and outdoor training facilities, the academy will also have access to a 30,000-seat cricket stadium.
The cricket academy would be
one more in a league of world
class partners to be part of
the Dubai Sports City—
the world's first inte-   i
grated    purpose-built
sports        city.        The
Manchester United football school, the Ernie Els
Signature Golf Course
and the  David  Lloyd
PROTEGE: I
class player and product
of the Australian Cricket
Academy.
Tennis Academy are among others to have
committed to be part of the project.
Other than the state-of-the art UA.E.
complex, Nepal is facing increasing
competition from academies closer to
home. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have
developed their own set of academies of
late, and there are speculations that the
ACC cricket bosses may decide to develop one of these as the central academy. The idea is to avoid both the costs
of developing a new center in Nepal all
over again and the country's possible investment risks.
Nepal's  cricketing  body,   CAN,
which clearly has its task cut out, would
do well to impress on the ACC officials
that it means business. It meets the
ACC officials again in the third
week of December to finalize the contract.
"It's been a long time in
the making, but everything
will be sorted out in time,"
says CAN President Shah,
putting up a brave front. "And
the   academy   will
soon be up and running." For now, the
CAN     president
does sound convincing.   Cricket
fans in Nepal are
keeping their fingers crossed. □
id that it
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Missing
in Action
There's been a certain buzz in town
about singer Raju Lama missing in action while on a London tour. Did Lama,
the lead singer for Mongolian Hearts,
get tired of Nepal? Apparently not, according to his friends at least. Lama, who
has been on tour since October, will be
back by December, they say. It seems he
still has unfinished business: more concerts in London and thereabouts. He's
got so much to return home to: A successful singing career and a busy restaurant, Lhasa, in Thamel, say Lama's long-
/
fr
time buddies
Mountain Film
Sapana Shakya, a Berkeley grad, is the co-producer and director of "Daughters of Everest," one
of 50 movies on show at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival that starts on December 9. Shot from February 2000 to May 2000,
this 56-minute documentary follows the first
all-Nepali women Everest expedition all the
way to the summit. The shoot starts with
their training sessions in Kathmandu
and ends with post-climb fanfare. "The
expedition was a historic event," says
Shakya, "the physical challenges notwithstanding." Shakya, who confesses
to being "un-athletic," adds she only
followed the climbers up to "the first
ladder on the ice hole." And it was a
team member herself who shot rest of
the footage on the mountain.
With right choices there's a world of success to
capture. This is at least true for Keshav Pradhan:
the all-Nepal topper in Tribhuvan University's
Masters examinations-2060. With an incredible 91.2
percent, Pradhan, a student of animal science, took
home such prestigious awards as the Chancellor's
Award and the Ram Prasad Manandhar Award at the
university's 31st convocation on November 22. Ask
this scholar if he regrets taking up animal science
rather than medicine and you'll get a flat no. Had he
chosen medicine instead of animal science, he says,
he would have been lost in the competitive crowd
of the would-be doctors
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 There are two sides
to every story.
x
I ,
&
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.
Tlie Himalayan
A    GREAT    NEWSPAPER
 Khula Manch
i
Private Initiative
A seasoned educator, Dharma Raj Kafley believes the
biggest changes are those that take place in our minds:
The change in our attitude. As principal of Campion
College, under affiliation with the Tribhuvan University,
he looks over nearly 500 students, pursuing graduate
degrees in sociology, business administration, and mass
communication and journalism, among others.
Kafley who hails from Biratnagar, has in
fact been in the business for quite a
while—he started as a teacher in 1966 in
Mills High School in his native town.
Yishas Vaidya talked to Kafley about how
private institutions have fueled the
changes he talks about, why an increasing
number of Nepali students are heading
abroad and how the insurgency has gotten private entrepreneurs deeply worried.
What is the history of private
education in Nepal?
People who had sound educational background, who had returned from abroad,
were the ones who brought this education revolution. For example, the first
school in Biratnagar, Adarsha School, was
established by Krishna Prasad Koirala, the
father of BP Koirala. Private initiatives
and institutions are responsible for the
education revolution in our country
How would your characterize
this education revolution?
Private institutions filled in the void that
has been left behind by the government.
The government "interfered" in the education sector, back in the 1970s, with the National Education Program. I say interfered
because a number of private institutions that
were running well were brought under
government control and look at them today There was a loss of accountability. There
was a loss of public participation.
How have private institutions done
themselves? There have been around
for a while now.
They are taking a new approach to the
same courses. They are introducing
learning through audiovisual means,
field trips—they are taking a practical ap
proach to the subject being dealt with.
We at Campion College, for example, try
to do so by bringing in professionals from
different fields to share their experiences
with students. This provides the students
real-world exposure, something the
course books can never provide. That
proves extremely handy when they head
out of the college—into the real world.
How are private institutions
different from government ones?
I think accountability is the key here.
It's no surprise that even when the same
teachers teach at both government and
private institutions, the private ones perform far better. We provide both our
teachers and students with incentives.
We have spent Rs. 2.5 million, on scholarships for students annually, on an average for the past five years. And we review their performances regularly.
There is reluctance to
make further
investments, given the
insecurity
But there has been a lot of criticism
about private institutions too.
Not all private institutions are doing well.
There are some that are being run as arbitrarily as small-time momo shops down
the corner—making profits if there's demand today and simply closing down if
things don't go too well tomorrow. The
sad thing is that the government has failed
to act properly as an umpire, if not a player.
It should lay down the legal infrastructure, the ground rules.
How can the government help?
For one, there should be an independent
accreditation body that would evaluate
and monitor courses offered by private
institutions. I wouldn't trust the government or the Tribhuvan University. We
have had cases where universities hand
out affiliation to institutions for courses
they have neither the infrastructure nor
the necessary expertise.
Who would regulate this body?
I think this is a theme that needs larger
discussion. We have the example of the
College Board in the United States,
which is an independent body. It has
some government involvement as well,
but it is largely independent. India has
such bodies for certain fields of study—
law, medicine and so on. Such bodies
also exist in the United Kingdom.
To change the track, young Nepalis are
increasingly heading abroad for higher
studies.
I think it has to do with the fact that everybody wants a better education. The
western education system is much more
flexible than ours. Also, students there
have an opportunity to earn while they
learn. In fact, they earn to learn. But I
also think that the situation of the country has much to do with that.
How so?
The insurgency and the attendant insecurity have added fuel to the fire. Even the
entrepreneurs who are responsible for running private institutions are now a bit weary
The infrastructure we have needs to be constantly upgraded, if we are to maintain quality There is reluctance to make further investments, given the insecurity. □
X
52
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
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 Books
2/3rd A Life
In his last four works of fiction, Naipaul's fear of being
"swallowed by the bush" has gone. But his lack of faith
in revolution as a means towards social change remains.
BYADITYA ADHIKARI
Naipaul's new novel  "Magic
Seeds" continues the story of
the aimless, fatalistic Willie
Chandran who we first met in "Half a
Life" (2001). At the end of "Half a Life,"
Willie is a 41-year-old refugee living in
Berlin with his sister Sarojini. His only
accomplishment in life has been a
book of stories published when he
was 23. All his life he has fled from
the places he has lived in: from India
to London, driven away by shame of
his background; from London to
Mozambique, following his wife Ana
to her African estate after getting scared
of the future in store for him in London; from Mozambique to Berlin,
tired of living a life given to him by his
wife, fearful of the guerilla movements
sweeping the country.
At the beginning of "Magic Seeds"
in Berlin, Sarojini rebukes Chandran for
having done nothing with his life and
urges him to join a Maoist movement in
India. Willie, a lost man in search of a
cause, agrees. Once in India he realizes
that he has joined a different group from
the one he was supposed to be in, but he
cannot escape. As at every other moment
of his life, the attempt to free himself, to
seize control of his own destiny fails; as
always he places his life at the mercy of
other people, in the service of a cause he
has no faith in. He lives for nine years
among the rebels, helping them smuggle
arms and terrorize village populations,
and he even kills a man. All this while he
is aware that he is among "maniacs".
When he finally escapes, he is captured
by the police and spends a period of time
in jail before being rescued by Sarojini
and his old friend Roger, who had
helped him publish his book in Lon
don. He then moves to London, lives
with Roger and his wife and gets part-
time work at an architectural magazine.
When the book ends, he is fifty, has never
held a proper job, never owned a house
or even a bed of his own.
Magic Seeds
ByVidiadharSurajprasad Naipaul
Picador (2004)
PRICE: IRs. 495
PAGES: 294
Willie is a man who utterly fails
Naipaul's implicit but unambiguous
moral standards. These standards were
first clearly evident in "Mimic Men"
(1967) and have since been added to or
refined in subsequent books. The basic
Naipaullian tenet is that a man must have
ambition. This is most starkly expressed
in "A Bend in the River" (1979): "The
world is what it is. Men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become
nothing, have no place in it." So in
"Magic Seeds" Sarojini tells Willie,
""You've never understood that men have
to make the world for themselves."
Naipaul's characters are those who
find themselves "on the wrong side of
history" They are people who are born
in a culture that has been broken into by
other, more powerful cultures, who find
their old ways of life damaged, without
the means to adapt to the new state ofthe
world. Naipaul's characters are damaged
people, full of shame and rage against the
world that created them. Connected to
ambition are a number of ideas Naipaul
believes people from such cultures
should hold on to: the importance
of understanding history, the futility of revolution and the futility
of seeing oneself as a victim.
It is important to understand
one's history, to gain knowledge
of how it is that one has been so
left behind. In the case of India, it
is Naipaul's view that the Hindu
world was ravaged and destroyed,
first by Muslim invaders, and later,
to a lesser degree, by the British.
To this Indians reacted by climbing into a hole, refusing to acknowledge or understand what
had happened to them, trying to
stick to their obsolete traditional
ways. Willie's grandfather reaches
this understanding towards the
end of his life. He is filled with a
great rage and keeps saying that his
"community has been very foolish. They had seen the disaster but
had done nothing about it." That is why
they were reduced to "skulking about
like half-starved animals."
But Willie does not learn this lesson.
As a student in London he is amazed at
how little he knows of the world around
him and how ill equipped he is to understand it. "This habit of non-seeing I
got from my father," he thinks. "This
[historical] blankness I got from my
mother's side." This could have been the
beginning of an awakening, but Willie is
filled with shame and lacks the will to
confront and understand his and his
56
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 culture's humiliating past. Without
knowledge of who he is or where he
comes from, he drifts from land to land,
a stranger wherever he goes, without the
ability or knowledge to accomplish anything.
Even in India, where Willie lives
among a rebel outfit that is supposed to
correct the injustices of history, the
blindness remains. The rebels around
him are all portrayed as people driven
by private rage and shame, without a
broad conception of their objectives,
fighting only to avenge their personal
grievances. There is a rule in the rebel
camp that no one inquire into another's
past. This suits them all; for nobody there wants to get involved
in someone else's private hurt
when their own hurt is so oppressive.
Naipaul has always portrayed
revolutionaries as people rendered impotent by history, their
acts of rebellion as expressions of
frenzy or hysteria. Naipaul understands, even feels their grievances deeply, but sees nothing
constructive in their actions, only
a harbinger of a state of anarchy,
of destruction and plunder.
Armed rebellion, in his mind, is
no substitute for genuine ambition. In his novels from the 70s,
he displayed a horror and revulsion towards such revolutionary
activity. He felt threatened by it;
felt that it could only lead to what
is described in his African novels as "a
return to the bush." This is one of the
reasons why he has been severely criticized: On the grounds that he shows a
lack of compassion for the people of
the Third World.
In his last four works of fiction the
horror and revulsion has been tempered,
his famous fear of being "swallowed by
the bush" has gone, but his lack of faith
in revolution as a means towards social
change remains.
Naipaul also strongly rejects the self-
perception of rebels, of people in "half-
made" cultures in general, as victims.
This includes himself: Just because he
is the grandson of an indentured laborer
transplanted from India to a remote Caribbean island to harvest cane for the British Empire doesn't mean he should
nurse a perpetual grievance against the
British. Though the attitude that no one
but one's own self can be blamed for
one's failings may indicate strength of
character and moral dignity, he has been
criticized for it by people who think this
shows he is an apologist for imperialism.
So after nine years of revolutionary
campaigns and a few more in jail, always
with the knowledge that "the revolution
had nothing to do with the village people
we said we were fighting for," Willie is
rescued and taken to London. His old
friend Roger receives him at the airport
and takes him to stay at his house. Soon
Willie realizes that Roger is a patriot
in the deepest way and that the decline of
England grieves him. This attitude seems
to be Naipaul's own. He has lived in England for 54 years and built a literary career there; London has always been the
heart of culture and civilization for him.
It is perhaps what he perceives as decline
that has prompted him to pen this bleak
vision of a city he has come to love.
The prose of "Magic Seeds" is even
more pared down, sparer than that of
"Half a Life." Descriptions of physical
details are minimal, and even inner states
are described with extreme simplicity.
Some of the episodes in India are so
Willie realizes that despite the nice house
all is not well in Roger's life. He lives
with his estranged wife in the big house,
his law career is on the rocks and his
mistress has left him.
The last 100 or so pages ofthe book
reveal the bleakest, most disgusted vision of London Naipaul has ever written. Everywhere he sees "commonness" and "coarseness". When Willie
wonders about a giri he knew in London in his student days and asks Roger
what he thinks happened to her, Roger
replies, "Fat. Faithless. Betrayed. Complaining about the wicked world. Vain.
Talking too much. Commoner than
ever. Women are more physical and
shallow than one imagines." All over
there are people speaking in "plebian
accents".
pared down that they almost read like
parables from Tolstoy or Jesus.
Perhaps fittingly for a writer who
claims he is at the absolute end of his
career. But the story is still not complete.
Willie has just begun to re-evaluate his
life at the end of his book. He is still
curious about the world and we witness
the beginnings of the lifting of the fog
that has always enveloped him. When
"Half a Life" came out J.M. Coetzee
wrote, "Haifa Life reads like the cut-off
first half of a book that might be called ^4
Full Life." Now we have the second part
of the book, but Willie's story has still
not been resolved. Perhaps with a third
volume, a completion, a final resolution,
the Willie Chandran trilogy will stand
as a literary monument on par with
Naipaul's best works. □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
57
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The Royal Nepal Army calls
Paandyun a turning point. Not
quite so, say the Maoists. They
admit they have suffered a reverse but
nothing close to what the RNA makes it
out to be: some 300 rebels dead. They
also insist that the Army will find it difficult to hold on to the strategic outpost
given its distance from the district headquarters and the lack of a supply line.
Then, they say, the obvious will happen:
Paandyun will once again come under
Maoist control.
As with all other major encounters,
the Paandyun toll will be debated for a
long time to come. A soldier who fought the
battle told visiting
journalists last
week that he
had counted
26     Maoist
bodies. Our
own re
porter, Satish
Jung Shahi,
counted 13 ^
bodies during
his four-hour
stay at the
Farwestern
battlefield. On
their officia
website, the Maoists
themselves said that only
nine of their comrades fell in Paandyun.
The villagers in nearby Garigaon, Kapada
and Pipalsarni say the Maoists forced
them to carry away many of their fallen
comrades, who will never be accounted
for.
But Paandyun is more than just a toll
war. Even if the number of fallen Maoists
is far less than 300 (the Army's figure),
the significance of Paandyun still stands
out. Both police and Army officers who
have had battlefield experiences against
the Maoists tell Nation Weekly that
Paandyun may very well have been the
first major, decisive Royal Nepal Army
offensive against the rebels, who have attacked security forces with reckless
abandon. For the first time, they say, there
is a realization among Army command
ers that it's time to go for a military offensive, or else the low-intensity insurgency will continue to take a heavy toll
on the Army, both in terms of casualties
and morale.
Along with this renewed sense of
urgency, Paandyun also perhaps points
to the RNAs own dilemma. Its senior
commanders have been divided over
how they should approach the Maoist
problem: Should they go for an all-out
military offensive, support an immediate ceasefire to make room for a political dialogue or something in between?
And that dilemma reflects in the way
various regional
and     area
commanders
have approached
their tours of duty. The
Army has avoided major encounters in
the past, most infamously in Beni early
this year; that sent the Maoists a message
about the Army's morale as a fighting
unit.
Paandyun is important not because
the Maoists were pushed onto the back
foot on their own turf, but because it
shows that the Royal Nepal Army truly
stands at a crossroads. Paandyun will be
a watershed only if it delivers the peace
that the Nepalis overwhelming desire.
Anything short of that will be a hollow
victory.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
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