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Nation Weekly July 18, 2004, Volume 1, Number 13 Upadhyay, Akhilesh Jul 18, 2004

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 STRIKING TEACHERS I CRICKET BLUES I   SANG IN A'S OLYMPIC DREAMS
JULY 18, 2004 VOL. I, NO 13
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WEEKLY
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RS. 30       ISSN 1811-721X
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INTERNATIONAL    CLASS
SURYA
NJURIOUS TO HEALTH
 IXace institute
L OF MANAGEMENT
Naya Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Ph: 4474712, 4469019, email: aim@aim.edu.np
 COVER STORY
20 New Cabinet,
Old Problems
By Akhilesh Upadhyay
Prime Minister Deuba has finally expanded his Cabinet with the induction of
CPN(UML), RPP and NSP. The Maoists however seem to be in no mood to
offer any concessions
Opinion by Posh Raj Pandey: Good Budget Is Good Politics
Interview: Minendra Rijal of NC (D)
COLUMNS
11 Honorable Exit
Byjogendra Ghimire
The King should exercise his authority,
under Article 127, to dismiss two
controversial and incompetent
judges. Already, thejudges have badly
bruised the Supreme Court and they
have to go
30
fl
Notes From A
Small Island
By Swarnim Wagle
In England,   the ultimate
insult is, "you don't have a
sense of humor"
38 Nepal's Pipedream
By Trailokya RajAryal in Beijing
Given the attractions the west offers for
the new rich in China, not least the
direct air links, more and more Chinese
are likely to otp for vacations in Paris
and London than in Pokhara and
Langtang
40 Don't Celebrate Yet
By Sushmajoshi
The presidential election in November
will be the mother of all election battles.
Democrats sound confident of victory
but it may be too early to celebrate
18 Chain Reaction
By Sunil Pokhrel
Agitating teachers concede that their
demands may be unlawful but it is the
officials themselves who first bent the
rules to please their political masters
26 From Rock
To Hard Place
By John Narayan Parajuli
The demand for Nepali workers is
increasingly coming from areas where
the risks could be greater than at home
28 All's Not Lost
By Yashas Vaidya
Nepal's recent showing
hasn't been exactly sterling
but it is still in the run for a
World Cup berth
EDUCATION	
32  Admission Rush
By Satishjung Shahi
Ten-plus-two schools are booming as
students increasingly opt for the range
of choices and the perceived higher
quality of private institutions
ARTS & SOCIETY
34  The Show
Must Go On
^j ™ By Satishjung Shahi
I Building statues ofthe great
^w  can only grant a popular name
I so much mileage; building on
their work ensures that the
legacy lives on
36   Born To Rock
By Yashas Vaidya
Iman Shah certainly believes the age old
adage, "Do whatyou love and you'll never
have to work a day"
DEPARTMENTS
6 LETTERS
10 PICTURE OF THE WEEK
14 CAPSULES
16 BIZ BUZZ
39 CITY PAGE
44 KHULA MANCH: SANGINA BAIDYA
45 BOOKS
46 LAST WORD
 Lett
' $' ti;l\
■ ■ Consumer confidence
can't be won solely by
evoking patriotic
emotions
w
BLSHWOPOUDEL
Army and the court
JOGENDRA GHIMIRE ARGUES PER-
suasively when he says that the Army
should obey court orders in order to
enjoy moral superiority over the Maoist
rebels that it is fighting against (Re:
"Court Orders," Legal Eye, July 4). Almost every single day, newspapers are
rife with stories of the security forces'
defiance of the judiciary In fighting
against the Maoists—which to me is a
just cause—the Army should not lose
track of what it is fighting for: supremacy
of the rule of law But didn't Ghimire
question in one of his earlier articles
('WhenRights Go Wrong," April 19-25)
the motivation of the human rights
groups who are campaigning for justice
to those who have been wronged by the
Army? Ghimire made a rather confused
defense of Army's poor human rights
record. I am not saying that the Army
doesn't deserve the benefit of doubt and
that counter-insurgency measures are
easy to enforce. But it has so much gain
by admitting its mistakes openly and
then persecuting the guilty—again
openly. I am glad that Ghimire had the
moral courage to revise his flawed position.
SUDHAMPALIKHE
VIA EMAIL
Poor Nepali toys
I ENJOYED SUSHMA JOSHES
("Middle Class Race," Viewpoint, July
11). Her portrayal of a young boy unwittingly experiencing the material world
is interesting and thought provoking.
However, at the end ofthe article, she
subtly suggests that indigenous toys are
safer, and yet underrepresented in the
market. I am not so sure about this, and I
am afraid this is probably wishful thinking. It is wrong to characterize consumers collectively as ignorant agents preferring alien products to indigenous
ones, irrespective ofthe quality ofthe
product. My limited experience with
local markets in Nepal says the reason
why local products sell less is because
they are less trustworthy when it comes
to quality. Consumer confidence can't
be won solely by evoking patriotic emotions. I think we particularly need to learn
from the Chinese who were famous for
producing shoddy goods until the late
80s but are now supplying goods of excellent quality at reasonable prices.
BISWOPOUDEL
UNIVERSITYOF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY
Thamel bubble
PRIOR TO CHECKING INTO A GUEST
house on the edge of Thamel, perhaps
Kirsty Fisher should have checked herself into Kathmandu's renowned
TilgangaEye Center (Re: "The Belly Of
The Beast," Arts & Society, July 4). A
new pair of corrective corneal transplants
would have enabled her to see clearly,
without pride or prejudice, the 'real'
Thamel and the 'real' Nepal.
Thamel has developed over the last
two decades or so as a hub for a variety of
touristic needs: cyber cafes to cafe lattes;
singing bowls to sleeping bags; hashish
to hash brown potatoes. Thamel is ideally-sized, ideally-located and ideally-
organized to make it the perfect base
from which the discovery of the 'real'
Nepal can be planned. Only myopic and
Lonely Planet-less tourists would mistake Thamel for either Shangri-la or the
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 'real' Nepal. To view the 'real' Nepal,
the informed, curious tourists walk out
to some of Kathmandu's traditional, historical and cultural must-sees nearby,
such as the Durbar Square, Ason Bazaar,
and Swayambhunath. And on a trek in
the sublime countryside and hills of
Nepal is where they experience Shangri-
la, which is really a state of mind.
Nepal is full of troubles at the moment, but it also has an abundance of natural beauty, smiling people, amazing culture and an enviable sense of sangfroid. I salute every visitor who, in spite
ofthe alarmist travel advisories their respective 'first' world countries routinely
publish, come to visit Nepal. Their
quest to discover foreign lands, connect
with strange peoples and exotic cultures
is commendable, besides helping the
economy of a 'third' world country. I
certainly salute the entrepreneurs of
Thamel, who have coalesced together,
albeit haphazardly, to provide services
to cater to the various needs of these visitors.
For the fortunate ones who have the
ability to see into the belly of Thamel,
they will find that 'real' Nepali people
live, work and wander through its ancient,
relatively safe and clean lanes, courtyards
and bazaars. One thing is clear: the real
smug beast resides in the snug belly of
those who have lost the sense of wonder,
the hunger for adventure, the appreciation for the different. For them, sadly,
their bubble better not burst.
KUNALIAMA
CAFE MITRA& LOUNGE BAR
THAMEL
Moon or six pence
I DISAGREE WITH AJIT BARAL (RE:
"Moon or Six Pence," Arts & Society
June 20). Unlike what he claims average
Nepalis do not lack money to buy a painting. What they lack is the understanding
of art. The thought that crossed my mind
after reading his article: it is one of those
articles that grossly undermines Nepali
art and artists. The writer most un-
couthly tries to portray local artists as
"greedy people" who price their works
outlandishly, making paintings a farfetched dream for middle-class Nepalis.
Baral tries to make a case for himself by
describing Nepal as a semi-feudalistic
society, without a substantial industrial
class. And because of this our artists
should start selling their paintings cheap
so as to create a middle-class market.
Baral fails to understand that art is
not a commodity It cannot be mass-produced. A lot of dedication, emotions and
feelings go into the making of creative
works. Some Nepali artists have dedicated their whole lives in order to excel
in indigenous arts and to make their presence felt in the global art market. Indeed,
a number of Nepali works are masterpieces and deserve to fetch high prices
given their uniqueness.
Baral sounds outright irrational,
when he suggests that Nepali artists
should price their works keeping in view
the affordability of local purchasers. But
no work of art is created keeping a certain group or market in mind. The artist
creates a piece of art for the sake of art,
irrespective of how much money it will
fetch him. Don'tyou think it is demeaning to expect the artist to create something so that the sachib (to use Baral's
own term), who earns is Rs. 10,000 per
month, can afford it? In fact, I disagree
with Baral's claim that because Nepal
doesn't have an industrial class, there is
no critical mass to market the work of
art. Just look around you, there are fancy
bungalows, expensive cars, and look at
the money spent each night on partying
in restaurants and clubs by the supposedly "average Nepali" or the sachib. Curiously, many houses have all the modern gizmos, but not a single painting.
It's not that the "average Nepalis" lack
money to buy a painting, what they lack
is the understanding of art. Selling paintings as cheaply as Srijana Art Gallery to
expand the art market inside Nepal may
not be the best way to create a market.
The real issue here is the lack of awareness. Art is more than just a piece of work
to fill the empty space on the wall. Raising pricing issues will not further public awareness. I do however agree with
Baral that we need to create a market for
art. And how do we do that? Baral could
start out with writing articles that educate the "average Nepalis," (and the
sachibs) about the values of Nepali art.
NAVINJOSHI
DIRECTOR PARK GALLERY
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MAXPRO R LTD.
nation
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Vol. I, No. 13. For the week July 12-18, 2004, released on July 12
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2111102
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
 POLITICS SPORTS ARTS AND SOCIETY OPINION
Did you, too, O friend, suppose
democracy was only for
elections, for politics, and for
party name? I say democracy is
only of use there that it may pass
on and come to its flower and
fruit in manners, in the highest
forms of interaction between
people and their beliefs—in
religion, literature, colleges and
schools—democracy in all
public and private life...
Walt Whitman
 DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION CIVIL CONFLICT BUSINESS
www.nation.com.np
EVERY      MONDAY
 Pictu
if the
eek
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Purna Maya
Shrestha makes a plea for her husband's
life to the Chinese authorities. Ishwori
Shrestha has been put on a death row in
China for peddling drugs. With her are her
sons Ishan, 5, and Mishan, 4, during a
press appearance in Kathmandu
nw/Sagar Shrestha
 Honorable Exit
The King should exercise his authority, under Article 127, to dismiss two controversial and incompetent judges. Already, thejudges have badly bruised the Supreme Court and they have to go
BY JOGENDRA GHIMIRE
Q
, uite a few heads will roll before the Williams Robinson scandal
I is put to rest. One is bound to reach this conclusion because
the Judicial Council is not explicitly empowered to investigate or
recommend the dismissal of Supreme Courtjudges.
Since my last column on the controversy over a month ago, three
very important developments have taken place. The first was the report by a Nepal Bar Association committee, which found that the
decision ofthe division bench comprising of Justices Krishna Kumar
Verma and Baliram Kumar to acquit the drug dealer was flawed. Then
came a preliminaryfindingbya review bench ofthe Supreme Court
which echoed similar concerns. The third, and byfarthe most damaging development from the perspective ofthe two judges, came only
last week in the form of a report of a three-member special team of
the Judicial Council. The report delivered to the Chief Justice, who is
also the chair ofthe Council, by Supreme Court Justices Min
Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regm
has found that (a) the two judges had betrayed public trust
and confidence, and (b) the duo lacked competence to serve
asjudges ofthe apex court.
The investigation committee realizes the limits ofthe
Judicial Council—and the Chief Justice—while initiatingac-
tion against the duo. The Constitution, after all, makes the
Supreme Courtjudges immune from action or investigation by any organ ofthe state, except for the possibility of
impeachment bythe Pratinidhi Sabha. That too for rather
specific reasons: incompetence, misbehavior and failure
to discharge the duties of office in good faith. That the
investigation committee went to the extent of pronouncing
the two judges incompetent—one ofthe grounds for impeachment under the Constitution—is clearly indicative of
their conviction that they should no longer continue on the
Bench.
The committee members have recommended that the Judicial Council should ask Verma and Kumar to quit. There had
been an instance of resignation by one Supreme Court judge—
Rajendra Raj Nakhwa—a few years ago who was asked to quit by the
then Chief Justice, Keshav Prasad Upadhyay, after questionable behavior on the part of the judge.
If the resignation option does not work, the committee believes that
the Chief Justice should administratively punish the two judges by not
assigning them any work.
I find the first option acceptable. The second—of administrative
punishment—is likely to be a long drawn out affair, and indicative of lack
of clarity on the part of the judicial leadership on an extremely important
issue. Ofthe two judges in question, Verma is due to retire in a few
months'time, but Kumar, a more recent appointee, is likely to stay on
for nearly 10 years. Which means, he will be in administrative punish
ment at least until the new Pratinidhi Sabha comes into existence and
decides on his fate, which could take a while. A more decisive action for
the Judicial Council would be to take an unconventional—but bold—
route on the procedural questions associated with the issue of Verma
and Kumar, if they decline to quit without any fuss. The Council should
recommend to the King to exercise his authority under Article 127 ofthe
Constitution and dismiss the two judges.
Like it or not, we live in a constitutional set-up which would stop
functioning had it not been for the use of Article 127 to "remove difficulties." Since October of 2002, this last-resort provision has been used
three times to appoint the prime minister and for a number of other
executive functions. If that constitutional provision can be used for appointing the prime minister, which is a function assigned to the Parliament under the constitution, there is no reason why it can't be exercised
for dismissing the judges? This too is a function that the Parliament
should have performed and the procedure has to be facilitated in the
absence ofthe Parliament.
Letting the two judges continue at the apex court will, besides continuing to tarnish the image of the judiciary, create an uneasy environment within the court. At least eight judges ofthe Supreme Court have
already acted or spoken against Verma and Kumar—three as members
ofthe review bench, three as Judicial Council committee members, and
the Chief Justice and Justice Hari Prasad Sharma as members ofthe
Judicial Council.
Two damaging reports and a damagingcomment of a full bench later,
their presence at the apex court is not in the interests of thejudiciary.
They should go and the judicial leadership should not hesitate to take a
decisive action to ensure their departure—even if that means resorting
to Article 127. n
J.
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
11
  Dnondup ^JQianqsar
J   Handicraft Center J
TrideviMarg, Thame,,
Opp. of Sanchayakosh
Tel: 4416483, 4417295
E-mail: wapema®
im.np
 Capsules
Toxic chemicals
A large amount of outdated
chemical waste has been
stocked in the warehouses of
Cotton Development Committee and Agricultural Seeds
Company in Nepalgunj for
the last 12 years. Activists
warned of possible accidents
due to the hazardous waste.
The Stockholm International
Convention says that the outdated chemicals must be returned to the country of origin for disposal.
Thimpu's "solution"
The Bhutanese Prime Minister, Jigmi YThinley told the
National Assembly that his
government was making serious efforts to find a "durable solution" to the refugee
problem, Kuenselonline reported. Thinley termed the
December 22 incident in
Khudunabari camp last year,
when refugees pelted stones
at Bhutanese officials, following provocative statements from them, as a "regrettable setback." The
scheduled repatriation of
some refugees from the camp
was stalled after members of
Bhutanese Joint Verification
Team pulled out of Jhapa following attacks on the visiting
Bhutanese officials.
SLC slip-up
One hundred and ninety-one
students who failed this year's
SLC exam from Shahid
Smiriti Secondary School,
Chitwan, were allotted equal
marks in two subjects—science; and environment,
population and health. Teachers, who blame the Office of
the Controller of Examination (OCE) for the oversight,
have urged it not to bar the
students from sitting for the
"chance" SLC examination,
which will soon follow. OCE
said that it has started investigating the case.
Hepatitis scare
Hemophilia Society said
hepatitis was found in nine
out of 11 hemophilia patients, who have been transfusing blood regularly made
TIME FOR ATOAST: Photojournalists received awards from Sampada Photo
Vision for their contribution
available by the Kathmandu-
based blood bank. Even if the
bank screens blood before
transfusion, the window period of hepatitis might have
been the reason why hepatitis
screenings fail, the society
chairman, Kiran Manandhar,
said in defense of the blood
bank in Kantipur.
No Nepalis
Nepali students have been
barred from enrollment in
colleges in Uttar Pradesh. RSS
reports that they were denied
admission in schools in
Baharaich, Srivasti and Khiri
districts, citing security reasons. These districts border
Banke, Bardia, Kailali and
Kanchanpur. An Indian daily
citing officials of the Uttar
Pradesh Higher Secondary
Council said that admission
FINAL   SHOW
Shiva Shankar Mukherjee has been
appointed as the new Indian ambassador to Nepal. Mukherjee will succeed Shyam Saran who has been nominated as the next
Indian Foreign
Secretary.
Mukherjee is currently serving as
the Indian High
Commissioner to
South Africa. In
his pre-departure
press meet last
week, Saran
said, "Violence
isn't a legitimate
means to earn
litical needs,"
po
commenting on the Maoist insurgency. He
empathized with the plight of Nepalis, fleeing to India due to violence, "In times of distress, do you go to a friend or an enemy?"
He also expressed hope
that the talks between Bhutan
and Nepal would
resume and the
situation in the
refugee camps
doesn't get any
more "complicated." There are
reports that the
Maoists have infiltrated the
amps.
for students from the concerned districts will be allowed only after an investigation into their background,
Kantipuronline reported.
Leniency plea
Purna Maya Shrestha, wife of
Ishwori Kumar Shrestha
who was arrested by the
Chinese police a year ago,
appealed for amnesty for her
husband. A Chinese court
sentenced Shrestha to death
on charges of smuggling
drugs into Tibet. She claimed
her husband was innocent.
The court had earlier
handed a death sentence to
Ravi Dahal and life imprisonment to Rewat Kumar
Dahal. Both were found in
possession of drugs in Tibet.
Salt Trading abroad
The proposal of Salt Trading
Corporation (STC) to open
a branch in Dubai, UAE and
a retail outlet in Doha, Qatar
was approved by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and
Industry. Both the retail outlet and the branch office will
be in operation within a
month, according to
Parmeshwar Mahaseth, the
STC chairman. Sales of
fruits and vegetables are expected to get a boost through
the initiative. The outlet in
Doha is a joint venture with
Alfazar International Trading, a local company, while
the Dubai office will function independently.
14
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Rain owes
Recurrent heavy rain has
taken more than seven lives
bringing the death toll to 10
over the weekend. Dozens of
villages in Mahottari,
Rautahat, Udaypur, Saptari,
Sunsari, Dhankuta, Bara,
Jhapa and Dang were inundated rendering hundreds of
people homeless. Four
people were killed in Dang,
three in Dhanusa, two in
Udaypur , one each in
Rautahat and Sindhuli.
Cabinet expansion
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expanded his three-member
cabinet to 31. On board are CPN(UML), RPR and NSR The cabinet also includes two independent members who are Palace nominees. The portfolios of ministries are as follows.
■ SHER BAHADUR DEUBA: Prime Minister, and Minister for Royal
Palace, Defense and Foreign Affairs
■ BHARAT MOHAN ADHIKARI: Deputy PM and Finance Minister
CABINET MINISTERS
■ DR MOHAMMAD MOHSIN(I): Information and Communication
■ BADRI PRASAD MANDAL (NSP): Forest and Soil Conservation
■ BALARAM GHARTl MAGAR(RPP): Science and Technology
■ BIMALENDRA NIDHI (NC-D): Education and Sports
■ PRAKASH MANSINGH(NC-D): Physical Planning and Works
■ ASHOK RAI (CPN-UML): Local Development
■ PURNA BAHADUR KHADKA (NC-D): Home
■ DEEP KUMAR UPADHAYA (NC-D): Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
■ ISHWOR POKHREL (CPN-UML): Industry, Commerce and Supplies
■ YUBA RAJ GYAWALl (CPN-UML): Local Development
■ JOG MEHER SHRESTHA (RPP): Land Reform and Management
■ HOM NATH DAHAL (NC-D): Agriculture and Cooperatives
■ RAGHUJI PANT (CPN-UML): Labor and Transport
■ BACHASPATI DEVKOTA (CPN-UML): Population and Environment
■ ASTHA LAXMI SHAKYA (CPN-UML): Women, Children and
Social Welfare
■ TEK BAHADUR CHOKHYAL (NC-D): Law, Justice and
Parliamentary Affairs
■ KRISHNA LALTHAKALI (INDEPENDENT): General Administration
STATE MINISTERS
■ THAKUR PRASAD SHARMA (RPP): Water Resources
■ DR PRAKASH SARAN MAHAT (NC-D): Foreign Affairs
■ KRISHNA GOPAL SHRESTHA(CPN-UML): Local Development
■ BAL KRISHNA KHAND (NC-D): Education and Sports
■ URBA DUTTA PANT (CPN-UML): Labor and Transport
■ DR BAMSI DHAR MISHRA (CPN-UML): Health
■ PRATIBHA RANA (RPP): Science and Technology
■ RAMCHANDRA RAYA (RPP): Land Reform and Management
ASSISTANT MINISTERS
■ UMA KANT CHOUDHARY (NC-D): Agriculture and Cooperatives
■ LALBAHADURBISHWOKARMA(CPN-UML)Population and Environment
■ HARI SHANKAR PARIYAR (NC-D): Physical Planning and Works
BHIMKUMARIBUDHAMAGAR(NC-D): Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation
The heavy downpour has
also severely affected vehicular movement in the Prithivi
and Mahendra highways leaving hundreds of passengers
stranded.
New U.S. envoy
The new U.S. envoy, James
Francis Moriarty, arrived in
Kathmandu. A graduate of
Dartmouth College, Moriarty
began his Foreign Service career as a political officer in 1975.
He has served at U.S. embassies in Pakistan, Morocco and
Swaziland and in American
missions in China and Taiwan.
Coffee exports
Nepal Coffee Association
exported 8.4 tons of coffee to
the United States recently.
Nepal Samacharpatra quoted
an association official as saying that retail rates for the
U.S. market have not been
fixed yet—as this was the first
time Nepali coffee is entering the U.S. market. To date,
Japan is the biggest importer
of Nepali coffee. It imports
over 10 tons annually
More killings
The Maoists shot dead Rajan
Kuikel, an accountant at the
Home Ministry, in
Kathmandu in front of his
Gaurighat residence. Kuikel
died at the Medicare Nursing Home in Chabahil while
undergoing treatment. Police
say they are investigating the
case but no arrests have been
made so far. The Maoists also
shot dead Deputy Superintendent of Police Uttam
Bahadur Karki and
Maheshman Shrestha, ex-
chairman of Kathmandu's
ward-12 . Both the killings
took place a day after Prime
Minister Deuba expanded
his cabinet.
Farming census
The fifth National Agriculture Census-2058 made public by the Central Bureau of
Statistics (CBS) puts the
population of farmers at more
than 3.36 million. The country has over 2.65 hectares of
agricultural land. CBS included those families farming over four aanas of land in
the hills, eight dhurs in Tarai,
or having five domestic animals and 20 avians in the census list.
nation weekly
RIGHTS: A policeman grabs a
placard of a Blue Diamond Society
activists as they head towards the
post protest zone in Singha Durbar
JULY 18, 2004
15
 Biz Buz
PICTURES ON THE NET
Web designers "dreams & ideas" launched a
website www.pjclub.com.np on Saturday that
will highlight the work of Nepali photojoumal-
ists. The same company is also starting a two-
month basic photojournalism class starting July
25 to encourage new talents, says a press
statement issued bythe PJ Club. Kantipur's
photojoumalist Chandra Shekhar Karki will be
the instructor for the course.
FACTS & FIGURES
The month of June might have dismayed Nepal
Tourism Board due to figures on the arrival of
Indian tourists in the country. Citing figures provided bythe Department of Immigration, NTB
recorded a decline of eight percent in the arrival
of Indian tourists in June 2004 compared to
figures in the same period last year. However,
there was one suggestion made by outgoing
Indian Ambassador Shyam Saran during his
interaction with the media last week.
"Nepal needs to get its statistics right," said
Saran when asked the reason why Indians were
reluctant to visit Nepal. "Many Indians come by
road and the data they (NTB) record is only on
airtravel." However, Saran did add that factors
such as the opening of schools and the monsoon could have affected the arrival of Indian
tourists. The overall tourism arrival figures looks
rosy for the NTB this June. Figures recorded an
increase of five percent compared to last year.
PROMOTING TOURISM
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Jet Airways
have joined hands to promote Nepal as the
preferred tourist destination for Indian tourists. Together they organized a series of press
conferences and meetings with Indian tour
operators in the cities of Mumbai,
Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Chandigarh. Jet
Airways, in collaboration with NTB, is expected
to come up with various promotional campaigns and attractive holiday packages. The
Nepali participants during the course ofthe
campaign were Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza,
Himalaya Expeditions, Machan Wildlife Resort
and Avia Club.
16
NCC'S NEW BRANCH
Nepal Credit&Commerce Bank Ltd. launched
its 14th branch at Chabahil, Kathmandu. The
Chabahil branch provides fully computerized services along with Any Branch Banking System
(ABBS) facility with the Main Branch in New Road
Branch and the Thankot Branch. The 12th and
13th branches of NCC Bank were opened in the
month of June in Kalaiya and Pokhara respectively.
KYMCO'S NEW PULSAR 125 LUXE
Star International Ltd. launched the new Pulsar 125 Luxe. The newly launched motorcycle is manufactured by Taiwan based
Kymco. The Pulsar 125 Luxe has a displacement of 124cc and a maximum output of
11.56 bhp, with a mileage of around 50 km.
It is available in four colors: Black, Silver, Blue
and Red. The new model comes with a two-
year warranty.
SECOND SAAB FOR YETI
Yeti Airlines has acquired a second SAAB
340B. With the addition of the 36-seater
aircraft, the airline now has the largest seat
capacity in domestic aviation in Nepal and
also offers the widest network of internal
flights. The airline operates scheduled flights
to remote areas such as Jumla, Dolpo,
Simikot, Taplejung, Manang and Rumjatar
carrying large volumes of cargo. There will now
be additional flights on pre-existingflight routes
to Biratnagar, Pokhara, Bhairahawa and
Nepalgunj. The SAAB 340B aircraft is a Swedish made, regional commuter aircraft with a
general passenger cabin configuration of 33-
36 seats and maximum operating altitude of
25,000 feet.
NEW PROMISETOOTHPASTE
New Promise, a worldwide brand of toothpaste
established 25 years ago, is set to be launched
in Nepal. The toothpaste has clove oil and a
fresh mint flavor. The brand is being marketed
as product that provides refresh breath and
protection from cavities. The new toothpaste
will reach the consumers in a soft squeeze tube
and a blue international pack. It will be available in 3 conventional pack sizes - small (45g),
medium (90g) and family (170g).
70,000 NEPALIS IN THE GULF
Nepal's contribution to the U.A.E.'s labor market numbers between 1,000-1,500 each
month with a sharp increase in the last 18
months, the Gulfnews.com website reported
quoting Nepal Embassy's Charge D' Affaires
Madhuban Prasad Poudel as saying in a report
filed from the Abu Dhabi. The total Nepali population in the Gulf was reported to be about
70,000. The same report cited the U.A.E. government decision to ban unskilled Indian and
Pakistani workers in the region as the reason
behind the increase of Nepali workers. Poudel
was speaking at a function hosted bythe Embassy to promote tourism marking the 58th
Birthday of King Gyanendra.
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l^tTT   3cF'
 Prat
Agitating teachers concede
that their demands may be
unlawful but it is the officials at the Tribhuvan University themselves who first
bent the rules to please
their political masters.
"Now do it for us too," say
the teachers
BYSUNIL POKHREL
IT HAS BEEN 16 MONTHS SINCE
the part-time teachers of Tribhuvan
University and its constituent campuses began low-intensity protests over
their status and pay. But, they have met
with little success. The teachers are now
determined to fight to the finish, including a hunger-strike-unto-death to start
from July 16.
The Tribhuvan University Part-
Time Teachers' Association (TUPTTA)
has taken to the streets with a three-
point demand. The main one is for the
permanent appointment of teachers who
are on daily wages. For their part, university officials have made it clear that
the demands cannot be met until there
is an amendment to the university's Service Commission Act. University offi
cials believe that the protest is politically motivated; TUPTTA members
deny this.
"We have been treated shabbily. I am
not allowed to take leave even during
emergencies," says a part-time teacher at
Amrit Science Campus. "I am not permitted to issue books from the library.
The part-timers are fired even for ideological differences with the campus chief
of the colleges," says the teacher who
asked for anonymity. Low as their pay
may be, part-timers do not get it on time.
The Amrit Science Campus teacher says
that he hasn't received a single rupee
since January
T
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EACTION
The university has been a tool for the
politically powerful for quite a while.
Interference in its day-to-day work not
only continued but also intensified in
the post-1990 period. In a program organized by TUPTTA last week, leaders of
all political parties, including human
rights activist Krishna Pahadi expressed
their solidarity with the teachers' union.
When a central committee member of
the ruling NC(D) assured the teachers
that he would have the concerned authority look into the matter, the reaction
was mixed. Many ofthe teachers were
relieved that their plight would finally
get the attention it deserves while oth
ers wondered if the university was an
autonomous institution at all. In 1991,
Tribhuvan University caved in to political pressure and appointed 1,200 permanent teachers.
Nanda Kishor Singh, president of
TUPTTA, seems determined to make
the officials repeat the mistake. The only
condition 13 years ago to make the teachers' status permanent was that they had
to be associated with the university as a
wage earner or contract teacher for at
least a year. The Service Commission,
which fills in the vacancies, was blatantly
bypassed. Singh and his group want
similar treatment now
J.
18
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 "There have been a
number of blunders,"
says professor Chuda
Nath Uprety, chairman ofthe TU Service
Commission. All appointments of staff and
teachers should
strictly be as per the
existing TU Service
Commission Act,"
Uprety adds. He
sounds confident in
his assertion, but records show that on
numerous instances the university has
bowed to political pressure. Between
1997 and 2002, as many as 2,400 teachers
on daily wages, who had affiliations with
political parties or were relatives of university officials, were granted contracts
as teachers. This group receives perks,
job security and other benefits on par
with permanent teachers. "We were left
out simply because we didn't have the
blessing of the power centers," Singh
says.
Officials at the Dean's Office in
Kirtipur say performances of permanent
teachers have been left wanting and it's
the 2,400 part-time teachers at the
university's Central Campus and 61 colleges around the country who fill that
void.
The large number of part-timers
clearly indicates that the university has
fallen short of teachers but filling in
the vacancies isn't always easy due to
the bureaucratic red tape and political
meddling. For example, the result of
an exam conducted almost two years
ago by the Service Commission is still
due.
"Tribhuvan University has so far
turned a deaf ear to our just demands,"
says Singh. "The university is quick to
fulfill every demand made by the student unions, but as teachers we can't
adopt harsh measures," Singh adds.
The protests and numerous sit-ins in
front ofthe Dean's Office by TUPTTA
members forced the university officials
to form a fact-finding committee to look
into the problems ofthe part-timers and
suggest solutions. The committee,
among other things, asked the university to increase the pay per class from Rs
60 to 120 for Intermediate and Bachelor
levels and to Rs. 150 for the Master's
level. The agitating teachers however
would accept none ofthe piecemeal solution.
Mahendra Singh, rector of Tribhuvan
University, fails to see any good in the
demand made by the teachers. "All part-
timers were hired after they agreed to
abide by the terms and conditions laid
out to them," he says. "How can they
now go against the terms which were
agreed? Recruitments shall be made according to the needs of the university
not by political pressure."
As for TUPTTA, the association finds
it convenient to take shelter under the
1991 precedent, though many of its members concede their demands may not be
entirely lawful. They argue it's rather
lame for the university to cite the law
when its own officials have been in routine violation of the legal provisions
themselves.
A teacher in the Central Campus predicts that the hunger strike will force
the officials to meet the teachers' demand. "This is a classic example which
shows how a violation of existing laws
by the concerned authorities can instigate a chain reaction," he adds.  □
J.
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
19
 Prime Minister
Deuba has finally
expanded his
Cabinet with the
induction of
CPN(UML), RPP
and NSP The
Maoists however
seem to be in no
mood to offer any
concessions
OLD PROBLEMS
BY AKHILESH UPADHYAY
FTER MONTH-LONG
ne-gotiations, Prime
Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba last
week expanded his
three-member cabinet to include 31
members from four
parties, including
his own NC(D).
On board, finally, were RPP, NSP and
CPN(UML), whose participation will
remain crucial if the new government is
to gain any momentum, and crucially, to
resolve the insurgency.
But if Deuba and his new coalition
partners were expecting the Maoists to
tone down their violent ways with the
formation of a representative government, that was not to be. If anything, there
have been a series of killings, including
some high-profile assassinations, in recent days. The mayor of Pokhara and
avowed Royalist, Harka Bahadur
Gurung, was gunned down as Deuba was
putting final touches to his new Cabinet. And DSP Uttam Karki was shot to
death in broad daylight in Kathmandu, a
day after the new Cabinet was sworn in.
A Home Ministry official and a civilian
have been shot dead since, both in the
capital.
J.
20
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 "We never expected it to be a Cakewalk"
says Minendra Rj al, a Deuba aide and member ofthe 14-member Task Force that successfully finalized the Common Minimum
Program between the four parties who are
now in the government. "The new
government's top agenda is clear. We want
to hold talks with the Maoists."
There has been tremendous pressure
on the new government to call a ceasefire
and hold the talks—from the civil society the international community and the
rank-and-file members ofthe political
parties, who have been on the receiving
end in the conflict. The United Nations
says it will not interfere in the negotiations, though it is willing to mediate, if
asked. It has urged both sides to the conflict to recognize each other's existence.
The European Union has called on
both parties to announce an immediate
ceasefire and create an environment for
dialogue without setting any conditions.
It has urged the government and demo
cratic forces to work towards early negotiations with the insurgents. The EU
sees the integration ofthe rebels into the
political mainstream as a prerequisite to
free and fair elections.
Ministers in the new Cabinet say the
need to call a ceasefire is urgent but also
concede that reviving talks is not going
to be easy, much less so if the talks are to
eventually bear fruit. Two previous failed
rounds of peace processes have left a bitter taste in everybody's mouth, including
the Maoists and the Army. There is a near-
consensus among the coalition partners
that they first need to lay down the
groundwork so that the peace momentum will carry beyond the initial euphoria of a truce, if and when it comes.
Already, the officials are making the
right of kinds of noises. One ofthe first
things Prime Minister Deuba did after
his appointment last month was to urge
the Maoists to come back to the negotiating table.   He said he would do every
thing to make peace, though his call came
with a caveat. "The Royal Nepal Army
will return to barracks if the Maoists
stand for peace," Deuba said.
But peace at what price? That's the
bone of contention. While there has been
a lot of pressure on the government to
declare a ceasefire, it is unlikely that it
would do so without a minimum understanding of what it is going to gain
from such a ceasefire. "Of course, we
don't want the violence to continue and
we do deeply empathize with the family
members ofthe dead," says a Cabinet
Minister. "But we hope the Maoists will
approach the talks in good faith this time
around. It gets difficult to work with a
force that believes in political violence."
\fet the coalition partners seem determined to give it a shot, given the urgency of
the situation at hand. A number of
CPN(UML) leaders say they were primarily motivated to join the government to
start a dialogue with the Maoists, and that
alone. "If it's not now, when?" asks Bhim
Rawal, central committee member ofthe
UML and the party's one of four representatives in the Task Force that worked out
the Common Minimum Program.
The Common Minimum Program
is an open-ended document, which deliberately avoids taking any dogmatic
positions so as to make the Maoists believe that the government is keeping all
its options open, including that ofthe
constituent assembly. This is where the
peace process could get a bit tricky. The
Palace will want a guarantee of its role
before it commits to a constituent assembly and the political parties will never
negotiate for a party-less totalitarian state,
if that's what the Maoists are fighting for.
"The Maoists perhaps aren't as intractable as some of us believe they are," says
NC(D)'s Rijal. "They do realize they
aren't going to get everything they demand." He points out that the Maoists,
in fact, insist that they would hold talks
only with a government that has unambiguous backing from the King. The
thinking is that the Maoists, with all their
display of bravado, are still willing to
make compromises and that there are
few leaders in the NCP(Maoist) who
are willing to fight to the finish and turn
Nepal into another Sudan, wracked by a
bloody civil war since the 50s.  □
WITH SHUSHAM SHRESTHA
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
21
 Story
OPINION
Good Budget Is Good Politics
BY POSH RAJ PANDEY
The budget is not only a ritual
where the Finance Minister
crunches numbers about
the revenue and expenditure, but
also a policy document.   It pro-
DIFFICULT TIMES: Minister Adhikari
videsthe direction ofthe actions
the incumbent government plans
to take on economic, social and
political matters in the days to
come. Everyone, from slum dwellers to the filthy rich, road-side
teashop owners to the lords of tea
estates, unemployed to senior bureaucrats, mid-wife to housewife,
all are curious on the content of
the budget speech as it affects their
lives, for better or worse.
Viewing the budget in this perspective, the way revenue is collected and expenditure is allocated
could be a reliable instrument to
meet the expectations ofthe people.
This in Nepal'scase is restoration of
peace, opportunities for productive
and gainful work, better health facilities and sending children to
school. A good budget will be good
politics in terms of an opportunity
for the newly formed all-party government to keep the promises—
talks with the Maoists, restoration of
peace and conducting elections.
The consensus on the concept and content of the budget
among the coalition partners, with
their ideological underpinnings at
odds, would be a daunting task—
if the wrangling over the preparation of the Common Minimum
Program is any indication. The freedom of the Finance Minister is
further curtailed bythe legacy of
violence coupled with lower level
of income, a smaller fiscal base,
a weaker social service delivery
system, dwindling capacity to
maintain law and order, reduced
social cohesion, a reduced institutional capacity and disminished
ability to either manage development policies. All are factors beyond his control.
Given these constraints, the
Finance Minister recently indicated
that the security expenditure will
inevitably go up, a complete U-
turn on what his party used to have
a "firm" position on. He, however,
qualified, tacitly that there are prospects of reducing regular expenditure, though the definition of security-related, regular and development expenditure is amorphous
and its distinction delicate.
If one dissects the government
revenue and expenditure, the re
vised estimate for the last fiscal
year shows that the government
has not been able to generate revenue to meet expenditure for day-
to-day operations and repayment
of loans. The revenue collection
and expenditure pattern shows
that out of every one rupiah tax
paid by people, about
onesuka goes to military and police, about
one suka to loan repayment and interest
payments and the remaining onemonarto
general administration, constitutional organs, judiciary and
social services. More
conspicuously, the expenditure on defense and police
has been growing over the period
and has stood at about 5 per cent
ofthe national income—a figure
comparable to many ofthe developed countries.
Given an escalating insurgency
and crime and social violence, increased government expenditure
on military and police is only natural to restore peace and put pressure to bring the Maoists to the
negotiating table. But, it has to be
remembered that expenditures on
security, though a public good ben-
efitingall, is insensitive to the values of equity and fairness. Once
built up, as other countries have
found out, they are difficult to
downsize.
Here lies the moot question.
Can Nepal, where about half the
population goes to bed hungry,
afford such a huge defense and
police expenditure? Is an increase
in such expenditure the best solution? Don't we have other alternatives? The experiences of other
developing countries show that
the rate of growth of military expenditure and the rate of economic growth are inversely related. Closer to home, the economic growth in Sri Lanka regressed when armed revolution
A frontal assault on
insurgency lies not on
skyrocketing military
and police expenditure
but on inclusive
economic growth
started and the prospects of
peace dialogue were dim when
there were double-digit growths in
security expenditure.
Afrontal assault on insurgency
lies not on skyrocketing military
and police expenditure but on inclusive economic growth, safeguarding civil liberties, deepening
democracy, improving social cohesion and reducing economic
disparities. It can be achieved
through "quality" expenditure on
"soft" sectors by taking measures
such as improving earning capacity of the people, generating employment, developing ski I Is, providing health facilities, and developing infrastructure in rural areas.
Let peace create dividends,
rather than dividends to defense
personnel create peace. □
Death toll since Deuba took office
June 14
Banke: Maoist ambush APF convoy, killing at
least 22 police personnel in a landmine blast
and wounding 12 in Khari Khola.
June 20
Dang: Maoists attack a police patrol, killing
18 people, including four civilians. Dozens are
reported injured in a separate landmine blast
and the ensuing crossfire near  the village of
Dhan Khola.
July 2
Pokhara: Mayor Harka Bahadur Gurung, 65,
shot bythe Maoists
July 5
Birjgunj: 12 policemen die in a Maoist ambush at Bahuarwa Batha VDC near Birgunj.
July 6
Kathmandu: Ward 12 ex-chairman Mahesh
Man Shrestha and Deputy Superintendent of
Police Uttam Bahadur Karki shot to death
Salyan: 11 security personnel, 19 Maoists killed
in clashes at Gangate area of Kalimati Kalche VDC.
July 7
Kathmandu: Maoists shot dead Rajen Kuikel,
assistant accountant at the Home Ministry outside his residence at Gaurighat.   N
22
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 'Govt Is Open To All Options'
MinendraRijal.a Deuba
aide and former member of the National
Planning Commission, was a
member of the Task Force that
successfully finalized the Common
Minimum Program.
Will the new government do
what the two previous governments failed to do—broker a
permanent ceasefire with the
Maoists?
We hope so. The Common Minimum Program doesn't deal with
specificities. That's because we
want to keep all options open.
There are criticisms that the
Deuba cabinet turned out to be
larger than was expected—even
CPN(UML) General Secretary
Madhav Kumar Nepal has said
so much?
Yes, the Cabinet may have been
larger than many expected. But
you should bear in mind that
these are extremely difficult
times and it wasn't easy to put
together a four-party government
in the first place. Every single
party faces problems of internal
management. The big question
of course is whether we can resolve the Maoist problem. I consider it a success that only one
major political, the Nepali Congress, is not in the government
now. But we are still hopingthat
they (Nepali Congress) will join
the government at some point.
They will be duly given four or
five Ministries.
Koirala and the four agitating
parties are saying they will negotiate with the Maosits too?
That's empty rhetoric. But
Maoists have said the Nepali
Congress should have a role in
the peace talks. It's a tactical
statement and serves both the
interests of both Koirala and the
Maoists.
Okay, the government has taken
a pluralistic shape, what next?
As I said earlier, the CMP is an open-
ended document and we remain
open to all options. This was deliberate. Once there is public posturing
on certain issues, negotiations become that much more difficult.
So you are saying that you are
open about discussing the constituent assembly?
At the minimum, we seek negotiations. We need space to hold elections and conduct rel ief programs to
help tens of thousands ofthe displaced throughout the country. Their
needs are urgent.
Is the Palace open about
constituent assembly?
I will lookatitthisway: IstheKinga
factor in Nepal politics? He is. It is,
then, only natural that he should
seek assurance on the role ofthe
monarchy, just as we will seek assurance for multiparty democracy.
There can't be a blank-check negotiation on the constituent assembly.
But the Maoists said last year
when the peace talks failed that
the government negotiators had
put forth too many conditions
and had taken a non-negotiable
position on the constituent assembly?
The Maoistsalso realize they can't
get everything they want. In fact,
they insist that they will hold talks
with a government that enjoys unambiguous support ofthe King.
How close are we
to the ceasefire?
I can only say this: I don't thinkwe
are ready for a unilateral ceasefire.
We need do some homework first
rather than have a meaningless
ceasefire. But don't get me wrong. I
am not condoning violence and the
daily mayhem. Farfrom it. But what
is the purpose of a ceasefire if we
don't have a roadmap? There will
again be accusations and
counteraccusations and the
chances are that the peace process
will again collapse.
Are things getting
out of control?
As a matter of fact, all major political parties, except the Nepali Congress, are now on board, and the
Maoists must be closely following
the turn of events. I sometimes
get a feeling that the Maoist central leadership doesn't have control over their rank and file.
Are the Maoists under pressure
to announce a ceasefire, just as
the government?
Pretty much. Amid all this senseless violence, we tend to lose sight
ofthe fact that things are getting
out of hand for them. India has, of
late, put tremendous pressure on
them and they are on the run. India most certainly doesn't want its
economic laggards in the north—
Bihar and Utter
Pradesh—taking
a leaf out of the
Maoist book and
turning into
Rukum and
Rolpa. Bihar's
GDP growth is
way, way behind
while parts of India are galloping
ahead with as
much as 12 percent growth.
There were times
when the Maoists
got some leverage, with sections
ofthe Indian establishment even
assuming that
the insurgency
could give them
leeway in managing the bilateral
ties. And within
Nepal, too, the Maoist movement
was used to offset the influence of
democratic forces. This is not the
case now. The tables have turned
completey. All the forces have united
together against the Maoists. We
now say that we will not negotiate
with the Maoists on certain points:
the constitutional monarchy, multiparty democracy and our relations
with India.
Is state on verge of collapse?
At the popular level, one hears
conflicting, even confusing, assertions as to who deserves the
people's support?
Some people do say, "We saw the
King, we saw the parties, and now
let's see Baburam and Prachanda.
Maybe they will bring in peace."
But people are slowly beginning to
realize the attendant dangers. A
lot of people in Kathmandu are
now nervous because they have
started witnessing cold-blooded
killings. They will get even more
rude shocks when they witness the
Maoists' totalitarian ways. What
can I say of a force that believes
in settling political feuds with violence and killings? □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
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STARK
CHOICES
Nepal has a relatively low HIV epidemic but it faces stark
choices: either choose to marshal whatever resources it
has to limit the spread of the disease—and avoid a catastrophe—or do nothing and deal with the consequences
BY SUMAN PRADHAN
IN BANGKOK
IN THE NINE YEARS OF THE
Maoist conflict, Nepal has lost
slightly more than 10,000 people. In
just over a decade and a half, HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS, has infected more
than an estimated 61,000 Nepalis and
killed 3,100.
These numbers, put out by the latest
UNAIDS report, aren't yet anywhere
near the death toll inflicted by the Maoist
insurgency. But they are frightening nevertheless.
For one, most Nepalis living with the
virus don't know their HIV status, and
therefore could pass it on to other
people. Two, only a very small minority
of those who know their status have access to anti-retroviral drugs that help to
slow the disease's progress. Moreover,
most of those who were infected in the
early 90s will progress to the AIDS stage
ofthe disease, crippling an already under-funded and inadequate health care
system.
Clearly, if effective measures are not
taken now, then the virus could easily
spread to epidemic proportions, further
tearing the social and economic fabric
of a poor country already ravaged by war.
For these reasons, countries like
Nepal which are in the midst of a relatively low HIV epidemic now face stark
choices: they could either choose to
marshal whatever resources they have to
limit the spread ofthe virus when it is
still in its early epidemiological phases—
and hence avoid a catastrophe in the future—or do nothing and deal with the
consequences later.
"Many countries choose to ignore the
threat in its early stages and pay for it
later," says Marsha Thompson, an American epidemiology student attending the
15th International AIDS Conference in
Bangkok. "It is always better to work on
prevention in the early stages rather than
spend huge and scarce resources later on
treatment and care when the disease has
reached epidemic proportions."
This seems like sound advice, but
countries often don't follow it. Take the
case of South Africa, a country with 30
million people. Despite repeated alarm
bells sounded by the international com
munity, the government of President
Thabo Mbeki chose to ignore mounting evidence of a galloping epidemic,
paying for it dearly later. Mbeki once
even famously questioned the link between HIV and AIDS. We can see the
consequence today: South Africa has 5.4
million people infected with HIV, and
belatedly had to spend huge resources
to fight the disease.
In nearby India, initial official denial
(therefore little corrective action) has led
HIV to infect more than 5.1 million of
its over a billion citizens. Though this
figure still correspondents to less than 1
percent prevalence rate, the sheer number of infections means India accounts
for at least 10 percent ofthe world's HIV
infections.
Even today, there is little coordinated
response to the epidemic in India, and
denials at the highest levels still exist. "If
we look at the current response in India,
it's much better than two or three years
ago, but it still falls way short of what's
necessary to accentuate a looming disaster," said epidemiologist Richard
Feachem, head ofthe Global Fund to
treat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in
a recent interview to Science Magazine.
On the other hand, there are countries like Thailand which quickly comprehended the grave consequences ofthe
social and economic cost ofthe disease
after initial hiccups. Thanks to an unabashed condom campaign in the early
1990s, the government and civil society
in this devoutly Buddhist country has
succeeded in keeping HIV infections at
a manageable 570,000 among its 60 million people.
"Thailand offers an example ofwhat
developing countries can do if there's
enough political will at the top," says Dr.
Peter Piot, the executive
director of UNAIDS,
the body which leads
the joint-UN program
on HIV/AIDS. "For
Asian countries, the key
to success is going to be
strong leadership. Most
countries in the region
have the resources and
capabilities to deal with
the epidemic on their
own. Theyjustneed the
leadership."
Nepal probably doesn't fall in the list
of Asian countries which have the material resources and capabilities, but that
doesn't mean it can't succeed if the political will exists. Poor countries like
Uganda have shown that HIV can be
checked if governments are serious about
it. Nepal too can go this route if the political leadership devotes just a fraction
of the resources to combating HIV/
AIDS that it is now devoting to resolving the Maoist conflict.  D
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
25
 Foreig
The demand for Nepali
workers is increasingly
coming from areas where
the risks could be greater
than at home
ld:I»VJ:I»M!l
BY JOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
SAMBHU RAI, 24, WORKED IN
Kabul for six months with Canadian troops stationed there as a part
ofthe multinational force, the International Security Assistance Force, deployed there after the fall ofthe Taliban
regime. Rai is happy that he and his
friends were treated well. "We were duly
paid $435 a month plus food and shelter," he says. But he has vivid memories
of a nightmare. "One day, in an attack, a
grenade landed very close to our camp,
but fortunately it didn't explode," Rai recalls. But not everyone has been as
lucky.
On April 9, two Nepalis working
as security guards for a British private
security firm, Global Risk Strategies,
were killed in a landmine explosion in
Iraq. The two were Shiva Prasad Lawati
of Dharan and Ram Bahadur Gurung of
Narayangadh. Officials are at a loss to explain how Nepalis have made it into Iraq
without the government's permission
and how they got there at all.
As the internal conflict in Nepal continues to escalate, a growing number of
Nepalis are seeking greener pastures
abroad to escape the crisis. But there is
an irony in all this: the demand for
Nepali workers is increasingly coming
from areas where the risks could be
greater than at home. And desperate for
foreign employment, many Nepalis seem
to have decided to bypass the official
channel.
"We have received demands for
Nepali workers in Iraq, but we haven't
decided on the matter. The Foreign Ministry is looking into the proposal," says
an official with the Ministry of Labor.
But that hasn't stopped Nepalis from
taking chances.
Until recently there was no evidence
of Nepalis' presence in Iraq, except that
ofthe British Gurkha troops. But things
have changed in recent months: an uni-
26
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dentified Nepali employed by a security company was shot dead in the riots
that swept the city of Basra in April. Foreign news agencies say that up to 2,000
Nepalis are employed by private security firms in Iraq. Global Risk Strategies
is said to have recruited 500 Nepalis and
500 Fijians for its 1,500-strong army of
private guards.
Two other American companies have
reportedly hired ex-Gurkhas to provide
security in Iraq. Florida-based Armor
Group and Custer Battles have hired an
unspecified number of ex-Gurkhas, who
are based at Baghdad International Airport. Even the Royal Nepal Army and
Nepal Police personnel are said to be
signing up for security assignments for
private companies in Iraq. "What's the
difference if we die here or there?" a government official quotes an RNA soldier
as saying.
These reports, which are almost impossible to independently confirm, raise
serious questions. One is: how can such
a large number of Nepalis make it to Iraq
without the government's knowledge?
The answers, at best, are sketchy.
"People are going to Iraq through India, but we do not have any confirmation
if they are forging Indian passports," says
Bishnu Rimal ofthe General Federation
of Nepalese Trade Unions. "Even some
Nepali manpower companies are in
volved in it, although we
do not have hard facts to
substantiate our claims,"
he adds.
Though many Nepalis
who head to Iraq do so despite their knowledge of
attendant dangers, others
apparently are kept in the
dark about their destination. Some have been told
that they are being recruited for Kuwait but
only after their arrival in
Iraq do they find out that
it is their final destination,
Rimal says.
In recent days, serious doubts have started
to emerge about the
safety of people working
in the Gulf, especially
Saudi Arabia, which was
once considered safe. After the attack on Al-
Khobar in Saudi Arabia,
Saudi oil firms have reportedly sought permission from Saudi authorities to hire ex- Gurkhas
as private security guards,
the Washington Times
reported. These oil firms
include the world's largest, Saudi Aramco, and its
American rival Chevron
Texaco. Al-Qaeda militants killed at least 22
people, including Americans and Indians, in twin
attacks on oil company
offices on May 29.
But government officials seem unaware of such developments. Rimal derides the government's lack of concern
for Nepalis employed abroad. He cites
instances where the labor attaches in
Nepali embassies themselves have harassed the laborers.
As the conflict intensifies both at
home and in the countries of employment, Nepalis will find themselves increasingly caught between the devil and
the deep blue sea. And until the government wakes up from its deep slumber
and explores safer destinations, more and
more Nepalis will be tempted to take
the plunge.  □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
27
 Nepal's recent showing
hasn't been exactly sterling
but the team is still in the
run for a World Cup berth
BY YASHAS VAIDYA
EH, THE
President of Cricket Association
ofNepal (CAN)Jay Kumar Nath
Shah, returned home a happy man. He
had been elected a vice-president ofthe
Asian Cricket Council in London. Now
the cricket fraternity the world over will
address the father figure of Nepali
cricket with due reverence. At home,
though, Shah has his task cut out: raise
the standard of cricket at least at par with
other emerging cricket nations, who like
Nepal, are vying for a Test berth.
The team's recent showing hasn't
been exactly sterling. Nepal, who finished runner-up to the United Arab
Emirates in the ACC Trophy two years
ago, failed to live up to its growing stature this time round in Malaysia. After its
defeat in the quarterfinals and eventual
knockout from the regular tournament,
Nepal proceeded to the Plate Championship, which pooled together all the
losing quarterfmalists. It saved itself a
final blush when it scored effortless wins
over Bhutan and Iran and won the Plate
Championship. Bhutan was humbled by
nine wickets and it took Nepali batsmen just nine balls to overhaul Iran's
total of 29. The latter was the quickest
win in the ACC history.
The wins however don't mask the
underlying fact that Nepal's march to the
big league has been marked by fits and
starts. And it still has that quality—consistency—missing in its arsenal.
Hopes were sky-high when the wily
Sri Lankan coach Roy Dias was marshaling his resources before the Malaysian
sojourn. Itwas not to be. Qatar, which
was expected to offer little resistance,
delivered a shock. It restricted Nepal to
164 runs at the loss of six wickets to
knock out Nepal from title contention,
and with it a direct passage to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy
to be held in Ireland next year. The ICC
Trophy serves as the qualifier for the
World Cup, the ultimate trophy
Itwas too painful for the game's passionate followers who reminisce Nepal's
recent exploits. "This has come as a huge
letdown. We were hoping Nepal would
put in a better show," says a former
cricket administrator. "Such poor performances would only discount our past
achievements slicing locals' belief in the
country's emerging team."
The belief didn't come overnight.
The Plate Championship ofthe Under-
19 World Cup in New Zealand two
years ago saw Nepal sweep past every
opposition to reach the final; Nepal finished runner-up to Zimbabwe. (The
top six teams had advanced to the Super
League, while the six second-rung
teams, which failed to make it to the
Super League, proceeded to the Plate
Championship.) The highlight of that
28
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 tour was six wins in a trot for Nepal,
including those against Pakistan and
Bangladesh. The current national team
has inherited many ofthe players from
that winning side. 'We're very disappointed for not being able to perform
well in the tournament," says Raju
Khadka, the team captain, discussing the
Malaysian tour.
He concedes that complacency was
one huge factor that led to the downfall.
Qatar was supposed to be a Cakewalk 'We
had thought that we'd be pitted against
stronger teams like the U.A.E., Malaysia,
Hong Kong. Definitely not Qatar."
"Yet," he says bravely, "all's not lost
for Nepal. We are still in the reckoning
for the ICC Trophy." While the winner
and runner-up in Malaysia qualify directly for the ICC Trophy, losing semi-
finalists and the winners of the Plate
final, Nepal, will fight for the solitary
slot in another qualifier, scheduled for
February next year. The event will also
feature teams from Europe, Africa and
America.
"The team had a lapse of application
in fundamental areas resulting in the poor
showing," Khadka explains, "but we'll
come back strongly to
clinch that next available berth."
A one-off victory
against Malaysia in the
Intercontinental Cup
notwithstanding, this
year has been disappointing. In the Under-19 World Cup in
Bangladesh, Nepal was
a mere shadow of the
team it was some years
ago.
These failures have
cast a long shadow over
Nepal's long-cherished dreams of qualifying for the World
Cup. Also in the wane
is Nepal's stature as a
"fast-track nation."
Shah, the CAN president, is sure to face
some difficult questions from colleagues in
the ICC and the ACC
if the slide continues.
He admits Nepal's "good and determined work" failed to bring in the desired results this time. "But it doesn't
deter us from making more efforts," he
adds, dispeling suggestions that Nepal
would be removed from the ICC list of
fast-emerging cricket countries and deprived ofthe attendant incentives.
According to him, CAN is mulling
over a comprehensive plan to overcome
inconsistencies of Nepali sides, more so
for the national team. That includes frequent exchange of tours within South
Asia. Works for the ACC's Central Youth
Cricket Academy will begin shortly. In
2001, the ACC selected Nepal ahead of
other contenders, U.A.E. and Malaysia,
for the project.
The ACC will make an initial investment to the tune of US$ 1 million for
the academy that it has envisaged along
the line of world-renowned academies
of Australia and South Africa. The project
is aimed at improving the standard ofthe
game in non-Test playing countries like
Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, U.A.E.,
Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and
Nepal. The Asian Cricket Foundation
(ACF), an arm ofthe ACC formed to
generate funds for the development of
the game, has earmarked US$ 2.5 million for development of cricket in the
Asian region.
The project had been stalled after
the ACC rejected Nepal's proposal to
select Pokhara as the venue for the academy on grounds that it lacks cricketing
culture as well as adequate infrastructure such as an international airport.
There was fear all around that Nepal
would lose the project when the then
member-secretary Binod Shankar
Palikhe, a native of Pokhara, stubbornly
stood against the ACC's choice—
Kathmandu. "Fortunately for all cricket-
loving Nepalis, the project has survived," Shah says.
The government has allocated 36
ropanis of land in Mulpani, 10 km.
northeast ofthe capital for the project.
Ross Turner, Peter Hanlon and Graham Watson, all from Cricket Australia, were here late last year to inspect
the project site in the capital. 'We are
now awaiting the final approval from
the ACC," says Shah, who is more keen
to talk about the academy than Nepal's
recent performances.  □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 200
 Writin
A SMALL ISLAND
BY SWARNIM WAGLE
Death as celebration
REVIEWING BILL BRYSON'S
unusually funny book on Britain,
"Notes from a Small Island," for
a Kathmandu newspaper a few years ago,
I paraphrased a quip: in most places of
the world, if people don't like you, they
will call you names and say you are an
idiot or a fool. Only in England, the ultimate insult is, "you don't have a sense
of humor." Presently on a short visit to
this country, one ofthe first things I did
was to go for humor shopping in print.
Beyond the piles of hundreds of promoted books for summer reading, I lo
cated at an unlikely spot a lonely copy
of "The Very Best of the Daily Telegraph Books of Obituaries." This is
supposed to be a deadly serious book
on freshly dead people. The Daily Telegraph has, over the years, especially under Hugh Massingberd between 1986
and 1994, built a reputation for carrying
readable obituaries. Its obit section actually went on to develop a very likeable personality, presenting the lives of
dead people in a direct, witty manner,
as opposed to the almost universal custom of always speaking well ofthe deceased. Of the English, who are
stereotypically reverential and reserved,
and good at pomp and formal ceremonies, one would have expected that
they'd eulogize all their dead as the
greatest beings who ever walked their
rain-soaked island. Not so, evidently,
in the pages of The Daily Telegraph at
least, as this book talks about dead
people, presumably the British really
want to hear about them. Here's an excerpt on some Denisa Lady
Newborough, "who has died aged 79,
was many things: wire-walker, night
club girl, nude dancer, air-pilot. She
only refused to be two things—a whore
and a spy—and there were attempts to
make her both, she once wrote." If you
are dying for a serious laugh, possibly
the English way, pick up this book,
make some tea, and enjoy the newly
dead.
30
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 The 1688
Revolution
There is one thing 21st century Nepal
could learn from 17th century England—
how to resolve the tussle between the
monarch and the people's representatives, formally embodied by a parliament? The period between 1603 and
1688 was tumultuous in England. The
crown's desire to raise revenue arbitrarily provoked a chain of events that,
briefly, even led to its abolition. Although English republicanism was
short-lived, with the monarchy reinstated in 1660, problems persisted till
the end ofthe Glorious Revolution of
1688 when governmental institutions
were fundamentally altered. Limits
were set to the unilateral actions ofthe
monarch, and it was made clear that everything else the monarch did needed
explicit parliamentary approval. In a
1989 article by Douglas North and
Barry Weingast in the Journal of Economic History, "Constitution and
Commitment," they argue that the institutions of representative government
then formed in England with a subdued
(not eliminated) monarch, an assertive
parliament, and an independent judiciary went on to create a rule-based regime that set the stage for England's subsequent glory. Protection of private '
wealth and minimization of risks from
a confiscating government led a capital
markets boom that gave access to massive funds for the state. In 1690, France
was Europe's richest power. By 1765 it
had lost Louisiana and
Canada, and was on the
verge of bankruptcy. England, on the other hand, was
beginning the Industrial
Revolution that changed the
world in two centuries in a
manner that the previous 20
hadn't managed. This simplified lesson from an alien
island may not exactly resonate with us 300 years on,
but it is a good story that
underscores the importance of good institutions, rule of law, and primacy of
an effective, sovereign parliament.
Browning Blair
Ten years ago, the leader ofthe British
Labor Party was the wise, respectable
Scotsman, John Smith. No one knows if
he would have continued the jettisoning
ofthe left-wing baggage ofthe old Labor
Party that had made it unelectable for 15
years, but the affable man that Smith was,
people really wished he would dislodge
the Tories in the next elections. Sadly,
he died suddenly in 1994, letting history
create a completely unforeseen
era in Britain. Tony Blair, the
shadow Home Secretary, and
Gordon Brown, the shadow
Chancellor of the Exchequer,
were young equals who not only
nursed mutual respect but also
once shared the same office at
Westminster. Theoretically
speaking, however, only one of
them could compete for the vacated leadership then if both of
them were to win eventually.
Brown relented, only because,
it is said, he was not married and
didn't have a family, a perceived
liability for the top job in western democracies. By the onset
of 2004, Tony Blair had gone on
to write Labor, British and European history, teach George
Bush some English, and become
tired in the process. The speculation in Britain now is not
whether, but when and how soon Blair
will quit. Will he lead Labor to its third
consecutive election victory next year,
and serve another long term, or has he
already made his position untenable be
cause of woes over Iraq, or the simple
fatigue that comes with protracted
democratic leadership? After Blair, then,
who? Gordon Brown has in the meantime not only married and fathered a
child, but also has established a reputation for being a competent Chancellor.
While relationships between Brown and
Blair have been lukewarm for a number
of years, nobody has doubted that Blair
would second Brown when the time
comes. As has been observed by humorists, the English not only have a sense of
humor, but also a childish sense of fair
play. Perhaps with a wink from Downing Street, Peter Mandelson, the Blair
confidant, recently stated that Gordon
would, of course, be a natural successor
to Tony
Looking ahead, could leaders like
Gordon Brown from Europe, and John
Kerry in the United States—both serious men with intellect and integrity
on the same side of progressive politico—potentially reconfigure world
events for the better leading up to 2008?
Even if they can't do much, could they
at least undo some ofthe damage their
predecessors did? Obviously, we can
only wait and see if and when the
couple emerges. And not everyone is
excited anyway. An English friend, ever
the funny skeptic, remarked recently
in the context of Mexico, "the problem with Britain, also, is that it is too
far from God and too close to the
United States."    □
Views expressed in this column are personal, and do not necessarily reflect those of institutions the writer is affiliated with.
~31
 Educati
ADMISSION RUSH
Ten-plus-two schools are
booming as students increasingly opt for the range
of choices and the perceived
higher quality of private institutions
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
EIGHTEEN YEAR-OLD RASHMI
Bhattarai has just passed her
School Leaving Certificate exams with a first-division score. Her private school in Maharajgunj goes only up
to the 10th grade. She has decided not to
follow the old dictum that students who
pass in the first division should study
science. Instead she will study humanities at one ofthe ten-plus-two schools
around Kumaripati in Patan. This, she
says, is because her friends will be going
there too, and she doesn't want to undergo the torment of facing a new school
environment alone. She also thinks private schools are better than TU affiliates.
"Two of my friends have applied to
Campion (Academy) and another one
left for Dehradun (in India)," says
Bhattarai, who had just arrived at her
home with brochures of three other ten-
plus-two schools—United Academy,
Prasadi Academy and Pinnacle Academy
Her father, a government employee, says
he has left it up to his daughter to decide
on her future as long as she keeps on
doing well in studies.
"The ten-plus-two schools are more
disciplined, and the teachers are better,"
says Bhattarai between phone calls from
friends, while continuing her conversation about schools. "Plus, unlike those
under Tribhuvan University, there is less
politics and the classes are regular."
Ever since the ten-plus-two education system came into effect in 1992,
more and more private schools have been
affiliated with the Higher Secondary
Education Board. And education packed
with extra curricular facilities seems to
32
 be good business. Though many still argue that education should be service-oriented rather than a business, most ofthe
ten-plus-two schools have registered
under the Company
Act. This means that
they have to follow
guidelines of the Education Act but are allowed to make profits
and have to pay taxes,
which educational insti-
tutions registered as
trusts do not.
The increasing business trend can be best
seen in the media: many
schools spend a large
portion of their annual
budget, up to Rs
1,000,000 yearly, on advertisements in print,
on radio and on television to bring in new
students.
"Parents are ready to
spend any amount for a
quality education in
Nepal," says PushpaRaj
Shrestha, assistant manager of administration
and finance at Apex
College in New
Baneshwor, which
doesn't offer ten-plus-
two classes but rather
starts at bachelors level.
"Competition has become so high with the
increasing number of
schools that advertisement has become essential."
Last year about 66,000 students enrolled in more than 850 schools affiliated with the Higher Secondary Education Board. This year 74 new schools
have applied for affiliation to run the ten-
plus-two system. It may be the ten-plus-
two schools' good marketing or the failing of overcrowded government colleges that has contributed to this growth.
"It is profitable for a school to run
ten-plus-two [classes], as almost all the
infrastructure such as buses and class
space is shared by classes under 10 and
plus-two," says Rajendra Ghising, senior
executive officer at GEMS in Dhapakhel,
which, like Apex, has ruled out getting
on the "ten-plus-two bandwagon." Ten-
plus-two schools charge from Rs 25,000
to 70,000 per student, depending upon
the facilities.
"Students in ten-plus-two require a
little more freedom, as they are grownups, and mixing them up with the school
kids could be difficult for both," Ghising
adds. According to him, not all schools
have opted to open a ten-plus-two and
there are also a few who run specifically
the ten-plus-two or ten-plus-two and
higher education.
But despite the increasing trend,
the idea of turning educational institutions into all-profit business houses
has not appealed to all. The student
unions have time and again accused
the ten-plus-two system of being "too
elitist" and expensive, and they have
protested the government attempt to
bring all students at government campuses under the ten-plus-two system.
One of the key demands of the
Maoist-aligned students in the recent
education strike was for all ten-plus-
two schools to decrease their fees by
25 percent.
Educators say the admissions at most
ten-plus-two schools have not been affected by protests. At least for people like
Rashmi, there are far more choices for
higher studies than were available to
post-SLC students a decade ago. □
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"SHAH MAHAL' HOUSE NO-613, SAMA MARG, OPP-IGP HOUSE,GAIRIDHARA,NAXAL KATHMANDU, NEPAL PHONE: 4413928,4416539
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
 Arts   Societ
The Show
Must Go On
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
At the crossroads ofthe busy Ring
Road in Maharajgunj stands a
black bust that is ignored by most
passersby. Few know that the place is
called Narayan Gopal Chowk. That the
commemorative bust of Swor Samrat
Narayan Gopal Gurubacharya, Nepal's
most illustrious singer, signifies nothing is a telling statement on the way
Nepal treats her artists.
Fifty meters towards Chabahil, just a
stone's throw away from Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala's
house, lies Naryan Gopal's home, Geet
Ganga, now a silent abode: Gopal's wife
Pemala passed away on July 1. The empty
two-story house (there are no heirs to
the house, Naryan Gopal and his wife
were childless) still houses the
harmonium, tabala, stereo, music notes
and stacks of National Geographic magazines that Narayan Gopal was so fond of
But, thankfully there are some among
Gopal's fans who would like to do their
bit to preserve the Swor Samrat's memories. For a start, efforts are underway to
preserve Gopal's music paraphernalia.
'We are turning the singer's house into a
Narayan Gopal Museum," says music
analyst Prakash Sayami, who is also a
member ofthe Narayan Gopal Sangeet
Kosh. Narayan Gopal's close colleagues,
including music maestro Amber
Gurung and economist Bishwamber
Pyakurel, formally established the group
in 1991 after his death. The group wants
to display the items Narayan Dai once
used in the exact locations that he used
to place them, and also archive the musical instruments. The Swor Samrat's
wife bequeathed the house to the Kosh,
and the house will also be used as an office for the Kosh and to conduct free violin lessons.
Sayami and Gopal's wife had been
collecting Narayan Gopal's original lyrics to publish them in a book, titled
"Kaalajayi Sworharu." The idea for the
book came to Pemala in 1999 when she
had gone to Baglung to attend a memo-
3*4~
rial program and heard some ofthe participants singing the wrong lyrics.
Sayami wants the project to continue.
"'Kaalajayi Sworharu' (the voices that
defeat death) is going to do justice to
Narayan Gopal and the song writers
whose works have already gone missing
from official records," says songwriter
Chhetra Pratap Adhikari, who came up
with the name for the book So far, around
137 songs have been collected. Other
works of the singer have been hard to
track down although many could be
stashed away in the archives of Radio
Nepal. The Kosh is also planning a CD
of previously unreleased material. "Apart
from that, the Narayan Gopal Sangeet
Kosh must continue to encourage young
music artists and release quality work.
"Quality was one area that Narayan
Gopal was so particular about in his
work," adds Adhikari. Some ofthe students who come to the Kosh are differ-
ently-abled, and the organization wants
to help them earn a living with music.
The Kosh conducts a nationwide
singing competition every two years
to discover new talent. Funding for
most of its programs comes from the
government and contributions from
Narayan Gopal fans, both Nepali and
foreign. Recently it decided to allow
lyricists to produce music videos and
gave permission to other singers to
sing Narayan Gopal's songs. "The result was tremendous. We wanted to
give other artists the opportunity to
rework Narayan Gopal's songs. That's
why we finally overcame our strict
views on music rights," says Sayami.
Lyricist Nagendra Thapa is already
working on a music video of Narayan
Gopal's famous song "Birsera Feri
Malai Nahaera," with rare footage of
the Swor Samrat at a recording studio
in Mumbai. Young talents Pawal
Chamling and Satyanarayan
Manandhar have also sung Narayan
Gopal numbers on their albums. "We
now want to publish a music bulletin
or magazine compiling the experiences of Narayan Dai's contemporaries to document Nepal's developing
music scene," says Sayami. The Kosh
couldn't have picked a better method
to pay homage to Narayan Gopal.
Building statues ofthe great can only
grant a popular name so much mileage; building on their work ensures
that the legacy lives on.  n
■HHr&M* -JftifW *FtJ
iIJ*WM\3 fijfR
  Arts   Societ
Born To Rock
Iman Shah certainly believes in the age-old adage, "Do
what you love and you'll never have to work a day."
BY YASHAS VAIDYA
In the heart ofthe city at Lainchaur,
shielded from the bustle of nearby
Thamel, is a place of tranquility and
music. An old white building with a
"Studio" sign on the entrance is home to
BMI Studios. Here you'll find Iman
Shah at work. He'll be fiddling with the
volume control knobs, feet tapping to
the beat ofthe music; a multi-track recorder in front of him, various instruments lie all around. On a given day you
might find him working on all sorts of
music. Shah says, "Artists from different
schools of music use our recording facilities. I don't hold prejudices against
any kind of music. Good music is always good music." He has worked with
rock, classical and pop artists. "I make it
a point to listen up on the type of music
I'm working on," Shah continues, "or
else I feel like I'm cheating the artist I'm
working with." Even so he says, "My
heart is still in rock music because that's
what I grew up with."
Co-owner of BMI Studios and chief
audio engineer, Shah is a towering fig
ure in the Nepali rock scene and has
worked with quite a few rock bands. Big
names include Nepathya, Mukti and
Revival and Robin N Looza; he has also
worked with bands emerging from the
underground Nepali rock scene.
Shah started playing the guitar at the
age of 15 with his high school band, The
Vegetarian Vampires. In the late 90's Shah
played with different underground
bands. They covered the usual fare: Iron
Maiden, Metallica and Deep Purple.
Even though there are a large number of
rock concerts these days, Shah believes
that the underground concert scene was
better then. "People didn't have much
else to do, no cable TV So whenever
there was a concert, lots of people would
turn out. Now there's only a limited
concert-going crowd."
In 1991 he went to the United States
and continued to play the club and college circuit there with his band, In Transit. He got hold of some recording equipment to record with his own band, and
was hooked to the art of mixing and producing music. After five years in the recording business in the United States,
he came back to Nepal in 1998. After a
year, he started Sacred Soundz but became fully involved in commercial recording only with the establishment of
BMI Studios in 2002.
Many premier and up-and-coming
rock bands prefer to work with him because of his rich experience. He is not
only an experienced audio engineer, but
also doubles up as a producer. An audio
engineer, he explains, is responsible for
bringing out the sound that the artist
wants. A producer creatively directs
bands towards achieving the sound they
want. "It's their sound. I only help in
bringing it out." And that he does pretty
well, having had a hand in many big hits,
including Nepathya's "Sa Karnali" and
"Bhoolma Bhulyo" by Robin N' Looza.
So what is the seasoned rocker's take
on the state of Nepali rock music?
"There is no real market for pure or hard
rock," he says, "but rock music covers a
wide spectrum these days." The many
sub-genres like metal, punk, alternative,
fusion and so on have garnered mass appeal worldwide. The offshoots are gaining ground in Nepal too. Nepathya's new
album "Bhedako Unjasto" fuses rock
with traditional music from various parts
of Nepal, creating, to use Shah's term,
"folk rock."
Despite the variety of styles and the
creativity of some artists, Shah sees
Nepali music suffering a creative relapse.
He attributes this, to among other things,
= the rise of "MTV culture,
jg music being watched
rather than listened to. All
ofthe music is beginning
to sound the same. There's
not much creativity anymore."
After more than a decade in the recording business, Shah thinks he still
has a long way to go. 'You
keep on learning," he says.
"There is a chance I will
learn something new every
time I work with a new artist." Creating music is an
unending process. "Music
requires dedication, effort
all the way through. There
are no shortcuts." For Shah,
music is not work. It's his
way of life.  □
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 jfgj   Royal Decorates
Ffooting -1 Fumb/ilng
P.O. Box: 21914, Maitidevi, Kathmandu
Tel: 4421756 Fax: 977-1-4420517
URL: www.royalechoice.com
e-mail: roliquor@ntc.net.np
4781153
Nepal's Leading
www, readtheboss. com
 Viewpoi
Nepal's Pipedream
Given the attractions the west offers for the new rich in China, not least the direct air links, more
and more Chinese are likely to opt for vacations in Paris and London than in Pokhara and Langtang
BYTRAILOKYA RAJ ARYAL IN BEIJING
A though Nepal was declared a tourist destination bythe Chinese
government and a tourism agreement was signed between the
two countries in November 2001, it has failed to attract Chinese
tourists. The reason: the government and the tourism entrepreneurs
aren't doing enough.
While our government and entrepreneurs wait for a miracle that would
bring the Chinese tourists to Nepal, the Chinese tourists are already on
their way to other destinations in Asia and, more recently, in Europe.
As the Chinese middle class continues to grow, each year more and
more Chinese are vacationingabroad. According to data published bythe
China National Tourism Administration, between 1992 and 2002, there
was almost a five-fold increase in the number of Chinese traveling abroad.
In 1992, around 3.5-4 million Chinese did so. But in 2002 that figure rose
to almost 20 million, the majority headed to such destinations as Thailand,
Singapore and Malaysia; and 645,000 to Europe. The number of
Chinese travelingto Europe is likely to increase in comingyears as some
European countries have already relaxed their visa rules regulations for
Chinese tourists andmanyothersareintheprocessofdoingso.
In February 2004, the Chinese government and the EU signed a
tourism agreement that would make it easier for the Chinese tourists to
travel to the destinations approved bythe Chinese government.
The Chinese tourists will soon have as many as 50 destinations to
choose from. Given the attractions the west offers for the new rich in
China, not least the direct air links, more and more Chinese are likely to
opt for vacations in Paris and London than in Pokhara and Langtang.
China Daily quotes the Managing Director of China Outbound Travel
Agency as saying, "Many Chinese tourists will likely visit Europe in coming
years to experience a different culture. Plus, it will be easier to travel to
Europe because ofthe direct air links." There is as strong a "pull factor"
as well. Unlike our government, RNAC, Nepal Association of Travel Agents
(NATA) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the European countries and
their travel agents are notjust waiting for a miracle that would bring
Chinese tourists to their countries. The Europeans have launched ag
gressive promotion campaigns in Chinese cities. Many have already
established their Tourist Information Offices, and increased their flights in
China. Finair, which entered the Chinese Market in September 2003
with a weekly flight to Shanghai, will soon have a total of 15 flights a week
from various Chinese cities. Other airlines are also either increasing their
fl ights or offering attractive packages to the Chinese tourists.
All this means, we are losing our market to new destinations in Europe.
Our RNAC does fly twice a week to Shanghai, but the flights are more like
refueling stops on the Kathmandu-Osaka-Kathmandu route. To make the
matters worse, constant delays (thanks to the depletingfleet) are common.
Sometimes a single flight delay extends up to three days and sometimes the air links are suspended for more than two months. The NTB
does organize tourism fairs in Beijing and Shanghai but they have not
been effective because of lack of coordination with the local media and
travel agents. As a matter of fact, hardly anyone knows about these fairs
and many promotional materials—posters, brochures and CDs—are left
in the Embassy to gather dust. Unsurprisingly, the promotions have hardly
made any impression on people in big cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and
Shanghai. The NTB seems content to harp on the fact that there was an
increase in the Chinese tourists travelingto Nepal in the beginning of this
year, even though the increase is too insignificant given China's vast
potential as a tourist market.
NATA, for its part, doesn't seem to be doing much either. Instead of
sitting idle or participating in ineffective tourism campaigns with NTB, it
should play an aggressive role and notjust rely on the government and its
subsidiaries to bring in more Chinese tourists. It should establish ties with
the Chinese travel agencies and airlines (an MoU on air routes has already
been signed between China and Nepal) and enter into a profit-sharing
agreement with them, just like the travel agencies from the west are doing
here. Also it should ask the government to provide the same preferential
treatment to the Chinese tourists that it provides to the Indians. Time is
running out for Nepal. At this rate, attracting even the modest target of
120,000 tourists a year seems a hongliang mei meng, apipedream. It's
a pity we aren't doing enough to tap a huge market next door. Q
(Aryal is a student of International Relations at Peking University in Beijing.)
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 IXace institute
L OF MANAGEMENT
Naya Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Ph: 4474712, 4469019, email: aim@alm.edu.np
 COVER STORY
20 New Cabinet,
Old Problems
By Akhilesh Upadhyay
Prime Minister Deuba has finally expanded his Cabinet with the induction of
CPN(UML), RPP and NSP. The Maoists however seem to be in no mood to
offer any concessions
Opinion by Posh Raj Pandey: Good Budget Is Good Politics
Interview: Minendra Rijal of NC (D)
COLUMNS
11 Honorable Exit
Byjogendra Ghimire
The King should exercise his authority,
under Article 127, to dismiss two
controversial and incompetent
judges. Already, thejudges have badly
bruised the Supreme Court and they
have to go
30
fl
Notes From A
Small Island
By Swarnim Wagle
In England,   the ultimate
insult is, "you don't have a
sense of humor"
38 Nepal's Pipedream
By Trailokya RajAryal in Beijing
Given the attractions the west offers for
the new rich in China, not least the
direct air links, more and more Chinese
are likely to otp for vacations in Paris
and London than in Pokhara and
Langtang
40 Don't Celebrate Yet
By Sushmajoshi
The presidential election in November
will be the mother of all election battles.
Democrats sound confident of victory
but it may be too early to celebrate
18 Chain Reaction
By Sunil Pokhrel
Agitating teachers concede that their
demands may be unlawful but it is the
officials themselves who first bent the
rules to please their political masters
26 From Rock
To Hard Place
By John Narayan Parajuli
The demand for Nepali workers is
increasingly coming from areas where
the risks could be greater than at home
28 All's Not Lost
By Yashas Vaidya
Nepal's recent showing
hasn't been exactly sterling
but it is still in the run for a
World Cup berth
EDUCATION	
32  Admission Rush
By Satishjung Shahi
Ten-plus-two schools are booming as
students increasingly opt for the range
of choices and the perceived higher
quality of private institutions
ARTS & SOCIETY
34  The Show
Must Go On
^j ™ By Satishjung Shahi
I Building statues ofthe great
^w  can only grant a popular name
I so much mileage; building on
their work ensures that the
legacy lives on
36   Born To Rock
By Yashas Vaidya
Iman Shah certainly believes the age old
adage, "Do whatyou love and you'll never
have to work a day"
DEPARTMENTS
6 LETTERS
10 PICTURE OF THE WEEK
14 CAPSULES
16 BIZ BUZZ
39 CITY PAGE
44 KHULA MANCH: SANGINA BAIDYA
45 BOOKS
46 LAST WORD
 Lett
' $' ti;l\
■ ■ Consumer confidence
can't be won solely by
evoking patriotic
emotions
w
BLSHWO POUDEL
Army and the court
JOGENDRA GHIMIRE ARGUES PER-
suasively when he says that the Army
should obey court orders in order to
enjoy moral superiority over the Maoist
rebels that it is fighting against (Re:
"Court Orders," Legal Eye, July 4). Almost every single day, newspapers are
rife with stories of the security forces'
defiance of the judiciary In fighting
against the Maoists—which to me is a
just cause—the Army should not lose
track of what it is fighting for: supremacy
of the rule of law But didn't Ghimire
question in one of his earlier articles
("WhenRights Go Wrong," April 19-25)
the motivation of the human rights
groups who are campaigning for justice
to those who have been wronged by the
Army? Ghimire made a rather confused
defense of Army's poor human rights
record. I am not saying that the Army
doesn't deserve the benefit of doubt and
that counter-insurgency measures are
easy to enforce. But it has so much gain
by admitting its mistakes openly and
then persecuting the guilty—again
openly. I am glad that Ghimire had the
moral courage to revise his flawed position.
SUDHAMPALIKHE
VIA EMAIL
Poor Nepali toys
I ENJOYED SUSHMA JOSHES
("Middle Class Race," Viewpoint, July
11). Her portrayal of a young boy unwittingly experiencing the material world
is interesting and thought provoking.
However, at the end ofthe article, she
subtly suggests that indigenous toys are
safer, and yet underrepresented in the
market. I am not so sure about this, and I
am afraid this is probably wishful thinking. It is wrong to characterize consumers collectively as ignorant agents preferring alien products to indigenous
ones, irrespective ofthe quality ofthe
product. My limited experience with
local markets in Nepal says the reason
why local products sell less is because
they are less trustworthy when it comes
to quality. Consumer confidence can't
be won solely by evoking patriotic emotions. I think we particularly need to learn
from the Chinese who were famous for
producing shoddy goods until the late
80s but are now supplying goods of excellent quality at reasonable prices.
BLSWO POUDEL
UNIVERSITYOF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY
Thamel bubble
PRIOR TO CHECKING INTO A GUEST
house on the edge of Thamel, perhaps
Kirsty Fisher should have checked herself into Kathmandu's renowned
TilgangaEye Center (Re: "The Belly Of
The Beast," Arts & Society, July 4). A
new pair of corrective corneal transplants
would have enabled her to see clearly,
without pride or prejudice, the 'real'
Thamel and the 'real' Nepal.
Thamel has developed over the last
two decades or so as a hub for a variety of
touristic needs: cyber cafes to cafe lattes;
singing bowls to sleeping bags; hashish
to hash brown potatoes. Thamel is ideally-sized, ideally-located and ideally-
organized to make it the perfect base
from which the discovery of the 'real'
Nepal can be planned. Only myopic and
Lonely Planet-less tourists would mistake Thamel for either Shangri-la or the
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 'real' Nepal. To view the 'real' Nepal,
the informed, curious tourists walk out
to some of Kathmandu's traditional, historical and cultural must-sees nearby,
such as the Durbar Square, Ason Bazaar,
and Swayambhunath. And on a trek in
the sublime countryside and hills of
Nepal is where they experience Shangri-
la, which is really a state of mind.
Nepal is full of troubles at the moment, but it also has an abundance of natural beauty, smiling people, amazing culture and an enviable sense of sangfroid. I salute every visitor who, in spite
ofthe alarmist travel advisories their respective 'first' world countries routinely
publish, come to visit Nepal. Their
quest to discover foreign lands, connect
with strange peoples and exotic cultures
is commendable, besides helping the
economy of a 'third' world country. I
certainly salute the entrepreneurs of
Thamel, who have coalesced together,
albeit haphazardly, to provide services
to cater to the various needs of these visitors.
For the fortunate ones who have the
ability to see into the belly of Thamel,
they will find that 'real' Nepali people
live, work and wander through its ancient,
relatively safe and clean lanes, courtyards
and bazaars. One thing is clear: the real
smug beast resides in the snug belly of
those who have lost the sense of wonder,
the hunger for adventure, the appreciation for the different. For them, sadly,
their bubble better not burst.
KUNALIAMA
CAFE MITRA& LOUNGE BAR
THAMEL
Moon or six pence
I DISAGREE WITH AJIT BARAL (RE:
"Moon or Six Pence," Arts & Society
June 20). Unlike what he claims average
Nepalis do not lack money to buy a painting. What they lack is the understanding
of art. The thought that crossed my mind
after reading his article: it is one of those
articles that grossly undermines Nepali
art and artists. The writer most un-
couthly tries to portray local artists as
"greedy people" who price their works
outlandishly, making paintings a farfetched dream for middle-class Nepalis.
Baral tries to make a case for himself by
describing Nepal as a semi-feudalistic
society, without a substantial industrial
class. And because of this our artists
should start selling their paintings cheap
so as to create a middle-class market.
Baral fails to understand that art is
not a commodity It cannot be mass-produced. A lot of dedication, emotions and
feelings go into the making of creative
works. Some Nepali artists have dedicated their whole lives in order to excel
in indigenous arts and to make their presence felt in the global art market. Indeed,
a number of Nepali works are masterpieces and deserve to fetch high prices
given their uniqueness.
Baral sounds outright irrational,
when he suggests that Nepali artists
should price their works keeping in view
the affordability of local purchasers. But
no work of art is created keeping a certain group or market in mind. The artist
creates a piece of art for the sake of art,
irrespective of how much money it will
fetch him. Don'tyou think it is demeaning to expect the artist to create something so that the sachib (to use Baral's
own term), who earns is Rs. 10,000 per
month, can afford it? In fact, I disagree
with Baral's claim that because Nepal
doesn't have an industrial class, there is
no critical mass to market the work of
art. Just look around you, there are fancy
bungalows, expensive cars, and look at
the money spent each night on partying
in restaurants and clubs by the supposedly "average Nepali" or the sachib. Curiously, many houses have all the modern gizmos, but not a single painting.
It's not that the "average Nepalis" lack
money to buy a painting, what they lack
is the understanding of art. Selling paintings as cheaply as Srijana Art Gallery to
expand the art market inside Nepal may
not be the best way to create a market.
The real issue here is the lack of awareness. Art is more than just a piece of work
to fill the empty space on the wall. Raising pricing issues will not further public awareness. I do however agree with
Baral that we need to create a market for
art. And how do we do that? Baral could
start out with writing articles that educate the "average Nepalis," (and the
sachibs) about the values of Nepali art.
NAVINJOSHI
DIRECTOR PARK GALLERY
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MAXPRO R LTD.
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nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
 POLITICS SPORTS ARTS AND SOCIETY OPINION
Did you, too, O friend, suppose
democracy was only for
elections, for politics, and for
party name? I say democracy is
only of use there that it may pass
on and come to its flower and
fruit in manners, in the highest
forms of interaction between
people and their beliefs—in
religion, literature, colleges and
schools—democracy in all
public and private life...
Walt Whitman
 DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION CIVIL CONFLICT BUSINESS
www.nation.com.np
EVERY      MONDAY
 Pictu
if the
eek
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Purna Maya
Shrestha makes a plea for her husband's
life to the Chinese authorities. Ishwori
Shrestha has been put on a death row in
China for peddling drugs. With her are her
sons Ishan, 5, and Mishan, 4, during a
press appearance in Kathmandu
nw/Sagar Shrestha
 Honorable Exit
The King should exercise his authority, under Article 127, to dismiss two controversial and incompetent judges. Already, thejudges have badly bruised the Supreme Court and they have to go
BY JOGENDRA GHIMIRE
Q
, uite a few heads will roll before the Williams Robinson scandal
I is put to rest. One is bound to reach this conclusion because
the Judicial Council is not explicitly empowered to investigate or
recommend the dismissal of Supreme Courtjudges.
Since my last column on the controversy over a month ago, three
very important developments have taken place. The first was the report by a Nepal Bar Association committee, which found that the
decision ofthe division bench comprising of Justices Krishna Kumar
Verma and Baliram Kumar to acquit the drug dealer was flawed. Then
came a preliminaryfindingbya review bench ofthe Supreme Court
which echoed similar concerns. The third, and byfarthe most damaging development from the perspective ofthe two judges, came only
last week in the form of a report of a three-member special team of
the Judicial Council. The report delivered to the Chief Justice, who is
also the chair ofthe Council, by Supreme Court Justices Min
Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma and Khil Raj Regm
has found that (a) the two judges had betrayed public trust
and confidence, and (b) the duo lacked competence to serve
asjudges ofthe apex court.
The investigation committee realizes the limits ofthe
Judicial Council—and the Chief Justice—while initiatingac-
tion against the duo. The Constitution, after all, makes the
Supreme Courtjudges immune from action or investigation by any organ ofthe state, except for the possibility of
impeachment bythe Pratinidhi Sabha. That too for rather
specific reasons: incompetence, misbehavior and failure
to discharge the duties of office in good faith. That the
investigation committee went to the extent of pronouncing
the two judges incompetent—one ofthe grounds for impeachment under the Constitution—is clearly indicative of
their conviction that they should no longer continue on the
Bench.
The committee members have recommended that the Judicial Council should ask Verma and Kumar to quit. There had
been an instance of resignation by one Supreme Court judge—
Rajendra Raj Nakhwa—a few years ago who was asked to quit by the
then Chief Justice, Keshav Prasad Upadhyay, after questionable behavior on the part of the judge.
If the resignation option does not work, the committee believes that
the Chief Justice should administratively punish the two judges by not
assigning them any work.
I find the first option acceptable. The second—of administrative
punishment—is likely to be a long drawn out affair, and indicative of lack
of clarity on the part of the judicial leadership on an extremely important
issue. Ofthe two judges in question, Verma is due to retire in a few
months'time, but Kumar, a more recent appointee, is likely to stay on
for nearly 10 years. Which means, he will be in administrative punish
ment at least until the new Pratinidhi Sabha comes into existence and
decides on his fate, which could take a while. A more decisive action for
the Judicial Council would be to take an unconventional—but bold—
route on the procedural questions associated with the issue of Verma
and Kumar, if they decline to quit without any fuss. The Council should
recommend to the King to exercise his authority under Article 127 ofthe
Constitution and dismiss the two judges.
Like it or not, we live in a constitutional set-up which would stop
functioning had it not been for the use of Article 127 to "remove difficulties." Since October of 2002, this last-resort provision has been used
three times to appoint the prime minister and for a number of other
executive functions. If that constitutional provision can be used for appointing the prime minister, which is a function assigned to the Parliament under the constitution, there is no reason why it can't be exercised
for dismissing the judges? This too is a function that the Parliament
should have performed and the procedure has to be facilitated in the
absence ofthe Parliament.
Letting the two judges continue at the apex court will, besides continuing to tarnish the image of the judiciary, create an uneasy environment within the court. At least eight judges ofthe Supreme Court have
already acted or spoken against Verma and Kumar—three as members
ofthe review bench, three as Judicial Council committee members, and
the Chief Justice and Justice Hari Prasad Sharma as members ofthe
Judicial Council.
Two damaging reports and a damagingcomment of a full bench later,
their presence at the apex court is not in the interests of thejudiciary.
They should go and the judicial leadership should not hesitate to take a
decisive action to ensure their departure—even if that means resorting
to Article 127. Q
J.
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
11
  Dnondup ^JQianqsar
J   Handicraft Center J
TrideviMarg, Thame,,
Opp. of Sanchayakosh
Tel: 4416483, 4417295
E-mail: wapema®
im.np
 Capsules
Toxic chemicals
A large amount of outdated
chemical waste has been
stocked in the warehouses of
Cotton Development Committee and Agricultural Seeds
Company in Nepalgunj for
the last 12 years. Activists
warned of possible accidents
due to the hazardous waste.
The Stockholm International
Convention says that the outdated chemicals must be returned to the country of origin for disposal.
Thimpu's "solution"
The Bhutanese Prime Minister, Jigmi YThinley, told the
National Assembly that his
government was making serious efforts to find a "durable solution" to the refugee
problem, Kuenselonline reported. Thinley termed the
December 22 incident in
Khudunabari camp last year,
when refugees pelted stones
at Bhutanese officials, following provocative statements from them, as a "regrettable setback." The
scheduled repatriation of
some refugees from the camp
was stalled after members of
Bhutanese Joint Verification
Team pulled out of Jhapa following attacks on the visiting
Bhutanese officials.
SLC slip-up
One hundred and ninety-one
students who failed this year's
SLC exam from Shahid
Smiriti Secondary School,
Chitwan, were allotted equal
marks in two subjects—science; and environment,
population and health. Teachers, who blame the Office of
the Controller of Examination (OCE) for the oversight,
have urged it not to bar the
students from sitting for the
"chance" SLC examination,
which will soon follow. OCE
said that it has started investigating the case.
Hepatitis scare
Hemophilia Society said
hepatitis was found in nine
out of 11 hemophilia patients, who have been transfusing blood regularly made
TIME FOR ATOAST: Photojournalists received awards from Sampada Photo
Vision for their contribution
available by the Kathmandu-
based blood bank. Even if the
bank screens blood before
transfusion, the window period of hepatitis might have
been the reason why hepatitis
screenings fail, the society
chairman, Kiran Manandhar,
said in defense of the blood
bank in Kantipur.
No Nepalis
Nepali students have been
barred from enrollment in
colleges in Uttar Pradesh. RSS
reports that they were denied
admission in schools in
Baharaich, Srivasti and Khiri
districts, citing security reasons. These districts border
Banke, Bardia, Kailali and
Kanchanpur. An Indian daily
citing officials of the Uttar
Pradesh Higher Secondary
Council said that admission
FINAL   SHOW
Shiva Shankar Mukherjee has been
appointed as the new Indian ambassador to Nepal. Mukherjee will succeed Shyam Saran who has been nominated as the next
Indian Foreign
Secretary.
Mukherjee is currently serving as
the Indian High
Commissioner to
South Africa. In
his pre-departure
press meet last
week, Saran
said, "Violence
isn't a legitimate
means to earn
litical needs,"
po
commenting on the Maoist insurgency. He
empathized with the plight of Nepalis, fleeing to India due to violence, "In times of distress, do you go to a friend or an enemy?"
He also expressed hope
that the talks between Bhutan
and Nepal would
resume and the
situation in the
refugee camps
doesn't get any
more "complicated." There are
reports that the
Maoists have infiltrated the
amps.
for students from the concerned districts will be allowed only after an investigation into their background,
Kantipuronline reported.
Leniency plea
Purna Maya Shrestha, wife of
Ishwori Kumar Shrestha
who was arrested by the
Chinese police a year ago,
appealed for amnesty for her
husband. A Chinese court
sentenced Shrestha to death
on charges of smuggling
drugs into Tibet. She claimed
her husband was innocent.
The court had earlier
handed a death sentence to
Ravi Dahal and life imprisonment to Rewat Kumar
Dahal. Both were found in
possession of drugs in Tibet.
Salt Trading abroad
The proposal of Salt Trading
Corporation (STC) to open
a branch in Dubai, UAE and
a retail outlet in Doha, Qatar
was approved by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and
Industry. Both the retail outlet and the branch office will
be in operation within a
month, according to
Parmeshwar Mahaseth, the
STC chairman. Sales of
fruits and vegetables are expected to get a boost through
the initiative. The outlet in
Doha is a joint venture with
Alfazar International Trading, a local company, while
the Dubai office will function independently.
14
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Rain owes
Recurrent heavy rain has
taken more than seven lives
bringing the death toll to 10
over the weekend. Dozens of
villages in Mahottari,
Rautahat, Udaypur, Saptari,
Sunsari, Dhankuta, Bara,
Jhapa and Dang were inundated rendering hundreds of
people homeless. Four
people were killed in Dang,
three in Dhanusa, two in
Udaypur , one each in
Rautahat and Sindhuli.
Cabinet expansion
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expanded his three-member
cabinet to 31. On board are CPN(UML), RPR and NSR The cabinet also includes two independent members who are Palace nominees. The portfolios of ministries are as follows.
■ SHER BAHADUR DEUBA: Prime Minister, and Minister for Royal
Palace, Defense and Foreign Affairs
■ BHARAT MOHAN ADHIKARI: Deputy PM and Finance Minister
CABINET MINISTERS
■ DR MOHAMMAD MOHSIN(I): Information and Communication
■ BADRI PRASAD MANDAL (NSP): Forest and Soil Conservation
■ BALARAM GHARTl MAGAR(RPP): Science and Technology
■ BIMALENDRA NIDHI (NC-D): Education and Sports
■ PRAKASH MANSINGH(NC-D): Physical Planning and Works
■ ASHOK RAI (CPN-UML): Local Development
■ PURNA BAHADUR KHADKA (NC-D): Home
■ DEEP KUMAR UPADHAYA (NC-D): Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
■ ISHWOR POKHREL (CPN-UML): Industry, Commerce and Supplies
■ YUBA RAJ GYAWALl (CPN-UML): Local Development
■ JOG MEHER SHRESTHA (RPP): Land Reform and Management
■ HOM NATH DAHAL (NC-D): Agriculture and Cooperatives
■ RAGHUJI PANT (CPN-UML): Labor and Transport
■ BACHASPATI DEVKOTA (CPN-UML): Population and Environment
■ ASTHA LAXMI SHAKYA (CPN-UML): Women, Children and
Social Welfare
■ TEK BAHADUR CHOKHYAL (NC-D): Law, Justice and
Parliamentary Affairs
■ KRISHNA LALTHAKALI (INDEPENDENT): General Administration
STATE MINISTERS
■ THAKUR PRASAD SHARMA (RPP): Water Resources
■ DR PRAKASH SARAN MAHAT (NC-D): Foreign Affairs
■ KRISHNA GOPAL SHRESTHA(CPN-UML): Local Development
■ BAL KRISHNA KHAND (NC-D): Education and Sports
■ URBA DUTTA PANT (CPN-UML): Labor and Transport
■ DR BAMSI DHAR MISHRA (CPN-UML): Health
■ PRATIBHA RANA (RPP): Science and Technology
■ RAMCHANDRA RAYA (RPP): Land Reform and Management
ASSISTANT MINISTERS
■ UMA KANT CHOUDHARY (NC-D): Agriculture and Cooperatives
■ LALBAHADURBISHWOKARMA(CPN-UML)Population and Environment
■ HARI SHANKAR PARIYAR (NC-D): Physical Planning and Works
BHIMKUMARIBUDHAMAGAR(NC-D): Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation
The heavy downpour has
also severely affected vehicular movement in the Prithivi
and Mahendra highways leaving hundreds of passengers
stranded.
New U.S. envoy
The new U.S. envoy, James
Francis Moriarty, arrived in
Kathmandu. A graduate of
Dartmouth College, Moriarty
began his Foreign Service career as a political officer in 1975.
He has served at U.S. embassies in Pakistan, Morocco and
Swaziland and in American
missions in China and Taiwan.
Coffee exports
Nepal Coffee Association
exported 8.4 tons of coffee to
the United States recently.
Nepal Samacharpatra quoted
an association official as saying that retail rates for the
U.S. market have not been
fixed yet—as this was the first
time Nepali coffee is entering the U.S. market. To date,
Japan is the biggest importer
of Nepali coffee. It imports
over 10 tons annually
More killings
The Maoists shot dead Rajan
Kuikel, an accountant at the
Home Ministry, in
Kathmandu in front of his
Gaurighat residence. Kuikel
died at the Medicare Nursing Home in Chabahil while
undergoing treatment. Police
say they are investigating the
case but no arrests have been
made so far. The Maoists also
shot dead Deputy Superintendent of Police Uttam
Bahadur Karki and
Maheshman Shrestha, ex-
chairman of Kathmandu's
ward-12 . Both the killings
took place a day after Prime
Minister Deuba expanded
his cabinet.
Farming census
The fifth National Agriculture Census-2058 made public by the Central Bureau of
Statistics (CBS) puts the
population of farmers at more
than 3.36 million. The country has over 2.65 hectares of
agricultural land. CBS included those families farming over four aanas of land in
the hills, eight dhurs in Tarai,
or having five domestic animals and 20 avians in the census list.
nation weekly
RIGHTS: A policeman grabs a
placard of a Blue Diamond Society
activists as they head towards the
post protest zone in Singha Durbar
JULY 18, 2004
15
 Biz Buz
PICTURES ON THE NET
Web designers "dreams & ideas" launched a
website www.pjclub.com.np on Saturday that
will highlight the work of Nepali photojoumal-
ists. The same company is also starting a two-
month basic photojournalism class starting July
25 to encourage new talents, says a press
statement issued bythe PJ Club. Kantipur's
photojoumalist Chandra Shekhar Karki will be
the instructor for the course.
FACTS & FIGURES
The month of June might have dismayed Nepal
Tourism Board due to figures on the arrival of
Indian tourists in the country. Citing figures provided bythe Department of Immigration, NTB
recorded a decline of eight percent in the arrival
of Indian tourists in June 2004 compared to
figures in the same period last year. However,
there was one suggestion made by outgoing
Indian Ambassador Shyam Saran during his
interaction with the media last week.
"Nepal needs to get its statistics right," said
Saran when asked the reason why Indians were
reluctant to visit Nepal. "Many Indians come by
road and the data they (NTB) record is only on
airtravel." However, Saran did add that factors
such as the opening of schools and the monsoon could have affected the arrival of Indian
tourists. The overall tourism arrival figures looks
rosy for the NTB this June. Figures recorded an
increase of five percent compared to last year.
PROMOTING TOURISM
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Jet Airways
have joined hands to promote Nepal as the
preferred tourist destination for Indian tourists. Together they organized a series of press
conferences and meetings with Indian tour
operators in the cities of Mumbai,
Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Chandigarh. Jet
Airways, in collaboration with NTB, is expected
to come up with various promotional campaigns and attractive holiday packages. The
Nepali participants during the course ofthe
campaign were Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza,
Himalaya Expeditions, Machan Wildlife Resort
and Avia Club.
16
NCC'S NEW BRANCH
Nepal Credit&Commerce Bank Ltd. launched
its 14th branch at Chabahil, Kathmandu. The
Chabahil branch provides fully computerized services along with Any Branch Banking System
(ABBS) facility with the Main Branch in New Road
Branch and the Thankot Branch. The 12th and
13th branches of NCC Bank were opened in the
month of June in Kalaiya and Pokhara respectively.
KYMCO'S NEW PULSAR 125 LUXE
Star International Ltd. launched the new Pulsar 125 Luxe. The newly launched motorcycle is manufactured by Taiwan based
Kymco. The Pulsar 125 Luxe has a displacement of 124cc and a maximum output of
11.56 bhp, with a mileage of around 50 km.
It is available in four colors: Black, Silver, Blue
and Red. The new model comes with a two-
year warranty.
SECOND SAAB FOR YETI
Yeti Airlines has acquired a second SAAB
340B. With the addition of the 36-seater
aircraft, the airline now has the largest seat
capacity in domestic aviation in Nepal and
also offers the widest network of internal
flights. The airline operates scheduled flights
to remote areas such as Jumla, Dolpo,
Simikot, Taplejung, Manang and Rumjatar
carrying large volumes of cargo. There will now
be additional flights on pre-existingflight routes
to Biratnagar, Pokhara, Bhairahawa and
Nepalgunj. The SAAB 340B aircraft is a Swedish made, regional commuter aircraft with a
general passenger cabin configuration of 33-
36 seats and maximum operating altitude of
25,000 feet.
NEW PROMISETOOTHPASTE
New Promise, a worldwide brand of toothpaste
established 25 years ago, is set to be launched
in Nepal. The toothpaste has clove oil and a
fresh mint flavor. The brand is being marketed
as product that provides refresh breath and
protection from cavities. The new toothpaste
will reach the consumers in a soft squeeze tube
and a blue international pack. It will be available in 3 conventional pack sizes - small (45g),
medium (90g) and family (170g).
70,000 NEPALIS IN THE GULF
Nepal's contribution to the U.A.E.'s labor market numbers between 1,000-1,500 each
month with a sharp increase in the last 18
months, the Gulfnews.com website reported
quoting Nepal Embassy's Charge D' Affaires
Madhuban Prasad Poudel as saying in a report
filed from the Abu Dhabi. The total Nepali population in the Gulf was reported to be about
70,000. The same report cited the U.A.E. government decision to ban unskilled Indian and
Pakistani workers in the region as the reason
behind the increase of Nepali workers. Poudel
was speaking at a function hosted bythe Embassy to promote tourism marking the 58th
Birthday of King Gyanendra.
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l^tTT   3cF'
 Prat
Agitating teachers concede
that their demands may be
unlawful but it is the officials at the Tribhuvan University themselves who first
bent the rules to please
their political masters.
"Now do it for us too," say
the teachers
BYSUNIL POKHREL
IT HAS BEEN 16 MONTHS SINCE
the part-time teachers of Tribhuvan
University and its constituent campuses began low-intensity protests over
their status and pay. But, they have met
with little success. The teachers are now
determined to fight to the finish, including a hunger-strike-unto-death to start
from July 16.
The Tribhuvan University Part-
Time Teachers' Association (TUPTTA)
has taken to the streets with a three-
point demand. The main one is for the
permanent appointment of teachers who
are on daily wages. For their part, university officials have made it clear that
the demands cannot be met until there
is an amendment to the university's Service Commission Act. University offi
cials believe that the protest is politically motivated; TUPTTA members
deny this.
"We have been treated shabbily. I am
not allowed to take leave even during
emergencies," says a part-time teacher at
Amrit Science Campus. "I am not permitted to issue books from the library.
The part-timers are fired even for ideological differences with the campus chief
of the colleges," says the teacher who
asked for anonymity. Low as their pay
may be, part-timers do not get it on time.
The Amrit Science Campus teacher says
that he hasn't received a single rupee
since January
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EACTION
The university has been a tool for the
politically powerful for quite a while.
Interference in its day-to-day work not
only continued but also intensified in
the post-1990 period. In a program organized by TUPTTA last week, leaders of
all political parties, including human
rights activist Krishna Pahadi expressed
their solidarity with the teachers' union.
When a central committee member of
the ruling NC(D) assured the teachers
that he would have the concerned authority look into the matter, the reaction
was mixed. Many ofthe teachers were
relieved that their plight would finally
get the attention it deserves while oth
ers wondered if the university was an
autonomous institution at all. In 1991,
Tribhuvan University caved in to political pressure and appointed 1,200 permanent teachers.
Nanda Kishor Singh, president of
TUPTTA, seems determined to make
the officials repeat the mistake. The only
condition 13 years ago to make the teachers' status permanent was that they had
to be associated with the university as a
wage earner or contract teacher for at
least a year. The Service Commission,
which fills in the vacancies, was blatantly
bypassed. Singh and his group want
similar treatment now
J.
18
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 "There have been a
number of blunders,"
says professor Chuda
Nath Uprety, chairman ofthe TU Service
Commission. All appointments of staff and
teachers should
strictly be as per the
existing TU Service
Commission Act,"
Uprety adds. He
sounds confident in
his assertion, but records show that on
numerous instances the university has
bowed to political pressure. Between
1997 and 2002, as many as 2,400 teachers
on daily wages, who had affiliations with
political parties or were relatives of university officials, were granted contracts
as teachers. This group receives perks,
job security and other benefits on par
with permanent teachers. "We were left
out simply because we didn't have the
blessing of the power centers," Singh
says.
Officials at the Dean's Office in
Kirtipur say performances of permanent
teachers have been left wanting and it's
the 2,400 part-time teachers at the
university's Central Campus and 61 colleges around the country who fill that
void.
The large number of part-timers
clearly indicates that the university has
fallen short of teachers but filling in
the vacancies isn't always easy due to
the bureaucratic red tape and political
meddling. For example, the result of
an exam conducted almost two years
ago by the Service Commission is still
due.
"Tribhuvan University has so far
turned a deaf ear to our just demands,"
says Singh. "The university is quick to
fulfill every demand made by the student unions, but as teachers we can't
adopt harsh measures," Singh adds.
The protests and numerous sit-ins in
front ofthe Dean's Office by TUPTTA
members forced the university officials
to form a fact-finding committee to look
into the problems ofthe part-timers and
suggest solutions. The committee,
among other things, asked the university to increase the pay per class from Rs
60 to 120 for Intermediate and Bachelor
levels and to Rs. 150 for the Master's
level. The agitating teachers however
would accept none ofthe piecemeal solution.
Mahendra Singh, rector of Tribhuvan
University, fails to see any good in the
demand made by the teachers. "All part-
timers were hired after they agreed to
abide by the terms and conditions laid
out to them," he says. "How can they
now go against the terms which were
agreed? Recruitments shall be made according to the needs of the university
not by political pressure."
As for TUPTTA, the association finds
it convenient to take shelter under the
1991 precedent, though many of its members concede their demands may not be
entirely lawful. They argue it's rather
lame for the university to cite the law
when its own officials have been in routine violation of the legal provisions
themselves.
A teacher in the Central Campus predicts that the hunger strike will force
the officials to meet the teachers' demand. "This is a classic example which
shows how a violation of existing laws
by the concerned authorities can instigate a chain reaction," he adds.  □
J.
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
19
 Prime Minister
Deuba has finally
expanded his
Cabinet with the
induction of
CPN(UML), RPP
and NSP The
Maoists however
seem to be in no
mood to offer any
concessions
OLD PROBLEMS
BY AKHILESH UPADHYAY
FTER MONTH-LONG
ne-gotiations, Prime
Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba last
week expanded his
three-member cabinet to include 31
members from four
parties, including
his own NC(D).
On board, finally, were RPP, NSP and
CPN(UML), whose participation will
remain crucial if the new government is
to gain any momentum, and crucially, to
resolve the insurgency.
But if Deuba and his new coalition
partners were expecting the Maoists to
tone down their violent ways with the
formation of a representative government, that was not to be. If anything, there
have been a series of killings, including
some high-profile assassinations, in recent days. The mayor of Pokhara and
avowed Royalist, Harka Bahadur
Gurung, was gunned down as Deuba was
putting final touches to his new Cabinet. And DSP Uttam Karki was shot to
death in broad daylight in Kathmandu, a
day after the new Cabinet was sworn in.
A Home Ministry official and a civilian
have been shot dead since, both in the
capital.
J.
20
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 "We never expected it to be a Cakewalk"
says Minendra Rj al, a Deuba aide and member ofthe 14-member Task Force that successfully finalized the Common Minimum
Program between the four parties who are
now in the government. "The new
government's top agenda is clear. We want
to hold talks with the Maoists."
There has been tremendous pressure
on the new government to call a ceasefire
and hold the talks—from the civil society the international community and the
rank-and-file members ofthe political
parties, who have been on the receiving
end in the conflict. The United Nations
says it will not interfere in the negotiations, though it is willing to mediate, if
asked. It has urged both sides to the conflict to recognize each other's existence.
The European Union has called on
both parties to announce an immediate
ceasefire and create an environment for
dialogue without setting any conditions.
It has urged the government and demo
cratic forces to work towards early negotiations with the insurgents. The EU
sees the integration ofthe rebels into the
political mainstream as a prerequisite to
free and fair elections.
Ministers in the new Cabinet say the
need to call a ceasefire is urgent but also
concede that reviving talks is not going
to be easy, much less so if the talks are to
eventually bear fruit. Two previous failed
rounds of peace processes have left a bitter taste in everybody's mouth, including
the Maoists and the Army. There is a near-
consensus among the coalition partners
that they first need to lay down the
groundwork so that the peace momentum will carry beyond the initial euphoria of a truce, if and when it comes.
Already, the officials are making the
right of kinds of noises. One ofthe first
things Prime Minister Deuba did after
his appointment last month was to urge
the Maoists to come back to the negotiating table.   He said he would do every
thing to make peace, though his call came
with a caveat. "The Royal Nepal Army
will return to barracks if the Maoists
stand for peace," Deuba said.
But peace at what price? That's the
bone of contention. While there has been
a lot of pressure on the government to
declare a ceasefire, it is unlikely that it
would do so without a minimum understanding of what it is going to gain
from such a ceasefire. "Of course, we
don't want the violence to continue and
we do deeply empathize with the family
members ofthe dead," says a Cabinet
Minister. "But we hope the Maoists will
approach the talks in good faith this time
around. It gets difficult to work with a
force that believes in political violence."
\fet the coalition partners seem determined to give it a shot, given the urgency of
the situation at hand. A number of
CPN(UML) leaders say they were primarily motivated to join the government to
start a dialogue with the Maoists, and that
alone. "If it's not now, when?" asks Bhim
Rawal, central committee member ofthe
UML and the party's one of four representatives in the Task Force that worked out
the Common Minimum Program.
The Common Minimum Program
is an open-ended document, which deliberately avoids taking any dogmatic
positions so as to make the Maoists believe that the government is keeping all
its options open, including that ofthe
constituent assembly. This is where the
peace process could get a bit tricky. The
Palace will want a guarantee of its role
before it commits to a constituent assembly and the political parties will never
negotiate for a party-less totalitarian state,
if that's what the Maoists are fighting for.
"The Maoists perhaps aren't as intractable as some of us believe they are," says
NC(D)'s Rijal. "They do realize they
aren't going to get everything they demand." He points out that the Maoists,
in fact, insist that they would hold talks
only with a government that has unambiguous backing from the King. The
thinking is that the Maoists, with all their
display of bravado, are still willing to
make compromises and that there are
few leaders in the NCP(Maoist) who
are willing to fight to the finish and turn
Nepal into another Sudan, wracked by a
bloody civil war since the 50s.  □
WITH SHUSHAM SHRESTHA
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
21
 Story
OPINION
Good Budget Is Good Politics
BY POSH RAJ PANDEY
The budget is not only a ritual
where the Finance Minister
crunches numbers about
the revenue and expenditure, but
also a policy document.   It pro-
DIFFICULT TIMES: Minister Adhikari
videsthe direction ofthe actions
the incumbent government plans
to take on economic, social and
political matters in the days to
come. Everyone, from slum dwellers to the filthy rich, road-side
teashop owners to the lords of tea
estates, unemployed to senior bureaucrats, mid-wife to housewife,
all are curious on the content of
the budget speech as it affects their
lives, for better or worse.
Viewing the budget in this perspective, the way revenue is collected and expenditure is allocated
could be a reliable instrument to
meet the expectations ofthe people.
This in Nepal'scase is restoration of
peace, opportunities for productive
and gainful work, better health facilities and sending children to
school. A good budget will be good
politics in terms of an opportunity
for the newly formed all-party government to keep the promises—
talks with the Maoists, restoration of
peace and conducting elections.
The consensus on the concept and content of the budget
among the coalition partners, with
their ideological underpinnings at
odds, would be a daunting task—
if the wrangling over the preparation of the Common Minimum
Program is any indication. The freedom of the Finance Minister is
further curtailed bythe legacy of
violence coupled with lower level
of income, a smaller fiscal base,
a weaker social service delivery
system, dwindling capacity to
maintain law and order, reduced
social cohesion, a reduced institutional capacity and disminished
ability to either manage development policies. All are factors beyond his control.
Given these constraints, the
Finance Minister recently indicated
that the security expenditure will
inevitably go up, a complete U-
turn on what his party used to have
a "firm" position on. He, however,
qualified, tacitly that there are prospects of reducing regular expenditure, though the definition of security-related, regular and development expenditure is amorphous
and its distinction delicate.
If one dissects the government
revenue and expenditure, the re
vised estimate for the last fiscal
year shows that the government
has not been able to generate revenue to meet expenditure for day-
to-day operations and repayment
of loans. The revenue collection
and expenditure pattern shows
that out of every one rupiah tax
paid by people, about
onesuka goes to military and police, about
one suka to loan repayment and interest
payments and the remaining onemonarto
general administration, constitutional organs, judiciary and
social services. More
conspicuously, the expenditure on defense and police
has been growing over the period
and has stood at about 5 per cent
ofthe national income—a figure
comparable to many ofthe developed countries.
Given an escalating insurgency
and crime and social violence, increased government expenditure
on military and police is only natural to restore peace and put pressure to bring the Maoists to the
negotiating table. But, it has to be
remembered that expenditures on
security, though a public good ben-
efitingall, is insensitive to the values of equity and fairness. Once
built up, as other countries have
found out, they are difficult to
downsize.
Here lies the moot question.
Can Nepal, where about half the
population goes to bed hungry,
afford such a huge defense and
police expenditure? Is an increase
in such expenditure the best solution? Don't we have other alternatives? The experiences of other
developing countries show that
the rate of growth of military expenditure and the rate of economic growth are inversely related. Closer to home, the economic growth in Sri Lanka regressed when armed revolution
A frontal assault on
insurgency lies not on
skyrocketing military
and police expenditure
but on inclusive
economic growth
started and the prospects of
peace dialogue were dim when
there were double-digit growths in
security expenditure.
Afrontal assault on insurgency
lies not on skyrocketing military
and police expenditure but on inclusive economic growth, safeguarding civil liberties, deepening
democracy, improving social cohesion and reducing economic
disparities. It can be achieved
through "quality" expenditure on
"soft" sectors by taking measures
such as improving earning capacity of the people, generating employment, developing ski I Is, providing health facilities, and developing infrastructure in rural areas.
Let peace create dividends,
rather than dividends to defense
personnel create peace. □
Death toll since Deuba took office
June 14
Banke: Maoist ambush APF convoy, killing at
least 22 police personnel in a landmine blast
and wounding 12 in Khari Khola.
June 20
Dang: Maoists attack a police patrol, killing
18 people, including four civilians. Dozens are
reported injured in a separate landmine blast
and the ensuing crossfire near  the village of
Dhan Khola.
July 2
Pokhara: Mayor Harka Bahadur Gurung, 65,
shot bythe Maoists
July 5
Birjgunj: 12 policemen die in a Maoist ambush at Bahuarwa Batha VDC near Birgunj.
July 6
Kathmandu: Ward 12 ex-chairman Mahesh
Man Shrestha and Deputy Superintendent of
Police Uttam Bahadur Karki shot to death
Salyan: 11 security personnel, 19 Maoists killed
in clashes at Gangate area of Kalimati Kalche VDC.
July 7
Kathmandu: Maoists shot dead Rajen Kuikel,
assistant accountant at the Home Ministry outside his residence at Gaurighat.   N
22
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 'Govt Is Open To All Options'
MinendraRijal.a Deuba
aide and former member of the National
Planning Commission, was a
member of the Task Force that
successfully finalized the Common
Minimum Program.
Will the new government do
what the two previous governments failed to do—broker a
permanent ceasefire with the
Maoists?
We hope so. The Common Minimum Program doesn't deal with
specificities. That's because we
want to keep all options open.
There are criticisms that the
Deuba cabinet turned out to be
larger than was expected—even
CPN(UML) General Secretary
Madhav Kumar Nepal has said
so much?
Yes, the Cabinet may have been
larger than many expected. But
you should bear in mind that
these are extremely difficult
times and it wasn't easy to put
together a four-party government
in the first place. Every single
party faces problems of internal
management. The big question
of course is whether we can resolve the Maoist problem. I consider it a success that only one
major political, the Nepali Congress, is not in the government
now. But we are still hopingthat
they (Nepali Congress) will join
the government at some point.
They will be duly given four or
five Ministries.
Koirala and the four agitating
parties are saying they will negotiate with the Maosits too?
That's empty rhetoric. But
Maoists have said the Nepali
Congress should have a role in
the peace talks. It's a tactical
statement and serves both the
interests of both Koirala and the
Maoists.
Okay, the government has taken
a pluralistic shape, what next?
As I said earlier, the CMP is an open-
ended document and we remain
open to all options. This was deliberate. Once there is public posturing
on certain issues, negotiations become that much more difficult.
So you are saying that you are
open about discussing the constituent assembly?
At the minimum, we seek negotiations. We need space to hold elections and conduct rel ief programs to
help tens of thousands ofthe displaced throughout the country. Their
needs are urgent.
Is the Palace open about
constituent assembly?
I will lookatitthisway IstheKinga
factor in Nepal politics? He is. It is,
then, only natural that he should
seek assurance on the role ofthe
monarchy, just as we will seek assurance for multiparty democracy.
There can't be a blank-check negotiation on the constituent assembly.
But the Maoists said last year
when the peace talks failed that
the government negotiators had
put forth too many conditions
and had taken a non-negotiable
position on the constituent assembly?
The Maoistsalso realize they can't
get everything they want. In fact,
they insist that they will hold talks
with a government that enjoys unambiguous support ofthe King.
How close are we
to the ceasefire?
I can only say this: I don't thinkwe
are ready for a unilateral ceasefire.
We need do some homework first
rather than have a meaningless
ceasefire. But don't get me wrong. I
am not condoning violence and the
daily mayhem. Farfrom it. But what
is the purpose of a ceasefire if we
don't have a roadmap? There will
again be accusations and
counteraccusations and the
chances are that the peace process
will again collapse.
Are things getting
out of control?
As a matter of fact, all major political parties, except the Nepali Congress, are now on board, and the
Maoists must be closely following
the turn of events. I sometimes
get a feeling that the Maoist central leadership doesn't have control over their rank and file.
Are the Maoists under pressure
to announce a ceasefire, just as
the government?
Pretty much. Amid all this senseless violence, we tend to lose sight
ofthe fact that things are getting
out of hand for them. India has, of
late, put tremendous pressure on
them and they are on the run. India most certainly doesn't want its
economic laggards in the north—
Bihar and Utter
Pradesh—taking
a leaf out of the
Maoist book and
turning into
Rukum and
Rolpa. Bihar's
GDP growth is
way, way behind
while parts of India are galloping
ahead with as
much as 12 percent growth.
There were times
when the Maoists
got some leverage, with sections
ofthe Indian establishment even
assuming that
the insurgency
could give them
leeway in managing the bilateral
ties. And within
Nepal, too, the Maoist movement
was used to offset the influence of
democratic forces. This is not the
case now. The tables have turned
completey. All the forces have united
together against the Maoists. We
now say that we will not negotiate
with the Maoists on certain points:
the constitutional monarchy, multiparty democracy and our relations
with India.
Is state on verge of collapse?
At the popular level, one hears
conflicting, even confusing, assertions as to who deserves the
people's support?
Some people do say, "We saw the
King, we saw the parties, and now
let's see Baburam and Prachanda.
Maybe they will bring in peace."
But people are slowly beginning to
realize the attendant dangers. A
lot of people in Kathmandu are
now nervous because they have
started witnessing cold-blooded
killings. They will get even more
rude shocks when they witness the
Maoists' totalitarian ways. What
can I say of a force that believes
in settling political feuds with violence and killings? □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
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 onference
STARK
CHOICES
Nepal has a relatively low HIV epidemic but it faces stark
choices: either choose to marshal whatever resources it
has to limit the spread of the disease—and avoid a catastrophe—or do nothing and deal with the consequences
BY SUMAN PRADHAN
IN BANGKOK
IN THE NINE YEARS OF THE
Maoist conflict, Nepal has lost
slightly more than 10,000 people. In
just over a decade and a half, HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS, has infected more
than an estimated 61,000 Nepalis and
killed 3,100.
These numbers, put out by the latest
UNAIDS report, aren't yet anywhere
near the death toll inflicted by the Maoist
insurgency. But they are frightening nevertheless.
For one, most Nepalis living with the
virus don't know their HIV status, and
therefore could pass it on to other
people. Two, only a very small minority
of those who know their status have access to anti-retroviral drugs that help to
slow the disease's progress. Moreover,
most of those who were infected in the
early 90s will progress to the AIDS stage
ofthe disease, crippling an already under-funded and inadequate health care
system.
Clearly, if effective measures are not
taken now, then the virus could easily
spread to epidemic proportions, further
tearing the social and economic fabric
of a poor country already ravaged by war.
For these reasons, countries like
Nepal which are in the midst of a relatively low HIV epidemic now face stark
choices: they could either choose to
marshal whatever resources they have to
limit the spread ofthe virus when it is
still in its early epidemiological phases—
and hence avoid a catastrophe in the future—or do nothing and deal with the
consequences later.
"Many countries choose to ignore the
threat in its early stages and pay for it
later," says Marsha Thompson, an American epidemiology student attending the
15th International AIDS Conference in
Bangkok. "It is always better to work on
prevention in the early stages rather than
spend huge and scarce resources later on
treatment and care when the disease has
reached epidemic proportions."
This seems like sound advice, but
countries often don't follow it. Take the
case of South Africa, a country with 30
million people. Despite repeated alarm
bells sounded by the international com
munity, the government of President
Thabo Mbeki chose to ignore mounting evidence of a galloping epidemic,
paying for it dearly later. Mbeki once
even famously questioned the link between HIV and AIDS. We can see the
consequence today: South Africa has 5.4
million people infected with HIV, and
belatedly had to spend huge resources
to fight the disease.
In nearby India, initial official denial
(therefore little corrective action) has led
HIV to infect more than 5.1 million of
its over a billion citizens. Though this
figure still correspondents to less than 1
percent prevalence rate, the sheer number of infections means India accounts
for at least 10 percent ofthe world's HIV
infections.
Even today, there is little coordinated
response to the epidemic in India, and
denials at the highest levels still exist. "If
we look at the current response in India,
it's much better than two or three years
ago, but it still falls way short of what's
necessary to accentuate a looming disaster," said epidemiologist Richard
Feachem, head ofthe Global Fund to
treat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in
a recent interview to Science Magazine.
On the other hand, there are countries like Thailand which quickly comprehended the grave consequences ofthe
social and economic cost ofthe disease
after initial hiccups. Thanks to an unabashed condom campaign in the early
1990s, the government and civil society
in this devoutly Buddhist country has
succeeded in keeping HIV infections at
a manageable 570,000 among its 60 million people.
"Thailand offers an example ofwhat
developing countries can do if there's
enough political will at the top," says Dr.
Peter Piot, the executive
director of UNAIDS,
the body which leads
the joint-UN program
on HIV/AIDS. "For
Asian countries, the key
to success is going to be
strong leadership. Most
countries in the region
have the resources and
capabilities to deal with
the epidemic on their
own. Theyjustneed the
leadership."
Nepal probably doesn't fall in the list
of Asian countries which have the material resources and capabilities, but that
doesn't mean it can't succeed if the political will exists. Poor countries like
Uganda have shown that HIV can be
checked if governments are serious about
it. Nepal too can go this route if the political leadership devotes just a fraction
of the resources to combating HIV/
AIDS that it is now devoting to resolving the Maoist conflict.  D
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
25
 Foreig
The demand for Nepali
workers is increasingly
coming from areas where
the risks could be greater
than at home
ld:I»VJ:I»M!l
BY JOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
SAMBHU RAI, 24, WORKED IN
Kabul for six months with Canadian troops stationed there as a part
ofthe multinational force, the International Security Assistance Force, deployed there after the fall ofthe Taliban
regime. Rai is happy that he and his
friends were treated well. "We were duly
paid $435 a month plus food and shelter," he says. But he has vivid memories
of a nightmare. "One day, in an attack, a
grenade landed very close to our camp,
but fortunately it didn't explode," Rai recalls. But not everyone has been as
lucky.
On April 9, two Nepalis working
as security guards for a British private
security firm, Global Risk Strategies,
were killed in a landmine explosion in
Iraq. The two were Shiva Prasad Lawati
of Dharan and Ram Bahadur Gurung of
Narayangadh. Officials are at a loss to explain how Nepalis have made it into Iraq
without the government's permission
and how they got there at all.
As the internal conflict in Nepal continues to escalate, a growing number of
Nepalis are seeking greener pastures
abroad to escape the crisis. But there is
an irony in all this: the demand for
Nepali workers is increasingly coming
from areas where the risks could be
greater than at home. And desperate for
foreign employment, many Nepalis seem
to have decided to bypass the official
channel.
"We have received demands for
Nepali workers in Iraq, but we haven't
decided on the matter. The Foreign Ministry is looking into the proposal," says
an official with the Ministry of Labor.
But that hasn't stopped Nepalis from
taking chances.
Until recently there was no evidence
of Nepalis' presence in Iraq, except that
ofthe British Gurkha troops. But things
have changed in recent months: an uni-
26
 TO HARD PLACE
QA TAf? A t > dj/tDJL//
rnrsntwtu$ttt$$t$i   t   ft-        itttim
dentified Nepali employed by a security company was shot dead in the riots
that swept the city of Basra in April. Foreign news agencies say that up to 2,000
Nepalis are employed by private security firms in Iraq. Global Risk Strategies
is said to have recruited 500 Nepalis and
500 Fijians for its 1,500-strong army of
private guards.
Two other American companies have
reportedly hired ex-Gurkhas to provide
security in Iraq. Florida-based Armor
Group and Custer Battles have hired an
unspecified number of ex-Gurkhas, who
are based at Baghdad International Airport. Even the Royal Nepal Army and
Nepal Police personnel are said to be
signing up for security assignments for
private companies in Iraq. "What's the
difference if we die here or there?" a government official quotes an RNA soldier
as saying.
These reports, which are almost impossible to independently confirm, raise
serious questions. One is: how can such
a large number of Nepalis make it to Iraq
without the government's knowledge?
The answers, at best, are sketchy.
"People are going to Iraq through India, but we do not have any confirmation
if they are forging Indian passports," says
Bishnu Rimal ofthe General Federation
of Nepalese Trade Unions. "Even some
Nepali manpower companies are in
volved in it, although we
do not have hard facts to
substantiate our claims,"
he adds.
Though many Nepalis
who head to Iraq do so despite their knowledge of
attendant dangers, others
apparently are kept in the
dark about their destination. Some have been told
that they are being recruited for Kuwait but
only after their arrival in
Iraq do they find out that
it is their final destination,
Rimal says.
In recent days, serious doubts have started
to emerge about the
safety of people working
in the Gulf, especially
Saudi Arabia, which was
once considered safe. After the attack on Al-
Khobar in Saudi Arabia,
Saudi oil firms have reportedly sought permission from Saudi authorities to hire ex- Gurkhas
as private security guards,
the Washington Times
reported. These oil firms
include the world's largest, Saudi Aramco, and its
American rival Chevron
Texaco. Al-Qaeda militants killed at least 22
people, including Americans and Indians, in twin
attacks on oil company
offices on May 29.
But government officials seem unaware of such developments. Rimal derides the government's lack of concern
for Nepalis employed abroad. He cites
instances where the labor attaches in
Nepali embassies themselves have harassed the laborers.
As the conflict intensifies both at
home and in the countries of employment, Nepalis will find themselves increasingly caught between the devil and
the deep blue sea. And until the government wakes up from its deep slumber
and explores safer destinations, more and
more Nepalis will be tempted to take
the plunge.  □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
27
 Nepal's recent showing
hasn't been exactly sterling
but the team is still in the
run for a World Cup berth
BY YASHAS VAIDYA
EH, THE
President of Cricket Association
ofNepal (CAN)Jay Kumar Nath
Shah, returned home a happy man. He
had been elected a vice-president ofthe
Asian Cricket Council in London. Now
the cricket fraternity the world over will
address the father figure of Nepali
cricket with due reverence. At home,
though, Shah has his task cut out: raise
the standard of cricket at least at par with
other emerging cricket nations, who like
Nepal, are vying for a Test berth.
The team's recent showing hasn't
been exactly sterling. Nepal, who finished runner-up to the United Arab
Emirates in the ACC Trophy two years
ago, failed to live up to its growing stature this time round in Malaysia. After its
defeat in the quarterfinals and eventual
knockout from the regular tournament,
Nepal proceeded to the Plate Championship, which pooled together all the
losing quarterfmalists. It saved itself a
final blush when it scored effortless wins
over Bhutan and Iran and won the Plate
Championship. Bhutan was humbled by
nine wickets and it took Nepali batsmen just nine balls to overhaul Iran's
total of 29. The latter was the quickest
win in the ACC history.
The wins however don't mask the
underlying fact that Nepal's march to the
big league has been marked by fits and
starts. And it still has that quality—consistency—missing in its arsenal.
Hopes were sky-high when the wily
Sri Lankan coach Roy Dias was marshaling his resources before the Malaysian
sojourn. Itwas not to be. Qatar, which
was expected to offer little resistance,
delivered a shock. It restricted Nepal to
164 runs at the loss of six wickets to
knock out Nepal from title contention,
and with it a direct passage to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy
to be held in Ireland next year. The ICC
Trophy serves as the qualifier for the
World Cup, the ultimate trophy
Itwas too painful for the game's passionate followers who reminisce Nepal's
recent exploits. "This has come as a huge
letdown. We were hoping Nepal would
put in a better show," says a former
cricket administrator. "Such poor performances would only discount our past
achievements slicing locals' belief in the
country's emerging team."
The belief didn't come overnight.
The Plate Championship ofthe Under-
19 World Cup in New Zealand two
years ago saw Nepal sweep past every
opposition to reach the final; Nepal finished runner-up to Zimbabwe. (The
top six teams had advanced to the Super
League, while the six second-rung
teams, which failed to make it to the
Super League, proceeded to the Plate
Championship.) The highlight of that
28
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 tour was six wins in a trot for Nepal,
including those against Pakistan and
Bangladesh. The current national team
has inherited many ofthe players from
that winning side. 'We're very disappointed for not being able to perform
well in the tournament," says Raju
Khadka, the team captain, discussing the
Malaysian tour.
He concedes that complacency was
one huge factor that led to the downfall.
Qatar was supposed to be a Cakewalk 'We
had thought that we'd be pitted against
stronger teams like the U.A.E., Malaysia,
Hong Kong. Definitely not Qatar."
"Yet," he says bravely, "all's not lost
for Nepal. We are still in the reckoning
for the ICC Trophy." While the winner
and runner-up in Malaysia qualify directly for the ICC Trophy, losing semi-
finalists and the winners of the Plate
final, Nepal, will fight for the solitary
slot in another qualifier, scheduled for
February next year. The event will also
feature teams from Europe, Africa and
America.
"The team had a lapse of application
in fundamental areas resulting in the poor
showing," Khadka explains, "but we'll
come back strongly to
clinch that next available berth."
A one-off victory
against Malaysia in the
Intercontinental Cup
notwithstanding, this
year has been disappointing. In the Under-19 World Cup in
Bangladesh, Nepal was
a mere shadow of the
team it was some years
ago.
These failures have
cast a long shadow over
Nepal's long-cherished dreams of qualifying for the World
Cup. Also in the wane
is Nepal's stature as a
"fast-track nation."
Shah, the CAN president, is sure to face
some difficult questions from colleagues in
the ICC and the ACC
if the slide continues.
He admits Nepal's "good and determined work" failed to bring in the desired results this time. "But it doesn't
deter us from making more efforts," he
adds, dispeling suggestions that Nepal
would be removed from the ICC list of
fast-emerging cricket countries and deprived ofthe attendant incentives.
According to him, CAN is mulling
over a comprehensive plan to overcome
inconsistencies of Nepali sides, more so
for the national team. That includes frequent exchange of tours within South
Asia. Works for the ACC's Central Youth
Cricket Academy will begin shortly. In
2001, the ACC selected Nepal ahead of
other contenders, U.A.E. and Malaysia,
for the project.
The ACC will make an initial investment to the tune of US$ 1 million for
the academy that it has envisaged along
the line of world-renowned academies
of Australia and South Africa. The project
is aimed at improving the standard ofthe
game in non-Test playing countries like
Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, U.A.E.,
Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and
Nepal. The Asian Cricket Foundation
(ACF), an arm ofthe ACC formed to
generate funds for the development of
the game, has earmarked US$ 2.5 million for development of cricket in the
Asian region.
The project had been stalled after
the ACC rejected Nepal's proposal to
select Pokhara as the venue for the academy on grounds that it lacks cricketing
culture as well as adequate infrastructure such as an international airport.
There was fear all around that Nepal
would lose the project when the then
member-secretary Binod Shankar
Palikhe, a native of Pokhara, stubbornly
stood against the ACC's choice—
Kathmandu. "Fortunately for all cricket-
loving Nepalis, the project has survived," Shah says.
The government has allocated 36
ropanis of land in Mulpani, 10 km.
northeast ofthe capital for the project.
Ross Turner, Peter Hanlon and Graham Watson, all from Cricket Australia, were here late last year to inspect
the project site in the capital. 'We are
now awaiting the final approval from
the ACC," says Shah, who is more keen
to talk about the academy than Nepal's
recent performances.  □
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 200
 Writin
A SMALL ISLAND
BY SWARNIM WAGLE
Death as celebration
REVIEWING BILL BRYSON'S
unusually funny book on Britain,
"Notes from a Small Island," for
a Kathmandu newspaper a few years ago,
I paraphrased a quip: in most places of
the world, if people don't like you, they
will call you names and say you are an
idiot or a fool. Only in England, the ultimate insult is, "you don't have a sense
of humor." Presently on a short visit to
this country, one ofthe first things I did
was to go for humor shopping in print.
Beyond the piles of hundreds of promoted books for summer reading, I lo
cated at an unlikely spot a lonely copy
of "The Very Best of the Daily Telegraph Books of Obituaries." This is
supposed to be a deadly serious book
on freshly dead people. The Daily Telegraph has, over the years, especially under Hugh Massingberd between 1986
and 1994, built a reputation for carrying
readable obituaries. Its obit section actually went on to develop a very likeable personality, presenting the lives of
dead people in a direct, witty manner,
as opposed to the almost universal custom of always speaking well ofthe deceased. Of the English, who are
stereotypically reverential and reserved,
and good at pomp and formal ceremonies, one would have expected that
they'd eulogize all their dead as the
greatest beings who ever walked their
rain-soaked island. Not so, evidently
in the pages of The Daily Telegraph at
least, as this book talks about dead
people, presumably the British really
want to hear about them. Here's an excerpt on some Denisa Lady
Newborough, "who has died aged 79,
was many things: wire-walker, night
club girl, nude dancer, air-pilot. She
only refused to be two things—a whore
and a spy—and there were attempts to
make her both, she once wrote." If you
are dying for a serious laugh, possibly
the English way, pick up this book,
make some tea, and enjoy the newly
dead.
30
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 The 1688
Revolution
There is one thing 21st century Nepal
could learn from 17th century England—
how to resolve the tussle between the
monarch and the people's representatives, formally embodied by a parliament? The period between 1603 and
1688 was tumultuous in England. The
crown's desire to raise revenue arbitrarily provoked a chain of events that,
briefly, even led to its abolition. Although English republicanism was
short-lived, with the monarchy reinstated in 1660, problems persisted till
the end ofthe Glorious Revolution of
1688 when governmental institutions
were fundamentally altered. Limits
were set to the unilateral actions ofthe
monarch, and it was made clear that everything else the monarch did needed
explicit parliamentary approval. In a
1989 article by Douglas North and
Barry Weingast in the Journal of Economic History, "Constitution and
Commitment," they argue that the institutions of representative government
then formed in England with a subdued
(not eliminated) monarch, an assertive
parliament, and an independent judiciary went on to create a rule-based regime that set the stage for England's subsequent glory. Protection of private '
wealth and minimization of risks from
a confiscating government led a capital
markets boom that gave access to massive funds for the state. In 1690, France
was Europe's richest power. By 1765 it
had lost Louisiana and
Canada, and was on the
verge of bankruptcy. England, on the other hand, was
beginning the Industrial
Revolution that changed the
world in two centuries in a
manner that the previous 20
hadn't managed. This simplified lesson from an alien
island may not exactly resonate with us 300 years on,
but it is a good story that
underscores the importance of good institutions, rule of law, and primacy of
an effective, sovereign parliament.
Browning Blair
Ten years ago, the leader ofthe British
Labor Party was the wise, respectable
Scotsman, John Smith. No one knows if
he would have continued the jettisoning
ofthe left-wing baggage ofthe old Labor
Party that had made it unelectable for 15
years, but the affable man that Smith was,
people really wished he would dislodge
the Tories in the next elections. Sadly
he died suddenly in 1994, letting history
create a completely unforeseen
era in Britain. Tony Blair, the
shadow Home Secretary, and
Gordon Brown, the shadow
Chancellor of the Exchequer,
were young equals who not only
nursed mutual respect but also
once shared the same office at
Westminster. Theoretically
speaking, however, only one of
them could compete for the vacated leadership then if both of
them were to win eventually.
Brown relented, only because,
it is said, he was not married and
didn't have a family, a perceived
liability for the top job in western democracies. By the onset
of 2004, Tony Blair had gone on
to write Labor, British and European history, teach George
Bush some English, and become
tired in the process. The speculation in Britain now is not
whether, but when and how soon Blair
will quit. Will he lead Labor to its third
consecutive election victory next year,
and serve another long term, or has he
already made his position untenable be
cause of woes over Iraq, or the simple
fatigue that comes with protracted
democratic leadership? After Blair, then,
who? Gordon Brown has in the meantime not only married and fathered a
child, but also has established a reputation for being a competent Chancellor.
While relationships between Brown and
Blair have been lukewarm for a number
of years, nobody has doubted that Blair
would second Brown when the time
comes. As has been observed by humorists, the English not only have a sense of
humor, but also a childish sense of fair
play. Perhaps with a wink from Downing Street, Peter Mandelson, the Blair
confidant, recently stated that Gordon
would, of course, be a natural successor
to Tony
Looking ahead, could leaders like
Gordon Brown from Europe, and John
Kerry in the United States—both serious men with intellect and integrity
on the same side of progressive politico—potentially reconfigure world
events for the better leading up to 2008?
Even if they can't do much, could they
at least undo some ofthe damage their
predecessors did? Obviously, we can
only wait and see if and when the
couple emerges. And not everyone is
excited anyway. An English friend, ever
the funny skeptic, remarked recently
in the context of Mexico, "the problem with Britain, also, is that it is too
far from God and too close to the
United States."    □
Views expressed in this column are personal, and do not necessarily reflect those of institutions the writer is affiliated with.
~31
 Educati
ADMISSION RUSH
Ten-plus-two schools are
booming as students increasingly opt for the range
of choices and the perceived
higher quality of private institutions
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
EIGHTEEN YEAR-OLD RASHMI
Bhattarai has just passed her
School Leaving Certificate exams with a first-division score. Her private school in Maharajgunj goes only up
to the 10th grade. She has decided not to
follow the old dictum that students who
pass in the first division should study
science. Instead she will study humanities at one ofthe ten-plus-two schools
around Kumaripati in Patan. This, she
says, is because her friends will be going
there too, and she doesn't want to undergo the torment of facing a new school
environment alone. She also thinks private schools are better than TU affiliates.
"Two of my friends have applied to
Campion (Academy) and another one
left for Dehradun (in India)," says
Bhattarai, who had just arrived at her
home with brochures of three other ten-
plus-two schools—United Academy,
Prasadi Academy and Pinnacle Academy
Her father, a government employee, says
he has left it up to his daughter to decide
on her future as long as she keeps on
doing well in studies.
"The ten-plus-two schools are more
disciplined, and the teachers are better,"
says Bhattarai between phone calls from
friends, while continuing her conversation about schools. "Plus, unlike those
under Tribhuvan University, there is less
politics and the classes are regular."
Ever since the ten-plus-two education system came into effect in 1992,
more and more private schools have been
affiliated with the Higher Secondary
Education Board. And education packed
with extra curricular facilities seems to
32
 be good business. Though many still argue that education should be service-oriented rather than a business, most ofthe
ten-plus-two schools have registered
under the Company
Act. This means that
they have to follow
guidelines of the Education Act but are allowed to make profits
and have to pay taxes,
which educational insti-
tutions registered as
trusts do not.
The increasing business trend can be best
seen in the media: many
schools spend a large
portion of their annual
budget, up to Rs
1,000,000 yearly, on advertisements in print,
on radio and on television to bring in new
students.
"Parents are ready to
spend any amount for a
quality education in
Nepal," says PushpaRaj
Shrestha, assistant manager of administration
and finance at Apex
College in New
Baneshwor, which
doesn't offer ten-plus-
two classes but rather
starts at bachelors level.
"Competition has become so high with the
increasing number of
schools that advertisement has become essential."
Last year about 66,000 students enrolled in more than 850 schools affiliated with the Higher Secondary Education Board. This year 74 new schools
have applied for affiliation to run the ten-
plus-two system. It may be the ten-plus-
two schools' good marketing or the failing of overcrowded government colleges that has contributed to this growth.
"It is profitable for a school to run
ten-plus-two [classes], as almost all the
infrastructure such as buses and class
space is shared by classes under 10 and
plus-two," says Rajendra Ghising, senior
executive officer at GEMS in Dhapakhel,
which, like Apex, has ruled out getting
on the "ten-plus-two bandwagon." Ten-
plus-two schools charge from Rs 25,000
to 70,000 per student, depending upon
the facilities.
"Students in ten-plus-two require a
little more freedom, as they are grownups, and mixing them up with the school
kids could be difficult for both," Ghising
adds. According to him, not all schools
have opted to open a ten-plus-two and
there are also a few who run specifically
the ten-plus-two or ten-plus-two and
higher education.
But despite the increasing trend,
the idea of turning educational institutions into all-profit business houses
has not appealed to all. The student
unions have time and again accused
the ten-plus-two system of being "too
elitist" and expensive, and they have
protested the government attempt to
bring all students at government campuses under the ten-plus-two system.
One of the key demands of the
Maoist-aligned students in the recent
education strike was for all ten-plus-
two schools to decrease their fees by
25 percent.
Educators say the admissions at most
ten-plus-two schools have not been affected by protests. At least for people like
Rashmi, there are far more choices for
higher studies than were available to
post-SLC students a decade ago. □
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"SHAH MAHAL' HOUSE NO-613, SAMA MARG, OPP-IGP HOUSE,GAIRIDHARA,NAXAL KATHMANDU, NEPAL PHONE: 4413928,4416539
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
 Arts   Societ
The Show
Must Go On
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
At the crossroads ofthe busy Ring
Road in Maharajgunj stands a
black bust that is ignored by most
passersby Few know that the place is
called Narayan Gopal Chowk. That the
commemorative bust of Swor Samrat
Narayan Gopal Gurubacharya, Nepal's
most illustrious singer, signifies nothing is a telling statement on the way
Nepal treats her artists.
Fifty meters towards Chabahil, just a
stone's throw away from Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala's
house, lies Naryan Gopal's home, Geet
Ganga, now a silent abode: Gopal's wife
Pemala passed away on July 1. The empty
two-story house (there are no heirs to
the house, Naryan Gopal and his wife
were childless) still houses the
harmonium, tabala, stereo, music notes
and stacks of National Geographic magazines that Narayan Gopal was so fond of
But, thankfully there are some among
Gopal's fans who would like to do their
bit to preserve the Swor Samrat's memories. For a start, efforts are underway to
preserve Gopal's music paraphernalia.
'We are turning the singer's house into a
Narayan Gopal Museum," says music
analyst Prakash Sayami, who is also a
member ofthe Narayan Gopal Sangeet
Kosh. Narayan Gopal's close colleagues,
including music maestro Amber
Gurung and economist Bishwamber
Pyakurel, formally established the group
in 1991 after his death. The group wants
to display the items Narayan Dai once
used in the exact locations that he used
to place them, and also archive the musical instruments. The Swor Samrat's
wife bequeathed the house to the Kosh,
and the house will also be used as an office for the Kosh and to conduct free violin lessons.
Sayami and Gopal's wife had been
collecting Narayan Gopal's original lyrics to publish them in a book, titled
"Kaalajayi Sworharu." The idea for the
book came to Pemala in 1999 when she
had gone to Baglung to attend a memo-
3*4~
rial program and heard some ofthe participants singing the wrong lyrics.
Sayami wants the project to continue.
"'Kaalajayi Sworharu' (the voices that
defeat death) is going to do justice to
Narayan Gopal and the song writers
whose works have already gone missing
from official records," says songwriter
Chhetra Pratap Adhikari, who came up
with the name for the book So far, around
137 songs have been collected. Other
works of the singer have been hard to
track down although many could be
stashed away in the archives of Radio
Nepal. The Kosh is also planning a CD
of previously unreleased material. "Apart
from that, the Narayan Gopal Sangeet
Kosh must continue to encourage young
music artists and release quality work.
"Quality was one area that Narayan
Gopal was so particular about in his
work," adds Adhikari. Some ofthe students who come to the Kosh are differ-
ently-abled, and the organization wants
to help them earn a living with music.
The Kosh conducts a nationwide
singing competition every two years
to discover new talent. Funding for
most of its programs comes from the
government and contributions from
Narayan Gopal fans, both Nepali and
foreign. Recently it decided to allow
lyricists to produce music videos and
gave permission to other singers to
sing Narayan Gopal's songs. "The result was tremendous. We wanted to
give other artists the opportunity to
rework Narayan Gopal's songs. That's
why we finally overcame our strict
views on music rights," says Sayami.
Lyricist Nagendra Thapa is already
working on a music video of Narayan
Gopal's famous song "Birsera Feri
Malai Nahaera," with rare footage of
the Swor Samrat at a recording studio
in Mumbai. Young talents Pawal
Chamling and Satyanarayan
Manandhar have also sung Narayan
Gopal numbers on their albums. "We
now want to publish a music bulletin
or magazine compiling the experiences of Narayan Dai's contemporaries to document Nepal's developing
music scene," says Sayami. The Kosh
couldn't have picked a better method
to pay homage to Narayan Gopal.
Building statues ofthe great can only
grant a popular name so much mileage; building on their work ensures
that the legacy lives on.  n
■HHr&M* -JftifW *FtJ
  Arts   Societ
Born To Rock
Iman Shah certainly believes in the age-old adage, "Do
what you love and you'll never have to work a day."
BY YASHAS VAIDYA
In the heart ofthe city at Lainchaur,
shielded from the bustle of nearby
Thamel, is a place of tranquility and
music. An old white building with a
"Studio" sign on the entrance is home to
BMI Studios. Here you'll find Iman
Shah at work. He'll be fiddling with the
volume control knobs, feet tapping to
the beat ofthe music; a multi-track recorder in front of him, various instruments lie all around. On a given day you
might find him working on all sorts of
music. Shah says, "Artists from different
schools of music use our recording facilities. I don't hold prejudices against
any kind of music. Good music is always good music." He has worked with
rock, classical and pop artists. "I make it
a point to listen up on the type of music
I'm working on," Shah continues, "or
else I feel like I'm cheating the artist I'm
working with." Even so he says, "My
heart is still in rock music because that's
what I grew up with."
Co-owner of BMI Studios and chief
audio engineer, Shah is a towering fig
ure in the Nepali rock scene and has
worked with quite a few rock bands. Big
names include Nepathya, Mukti and
Revival and Robin N Looza; he has also
worked with bands emerging from the
underground Nepali rock scene.
Shah started playing the guitar at the
age of 15 with his high school band, The
Vegetarian Vampires. In the late 90's Shah
played with different underground
bands. They covered the usual fare: Iron
Maiden, Metallica and Deep Purple.
Even though there are a large number of
rock concerts these days, Shah believes
that the underground concert scene was
better then. "People didn't have much
else to do, no cable TV So whenever
there was a concert, lots of people would
turn out. Now there's only a limited
concert-going crowd."
In 1991 he went to the United States
and continued to play the club and college circuit there with his band, In Transit. He got hold of some recording equipment to record with his own band, and
was hooked to the art of mixing and producing music. After five years in the recording business in the United States,
he came back to Nepal in 1998. After a
year, he started Sacred Soundz but became fully involved in commercial recording only with the establishment of
BMI Studios in 2002.
Many premier and up-and-coming
rock bands prefer to work with him because of his rich experience. He is not
only an experienced audio engineer, but
also doubles up as a producer. An audio
engineer, he explains, is responsible for
bringing out the sound that the artist
wants. A producer creatively directs
bands towards achieving the sound they
want. "It's their sound. I only help in
bringing it out." And that he does pretty
well, having had a hand in many big hits,
including Nepathya's "Sa Karnali" and
"Bhoolma Bhulyo" by Robin N' Looza.
So what is the seasoned rocker's take
on the state of Nepali rock music?
"There is no real market for pure or hard
rock," he says, "but rock music covers a
wide spectrum these days." The many
sub-genres like metal, punk, alternative,
fusion and so on have garnered mass appeal worldwide. The offshoots are gaining ground in Nepal too. Nepathya's new
album "Bhedako Unjasto" fuses rock
with traditional music from various parts
of Nepal, creating, to use Shah's term,
"folk rock."
Despite the variety of styles and the
creativity of some artists, Shah sees
Nepali music suffering a creative relapse.
He attributes this, to among other things,
= the rise of "MTV culture,
jg music being watched
rather than listened to. All
ofthe music is beginning
to sound the same. There's
not much creativity anymore."
After more than a decade in the recording business, Shah thinks he still
has a long way to go. 'You
keep on learning," he says.
"There is a chance I will
learn something new every
time I work with a new artist." Creating music is an
unending process. "Music
requires dedication, effort
all the way through. There
are no shortcuts." For Shah,
music is not work. It's his
way of life.  □
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 jfgj   Royal Decorates
Ffooting -1 Furnishing
P.O. Box: 21914, Maitidevi, Kathmandu
Tel: 4421756 Fax: 977-1-4420517
URL: www.royalechoice.com
e-mail: roliquor@ntc.net.np
4781153
Nepal's Leading
www, readtheboss, com
 Viewpoi
Nepal's Pipedream
Given the attractions the west offers for the new rich in China, not least the direct air links, more
and more Chinese are likely to opt for vacations in Paris and London than in Pokhara and Langtang
BYTRAILOKYA RAJ ARYAL IN BEIJING
A though Nepal was declared a tourist destination bythe Chinese
government and a tourism agreement was signed between the
two countries in November 2001, it has failed to attract Chinese
tourists. The reason: the government and the tourism entrepreneurs
aren't doing enough.
While our government and entrepreneurs wait for a miracle that would
bring the Chinese tourists to Nepal, the Chinese tourists are already on
their way to other destinations in Asia and, more recently, in Europe.
As the Chinese middle class continues to grow, each year more and
more Chinese are vacationingabroad. According to data published bythe
China National Tourism Administration, between 1992 and 2002, there
was almost a five-fold increase in the number of Chinese traveling abroad.
In 1992, around 3.5-4 million Chinese did so. But in 2002 that figure rose
to almost 20 million, the majority headed to such destinations as Thailand,
Singapore and Malaysia; and 645,000 to Europe. The number of
Chinese travelingto Europe is likely to increase in comingyears as some
European countries have already relaxed their visa rules regulations for
Chinese tourists andmanyothersareintheprocessofdoingso.
In February 2004, the Chinese government and the EU signed a
tourism agreement that would make it easier for the Chinese tourists to
travel to the destinations approved bythe Chinese government.
The Chinese tourists will soon have as many as 50 destinations to
choose from. Given the attractions the west offers for the new rich in
China, not least the direct air links, more and more Chinese are likely to
opt for vacations in Paris and London than in Pokhara and Langtang.
China Daily quotes the Managing Director of China Outbound Travel
Agency as saying, "Many Chinese tourists will likely visit Europe in coming
years to experience a different culture. Plus, it will be easier to travel to
Europe because ofthe direct air links." There is as strong a "pull factor"
as well. Unlike our government, RNAC, Nepal Association of Travel Agents
(NATA) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the European countries and
their travel agents are notjust waiting for a miracle that would bring
Chinese tourists to their countries. The Europeans have launched ag
gressive promotion campaigns in Chinese cities. Many have already
established their Tourist Information Offices, and increased their flights in
China. Finair, which entered the Chinese Market in September 2003
with a weekly flight to Shanghai, will soon have a total of 15 flights a week
from various Chinese cities. Other airlines are also either increasing their
fl ights or offering attractive packages to the Chinese tourists.
All this means, we are losing our market to new destinations in Europe.
Our RNAC does fly twice a week to Shanghai, but the flights are more like
refueling stops on the Kathmandu-Osaka-Kathmandu route. To make the
matters worse, constant delays (thanks to the depletingfleet) are common.
Sometimes a single flight delay extends up to three days and sometimes the air links are suspended for more than two months. The NTB
does organize tourism fairs in Beijing and Shanghai but they have not
been effective because of lack of coordination with the local media and
travel agents. As a matter of fact, hardly anyone knows about these fairs
and many promotional materials—posters, brochures and CDs—are left
in the Embassy to gather dust. Unsurprisingly, the promotions have hardly
made any impression on people in big cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and
Shanghai. The NTB seems content to harp on the fact that there was an
increase in the Chinese tourists travelingto Nepal in the beginning of this
year, even though the increase is too insignificant given China's vast
potential as a tourist market.
NATA, for its part, doesn't seem to be doing much either. Instead of
sitting idle or participating in ineffective tourism campaigns with NTB, it
should play an aggressive role and notjust rely on the government and its
subsidiaries to bring in more Chinese tourists. It should establish ties with
the Chinese travel agencies and airlines (an MoU on air routes has already
been signed between China and Nepal) and enter into a profit-sharing
agreement with them, just like the travel agencies from the west are doing
here. Also it should ask the government to provide the same preferential
treatment to the Chinese tourists that it provides to the Indians. Time is
running out for Nepal. At this rate, attracting even the modest target of
120,000 tourists a year seems a hongliang mei meng, apipedream. It's
a pity we aren't doing enough to tap a huge market next door. Q
(Aryal is a student of International Relations at Peking University in Beijing.)
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
CITY ThisWeek
Just Divine Night
Enjoy the hottest Latin music around.
Date: July 17. Time: 7 p.m. At the Rox
Bar, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. Tickets: Rs. 500, including 1 complimentary
Jack Daniel's whiskey. Attire: Red/Black.
For information: 9851056697,
9851068871
Monsoon Splash
Enjoy the Monsoon with the monsoon
grind. At the Mahendra Police Club. Date:
July 16. Time: 1 p.m. Tickets: Rs. 200
Eat Cake!!
Let children express themselves by decorating their own cake. At the Rox Restaurant, Hyatt Regency. Date: July 17.
BAGMATI RIVER
Following the success of the previous Bagmati River festivals, the Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT) and Sustainable Tourism Network (ST1NI) are organizingthe 4th Bagmati
River Festival from June 5 to August 21. The project hopes
to draw public attention to the critically degraded condition
ofthe Bagmati River, and provide a platform for action. The
program organizers hope that the various groups and individuals in Kathmandu who are concerned about the condi- =
tion of the Bagmati River will come get involved in the
festival and make it their festival.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS YOU CAN CATCH
Heritage Walk at Teku-Thapathali and Shankhamul.
Date: July 17. Time: 8 - 10 a.m. Live Music Concert.
At Moksh. Date: July 17. Time: 7-9 p.m. Cycle Rally
from Chobhar - Balaju. Date: July 18. Starts at 8 a.m.
Coorganized by: Lions Club Kathmandu Insight. For information: 4412508
Rafting (open to public) at nominal charges at the
Bagmati River (Sundarijal-Gokarna). Every weekend in July.
Time: 8 - 11 p.m. For information: 4435207 (NRCT),
4256909(STN) or the respective co-organizer(s) or check
out the website www.nepalrivers.org.np
For information: 4491234, extension
5230.
Celebrating 25 years
AtShangri la Hotel, Lazimpat. Enter the
dragon: Hong Kong Style. July 17 and
18. For information: 4412999
EXHIBITIONS
Secret Moments
An exhibition of paintings by Bhairaj
Maharjan. Siddhartha Art Gallery, Baber
Mahal Revisited. Till July 15. Time: 11
a.m. -6 p.m. For information: 4218048
Monsoon Exhibition
An array of paintings by various artists.
Park Gallery, Lazimpat and Park Gallery,
Pulchowk. For information: 4419353,
5522307
ONGOING
All That Jazz
Presenting the JCS Trio and the best of
jazz in Nepal. At the Fusion Bar,
Dwarika's Hotel. Every Friday. Time:
7p.m. Tickets: Rs. 555. For information: 4479488.
Live Music
Catch Hits FM award winning singer
Dimple and his band Full Circle live. At
The Bakery Cafe, Jawalakhel. Every Friday. Time: 7 p.m.For information:
4434554
Grand Slam Offer
The dual tennis court packages a dual
delight of tennis plus breakfast. At
Godavari Village Resort. Tickets: Rs. 444.
Prior reservations recommended. For information: 5560675
Thakali cuisine
Enjoy a Thakali lunch with two kinds of
curry and great phapar Dhindo from
Mustang and many other items. Thakali
Thasang Kitchen. Time: 10 a.m. - 2:30
p.m. For information: 4224144.
Earthwatch
Have a farmhouse breakfast with birds,
lunch with butterflies and dinner with
fireflies, at Park Village. At Park Village
Restaurant, Budhanilkantha. For information: 4375280
Dwarika's Thali
Enjoy Nepali cuisine for lunch and hospitality. At Dwarika's Courtyard,
Dwarika's Hotel. For info: 4479488
BBQ Dinner
Enjoy Summit's Barbeque dinner along
with vegetarian specials. At the Summit
Hotel. For information: 5521810.
FESTIVAL
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
39
 Lette
Americ
Don't Celebrate Yet
The presidential election in November will be the mother of all election battles. Democrats sound
confident of victory but it may be too early to celebrate
BY SUSHMA JOSHI
July 4th is an American holiday that doesn't mean much to a Nepali
passing by. But this year, as I watched fireworks explode over Lake
Champlainnearthe Canadian border, I felt it. July 4,1776 was the
date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Drafted by
Thomas Jefferson, it laid out reasons why the Americans were finally sick
and tired ofthe British king. As America goes through "extraordinary
times" with a president who often seems more nominated than elected,
that document takes on special significance.
I have been in and out of America for a dozen years, and have clear
memories of only two 4th of Julies, givinga hint about how important the
Declaration of Independence was in my scheme of things. One is the
time when I was sitting in a bar in Juneau, Alaska, eating a plate ofthe
most delicious, smoked, barbequed, and sauced ribs of—cow meat.
The second time was halfway around the continent, in a small town
next to Providence, Rhode Island. As I walked down the crowded streets, my
friend spotted the mayor and rushed over to shake hands with him. This was
no ordinary mayor, but Mayor Vincent Cianci—a cult figure who has managed to rule Rhode Island I ike the Godfather for three decades. Cianci was
a popular and charismatic man—not only did he clean up downtown and
bring in Venetian style gondolas to float down a once-abandoned waterway,
he also featured in a television series called
"Providence" and even started his own
brand of pasta sauce that sold well in the
heavily Italian immigrant community of Rhode
Island. But like the Godfather, Cianci had his
darker side—it was common knowledge that
he was heavily corrupt, and he had once
arranged for thugs to beat up—and torture
with a lit cigarette—a man who had slept
with his wife.
The rule of Cianci appeared never-ending. Like all leaders in power who are known
to be corrupt but who still sustain approval
and followers due to the magic of power,
Cianci kept on getting re-elected, in spite of
overwhelming evidence of kickbacks and
bribes in his government. Studies have been
done about the psychology of people who bl indly fol low a charismatic leader.
Hitler was one of those charismatic creatures, albeit in a twisted way. This is
the factor—charisma—that worries me when I think about the upcoming
American election in November. The liberals, I feel, are too smug about their
forthcoming win, too sure Bush will be ousted. America is a strange can of
worms, and I wouldn't celebrate the end of President Bush—just yet.
Take the man who drove me from the airport. He was a good, honest,
God-fearing man. He had worked all his life at a medical insurance
company, and had six children who he had put through school. All of
them were hard workers, except for the middle son who was unem
ployed. He was retired, he said. He didn't need the money, but still
worked part-time driving the van. "Are you going to vote for Mr. Bush?" I
asked. He looked at me and for a tiny, infinitesimal moment, sensing the
irony of "Mr. Bush," he nodded, 'Yes, I am goingto."
"And I will tell you why," he said. "Mr. Bush is a good Christian man.
He had the guts to stand up to Saddam Hussein and call his bluff when
nobody—not the United Nations or Europe—were willing to touch him. I
respect his courage."
It wasn't that this man was uneducated, or unintelligent. Far from it.
He was, in fact, frightening like the mass of Americans—good, hardworking, middle class Christians, who would form the majority ofthe
Middle America voting bloc.
It was too late in the night to argue about the harm Bush had done to
America, and the world—the bill ions of dol lars that were cut from education and healthcare to wage a costly and bloody war against Iraq, a
country already beaten down with sanctions and a tyrannical ruler; the
war against terror that had become a war against immigrants and the
poor; the countless ways in which the law was suppressed, information
was hidden from the public, and the constitution ignored in order to
further the oil-grabbing schemes of a clique of powerful millionaires. I
paid my money, thanked the driver and let him go.
Not all tyrants last forever. Especially in America, the clear-eyed
respect for the law
is written in black ink
in the Declaration of
Independence, and
comes back to
catch men who
thought they had
committed the per-
K^^^ feet crime. Cianci
was accused of
running a criminal
enterprise from City
Hall that collected
more than $2 million in kickbacks and
bribes in exchange
for contracts,
leases and cityjobs over a nine-year period. An FBI probe collected
enough evidence to convict Cianci of racketeering conspiracy and send
him to a federal prison in New Jersey for five years and four months.
The world waits with bated breath to know when this process will catch
up with Mr. Bush. But the Democrats, it feels, are too confident about
winning. This will be the mother of all election battles where charisma
and Christianity (the evangelical kind), blind faith and ideological divides will rule the day. It may be too early to start popping open the
champagne. If badly timed, the world may have to wait four more
agonizing and destructive years before they get to drink it. □
J.
40
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Jobs
Vacancy Announcement
POST TITLE: ASSISTANT FINANCE OFFICER
Responsibilities : The Assistant Finance Officer will be overall resposible for the financial
management ofthe project office, which includes timely payments to the vendors, partners,
conterparts and staff S/he will have to prepare the monthly payroll, expenses analysis report,
budgeting ofthe project and financial report for the central office and donors. S/he will also have
to support local partners in enhancing their financial system. Only those who are willing to live
and work in remote districts should apply
Areas of required competencies:
■ Familiarity -with budgeting and reporting systems of international funding agencies
■ Familiarity with the fund accounting system
■ Ability to handle financial management ofthe project independently
■ Ability to run and generate reporting from computer based accounting software
■ Interpersonal, supervision and training skills
■ Budget and expense analysis skills
■ Sound knowledge of local grant management and auditing
■ Ability to use computer to run office application software packages ( MS Word, Excel)
Qualifications:
■ Minimum Bachelors Degree in Business Management
■ Three years experience in the related field with similar organization
Salary and benefits: As per the rules ofthe organization
Interested Nepali citizens are requested to apply with curriculum vitae and contact telephone
number by 20 July 2004
To:
The Human Resource Department
CARE International in Nepal
Pulchowk, Lalitpur
P.O. Box 1661, Kathmandu, Nepal
Only those selected for interview will be notified. Telephone enquiries -will not be entertained.
FACULTY REQUIREMENT
Senior & junior teaching members for all basic medical science (MBBS) subjects for the leading Nanjing Medical &
Medical College of Zheng Zhou University, China
Qualifications: Post graduate qualifications in the concerned specialty. Teaching experience for at least 5 years for
junior faculty and 15 years for senior faculty members.
Attractive salary in American dollars with free A.C accommodation and return airfare from place of origin to the
destination shall be provided.
Apply with CV personally or by post to :
"The Managing Director'
GPO BOX: 9026, Alfa Educational Consultancy (ABC). Neco Complex, OPP. BICC, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu.
nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
41
 ^>°
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e?K
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^Ol
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es
FREE TRIAL CLASS BEFORE
ADMISSION
;mat|
TOEFL
IELTS
Why should you believe  us?
OEveryday differnt class with
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nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
43
 Fist Of Fury
Taekwondo star, Sangina Baidya is probably the most
successful Nepali athlete, at least in Olympian terms.
In February, she bagged bronze in the Asian Regional Taekwondo Qualification Tournament in Bangkok
and with it a place in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
In doing so, she became the first Nepali athlete to
actually qualify for the Olympics. She
was named Player of the Year by Nepal
Sports Journalists' Forum. She was also
awarded the Trishakti Patta on the
King's 58th Birthday last week. With just
more than a month to go for the Olym-
pics, Yashas Vaidya of Nation
Weekly spoke with Sangina about her
preparations and hopes for the upcoming Olympics.
What do you think your chances are
of winning a medal in Athens?
Only the top players from around the
world make it to the Games. So the competition is going to be tough. Asian players are considered among the best in the
world, so I am in with a chance. But nothing can be said with certainty A lot depends on the tie-sheet. It will be decided
in that ring itself
How does it feel to be showered
with so many laurels?
To be given such recognition means a
lot to me. It has definitely come as a
boost for the upcoming Olympiad.
You are the first Nepali to have qualified for the Olympics?
I am very proud to be representing my
country at the Games. I guess that it is
the ultimate dream of any athlete to
represent his/her country at the biggest international sporting event. Ever
since I achieved success at the Asian
Taekwondo Championships, I have
had this belief that I am capable of
competing in the Olympics. With that
in mind, I have worked hard and
trained accordingly to fulfill that
dream.
People say you cannot make a
living out of sports in Nepal?
Most people do not a see a future in
sports, but I feel it is possible. There is a
pre-condition though —you need to get
the results. It depends on your caliber as
well. It is possible, but it needs to be
backed up by hard work, determination
and discipline. You need some measure
of success to survive in this field.
You have received tremendous backing from the private sector as well...
I have been chosen by six companies to be
their brand ambassador. I think it is the
I was approached by television channels sometime
back to work for them as
a sports anchor
first time in Nepal that an athlete has been
selected as a brand ambassador. Private sector companies showing an interest in
sports is a positive development. It will
help motivate the younger athletes. It is
not that Nepali athletes lack talent, hard
work or determination; the right kind of
support has not existed till now. This is a
good beginning and continuity must be
given to it.
How was it in the beginning, learning
martial arts?
I had an interest in martial arts from my
childhood. I've always been a big fan of
Bruce Lee's. In the beginning, it was
slightly uncomfortable, few girls in the
midst of a large number of boys. But I
became the National Champion after
three months of my taking up taewando.
So that was a definite boost. Martial arts
is tough. But once I got the hang of it, it
was alright.
So how is Sangina's
training regime like?
Stamina is very important. You need to
be able to last for 90 minutes in the ring.
So in the mornings, I train to improve
my stamina and strength. It basically involves running long distances, sprinting,
speed training, power training and so on.
In the evening, I work on my technique
with sparring matches and the like. I
trained in South Korea for a month. But
my health suffered a bit so I came back
to rest. I'll be continuing my training
from this week or so.
How long do you plan to
continue competing?
I will continue till I am allowed by my
health and physically fit to do so. I'll wait
until the Olympics are over to decide. I
might try my hand at coaching, open an
academy of some sort to train players for
the national team.
How about trying your luck
elsewhere, maybe the media?
I was approached by television channels sometime back to work for them
as a sports anchor. But I felt I needed to
concentrate on the Olympics at that
time, so I didn't give it much thought. I
am positive towards it and might think
about it after the Olympics. But right
now, I am concentrating fully on the
Olympics.  □
t
8
44
JULY 18, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Books
EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES
By Lynne Truss
Here's an anecdote you've
heard: A panda walked
into a cafe. He ordered a sandwich, ate it, then pulled out a gun and
shot the waiter. 'Why?' groaned the injured man. The panda shrugged, tossed
him a badly punctuated wildlife
manual and walked out. And sure
enough, when the waiter consulted the
book, he found an explanation. "Panda,"
ran the entry for his assailant. "Large
black and white mammal native to
China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
This book by writer and journalist
Lynne Truss on punctuation aims to
keep from people from making exactly
such gross errors in punctuation in daily
life (leaving out the panda bit maybe).
It doesn't do so by explaining the principles ofthe apostrophe, the comma or
the semi-colon. Instead the author em-
ploys a chatty tone sprinkling the text with wit
humor and bits of history
on punctuation (like "the
first semicolon appeared in
1494"). (At one point Truss
recommends that anyone
putting an apostrophe in a possessive "its" - as in "the dog
chewed it's bone" - should be
struck by lightning and chopped
to bits.) It's not exactly a grammar book, but is written more like
a self-help book on punctuation
Beware though, Truss's language and
humor are oft more British than the
average English reader can stomach.
Overall though this wittily written
little book will help you mind your
commas, semi-colons, apostrophes and
the like.  □
THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN
By Mitch Albom
This is the first novel by columnist and radio talk show
host Mitch Albom, the author ofthe
#1 International bestseller "Tuesdays
with Morrie." This book tells the story
of "workingman" and wounded war veteran Eddie, "a white-haried old man,
with a short neck, a barrel chest, thick
forearms and a faded army tattoo on his
right shoulder." He lives an embittered
old age, "his days are a dull routine of
work, loneliness and regret," working
as a maintenance worker at an amusement park. As the story opens, Eddie is
only an hour away from his death. His
story "begins at the end" with Eddie dying on his 83rd birthday trying to save a
little girl. "But all endings are also beginnings, we just don't know it at that
time," or so we are told. So begins
Eddie's story of life in the afterlife.
Eddie reaches heaven and finds out that
there are five people you meet in
heaven, who explain your life to you.
He sequentially encounters five figures,
pivotal in his life, a la Ebenezer Scrooge
in the "Christmas Carol." But unlike Scrooge who is
given a chance at life
again, this fateful
meeting occurs after
Eddie's life. Each of
them was in his life for
a reason; only he didn't
know it at that time.
Their lives (and deaths)
were woven into Eddie's
own in ways he never suspected. Through them,
Eddie understands the mean
ing of his own life. And that is
the purpose, we are told, of
heaven: "for understanding your
life on earth." Such is the purpose of this book as well, under
standing your life better.  □
Compiled by Yashas Vaidya
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nation weekly |  JULY 18, 2004
45
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Seize The Day
Tie past three governments—including Prime Minister Deuba's own in
2001—have been guilty of overselling the idea of peace to a gullible public.
The dangers of raising public expectations
are obvious: when reality bites, you leave
the public apathetic to the peace process.
No government (or the State) that's fighting for survival can afford that.
Regretfully, all three governments that
have sat over the peace processes lacked a
clear-cut roadmap of where they wanted
to go. Unsurprisingly, it was never clear
what they really expected ofthe Maoists,
who at least seemed hell-bent on their
agenda: getting the constituent assembly
Almost all the people who have closely
followed the two previous peace processes in various capacities tell us this: in
the absence of a roadmap, the governments
would alternately vacillate from being too
soft to too tough, their center of gravity
clearly missing. We give a lot ofweight to
this theory because it is the one consistent
message emerging from people of diverse
political backgrounds: from Padma Ratna
Tuladhar, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa to
Deuba's own trusted aide, Minendra Rijal.
Indeed, as Thapa puts it, when there is no
rigorous homework, the peace process is
held hostage to individual whims and fancies. In November 2001, Deuba, was
shocked when the Maoists walked out of
the first peace process. His close aides now
concede Deuba counted heavily on his
strong personal chemistry with the Maoist
supremo, Prachanda, rather than binding
the NCP (Maoist) and the peace process
to a mutually agreed roadmap.
Many others believe it was the grand
public posturing (by both the government officials and the Maoist leaders) that
dealt a mortal blow last year to the fragile
peace process, which needed to be nurtured in private. Once opposing sides start
taking swipes at each other publicly, the
civilized discourse inside the room gets
invariably muddied by what transpires
outside. The Maoists and the officials,
including that ofthe Royal Nepal Army
were on a warpath, well before the talks
broke down on August 27. The peace process was "brain dead," well before the fateful Hapure rounds.
As a newspaper ourselves, we would
like to take a critical view ofthe press coverage too. Much like our gaffe-prone, publicity-hounding, public-posturing politicians, the media seemed to have developed
a despicable fixation for playing up rhetorical differences. The cool-headed detachment from the subject at hand, the
media's ultimate virtue, was routinely abandoned for the sensational. Indeed, we became part of the problem ourselves; so
enmeshed were we in the war of words.
Have we learnt our lessons? Perhaps, not.
Two recent incidents, both involving
Nepali Congress veterans, come to our
mind. On his return from a private visit to
New Delhi recently, K. R Bhattarai was
asked what he thought ofthe new four-
party government. Bhattarai dismissed the
coalition with characteristic banter, only
to find his comments land on the front
pages the next day. The same goes for
Koirala's recent pronouncements that he
wants to initiate dialogue with the Maoists,
a story that continues to hog headlines. As
journalists, are we just fixated with stories
that we want to believe?
Nation Weekly brings all this to public realm, not because we don't see the
Nepali Congress' role in the peace process. Far from it. We have argued in these
pages that support from the political parties, and indeed that ofthe Nepali Congress, will be crucial if a peace process is
to thrive. We decry personal whims and
fancies because we have seen the peace
process founder due to their strong centrifugal pulls.
While to some extent these things are
unavoidable, even desirable, in a democracy, we expect the political parties, the
State and the Maoists not to lose sight of
the substantive issues at hand. We urge the
new government and such key actors, as
the Royal Nepal Army and the Royal Palace, to work towards that end: start laying
the groundworkfor a substantive roadmap.
Now that a full-fledged Cabinet has taken
office, get on with the job without further
ado. Seize the initiative.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
JULY 18, 2004   I  nation weekly

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