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#514 6 - 12 August 2010 16 pages Rs 30 LIGHT AFTER DEATH: Tilganga Eye Bank manager Sankha Narayan Twyana prepares medical instruments before extracting the corneas from a seven-year-old girl at Pashupati Aryaghat. Full story inside Light from darkness JANA ASENBRENNEROVA

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#514 6 - 12 August 2010 16 pages Rs 30

LIGHT AFTER DEATH: Tilganga Eye Bankmanager Sankha Narayan Twyana preparesmedical instruments before extracting thecorneas from a seven-year-old girl atPashupati Aryaghat. Full story insideLight from darkness


6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514

Publisher: Kunda Dixit | Editor: Rabi ThapaPublished by Himalmedia Pvt Ltd | Chief Operating Officer: Sunim Tamang | Hattiban, Godavari Road, Lalitpur | GPO Box 7251 Kathmandu

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YOUNG GUNSVery glad to hear about this meeting ofyoung MPs who want to get things done,more power to you (‘An open letter to theBig Guys’, Sunil B Pant, #513). It isunfortunate that the bigwigs want toshut you down - but do keep at it. Andplease tell us more about your initiativesand ideas. If you are prevented frombringing them to the CA table - maybethey can come to us straight throughchannels like these so we can have aconstructive discussion. If nothing else,it will give us all some hope for ourfuture.


Your article, as they say in the US, isa day late and a dollar short. I think yourarticle will serve you well in May 2011,when, with no constitution of any kind, atleast you will be in a position to say:“Look, don’t blame me. I tried everything.Even wrote an article in Nepali Times forwhich EU, DFID, US embassy, UNMIN,the Finns, the Norwegians all gave me ahearty syabashi. But what could I dowhen our respected party leaders chosenot to listen? Blame them.”

I expect Gagan Thapa and othersto carry on with the drumbeat and publishsimilar articles in the daily newspapers.This way, you young guys get the best ofboth worlds: you continue to lay yourhead at the feet of the “respected bigleaders” while showing to the public thatyou too are losing impatience with all thispolitical nonsense. Yeah, right!

If you are so concerned, what’s

It’s hard to see what else the Indian prime minister’sspecial envoy to Nepal can do to untie the knot that Nepalipoliticians have got themselves into.

The fact that Shyam Saran was India’s ambassador inKathmandu and helped midwife the November 200512-point agreement between the seven parliamentary

stopping you guys from filing a lawsuitagainst the decision-making process ofyour ‘respected big leaders’ at theSupreme Court? Fight it out there. Let thechips fall where they may. If you have tomake some powerful enemies whilepursuing what’s right for the public, makethem. Let the media and the public be yourallies.

Do you have the courage of yourconvictions to do that?

old one

STALE BAHUNS?It’s absolutely pathetic, the stage we’vecome to! The whole nation has come to astandstill watching a half-dozen old Bahunstrying to back-stab each other – while thecountry slides inexorably into a stinkingabyss (‘It’s getting stale, mate’, PrashantJha, #513). Surely Nepal and Nepalisdeserve better than this!

Budabaaje Bahunbaad is the latest bogeyman of

the communist intellectuals used to justifytheir murder campaign and their politics. Ofcourse, this is in a series of many otherbaads that they have utilised to justify theirown murderbaad. This is in keeping withthe spirit of having an unknown enemylurking on the sidelines to keep theattention away from themselves. A tacticutilised by all core western philosophies –think about this – what is god without thesatan bogeyman, what is communismwithout capitalism and vice versa? Themoment you remove the anti-thesis they allcollapse under the weight of their own folly.

Slarti Q. Should MPs defy party whips and voteaccording to their conscience?

Weekly Internet Poll # 514

Q. Can a Maoist-Madhesi alliance be stable?

Weekly Internet Poll # 515. To vote go to:

Total votes: 3,060

STRISTHANOut of the fourteen states proposed, seven ofthem should be declared states of Stristhan,where females should get agradhikar(‘Women MPs seek to unlock deadlock’,Rubeena Mahato, #513). Only they should bemade chief ministers and all top positionsshould be reserved for them for the next 25years. They should be given the right of self-determination. We are disenchanted with thisthug leadership. We will all be in safe handsin such states.


RECYCLE ITDirt is not dirt, only something in the wrongplace. Nothing is waste, everything is aresource (‘Waste not’, Dewan Rai,#513). Deepesh, keep it up. Separatingwaste, bio-degradable and hard non-degradable materials before disposing inevery house should be made mandatory sothat collection is easy. Collection should bedone on different days to facilitate compostingbio-degradables.


FARMING FUELIt’s true, jatropha is being grown all over theworld now. It’s the new ‘miracle’ diesel plant.However, this article (‘Farming diesel’, #513)fails to mention the atrocities being committedin the name of jatropha across the world. Letus not allow big companies to abuse landowned by poor farmers by growing fuel wherefood should be grown instead, like in India,and by cutting down delicate ecosystems andforests to grow jatropha, like Brazil.


JAJARKOT JIVINGThanks for the note on Jajarkot(‘Welcome to Jajarkot’, Nhuchhe ManDangol & Paavan Mathema, #513). Thepictures are gorgeous, and I particularlylike the overall positive tone of yourpaper, even when reporting on Jajarkot.I believe Jajarkot and other areas willgradually attract Nepali tourists aspeople begin to seek new destinations.

Having said that, Jajarkot doeshave notoriety for bad water. I recallreading a document, written circa 1600AD, by a guru of Kulmandan Shah ofKaski, who noted the water of Jajarkotwas very bad and it reflected on thehealth of the locals. Nothing was donein the subsequent four centuries tochange the sanitary situation there, andlet’s hope the status quo will changenow.

Biswo Poudel

rapidly escalating war there that reminds us of the 2000-2001 conflict period in Nepal. The Indian insurgency isfollowing a familiar pattern, and there are calls to deploythe army there, too.

The red carpet treatment India gave to Burmesejunta chief Tan Shwe last week proves that despite talkof shoring up democracy in its neighbourhood,realpolitik is the name of the game. If the nationalinterest, need for energy, or geopolitical considerationsdictate hobnobbing with dictators, so be it. There’s awhiff of a subcontinental version of the KirkpatrickDoctrine here (we don’t care if they are sons-of-bitches,as long as they are our sons-of-bitches).

What this all means for us is that instead of waitingfor India, or anyone else, to rescue our politics andperennially look to Delhi for signals, we should put ourown house in order. There is no point celebrating the factthat Nepal was never colonised in history when wehobble around on the regional stage with our tailbetween our legs. It is time to stop playing victim,something we are extremely good at, and make ourown future.

By now Chairman Dahal must have realised that theonly way he is going to get to be prime minister is bymaking a credible public undertaking that he isdemobilising his fighters, dismantling his paramilitaryand renouncing his goal of establishing a totalitarianpeople’s republic through protracted war. His ultra-nationalism card and flirting with the ex-royals are justnot working, they are backfiring on him.

There have been enough empty words and falsepromises, so this time the burden of proof will be onDahal. He has, however, made his task even moredifficult by refusing to reign in the violence of hiscadres, and burning his bridges with Big Brother.

The future of the peace process, the new constitutionand this country’s long-term political stability needs theMaoists to be on board as a demobilised and disarmeddemocratic party. This they must do to prevent theirown self-destruction, and to prevent a collapse of thepeace process.

parties and the Maoists could mean he has a strongersentimental attachment to his baby, and is therefore morecommitted to reviving the peace process.

It is now common knowledge that Indian intelligencesheltered and nurtured the Maoist leadership in Delhiduring the war years. There are some in Nepal who saythat India should clean up the mess it created. But thatwould be abdicating our own responsibility, and (moreseriously) handing over our future political destiny tooutsiders.

Indian operatives mollycoddled the Maoists, as theydid the Tamil Tigers in the 1980s, to try to co-opt andcontrol them. But the Maoists have become a pet that hasoutgrown its master. With the benefit of hindsight, Delhiprobably realises it bit off more than it could chew. It nowsees the Maoists as a threat to democracy not just inNepal but India as well, and is in no mood to accept anunreformed Maoist party in a position of leadership inKathmandu.

The slaughter of 11 more Indian police in a Maoistattack in Chhatisgarh on Wednesday is just the latest in a


6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514 OP-ED|3


n Monday, the Madhesiparliamentary partyoffices in Singha Darbar

were abuzz with activity in therun-up to the third round ofvoting. Leaders slipped in andout, even as there was anavalanche of rumours outside –Upendra Yadav will split fromthe front; Bijay Gachchadar hasthreatened his MPs not to crossthe floor; or the extendedmeetings are a way to keepeveryone guessing but thedecision to remain neutral hasalready been taken.

A little further away, in theCA building in Baneswor, theMaoists saw a flicker of hope inthe divisions within MJF andlaunched a subtle propaganda waras to how they were sure to win.

The stalemate eventuallypersisted. But what was clear wasthat all political forces are in anextremely difficult spot, findingit hard to balance the pulls andpushes they are facing. Nepalipoliticians have a far tougher jobthan is often recognised.

Take the Madhesi front. Thereis a strong argument, made byUpendra Yadav and supported bya faction in the other parties, thatthis is the best time for theMadhes to strike a deal with theMaoists. Their bargainingposition has never been better;they can thrive as long as the BigThree keep fighting; the Madhesis getting a chance to shape thecentral politics in anunprecedented way; and theMaoists are more committed tofederalism and inclusion.Restless MPs who cannot wait tobe ministers echo this line ofthinking.

It’s easy to lambastpoliticians, but the currentcrop are under extremepressure right now

Hard choices

But an equally powerfulcounter-argument is that theMaoists cannot be trusted; theymay just use the alliance with theMadhesi front to make acomeback in the Tarai; thiswould be suicidal since themood in the plains is anti-Maoist; there is little guaranteethat the Maoists are indeedinterested in writing theconstitution; and Pushpa KamalDahal is a master at using anddisposing of partners. Add tothis the pressure from the Indianestablishment, which has made itclear that it will not take it tookindly if Madhesi MPs shift theirallegiance to the Maoists.

Or consider the Maoiststhemselves. Dahal is closer to his

aim of leading the governmentthan he has been in the past year.He has shown remarkable energyand dynamism in trying to stitchtogether alliances, lure MPs, andengage with established powercentres, unlike Ram ChandraPoudel, who appears to be merelygoing through the motions. TheMaoist success in breaking the‘democratic alliance’ andengineering rifts within eachMadhesi party are majorachievements for the party.

But Dahal’s personalreputation has suffered in theprocess. Three defeats have madehim a cartoonist’s delight. Hisdalliance with royalists is publicknowledge. And there isincreasing pressure on him to

withdraw and allow a freshprocess, for an outcome throughthe present round of voting willnot necessarily lead to aconstitution – which remains theofficial Maoist goal.

India has its own dilemmas.It invested considerable politicalcapital in holding the Madhesback in the last round. But thereappears to have been someconfusion on Wednesday inDelhi about whether it mademore sense to make the best of abad situation and allow a Maoist-Madhes government, or stick tothe policy line of keeping theMaoists in general, and Dahal inparticular, out of power till theyundergo a ‘course correction’. Fornow, the old line has prevailedand the Madhesi alliance will beencouraged to stay together andremain neutral.

India has raised the stakesconsiderably by sending ShyamSaran as special envoy. Delhiwill now get the flak for whateverhappens – if there is a result andDahal wins, non-Maoist partieswill blame them for having

engineered it; if the stalematecontinues, Dahal will ratchet upthe rhetoric on ‘foreignintervention’. But the criticismwill be meaningless, and itwould be a stellar contribution ifSaran can use the authority of theIndian Prime Minister toencourage actors to think beyondthe numbers game and get thebroader process on track.

Madhesi leaders have told usthe front will probably remainneutral once again in the fourthround. But there could be someincrease in cross-voting. Inaddition, if the Maoists can get asection of the UML, CP Mainali’sML faction, and parts of RPP,Dahal has a chance.

At press-time, this remains anunlikely prospect for thepotential costs of defecting to theMaoists remain high for allpoliticians, especially those fromthe Tarai. Nepal’s parliament willprobably make history by failingto elect a PM for the fourth time.If that happens, there must be aneffort to begin the processafresh.



6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #5144|HEALTH

ishnu Bhattarai, 41, is ateacher from Surkhet. Hethought he knew what

it meant to pass on the light ofknowledge to his students. “I hadbeen teaching for many years andfelt happy about opening the eyes

daughter for cremation toPashupati two weeks ago,consented to donate her eyes after Tilganga’s Eye Bank teamconvinced him.

The Eye Bank is the only oneof its kind in the country, and hasbeen harvesting corneas fortransplantation from the nearbycremation site since 1996. Theteam tries to convince grievingrelatives that donating the corneas

of the deceased can help theblind see again. It is not an easyjob, and most refuse. ButTilganga’s cornea excision centreat Pashupati has seen an increasein the number of donors. The EyeBank team at Pashupati harvested214 pairs of corneas in 2008,compared to just two in 1996.

One in every ten Nepalis isvisually impaired and cornealdefects are the second biggestcause of blindness after cataracts.The transplantation of a newcornea is the only way to curesuch blindness.

Sabitri Lamichhane (see pics)from Chitwan is among the manywho have benefited from the eyedonation program. A timelycornea transplant saved her frompermanently losing sight in oneeye to a severe infection thatbegan a week before she had heroperation. “It’s a miracle, I neverthought she’d see again,” says OmLamichhane, her husband.

But the taboo against organtransplantation is still verystrong, meaning few peoplepledge donations. “Most of ourcorneas are the result of griefcounselling of relatives inAryaghat,” says Shankha NarayanTwyana, manager of the EyeBank.” We have very fewvoluntary donors and most ofthem are the relatives of thepeople who have receivedsuch transplants.”

Tilganga offers freetransplantation services and thepatients only need to pay formedicines and a small entry fee.“We thought that if there was nomoney involved, we coulddiscourage the black market inorgan transplants,” explainsBhola KC of the Eye Bank team.

Most grieving relatives thinkthe eyeball itself is excised andthe deceased will be disfigured,but many consent once theyrealise what they are doing willtransform the lives of two people.A pair of donated corneasis always given to one eye in twopeople.

When Manoj KC prepared tocremate his seven-year-olddaughter at Pashupati, the lastthing he wanted was to beapproached by someoneasking him to donate his child’seyes “I was in grief. My child wasgone. I didn’t want to giveanything to anyone. I just toldthem to leave,” KC says.

The Eye Bank team hadalready left when KC sentsomeone to call the team back. KCstill can’t explain why hechanged his mind. “I thought ifher eyes could help two people tocome out of the darkness, at leastthey would bless her soul,”he says.

And the child is blessedindeed. “I pray for the girl everyday,” says Laxmi Bhattarai, wifeof Bishnu Bhattarai. She cannotstop thanking the family whoagreed to the donation: “Myhusband got his life back. Is thereanything more one can do forstrangers?”

Laxmi has herself pledgedher eyes for donation after herdeath.

The names of the donors andrecipients have been changedto protect their identities.

The gift of sight

You canbring light topeople evenafter youpass intodarkness

of my students,” he says, “butthen the unexpected happened.”

After minor discomfort in hisleft eye and blurred vision,Bhattarai woke up one morningwith excruciating pain. Withindays, he was completely blind inone eye and his right eye was sosensitive to light he couldn’topen it. For two months hestayed in a dark room.” I thoughtthat was the end of my life,”

Bhattarai recalls. “As a teacher,being blind was as good asbeing dead.”

Today, thanks to the eyedonation program at the TilgangaInstitute of Opthalmology,Bhattarai has regained his sightwith a corneal transplant. Thecornea that allows Bhattarai to seecame from a seven-year-oldgirl who committed suicide. Thegirl’s father, who had brought his


Sabitri immediately after the operation on her left eye, into which acornea has been transplanted (top), and resting in the recovery room atthe Tilganga Institute of Opthalmology (bottom). A day later, she returnsfor a check-up (right). Her eye is examined and she is able to seeshapes and movement.

Cornea recipient Sabitri Lamichhane (32), from Chitwan, cries beforeproceeding for surgery of her left eye, severely infected for a week (left).She waits to have her eye anaesthesised prior to surgery on her left eye(top). A cornea en route from donor to recipient at the Tilganga Instituteof Opthalmology (bottom).


6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514 NATION|5



In India vs Kantipur in June,the truth was never adequatelyexplained to readers

Followingthe paper trail

IArmy boostsNepal Army (NA) has announced vacancies for 3,434 soldiers,including 250 officers, and invited applications from eligible andinterested Nepali citizens on Monday. NA began the recruitmentprocess following the Supreme Court dismissal of the casesagainst recruitment last week, who deemed it fell under thejurisdiction of the Joint Monitoring Committee. NA has requestedthe government to create a dozen new positions for special classofficers, including two lieutenant generals.

In response to the NA recruitment drive, the People’sLiberation Army, the military wing of the UCPN (Maoist),announced fresh recruitment starting from Tuesday. PLA deputycommander Chandra Prakash Khanal ‘Baldev’ told reporters inthe capital that despite fresh recruitment, PLA strength will notexceed 31,315, the PLA’s original strength before the UNMINverification team brought it down to 19,604. “Committed Nepaliyouths above 18 with strong patriotic feelings can submit theforms at any of the seven cantonments across the nation,”he said.

The Ministry of Defense objected strongly to the Maoistrecruitment drive, and in a statement on Wednesday, said itwould only create additional complexities and challenges insecurity management. This was, however, the fifth time NA hadannounced vacancies for various positions since the 2006Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

UNMIN has expressed deep concern over the freshrecruitments announced by NA and the PLA. “UNMIN’s positionremains that any recruitment by either the Nepal Army or theMaoist army constitutes a breach of the Comprehensive PeaceAgreement and the Agreement on the Monitoring of theManagement of Arms and Armies,” said a statement issuedTuesday evening.

Third time unluckyParliament failed to elect a new prime minister for the thirdconsecutive time on Monday. UCPN (Maoist) candidate PushpaKamal Dahal obtained 259 votes while NC vice president RamChandra Poudel received 124 votes. Dahal had obtained 241votes in the second round of voting. The CPN (M-L), NepalPeasants and Workers Party, a few small parties and,significantly, 11 MPs from the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum(Yadav) voted for Dahal but he fell short of the required 300votes for a simple majority to form a government. The BusinessAdvisory Committee of parliament has slated a fourth round forAugust 6.

Shyam Saran arrivesFormer ambassador to Nepal Shyam Saran arrived inKathmandu on Wednesday to try to fix Nepal’s politics.He is here as a special emissary of Indian Prime MinisterMan Mohan Singh.

“I am here to discuss his concerns with Nepali politicalleaders,” he told reporters upon his arrival at the airport. “My rolewill be to facilitate a few political consultations among majorparties for national consensus.” His visit is just in advance of thefourth round of voting for the post of prime minister, scheduled forFriday, following three consecutive failed elections.

On Wednesday, the UCPN (Maoist) spoke out against theinterference of foreign power centres in the ongoing deliberationsto form a new government. But Maoist chairman Pushpa KamalDahal met Saran along with other top Maoist leaders, subsequentto which Dahal’s deputy Narayan Kaji Shrestha told reporters thetalks were not about the formation of the new government. Saranthen met leaders of the NC and UML.


n The Clash of Civilizations,Samuel P Huntingtoncharacterises India as the

‘core-state’ of Hinducivilisation. The Indiangovernment, however, behavesmore like a besieged nation.

The Indian embassy's role inthe Machine Readable Passportdeal exposed the risks to trade. Ina similar controversy in the1980s, King Birendra had toacquiesce to New Delhi's pressureto rescind a road-buildingcontract awarded to a Chinesecompany and give the KohalpurMahakali Highway to an Indiancompany.

This didn’t buy Birendra anygoodwill. India imposed anundeclared economic blockade

anyway in 1989 on the pretext ofthe expiry of the trade and transittreaty. Disruption in access to theinternational market for 18months crippled the Nepalieconomy. Overseas investors havebeen wary ever since about theindustrial prospects of this India-locked country.

Sometime ago, someonesomewhere decided - the sourcesof such judgments are invariablyindeterminate - that the editorialpolicy of Kantipur Publicationswas detrimental to Indianinterests. In June, KantipurPublications found ad bookingsfrom Nepal-based multinationalswere pulled out.

In media financing models, adrevenue is the fuel that keeps the

engine of enterprise humming.To obstruct it in a plannedmanner is a veiled attack on itsvery existence. KantipurPublications is still facing up tothe attack on its economicviability with fortitude.

Other hostilities have beenmore direct. In a step anunnamed South Block officialinadvertently admitted was'cheap tactics', the Indianauthorities in June delayed thecustoms clearance of newsprintmeant for Kantipur Publicationsfor nearly a month at Kolkataport. The Indian embassy inKathmandu said it was a‘routine administrativemeasure’, but the clarificationcontained veiled warnings.

Following an uproar in theNepali and Indian media overcurbs on press freedom, therewas a ‘summit meeting’ of sortsbetween the owner-managers ofKantipur Publications and theIndian ambassador. Nobody

knows for sure what reallytranspired at the meeting: thetone of press communiquésissued afterwards by contendingparties differed widely.Rumours about continuingcoldness in the relationshipbegan to float the moment only11 out of 39 containers held atKolkata port were releasedinitially.

Sources in Lainchaur insistthat the cessation of Indianhostilities against KantipurPublications is contingent upona continuous performanceappraisal. The media inKathmandu seems to haveimbibed the lessons of thefracas: treading on Indian toes isfraught with untold risks.

A measure directed against themarket leader has succeeded infrightening the entire media.

A similar attempt in the past,whenthe supposedmisdemeanours of a cartoonist ina metro daily was greeted with anad moratorium, ended withcorporate groveling. The thenhome minister stood guaranteefor the ‘good behaviour’ of themedia owner. There is no newsabout promises made andwarnings issued this time.

The silence of KantipurPublications has been deafeningsince the release of the containersfrom Kolkata. The change in theeditorial tone of Kantipur sincethe Lainchaur Summit is not yetpronounced. However, KantipurPublications owes its readers andwell-wishers an explanation.When the three estates of the stateare so enfeebled, it’s impossiblefor the fourth estate to withstandpolitical and diplomaticpressure. But when the media has

to step back from telling thewhole truth, it needs to share itscompulsions with its readers andoffer them an explanation.

An ignoble dimension of theKantipur saga was the relativeneglect of the whole affair by therest of the Nepali media.Journalists failed to examine thecontroversy and turn it into anissue of self-censorship and thefreedom of the press.

State and non-state groups arerelatively easily identifiableenemies of the free media.Commerical and diplomaticpressures are much more hidden,and often impossible towithstand. When the twocombine, truth is the onlydefense.

6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #5146|BUSINESS

bserving the continuingpolitical drama, which isas exciting as watching

paint dry, there are those who saythat we deserve the politicianswe get. Perhaps. But what if wesay that we only get thepoliticians who can thrive in thesystem we’ve let mutate to itspresent form? More than what’sin our fate, it’s the system thatwe have tolerated for far too longthat gives us the politicians weare stuck with.

There are two system-levelobservations one can make. Thefirst one is a primary problem.The second is a by-product of thefirst.

Unresponsiverepresentation: Take a publichealth disaster. In the last 10days, more than 30 Nepalis havedied due to cholera and diarrhoeaoutbreaks in the western parts ofNepal. Though deadly whenuntreated, cholera and diarrhoeaare both easily preventablediseases.

Putting aside the concern ofwhether there are enoughhealthcare workers and

medicines in the remote parts ofBanke or Surkhet, what’ssurprising is how little politicalrepresentation the victims get intoday’s democracy. Of theassembled 601, not a single CAmember, including those from theaffected districts, stands up andsays, “These needless, untimelydeaths of fellow Nepalis areunacceptable. They have to bestopped. When our citizenscontinue to die en masse becauseof preventable diseases, itindicates that something ishorribly wrong. When we can’teven fix this simple problem,how will we achieve our goals ineducation, health, livelihood, andso on for a better Nepal?”

The reason not a single CAmember says that is simple. They

may wax eloquent aboutDemocracy, but they have zeroincentive to practice democracy,in this case, by lending politicalurgency to solve people’sproblems. Most came to the CAbecause they listened to theirparty bosses who wanted tostrengthen their numbers, notbecause they listened to voters. Assuch, even when they do nothingfor the districts that theyrepresent, there is little they needfear: so long as their party has themoney and is powerful, it willgive them the permission to standfor election again, and win. Votersthus become a means to politicalends.

Over the years, what thispractice has amounted to is this.Yes, we have democracy and yes,we have elections, but the systemis designed to be unresponsive topeople’s concerns.

Not my children’s future:People work hard to improve, ifnot their own future, then theirchildren’s future. Human naturebeing what it is, it’s hard for mostpeople to get excited about thefuture of other people’s children.

But politicians searching forappealing generalities often makereferences to improving ourchildren’s future as a way toanchor their present actions topossible future gains. In Nepal,politicians know that, given halfa chance, most young peoplewould rather leave the country.It’s likely that most politicians’children are not in the countrythemselves.

Shorn of an honest metaphorthat refers to our shared collectivefuture, Nepali politicianshabitually lapse into speechesthat are filled with abstractionsabout Democracy and revolutions.When one can’t imagine, muchless communicate, what thefuture holds in more vivid,concrete terms, then the questionbecomes: is one really working forlong-term goals or for quick short-term gains – the answer to whichis plain to all who followpolitics.

The content of nationalpolitics can be dispiriting.Instead of asking politicians tobehave themselves, finding waysto change the context of politicsis how changes are likely to comefaster.

We need to find a way to change thesystem, not the players

Systemic failureSTRICTLY BUSINESSAshutosh Tiwari


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Test driveSyakar Company Limited is moving up into the stratosphere ofluxury sedans with the launch of its premium sedan, the all-new8th generation Honda Accord. A test drive held last week from theHonda showroom in Kantipath to Gokarna was testament to the factthat even in potholed, traffic-jammed Kathmandu, it can make senseto drive a big, classy automobile. The Variable Gear Ratio steering,shift holding system and multi-link rear suspension help for asmoother ride, and if you do get stuck in traffic, the advanced audiosystem with a centre multi-selector and USB port will ease thepain. If nothing else, you’ll have people peering in to see who’sdriving this impressive looking car. Most impressive perhaps is theattention paid to safety features. The Honda Accord has sixintelligent airbags, and an Advanced Compatibility Engineeringbody and G-force Control Technology for enhanced safety of thevehicle occupants during a collision. The use of high-tensile steelhas improved torsional rigidity while achieving major weightsavings. Go on, splash out. It’ll be a ride you won’t forget.

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Flying dragonsDragonair, a Hong Kong-based international airline,will increase its flights between Kathmandu andHong Kong from three to six times a week fromSeptember onwards. The airline started flying toNepal in December 2007 and had 25,451 passenger arrivals and22,207 passenger departures in 2009.

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Two cheersSthapit and Schlau, in collaboration with United Breweries, hasintroduced Germany’s Coblenzer beer in two flavours – Pilsenerand Märzen, both in 650 ml bottles. Coblenzer Pilsener is priced atRs 145 and Coblenzer Märzen at Rs 155.

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Money plantsLaxmi Bank organised a treeplantation program in Kirtipurunder its ‘One Account, One Tree’campaign. 1,000 saplings will beplanted at the site in coordinationwith the Society for Ecological

Restoration. For every account opened under its Green Savingsscheme, the bank will plant a sapling.

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Going westNepal SBI Bank has opened a branch office in the far western cityof Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur. The newly inaugurated branch willprovide complete banking services including Remittances, DepositAccounts, Loans, ATM and Internet Banking services. Nepal SBIBank currently has 41 branch offices and 6 extension counters inoperation.

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Clean queenStaff from Standard CharteredBank along with KMC officialscleaned areas in and around RaniPokhari. The initiative was underthe Bank’s EmployeeVolunteering program, whichallows three days leave to its staff for community service.

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Special deliveryDHL has partnered with Room To Read to help establish a libraryin Shree Mahendra Lower Secondary School, Jatigaal, Bhaktapur.DHL also donated books and stationery to students at the school.

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Cool LGLG has launched the Nimbus series of LGFrost Free Refrigerators. The series isequipped with Green Ion Door Cooling(GIDC) technology, which ensures thatfood remains tasty and nutritious for up to2.5 times longer. There are five models

available in four colours.

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Still kickingNepa Hima Trade Link gave away prizes to the lucky winners of its‘Sony’s FIFA World Cup Promotion Free Kick Offer’ under whichbuyers of the Bravia range of LCDs received scratch coupons.Shambhu Dulal won the first prize, a Sony Bravia.

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Together againThe First Annual General Meeting and Convention ofPaschimanchal Hotel Association, Pokhara was held at the FulbariResort & Spa on Sunday. This was the first meeting held after theunification of the Regional Hotel Association of Nepal and thePokhara Hotel Association. The attendants were briefed on theactivities of the association.

76 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514LIFE TIMES

here are many ways of defining a nation, and Nepal’s hada harder time than most in recent times. The sheerdiversity of Nepali identities, with the suffocating aura of

the Shah crown now dissipated, looks to burst the country at theseams. Still, it’s nice to know there are certain things that uniteus still, high and low. It’s a list, and by its very nature will beincomplete and debatable. Which is why Nepali Kukur is invitingits readers to dig deep into their collective memories and ask,“What do Nepali people like?” Momos to mountains, hatingIndia, loving India, speechifying, singing and spitting, let theseries begin.Nepali Kukur

MomosWhat is it about momos that transfixes Nepalis home and abroad?There are hundreds of types of dim sum, but it’s the steamed buffdumpling, with few variations, that gets our tongues into a twist.What’s standard snack fare in urbania across Nepal is cultural gluein the momo parties of the diaspora.

Hawking and spitting“Khaaaak-thook!” How many times do you hear this a day?Perhaps the most disgusting of our physical tics, hawking andspitting may have been tolerable in the open spaces of our hillsand valleys and plains but in the city streets, it should go thesame way as blowing-nose-into-fingers-and-wiping-on-lamp-postseems to be going – out of fashion. Sometimes it seems we hawkand spit as a sort of a segue between activities, in much the sameway Americans say ‘like’ to link sentences. The argument that it’smore hygienic to let it all out rather than use a piece of tissue andcarry it around doesn’t really hold as far as those around you areconcerned.

Telling folks they’ve gained/lost weightIt’s not because Nepalis are rude that they greet you with: ‘Amai,ke bhako? Kasto motaeko/dublaeko!’ Really, they are just veryconcerned about your health. Whether you are bursting or starvingin their opinion, however, they will insist on…

Exit the King, an absurdist play byEugene Ionesco, directed by EelumDixit and presented by NepalShakes. From Saturday 30 July to 8August, Kamalmani Theatre, PatanDhoka, Tickets start from Rs 400,student and group discountsavailable, call 5522113 or email [email protected]

Shadows of the Street, adocumentary on the life of streetchildren by Mag Nepal and SilverLining Creation, Finland. Friday 6August, from 5pm to 6pm, RussianCultural Center, Kamalpokhari.

Docskool, screening of Battle ofAlgiers, a French/Algerian movie byGillo Pontecarvo. Friday 6 August,3.30pm, Docskool @KathmanduAcademy, Mahendra Bhawan,4471104

Tattoo Conference, 32 tattoo artistscome together to promote their art.Saturday 7 August, UWTC,

Himalayan Readers’ Book Club, abook discussion on Chetan Bhagat’sThree Mistakes of My Life. Saturday7 August, from 3.20pm, BritishCouncil, 9849100300

A New Tree in Charikot: people andlandscapes - a mirror of time, photoexhibition by Fritz Berger. TillTuesday 10 August, Nepal ArtCouncil, Babar Mahal

14th Nepal Education Book Fair, amust attend for all book lovers. FromFriday 6 August to 14 August, 11amto 6pm, Bhrikuti Exhibition Hall,Tickets: Rs 20, Rs 10 for students

Lazimpat Gallery, screening of TheCove, a film about dolphinconservation. Friday 6 August,6.30pm, Lazimpat

Varsha: women art exhibition 2067, acelebration of women in the arts. Till7 August, Nepal Academy of FineArts (NAFA), Naxal

Portrait Expression, solo exhibitionby Pramila Bajracharya Shakya. TillSunday 8 August, SrijanaContemporary Art Gallery, Lazimpat

8th Annual Wine Festival, be there atKilroy’s for the best place for greatvalue wine in Kathmandu. Kilroy’s,Thamel, 4250440

Dhokaima Cafe has a new menu, trythe Blackened Norwegian Salmonand Grilled Shrimp Ajillo, PatanDhoka, 5522113

Olive Garden, mediterranean foodfest. Everyday, 6.30pm to 10.30pm,till 31 August, Radisson Hotel,Lazimpat, Price: Rs 1200 plus taxesfor veg. and Rs 1500 plus taxes fornon veg. call 4411818

Splash Bar & Grill, great weekendBBQ dinner, Fridays and Saturdays,6pm to 9pm, Radisson Hotel,Lazimpat, Rs 1200, 4411818

Hotel Shangri-La, try Shangri-La’screative mango cuisines at the firstever Mango Festival in town. TillMonday 9 August, Hotel Shangri-La,Lazimpat

Forcing you to eatIt doesn’t matter if you’vejust had lunch. Your auntwill still force tworasbaris, a bowl of yoghurtand a cup of tea on you. Ifyou try to resist, she’llpull out some referencein the scriptures to the

sin that will visit her if you leave empty-stomached. Inthe meantime, if you’re not otherwise engaged, everyonepresent will…

Exhort you to get marriedApparently there is a season in life for everyone, vegetable-stylee,to be picked off the shelves. Woe befall those who do not heed thecall of Father Time. For anyone who knows one of TheUnheeding, however distantly, it is a duty most solemn toimpress, ad nauseam, how important it is that you yoke yourselfto another, bullock-stylee, to plough the merry fields of life.

Hating India, loving IndiaUp in the hills, we love to blame India for everything that’swrong with the politics and the economy. But most of us subsiston the petri dish of Indian culture, from the Mahabharat toBollywood.

Calling white people racistIt’s probably in the same vein that we like to blame white peoplefor all the rest that’s wrong in the world. They’re arrogant, self-centred and racist, confirm the more hemmed-in Nepali diaspora,even as they aspire to be just like their hosts. What could bemore racist?

Stuff Nepali People Like will be an ongoing series. Comment isfree at

Stuff NepaliPeople Like - I





The lake that wasonce Kathmandu

athmandu Valley is wheremythology and geology intertwine.The former holds that the Tibetan

saint, Manjushree, flew down toKathmandu. Upon seeing the huge lake, hecut the Chobhar ridge in half with hismighty sword and drained the waters toallow civilisation to flourish in the fertilesacred valley.

There is ample geological evidence toprove that the Kathmandu Valley was oncea lake. But geologists piecing together thegenesis and demise of the primordial lakenow think it may not have been drained allat once, but in phases.

The lake was formed over one millionyears ago with the tectonic uplift of the

southern edge of the Valley and thedamming up of the proto-Bagmati River,probably where Katuwal Daha is today. Asthe southern rim of the Valley rose at ageologically rapid 3cm a year, the lake shiftednorthwards. The level of the lake ebbed androse between 1,400-1,440m, depending onthe prevailing climate, making it about200m deep in places.

Geologists have found the fossil remainsof the extinct ancestors of mammoths,hippos and crocodiles in the KathmanduValley. They have pollen-dated thesediment, indicating that the shoreline ofthe Kathmandu Lake was heavily forestedwith pine and hemlock and teeming withwildlife.

30,000 YEARS AGO: This panorama by DineshShrestha, taken from Lakuri Bhanjyang in 2008, wasmanipulated to visualise what the Kathmandu Valleymust have looked like when it was a huge lake.

The last Ice Age cooled and dried theHimalaya and the lake started to shrinkstarting 30,000 years ago. The main water bodycarved its way through the soft limestone atChobhar, leaving behind a shrinking lake andthree smaller ones at Gokarna, Pashupati andKitni. These lakes later carved ‘mini-Chobhars’ and emptied into the main lake.

As the lake receded, flats emerged abovethe water that were later separated by thetributaries of the Bagmati, which slicedchannels through the soft clay. The airport isone such flat from the Gokarna Period 30,000years ago, and geologists think Thimi andPatan surfaced 25,000 and 18,000 years agorespectively.

The Kathmandu Valley civilisation withLichhavi and and then Newar settlementsgrew and prospered because of the fertility ofthe soil, and later because of the Valley’slocation along the ancient trade route betweenIndia and Tibet. In their wisdom the earlysettlers set up towns along ridgelines, leavingthe fertile slopes for farms. This uniqueurban-rural symbiosis and the agriculturalsurplus it resulted in enriched the kingdomsof the Valley, and they ploughed back thewealth into the unique cultural andarchitectural heritage of their towns.Kunda Dixit

Geologyshaped the

Valley’sdestiny,and will

continue todo so

Nepali Times: This is the 10th year of theBagmati River Festival. What was the rationalefor starting it?Megh Ale: I was already working for river conservationwhen we talked about doing something for the BagmatiRiver in 2001. There was a time when clean water flowedin the Bagmati. So we came up with the idea of raftingdown the river and called it the Bagmati River Festival.See, the Bagmati we see everyday is actually clean at its

source. Only if you take the journey and follow the rivercan you understand the situation. The idea was to involvepeople with the river and raise awareness. The festival alsoprovides a platform for all organisations working for theenvironment to come together.

Why do you call this a festival of the 21stcentury?A festival is a time when all of us get together for apurpose. We in Nepal celebrate many religious festivals asa tradition, regardless of their relevance today. However,the Bagmati River Festival is for a cause that is relevanttoday and tomorrow. The festival incorporates clean-upprograms, rafting, mountain biking, concerts, paintingexhibitions and other events.

What are the specific problems you are trying toaddress?The main problem with Bagmati clean-up has been sewagemanagement. Sewage has to be treated before it is disposedof in the river. Dumping of solid waste has to be checkedas well. Another issue is the water level, which at presentrises only during the monsoon. The natural flow of theriver is dammed at Sundarijal to fulfill the water demandof the valley. This issue can only be resolved by findingalternate water sources. And of course, law and order has tocurb slum encroachment on the river banks, land intrusionand sand mining.

Take me to t

The Bagmati River Festivalcelebrates its 10th anniversarythis year. Organiser MeghAle of the Nepal RiverConservation Trust spoke toNepali Times about what he istrying to achieve:



6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514|9

Approximate extension ofthe proto-Kathmandu Lakeoverlaid on a current GoogleEarth image of the valley.The approximate shorelineof the lake is loosely basedon a composite of geologicalstudies by Japanese andNepali experts, and may notcorrespond to contemporarycontours because oftectonic uplift in the last100,000 years.

120,000 years agoUpliftment of the southern edge of whatis now Lalitpur district and blockage ofthe proto-Bagmati river at present-dayKatuwal Daha, leading to theimpounding of water in the Kathmandubasin.

30,000 years agoContinued tilting of the Kathmandu basinmoves the lake towards the north and thelake level, blocked by the Chobhar ridge,is at its maximum height of 1,440m.Bhaktapur, Patan, Manohara Valley andGokarna are all under water.

15,000 years agoClimate change and seepage throughrocks at Chobhar lower the level of thewater, exposing the Gokarna, Thimi andGauchar (present-day airport) flats, andleaving three smaller lakes behind bedrockridges at Gokarna, Pashupati and Kitni.

The riseand fall

the riverDo you feel your effort has been worthwhile?It is difficult to say, but the campaign has certainly raisedawareness. It is hard to stay committed to a cause whenyou don’t see changes or get the kind of response youexpect. But we have received encouragement from the localcommunities and organisations like Bagmati Sewa Samiti,Nepal Tourism Board and PABSON. Mega Bank has recentlycommitted to support the festival.

But is awareness enough? Isn't it time for action?Well, if you tour the vicinity of the Bagmati in Chobar,Sankhamul, Tilganga, Thapathali and Teku, you willnotice changes. Many areas that used to be filled withgarbage are now clean. The locals have also become active.Efforts have been made in the Pashupati area as well. Wehave also had tree plantation programs at the source of theBagmati, and the saplings are being maintained as well.Policy wise, there is much to do, but recently a BagmatiAction Plan was formulated that aims to revive theBagmati and restore it.

Can the Bagmati be what it once was?It is unlikely that the Bagmati will look like it originallydid, especially in terms of size. But efforts can be made toclean it. The river is not contaminated by chemicals butbiodegradable and treatable waste. It is the lack of initiativeand political will that is letting this sacred river bepolluted.

August schedule for the Bagmati River Festival

13 August Friday 7am-4pm Sundarijal Uttar Bahini School Challenge/Media Dunga Daud

14 August Saturday 7am-4pm Sundarijal Uttar Bahini Corporate Challenge/Dunga Diplomacy

21 August Saturday 7am-4pm Chobar-Gokarna via Balajuand Shivapuri Bagmati Eco-Challenge for Peace

21 August Saturday 7am-6pm Tilganga-Shankhamul Bagmati/Bishnumati JalJatra/Grand Finale/Bagmati Live Aid


What’s happening, and where?





27-16 28-20 27-19

It has been a strange monsoon with the southwesterlies entering Nepal from the northeast. Thishas left most of the Tarai without adequateprecipitation. Rain, when it has come, has beendeficient in most midhill areas as well. July saw a20 per cent shortfall in rain on average. The trend inthe last decade has been that the monsoon startslate and ends late and this year looks like it will beno exception. A large low-pressure circulation isbuilding up in the Bay that could intensify as it makeslandfall this weekend, and inject copious moistureinto eastern Nepal over the next week. Expectmoderate to heavy rainfall mainly at night over theweekend and into next week, and below averagemaximum and minimum temperatures.

FATAL RAIN: Nepal Army airlifts victims of a landslide in Dolakha tosafety. The landslide, triggered by incessant rainfall on Monday night,killed nine and injured several others, including the workers ofSpringkhola Hydropower project.



LOUD MOUTHS: Nihita Biswas, wife of convicted killer Charles Sobhraj,and her mother, lawyer Shakuntala Thapa, surrendered before the apexcourt for contempt of court on Thursday. They have been sent to judicialcustody.


RE-VERIFICATION: Ncell set up a camp in Pokhara this week as part oftheir nationwide campaign to re-verify Ncell numbers and match themwith their subscribers. The Home Ministry has sent directives to allmobile operators to curb the misuse of stray numbers.

GO SAFFRON: Shiva devotees make their annual ‘Bol Bom’ pilgrimagefrom Sundarijal to Pashupati to offer holy water to the Shiva linga.

6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514


n the corners of the Kathmandu Valley we worryabout leech bites in the summer, but imaginehow much more frightening and deadly a

snakebite is?Many of us appreciate the fact that venomous

snakebites are an occupational hazard for farmers inthe Tarai, especially in the summer. South andSoutheast Asia have been identified as having thehighest number of snakebites per year. Conservativeestimates suggest that there are 20,000 cases inNepal a year, almost all in the Tarai, that cause1,000 fatalities.

Unfortunately, because snakebites happen mostoften in impoverished rural settings, prevention andmedical management have been neglected.Furthermore, there is a dearth of information. ManyNepali doctors will consult western textbooks to treatsnakebites. But the treatment of bites from Nepalisnakes is significantly different from that which isrecommended for pit viper snake bites from theSonoran desert in Arizona.

Russell’s vipers, kraits and cobras are the threewell-recognised types of venomous snakes in Nepal.While kraits and cobras cause neurological andbreathing problems, viper bites cause acute kidneyor blood problems.

Dr Sanjib Sharma of the BP Koirala Institute inDharan, who has published extensively on snakebitesin Nepal, has shown that prompt motorcycletransport to a proper health facility by communityvolunteers can save lives in a Tarai village setting.At various institutes, Sharma has trained personnelready to administer anti-snake venom and provide



amarko in Nepali means effort andJamarko Handmade Paper Products is acommendable effort to manage waste by

recycling and reusing paper.“Paper can be easily recycled and reused, it

should not be a part of garbage,” says Aruna Lacoulof Jamarko Handmade Paper Products. Lacoul andher sister Muna Shrestha started the company 10years ago.

In Kathmandu, the pollution caused by piles ofwaste is clear to see, and this is what prompted thesisters to turn waste into a resource for a commercialventure. They attended a paper recycling trainingcourse conducted by the Department of Cottage andSmall Industries, and without further ado, started acompany. It has already managed to create anenvironment-friendly brand for itself.

Jamarko Handmade Paper Products collects

artificial ventilation if needed.Rewards for killing venomous snakes have been

used to minimise bites, but the ecological impactmay be detrimental as snakes keep the rodentpopulation in check, thus helping farmers.An awareness of the behaviour pattern of snakes ismore useful.

Kraits in the Tarai seem to mostly bite at nightwhen people are sleeping on the floor. Using amosquito net will help deter snakes. Snakebites,furthermore, are usually on the feet and legs, sovillagers would do well to consistently wear properfoot gear in paddy fields. Simple measures like thesewill make a huge difference. A pound of preventionis better than an ounce of venom.


As good as newwaste paper from a range of organisations, recyclesit, and turns it into usable items. Anyone iswelcome to contribute to their paper collectionand a few INGOs and NGOs have become regularsuppliers. Now, Jamarko recycles an average of 20tonnes of paper every year.

The collected waste paper is sorted, soakedovernight and mashed into a gooey pulp. The pulpis strained and spread over tin sheets according tothe thickness of the paper required. It is thendried in the sun and ironed to produce sheets ofpaper. On a good day, Jamarko can manufacture upto 600-800 sheets.

“The paper produced is of a fairly good qualityand can even be used for simple printing,” saysLacoul. With the paper, Jamarko produces folders,envelopes, letter pads, notebooks, invitation cards,visiting cards, handicraft items as well as A4/A3size papers. On the side, the company alsoproduces Nepali Lokta paper and its products. Thequality of recycled newspaper is not up to thestandards required, so they are reused instead bymaking paper bags out of them.

Lacoul says that over the years, interest inrecycled paper has risen, especially among youngpeople. Jamarko has a few regular clients and alsoexports its produce. The price difference isminimal between recycled and non-recycledpaper products.

Sales at Jamarko soared on World EnvironmentDay this June, but concern for the environmentwill have to be sustained beyond a day a year ifsuch industries are to gain momentum.Paavan Mathema

Contact 2080162, 4351050, [email protected]

One man’s trash canbe another’s resource



NATION|116 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514

or more than 1,350 families acrossNepal, the war never ended. Everyday is a painful wait for the one

piece of news they have waited years for:the whereabouts of missing relatives, evenif it is a confirmation that they are dead.

In his documentary, Shadows ofHope, director Mohan Mainali gives voiceto the forgotten relatives of thosedisappeared during the conflict. Bothsides in the war are now in ruling circlesand are preoccupied with politics, societywants to move on, and friends andneighbours can’t offer more thansympathy. In fact the suffering of thefamilies of the disappeared has beendeliberately ignored so that the peaceprocess won’t suffer. The state expects thefamilies to accept relief aid of Rs 100,000and stop searching for answers thatwould be embarrassing for those

“How can I ever forget?”long time to come.

Says Mainali: “We have often heardabout the victims of war, but in the filmwe have tried to find out what it is thattheir relatives now need the most. It istheir voice, the voice of the families ofthe victims.”

At the end of the 21-minute filmproduced by ICRC, Mainali zooms in on afather as he takes out from his wallet afaded photograph of his missing son. Tenyears after his 14-year-old went missing,he is still trying to come to terms with hisloss. His words dissolve in a flood oftears: “How can I ever forget?”Rubeena Mahato

Shadows of Hope, directed by MohanMainali, is being launched officially bythe International Committee of the RedCross (ICRC) on 6 August.

responsible on both sides.The relatives interviewed in

Shadows of Hope want peace of mindmuch more than justice or retribution.They want answers about the fate oftheir loved ones so they can move on. Alittle state support to rebuild their lives,if possible, would be appreciated.

Mainali could have easilymanipulated the six profiled families topresent angry and emotionaltestimonials, or slant it politically asmany other film-makers have done. Buthe keeps himself in the background,allows the families to speak and lets themessage come out in poignant words ofbereavement, longing and loss. This is asubtle, but powerful, documentarythat brings back the horrors of ourbrutal war and reminds us that thelegacy of the war will be with us for a


COVERMaoists for ceremonial monarchy

Interview:Chandra Bahadur Gurung

NC’s dilemma

Madhesis in the middle


OPINIONDevendra Poudel

Purshottam Dahal

Prabhat Patnaik

ECONOMYBorrowing from Peter to pay Paul

Education leads investment

Turning from cannabis to tobacco

REPORTSNepali women

abandoned in Mumbai

VDCs in limbo

Fake Facebook identities

HIMAL KHABARPATRIKA1 - 1 6 A u g u s t 2 0 1 0

ONLY MEMORIES: Sahabir Biswokarmashows a picture of his missing son,Santosh, to a granddaughter on his lap inthis still from Mohan Mainali’s documentaryShadows of Hope

6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #51412|OPINION

omen I met during my stay inNepal last month changed myperception of gender

inequality in South Asia, and helpedchange my notions of social truths inNepal.

In Dadeldhura, I met ShakuntalaNagarkoti, a 35-year-old leader of awomen’s group that works for communityimprovement. Shakuntala is outspoken,owns her own photocopy business, andthinks men waste too much time andmoney on alcohol.

Shankuntala and her group of 15 tookaction. First, they convinced women inthe village to ban the sale of raksi duringthe day. Then they trained them inmanagement to enable women to investsavings from raksi not consumed to othersmall businesses.

“When women have control over theirmoney, it’s good for their children,” saidShakuntala. Previously, the women ofDadeldhura used to hand over all theirincome to their husbands, who wouldspent it on drinking instead of food andschooling.

In Chitwan, I met 23-year-old SitaBasnet Karki of the Tarauli CommunityLibrary. Sita and her friend, SushmaKunwar (see pic), were participants in aneed assessment survey for future projectsby READ Nepal. The survey results aswell as the group discussion revealedhow women had gained confidence andstarted being involved in theircommunities.

Women like Shakuntala, Sushma andSita have independently begun theirliberation from housewives to active

members of their communities

Respondents said they have becomemore independent, gained more controlover household finances and arebecoming better at making decisions.They are increasingly involved in localcooperatives where they have their ownsavings. Most signed up to participate incommunity libraries because they believein the importance of literacy. During a 12-day community librarian training inBanepa in early July, women made up 18of 28 participants. “I want to servewomen and children, only women canunderstand the comfort of working withother women,” said Dhanumaya PahadiPoudel, a 26-year-old librarian atDipshikha Community Library in Kaski.

Such changes in rural Nepal alsopresent challenges for women, whosecultural roles and identities are evolvingslowly. They now juggle householdduties with community activities. With a10am appointment with the communitygroup to attend, for example, women haveto start their days earlier to cover theirhousehold commitments.

But women like Shakuntala, Sita andSushma have independently begun theirmovement towards liberation, fromhousewives to active members of theircommunities. Their courage anddetermination changed my perception ofwomen in South Asia.

Jeerawat Na Thalang is a correspondentwith The Nation newspaper in Bangkokand spent two months with READ Nepal.




6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514 OPINION |13

he stretch of road betweenSt. Xaviers School inMaitighar and Martin

Chautari in Thapathali housessome of the richest people in thecountry, at least judging by theMcMansions, long driveways andlush gardens. The road leading tothese houses is a reminder of aremote village in the hills wherea four-wheel drive can barelymaneuver across the potholes.

The obvious disrepair of verybasic and essential infrastructureisn’t due to the helplessness ofthe people in the community.Rather it seems to indicate apervasive willingness to wait forsomeone else, i.e. thegovernment, to fix it. When itcomes to access and improvementof services the residents ofThapathali, Sanepa and Lazimpatseem to be as dependent on thegovernment as those ofTaplejung, Simikot andLamidada.

Last week, the publisher ofthis newspaper wrote: “15per cent of Nepal’s population isworking abroad at any given time,and they send home $2 billion ayear. This is improving familycash income, but it doesn’talways correlate with access toservices like years of schooling,safe drinking water, electricity, orchronic hunger in children. Manyof these basic services are theprerogative of the state...”


When itcomes togettingservices theresidents ofThapathali,Sanepa andLazimpat areas dependenton thegovernmentas those ofTaplejung,Simikot andLamidada

Nay to the government

Perhaps if we were talkingabout new age concepts likehappiness and satisfaction, therole of money would haverequired deeper investigation. If itis tangible services like schooleducation, some iodine pills foryour water or food for yourchildren, why does a family withan improved income need to waitfor the state to access theseservices, especially when thegovernment has proven to beanything but effective?

Statements like these may bethe perfect kicker to an article, butare worrying because because theygloss over the details. A fewweeks ago, the host of Sagarmatha

Television’s primetime newsprogram ended a segment aboutchild labour by grandlyannouncing that “the governmentneeds to look after thesechildren.” There was nodiscussion of how he thought thegovernment should go aboutdoing that. Did he mean weshould have more Bal Mandirs,the state-run orphanage longaccused of corruption and evenchild trafficking?

There is merit in welfareservices provided by the state tothe poorest of its people and themost helpless, but nonewhatsoever in everyone waitingfor the government to spoon feed

us. The government is unable tomanage expectations and evenless able to get things done. Morethan 30 years after identifyingMelamchi as a source of water forthe residents of the capital, theproject has yet to begin in earnest.Major hydropower projects likeArun III have been stalled in theplanning phase for years and areyet to deliver more value than justas talking points.

One could argue that thereason we are stuck in a cycle ofviolence, or in the continualthreat of one, is because thegovernment is deemed soimportant. Foreign aid isdistributed through the

government. It has the largestshare in the economy. It runshealth services to the majority ofthe population in Nepal, as wellas education, while it is clearthat it is the private sector thatis better at providing morechoices and better services inboth these areas.

Instead of asking for the endof state intervention in everyaspect of our lives, we seem to becrossing our fingers and hopingthat with one perfect governmentwe can have a Swedish socio-heaven in this country. It mightnot happen in our lifetime, so weare better off looking elsewhere ifwe want our roads to be fixed.


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14|FROM THE NEPALI PRESS 6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #514

Deepesh Ghimire in Rajdhani, 31 July

“If there was enough food to eat, I would have gone toschool,” Ramesh Karki sighs in despair as he restshis load against a wall. His forehead is bruised by therope holding up the sack of rice he is carrying on hisback. Depression, pain and suffering show throughhis grim expression.

Karki, from Punma VDC of Jajarkot district, is 17.He should be going to college but has never seen theinside of a school. Transporting loads from Chaurjhariairport in Rukum district to different villages is whathe has been doing since childhood.

“There is scarcity of food in my village. Since Ihave not cultivated my land for years I have to carryloads to make a living,” he says, as he wipes sweatfrom his face.

Karnali, Jajarkot, and Bajura, among others, arefood-insecure districts in the mid-west. Children arethe most affected as the need to earn their keep means

Rameshwor Bohara and Saroj Dahal in Himal Khabarpatrika,1-16 August

With the Maoists assuring the royalists they will revive themonarchy if they help them form a government, their regressivejourney has been confirmed. Pushpa Kamal Dahal recently metwith Kamal Thapa of RPP-Nepal, the only party openly advocatinga monarchy.

The royalists have been encouraged by Dahal’s statement aboutan alliance of true nationalists. “India betrayed both the parties.So we have come to the conclusion that an alliance of two nationalistforces is possible,” a central committee member of RPP-Nepal said.

Ex-king Gyanendra, however, is not so convinced. He has giventhe responsibility of forging a business deal with the Maoists tohis son-in-law Raj Bahadur Singh, businessman Ajay Sumargi andsome ex-army generals.

The Maoist-royalist connection goes back a long way. TheMaoists had relations with the palace even at the height of theinsurgency, and it has already been revealed that there wereagreements to share power. Baburam Bhattarai had to face actionfrom his own party when he opposed this process.

According to sources, Singh and Sumargi, among others, havebeen gathering funds to help Dahal get 301 votes in parliament. Itis not mere coincidence that the Times of India published newson 30 August about Singh’s attempts to get 10 to 15 more MPs onDahal’s side.

Sources also claim that ex-crown prince Paras called MotiDugad, MP of Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi) to the SoalteeHotel to get him to vote in favour of Dahal.

Fearing disclosure, Dahal has only allowed his brother Narayanand nephew Sameer to handle the money involved. Reportedly,500 to 550 million rupees have been set aside to buy MPs, to bespent only on the night of 1 August.

Alleging that Dahal has engaged in horse-trading both withIndia and the royalists to become the prime minister, a politburomember said, “Whoever he settles the deal with, it will be againstthe country and the spirit of the people’s movement.” AnotherMaoist leader said, “If this is where they wanted to take the country,why did they have to kill 14 thousand people?”

Chandra Bahadur Gurung, parliamentary party leader RPP(N)

What has brought together such strongly opposed parties?We are in an interim period. This means the constitutionalrepublic, secularism and federalism are also interim. The Maoistsknow this well. We want a referendum on the issues of monarchy,secularism and federalism. Prachanda has assured us that hewill consider this once there is a Maoist government.

What is Dahal’s stance on monarchy?Prachanda has said that there could be a cultural or religiousking. The issue of national unity and independence are ourcommon agendas.

Why do you think he saw any possibility of a cultural king?We are motivated by the fact that the king is inevitable for nationalunity, independence, and the protection of national sovereignty.

Do you think Maoist support is enough to restore the monarchy?It is an issue of national importance and therefore needs thesupport of all parties.

Unholy alliance

UCPN(Maoist)-RPP(N) front possible

Porters, not studentsthey never get to go to school. Many children and youthsare seen carrying loads from Chaurjhari and Salli Bajarof Salyan to neighbouring districts. Hundreds of mulestransport goods every day.

Some blame the food crisis on infertile land, otherson a lack of awareness, and some also blame the lackof development infrastructure and industries. Thereshould be an integrated approach to address theproblem. Local crops such as maize, millet, buckwheat,potatoes and squash are abundant, but locals consideronly rice food. In fact, mules used transport goods arepart of the problem. One mule feeds on grain thatwould be sufficient for a family of five for a day. Thelocals feed mules local grain so they can transport ricefor them.

The government is largely indifferent to the plightof children in these districts, but political parties, too,show no concerns for the food crisis. Our politicalculture is such that people feel powerless when theyare not in government, though parties could do a lot tocreate awareness and mobilise locals.

Vatsyayan in Kantipur, 5 August

ROUND TABLE: (From left to right) Chandra Bahadur Mahara andKamal Thapa of RPP(N) in talks with Maoist leaders PushpaKamal Dahal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Krishna BahadurMahara last week at Thapa's residence

Letter to the editor in Nagarik,2 August

When we were awarded theMondialogo Engineering Award inGermany during our engineeringcourse at Pulchok EngineeringCampus, we visited villages toimplement our project linkingagricultural modernisation withinformation technology. We wereexcited Mahabir Pun would behelping us.

Before we implemented theproject, we felt the modernisationof Nepali agriculture couldsignificantly contribute to the ruraleconomy. But we did not meet any

are to take information technologyas the basis of human developmentin the 21st century, we must makeinformation accessible in ourvillages. Keeping this in mind, weimplemented a pilot program on E-farming in Gulmi district.

Every district headquartershould have an information andcommunication centre. We haveestablished one in Baletaksar forGulmi. The computer here acts asa server and has agriculture-related documents, digital books,short films, etc. If a house in thevillage has a computer, it canaccess the server. Every VDCshould have a training centreequipped with a computer, projectorand speakers.

If there is internet, farmers fromdifferent villages can shareexperiences. They can also learnabout fair prices for their produce.A virtual class can be conducted toeducate the villagers on farmingtechnologies and how they canincrease their production. Aninvestment of Rs 200,000 isrequired to implement such aproject in a VDC. This amount isrelatively low, considering theeconomic and social transformationit can bring.

Sagar Gyawali, PresidentOur Technology, Prosperous

E-farmingyoung people interested in takingup agriculture. There were a fewplaces where youth were involvedbut they did not know much aboutfarming. Agriculture wasconsidered more of a ‘time-pass’than a commercially viableventure. Government programshaven't been fruitful; farmershaven't received new training.Most Nepalis are still involved inagriculture but how can we say weare agriculture-based when mostdepend on remittances?

We met agriculture experts inall the district headquarters buttheir capabilities were notreflected in the status ofagriculture in the villages. If we


Editorial in Janadesh, 3 August

UCPN (Maoist) believes in a multiparty system, not in pluralism.Pluralism is a philosophy representative of orthodox thoughts andideals that negates progress and transformation. It believes in puttingtogether all the oppressed and oppressors, masters and serfs, tigersand lambs into a basket. It opposes the history of dialecticalmaterialism. That’s why the Maoists are against this ideal.

The Maoists are against pluralism as well as absolutism. Althoughit has been made clear time and again, they are portrayed asauthoritarian, as wanting to capture power. The Maoists have modifiedtheir programs, ideology and policies to suit multiparty competitionand then joined the peace process.

As far as the question of authoritarianism is concerned, this isclass-specific. The state represents a class. Capitalists are influentialin capitalism while proletariats remain at the helm in communism.And the Maoists speak for the proletariat.

If the Maoists were against multiparty competition, they wouldnot take part in the CA elections. People support the party that hasconcrete plans and programs for a better future. They won the heartsand minds of the people who wanted change despite their opponents’attempts to denigrate them by calling them terrorists. Peoplewant change.

Maoists not forpluralism or absolutism

Press statement, 27 July

Madhav Kumar Nepal’s government shut down Unity Life InternationalLtd and organisations registered with it across the country. Our hospitalhas been padlocked and its manager detained. The government bannedtransactions with organisations associated with Unity as well asinsurance of even deceased family members. Corrupt officials areconspiring to amass a huge sum of money by selling the property of thecompany. We have been watching the political parties who remainedsilent at such an injustice.

Running away or hiding ourselves is not the solution. We must faceit and tell people the truth. For that, a movement has been inevitable.The court sided with the biased government and its accomplices,depriving people of their right to property. But the people haveunderstood this. We ask them to stay alert. If our issues are notresolved immediately, we will eliminate anyone, one by one. Theuseless government, the corrupt justice, and legal professionals shouldtake responsibility for the consequences. If cleaning up 50 corruptpeople guarantees a better life for all Nepali people, we take it as a holyact, not as a crime. If the government fails to create an environmentconducive to operating the company within 21 days, we will startexecuting the plan from day 23.

We have been keeping tabs on the daily activities of those involvedin ruining the company. Neither the company nor the country will getpeace until these corrupt people are killed. We have taken the decisionto take physical action against them and are all prepared to face anychallenges that might come our way.

We first want to warn the government officials and political leaders.Nothing can stop us from achieving our goal. We have formed a 1,505-member struggle committee comprising representatives of 75 districts.We warn the government to be prepared to face the consequences onceour action is launched.

You can contact us to join the movement at [email protected], Commander, Nationalist Unity Front

NationalistUnity Front

6 - 12 AUGUST 2010 #51416|BACK SIDE







SN 1



CDO Regd No 194/056/57 Lalitpur, Central Region Postal Regd. No 09/066/67

o it does look like thegentlemen’s agreementfor unnatural political

intercourse between theconsenting adults of theMadhesi and Maobaddiemovements has fallen apart, andthe UML and the Madhesis havedecided to stay neutered.Friday’s fourth round of votingis going to be another dead duckin the water, so candidates forPM will bury the hatchet. Ineach others’ backs.

The 1st point of the three-pointagreement has been forgotten forthe umpteenth time in thepolitical circus. ComradeSupercalifragilistic had saideverything in the six-pointagreement under the first pointof the three-point agreementwould be sorted out withinthree days if the prime ministerresigned. The prime ministerresigned, and after more than amonth of deadlock, ComradeExpialidocious now sayseverything will be sorted out inthree months if he is allowed tolead the next majority govt.Prochandal is not just trying tomove the goalpost, he’s trying to

Four down, 20 to go

move the entire stadium.The Chairman’s strategy

seems to be to keep on goingthrough an endless cycle ofelections in parliament to a)turn the whole democraticprocess into a farce, and b) tobuy time to buy some more MPsuntil he can hit the Magic 300.He has gambled all, and if heloses this he faces politicalextinction in his party’s AGMnext month.

If only everyone showed thesame alertness as the BusinessAdvisory Committee. Eventhough the fourth round hasn’thappened yet, it has already set

the time of the fifth round:Wednesday, 18 August at 3PM.If this is what the augusthouse can do imagine what theSeptember house willaccomplish.

The alternative to electionsad infinitum would be aconsensus government, butthere is no consensus eitheron who should be theconsensus candidate: JNK,BRB or PKD? Now that UncleShyam is here everything willbe sorted out, some say. Butwhat can he do that theSoodsayer hasn’t triedalready?

The gloves came off in the war ofwords between PKD and BRBlong ago, and both are nowdonning finger studs. The partyis beginning to split right downthe middle between Chhabilaland Laldhoj loyalists. The party’snewspapers are snarling at one orthe other leader, reminding us ofthe historical propensity forcommunist leaders to squashinternal dissent. Usually it is thesurvival of the most ruthless.BRB commands respect withinthe party for his integrity andvision, while PKD has the gift ofthe gab. Baddie reps inparliament going around trying towoo the smaller parties to votefor Awesome on Friday secretlyadmit they are just dishing outthe party line, and that they’dmuch prefer BRB as theircandidate. But they look overtheir shoulders as they say this.

The biggest setback to theChairman within his party seemsto be that after crushing themonarchy he now has a crush onit. Ferocious is now trying tojustify his overtures to the

S royalists by saying that he isengaged in a “cultural revolutionto bring back a cultural king”.This has already workedwonders on the Bhadgaunleyswho went lock, stock and barrelwith the Baddies in the thirdround. The king card has alsoworked with certain Madhesis,although the deal seems to havebeen lubricated with 3 karodsmackeroos each and brokered bya son-in-law who was above-the-law during the royal days.Comrade Jwai-saheb has joinedthe pro-Mau Janata Dull toposition himself forInformation Ministership innew PKD govt.

And this week’s winner of the‘Only in Nepal’ contest is theagitation by the Baddie-affiliated Nepal Oil Corruptionemployees for a bonus in anorganisation that is running aloss of 2 arabs a year. China hasdonated garbage trucks, we willdonated therubbish, but whois going to donatethe diesel to runthem?ass(at)