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Nation Weekly November 28, 2004, Volume 1, Number 32 Upadhyay, Akhilesh 2004-11-28

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 PANCHAYAT AGAIN? I DVTIME I LAMJUNG TO LEEDS I DEER AT PASHUPATI
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NOVEMBER 28,2004 VOL. I, NO. 32
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RS. 30       ISSN 1811-721X
ILLEGALLY
ABROAD
Desperate Nepalis are
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 18 Back To Panchayat?
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
A fortnight ago Minister Mohsin gave
journalists a long, rambling briefing
where he raised the specter of an
autocratic regime. Last week he
blamed the press for misquoting him
or, perhaps, for quoting him too
literally.
26 Passing The Buck
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
Kathmandu has an image as a safe
haven. Asylum seekers consider it a
good place to take refuge. The irony is
that Nepal has neither refugee nor
asylum laws.
28 Dear Old
Mrigasthali
By Satishjung Shahi
The temple of Pashupatinath has now
added a deer park. This brings into
being what was written on religious
scriptures about the holy place.
37 Hello America
Byjohn Chind
The annual ritual of the
U.S. Diversity Visa
applications has now
started
COVER STORY
S?L*Siiaai:
lW.|ii.i
20 Illegally Abroad
By Satishjung Shahi
Desperate Nepalis are willing to pay any price and risk any danger for overseas
employment. There is no shortage of unscrupulous agents willing to sell them
down the river
COLUMNS
DEPARTMENTS
PROFILE
11 De-marginalizing
Ourselves
By Suman Pradhan
30 Religion Without
Reason
ByAditya Adhikari
38 Post-Election Blues
By Samrat Upadhyay
40 Recycled News
Byjohn Child
SPECIAL FEATURE
6         LETTERS
42 The End Of
An Era
^^^^     By Indra Adhikari
Shiva Shankar's demise has
J     brought to a close an important chapter in the history of Nepali music. But
his life's work has opened
many more
SPORTS
9 WEEK IN PICTURES
10 PICTURE OF THE WEEK
14    CAPSULES
16    MILESTONE
16    BIZ BUZZ
44    CITY PAGE
52    SNAPSHOTS
56 KHULA MANCH
57 BOOKS
58 LAST PAGE
50 Paying Golf
By Sudesh Shrestha
Nepal's mild climate allows golf to be
played throughout the year, giving
LIFESTYLE
47 Reborn Yogis
By Yashas Vaidya
The urban population is rediscovering
yoga, which has been part and parcel of
Hindu culture for thousands of years. Pity
it took television to show us the magic.
those planning a golf trip plenty of
opportunities to tee off. We should
give it a shot.
32 Exclusive Photos
By Phanindra Raj Silwal
 ui03-dnojBeAjeu,3euije)|-/vuvuw
■i
ii More the legitimacy
of the government
comes into question,
happier the Maoists
will be
w
Ominous ramble
I am very much in agreement with Suman
Pradhan when he says the he was
troubled by Minister Mohammed
Moshin's remarks about an impending
authoritarian rule ("Stop This Nonsense," Meanwhile, November 21).
Though the minister's frustration over
the political impasse is understandable,
he should for once and all banish the
destructive thought that dictatorship can
ever be a solution. The more the legitimacy of the government comes into
question, the happier the Maoists will
be. They will make more inroads into
the hearts and minds of the Nepalis.
History proves that a militarist approach
to resolving a rebellion is fraught with
dangers—no matter how tempting the
quick-fix model may appear to our rulers. I do not however mean that the
Maoist militia should be given free rein
to run down the state machinery.
PRABINDHAUDEL
VIA EMAIL
Jet, set, go
The arrival of jets in the domestic scene
is a major breakthrough for Nepal's aviation sector, but their sustainability is
questionable ("Flying High," by John
Narayan Parajuli, November 14). Why
can't the government give more international sectors like Guangzhou in China,
where scores of Nepalis fly to every
week via Hong Kong and Bangkok, to
the private sector? That would be a lot
more convenient to travelers because
they won't have to go through the immigration in Hong Kong and Bangkok. It
will also allow them to avoid our
dreaded national flag carrier, the RNAC.
NAME WITHHELD
VIA EMAIL
PRABINDHAUDEL
Academic writing
I really enjoyed Mark Turin's book review of "Riddum," "the story ofthe beginning of the cosmos and the
ethnogeneis of the indigenous peoples
of the world" ("In Their Own Words,"
Books, November 21). It was a welcome
change from the typical English fiction
that is the staple of your book page. With
due respect to the reviewer, let me confess, however, that I will never read the
book, which sounds like a scholarly
work. I am an avid reader of fiction, but
I do enjoy all good writings. I am pleasantly surprised to read Turin in Nation—I equally enjoyed his earlier piece
on Dashain in Dolakha ("Cautiously
Optimistic," November 14), which he
coauthored with Sara Shneiderman, another academic. That finally brings me
to why I wrote this letter. I have noticed
a fair number of writers, who would
otherwise have little to do with journalism, writing for you—Swarnim Wagle,
Pramod Mishra, Dipta Shah, Pratyoush
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Onta and, recently, Arnico Panday I have
enjoyed their writings, though some of
it has been a bit too "heavy" to handle.
While the nuanced academic writings of
social scientists are not always a fun read,
especially in a news magazine, they do
add a lot of value to understanding a society.
RAVI
VIA EMAIL
The last Shangrila
Kunal Lama's "On Bended Knees" unnecessarily takes issue with the title of
the world's largest book "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan
Kingdom" (No Laughing Matter, November 21). While Bhutan may not be
the last kingdom, it is certainly the "last
Shangrila." Nepal is only partly a kingdom—where multiparty democracy and
constitutional monarchy are trying to
weaken each other. So the title of the
book is still apt. I must say "Bhutan: A
Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Shangrila" would have been a better title. Can you possibly call modern-
day Tibet the last Shangrila with state-
sponsored dilution of its culture? Or
Nepal, for that matter, that adapts its culture to suit the palate ofthe tourist? One
look at the Bagmati River, the ongoing
civil war, influx of military assistance
(despite the United States and India
claiming that there can be no "military
solution" to the conflict) and one can be
sure that Nepal has lost its Shangrila-
ness. It is a country increasingly ruled
by insurgents in the hinterland, unscrupulous agents, the Royal Nepal Army and
foreigners in cahoots with the powers
that be elsewhere.
In contrast, Bhutan is undoubtedly
the last Shangrila and the last Himalayan
kingdom and very much in control. It
strikes a reasonable balance between
cultural preservation and modernity—
through a cautious approach to development. What if they build a hotel to accommodate guests willing to fork out
$1,000 a day, as Lama sneered? I see nothing wrong with that. A month of good
business is enough to sustain Bhutan's
tourism industry for a year. In contrast,
any month there is a downturn in tourists in Nepal, the NTB raises an alarm
and ups its promotional campaigns, all
of which indicate that Nepal's tourism
is not as resilient or sustainable as
Bhutan's. Nepal's houses and cities are
hideous—no harmony with the surroundings . But Bhutan is something else!
Moreover, Bhutan's "visionary" king
and prince actually went to war, at great
risk to themselves, to flush out the Indian insurgents from the Bhutanese territory, for they actually believe that Bhutan
is unique and, yes-oh-yes, the last
Shangrila or the last Himalayan kingdom.
His Royal Highness gave back democracy to the Bhutanese people on a platter—with elected people's reps [chimis]
now dominating the National Assembly.
Has Nepal's King—who claims to play a
"constructive role"—led his army against
the Maoist insurgents on the ground or
devolved power? If Nepal were a
Shangrila, it would have been worth fighting for. But smart ordinary Nepali
people—whose sovereignty has been
robbed one too many times—don't care
anymore. Only the foreign-funded civil
society and the I/NGO-cracy ("dollar
farmers"), brainwashed villagers in the
Maoist camps and those seeking a way
out of unemployment in the Army
camp—including the undemocratic (read
"hand-picked") government—purport to
be serving the country. But you know they
all have ulterior motives. No one is doing it for the country anymore.
Once Bhutan's ongoing hydropower
projects come on line, not only will it
continue to be a Shangrila and the last
Himalayan kingdom but, by all estimates,
will also double its per capita income,
which is already way above Nepal's.
Lama, when are you going to stop comparing Nepal with Bhutan, even if obliquely?
MADHAV PARAJULI
JHAPA
Thanks
Nation Weekly provides a wide gamut
of information with well-analyzed news
items. Its Internet accessibility has further helped the readers. Keep going.
GANESH KHANIYA
VIA EMAIL
CORRECTION
Girish Khatiwada, not Sudhin Pokhrel,
is the first Nepali rapper who released
the single "Meaningless Rap" in 1994
at the age of 14 ("Rap Is Da' Trend," by
Satishjung Shahi, November 21).
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 1. HOLY DIP: Devout worshippers observe Chhat in the Bagmati
2. FAREWELL: Actress Bhuwan Chand, who starred along Shiva Shankar in "Aama," the
first Nepali home production, at the musician and singer's last rites
3. LEG-PULLING: An exhibition wrestling match on the occasion of Chhat
4. DELICACIES: Chat prasad
5. MISSING YOU: Those without siblings flock to Rani Pokhari during the Bhai Tika
6. PLAYGROUND: Kids make most of the banda as the Maoists order traffic off the roads
in Dhading
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
 —N.
THE LONE PIPER: William Genkins, a
former British commando, plays his bag-
pipe in Thamel on Remembrance Sunday
in memory ofthe soldiers who died in the
World Wars. Genkins, who has played at
the graves of fallen soldiers the world over,
was in Kathmandu last week.
■ nation weekly/Sagar Shrestha
 De-marginalizing Ourselves
Nepal will forever remain insignificant and marginal in the U.S. eyes if our leaders refrain from
interacting with their U.S. counterparts
BY SUMAN PRADHAN
Each year during September-October, several parliamentarians
and politicians are picked bythe government to attend the U.N.
General Assembly in New York. It's basically a junket on government and U.N. expenses.
These tours, which can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few
months, can be extremely beneficial. Attending debates and discussions
in the United Nations, sometimes even making speeches in its various
committees and sub-committees, can be an educating experience. Many
of our lawmakers return home with a broadened understanding ofthe
world and its problems.
I recently met several Nepali politicians in New York who were there to
attend thisyear's General Assembly. Over a can of Budweiser one evening,
we talked about their experiences, what they had seen, heard and
learned, what they expected to do after they got back home.
"Oh it was a great visit," one young and especially bubbly ex-parliamentarian said. "I got to make a presentation in a sub-committee meeting and liked the response I got." Another, an older and more world-
weary ex-lawmaker with an expensive foreign education, just nodded.
"Wejust met a few people here and there. It is nice to be back in the
United States."
I then asked whether the politicians also planned to travel to Washington D.C. and meet some U.S. government officials and Congressmen
or their staffers, given that U.S. policy is so vital for Nepal. "Oh, wejust got
back from D.C." Well, any interesting meetings there? "We met the
Nepali community and had a great Dashain party. I was surprised by
such a good Dashain party outside of Nepal." Any Congressmen or U.S.
officials you met, Sir? "No, no. We didn't get the opportunity." Did you
even try? "No." But why? "You see Nepal is such a small country, it is
marginal in U.S. eyes. There's no oil, noal Qaeda. Whywouldtheybe
interested in meeting us?"
Hmmm. Sounds deflating, ofcourse, butthe politician justgave 1
us a reality check. Despite all this notion of our national importance
and greatness—never colonized, geo-strategic location,
second highest hydro potential, land of Buddha, land of
Everest, land of Gurkhas,
etc. etc.—Nepal indeed
seems faraway and insignificant from over there. Sorry
to our Maoist comrades, but
not even they seem to have
raised our profile.
The problem is, Nepal will
forever remain insignificant
and marginal in the U.S.
eyes if our leaders and politicians refrain from interact
ing with their U.S. counterparts. Without regular constructive exchange of
opinions with U.S. government officials and lawmakers, we can forget
about clawing out of this "insignificant-ness". In short, they must do in
the United States what they often do in India.
But first, we must tackle our small-mindedness. It's become a cliche
to define Nepal as a "small" country. Look at a map. See how big Nepal
is? Our relative smallness comes from our two big neighbors. In reality,
Nepal is a medium-sized country with a population larger than most
developed European and Asian nations. In sheer population terms, we
are bigger than Afghanistan and almost as big as Iraq. Those countries
have risen up the U.S. priority list for all the wrong reasons, but that need
not be the case with us.
To rise up the U.S. priority list, the first order of business should be to
figure out how U.S. policy is shaped. Unlike the perceptions here, most
U.S. policy is shaped in its parliament, the Congress, and its various
committees. For us, the committees to watch are the defense, foreign
relations and international development, trade and human rights committees. Our leaders and politicians therefore must try to build relations
with U.S. lawmakers in those committees to have any real effect—that
is, if they think U.S. policy on Nepal could be made better.
Lawmakers in such a powerful country have zillions of things to think
about. Nepal, a faraway land with no real strategic significance, figures at
the bottom ofthe list, if at all. But this can be changed, gradually. Countries today at the top ofthe list in America also started at the bottom at
some point. We may not have oil or Islamic terrorists, but we have, alas,
Asia's most violent conflict. There are plenty of U.S. lawmakers who do
not know this.
The United States is often likened to a huge elephant, which even if
it trudges slowly and carefully, is bound to shake up the earth around it.
America can be maddeningly naive and blind to local conditions, and its
do-good tendencies can sometimes be both a boon and a bane. There
are many in Nepal, especially in the political parties, who privately lament
that U.S. policy on Nepal post-9/11 has helped to marginalize democratic forces.
To all such politicians: Don't waste yourtime while in America. Knock on
U.S. government doors, on
Congressmen, and get your
opinions across. You will be
surprised to see how responsive they are. This does not
mean you should stop interacting with U.S.-based
Nepalis. Attend all the
Dashain and Tihar parties, by
all means. But also enlist their
help in establishing contacts
in the U.S. government and
Congress. Set your sights a
little higher every time you are
on a junket to America. □
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
11
 Opinion
THINK
POSITIVE
'Thinker'
by Auguste Rodin
POLITICS
Civil Conflict
Education
Development
Business
Lifestyle
Sports
EVERY WEEK.
EVERY MONDAY.
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 WELCOME: State Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat (far left)
welcomes Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Kahn
American policy
The U. S. Embassy has lifted
its "authorized departure"
ruling that allowed families
of embassy staff to leave
Nepal. The decision follows
back-channel assurances
from the Maoists that the
bombing of the American
Center on September 10 was
not Maoist central committee policy. American officials
said that the safety of Americans in Nepal remained their
top concern and that the travel
warnings that advise American citizens to "defer non-essential travel" to Nepal would
remain in effect "until conditions change." They repeated the American
government's positions that
the United States wants a
peaceful, prosperous, democratic Nepal and that the
Maoists should renounce
violence and accept the
Nepali government's offer
for peace talks.
Compensation delay
The family of Jhok Bahadur
Thapa, who was taken hostage
and killed in Iraq by the militant outfit Ansar al-Sunna, is
yet to receive compensation,
reported Kantipur. The government had announced that
it would compensate the
families of the 12 Nepalis
murdered in Iraq in August.
The compensation amount is
Rs. 1 million. Although the
district administration office
has received the sum from
the government, it has not yet
handed over the sum to the
relatives of Thapa. The district office said that the delay
was caused as the name mentioned in the Home Ministry
letter didn't match with
Thapa's citizenship certificate.
Rape case
More than six security personnel allegedly raped a 15-
year-old girl in the
Charkoshe Jhadi of Bharaul,
in Sunsari. The victim reported that armed security
men raped her when she had
gone to the nearby forest. A
day after the incident an ambulance of the Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) in
Biratnagar brought the girl to
Dharan for medical treatment, reports said. Security
forces say that an internal
probe has been ordered into
the incident.
Maoist reaction
The Maoists said they would
hold talks with the Deuba
government only at the aegis
ofthe United Nations or another international human
rights organizations. The
Maoist supremo Prachanda
alleged that the government
was trying to use the peace
talks as a weapon to fulfill its
vested interested. He said any
talks without U.N. involvement would have no positive
results. Prachanda urged the
international community to
stop any kind of assistance to
the government. The statement came five days after foreign diplomats and the U.N.
resident mission in
Kathmandu called on both the
parties to resume the peace
process.
Forced recruitment
The Maoists have forced over
3,000 civilians from 72 VDCs
in Achham to join their party.
They had issued a notice on
September 17, asking every
family to send at least one
member to join them. They
said any family refusing to
abide by their dictate would
be put through labor camps,
according to news reports.
Police in detention
The Lalitpur District Court
ordered the Nakkhu jail administration to investigate two
police officers who had allegedly helped an Indian drug
peddler escape. Police Sub-Inspector Shir Ram Thapa and
Constable Madhav Kandel are
in police detention for investigation. Ashok Kumar Gupta,
30, a resident of Motihari district in the Indian state of Bihar,
escaped while on his way to
the hospital. Thapa and
Kandel were escorting Gupta,
who was serving a 10-year jail
term for drug smuggling. He
was arrested with 54 grams of
heroin atMaharajgunj in January this year.
Nepalis in US
The number of Nepali students studying in the United
States has doubled in the last
five years, said the Institute
of International Education, a
New York-based education
agency. The increase was the
highest in the academic year
2003-2004. Nepal is among
the top 20 countries in terms
ofthe increase in the percentage of students leaving for
studies in the United States—
most of them pursuing undergraduate studies. India is
on top ofthe foreign student
list followed by China.
New RNA divisions
Two additional divisional
headquarters and five brigades of the Royal Nepal
Army have begun operations.
The new divisional headquarters have been set up in
Hetauda and Dipayal while
new brigades have been
added in Dadeldhura, Jumla,
Baglung, Butwal and Ham.
The Army's Directorate of
Public Relations said that the
new divisions and brigades
have been established to
meet the growing security
requirements ofthe country.
Extradition treaty
The Nepal-Indiajoint secretary level meeting failed to
reach to an agreement on extradition. Nepal rejected
the Indian proposal to involve legal experts from both
the countries to investigate into cases in which crimes are
allegedly committed by citizens of one country in the other.
Nepal stressed that the physical presence of experts is unnecessary in any investigation or court proceedings in criminal
cases. An extradition treaty was first signed between Nepal
and then British India on February 10, 1855. It was later
amended in October 1953.
14
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Mountain films
The Kathmandu International
Mountain Film Festival takes
place from December 9-12 at
the Russian Culture Centre.
This year's show is the third
installment of the biennial,
non-competitive film festival
organized by the Himal Association. Some 50 films on
mountains and lifestyles ofthe
people living in mountainous
regions from 21 countries are
on show. The films are of a varied nature: They include anthropological films, alpine
documentation, archival footage, adventure cinema, experimental shorts, light-hearted
commentary and feature films.
Filmmaker Kesnag Tseten's
"On the Road with the Red
God: Machhendranath," a
documentary about the Rato
Machhendranath Jatra, premieres at the festival.
RNAC goes bulletproof
The Royal Nepal Airlines
Corporation will install bulletproof doors on the cockpits of its two Boeings. The
move follows new security
regulations introduced in Japan. The two planes, a
Boeing-9ACA and a Boeing-
9ACB, will have their doors
replaced by December. Each
bulletproof door will cost the
RNAC over $60,000.
Barred in Jhapa
The district administration in
Jhapa barred Bhutanese human
rights activist Teknath Rijal
from entering the refugee
camps. Rijal, however, did
hold discussions with the
refugees outside the camps.
He shared his concerns about
the delays in the verification
process and repatriation. In his
briefing, Rijal told the fellow
refugees that he had been received very well by the Europeans in October who he said
had assured him of their support for the refugees.
Testcase?
Shyam Shrestha, editor of
Mulyankan monthly has filed a
petition at the Appellate Court
in Lalitpur demanding compensation from the government
for "illegally detaining" him
during the state of emergency
more than two years ago. Security personnel had arrested
Shrestha, along with human
rights activists Mahesh Maskey
and Pramod Kafle, at the
Tribhuvan International
Airport when he was leaving
for New Delhi to attend a conference. Shrestha claimed that
his appeal would be a test case
to see if the Constitution was
still alive. Earlier, the District
Court of Kathmandu quashed a
similar petition by Shrestha.
Evereststatus
Friends of the Earth, a London-based environmental
group, has warned that lakes in
the Himalayan region could be
at bursting point, a potential
risk to lives and property in the
region. The reason: The glaciers in the region were melting due to global warming and
causing the lakes to swell. The
group delivered a petition to
the U.N. World Heritage
Committee in Paris asking that
Everest be placed on its endangered sites list. The petition has
the backing of such Everest
legends as Reinhold Messner.
Nepalis in custody
Chinese police have arrested
12 Nepalis for allegedly carrying arms at Ramite, Khasa near
the Nepal-China border. They
were arrested while heading
back to Deudhunga in Dolkha.
The identity of those arrested
is still not known, reported
Nepalnews. The Chinese police are said to be investigating
the incident.
Hindu appeal
Forty-eight Hindu organizations took out a rally to pro
test the arrest of
Shankaracharya Shree
Jayendra Saraswathi in India.
The Nepali government,
meanwhile, said it was India's
internal matter and Nepal
would have nothing to do
with it. Saraswathi was arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of a
former Kanchimuth employee. The 48 Hindu organizations have set up an umbrella outfit, the Hindu
Jagaran Manch, Nepal, to intensify pressure for the
priest's early release. Shiv
Sena Nepal, Arya Samaj,
Pranabananda Ashram,
Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh are
some of the leading organizations in the campaign. The
Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh
and Nepal Sant Samaj have
already submitted a petition
at the Indian Embassy in
Kathmandu for an impartial
investigation into the matter.
Free visa
Bangladesh has decided to
waive visa fees for Nepalis.
The decision was announced
by the visiting Bangladeshi
Foreign Minister Morshed
Khan. Nepalis were charged
$30 for a tourist visa. The visa
fees were slashed to facilitate
movement of consumers
along with commercial goods,
reports quoted Khan as saying.
In addition to this, Bangladesh
has waived duties on Nepali
fruits and vegetables.
Nepalis in New York
The visiting CPN-UML
General Secretary Madhav
Kumar Nepal told a New York
audience that Nepalis living
abroad should join forces with
political parties to consolidate
the democratic gains made after 1990. Mohan Bahadur
Basnet of the NC-D, also
present at the program organized by the Nepal Democratic Youth Council USA,
however blamed the political
parties themselves for the current crisis. At the root of the
problem is public disenchantment toward the parties, he
said. Anand Bist, president of
the youth council, suggested
that presenting a united front
on important political issues
would be a first step towards
redemption for the parties. He
said that the Nepalis abroad
were deeply troubled by the
political stalemate in Nepal.
X
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
 Milestone
70th Anniversary
Biz Buzz
"Seventy years through peace and war
Through delicate and troubled times,
Seventy years and there'll be more
Exchanging views and opening minds,
English is the currency
The people are the driving force,
That's seventy years officially
Of healthy cultural intercourse."
Wrote poet-writer Benjamin Zephaniah re-
centlyto mark the British Council'sanniversary.
The British Council turned 70thisweek. Established in 1934 as "The British Council for Relations with Other Countries," it came to be known
as the British Council in 1936. Its first overseas office was set up in Cairo, Egypt in 1938.
Today the council has over 100 branches all
overthe world anda staff of more than 7,000.
The council operates independently from the
British government, although the government
provides grants to the council. Queen Elizabeth
is the patron ofthe council.
The British Counci I was establ ished with an
objective of promoting a wider knowledge of
Britain abroad and ofthe English language and
developingcloser cultural relations between the
United Kingdom and other countries.
The British Council opened in Nepal in
1959. In Nepal, the council manages a library,
conducts English language classes and holds
various events aimed at promoting British culture. The annual British film festival was organized earlier in the year at the Gopi Krishna Hall.
The council has helped many prominent
people worldwide in the beginning of their careers, including Nepal's own professor Surya
Prasad Subedi. Others include British sculptor
Henry Moore, Argentine scientist Cesar Millstein,
British musician and artist Genesis P Orridge,
and Australian film director Baz Lurhmann. The
council also appears in many books: Malcolm
Bradbury's "Rates of Exchange," Lawrence
Durrell's "Bitter Lemons," John Fowles' "The
Magus," Olivia Manning's "The Balkan Trilogy,"
among others.
16
LUMBINI BANK ON NEPAL
STOCK EXCHANGE
Nepal Stock Exchange, the Nepse, and Lumbini
Bank have signed an agreement; Lumbini Bank
will now be enlisted on the Nepse for share
transactions. Mukunda Dhungel, general manager on behalf of Nepse, and Narayan Das
Manandhar, chief executive officer on behalf
ofthe bank, signed the agreement. According
to the agreement, the bank will float 5,000,000
unit shares worth Rs. 5 million. With the addition of Lumbini bank, the total number of companies enlisted with the Nepse has reached
116.
PRIZES BYRUMPUM
Asian Thai Foods, the makers of RumPum instant noodles, awarded Pushpa Lamsal of
Butwal and Rajiv K.C. of Chabahil Rs. 100,000,
under its "1, 2 ka 4jhatka" scheme. The brand
ambassador for RumPum noodles, actress Niruta
Singh, awarded the prizewinners. Another 39
winners were also awarded with Rs. 10,000 at
the same function. RumPum's new scheme
follows its RumPum Most Wanted and RumPum
Mahabharat schemes. These are a few among
the many schemes brought out bythe numerous instant noodle companies in Nepal.
NEW ADB PRESIDENT
Haruhiko Kuroda has been elected president
ofthe Asian Development Bank by its board of
governors. Kuroda has been Japan's former
vice minister of finance for international affairs.
Kuroda, 60, is taking over duties as ADB president from February next year, succeeding
Tadao Chino, who announced his resignation
in August. Chino will have served as president
for six years, having assumed office in January
1999.
YEAR OF MICROCREDIT
The U.N. General Assembly has designated
2005 as the "International Year of Microcredit."
It has asked governments, concerned non-gov
ernmental organizations and others from civil
society, the private sector and the media to join
in raising the profile and building the capacity of
the microcredit and microfinance sectors. The
joint coordinators for the "year" are the United
Nations Capital Development Fund and the
United Nations Department of Economic and
Social Affairs. The objectives of this initiative by
United Nations have been described as such:
• Assess and promote the contribution of
microfinance and microcredit to the United
Nations' Millennium Development Goals
• Increase public awareness and understanding of microfinance and microcredit as vital parts
ofthe development equation
• Promote inclusive financial systems
• Support sustainable access to financial services
• Encourage innovation and new partnerships
by promoting and supporting strategic partnerships to build and expand the outreach and
success of microcredit and microfinance
MERCANTILE BROADBAND
Mercantile Communications has launched
broadband Internet service for consumers in
addition to the service already available to corporate clients. The service is targeted at individuals, home users and small offices. Mercantile aims to provide consumers more security, communications tools and programming in
addition to fast, reliable Internet access. The
medium chosen for Mercantile's "Consumer
Internet Broadband" service is wireless technology. The company has highlighted the following as the main attractions of its new service: 24/7 Internet connectivity through wireless medium; high-speed, stable link, either 64
/ 128 / 256 kbps; no telephone cost; free
email; 24-hour customer support service
through a call center. This service is offered in
the Kathmandu Valley. It is available in three
schemes: Volume, Infinity and Cybertrail. The
schemes differ in terms of limits set on time
and volume of data accessed.
TOYOTA GOLDEN CARD
United Traders Syndicate, which is the sole distributor of Totoya vehicles in Nepal, has introduced the Toyota Golden Touch Card. The card
is introduced with the aim of improving customer care and after-sales services. United Traders Syndicate falls under Vaidya's Organization
of Industries and Trading House.
BANDIPURFAIR
The Bandipur festival is being held from November 27 to November 30. The fair is being
X
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 organized bythe BandupurSocial Development
Committee, Tanahun Industry and Commerce
Association, and the Bandipur Society. The
Nepal Tourism Board is promoting the event.
The fair is being organized with the aim of promoting Bandipur's cultural and religious attractions.
CONDEMNATION OFVIOLENCE
The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Nepal Chamber of
Commerce came out against the Maoist bombing of the Sanchayakosh building at Sundhara
on November 9, two weeks ago. The blast at
the building, which was under construction, left
at least 38 injured and damaged nearly Rs. 30
million worth of property, includinga newly installed escalator. The organizations have also
asked the government to provide compensation to the builders.
NOKIA IN NEPAL
Nokia, the Finnish mobile makers, have officially entered the Nepali market. Spare parts
for Nokia mobile phones will now be available
and phone owners will also be able to get their
phones repaired. Nepal Overseas Marketing
now represents Nokia in the Nepali market.
PJ CLUB EXHIBITION
The National Forum of Photo Journalists is orga-
nizinga photo exhibition of two Japanese photographers, Kazuo Saita and Yoshikazu Hayashi.
The exhibition has two separate sections titled
"Life in Nature" and "Kingdom of Nepal" and is
being held at the Nepal Art Council, Babar Mahal.
The exhibition opens on November 23.
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nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
17
 Governme
BACK TO
PANCHAYAT?
A fortnight ago, Minister Mohsin gave journalists a long,
rambling briefing where he raised the specter of an autocratic regime. Last week he blamed the press for misquoting him or, perhaps, for quoting him too literally.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A ROU-
tine briefing on government policy for
the media. It ended up being perhaps
the most controversial one that this government has held to date; it has spawned
heated debate about the future ofthe nation.
On November 10 Minister
Mohammed Mohsin dropped a bombshell on senior journalists a day after the
biggest Maoist bombing in Kathmandu,
firmly asserting that the Maoists were
back in action after a brief holiday lull.
Major dailies reported Mohsin's remarks
about an "autocratic regime." It is hard to
put his comments in context as both the
media he invited and Mohsin himself
have taken opposing positions on his remarks.
"The alternative to this government
will be one you people can't bear with,"
said Minister Mohsin that fateful day.
Those who attended the minister's briefing say that he gave a long discourse on
authoritarianism as if he saw it was just
round the corner. When the papers went
up in arms over this alleged intention,
Mohsin played the usual blame game: It
was now his turn to allege that the press
got the semantics or the drift of his remarks wrong.
He said in a radio interview that all he
meant was that the "government would
have to implement existing laws more
severely if murder and violence escalated
in the country." He kept short of mentioning how the severity would play out
in terms of civil rights, press freedom and
the people's right to assemble for protest.
18
Did the press get the essence of
Mohsin's statement wrong? What did
he say and what was his intention? Perhaps he actually did want to spark a debate on the subject as a trial balloon on
behalf of the Palace, whose bidding he
allegedly does in the present government. Maybe he wanted to put pressure
on the Maoists through the media by
raising specter of dictatorship.
His clarification has hardly been able
to quash accusations that he perhaps
showed his true color without realizing that the country's democratic press
was not about to treat him as the
Panchyat press would while he was a
minister. "We wrote exactly what he
said," says Prateek Pradhan, editor of The
Kathmandu Post, who, along with
Narayan Wagle, editor of Kantipur, four
other editors and several publishers, attended Mohsin's briefing at the
minister's office in Singha Durbar. In a
roundabout way Mohsin conditionally
linked the emergence of an "autocratic
regime" with the doom of the Deuba
government, attendees say. "We crosschecked with him thrice," says Pradhan.
"But he didn't say he meant it otherwise."
The general belief among analysts is
that the minister is now backtracking after
he found himself beset by the storm that
his remarks created. "I have no illusions
about what Mohsin said," says Rajendra
Dahal, editor of Himal Khabarpatrika.
"He is merely trying to escape now that
he finds himself in a soup."
Expectedly, a flurry of angry responses has followed.
Leaders of the Nepali Congress described his move as "part of the conspiracy to push the country further towards regression." The CPN-UML demanded that Minister Mohsin be sacked.
Most scathing criticism has come from
the media in whom he chose to confide
his alleged "hypothesis."
 It's still unclear what led Minster
Mohsin to make such remarks, but those
who were present during the controversial press briefing acknowledge that he
seemed deeply troubled by the failure of
his government to get a handle over the
Maoist problem and the fact that the
rebels were running amok. His reference
to an "autocratic regime," which some
have been calling his "vision" of a regime
to come, has been equally troubling to
his audience. Equally discomfiting was
the conspicuous silence of the prime
minister and senior Cabinet members.
Despite repeated requests from Nation Weekly, the Prime Minister's Office declined to comment. There are allegations that the Cabinet endorsed
Mohsin's statement the day before. Some
analysts speculate that this might be a
desperate attempt to pressure the
Maoists to come to the table, but others
think it is more than that. There are even
speculations that Mohsin may be acting
on his own, not necessarily at the behest
of the Palace. "This could also be
Mohsin's adventurism," says Himal's
Dahal.
Even the extravagantly outspoken
UML ministers have been reluctant to
speak on the matter. "Who can dare to
speak against Mohsin in the Cabinet?" a
senior editor quotes a group of UML
ministers as saying. Mohsin is seen as
more than equal in the Cabinet. He is
often referred to as "super or the de facto
prime minister." It is not just coincidence, say observers, that his statements
often prevail over the prime minister's.
For instance, they say that the government in October declined to offer a unilateral ceasefire, although UML ministers and the prime minister had come
close to agreeing on the issue. The story
is that after Mohsin rubbished the idea,
the whole Cabinet toed his line. The lesson, say analysts: His hints should be
taken seriously. Apart from being a senior Cabinet minister, he is also an important element of the political elite that
longs to restore rightist autocracy.
Observers note that there is already
an autocratic system of sorts in place following the imposition of emergency two
years ago. That however doesn't mean
that the public would tolerate a complete takeover of power by the military
or the Palace in the name of containing
the insurgency. If Mohsin's reference is
to complete the usurpation of power, it
certainly is disturbing.
Analysts say that authoritarianism is
no solution to Nepal's cycle of violence
because it stems not from the deep urge
of eliminating a particular ethnic group,
but from the extreme political dissent
that has now reached beyond the power
of any regime to contain.
Few analysts question the institution
of democracy, though there are some arguments that it is unfit for poor countries with weak institutions, like Nepal.
There are many criticisms directed
against the democratically elected leaders; many of them ring true.
Minister Mohsin wittingly or unwittingly has started a debate about democracy versus autocracy. Democracy may
not be the best form of governance for
Nepal, but it is still, at least, perceived as
a system that functions at the will of the
majority.
Perhaps former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill summed up the
argument best when he said: "No one
pretends that democracy is perfect or all-
wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that
have been tried from time to time."
"Authoritarianism maybe a good subject for intellectual debate," says Himal's
Dahal. "But it certainly becomes a matter
of serious concern when it comes from a
responsible government minister—especially at a time when the political parties
have been marginalized." d
19
 L LLliL^LLY
1
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i
POST OFFICE
«**
, ViAi ■.
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i     ^      '
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^N
P
 Desperate Nepalis are
willing to pay any
price and risk any danger for overseas employment. There is no
shortage of unscrupulous agents willing to
sell them down the
There's a Dirty Nexus
river
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
After arriving at Tribhuvan In
ternational Airport on No
vember 12, having survived
a kidnapping ordeal in Iraq,
Inus Kawaree had a certain
glow on his face. It wasn't from the TV
lights or the Laxmi Puja battis: It was the
glow of freedom. Kawaree's father,
Taslim, who had come all the way from
Dhanusha to see his son return from war-
ridden Iraq, still looked in shock as he
hugged his son and shed tears of joy.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Prakash Sharan Mahat, one of the two
ministers at the airport to receive
Kawaree, put the situation aptly: "We
cannot ensure the safety of those going
to Iraq... We cannot rule out such incidents [kidnappings] in the future." The
message was clear: The number of
people like Kawaree is huge, and they
are not only willing to defy the government ban on Iraq as a labor destination
but are eager to go come what may, so
desperate are they for overseas employment.
Unscrupulous agents are involved in
virtually all movement of illegal workers. Human smuggling has become the
fastest growing part of the illegal
economy. Experts say it brings in nearly
$10 billion annually worldwide. The
number of Nepalis working illegally is
unknown but certainly large.
Take Malaysia, which last month offered amnesty from prosecution to foreigners working illegally in the country,
if they voluntarily returned home.
Nepali officials say that at least 15,000
President ofthe Nepal
Association of Foreign
Employment Agencies
Nirmal Gurung spoke to Nation Weekly.
Who is behind illegal
migration?
There is a big nexus involved.
Some of those involved
threatened our life when we
went to rescue the Nepalis in
Mumbai in August. It's worse
than you can imagine. It might
have started from Nepal, but
there are now even foreigners
involved.
Does it involve any of your
association members?
We are here for the rights and
benefit of the employment
agencies as well as [to] organize this sector. In terms of statistics, very few of our members have been found guilty
by the Department of Labour.
That is for the police and
the government to investigate. But we are
not here to do wrong
things.
Did the government
react correctly during
the kidnapping of Inus
Kawaree?
The 12 Nepalis would
not have died if the
government had acted
[then] as in the case of
Kawaree. It was a major failure of our embassy in Qatar. An embassy is the highest representation of our country in a foreign land. It
wasn't acting seriously
then. Things don'twork
at ground level if officials
lock themselves in an
air-conditioned room
and claim they are acting. Our association has
decided to mark every September 1 as a black day, and
we will not be sending any laborers abroad on that day.
The government had promised to reissue passports
that were lost in the riots
for free...
We haven't gotten any so far.
There have been differences
between the Foreign Ministry
and the Finance Ministry over
the cost. Forget free passports,
we're having problems getting
replacements of lost passports
even when we are paying. We
have written to the prime minister informing him of this.
What do you suggest that
the government do to manage foreign employment?
We have to make laws that
are beneficial to foreign employment. Urgent steps need
to be taken. We have to learn
to be more liberal. Most of all,
politicians should not indulge
in activities that fatten the bureaucracy.
But your association was
opposed to the lottery system brought bythe present
government...
I am not talking about any individual. But there is always a
way of settling any kind ofdis-
pute through dialogue. The association will always abide by
the decision ofthe honorable
court. There may be differences over certain points of
view. But we are not against
any system that would make
the process of sending of
workers faster and easier. We
support anything that would
prevent corruption. We have
to devise a way that would
make it possible for anyone
to fly out within two days of
obtaining a visa, d
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
21
 There Are Push
And Pull Factors
Department of Labour
Director General
Pratap Kumar
Pathak spoke to Nation
Weekly about illegal migration
and steps that can be taken
to prevent it.
How many illegal Nepali migrants are there around the
world?
It is extremely difficult to say, especially because we share an
open border with India. Many
[migrants] never undergo registration, so we don't have any
documentation that they have
left the country. We estimate
there are around 500,000
Nepalis in India and another 1.5
million elsewhere. Agents can
take them illegallyto [any] country around the world.
How can we control that?
We either have to stop Nepalis
from flying out from India or
start registering those who fly
from there.
How do the Nepalis enter
other countries as illegal
migrants?
In case of Malaysia, Lebanon
and Cyprus, they use fake
documents or alternate travel
routes. In case of Australia, Japan, the United States and Korea, Nepalis enterthose countries on some pretext [visitor
visa] and then start working,
overstaying the visa. Many of
them enter as students. It is
not only our problem but also
one for all South Asian countries. In case of Nepal there
are both push and pull factors.
Push factors like the ongoing
conflict, poverty and unemployment, and pull factors like
better opportunities.
What other reasons
do you see?
We have very weak surveillance and monitoring on
our borders. We are politically as well as diplomatically weak. That is all a reality, but you also have to
keep in mind that [illegal migration] is a natural phenomenon. According to the
1990 U.N. Convention on
Migration, all migrants, legal or illegal, are entitled to
basic human rights. Both
the host and the source
countries are equally responsible.
What has been
our weakness?
We consider five phases in the
migration cycle: pre-depar-
ture, transit, employment
placement, termination and
reintegration. Our focus has
been only on sending workers
abroad. We have no records
of those who have returned
after working abroad. No country gives anyone an unlimited
visa, and those who remain
[overseas after their visas expire] turn into illegal migrants.
Our embassies abroad
haven't been able to give us
any data. We have to
strengthen our embassies and
[focus on] the issue of repatriation. We estimate that very
few people have returned after goingfor work abroad.
There are reports that
agents are involved in sending workers abroad illegally...
There are agents working illegally in India and here. They
are part of a human trafficking
network. But there is again
also a push factor involved. In
Bombay there are well-educated Nepalis including former
army men who went there [de-
liberately] to adopt illegal
means [to go overseas].
There are even former government employees.
How serious is the
illegal migration issue?
It is getting more serious. It is
high time we act by strengthening the country's administra-   .
tiveprocedures. We mightthink   I
it is good that the youth are   *
moving elsewhere for better
opportunities. But how is the
country going to run without the
youth? We do not have a national-level migration policy or
an employment policy. [Policies] would help direct migration and strengthen our capabilities [to act]. □
Nepalis are preparing to return. That's
not many, considering that Malaysia officially recorded 45,760 Nepalis who had
legally entered the country last year.
The illegal trade is a hard nut to crack.
Labour agencies told Nation Weekly that
a low-end job in Iraq pays a monthly salary of $1,200, while a similar job in Saudi
Arabia pays $125. The attraction is clear.
Despite the killing of 12 Nepali hostages in Iraq on August 31 by Ansar al-
Sunna, more and more Nepalis are
headed for dangerous destinations. Many
who left Nepal legally have chosen to
overstay their visas, making their status
illegal. Some have even been duped into
making payments as high as Rs. 5,000,000
to manpower agencies and have then had
to return after their contact agents
abroad demanded more money. The high
fees paid to Nepali agents are often not
returned, as the agencies here claim they
have done their part of the job.
But the manpower agencies are not
the only ones to be blamed: There is
both push and pull involved. The con-
 Story
TICKET TO RIDE: Outbound Nepalis
finalize their employment papers
82RB
CAN I GO: Line outside
Department of Labour
flict in Nepal has worsened poverty and
unemployment; increasingly desperate
Nepalis are willing to do almost anything, even if it's illegal.
"This can be dangerous," says Director General Pratap Kumar Pathak of
the Department of Labour. "We have
seen that even very educated people
want to go abroad through any means."
Pathak says the tendency has given rise
to an active human smuggling network
in the country.
Awareness campaigns have been
targetted against those who are duping people in the name of work in foreign countries, but they have not
stemmed the flow. The number of applicants seeking approval for overseas
employment is increasing significantly, and complaints against individuals and manpower companies by
those who have returned are up too.
When Nation Weekly visited the Department of Labour on Thursday,
November 18, 111 complaints against
individuals and 526 against manpower
companies had been filed.
"There has been a sharp
increase in complaints in recent years," said Gopal Dahal,
an officer at the department.
"Out of them, around 30 percent are claims that they were
not provided the salary they
were promised before they
were flown abroad." But salary discrepancies aren't the
worst of it.
Padam Dahal of Jhapa
was recently duped by an individual who, he claims, is a
part of a racket that promised him a job in Cyprus.
Upon reaching the island-
state, he was taken into custody for holding a fake visa.
The broker in Cyprus, who
had taken an $8000 payment
from Dahal, denied having
ever met him when questioned by the police. "I was
suffering from typhoid, and
the immigration officers let
me go after they themselves
got me a ticket back home,"
says Dahal. Since his return,
he hasn't been to track down
23
 the broker who is still in Cyprus.
A lawyer who asked for anonymity told
us he has come across at least 400 people
who have been duped by a similar racket.
Some of those people claim that well-
known Nepali film stars run the scam. Ever
since the Iraq killings, the human-trafficking rackets are slowly unraveling: Dahal
says that people have grown more vocal
against fraud by individuals and agencies
promising jobs abroad.
Nation Weekly came across one individual who had flown to Cuba via
Moscow after he got a Russian visa based
on bogus evidence that he would be attending a seminar. He was then offered
entry into the U.S. state of Florida by
boat for $5,000. He refused, saying itwas
too dangerous.
In a similar way, India is used as a
transit point for Nepalis going to unapproved destinations. "Some Indians
are making about Rs. 60,000 from each
Nepali sent to countries such as Iraq,"
says Nirmal Gurung, president of the
Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies. Gurung led a 10-mem-
ber team that went to India last August
to assess the situation of about 10,000
Nepalis who were stranded in
Mumbai and New Delhi while heading abroad for work. Their report revealed that one Nepali had died of jaundice and about two dozen had fallen ill
due to miserable living conditions.
The government later flew about 2,500
of the stranded Nepalis home from
Mumbai.
According to Gurung, most illegal
Nepali migrants fly abroad from India
to avoid being stopped by Nepali authorities due to improper documents.
Director General Pathak of the Labour
Department admits that agencies have
been using India to send Nepali workers to unsanctioned destinations.
"We either have to create a strong
monitoring system to trace Nepalis who
have gone to India," he says, "or we have
to use our diplomatic channels to prevent Nepalis from flying abroad from
there." The government has tried to sys-
temize the departure of Nepali migrant
workers by making it mandatory to get a
labor permit approved by the department, but it can't control movement
from third countries.
Government records show that
105,055 people left for jobs to 42 different countries during the last fiscal year,
but the government has no data about
how many of them returned after the
termination of their contracts. "We assume that most of them are still overseas, overstaying their visas," says
Pathak. "It is almost impossible to halt
illegal migrant workers in this age of
globalization. The best we can do is to
manage the problem through good national labor policies." C
(WITH REPORTING JOHN NARAYAN
PARAJULI)
 fauM&uel
SINCE SSM890
SHANGRI-LA
KATHMANDU
 Refug
PASSING THE BUCK
Kathmandu has an image as a safe haven. Asylum seekers consider it good place to take
refuge. The irony is that Nepal has neither refugee nor asylum laws.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
W^EN TADESSE KIDANE, AN
Ethiopian asylum seeker, came
to Nepal six months ago after
several years of hiding in his own country and in India, he was hopeful that things
would get better. It was not to be. The
situation was as bad here as it was in India.
The UNHCR, the UN. agency for
refugees, rejected his application for official refugee status in Kathmandu as it
had in New Delhi. "We can't provide
you refugee status because Nepal is not
a signatory to the Geneva Convention
on Refugees," he quotes a UNHCR official as saying. "Why can't the UNHCR
grant me the refugee status if I have well-
founded fear of persecution because of
my ethnicity and political affiliation back
home in Ethiopia?" he asks. He also complains that no assistance was available to
him while his application to the
UNHCR was pending. In the meantime, his tourist visa for Nepal expired
in March. Kidane is now in hiding. And
he is not alone.
Another Ethiopian national,
Solomon Alemu, has been in
Kathmandu for seven months; the
UNHCR hasn't even told him why his
application, which he submitted in
April, was rejected. Both he and Kidane
are former cadres of the Oroma Liberation Front, an armed organization of
the Oroma group, Ethiopia's largest
ethnic community. The front was one
of three partners in an interim coalition government after the fall of
Mengistu Haile Mariam's 17-year dictatorship in 1991. But as elections drew
closer, the rivalry between the coalition
partners grew serious, and eventually
the Oromo Liberation Front left the
interim government, which resulted in
a backlash against the front's cadres.
Both Kidane and Alemu claim that they
were jailed and tortured. They fear for
26
their lives as long as the present government is in power.
UNHCR officials here say that they
have looked into the matter and there is
little their office can do. Although they
avoid directly commenting on individual cases, they make it clear that they
consider the two men ineligible for
refugee status. "Once such asylum seekers approach us, we determine their status under our mandate," says Abraham
Abraham, UNHCR's resident representative in Nepal. "Our mandate,
which is very elaborate and comprehensive, ensures that [asylum seekers] are
genuine." UNHCR's mandate binds the
agency to provide humanitarian relief
and protection to those found eligible
under its rule. UNHCR has closed
most of the camps it set up for Ethiopian refugees in Sudan and neighboring
countries and seems to believe that
Ethiopia is safe now. Leading human
rights organizations, however, think
otherwise.
Amnesty International's 2004 country report on Ethiopia says it has received
continuing reports of arrests of government opponents, arbitrary and indefinite detention without charge or trial,
detentions of government opponents
suspected of links with armed opposition movements and "disappearances"
among detainees. Both Alemu and
Kidane have some documentation of
their status, which they say should be
sufficient to prove their claims of mistreatment of dissidents in Ethiopia.
They are not the only ones unable to
persuade the UNHCR.
More than 40 asylum seekers of different nationalities, other than
Bhutanese and Tibetans, are presently
in Kathmandu, according to estimates.
They include nine Iraqis, one Iranian,
one Somali, Afghans, Bangladeshis,
Burmese, Iranians, Turkmen, Indians
and people from the tribal areas of Pakistan.
-WWJ
^"    Nepal immigration
Valklkjvlt -J J
Passport WC.A/ At^.y -&J^L
l&Bued~
IN FEAR: Ethiopian
refugees face in
persecution at home
and are in hiding in
Nepal
y i
#
 UNHCR officials decline to give the i
exact number of applicants who have approached them for protection, but they say
it is fewer than 100. The officials imply
that most of those applicants are people
who came to Nepal are merely economic
migrants in search of a better life.
Human rights activists argue that humanitarian law must prevail and that
Nepal should create infrastructure and,
more importantly, a legal basis to provide shelter to genuine asylum seekers.
Nepal has ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture
that clearly states that no asylum seeker who faces
prosecution back in his native country will be deported.
And according to Article 9 of Nepal Treaty Act, treaty
provision prevails over municipal laws.
JW^fi
They cite the European example where
every asylum seeker receives basic support while his applications are being processed. The process can often be lengthy.
Although the Home Ministry says it
has no precedent to grant shelter to anyone except Bhutanese and Tibetans, the
National Human Rights Commission is
said to have forwarded the Ethiopians'
case to the government for consideration.
"I found their claim very genuine," says
Madhav Gautam of the National Human
Rights Commission. The commission is
now also looking into the cases of other
asylum seekers on humanitarian grounds.
But Home Ministry officials have
given no indication that they
will break precedent and allow
third-country
nationals to take
asylum. "It's up
to the UNHCR
to grant them
refugee status,"
says Home
Ministry Assis
tant Secretary Kabi Raj Khanal, who oversees the refugee unit. "We have no policy
to grant asylum." Without such a policy
asylum seekers are not entitled to shelter or other support while their applications are processed. "It took eight years
to finalize my asylum application," a human right activist quotes a Nepali refugee in Germany as saying.
And it's notjust Nepal that falls short
of its international duty. None of the
seven SAARC countries have signed the
1951 Refugee Convention; the UNHCR
functions on an ad hoc basis throughout
the region. "Sadly we don't have any asylum or refugee laws in Nepal," says
Gopal Siwakoti, widely known as
Chintan, who specializes on humanitarian law and has been fighting for the service parity for the Gurkhas against the
British government in London. "Even
the Bhutanese and Tibetan [refugees']
issues have been guided by government
discretion rather than by policy." Asylum seekers find the going tough even
in countries that are generally supportive of refugees. The 1951 convention
puts the onus on the asylum seeker to
prove that he or she faces a real
threat back in the native country.
Government officials come
up with routine allegations that
many applicants are not genuine
and are merely trying to use
Kathmandu as a transit point to
Europe or other developed
countries. But the Ethiopian and
other refugees, who are in hiding for fear of being arrested for
|   overstaying their visas, plead that
ithey have a genuine fear of persecution in their home countries.
Regardless, Nepali officials say
they will be deported if found.
"If they failed to get refugee status from the UNHCR, they will
be treated as illegal foreigners,"
says the Home Ministry's Khanal.
As conflict intensifies across
the globe, more and more people
will come to Nepal—just as
Nepalis have gone elsewhere for
shelter or in search of better lives.
Until the country ratifies the international refugee convention
and establishes clear policy
guidelines, Nepal's refugee
problem will only grow,  d
27
 Pashup
DEAR OLD
MRIGASTHAU
The temple of Pashupatinath has now added a deer park.
This brings into being what was written on religious scriptures about the holy place.
puja at Pashupati," says Shyam Shekhar
Jha, spokesman of the Pashupati Area
Development Trust (PADT) that initiated
the project along with the King Mahendra
Trust for Nature Conservation
(KMTNC). The project plans to maintain a herd of 34 deer of four different
species—the black buck the spotted deer,
the barking deer and the blue bull. Among
those, the black buck is listed as an endangered species and found only in limited parts of Nepal and India.
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
THE CAUSE IS NOTJUST THE
media blitz during Shivaratri and
Teej. The significance of the
Pashupatinath has always transcended its
physical boundaries. It means something special to Hindu devotees worldwide. For the conservationists, it is also
one ofthe seven World Heritage Sites in
the country.
On Friday, November 19, the
Pashupati area added another feather in
its holy cap. A newly furbished deer park
has been opened in 95 ropanis (nearly
five hectares) of land to raise deer in their
natural habitat.
The project, authorities say, brings to
fruition what had been written in religious scriptures. It is believed that Lord
Shiva disguised himself as a deer, while
his wife Goddess Parvati, worried,
roamed the jungle looking for him. No
wonder, the place was named Mrigasthali,
the abode ofthe deer, and the temple beside it Pashupati, lord ofthe animals. The
area has in fact long been famous as the
abode ofthe monkeys.
"The initiation has been launched
marking the Nepali month of Mangshir
when it is considered extremely holy for
 For the first phase, the trust released
six deer on Friday amid a formal ceremony chaired by the Pashupatinath's
chief pujari, Rawal Srimahabaleshwore
Bhatta. "We will be soon be releasing
more in phases so as to make it easier for
the animals to adapt to the new habitat,"
says Jha. "We have already signed an
agreement with the KMTNC to relocate 20 black bucks, 10 spotted deer, two
barking deer and two blue bulls from
the Central Zoo."
When the first lot of deer were being
released from the rectangular wooden
boxes, the monkeys gathered above the
tall fences and protested loudly to signal
their unhappiness about the newcomers. The caretakers of the deer meanwhile chased the monkeys away snapping unloaded slingshots.
"It is obvious that the monkeys are
wary of the new visitors in the area. But
soon the deer will graze on the grounds
while the monkeys will take to the tree-
tops," a guard from the PADT and now a
deer caretaker assured the journalists
gathered for the park's opening. "In
many cases the monkeys will even pass
leaves from treetops for the deer to feed
on. It will be a living example of a harmonious ecosystem."
Locals told Nation Weekly that the
jungle where the park is now located
between the Pashupati and Guheshwori
temples was earlier famous as a safe haven for drug users and amorous couples.
The Deer Park cost a little over Rs. 1
million, most of it going into fencing
the park and the rest on building a storeroom and premises to feed the deer. According to PADT's member secretary
Basanta Chaudhary, the trust will spend
an estimated Rs. 887,241 for feeding, vaccinations and the upkeep of the deer.
The trust so far has decided not to
allow devotees to enter the fenced area
of the park. Visitors can view the deer
from outside without paying any fee.
Many say it will be interesting to see
how the trust, that has many times come
under fire for alleged mismanaged of
temple earnings made from the devotees, will raise money to maintain the
deer park. Only time will tell whether
the deer will have a blissful life as told in
the scriptures and if Pashupati will come
anywhere close to living up to the legend of Mrigasthali. □
,V   '.   ation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
29
 The Essay
RELIGION
WITHOUT
REASON
What is worrisome is that the impulses behind our religiosity seem to be of a particularly crude kind—similar
to the impulses that prompt people to buy magic potions
and powders from quacks to cure all manners of illnesses
BYADITYA ADHIKARI
WITH THE SEASON OF FESTIVI-
ties, numerous rituals and visits
to temples over, it may be the
right time to take a look at the deficiencies
of religious life in Nepal. Let's begin with
a look at a standard temple, say, Bajrabarahi
or Changunarayan, where we've regularly
worshipped over the past month or so:
Shoes are taken off to enter a dimly lit,
cave-like enclosure where even the presence of a handful of people forms a serious
crowd. There are idols on display: a large,
central one surrounded by other lesser
deities. These figures may have been
crafted with finesse and love. They may be
immensely beautiful to behold, but there
is no way of knowing, for they are plastered with a paste of color and grain that
has dried and formed a thick crust, obscuring the details to such a degree that it
is difficult to even tell what deity the figure represents. We add our own offerings
to the mess: fruits, perhaps, or money. The
whole time we are standing on a thin, sticky
film that covers the floor. The smell ofthe
accumulation of filth around the temple
area mingles with the smell of offerings
inside to form an all-pervading rancidity.
Then we have the greatest of all
temples: Pashupatinath. People throng
outside the main temple on major festivals, pushing and shoving to get to the central enclosure. Once at one ofthe doors
that allow a glimpse ofthe linga in the inner
sanctum, offerings are hurled into the enclosure, quick prayers are said and a quicker
tika received from the pujari in attendance
before being shoved away by the heaving
crowd. How similar to shopping in Ason
this experience is. We might even say that
there is no other culture where religion is
so integral to people's lives that even worship is akin to the daily shopping in the
hubbub of the marketplace.
The problem here is not that our
beautifully crafted temples have become
living pools of squalor and are thus displeasing to the senses. That can be forgiven. What has to be questioned, however, is the religious character of a people
who have learned to equate sanctity with
foul smells and dark interiors, who shove
others aside to gain a sight of the linga at
Pashupatinath, only to make their quick
offerings and hurry home. What is worrisome is that the impulses behind this religiosity seem to be of a particularly crude
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 kind—similar to the impulses that
prompt people to buy magic potions and
powders from quacks to cure all manners of illnesses. The middle-aged woman
who offers a quick prayer and some fruit
at Pashupatinath, we suspect, wants nothing more than the wealth of her family to
increase. The young woman perhaps
prays that the groom her parents have chosen for her is good looking. Even more
disturbing is the worship ofthe more fearsome deities, say, the various Bhairabs
around Ason and Indrachowk. Here worship is to ward off the wrath of these deities, to ward off inner fears. By stuffing
the mouth of the Akash Bhairab with
sweetmeats, by lighting incense before
the Kal Bhairab, the hope is to appease
them, to pull them over to your side so
they stand with instead of against you.
So we have a series of malevolent or
benevolent deities that have to be
appeased or cajoled. The religious
spirit in our culture seems to go
no further than that. In our
temples and modes of worship—
the true values of religion, the values that add substance to life—
are almost non-existent. There is
no contemplation on the self's
place in the world, no awareness
that beyond the self there exists a
world which forms a whole, of
which the individual self is only
a part. Our temples offer no repose that
rejuvenates the self and, to use a classical
Hindu expression, stills the waves of the
heart and mind. The hurried, anxious offerings of vermillion powder and bananas
only signify a pettiness of spirit incapable
of true thought or feeling.
This pettiness is partially caused by
the layout and architecture ofthe temples
themselves. Where is the time and space
required for religious yearning to express itself? All energy is spent getting
in and out of a cave-like enclosure around
which throngs are gathered. There is no
stillness, no solitude.
Here we can learn much from India
where the tremendous social and religious reforms of the 19th and early 20th
centuries helped shape a religion that
accorded with the needs of the present
age. These reformists left their mark on
many aspects of life, including on the
construction of temples and manners
of worship.
The first thing the Nepali visitor
notices is the cleanliness of Indian temples.
It astonishes him, appears like a revelation:
It has never occurred to him that cleanliness could or even should be important at
places of worship. Then he notices how
the inner chamber has been constructed
to minimize waste: The idols are separated
from the public, so one cannot simply
dump offerings on the deity; money offerings are to be placed in a locked donation box, so accumulated funds can go towards the maintenance ofthe temple before being pilfered by the priests.
Most importantly, instead of the tiny,
dark inner sanctum of our temples, they
have a large, quiet carpeted hall where a
host of people can easily assemble in
peace without pushing or shoving. The
importance of this innovation must not
be underestimated: It allows, even en
courages, the prayer and reflection that
stem from the deepest religious yearning. The expansion ofthe temple's inner
chamber leads to the expansion of the
human spirit itself.
The orthodox will of course argue that
these temples were built according to
laws, which if broken will be an assault
on their sanctity. They will argue that our
temples are built in the image of a divinely infused human body and that the
inner sanctum—damp, dark, cave-like—
is meant to be symbolic of the womb,
from where all life emerges. But, as AK
Ramanujan has pointed out in his study
of South Indian Virasaivism: "In history
the human metaphor fades. The model,
the meaning is submerged. The temple
becomes a static standing thing that has
forgotten its originals." Pashupatinath,
thus, as we have seen, constricts rather
than allows for the expression of true religious yearning. No amount of applied
symbolism can reverse the need for con
ditions of worship where a genuine religious spirit can emerge.
Besides, the use of symbolism in our
culture often amounts to little more than
deliberate blindness on the part of defenders of the traditional faith, who go into
contortions to show the absolute validity
of traditional customs and precepts. So we
have a writer who has taken as his task the
justification of the animal sacrifice that
takes place during Dashain: "Strong feeling for sacrifice is [sic] accepted as the
most effective means to reach the higher
stage of Mokshya (Liberation)," he writes.
"[The five animals that are sacrificed:]
water-buffalos, goats, chickens, ducks and
sheep symbolize anger, lust, timidity, apathy and stupidity respectively. One can
reach the perfect stage of self-realization
only when one has full control over all
kinds of human vices and demerits."
_ If only we could gain freedom
from anger and lust by systematically
beheading scores of helpless animals!
It would be more commonsensical
to say instead that such sacrifice does
the opposite of what the writer
claims: That it desensitizes us to
bloodshed and instills in us the appetite for such cruelty thus increasing anger and lust rather then eliminating it. Such blindness that is cultivated in the name of "traditional culture" can only erode whatever powers of rationality we possess.
The list of areas where blindness is
cultivated could go on and on. One last
example: Every old temple has a sign outside that reads: "Only Hindus allowed inside." In reality that means you can only
enter ifyou look subcontinental. By now
Nepalis allow foreigners into their own
homes, even eat with them. But if we consider the temples, it seems that the fear of
the mleccha remains. Those signs seem to
say: 'At least in the matter of religion we
are not yet corrupted." But little is it realized that keeping such restrictions on entry only means the perpetuation ofthe idea
that our Hinduism is a tribal religion, small
in scope, relevant only to the people born
and brought up in this culture. This surely
isn't worthy of a religion that prides itself
on tolerance and assimilation.
Our religion hasn't grown with the
times. By refusing to change, closing ourselves off, we are only condemning ourselves to irrelevancy and ignorance. □
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
31
 Exclusive by Phanindra Raj Silwal
AFTERSHOCKS: Krishnabhir, Dhading, last Tuesday saw a fierce battle between the Maoists and
the security forces. Here the rebels are seen mak-
inga hasty retreat after they had killed five security
personnel.
(1) One of their own died in the encounter
32
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Yeti Airlines
Proposed Revised Flight Schedule
(Covering remote sectors)
Effective from 16 SEP - 31  DEC04
From
To
Flight No.
Days of
Operation
Dep.
Time
Arr.
Time
Rupee
Tariff
One way
Dollar
Tariff
One way
Remarks
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
Lukla
YA111
Daily
0700
0735
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 101
Daily
0705
0740
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA103
Daily
0710
0745
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA105
Daily
0715
0750
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA107
Daily
0840
0915
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 3
Daily
0845
0920
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA109
Daily
0850
0925
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 115
Daily
0855
0930
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 7
Daily
1020
1055
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 9
1,2,4,5,6,7
1025
1100
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
YA901
3
1025
1135
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
YA181
1,3,5
1030
1105
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
YA221
2,4,7
1030
1105
1245
61
DHC-6/300
Manang
YA601
6
1030
1130
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
YA171
Daily
1130
1200
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA173
Daily
1200
1225
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA175
Daily
1400
1425
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA141
Daily
1330
1355
970
55
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA143
Daily
1500
1525
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA301
Daily
0700
0800
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA302
Daily
0705
0805
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA303
Daily
0820
0920
4800
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA151
Daily
0945
1025
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA153
Daily
1430
1510
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA155
Daily
1640
1720
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA131
Daily
0815
0840
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA137
Daily
0955
1020
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA135
Daily
1415
1440
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
YA163
Daily
1555
1630
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
YA121
Daily
1135
1225
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
YA177
Daily
1155
1250
3500
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA152
Daily
1050
1130
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA154
Daily
1535
1615
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA156
Daily
1745
1825
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA132
Daily
0905
0930
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA138
Daily
1045
1110
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA136
Daily
1505
1530
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
Kathmandu
YA164
Daily
1655
1730
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
Kathmandu
YA122
Daily
1250
1340
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
Kathmandu
YA178
Daily
1315
1405
3500
109
SAAB340B
Lukla
Kathmandu
YA 112
Daily
0750
0825
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 102
Daily
0755
0830
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 104
Daily
0800
0835
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA106
Daily
0805
0840
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA108
Daily
0930
1005
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 114
Daily
0935
1010
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 110
Daily
0940
1020
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 116
Daily
0945
1025
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 118
Daily
1110
1145
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA120
1,2,4,5,6,7
1115
1150
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
Kathmandu
YA182
1,3,5
1120
1155
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
Kathmandu
YA172
Daily
1120
1155
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
Kathmandu
YA222
2,4,7
1250
1325
1245
79
DHC-6/300
Manang
Kathmandu
YA602
6
1145
1245
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
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 iversity Visa
HELLO AMERICA
The annual ritual ofthe U.S. Diversity Visa applications
has now started
BYJOHN CHILD
AMERICA IS A LAND OF IM-
migrants: Ninety-nine percent of
Americans are immigrants or have
descended from immigrants. Americans
understand that immigration is the bedrock of the country's greatness. A current American television series on immigrants, "They Made America," is
timed to coincide with the annual Diversity Visa program, a lottery that
awards 50,000 "green cards" each year.
Winners of the lottery who meet the
qualifications receive an immigrant visa
for themselves and their immediate
family and permission to live and work
in the United States permanently.
Last year 2,698 Nepalis won the Diversity Visa lottery and more than 2,000
of them were issued
U.S. immigrant visas and
green cards. Ofthe 196
countries whose residents are eligible for the
lottery—residents of
countries such as India
that send more than
50,000 immigrants to the
United States annually
are not eligible—only
11 countries had more
winners. Nepalis received more than four
percent of the available
green cards even though
they represent less than
one-half of one percent
of the world population.
Bob Farquhar, chief of the consular
section at the U.S. Embassy says that he
loves approving visas for lottery winners, shaking their hands and welcoming them to the United States. But, he
says, "One of the worst things my staff
and I have to do is to disqualify a lottery
winner because he or she is not eligible."
The eligibility requirement clearly
stated in the Diversity Visa lottery information is for 12 years of education or
two years of work experience in a qualifying job (see box). Unstated but equally
important is that the winners must also
be able to pay for plane tickets to the
United States for themselves and their
family and support themselves until they
can find work there.
Embassy officials say there is no fixed
amount of money necessary to meet this
requirement. The amount, they say varies depending on family size and individual circumstances. But the cost is significant: Airplane tickets cost $1,000 per
person or more, and life in the United
States, is expensive. A family of four earning $1,500 per month in America is considered to be in poverty; officials are
likely to expect Diversity Visa winners
to have enough money to support themselves and, if applicable, their families
for several months, unless they have a
job waiting for them on arrival. An
American citizen willing to act as a sponsor is not a requirement, but consular
officials say that it helps: If someone is
willing to support you until you find
work, that will substantially reduce the
amount of money necessary to qualify.
Since last year Diversity Visa applications may only be filed online. Cyber
cafes, copy shops and even the Post Office are offering assistance for a fee to
How to apply
http://travel. state.gov/visa/
immigrants_types_diversity.html
Apply for the DV lottery
http://www.dvlottery.state.gov
Jobs that qualify
http://travel.state.gov/visa/
immigrants_types_diversity4.html
Last year's results
http://travel.state.gov/visa/
immigrants_types_diversity2.html
would-be applicants without a computer
at home. The U.S. government does not
endorse or support any of these service
providers. Using one of them will not
increase the chances of winning, but a
good service provider should be able to
help by explaining the rules and the information required, by converting B.S.
dates to western dates and by scanning
photos or taking new digital photos.
Along with legitimate service providers, there are also frauds and cheats.
Anyone who says they can guarantee
winning the lottery or claiming a better
chance of winning is lying. Beware of
online sites that masquerade as the official application site, sites that charge fees
and ones that offer too-
good-to-be-true deals,
such as free airplane tickets for lottery winners.
Winners are notified by
post with an official letter from the U.S. State
Department. Email messages saying that you have
won the Diversity Visa
lottery or offering a green
card are all fraudulent.
Any solicitation purporting to represent or to
be endorsed by the U.S.
government is a scam.
Timing is important.
Applications for the lottery will only be accepted until January 7, 2005. Last year there was very
heavy demand during the final week,
and many people were unable to access the site or complete their applications. It is a lottery; there's no guarantee. Last year there were more than
six million applicants worldwide for
the 50,000 green cards. But more than
2,000 Nepalis received green cards last
year. This year it could be your turn. □
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
37
 1   A
Sense   Nonsense
M
Post-Election Blues
For those utterly demoralized and humiliated by President Bush's reelection, there are
small consolation prizes	
BY SAM RAT U PADHYAY
After George W. Bush's reelection, along with many others I
thought about leaving America. Canada seemed the most obvious choice—a killer healthcare system, multicultural to boot
and a more welcoming border. No wonder Americans seeking information
on Canada's immigration website increased six-fold after November 3.
For me, though, the cold was a serious off-putter. After spending years in
the cold of northeast Ohio, I was reluctant to hear "windchill factor" again.
More importantly, I didn't want to be accused of having "cut and run," a
charge Bush frequently hurled against Kerry for what the senator allegedly wanted to do with Iraq. I wanted to "stay the course," to be "resolute" like our mandate-gathering President. So here I am, resolutely
bitching and moaning.
That I'm not alone—or crazy, as one is apt to think in Bushworld—has
brought some consolation. The day after the results, a colleague on my
floor wore black in mourning. Another colleague grimly said, "This is the
rise ofthe American Taliban." Another said that it would take him the next
four years to recover from the hurt. A friend in Florida has m     e
worried. In our last email communication a week
before elections she'd wearily confessed to
neglecting her duty as department chair in
order to chauffeur Kerry voters to polling
booths. Now I'm afraid she's barricaded
herself in her room and is eating rice
crispiesfor breakfast, lunch and dinner.
While these folks, myself included, can be
chalked away as whiny academics, whose anti-Bushism
is a given, have some sympathy for trauma specialist
Douglas Schooler's patients in Florida, who flocked to him
for intense hypnotherapy upon hearing about Kerry's defeat. "I had one friend tell me he's never been so depressed
and angry in his life," Schooler said. "I observed patients
threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space.
They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked and devastated."
The news is awash with stories of depression, denial and
anger. A man from Georgia committed suicide at Ground Zero,
the site ofthe World Trade Center terrorist attack. Another
advertised for a street duel: "I would like to fight a Bush
supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery
streak, please contact me so we can meet and physically
fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you. "Actor Vincent
D'Onofrio ofthe popular TV show Law and Order is reportedly "losing it"—passingout on the set, getting into fights—
and becominga royal pain to his fellow actors. Writer Jane
Smiley is clear about what she thinks of those who put Bush
back in the White House: "[Bush and Cheney] are predatory and
resentful, amoral, avaricious and arrogant. Lots of Americans like
and admire them because lots of Americans, even those who don't
share those same qualities, don't know which end is up."
38
Trappedminds.org has this advice: "Ifyou checked John Kerry's name
on the bal lot Tuesday, you may be feeling a little blue right now. Doctors
say that's normal." Tell that to the creator of &%@#thesouth.com. A
page-long tirade against the southern states that voted for Bush, it
contains 42 instances (yes, I counted) ofthe F-word, and it tells Bush
supporters into which orifice they can shove their votes.
For those of us utterly demoralized and humiliated by Bush's victory,
there are small consolation prizes. We'll have four more years of Bush
jokes. They've already started: When Bush claims he has a man-date,
we get to wonder if he's courting the gay population. Second-term
presidencies are usually wracked by scandals—Iran contra affair for
Reagan, Monica Lewinsky for Clinton—so perhaps worse is yet to come?
Although if the lack of WMDs and Abu Ghraib didn't do Bush in, what
will? Certainly not the recent discovery that Cheney has a monstrous
package between his legs, as one photo during a campaign stop in
Milwaukee apparently reveals (no, Cheney is not naked—just sitting on
a ledge with a bulge). If anything, Cheney's largesse has led a Bush
supporter to declare, "All Republican guys are built like that."
Talk about making the Democrats feel small, n
 ^
exercise your freedom
Freedom is a state of mind. Express it the way you
think it. Freedom is a precious gift. Cherish it. Freedom
lives within you. Unleash its spirit.
The Himalayan Times is all about freedom. Freedom of
thought and expression. Freedom of knowledge and
information. Freedom without mental boundaries. Freedom
is calling. Are you up to it?
The Himalayan
A    GREAT    NEWSPAPER
 Opinion
Recycled News
A three-year-old stack of newspapers shows how true it is that there's nothing new under the sun
BYJOHN CHILD
Since nothing happens during festival time," said my journalist
friend, "why bother printing the newspaper?" He's right, of course:
Can you think of anything the government has accomplished in
the last month? For that matter, how about the last six months?
But going without the morning newspapers during Dashain and Tihar
is hard on me. This year while rooting around in my cupboard for something to read in the mornings, I found a weeks' worth of newspapers from
November 2001.1 figured I'd give one a try and checked my horoscope:
"Pressure builds on all fronts. You could lose your patience when dealing
with others." Wow, that's pretty good; at least as applicable today as
three years ago. I kept reading.
To my pleasure, the old news wasjust as satisfying as current news.
In fact, itwas identical. The French are right, at least this once. The more
things change the more they are the same. Given that, it hardly seems
necessary to pay reporters, layout departments and editors at all. In the
spirit ofthe ecology movement and conservation, I suggest we simply
recycle the news and save everyone a lot of time and effort. Here's what
I'd print in tomorrow's recycled newspaper:
Front page: "Melamchi water project delayed" A tussle between
donors, the World Bank and private contractors concerned about security has delayed again the progress on the project to bring an adequate
supply of drinking water into the Kathmandu Valley. Officials now hope
the project can be completed by 2003. (Hmm... have to change that
last item. 2006? 2012? The end ofthe 21st century?)
"Deuba criticizes Maoist remarks" PM Deuba says Prachanda's
latest public comments are a pretext to scuttle efforts to resolve the
insurgency. The government plans tough action against the rebels,
he says. The home and defense ministries issue separate
statements to assert they will go all-out to contain the
Maoists. The prime minister's meeting with the
King is followed by a Cabinet meeting,
which adjourns without reaching any
decision. Girija Prasad Koirala
is said to be in favor of crushing the Maoists. (Or is that
"in favor of crushing the
prime minister"?)
"Maoists attack police
posts" The Maoist rebels launched
fresh attacks on police posts and set
fire to a government office in
Makwanpur. A bomb damaged the
district administration office in
Hetauda. A standoff continues over
the Maoists' demand for a constituent
assembly and the prime minister's refusal
to consider the proposal.
Business: "Transport safety act needed" The
minister of labor inaugurated a four-day interaction of
safety and health experts with a call to introduce a transport safety act to
reduce road accidents that kill and injure thousands annually. He called
for cooperation from the industry and asked the meeting participants for
creative and concrete suggestions. He said that the Cabinet is considering forming a high-level commission to study the issue. (A big step forward!)
"Government asks media to refrain from criticism" The government has asked the media not to publish any report that demeans the
security forces or reports on terrorist activity. The information and communications minister reminded the media that the newly promulgated
Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Ordinance requires that expressions of
views must take place without infringing on security. This will in noway
curtail people's right to information,' the minister said.
International: "Bhutanese refugees close to repatriation" The
Nepal-Bhutan joint refugee verification office has verified 10,765 persons from the Khudunabari refugee camp in Jhapa. The verification
process will be completed within 16 days, says the chairman of the joint
verification team. With verification complete, repatriation can begin soon,
he says. (Right...)
"Indian PM offers assistance to fight rebels" India has offered
Nepal 'whatever assistance is required' in its fight against the Maoist
rebels, the ministry of external affairs said on Wednesday. The offer was
made bythe Indian prime minister duringa phone call to King Gyanendra.
The Royal Nepal Army has apparently requested its Indian counterpart
to expedite supply of military equipment including attack helicopters,
ammunition, armored vehicles and other military hardware. (Again...)
Editorial: "A new approach" The ceasefire is over, but Maoist
supremo Prachanda has left the door open for talks, putting the ball in the government's court. The government will now come under tremendous pressure. This could cast a shadow on the
future ofthe Deuba government.
What is required is a consensus between the Palace, the government
and opposition forces
to ensure the fundamental freedoms of the
people and enduring peace in
the country. This calls for a new,
bold approach, free from past inhibitions.
Sports: "Super sixes tourna-
menf'Sixteen teams will contest the
Soaltee Crowne Plaza Super Six
cricket tournament. The tournament
has attracted top corporate teams for three
days of'No work and all play'
What a wonderful slogan! With this wealth of perfectly good second-hand news lying around, why should
anyone work? Let's go green and recycle! □
40
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 as
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... q/ter sunset,
waiting for the sunrise
CLUB HIMALAYA
Nagarkot
tel. 6680045-48/80/83 I club@mos.com.np I www.nepalshotel.com
Hotel Ambassador, Lazimpat, Kathmandu I tel. 4410432/4414432 I acehotels@acehotels.com.np
^|l|1!llnf:ll:V/:l
^ACE HOTELS 6 RESORTS
tel. 6680045-48/80/83  |  club@mos.com.np  | www.nepalshotel.com
 Shiva Shankar's demise has brought to a
close an important chapter in the history
of Nepali music. But his life's work has
opened many more.
BY INDRA ADHIKARI
Shiva Shankar Manandhar, who has influenced virtually
every aspect of Nepali music for 50 years, died of lung
cancer last week. He was 72. During the past four decades, his name has probably been mentioned more often in
books, journals, lectures and conversations about Nepali music than any other musician. His music was both patriotic and
sentimental—among the most touching songs of his generation—and spoke to people of all ages. If he is remembered by
posterity it will be for his contribution to the development of
Nepali music while preserving its heritage and originality.
Shiv Shankar's co-workers describe him as a man of destiny and remarkable generosity, someone who was down-to-
earth and deeply committed to his work. Premdhoj Pradhan
recalls the days when Shiv Shankar would work for a week to
give a song one final touch. He was even stubborn and demanding with words, forcing them to do as he willed. He
worked odd hours; he worked without food. He would refuse
to meet visitors without an appointment.
Those who have associated with him closely say he was
a man with an impeccable sense of timing, in his music and
his work. His habit of sticking firmly to a schedule helped
him build Radio Nepal, which had just been formed when
he joined it in 2007 B.S. There was fierce competition for
positions there, as it was the only medium at the time that
reached the general public. Radio Nepal attracted great talent but also needed an able person to coordinate and manage it. Shiv Shankar proved to be the right person for the
position.
Commercial music in Nepal was in its infancy when Shiv
Shankar started his career. Except for a few performances on
public stages, there was little opportunity for music to grow.
Indian music enjoyed a dominant position. Promoting Nepali
music to new heights was the goal; Radio Nepal became the
The End Of An Era
I     U£t
', h
*   i
 medium, and Shiv Shankar became the model. He was an impresario, producer, composer and arranger who did much to
expand the popularity of Nepali music.
According to Pradhan, Shiv Shankar was the father of the
adhunik geet, the modern Nepali song. The trend he started led
to the revolution in the music industry and eventually to the
rise of pop music that has won the hearts of youngsters. In his
four decades of service to Radio Nepal, Nepali music grew
into full flower. In the beginning, when there were only lok
geet, folk songs. The introduction of modern styles drew criticism, but Shiv Shankar eventually won listeners over. His fans,
music lovers and aspiring musicians sent him letters: He replied to all with handwritten responses that were invariably
positive and encouraging.
Shiv Shankar always favored change. He encouraged emerging artists and promoted music, even pop songs, always stressing originality and musical roots. He was fond of using the
newest technologies available to make the work easier and the
music better. He taught his proteges fairness and loyalty, concentration and dedication to their work.
Shiv Shankar's career began in his late teens; he joined
Radio Nepal at 19, along with Koili Devi, Natikaji, Pannakaji,
Hari Prasad Rimal and Bhairab Bahadur Thapa. His first song,
"Yo Kholako Pani, Euta Rumal Dhundaima Din Jane," was
recorded in 2015 B.S. in Mumbai. In 2021 B.S. Shiv Shankar
played the lead role in "Aama," the first film made in Nepal.
Although he did not act in any other film, the exposure advanced his career, and he, in turn, worked to advance the
Nepali film industry. Shiv Shankar wrote the music for more
than 1,200 songs, sang more than 300 of those and composed
music for
more   than   a
dozen     films.
For his contribution   he  was
showered   with
many laurels, the
most   recent   of
those     was     the
Natikaji Memorial
award, which was
presented   to   him
just days before his
death.
Shiv Shankar was
not motivated by personal    success    and
cared little for money.
He was simple, quiet
and shy.  He liked to
dress in simple clothes;
his favorite dress was a
brown safari suit. He was
known to enjoy a drink
and was a heavy smoker.
The lung cancer that killed
him was probably a result
of smoking, even though he
quit the habit three years ago
at the request of his friends.
He was very devout, passing most mornings in his
prayer room.  Until recent
years a walk in the mornings
was a part of his daily schedule,
and he was active in his neighborhood in Kalimati.
Shiv Shankar was born to Man
Bahadur and Ram Maya on Falgun
12,   1989  B.S.   on  the  day  of
Shivaratri,   at   New   Road   in
Kathmandu.    He   attained   his
bachelor's degree in music from
Kalanidhi Indira Sangeet
Mahavidhyalaya and then devoted
himself to his chosen career. In his
41 years of service at Radio Nepal,
Nepali music grew into full bloom.
Hundreds of his students followed his
lead: The strength and variety of Nepali
music today will give peace to his departed soul.
On the last day of Tihar, at around six in the evening, Shiv
Shankar passed away at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital. His
three sons, Gauri, Ravi and Shashi, performed his last rites at
Aryaghat on Monday evening, the day following his death. Shiv
Shankar's demise has brought to a close an important chapter
in the history of Nepali music. But his life's work has opened
many more.  □
43
 CHY TTiisWeek
On November 29, 2003,
Nepal experienced an unprecedented musical event:
Peace Project - A Thamel
Street Dance Music Festival. Partynepal and Funky
Buddha Bar and Cafe organized Nepal's first open air
dance event and the messages were simple: peace,
harmony and a good time. A
20,000-plus crowd danced all
afternoon without missing a
beat. Thamel had been divided into Zone 1 and Zone
2. Zone 1 pumped out hip
hop, R&B, pop and house,
while drum & bass and psy
trance poured out of Zone
1.
This year the party is going to get bigger and better.
Along with Nepal's DJs, DJ
Nissan, DJ Zion, DJ Sick
Freak, DJ Ankit, DJ Bhatte,
DJ Mahesh, DJ Jital and Salil
on Didge, and British DJs
Bee and Chloe's Husband
will also be performing. At
the open streets of Thamel.
Date: November 27. Time: 2
p.m. onwards.
November
Medley
ART
EXHIBITIONS
This exhibition features a rare collection of paintings and sculptures by some of Nepal's most senior artists and eminent painters. It also includes drawings, tapestries and textile wall hangings by resident foreign artists. Artists: Dil Bahadur Chitrakar,
Durga Baral, Govinda Dongol, Jagdish Chitrakar, Kama
Narsingh Rana, Kiran Manandhar, Lain Singh Bangdel,
Lorraine Lamothe, Meredith Lama, Prakaash Chandwadkar,
Ragini Upadhya, Seema Shah, Shashikala Tiwari, Sharada
Chitrakar, Thakur Prasad Mainali, Uma Shankar Shah, Yuki
Shirai. Date: November 10 to December 1. Venue: Siddhartha
Art Gallery, Babar Mahal Revisited. For information: 4218048.
Photo Session
Photo Concern announces it
offer for the festive season.
Take along the Photo Concern Free Photo Shoot advertisement cutting available in
the daily newspapers and get
a free photo shoot during I
Dashain and
Tihar. _ij^  ^m
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
Kl every one hour game
paid, one bottle of
wine for six continuous strikes, Rs. 5000
worth of carpet for
scores above 280 and
finally the top scorer
of the month gets
lunch for two at the
U
-
D      L      I      S      H      E
District Development PROFILE of NEPAL 2004
COVlRAOi
Divided mainly or three parts,
rhe pjblicutirMi coven
L Hafanl i. Dhfrlrts HI. MunkipalillBi
1130 Pages
District Section includes-
District Maps /Development Indicators of Each District /VDC data on
Population & Infrastructure /District wise database on-
Topography, Demography, Household Characteristics, Economic Activities, Social Characteristics,
Agricuhura, Irrigation, Forest, Co-operatives, 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
litfafwJ SicUr hn w* t ftudr U^MKfc Haiihft *B*mo*4*, H*t»m; 44H3M/ E—ft Utomd^nHMKMtJ HtkO* trttpgVitwwittK.^     |
44
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
Revolving Restaurant and
three months of free subscription from Nation
weekly magazine. Till November 30.
Cine Club
Movie: Simple Mortel. Director: Pierre Jolivet. Starring: Philippe Volter. At the
Alliance Francaise,
Tripureshwore. Date: December 5. Time: 2 p.m. For
information: 4241163.
HeyDJM
British Council and Hotel
Yak and Yeti present Hey DJ,
featuring DJ Bee and DJ
Chloe's Husband. Witness
the latest club beats and enjoy a range of scrumptious cuisines
and
the biggest buzz
ever. At the Hotel Yak and
Yeti. Date: November 26.
Time: 8 p.m. onwards. Tickets: Rs.1199 (inclusive of dinner and unlimited drinks.)
For information: 4148999.
Beatles Mania
At St. Xavier's Godavari
School. Date: November 27.
Time: 1 p.m. Ticket: Rs.100.
For information: 4414785
ONG    NG
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
'cuu.mu
"The r 'e for the
you ever had'
LAIANA RESTAURANT
Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
Kathmandu, Nepal
tel. 4413874
Parking facilities available
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
45
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E-mail: dormeuil@wlink.com.np
 'U
L^
1
d dtii
rOGE
The urban population is rediscovering yoga, which has
been part and parcel of Hindu culture for thousands of
years. Pity it took television to show us the magic.
BY YASHAS VAIDYA
For Pranab Lai Shrestha, television
had always been the "idiot box," a
wasteful indulgence. From the
time cable television hit Kathmandu big
time, in the mid-1990s, he had gone
against the wishes of his family: He did
not want cable in his home. A few
months ago, Shrestha had a change of
heart. The cause? He watched "Divya
Yoga" that was aired by Aastha channel.
Shrestha, 54, had been suffering from
numbness in his limbs, chest pains and
generally had a feeling of "un-wellness."
He had shopped around for medical
treatment and spent tens and thousands
of rupees on doctors and pills that made
ifestyle
him "positively drowsy." His condition
went from bad to worse.
Two months ago, he decided to try
something different. A few relatives introduced him to Swami Ramdev's program on Aastha. Swami Ramdev is a well-
known figure in India and now increasingly in Nepal thanks to Aastha. He has
made yoga both accessible and visible.
Tens of thousands watch his early-morning TV program that starts at 5:45 and
thousands more flock to the weeklong
camps that he holds in different parts of
India.
Shrestha, too, decided to join the
ranks of Ramdev's television disciples.
"Unlike before, when I used to go to
sites, I stay at office most ofthe day," says
Shrestha, an engineer and administrator,
"and after I return home there's always
something to do on the computer." That
had been gone on for a number of years
and was beginning to take its toll. With
Ramdev and yoga, Shrestha began to feel
good.
More and more people, most of them
middle-aged urbanites who have found
their lifestyle troubling are turning to
Meeting point.
 yoga with renewed vigor. Yoga,
meaning union in Sanskrit,
has roots that trace back thousands of years—to the Vedas
and the Upanishads, some say.
The Kathaa Upanishad says
that yoga is the control of the
senses. What most people today associate with the word
"yoga" is in fact a sub-class—
hatha yoga, which attempts to
balance mind and body
through asanas, physical exercises through postures;
pranayam, controlled breathing; and the calming of the
mind through meditation and
relaxation. This is the form
that has gained immense
popularity in the west in recent years and now in our part
of the world too.
Many like Shrestha are
beginning their day early to practice yoga,
as espoused by Swami Ramdev in his
program every morning. Instructional
video CDs are also popular. Some practice pranayam, controlled breathing.
Breathing exercises like analom bilom and
kapal bhati, many have found, lessen the
effect of diabetes, correct blood pressure imbalances and help them lose
weight. These are equally appealing to
those who want a quick fix. From simple
headaches to migraines, yoga, say practitioners, has a cure for every ailment—
arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes.
The list is long.
With all the miraculous healing powers    attrib
uted to yoga, the reason behind its therapeutic value might not be so complicated
after all. Some say it is simply the control of mind over the body and that with
yoga that ability to control one's bodily
functions increases. Researchers have
found that regular exercise, and the subsequent increase in physical fitness that
results, alters serotonin levels in the
brain and leads to improved mood and
feelings of well-being. Serotonin modulates mood, emotion, sleep and appetite.
A study at the Duke University Medical
Centre compared the effects of exercise
and drug therapy in treating depression
the elderly. The study
found that medication when combined
with exercise was the most effective.
But the effect of yoga on the unfit
urban population might have as much to
do with the psychological as much as the
physical. Ask people like Shrestha and
they'll tell you they feel a lot better "having done something for your health."
Yoga promotes that sense of well-being.
Take Padma Baral, 46, who is definitely feeling better after
a little over three months
on the yoga regimen. It
balanced her blood pressure (from 90/60 to 110/
80), even while she lost
six kilograms. A
half       an
'A
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 of yoga everyday made the
Gaushala resident feel a lot
better about herself and also
helped cure gynecological
and arthritic problems that
had been plaguing her for
years. She recently brought
a number of books on yoga,
which she eagerly shares
with visitors to her house.
Yoga has become a part of her
lifestyle, a lifestyle more and
more people are choosing.
Late last month, she and her
husband,
w another
yoga
practitioner, made the 15-hour trip
from Gorakhpur to
Haridwar, the ashram of
Swami Ramdev. On the train
they were traveling, they
found    nearly   40    other
Nepalis headed in the same
direction.
Television has played a
major role in the yoga's
newfound popularity. The
Aastha channel is a regular
fixture on television sets on
early mornings in a number
of Kathmandu households.
There is a huge market for
such programs, say the cable
operators. "It would be impossible to switch off the
channel for even a day," says
Sudhir Parajuli, the chief executive officer of SUBISU
network, testifying to
Aastha's popularity in
Kathmandu.
You can say that yoga has
finally returned home to the
Orient where it started. The
irony is that it took a decidedly western medium, the
television, to do that. Q
Say good bye
toABFLABS
:,l winf ■   ■.
(his'I I I '
LD1NG
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that truly celebrates
the voice of
the Nepali Woman'
Renchin Yonjan
Social Architect
'Everything I've wanted
from a woman's magazine
in Nepal... issues, society,
fashion, beauty, glamour,
fun and great events
to participate in.'
Urvashi Rana
Teacher
VOW is about self expression
and individuality. I have read it
cover to cover, and enjoyed it
immensely. It is great to see
so many inspirational
women in one magazine.'
Debbie Rana
Executive Secretary
From the publishers of
l»kfcl
VOICE OF WOMEN - POWER TO CREATE CHANGE
The first full colour English
Women's Magazine in Nepal
nation weeKiy  |   i\iuvmv1BER 28,  2004
Fantastic introductory offer.....
Get 12 issues for the price of 10 (NRs. 500) including delivery
to subscribe call: 4781153,
G.RO. Box: 2294, Kathmandu, subscription@vow.com.np
 Paying Golf
1 Nepal's mild climate allows golf to be played
/     throughout the year, giving those planning a golf
i^- trip plenty of opportunities to tee off We should
give it a shot.
BY SUDESH SHRESTHA
olf is not the first sport that
springs to mind when you think
c
V^_^ about a sport with fan following
in Nepal. But visit the clubhouse of the
Royal Nepal Golf Club, the sport's oldest club in the country which sits next
to Kathmandu airport, on a weekend and
you will see the course abuzz with
Nepalis.
Says Prachanda Bahadur Shrestha,
honorary treasurer at the club, "Once
seen as the domain ofthe Rana families
and expatriates, golf is increasingly having a more general appeal."
The game, one of the more expensive forms of recreation, is still dominated by players from a higher socioeconomic bracket. And it is unlikely to
match other mass sports like football or
cricket anytime soon, perhaps never.
But Shrestha believes golf promises a
lot, in terms of tourism, that no other
sports can even come close to.
Indeed, the international growth of
golf suggests the world's oldest organized
sport has become one ofthe most popular recreational sports. According to
KPMG Consulting, an international firm,
the golf travel industry, worth an estimated $10 billion per annum, is by far
the largest sports-related tourism industry. In the past its growth has outstripped
that of general tourism, and the industry
is estimated to grow at a rate higher than
the GNP of major economies.
The attraction of a golfing holiday is
obvious, which according to travelers
also offers them an added bonus; it is
cost efficient. For instance, in the case
of golfers from Japan or Hong Kong, it
can be cheaper to fly to Thailand or Viet-
50
nam to play on a championship golf
course than to play at home.
No wonder, then, that countries in
South East Asia are placing more im
portance on strategic and financial planning in an effort to emphasize the business side of golf courses, typically located at resort locations. They have developed strategies to attract golf groups,
offering packages including three to four
days of golf at a variety of courses.
Nepal's mild climate allows golf to
be played throughout the year, giving
those planning a golf trip plenty of opportunity to tee off on a highly rated golf
course. Ifyou are lucky enough you can
even savor the beauty ofthe Himalaya as
your trudge up and down the scenic
slopes.
The Gokarna Forest Golf Resort has
already initiated such packages since 1999.
It receives around 300 guests each year.
■fr*
*H*
,,..t.
J|^flHil
e
a
f-
■y
71
 While most of the golf travelers come
from neighboring India, there are also
Malaysians, Koreans, Europeans and
Japanense—who never seem to get
enough of it. Their average daily expense
amounts to $200.
However, for the resort rated as the
best golf course in the region by Golf
Digest, a popular golf magazine in its
November 2003 edition, that number
falls far short of its daily catering capacity of 150. The resort boasts Nepal's first
and only 18-hole championship golf
course designed by Gleneagles Golf Developments of Scotland and also a 100-
room Le Meridien five-star boutique
hotel under management agreement with
Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts.
LUSH GREENS: The Gokarna
golf course
As with anything else now in Nepal,
the unstable political situation remains
the number one deterrent to the
country's golfing success. The club's professional golfer Deepak Acharya also
points to other factors that force a prospective golf traveler to divert his attention away from Nepal.
"Most avid golf travelers prefer to play
on a variety of courses," Acharya explains.
'As there aren't many of those around, many
of them turn to other destinations like Thailand, India, Sri Lanka." Fulbari Resort Golf
Course, Himalayan Golf Club and Nirvana
Country Club are other courses in the country that admit visitors for play.
Some in the travel business lament that
this potential lies largely untapped due to
<£
inability of concerned authorities to formulate appropriate marketing strategies.
Others suggest that the organizations that
are responsible in managing big-time international professional golf tournaments
should be mobilized in promoting Nepal
as a golf destination.
As the thriving Asian Tour spreads its
wings across the far reaches ofthe continent, countries like Malaysia and Vietnam are banking on exciting tournaments with rich cash prizes. Earlier this
month Vietnam successfully organized
the Carlsberg Masters with prize money
of $200,000, attracting some of the best
professionals from the Asian Tour.
Closer home, India invited some of
the hotshots of golf world, including the
world's number one professional golfer
Vijay Singh at the BILT Skins Trophy
last week. Young emerging English golf
prodigy Justin Rose won the trophy and
$42,000. Over 100,000 people, including
foreigners, paid IRs. 600 to catch a
glimpse of the world-class players at the
DLF Gold and Country Club on the
outskirts of New Delhi.
Although, Nepal's annual golfing calendar now features more than 20 tournaments, only the Surya Nepal Masters invites professional players from outside.
The Nepal Tourism Board laments
that tourism is too diverse to focus on
one particular program. "But our tourism promotional campaign is perpetual,"
insists Aditya Baral, chief of Public Relations at the board.
Baral, who together with representatives of the Nepal Association of Tour
Operators attended the Arabian Travel
Mart in Dubai last May, acknowledges
Nepal's potential to be a golfing destination. "We received a good response
there," he says, calling for concerted efforts from the private sector rather than
banking on their own "cacophonous"
ways. "We've got to develop something
like a basket plan," he adds. "Then it
would be easier for us formulate tailor-
made plans and programs."
Surely, a concerted effort is what it
will take if we are to put Nepal on the
international golfing map. For now, we
should agree that it is better to bring in
more high-end tourists who spend $200
a day than making up mere numbers with
backpackers. But of course backpackers
are most welcome too. □
51
 Snapshots
BY DHRITI BHATTA
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PARESH LOHANI has been a huge asset to Nepali cricket. The opening batsman, who made his national debut in 2000
at the age of 20, is the only player to score
back-to-back centuries in the domestic
league. The thin icing on the young Lohani's V
career came recently when the selectors gave
him the nod to lead the national team for the
Fast Track Countries' Tournament in Hong Kong.
Lohani however would like to forget his Hong
Kong experience. After playing reasonably well
for the first two days, Nepal gave away the initiative to Hong Kong on the final day. Lohani is not
one to be fazed, though. Already he is looking
forward to the ICC Qualifier Tournament slated
for February 2005. "I think we had a fairly satisfactory outing in Hong Kong," says Lohani. 'We now need to
work on the team's weaknesses." The top five teams
from the ICC Qualifier Tournament will fight for a
place in the 2007 World Cup.
CHINESE
EXAMPLE
LIQUN JIN, a senior Asian Development Bank official,
was in town last week. He had his task cut out,
though: Explain to Nepal, mired in a deepening
conflict, the value of peace. Jin, a former Chinese
minister did a pretty good job in the end. He related Nepal's current situation with that ofthe 1960
China when the Cultural Revolution left a whole
generation of Chinese without basic education.
Daredevil
Last week, those watching Nepal 1 saw some gory war
footage. Hundreds of Maoists were on a rampage in
Krishnabhir, bang on the Prithvi Highway. Everyone wondered who the person behind the daredevil camerawork
was. It turned out to be PHANINDRA RAJ SILWAL, a reporter with the TV channel. On his bike, on the day of a
banda, he had in fact assumed that the 200-odd people he
encountered on the highway were Army personnel in their
combat fatigue. That is, until he talked to them. When
he explained to the Maoist commander, Pratichya,
that he was a reporter and would air the footage,
the commander duly obliged. Well, not everyone
was pleased with his heroics. Space Time yanked
Nepal 1 out of its cable network, saying that the
footage had glorified the Maoists.
NOVEMBER 28
nation weekly
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(A joint venture of State Bank of India, India's Premier Bank)
tr
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We invite dynamic enthusiastic, highly motivated
and experienced personnel to work together with
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Responsible for conducting Internal Audit of Bank's branches/offices and ensuring compliance of statutory regulations and directives of Central Banking
Authority. The candidate must have requisite knowledge of audit functions;
accounting standards/procedure; taxation laws in Nepal; and laws/regulations
related to banking. He/She should have experience in similar functions, preferably in a Bank, for at least 4 years.
Qualification: Chartered Accountant
Age : Not more than 36 years (As on 1st Mangsir 2061)
Only Nepali citizen are eligible to apply:
Interested candidates meeting the criteria mentioned above may apply within
11th Mangsir 2061 mentioning the position applied for, along with a copy of
citizenship certificate, a passport size photograph and Curriculum Vitae at the
under noted address.Papers and certificates need not be enclosed only
shortlisted candidates will be called for the interviews. Selected candidates
will be fitted in the scale of Officer/Assistrant Manager/Deputy
Manager,depending on his/her suitability for the position
Nepal SBI Bank Ltd,
Corporate Office, Post Box No:6049,
Hattisar, Kathmandu
The Bank reserves the right to reject to application without assigning any reason whatsoever.
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
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nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
55
 Lamjung to Leeds
From Lamjung to Leeds, Surya Prasad Subedi has
had an incredible journey. Born in the village of
Khudi, where he in fact also completed his high
school, Subedi moved west only in the 1980s, finally
completing his doctorate in international law from the
University of Oxford in 1993. A recent recipient of the
Order of the British Empire, Subedi is now professor at
the School of Law, University of Leeds. A member of
various legal professional bodies in Britain, Subedi was in town recently. He
spoke with John Narayan Parajuli about
his impressive career and the growing
number of Nepalis in Britain.
Why were you given the Order of the
British Empire?
For my contribution to international
law, according to the speech by British
Foreign Minister Jack Straw. I believe
this credit was given to me in due recognition of my work. This is also indicative of the fact that wherever you are if
you work with devotion, recognition
will come. This might be inspiring to
others as well.
You have an impressive career-graph.
From Lamjung High School to Leeds.
How do you look back at your journey?
It has been a difficult journey. I had to
work my way up the hard way. When I
was in Lamjung, I had never thought that  ■
one day I would get this far. But I have
always believed in hard work. My hard
work has paid off. It's not that I haven't
tasted failure. But when I look back, I
am glad that I have come this far. But I
also feel that I have a lot more to achieve.   ■
I have ambitions to make both the national and international communities
better. I am an academic and my contribution would be to explore ideas, disseminating and imparting knowledge.
What has been your single most important asset?
My ruthless determination and single-
minded devotion to achieve my goals.
And also the support I have received
T
from my family, both my parents and my
wife. In the beginning, I was not as focused a person as I am now. It took me
some time to concentrate my energies
on my goals. I would spend a lot of my
time pursuing diverse interests. Being
able to focus on things means so much
in life, especially in this era of specialization.
You've been living in Britain. There is
relatively a large Nepali community
there but it hasn't been able to make
its presence felt. Why is that?
The Nepali community is still small. An
informal estimate puts it at 30,000. The
Nepali community has earned some
name in the catering business. There are
a number of good and reputed doctors.
But in terms of huge economic prosperity, Britain is a well-regulated and
established society, and you can't make
your mark quickly there. People who
The easiest way out
would be to amend the
Constitution
have done well elsewhere in countries
like the United States have benefited
from the huge political and economic
potential of these countries.
A lot of Nepali students go to Britain
for studies too...
"Yes they do. And the figure I have attributed also includes these students. By the
way, I am the chairman of the British
Nepal Academic Council, which helps
researchers from both Nepal and Britain. We also have established an interactive London Discussion Group to encourage Nepali students to come together to discuss various issues.
Talking of various issues, you have
been a legal and constitutional expert,
what do you think would be the right
approach to resolve Nepal's political
crisis?
The quickest and easiest way out would
be to amend the Constitution and hold
elections as soon as possible. Article 116
must be amended to accommodate the
Maoist demands within the framework
of the present Constitution. I believe
this would be the more pragmatic approach. Of course it is going to be difficult. The challenge is how to persuade
the people. Reinstatement ofthe House
of Representatives as demanded by
some doesn't seem legally viable to me.
But then again it would be more of a
political decision if it were to be reinstated.
Do you think the framers of the Constitution failed to foresee the potential problems ahead, and thus we in a
mess 14 years later?
Not necessarily. They did their best at
the time. Law is always evolving. The
present Constitution addressed the reality of that time. Implementation and
interpretation hasn't been in the true
spirit of the document. The political
leadership failed to understand it properly. Even the Supreme Court failed to
provide effective leadership. It failed to
be consistent.  □
X
56
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Books
Guru Of History
An outspoken critic of namesake historians, Pant asserted
our history was inaccurate
BY BISWAS BARAL
Until the rise of Nayaraj Pant,
"Itihas Siromani" Baburam
Acharya was arguably the most
acclaimed Nepali historian. When Pant
hit the scene in the mid-90s, he revolutionized the way Nepali history was read
and understood. Even Acharya stood
corrected time and again through Pant's
meticulous analyses and astute arguments.
In his latest book "Nayaraj Pant:
Smriti Ra Spandan," a collection of
memoirs and other articles, the editor
Shesh Raj Shiwakoti, a law graduate and
a student of literature, puts together the
views of people from different backgrounds on the life and works of Pant.
This is Shiwakoti's fourth book on the
noted historian.
An outspoken critic of the namesake
historians, who have "hijacked" Nepali
history by making unscrupulous assumptions, Pant asserted our history, as narrated by the likes of Keshar Badhur K.C.,
Surya Bikram Gyawali, Bal Chandra
Shrama and Bhairab Badhur Pradhan, was
inaccurate.
Pant also, through his methodical
analysis of countless archives, proved
many foreign historians on Nepal wrong.
Nepal's history, Pant established, had
been manhandled by foreign writers,
who interpreted history to grind their
own axes. The British, for example,
lauded escapees and defeated generals
like Amar Singh Thapa and Balabhadra
Kunwar in the western regions of Killa
and Kangara, while ignoring our more
courageous and victorious generals in the
east. Our own historians failed to see the
subtle diplomacy of the British in play,
writes Gauri Bahadur Karki, one of the
contributors to Shiwakoti's book.
Purging our history of inaccuracies
and inconsistencies may hence be Pant's
biggest contribution to our society. He
was not just a distinguished historian,
though, but also a famous astrologer, a
mathematician, a teacher, a Sanskrit
fMfttfl
scholar, a poet and a researcher. The
Ithihas Samsodhan Mandal, the History
Amendment Committee, was also his
brainchild. The committee, with the
help of evidence drawn from careful
deductions from archives, refuted the
claims of many bogus historians and put
forward the corrected versions of history through their various publications.
Jagadish Chandra Regmi, one of Pant's
biggest critics, looks at all this a bit differently. He deems Pant a rabble-rouser
of the often-incendiary amendment
committee, the members of which frequently took to the streets of Ason and
Indrachowk to disavow the claims of
other historians. But such criticisms are exceptions rather
than the rule.
The common sentiment is that the state and
most Nepalis are yet to realize the true worth of
Pant's works, and nothing
important has been done
to keep alive his legacy of
approaching   critically
what has been handed
down to us in the name
of     history.      Author
Guanath Paudel, in his
recently published book
"Aushi Ko Raat," laments
the treatment Pant received upon his death:
Not a single high-ranking government official
was present during his
last rites in Aryaghat. And
only a handful came to
pay their tributes. Pant
died on November 4, 2002 (Kartik 18,
2059).
Pant was blunt and always spoke his
mind. Maybe, he made more enemies
than friends due to his unswerving penchant for truth. When two students he'd
failed in astrology passed in first division from the Tribhuvan University, he
lambasted the university authorities
rather than hush things up as urged. And
Nayaraj Pant: Smriti Ra Spandan
Edited by: Shesh Raj Shiwakoti
Gyangun Sahitya Pratishtan
PRICE: Rs. 100
PAGES: 204
.L
fed up of the bureaucracy at play in the
most hallowed of our institutions, he
later resigned from the university examination board.
Some moot questions about Pant's
convictions, often verging on dogmatism, are also raised in the book. Pant
had categorically refused to teach a female student in a Sanskrit school (now
Balmiki Campus). Pant, a widower, reasoned that he had sworn to never come
close to another woman. He was a fervent supporter of rote learning and held
that true education is not possible without memorizing old sastras by heart. He
denounced every form of "foreign education."
Pant had little belief in formal education. He himself was largely self-educated. He supported the gurukul system
of learning. Amazingly, his disciples,
who were educated in the gurukul in his
house and are without
degrees, teach the doctorate level students at
universities—only because they were once
under the auspices of
Nayaraj Pant. He was
awarded an honorary
doctorate (D. Lit.) by
Tribhuvan University in
2057 B.S.
Most of the 42 chapters in the book make for
an interesting read. The
tiring ones are the interviews of the members of
the Pant household—all
routine and dull. Some
chapters are so obfuscating
that unless you have a
hands-on knowledge of
Sanskrit, you cannot make
head from tail. And, the letters to Pant, by some famous personalities, serve no
particular purpose.
But Pant's contribution is universally
recognized. In his memoir in "Nayaraj
Pant: Smriti ra Spandan," Surendra KC.
about sums up the pervasive feeling
throughout the book: "If the retrieval of
various archives and the amendments
made by the amendment committee [under Nayaraj Pant] are removed form the
annals of Nepali history, nothing remains." □
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 28, 2004
57
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That's Not Good Enough
It's not always easy to verify claims
made by opposing parties. More so,
in times of war. The stakes are so high
in making the public believe your version of the story that governments (and
rebel forces in case of an internal conflict) go to great lengths to court (or confuse) the media.
For their part, the media, especially
the breaking news variant who have little
time to sort out the conflicting claims,
stick to the tried-and-trusted rule of
thumb: attribution. Claims made by both
sides to a conflict are duly attributed, and
independent sources, whenever they are
available, are brought into the fold to put
claims and counter-claims into perspective. When claims made by the opposing
sides are markedly different and verifying them impossible, another tried-and-
trusted appendage is cleverly tucked in
the news: "The claims could not be in-
dependently
verified."
Although
most seasoned
reporters covering hard
news—deaths,
accidents, fires,
floods, combats, encounters, etc.—develop news
along these
conventional
lines to avoid
controversies
(and costly lawsuits), their be-
hind-the-scene quest for facts which
shed light on often-murky turns of events
seldom ends. And so much the better.
The public deserves a fool-proof picture.
In Nepal, countless encounters between the security forces and the
Maoists take place outside the media
purview. But journalists are not always
able to present a clear picture even when
events unfold right under their own
nose. Several factors are responsible.
First, due to the resource constraints
news organizations don't have reporters
ready on the ground; second, even when
they are present, the reporters become
victims of obfuscation, at best, or outright intimidation, at worst. A number
of journalists have been killed by the security forces and the Maoists in recent
years while scores of others regularly
receive various forms of threats.
But intimidation and obfuscation
alone don't explain the incomplete stories and lack of follow-ups in our papers, leaving the public groping for answers. It points at our lack of expertise
to report events accurately and, equally
disturbing, our inability to see the larger
picture. We have said it here before, and
we are saying it again: The media in part
is responsible for the rotten state of affairs we now find ourselves in.
Two incidents last week once again
highlighted what ails our media. On
Tuesday, there was a major encounter between the security forces and
the Maoists on
the Agaiya-
Shamshergunj
section of the
East-West Highway in Banke.
When it was all
over the toll was
variously given
as one to 35. The
s t a t e - o w n e d
Radio Nepal
went so far as to
claim that hundreds of
Maoists had
possibly perished in the encounter.
Yet a few days later it was all business
as usual. The media attention quickly
shifted to the routine rhetoric that has
come to surround the elusive peace. The
war toll and battlefield facts most certainly deserved more space. That the
claims could not be independently verified is simply not good enough.
l&
Akhilesh Upadhyay, i_utor
NOVEMBER 28, 2004   |  nation weekly
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