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Nation Weekly November 7, 2004, Volume 1, Number 29 Upadhyay, Akhilesh 2004-11-7

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 US ELECTIONS I SMUGGLERS' HAVEN I CITIZENSHIP WOES I REFUGEES IN LIMBO
NOVEMBER 7,2004 VOL. I, NO. 29
ER7.2004 VOL.1,
v?, 3c*i g«f % 3fo> ^
www.nation.com.np
riij
■    ^^P WEEKLY
DIVIDED
CLASSES
Quotas, good or bad?
RS.30       ISSN 1811-721X
 For further details
GENERAL SALES AGENT
Marco Polo Travels
Tel: 4247215 Ext. 112-115
£ Fax : 977 1 4244484
 www.yakandyeti.com
This festive season. Yak & Yeti brings to you - Charcoalz at the poolside. Our piping hot
grills are guaranteed to drive away your autumn chills with an array of Indian, Western and
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and desserts are designed by our chefs to entice you to surrender to their mastery.
Charcoalz - the food, the fire and the fun at the poolside In Yak & Yeti
Date
Time
Venue
Price
20 th October onwards
6:00- 10:00 p.m
Poolside
499/- (Mongolian) / 599/- (Western & Indian)
999/- (Mongolian, Western & Indian)
D9lI
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For further information, please contact
Guest Relations at 4248999 extn. 2865.
 Medicover
Consultancy
Your Health Plan Advisor
FREE EMERGENS SERVICE
Sponsored by Lions Club of Kathmandu Bag Durbar
Note: This is for First Aid purpose and works as advisor. However for treatment one will have to visit health service provider (clinic / hospital).
"This service may be chargeable and valid for Kathmandu valley only.
 NOVEMBER 7, 2004
VOL. I, NO. 29
COVER CONCEPT: SUBROTO BHOUMIK
COVERDESIGN: RAJ SHRESTHA
; ■ -■*
COVER STORY
21 Divided Classes
By Satishjung Shahi
Should access to higher education be based purely on merit or should certain
groups have preferential access? The court has ruled for now, but the controversy
is far from over.
Interview: Laxmi Sharan Ghimire, undersecretary at the
National Dalit Commission
COLUMNS
PROFILE
11 America The
Confused
Byjohn Child
38 Non-interrogating
Journalists
By Pratyoush Onta
40 When The Going
Gets Tough
ByKunalLama
42 Of Men And
Negotiations
By Swarnim Wagle
47 Changu Character
By Pragyan Subedi
Baishnav Raj Shrestha, who runs
Changu museum, has a peculiar sense
of history
BUSINESS
32 Home Grown
Reforms
By Bipul Narayan
There has been little public debate on
economic reform measures, thanks to ad
hoc, top-down and donor-driven approach to policy making
18 In God's Own
Country
By Suman Pradhan in New York
If only the world could vote, John
Kerry would win hands down. Why is
half of America beholden to Bush who
has alienated the rest of the world?
26 Roller Coaster Ride
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli in Beldsangi
Another high-profile visit to the refugee
camps has raised the hopes of Bhutanese
yearning to return home. Similar high
hopes in the past have been dashed.
28 Undocumented
By Sushmajoshi in Hetauda
Citizenship is still difficult to acquire
for women and marginalized communities. This is a violation of our
international obligations.
36 Smuggler's Haven
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
at the Indo-Nepal border
Customs avoidance means big bucks
for fat cats and the police, but it's a
marginal and risky business for the
small-scale trader
ARTS & SOCIETY
34 Afternoon Tea With
History
By Veneeta Singha
Patan Museum has been praised as one
of the finest restoration efforts in
South Asia
DEPARTMENTS
6 LETTERS
10 PICTURE OF THE WEEK
14 CAPSULES
16 MILESTONE
16 BIZ BUZZ
44 CITY PAGE
52 SNAPSHOTS
56 KHULA MANCH: ANG KARMA
5 7 DASHAIN THAT WAS
58 LAST WORD
 ii [The diaspora]
has its own way of
celebrating Dashain
and that...should be
celebrated J J
RINA
Diaspora Dashain
I ENJOYED YOUR COVER STORY ON
Dashain very much, especially Akshay
Adhikari's hilarious piece from Brussels ("Necessary Nostalgia," October
31). As a Nepali who has been living
abroad for a number of years, I could
easily relate to his disappointment at
not getting the Dashain invitation
from the Nepali Embassy. Trust me, I
have over the years heard a lot of those
sad stories from young Nepalis in
New York and Washington D.C, two
U.S. cities that has Nepali missions
and sizeable Nepali populations.
Though the number of Nepalis in the
United States has grown substantially
in the last 10 years or so, those of us
living in the far-flung ghost towns
have no choice but to huddle together
and make most of the small crowd
during Dashain. Never mind, Akshay,
come join us in the American Midwest the next time they cross you out
from the Dashain list.
PRASANNA SHRESTHA
AKRON, OHIO
YOUR DASHAIN ARTICLES WERE
brilliant. They read very differently from
typical newspaper articles. That said, I
failed to get a sense of how Dashain is
celebrated by the Nepali communities—
in India, China, Europe and the United
States—that you covered. Don't you
think a much smarter idea would have
been to accompany those first-person
pieces with broader trend articles?
Maybe next Dashain.
SURAV RIJAL
KATHMANDU
THANKYOU KARUNA CHHETRI FOR
speaking for people like me for whom
Dashain away from home is an intensely
private affair ("The Vagaries of Dashain,"
Cover Story, October 31). We have our
own ways of celebrating the festival and
that, more than anything else, should be
celebrated.
RINA
VIA EMAIL
Rightist slant
BY MAKING PRAKASH SHARAN Mahat
his whipping boy, Dipta Shah tries to
make a case for inconsistencies in our
current diplomacy ("Inadequacies In Diplomacy," October 31). Shah, however,
gives away something that I always suspected: His writing has an insidious rightist slant. To claim that Bhekh Bahadur
Thapa made a better case for the
government's anti-Maoist campaign than
Prakash Sharan Mahat is lame. Thapa was
no better—or worse—than Mahat. Both
had the tough task of defending their respective government's poor human rights
record and neither succeeded. Shah
misses some vital points—no matter what
he says to cover up Thapa's own inadequacies at Columbia University last year.
Thapa was not able to defend the charges
of human rights abuses by his government. If anything, with all this diplomatic
elan and composure, Thapa kept on repeating the obvious: that the government
had no choice and that it was doing its
best to improve its human rights record.
What kind of record? The highest cases
of "disappearances" in the world? The
record is there for everyone to see—the
international community is up in arms
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 about the state of affairs in Nepal and our
press freedom is ranked among the lowest in the world. While people like Thapa,
and Shah, may now argue that these things
were not happening under the governments of Lokendra Bahadur Chand and
Surya Bahadur Thapa, the fact ofthe matter is that the Royal Nepal Army is one
constant that hasn't changed. And so long
as that remains unchanged, diplomatic
dabbles—either by Thapa or Mahat—
make no difference.
NIRAJJOSHI
NEWYORK
Not funny
KUNAL LAMAS COLUMN IN YOUR
October 31 issue was far from funny ("If
I Should Be So Lucky" No Laughing
Matter). He indeed sounded like his article was No Laughing Matter. As a regular reader of his column, I was hugely
disappointed.
SUBARNA LIMBU
BHAISEPATI
Cricket confusion
GIVEN THAT THE GOAL OF OUR
cricket team right now is to take part in
the 2007 World Cup, the focus should
be on playing the shorter version of the
game, not quasi-Test cricket ("Pushed To
The Back Foot," by Sudesh Shrestha).
The UA.E. performed better than Nepal
because it has ample experience playing
the top teams in One Day Internationals.
It will be years before Nepal will be playing Test cricket, and most probably the
current players won't be part of that team.
This team should be focusing solely on
playing ODIs. Young, aspiring kids
should be taught the skills needed to play
Test cricket because they are the ones
who will be representing Nepal when
that day finally arrives.
KUMAR GURUNG
VIA EMAIL
Eco-conscious
WE WERE INSPIRED BY SATISHJUNG
Shahi's "Fertilizer At Home" (October
31). We contacted the Solid Waste Management Section in the Kathmandu Municipality. Rajesh Manandhar, the sec
tion chief, should be congratulated for
this innovation. I am happy that people
are not stealing street bins in
Kathmandu and that people are now
willing to pay to dispose their garbage.
Come to think of it neither was possible only 10 years ago.
RAJESH KHANAL
SITAPAILA
Note:
As per the requests of our readers looking for more information on compost
bins, the contact address is:
Environment Department,
Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
Phone number: 4231719, 4227240.
Yonzon mania?
I WAS PLEASED TO NOTE THAT YOU
had presented Shrijana Singh Yonjan,
beauty-queen-turned-journalist, in
your profile section ("Thinking Out
Of The Box," by Yashas Vaidya). But I
still thought that the article lacked the
oomph you had in my favorite profile—of Sumi Devkota, the woman
who went for artificial insemination
outside the wedlock. Half way into
Yonjan's profile, I began to wonder why
you were writing about this woman.
Perhaps you didn't do enough justice
to her. Many like me would still get
the impression that Shrijana got the
space because she is Gopal Yonjan's
daughter.
SUSHMA SHRESTHA
NEW ROAD
Wither Wagle?
WHERE IS SWARNIM WAGLE AND HIS
"Writing on the Wall"? I have missed his
scholarly musings.
PRASHANT   I
VIA EMAIL
CORRECTION
The photos in "No Alternative To Peace"
I (Business, October 31) have been
wrongly attributed to Sagar Shrestha of
Nation Weekly. The photos belong to
Keshav Lamichane.
The photo of Prince Paras in Capsules (October 31) belongs to Navaraj
Wagle.
J L
Nation Weekly, The Media House, Tripureshor,
Kathmandu, Nepal (Regd. 165/059-060).
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Vol. I, No. 29. For the week of November 1-7, 20OT, released on November 1
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2111102
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
 Yeti Airlines
Proposed Revised Flight Schedule
(Covering remote sectors)
Effective from 16 SEP - 31 DEC04
From
To
Flight No.
Days of
Operation
Dep.
Time
Arr.
Time
Rupee
Tariff
One way
Dollar
Tariff
One way
Remarks
Kathmandu
lukla
YA 111
Daily
0700
0735
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 101
Daily
0705
0740
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA103
Daily
0710
0745
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 105
Daily
0715
0750
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA107
Daily
0840
0915
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA113
Daily
0845
0920
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA109
Daily
0850
0925
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YA 115
Daily
0855
0930
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 7
Daily
1020
1055
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Lukla
YAH 9
1,2,4,5,6,7
1025
1100
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
YA901
3
1025
1135
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
YA181
1,3,5
1030
1105
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
YA221
2,4,7
1030
1105
1245
61
DHC-6/300
Manang
YA601
6
1030
1130
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
YA171
Daily
1130
1200
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA173
Daily
1200
1225
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
YA175
Daily
1400
1425
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA141
Daily
1330
1355
970
55
DHC-6/300
Simara
YA143
Daily
1500
1525
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
Kathmandu
YA301
Daily
0700
0800
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA302
Daily
0705
0805
4800
109
SAAB340B
Kathmandu
YA303
Daily
0820
0920
4800
109
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA151
Daily
0945
1025
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA153
Daily            1430
1510
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
YA155
Daily            1640
1720
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA131
Daily
0815
0840
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA137
Daily
0955
1020
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
YA135
Daily
1415
1440
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
YA163
Daily
1555
1630
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
YA121
Daily
1135
1225
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
YA177
Daily
1155
1250
3500
109
SAAB340B
Biratnaqar
Kathmandu
YA152
Daily
1050
1130
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA154
Daily
1535
1615
2585
85
SAAB340B
Biratnagar
Kathmandu
YA156
Daily
1745
1825
2585
85
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA132
Daily
0905
0930
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA138
Daily
1045
1110
1710
67
SAAB340B
Pokhara
Kathmandu
YA136
Daily
1505
1530
1710
67
SAAB340B
Bhairahawa
Kathmandu
YA164
Daily
1655
1730
2220
79
SAAB340B
Bhadrapur
Kathmandu
YA122
Daily            1250
1340
2950
109
SAAB340B
Nepalgunj
Kathmandu
YA178
Daily            1315
1405
3500
109
SAAB340B
Lukla
Kathmandu
YA 112
Daily
0750
0825
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 102
Daily
0755
0830
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA104
Daily
0800
0835
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA106
Daily
0805
0840
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA108
Daily
0930
1005
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 114
Daily
0935
1010
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 110
Daily
0940
1020
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 116
Daily
0945
1025
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA 118
Daily
1110
1145
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA120
1,2,4,5,6,7
1115
1150
1665
91
DHC-6/300
Phaplu
Kathmandu
YA182
1,3,5
1120
1155
1480
85
DHC-6/300
Meghauly
Kathmandu
YA172
Daily
1120
1155
1340
79
DHC-6/300
Rumjatar
Kathmandu
YA222
2,4,7
1250
1325
1245
79
DHC-6/300
Manang
Kathmandu
YA602
6
1145
1245
2995
122
DHC-6/300
Taplejung
Kathmandu
YA902
3
1150
1300
2695
164
DHC-6/300
Bharatpur
Kathmandu
YA174
Daily
1240
1305
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA176
Daily
1440
1505
1160
61
DHC-6/300
Simara
Kathmandu
YA142
Daily
1410
1435
970
55
DHC-6/300
Kathmandu
YA144
Daily
1540
1605
970
55              DHC-6/300
Subject to change without prior notice.
Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6, Sunday 7
■ SubjecttoCAANApproval
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Ph. No. 4411912 (Hunt. Line)
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BHADRAPUR       023-522232 (City sales office)
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m
on
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Tridevi Marg, Thamel    Opp. of Sanchayakosh Buildin
Tel: 4416483,4417295    E-mail: wapema@w]ink.com.rip
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 ofthe
 Column
America The Confused
U.S. travel warnings for Nepal are much more about politics than safety
BYJOHN CHILD
U.S. law requires the Department of State, America's foreign
ministry, to inform Americans traveling abroad of potential haz
ards. For months now America has classified Nepal with Iraq,
Afghanistan, Israel and Columbia as a country so dangerous that Americans should "defer non-essential travel." It's easy to see why most of
the countries on the list (see box) are considered dangerous. Nepal's
inclusion makes little sense.
The impressive list of hazards that the U.S. consular warning for
Nepal cites is quite creative: being caught up in a landmine explosion;
beinghurt in an attack on a tourist facility; beinghurt in a political demonstration. Many ofthe hazards are theoretical: They have never happened. Indeed, nine months into 2004, no American citizen had reported any problem involving the Maoists or political instability to the
U.S. Embassy. Not one. When asked about the actual incidence of
problems, senior U.S. officials change the subject and assert vigorously
that there is a major risk.
Given a record of zero-incidence this year and of nine years of insurrection without any foreigner having been seriously hurt, why does the
State Department think Nepal is dangerous? Is it perhaps because it is
very conservative about all countries? No. On September 29 in Peru
four tourists were attacked and robbed. Three were hurt seriously and
one was killed. No mention of that appears in the U.S. consular information sheet for Peru; Americans are not cautioned away from the South
American nation well known for a decades-long Maoist insurrection.
On October 8, about 40 people were killed in bombings at tourist
sites in Egypt. Curiously, Egypt isn't on the U.S. list of countries to avoid.
In fact, the American consular information sheet for Egypt hasn't even
been updated to include information about that attack; it says that no
tourists have been hurt since the 1997 machine-gun killings of more
than 50 tourists at Luxor.
In the Philippines, al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations have kidnapped dozens of tourists, including Americans, and murdered at least
two in recent years. The consular information sheet for the Philippines
says, "The terrorist threat to American citizens in
the Philippines remains high." Even so, the U.S.
Embassy merely advises visitors to exercise caution, maintain security awareness and avoid
certain parts ofthe country. The Philippines is
not on the American "no-go" list.
State Department information for such prime
tourist destinations as Italy and Mexico have
pages and pages describing how tourists are
robbed, assaulted, kidnapped, raped and murdered each year in those countries. It's estimated that some 600 American tourists die
overseas each year and thousands are the victims of major crimes. Not in Nepal.
What then makes Nepal so "dangerous"?
The answer is to be found in politics. The Bush
administration sees all foreign policy worldwide
through terrorism-tinted glasses. The last Clinton-
appointed American ambassador to Nepal, Ralph Frank, said publiclythat
if the Maoists would renounce violence, the United States could support
much of their 40-point manifesto. Bush-appointed ambassadors have
subsequently referred to the Maoists as Nazis, communist exporters of
revolution and terrorists equivalent to the Taliban. The very language the
embassy uses shows that they equate Nepal with Afghanistan and Iraq—
the small bombs detonated in early September at the back ofthe American center are described as "lEDs," improvised explosive devices.
Granted: The September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and
the increasing violence in Nepal have changed the picture since the last
Clinton-appointed ambassador left Nepal. Perhaps no administration's
ambassador today would suggest that America could support the Maoists.
But it's unlikely that a less rigid, less ideological administration could
claim with a straight face that Nepal's Maoists represent a grave threat to
America's national security.
Last week, the State Department lifted the order allowing non-essential personnel and families to leave. The announcement was made quietly
and without explanation. If circumstances on the ground have changed
between September 14 and October 26, the change is not obvious to
anyone outside the American compound at Pani Pokhari. Could the change
be related to the imminent American presidential election? The Bush
administration is being roundly criticized by its opponents for having confused Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda—for having been sidetracked from
the war on terrorism bythe war on Iraq. As one wag put it, "Osama would
definitely be a Bush voter, just out of gratitude that America has spent the
last two years looking for him in Iraq instead of Afghanistan."
If the U.S. State Department can conflate Saddam (whom al-Qaeda
despised until the American invasion of Iraq provided them with a rallying
point) with Osama, then it's entirely believable that they have confused
Nepal's non-Muslim, domestic political struggle with the worldwide battle
against terrorism. It's convenient too: The Bush administration is already
geared up for that battle. They can just sweep Nepal into the same net.
My grandfather would have quoted the old proverb: "To a man with
only a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
Nepal is distinctly not Afghanistan or Iraq, but the Bush administration has painted policy toward Nepal with
the same terrorism brush; the prophecy
implied in their shortsighted policy has begun to come true. Since America started
supplying millions of dollars of weapons,
military advisors and cash directly to the
Royal Nepal Army, anti-American rhetoric
from the Maoists has intensified. The Army
is nowthe Royal American Army in Maoist
graffiti. American NGOs that operated freely
for years have now been threatened.
If there's any danger in Nepal for Americans and other foreigners other than bad
water and bus accidents, misguided American meddling and fear-mongeringare primarily responsible. Nepal is far, far safer
than the United States, with or without consular warnings. □
COUNTRIES THE UNITED STATES RECOMMENDS
AGAINST VISITING
Afghanistan
Algeria
Bosn ia- Herzegovina
Burundi
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Colombia
Congo-Kinshasa
Coted'lvoire
Grenada
Haiti
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Kenya
Lebanon
Liberia
Libya
Nepal
Nigeria
Pakistan
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
Sudan
Yemen
Zimbabwe
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
11
 Opinion
THINK
POSITIVE
Pouncs
'Thinker'
by Auguste Rodin
Civil Conflict
Education
Development
Business
Lifestyle
Sports
_ EVERY WEEK.
EVERY MONDAY.
nation
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www.nation.com.np
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 Capsules
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Water woes
The government has embarked on
a strategy to improve water services in Kathmandu Valley with
support from various donor agencies, including the Asian Development Bank, Japan, Norway and
Sweden. The two-pronged strategy consists of infrastructure development and institutional reforms. The first one will make additional bulk water available to the
residents ofthe Valley by around
2010 and improve water distribution networks. The reforms will
entail establishing an institutional
framework and operational environment to provide efficient, affordable water supply and wastewater services in the immediate
future. The strategy, the planners
hope, will help alleviate the severe
water stress, which has been exacerbated by rapid urban growth. It
is also expected to address the problems oflow service coverage, poor
service quality and high leakage
rates.
Nepali deaths
Five Nepalis including the
undersecretary at the Health
Ministry Bishwanath Dhakal,
were killed in a road accident in
the Indian city of Kolkata. They
were on their way to the Kali
temple in the city. The accident
occurred when a truck smashed
into a jeep that was carrying 10
Nepalis. The injured have
been admitted at the Kolkata
Research Center, the
Kathmandu Post reported.
Peace or else polls
The government has said that if
talks with the Maoists do not get
under way within the next two
months then it would start preparing groundwork for elections.
This was one ofthe mandates the
current government received
from the King when Prime Minister Deuba was appointed in
June. The prime minister made
the remarks at the tea party organized by the CPN-UML last
week. CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal,
however, stressed that elections
can only be held after peace has
been restored.
Pakistani premier
Pakistani Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz will be visiting
Nepal on a two-day official visit
from November 1. He will call
on Prime Minister Deuba to discuss the 13th SAARC summit
slated for January 2005 in
Dhaka. He will leave for Bhutan
on November 2 and will also visit
Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri
Lanka and India.
Road enquiry
The government formed a commission to investigate road accidents and suggest measures to
prevent them. It has also decided
to blacktop the Krishnabhir sec
tion of the Prithivi Highway,
where many accidents occur during the rainy season. Transport
entrepreneurs blame the government for not showing concern
about growing traffic hazards, especially during the festival season,
which comes right after the monsoon. They have also lamented the
poorly organized security checks
along the highways that delay
traffic for hours. The entrepreneurs claim that the drivers speed
up to compensate for the lost time
and the higher speeds increase the
risk of accidents .About 900 people
die in road accidents each year, and
over 4,000 sustain injuries.
New ambassador
Ambassador designate of Japan to
Nepal, Tsutomu Hiraoka, arrived in
Kathmandu to take up his assignment. Hiraoka succeeds Ambassador Zenji Kaminaga. Hiraoka had
served as consul-general ofjapan in
Edinburgh, Scotland.
Maoist arrest
The West Bengal police arrested senior Maoist leader Amir Sundas in
Siliguri. Sundas is believed to have
close links with the Maoist leader
Mohan Vaidya, alias Kiran, who was
arrested by the Siliguri police in
March. Police have termed the arrest a big catch. The Kolkata newspaper the Statesman quoted the
Jalpaiguri Superintendent of Police Ajay Nanda as saying that the
police had been looking for Sundas
ever since Vaidya was arrested. Reports say that police have recovered a large number of weapons
from Sundas's residence.
Criminal list
Interpol officers from India and
Nepal are to prepare a list of
criminals or suspects who frequent, operate or reside in the
two countries. As a pilot project,
the list would be first prepared
and shared for human trafficking and vehicle theft, the Press
Trust of India reported. The list
will be maintained for all organized crimes eventually.
Internet browsing
Nepal Telecom will provide
Internet browsing, email and data
and photo exchange through
mobile sets within a year. Nepal
Telecom says the new facilities
would be available after it upgrades its 2.5G wireless technology. The company has called a
global tender for the necessary
equipment.
Jet in the sky
For the first time, the domestic routes are served by jet planes.
Cosmic Air's new 105-seat Fokker flies three major destina
tions—Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Bhairahawa. Cosmic Air
started its operation in 1997 with two Dornier aircraft. The airline is
acquiring another Fokker aircraft for its international operations,
which will cover Dhaka and New Delhi. That will make Cosmic the
first Nepali private airliner to fly beyond India. The airline also has
plans to fly to Bhutan, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
14
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 No press freedom
The French INGO Reporters Without Borders said that
more journalists were arrested in Nepal in 2003 than
in any other country in the
world. The Paris-based organization said that the security
forces had arrested, detained,
tortured or threatened about
100 Nepali journalists last
year. The Maoists also murdered one journalist and
threatened dozens for allegedly spying for the Army. The
report also said that it took
the launch of two private television channels as a positive
development in the field of
press freedom. Out ofthe 167
countries covered by the survey, Nepal ranked 160th in
terms of press freedom.
British honor
Professor Surya Prasad
Subedi, a lawyer specializing
in international law, has been
awarded with an honorary
Order of the British Empire,
the OBE. The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw presented Subedi with the badge
of the order. The OBE is the
juniormost of the British orders of chivalry. Straw said
that the award was in recognition both of Subedi's distinction as a lawyer and of his
great contribution to the
friendship and partnership
between nations, especially
between Britain and Nepal.
Subedi is currently a professor of international law at the
University of Leeds, and has
previously worked at other
British universities and institutions in the United States,
Sweden and the Netherlands.
Subedi obtained his doctorate in international law from
the Oxford University.
Rights concern
The New "York-based Human
Rights Watch has expressed
concern over the revised anti
terrorism law in Nepal. It
suggested that the law was
likely to worsen the problem
of disappearances in the country. The revised Terrorism and
Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance provides greater powers to the security forces, the
human rights organization
said, adding that the security
forces have been responsible
for systematic human rights
abuses, including extra-judicial killings, disappearances,
arbitrary arrests and torture
during the last few years.
Nepal already leads the world
in the number of persons who
have disappeared under the
custody of security forces, it
said. The main concern is the
extended period of time the
amended law allows the security forces to keep people in
secret custody without access
to the courts. This period has
been extended up to a year as
opposed to 90 days in the first
version ofthe ordinance. The
government-formed committee investigating such disappearances has made public the
whereabouts of over 200
people so far.
New RPP force
Former Prime Minister
Surya Bahadur Thapa has
publicly announced that he
could be opening a "new
democratic force." The "new
force" is to include leaders
from his present party, the
RPP, as well as those from
outside. Thapa had stepped
down from the post of prime
minister earlier this year in
May after intense pressure
from within his own party.
The announcement by Thapa
came after months of rifts
between Thapa and the RPP
party president, Pashupati
Shumsher Rana. The RPP is
one of the four parties in the
ruling coalition. It is said, that
some RPP leaders, including
those close to Thapa, are not
satisfied with the power sharing arrangement in the current government. RPP President Rana termed Thapa's
move as being "odd." The RPP
has called on its central committee members to resolve
their differences, but Thapa's
faction has decided that it will
not attend any more central
committee meetings.
Power resumption
Construction work on the
Mid-Marsyangdi Hydro-
power Project has resumed.
Work had been on hold for
the last two months after the
civil works contractor,
Dywidag Dragados-CWE, a
German company, said that
the security situation was
precarious. Earlier reports
said that the Maoists had
asked the project to close
down because of the deployment of security forces at the
project site in Lamjung. They
had also asked for clarification from project officials
about allegations of irregularities in the project. The Nepal
Electricity Authority said that
it was incurring a loss of Rs. 2
million each day due to the
closure of the project. The
construction ofthe 70-mega-
watt project started in 2001
and is scheduled for completion in 2006. Only 45 percent
of the work has been completed so far.
Open jails
The government has made
arrangements for a system of
"open jails," where inmates
can now continue to live normal lives while doing community service. These inmates will have to stay with
their family and report to the
jail administration on a regular basis. The community service they will do with a social organization is also compulsory and will be without
pay. The new system will be
implemented in Kathmandu
and Chitwan soon. Initially 25
inmates each from the two
districts will be eligible for
the program. Only those prisoners who have less than
three years of jail terms remaining will be allowed to
participate.
X
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
15
 Milestone
Biz Buzz
n Jubile<
Two weeks ago, Kathmandu witnessed
three days of celebrations marking
the 50th anniversary ofthe ascent of
Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the
world. Cho Oyu, which means "turquoise
goddess" in Tibetan, lies on the Nepal-Tibet
border, 20 kilometers west of Everest. Herbert
Tichy, Joseph Joechler and Pasang Dawa
Lama, part of an Austrian expedition, were
the first to reach the summit on October 19,
1954. Heuberge Helmut, the only living
member ofthe 1954 Austrian expedition,
was in Nepal as part of the celebrations.
Prime Minister Deuba felicitated Helmut in a
function organized to mark the 50th anniversary.
One among those in town for the celebrations was Reinhold Messner. His successful
ascent of Cho Oyu came on his fourth attempt, in 1983. Messner is perhaps the
most accomplished mountaineer of all time.
Among his many achievements: the first solo
ascent of not only Everest but also the technically difficult Nanga Parbat; the first successful ascent of all the 14 eight-
thousanders; and also the first solo crossing
of Antarctica. He has written several books
about his experience and today is a mountaineering entrepreneur.
The Cho Oyu celebration comes hot on the
heels ofthe golden jubilee celebrations last
year ofthe first successful ascent of Everest.
Despite the insurgency, mountain tourism, at
least, seems unaffected, according to industry insiders.
16
IA ANNOUNCES WINTER SCHEDULE
Indian Airlines has announced its winter schedule for Delhi-Kathmandu-Delhi, Varanasi-
Kathmandu-Varanasi and Kolkata-Kathmandu-
Kolkata flights, effective from October 31 to
March 26, 2005. According to the new schedule, Indian Airlines' flights will arrive at 1:20
p.m. from Delhi and depart at 2:20 p.m. Likewise, flights from Varanasi will arrive at 12:55
p.m. and depart at 1:55 p.m. The lAflightfrom
Kolkata will arrive at 3:10 p.m. and depart at
4:10 p.m.
NTTOBUYONE MILLION
MOBILE LINES
Because of increasing demand from customers, Nepal Telecom is planning to purchase one
million mobile telephones lines through a global tender expected by the end of October.
"One million mobile phones will come into operation in one year," said Madan K. Shakya,
director of Nepal Telecom. At present there are
150,000 mobile phone users, including both
pre- and post-paid customers. He also said
that the telecom company was expanding its
base-stations for mobile phones to strengthen
its capacity.
IMF APPROVES $10.6
MILLION LOAN
The International Monetary Fund has approved
$10.6 million for Nepal under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. The decision was
made bythe meeting of the executive board of
the IMF upon completion ofthe first review of
Nepal's economic performance under the
three-year poverty reduction program.
Following the executive board's decision,
Takatoshi Kato, deputy managingdirector and
the acting chair said, "Nepal's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper continues to provide a
sound basis for achieving higher growth and
poverty alleviation." He cautioned that the
nation's energies could only be fully focused
on its developmental and poverty reduction
objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, with a durable peace. The loan
carries an annual interest rate of 0.5 per cent
and is repayable over 10 years with a five-
and-a-half-year grace period on principal payments. Disbursements under the program so
far have been $21.2 million; the total amount
approved for the three-year program is $73.9
million.
AIR SAHARA INTRODUCES
LOWER FARES
Air Sahara has introduced lower fares on the
Kathmandu-Delhi-Kathmandu air-route during
the holiday season. The one-way fare between
Delhi and Kathmandu is Rs. 5,000, excluding
taxes, while a return ticket costs Rs. 9,600,
excluding taxes. The offer is open to both Indian and Nepali citizens. Air Sahara has daily
flights on the Kathmandu-Delhi route.
SURYA NEPAL LAUNCHES
MEN'S FASHION WEAR
Surya Nepal has launched a range of men's
apparel under the brand name John Players.
The company has for the last two years been
successfully exporting John Players clothing
made at its facility in Biratnagar. The fabrics for
John Players are imported from Indonesia, Thailand, China and India. John Players is targeted
at the quality-conscious male consumers and
offers the latest in formal and casual wear shirts
and trousers, trendy t-shirts and denims. John
IN TOWN: John Players,
the men's wear brand,
makes Nepal debut I
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Players clothing costs from Rs. 600 to Rs.
1,500.
MILK FALLS
CHOCOLATE WAFER
Sujal Foods recently launched
Milk Falls, white chocolate wafers, in the market. Other
products by Sujal Foods
are Love Birds, Choco
Fun,   Lacto   Fun,       ^
Crave, Mango Tart
and        Smart
Lolipop.   Milk
Falls is available
for Rs. 5.
^
NTB, RNAC LAUNCH
PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN
As a part of a regional tourism promotion campaign, the Nepal Tourism Board and Royal
Nepal Airlines Corporation have jointly
launched a special two-and-a-half month promotional campaign in India. The campaign
started from October 15 and will end on December 31. The promotional offer includes
free roundtrip air tickets chosen by draw every
week for a couple to Bangkok, Singapore or
Kuala Lumpur from Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore via Kathmandu, with three nights complimentary stay in Kathmandu. The offer is applicable to Indian nationals traveling by RNAC
from India.
DRUK PLANS AIRBUS SERVICE
Druk Air, which has been flying between Paro
and Kathmandu since 1988, is adding a 114-
seat Airbus A319 aircraft to its fleet. According
to the station manager of Druk Air, Chencho
Dorje, the aircraft will make its first flight to
Kathmandu on October 31, 2004. Druk Air
flights will operate on Sunday, Monday and
Thursday. The airline also plans to bring into
operation a fourth aircraft in the month of December. Malla Treks is the GSA for Druk Air in
Nepal.
NEW INCENSE
Dreamz Incense Creations-the new name in
agarbatti with two young entrepreneurs,
Abhisekh Man Singh and Yashna Tamrakar, an
industrial engineer at the helm-have launched
three brands in the market. The brands are
Vaastu, Dewa and Bodhi targeted for all segments ofthe society and are priced at Rs.5,
Rs.10 and Rs.20. The raw materials used in the
creations are all ofthe highest qualitywith unique
fragrances, the company says in a statement.
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THE MIRROR MEDIA PVT. LTD.
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
 US Electio
IN GOD'S
OWN
COUNTRY
If only the world could vote, John Kerry would
win hands down. Why is half of America beholden
to Bush, who has alienated rest of the world?
BY SUM AN PRADHAN
IN NEW YORK
WITH ONLY ONE DAY TO GO
before the U.S. presidential
elections, the race between
President and Republican party candidate George W Bush and his Democratic
party challenger John Kerry is still too
close to call. The flurry of opinion polls
over the past week have put both the candidates in the high 40s and, more importantly, within the margin of error—a statistical dead heat, as they say here.
While America and the world will
soon find out who will be the next occupant ofthe White House, it is no secret where the world's hopes lie. A recent poll conducted by leading newspapers in Europe, Latin America and
Asia found that most people in those
countries preferred Kerry to Bush
by large margins.
That is not surprising. Bush's
tenure as U.S. president has been
characterized by radical shifts in
everything from environmental
policies to international rela-
WHO'S BETTER FOR US: For the
rest of the world, Kerry is a
faraway winner
(see Last Word, page 58)
nation weekly
 tions. The administration's dumping of
the Kyoto protocol designed to curb
global warming, its reluctance to support the International Criminal Court,
its zealous pursuit of the war on terror
and its bumbling prosecution ofthe war
in Iraq have antagonized world opinion like never before. If only the world
could vote, Kerry would win hands
down.
But it's not the world that will elect
the next U.S. president. American voters will. And President Bush stands a real
chance of being re-elected on November 2. Indeed, in most ofthe recent polls,
he leads his challenger by one or two
points. Why is half of America beholden
to a man who has alienated rest of the
world?
The answer mostly lies in the factors
that underpin American society. To us
South Asians, America appears as that faraway beacon of freedom, a capitalist liberal society whose defining characteristics are freedom, money and sex. All of
that is true, of course. But this image of
America comes from its coastal cities and
states. America is much more than the
coasts, however. It is also the Southern
and Midwestern states—the heartland—
and the values that find resonance there,
values like religion and patriotism,
which are intertwined in everyday Midwestern lives, for example. This explains
why Bush is so popular, much to the
chagrin of his liberal countrymen and
most of the world.
Outsiders observing from afar may
find this hard to believe but America is,
in essence, a devoutly religious country.
After all, the country was settled by Cal-
vinists and other Protestants fleeing the
religious persecution in medieval Europe. They came to America to practice
their religion in freedom, and that practice has only flourished. Today, America
is home to the most number of religious
groups and sects. Unsurprisingly, then,
despite the official separation of church
and state, religion has been part and parcel of American politics.
The reason abortion has been such a
dividing political issue for decades is because of its religious overtones. The
Bible bans the taking of life, and for fundamentalist Christians, life begins at
conception. No wonder then that in this
election too, abortion is a top issue, as is
stem cell research and same-sex marriage—all issues stemming from religion. And in all matters of religion, President Bush's
Republican      party
trumps the Democrats.
The Republican lock on
the religious
vote started in
the 1980s with
the rise of
what is called
the religious
right. These
were largely
southern Protestant groups
angered by the "excesses" ofthe 1960s
and 70s—the civil rights movement,
desegregation, the Vietnam war and the
loosening of social mores wrought by
the sexual revolution. Until then,
Southerners had largely voted for the
Democrats (it was a Republican president, Lincoln, who defeated the South
in the Civil War). But the civil rights
movement and Vietnam divided the
American South and provided the
opening for the Republicans to capitalize. President Bush, as a born-again
Christian and a Republican, happens
to benefit from this tradition.
The other major issue of this election is terrorism. This is where patriotism factors in. The United States is a
country that has fought plenty of wars,
but all those wars were fought in the land
of others. Death and destruction by an
invading force has rarely visited U.S. soil,
except on two previous occasions—in
1812 when the British briefly invaded
Washington D.C. and burned down the
White House and in 1942 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 therefore came as a huge shock to a country
insulated from the vagaries of the outside world.
By tradition, Democratic administrations have been more internationalist and
Republicans more insular. September 11
turned that dynamic on its head. It is
ironic to see that today it is the Republicans calling for an interventionist foreign policy, and the Democrats advocating a more nuanced approach.
September 11 is seen as a defining
moment in U.S. history precisely because it led Bush to pursue unilateral
policies in the conduct of foreign policy.
But Bush had shown such tendencies
right from the beginning. His unilateral
decision to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty that had been the cornerstone of transatlantic security for 30 years,
the dumping of Kyoto protocol, the reluctance to support the International
Criminal Court and the foisting of his
abortion beliefs on aid policies all occurred before September 11. What September 11 did, however, was sharpen that
tendency and take it to a much larger
scale. The story of how the United States
alienated rest of the world, including its
traditional European allies, need not be
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
19
 recounted here. The schism wrought by
unilateralism is most evident in Iraq.
But how much of this really matters
to the U.S. electorate? It does, and it
doesn't. It matters to those Americans
who are uncomfortable with Bush's
policy of pre-emption, who yearn for a
return to the more stable days of international obligations, and checks and balances. For these voters, Bush has been a
lost cause from day one of his presidency.
They have always seen the president as
an illegitimate product of a split Supreme Court verdict. Bush merely compounded that hate by going it alone on
the world stage and by curbing civil liberties at home in the name of homeland
security.
But there is the other half of America
that believes in Bush like it believes in
God. Bush's frequent calls to Americans'
sense of patriotism in the defense of the
homeland against terrorists plays well
among this group. It is safe to say that
these two groups would have remained
in their respective camps with or without 9/11.
With the opposing bases well
within their party folds, the election
literally boils down to the small percentage of undecided voters in swing
states—the states where the race is
tightest. The two campaigns therefore
have spent more time and resources in
these swing states, where the pollsters
tell us the election will be decided. In
most of these swing states, the overriding issues, along with foreign
policy, are domestic concerns like
health care, job losses, outsourcing and
education. The Democrats traditionally hold an edge on these issues, but
that edge has largely been eclipsed by
issues of terror and security.
In the end, all re-election campaigns are a referendum on the incumbent. This election therefore is about
George W Bush. It's not about John
Kerry. If Bush is re-elected, he will
take it as a mandate to continue with
the same policies for four more years,
and the world can expect little change.
If he loses, we could see a gradual shift
in foreign policy, though not as dramatic as the world would like. Because
at heart, what Kerry proposes is not all
that different from Bush. What could
change is the style of diplomacy rather
than its substance. Kerry is not going
to cut and run from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the war on terror will continue just as relentlessly as Bush has
waged. The only tangible shift could
come in North Korea where Kerry
advocates a U.S.-North Korea dia
logue rather than the six-party talks
Bush has been holding out for.
Because in the end, Kerry will be looking at his own re-election in four years,
and he will have to play to the religious,
patriotic and economic votes—the perennial deciders of American elections, d
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WAR OF WORDS: Most of the
electioneering takes place in the media
Media
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Dude, Where's My Elections?
Tiis is election time in the
United States. But one
ofthe first things an out-
sider notices is how
unelection-like it can be in arguably the world's most vibrant democracy. There are
no political rallies and wind-
ingju/us like in our part ofthe
world. No blaring loudspeakers mounted on jeeps, no
pamphleteering or political
slogans sprayed on the walls.
No singing and dancing either.
In fact there is nothing. Except, of course, on television
and in newspapers.
If you happen to be one of
those who get by without reading a newspaper or watching
the telly, then you probably will
not know that this country is
electing "the leader ofthe free
world" on November 2. A political junkie hoping to catch
some of the election fever by
trudging the streets of New York,
Washington D.C. and Los Angeles will mostlikely come away
disappointed.
It's different in the swing
states though, those handful of
states where the race is too tight
to call. There you have rallies,
bhashans and house-to-
house canvassing, just like in
Nepal. But for al I those who are
in the "unswinging" states, all
the electioneering is compressed into the living room.
"All the action is on TV," as one
American friend helpfully
pointed out. "Watch the TV."
So you flick on the TV
and.. .boom. You are suddenly
bombarded by this curious bit
of developed-world election
device called political ads. Political advertising is not much
different from, say, commercials for toothpaste except that
instead of toothpaste they push
a particular point of view or a
particular candidate. And it
works.
A typical one runs like this:
A pack of wolves is shown
ready to leap at the camera.
In the background, a voice intones "George Bush, a strong
president for a strong country." Bush appears towards the
end and says, "I am George
Bush and I approve of this
ad." A pro-Kerry ad says:
"Who will protect the middle
class? Who will work to ensure
health insurance for all Americans? Who will work with our
allies for a safer world? John
Kerry." And Kerry appears dutifully and intones, "I am John
Kerry and I approve of this
ad."
What's this about confirming your identity and asserting
your approval for this or that
ad? It has probably got something to do with arcane campaign laws (if you haven't noticed, the freest country in the
world is also the most regulated
country).
It goes without saying that
a lot of money is needed to
make and air these ads. No
wonder then that President
Bush and his challenger John
Kerry have both raised tens
of millions of dollars to finance
these ads while at the same
time calling for better campaign finance laws. Doesn't
make sense, right? But
there's little that does to an
outsider,   Q
20
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 itory
i-1
CLASSES
Should access to higher
education be based purely
on merit or should certain
groups have preferential
access? The court has ruled
for now, but the controversy is far from over.
BY SATISH JUNG SHAHI
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CALM BEFORE THE STORM:The court verdict
struck down the quota system for now but some
student groups at the IOE have threatened further
agitations
5
HE OLD RANA BUILDING
in Pulchowk where the
of- fice ofthe Institute of Engineering is located was quiet
after the Dashain vacation last
week, except for a few staffers and hostel students who
chose to stay put despite the festivities. There is no hint that the country's
most prestigious engineering school is
mired in fresh admission controversies.
On the first floor of the administrative
building, the door to Dean Ram Krishna
Poudel's office is locked. An angry notice
posted on the door by the Nepal Aadivasi
Janjati Vidyarthi Mahasangh, the federation
for indigenous students says, 'We would
like to bring to your notice that the college
administration has twisted the decision of
the Tribhuvan University Executive Council as per a government decision to grant
education quotas of 10 percent to dalits, 15
percent to janjatis and 20 percent to
women."
The government decision mentioned in the notice is an arrangement
made by Surya Bahadur Thapa's government on September 1, 2003 to grant at
least 45 percent reservations for women,
22
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 Story
and for socially oppressed and indigenous students—dalits and janjatis—in
higher education. Tribhuvan University,
going by the order of the Thapa government, came up with new rules this year,
on August 21, to govern the admission of
students for the upcoming term at the
Institute of Engineering and Institute of
Medicine. The university's action, almost a year after the government order,
was late: Over 4,000 students had already
sat for entrance examinations for 220
seats at the engineering institute, and over
3,500 students had appeared for entrance
examinations for 42 seats available at the
medical institute.
A student group, the Nepal Tarai
Vidyarthi Sangh, immediately filed a
case at the Supreme Court, saying reservations should be made by law rather
than by administrative decisions, and that
if quotas for disadvantaged students are
necessary, they should not bar qualified
students from competitive admission.
Two other student groups, the Nepal
Aadivasi Janjati Vidyarthi Mahasangh and
the Nepal Swatantra Dalit Vidyarthi
Sangathan, filed a joint case, in rebuttal,
for the Tarai students' case to be annulled. They appealed that the college
administration be asked to abide by the
university's decision. The controversy
has left admission processes in limbo:
Entrance results are still not out, and students and teachers are in a state of confusion.
"I have already started attending SAT
classes to apply to universities in the
United States," says Prativa Pandey, who
had completed her intermediate in science from St. Xavier's Campus and had
sat for the entrance exams at the Institute of Medicine. Another student,
Guinness Shrestha, who completed his
10+2 from White House International
College and sat for the entrance at the
Institute of Engineering, told Nation
Weekly he had heard that the entire batch
for this academic session could be cancelled. He said he had already started
applying for universities abroad. He
didn't want to lose "valuable" time.
Entrance results were to be out
within a week after the exams, which
took place on August 21. Traditionally
the new academic session starts in mid-
November. Even without the new problems, "my sisters suggest," says Shrestha,
"that I should join another college or
study abroad rather than get stuck, waiting for admission here."
The controversy over quotas is deep
and divisive, just as the issue is in India:
Should there be affirmative action for
disadvantaged students in such critical
and highly competitive fields as medicine and engineering, or should these
schools admit the best students with the
highest test scores and secondary school
marks? In August 1990 the Indian government ordered 27 percent reservation
in jobs in the government services and
public undertakings for those candidates
from "backward castes." This brought
the total reservations to 50 percent as 22.5
percent had already been reserved for
"scheduled castes," or dalits, and "scheduled tribes." The move caused wide-
X
X
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
23
 Cove
tory
'Quotas Should Be
Time-Bound'
Laxmi Sharan Ghimire,
undersecretary at the National Dalit Commission,
talked to Nation Weekly prior to
the Supreme Court decision on
October 29.
Has the commission formed an
opinion on the current quota
controversy in higher education?
The new officials for the National
Dalit Commission haven't been appointed yet, and I have been looking after current administrative procedures on behalf of the government We have received complaints
saying that the university hasn't admitted dalits yet [according to the
quota provisions]. The quota system is always good to encourage a
small community, to turn it into a
larger one, particularly in education.
At the end ofthe day, we'll be producing doctors and engineers, with
orwithout the quotas for dalits. It is
normal human behavior to help out
those who are in distress.
What is the commission's viewpoint?
The government definition of
"dalits" includes those who have
faced caste discrimination and
those who have been left out without opportunities. It does not necessarily include castes [as such],
but also the poor who have been
cornered bythe rich and those who
have been treated as untouchables. The Muluki Ain, Nepal's underlying legal code, bars any kind
of discrimination, but it has already
been 40 years [since the law has
been enacted] and we still hear of
social discrimination. In my opinion, reservation is not good for the
long term, but it is certainly helpful
if a timeline of five to 10 years is
quoted to end such discrimination
by uplifting dalits. Long-term support would definitely bring ill behavior in the long run and will make
dalits lazy without any zeal to compete. However, there has been a
trend of declaring quotas for dalits
in recent years in sectors such as
health, education, employment,
and civil and military services. That
is all welcome.
Can all dalits benefit from a
quota system?
The Department of Statistics says
around 13 percent of the total
population are dalits, but I would
place that figure at 15 percent, as
many dalits have changed their surnames to avoid social discrimination. Dalits should be provided at
least basic necessities such as
food and shelter. I suggest the government provide credit and even
implement quotas in certain sectors as appropriate and necessary—education, health, government service, job opportunities and
political representation.
Could you explain?
Dalits such as Bishwokormas are
well-known ironmongers. They
should be given top priority in jobs
related to specialized ironwork.
Creating a separate basket though
a quota system for the time being
would mean they would be competing among themselves rather
than against other castes suppos-
edly considered superior than
them. But we have to make sure
that the basket opportunity is well
spread to all dalits across the country. I would not like to see only dalits
from Kathmandu qualifyingforthe
2.5 percent foreign employment
quota.
There is a court battle over
granting reservations to dalits
in higher education.
Certain people who feel they have
not benefited from the quotas
have filed the case. I do not think
a quota provision for dalits should
be removed. Reservations mean
a lot to the entire dalit community.
It is one ofthe constitutional rights
the country should grant them.
But the other party is saying
that quotas will reduce their
educational opportunity.
I am not saying theirclaim is wrong
either. But everybody has to share
equally whatever is left to eat.
Dalits have suffered a lot of injustice, and one has to have sympathy for them at this point of time.
Otherwise, we could suffer from
more disputes in the future. E
 spread protests; some protestors even set
themselves on fire to protest the move.
The controversy contributed to the fall
of the V P Singh government. The Supreme Court later struck down the decision amid uproar.
"Reservations should not be based on
caste alone but also on socio-economic
background and geography," says Dr.
Shishir Lakhey, an orthopedic surgeon at
the Kathmandu Medical College in
Sinamangal. Lakhey did his M.B.B.S. from
Chengalpattu Medical College in Tamil
Nadu and his master's in surgery in orthopedics from AIIMS, New Delhi. He has
seen it all up close. In India many of his
classmates from the scheduled castes and
groups were, in fact, far well off compared
to those from the upper castes.
"In India the quota system has become so bad," says Dr. Lakhey, "that only
25-30 percent of seats at premier institutions are available for free competition.
Leaders have, over time, pandered to
certain caste and social groups because
they are their vote banks."
The Tarai students' group that initially
filed the suit against the government and
university action agrees: "The quotas will
never go to the intended oppressed group
if implemented as planned now," says
Mukesh Kumar Dubey, former president
ofthe group. "Anyone in their right mind
would understand that a quota system,
without clear criteria describing who the
oppressed are, would mean that the best
of the seats would go to those who are
not at all competent." And not all of them
need help from the state, as Dr. Lakhey
explains from his experience in India.
"If the university [the TU] ever wants
to grant quotas," Dubey adds, "it should
instead add additional seats and not cut
down on whatever are presently available
for free competition. Otherwise, granting quotas is just plain noise created by
those at the top level in the government."
But there is another side to the story.
Resham Tamu, the general secretary
of the indigenous students' group that
brought the counter case and has locked
the dean's office at the Institute of Engineering, says Dubey's group has mistakenly overlooked the available seats for
free competition as "another quota" for
general students.
"The university doesn't have the capacity to add another 100 seats. We
HALLOWED GROUND: The
Institute of Medicine is
where many Nepali
students want to be
should be sharing whatever is available
among ourselves," he suggests. "After all,
this decision has been long overdue for
people like us who have been ignored
by the society."
Tamu's group is also demanding that
the Institute of Engineering allow dalits,
janjatis and women to participate in free
competition for the "unreserved" seats
along with the others, just as they make
most ofthe quotas available to them. They
say the college administration barred them
from doing so. "That is why we are saying
the administration has twisted the university and government decisions," he explains. The controversy has left students
confused.
"All my friends have already applied to
other private engineering colleges," says
Riju Shrestha, who completed her intermediate in science from St. Xavier's Campus and appeared for entrance at the Institute of Engineering after months of extra
preparation at Progress Educational Academy in Kupondole. "Granting quotas to
promote equity is good, but the majority
will have to compete for a mere 55 percent
of the seats, if the rest of the seats go to
dalits, janjatis and women."
Pandey, who appeared for entrance at
the Institute of Medicine, adds the quota
for women in medical studies was welcome as "only two or three women" out of
a total of 60 students are accepted for medical studies for bachelor's degrees at the
Institute of Medicine each year. "Medicine is a competitive field; the quota may
prove to be a boon to women who come
from outside the Valley and are capable of
pursuing higher studies." Over 120 students out of a total of 150 students who
specialized in biology at the intermediate
level from St. Xavier's, Pandey's college,
had appeared for the entrance examinations at the Institute of Medicine.
On October 29, Friday, the division
bench ofthe Supreme Court gave its decision in favor of the case filed by the
Nepal Tarai Vidyarthi Sangh, and ruled
that the quota system be implemented
only after the passage of a law. The protesting parties reacted immediately.
The Supreme Court decision has
barred over 70 percent ofthe population—
dalits, janjatis and women—from enjoying the privilege given by the government,
said a statement issued by Tamu and Padam
Bishwokorma, the coordinator of the agitation committee. The statement ended
with a usual threat: "We declare we will
not be held responsible for any circumstance if the court decision is not annulled
and the government decision to provide
quotas is not implemented."
"The dean's office [at the Institute of
Engineering] will remain locked and we
are planning further agitation," Ramesh
Tamu told Nation Weekly later Friday, after the court had gone against them. He
termed the court action "a conspiracy to
bar us from social justice and to exclude us
from the mainstream."
Ram Krishna Poudel, the dean at the
Institute of Engineering, said the institute
would abide by the court decision. The
results ofthe entrance examinations would
be out soon and the new academic session
would begin right after Tihar. But with the
expected student protests, Poudel could
face more problems before the doors to
his office—or the classrooms—are opened
again.
□
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
25
 Refug
ROLLER COASTER
Another high-profile visit to the refugee camps has raised
the hopes of Bhutanese yearning to return home. Similar
high hopes in the past have been dashed.
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
IN BELDANGI
BHIM PRASAD TAMANG WAS
not exactly thrilled by the high-
profile visit of U.S. official Arthur
E. Gene Dewey last month to his dilapidated hut in the Beldangi II refugee
camp. He's been through it before. In
the last 14 years, a number of foreign
dignitaries have come to the camp and
raised his hopes for early repatriation,
and that was that. The story never had a
happy ending.
"Do you want to go to Bhutan?"
Tamang quotes Dewey, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as having
asked him. "Of course I want to go
home," he says. "But what are the conditions?"
Like Tamang, more than 100,000 refugees in seven camps in eastern Nepal
now feel that their desire to go home
may not come to fruition. That they are
doomed to a life of a refugee. Over the
years, many high-profile comings and
goings have raised expectations, but have
amounted to nothing. In 2000, the U.N.
High Commissioner for Refugees
Sadako Ogata told them, "Bhutan is ready
to welcome you back. You all will be
going home soon." But her assurance
turned out to be hollow, say refugees.
After cycles of hope and bitter disappointment their expectations are now
tempered with realism.
"We are optimistic," says Prem
Khanal, a refugee teacher. "But we are
also keenly aware of how optimistic we
26
should be about these visits." As Dewey
took stock of the miserable conditions
in the camps, he told the refugees that he
was visiting them to learn what they
think is the best solution for them. This
is the first high-profile visit since
Bhutan's disengagement from the bilat
eral process on December 22, 2003. The
process of repatriating refugees verified
by the Nepal-Bhutan Joint Verification
Team at the Khudunabari camp was to
begin from February 15 this year, but following a scuffle between the refugees
and Bhutanese officials, Bhutan pulled
out of the process, citing poor security
as the reason. After almost a year, the
United States seems to be keen to revive
the stalled process.
"I didn't come just to visit this part of
the world," said Dewey to a group of
refugees, "but with a serious purpose: to
bring a solution." The urgency in U.S.
efforts to find a solution comes in part
from reports that the Maoists are oper-
DEWEYSPEAK
• My hope is when we come here a year from now, we
won't have the same situation
• We will support the refugees to have a future that
they think is in their best interest
• The United States doesn't take sides with one country or the other in any refugee situation, but it takes
the side ofthe victims, ofthe refugees
• I will discuss the situation with the Secretary of State
Collin Powell, who has a strong interest in finding a
solution to the refugee problem
 ating in the refugee camps. The United
States wants to resolve the refugee impasse quickly to deny the Maoists another fertile breeding ground. Dewey
warned New Delhi and Thimphu that
"time is running out." During his discussions in New Delhi he also sought
Indian help in "getting Bhutan to agree
on steps for repatriating at least some
refugees." Dewey is learned to have explicitly conveyed Washington's concern
about the growing Maoist influence in
the refugee camps and the dangers this
could pose for India and Bhutan, just as
well as to Nepal.
Apart from underscoring the urgency
for an immediate solution, his visit has
also triggered discussion on other options apart from repatriation; local integration or third-country resettlement are
high on the list. "We have to look into all
options," Dewey told reporters in
Kathmandu. "Sometimes there is notjust
one solution." There are indications that
the United States has given up hope that
a complete repatriation will ever take
place. "Our hope is that Bhutan at least
accepts this segment," Dewey said in
Delhi, referring to the 2.5 percent ofthe
refugees in the Khudunabari refugee
camp who were classified as "bona fide
Bhutanese." Although Nepal is keen on
the repatriation process, the refugee
community is, at best, divided over the
remaining two alternatives—local integration and third-country resettlement.
Some fear that agreeing to either of
the options, even in principle, could diminish their cause for a dignified repatriation. "It could end our existence as
Bhutanese refugees," says a young refugee Dadiram Neupane, "and hence our
right to return to Bhutan."
But others insist that any solution is
better than none at all. "It's fine if they
want to give us citizenship here or take
us to a different country," says Bhim
Prasad Tamang. Refugees like Tamang
feel that the two options are, if not adequate, at least a dignified escape from
the confinement of camp life. And there
are others who want to work towards
all three options simultaneously. They
say no single option will be practical
for all refugees: Not all will be repatriated, if ever Bhutan decides to do so;
not all can be locally integrated given
their sheer numbers; and not all will be
deemed fit by the host country for a
third-country resettlement. Most refugees are encouraged that the American
representative at least seemed open to
all solutions.
Dewey's visit to the camps and the
three capitals has renewed hopes, as refugee leaders believe that American pressure was instrumental in pushing forward the bilateral process in 2000, when
Julia Taft and Karl Inderfurth convinced
both Nepal and Bhutan to agree on a verification process. U.S. President Bill
Clinton's letter to the Nepali and
Bhutanese prime ministers in late 2000
was credited with getting the process
started.
Four years on, hopes for similar
progress are now tempered by the
memory of past disappointments. Little
wonder, no one in the camps is talking
about a breakthrough. □
U.S. CONCERN:
Dewey said he wants
to find a solution
 Citizenship
UNDOCUMENTED
Citizenship is still difficult to acquire for women and
marginalized communities, and this is a violation of our
international obligations
BY SUSHMA JOSHI IN HETAUDA
CrV IS A
full-day trip for Harimaya Praja.
The only path to get down to the
town is by walking next to the river edge,
and the narrow mountain trail is often
washed away in places by the rain. Holding her one-and-a-half-year-old son,
Sanubabu Praja, she fords raging monsoon waters and emerges soaking wet in
her only set of clothes before reaching
Manohari, where she pays Rs. 25 as bus
fare to get to the district headquarters in
Hetauda. Although she has come down
three times—in March, May and again
in October—she has been unable to fulfill her mission to get her citizenship
papers.
Citizenship papers are remarkably
difficult to get for bona fide citizens, especially for indigenous groups far away
from state bureaucracy. According to estimates, 85 percent of Prajas (the
Chepang ethnic group) do not have citizenship. Chepangs have been called a
"backward" group, but the highly orga
nized national Chepang conference held
in early October in Hetauda disproved
myths about Chepang backwardness. As
with other ethnic groups, the upper strata
ofthe Chepang society have at least benefited from the uneven flow of democratization and are informed of contemporary issues. But for many people eking out a living in the hills, information
and access to state agencies are still out
of reach. They face numerous hurdles.
The first hurdle is the requirements: In order to get the citizenship
certificate, a person needs to prove that
a male relative had citizenship. Failing
this, a letter from the ward chairman is
often taken as proof of residence when
the application is registered at a CDO's
office. But women and children living
in marginalized communities often
have difficulty getting these letters.
Harimaya's husband, a dhami (shaman)
died after a three-day illness, vomiting
blood. None of her male relatives are
alive. The VDC chairman has been helpful but ineffective in assisting in her
quest for citizenship.
On her first trip, she was merely
given a second date to come into town.
On her second appointment, the VDC
chairman told her he was working hard
on her case; that he could not really do
anything to help her at that moment, but
that she should come again. On her third
visit, Harimaya met with some people
from local NGOs who could potentially
advocate on her behalf. Many ofthe suggestions they gave were unfamiliar to her.
With seven children in the house,
however, Harimaya could not stay in
town even for one night. She was soon
back on the road home so that her 13-
year-old daughter, who had been left to
cook for her siblings, would not have to
do all the work herself.
Krishnaprasad Koirala, a neighbor
who accompanied Harimaya on her trip,
says, "State teams would come to give
citizenship certificates until 1998. They
no longer come." The police post in the
area has been withdrawn, giving the
Maoists a free rein over the area. The
Maoists, up to 40 of them, come and
demand food from relatively wealthy
households. Harimaya is poor, and the
Maoists do not ask her to feed them,
but she is affected by their presence in
other ways. There is a Maoist ban on
cutting big trees, and she has left her
28
OCTOBER 17, 2004   |  nation weekly
 leaky roof unattended for fear of reprisals.
Rumors of a Maoist draft that would
take a man from each household
prompted her eldest son to flee to
Kathmandu. The 22-year-old was
stopped at the checkpoint in Thankot
and asked for "proof" of his identity.
Unable to show his nagarikta, the proof
of citizenship, he was not allowed to
enter Kathmandu. Wealthier families,
however, do have sons working in construction jobs in Kathmandu. Caught
between two malevolent forces, young
Chepang men await the time when they
can escape the land that has become their
prison.
Harimaya, because she does not have
citizenship papers, is unable to register
her land, buy and sell property or pass
on her nationality to her children. "Citizenship gives you many rights," says
Sapana Malla of the Forum for Women,
Law and Development. "But citizenship
is difficult to get."
Citizenship in Nepal is handed
down through a patrilineal line of descent. Unlike men, women cannot pass
on their nationality to their children.
This anachronistic provision, which
passes citizenship only through the father exists in few places, including the
most conservative of Muslim countries.
The fact that women cannot pass on their
nationality is a breach of Nepal's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women.
Given the precedence of the convention over Nepal's domestic legislation,
there is no reason why some very significant steps cannot be taken to eliminate blatantly discriminatory legislation against
women. "Some specific changes can be
ensured, even in the absence of Parliament," said Ayse Feride Acar, the chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination
of Discrimination against Women, in her
closing statement at the committee meeting in January 2004. "The citizenship law,
in particular, requires serious attention."
The fact that Nepal did not give the same
rights to women as it did to its men to pass
on citizenship to their offspring "flew in
the face" ofthe convention: Urgent action
was required, she said.
The current discriminatory citizenship law causes difficulties for women
who have married foreign citizens or
who are single mothers abandoned by
their husbands. This has been an issue
especially for women in Tarai who marry
Indian citizens across the border. In cases
where women have divorced or been
abandoned by their husbands, they return to Nepal to find that their children
are not eligible for citizenship.
Citizenship is also difficult to acquire
for marginalized groups like the Badi,
where traditional prostitution makes paternity difficult to establish. The former
Kamaiya have also repeatedly asked for
easier access to citizenship, without
which they cannot process the land that
the Parliament had allocated for each
Kamaiya family. People internally displaced by floods, whose lands have been
washed away and who are now squatting
on public land, also face special difficulties.
The history of discrimination in citizenship rights in other countries, espe-
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daily the United States, is an interesting contrast. Women were
discriminated against till the 19th and earlier part ofthe 20th century. Not only were women unable to transmit their U.S. citizenship to children born abroad, they even risked losing their
own citizenship when marrying a foreigner.
By mid-century, however, legal changes granted equal
rights to women. The country's citizenship laws did not discriminate against women; instead, in one area at least, they
discriminated against men. Operating under the stereotype
that U.S. servicemen were promiscuous with women, the
Nationality Act of 1940, for the first time, decreed that unmarried fathers of children born overseas faced prerequisites for transmitting citizenship, prerequisites that women
did not encounter. These rules became stricter in later versions of the country's immigration and naturalization law.
The U.S. law's bias against unmarried fathers means that children born outside of marriage to foreign women are subject
to deportation. Indeed, if an American man and a Nepali
woman had a child out of wedlock in Nepal, the child would
not be eligible for citizenship from either country and would
be stateless.
Nepal's recent courting of non-resident Nepalis, in which
proposals for dual citizenship were floated, is ironic in light
ofthe discrimination that most residents ofthe country face in
acquiring their citizenship. Activists worry that the Nepali
state may soon start distributing citizenship rights to nonresidents for their investment capabilities but exclude its most
marginalized citizens.
Bribery and corruption is rampant in the process of acquiring citizenship, observers have noted. The process of
getting the bureaucracy to move can often be greased with
money. And there may lie the clue to why many of Nepal's
poorest citizens remain excluded from their citizenship
rights.
The current shutdown of state agencies has left a void in
most parts of the country. A peaceful negotiation with the
Maoists is necessary before state teams start going out and
distributing citizenship papers in remote areas. Unsurprisingly,
even when the state sent out teams to grant citizenship before
1998, the process was not user-friendly. Children had to reach
a certain age before they could be registered as citizens. The
teams would bump up children's ages in order to register them,
since the state teams were unlikely to visit remote mountainous regions frequently. These problems would still have to be
tackled seriously.
A few cosmetic amendments have been made to ease the
process of acquiring citizenship, including a clause that allows non-governmental organizations to recommend an individual for citizenship. Legal observers say this right granted
to civil organizations is unprecedented in other parts of the
world. While it may work as a short-term remedy, civil society cannot permanently take on the responsibilities of the
state.
Only changing the citizenship act and the Constitution will
solve the problem of exclusionary citizenship, say legal experts and rights activists. Future changes in the Constitution,
of course, are contingent on the restoration of the suspended
Parliament.  □
OCTOBER 17, 2004   |  nation weekly
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 Business
i
PITAL MAR 1 E
HOME GROWN
REFORMS
The new company legislation will discourage the collusive tendencies of businesses. Unfortunately, there
has been little public debate
on these reform measures,
thanks to ad hoc, top-down
and donor-driven approach
to policy making.
BY BIPUL NARAYAN
DO YOU KNOW MUCH ABOUT
the slew of key economic bills—
the insolvency bill, the securities bill, the secured transactions bill, the
competition bill, and
the company's bill—
recently approved by — -
the Cabinet?
The new securities
legislation will establish the Nepal Securities Board (SEBO) as an independent statutory body and provide for a le
gal and regulatory framework for registration and issuance of securities, licensing and regulation of stock exchanges and
those engaged in securities business, and
curbing of malpractices including insider trading.
The new company legislation will
strengthen disclosure requirements for
companies. It will introduce provisions
to regulate self-dealing by directors and
controlling shareholders and strengthen
minority shareholders' rights, allowing
representative actions
by minority shareholders to enforce good corporate governance. The
company law will also
include the examination ofthe role ofthe
various agencies and offices involved in
implementing the company law, includ-
ECONOMIC
FOCUS
32
OCTOBER 17, 2004   |  nation weekly
 ^A!H!3lP^r fsa
"»   Tte-f
ing the CRO, the Company Law Board
(CLB), the SEBO and the courts, so as to
rationalize the institutional arrangements
for administering and enforcing the company law.
The insolvency and secured transaction legislation will ensure an orderly
process for exit or restructuring of companies in financial difficulties and
strengthen the collateralization process
for movable assets. This will contribute
to good corporate governance, as the
potential use of efficient insolvency and
debt enforcement procedures will discipline firms to only contract debts that
they can service.
The competition legislation will help
curb the monopolistic and collusive tendencies of businesses and help establish
competitive markets in Nepal. The pas
sage of this law is also one of Nepal's
WTO commitments.
Don't be surprised if you didn't know
much about these laws. Not many people
do. And that's thanks to the ad hoc, top-
down and donor-driven approach to
policy making. These laws are of vital
importance to our economy. Yet there
has been little by the way of independent analysis or commentary on these
reform measures, and the government
has done little to initiate public consultations on these laws.
Policy reform almost always creates
both winners and losers. The winners
while large in number are usually poorly
organized and unaware of their gains.
They have little capacity to support the
reform. On the other hand potential losers stand to lose a lot individually and
are usually small in number so they are
well placed to oppose reform and have a
strong incentive to do so.
To prevent the economic reform process from being hijacked by vested interests, the government should ensure
sound analysis ofthe full economy- wide
effects of policy. In most countries such
analysis is carried out by independent
research agencies and academic institutions, which provide policy advice to the
government. Thus, we have agencies
such as the Brookings Foundation in the
United States, the BIDS in Bangladesh
and the RIS in India. In most of these
countries, academic institutions are also
actively involved in dissecting and commenting on policy. Moreover, such
analysis is open for public scrutiny and
suggestions. For instance in Australia,
public hearings are conducted on all
proposed policy actions allowing widespread public participation. These processes ensure that reasoning triumphs
over special interests and that the government truly acts in public interest.
Unfortunately, such processes and
institutions are quite weak in Nepal. The
policy reform process is characterized
by an ad hoc, top-down, and donor-
driven approach, which often does not
fully meet the needs of the country and
does not get adequate buy-in from stakeholders. Nepal has very few research
agencies and academic institutions giving independent policy advice to the
government. The processes followed in
policy formulation are not transparent
and do not encourage wide public participation. Since the public at large is
unaware ofthe advantages and disadvantages of different policy options available to the country, interest groups are
able to pursue policies, which benefit
them at the cost of the country.
There is a need to improve the economic policy formulation process in
Nepal to increase the effectiveness of
policy reforms. The government should
commission studies on its own initiative on all proposed policy reform measures. This will help improve government ownership of policy measures and
reduce dependence on donors, who currently drive the reform agenda of the
government. The government should
also make increased efforts to encourage public participation in the policy
making process. Over the medium term,
the government should support the development of more research agencies and
think tanks where economists can work
in a critical mass sufficiently large enough
to make informed and authoritative
comments on policy reform measures
ofthe government.
The need of the hour is for a bottom-
up and home-grown approach to policy
reforms. Perhaps, then we will have a say
in the policies being adopted in our country and also know about them well before
the Cabinet has approved them. □
nation weekly |   OCTOBER 17, 2004
33
 Arts   Society
i.
Afternoon Tea With History
Patan Museum has been praised as one ofthe
finest restoration efforts in South Asia
BY VENEETA SINGHA
Tt is a soft afternoon. Rain clouds are
gathering in the sky. There is solitary
figure perched on a wooden seat. She
is drinking afternoon tea with history!
In the middle of the courtyard stands
the temple, the Keshav Narayan
Temple—the lamp of light that illuminates the surrounding buildings. Religious symbols and symbolism are plentiful; in fact, they dominate. Wooden
windows look down and the gods carved
in them shower the visitors with their
blessings. At the entrance are a few stone
slabs—shilapatra. Once inside, you are
greeted by a smiling bronze figure, hands
joined together in a namaste—the traditional gesture of welcome and hospitality. So begins the journey with history.
The Patan Museum was the residential court, the Patan Durbar, one of the
royal palaces of the Malla Kings of the
Kathmandu Valley. The exhibits are
I
34
strewn under dimly lit lights and the
ambience is warm, welcoming. The
museum dates back to the Lichavi Period (circa 3rd to 9th century). As it stands
now, it is the result of a thorough restoration effort of the governments of
Nepal and Austria. It opened in 1997.
The Times of India described it as "the
best museum in the subcontinent with
plenty of lessons for us in India." It has
also been praised as one of the finest
restoration efforts in South Asia.
The majority of the exhibits are
sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities, which were made in the Kathmandu
Valley, some in the workshops of Patan
and others originating in India, Tibet and
the western Himalaya. They breathe
with the living culture that lies beyond
the museum walls.
Aside from the galleries, the facilities include seminar rooms for workshops and lectures, guest studios for foreign scholars and artists, an open court-
 yard for cultural events, a
museum shop, purchase
guidance for cultural objects, and non-commercial
photography and video. At
the end of the museum
stands the Patan Museum
Cafe, frequented by travellers from around the
world.
Traditional wooden
stairs lead to the first gallery. Wood predominates
in the interiors as well as
the architecture. The objects are mainly cast
bronzes and gilt copper
repousse work, traditional
crafts for which Patan is famous. As in the exteriors, religion is the
primary exhibit. There are eight galleries in all, each fuse with the other in a
unique manner. The first presents Hindu
and Buddhist deities, rich in ornaments
and dress. The sukunda stands bright—
the oil lamp with the Sun God—providing sacred illumination for all. The
next features an introduction of Hinduism, Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati and
Ganesha. As you walk on, there are striking figures of Vishnu in the next.
^^^^^^J Krishna is also playing with his
gopinis in a large frame.
Vedic gods and tantric deities
are presented in Gallery D with
a resounding note—the assimilated forces of nature. Buddha
and the development of various
schools of Buddism come next
and, then, there are depictions of
the chaitya and the stupa, the sacred mound that carries the mor-
hor the tired and weary, there is a
window seat outside which the city
bustles. In this gallery, the art of metallurgy is represented in stages moving from an initial pencil drawing
through to the finished, gilded
Bhairava face. Patan is the traditional
center ofthe metallurgical arts. In the
last of the galleries are photographs
from 1899, discovered at the
Volkerkundemuseum in Vienna, representing historic views of Nepal and
wood engravings of the 19th century.
There are also other photographs
from local sources in this gallery. The
museum now opens into the cafe and
courtyard. In the middle, there sits a
huge traditional well, symbolizing
water for the weary, perhaps?
Now you can join that solitary figure and drink some afternoon tea.
Once called the "oasis" in the bustle
of Patan City, the Patan Museum Cafe
greets the hungry and the parched. You
can order Nepali masala tea among
other delicacies. It feels like a soft
balmy oasis where one can sit and
gather one's thoughts and savour the
meeting with the deities. The oasis is
delicately created with a hint of sunlight and ample room for ruminations.
At the far end of the cafe, there is a
mound of bamboo, resplendent in
yellow. The aromas of the fresh food
cooking in the open kitchen waft
around. One has seen, and now one
can think and get refreshed. The afternoon is complete. You drank afternoon tea with history.   □
~35
 Nepal-India Borde
Customs avoidance means
big bucks for fat cats and
the police, but it's a marginal and risky business for
the small-scale trader
BYJOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI
AT THE INDO-NEPAL BORDER
FOR RUPA TIWARI, A RESIDENT
of Mechi Dada Basti, Dashain this
year was filled with misery. She
lost sugar worth Rs. 3,650 to the police
and customs officials at the Kakarbhitta
border crossing, where the East-West
Highway meets the Indian state of West
Bengal. Tiwari had saved some of the
money over a period of five months and
had borrowed the rest. It took just moments for the police to confiscate the
sugar. Tiwari wanted a little extra money
for the holidays. "I thought I could spend
a little more during Dashain for my family," she says. "But now creditors are
knocking at my door when I barely have
money to buy food for my family."
Tiwari is among the hundreds of
people, especially women, who try to
eke out a living through small-scale
cross-border smuggling along these
border points. Just about everyone involved in the cross-border trade says
it's not as easy as it may sound. Even
the word itself is stigmatizing. "We feel
insecure," says Tiwari, "because this is
like stealing." Smuggling may look lucrative from the outside, but it is not
always so.
People evade customs duties with
the full knowledge ofthe police and customs officials. They say officials take
bribes to overlook crimes, but sometimes these small-scale smugglers end
up paying more than the legal duties.
Every policeman demands a price; the
bribes often total more than the profit
possible on the transaction.
Mechi Dada Basti, a small hill overlooking the Mechi River, which serves
as the natural boundary between India
and Nepal in this part of the country, is
home to nearly 200 families. The majority of people here in this basti, or settlement, depend on smuggling for their
livelihood. "At least one member of each
family does this business," says Kaji
Luitel, a resident of the village. "When
USELESS FENCES:
Mechi Dada Basti
is a smuggling hub
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you don't have other opportunities, you
don't have a choice." Luitel lost a consignment of plastic chappals for a trader
in Birtamod. The consignment was confiscated before he could deliver it. He
lost his commission and was without
work for several days. But setbacks such
as these haven't deterred Luitel or others from the basti. Mechi Dada Basti is
perfectly situated for smuggling. Perched
on a high ground above the Mechi River
and the long, unguarded riverbank, it is
close to the no-man's land. Blessed with
numerous "pirate routes," there can be
no better place to call home for people
who have taken up cross-border trade,
sans customs duties, as a profession.
Perhaps this is the reason why so many
people have moved to live in this shanty
suburb of Mechinagar municipality over
36
OCTOBER 17, 2004   |  nation weekly
 the years—Nepalis from all over the
country and others from as far as Assam,
Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur. The
would-be smugglers are not alone. This
is also a desirable and lucrative post for
officials. Customs and police officers on
both sides of the border make little effort
to stop the illegal trade; instead they collect fees to look the other way.
Outside a grocery shop in Panitanki,
India, a 10-minute walk from the Nepali
border, Devi Chawan (name changed)
buys 150 kilograms of sugar. A Nepali,
who she says is a policeman, stretches out
his hand. She hands him Rs. 50. The man
shakes his head in disapproval; there is
some bargaining. She finally gives him Rs.
100. She says she knows the police now,
and notjust the Nepalis. Even the Indian
police extract their share. There are many
palms to be greased: "The one who took
Rs. 100 is only one, more will be at the
border, stretching out their hands," she
says. Even then, there is no guarantee that
her goods won't be confiscated by the
Army, who, she says, don't take bribes.
After the bribes, and if she gets the sugar
safely across the border, Chawan will earn
about Rs. 375 on the deal. "Many times
they take bribes and the goods too," she
complains. But being on the wrong side
ofthe law means there's no way to redress
■o
Mechi   Bridge
■J
abuses committed by law enforcement
officials. If you complain, you lose your
livelihood.
"There are two types of evaders," says
tusan anarma, a resident oi JSoKarDnitta.
"One type earns big bucks with few hassles.
The others have a hard time keeping body
and soul together. They evade less and face
more harassment." The big earners can afford to lose their illegal goods from time
to time, but small-scale evaders can't.
With Tihar approaching, more people
will find it tempting to take the plunge:
They hope to earn a few quick bucks for
the family and to bring some light into
their lives during the festival of lights
and colors. The Kakarbhitta crossing has
already started to get crowded. A long
caravan of cycles can be seen along the
sandy Mechi River, all loaded with sacks
and bags containing sugar and other essentials for the festival. Many will get
lucky and reap a profit from their illegal
business. A few will suffer like Tiwari,
but this won't deter them from trying
their luck again. □
nation weekly |   OCTOBER 17, 2004
 One of the self-preservation myths that journalists in this country like to reproduce is that they are
'watchdogs' of various interests on behalf of the Nepali people
BY PRATYOUSH ONTA
On June 8, 2004 I sent the following note to a friend who edits
a Kathmandu publication:
"As you know I have been coordinating the media research
group of Martin Chautari and the Centre for Social Research and
Development since 2000. In the last four years we have put out 11
books, nine of which have dealt with various aspects ofthe media in
Nepal and the remaining two were reference readers to journalists
(and others) regarding the dalit and janjati movements. Out ofthe
nine media books, seven were products of our own research while
the remainingtwo were books prepared by a practicing media person
or analyst. By the end of 2004, we will have produced at least three
more books...You might recall that I gave you some of our books...
last year and later you emailed me to say that we were doing something interesting—extending the language of media analysis into
Nepali, etc.
I would like to request you to assign one of your reporters to do a
critical piece on our work (vis-a-vis the media research landscape in Nepal and internationally). Our own analysis suggests
that we are not only leading the scene in Nepal in terms of
volume of production but we also have reasons to believe that
we have contributed toward the creation of infrastructure for
good media research and the creation of people who have the
skills to uplift this discipline in Nepal. However I am not asking
you to praise our work. I am askingyou to do a critical inquiry
about our record and point out to your readers if there are
lessons to be learned about how research could be done in
Nepal under conditions that everybody seems to find wanting,
namely, supposed (a) shortage of people, (b) shortage of intellectual resources and (c) shortage of funding. I am sure your
critical inquiry will also bean eye-opener for us regarding our
weak points, both intellectually and in terms of institutional organization of research and wil I help us to upgrade our own work.
In addition, from August 2001 we have been holding a fortnightly media discussion series at Martin Chautari.... In total, we
have already organized about 65 such discussions in the past
three years. Your reporter might want to ask how this culture of
discussion is related to good research.
I make this request because the level of understanding of issues
related to social research (including on media) in Nepal exhibited by our
patrakars leaves a lot to be desired. They seem to have only one thing in
their minds-these guys [i.e. we social scientists] do research because
they get lots of donor dol lars and hence the contents are donor driven. The
truth, I am afraid, is something else and remains hidden from the public
because our journalists do not take the risk to ask tough questions about
us, our work, our funding sources, our research methods, etc. Under your
guidance... I am sure your reporter will do a good job of this analysis."
Some days later, I got the following note from my editor friend:
"Pratyoush, it's a good idea, one that does warrant a critical look. That
said, I really don't have a reporter who could do a job of it. This because
of our staff crunch. But let's discuss this further. My best shot would be
outsourcing."
In the ensuing months my friend has made no effort to "discuss this
further." That would not have been a source of worry if it were not the
case that other editors who I had approached before him had told me
much the same. For example, one editor, who never tires of extolling the
virtues of social science research, told me more than two years ago that
since his reporters were chasing many "other" important stories, he
could not assign any to this subject then. It remains that way until now.
My worry is also based on other experiences, including some with people
who do talk radio.
One ofthe self-preservation myths that journalists in this country like
to reproduce is that they are "watchdogs" of various interests on behalf
ofthe Nepali people. Far from it, from case to case, the ability of Nepali
journalists to interrogate people and institutions that make claims in the
Nepal i public sphere leaves a lot to be desired. Claims regarding a social
science operation related to their trade (like the ones I make above)
ought to be under their close scrutiny simply because if they cannot do
even that, their claims to work on behalf of the Nepali people with
respect to other topics become suspect. Just to highl ight one point, the
process of quality monitoring in research and in fields like politics (which
keeps most of Nepali journalists busy) is remarkably similar: how to
attract good people to your field, how to train them, how to manage the
operation financially, how to demonstrate your accountability, etc. Yet no
Nepali journalist has asked us these questions and that is my source of
worry.
One reader of this magazine asked some weeks ago: What are we
doing to mentor a new generation of analysts and what is our gift to
Nepali posterity? Before reiterating the "watchdog" claim, Nepali journalists ought to hold the mirror to themselves and try to answer these
queries of an obviously intelligent reader. □
38
OCTOBER 17, 2004   |  nation weekly
 JjfllM Ml
Nepal Television* every Tuesday at 8:00 AM*
The repeat telecast can be viewed on
linage Metro, every Sunday at 2:00 PM.
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When The Going Gets Tough
.the tough get cooking
BYKUNALLAMA
The Durga Mata of all festivals, Dashain, has come and gone. In its
wake it has left us poorer, with an almighty hangover and a huge
backlog of work. We cannot really complain, however. KsDashain,
notjust another midget, middling, meaningless festival. Like the saying,
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going," we have to get going
because times are tough. And nationwide celebrations are rare these
days. When the opportunity comes once a year, with the force of "the
greatest festival ofthe Nepali people" and the added punch of religion
and perfect weather, what else is there to do but to surrender in the only
way we know best: full-on and full out.
Well, I applied myself full-on in gathering non-celebrating, non-Nepali
friends in my flat, after going full out for three days in the kitchen preparing
some of my Mother's specialties. The hands down winner was the bandel-
ko-achar (wild boar pickle) which combines the unique flavors of fenugreek,
ginger, limejuice and green chilies with the meat. Ifyou are lucky enough
to have leftovers, then you can savor it for days afterwards as the pickle
matures and becomes even tastier. Want the recipe? Here it is.
There's no point, really, in cookingjust a kilo of wild boar meat, so,
when you get the chance, get three. Make sure the meat is fresh
and has the requisite layers of l/8th skin, 3/8th fat and the
rest meat. (Ifyou think that is a lot of fat, get this: A guy
suffering from obesity was advised by his doctor to omit fat
from his diet. The patient plaintively inquired how he could
tell that it was fat he was eating. The doctor answered
brusquely, "If it tastes good, spit it out." Yep, no fat, no
taste.) Ifyou have the time, trouble yourself to freeze the
meat for at least 48 hours as it helps to kill the nasty parasitic
worm, Trichinella spiralis, which develops cysts in the flesh of
the infected animals. If pork is inadequately cooked, the cysts
remain viable and pass into humans, and may cause trichinosis, a serious illness. The freezing is a precautionary
measure: this dish is cooked well and long. I di-
tossed in.) When the oil is cool enough, drop in the meat in batches,
taking care to turn so that the oil coats all the pieces evenly. Put the pot
back on medium heat. As the meat juices begin to ooze, turn the heat
down to the minimum, cover the pot, and let the meat stew gently. When
the juices have been reduced to half the volume, squeeze in the crushed
ginger and throw in the fibrous ball. Now all you have to do, stirring
occasionally, is let the meat and ginger juices reduce till the first hint of fat
starts appearing. Ifthe smell emanating activates your salivary glands,
the meat is cooked, approximately three hours later. Take the pot off the
cooker, throw in the green chilies, stir, cover the pot and let it cool. Once
this is done, add the fresh limejuice and salt to taste. Stir. Serve, or keep
it in the fridge. To serve later, adjust the limejuice and salt, and carefully
warm over steam or microwave, but don't make it piping hot. Direct
heating will cause the limejuice to go bitter. You can keep this dish for at
least a week, or even longer. The fat and the limejuice act as perfect
natural preservatives.
Ever since last Saturday, I have been drifting mindlessly, almost
desperately, with the melancholic makings of a post-celebration depression. Not unlike a jolly, high-flying kite that
has been cruelly cut loose in midair, flailing, nowhere near anything to get entangled with. Not
even the thought of Tihar
cheers me up. Too much fatty
boar pickle perhaps? If anyone has a magic solution, a
remedy, please, please dispatch it
to me. Jumping from the terrace
onto the nearest tree will not
be a welcome suggestion, n
gress. Back to the recipe. Cut the boar, or pork,
meat into inch-wide pieces. You will also need a
good tablespoon of fenugreek; 300 grams of
fresh ginger, peeled, cut into inch-long slices
and smashed to break up the fibers; 150
ml of fresh limejuice; 30 green chilies
slit from the middle all the way to the
tip and 150 ml of cooking oil. Heat
a thick-bottomed pot; pour in the
oil. When the oil begins to smoke,
scatter in the fenugreek until it
browns and turns fragrant. I now
prefer to take the pot off the heat
to allow the hot oil to cool down.
(This prevents the oil from splattering and the meat from sticking to
the sides ofthe hot pot when it is
40
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 The Only Lifestyle/Culture Magazine in Nepal...
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 Writin
BY SWARNIM WAGLE
STROBE TALBOTT, BILL CLINT-
on's deputy secretary of state for
seven years, calls his "fourteen encounters at ten locations in seven countries
on three continents" ■with the Indian statesman Jaswant Singh, the most intense and
prolonged set of exchanges ever between
American and Indian officials at a level
higher than ambassadors.
Talbott's "Engaging India: Diplomacy,
Democracy and the Bomb" is an illuminating, highly readable account of diplomacy
conducted at high places among the gentlest of gentlemen. But this book, that ■was
very recently published by the Brookings
Institution, of ■which Talbott is now president, is more than a set of affectionate mem-
OF MEN AND
oirs. It highlights a triage of quite important issues: How negotiations are affected by
personal rapport, how principled yet flexible
stands need not dilute the preservation of
national interests purportedly being defended
by the negotiators, and how even though
the objectives of each ofthe parties are only
partially met in the end, they could open up
hitherto unseen, but fundamentally desirable opportunities on other fronts. It is in
this spirit that Talbott calls his book a "parable about a benign version ofthe law of
unintended consequences."
These important dialogues that
produced unintended consequences,
of course, began after the Indian
tests of nuclear devices in the Thar
in May, 1998, and ended with the
momentous visit of Bill Clinton
to India two years later, opening a
new chapter in Indo-U.S. relations. While the parallels with
Nixon's historic opening with
China in the 70s are far-fetched,
the American embrace of India
this century has been hailed as a
significant development in international relations—a long overdue, natural alliance between the
two most important democracies
in the world, one, the most prosperous and powerful, and the
other, the most populous. Of
course, added to one ofthe unintended consequences is the irony that the
relationship that the Clinton Democrats
forged with India is now being consolidated
by the Republicans, with the Democratic
presidential nominee, John Kerry actually
seen as a spoiler. Lalit Mansingh, India's
ambassador to the United States until early
this year, did complain that the level of trust
between the two countries that had been
cultivated after 1998 was breached when
Colin Powell announced Pakistan would be
designated "major non-NATO Ally" ofthe
United States without informing or taking
the Indians into confidence. But Mansingh
recently wrote in The Hindustan Times
(October 10) that Bush comes across as
friendlier than Kerry Especially when judged
by their respective parties' foreign policy pri-
M
42
orities recently published in the respectable
Foreign Affairs.
It is not my intention to turn this column into a book review, sol will refrain from
commenting on the details, but there is a
larger point one extracts from Talbott's approach to documenting these important negotiations. Talbott is self-deprecating when
he rightly says that his memoirs are an exception to Dean Acheson's maxim that the
author of a memorandum of conversations
never comes out second best. He does. Deferential to Jaswant Singh, he approvingly
quotes Raj Mohan of The Hindu describing
the Rajput as one who rose to the challenges
of foreign policy with "political aplomb and
personal dignity," then contrasting this assessment with his own dealings with the
Pakistanis as spectacularly pathetic. Whether
it's the obdurate generals, who convey no
illusions about who runs Pakistan, or the
hapless civilian politicians like Nawaz Sharif,
who find themselves rushing to Blair House
in Washington, almost uninvited, to plead
for sanity and grace, it tells us a lot, hints
Talbott, about the differing "civilizational
richness" ofthe two rivals.
NO FAILURE OF CIA
The backdrop to these dialogues is of course
the American pressure and Indian resistance to sign up to any nuclear non-proliferation pacts after 1998. The Americans
failed to force India to sign on to any semblance of binding international treaties on
nuclear non-proliferation, largely because
the U.S. Senate itself voted against the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. America
then lost all moral authority to pressure
other countries to approve what it had rejected, and India went on to secure partial
"certification of great-power status" that
it craved by shaking the Thar, preparations
for which were unnoticed by everyone except the local villagers, the Vajpayee-Kalam
coterie and a Sikh newsletter in Canada.
"It's not a failure ofthe CIA. It's a matter
What can Nepalis
those conducted
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 of their intelligence being good, our deception being better," gloated an Indian official afterwards.
Former staff of Time magazine, translator of two volumes of Khrushchev's memoirs, and Bill Clinton's room-mate at 46
Leckford Road, Oxford, Talbott puts his
scholarlyjournalism on full display in these
memoirs. Clinton says in his own autobiography "My Life" (p. 148) that after a tragic
incident that injured Talbott's eye in his
youth, he "started seeing things that most of
us miss." But the way Talbott has put on
record these dialogues says something important about the way the conduct of foreign policy is dependent on the personality
ofthe other party, and how that personality
is shaped by that party's cultural and ideological baggage. India and the United States
could continue with the dialogues in the
manner they did because both are secure,
proud, open democracies. America's dealings
with Pakistan were markedly different—
more mercantilist and opportunistic in a strategic sense, tied by necessity and circumstance
than any warm, natural bond.
Talbott's point is: The benign superpower
treats you the way you signal you want to be
treated. And through 50 years of covert and
dramatic negotiations with different brands
of communists (the Soviets, Chinese and
Vietnamese), the Americans have perfected
negotiations into a fun-filled art-form. Ask
Dr. Kissinger.
On the Indian nuclear tests itself, Henry
Kissinger said: "If I were the president of
the United States, I'd deplore it. If I were
the prime minister of India, I'd do it." Although Talbott, at Time magazine, covered
many of Kissinger's parleys and forays into
unfriendly territory, it is Kissinger who we
should turn to, to learn a trick or two on
ways to deal with hostile negotiating partners. To the untrained diplomatic eye,
whether it's Vietnam's Le Due Tho (with
whom Kissinger negotiated the Paris Agreement in 1973) or China's Zhou EnLai (with
whom he negotiated the 1972 Shanghai
Communique), or even his uneven rapport
with the Soviets, it is difficult to appreciate
the nuances of negotiations the author of
these tactics has since revealed. Although
they were all communist cousins (albeit bitter with one another), supposedly sharing a
common outlook on how they foresaw the
annihilation of their capitalist rivals,
Kissinger spells out in his 912-page book,
"Diplomacy," the differing strategies ofthe
Chinese Maoists and the Soviets. "The Soviet diplomats almost never discussed conceptual issues. Their tactic was
to select a problem of immediate concern to Moscow and to
batter away at its resolution
with a dogged persistence designed to wear down their interlocutors rather than to persuade them. The insistence and
the vehemence with which Soviet negotiators put forward '
the politburo consensus reflected the brutal
discipline and internal strains of Soviet politics, and transformed high policy into an
exhausting retail trade."
SECURE CHINESE
The Vietnamese approach, as conveyed by
the suave Le Due Tho, according to
Kissinger, was about saying the unsayable
with "impeccable politeness, frigid demeanor and moral superiority—and in a
Marxist vocabulary impervious to interjections by the benighted imperialists." The
Vietnamese adopted a "glacial" strategy,
Kissinger says, of conveying that "time was
on their side, because they could exploit
the other party's divisions." Le Due Tho
had only one objective: of "culminating
his revolutionary career with victory."
America, as the superpower, had to have
many, says Kissinger, offering another complicated facet of negotiations between uneven parties with multiple goals and differing legitimacies in international circles.
What about the real Maoists, the Chinese
negotiators under Mao? "The Chinese represented a far more emotionally secure society than the Soviets. They were less interested in fine drafting points than in
building confidence." Supporting this
statement Kissinger cites Mao telling
Nixon about China not needing Taiwan
for the time being, and that the issue can
come after 100 years, thereby "asking for
no reciprocity for the assurance America
had been seeking for twenty years."
LESSON FOR NEPALIS
What can we Nepalis learn from these strands
of historic dialogues and negotiations, those
conducted among friends, and those with
enemies? As the most popular word in Nepal
today is "negotiations" what kind of
strategizing does the state
need to do in anticipation
of the Maoist compulsions, stonewalling, and
chest-thumping? How do
we analyze, or even rationalize their past behavior
and tactics? They are
Nepalis. But they are also
doctrinaire communists,
who in the succinct Kissinger typology actually resemble more the nervous Soviets than
their more secure namesake of China. Or
they may actually just be themselves. Whatever their motivations and the original force
of their drive, there are negotiations conducted between different parties, in different eras, between people with grossly different personalities, aptitude and values, and
we can learn a thing or two by studying them,
at least the essence of core negotiating principles, if not the detail of contents, so as to
appreciate the complexity of the eventual,
conclusive negotiations between the Nepali
state and the Nepali Maoists. How nice it
would be if in the end, after all these lost
years and futile bloodletting, we did actually
secure a lasting settlement of the ongoing
conflict, and that the brave Nepali interlocutors who issue that hope to us also end up
writing affectionate memoirs about each
other? □
(Views expressed in this column arepersonal, and do not necessarily
reflect those of institutions the writer is affiliated with.)
Nepali Maoists
are doctrinaire
communists who
resemble the
nervous Soviets
learn from historic dialogues and negotiations,
among friends, and those with enemies?
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
43
 CHY TTiisWeek
Ramailo Saanjh
Dwarika's Hotel presents "Ramailo Saanjh," where Ishwor
Gurung with his popular group "Himalayan Feelings" will be
performing a musical fusion of traditional and modern Nepali
melodies. Come and take pleasure in this enthralling event at
the Dwarika's Heritage Courtyard, magnificently lit with diyos
(oil lamps) and superbly set background with typical Nepali
village themes displaying Nepali household items—dhiki-
jaanto and potteries around the hut.
Enjoy varieties of Nepali "household" delicacies like samaya
bajee, celroti, bara, sekuwa, khasi ko kabab and haas ko masu with an
array of vegetables. Interesting mouthwatering dishes prepared
at live cooking stations by our master chefs. A wide range of
Nepali spicy pickles with sweet temptations including julebi,
panchamritjuju dhau and the renowned Dwarika'spharsi ko halwa.
Date: November 3. Price: Rs. 1200 net per person, includes
snacks & dinner with live music. 10% discount to Heritage
Plus members. Time: 7- 10 p.m. For information:  4479488.
Srijana
Anniversary
ART
EXHIBITIONS
A four-day-long painting workshop was organized by Srijana
College of Fine Arts to mark the 3rd anniversary of the college. Altogether 54 students of the college took part in the
workshop and the outcome was 94 pieces of paintings executed in different themes, mediums and styles under the guidance of eminent and senior artists Batsa G. Vaidhya, K.K.
Karmacharya, Shankar R.S. Suwal, Shyam Lai Shrestha, Sharada
Man Shrestha, Uttam Kharel and Navindra Rajbhandari. The
paintings created during the workshop are on display in Sirjana
Contemporary Art Gallery, Kamaladi. The exhibition will remain open till the Tihar festival. Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dashain, Deepawali
Bonanaza
Celebrate the festive season
at Radisson Hotel with 50%
off on food and domestic liquors at the Fun Cafe. Date:
October 15 to November 15.
For information: 4411818.
International Food Festival
2004
The Himalayan Times presents International Food Festival 2004. Get food from
around the globe. Culinary
delights from 14 countries,
more than 12 game stalls,
magic shows and many more
at the Hyatt Regency. Date:
November 6. Time: 11a.m. to
5p.m. Tickets: Rs. 100 for
adults and Rs. 50 for children
under four.
Salsa Workshop
Partynepal.com presents
Salsa Workshop for both beginners and intermediate
with Diego at Salsando Studio. Classes starts from November 4-10.
Classes time: 8-9 a.m.,   4-5
fTTTTQ2Q£2|
• RESTAURANT
'cmnm»
"The 'e for the
you ever had'
LAIANA RESTAURANT
Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
Kathmandu, Nepal
tel. 4413874
44
Parking facilities available
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102
or editorial@nation.com.np
Page
p.m. , 5-6 p.m. , 6-7 p.m. and
7-8 p.m. Class fee: Rs. 1500.
Jhoom to Dhoom
Tata Young of "Dhoom"
fame is performing live
for the first time in
Kathmandu at Hyatt
Regency. Date: November 5. Time: 7:30 p.m.
onwards. Ticket price: Rs
2,500. For information:
4720382,2081040.
Berlenand. At the Al-
iance   Francaise,
Tripureshwore.
Date:     No-
r   vember   28.
rTime: 2 p.m.
For infor-
m a t i o n :
SW
4241163.
*C
%
ONGOING
All That Jazz
Presenting "Abhaya and the
Steam Injuns" and the best
of jazz in Nepal at the Fusion
Bar, Dwarika's Hotel, 7 p.m.
onwards, every Friday. Entry
fee: Rs. 555, including BBQ
dinner, and a can of beer/soft
drinks. For information:
4479488.
Marwari Specialities
Every Saturday evening at
Shambala Garden Cafe,
Shangrila Hotel with a wide selection of vegetarian delicacies.
"Rusty Nails" playing Blues and
Rock 'n Roll. Every Saturday live
at The Jazz Bar. Time: 7 p.m.
onwards. For information:
4412999.
Charcoalz
This festive season Yak and Yeti
brings to you "Charcoalz" at the
poolside. The piping hot grills are
guaranteed to drive away your
autumn chills with an array of
Indian, western and Mongolian
barbequed delights to tempt your
appetites. Time: 6-10 p.m. For
information: 4248999.
Rock@Belle Momo
Enjoy combo meals at Belle
Momo every Fridays 6:30 p.m.
onwards as the rock 'n roll band
Steel Wheels performs live. For
information: 4230890.
Fusion Night
The Rox Bar
welcomes everyone to be a
part of the Fusion Night. The
rhythmic and
harmonic beats
of the eastern
and the western instruments will be a treat for
your senses. Enjoy the sarangi
played by Bharat Nepali with a
well-blended mix of western tunes
played by The Cloud Walkers.
Every Wednesday. Time: 6 p.m.
onwards. For information:
4491234.
Photo Session
Photo Concern announces
its festival offer for everyone.
Take along the Photo Concern Free Photo Shoot advertisement cutting available in
the daily newspapers and get
a free photo shoot during
Dashain and Tihar. Valid up
to November 30. For information: 4223275.
Cine Club
Movie: Le Pari (1997). Director: Pernard Campan.
Starring: Francois
SHOWING AT
JAI NEPAL CINEMA
FOR INFORMATION: 4442220
D.S. Mobile Phone Service
Shop No. 270, 2nd Floor, North Side
Bishal Bazar, Supermarket
Tel: 424-2186, Mobile: 98510-78287
OurService:
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 Profile
CHANGU
CHARACTER
BY PRAGYAN SUBEDI
|~ n the northeast periphery of
I Kathmandu Valley there is a village
L atop a hill. Walking along its single
street—a narrow lane with old-style
houses on both sides—it seems like any
other village on Kathmandu's outskirts,
neglected by the massive changes of urbanization that have so altered the center. The village is filled with dogs, chickens and ducks; the largely agricultural
population still live in the houses of their
ancestors. However the prominent presence of the Changunarayan temple, one
of the most important sites for Vishnu
worship in Kathmandu, gives the villagers a special pride in their locality.
It was this pride that caused Baishnav
Raj Shrestha, whose ancestors have lived
in the village for centuries, to partition
off a large section of his 165-year-old
house and assemble a collection of objects associated with the history of the
village. That was five years ago. Now
Shrestha spends his days guiding visitors through his Changu museum with
the air of a man who has found his vocation.
Shrestha can offer much information
about each of the objects on display, but
his historical sense is peculiar. There are
many objects—swords, shields made of
rhino skin and coins—that he claims are
"thousands of years old." When pushed
to answer how many thousand years exactly, he gets philosophical: "A thousand
years may seem like a long time to you
and to me, but in history it is nothing. It
is just like a month to us." A peculiar
answer for a man with such a passion for
history, perhaps. But it is entirely in accordance with his conception ofthe past,
a conception that has been passed down
orally from generation to generation in
his village. He refers to it as jana-shruti,
the wisdom of the populace.
Jana-shruti is most prominent in the
legend concerning the creation of the
temple. Without the temple there
wouldn't be much to be proud of, and
so a major display in the museum is a
series of framed paintings with captions that tell the story of the creation
of Changunarayan. There was once a
Brahmin named Sudarshan who had a
cow. Everyday his assistant, his gwala,
used to take the cow to graze, but the
cow started going to a tree where a
small boy would appear and drain her
of milk. The Brahmin, furious to be
deprived of his milk, chopped down
the tree, but when he had done so,
Vishnu emerged from the tree. The
Brahmin cowered before the god, asked
for clemency and was told to build a
temple at the site where the tree was.
An akash-vandi, a voice from the sky,
also revealed the mantra the Brahmin
was to use in his everyday worship.
The story is not new. It is a version of
an ancient Hindu myth that accounts for
the beginnings of many holy places. But
here, like other places in the subcontinent, it has been connected to the immediate soil, to the lives of the villagers,
and in this way has gained strength.
"From that day on, thousands and thousands of years ago," Shrestha says, "the
direct descendents of that Brahmin and
that gwala have continued to worship
Changu using the same mantra revealed
to Sudarshan through the akash-vandi."
Does that mean that the Brahmin who
worships at the temple now is the direct
descendent of Sudarshan? Shrestha nods
his head slowly and profoundly.
Other things on display include traditional Newari pots and pans, coins
through the ages and tattered tantric
manuscripts, all
neatly labeled.
But the most
curious of objects are those
connected to
his conceptions of the su-
pernatural.
There    is    an
NEW-AGE
AVATAAR: TV-
headed Buddha
L
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
 egg-shaped rock-like object, with little
tufts of hair on it. That, Shrestha claims,
isgaulochan, a holy object that is referred
to in myths. It is supposed to have
emerged from a cow's mouth and represents a blessing given to mortals by
the cow, considered holy in Hinduism.
Then there is a dry leaf with a curved
line running over it that looks like a
child's scribble. That, according to
Shrestha, is the writing of a crow. "You
know how we refer to bad handwriting
as crows-writing. Well, this is it. This is
the writing of a crow," he says.
A skeptical visitor asks for proof of
his claims. Shrestha's voice rises as
though in anger at the presumption of
this visitor; with frantic gesticulations
he says, "We've all heard of gaulochan and
of crow's writing. This is it. This is what
has been passed down from long ago by
the lucky people who found these
things." Then as though catching himself, he softens: "All of us believe things
48
that foreigners or Americans
tell us. I think that we should
believe more of the things
that our ancestors tell us. That
is jana-shruti. It is important
that we believe jana-shruti."
The skeptical visitor is
chastened. When Shrestha
moves on to the next object, a
painting, which again is
claimed to be thousands of
years old, the visitor listens
humbly. This time Shrestha
has his own interpretation to
add to the wisdom of his ancestors. A detail on the painting shows the 10 avatars of
Vishnu. The first eight are
identical. The ninth one
shows a strange figure with a box like
face. "We are living in the age ofthe avatar with the box-like face," claims
Shrestha. "He is Buddha. But look at
how prophetic our ancestors were. They
have given him a box-like face like a TV
or a computer. They knew that in our
age knowledge would be transmitted
through these devices. Our age is the age
of these inventions."
Shrestha has the desire to expand and
improve his museum, but has been disheartened by lack of public support. He
shows a folder that contains various letters and requests to get his museum recognized that he has sent to the Archeology Department in Kathmandu. So far
there has been no response; no one from
the department has even come to visit
his museum.
In the meantime he waits for the occasional visitor and enthusiastically
shows and interprets the relics of an earlier time.
PECULIAR:
Shrestha
 DEBBIE RANA
Executive Secretary
VOW is about self
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A Hat-Trick
It has been a good year for singer YAM
BARAL. He has won three awards this
year—the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu; the
Critics Award for the song "Nepali
Herai, Nepali Sochai," which is aired
before the NTV news; and finally the
Narayangopal Yuwa Sangit Puraskar
awarded to singers under 40. "2061 has been
a great year for me," says Baral. "My hard
work has been recognized, and I'm thrilled to
achieve what I once could only dream of."
What more for this talented singer after all
these awards? More songs of course. Baral's
new album "Bhinnata" is all set to hit the
market. Like the name—meaning difference—suggests, "my listeners can expect
something new, fresh and different from this
album." Now it's up to his listeners to decide if the new recording is worth a
fourth prize.
Crisp Commentary
With hundreds of spectators and dozens of kites in the sky,
Changa Chait was an exciting, fun-filled and colorful event.
But what added even more color and zing to the program
was the commentary provided by GINA GURUNG GHOTANE
and PALLAVI DHAKAL, better known as the "twisted sisters," from their show ofthe same name at Image Metro
FM 97.9. The duo provided the crowd with interesting information about kites and kite-flying traditions. "We prepared
ourselves two to three days before the program," Gina said,
"because we wanted to entertain the crowd with a bit of
information about kites." But ask the ladies if they are interested in flying kites and the response is a flat no.
MOUNTAIN MAN
REINHOLD MESSNER is one of the greatest mountaineers of our time. He is the
first mountaineer to scale Everest without
oxygen and also the first to climb all 14
eight-thousanders. Messner was in
Kathmandu to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Cho Oyu. The city
honored Messner and the only living member of the Austrian team that made the
Cho Oyu ascent in 1954, Heuberge Helmut,
at Hanuman Dhoka palace. Messner emphasized the need to protect and promote Nepal's unique culture and heri-
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HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER  1
MBA (HRM) with sound knowledge of and responsible for
Training and Development activities, Recruitment, Performance
Management and other HR related systems. Should be an
excellent communicator with an ability to create enabling
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experience at a similar position.
HUMAN RESOURCES EXECUTIVE   1
Graduate preferably in Human Resources Management with
good knowledge of HR related systems. 1-2 years at a similar
position will definitely be an added advantage.
COLLECTION EXECUTIVE   1
Graduate preferably in Commerce with 1 -2 years of experience
in a similar position. S/he will be responsible for payment
collection of various dues and maintain records of all
transactions.
TRAINEE - CLASSIFIEDS   1
Fresh Graduates may also apply. S/he will have to assist the
Classifieds Officer in her responsibilities and maintain records
of all classifieds transactions.
For all the above positions, excellent communication skills
in both English and Nepali and good interpersonal skills are
required. Interested individuals are requested to send a
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Asia Pacific Communication Associates Nepal Pvt. Ltd.
P.O. Box 15142 K.P.C 923
Kathmandu, Nepal
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
53
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NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
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nation weekly
 Khula Manch
n
Ever Higher
Since the first conquest of Everest by Tenzing
Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, the
Sherpas and the Himalaya have been almost
synonymous. Indeed, the Sherpas are now an integral part
of just about every high-altitude expedition. Little wonder
many of them have established themselves as
renowned climbers. While others remain
unsung heroes, who are responsible for
many a climbing record, but little known
outside the mountaineering circle. Early
this year, two young Sherpas were in the
news for a dispute the community members felt they could do without. Pemba
Dorjee Sherpa and Lakpa Gelu Sherpa
both laid claim to the record ofthe fastest
ascent of Everest. The seven-member
government team that was appointed to
investigate the dispute included Ang
Karma Sherpa, general secretary of the
Nepal Mountaineering Federation and a
mountaineer of modest reckoning himself. He spoke to John Narayan Parajuli
about mountaineering, tourism and the
Everest dispute.
The dispute between two ace climbers,
Lakpa and Pemba, has affected the
Sherpa community, hasn't it?
It's a replay of Lakpa's case in 2003. If any
harm was done, it was done then. Disputes are not new to the climbing community. But what is unusual about this
one is that it happened within the Sherpa
community. It generated quite a lot of
interest here and elsewhere, because
people have high regard for the Sherpas.
The probe confirmed Pemba's claim.
Had this been reversed, it would have
done great damage.
Has this all got to do with pressure
among young Sherpas to climb for
fame?
Climbing Everest has that appeal. You
can be nobody today, and tomorrow
you can rise to stardom. Climbing has
offered that opportunity to Nepalis. If
you have the skill and the tenacity why
not?
To change the topic a bit, there are
concerns about excessive commercialization of Everest.
The whole climbing community is concerned. There is no official body to regulate climbing. We must know how many
people can be on the South Col on a given
day. There has been huge traffic on
Everest; Everest can't take it.
You were the first Nepali to reach the
summit of Everest from the Tibet side,
in the summer of 1985. How did it feel?
I felt it was quite an achievement. The
Tibet side had just been opened for
mountaineering, and few people had
climbed Everest from the north face.
Climbing is a risky
business... what
harm the insurgents
can inflict is nothing
compared to the
dangers in the
mountains
You have climbed in Nepal and overseas. How is the climbing experience
different?
Peaks are the same wherever you go.
In the Himalaya, you have an emotional attachment. In Europe, climbing often becomes a technical affair,
anything but climbing. There are
smaller peaks [there], compared to our
own Himalaya. But the essence of
climbing is the same. When you are
climbing, you are always with nature.
There's always something new to learn;
climbing is always rewarding and fascinating. It's like a new world opening
up. Humans have always been curious
about heights. Climbing appeases
some of this human yearning. It is the
same in Europe, and it is the same elsewhere.
Besides being a tourism entrepreneur
and mountaineer, you have also
dabbled in journalism and you are a
lawyer by training. A rather odd combination, many would say?
In 1985, I happened to climb Everest
with a Romanian team that consisted of
teachers and professors. After the successful climb, they suggested I go to
Romania to study journalism on a scholarship. I thought this was the thing to
do, so I accepted their offer.
How difficult is climbing?
Not really as difficult as it looks. Nevertheless, mountains are not a comfortable place to be. You're short of breath;
it's a hostile place. But then again, it is
the spirit of climbing that keeps us
[mountaineers] going. When you enjoy
something, regardless of dangers, you go
for it.
The insurgency has affected tourism.
What is the state of mountaineering?
The insurgency has affected everything. But looking at the number of
mountaineering teams, it looks like the
insurgency hasn't hurt the sector.
Climbing is a risky business; what
harm the insurgents can inflict is nothing compared to the dangers in the
mountains. □
X
56
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
 * n
nation weekly |   NOVEMBER 7, 2004
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Last Word
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Bush Bind
The United States saw the closest
election in its presidential history
four years ago. President George
W Bush, in fact, received fewer votes than
his Democratic rival, Al Gore, but won a
razor-thin majority in the Electoral College to take the presidency. In case you
forgot, the 2000 election was actually
decided by the Supreme Court, which
ruled that the state of Florida had voted
in favor of Bush. Humbled by the narrowest possible win, Bush, the conservative governor of the state of
Texas and a newcomer to
national and international
politics, promised that he
would rule America as a
"compassionate conservative" and usher in
a new era of bipartisan politics in Washington. His goal:
Rally the nation and lessen the deep ideological divides.
Four years on, the divide between the
president's Republican Party and the
Democratic Party has grown even
deeper. The United States is more polarized than ever before; pollsters say this
election is going to be another dead heat.
Some are even saying, like 2000, it may
again take a controversial court decision
to determine the winner.
Bush has been a deeply divisive leader,
the most radical American president in
recent history The Texan has been anything but a compassionate conservative
in the eyes of half of his fellow Americans. We do not like to judge him on
matters of domestic U.S. politics: That's
up to the American electorate to decide.
But what troubles us is that in a world
passing through extremely turbulent
times, the leader of the world's most
powerful nation should make things
more difficult by being stubborn, arrogant and condescending. It hurts us to
watch helplessly as Bush and his cronies
self-righteously dish out advice and
threats to rest of the world.
We believe that under the Bush presidency America has lost a fair bit of its
once-substantial moral edge and greatly
diminished its standing in the world
community. The groundswell of good
will and sympathy that America gained
from the entire world, including Nepal,
in the wake of the September 11 attacks
have been gradually squandered. When
Colin Powell became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Nepal in January
2002, he came here to solicit support for
the global war against terror. Nepalis
might then have guessed that the antiterrorism campaign across the globe was
to become the cornerstone of Bush's
foreign policy in the years ahead. Still, it
would have been difficult to
forecast that Washington
would view Nepal's own
homegrown insurgency
through the lens of the global war against terror.
It's difficult to write
an editorial two days
before the election and make a judgment call; we are acutely aware that
Election 2004 is a momentous event.
It's the first U.S. presidential election
after 9/11, an event that changed American foreign policy dramatically under a
gung-ho, go-it-alone president who
seemed willing to discard core American values for quick gains. Under Bush,
America has gone too far—blindly supporting a dictator in Pakistan, denying
Afghan prisoners due process of law and
failing to show any remorse over the
mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. The
list of failures is long.
The conventional wisdom is that it
makes no difference to Nepal whether
it's Bush or Kerry: America will continue to view our problems through the
lens ofthe global war on terror, just as it
does everywhere else. A recent article
on Afghanistan in the "Foreign Affairs"
journal warns that Washington's single-
minded focus on the fight against al-
Qaeda and the Taliban remnants while
neglecting broader security issues could
backfire. Kerry at least, may be willing
to ask the world's opinion instead of dictating it.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
NOVEMBER 7, 2004   |  nation weekly
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