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Nation Weekly December 12, 2004, Volume 1, Number 34 Upadhyay, Akhilesh 2004-12-12

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 BUDDHIST SUMMIT I NEPALI NATIONALISM I  JOMSOM JOURNAL
DECEMBER 1
, NO. 34
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WEEKLY
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18 Cosmetic Lumbini
By Satishjung Shahi in Lumbini
How not to organize a conference
26 Varsity       Diversity
-*jf By John Narayan Parajuli
| The government
believes that increasing
I the number of universities will help the education sector.
Experts say it will only add to the
mess.
28 Static Science
By Sunil Pokhrel
_ Our leaders in science
I are busy playing cat-and-
mouse games. Few seem
to believe that their professional
advancement should come through
academic rigor.
COLUMNS
11 Wakeup Call
By Jogendra Ghimire
30 Patriotism,
Nationalism
And Culture
ByAditya Adhikari
32 Conflict Diagnosis
By Bipul Narayan
34 The Crossroads
Of Our National
Imagination
By Sushmajoshi in Nepalgunj
42 Jomsom Journals:
Part 1
ByKunalLama
COVER STORY
20 Endgame?
By John Narayan Parajuli
The Maoists will take a call for elections as a fight to the finish but this also
holds the key to the government's existence
Interview: Minendra Rijal, Prime Minister Debua's aide
ARTS AND SOCIETY
DEPARTMENTS
36 The Man And His
Magic
By Veneeta Singha
Kishor Kayastha uses state-of-the art
technology to convey and express art
forms that are almost lost
40 Mountains
And Men
By Yashas Vaidya
Two films show how mountains touch
the lives of people in different ways
0 50 Speaking Out
About AIDS
ft By Biswas Baral
*   It's time to talk openly about
the disease, but Oxygen's street
theater missed a golden opportunity
6 LETTERS
10    PICTURE OF THE WEEK
CAPSULES
MILESTONE
BIZ BUZZ
CITY PAGE
52    SNAPSHOTS
56
57
58
14
16
16
44
KHULA MANCH
BOOKS
LAST PAGE
PROFILE
48 A Life Of Dedication
ByAditya Adhikari
The display of the at New "York's
Metropolitan Museum of Art was
finally established last year. This is an
accomplishment Krishna Man
Manandhar feels especially proud
about.
 ui03-dnojBeAjeu,3euije)|-/vuvuw
■i
Every big city in the
world has sex
centers, what's
wrong if Kathmandu
wants one? ■■
DR. AMRIT K.C.
Porn business
YOUR COVER STORY LAST WEEK
had nothing new ("Porn Business," by
John Narayan Parajuli and Indra
Adhikari, Dec. 5). Both prostitution and
pornography are necessary evils. Rather
than making high-profile raids on theaters and shutting them down for showing pornography, the wiser thing to do is
to keep an eye on the porn business: grant
licenses to particular theaters (not objectionable to neighbors), which could
then charge hefty fees to viewers while
issuing explicit warnings for the viewing adults. After all, every big city in the
world has sex centers, and what's wrong
if Kathmandu wants to have one? It's hard
to control people from watching X-rated
movies, theater or no theater. The thing
to do is to take adequate measures so that
pornography is out of bounds for children.
DR. AMRIT KC.
BISHALNAGAR
Unpopular ideas
I MUST CONGRATULATE
Jogendra Ghimire for his bold defense
of Minister Mohammed Mohsin: "For
no matter how unpopular, all ideas and
expressions should find a place in the
marketplace of ideas" ("In Defense Of
Mohsin," Legal Eye, Dec. 5). Well, this
is not going to make Ghimire particularly popular in the press. And hence this
letter of appreciation—in defense of
unpopular ideas. I have also noted that
Ghimire has had a few other tongue-in-
cheek articles that don't necessarily reflect the popular views in the press, particularly the Nepali-language variety,
which to me is heavily loaded in favor of
the political parties. Ghimire very well
may be a supporter of the political parties himself but he still raises a very valid
point: Doesn't Mohsin have the right to
express his views on impending
authoritarianism? I was dismayed, much
like a letter writer in Nation last week,
that the press, Nation including, should
jump its gun on Mohsin's purported belief without bothering to find out what
he actually said and in what context. The
partisan voice of the press is very disturbing.
MAHESH KHAKUREL
VIA EMAIL
Poor diplomacy
ACCENTUATING ON DIPTA SHAH'S
article on the ineffectiveness of Nepali
diplomacy, I firmly believe that our diplomacy is at a perilous stage ("Inadequacies In Diplomacy," Oct. 31). First
and foremost, it is blatantly unequivocal that the elites—political leaders of
major political parties—have been frequently embarking on "tirtha yatras" to
Delhi to pay homage to their Indian
counterparts. This limpidly exposes the
fact that Nepal's policies are dictated
by New Delhi. Also, the policy of
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Panchasheel—equality mutual respect
for territorial integrity and sovereignty
peaceful co-existence and non-interference in internal matters of one another,
which is the main thrust of our diplomacy—has been violated because we
ourselves are allowing outside interference. Before we even point a finger at
India, we should examine our own
backyard. It is the ineptness of Nepali
diplomacy that allows Indian encroachment, not the other way round. If only
we had coherent policies buttressed by
dexterous diplomats, we would undoubtedly have more leverage in the
outcomes. Furthermore, the sheer reluctance of our authorities to appoint a
new permanent representative to the
United Nations highlights Nepali
diplomacy's impotence. When I asked
the visiting Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat during a forum at the Columbia University early this year, he simply shied away
from the issue. Instead, his response was
very effete: quoting his own words,
"Well, we're working on it, and the
present permanent representative's
term is ending soon too." Well, with all
due respect, Sir, Mr. Sharma's term
ended the day he took tenure as a UN.
employee. Nepal is arrantly breeching
the norms and regulations ofthe United
Nations by allowing Murari Raj Sharma
to still hold the portfolio of the Permanent Representative while he also receives his paycheck from the United
Nations. Either he should have resigned
immediately and handed over the portfolio to his deputy or the government
should have revoked his status quo and
appointed a surrogate. Neither has been
done till date. To the ombudsman, if
there is one, why this reluctance? What
justifications do you confer to the
Nepali taxpayers?
CHIRAN JUNG THAPA
SCHOOLOF INTERNATIONAL&PUBLICAFFAIRS
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Movie fare
YOUR ISSUE LAST WEEK HAD QUITE
a few articles on movies. Aditya Adhikari
did a good job in providing a sneak preview to Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival and Sushma Joshi had a profile on
Tsering Rhitar. I read Nation Weekly for
articles that are outside the mainstream
political fare—staple for Nepal's papers,
and I still look forward to Mondays.
Keep up the good work.
HELEN TOBEE
KATHMANDU
Brain drain
I READ DHARMA RAJ KAFLEY'S
interview with mixed feelings ("Private
Initiative," Khula Manch, by Yashas
Vaidya, Dec. 5). As a native of Biratnagar
myself, I take a lot of pride in people like
Kafley who have made enormous contributions to our society. But I also rue the
fact that scores of Biratnagar natives have
happily forgotten their hometown. Yes, I
know many of your readers may dismiss
me as a provincial bum for saying that.
But think of it—how badly has "brain
drain" affected us, and notjust Biratnagar?
RAMESH SHARMA
MAHENDRA MORANG CAMPUS
BIRATNAGAR
Wither Nepal?
I AM NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF
Paandyun ("RNA At Crossroads," Last
Page, Dec. 5). The Army says it is a strategic victory your editorial says the RNA
is at a crossroads, the news tells me that
the Maoists are coming out even more
brutally and the people are now themselves confronting the Maoists. The
death toll continues to climb and the
Army continues to demand more money.
Where are we heading? Does anyone
make sense? Do I?
SUSHMA SHRESTHA
NEW ROAD
Thoughtful obit
THANK YOU FOR YOUR OBITUARY
on Shiv Shankar ("The End Of An Era,"
by Indra Adhikari, Nov. 28). As a fan of
the legendry musician, I was happy to
see that his obits found a prominent
place in the press. Most newspapers had
articles long and short on his life and
works. That's the least we could have
done for the great man. We must celebrate the achievements of these individual writers, musicians, engineers,
doctors and social workers who add
value to our lives. It's sad that the empty
political rhetoric should be the preoccupation of our free press.
RAM MAN PRADHAN
KATHMANDU
Nation Weekly, The Media House, Tripureshor,
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FACE-TO-FACE: A security personnel
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nation weekly/Sagar Shrestha
 Wakeup Call
There is a gap between the way the judiciary expects to be viewed by the public and the
way it is actually viewed
BY JOGENDRA GHIMIRE
It's a do-or-die situation for our judiciary. At a crucial juncture of its
history, as questions about corruption, independence and delays
are raising doubts about its effectiveness, thejudiciary has come up
with a five-year plan of action. Publicized last month, the plan of action
is an end product of a noble exercise by senior members of the judicial
branch. It is humble in its assumption that there is a gap between the
way the judiciary expects to be viewed bythe public and the way it is
actually viewed and understood.
The review is guided by a vision "to establish a system of justice
which is independent, competent, inexpensive, speedy, accessible and
worthy of public trust and thereby to transform the concept ofthe rule of
law and human rights into a living reality." The plan of action isa result of
a series of consultations and deliberations among various stakeholders.
One distinctive feature ofthe current initiative, something that
makes it different from many other report on judicial reforms
and court management, according to Justice Ananda Mohan
Bhattarai, is "its bottom-up approach." Instead of being a report handed down by a team of senior judicial functionaries
prepared from their chambers, this plan is the outcome of a
series of consultations among the stakeholders in the different regions ofthe country and extensive deliberations
among the senior judges. Bhattarai is a member ofthe
draft committee.
The strategic plan aims to make interventions
and improvements in various services and activities associated with thejudiciary. Among the stra^
tegic interventions envisaged are the development ofthe court user's charter, the strengthening of mediation and consensus building in
thejustice system, the implementation of effective case management system, and the
institutionalization ofthe legal aid program,
among others. There are a total of 16 similar
areas of strategic intervention that the plan identifies,
all based on inputs from regional consultations.
The plan works with the assumption that there is a
great deal that can be improved in thejudiciary's implementation of its core functions. Early disposal of cases
has for long been one of its biggest chal lenges, more
so in recent times at the Supreme Court. The plan
aims to reduce the backlog of cases by some 75
percent in a five-year period. It aims to significantly
improve on the speedy execution of judgments, another area with rather a dismal record and in need of
serious intervention, and to encourage alternative
methods of dispute settlement outside of the
adversarial system. The strategic interventions envisaged also have built-
in time-bound indicators of success and failures.
The planning process has benefited from and has been encouraged
bythe importance that development literature has begun to accord to
institutions, includingjudicial institutions, as important players in the development process. Thejudiciary, and the way it is perceived in society,
has a particularly crucial role to play, especially when it comes to assuring
the potential foreign investor that the commercial contracts will be enforced and that property will be protected from state interference.
As with any other plan, arguably the most important aspect of this
plan will be the level of successful execution of its objectives. More so,
much remains to be implemented and achieved, particularly in case of
previous reports with a focus on institutional development of the judiciary. Therefore, there are bound to be concerns about the effective
implementation ofthe objectives contained in the present plan, assurances from the government and the donor community notwithstanding.
The total budget estimated for the implementation of the strategic plan for the
2004-2008 period stands at Rs. 6.8
billion, of which Rs. 3.7 billion will be
used for improving the core functions
and the remaining Rs. 3.1 billion for
the strategic interventions. This
means nearly doubling the yearly
budget allocation for thejudiciary.
The authors of the plan are optimistic in their belief that what is
being asked for from the government is not
particularly ambitious or out of line. However,
even the most optimistic expectations need
to factor in such issues as the shortage of
resources at the hands ofthe government
and a corresponding rise in the security expenses.
There can be no argument that investments
for the improvement of thejudiciary—to make
justice easily available and effective, and to benefit the common man, as well as provide stability and
order for economic activities—are crucial. At the initiation
ofthe plan, there is no point in being overtly pessimistic
about the possible outcomes ofthe plan at its conclusion.
Resource constraints aside, at least a recognition from the
various stakeholders like the seniorjudicial functionaries,
the government, the legal practitioners and the donor
community should go a long way in improving the
service delivery capacity of the judiciary and the
enhancement of its public trust. D
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 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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RNA expansion
The Royal Nepal Army is looking to recruit 17,000 additional
soldiers, reported Kantipur. Of
the new recruits, 13,000 will
man the proposed 93 new security posts, 3,700 will oversee the
security requirements of various
industries and 173 will be trained
as "special forces" for special operations inside Kathmandu. The
Army has asked the Finance
Ministry for Rs. 6.78 billion for
the expansion.
Rights concerns
The International Commission
ofjurists, the ICJ, expressed concern over human rights violations in Nepal. The ICJ Secretary General Nicholas Howen
urged both the government and
the Maoists to take immediate
steps to end rights violations. He
called on the Royal Nepal Army
to maintain its image of a disciplined unit. He also asked the
Army not to defy court orders,
including those on habeas corpus petitions.
Deuba in Paandyun
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur
Deuba inspected Paandyun,
where the security forces had
launched a major operation
against the Maoists on Nov. 21.
Nine security personnel had lost
their lives. The exact Maoist toll
remains unknown. While the
Army says as many as 300
Maoists were killed, the Maoists
claim that they had only lost nine
cadres in the encounter. Nation
Weekly's reporter, Satish Jung
Shahi, who was taken to
Paandyun by the Army counted
about a dozen decaying bodies.
The rebels are believed to have
been using Paandyun as their regional administrative headquarters in the Farwest.
TADA review
The CPN-UML ministers in
the Cabinet asked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to the
review the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance-2061. The
ministers had, in turn, been pressured by the UML faction outside the government that had
criticized them for supporting the
ordinance. The newly revived
ordinance gives the security
forces sweeping powers to put
suspected terrorists injail for up
to a year without trail. Earlier,
the period was only three
months.
Golf tournament
The Surya Nepal Masters Golf
Competition-2004 is slated to
be held from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12
at the Gokarna Golf Resort.
More than 90 South Asian golfers, including 12 Nepalis, will
take part. Surya Nepal has been
organizing the tournament
since 1993. The Nepal Tourism
Board is supporting the four-
day tournament this year. Promoting golf tourism, with an
estimated worldwide revenue of
$10 billion annually is high on
the NTB's priority list, officials
said.
License cancellation
The government canceled licenses of four foreign employment companies that had been
sending Nepalis to Iraq. The
four—Monalisa Overseas,
Ashisht Overseas, Jaikali Overseas and Blue Moon Overseas
Nepal—were also fined Rs.
100,000 each. Earlier, the government scarped the license of
Moonlight Overseas, which sent
nine ofthe 12 Nepalis killed in
Iraq in August.
Badminton final
The duo of Puja Shrestha and
Sumina Shrestha were defeated
in the women's doubles final of
the Asian Satellite Badminton
Championship in Islamabad.
The duo lost to an Indian team.
They had become the first Nepali
women's team to reach the finals of an Asian badminton tournament after a straight-set win
over their Pakistani opponents
in the semi-finals.
Another split
Intra-party squabbling hit the
headlines again when the
breakaway NSP-A split. The
NSP-A had broken away from
the NSP. Some party members, under Mahananda
Thakur, decided to form a
separate political force by the
name NSP-R. Their reasons:
The old party leadership, they
said, was corrupt and self-centered.
Miss Sherpa
"Miss Teen Sherpa 2004 Talent Contest," the first of its
kind, is being organized by The
Sherpa Association of Nepal
this week. The program aims
to provide a platform for the
Sherpa teens to show their talent. The organizers intend to
spread through the program
awareness of the plight of
young Sherpas who are deprived of education at a very
young age due to the lack of
infrastructure across the far-
flung districts that Sherpas call
home.
Anti-racism meet
A three-day international
conference on racial discrimination concluded on Wednesday, Dec.l. The conference
addressed the situation of racial and caste-based discrimination in Nepal and formulated strategies to fight traditional prejudices against certain sects. The International
Dalit Solidarity Network organized the symposium.
There are over 40 million
dalits in Nepal.
Nepali film
Sapana Sakya and Ramyata Limbu, the producer-directors of
"Daughters of Everest," took home the top honors at
The Banff Mountain Film Festival in Alberta, Canada. The
Alpine Club of Canada judged their film about two Sherpa women
attempting to scale Everest "The Best Film on Climbing" during the
festival. Florian Camerer, a jury member, said ofthe movie: "a delightful and very honest film that captures the camaraderie of a
group ofwomen who take pride in their mountains." The film is on
show at the Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival at the Russian
Cultural Centre on Sunday Dec. 12.
14
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Lhasa bound
Sajha Yatayat will take passengers to Lhasa beginning May 1,
2005. That should bring down
costs for those looking to travel
to Tibet—a one-way airline
ticket to Lhasa costs Rs. 28,000.
Passengers, however, will have
to switch buses at the Tibetan
border. While Nepal uses left-
lane driving system, vehicles in
China use the right.
Crowded airwaves
Nepal FM 91.8, the 13th FM
station to be launched in
Kathmandu, went on air on
Dec. 3. Nepal FM will broadcast hourly news bulletins and
current affairs programs. Nine
other FM stations around the
country will also air its programs.
New destinations
Nepali workers will now have
83 more countries to trade their
skills in. While the government
still has not provided specifics
about the monitoring procedures for the new destinations,
it reiterated its support for manpower agencies in sending workers to the recently listed countries. The number of countries
in which Nepalis can work has
reached over a hundred with this
addition. The number was 25
before.
Indian Ultras
S KDutta, the inspector general
of the Border Security Force,
North Bengal Range, claimed
that the Maoists in Jhapa are
training members of militant
groups, ULFA and KLO, both
engaged in separatist movements
in India. According to him,
about 50 Indian militants are
learning guerilla warfare under
the Nepali Maoists.
Underutilized funds
Nepal has been underutilizing
funds provided to it by the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS,
said the team leader ofthe organization for South and West Asia,
Taufiqur Rahmanu. The Global
Fund has allocated $5 million to
fund projects to counter AfDS
in Nepal. Out of the first installment of $53,000, only
$11,000 has been utilized.
Promotion after death
The security personnel and
high-ranking civil servants killed
by the Maoists will be posthumously promoted by a grade, said
the Home Ministry. The move
is aimed at boosting the flagging
morale ofthe battle-worn security forces. The scheme covers
the civil and armed police forces,
as well as gazetted government
officials.
AIDS test
Self-screening test kits for HIV/
AIDS will be available in the
market soon. Malaysia-based
TH Koid Foundation will
launch the home test kits for
AfDS, HV-7, in mid-January in
South Asia, said its representative in Kathmandu. This easy
diagnostic tool is expected to lure
hospital-shy people prone to
AIDS.
Teachers' plea
Temporary teachers in public
schools have called off their nationwide protests for the time
being after an agreement with
the Ministry of Education. An
11-member committee will be
formed to address their demands. There are over 40,000
temporary teachers in public
schools across the country. The
dissenting teachers had demanded that all those who had
completed an academic year be
made permanent. A decision to
that effect had been made by
Krishna Prasad Bhattarai's government in 1990, but was
quashed by the Supreme Court
later.
RBI support
The Reserve Bank of India will
provide technical support to
Nepali institutions involved in
debt recording and management.
The bank approved the $400,000
technical assistance in December 2002, but it came into effect
only last week. The fund will be
used for the improvement of
public debt management systems. The Nepal mission ofthe
Asian Development Bank will
regulate the funds.
Maoist decree
The Maoists have ordered villagers in Baitadi to dig trenches
in their backyards. They are trying to enforce a "one house, one
bunker" policy in the district.
The Maoists told the villagers
that the bunkers would protect
the villagers from the Army's air
raids and attacks by the Indian
army.
Suicide threat
Around 1500 villagers in Dailekh
threatened to set themselves on
fire after being forced to leave
their homes by the Maoists, reported Nepal Samacharpatra.
The villagers living in a local
school found themselves homeless after the school holidays were
over. The hapless villagers slept
under the open skies on the haystacks before desperation led
them to consider mass suicide.
Media jab
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur
Deuba accused the media of
overplaying the Maoist issue and
of blowing the conflict out of
proportions. He accused the
media houses of doing little to
bring the insurgents to the negotiating table. He asked if the
job of the journalists was to discourage Maoist activities or to
harp along those lines.
FOOTBALL FEVER: Saturday's clash between Brigade Boys and Friends' Club in
a preliminary round match ofthe Himalayan Bank Cup
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
15
 Milestone
Biz Buzz
Maiden Double Ton
Mehboob Alam became the first bats
man to score a double century in
any recognized form of cricket in
Nepal. An all-rounder, Alam was axed from
the national team just before the recent Hong
Kong tour this October. A string of poor performances led to the exclusion.
The Saptari all-rounder scored an unbeaten 256 as his team mauled a hapless
Udayapur by a mammoth 305 runs in the
selection game for the Birendra Memorial
National League on Nov. 27. A left-handed
batsman, Alam went after the bowlers from
the word go at Pashupati Adharsha School
Ground in Lahan. His 123-ball knock was
studded with 18 sixes and 26 fours. "I kept
on playing my strokes despite the uneven
bounce on the pitch and suddenly realized
that I had scored a double century," Alam
told reporters. "Itwas one ofthe happiest
moments of my life." Alam said he never
expected to set any record.
Alam's performance is likely to get him a
recall in the national team, which has often
been chided for its poor batting performances
outside Nepal. His score is by far the best by
any individual batsman—the previous best
being an unbeaten 151 by Raju Khadka,
who incidentally was also dropped from the
national team along with Alam. On Jun. 14,
the all-rounder took five wickets against Iran
in the ACC Trophy in Malaysia while conceding only 10 runs.
EASY CALL FROM NT
Nepal Telecom has introduced a new prepaid calling card service, "Easy Call." The
new service is a part of its new Intelligent
Network, which will include toll free calls,
like the 1-800 service in the United States,
and home-dialing services allowing Nepalis
to call home from abroad with prepaid cards
bougt
here. The
Easy Call card can be used to make phone
calls from any normal landline telephone set.
The service excludes cell phones and
payphones. The user has to first dial the access code (1650) and enter the card number and the corresponding PIN code. The cost
ofthe call will be deducted in real time from
the prepaid amount on the card. With this
service, customers can make local and international calls without any prior STD and ISD
facilities on the phone line. The telecom company has released 200,000 such cards in
Kathmandu with three different face values—
Rs. 200, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. The cards
are valid for six months, 12 months and 18
months.
ADB LOAN
The Asian De-
velopment
Bank      has
sanctioned a'
loan of $20
million to provide short-term
vocational   and
technical skills to
around 80,000 disadvantaged women. The
project will consist of three components: increasing access to skills training, strengthening capacity, and supporting policy development and implementation. The loan will benefit poor women and those from dalit communities. The project will be carried out in
phases and will start in five districts—Achham,
Dhanusha, Humla, Kapilbastu and Pachthar.
The project will cost $25 million, of which the
government's share will be $5 million. The
ADB's loan comes from its Asian Development
Fund with a 32-year term, including a grace
period of eight years. The bank charges an
interest of one percent for the grace period
while for the rest ofthe term the interest is 1.5
percent.
11 YEARS OF UIC
United Insurance Company has completed
11 years. According to figures provided bythe
insurance company, it sold Rs. 90.8 million
worth of insurance premium in the fiscal year
2003-2004. This is a 19.44 percent increment compared to sales in the previous fiscal
year, said the company.
FNCCI'S CODE OF CONDUCT
The FNCCI brought out a Business Code of
Conduct on its 38th Annual General Meeting
late last month. The new code aims at promoting fairness, discipline and transparency
in business. The FNCCI Against Corruption Program chalked out the code of conduct after
examining inputs from interaction programs
held in Biratnagar, Birgunj, Kathmandu, Mechi,
Nepalgunj, Mahendranagar and Janakpur.
ONLINESHOPPING
Buyers at muncha.com, a business web portal run by Muncha House, can now make payments online through the Kumari Bank at no
extra cost. The bank has added to its consumer friendly e-banking services. Bhusan
Rana, assistant general manager at the bank,
and Amrit Tuladhar, managing director of
muncha.com, signed an agreement to introduce the new service.
COSMIC AIR TO DELHI
Cosmic Air began flights to New Delhi from
Dec. 1. Cosmic's newly acquired Fokker 100
jet will operate on the route. Thejet can accommodate 78 passengers. Cosmic Air aims
to attract more customers with affordable fores
and comfortable flights. The airline said "a
highly qualified European and Asian crew with
over 5000 hours flying experience" would fly
the plane. The airline company started flights
to Dhaka early last month.
NET  PRICES  DOWN
Nepal telecom is slashing its Internet tariffs.
The new pricing strategy wi II be effective from
Dec. 16. The telecommunications company
said that the reduction came as a response to
longtime demands from its customers. The revised tariffs include reductions in the fixed hour
.L
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 package of 25 hours; the price for
the package has been brought
down to Rs. 600. Prices for
packages for 50,100 and
300 hours will come
down by 20 percent. Also,
the prices for Nepal
Telecom's fixed hours per
month and lease line
connectivity schemes wi 11
also be decreased. Nepal
Telecom will also expand
its nighttime economical
surfing period from 9 p.m.
to 7 a.m., from the current
period from 12 a.m. to 7
a.m.
EUROCLEAN
Apex Commercials,
the sole importer
of Euroguard water purifiers, has
introduced
Euroclean 2000
vacuum cleaners
in the market. The
950-watt vacuum
cleaner comes in a compact model with 12 accessories and superior airfil-
tration.
EVEREST DE CARGO
Everest De Cargo, a licensee of FedEx Express,
has completed two years
of operation offeringthefull
range of FedEx's services. Everest De
Cargo was
founded in 1984
and has been a
licensee of FedEx
since October
2002. FedEx
delivers shipments to the United States, Europe and various other destinations within its
global network within twotofourworkingdays
providing prompt service to its customers.
• -►
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nation
THE MIRROR MEDIA PVT. LTD.
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
17
 Wor
tuddhis
COSMETIC
LUMBINI
How not to organize a conference
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI IN LUMBINI
LUMBINI LAST WEEK WAS
abuzz with last-minute facelifts
for the three-day Second World
Buddhist Summit. Bulldozers worked
overnight to complete gravel roads,
buildings received fresh coats, flowers
were planted along the freshly dug garden and the roads watered to keep the
dust down. Even public toilets came up
overnight, a day before the summit
started on Nov. 30.
"I have never seen such a flurry of
activity here," says Srinarayan Yadhav, a
local who runs a teashop in Madhubani,
the bazaar just outside the main entrance
to Lumbini. Yadhav was among the many
who chose to close their shops because
of the Maoist-called two-day banda on
the eve of the conference. Though the
banda was later withdrawn, the security
forces prevented Yadhav from entering
his own shop; he had no official entry
pass.
Much more was happening inside
in the conference venue where King
Gyanendra was to make his rounds,
where foreign dignitaries were to be
accommodated. Even the banks ofthe
pond around the sacred garden in
Lumbini were being covered by strips
of sod on the first day ofthe summit,
one day before King Gyanendra officiated at the opening ceremony. His
visit was brief—less than three hours.
After the King left, most exhibition
stalls that had come up overnight had
closed.
The frantic activity was just cosmetic,
and the Lumbini residents doubt
whether Lord Buddha's birthplace will
be any better off once the visitors are
gone. "The locals were totally ignored
throughout the event. It looks like things
will revert or be even worse once the
event is over," says Hari Dhoj Rai, president of the workers' union at the
Lumbini Development Trust, which
represents 200 ofthe trust's employees.
"Everything was directed from the center [Kathmandu], and even we didn't
know who was in charge of the various
subcommittees during the event."
The summit was managed by the
"main committee" comprising 251
members, headed by Prime Minister
Sher Bahadur Deuba. There were 14 subcommittees, and at least 10 local journalists were appointed as members. One
of them told NationWeekly that the trust
was paying journalists Rs. 500 for every
single positive news story about the trust
that was printed.
A day before the summit, Rai's union
decided to have it out with the trust:
They were inspired by 18 visiting journalists from Kathmandu who protested
against the mismanagement at the summit by wearing black armbands. The
journalists, who had confirmed their
participation a month in advance, had
moved out ofthe Korean Temple Guest
House after all of them were told to
sleep in a single room. The organizers'
explanation: All rooms allocated for
journalists were already full and occupied by the participants.
 KING-PM SOLIDARITY
• Deuba referred to King Gyanendra as
"King Birendra" during his inaugural
speech
• Deuba helped King Gyanendra with
the lamp during the inaugural ceremony
to keep it from being put out bythe wind
while the King lit it.
• King Gyanendra asked his ADC to get
a chair for Deuba in the room where he
and Queen Komal were givingaudience.
In haste, the ADC grabbed a garden
chair. Their Majesties patiently waited for
Deuba's chair to arrive before they took
their seats.
Conditions were terrible for some
of the summit participants too. Over 30
Nepali participants crowded the office
of the Lumbini Development Trust.
Most didn't even know where they were
supposed to register, and they couldn't
go head back home because ofthe banda.
Throughout the afternoon, no official
was available to listen to their grievances.
Tourism Minister Deep Kumar
Upadhyay at least expressed "regret" over
the situation. He pleaded with the journalists to give the event positive coverage, as Nepal's international image was
at stake. "I have been to similar conferences elsewhere, and I have seen similar
problems," said the trust's vice president,
Omkar Prasad Gauchan. "Nothing's new
here."
At least the organizers were consistent: The VIPs were handled no better.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Prakash Sharan Mahat was heard calling on the phone to ask trust officials to
provide a pass to Sultan Hafeez Rahman,
country director of the Asian Development Bank's Nepal Resident Mission,
who had been invited to attend the inaugural ceremony. This after security
officials had apparently stopped the
ADB's Nepal chief from entering the
venue because he hadn't been issued a
pass.
Listen to these volunteers from the
Himali Sherpa Sangh, which was distributing free drinking water. "We were
issued only four passes and are facing a
tough time covering the entire site. We
do not know whom to contact for
more," said Lakpa Sherpa, a member of
the sangh. The group ended up giving
away about 15,000 liters of drinking
water.
Even participating Buddhist monks
weren't spared. "There were monks who
were helpless, as they had no identity cards and didn't know where
they were supposed to go for accommodation," says Venerable
Tapassi Dhamma Thero, abbot of
the Charumati Stupa Monastery.
"But even with so much criticism
during the conference, I have to say
the effort to keep the meeting focused on Buddhism's message of
peace was very positive."
Some foreign dignitaries felt
that a lot of effort had been put in
to pull the event together. "There
were a lot of organizational failures," says Kamal Ahmed, first secretary for Press, Culture and Education at the Pakistan Embassy in
Kathmandu. "But a lot of good
things were happening, and I was
surprised by the amount of activity
I   taking place in Lumbini."
But as one journalist put it:
"The event could have been an op-
I   portunity to write a book on how
J   not to manage a conference." With
i7   a little luck the government and the
organizers will have learned a few
lessons on how to organize a conference. □
19
  The Maoists will take a call for elections as a
fight to the finish but this also holds the key
to the government's existence
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
IF PRIME MINSTER SHER
Bahadur Deuba's previous experience and political comeback in
June had made him confident that
he could restore peace and organize polls, he must be wondering now.
While there is still some time left for
him to fulfill his mandate from the monarch, time is growing shorter and the
pressure on him is increasing every day.
Late last month the prime minister responded by issuing an ultimatum to the
Maoists to come to the negotiating table
by January 13, or the government would
call elections.
What the government really wants
is measurable progress towards peace,
but it hasn't been able to convince the
Maoists to come for talks. In the face
of this failure, pressure is building
within the coalition to opt for reinstatement ofthe Pratinidhi Sabha dissolved by Deuba two and a half years
ago. Deuba has already said no to the
plan, and it looks like he will stick to
his guns. Unless the Supreme Court
reverses its 2002 ruling upholding the
dissolution or the Maoists suddenly accept the prime
minister's ultimatum, both unlikely events, the government
will be left with no options. So
will there be elections, if the
Maoists don't reciprocate the
prime minister's ultimatum?
And will the breach of January 13
deadline trigger an existential
endgame on both sides?
"We are hopeful that peace can
be achieved," says Minendra Rijal,
Deuba's aide and spokesman for the
NC-D, the prime minister's party.
Despite his refusal to speculate on
what might happen after January 13,
it is clear that the government will
be left with few options. NC-D officials give the impression that the
government will call the election,
but they prefer to talk about peace
talks instead.
By refusing to speculate on the future, sources close to the prime minister signal that they want to avoid any
situation consequentially leading up to
polls or reinstatement of the Pratinidhi
Sabha. Many say the ultimatum may not
be a statement of actual intent, at least
not yet, to hold an election. Nonetheless, it is a last-ditch attempt to turn up
the heat on the Maoists, who, without
categorically refusing to talk, have, at
best, sent ambiguous messages about
their intention.
The Maoists have played mainstream
parties against each other: At times they
have pretended to side with parties in
the street, but at others they have attacked
cadres of those same parties. The purpose is to keep the parties guessing and
keep them divided, and the strategy has
worked. The insurgents have succeeded
in significantly undermining both the
government and the opposition parties,
and in doing so they have become the
dominant political force in the country
today. The government has been forced
almost to a standstill by its internal contradictions and the Maoists' psychological warfare.
The government knows it cannot afford to be seen as ineffectual. Analysts
say by talking up the election the government is keeping hopes for its own
survival alive. The peace or polls refrain
stems directly from the twin mandate
from the King. The government wants
to be seen to be trying to live up to at
least one of those goals. But peace and
polls are so intertwined that meaningful
elections without peace will be a huge
gamble.
No one could feel more ambivalent
about elections than the prime minister
himself: The issue has deeply damaged
his political reputation and could do so
again. His renown for being a finisher in
politics and his ability to appease irate
parties has been damaged by his previous flip-flops on the election issue. But
the situation has reached do-or-die proportions for Deuba; he has to champion
elections if he is to ensure his
government's existence. "The election
glitz is a political compulsion for the
present government," says professor
Bharat Bahadur Karki of Nepal Law
Campus, who keeps a close tab on political affairs. And the prospect for successful, credible elections will rest on
the Army's ability to provide a measure
of security.
The Royal Nepal Army with its
80,000 troops, says it is ready to provide
security for the polls if the government
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
 calls on them. But it also warns that no
one should expect an election under such
circumstances to be normal. Far from it:
"There are going to be explosions," says
Brigadier General Deepak Gurung, the
Army spokesman, "but that shouldn't
deter us." One can expect the situation
to be a lot like Kashmir, he says.
It's not clear that the Army can improve security to match Kashmir-like
conditions, but a senior minister of
Deuba's party remains upbeat. He cites
the recent elections in Afghanistan, and
other government officials are also enthused by the remarks of election observers who served there. If elections can
be held in war-torn Afghanistan, the minister quotes an observer as saying, they
can be held here too. Deuba's aides also
seem to be reassured by that an election,
once announced, will take its own momentum.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Prakash Sharan Mahat, during a dinner
with journalists late last month, con-
REMAINS DISSOLVED: Deuba is
in no mood to reinstate the
parliament
ceded that the government hasn't made a
final decision about polls and that it is
still ambivalent. "Once we decide to
hold elections," says Minister Mahat,
"[the decision] will automatically build
momentum and help create consensus."
He believes that once the election is announced, even reluctant parties like the
Nepali Congress will decide they have
to participate.
NC-D ministers in the government
also seem to have taken heart from the
recent Dailekh uprising against the
Maoists. More such spontaneous rejections of the Maoists, says Mahat, will
make the task of the security forces that
much easier. Observers say that Maoist
excesses have reached the saturation
point. "Unless people resist," says
Chitra Bahadur KC, the coordinator of
Jana Morcha's resistance committee
against the Maoists in the western region, "there will be no escape from
Maoist atrocities." Jana Morcha and the
Maoists are at war with each other. "We
are not about to just cave in without a
fight," says KC.
The women-led uprising still
spreading in Dailekh seems to have
stunned the Maoists and their response
has been brutal, something that's unlikely to make them heroes in the eyes
ofthe local population. The government
is hoping for more ofthe same, and even
for a countrywide uprising against the
rebels. The Dailekh incident is a clear
signal that the people's tolerance is waning quickly after they have been cowed
by Maoist violence for years. And the
Maoists, perhaps for the first time, have
seen directly the extent of ordinary
Nepalis' alienation from them. Maoist
leader Diwakar's hastily faxed statement
last week, which said that his party
would probe the Dailekh incident and
punish the guilty, is a clear indication
of the effectiveness of the public uprising.
But it is also a sign that the Maoist
leadership is losing control of its radical
 Story
and zealous cadres. The testimony of
people who had been in Maoist detention supports the reports of factional disputes inside the Maoist movement. The
psychological toll on Maoist cadres must
be enormous after nine years of war.
Even three years of deployment have
been difficult for the Army. "How can you
expect security forces to perform better
when they haven't had a break for the last
three years?" asks an Army officer. There
is battle fatigue among the security forces,
although Army officials avoid using the
term. The security personnel are also
deeply distressed by Maoist intimidation
of their families. Army officials point to
the gravity of situation when they say that
most soldiers haven't been able to visit
their homes and families even during festivals because they are unsafe there. Despite such an revealing insight, officials
are quick to add that they are fighting a
hydra-headed enemy, and that it will take
time to win. "Insurgency cannot be resolved immediately," says Army spokes-
'No One Can Stay In
Power Indefinitely'
Minendra Rijal, a
close aide to Prime
Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba and spokesman for NC-D, the prime
minister's party, spoke with
Nation Weekly about peace,
polls and government priorities.
Has this government
outlived its utility?
Of course not. This is a government with broad support
comprising four parties entrusted with the tasks of findings peaceful solution [to the
Maoist insurrection] and holding elections. No other government of any shape or size can
fulfill these responsibilities.
But does this government
still have the goodwill it had
back in June?
It has. I understand that the
people might have become
impatient. That's natural.
Finding solutions takes
time. But efforts are underway.
The UML has clearly said
that the present government
has failed to live up to the
43-point Common Minimum
Program.
We have made significant
progress. Establishing peace
was one ofthe broader headings. We have provided relief
to the victims of conflict. We
are furthering the cause of democracy. You can see the
progress.
Many say that the prime
minster hasn't been able to
get his priorities straight.
The government has been
incoherent and inconsistent
and has failed to make tangible progress.
No, that's not true. Give me
an instance.
To begin with, it hasn't been
able to get a truce.
That's not going to happen
overnight. The government
has said it is open to talks.
Is the prime minister serious about his ultimatum to
the Maoists? Will there be
an election after January
13?
I don't want to speculate. Efforts are underway to bring the
Maoists to the table. We are
hopeful we will succeed. As an
advisor to the High Level Peace
Committee, my task is to bring
the Maoists to the table. However, in a democracy no one
can stay in power indefinitely
without elections.
But is it possible?
There are instances in the
world where elections have
happened during conflict
and during negotiations. So
here also we can initiate the
election process by reaching a consensus, and then
find the solution after the
election.
Has the government
thought about reinstatement of Pratinidhi Sabha
as a more pragmatic solution to this crisis?
No. That's not an issue. The
Supreme Court has upheld the
dissolution. No one can overwrite the verdict.
If the Supreme Court reinstates it...
Any verdict given by the Supreme Court is acceptable to
the government. But I don't
want to talk about hypothetical matters. We are not recommending reinstatement to
the King.
Can we safely say that
the government will hold
elections at any cost by
April, if peace is not restored?
Mr. Deuba cannot remain as
prime minister for an indefinite period. No individual has
the right to appoint or remove
him. Only the people with sovereign will can, through elections. Hence periodic elections are a must in democ
racy.
□
23
 ELECTION GAME: The Election
Commission says it is capable of
holding elections
^^     I raj m
■■■■llll Ife»<*ifif
man Gurung. "No levelheaded Army officer would say it is easy." Such comments
show increasing realism in the security
forces' appraisal of the situation.
RNA officials insist they have never
called for a military-only solution, and
they are now quick to point out that for
the insurgency to be defeated completely, its socio-economic underpinnings have to be addressed quickly and
comprehensively. But that hasn't happened in the last nine years; there's no
reason to be surprised that it hasn't happened in recent months either.
Endgame
After more than six months in office,
the Deuba government hasn't accomplished much to change the status quo. The Maoists are becoming
increasingly ruthless. Reports about
occasional atrocities by some members ofthe armed forces have become
more shocking. The middle ground
feels more victimized than ever. "The
Army is making certain mistakes,"
says Gurung, "but we are correcting
them." Army officials admit that the
security personnel haven't been able
to give the impression to the people
that they are fighting for them. The
Army says it is making progress
against the Maoists, but none of it has
been translated into progress towards
peace: That's all that matters to the
public.
If peace were so easy, the Deuba government would have wasted no time in
securing it. Unfortunately, it is not. Deuba
knows that he can'tjust wish away the prob
lems and that he has squandered much of
the goodwill and the high expectations of
the people since he came to office in June.
The government has appeared to be inconsistent, incoherent and, worst of all, to
be drifting steadily to the right.
Critics say that the government's credibility has also been undermined by its
inability to get a truce and by the hubris
evident in its handling of the peace process. The only thing this government has
been consistent in, they say, is its refusal
to make the first move or to learn from
the situation. Pundits say the other big
mistake this administration made was in
not making clear its own agenda and its
bottom line for negotiations. They say the
government drew the wrong lessons from
the past. By steadfastly refusing offer symbolic concessions prior to talks, the government seems to have hardened the
Maoist position.
Analysts say that the Maoist leadership cannot afford to be seen to cave in
to government pressure: Their cadres
would simply not accept it. They say that
a symbolic concession from the state
could bring the Maoists to the table. But
the government has refused to make any,
based on the reading that despite the
apocalyptic rhetoric they have no choice
but to talk. The refusal has also been influenced by military analysis that concessions would provide the rebels space
to regroup and rearm themselves, as they
did during previous rounds of talks. The
government continues to believe that the
Maoists will come in from the cold, but
it realizes it cannot wait indefinitely. The
ultimatum is a last-gasp attempt to bring
the Maoists to the table. The careful language Deuba uses and the government's
deliberate refusal to commit to a date
for an election are its best effort to balance both carrot and stick.
If Prime Minister Deuba was careless in dissolving the Pratinidhi Sabha in
2002, he certainly is being careful now
avoiding its reinstatement. If he was hasty
about postponing the election last time,
he is slowly moving in that direction now.
He clearly wants to escape both options
and wait for peace talks to take place, but
he can't. Elections have become crucial
to his government's continuing existence
and to his retaining personal and political
prestige. But part of government's problem also stems from belief among some
factions within the Maoists that the rebels
can win by being patient and simply not
losing ground.
"The Maoists feel that they are close
to wielding state power," says professor Karki. This may be the reason why
they have avoided talks. No one knows
for sure how long the Maoists will abstain from a dialogue, as their messages
have been ambiguous. And it's certainly
not clear whether they are any closer
to wielding the state power now than
when Deuba took office.
Hope is still a common refrain in government circles, though. "We are hopeful
that they will come to the table," says
Deuba's aide Rijal. But such hope is tempered with the realization that without
elections "Mr. Deuba cannot remain as
prime minister for an indefinite period."
Deuba's reputation and much, much
more is on the line. E
.L
24
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
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LIFE
R O U G
THE
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LIFE     ETERNAL     IN
MONO    AND     MULTICOLOR
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AN EXHIBITION OF PHOTOGRAPHS BY KISHOR KAYASTHA
DAILY AT INDIGO GALLERY 8:00 AM ONWARD, DEC3.2004- JAN 15, 2 005
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 Educati
The government believes that increasing the number of
universities will help the education sector. Experts say it
will only add to the mess.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
CWITH THE SEC-
ond World Buddhist Summit last
week, the government cleared
the way for the establishment of
Lumbini Buddhist University through
an ordinance. It is not the only university the government plans to set up this
year: As many as six others are in the
offing. It is likely to issue separate ordinances for each of them and another for
the University Umbrella Act, all before
Dec. 15.
Officials at the Ministry of Education say that the more the universities,
the better the chances of students getting placements in the area of studies
they want to pursue. The idea is to provide more room in the crowded higher
education sector.
Educators, however, say the numbers
will not necessarily bring respite; it is
sound management that will. There is a
widespread fear that the increasing numbers will only add to the education
sector's managerial mess. Despite the
strong objection, however, the government is all set to move ahead.
The universities in the offing include Rajarshi Janak University in
Janakpur, the Agriculture University in
Rampur, an open university (the venue
is yet to be decided), an information
technology university (possibly in
Banepa), among others.
There are already five universities in
the country, including the oldest,
Tribhuvan University, the TU. The others are Mahendra Sanskrit University in
Dang, Kathmandu University in
Dhulikhel, Purbanchal University in
Biratnagar and Pokhara University in
Pokhara. Interestingly the last two universities have a number of affiliates in
Kathmandu, which already has the most
number of universities.
Though not going by the name of
universities, there are two autonomous
medical institutions—the BP Koirala
Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan
and Bir Hospital in Kathmandu.
26
The National Education Commission formed in 1992 created the initial
proposal for more universities. The
commission recommended that the government establish one university in each
development region, partly to make
higher education accessible to people
living in all parts ofthe country and partly
to reduce the burden on the TU, which
was until then the country's only university. The commission cleared the way
for the establishment of Kathmandu,
Purbanchal and Pokhara universities.
Educators had hoped that instead of starting new universities from scratch, the
government would allow bigger TU affiliate campuses in the regions to develop as universities.
But the commission's recommendation to that effect was ignored. In
stead the new universities were set up
and expected to draw the TU campuses
under their umbrellas. That hasn't happened.
None of the new universities have
been able to encourage any of the TU
campuses to merge into them, writes
educator Tirtha Khaniya. They haven't
served students outside Kathmandu either: More than 50 percent of students
in the affiliates of the new regional universities are in fact from the capital. What
is even worse, Khaniya points out, is that
the new universities haven't reduced the
flow of students to the various TU campuses.
Experts like Khaniya cite the instance
of Prithivi Narayan Multiple Campus
in Pokhara. It has more than 11,000 students, more than all three universities
set up after 1990 put together. By the
logic, the government would have been
better off sorting out the issue of TU
affiliation before opting for new universities.
VARSITY
DIVERSITY
 Part of the problem, educators say, is
that both the
Purbanchal and
Pokhara universities
have concentrated on
providing affiliation
to private institutions
and collecting royalties in return. These
universities have few
campuses of their
own. The liaison officer of Pokhara University in
Kathmandu, Santosh Adhikari, admits
that the university has a high number of
affiliate colleges but hastens to add that
the university has put a moratorium on
new affiliations. Out of its 27 affiliated
colleges, 12 are in Kathmandu. Some
even suggest that the regional universities should be stopped altogether from
"selling" affiliation to other campuses
because they were meant for the students
outside the Valley.
THE OLDEST: Tribhuvan University
And in order to relieve the TU from
the perennial management nightmare
and to help flourish in-campus development of regional universities, the government should ask the TU to require
its regional affiliate campuses to merge
into the new universities, says Kedar
Bhakta Mathema, former vice chancellor of TU.
One ofthe objectives of having more
regional universities was to cut down
the monstrous size ofthe TU and make
it more efficient, while encouraging
bigger campuses to emerge as either
constituent campuses or universities
under it.
But ironically the two biggest campuses in the region—Pokhara's Prithivi
Narayan and Biratnagar's Mahendra
Morang haven't been encouraged to associate with the new regional universities, Pokahra University and Purbanchal
University.
Some 90 percent of higher education
students still enroll in the TU. Though
Kathmandu University has done exceptionally well in terms of providing quality education, it's not a regional university. Educators lament that none of the
new universities have become a "multi-
university," a modest-sized, easily managed university providing quality education through constituent campuses at
affordable prices.
The government last month said that
it planned to promote the "deemed university" concept. The plan is to develop
independent universities out of existing TU-affiliated campuses. For instance, Padma Kanya, Tri-Chandra or
any other campus can apply for the status of a deemed university; it will then
receive a five-year term to develop the
*^sMi<i!fM^n*mit[
infrastructure to run on its own. The
idea is to relieve the overstrained TU,
potentially cutting its expenses by 25
percent.
But some say it's going to be a pointless exercise. "If all the upcoming universities offer the same courses as the
existing ones," says professor Mana
Prasad Wagle, "then there is no reason to
have more."
Could it then be politics, rather than
academic needs, that is fueling the government drive to open new universities? The Ninth Five-year Plan clearly
states that the objective of new universities should be to make education accessible to people from all regions. It
also calls for coordination between the
National Planning Commission, the
Ministry of Education, the TU and the
University Grant Commission before
granting permission to new universities. Successive governments seem to
have ignored the overarching guidelines.
Setting up more universities will also
cost the government a lot of money. The
grant commission's budget is less than
Rs. 3 billion which has to be distributed
to all new universities. They would also
have to share TU's already-strained human resources.
Educators are worried that the
government's motivation while noble is
far from foolproof. All that the new universities will do is add to the already existing managerial chaos in the academic
sector. Former Vice Chancellor
Mathema warns, "The government
should not establish universities through
ordinance." But no one in the government seems to listen to these words of
wisdom.  □
""27
 Controvers
STATIC
SCIENCE
Our leaders in science are busy playing cat-and-mouse
games. Few seem to believe that their professional advancement should come through academic rigor.
BY SUNIL POKHREL
E LONG SORRY
state of affairs. Scientific researches
in Nepal, particularly pure science
researches, have failed to add value to the
overall scientific development ever since
they started in the 1970s. The scientific
community is deeply split over the reasons for this stalemate. Some attribute it
to official indifference to research while
others say that increasing numbers in the
scientific community look to secure their
future through close ties to power centers rather than through long years of rigorous study and laboratory work.
Over the years, Nepal has invested
millions in an effort to enhance scientific research to develop appropriate technologies and expertise. The aim of es
tablishing of the National Council for
Science and Technology, the NCST, in
1976 and the Royal Nepal Academy of
Science and Technology, better known
as RONAST, in 1982 was to promote
studies and researches. RONAST, in
particular, was given additional responsibilities to act as an advisory body and
help the government formulate necessary science-related policies. Critics argue that RONAST has proved no better
than NCST; the latter was dissolved after an uninspiring performance.
It's been a string of failures. In 1977,
the Research Centre for Applied Science
and Technology the RECAST, was
founded to research indigenous technology and identify exogenous technologies
appropriate for Nepal. Structured as a
research center of Tribhuvan University,
RECAST saw very good days in the initial stage of its establishment. It acquired
five state-of-art laboratories to carry out
research on natural resources, food technology, biotechnology and natural dyes.
None of the labs are now in operation.
Its 30 able scientists do no research.
The story of RONAST, which has a
good stock of human resource, is no better. It has 24 academicians and 47 in-
house scientists. The academicians have
made little contribution while the in-
house scientists are as idle as RECAST'S.
When asked the scientists cite "resource
constraints" as the main reason for the
lack of studies and researches.
Dilli Raj Joshi, senior officer at
RONAST, admits that the organization has
failed to conduct any research of substance.
'We never considered redefining our role
or assessing our failure. It is chronic failure and yet there have been no attempts to
assess why we have failed to deliver what
we were actually capable of."
To Trinetra M. Pradhananga, ex-
spokesperson of RONAST and a scientist himself, the failure is rather systemic
than personal. "There is no political will
to push science to the forefront. Just look
at the science ministers and their qualifications, and you will get the answer to
why science is not flourishing," he says.
He, however, finds it hard to admit that
RONAST has failed to perform.
Much like the scientist, Raja Ram
Pradhananga, head of the chemistry department in Tribhuvan University is
frustrated about the way the government
has approached the field of science but
believes there is little he can do. "We all
know what is going wrong but we are
28
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 ■(■Hi    ■
bound by our own constraints to make
changes," he says.
He, at least, has a solution to the longstanding problem: RONAST should act
as a facilitator for research activities in
the country, as an umbrella institution;
but it is the Tribhuvan University, the
seat of higher learning in science, that
should be the focal point of research
programs. "RECAST, as a body of the
Tribhuvan University, should in fact coordinate researches of various TU departments and allow the university to
take up researches, but that is not happening," he says
Professor Mohan B. Gewali, executive director of RECAST, is not
about to admit that RECAST'S existence has been in vain. He, in fact, believes that "despite the gloomy scenario we have achieved a few things."
Researches on renewable energy, bio-
diesel and medicinal plants are some
of them, he says, but he fails to explain
how they have benefited the country
either in scientific advancement or economic terms.
The critics of RONAST say it is pretty
lame of Nepal's scientists to talk about
resource constraints and that if anything
it's the lack of imaginative leadership and
individual will that should be blamed. For
instance, RONAST has links with some
26 renowned science and technology institutes around the around and if those
ties are properly utilized, getting material and technical support will not be an
insurmountable problem. Its memorandum of understanding with the Indian
National Science Academy, for example,
allows 30 Nepali scholars to do re
searches annually in India. And each year
the opportunity goes begging.
Professor Bishwo Nath Agrawal, an
academician of RONAST, blames successive governments for failing to encourage
research. "Everyone who has had the authority to change the face of Nepali science didn't really understand the power of
science," he says. He then adds: "But it
would be unwise to blame the politicians
alone. The scientific leadership, in particular the ones who have had strong grip on
scientific researches, have chronically
failed to deliver the goods." In Agrawal's
view, researchers and the research institutions seem to have done little to explore
the possible avenues of financial and other
support. Agrawal owns a private research
lab, R-lab, set up with financial support of
half a million dollars from scientific organizations abroad. "If I as an individual
ics department. The Nuclear Magnetic
Resonance and Differential Scanning
Calorimeter have met the same fate. Other
expensive unused equipment include the
Infrared Spectrometer, the Ultraviolet
Spectrometer, and the High Performance
A HISTORICAL BLUNDER
Nobel laureate Abdul Salas, in his visit to
Nepal in 1989, proposed the establishment
of an International Centre for Science and
Technology in Kathmandu. He offered his help
to late King Birendra to establish such a center. The King took the offer seriously and ordered a committee to look into the matter. A
committee comprising the scientists from
RONAST and other institutions was formed.
The center never came into existence because a clique of scientists who then had
stronghold at the policy level argued against
the center. Scientists now believe that had
the center been set up, Nepal would have
made a huge leaps in information technology and genetics that saw unprecedented
development right through the 90s.
could do it, why can't RONAST?" he says.
"It is a matter of attitude."
Many suggest that it is time that
RONAST worked as a think tank and formulated meaningful policies or just concentrated on research instead of pretending to do both and doing justice to neither.
Similar to the scientists at RONAST,
expect for a tiny number of scientists at
the Tribhuvan University, the faculty of sciences aren't doing much that is scientific.
The Masters of Science program in
Tribhuvan University goes without exhaustive research. The faculty of science
has several important and expensive instruments. An Ozone Spectrometer, which
costs Rs. 20 million, is locked in the phys-
Liquid Chromatography, Gas Chromatography and X-ray Diffraction Meter. It has
been years since the teachers used such
handy instruments for research themselves
or allowed students to do so. Most teachers, in fact, seem keener about finding
themselves teaching positions at lucrative
10+2 private schools than about making
use of these expensive tools.
Meanwhile, the students of science
in Nepal will have to keep themselves
happy with reading about the wonders
science has brought to the world. It will
be some time before they can bring about
little changes in the lives of Nepalis. To
them, science will merely be a theoretical subject in classrooms.  □
X
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
29
 The Ess
PATRIOTISM,
NATIONA1JSM
AND CULTURE
The 1990 constitution recommendation committee dismissed some of the most important grievances of the
population. The committee and the interim government
perceived these grievances as a threat to national unity
and dismissed them without any attempts at accommodation.
BYADITYA ADHIKARI
IN A RECENT DISCUSSION ON A
Nepali public forum on the Internet,
the question, "Would it have been
better for Nepal if she had been colonized by the British?" was raised. The
answers/to the question were many but
theijWwas a consensus among a few
themes. Most thought that the British
would have contributed more to Nepal's
economic development than the Ranas
or Shahs did. But it was also agreed that
if colonization meant Nepal would now
be a part of India, it was better that we
weren't colonized.
This reveals the effects of the current crises in Nepal on national or patriotic feeling. It would have been unthinkable 10 or more years ago for a
Nepali to wish publicly for the British
to have colonized Nepal. At the same
time, however, the fear that Nepal would
have become a part of India still shows
that Nepali national pride remains intact, though the recent history of our
nation has given it a serious blow.
Though often confused together, the
nouns "patriotism" and "nationalism" do
not mean the same things. Though they
do overlap in practice—and this is why
they are often taken as synonyms—there
is a clear conceptual distinction between
the two, a distinction expressed best by
George Orwell: "By patriotism I mean
devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one has no wish
to force upon other people. Patriotism
is of its nature defensive, both militarily
and culturally. Nationalism, on the other
hand, is inseparable from the desire for
power. The abiding purpose of every
nationalist is to secure more power and
prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his individuality."
Patriotism in this sense is a luxury
that only people from old, settled nations, their days of glory in the past, can
afford. There are exceedingly few nations
that are purely patriotic—perhaps none
exist outside of Europe. A common language and ancestral ties are not sufficient
to foster a pride in one's culture and the
desire to defend it at all costs. What is
needed are highly democratized systems
of both government and culture; with
common institutions that are adequately
representative; economic and social security to stem the impulse to immigrate
and guarantee a permanence of residence
over generations; and a deeply set consciousness of history held in common
by all.
For too long it was thought in our
nation that it was the role of the state to
create national identity. So the Panchayat
attempted to unify the nation by means
of the Nepali language and a manufactured history glorifying the territorial
unification of Nepal. By the 1990 Jana
Andolan, perhaps most in Kathmandu
thought that these attempts had largely
succeeded, that all over the nation people
perceived themselves as Nepalis before
anything else. The recognition that the
state's efforts to create a Nepali identity
was thought of in many areas as the imposition of a faraway ruling elite, and was
thus met with resentment in many areas,
came only later. When this recognition
first arrived in Kathmandu, it was met
with surprise and dismay.
This was vividly illustrated in 1990
itself, when a commission was set up to
receive suggestions from all parts ofthe
nation for the drafting of the new constitution. There was a shock when it was
recognized that the vast majority of suggestions received concerned linguistic,
religious, ethnic and regional issues.
Though this could have led to an awakening, an awareness of some ofthe most
important grievances of the population,
it was instead met with panic. The constitution recommendation committee
and the interim government perceived
these grievances as a threat to national
unity and dismissed them without any
attempts at accommodation. Then-Chief
Justice Bishwanath Upadhyaya, who also
headed the constitution committee, even
thought that these issues were merely
"peripheral" and did not think it necessary to deal with them.
Nonetheless, all this is not to say that
Nepal is simply an artificial construction, merely a conglomeration of groups
with allegiances only to their respective
ethnicities. As far as the spread of the
Nepali language goes, the states efforts
for the larger part ofthe last century have
been immensely successful. And though
often perceived as an imposition of the
state-elite, the establishment of a common language is an important and desirable step towards the creation of a national identity.
But a common identity manufactured and propagated by only the state is
bound to remain fragile. Even the view
that the state, beginning with the territorial unification of Nepal in the 18th
century was solely responsible for this
30
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 creation has been challenged by contemporary historians. So Pratyoush Onta has
shown how individuals and institutions
operating independently, though often
hand in hand with the state, have contributed to the creation of national symbols. He gives the example of the cultivation of Bhanubhakta Acharya as
Nepal's adikavi, as the emotional unifier
of Nepal through a common language.
Manufactured by Nepali literary men
living in India before 1940, this symbol
was propagated within Nepal over the
following decades by a myriad of people
and institutions.
What Onta hasn't said, however, is
that this process of reifying a historical
personage to strengthen national unity
is obsolete. It may have played its part in
the past, but such efforts cannot be expected to have much success in the future. A true patriotism requires a vibrant
culture, and a vibrant culture cannot be
based on the adulation of a few men, especially not on the adulation of a poet
whose medium of expression was an archaic form ofthe Nepali language. That
so many literary men devoted their talents to the propagation of the
Bhanubhakta myth, that Bhanubhakta
fulfilled a desire within themselves, perhaps says much about the Nepali psyche.
Perhaps our need to worship and venerate whatever deity we can get a hold of
reveals a flaw in our character: A character so insecure, so unable to create that
we have to cling on to the achievements
of a few and claim those as our own.
^Perhaps. While the above may or may
not be true, what is abundantly evident is
that national pride can only be based on a
vibrant culture, and a vibrant culture cannot be based on the deeds of a few men.
And for our age the most potent means for
the creation and propagation of a national
culture is the mass media. Look at
Bollywood, that most magnificent of modern Indian creations. Films produced in
this industry reach, serve as fantasy realms
for, millions of people. With foundations
in traditional Sanskrit and folk theater, it
remains true to its roots while managing
to fulfill the needs of the present age. It
adopts and assimilates influences from all
over the world, but does not get swept away
by them: It rests on stable foundations that
give it the strength to assimilate without
losing its intrinsic character.
And Indians are rightfully proud of
their films. Created solely for the Indian public, they have begun to penetrate
audiences all over Asia. They are becoming India's most important export as far
as cultural relations between nations go,
and their importance will increase in the
future.
The key ingredients in the growing
power of India's film industry are the
ability to adapt to new ideas and techniques while remaining true to its
roots. Both of these are essential in
the creation of a healthy national
feeling. Bollywood is nationalistic in Orwell's sense because it seeks, directly or
indirectly, to increase the
nation's cultural power. It is also patriotic because it rests on old and valued
traditions and customs.
In Nepal there is nothing that compares to the might of Bollywood, but a reasonable parallel may be found in some of
the recent kinds of popular music that remain true to folk roots while assimilating
more modern sensibilities. To form part
of a vibrant culture, however, to function as a potent symbol of national
pride, the music industry still has
a long way to go.
More generally, leaving
aside the music industry,
there is a split in the
Nepali character. On
the one hand we
have people who
may be called "patriots," who seek to preserve past forms of culture that are no
longer vibrant. While preservation of this
kind has its merits, it cannot reinvigorate
cultural life: Relics of the past will remain relics if they are not infused with a
modern sensibility.
On the other hand we have our "nationalists," currently exemplified by the
Maoists, who seek to break away completely from the past to create a completely new culture. And this they wish
to do in isolation, without assimilating
any of the influences, whether Indian or
American, that play such a dominant role
in modern life. While their rancorous
anti-Indian and anti-American rhetoric
may appeal to segments of the population who feel a deep fear of becoming
submerged by foreign influences, this
brand of nationalism is extremely un
healthy. Firstly, it is based
on hate. Secondly, it is
highly unrealistic.
The attempt to
create a new
culture that
does not
rest on
traditional foundations, that doesn't accept any outside influence, is like trying
to build a castle on air.
As we have seen, patriotism as a devotion to the ways ofthe past is not possible or desirable in our nation at the
present time. Our culture is not strong
enough to preserve itself. But the political nationalism of the extreme left is
equally unhealthy and unrealistic. What
we need, and what can develop only
gradually, is a patriotic nationalism (or a
nationalistic patriotism) that emerges
from within the realm of culture and
stays quite apart from the realm of politics. And it will be people currently quietly immersed in their personal apolitical pursuits—musicians, filmmakers,
writers and historians—who will contribute most to national culture and pride
in the long run. □
L
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
31
 Opini
CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS
The current analysis ofthe conflict has focused largely on the
'grievance' aspect and has ignored the 'opportunity' aspect of
the conflict
BY BIPUL NARAYAN
THE GOVERNMENT, THE ME-
dia and the donors have spent
much time and resource analyzing the causes of the conflict, which is
now eight years old and has resulted in
the deaths of over 10,000 people. Almost
all explanations ofthe conflict have centered around one primary thesis—that
social exclusion, inequality and deep-
seated caste and ethnic divisions are the
primary causes of conflict. The discourse on the "people's war" has taken
these perceptions of the causes of civil
conflict at face value. The conflict has
been projected as an intense political
contest, fueled by grievances, which are
so severe as to have burst the banks of
normal political channels. The rebellion
has thus been interpreted as the ultimate
protest movement, the Maoist cadres
being self-sacrificing heroes struggling
against oppression.
These explanations are so fashionable
that they are now accepted by many in
even the ruling elite—the people who
have exercised power for much of the
nation's modern history Much of the
effort to bring the Maoists into the mainstream has centered on commitments
to make the governance structures more
inclusive and equitable. The government has initiated a slew of reforms towards this by offering reservations to
dalits, women and janjatis in education
and the civil service.
But yet a closer examination of all
these reasons reveals that they cannot be
entirely true. It is not so much that each
of the reasons offered for the conflict—
social exclusion, inequality caste and
ethnic divisions—are false but that these
reasons could not by themselves be behind the conflict.
Nepal has been a feudal, patriarchal
and caste-based society for hundreds of
years. For hundreds of years, the lower
castes and women have been mistreated
32
and abused by the male upper castes who
used religion to justify their hold over
the power structures ofthe state. By all
measures, Nepal during the Rana rule
and, to a lesser extent, under the
Panchayat was an unequal and unjust
place for the lower castes and the ethnic
minorities. In contrast, the Nepal ofthe
mid-90s was slowly making a transition
to a more equal and just society. The onset
of democracy had significantly strengthened the minority voices, which were
seldom heard during the absolute rule
ofthe Ranas and the Panchayat. Despite
several imperfections, development in
remote areas of the country had gained
pace through the government's decentralization initiatives. While corruption
continued to be rampant, people could
now protest against corruption and demand accountability from their representatives.
To accept the logic that social exclusion and inequality were the primary
reasons for the conflict would be to accept that Nepal in the 1990s was a more
unequal place than during the Rana rule
and the Panchayat era; that somehow
things had suddenly gotten worse, which
is completely untrue. But what are the
primary causes of the conflict, if social
exclusion and inequality are not? Why
did the conflict start in the mid-1990s
when the state structures were more
minority-friendly than they had been for
A
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 years and not earlier during the Rana rule
and the Panchayat.
The answer can be partly found in the
research of Paul Collier. In an empirical
analysis of the causes of conflicts in 27
countries between 1965-99, Collier finds
that the risk of civil conflict is systematically explained by opportunities for
building a rebel organization and not by
any measures of social grievance. According to Collier, opportunity is determined
by access to finance, such as the scope for
extortion of natural resources and donations from a diaspora population. Opportunity also depends upon factors such as
geography and poverty: Mountains and
forests may be needed to incubate rebellion. It is also easier to mobilize a rebel
army in a country with widespread poverty and high unemployment. Conversely, and
astonishingly, objective
measures of social
grievance, such as inequality, a lack of de-
i mocracy and ethnic
I and religious divisions, are shown to
have no systematic
effect on risk in
Collier's analysis.
As an example, the
Michigan Militia
was unable to grow
beyond a handful of
part-time volunteers, whereas the
FARC in Colum
bia has grown to employ around 12,000
people. The factors that account for this
difference between failure and success are
to be found not in the "causes," which
these two rebel organizations claim to
espouse, but in their radically different
opportunities to raise revenue.
Because the results are so
counterintuitive, Collier advises against
being trustful of the loud public discourse on conflict. Observers often reason back from the political discourse
during conflict and deduce that the war
is the consequence of particularly intense political conflict, based in turn
upon particularly strong reasons for
grievance. But Collier's analysis shows
that the intensity of objective grievances
does not predict civil war and that wars
will only occur where rebellions are financially viable. Collier argues that a
rebel organization must generate group
grievances for military effectiveness as
part of the process of war. According to
him, objective grievances do not generate violent conflict, but violent conflicts
generate subjective grievances.
Admittedly, Collier's research is
skewed heavily towards African countries where most of the conflicts reviewed by Collier took place. But it is
quite amazing how many similarities
Nepal has with conflict-affected countries analyzed by Collier. While it might
or might not have been the single most
important cause ofthe conflict, it's a fact
that Nepal in the mid-1990s offered tremendous opportunities for building a
rebel organization. The high mountains
and the difficult terrain played a vital role
in incubating the Maoist rebellion in the
early stages. The big Nepali diaspora in
India provided both the funding and the
inspiration to the Maoists in the early
stages of the revolution. The Maoists
were also able to dip into a huge pool of
poor and unemployed youth to shore up
their recruitment. Once the Maoist
cause gained momentum, they were also
able to threaten private businesses and
rich farmers, and extort money without
much difficulty. There was no concerted
effort to discourage the tendency to pay
up to the Maoists by the government,
which was unable to provide security
assurances to these people. The state was
considerably more "soft" that during the
Rana rule and the Panchayat when any
kind of dissent was nipped in the bud.
The current analysis of the conflict
has focused largely on the "grievance"
aspect and has ignored the "opportunity"
aspect of the conflict highlighted by
Collier. This has limited efforts for a true
diagnosis of the conflict, which is of
critical importance to formulate the
proper response to conflict. If the conventional grievance account of the conflict is accepted, then the appropriate
policy interventions are to address the
possible objective causes of grievance.
On this account, the government should
reduce inequality and increase political
rights. But if opportunity account ofthe
conflict were accepted, other policy interventions would be required.
I hope the Peace Secretariat that was
established with much fanfare by the
Deuba government is busy researching the
causes of the conflict in Nepal, formulating policy responses and advising the government on its negotiating positions. But
if my hunch is true, it must still be negotiating over its salary and benefits. □
■
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
 Conflict
Vs^..
THE CROSSROADS
of our NATIONAL
IMAGINATION
The state of conflict has become, for the nation, a state
of mind
BY SUSHMA JOSHI IN NEPALGUNJ
NEPALGUNJ HAS PALM TREES.
It has good sekuwa, thought to
be perfected with MSG. It has a
"New Road" that is being constructed;
massive concrete buildings going up
within the space of a few years, occupied by people fleeing the conflict in the
mid- and far-western districts. It has
mosques with elaborate minarets next
to gurudwaras and temples. It has businesses, from law firms to tire stores,
named after Bageshwori, the patron goddess. It has a list of ethnic groups, not all
of whom drink water from the homes of
other groups. It has Abadi speakers and
Urdu speakers. It has a pluralistic, multilingual, vibrant border culture that does
not, by any stretch ofthe imagination, fit
the confines of Nepal's limited Constitution.
For a city that is so close and yet so
excluded from the presently limited
imaginings of the Nepali nation,
Nepalgunj has a special fondness for national figures. Specifically it has an embarrassingly rich series of "chowks"—
an intersection with a statue in the
middle—named after national figures
past and present. The list goes like this:
Tribhuwan Chowk, Mahendra Chowk,
Birendra Chowk, Gyanendra Chowk,
B.P Chowk, Ganeshman Chowk,
Pushpalal Chowk. Gyanendra Chowk
and Ganeshman Chowk are under construction. The rest are surrounded by
stacks of sandbags against potential ambushes.
The first sight of the conflict is not
the exodus of Nepalis who cross the
border every day at Rupadiya—their
numbers sometimes rising to 2,000 migrants a day as they flee the "one man
from every home" rule ofthe Maoists—
but the fortified statues.
The Nepalgunj resident skirts this
fortified reminder of war every day as he
goes to work in his horse-driven tonga
and his bicycle. The statues are a little
misshapen. Rumours claim that the
Birendra statue-maker got scolded for
making the statue a little smaller than
life-size. Pushpalal's statue looks like it's
made of plaster by an artist used to making Saraswoti statues that are submerged
in the river during Saraswoti Puja. His
fist is upraised in the traditional comrade salute, but apparently he's not immune to violence: He receives the same
sandbag protection as figures of other
political persuasion. During the day a
bevy of soldiers lounge behind the sandbags, staring at each passing car with curious eyes. At other times, they chat with
each other to pass time. Their helmets
are tossed carelessly on the bags. Any
passing rebel with a grenade could blow
up the edifice within a few tragic seconds.
An intelligent observer might wonder why so much resource is being used
to protect some rather poorly made statues. After all, should not those thousands
of rupees be better served if they were
directed towards the refugees living under plastic in nearby Kohalpur or to the
Badi community that has yet to produce
a member with a Bachelor's degree?
Would those funds be better served going to educate the children of two farmers whose wives were raped and
drowned by security forces dressed up
as Maoists or to the Mangta community
that still, to this day goes to Kathmandu
and to other places in India to beg for a
living six months of the year?
But the argument of this observer
would be wrong. All nations need icons,
national or otherwise. They need the
signs and symbols of national integration. If integration has been suspended,
and national disintegration has taken
over, the need to construct iconic symbols becomes even more urgent. In
Nepalgunj, one gets the feeling that every long-dead king, and every martyred
leader, will soon have chowks constructed and named after him. From the
speed at which the chowks are being
constructed, there appears to be competition between different political forces
to ensure that their particular history
graces the streets. Never mind if the
chowks already disorient traffic and
cause confusion.
Nepalgunj's crossroads allow a traveller to make multiple choices. Directly
beyond the city boundaries are roads
which do not provide the same choices
and which are not as navigable. A few
days ago, passenger buses carrying pilgrims were shot at by the Maoists, reported a newspaper. Helicopters hovered over the city all afternoon long.
Children are reported to be laying
landmines on the Mahendra Highway.
Black lines of defused ambushes cut
through the roads. Travellers go through
India to get to other border districts like
Kailali to avoid blockades and crossfire.
34
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Government employees cluster
within the city and fear to go beyond the
Rapti River. Beyond the river is unknown territory controlled by the
Maoists. Everybody from the CDO's
office to the police, from the land revenue office to the forestry office, has not
crossed the river in a few years. The void
left by the abrupt departure of all elected
officials and state agencies is felt most
keenly by those who were receiving
benefits, no matter how small, from the
government and non-governmental offices. Programs from education to
childcare have stopped as INGOs withdraw. Birth and death have become impossible to register as all grassroots-
elected representatives withdraw to the
city or flee to India. Marriage certificates and citizenship papers, registered
at the CDO's office, are in arrears as
people disappear into India for months
and sometimes years, often coming back
to claim their papers after a period of
time has elapsed. The buying and selling of land has also stalled. Land disputes are now settled at the local levels,
increasingly by the Maoist "People's
Court," thejana Adalat.
For some actors within the most
marginalized communities, conflict has
sometimes brought odd windfalls. Take
the Magta, traditional supplicants from
Banke who put a big earthen container
of rice in front of their windowless huts
to "lock" it up and leave for six months
every year to beg for a living. Both security forces and Maoists avoid their village, although the Maoists did blow up
the police post as they passed through.
For the men, the removal of the police
force is a blessed relief. They no longer
get beaten up. Dispute resolution has
gone back to a traditional system. Men
get together, fine the perpetrator of petty
quarrels Rs. 10, and then spend the
money collected on an all-male feast
with drinks and pork. The women
mourn those rosy, long gone days when
a marital dispute involving domestic violence could be reported at the police station. They complain that they are not
heard by the traditional council. It's not
all a big party, however: The men, who
used to work as rickshaw drivers and
worked till 10 at night, now have to leave
by 7 p.m. The number of working hours
has lessened, and so have their earnings.
The Badi too face pressure. Considered the lowest of the 23 dalit groups,
the Badi fail to feature in most government policies and literature. They are
outside the national imagination. At the
local level, however, the police are all
too aware of their presence. All Badi
women are perceived to be involved in
the sex trade, even though 60 percent of
them now work in other areas. Police
harassment and torture, along with police patronage of the sex trade, is com-
ON THE MOVE: In Nepalgunj
mon. The Maoists have also told them
to get out ofthe sex trade. Caught in the
crossfire, many Badi women from rural
areas have fled to India, where nobody
stigmatizes them for their caste or occupation.
This state of conflict has become, for
the nation, a state of mind. For a tailor
living in Nepalgunj, this state of mind is
omnipresent. After the Maoists made
him and his family leave their home in a
mid-western hill district (one of his sons
was a policeman, and this did not please
the rebels), he migrated to Tarai. A loan
from a kind clothes-seller, and 10 years
of work, allowed him to build another
home on ailani (government) land in
Nepalgunj. A few years later, his younger
son was taken by the security forces as a
Maoist. The irony here is that the same
son had run away from the Maoists, who
had abducted him and made him do
forced labor for six months. The tailor,
for the second time, was told to leave his
home by the Maoists—this time because
they thought the detained son might give
out information. The family is currently
in hiding. The couple do not sleep at
night—one of them always remains
awake to keep guard. Sleep is a small sacrifice for these two who have seen their
lives broken up too many times.
Keeping guard has become our national burden as Nepal tries to steer
her way out of two armed forces. As
we return to the city from
the village in the gathering
dusk, we notice that the statues and the chowks have
been abandoned to the protection of the sandbags. All
the young security guards are
gone. Thankfully, some responsible leader in the Unified Command has decided
the life of a human being is
more important than a statue.
In these times, night could
mean potential death for a
young man left alone to protect an icon of stone. Our car
swerves to avoid a madman
squatting and throwing
stones from the middle of an
empty road. A ghostly—and
in the darkness, unidentifiable—statue rises behind
him.  □
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
35
 Arts   Society
&:rs ff'i
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The Man And
His Magic	
Kishor Kayastha uses state-of-the art technology to convey and express art forms that are almost lost
BY VENEETA SINGHA
Magical, that's the first word that
comes to one's mind when
you see Kishor Kayastha's
photographs. Color and contrast produce a splendid picture of women at
work in the courtyard. Harmony, emphasis and balance all come together for
another of a young woman carrying her
child. Faces and places burst out from
another in which the rhythm is perfect.
Shapes and volumes are symmetrical in
one more. The list is endless and the
collection is truly breathtaking.
Born and bred in Bhaktapur, the
26-year-old gushes with a smile: "I
started when I was nine years old. I
was not tall enough and had to use
chairs for support." The camera
stands were taller than him. Both
his parents are photographers and he
talks of Arya Sagar as his inspiration as a
photographer. Kayastha now focuses on
commercial advertising photography and
fine art photography.
"I want to help establish photography as a fine art medium in Nepal," he
announces determinedly. Nepal predominates in his art, his passion and his
conversations. It is the object of his art
and the subject of his medium. Culture,
expressions and society—these lie at the
center of his photographs. But he also
speaks of the return on investments that
most photographers now receive which
is a relatively new trend in Nepal.
His first photography exhibition in
2001 was titled "Images of Bhaktapur."
He is now working to complete a set of
photographs of the Kathmandu Valley. If
one should ask what his greatest reward
BTTW
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 is, he will answer—appreciation. He
talks of senior photographers of Nepal
and their struggle. "We have it easy now,
we youngsters," he says. The communication media, technology and exposure
have all helped young photographers like
Kayastha. His exhibition, "Life through
the Lens," opened in Indigo Gallery on
Dec. 3.
Kishor's exhibits are masterful pieces
that evoke nostalgia for tradition and culture. There are 42 photographs in all with
both digital and analog productions.
Paradoxically, he uses state-of-the art
technology to convey and express art
forms that are almost lost. Modernity is
creeping into the art but the objects remain traditional.
Misty hues ofthe seasons, bold dashes
of color and splashes of people—those
are his strength. His photography takes
from the mundane and transports it to
the extraordinary. Life is his subject matter. One door closed and the other
opened—symbolic of his own views on
life and living, perhaps.
We now get to the serious business of
his art. He talks of the present situation
of the country—how the current environment is not conducive and should the
political situation improve, creativity
will flow naturally. His technique is
simple: He chooses a subject and imagines the composition in his mind first.
He has often taken three to four years to
develop a single photograph. "Taking and
making pictures are different," he adds
jovially.
The 11 laws of fine art are woven intricately into his art yet he remains modest. "My art is not complete until I have
completed the set on the Kathmandu Val
ley," he says.
He speaks
with veneration about the
masters. He
seems like a
pupil still until you have
seen his work.
He also
teaches photography to
aspiring photographers .
"Photography is a good medium of expression and there is demand these
days." He opines. The man weaves his
art masterfully but is always looking
ahead. Art and magic have come together in his photographs and they
convey the man's magical vision.  □
 ■ .
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 Falling off the map
BY KUNAL LAMA
In case you were wondering where I'd disappeared to, I was up and
away in lower Mustang. Yup, the same region that has appeared in
a recent Time "Asia's Best" issue as the "Best Place to Fall Off the
Map." (Incidentally, the accompanying photograph was of Jharkot, the
intriguing but brooding fortress-like village at 11,500 feet, half an hour
below the pilgrimage destination of Muktinath.) You don't have to pay
the $70-a-day fee to enter this lower region of Mustang; ifyou cross
from Kagbeni to upper Mustang, i.e. towards Lo Manthang, then you do.
!_   -UB^Jk
m*,- *&.
I was fantastically over-prepared for the eight-day trek into this
arid Himalayan region: -10-degree sleeping bag with a micro-fleece
liner; Leki "spring" walking stick; layers upon layers of wool lies and
wind-and-rain-and-chill proof clothes (including a red-and-green
striped thermal longjohns which made me look like a mad harlequin
on the lam from an exceptionally color-conscious loony bin!); UV-
screening sunglasses and SPF 60 sun lotions; waterproof boots. You
name it; I had it. But what I wasn't prepared for were the series of
glorious and utterly unimaginable visual assaults and human exchanges that lay in store for me. The fun started on the 17-minute
Cosmic Air flight to Jomsom from Pokhara. Ten minutes into the flight,
there was a sudden and dramatic change in the landscape below:
from green, flat, tree-dotted to craggy, sparsely vegetated, brown-
grey, rock-and-boulder strewn terrain. At times, it felt that we barely
managed to scrape through the narrow mountain passes as we flew
towards a mysterious land. The airhostess insouciantly passed out
sweets and cotton wool and huddled in one corner, wrapped up in
her pashmina and thoughts.
Watched over bythe Nilgiri, Jomsom airport was newand efficient. I
walked out ofthe terminal straight on to the one and only Jomsom
(Puthang, actually: Jomsom, prefixed now by "Old," is the settlement
further up the trail) street, lined by hotels and lodges on both sides. I
made contact with a guide/porter at the Alka Marco Polo Guest House,
and I set off almost immediately on the road to Kagbeni, about four
hours walk away. Just before Old Jomsom, I was stopped at an army
check-post. My baggage was searched; my driving license retained, to
be collected on the way back, and issued instead with a Haka pass;
asked the much-repeated questions: Why are you traveling? Where's
your group? Alone? When I replied that I just wanted to get to know my
country, I was given a disbelieving look, but allowed to get on with my
native quest.
For the next few days, from Jomsom to Kagbeni;
from Kagbeni to Muktinath via Jharkot; Muktinath back
to Jomsom; Jomsom to Tukuche via Marpha; I was astounded by the outstanding nature of the barren landscape shadowed by snow-covered mountains: Dhaulagiri,
Dhampus, Tukuche, Tilicho and Annapurna, among others. The trail almost always followed the Kali Gandaki
River. There were amazing cliffs riven with fissures or
displayingdiagonal stratifications, sometimes dotted with
grazing sheep and goats, occasionally accompanied by
the lone herder! Along the way, endless pony and mule
caravans rangthe air with their cheerful bells, littering the
trail with copious depositions of their dung and urine.
There were highland plateaus with nothing more than
thorny, scrubby low bushes. And all around, all the time,
mountains and the blue sky speckled with playful clouds
and the dancing rays of pure sunlight. The wrap-around,
panoramic views took my breath away. I felt humble and
ecstatic to have the privilege to be there, to witness, in
mute respect, this astonishing beauty of Nepal.
I rode a pony from Kagbeni to Muktinath, having
overnighted at the Nilgiri View Lodge, which sports a rooftop solarium. The pony was to hurry me along because I wanted to visit the
seldom-explored vi I lages of Purang and Dzong across the river val ley from
Muktinath. The pony was not much faster at all. All I had to show for the
ride were a sore bum and hitherto undiscovered muscles that were aching
after having sat wide-legged for hours. Alongthe way, the pony attendant,
a boy of 17 from Myagdi, initiated a strange and long conversation expounding his personal and unique theory of horse riding being singularly
erotic and orgasmic, especiallyfor women. Sidesaddle riding, presumably,
is not an option for the ladies to undergo this Freudian experience!
Prayer flags a-flutter above red, yellow and blue striated, flat-roofed
mud houses packed together to create narrow lanes and underpasses;
silent villages dominated by crumbling forts; green uwa (barley) fields;
rushing streams; yak hair insulation spiraling around solar heating pipes;
frozen ponds with patches of turquoise-green and purple water; apples
in every form: juice, air-dried chips, pies, brandy; soaring mountain faces
pockmarked with caves created for religious retreats and escapes from
marauders; the incongruously-named Bob Marley Restaurant in
Muktinath. □
X
42
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 us. Though shepherds too have been affected by the changes, much about their
lives remain as it was a thousand years
ago.
The yearly cycle of the shepherd has
always been dictated by the weather. The
difference now is how the shepherd responds: A scene in which a shepherd's
caravan is airlifted by helicopter to a plateau in the Alps shows the beauty of the
mountains and the utility of modern
technology, but it also reinforces the age-
old cycle. In the summer, the shepherd
heads to the mountains, the Alps, and he
retreats to a warmer clime when snow
and cold take hold in the winter.
The shepherd's life is hard; in the mountains it is more so. He lives out in the
open—in a small hut, a tent or a caravan.
The movie focuses on the simple life that
shepherds lead. Scenes that the director feels
are important are shown in detail to reinforce the simplicity—children enjoying a
bath out in the open in a small tub; a shepherd setting up his camp in the woods. Other
details that are emphasized include lengthy
explanations about the shearing ofthe sheep,
the cutting of their hooves, the milking of
goats, the making of cheese, and the mating
behavior ofthe billy goat. At times like these
it is easy to become overwhelmed by the
details and lose track ofthe larger narrative.
The movie is long, about two hours. And
moves slowly, but the soundtrack in contrast, is up-tempo.
Most interesting are the reflections
on the shepherd's way of life. A radio
reporter asks one whether he is ever
bored. He is surprised by the question
and answers that he does what he has to.
It is an occupation that the shepherd, a
former radio electrician, has taken up out
of his own choosing. So why did he take
up such a life? And what drives him? As
the shepherd puts it: "I cannot sit still...
I'd like to be on the go forever." □
REVIEWED BY: YASHAS VAIDYA
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Tel: 4468589, 2040339, Fax : 977-1-4473652
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
41
 aughinj
Jomsom Journals: Part 1
Falling off the map
BY KUNAL LAMA
In case you were wondering where I'd disappeared to, I was up and
away in lower Mustang. Yup, the same region that has appeared in
a recent Time "Asia's Best" issue as the "Best Place to Fall Off the
Map." (Incidentally, the accompanying photograph was of Jharkot, the
intriguing but brooding fortress-like village at 11,500 feet, half an hour
below the pilgrimage destination of Muktinath.) You don't have to pay
the $70-a-day fee to enter this lower region of Mustang; ifyou cross
from Kagbeni to upper Mustang, i.e. towards Lo Manthang, then you do.
!_   -UB^Jk
m*,- *&.
I was fantastically over-prepared for the eight-day trek into this
arid Himalayan region: -10-degree sleeping bag with a micro-fleece
liner; Leki "spring" walking stick; layers upon layers of wool lies and
wind-and-rain-and-chill proof clothes (including a red-and-green
striped thermal longjohns which made me look like a mad harlequin
on the lam from an exceptionally color-conscious loony bin!); UV-
screening sunglasses and SPF 60 sun lotions; waterproof boots. You
name it; I had it. But what I wasn't prepared for were the series of
glorious and utterly unimaginable visual assaults and human exchanges that lay in store for me. The fun started on the 17-minute
Cosmic Air flight to Jomsom from Pokhara. Ten minutes into the flight,
there was a sudden and dramatic change in the landscape below:
from green, flat, tree-dotted to craggy, sparsely vegetated, brown-
grey, rock-and-boulder strewn terrain. At times, it felt that we barely
managed to scrape through the narrow mountain passes as we flew
towards a mysterious land. The airhostess insouciantly passed out
sweets and cotton wool and huddled in one corner, wrapped up in
her pashmina and thoughts.
Watched over bythe Nilgiri, Jomsom airport was newand efficient. I
walked out ofthe terminal straight on to the one and only Jomsom
(Puthang, actually: Jomsom, prefixed now by "Old," is the settlement
further up the trail) street, lined by hotels and lodges on both sides. I
made contact with a guide/porter at the Alka Marco Polo Guest House,
and I set off almost immediately on the road to Kagbeni, about four
hours walk away. Just before Old Jomsom, I was stopped at an army
check-post. My baggage was searched; my driving license retained, to
be collected on the way back, and issued instead with a Haka pass;
asked the much-repeated questions: Why are you traveling? Where's
your group? Alone? When I replied that I just wanted to get to know my
country, I was given a disbelieving look, but allowed to get on with my
native quest.
For the next few days, from Jomsom to Kagbeni;
from Kagbeni to Muktinath via Jharkot; Muktinath back
to Jomsom; Jomsom to Tukuche via Marpha; I was astounded by the outstanding nature of the barren landscape shadowed by snow-covered mountains: Dhaulagiri,
Dhampus, Tukuche, Tilicho and Annapurna, among others. The trail almost always followed the Kali Gandaki
River. There were amazing cliffs riven with fissures or
displayingdiagonal stratifications, sometimes dotted with
grazing sheep and goats, occasionally accompanied by
the lone herder! Along the way, endless pony and mule
caravans rangthe air with their cheerful bells, littering the
trail with copious depositions of their dung and urine.
There were highland plateaus with nothing more than
thorny, scrubby low bushes. And all around, all the time,
mountains and the blue sky speckled with playful clouds
and the dancing rays of pure sunlight. The wrap-around,
panoramic views took my breath away. I felt humble and
ecstatic to have the privilege to be there, to witness, in
mute respect, this astonishing beauty of Nepal.
I rode a pony from Kagbeni to Muktinath, having
overnighted at the Nilgiri View Lodge, which sports a rooftop solarium. The pony was to hurry me along because I wanted to visit the
seldom-explored vi I lages of Purang and Dzong across the river val ley from
Muktinath. The pony was not much faster at all. All I had to show for the
ride were a sore bum and hitherto undiscovered muscles that were aching
after having sat wide-legged for hours. Alongthe way, the pony attendant,
a boy of 17 from Myagdi, initiated a strange and long conversation expounding his personal and unique theory of horse riding being singularly
erotic and orgasmic, especiallyfor women. Sidesaddle riding, presumably,
is not an option for the ladies to undergo this Freudian experience!
zPrayer flags a-flutter above red, yellow and blue striated, flat-roofed
mud houses packed together to create narrow lanes and underpasses;
silent villages dominated by crumbling forts; green uwa (barley) fields;
rushing streams; yak hair insulation spiraling around solar heating pipes;
frozen ponds with patches of turquoise-green and purple water; apples
in every form: juice, air-dried chips, pies, brandy; soaring mountain faces
pockmarked with caves created for religious retreats and escapes from
marauders; the incongruously-named Bob Marley Restaurant in
Muktinath. □
X
42
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
  0)
z
u
CflYlhisWeek
At the Russian Cultural Centre, Kamalpokhari.
Films are screened back-to-back from 9:30 a.m.
to 6:30 p.m.
DEC. 9, THURSDAY
HALL A
2:45 p.m. Det Forbudte Landshold (54)
The Forbidden Team
Rasmus Dinesen/Amold Kroeigaard (Denmark, 2003)
A team finally gets to play football.
3:55 p.m. MoenJi, SaBukEul MootDa (83)
Sabuk Uprising, April in 1980-Dust
Buries Sabuk
Lee Mi-Young (South Korea, 2003)
Miners seize a Korean mountain town.
5:35 p.m. Starkiss: Circus Girls in India (77')
Chris Relleke/Jascha De Wilde (Netherlands, 2002)
Nepali girls in India's oldest circus.
HALLB
3:00 p.m. Marriage (80')
Bibo Liang (China, 1999)
Singing for a bride.
4:35 p.m. TrippingTowards Lhasa (27)
LeoArtalejo (U.S., 2002)
A visual, meditative tale of a road trip.
Cinquentona Gallotti (33)
The Gallotti Turns 50
Priscila Bottol Paulo de Barros (Brazil,
2004)
Around and about a Brazilian peak.
DEC. 10, FRIDAY
HALL A
10:00a.m. Das Geheimniscter Sherpa (90")
The Secret of the Sherpa
Gertrude Reinisch (Austria, 2001/2002)
Sherpa life below Chomolongma.
11.45 am Pororoca-Surfing the Amazon (26')
Bill Heath (Germany, 2003)
Riding the ultimate wave (nothing to do
with mountains!).
Experimental Shorts
Das Rad(8'5'),Rocks
Chris Stenner/ Heidi Wttlinger/Arvid Uibel
(Germany, 2001)
Charmingcartoon where the rocks speak.
KATHMANDU
INTERNATIONAL
/TONTAJNFIW
FESTNH1
Hochbetrieb (6'), Nuts & Bolts
Andreas Krein (Germany, 2003)
A man, a frog, and a construction site.
Mouse (T 5")
WojtekWawsczyk (Germany, 2001)
Bigger is not better.
Peace into Pieces (4' 47")
Raghuwar Nepal (Nepal, 2004)
Richard Heap (U.K., 2004)
The Khumbu's receding glaciers.
11:00 a.m. Hirtenreise ins dritte
Jahrtausend (124)
Shepherds' Journey into the Third
Millennium
Erich Langjahr(Switzerland, 2002)
The 21st century shepherd.
2: 00 p.m.The Idu of Dibang(42')
Pramod/Neelima Matfw(lndia, 2002)
A study ofthe Idu of Arunachal.
Random Voices from Kashmir (12)
Dr. Parvezlmain (India, 2003)
Kashmiri voices on the long conflict.
3:15 p.m. Eigernord wand     Aufden
Spuren der Erstbesteige (52)
Eiger North Face - In the Footsteps
of its First Climbers
P^
Shattered hopes, experimental.
2:30 p.m. Schools in the Crossfire (52)
Dhurba Basnet (Nepal, 2004)
Education and the Nepali conflict.
3:45 p.m. Six 'Stories' (43')
Mohan Mainali (Nepal, 2004)
Women caught in the crosshairs.
4:45 pm. Travellers & Magicians (108)
Khyentse Norbu (Bhutan, 2003)
Tale of a monk and modernity.
HALLB
10:00 a.m. Meltdown-ln the Shadow
of Nepalis Lost Glaciers (50)
(Clockwise from top left)
7Vavellers& Magicians;
Marriage;
Return of the
Mummtes;
Shared flight
Frank Senn/Thomas Ulrich (Switzerland,
2002)
Retracing climbing history on the Eiger.
4:20 p.m. Pensieri Nel Vento(19')
Thoughts in the Wind
Ermanno Salvaterra (Italy, 2003)
Another meditation on mountaineering.
Alpi: Le Marittimee le Liguri (29)
Alps: Coastal Peaks and Valleys
Folco Quilici (Italy, 2004)
Rocks of the Mediterranean. Glorious
5:25 p.m. Hummingbirds - Jewels of
the Andes (50')
Heinz Von Matthey (Germany 2003)
Pleasing vignette on South America's tiniest bird.
DEC. 11, SATURDAY
HALL A
9:30 a.m. Farther Than the Eye
Can See (72')
Michael Brown (U.S., 2003)
Being sight-impaired on the Western
Cwm.
11:00 a.m. Ang Pagbabalik ng mga
Mummies Part 2 (41)
The Return ofthe Mummies
AbnerP Mercado (Philippines, 2004)
Filipino mummies go home.
12:00 p.m. Storm fur die Sherpas
Sherpas h Die Moderne am Mount
Everest (30')
Electricity for the Sherpas - Modern
Times at Mount Everest
Bettina Ehrhardt (Germany, 2004)
The Khumbu Bijuli Company brings light.
2:00 p.m. On the Road with the Red
God: Machhendranath(50)
KesangTseten (Nepal, 2004)
Conflict   and   confluence   in   the
Machhendranath Jatra.
3:15 p.m. Into the Thunder Dragon (47)
Sean White (Canada, 2002)
Unicycling about Druk Yul.
4:20 p.m. Some Roots Grow Upwards
- The Theater of Ratan Thiyam (51)
Kavita Joshi/ Malati Rao (India, 2002)
The guru and the troupe, in Manipur.
5:35 p.m.NimaTembaSherpa(52)
MargrietJansen (Netherlands, 2003)
Mr. Sherpa speaks.
HALLB
10:00 a.m. The Adventure is Not Yet
Over (39')
Richard Else (U.K., 2004)
Bonington reflects on a life of climbing.
Base Matterhorn (22)
Mario Kreuzer (Austria / Switzerland,
2003)
Leaping off the Matterhorn. Have parachute.
1-
U
:;.
H
1130 Pages
InlwwJ ***** bu-rtJi * stud, cHniH.i;iiEC[r
District Development PROFILE of NEPAL 2004
District Section includes-
Districl Maps /Development Indicators of Each District /VDC data on
Population & Infrastructure /District wise database on-
Topography, Demography Household Characteristics, Ecoaomic Activities, Social Characteristics,
Agriculture, litigation. Forest, Co-operatives, NGO's, Transportation, Communication, Energy
System, Education, Health, Drinking Watei Gendet; Children und many mora
Basic Information on all 58 Municipalities
Available at Renowned Bookstores in Town
COVIRAOI
Divided mainly on Ihro* parti,
Ihe publication covers
L HUHtl S. Dlshlrt, III. MunldprnltliH
nlurJi, Kulhmundu. H.pul.'Pti: 4429114,' Email: Inlur-nal^nlcnHt.npi' Weenie rillp:
44
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
11:15 a.m. Fiostas populares entre
tradicion y mercado- (41)
Condors and Bulls Brought on Stage
Andre Affentranger (Switzerland, 2001/
2002)
The real and unreal behind a documentary.
Shepherd Women of Shambala (9)
JoyTessman (USA, 2001)
Pakistan's Ismaili women welcome an
outsider.
12:15 p.m. Wspolny Lot (50')
Shared Flight
Miroslaw Dembinski (Poland, 2003)
Paraplegic paraglider surmounts the
odds.
2:00 p.m. K2: Una Storia Italiana(49')
The Conquest of K2
Alessandro Varchetta (Italy, 2004)
The historic conquest of K2.
3:10 p.m. Al filo de lo Imposible:
Makalu, ese viejo Sueno (55)
The Verge ofthe Impossible: Makalu,
That Old Dream
Sebastian Alvaro (Spain, 2003)
Tragedy of a Spanish team on Makalu.
4:20 p.m. Mount Poi-The Big Thing (26')
Jochen Schmoll (Germany, 2003/2004)
Climbers mix with Kenyan locals.
Alpi: La Valle Diaosta (29)
Alps: The Giants ofthe Val Diaosta
Folco Quilici (Italy, 2004)
Good views on rocks, people and ice.
DEC. 12, SUNDAY
HALL A
10:00 a.m. Home (68')
WangYanlZhouXiaolin (China, 2002)
The Yao minority is being relocated.
11:25 a.m. Gantabbya Mahabhir (41)
Destination Mahabhir
Mejan Pun/Dab Bahadur Garbuja
(Nepal, 2004)
These honey hunters are Pun Magars.
12:20 p.m. Never Ending Thermal (47)
Sean White (Canada, 2003/2004)
Venezuelans celebrate the paragliding
lifestyle.
2:00 p.m. Story of our Climb (38')
Dinesh Deokota (Nepal, 2003)
Nepali amateurs attempt a virgin peak.
Natural Heights (23)
SHOWING AT
JAI NEPAL CINEMA
FOR INFORMATION: 4442220
Helen Atkinson (U.K., 2003)
Meditations on modern free climbing.
4:45 p.m. Daughters of Everest (56)
Sapana Sakya/Ramyata Limbu (Nepal /
USA, 2004)
The First Sherpa Women's Expedition
on Everest.
HALLB
10:00 a.m. Pizzet (Forsa liultim on) (52')
Pizzet: Maybe the Last Year
Ivo Zen (Switzerland, 2004)
Chronicle of a mountain farmhouse.
11:05 a.m. Hidrofilia (58')
Thumbnail
Jesus Bosque (Spain, 2004)
Two women and a peak.
12:15 p.m. Wildness (56')
Scott Millwood (Australia, 2003)
Photographic quest to save Tasmania.
2:00 p.m.Tavaline Seiklus (89')
Adventure High
Liivo Niglas (Estonia, 2004)
A cycling odyssey - Mongolia to Nepal.
All films are in English or subtitled. Tickets (Rs. 30 per screening) are available
at Saraswati Book Centre, Hariharbhawan
(5521599/5528017); Mandala Book
Point, Kantipath (4245570); Suwal Music and Video, Lazimpat (4421522);
Dhokaima Cafe, Patan Dhoka (5543017);
Thamel Book Shop, opp. Sanchaya Kosh
Building (4419849); Vajra Book Shop,
Jyatha (4220562) and at the venue.
NG   |N
Jukebox Experience
The jukebox experience with
Pooja Gurung and The Cloud
Walkers every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at Rox Bar.
For information: 4491234.
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.
Seasons Specials
Exotic Thai, sizzling tandoori,
traditional Nepali and Italian
encounter, daily for lunch at
the Shambala Garden Cafe,
Shangri-la Hotel. Date: December 1 onwards. Price:
Rs.450 per person, includes
RESTAURANT
"The F 'e for the
you ever had'
LAIANA RESTAURANT
Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
Kathmandu, Nepal
tel. 4413874
all
a bottle of mineral water or a
soft drink.
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.
'Parking facilities available
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
45
 Yeti Airlines
Proposed Revised Flight Schedule
(Covering remote sectors)
Effective from 16 SEP - 31 DEC04
From
To
Flight No.
Days of
Operation
Dep.
Time
Arr.
Time
Rupee
Tariff
One way
Dollar
Tariff
One way
Remarks
Kathmandu
Lukla
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
YA 105
Daily
0715
0750
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA107
Daily
0840
0915
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 3
Daily
0845
0920
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA109
Daily
0850
0925
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 115
Daily
0855
0930
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 7
Daily
1020
1055
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 9
1,2,4,5,6,7
1025
1100
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
YA901
3
1025
1135
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
YA181
1,3,5
1030
1105
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
YA221
2,4,7
1030
1105
1245
61
DHC-6/300
Manang
YA601
6
1030
1130
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
YA171
Daily
1130
1200
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA173
Daily
1200
1225
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA175
Daily
1400
1425
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA141
Daily
1330
1355
970
55
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA143
Daily
1500
1525
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
YA301
Daily
0700
0800
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA302
Daily
0705
0805
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA303
Daily
0820
0920
4800
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Biratnagar
Biratnagar
YA151
Daily
0945
1025
2585
85
SAAB340B
YA153
Daily
1430
1510
2585
85
SAAB340B
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
YA104
Daily
0800
0835
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA106
Daily
0805
0840
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA108
Daily
0930
1005
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 114
Daily
0935
1010
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 110
Daily
0940
1020
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 116
Daily
0945
1025
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 118
Daily
1110
1145
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA120
1,2,4,5,6,7
1115
1150
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
Kathmandu
YA182
1,3,5
1120
1155
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
Kathmandu
YA172
Daily
1120
1155
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
Kathmandu
YA222
2,4,7
1250
1325
1245
79
DHC-6/300
Manang
Kathmandu
YA602
6
1145
1245
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
Kathmandu
YA902
3
1150
1300
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
Kathmandu
YA174
Daily
1240
1305
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA176
Daily
1440
1505
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
YA142
Daily
1410
1435
970
55
DHC-6/300
YA144
Daily
1540
1605
970
55
DHC-6/300
Sub jed to change without prior notice.
Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6, Sunday 7
t Subjed to CAAN Approval
CORPORATE OFFICE
Lazimpat, Kathmandu
Ph. No. 4411912 (Hunt. Line)
Fax:977-1-4420766
RESERVATIONS
4421215 (Hunt. Line)
Fax: 977-1-4420766
Email: reservations@yetiair.wlink.com.np
TRIBHUVAN
AIRPORT OFFICE
4493901, 4493428
OUTSTATIONS TELEPHONE NUMBERS
BIRATNAGAR
POKHARA
021-536612/536613 (City sales office)
021-523838 (Airport)
061-530016 (Cty sales office)
061-532217 (Airport)
081-526556/526557 (City sales office)
081-550637 (Airport)
071-527527 (City sales office)
071-527528 (Airport)
BHADRAPUR       023-522232 (City sales office)
023-522242
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The repent telecast can he viewed on
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 Profile
The display of the Panche Baja at New
York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was
finally established last year. This is an
accomplishment Krishna Man
Manandhar feels especially proud about.
BYADITYA ADHIKARI
Bhikshu Krishna Man Manandhar has been a witness to
Kathmandu's evolution since the last decades of the
Rana regime. Born in the late 1920s he has observed
Kathmandu and its culture keenly and today is a treasure
house of information on Nepal's past. He offers unexpected
tidbits of information: "The gaines [the traditional traveling
musicians] acted as spies for Prithvi Narayan Shah," he says.
"They came to Kathmandu and took back information which
helped him capture this city." Or, "every month a gupta
[secret] puja is held at Pashupatinath where they worship
Buddha and Mahadev together. An image of the Buddha is
placed atop the linga before worship commences."
And his recollections, his knowledge accumulated
through his research are not simply the rambling recollections of an old man. This slender man remains remarkably
astute, his mind remarkably organized, and all the bits of
information in his possession form part of a larger structure
in his mind. He speaks with the lucidity and passion of a
historian, and now this Buddhist monk has taken on a new
role as a cultural historian. He is working on a cultural
history of Nepal's traditional traveling musicians, the gaines,
as well as a book on the differing religious significances of
Muktinath for Buddhists and Hindus.
He has already completed a number of books: a book in
Nepali on the library sciences; "Peace Pilgrimage Nepal-
America," an account ofthe peace walks he has held in the
United States; and translations of two books by Buddhist
monks based in the United States into Nepali.
Manandhar joined the monkhood ofthe Mahayana
Buddhist order in 1992. He had always felt a deep attachment towards religious life, and some years after he retired
from his job as a librarian at the American Library where he
worked for 27 years, he finally felt the
time had come to devote his life to
Buddhism. "My children had
grown up and settled down," he
says. "I felt that I had fulfilled all
my responsibilities. My parents
had also passed away by that
time."
The influence of his parents
has stayed with him
throughout his life,
though. He even
partially attributes
his decision to
become a monk
to them. As his
father was Hindu
and his mother
Buddhist, he
finds that both
these religions
have offered him
reasons to join
the monkhood.
"In Hinduism the
tradition of
leaving home in
old age to
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
 45 NeP^
become a sanyasin is prevalent," he says. "On the other hand
there is a tradition among the Mahayana Buddhists of the
Himalaya to send one of their children to the monastery
when they are very small. Though my mother was a
Theravada Buddhist and not a practitioner of Mahayana
Buddhism, she always wanted her youngest child to become
a monk. But he became a businessman. So it was I who
decided to fulfill her desire."
Long before this, there was another important turning
point in Manandhar's life that he still remembers with
fondness. He won an international essay competition
sponsored by the Japanese Reiyukai in 1981. The topic was
"Shakyamuni Buddha and I."
"Do you know who Ram Prasad Manandhar is?" he asks.
He is surprised to hear a no. He then says enthusiastically:
"He was a brilliant man, a person who never stood second in
his life. Ever since he was a little child to the time when he
received his Masters degree there was no one who could
beat him. And at this essay competition it was I who won
and not him." There is a pause, and he says more reflectively: "Perhaps they thought his language was too literary
and hard to understand. I just wrote what I had to say in a
very simple way."
The enthusiasm returns soon. This time he looks at the
ceiling and there is a shine in his eyes: "My mother was very
proud of me at that time. She said to me that with this award
I had finally repaid all the sacrifices she had made for my
education."
The sacrifices Manandhar refers to were made in 1948.
There were still two more years for the Rana regime to
come to an end. Those were years of stress for his family as
his father, Chandra Man Sainju, a compounder, had been
jailed by the Ranas. Sainju transmitted messages between
King Tribhuvan and members of the then banned political
parties in the early 1940s. He was arrested in connection
with a plot to overthrow the Rana regime and was sentenced
for life, but was of course released in 1950 with the demise
of that regime.
In 1948 however there was no way of knowing that his
father would be released in two years. It was at this stage
Manandhar's mother realized her son's potential and
decided to send him to study at Ewing Christian College in
Allahabad with funds she had accumulated painstakingly
partially by selling ornaments and other objects of value in
their house.
That was the sacrifice his mother said he had finally
repaid more than 30 years later. The award for the essay he
received in 1981 allowed him to visit Japan and the United
States, and this significantly broadened his outlook. But it is
evident by the animated and passionate way he speaks of his
mother's pride that this was what mattered to him the most;
it is clear that his mother's happiness was for him the biggest
award he could receive.
In New York he visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art
where he saw a display of musical instruments from all parts
of the world—almost all, for Nepal wasn't included. Since
he had a keen interest in music ever since he was a child and
was especially interested in traditional instruments, he felt a
,i,e0aMto,rt
I  "pinch in the heart"
when he realized that
there were no instruments from Nepal on
display.
"These days no one
has a use for those
instruments anymore," he
says. "We have become too
influenced by western
music. I think that even
though we don't use our
traditional instruments, we
should at least remember
them, display them in museums or have books available
where people can read
about
these
instru-
|  ments of
the past."
When
Manandhar
returned to
Nepal after
his visit to the
United States,
he looked
around for a set
of the Panche
Baja, the five in- struments that played an
important role in  folk music. It took him longer than he
expected, four years, to find a complete set. "I couldn't just
find any old instrument," he says. "I had to find instruments
that still worked, that could still be played."
The display of the Panche Baja at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art was finally established last year, after a long
period of waiting. This is an accomplishment of which
Manandhar feels especially proud.
Manandhar's vision for the future is to establish a
stupa based on the Swayambhu in the United States.
Around the perimeter of the stupa he envisions inscriptions in six languages, from the six major religions in the
world. "When people visit this place they will become
aware of other religions," he says. "In its way it will help
foster mutual understanding in a world where conflicts
based on misunderstanding take place each day." He
hopes that his next peace walk in Pennsylvania, to be held
sometime next year, will help to bring in the needed
funds.
Then after the conversation is over, he stands up and
walks swiftly away his spine erect and head held up high,
with the same energy he has displayed throughout the
conversation. It is time for him to head to Chapagaun, to the
monastery next to the Bajrabarahi temple, where he often
spends the night. □
at the
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
49
 t^^^MD!
Speal^g Out
About AIDS
It's time to talk openly about hc disease, but Oxygen's
street theater missed aJolden^Bportunity
BY BISWAS BARAL
When Ujjwal, a drug addict in his
early 20s, finds out that he has
AIDS, he cries out to the audience for social acceptance. The eager
young actors presenting "Maunta Ko
Antya," a 40-minute street play organized
by the Oxygen Research and Development Forum in Patan Durbar Square to
mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday
Dec.l, held the attention of a diverse
audience—expectant locals, bewildered
tourists and busy street vendors.
The play's title, "The End of Silence," could be a metaphor for the
emerging voices of today's youth, and
the street actors' enthusiasm was more
potent than the play's uninspired script.
Barring a couple of eyebrow-raising
moments, for example when a character asserts that the use of drugs is more
widespread in small villages than in big
cities, it was a standard street performance. Much attention was focused on
the climax; nuance was conspicuously
absent. But the play's message was ap
parently food for thought for many in
the audience, judging from the expressions on their faces.
The enthusiastic performers, who
seemed mostly to be in their mid-20s,
put on a good show—the acting was
much better than the script. The
chasm between rudderless youth and
their out-of-touch parents was
handled well, and the actors highlighted the need for effective communication between parents and their
children. The cost of drug abuse was
a main theme.
In "Maunta," four close friends find
themselves waylaid into abusing drugs.
When they later learn that each has contracted AIDS from their habit of sharing
needles—and that one of the group has
infected his sister through a contaminated blood donation—they decide to
give up their addiction and to live the
rest of their lives with hope and dignity.
Unfortunately the play had almost nothing to say about the transmission of the
disease through sex, the primary way
AIDS is spread.
The troupe's focus only on the issue
of drugs would lead one to believe that
they were reluctant to face up to the issue of sexual transmission. Drugs are a
major social problem, but to believe that
drugs are primarily responsible for the
festering the AIDS epidemic in Nepal
is naive.
Unsafe sex is the primary danger—
one that gets passing mention only after
half the play is over. Abstinence from sex,
being faithful to one's partner and the use
of condoms, the best precautions against
contracting HIV, were not even mentioned. The play's avoidance of the subject is hard to fathom. Is the point that we
as a society are still living in denial, much
like the participants in the play?
The play urged the audience to break
the silence on AIDS, a good idea. But in
harping on that theme it missed a chance
to talk about avoiding unsafe sex. Do the
performers realize that they could be
promulgating the wrong message?
Avoiding drugs is not the most important way of protecting oneself from the
disease. One of the four friends is married but doesn't express concern at the
possibility of having infecting his wife
with HIV when he learns that he has the
virus. Speaking out about sex would have
been a stronger message.
The World AIDS day was celebrated
with much fanfare in Nepal. Famous
personalities, schoolchildren, AIDS patients, social workers and ordinary
people all took part in various functions.
But there is little cause for celebration:
The country that was once
considered a "low-prevalence" nation has now been
categorized as having a
"concentrated epidemic"
of AIDS. It's not an exotic
disease any more.
As the participants of
the street play say the time
to remain silent has
passed. Without the resolve to halt the spread of
this deadly disease urgently a gloomy future of
a soaring number of AIDS
patients and a crippled society awaits us. What they
should be speaking up
about, though, is sex education and abstinence. □
nation weekly
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ACROSS THE
OCEANS
Almitra von Willicox, a 57-year-old American, has traveled on foot to three continents. Starting in 1997 from
Augusta in southwestern Australia, Willicox has crossed
more than a dozen boundaries across Europe and Asia.
Late last month, after crossing the Khoja on the Tibet
border, she walked into Nepal through Simikot. But why
on foot? "Walking will leave me the most open and accessible to meet people," says Willicox. "I can't be involved with life through the windows of a moving vehicle.
I have to breathe it, taste it, adjust to its subtle rhythms."
The final stop: San Diego, in 2012.
Pump Up The Volume
Adrian Pradhan, the drummer and singer ofthe band
1974 A.D., knows how to keep himself busy. Just off
a charity performance at the "Beatles Night" in St.
Xavier's Godavari School on Nov. 27, he was back
on stage, slated to perform at "Jazz at Boudha" at
the Rox Bar on Sunday Dec. 5. That's not
all. His first solo album "Aja" hit the market two weeks ago. Does this mean
Pradhan has ended his six-year association with the eminent 1974 A.D.? "My
solo album was just a side project," explains Pradhan who joins the band for
their upcoming Bhutan and Australia
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THROUGH
HER EYES
How often do you come across
people who come here on a short
holiday and forget to go home? Meet
Yuko Akiba—a Japanese photographer who came to Nepal in 1990 and
has stayed here since. Her photographs were on show at the Park
Gallery recently. "Near Wild
Heaven, Voice From The Mountain," Akiba's first ever exhibition,
was highly appreciated. More than
half of the 43 photographs put on
show have been sold. These pictures
are of people and landscapes from
around the country mostly Rasuwa
and Gorkha, as seen through her
eyes. "The beautiful mountains, the
rich culture and the amiable people
in Nepal attracted me to live in the
country" says Akiba. "Letting others
see through my photographs the
beautiful Nepal I had seen throughout these years left me the most
satisfied."
DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
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looking for the following personnels.
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Salary
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Qualification:
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Responsible:
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monthly as well annual report accounts.
Formulation of Budget/Reconcilation of
bank accounts.
Attractive salary as per the rules and
regulations of the center.
(Women are encouraged to apply)
3.   Post :
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Qualification:
Proficiency in Certificate Level or 10+2 in
any Subject.
Expereince:
2 Years experience in related job.
Skill:
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read, write and speak english fluently.
Responsible:
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Attractive salary as per the rules and
regulations of the center.
(Women are encouraged to apply)
If you meet the above requirements and are desirous to work
with us, please collect the application form, job details and and
operation manual upon the payment Rs. 50.00(Non-
refundable) from the following address and application should
be submitted in the following address not later than
December 15, 2004, Wednesday.
HANDICRAFT DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
CENTER HANDICRAFT ASSOCIATION
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Tel: 4244231,4245467, 4243015
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nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
53
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DECEMBER 12, 2004   |  nation weekly
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nation weekly |   DECEMBER 12, 2004
 Khula Man
Filming Mountains
F'or Ramyata Limbu, it's the culmination of a one-
year-long effort. As festival director of the
Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival, she's worked
hard to bring in 49 films from 21 countries. Not that she
hasn't done all this before. On December 9 the curtains
rise on the third edition ofthe biennial, non-competitive
film festival. Over four days, audiences
at the Russian Cultural Centre will be
treated to the continuous blitz of film-
fare. Still, this edition of KIMFF is a
special one for her: Limbu's own documentary, "Daughters of Everest," is being screened at the festival. Yashas
Vaidya talked to Limbu about the film
festival, mountain films and her own experience as a moviemaker.
How did the KIMFF come into being?
Himal Association organized the Film
Himalaya back in 1997. Then it did the
Film South Asia, a festival that focused
on South Asia. We saw then that there
were both filmmakers and an audience
for documentaries and films [that were
not regular feature films]. We saw, not
exactly a market, but an interest. The
Himal Association then decided to do a
mountain film festival—a regular feature in North America and Europe—
focusing on the mountains, which are
part of Nepal's identity.
What do you expect to achieve?
We hope the films will attract peer review and critiques from filmmakers and
the audience. And that this in turn will
lead to better documentation and a better understanding of mountain issues
and people, especially in the highland
regions ofthe developing world. We aim
to educate, inform about the lives and
times of these places and, at the same
time, entertain.
Not all the films you screen are films
about mountains...
Except for a few films, one about surfing the Amazon and another about a
paraplegic paraglider surmounting the
odds and a few experimental shorts, the
majority of films touch on some aspect
of mountains—as a sport, about a people,
a lifestyle, wildlife, conflict or the environment. By mountains, we don't necessarily have to be above 6000 meters or
have a gleaming, crystal white peak in
the picture. It's about perspective. For
example, "Hummingbirds" is about
South America's tiniest bird that inhabits the Andes while "Shepherd's Journey
into the Third Millennium" is about
high-tech shepherding in a mountainous country like Switzerland.
What about you—how did you, a
freelance journalist, get involved in all
this?
I am interested in the outdoors, trekking,
stuff like that. When Himal Association
decided to have the KIMFF, they asked
me whether I was interested. The project
combined my interests—films, moun-
I've tried to get a mix of
films so that the festival
appeals to a wide
audience
tains, meeting people and documenting
issues. So I thought it was ideal for me.
What do you do as festival director?
It isn't as grand as it sounds. It involves
basically coordinating everything—from
doing the PR to looking for good mountain films. I look for the films, correspond with the filmmakers and coordinate the four-day festival.
What would be the right films for you?
While some films are good from a technical point of view, informative with
beautifully shot images, like a National
Geographic presentation, they should
also have an element of passion, conflict
and drama and should inspire people.
I've tried to get a mix of such films so
that the festival appeals to a wide audi-
Seven years down the road from Film
Himalaya, do you think such documentaries and indie films are now financially viable in Nepal?
Well, I wouldn't say that yet. We haven't
got to that stage. There are a few exceptions that have done well. Outside films
festivals are a market for filmmakers to
sell their films, to meet distributors. We
[the KIMFF], on the other hand, are a
meeting place where people express and
exchange their ideas. We're a small festival.
Let's now talk about "Daughters of
Everest," which you co-directed and co-
produced with Sapana Shakya. How did
that come about?
What happened was I came to hear about
the first all-Nepali women's expedition
to Everest in 2000. I thought, well,
there's adventure involved, there's a
story and the mountains. That interested
me. I got in touch with Sapana who has
a background in broadcast journalism.
She jumped at the idea. We asked the
organizers if we could tag along and they
agreed.
How was the experience?
We spent six weeks at the Everest base
camp. We, Sapana and me, had to do all
the shooting, the interviewing by ourselves. It was basically two women and a
camera. It was tasking at times; at times
it was exhilarating. □
56
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Books
Eternal Optimist
Unlike many thinkers and commentators who
continually mourn the dismal state of our country, Kama
Sakya believes Nepal still has a lot to offer
BY BISWAS BARAL
Soch," Kama Sakya's first major
venture in Nepali literature, is a
collection of memoirs; a travelogue; a manual for successful entrepre-
neurship; and, more importantly a prescription for all dispirited Nepalis.
Sakya is a visionary and a highly passionate person. The subtle blending of
these two attributes confers on him the
resoluteness palpable in all his undertakings. He cannot sit idle for
any length of time with his get-
go mentality and is constantly
haunted by new ideas.
That the majority should remain ignorant about a man who
has contributed so much to our
society is indeed sad. Sakya,
sometimes single-handedly and
working up to 20 hours a day has
envisioned and handled some of
the most important and ambitious projects, mostly in the fields
of nature conservation and tourism. And remarkably due to his
uncompromising nature, he has
managed to keep his image clean,
even when muddled in the often-
dirty bureaucracy.
Visit Nepal Year, 1996; Cancer
Hospital With One Paisa, 1989;
Tundikhel Road Expansion, 1997;
Dream Garden, Keshar Mahal, 1998
are some of the important proposals he has presented and helped materialize.   The   development   of
Bharatpur as a medical city and the
introduction of the concept of endemic tourism (a small-scale, epicurean concept of tourism) in Nepal can
also be credited to him.
Though, reading between the lines
in "Soch," Sakya's reluctance to open up
completely is palpable at times; but, by
and large, he is open and honest. He is
very emotional, he admits—his eyes well
up at touching moments during mushy
Hindi movies. And he doesn't shirk away
from mentioning his poor accounting
skills: Even today he is unable to differentiate between debit and credit. But he
knows his strengths and is proud of what
he has done so far.
The book as a travelogue is pretty
interesting as well. Sakya narrates his vast
and sometimes amusing experiences—
from swimming naked in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the tussle with a
pickpocket in Italy—he has gained during his extensive travels,
"^r
Soch
By Kama Sakya
Publisher: Nepalnature.com
PRICE: Rs. 250
PAGES: 286
both in Nepal and away with the aplomb
of a consummate raconteur.
But the most important point
"Soch" strives to hit home is: Unlike
what many thinkers and commentators
who continually mourn the dismal
state of our country today believe,
Nepal still has a lot to offer. Those who
depict Nepal's situation as dreadful and
hopeless are doing a disservice to our
nation; they are failing to put things
into a larger perspective, Sakya contends. Despite the crippling insurgency our social reforms and economic achievements since the restoration of democracy are commendable,
he says. Yes, without the rebellion, we
could have achieved much more, but
the situation is not as bad as many intellectuals like to put it. He believes
Nepal does not lack opportunities. But
because the youth shun
certain jobs, an apparent vacuum has
been created. We
don't have enough
construction workers, carpenters and
cooks, he says. We
don't take up these vocations because of our
spurious notion of dignity. With formal education getting such emphasis, the value of informal education is invariably being forgotten.
On a personnel note,
there are some pretty
touching chapters. The
untimely demise of his
first wife, Sanuchori, and
his eldest daughter,
Samjhana, both of cancer,
left a gaping void in his life.
The revelation Sakya has
abed in a Bangkok hospital,
where he is admitted for a
suspected case of prostate
cancer himself, terminates an
emotional roller coaster that
this book is.
Any thoughtful Nepali, in
Sakya's optimistic portrait of today's
Nepal, will find plenty to mull over.
"Soch" is a mirror every Nepali should
take time to look into. An illuminating
read, indeed. □
vrr^r
nation weekly |   DECEMBER 5, 2004
57
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Make It Happen
First in Dailekh last month and later
in Baglung this month, people
came out openly against the
Maoists. The apolitical protests in
Dailekh in particular showed that the
Maoist ways are far from popular in their
supposed stronghold, the Midwest, and
people are now daring to break the shackles. The three visiting Cabinet ministers, all from the region themselves, must
have taken heart from what they saw in
Dailekh on Nov. 23. Thousands of men,
women and children from at least a
dozen VDCs chanted angry slogans
against the Maoists and vowed that
they were not willing to abide by
the Maoist dictates anymore. There
have been similar protests in the district after that, but none in that scale.
While we do record Dailekh as
an important event in the annals of
the "people's war," we will keep
short of calling it the watershed our
officials say it is. Indeed, we call on
them to make that happen. The
Maoists have made no secret about
the fact that they would go to any
length to silence the voices of dissent, lest it spread like a bushfire in
these remote hills. They made their
statement right after the demonstrations when they killed five protestors. What followed gave indications
of things to come. More than 400
families fled their villages in the
wake of the violent retaliation from
the Maoists to take refuge in the district
headquarters. And the district administration was soon stretched thin. The
chief district officer in Dailekh,
Rishikesh Niraula, gave away a little over
Rs. 150,000 to 182 families, currently taking shelter in a local school, Tribhuvan
Higher Secondary School where close
to 2,000 villagers are living in 12 cramped
classrooms. Despite repeated calls for
help from local officials, the Home Ministry finds itself in an unenviable position.
This is exactly where the government and the state apparatus should try
to make a statement of their own. For
records. On Nov. 23, the visiting
Home    Minister   Purna   Bahadur
Khadka—with Local Development
Minister Yubaraj Gyawali and Minister of Science and Technology Balaram
Gharti Magar in tow—promised the
protesting villagers that the government will "guarantee" their safety
against the Maoists. That hasn't quite
happened and in part is even understandable. It's difficult to foil guerilla
attacks even in the heart of Kathmandu
and that in broad daylight. As much was
evident when Maoists detonated a
powerful bomb at the Sanchayakosh
early last month.
What the government can do—now
that the Dailekh residents believed the
government guarantee and came out
openly against the Maoists—is provide
support and safety to the homeless, who
are still not out of danger. The govern-
mentjust cannot afford to abandon them.
Indeed, the cash-strapped government
should mobilize the goodwill of the international community and aid agencies
to help the needy. Failing this, the great
opportunity that Dailekh has offered
will be squandered. And make no mistake, the Maoists want exa&tly that.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
DECEMBER 5, 2004   |  nation weekly
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