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JUN-AUG 2009 | 1


zflGt lgdf{0f k|lœfmofdf g]kfnL o'jfsf] ;+oŒ' fm k|of;

Search for Common Ground


Riding the dark streets, a sea of light flickering in the far end is a welcoming sight until it gets closer and the din gets louder. The flicker turns into flames, of fury, and the din turns to echoes, of aggression. The whistling is piercing and there is a sinking feeling. As the swarm of fierce protestors thin, traffic bulges. A narrow alleyway, we break its back. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, all come to a standstill except the engines. The continuous drone and the smoking pipes create much discomfort, plus traffic hasn’t moved an inch for the past 15mins. A thick smoke engulfs me as my sporadic thoughts channell into that one big question, what will it take for us to wake up? I reach home to complete darkness, load shedding hours have fluctuated from 3 -16 hours a day since the summer of 2008. The reasons are numerous, excuses even, but what baffles me is, who is working on the solutions? Reducing hours every now and then only makes us more complacent because the human mind easily adjusts. Soon we will forget till another crisis resurfaces. A vicious cycle. Should we wait around for an unprogressive, non-functioning government to act or should we become the change we seek? How about switching to CFL bulbs, managing water, consciously turning off our engines whenever possible, save, plant, carpool, walk? It’s all about the little steps. We cannot remain submissive and fall victim to misguided politics and politicians who lack the foresight. It’s time to stir things up. Think. Educate. Take control. You make the policies but sometimes the policies make you. The age bracket that defines the youth of Nepal, in the recently drafted Youth Policy, is 16 to 40. Being youthful is a state of mind and I can claim to be forever young but honestly I’m done being young! But it’s not about me…it’s about you. Tsering Choden

Y! #10 JUNE-AUGUST 2009 Cover by Sarahana Shrestha

Editor Tsering Choden

Photographer Sudhir Bhandari

Desk Editor Vikash Pradhan

Consultant Sudan Bista

Nepali Copy Editor Viplob Pratik

Manager, Administration Suneeta Tuladhar

Staff Writer Kashish Das Shrestha Designer Bhushan Shilpakar Published by Y Enterprise Private Limited P O Box: 6532 Thapathali, Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: +977 1 4254267 Email: URL: CDO Kathmandu Registration: 04/062/063 4 | YZINE.COM.NP

Contributors Aarti Basnyat Dhurba Kumar Jha Rabin Giri NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati Prashant Jha


Expression: Mission MINAP Pg. 12 Political Report Card Pg. 14 Constituent Report Pg. 22 On the Shelf Pg. 26 Feature: Dhangadhi: A dispatch From The Far West Pg. 28 Showcase: HOME Pg. 32 Youth: Youth Policy Pg. 41 Extra Mile: Karishma Karki Pg. 44

Rhythm Section Pg. 46 Event: Travelling Doodles Pg. 49 Feature: Tomorrow's Leaders Pg. 50 Just Power Play Pg. 53 Of the young, for the young Pg. 58 Grapevine Pg. 67 Showcase: Democracy Is... Pg. 68 Impressions: Pg. 69 Plain Jane - Sick and Tired Pg. 70

Feature: The Newest New Yorkers Pg. 8

Journey: Into the Realm of the Land Rover Pg. 16

Y! Not: Abhimanyu Nirabi Pg. 34

Main Feature: Energy Policy 2.0 Pg. 36

Y! Picks: Shital & Subani Pg. 56

Photo Story: [Respect] Pg. 60 JUN-AUG 2009 | 5


Y ! W riter P ro f ile

Some of us are voyeurs, some, exhibitionists, but most of us are a little bit of both. In the spirit of social networking, cyber stalking and even just plain staying in touch the options are limitless. For those of us inclined to voice more than what’s on our mind on Facebook, we have the option of starting blogs. Blogs are the ultimate tool for people looking for an outlet. They can be personal, professional or just plain ranting. On Y! Blogroll we are on the lookout for interesting Nepali bloggers. If you know of someone or are yourself a blogger who can express in a manner that invites the voyeur in us, let us know at

Kashish Das Shrestha Kashish joins the editorial team as Y! Magazine begins its next innings. With his eclectic tastes, skills and expertise, this issue he writes on music, film, travel and environment. Many are familiar with Kashish’s work, as a journalist, photographer, radio jockey and activist. Since 2000, his work has appeared in various national and international media outlets, print, online and broadcast. Brimming with ideas he was no different even as a child in Grade 6. That’s when he won an inter-school contest to submit a proposal (building a strong mass transit system and culture on World Environment Day 1994) to the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on how to cut down pollution in Kathmandu. Based in New York since February 2009, Kashish has been in Nepal working to start the non-profit 350NEPAL, named after the generally accepted safe amount of carbon particle per million in the atmosphere to slow down climate change. He says, “350NEPAL is going to be a Nepal-based environment action group that works to advocate as well as take part in actions that help fight climate change.” He has been extensively researching the potential of Jathropha based bio-diesel across Nepal and establish a nursery and research center for the same in Kathmandu, which will be open to the public.

Prawinreviews The best part of Prawin Adhikari’s blog is that it is called 'Title here'. For a writer who questions himself …Am I a writer? Do I write fiction, as short stories and as screenplays? Am I an irregular columnist? Am I dissatisfied with my writing life? – 'Title here' seems perfect. The blog claims to focus on Prawin’s writing, pictures, movie reviews, travel experiences and rants, and this is one writer who isn’t hiding behind the veil of the Internet. His picture is prominently displayed on his April 28, 2009 post. His writing is clear and interesting. Not only does he bring out his observations and opinions on his surroundings, there’s a literary flair in his writing “Crowded not only with bodies, but their riotous assault on the senses: their smells of armpits, feet, hair oil, food, luggage, tobaccosteeped phlegm, alcohol, flowers in the eunuch's hair…” Though, at times, the posts can be extremely long and slightly tedious to read. Look out also for his writings in the Sunday pages of The Kathmandu Post and Nagarik. If you know of a blog site worth featuring, send us the link at 66| |YZINE.COM.NP YZINE.COM.NP

Phil Zabriskie was a former staff writer for TIME Magazine in Asia. He has also written for National Geographic among others. Currently, Phil lives in New York and is a columnist for (

Prashant Jha is a journalist based in Kathmandu. He is a weekly columnist with the Nepali Times and was earlier assistant editor of Himal Southasian magazine. He has written for several Indian publications, including The Times of India, Hindu, Indian Express, Frontline and Tehelka, and contributed to websites like and South Asia Intelligence Review. His interests revolve around Nepali politics, the Madhesi movement, India-Nepal relations and Indian politics. Liz Lance, a current resident of Kathmandu, received a Fulbright Fellowship to document the effects of mass media on beauty, body image and femininity in young women in Nepal. Liz has lived in Kathmandu on and off since 1988, when she was a student on the University of Wisconsin’s College Year in Nepal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Language and Cultures of Asia from the University of Wisconsin, studied Nepali culture, language and literature at Trubhuvan University’s Bishwa Bhasha Campus, and begins her Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri in August 2009. All of her research will be accessible online at Dhruba Kumar Jha started his career as a social studies teacher, but with the proliferation of FM stations outside the Valley, underwent some training in radio and journalism and shifted to media. He currently works as a reporter and news reader at Janakpur FM and as a news reporter for Simanchal Maithali. Interested in theatre, Dhruba has been involved in it for the past 14 years or so. Bipra Acharya teaches Social Work at K&K College, Kathmandu, and is also a radio presenter at Hits FM 91.2. Passionate about theatre, plays and books, she would love to write professionally, and harbours dreams of one day writing something she will be proud of, a great story, a screenplay, anything...

Youth Policy o:tf] aGb}5 o'jf -xfd|f]_ gLlt cfly{s, ;fdflhs, ;f+:s[lts / /fhgLlts If]qdf b]lvPsf e|i6 cfr/0faf6 d'Qm / ;r] t o'jf zlQm tof/ ug]{ . pRr lzIffdf cWoog ul//x]sf / cWoog ul/;s]sf OR5's k|ltefzfnL o'jfx¿nfO{ ;fdflhs ;]jfdf ;xefuL u/fpg o'jf :jod\ ;]jssf] ¿kdf kl/rfng ug]{ . Ps o'jf Ps /f]huf/ k|To]s o'jf :j/f]huf/sf] sfo{qmdnfO{ nfu" ub}{ Jojl:yt ug]{ . !^ jif{sf] pd]/ ;d"xb]lv g} dtflwsf/sf] Joj:yf ug]{ . k5fl8 kfl/Psf cNk;+Vos ;LdfGts[t o'jfx¿sf k/Dk/fut k]zf ;Lksf] ;+/If0f, ;Dj{wg / cfw'lgsLs/0fdf ljif]z hf]8 lbg] . "How can a 40-year-old be considered in the same bracket as a 16-year-old? This means that both a parent and a child could potentially fall in the same bracket – youth.” "The upper age limit for youth in China is 40. In Vietnam and Malaysia, it is 45. Look at Japan. There, a youth is defined as a person from 0 to 24 years old, even in that situation a mother and child could fall under the same policy." “If we can’t even negotiate on the age-bracket of the youth, where will this policy lead us? People will laugh if they find out that we consider a 40-year-old as a youth. I am still hopeful that the government will not pass the Policy unless the age is reduced.” “It implies that it will bring young people who are going down the wrong path back onto a correct path, which in itself is a negative way of looking at things in the first place.”


Pg. 41 Of the young, for the young Pg. 58 JUN-AUG 2009| |77 MAY-JUL 2009


The Newest

New Yorkers

After having spent almost two decades as Bhutanese refugees in remote Nepal, two families begin new lives in New York...

BY Phil Zabriskie

June 17: One after another, they emerge into JFK’s international arrival hall, a small river of people from a source half a world away, the Himalayas, to be precise, feeling its way into an unknown landscape. Each family pushes a cart stacked with suitcases holding everything they own. Each carries an oversized plastic bag bearing the insignia of the International Organisation for Migration and containing documents certifying their identity and status as refugees from another land who’ve been permitted to resettle in this one. Fatigue pulls their eyelids downwards. Wonder and anxiety keeps them open. Some must fly on to Phoenix or Houston or Boise, but others have reached their destination. They will begin their lives anew in New York City. One week earlier, on June 10, Ganga Neupane crossed the same threshold. The 22-year-old spent her first night with another recently-arrived Nepali family as thunderstorms rattled the windows of their Bronx apartment. Earlier this morning, she rode the 4 train down to the midtown offices of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where staffers Danielle Coon and Dah Thu Dee, himself a refugee from Burma, accompanied her on the bus to the airport. Now she’s standing restlessly at the end of the walkway, her arms wrapped tightly around herself as she peers expectantly at the procession. Before long, she sees them: her mother, Kalawati, and her father, Jiva, along with her lovely, reed-thin sisters, Tuka Devi, Bhagrathi, and Bishnu, 19, 14, and 11, respectively, and her sweet-faced brother, Yubraj, who is seven. They’d been driven from their camp in eastern Nepal to Kathmandu, where they boarded a plane for the first time and flew to Delhi, then Brussels, then New York. They sit briefly and quietly until their ride arrives, then head out. Soon after filing into a van, they’re speeding north on the Van Wyck, staring out the windows. Yubraj perks up when they cross the Whitestone Bridge and get their first skyline view. “Where will we live?” he asks his parents, but they can’t answer. The 'Welcome to the Bronx' sign, the turns that lead to East Fordham Road, the glimpses of the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University mean nothing. “When we heard we were coming here we were glad, because it was a chance to start again, to be something other than just a refugee,” Jiva says in Nepali. The place itself is a mystery, though. They’d never even seen pictures. 8 | YZINE.COM.NP

The driver turns onto Decatur Avenue and pulls over short of 193rd Street. As the family piles out, a car alarm wails. Rap pumps out of a passing SUV. Coon leads the way to a building with a 'Patrolled by NYPD’s Operation Clean Halls' placard and a gate that doesn’t lock. After lugging their bags up five flights of stairs, the family enters the apartment IRC rented for them at $1200 per month. Ganga returns with chicken and rice from a Chinese restaurant, which the family eats eagerly with their hands. When they finish, Coon and Dah Thu Dee show them how to work the oven, the lights, and the toilet. The smoke alarm is missing a battery, they note. Don’t let the children play near open windows or make noise after 10pm, they warn. “Don’t trust strangers,” Dah Thu Dee says, “and don’t open the door for anyone.” The city’s newest residents nod, but they’re too tired to worry. They just want to sleep.


June 18: The next morning, the aroma of tea, one of the few nonclothing items they brought, suffuses the apartment. They slept well, Jiva says, though upon waking they needed a moment to register where they were. Today’s guide, Laura from IRC, reminds Jiva to bring the oversized plastic bag. Deepak Odari, a lanky 24-year-old, is along as well. He arrived here sometime back, and now lives on 231st Street. Walking on Fordham, then Kingsbridge Road, Jiva notes local landmarks like he’s marking a trail. A passing siren stops them in their tracks. Bishnu stares at a man begging for change outside Dunkin Donuts. They seem relaxed if still dazed. At the Kingsbridge Road station, Laura explains Metrocards, but she speaks no Nepali and the family speak very little English. Ganga, who learned this last week, assists, but the younger kids simply duck under the turnstile. On the platform, Yubraj, transfixed by the approaching 4, has to be pulled back from the edge. On the train, they studiously watch people getting on and off; the construction worker, the young mother, the teens in baggy pants and bejewelled belts, the white-collar commuters, though few notice them. The Neupanes don’t seem to expect any attention, however. Perhaps experience taught them to live without it. June 24: The Neupanes spent much of the past week coming back and forth to the IRC offices. Today, though, Kalawati is home nursing what sounds like a migraine. Ganga, with Deepak, is buying a phone for the apartment. Jiva heads back to the subway. “How do they build these buildings so high?” he asks, staring towards the sky. “The first week is like being in darkness,” he says while riding the uptown 4. “Everything is new and we know nothing.” They received their food stamps card. They go to an Associated Supermarket near their home and to IRC, but they don’t know where else to go, how to get there, or what to JUN-AUG 2009 | 9

s]xL lbg cl3 bLksn] u+uf;Fu laafxsf] k|:tfj /fv], h;nfO{ u+ufn] :jLsfl/g\ . Go"of]s{df kmlqmPsf] pgLx?sf] k|]d g]kfnsf] z/0ffyL{ cfO{cf/l;sf sd{rf/Lx? ltgsf ;Nnfxsf/ x'g\ . Hof]ltifL klg ;Nnfxsf/} x'g\ . sd{rf/Lx?n] ltgnfO{ klxn] hflu/ vf]Hg] ;Nnfx xf]nf < bLks eG5g\, ælax] x'g 6fOd nfUYof] .Æ do if they got lost, which they expect they will. The difference between uptown and downtown beguiles them. At the house, Kalawati serves tea and says she’s feeling better. It gets hot sometimes, and when it rained, Bishnu worried the roof would leak as it did in their one-room hut in Nepal, but mainly the apartment is fine. And yet, Kalawati says, living in Nepal and living here are “like two sides of a hand,” one they knew, one they’re trying to grasp without the benefit of foods, spices, words, sounds and routines that had defined their daily existence. They’d had some good news: Jiva’s brothers will arrive soon, along with his parents, and IRC has found them an apartment down the block. It’s not the same, though, Kalawati, says. Everyone knew each other in the camps. People here are spread out, divided by thick walls and wide roads, and the children can’t just run outside to play. “We might enjoy things when we get used to them,” Tuka Devi says. Jiva found a sense of fellowship in this morning’s class, confusing as the lessons were. “I got the sense that there are others who had to flee their own countries.” July 1: After class, Brad, an IRC volunteer leads the family to a Social Security Office on East 41st, where they take a number and wait. It’s a dreary room but a necessary errand, Ganga applied for Social Security last week, but Bishnu is nonetheless traipsing around and showing off the heeled-sandals and black-and-white purse she found in the donation bins. Jiva, meanwhile, updates the family’s medical situation. He’s had minor stomach trouble, and found out he needs reading


glasses. A doctor wants to run tests on Kalawati to locate the source of her headaches. A pediatrician prescribed vitamins for the three youngest children, judging them very thin and small for their age. Kalawati says many children in the camps were skinny, but she worries about Yubraj, whose belt wraps nearly twice around his tiny waist: “No matter how tasty I make the food, he only eats a little.” When their numbers are called, Brad shows the agent their I94 forms, which function as a temporary ID. All goes smoothly. Approval is likely in a few weeks, after which they can seek employment. On the walk over, Jiva and Tuka Devi asked about welfare, wondering if it means they don’t have to work. July 7: At 125th Street, the Neupanes switch to the 6, heading to Hunter College for the start of IRC’s summer youth programme. Every child but Ganga will attend. They were told it would help prepare them for school in the fall. There’s a moment of confusion when they realise that Hunter was the subway stop, but the programme is actually at Marymount, Manhattan. When they arrive, the opening assembly is already underway. The teachers are trying to quiet a rambunctious room filled with a few hundred children from four continents who’ve been in the US anywhere from a few days to a few years and who, in many cases, endured terrible traumas and carry the aftereffects with them. After the assembly, Jiva and Kalawati looked more lost than at any time since their arrival. Ganga says she’s concerned about her mother, who’d been their household leader but is

lzlj/ x'Fb} ;'? ePsf] lyof], h;af/] pgLx?sf afa'cfdfnfO{ kQf] lyPg . cfh pgLx? laafxsf] k|df0fkq lng l;6L xn hfFb}5g\ . lbPsf 5g\ eg] Hof]ltifLn] rflxF clxn]sf ;do z'e 5}g eg]sf 5g\ . km/s km/s 7fpFdf pgLx? k'gjf{l;t ePsf eP s] x'GYof] now largely relegated to an observer’s role. Having proven far more adept at negotiating the city, Ganga, and to a lesser degree Tuka Devi, have assumed much of the responsibility for making sure family members, including their parents, get where they need to be. Ganga will almost certainly start working before her parents. “It’s strange,” Ganga says. “We were the kids. We never thought about all this stuff.” July 12: A gray rug now covers the living room floor. Kalawati says they found it discarded on an Upper East Side street, near Marymount. The children enjoy the people and the lessons at the programme, they say, but the food is a problem. The carrots they were served that first day seemed spoiled, Tuka Devi says. And there was a picture of a cat on the milk cartons, which they thought meant it came from a cat. They went hungry for a few days. Today, though, they’re going to Jackson Heights, seeking not something new but something familiar. On the way to the subway, Jiva asks what happens when people die here, where their bodies go, where ceremonies are held. He may be thinking of his parents, who arrived days earlier. The first destination is the Merit Kebab Palace, which offers 'Indian/Tibetan/Nepali/Bhutanese cuisine'. Everyone orders momos, a dish they haven’t had in weeks. Even Yubraj is excited, and as he and his family eat, Bollywood videos play on a TV screen, Deepak reads a Nepali newspaper, and the sights and smells of South Asia surround them. At Patel Brothers, a sprawling South Asian grocery store, Kalawati practically pounces on vegetables and spices she’d given up on finding in

the Bronx. Her smile lingers when she ducks into incenseinfused sari shops and the children look at CDs, as Hindi music drifts into the streets and they pass Bangladesh Plaza, Jaipur Emporium, and the Kashmir Grill. Later they walk past an Indonesian Pentecostal Church and the Jesus Love Mission Church to the Satya Narayan Mandir Temple, where they sit in a carpeted room ringed with statues of Hindu deities, and Jiva leaves a small bag of coins he’s been collecting as an offering. Someone jokes that Deepak is like part of the family now. He giggles nervously. The Neupanes go home happy, having tapped into something in Queens they hadn’t yet found in the Bronx. July 25: A few days ago, Deepak asked Ganga to marry him and she said yes. The romance began in the camps, their parents didn’t know, and blossomed in New York. Today they’re going to City Hall to get a marriage license. They’ve been advised by IRC staffers and an astrologer to wait. The former said they should get jobs first. The latter said it was an inauspicious time. Had they been resettled in different places, Deepak says, “it just would have taken longer.” August 10: Shortly before 9am, Deepak stands with his family outside the Narayan temple, wearing a gray suit and a wide grin. Ganga is inside, sitting quietly downstairs in a bright orange sari and veil, makeup applied, gold jewellery on her fingers and ears. They don’t have jobs yet, but they couldn’t wait. Kalawati has been having bad headaches and stomach Continued on Pg.59

JUN-AUG 2009 | 11


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Pď&#x201A;Ťlitical BY PRASHANT JHA Sunday, May 17, started off like just another day. By 10am though, traffic snarls had begun all over the Capital, especially on the Ring Road. Bus-loads of people, with red bandanas and Maoist flags, swarmed past. At key locations, they got off and lined up preparing for marches to that destination, which gives the best glimpse into the prevailing political mood, Khula Manch. The timing could not have been more paradoxical. As Maoists got ready for a show of strength, the country's older politicians were back to doing what they were best at, hatching plans in drawing rooms to shift power equations. Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum leader Bijay Gachhedar took a splinter faction of the party, 35 out of 53 members, to assure support to the UML leader, Madhav Nepal, in his quest for prime-ministership. That made MJF leader Upendra Yadav nervous and to avert a split, he switched from wanting to ally with the Maoists to backing the UML. Suddenly, Madhav Nepal had 350 signatures, way past the half-way mark, needed to form the government. Meanwhile, the Maoist crowds congregated. Cultural songs, with old revolutionary rhetoric so typical of all Maoist functions, entertained as leaders took their time to arrive. The pantheon of Maoist leaders took centre-stage. And, after a few preliminary speeches by second-rung leaders, party chairman and caretaker prime minister Prachanda began his monologue. Looking more nervous and worried than usual, without the humour that is often interspersed in his speeches, Prachanda appeared to channelise his own frustration and the anger of his cadre in his rhetoric. Going after the president and foreign reactionaries (read India), he laid out what looks like an elaborate conspiracy theory. "All feudals and status-quoists want to push us out of the government. They want to push us back to the villages. They want to provoke the PLA. And then, they want to use it as an excuse to deploy the Nepal Army against us and make us another LTTE." With his base riled up, Prachanda then immediately shifted track and said he would never let them succeed. "We will not go back; we will stay in the capital and district headquarters and fight. We will wage a fight for peace. And 14 | YZINE.COM.NP

Report-Card those who think our fate will be like LTTE are mistaken. Is the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) another LTTE?" The crowd roared, "No." The message was clear, the Maoists would stay on in the process, but they would revert to obstructionist and agitational politics and make life hell for the new government. Exactly three years after a people's movement threw out the king, got the parties back to power, and brought the Maoists overground; a year after the Constituent Assembly polls threw up an unexpected result; and eight months after a Maoist led government was sworn in, Nepal is on the brink. The country has returned to political instability that marked the post 1995 landscape. The difference this time is that the Maoists are in Kathmandu; their army is in cantonments; ethnic militant groups are all over the country; the State is weaker; a constitution is yet to be written; and the peace process awaits completion. Why and what now It may appear that the stand-off over the dismissal of the army chief pushed the country towards this frightening political deadlock. While the issue definitely precipitated the crisis, the roots of the crisis go beyond that. Since the Maoists have won the polls, the other parties have found it hard to internalise and accept their rejection at the hands of people. They have not introspected enough, and seek to devise new and creative political strategies to enhance their domestic base. Instead, they have been fearful, to the extent of being paranoid that their political future is now over. For their part, the Maoists saw the result not for what it was, a mandate to lead the constitution writing process, complete the peace process and improve livelihoods, but as a vindication of their war. They saw it as a blank cheque to complete their agenda of taking over state institutions as a step to push their brand of politics. The ambitions of the Maoists and insecurity of parties, especially the NC, led to the breakdown of the political consensus; blocked a deal on power sharing; and led to subsequent developments where each action of the other

Prakash Mathema/AFP

side was viewed with utmost suspicion. The controversy over General Rookmangad Katawal only reinforced the feeling among non Maoist forces, the NC, a large part of the UML, smaller Madhesi parties, army, presidency, Kathmandu's opinion-making class, and India, that the Maoists were out to capture power and had to be halted in their tracks. This provided the basis for the new government that has been sworn in. While there is a strong faction (especially in the army and NC) which would like to see the end of the process, other politicians in this combine hope that the exit from the government will 'tame' the Maoists; it will lead to a 'course correction'; and once they are weaker and less dogmatic, can pave way for a renegotiation of terms and their re-entry into government. This is a dangerous game for it ignores multiple variables at play. Will the Maoists get weaker or will this stint in the opposition actually help them strengthen their organisation? Is it possible for any government to function with even remote efficiency when the Maoists are out of the process? What happens to the PLA when prospects for integration have receded even further? Will they become more restless and will this restlessness be directed against its own leadership or against Kathmandu and the new government? How will Madhav Nepal deal with the aspirations of not only multiple coalition partners but also an emboldened army that will like to stamp its authority?

What if Prachanda, who for all his faults, has managed to reconcile various strands in the Maoist party and veered them away from the insurgency, becomes weaker and more dogmatic leaders emerge? Is there a possibility of lower level splinter groups emerging from the Maoists, how does a weak and crippled state deal with them? And yes, what happens to the constitution writing process, which requires a two-thirds majority? And how will this impact the ethnic militancies raging across the country? The point is that Nepali politics has got a lot more complicated in recent years than Kathmandu-level power games, based on the premise that nothing but the actions of a few influential players matter, take into account. The kind of confrontational politics the country is headed towards, broadly between the Maoist and non-Maoist forces, will not only squeeze the democratic centre space; it will drastically reduce the prospects of drafting a constitution that is sustainable. It will only enhance the divide between Kathmandu and outside; between the narrow power elite and the rest of the country; and between identity groups fighting for their rights. There is no way but to re-engineer a political consensus, perhaps have a new and energised peace accord, to ensure that the achievements of the last three years are not squandered away. Will our political actors be prepared to give up on key interests and concessions to strike that deal? ď Ž JUN-AUG 2009 | 15




Sandakphu Bikeybhanjyang Kalpokhari



Tonglu Darjeeling


Lhameydhura Chitrey Maneybhanjyang

Into the realm of the Land Rover BY VIKASH PRADHAN


am not particularly an outdoors person, but I’ve always wanted to go into the wild. When I decided to take a break this spring, I thought it was the right time to fulfill this desire and I hit the Singalila trail with a few companions to Sandakphu and Phalut. For the avid trekker, the Singalila trek may be pretty tame, but for someone who does not do much walking, it turned out to be more than an ordeal. As I found out the hard way, an ‘easy’ trek can be hard and a sign that says ‘just round the corner’ can be misleading. There are many possible routes that one can take on the trail, but we chose one that would take us from Maneybhanjyang to Phalut and back the same way. It is an easy trek since the stone paved track makes it very easy not to get lost, but it is very hard on the legs and feet negotiating the stone paving on foot. One look at the track and I go, ‘Land Rover country’: it would be foolish to test even a thoroughbred SUV on it. I see the outrageous ascents and descents and I decide I’m much safer on my own two feet, albeit a little tired. Only a Land Rover can run on this terrain, and any driver who drives on this track undertakes a death defying, gravity challenging mission on every single trip he makes, all for a measly IRs. 3,500. JUN-AUG 2009 | 17

Day 01 | STRAGGLER Chitrey - Lameydhura - Tonglu (3.5 + 5 = 8.5kms)

Day 02 | PAIN Tonglu - Gairibans - Kalpokhari (7 + 7 = 14kms)

Chitrey - 26.99°N, 88.11°E, 2329m Lhameydhura - 27.00°N, 88.09°E, 2565m Tonglu - 27.04°N, 88.08°E, 2729m

Gairibans - 27.04°N, 88.03°E, 2532m Kalpokhari - 27.08°N, 88.02°E, 2975m

I’m so ready for this trek, I even have a bottle of water treatment pills in case we have to drink from brooks on the way. Attired like a seasoned trekker, with a tripod and water bottle strapped to my backpack, I leave Darjeeling early with my three companions on a Chevrolet Tavera bound for Maneybhanjyang. On reaching there, we hire the services of a trained guide, Buddha Singh Tamang, or BS, as he is better known among his peers. Many trekkers start from Maneybhanjyang, but since there is a proper road that runs to Chitrey, we make our driver drop us till there. Fresh on the trail, we hit a brisk pace, but barely a few minutes gone by, my neglect of my own fitness hits me hard and I fall back behind the others. I struggle on my way up and soon I have to ask BS to carry my camera pack. My much younger companions tackle the ascent with ease while I barely manage to crawl behind them. A stick eases my plight considerably. I have to take numerous breaks and I’m relieved when we reach Meghma where we have a bowl of instant noodles for lunch. During lunch, another group catches up with us and hands in my camera bag, which BS had left during one of our breaks. I’m relieved, but more than relief, I’m very moved by the gesture, the people here are honest. From Meghma, BS takes a shortcut up a hill and we get our first taste of the wind that this trail is known for. It hits us with fury and brings with it a thick fog. It is difficult going, and the lack of visible landmarks makes the climb monotonous, but easy. Late in the afternoon, we reach Tonglu. Most groups go further down to Tumling for their night’s halt, but we decide to set camp here since we want to catch the sunset. However, the day remains overcast and the sunset eludes us. The DGHC+ Hut is nice and cosy and Tshering Daju and his family cook us a good dinner. As we retire for the night, it starts to rain and the wind howls. We plan to wake up early for the sunrise.

We had hoped the rain would drive away the mist but we are disappointed. The day is overcast and we fear it will rain later. We plan to make it to Sandakphu today, a 20km-walk away. It’s very ambitious, but doubts linger as I realise that I have pulled a muscle in my groin and I can barely lift my right leg. Looking at my condition, one of my companions offers to carry my load and we set off on the trail after a light breakfast of omelette and wheat cheura. Despite the Sandakphu/Phalut trail being primarily offered by travel operators in North Bengal, it is one that flits between India and Nepal. One moment you may be walking on Indian soil and the very next in Nepal, and likewise, one side of the track could be India and the other Nepal. From Tonglu, BS takes us through Jahubari, Nepal, to Gairibans. The stretch from Tonglu to Jahubari is pleasant without any sharp ascents or descents. It is however all downhill through a rough track from Jahubari to Gairibans. From Gairibans, it’s up again to Kalpokhari, Nepal. I am racked by pain as we walk through forests of rhododendron and magnolia in the Singalila National Park. While I struggle ahead, I realise that food and water is best in one’s stomach than in one’s backpack. My load gets heavier with every step I take. Relief comes in the form of a friendly Land Rover driver who agrees to take half of our stuff and leave it at Kalpokhari. With a large part of the load off our backs, we make faster progress. On the way, we come across a small lake where the locals, to relieve any confusion have put up a sign that says, ‘Kalpokhari - just round the corner’. We walk faster only to find that just round the corner is an understatement. It takes us almost an hour to finally reach Kalpokhari. Once there, BS takes us to Chewang Daju’s Hut where we find our luggage already in. I am in no state to walk further, so, we settle down in a room here.

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Day 03 | THIN AIR Kalpokhari - Bikeybhanjyang - Sandakphu (2+4=6kms) Bikeybhanjyang - 27.09°N, 88.01°E, 3072m Sandakphu - 27.11°N, 88.00°E, 3533m The day is still overcast and we have lost all hopes of seeing a bright, clear day during our trek. Chewang Daju’s wife gives us omelette and phaley for breakfast. She also packs some popcorn for us, which, as she says, will help us tide any possible altitude sickness. Today we walk only 6kms giving our bodies time to recover. It’s a short walk from Kalpokhari to Bikeybhanjyang, a small hamlet with just three houses. I don’t have much problems on the way and my muscles seem to be on the mend. We are above 3000ms now, and the air is thinner. I get tired faster and my lungs burn. The popcorn helps though, and clears my breath. We rest for a while at Bikeybhanjyang. The stretch to Sandakphu is not long but very steep and I am daunted by the ascent. We assure ourselves that there is no hurry and we can take as many breaks as we want, and thus we head up. Each step up this track only increases my admiration for the Land Rover drivers, these are perhaps special people.

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for some shots. With ours hopes up, we head towards Phalut, which is said to provide as good a view of the mountains as Sandakphu, only closer. It’s a long stretch with no hamlets in between, so we carry aloo-parathas for lunch. Wiser now, we leave most of our luggage under Dada’s care. As Phalut is almost the same altitude as Sandakphu, there are no steep ascents and descents. The trail runs along ridges and is said to offer some spectacular views. However, only a few minutes on the way, a thick fog envelops us and we again walk without any landmarks in sight. As we trudge ahead through the trail, we are treated to the tinkling of cowbells as cattle graze in the highland meadows, invisible to us. Taking a shortcut, BS takes us to a goth where we buy some churpi. Tied behind the house are two Tibetan Mastiffs, and my trip, to a large extent, is fulfilled seeing these magnificent animals in their elements. The sun plays a game of hide and seek. Walking JUN-AUG 2009 | 19

through this featureless white mist, the sun makes sudden appearances, flooding the surroundings in brilliant light only to disappear again. On our way we are hit by a drizzle compounded by a very strong wind. We take a shortcut down a slope and reach another goth. Unlike the one in the morning, this is a seasonal cattle shed, the cattle-herders live here for half the year while they go lower during the winters. We leave the goth refreshed by a cup of warm tea. I feel much better and we cover the distance faster, engrossed in a talk about dogs. Soon, we can see the DGHC Hut at Phalut, but as we get nearer, we are hit by a hail storm. We don our raincoats and after struggling up the slope we make a dramatic entry into Phalut in a shower of hail stones. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cold here, very cold.

pRr altitude sf] d"Vo vfgf g} xf] cfn' . lbg /ft cfn' vfg tof/ /xg'xf];\ . Day 05 | SIGHTS Phalut - Sandakphu (21kms) If Sandakphu is known for its mountain panorama, Phalut is known for its wind. It blew like mad all night long, but, thanks to it, we woke up to a clear day. The cold and the long walk of the previous day appears to have taken its toll and I reluctantly step out of my bed. As I find out, we need to climb a small hillock for a view of the mountains. A cold wind hits us as we take a few steps up to the top, and I realise I am not properly attired for the ordeal. I thus back out and let my younger, more able-bodied companions continue. My companions return an hour-or-so later, chilled to the bone. I am disappointed but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d rather skip the view than be grounded in the desolation of Phalut, ill. After a light breakfast we head back to Sandakphu. If the previous day was of sounds, this one is of sights with the sun blazing in the sky. As we flit between Nepal and India, interestingly, I notice that the Nepali side is wind-swept and the vegetation, bare, while the Indian side is sheltered and scattered with taller shrubs and trees. We also notice a lot of dead, burnt fir trunks scattered across the landscape. The terrain may have perhaps witnessed a recent, sudden climate change or maybe the fir is a foreign plant, so, what grew is dead or dying, but there is no new growth visible. While the fog obscured our view earlier, the sun brings with it sunburn and a slight headache. The sights today



replace the sounds of the previous one, tree branches shake as the wind rushes by them and we see herds of yaks and dzos graze languidly in the meadows. This stretch somehow appears longer as we see the track wind along the ridges until they disappear into the horizon. Walking under the sun dehydrates our body and our lunch proves inadequate. As evening approaches near, we are tired and worn out. We can see the huts in Sandakphu, but they are as distant to our feet as they are near to our eyes. Finally, by early evening, we reach Sandakphu and the first thing we grab is a bottle of Thumbs Up to replenish the depleted levels of sugar in our bodies.

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Day 06 | FATIGUE Sandakphu - Bikeybhanjyang - Kalpokhari - Gairibans - Tumling (4 + 2 + 6 + 6 = 18kms) Tumling - 27.03°N, 88.07°E, 2936m We wake up late this morning, no mountain views for us today. Having done 21kms each the past 2-days gives us a sense of achievement and we feel ready and confident for the trip back. Going down from Sandakphu to Kalpokhari to Gairibans should not be much trouble, but we may struggle from Gairibans to Tonglu. As we descend from Sandakphu to Bikeybhanjyang, we marvel at our feat of ascending the steep slope on our way up. Yet again, we find ourselves safer on our feet as a few landrovers run their way down by us. The past few days' walk has weakened our joints and it tells on our way down. The descent is not as easy as we had earlier thought. We have lunch at Chewang Daju’s and then head on for Gairabans. We are again lucky as another Land Rover driver agrees to drop our baggage to Tumling on the way to Tonglu. Many people find this stretch boring as it runs through a forest and is somewhat monotonous and does not provide much of a view. From Gairibans, we decide to take the long route and we soon realise that this stretch is much longer than we had anticipated. The track runs through the Singalila National Park and is lined by groves of bamboo, rhododendron and magnolia. We do not see any animals on the way, but we are treated to the sight of many colourful birds, including a kaleez. After a tiring walk we reach Tumling in the evening. Tonglu is about 2kms further from Tumling, but we do not have the energy to continue so we put up at Shikhar Lodge, where our luggage has been left earlier. Shikhar Lodge is luxurious and is run by a group of intense looking sisters. They have a very staunch demeanour but they play the perfect host. The food is the best we’ve had since we started from Chitrey about a week back. We even get a taste of fish, another luxury at this altitude.

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Day 07 | PAIN REVISITED Tumling - Chitrey - Maneybhanjyang (7 + 2 = 9kms) Maneybhanjyang - 26.98°N, 88.12°E, 1940m It’s the final day of our trek and we wake up late again. We have a breakfast of puris and aloo-dum. I ask the didi for my hisab and I am pleasantly surprised at the amount. It’s way, way below what I had expected for the service we had received, only NRs. 550 for dinner, breakfast and a comfortable room for five people. We take our leave and head for Maneybhanjyang. The stretch from Tumling to Chitrey passes off in a jiffy and now its only 2kms to Maneybhanjyang. Relaxed and content we head ahead, but then my right knee gives up and every step downhill is a struggle. What took barely 15mins for the Tavera took almost two hours for us. After a painful walk down we finally reach Maneybhanjyang, where we take leave of BS, and head for Darjeeling on a Maruti van.

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s:tf] aG5 ;+ljwfg< slxn] aG5 ;+ljwfg< /ljg lu/L æcfGtl/s sfo{tflnsf km]/abn x'G5 . t/, clGtd sfo{tflnsfdf k|efj kg{;S5 xf]nf h:tf] nfUb}g .Æ b'O{ ;ftfcl3 ;+jw} flgs ;ldltsf ;efkltsf x}l;otdf Pp6f b}lgs klqsfdf cGt/jftf{ lbPsf clxn]sf k|wfgdGqL] dfwj s'df/ g]kfnn] o;f] eg]sf] xKtf lbg glaTb} ;+ljwfg;efsf] ;lrjfnoaf6 sfo{tflnsf kl/jt{g ul/g] ;"rgf cfof] . ;ef;b\ :jo+n] ufpFufpF uP/ ;+sng u/]sf ;'emfjnfO{ ljZn]if0f u/L klxnf] d:of}bf a'emfpg] ;do gk'u ePsf] sf/0f b]vfP/ yk ;do dfu u/]kl5 sfo{tflnsf kl/jt{g ug{k' /]sf] ;lrjfno >f]tsf] egfO{ lyof] . ;dod} cyf{t\ !$ h]7 @)^& ;fndf gofF ;+ljwfg hf/L eO;Sg'kg]{ hgrfxgf / ;+jw} flgs afWotf eP klg o;nfO{ a]jf:tf ub}{ sfo{tflnsf ablnPsf] of] rf}yf] k6s xf] . ;/sf/ kl/jt{g ePnuQ} km]l/ klg sfo{tflnsf kl/jt{g ug]{ s'/f k6s k6s gp7]sf] eg] xf]Og . t/, ;+ljwfg;efsf cWoIf Pj+ Joj:yflksf ;+;b\sf ;efd'v ;'jf;rGb| g]Daf8n] o;sf] ljkIfdf s8f c8fg lnPkl5 tTsfnsf nflu sfo{tflnsf ;g]{ of] vt/f 6/]/ uPsf] 5 / tflnsfs} cg'?k clxn] k|f/lDes d:of}bfaf/] cWoog ug]{ sfd klg eO/x]sf] 5 . t/, o:tf] vt/f ;lsPsf] eg] 5}g . ;+ljwfg lgdf{0fsf r'gf}tL /fHosf] k'g; { /+ rgf, zf;sLo :j?k lgwf{/0f / ;dfj]zLsf d'2f— ;;{tL x]bf{ efjL ;+ljwfg lgdf0f{sfqmddf bn / gful/s txdf d'VotMof log} s'/fdf ax;, ljjfb jf 5nkmn x'g] b]lvG5 . /fHosf] k'g; { /+ rgfsf] dfu g]kfnsf nflu gofF xf]Og . /fhf dx]Gb|s} kfnfdf of] ljifo k|dv ' tfsf ;fy p7]sf] lyof] . t/, Toltv]/ sf] ;/sf/n] bdg u/]sf] cfjfhsf] clxn] klg sb/ ePsf] 5 egLxfNg] cj:yf 5}g . lsgeg] clxn] /fHo k'g; { /+ rgfsf] Pp6} ;'q / Pp6} ;dfwfg lgsflnPsf] 5, Tof] xf], ;+3Lo /fHo lgdf{0f . t/, ;+3Lo /fHo s;/L / s'g cfwf/df lgdf{0f ug],{ ;Ldf lgwf{/0f s;/L ug]{ eGg] s'/fdf ax; / ljjfb s]lGb|t 5 . /fli6«o hgdf]rf{sf g]tf lrqaxfb'/ s];L ;+3Lotfsf] cjwf/0ffn] b]z 6'qmfpg] wf/0ff /fV5g\ . eG5g\, æd ;+3Lotfsf] lj/f]wL xf]Og, t/ oxfF h'g vfnsf] ;+3Lotfsf] s'/f eO/x]sf] To;n] d'ns ' s} cl:tTj vt/fdf k5{ eGg] d]/f] egfO{ xf] .Æ hflto /fHon] ;fDk|bflos ;befj vNaNofpg] eGb} bf];f| ] 7"nf] bn sf+u; ]| / Pdfn] /fHosf] cfwf/sf?kdf e"uf]n, ;+:s[lt / cGo ljsNksf] kIfdf 5g\ . æ9'u+ f df6f]sf] gfddf 22 | YZINE.COM.NP

/fHo lgdf{0f u/]/ ;hLj hfltnfO{ clwsf/ lbG5' eGg] l;4fGt g} unt 5,Æ /fHosf] k'g; { /+ rgf gfds k':tssf n]vs ejfgL a/fn eG5g\ . k|f= s[i0f vgfn eg] hftLo åGånfO{ ljZjf;df lnO{ To;nfO{ ;Daf]wg ug]{ kl5Nnf] /fhgLlts c:qsf ?kdf ;+3Lotf b]vf k/]sf] atfpF5g\ . ;+3Lo ;+/rgfkl5 ;+ljwfg n]vgsf] csf]{ r'gf}tLsf ?kdf plePsf] 5, /fHosf] zf;sLo :j?k lgwf{/0f . /fHosf] sfo{sf/L kbdf k|wfgdGqL x'g] of /fi6«klt . dfcf]jfbLn] /fi6«klt sfo{sf/L /xg'kg]{ :ki6 kf/]sf] 5, t/ sf+u; ]| / Pdfn] To;sf] ljkIfdf 5g\ . ;fy} ;+3Lo :j?kdf s]Gb|, :jfoQ /fHo, pk:jfoQ /fHo, Gofokflnsf nufotsf ;/sf/L ;]jfdf s:tf] lgod nfu' ug]{ nufotsf ljifodf klg bnx?aLr tLj| dte]b sfod 5 . rf/ hgfsf] Hofg hfg] ul/ kmfu'gaf6 cfGbf]ng yfn]sf yf? ;d'bfon] p7fPsf] k|dv ' k|Zg ;dfj]zLs/0f;Fu ;DalGwt 5 . ;fj{hlgs ;]jfdf cflbjf;L yf? ;d'bfonfO{ ;dfj]z ug]{ ;/sf/n] cWofb]zdfkm{t NofPsf] ljw]osdf yf?nfO{ dw]zcGtu{t /flvPsf]df pgLx?sf] cfklQ lyof] . lj/f]wkl5 ljw]osd} ;+zf]wg ug{ ;/sf/ afWo ePsf] lyof] . ;dfj]zLs/0f ubf{ Wofg k'ug] eg] eljiodf x'g;Sg]

;+ljwfgljb\ bdggfy 9'u+ fgfn] bnx?aLr x'g] u/]sf lgoldt ljjfbn] gsf/fTds kl/0ffd NofPsf] atfpF5g\ . @)$& ;fnsf] ;+ljwfgsf d:of}bfsf/ ;d]t /x]sf pgn] eg], æx/]s s'/fdf ;xdlt ub}{ hfFbf gofF ;+ljwfg klg k'/fg} h:tf] aGg] vt/f 5 .Æ kqsf/ o'j/fh l3ld/] bnx?s} sf/0f ;+ljwfg lgdf{0fdf ;+s6 cfpg] bfjL u5{g\ . cflQPsf bnx? ;+ljwfg n]vgnfO{ s'g} axfgfdf kl5 ;fg]{ v]ndf nxl;g ;Sg] atfpFb} pgL eG5g\,æ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f s]xL bnx?aLrsf] l8ndf kl/0ft x'g] vt/f a9]/ uPsf] 5 .Æ

;+3if{sf] Pp6f ;fgf] ?k dfq xf] yf? cfGbf]ng . ;+ljwfg;efaf6} ;a} s'/f 6+u' f] nufOg] e/f];f lbnfPsf sf/0f olta]nf dlxnf, blnt, hghflt, ;LdfGts[t / cNk;+Vos ;d'bfo r'k nfu]/ a;]sf 5g\ . t/, ha ;fpgsf] cGTo;Dddf ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bf ;fj{hlgs x'g5 ] , Tof] a]nf Psk6s ;f/fsf] rf;f]sf] d'Vo ljifo ;DejtM oxL g} aGg]5 . t/, oL tLg r'gf}tLnfO{ ;Daf]wg ug]{ eg]sf] /fhgLlts ;xsfo{ / To;k|lt k|lta4tf g} xf] . ;+ljwfg lgdf0f{sf nflu of] g} rf}yf], t/ ;a} eGbf dxTjsf] r'gf}tL xf] . otf klxn] ;/sf/ / clxn] ;+;b\df /x]/ klg nuftf/ hgu0ftGq / ;Qf sAhfsf] wDsL lbg] k"j{ k|wfgdGqL Pj+ Plss[t g]kfn sDo'lgi6 kf6L{sf -dfcf]jfbL_ cWoIf k'iksdn bfxfn …k|r08Ú sf], gful/s ;jf]R{ rtfsf nflu eGb} rflnPsf sbdx?n] klg bnx?aLr dte]b a9fpFb} nu]sf] 5 . k|wfg;]gfklt k|s/0fdf /fi6klt /fdj/0f ofbjn] rfn]sf] sbdnfO{ …s'Ú sf] ;1f lbb}+ ;Qfaf6 aflx/LPsf dfcf]jfbLn] ;8s / ;+;b\ b'ja} f6 ;/sf/lj/f]wL cfGbf]ng z'? ug]{ pb\3f]if u/L;s]sf] cj:yfdf o;sf] c;/ ;+ljwfg lgdf0f{df gknf{ eGg ;lsGg .

oxfF klg v]nfFrL vfFbaf/Lsf s[i0fk|;fb ltlD;gfnfO{ pgsf] ;'emfj dxTjk"0f{ ePsf] eGb} ;ef;b\ hof l3ld/]n] wGojfb lbg}sf nflu ltlD;gfsf] df]jfOnd} kmf]g u/]sL lyOg\ . sf7df8f}lF :yt s'nZ] j/sf 9'l08/fh clwsf/LnfO{ klg ;ef;b\n] kmf]g u/] / ;+ljwfg agfpFbf pgsf] ;'emfj klg pkof]uL x'g] cfZjf;g lbP . æklxn] of] ;a} gf6s h:tf] nfUYof],Æ clwsf/Ln] eg] . tTsfnLg /fhf 1fg]Gb|n] ;+ljwfgdf lglxt cfk\mgf] clwsf/ k|of]u u/]sf] eGb} ;Qf xTofpFbf l;Gw'kfNrf]s, d]nDrLsf n]vgfy kf08]nfO{ ;+ljwfg /fhfs} kf] /x]5 eGg] nfUof] . To;}n] pgn] o;k6s lgs} pT;flxt eP/ k|ZgfjnLsf] hjfkm lbPsf lyP . æ6]lnkmf]g ug'e{ Gbf xfd|f ;'emfjnfO{ ;+ljwfgdf :yfg lbg'kg]{ xf],Æ vfFbaf/Lsf ltlD;gf eG5g\ . To;f] x'g ;s]df gofF ;+ljwfgnfO{ hgtfn] cfk\mgf] cg'et" ug]{ pgsf] 7x/ 5 . ;ef;b\n] 6]lnkmf]gdf To;sf] Uof/]G6L u/] t < kf08] eG5g\, æcxF, u/]gg\, pgLx?n] xfdL k|of; u5f}F{ dfq eg]sf 5g\ .Æ ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f k|lqmofd} cGof}n ePsfn] ;dod} ;+ljwfg agfpg r'gf}tL ylkPsf] eGg]x? klg 5g\ . dfgjclwsf/sdL{ kb\d/Tg t'nfw/n] xfn} Ps sfo{qmddf hgdt ;+sngdf dft[efiffsf] k|of]u gul/g'sf] lj/f]w u/] . g]kfnL efiff ga'em\ g]n] cfk"mnfO{ nfu]sf] ;'emfj lbg sl7gfO{ x'g] s'/fnfO{ pgn] p7fPsf lyP . pgn] eg], æhgtfnfO{ h'g hf]uL cfP klg sfg} lr/]sf] eGg] efg kg{ yfn]sf] 5 .Æ dfgjzf:qL ;'wLGb| zdf{ / tYof+szf:qL kjgs'df/ ;]gn] hgdt ;+sngnfO{ cj}1flgs eg]sf 5g\ . æk|ZgfjnL agfpg] JolQmn] cfk"mh:t} cfd g]kfnL /fhgLlt zf:qdf :gftsf]Q/ 5g\Æ eGg] ;f]rs ] f x'g;S5g\ eGb} xfn} Ps ;fKtflxsdf k|sflzt n]vdf n]vs4on] æo:tf k|Zgaf6 cfpg] pQ/nfO{ hgdt eGg gldNg]Æ ts{ u/]sf 5g\ . clwjQmf 6Lsf/fd e6\6/fO{ klg o; s'/fdf ;xdt 5g\ . pgsf] ts{ 5, æhgdt ;+sngaf6 k|fKt ;'emfjnfO{ clen]vLs/0f ug]{ / To;df nfUg] ;do, hgzlQmsf] Vofn} gul/Psfn] hg;'emfj a]jfl/;] cj:yfdf k'us ] f] 5 .Æ bnLo c;xdltafx]s gofF ;+ljwfg n]lvg'cl3 g} ul/g'kg]{ sltko dxTjk"0f{ sfo{ k"/f gx'gfn] klg ;+ljwfg n]vgdf ;d:of NofPsf] 5 . gofF ;+ljwfg n]lvg'cl3 g} ;lsg'kg]{ ;a}eGbf dxTjk"0f{ sfo{ ;]gf ;dfof]hg xf] . t/, clxn];Dd /fi6«;3+ Lo ld;g -clGdg_ n] cof]Uo 7x¥ofPsf n8fs'x?nfO{ k'g:{ yfkgf ug]{ sfd g} cufl8 a9\g ;s]sf] 5}g . ev{/d} fq ;/sf/n] ;j{blno k|fljlws ;ldlt tof/ u/]sf] 5, t/ ;dfof]hgsf dxTjk"0f{ a'bF fdf /fhgLlts ;xdlt gx'bF f k|fljlws JUN-AUG 2009 | 23

ts{n] dfq s]xL gx'g] lglZrt 5 . lj:yflktx?sf] k'gM:yfkgf, sAhf ul/Psf ;DklQ / 3/hUuf lkmtf{, åGåsfndf Iflt Joxf]/s ] fx?nfO{ cNksfnLg /fxtsf sfo{qmd, dfgjclwsf/ xgg\sf 36gfsf] 5fglagsf] ;'?jft ;+qmd0fsfnd} ul/;lsPsf] x'gk' g]{ xf] . ;+ljwfg lgdf0f{sf nflu ag]sf] ;/sf/sf] bfloTjnfO{ dfcf]jfbLn] b'?kof]u ug{ yfn]sf] atfpFb} s];L eG5g\, æo;n] dfcf]jfbL g} gofF ;+ljwfg rfxFbg} eGg] z+sf pTkGg ePsf] 5 .Æ t/, dfcf]jfbL ;ef;b\ Pj+ ;+ljwfg;efsf] k|fs[lts ;|ft] , cfly{s clwsf/ / /fhZj afF8kmfF8 ;ldltsL ;efklt cd[tf yfkfdu/ ;+ljwfg lgdf0f{df oyfl:yltaf6 dfly p7\g g;s]sf bnx? / k'/fgf ;fdGtL ;+/rgfsf kIfkf]ifsx?af6 d'Vo vt/f /x]sf] atfpFl5g\ . elG5g\, æ;+ljwfg;efs} nflu oqf] o'4 n8]/ cfPsf] kf6L{nfO{ pN6} z+sf ug{ ldNb}g .Æ ljb|fx] sf] tof/L ∕ cfkm'n] avf{:t ug{ rfx]sf k|wfg;]gfklt ?Sdf+ut s6jfnnfO{ /fi6«klt 8f=/fdj/0f ofbjn] ;]jfd} /lx/xg cfb]z lbPkl5 k|wfgdGqL k'iksdn bfxfn ‘k|r08’ n] uPsf] a}zfv @! ut] /fhLgfdf lbP . /fhLgfdfdf k|wfgdGqLn] /fi6«kltn] u}/;+jw} flgs sfd u/]/ gful/s ;jf]R{ rtfnfO{ r'gf}tL lbPsf] eGb} csf]{ …s'Ú u/]sf] cf/f]k;d]t nufP eg] d'ns ' df j}bl] zs x:tIf]ksf] r/d ?k b]lvPsf] :jLsf/ klg u/] . /fi6«kltn] cfkm\gf] sbd g;RofP;Dd ;bg / ;8saf6 cfGbf]ng hf/L /fVg] lg0f{o u/]sf] dfcf]jfbLn] ;xdltsf] /fhgLltsf] eljiosfaf/]df ;d]t z+sf JoQm u/] . /fi6«kltn] eg] bnLo ;xdlta]u/ cfkm'vz ' L lg0f{o u/] sf] eGb} cgk]lIft Ifltaf6 /fi6«nfO{ hf]ufpg afWo eO{ o:tf] sbd rfn]sf] k|li6s/0f lbP . otf dfcf]jfbLsf] pQm sbd a]l7s ePsf] lgisif{ lgsfNb} ;/sf/ af6 aflx/LPsf bn / ;/sf/ aflx/ /x]sf cGo bnaLrsf] ;xsfo{df Pdfn]sf] g]tT[ jdf ;/sf/ ag]sf] 5 . k|wfg;]gfklt k|s/0f, Gofonodf nuftf/sf] x:tIf]k nufotsf lqmofsnfkn] dfcf]jfbL ;QfsAhf ug]{ s'lgotsf ;fy cl3 a9]sf] eGb} clwsf+z bnn] lj/f]w rsf{Psf 5g\ . t/, dfcf]jfbL g]tT[ jju{ eg] dfcf]jfbLn] ;QfsAhf u5{g\ eGg'nfO{ k|ltlqmofjfbLsf] ;Qf xTofpg] csf]{ rfn ePsf] atfpb} cfPsf] 5 . ;QfsAhfsf] z+sf Tolta]nf emg} ;fGble{s aGof], hlta]nf dfcf]jfbL kf6L{ cWoIf k|r08sf] ljjfbf:kb lel8of] 6]k ;fj{hlgs eof] . @)^$ k'; !* ut] ;+ljwfg;ef lgjf{rgsf] d'vd} f zlQmvf]/l:yt t];f| ] l8lehgsf hg;]gfnfO{ lbPsf] lgb]z { gdf k|r08n] ;+ljwfg;efsf] lgjf{rgnfO{ kf6L{sf] cNksflng sfo{gLlt / ;QfsAhfnfO{ bL3{sflng /0fgLltsf] ?kdf JofVof u/]sf lyP . dfcf]jfbLn] lhTg] cj:yfdf dfq ;+ljwfg;ef x'g,] lgjf{rgsf a]nf lzlj/sf hg;]gfnfO{{ aflx/ lgsfNg], cGo bnsf g]tf, sfo{stf{nfO{ ef}lts sfjf{xL ug],{ n8fs' Joj:yfkg clg zxLb kl/jf/nfO{ lbOPsf] /sdaf6 xltof/ v/Lb ul/ cfGtl/s lab|fx] sf] tof/Ldf nufpg] h:tf cg]sf}+ uDeL/ / cfklQhgs jStAon] k|r08nfO{ cem ljjflbt agfPsf] 5 . 24 | YZINE.COM.NP

cem hg;]gfsf] ;+Vofaf/] pgn] lbPsf] hfgsf/Ln] t ljZjnfO{ g} Psk6s em:sfPsf] 5 . 6]kdf pgn] 7\66fsf] z}nLdf cfkm\gf] ;]gf ;ft b]lv cf7 xhf/sf] ;+Vofdf cfO;s]sf] t/ k|df0fLs/0fdf #% xhf/ b]vfP/ lgoldt hg;]gfsf] ;+Vof @) xhf/df NofPsf] atfPsf 5g\ eg] ;dfof]hgaf6 g]kfnL ;]gf k"/} dfcf]jfbLdo agfpg] pb\3f]if;d]t u/] . cfkm' ;Qfdf k'Ug] ljlQs} ;]gf ;dfof]hssf] gofF lgod agfpg] eGb} pgn] cfkm\gf] clGtd p2]Zo ljb|fx] g} ePsf] :jLsf/ u/]sf 5g\ . 6]k ;fj{hlgs ePkl5 pTkGg t/+unfO{ dTy/ kfg{ k|r08n] To;sf] k;L{kN6} kqsf/ ;Dd]ngsf] cfof]hgf ul/ o;n] dfcf]jfbLnfO{ zflGtk"0f{ /fhgLltaf6 6f9f /fVg] g]kfnL ;]gfsf] if8\oGq ePsf] atfP . k|r08sf] :kli6s/0fn] ;Gt'i6 x'g g;s]sf] gful/s ;dfh, ;xof]uL /fi6« / xltof/sf] k|df0fLs/0fdf ;+nUg /fi6«;3+ Lo lgsfon] ;d]t o;af/] rf;f] k|s6 u/] . sf+u; ]| n] k'gM n8fs' k|df0fLs/0fsf] dfu ;d]t /fVof] . ;bg / ;8saf6 csf]{ dxfg cfGbf]ngsf] 3f]if0ff u/]sf] dfcf]jfbL cWoIf k|r08n] cfkm\gf] /fhLgfdfkqdf hf/L zflGt k|lqmof / ;+ljwfg n]vg sfo{nfO{ eg] ;xof]u ug]{ hgfPsf 5g\ . h;nfO{ ;a}n] :jfut u/]sf 5g . t/, ;+ljwfg n]vgsf] g]tT[ jaf6 ;+3if{sf] d}bfgdf xf]dLPsf dfcf]jfbLn] oxLaf6f]af6} gofF ;+ljwfg n]vgdf /rgfTds ;xof]u unf{g < cfkm' Ot/sf] gofF ;/sf/;fd' p;sf] /j}of nf]stflGqs xf]nf < ;Defjgf t sd} 5 t/} klg hgtf;fd' TofGb|f] hlt ePklg cfzf / fVg'afx]s csf]{ ljsNk 5}g . gq, ;a} 8'A5g\ !! a}zfvdf nf]stflGqs lbj;sf] pknIodf cfof]lht Ps sfo{qmddf tTsflng k|wfgdGqLs} x}l;otdf dfcf]jfbL cWoIf k'iksdn bfxfn …k|r08Ú n] ;dod} nf]stflGqs ;+ljwfg tof/ ul/g]df k'gMk|lta4tf hgfP . d'ns ' gofF lsl;dsf] åGådf k|jz ] ug]{ ;Defljt vt/ftkm{ ;+st] ub}{ pgn] bnx?sfaLr gofF prfOsf] ;dembf/L ljsf; ug{k' g]d{ f hf]8 lbPsf lyP . pgn] cfk}mF n] eg]emF} ;a} bnaLr ;xdlt agfO{ k"j{ lgwf{l/t sfo{tflnsfleq} cfd g]kfnLnfO{ ;Gt'i6 kfg]{ ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f ug]{ bfloTj ;a}eGbf a9L pg}df lyof] . clwjQmf e6\6/fO{sf cg';f/ !$ h]7 @)^& df gofF ;+ljwfg hf/L x'g} kg]{ sfg"gL afWotf ePsf] atfpF5g\ . pgL eG5g\, æTolta]nf l:yltnfO{ lgoGq0f ug{ g;s] b]zdf 7"nf] b'36{ gf klg x'g;S5 eGg]tkm{ cfhsf ;ef;b\x?n] Wofg k'¥ofPsf] k|df0f e]l6Fbg} .Æ ;+ljwfg lgdf{0fn] ult lng g;s]s} cj:yfdf g]kfnL ;]gfsf k|wfg;]gfklt s6'jfnnfO{ tTsflng k|wfgdGqLn] cjsfz / /fi6«klt ydf}tL u/]kl5 g]kfnL /fhgLltdf gf6sLo df]8 cfPsf] 5 . ;dod} ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f x'g gkfPsf] l:yltdf lbg ;lsg] ljleGg axfgfx?dWo] of] klg Pp6f x'g;Sg] ;+efjgf 5 . t/, tf]lsPsf] ;dodf ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f x'g ;s]g eg] hgtfnfO{ r'gfjsf a]nf dfq} ;lDemg] bnx?sf] /0fgLlt ;Fws } f nflu sfd nfUg] 5}g . æ;dod} ;+ljwfg gag]df c? t 8'A5g\8A' 5g\, dfcf]jfbL eg] qmflGtsf/L ePsf]n] ;lhn};uF plqG5Æ

dfcf]jfbL g]tf 8f= afa'/fd e§/fO{n] efif0f lbFbf eg]sf lyP . t/, sy+sbflrt ;+ljwfg;efaf6 ;dod} ;+ljwfg ag]g eg] k"/} d'ns ' g} 8'Ag]5 h;sf] a/fa/ >]o dfcf]jfbLnfO{ klg hfg]5 . dfcf]jfbLnfO{ c;kmn agfpg] bfpdf ;+ljwfg lgdf{0f k|lqmof g} cj?4 agfpg]

p2]Zo s;}n] /fv]sf 5g\ eg] Tof] klg pgLx?sf nflu k|To'Tkfbs g} x'g5 ] . lsgeg] ;+ljwfg tof/ x'g g;s]sf] bf]if d"nwf/sf ;a} /fhgLlts bnx?nfO{ hfg]5, hgtfnfO{ xf]Og .. 

-;+ljwfg;ef lgodfjnL, @)^% sf] lgod !$( ;+u ;DalGwt_ of] ;do tflnsf ;+ljwfg;efsf] klxnf] a}7s ePsf] ldltb]lv ;f9] % dlxgfsf] ;dofjlwnfO{ s§f u/L @)^% ;fn dfu{ ! ut] af6 afFsL /x]sf] ;f9] !* dlxgf cyf{t *@ xKtfsf] cjlwsf nflu k|:tfljt ul/Psf] 5 . ;+ljwfg;efsf] sfo{tflnsf != ljifout ;ldltx?n] tof/ kf/]sf] cjwf/0ff kq / k|f/lDes d:of}bf ;+ljwfg;efdf k]z u/L 5nkmn ul/g] * xKtf @)^^ ;fn !! a}zfvb]lv h]7 d;fGt;Dd @= ;+jw} flgs ;ldltn] ;efn] lbPsf] ;'emfj / ljifout ;ldltaf6 k]z ePsf d:of}bfnfO{ PsLs[t u/L gofF ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bf tof/ ug]{ * xKtf @)^^ ;fn c;f/ / @% ;fpg;Dd #= ;+jw} flgs ;ldltn] tof/ u/]sf] ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bf k"0f{ a}7sdf k]z ug]{ / 5nkmn ug]{ % xKtf @% ebf} @)^^ ;Dd $= s_ ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bfnfO{ clGtd ?k lbO{ hgtfsf] /fo k|ltlqmofsf] nflu g]kfn /fhkqdf k|sfzg ug]{ v_ hgdt ;+sng / ;dGjo ;ldltn] ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bfdf hgtfsf] /fo ;'emfj lng] sfo{of]hgf tof/ ug]{ ! xKtf @^ ebf} @)^^ b]lv ebf} d;fGt;Dd

% s_ ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bfdf Jofks ;'gjfO{, uf]i7L / cGt{lqmof u/fpg] v_ h'g;'s} dfWodaf6 cfPsf ;'emfj u|x0f ug]{ u_ df= ;b:ox? cfcfk\mgf] lhNnf, If]q / d'ns ' sf ljleGg efudf hfg] Pj+ hgtfsf ;'emfj lng] * xKtf ! c;f]h @)^^ b]lv @% d+l;/ @)^^ ;Dd . ^= hgtfsf ;'emfj ;DaGwL lj:t[t k|ltj]bg tof/ u/L ;efdf k]z ug]{ $ xKtf d+l;/ @^ b]lv @@ k'; @)^^ ;Dd . &= hgtfsf] ;'emfj ;DaGwL k|ltj]bgdfly k"0f{ a}7sdf 5nkmn @ xKtf @# k';b]lv & df3 @)^^ ;Dd !!= s_ ;+ljwfgsf] klxnf] d:of}bf hgtfsf] /fo adf]lhd kl/dfh{g u/L ;+ljwfgsf] ljw]os ;efdf k]z ug]{ v_ ;+ljwfgsf] ljw]ossf] k|lt ;a} ;b:onfO{ ljt/0f ug]{ % xKtf * df3 @)^^ b]lv !) kmfu'g @)^^

;efdf ;fdfGo 5nkmn ! xKtf !! kmfu'g @)^^ b]lv !& kmfu'g @)^^ ;Dd (= ljw]osdf dfggLo ;b:ox?n] ;+zf]wg ug]{ Dofb ! xKtf !* kmfu'gb]lv @$ kmfu'g @)^^ !) -s_ ;+zf]wg ;lxtsf] ljw]osdf ;efdf bkmfjf/ 5nkmn ug]{ . k|To]s wf/f pkwf/ fdf lg0f{o ub}{ hfg] -v_ gofF ;+ljwfgsf] k|:tfjgf ;lxt ;Dk"0f{ efu ;efaf6 kfl/t ul/g] * xKtf @% kmfu'g @)^^ b]lv !% a}zfv @)^& ;Dd . !!= s_ kfl/t ;+ljwfgsf] k|df0fLs/0f k|lt tof/ u/L ;b:ox?n] x:tfIf/ ug]{ v_ cWoIfn] k|df0fLs/0f ug]{ u_ ;+ljwfg;efn] cf}krfl/s /fli6«o ;df/f]xsf] cfof]hgf u/L cWoIfn] kfl/t ;+ljwfg /fi6«klt ;dIf k]z ug]{ / /fi6«kltn] ;f]xL ;df/f]xaf6 g]kfnL hgtf ;dIf ;+ljwfg ;fj{hlgs u/L ;+ljwfg nfu" ePsf] 3f]if0ff ug]{ !^ j}zfv @)^& b]lv !$ h]7 @)^& ;Dd

*= cGtl/d ;+ljwfg / ;+ljwfg;ef lgodfjnL adf]lhd ;+ljwfgsf] ljw]osdfly JUN-AUG 2009 | 25


Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions REVIEWED BY VIKASH PRADHAN

P.G. Tenzing Penguin Books Non-fiction/Travel

It’s a ramble, literally, spanning 218 pages and stretching 25,320kms. Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions is witty, caustic at times, and, contemporary is perhaps the best word to describe how this travel journal runs its long course across the length and breadth of India, and Nepal. A nine-month journey, if not afforded proper treatment would perhaps have become academic and boring, but P.G. Tenzing manages to cut out the fat to come up with a concise, interesting and involving account. It’s a travel journal, and yet 26 | YZINE.COM.NP

it is much more than that. Tenzing draws extensively into impressions during his over-two-decade long tenure in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to colour the places and people that he encounters on the way. It is thus as much about his experience as an IAS officer as it is about a bloke on an Enfield out on a long, long ride. It’s interesting to note how Tenzing manages to connect back to his past, the places he had been during his official tenure and the people he met thereon. Through his journey he appears to rebuild the bridges that may have got burnt due to his transfers from one place to another, as it happens during an IAS officer’s lifetime. Thus, when he rides on along, he often goes through places and gets to meet and enjoy the hospitality of people who have figured in his past, in many cases illustrated by short, interesting anecdotes. A travel journal can sometimes end up being a travel guide, but this is not one of those. Like any good journal should be, it does not try to be a primer on the places that the writer passes through. Instead, he

takes the reader on the long ride through his eyes, his wit and his sensibilities. The journal moves in a linear path, starting from Kerala where Tenzing embarked on his journey, but it is those little tangents interspersed in between, moments of introspection and recollection, that go to light up the narrative. Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions is candid with a refreshing narrative, put matter-offactly.

The concept of karma is one of the favourite whipping posts of the losers in the world. Let me add a few lashes to this cosmic drama. This journal is not one to bank on if you are on the road yourself. You’re much safer with the GPS on your mobile phone. It may however inspire you to start on a journey of your own, live your dreams and perhaps help you connect the karmic dots. 


Jimma Kasko?

Why do parking lots in up-market department stores and malls have the sign ‘park at your own risk’? Who made the rule of paying for public parking and now that there is a rule where is the money going? It would definitely be more systematic, hassle free and prevent accidents if the traffic lights were working, instead why are they on the blink? Questions of your own that you never get answers to? Send them to

Q&A with P.G. Tenzing I would encourage all to follow their dreams. However, dreams should be followed with responsibility. To live your dreams is not without risk. What was/were your weakest moment/s? My weakest moments were missing family and friends from time to time, being drenched for days on end during the monsoons and the heat during the summers. What was/were the high point/s? My high point was the ride from Manali to Leh in terms of pure beauty. Ending the journey with a 10-day Vipassana course in Jaipur was also a high. Writing the book at Begnas Lake was also a high.

What was the purpose of this journey? The purpose of the journey was to take time out for myself. To take it easy, to answer to nobody, to go wherever I wished, to do whatever suited me at that moment. It was a break from the normal life. A time to think. To explore the sacred bond that unifies all of us. Did you always have a fascination for motorcycles? I have loved the Enfield 350cc since my college days. Why an Enfield? There is no bike like the Enfield. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got personality, man! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s macho yet romantically thunderous. The sound and the feel cannot be replicated. I could go on and on. Any modifications to your bike in preparation for your long and arduous trip? The only modification was to put in a small carrier at the back. During the journey, I replaced the silencer with one from an older model.

Will you do it again? I may do it again, in another country. I may also do a year-long trek. Wait and watch. Did you intend to publish a book even before your journey? Yes, I intended to write the book before the journey began. I already had an agreement with Penguin India. Has this journey changed your perspective of life, people and the land? Nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Change is a gradual process and I have definitely changed. How much and whether for the good is for other people to say. I only feel humbled by the experience and am grateful for the chance. What has been the pros and cons of coming back to 'reality' after making such a long journey? One part of me will always be on the road. An experience of this nature will leave an indelible mark. I am happy to be at home in comfort but sometimes I do miss the wild ride.

Which was the toughest leg of the journey? The toughest part of the journey was the beginning and the end. The beginning because my body needed to get used to the long hours on the bike. The first two weeks were hell on the ass. The end because my fingers were swelling up and getting arthritic. I was getting mentally fatigued too.

Would you encourage others to follow your footsteps or venture out for a similar adventure? I would encourage all to follow their dreams. However dreams should be followed with responsibility. To live your dreams is not without risk.

What was the most difficult thing about this endeavour? Convincing family, voluntary retirement, physical fitness? Voluntary retirement was like closing a chapter in my life. That part was gone forever. It was hard.

About the name of the book, any anecdote that spurred the decision? The name of the book was based on discussions between Penguin and yours truly. ď Ž JUN-AUG 2009 | 27


Dhangadhi: A Dispatch From The Far West BY KASHISH DAS SHRESTHA


It’s just past 4pm when the plane lands at the APRIL Dhangadhi airport. Everyone there, about 15 people including police officers, draw themselves away from the fuzzy television in the empty terminal and come out for the landing. The air is thick and warm and there are no taxis. A lone rickshaw waits for a passenger it has just dropped. “He told me he is going in to pick up some things, but seems like he is gone,” the driver says, resigned to the fact that he has been cheated of a Rs.100 fare, a large sum for a long ride here. “Everyone who comes here is picked up by the organisation they work with,” he adds by way of explaining the absence of taxis as we make our way to Dhangadhi bazaar. Dhangadhi, a trading post only a few kilometers from the Indian border, is the district headquarters of Kailali. The road outside the airport is alive with chicken, goats, children, buffalos and cyclists. It runs between fields of golden wheat, dotted with cows and farmers, huts and banana groves, and bordered by other trees on the horizon. Along the highway they are steadily replaced with metal recycling centres, timber and brick factories, furniture stores, and government offices. As we near the bazaar, tiny shops fade out and concrete buildings fade in; shades of green, blue, pink, yellow and white are popular colours. Almost an hour later I reach my hotel, Saathi, chosen randomly by scanning signboards as the rickshaw made its way through the bustling bazaar punctuated by banks, electronic repair shops, cyber cafes and IT training centers. 28 | YZINE.COM.NP


I head to the Forestry Complex to look for local APRIL experts for my research on Jatropha and someone at the Regional Forest Office connects me with Tika Dutta Joshi, District Chairperson of Nepalese Federation of Forest Resource User Group (NEFUG). For the last two years Joshi has been involved in cultivating and promoting Jatropha as a source of clean bio-diesel. For now, much of the plantation is grown without irrigation on land managed by the Tegari Community Forest User Group. The first batch, grown along a riverbed, got washed out in last monsoon’s floods. “There isn’t a reason to actually plant them there, the idea was just to make good use of unused space,” he explains acknowledging the lessons learnt. Already he has run several awareness raising campaigns in the region and is currently working on setting up a larger irrigated farm. At the current plantation site, he spots a few wild vultures. “Wow! Look! That’s gorgeous. It's so good to see them coming back,” he exclaims, rejoicing at the sight of the endangered bird that a friend of his, amongst others, had been working to revive in numbers.


The afternoon heat persists despite the shade of a large APRIL tree at the Park Inn’s garden and the occasional cool breeze. I arrived here this morning with Meena, youth coordinator for the INGO Search For Common Ground (SFCG), and Emily, an English girl researching women post conflict. More than 50 people have arrived from farwestern parts of Nepal to participate

in a workshop that will essentially be a mock Constituent Assembly (CA), part of SFCG’s Pathways To Peace (P2P) project. The first of the two-day event has been in session since 10am. As the event takes a break, several participants watch Emily and I speak in English. One assumes I am her guide and asks me how long I have been working as one. Another assumes I am her translator and asks where and how long I trained for it. Ayaz Khan compliments me and, in English, asks if I have lived abroad: “I have lived in New York.” “Oh. How much did you pay to go? 9 lakhs? 12 lakhs?” “No, I didn’t pay anyone. What is that fee for?” “Student visa. If I pay that much I can go nah! Why didn’t you marry an American? You could live there so easily nah?” “I don’t think I am going to be marrying any time soon.” “Why not? You can live in America if you marry an American nah? That’s what I’m going to do. You should consider this too.” “It’s not so simple you know.” “I am good at these things nah!” Khan’s younger brother, Saud, is a participant too. At 14, he has already given his School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam and is an active regional member of the political party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum. He speaks Nepali, Hindi and basic English and wants to be a pilot when he grows up. During lunch he is one of the few who does not eat the mutton curry because it’s not halal and “eating too much meat is not good for your brain. You start thinking like the animal you are eating.” Two boys from Dang decide to speak

to me about their sexual curiosities. Both are Bahuns in the final years of their teens. “I have a girlfriend but I want to wait for marriage before sex,” one of them says. “But my friend,” he adds and begins laughing, “he likes to change his girlfriend frequently.” His friend has two girlfriends, a Bahun and the other of a different caste. “It’s a problem to marry inter-caste but we have to change that tradition,” the friend says. “After this, I’ll probably marry my next girlfriend.” “So what do you think? Is he right or am I right?” the conservative of the two asks. “And is it true people working in NGOs are more open sexually?” I dismiss both questions and remind them what is really important is safety and consensus of the concerned people. After lunch the convener of the event, Bishnu Khatri, announces it’s time to pick a chairperson and asks who would like to be nominated. Eight hands go up, including two women’s, and no one concedes in favor of a fellow candidate despite Khatri’s urging. “I have done this twice in Dang and I think I will be able to fairly represent everyone while using my experience to expedite the sessions smoothly.” “Women need voices and I think that’s why I should be elected!” “I am a janjaati and I will raise issues of minority groups!” One candidate finally steps out of the race and a general election then nominates Lata Buda as the chairperson with a landslide 23 votes. It seems 25 of the 50 participants, including Lata, had participated in a lively two-day grassroots community workshop in Bela Gaun before coming here, giving her a public relations advantage. Her closest competition, Upadhyaya, gets seven votes and is elected sub-chairman. The experienced candidate gets a lone vote. I get on a rickshaw and ask the driver what is in 'that' direction. “Bazaar”



“Far?” “No, not really.” APRIL About 15 minutes later I realize the bazaar is in India. I ask him to stop in the middle of the Mohana Bridge. An emerald river gently flows below. I turn to my left and look back at Nepal; deforested

flatlands farmed and grazed, with settlements. I turn right and look towards India: tall green tress all around. A minute later we cross the Indian border and are greeted by an array of border and forest security and monitoring offices, the hustle and bustle of a bus stop and small JUN-AUG 2009 | 29

eateries. A steady flow of rickshaws enters and leaves the border with almost entirely Nepali passengers. 2kms down, the highway that runs between the forest is interrupted with a small clearing that looks like a shantytown on one side and a rickshaw parking lot on the other. This is Gauriphanta Bazaar, a shantytown mall that sells seemingly everything (bicycles, food stuff, kitchen utensils, underwear, electronics, fashion accessories etc). Behind it, a religious event seems to be taking place. I buy a bottle of water and share it with my rickshaw driver. On the way back a family of monkeys resting by the highway scatter when a bus rumbles down our way. The cost of the trip? Rs.90. Emily and I head to Park Inn for the on-going P2P event. Just this morning, on BBC, I watched outrage over the proposed severely restrictive code of conduct for women in Afghanistan. Here, I watch young men and women work alongside to propose issues for the CA chaired by a female candidate. One of the CA’s sub-committee is represented by a fiery young woman who declares that Far-West Nepal is treated like a stepchild by the centre,

An immigrant's story


Kathmandu, thus calling for change if we are to be democratic, inclusive and bring about even development. Other subcommittees talked about youth issues, 'third' gender issues, women issues, marginalised community issues with similar tone. “Two enthusiastic days,” Khatri says, sipping on cool pure sugarcane juice under the tree after the event ends. But it has gone over budget. A few participants brought along extra participants and some also initially demanded daily stipend outside of meals and lodging that the hosts were already providing. Nobody was given any stipend, but I asked one of the organisers if it wasn’t NGOs themselves who set this trend. “It’s true, NGOs had a huge role in making people expect payment for participating in events,” Tapraj Joshi, District Program Coordinator for Youth Action Nepal said. “During my research on the Badi community here no one would talk to me unless I paid them,” he said recalling his research in the nearby Muda Gaon where women traditionally are prostitutes. It seems the Far West is not treated like a stepchild by the center all the


time. The airport is abuzz with a VIP arrival; the young and APRIL immensely popular Nepali Congress’ CA member Gagan Thapa will be here any minute for a three-day campaign for Yagya Raj Joshi in Kanchanpur. The former mayor and regional party chief is running for office and “Gaganji’s endorsement will really help,” explains someone. Inside, as we wait to depart, I am struck by photos of beautiful landscape hung on the airport walls; green rolling hills with cattle grazing, more rolling hills with large lone-standing natural stone structures, the picturesque cottage of the legendary sage Khaptad Baba. The place, Khaptad, is a gorgeous national park in the far west. But perhaps because it’s so remote, it risks being treated like a stepchild compared to other popular national parks. “Why hasn’t this place been promoted for tourism?” I ask a fellow passenger who told me he lived a day’s walk away from the park. “Well they said they would promote it for Visit Nepal Year 2008,” he says. “But then 2008 came and went.” Why not for Visit Nepal Year 2011, I ask him. “Yes, that’s a thought.” 

On my way to the hotel one afternoon I buy a bottle of chook (indigenous vinegar), a sour cooking ingredient from Radhika Madhesi and Nandu Lal Gupta, a couple from Gorakhpur, India, that moved to Dhangadhi 20 years ago. “We have tried applying for Nepali citizenship but the broker asks for Rs.25,000, so, we can’t afford it,” Radhika explains. For years they survived on selling grains on a street cart. Now they spread out a large plastic mat by the street and position sacks of grains on it. The profit margin is usually between Rs. 1-2 per kg sold. They have four children aged between 7 - 18, of which the eldest, daughter Laxmi Devi Gupta has been married for two years. “It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or rainy, we have to come here and setup our shop,” Madhesi explains. “My husband is retarded I think, he doesn’t seem to think much and sometimes just goes for long walks.”

Y ! C onscience

P2P The youth, it is said, are the future, and with that in mind, the INGO Search for Common Ground (SFCG) launched their Pathways to Peace (P2P) project. Its shortterm goal focuses on helping young Nepalis from different social PATHWAYS TO PEACE backgrounds develop a keener sense of pro-activism towards the peace and democratisation process by engaging them in civic activities. Then, using this as the platform, P2P will works towards its long-term goal of structurally transforming the manner and depth of youth participation in the civic and political arena so that their contributions towards the overall peace and democratisation process in Nepal are more substantial and positive. The two-year project will wind up in August 2010 and hopes to achieve the shortterm and the long-term goals by then. SFCG hopes to achieve these goals by increasing the youth’s knowledge on democracy, the rule of law, constitution building and political parties, and also by engaging in and creating broad, inclusive public dialogue and platforms for intergenerational exchange of ideas and opinions on pressing issues. The project will conduct 120 civic-education seminars for students in colleges, 10 civic leadership trainings for youth leaders and conduct a media campaign too. P2P will also conduct three Regional Youth Assemblies and a National Youth Assembly to ‘draft’ a ‘Youth Constitution’ and to facilitate the establishment of a National Youth Federation. The Project is being done in partnership with Youth Initiative, Antenna Foundation, Nepal, the Association of Youth Organisations in Nepal, Y Magazine and Youth Action - Nepal.

Save water Harvesting rainwater using a small rain barrel helps supplement irrigation for a small cost. Start with a drum Be sure to get a heavy-grade plastic container that won't let in light — clear or translucent barrels can speed the growth of algae, which can clog pipes. Learn how to make a rain barrel The water savings from using stored rainwater rather than municipal or well water can be substantial over a period of time. A rain barrel can also help reduce the amount of water that may settle around the foundation of your home. Uses for collected water Hand-water plants, flowerbeds and gardens Rinse off gardening and other tools Flushing toilets Washing selective laundry What about filtering? Leaf debris, bird droppings and chemicals from roof material won't likely be harmful to plants. Use a window screen or wire mesh to keep out debris and insects and clean the tank periodically to remove any settling. Stay away from plumbing It's important to keep your rain barrel independent from existing house piping or sprinkler system piping to prevent a cross-connection to your potable water. How it works Catch rainwater from a roof with gutters. Store rainwater in barrels, both big and small, which can be plastic, fiberglass, concrete or metal, so long as it's non-porous and smooth — even a garbage can will work. Use collected water... ...either by filling a watering can or attaching a soaker or garden hose to water plants.

JUN-AUG 2009 | 31


Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA (44°27'N - 110°51' W).


© Film “HOME” – une coproduction ELZEVIR FILMS / EUROPACORP

Frenchman Yann Arthus-Bertrand is one of the world’s most recognized photographers, especially for his aerial body of work, shot from helicopters and balloons all over the world. Born on March 13, 1946, Arthus-Bertrand has produced over 60 books while his photographs are frequently published in National Geographic amongst others. He is a member of Académie des Beaux-Arts de l'Institut de France and has been awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour for his ‘photographic achievements on the environment.’ This June 5, World Environment Day, his documentary HOME will be broadcast worldwide, including in Nepal. He spoke with Y! magazine about his work, inspiration and hopes. 32 | YZINE.COM.NP

Everybody at one point or the other probably dreams about seeing the world from the sky. You do that for a living. How did you get started? At the end of the 1970s, I went with my wife to Kenya to study the life of a pride of lions in the Maasai Mara Reserve. I used photography to document the behaviour of the lions and at the same time I learned to be a hotair balloon pilot. I used to take tourists for a photo safari above the reserve. That’s how it all started. How often do you do aerial photography and what are some of the most striking differences and trends you have found over time? I flew a lot for the 'Earth from above project' from 1990 to 1999. I discovered during these years that this aerial survey of the Planet at the turn of the millenium was in fact a never-ending project. I hope that other photographers will fly over the same areas so we can see what is changing and understand how and why landscapes are changing over time. Mankind has the power to change its environment and I want my photos to testify to this fact so people can realize this. And eventually take action because our survival depends on the way we care for our home.

Your film HOME was 15 years in the making and is being released worldwide on June 5, World Environment Day. What makes it so crucial to do this at this moment in time? Actually, I worked on the film ‘Home’ for three years, but it’s true that Home is very much connected to my work since the beginning of the 1990s. I was impressed by the new ideas that came out of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. It was the first time I heard of concepts like sustainable development, climate change or biodiversity. Year after year, the state of our planet is getting worse. Scientists tell us that we have less than 10 years to change the way we live and consume natural resources. We need to mobilise as many people as possible because we are in this together. It’s a shared responsibility and there is nothing we can’t do if we are 6.8 billion caring for each other., both in French and in English, packed with information regarding the environment and sustainable development around the world. Where will you be watching HOME on June 5? I will be in France. ‘Home’ is airing on the French public television. There will be a debate following the film. But, thanks to satellite communication, I will be able to be in Mexico City where it is being officially launched on World Environment Day. What after HOME? I don’t know actually. I’m thinking about a second film, Home 2, to show all the solutions and initiatives that exist to the environmental crisis.  Photo courtesy: Alliance Française in Kathmandu

© Film “HOME” – une coproduction ELZEVIR FILMS / EUROPACORP

You are the founder of GoodPlanet, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable development. HOME is also geared at raising funds for the production and distribution costs while donating all profits to GoodPlanet. How will this work when the film is being made available for free downloads on the internet? We have a sponsor, the PPR group, who has granted us some 10 million euros to produce the film and we don’t have to pay it back. That is why we can show Home free of charge around the world. A lot of people, like myself, worked without been paid. With Luc Besson, we don’t want to be measured by the success of this film in millions of dollars or euros but in millions of spectators. There is some added costs to distribute the film so we are looking for financial support from other sponsors or foundations. If there is any money left it will go to GoodPlanet, an NGO I created in 2005. With Goodplanet, we try to educate, to inform, to raise consciousness about environmental and social issues. You have said this film will be ‘optimistic’. Still, it must be difficult for you to see from the sky the steady loss of forests and other natural habitats. 6 billion people, you say, is 6 billion “brain power to react.” But it is also 6 billion mouths to feed, amongst other things. I say it is too late to be pessimistic. ‘Home’ is not only about saving forests or natural habitats, it is also and mainly about saving humanity. Everything is linked. Therefore it is not right to oppose the fate of nature and the fate of mankind. Forests help preserve water and soil, two prerequisites to produce food. But it is the overconsumption of a few that bring the biggest peril: 20% of the world’s population consume 75% of the Earth’s resources. Tell us about some of the work GoodPlanet has been doing. We are helping NGOs working on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in developing countries. We also design posters on subjects like biodiversity or energy for French schools and have developed a website Tanguy Thuaud JUN-AUG 2009 | 33

Y ! N ot W rite


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cledGo' lg/jL, @% n]vs, lgb]z { s, /]l8of] gf6s gofF af6f] gofF kfOnf . /]l8of] k|;f/0fsf] If]qdf k|jz ] ug]{ ;fg}bl] vsf] /x/ lyof] d]/f] . t/, s;/L stfaf6 eGg] k|Zgn] dnfO{ ;tfO/xGYof] . To;}n] :gfts g;s'Gh]n cfk\mgf] /x/nfO{ dgd} kfn]/ k9\glt/ nfu]F . ;don] Pslbg o:tf] h'/fof], To;n] d]/f] ;kgfnfO{ lakgfdf ablnlbof] . ;of}F k|lt:kwL{dWo]af6 d gf6s n]vssf ?kdf 5flgPF . ToxLa]nf cyf{t clk|n ;g\ @))^ b]lv clxn];Dd d gf6s n]vg / lgb]z { gd} Jo:t 5' . syf, sljtf, uhn n]Vg] ePklg To;cl3 d}n] slxn] gf6s n]vs ] f] lyOgF . ;fFRr} eGg'kbf{ dnfO{ gf6s n]vg c;fWo} ufxf/f] nfUYof] . d gf6s Tolt k9\lbgy]F klg . t/,/]l8of]df Tolta]nf k|;f/ x'g] gf6sx? rflxF ;'Gy]F / cg]s sNkgfx?df ub{yF] . dnfO{ nfU5 /]l8of] gf6ssf] dxTjk"0f{ zlQm eg]sf] dflg;nfO{ sNkgfzlQm k|bfg ug'{ xf] . d /]l8of]df cfpg] gf6sdf pNn]v ul/Psf] ufpF ;Dem]/ Pp6f /dfOnf] ufpFsf] sNkgf uy],F{ h;sf] ;'Gb/tfsf] s'g} ;Ldf x'GgYof] . To;}n] xf]nf, cfh d xhf/f}F >f]tfx?nfO{ afË]kLkn eGg] ;'Gb/ ufpFsf] sNkgf ug{ nufpF5' /]l8of]sf] dfWodaf6 . gf6sdf sfd ub}{ hfFbf gf6s n]vg;DaGwL d}n] s]xL tflndx? klg lnPF . clxn] k|To]s efux?df d gofF gofF tl/sfx? l;Sb} /]l8of] gf6s agfO/x]sf] 5' . gf6s n]vg hlt a'‰of] plt ufxf/f] nfUg] uDeL/ ljwf xf] . o;nfO{ ;/n 7fGg] dflg;x? klg 5g\ . n]Vgsf] nflu n]Vg' / gf6snfO{ a'em]/ gf6sdf cfjZos ;Dk"0f{ tTjx? ld;fP/ n]Vg' km/s s'/f xf] . ;Djfb n]v/] dfq} gf6s tof/ x'bF g} . ulxl/P/ n]Vfg, lgb]z { g ug]{ xf] eg] /]l8of] gf6ssf] dfWodaf6 klg ;dfhdf ;sf/fTds kl/jt{gx? Nofpg ;lsG5 . clxn] /]l8of]af6 cfpg] gf6sx? xftdf uGg ;lsg] 5g\ .o;f] x'gs ' f] k5fl8 o:fdf sfd ug]{ dflg;x?sf] sdL x'g,' /]l8of]n] gf6snfO{ kof{Kt k|fyldstf glbg' tyf cln vlr{nf] x'g' k|dv ' sf/0fx? x'g\ . t/, oxL k]zf ;dft]/ klg hLjg wfGg ;lsg] cj:yf cfO;s]sf] 5 . h;sf nflu nug, OR5f, ldlxg]t, tflnd / sNkgfzlQmsf] bsf{/ x'G5 . = =/, zfob lgolt klg .  ;'wL/ e08f/L

JUN-AUG 2009 | 35


Energy Policy 2.0 Whatever energy policy Nepal had has failed miserably in foresight and implementation. Now is an opportunity to draft and implement progressive environmental policies that tie into our energy needs and economic strategy. BY KASHISH DAS SHRESTHA Deep blue dusk transforms hot March afternoons into chilly nights in Kathmandu. In the warm indoors, school students prepare for their final exams in the pale flickering glow of candles whose prices have gone up. Outside, the streets are dry and dark, and a coat of dust is whipped up by the rushing fire engine, the headlights of vehicles behind it piercing through the grainy haze. The billboard skyline too has gone dark. A house in old Kathmandu has been burnt down by a burning candle. Hospitals report rise in fire related injuries. After dinner, housewives and grandmothers miss


the melodrama of their favorite Indian soap operas. During the day, banks, government offices and small businesses alike are left powerless, literally. The young and old are starved of their daily online communication with friends and family abroad. Last monsoon, major floods in Eastern Nepal burst the Koshi barrage and displaced tens of thousands. Then a drought follows and the drying rivers plunge Nepal into darkness. In December the government declares an energy crisis. By February, the capital city’s eight-hour daily rolling blackouts increase to between 16 -18 hours but decreases by some in April. Diesel fumes rise from generators

and overwhelm the scented incense in the tourist district Thamel, while a highway blockade in the Terai again caused a fuel shortage. “The current power supply to the national grid is about 260MW including imported power from India, while the demand is 808MW,” reported Kantipur News two months ago. With the rain of the last few weeks, the figures may have changed slightly. Still, this is one of Nepal’s most acute energy crises and in the midst of all this, unrelated political turmoil has forced a change of government in early May with the dust yet to settle, seriously derailing dialogues on important issues. At press time, in late-May, the political situation remains fluid and it remains unclear if the new government with authority will a cabinet will have formed by June 5, World Environment Day. This fiscal year, mostly under former Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai, the Ministry of Finance boasts record revenue collection, a staggering inheritance for the new government that hopes to announce Nepal’s budget by July. With the energy and climate crisis in mind, they must do more than just continue to announce increased energy imports, or float mega hydro projects to foreign investors or lenders. With a sense of urgency, it needs to take a holistic path to Nepal’s energy policy with as much domestic capital as possible. Substantially investing in upgrading our crumbling energy infrastructure (transmission & storage), helping explore new sustainable alternatives and technologies for our energy needs (jatropha based bio-diesel, solar thermal technologies, wind energy), ensuring growth for those that already exist (electric vehicles, PV based solar energy & bio-gas), updating school curriculum and enforcing new building codes (insulation, green roof, CFL, hybrid energy source & net metering), to name a few, would be a good start. For now, here are a few thoughts on making energy generation and usage more sustainable while serving our economic development agendas.

• Nepal’s electricity deficit = 485MW (dry season) and 170MW(monsoon). •

Nepal imports about 130MW from India even during normal circumstances. India itself suffers from a large energy deficit. Domestic energy generation is meaningless without upgraded transmission infrastructure.

Come Rain… “How much ever rich we were in context of water resources, in the context of climate change we are no longer that rich. What will be most viable in the next 20-25 years? We must consider the mix of alternative energy. What is the scope of hydro and where does solar come in? We have to study the situation in this context.” - Pitamber Sharma, former vicechairman, National Planning Commission It is difficult to figure out what Nepal’s energy policy is, if it can even be credited with having a coherent one at all. “In Nepal, hydro policy equates to energy policy,” Ngamindra Dahal, energy and climate change coordinator, National Trust for Nature Conservation, says. “We have to start thinking about alternatives that have worked.” Of about 685MW installed capacity, almost 635MW is hydro-based and an estimated 130MW is regularly imported from India, with or without a crisis. The forlorn promise for generations has been that big hydro projects would light up the country and make it rich too by selling the electricity to India. In reality, Nepal has hopelessly grown ever more dependent on India for all its energy needs when India itself faces an energy deficit and most of its electricity generation is coal-powered. The Himalayas feed some of the world’s biggest river systems and these rivers are the most explicitly available source of energy here. But there are more than enough academic and professional experts who

disapprove at the flawed policies and approach Nepal has taken. “There is no clarity on the policy level in the government’s thought process,” Pitamber Sharma says. He believes that Nepal needs to first define its basic minimum energy goals before dreaming big. “Right now, we haven’t even defined our minimum and we are busy selling mega projects.” Experts such as Ajaya Dixit have also repeatedly questioned policies regarding the development of Nepal’s hydro sector. “Electricity is an input to production process and should be conceived as such to uplift the country socially and economically by providing energy security to its citizens. Yet projected revenue from selling of hydropower continues to dominate the country's energy policy,” he wrote

most recently in Getting Basics Right (, Jan 19, 09). All this on the eve of Pharping Hydro Power's (500KW) centenary (2010/11), Nepal's first hydrop project in 1911. “The government must invest in 25 - 30MW projects and better define the private-public partnership workable modality. If you can begin building 4 - 5 of these projects every year, you get at least 100MW on your own every four years!” Sharma, also a former professor of Geography at Tribhuvan University, says. This, he calculates, would steadily add power to the ailing grid and can be done so with capital raised domestically. Also, these would not pose the kind of ecological threats that its larger counterparts do. For most people in Nepal who are connected to the national grid, a rain or a mild storm usually meant getting ready with emergency lights for the almost inevitable blackout. Such has been the state of Nepal’s crumbling energy infrastructure. In the last year, however, most Nepalis connected to the national grid achingly awaited rain in hope that it would feed our hydro power plants. An upgrade of the grid is urgent not just to deal with a falling branch

Middle Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project (72 MW ) under construction

German Development Cooperation with Nepal JUN-AUG 2009 | 37

uPsf] km]ac '| /L dlxgfdf Soflnkmf]lgof{sf] csNof08l:yt a|fO6;f];{ OghL{ OGs=n] blIf0fL Soflnkmf]lg{ofsf] Pl8;g;Fu ;f}o{ phf{ 3/ af6 !#)) d]ufjf6 ;f}o{ phf{ cfk'lt{ ug{] ;Demf}tf u¥of] . ;g @)!# ;Dddf ;~rfngdf cfpg] of] kl/of]hgf clxn] ;Dds} ;a}eGbf 7"nf] xf] / o;af6 !) nfv 3/x?df lah'nL aNg]5 . or a strong gust of wind but also to help deliver energy from new sources. A government Commission recently concluded this could cost several billion rupees. The study was done specifically for the hydro sector. But an upgraded system could also mean that other sources, specifically solar, could become one major step closer to feeding the grid.

…or Shine “The ongoing energy insecurity indicates serious flaws in our national energy development approach. It should force us to see things that we do not want to see: that access to reliable and affordable energy is our primary need. Scholars studying calamities and disasters suggest that a crisis is an opportunity to change prevailing practices. This energy crisis should offer us a window to innovate and begin making real differences to the lives of all Nepalis.” - Ajaya Dixit, director, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation (Getting Basics Right,, Jan 19, 09) It’s 6am in Inarwa, Sunsari, a town in the eastern Terai, and already the occasional breeze is a welcome sensation. By 11am, you might want a second cool shower but chances

are, the water is already warm without even using the solar heater, a popular and successful water heating utility in most Nepali homes. About two hours east from Inarwa, seven Bhutanese refugee camps housing tens of thousands of refugees in Morang and Jhapa are dotted with glistening silver solar cookers. Its concave shape helps it to concentrate the sun’s heat on an item placed in the center, thus cooking a meal and boiling liquids without using any gas, fuel or firewood. For over a decade rural communities across Nepal have also been using solar powered lamps for basic lighting needs. This is of course a pitch for solar energy development in Nepal at a larger scale. Yes, it’s a while before this can happen but when it does, it can happen in two ways: Photovoltaic panels (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CPS), i.e. Solar Thermal. So far Nepal has largely focused only on PV based solar energy. And there are enough unused sunny valleys where a PV solar farm could work, though, private systems at homes and offices could remain expensive even after basic subsidies. The scope for CPS might actually be far greater. CPS can be based on several models but the basic principle involves concentrating the sun’s heat at a single point (like using a Solar

Concentrated Solar Power plant model Transmission Grid Sun


Solar Collection Field


Evaporator Condensor

Expansion Tank


Cooling Station

Cooker). The cyclical process heats water, turning it into steam (like a super solar heater), which then sets the turbines that generate power in motion feeding power to the grid. A cooling station then recycles much of the water. The space and water required is proportional to the capacity of the power plant. Since it recycles water, the fundamental resources required other than the sunlight, this technology could possibly translate to the advantages of a storage-type hydro project, minus the environmental consequences. Many countries have been using this technology for large-scale sustainable energy production for sometime now. In February, the Oakland, California, based BrightSource Energy Inc. made a deal with Southern California Edison to supply them with 1300MW of solar-thermal energy by 2013. It is the largest such project in the world to date and will power almost a million homes “The New Nepal needs an environmental counterpart to the great political revolution we have had [in 2007]. Not in the distant future, but immediately. Nepal has had successes with various alternative energies. Now let’s go to scale in the spirit of the People’s Movement!” Kul Chandra Gautam, former assistant general secretary of the United Nations and former executive deputy director of UNICEF, says. Investing in large-scale solar energy in Nepal would mean ensuring a lot of additional clean power to the grid during the dry season when the hydro energy production capacity significantly decreases. And during the monsoons, when solar projects could be less efficient, hydro projects could make up for the energy gap. In any case, both solar and hydro projects of a crisis averting/solving scale need the infrastructure to deliver the harvested energy consistently. A reliable and sustainable grid also creates the perfect condition for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Nepal. Emphasizing EVs over fuel driven cars would naturally help the domestic economy and global ecology.

;xL ;dodf ;xL sfd ug{ 5f8]/ c? s'/fsf] kl5 lsg nfUg] < o:tf gLltx? g]kfndf nfu' ug{ lsg ljZjJofkL kl/0ffd s:tf] x'G5 eg]/ kv]{/ a:g] < d'n'sdf gLltut ?kdf s]xL ablnFb}g eg] ljZjJofkL df};d kl/jt{g;Fu ;DalGwt ;Dd]ngx?df efu lng'sf] cy{ g} s] /Xof] / <

• A new report suggests that as

much as 25% of the world's electricity can be produced with CSP by 2050. CSP energy is close to $0.12per K/Wh, i.e. Rs.9.60, in developed countries. With technological improvements, economies of scale and volume production, prices could continuously drop over the next 10 years to $0.6 per W/h, i.e. Rs.4.80.

Electric Vehicle:

Plug In, Turn On and Drive Out “Currently, road transport alone accounts for about 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The role that alternative energy will play in future will determine the rate at which climate will change in coming decades.” - Hari Bansha Dulal, resource economist, Washington DC Kathmandu: the Valley who’s number of inhabitants has shot up by millions in the last several years, where vehicle ownership has grown rapidly. Kathmandu’s Streets: that have become increasingly overcrowded, polluted, noisy, unhealthy and inefficient. Kathmandu’s Fuel Supply: a source of pollutant of which there is limited quantity in the world

and a chronic domestic shortage of; that is always imported and driven long distances into the valley if the highways are not shutdown as they are so often. Kathmandu’s EVs: quiet, efficient, compact, non-fossil fuel dependent, easy to maintain; a dying breed. Correction, a killed breed. Killed? Killed! So who killed Nepal’s EVs? In 2001 Eco-Visions imported 5 Revas from India. While it waited custom clearance, the Ministry of Finance changed its policy within three days and imposed the existing 125% luxury tax (a road tax is also levied on the vehicle). The cars were abandoned but Eco-Visions bought them back at an auction in 2006 and refurbished them for sale. “The people who first started this gave up. Then someone else has been trying to work with the government but he too has realised it’s hopeless. So there might not be any more EVs apart from a few orders we have,” Dharmendra Maharjan, the Reva Workshop in-charge, says gravely. Today, the Rs.7,00,000 car costs Rs. 18,00,000 and there are less than 30 in the city, most of which are owned by embassies and INGOs. If Ram Sharan Mahat, the Finance Minister in 2001, pulled the plug on EVs, then why did the former Finance Minister Bhattarai continue to dig its grave? And will the next Finance Minister repeat this mistake? Several people familiar with the subject indicate to lobbyists as the problem. Some of the biggest businessmen in the country own dealerships to cars that come in the same price range, with

tax, as Reva without tax. Essentially, the price is a major advantage that, for example, the immensely popular Indian brands Maruti 800 and the recently launched Tata Nano has over Reva. Already Reva costs only Re.1/km, better mileage than a motorcycle and more efficient batteries and on-board energy generation technologies are being developed as we speak. And the required 2 - 4 hours of charging can take place at home or office. Reva is just one example. EVs come in all shapes and sizes; buses, trucks, vans, motorcycles, luxury cars, sports cars and family cars. China has stepped up its auto manufacturing industry to producing EVs. Norway’s Think is already entering American markets. Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault, Nissan, Honda, General Motors, Ford and many other companies are all actively working towards having a line of EVs in the market within 2 - 3 years. Norway is considering banning all fossil-fuel-based vehicles by 2015 and London has announced major subsidies with the intent of becoming the EV ‘capital of Europe’. China announced similar subsidies earlier this year. Subsidies aside, many countries and American cities have also begun developing infrastructure for EVs. Making alternative energy-based vehicles, including EVs, tax exempt (import, sales, road, property) as soon as possible means paving the way for a whole new industry in Nepal. Despite great expectations, former Finance Minister Bhattarai let a lot of people down when he refused to address this matter. Now, his new replacement has the opportunity to up this ante. At the same time, the government must work equally hard to explore Nepal’s bio-diesel capacity, another potential source of renewable energy to power our motor engines.

JUN-AUG 2009 | 39

;/sf/sf gLltx?df :ki6tf 5}g .


The Diesel That Grows On Trees That Cleans Your Air "The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may in the course of time become as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of present time." - Dr. Rudolf Diesel, who built the diesel engine (1885) with intentions of using it with vegetable oil, asserting his beliefs in 1912. From Dhangadhi, in western Nepal, to Jhapa in the eastern end, fresh leaves in shades of maroon are sprouting on Jatropha curcas branches while the cluster of green pods between them are bursting into flowers. Those mature enough will then soon produce the fruits that could redefine Nepal’s energy production; they can be used to develop clean and sustainable biodiesel, then fodder for biogas, and finally organic fertilizers, without interrupting arable land in the process. Also known as Innu, Sajiwan, Bagandi or Kadam in Nepal, Jatropha is redefining bio-fuel globally. The plant has the distinct advantage of growing on soil that is considered marginal and semi-arid while fighting soil degradation and desertification. A 2005 report readied by Belize even declared that it helps improve microclimate. In December 2008, Air New Zealand flew an international flight with a 50 - 50 mix of Jatropha based bio-diesel and regular jet gas. By 2010 Canada aims to produce 500 million liters of bio-diesel while by 2011 India aims to replace 20% of their entire diesel consumption with the same. Irrigated farms start bearing fruits within the first two years. So if we plant Jatropha seriously this year, by 2011 Nepal will just be working towards harvesting its first real batch and realising just how feasible or unfeasible production of this alternative to fossil fuel is here. Jatropha potentially offers a four40 | YZINE.COM.NP

step revenue generation stream in Nepal, increasing its feasibility: 1. Seeds are used to produce bio-diesel. 2. The remaining biomass is used to produce biogas. 3. Finally, what’s left then can be used as an organic fertilizer. 4. The farm itself, with or without bio-diesel production, can be used for carbon credit trade so as long as there is good vegetation as the plant is known to be a good carbon sink. “Most of our carbon credits revenues comes from micro-hydro power projects,” an expert familiar with the subject explains. “Because the government is unable to upkeep forests according to the regulations carbon credit trading requires.” Due to the fact that a Jatropha farm is maintained by default, it offers immense potential to expand Nepal’s carbon credit trade sector. Internationally, the sector is expected to grow exponentially and take a more regulated form once it is acknowledged in the 2010 American fiscal plan. At the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), the government’s arm that looks into these matters, a BioFuel program was recently setup. “We have a core committee that is working on policies regarding Jatropha cultivation here,” explains Nirpesh Dhakal, the bio-fuel program officer just three months into his job. “But we are already behind schedule and no policies have been set yet. Everything has been happening a bit too fast.” So, technically, the slate is clean as far as the government’s official policies regarding Jatropha cultivation goes. Here are a few worth considering: 1. An approval from a recognised organisation such as IUCN or Search Nepal on proposed land used for commercial scale bio-fuel farm. They could do a reliable task at ensuring

arable land or food crops (corn, sugarcane) and valuable forests (private, communal or public) are not cannibalised. 2. Offer government subsidies; any private investment in this sector is fiscally and ecologically beneficial for the state. For example, land used for bio-diesel must be property tax exempt, but the party involved must apply for the subsidy every fiscal year with proof that the said property is indeed being used conditionally. Tax subsidies should cover sale of bio-fuel or Jatropha and directly related raw materials (seeds, fruits, chemicals) and equipments. 3. Set a target bio-diesel production amount for 2015. Previous international studies suggest that with irrigation (about 1200mm per year) Jatropha can even be harvested as much as 3 - 4 times a year. The amount of fruits per hectare grows every year from 250kgs (80ltrs.) in the first year to 2,500kgs (830 ltrs.) in the third, and 8,000 (2660 ltrs.) by the fifth year. Tika Dutt Joshi expects similar yields in his Dhagadhi farm eventually.

Contd. on Page 66


o:tf] aGb}5 o'jf -xfd|f]_ gLlt

gogtf/f u'?Ë s†klt

hg;+Vofsf] Ps ltxfO eGbf a9L o'jf /x]sf] d'n'sdf klxnf] k6s o'jf gLlt tof/ ePsf] 5 . ;/sf/n] em08} ;ft dlxgf klxn] /fhgLlts bnsf k|ltlglw, o'jf If]qdf sfo{/t ;+3;+:yf, ljBfyL{ g]tfx? / s]xL lj1x?sf] ;+nUgtfdf /fli6«o o'jf gLlt d:of}bf ;'emfj sfo{bn u7g u/]sf] lyof] . of] sfo{bnn] tf]lsPs} ;do cyf{t\ ut #! r}tdf o'jf gLltsf] d:of}bf tof/ kfl/;s]sf] 5 . o;cl3 @)%*, @)^@ / @)^$ ;fndf o'jf gLltsf] s'/f p7]sf] xf] . ;/sf/ kl/jt{g;Fu} Tof] s'/f ;]nfpg] u/]klg o;k6s h;/L eP klg o;nfO{ nfu' ug]{ k|lta4tf b]lvG5 . t/, k|lta4tf kof{Kt 5}g . o'jf gLlt o'jfsf] lxtdf ag]sf] 5 ls 5}g, gLltdf ax; / ljjfb lgDTofpg] ljifox? 5g\ ls 5}gg\ eGg]tk{m Wofg hfg' h?/L 5 . lsgeg] d:of}bf jf:tljstf eGbf a9L sNkgfdf cfwfl/t /x]sf] cf/f]k nufpg]x? Psflt/ k|z:t 5g\ eg] csf]{lt/ d:of}bfdf o'jfsf lxt eGbf klg /fhgLlt a9L g} xfjL ePsf] eGg] egfO{ klg cfPsf 5g\ . k|:t't 5 o'jf gLltsf] k|:tfljt d:of}bfsf s]xL c+zM JUN-AUG 2009 | 41

/fli6«o o'jf gLltsf] k|:tfljt d:of}bf # /fli6«o o'jf gLltsf p2]ZoM /fi6«, /fli6«otf, hgtf / ;+3Lo nf]stflGqs u0ftGqk|lt o'jfx¿nfO{ ;dlk{t / k|lta4 jgfpFb} pgLx¿df pQ/bfloTj / hjfkmb]xLtfsf] efjgfnfO{ a9fpg] . $=! /fi6«, hgtf / /fli6«otfk|lt jkmfbfl/tf ;ª\3Lo nf]stflGqs u0ftGq g]kfnsf] ;+ljwfgk|lt k|lta4 o'jf tof/ ug]{ . ;a} vfnsf j}b]lzs x:tIf]ksf] cGTosf] kIfdf /xg], b]zelQmsf] efjgfn] cf]tk|f]t o'jf tof/ ug]{ . $=@ ;dfhsf] bfloTj o'jfsf cfwf/e"t cfjZostfsf ¿kdf /x]sf ufF;, af;, skf;, lzIff, :jf:Yo, /f]huf/, snf, ;'/Iff ;"rgf, v]ns'b tyf :j:Yo dgf]/~hgsf cfjZostfnfO{ /fHosf] bfloTjsf] ¿kdf :yflkt ug]{ . $=#= ;dfgtf ufF;, af;, skf;, lzIff, :jf:Yo, /f]huf/ ;'/Iff / dof{lbt hLjgofkgh:tf cfwf/e"t cfjZostfnfO{ x/]s ju{, lnª\u, hflt, efiff, k]zf, If]q, wd{, zf/Ll/s / dfgl;s cj:yf tyf /fhgLlts cf:Yffsf o'jfdf ;dtfd"ns ljt/0f ug]{ .

&=@=! cf}krfl/s pRr df=lj= ;Ddsf] lzIffnfO{ cfwf/e"t txsf] lzIffsf ¿kdf kl/eflift ub}{ lgMz'Ns / clgjfo{ agfpFb} o'jfx¿sf] lzIffdf kx'FrnfO{ ;'lglZrt ug]{ . &=@=@ cgf}krfl/s lzIff åGå, ckx]ngf / cefj cflbsf sf/0fn] cf}krfl/s lzIff 5f]8]sf o'jfx¿sf nflu nlIft u/L ljz]if lzIffsf] Joj:yf ug]{ . &=@=# o''jfsf] ;zlQms/0f tyf g]t[Tj ljsf; :jb]z tyf ljb]zsf] cg'ej lbnfpg o'jf cfbfg–k|bfg cWoog, e|d0f, b]zbz{g tyf o'jf lzlj/ sfo{qmd ;~rfng ug]{ . ;f+:s[lts ljrng ,;fdGtL ;+:sf/ / e|i6 ;+:s[ltaf6 k|efljt o'jfx¿sf] dgf]j[lQdf kl/jt{g ug{ o'jf hfu/0f tyf hgr]tgf cleofg ;~rfng ug]{ . &=#=! cfGtl/s /f]huf/ Ps o'jf Ps /f]huf/ k|To]s o'jf :j/f]huf/sf] sfo{qmdnfO{ nfu" ub}{ Jojl:yt ug]{ . &=#=@ j}b]lzs /f]huf/ j}b]lzs /f]huf/df lqmofzLn bIf o'jfx¿nfO{ b]zd} kmsfO{ :j/f]huf/ / pBdnzLntfsf] jftfj/0f tof/ ug]{ .

$=$ nf]stflGqs–hgd'vL ;dtfd'ns d"NodfGotf cfly{s, ;fdflhs, ;f+:s[lts / /fhgLlts If]qdf b]lvPsf e|i6 cfr/0faf6 d'Qm / ;r]t o'jf zlQm tof/ ug]{ .

&=$=! /fhgLlts ;xeflutf !^ jif{sf] pd]/ ;d"xb]lv g} dtflwsf/sf] Joj:yf ug]{ .

$=% hflt, efiff / jftfj/0fLo ;Dkbfx¿sf] ;+/If0f / ;Dj4{g g]kfndf /x]sf h}ljs ljljwtf, hn;Dkbf, ef}uf]lns ;Dkbfnufot ;Dk"0f{ k|fs[lts ;Dkbfx¿sf] ;+/If0f ;Dj4{g / k|jw{g ug]{ .

&=$=@ cfly{s ;xeflutf g]kfndf o'jf pBdzLntfsf] ljsf;, o'jf ;xsf/Lx¿sf] lgdf{0f ufpF–zx/ ;xsf/L lgdf{0f, pBf]u Jofkf/df k|fyldstfx¿sf] lgwf{/0f ub}{ o'jfnfO{ b]zsf] cfly{s ljsf;sf kIfx¿df ;xefuL u/fpg] .

$=^ cGt/f{li6«o ;DaGwsf dfGotf /fhgLlts ¿kdf c;+nUgtf, lgMz:qLs/0f, pQ/–blIf0f ;+jfb / ;xsfo{, blIf0f–blIf0f ;xsfo{h:tf dfGotfx¿sf] k|j4{gdf o'jf ;lqmotf a9fpg] . ^=! gLlt pRr lzIffdf cWoog ul//x]]sf / cWoog ul/;s]sf OR5's k|ltefzfnL o'jfx¿nfO{ ;fdflhs ;]jfdf ;xefuL u/fpg o'jf :jod\ ;]]jssf] ¿kdf kl/rfng ug]{ . ^=@ /0fgLltx¿ ;dfg'kflts / ;dfj]zL l;åfGt cg'¿k /fi6«sf gLlt lgdf0f{b]lv sfof{Gjog k|lqmofdf o'jfx¿sf] hg;+Vofsf] cg'kftdf cy{k"0f{ / lg0f{fos ;xefuLtf ;'lglZt ug]{ . &=! hLjgofkgsf cfwf/e"t clwsf/ o'jfsf nflu juL{o, hflto, k]zfut, eflifs, wfld{s, If]qLo, n}lËs / ckËftfsf cfwf/df ul/g] lx+;faf6 d'St / eo/lxt jftfj/0fdf cfTd;Ddfgsf ;fy afFRg kfpg] clwsf/nfO{ ;'lglZrt ug]{ . 42 | YZINE.COM.NP

&=$=# ;fdflhs ;xeflutf ljBfno Joj:yfkg, ;fdflhs ljsf; sfo{sf nflu ;~rflnt ;8s lgdf{0f, ;fd'bflos Joj:yfkg, ;d'bfodf cfwfl/t ljljw ;ª\u7gx¿df o'jfnfO{ ;l/s u/fpFg] . &=$=$ ;f+:s[lts ;xeflutf o'jfx¿ g} ;+:sf/ / ;+:s[lt lgdf0f{sf ;+jfxs ePsf] x'Fbf cfd g]kfnL o'jfnfO{ ;f+:s[lts ljrngaf6 d'Qm u/fpFb} hgd'vL / k|ultzLn ;+:s[ltsf] lgdf{0fdf ;xefuL u/fpg] . &=$=% o'jf kl/rfng Ps jif]{ :jod\;]js ;]jfnfO{ nfu" ub}{ o'jfx¿nfO{ :jo+;]js tflnd lbO{ b]zsf cfly{s, ;fdflhs ¿kfGt/0f tyf ljsf;df ;l/s u/fpg] / /fHodf cfOkg]{ laklQ, b'3{6gf tyf cfktsfnLg cj:yfdf p4f/ sfo{ ug{ o'jf kl/rfng ug]{ . &=%=!= cfwf/e"t :jf:Yo ;]jf o'jfnfO{ of}g :Jff:Yo ;'/Iff ;DjGwL lzIff k|bfg ub}{ ;a} k|sf/sf

of}g hGo lx+;faf6 d'Qm u/fpFb} ;'/lIft / ;sf/fTds of}g Jojxf/ ckgfpg k|f]T;flxt ug]{ . &=%=#= s'kf]if0f / :jf:Yo o'jfnfO{ e"lddf ljz]if clwsf/sf] Joj:yf u/L s[lif C0f pknAw u/fpg] / vfB pTkfbgdf nfUg k|f]T;flxt ug]{ .

&=!@ o'jf ck/fw tyf lx+;fdf ;+nUgtf ck/fw, lx+;f, u}/sfg'gL tyf u}/;fdflhs lqmofsnfkdf ;+nUg o'jfx¿nfO{ k'g:Yff{lkt ug]{ / ;dfhdf ;xh hLjgofkgsf] jftfj/0f ldnfpg] .

&=%=$= ;'vb\ hLjgofkg bfDkTo hLjg;Fu ;DjlGwt ljifodf o'jfnfO{ ;d:of kbf{ zf/Ll/s, dgf]j}1flgs tyf ;+j]bgzLn ljifodf k/fdz{sf nflu o'jf ;"rgf tyf k/fdz{ s]Gb|sf] :yfkgf ug]{ .

&=!# lbuf] zflGt :yfkgf / åGå ;dfwfgdf o'jf ;xeflutf zflGt :yfkgf, d]nldnfk, ;Tolg¿k0fsf k|s[ofx¿df n}ËLs ;+j]bglzn eO{ o'jfx¿sf] ;fy{s ;xeflutf ;'lglZrt ug]{ . o'jf ;+3, ;+u7g tyf ;+:yfx¿nfO{ zflGt :yfkgf tyf åGå ;dfwfgdf ;xeflu agfpg] .

&=%=^ dfgl;s :jf:Yo dfgl;s c:j:ytf j]xf]l//x]sf o'jfx¿sf] pkrf/ / ;dfhdf k'g{:yfkgsf nflu ljz]if sfo{qmdx¿ ;~rfng ug]{ .

&=!$ ;dljsf; cfly{s b'/fj:yfaf6 u'h|]sf o'jfx¿sf] k|ltef klxrfg u/L /fHon] pgLx¿sf] ljsf;df ;xof]u ug]{ .

&=^ ;fdflhs ;'/Iff a]/f]huf/ o'jfx¿nfO{ /f]huf/Lsf] Joj:Yff gx'Fbf;Dd ;fdflhs a]/f]huf/L eQfsf] qmdzM Joj:yf ug]{ . o'jf dlxnfx¿nfO{ ue{jtL / ;'Ts]/L x'Fbfsf] x]/rfxnfO{ /fHosf] bfloTjsf] ¿kdf :yflkt ug]{ . /fHosf tkm{af6 o'jfx¿sf] :jf:Yo clwsf/sf] /Iffsf] nflu :jf:Yo jLdfsf] Joj:yf ug]{ .

* ljz]if ;d"xut d'2fx¿ *=! k|fyldstfsf] ;d"x dlxnf, cflbjf;L, hghflt, blnt, dw]zL, u|fdL0f / ls;fg o'jfx¿nfO{ k|fyldstsf ;d"x elgPsf] 5 . o; ;d"xdf kg]{ o'jfx¿nfO{ lgwf{l/t sfo{If]qx¿ ;j}df k|fyldstfsf] lgwf{/0f u/L /fli6«o d"n k|jfxdf ;dflxt ul/g] 5 .

&=& snf, ;+:s[lt, v]ns'b tyf dgf]/~hg v]ns'b tyf snf ;flxTosf] ljsf;sf] nflu :s"n / SofDk; txb]lv g} of]hgfa4 9ª\un] lgoldt ¿kdf k|lzIf0f u/fpg] / :j:y k|lt:kwf{sf] cfwf/df /fli6«o:t/sf v]nf8Lx¿, snfsf/x¿ / ;flxTosf/x¿sf] ljsf; u/fpg] . &=* nfu" kbfy{ b'Jo{;g !* jif{eGbf d'lgsf o'jfx¿nfO{ dlb/fhGo / ;'tL{hGo kbfy{sf] vl/b laqmLdf /f]s nufpg] . &=( dfgj t:s/L tyf dfgj a]rlavg a]rlavgdf k/]sf tyf j}b]lzs /f]huf/Lsf gfpFdf 7luPsf o'jfx¿nfO{, g]kfn kmsf{pg] ljz]if k|aGw ub}{ ltgnfO{ g]kfnL ;dfhdf ;xh hLjgofkg ug{;Sg] u/L k'g:yf{lkt ug]{ . dfgj t:s/L / dfgj a]rljvgdf ;+nUg bf]ifLnfO{ s8f sf/jfxLsf] Joj:yf ug]{ . &=!) jftfj/0f ;+/If0f / lbuf] ljsf; o'jfx¿nfO{ ljZj tfkqmd j[l4, cGtl/If k|b'if0f, hnjfo' k|b"if0f, k|fs[lts ;|f]tsf] cJojl:yt / cltbf]xgnfO{ /f]Sg jftfj/0f ;+/If0f;DjGwL k|lzIf0fd"ns sfo{qmdx¿ ;~rfng ug]{ . &=!! lj1fg tyf ;"rgf k|ljlw g]kfnsf k|fs[lts ;|f]t ;fwgsf] pkof]u, s[lif, kz'kfng h8La'6L pTkfbg tyf k|zf]wg, hnljB't\sf If]qdf pGgt k|ljlwsf] ljsf;df d]wfjL o'jfx¿nfO{ cfslif{t ug{ ljz]if 5fqj[lQsf] Joj:yf ug]{ .

*=@ ljz]if k|fyldstfsf ;d'x åGå kLl8t, hf]lvddf k/]sf o'jf, j}b]lzs /f]huf/df sfo{/t o'jf, ckfËtf ePsf o'jf, k5f8L kl/Psf / ;LdfGts[t cNk;+Vos ;d'bfosf o'jf ljz]if k|fy{ldstfsf ;d"xdf /xg] 5g\ . o; ;d'xdf kg]{ o'jfx¿nfO{ dfly lgwf{l/t sfo{If]qx¿ ;j}df ljz]if k|fy{ldstfsf] lgwf/0f{ u/L/fli6«o d"n k|jfxdf ;dflxt ul/g] 5 . *=@=# j}b]lzs /f]huf/df sfo{/t o'jf ;Demf}tf cg'¿ksf] lgw{fl/t sfd / ;]jf ;'ljwf pknAw u/fpg]] ljifodf s'6gLlts kxn / k|oTg ug]{ . *=@=$ åGå kLl8t o'jf o; ;d"xsf lj:yflkt o'jfx¿nfO{ t'¿Gt k'g{:yfkgf ug]{ . *=@=% dhb'/ o'jf cf7 3G6] sfo{lbj; / Go'gtd Hofnfbf/sf] lgwf{/0f u/L To;nfO{ k|efjsf/L jgfpg] . o'jf dHfb"/x¿nfO{ sfo{ynf]df x'g] zf/Ll/s Pj+ dfgl;s zf]if0f / lje]bsf] cGTo ug]{ . *=@=^ k5fl8 kfl/Psf cNk;+Vos ;LdfGts[t o'jfx¿ o; ;d'xsf o'jfx¿sf k/Dk/fut k]zf ;Lksf] ;+/If0f, ;Dj{wg / cfw'lgsLs/0fdf ljif]z hf]8 lbg] . !@ /fli6«o o'jf sf]ifsf] Joj:yf dlb/fhGo, tyf ;"tL{hGo kbfy{df o'jf sNof0f s/ nfu" u/L o;nfO{ /fli6«o o'jf sf]ifdf hDdf u/L kl/rflnt ul/g] 5 .  JUN-AUG 2009 | 43


Jal Pari 'Jal pari' is the latest nickname Karishma Karki has earned from her friends. The nickname is well earned as Karki won gold in all the 12 events that she participated in at the 5th National Games held in the Capital recently. Not only has she proven herself as an outstanding swimmer but also a formidable opponent. “I think, since I won in every event that I was a part of, now, my opponents are also a little scared of me,” giggles this dimpled 18-year-old. Though her love for swimming started when she was 10 years old, she never really considered it as a professional career even though her father is the coach for the National Swim Team. “Swimming used to be just for enjoyment and I used to go with my dad since I was seven or so. But after I turned 10, I started participating in tournaments. I think swimming and winning medals is my contribution towards my country,” she says. But swimming for Karki has always remained more of a hobby than a career. “I have wanted to be an architect ever since I remember, from the age of around 12 - 13. I knew I was interested in interior designing and that is what I want to do,” says this first-year student of Khopa Engineering College, Bhaktapur. “I used to be a very good student but now I am only average. It is difficult managing time between college and training. I will give up swimming soon when my course becomes tougher,” she adds. Her next goal? “I want to break the national record in my own event (freestyle). I also would feel really happy if I could improve my breaststroke as that is my main weakness,” concludes this hip-hop listening Akon fan.  sudhir BHANDARI

S tatistics DRUG SURVEY

Reasons for drug intake Reasons Percentage Peer pressure 82.6 Curiosity 28.1 Family problem 7.0 Fun 1.6 Others 3.3 Note: Percent based on multiple responses. Respondents were also asked: What the government can do to enhance their life? Multiple responses were given by them. Majority of them (40%) reported that government should provide free treatments for the drug users. Following this 36.8% reported employment opportunity and 13.8% reported positive attitude of the society. Source: 44 | YZINE.COM.NP



Pop Sabai Thikai Huncha Astha Tamang-Maskey:

While almost all pop albums produced and recorded in Nepal are done so with only the Nepali market in mind, Astha Tamang-Maskey’s debut Sabai Thikai Huncha finally takes the genre to the next level; it successfully embraces a global pop texture and style to its sound. What makes this album different from any other pop album released in Nepal is that it does not try to imitate a pop style but rather delivers a confident pop sound. The album manages to pull this off because of three key elements; a talented bilingual singer/songwriter, producer (Rohit Shakya) and studio (REC records & Studio, run by Looza’s Sunit Kansakar and Sharad Rajkarnikar), eager to put together something that stands out. The album smartly opens with Gotta Be Love, a bilingual modern pop song with verses in Nepali and parts of the bridge and most of the chorus in English that demonstrates Astha’s comfort and confidence in performing in either of the languages. For this 46 | YZINE.COM.NP

music industry, it is a remarkable feat that her Nepali diction, despite the fluent English, is not at all poor. The Nepali pop industry does have a terrible track record of bending the pronunciations of words in every which way and rolling the Rs and emphasising the Zs a bit overenthusiastically. On first listen, some of the mellower songs took me right back to the Norwegian teen-pop sensation Maria Mena. But I am sure several other references can be found. Then on songs such as Lie and Jhuto Satya, her style has a distinct Christina Aguilera feel to it. This is, however, not to say that Astha doesn’t sound original. She is a gifted singer with a fairly versatile voice. She sounds as good singing ballads over acoustic guitar in the title track as she does while packing punches in the heavy pop single Lie. Having seen her perform live twice, once solo with an acoustic guitar and later with a band, I can’t help but wonder what sound she personally wants. Her live sets seem to have a good acoustic rock feel to it and her confidence is as clear as her voice and guitar playing. On the album, the confidence and clarity is there, but the acoustic rock is replaced by a polished pop sound except for the title track, which remains an acoustic ballad. All the songs are written and composed by her, but does the album predominantly reflect Astha’s influences and style or her producer’s ideas? Regardless, in a way she is doing for pop now what Robin N Looza did for rock in Nepal with their second album Adhunik Angaan (2002). Sabai Thikai Huncha is more than just a Nepali pop album; for a change it’s a pop album by a Nepali, one that sets a new bar for the music industry in Nepal. 

Rock The Final Chapter X-iT

X-iT’s debut (and final?) album has been a long time coming; recorded mostly in 2003, it was finally released by Music Nepal on April 25. For those who may not know, X-iT boasts the much revered guitar duo Iman and Binayak Shah, with Garima on the vocals. The album opens up brightly with Biteka Din, a melodic laid-back rock ballad, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The guitar solo by Binayak Shah is one of the album’s highlights and a minute of contemporary Nepali rock music that all aspiring rock bands in the country should pay attention to. The last time a Nepali band produced that good a guitar solo-bridge-chorus combination was Albatross in their single Timi Bhane (2005). Both examples show that the songwriters and musicians know exactly what they are doing. In fact, this album has many moments that demonstrate the trio’s control over their craft and the album’s two

English singles, Slide and Cruising, are proof. In 2004, X-iT won an award for the Best Song In a Foreign Language category at the Hits FM Music Awards for their radio single, Slide. The final cut on the album has been reworked slightly. It feels mellower but remains one of the album’s shining moments. The vocal overlays in the bridge and chorus and the gentle humming of the slide guitar adds a warm depth to the song. Cruising, a Mark Knopfler tribute, retains most of its character from the original single too, especially the classic Knopfler styled rhythm guitar (mostly flat picking on syncopated eighth notes). But the album version seems somewhat toned down and the wailing tribute to Ritchie Blackmore towards the end of the song is no longer there. Binayak sounds his best as a vocalist here. The trippy Madalu Ko Taal, a self proclaimed ‘drinking man’s song', is quite entertaining and the nervous energy on the ballad Basuri Ko Dhun works well too, especially during the duet chorus. The second last track Sandhai Ekantama, a short instrumental, is serene fusion recorded in 2001. For those who don’t have the patience for bubble gum pop or rowdy rock, for listeners who listen to contemporary western music and want something ‘nice’ and contemporary in Nepali, this album is definitely worth checking out. The music over all is a mix of 80s and early 90s sounds with a modern rock sensibility. The end result is a pleasant and thoughtful album. Binayak and Iman Shah, Nepal’s most technically competent guitar virtuosos known for their hard rock ways, show versatility by producing great tones and thoughtful backdrops for Garima’s voice to soar over. It is never easy to seamlessly produce a full sound that does not feel over produced, a challenge X-iT tackles successfully. With the exception of the Heart-ish hard-rock Madhya Raat, the album

actually sticks to a pre-conceived laid back pace and mood and does not anxiously try producing seven genres in an album with eight songs as it happens so often with Nepali artists. “We made the songs easy listening, but it’s not easy to play them live,” the band told me in a text message a few weeks before the album was released. Mission accomplished. 

Folk Mithila Kutumba

Kutumba, the folk music ensemble, celebrates its fifth anniversary this spring. With the assistance of the Danish embassy, the group travelled to several places through 2008, meeting with local musicians there. Janakpur, one of the most culturally vibrant regions of not just the Terai but Nepal itself, was one such place. It is also the inspiration for Kutumba’s latest album Mithali, a collection of renditions of traditional Maithali songs and melodies. For first time Kutumba listeners, the album will seem unique and delightful. For those who have been following the group’s musical journey, it will offer nothing short of what is expected;

great harmonies, soulful melodies, intricate instrumentation. A track called Sama opens with a most intriguing and promising bar on the tungna, a string instrument. But then the flute and the sarangi pushes the song right back into your typical folk bracket. Kutumba traditionally uses the tungna for fills and a few bars here and there. Using it as a lead for a song or two, the kind of role that is generally reserved for the flute and sarangi in this genre, might be refreshing in future compositions. Kutumba’s style and dominance in the genre in Kathmandu is seemingly unmatched right now. But it would be a mistake for the group to not venture out of this comfort zone. What is the point of year 6 if it sounds just like, or quite a bit like, years 5,4,3,2 and 1, as good as those years were? Where is that 'something different' the members keep talking about? Perhaps saved for the next album, which they are already working on? Even the Beatles got tired of performing their greatest hits to encouraging fans after a few years. There is a song that absolutely shines in this album: Chaitawar. "Lamenting the dry season, this song is named after the month Chait. This Maithali song carries many similarities to the Newari Bihag song, reflecting the close ties shared between Newari and Maithali culture in the times of the Mallas," the CD cover states. The Mallas ruled Kathmandu centuries ago. Anyone who has read a newspaper in Nepal since 2007 will tell you that things have changed quite a bit, since. But for all of the five minutes and 47 seconds of Kutumba’s rendition of Chaitawar, you would hardly be able to tell. It offers the kind of thoughtful, intricate and imaginative instrumentations that makes Kutumba the ensemble that it is, and offers a glimpse of what it could be still.  JUN-AUG 2009 | 47


Q&A with Astha and X-iT

What song has been stuck on your lips? Astha Tamang-Maskey: Chasing Pavements - Adele. Binayak: Disturbia Iman: Melody of Angel Footstep (an instrumental) by Jeff Beck. Garima: Little Bird - Jewel Do you actually even like that song? Astha Tamang-Maskey: Love it. Binayak: Of course. Iman: Not a valid question! Garima: Yup, it's my favorite lullaby. What is the last movie you watched? Was it worth your time? Astha Tamang-Maskey: Changeling. Definitely a yes. Binayak: Taken, it was really good. Iman: Smokin' Aces, yup! Garima: Smokin' Aces, every bit of it! What book is on your ‘must-read next’ list? Astha Tamang-Maskey: The soloist Mark Salzman. Binayak: Bram Stoker's Dracula Iman: Am not a book person. Garima: No time to read nowadays!! 48 | YZINE.COM.NP

How many txt messages do you approximately send and receive in a day? Astha Tamang-Maskey: I send and receive maybe about 10-15 text messages on an average here in Nepal. [But I'm quite a 'text'-er. You should see my text typing skills ;)] Binayak: None. Iman: 2/3 Garima: 3/4 What is your favorite load-shedding activity? Astha Tamang-Maskey: Um. Getting out of the house. And if I can't do that, I love writing songs in the dark. Binayak: Sit with my acoustic guitar. Iman: have an inverter, so no probs… Garima: Spend time with my son/watch TV What's your plan for the summer? Binayak: Trip down to Isle of Capri Astha Tamang-Maskey: Music! Iman: Album promotion Garima: Album promotion


Which new singer or band has absolutely impressed you in the last one year? Astha Tamang-Maskey: Astha TamangMaskey: P I'm totally joking. No, I am not a self centered snob. A new singer that absolutely impressed me in the last year would have to be Justin Nozuka of Toronto, who is a also an Indie singer/ songwriter. Binayak: Rihanna Iman: Dragon Force (dunno if they're new but I discovered them last year) Garima: Duffy (just discovered her… hehehe) and Astha Tamang-Maskey


Travelling Doodles

After the success of Lunch-hour doodles organised by, Preena Shrestha’s work has been taken to Gangtok. The exhibition took place on The First Floor, Rachna Books, Gangtok from May 17 to 27. Y! got in touch with our young artist and Raman Shrestha of Rachna Books who took her work to Gangtok to find out what inspires them.

are somewhat autobiographical. Of course, everything is heightened and amplified for effect, but the drawings are still rooted in my personal opinions and characteristics. When did you realize that you could draw? It wasn’t particularly an epiphany. I’d always been scribbling, and I managed to keep it up through school and high school, and learnt more through practice. Some people claim to think in Facebook statuses. Do you think in doodles? That’s funny about the Facebook statuses. As for thinking in doodles, it’s not yet pervasive. My ideas are pretty sporadic, to be honest. Have you thought about this as a career? I think one of the reasons I enjoy art is because I don’t take it too seriously. I don’t function well under pressure. So if I was to consider doing this as a career it would mean having my work scrutinised and judged, it would mean deadlines and it would mean putting up with people’s expectations. Doodling is casual by definition and I want to keep it that way. What do you think is your strongest/weakest asset in doodling? I like how there are no fixed lines around what I’m allowed to think or say while doodling, which is pretty liberating, and by far my favorite part. But where technical skills are concerned, mine are still very basic and rudimentary, which is probably the weakest aspect in my drawings. If not drawing what would be your medium of expression? Writing. I can’t sing or dance to save my life, so writing’s the only thing I can see myself doing.

RAMAN SHRESTHA PREENA SHRESTHA How did you get into doodling? I would have these breaks between classes, and because I didn’t really like getting trampled by the cafeteria crowd, I’d just go off to this little spot I found in a part of the university not many people went to. I’d usually sit there and scribble on my notebook to while away the time, and I guess it started then. Does your main character have a name or is it just Preena? It doesn’t have a name. Mostly because I was too lazy to think of one. Also I didn’t really want to tie any of the characters down to a distinct background. I like that the character is a free-floating entity. What inspires your doodles? Is it autobiographical? Would you identify with your character? The doodles are based on what I’m feeling at a particular time or something that happened to me, so yes, they

Where did you first see Preena’s works? It was a story in Himal magazine about the ongoing power cuts in Nepal and had featured a doodle by Preena. Of course, I didn’t know about it then, until a friend Vikash told me about where I saw the same doodle character on their website. Did her work stand out as you saw more of it? I was struck by the bold and autobiographical nature of her works. The angsty sense of alienation shines through brilliantly in her sketches, whether it be based in the familiarity of home or the strange surroundings abroad. As you are travelling with her work, do you believe it holds universal appeal and if so then how? As with all the shows we have been organising at Rachna Books in Gangtok, I am hopeful that Preena’s Lunch-hour Doodles too will inspire the youth to learn to look within. I hope that the doodles also show the youngsters the need and the option for creative outlet in this increasingly mechanized world. This is the new language of the youth – a common uprising everywhere. It is something the youth from the Himalayas will identify and emphathise with immediately.  JUN-AUG 2009 | 49


Tomorrow’s Leaders Aarti Basnyat, 13th Batch, Civic Leadership School We were given an egg each; a raw, delicate one, to represent the fragile nature of what we claim were our values in life. Success, patience, discipline, courage and peace, these were some of the words that we wrote across our eggs. A single word for every individual. Our eggs were to accompany us on our five-day rigorous journey through the Civic Leadership School (CLS) organised by Youth Initiative (YI). Some eggs made it, others put up a fierce battle. My egg went splat two hours after it was given to me. ‘Patience’ I had scrawled across it yet was not patient enough to keep my valuable egg safe as I played catch with my newly found friend, theatre artist, Suman’s egg. His value I saved, my own I lost. But over the course of the next five days I was to gain many more values that would solidify in years to come in a way that a raw egg never could. The 13th batch of CLS under the theme ‘Pathways to Peace’ included 24 people from 24 different sectors living together for five days with a lot of dohori singing from Bhola Nepal, a participant from Nepal Students Union. The objective of the programme is to bring young people working in different sectors of the country together in an attempt to identify and nurture young leaders. The underlying note is also to promote a network of young people who will work towards the betterment of the country as they learn also to work in a team. The diversity of the group was remarkable, army personnel, armed forces, police, lawyers, student activists from every party, engineer, doctors, theatre and even a sculptor. Despite their differences or rather because of them an extra effort was made among the participants to get along, to learn and to adapt to the personalities of their fellow companions. The first impression as a CLS student is like entering a new school. You sit down at the YI office, early in the morning. Glance around fugitively to see if anyone looks familiar. Realise you don’t have a pen as they give you a couple of forms to fill. A tentative smile, a pen secured and soon introductions follow. The bus ride divides the sexes. Eight girls in 24 participants in our batch, two per row, the rest taken up by the men. Awkward conversations follow mostly seeking some common ground or the other, work, school, friends, or even attendance at a common event. Borderlands, the scene for the first three days of the retreat, is a few hours away but a water strike on the 50 | YZINE.COM.NP

road get a conversation rolling among this batch of CLS students. All the physical activity is to take place at Borderlands and the excitement is evident in the group as they look forward to testing their physical abilities. After proper instructions the 24 is divided into groups of eight. The eggs are distributed. The gender difference is nullified as boys and girls are paired together. So begins the learning experience. Over a series of games, values are taught. Trust, the game of falling as your partner catches you, ensures that you depend on a complete stranger to catch and save you from injury. Spider-web, passing through different openings though a web-like structure, teaches you the importance of planning, strategising and teamwork. Leaky pipe, trying to fill a pipe with holes to get to the ping-pong balls inside, emphasises the importance of on-the-spot leadership, taking the initiative and working with limitations. Night Line, walking blind with a rope on one side and your friend in front to guide you, taught the need for communication. Each game over the next three-days made you think, analyse and learn. Every move of each member was dissected, every experience explored and every feeling shared. The participants also learnt to share, and most realised that given the same circumstances, they were not that different at all. More importantly they learnt to lead while working in a team and supporting each other. The final day brought with it the promise of rafting, but

on solutions, each listener retained the lessons and actively worked towards implementing them. The talks also helped bring out individual viewpoints be it revolutionary, evolutionary or opinionated. The 24 participants remember what they learnt during their stay together and are trying to focus on working towards a better future. Goals, personal, professional and practical, were sought. One group promised to clean the sky bridges across the city, the other is working towards the cleanliness of the Mata Tirtha Mandir. CLS ended as it had started with values. Some learnt, some kept and some changed. 

"participant speak" “I did things I had never done before and even managed to jump off the cliff twice despite being scared. I may not know everyone’s names but I feel like I know my fellow participants really well.” Saurav Sharma, NYS - youth activist


with a twist. Each participant was to lead the team as they came down the Bhote Koshi. The learning experience continued. Mid-way the most desperate challenge emerged. A cliff about seven-meters high on the edge of the river, we were supposed to jump off it into the water. Not a single participant backed away, each held his/her breath, made a wish and jumped, irrespective of whether s/he knew how to swim or not. Our trust in each other and our confidence in ourselves had gone through an immense boost in the past three-days. After such a continuous adrenaline rush, two-days of lectures in Bhaktapur would normally pale in comparison but CLS was not one to disappoint. Anil Chitrakar, social entrepreneur and conservationist, delivered an inspiring talk on thinking out of the box. The participants, again divided into groups, argued the advantages and disadvantages of the different issues facing the country. They worked to find solutions based on the available resources and sought to solve these problems moving away from indoctrinated thought processes to a more openminded approach. Kamal Thapa, advocate, explained the legalities of a rule of law and Dr. Prem Sharma, professor, Conflict & Peace Dept., Tribhuvan University, espoused the theories that hindered our country’s path to peace. Finally, Sujata Thapa, community peacebuilding manager, Search For Common Ground, talked about the need to find common groups to work together. Each speaker focused

“Every cloud has a silver lining and I found that here. I learnt how to trust strangers and that as a leader it is essential to sometimes take risks first. I believed that for changes to come, young people have a role, but here I learnt that teamwork is supreme.” Bhola Nepal, NSU “My most inspiring person during this session was Ram Pyari Sunuwar from the Nepali Army. She was so enthusiastic, active and open in everything, unlike me. I feel I learnt a lot from her. Even Suman Rayamajhi the theatre artist was interesting. Everything he said made me laugh and kept me entertained. ” Sanju Lama, doctor “Rachana Khadka of ANNFSU was very interesting. I felt highly influenced by her and feel that she will make a strong leader for our country some day.” Ram Pyari Sunuwar, Nepal Army “As the youngest I am used to being with kids my own age but here I felt a lot older. I learnt about life, how to be strong, how to speak in public. I also learnt a lot more about politics.” Nilu Ale, student (SLC appeared, awaiting results) “I learnt a lot, and I think it is important that it shows in my work. If I have learnt something then it definitely will come out in my plays and I am sure that it will show in my actions.” Suman Rayamajhi, theatre artist

JUN-AUG 2009 | 51

Tomorrow's Leaders:

k[ys k]zf, 7fpF / ;fdflhs k[i7e"ldsf s]xL o'jfx?nfO{ e]nf u/]/ o'jf cleofg -Youth Initiative_ n] ;~rfng u/]sf] kfFr lbg] l;les ln8/zLk :s"n -Civic Leadership School_ sfo{qmddf efu lng kfpg' pkof]uL cj;/ lyof] d]/f nflu . o; cfof]hgfn] o'jfx?nfO{ Ps} 7fpFdf t h'6fof] g}, cfk;df xflb{s ;DjGw agfpg klg ;xof]u k'¥ofof] . s'g} ljifox? v]nsf dfWodaf6 k|:t't ug]{ z}nL ckgfOPsf]n] klg pQm e]nf /dfOnf] / ;xh jftfj/0fdf ;DkGg eof] . o'jfx?aLr cfk;L ;d:ofx?nfO{ a'‰g, ;dfwfgsfnflu ;xof]u ug{ / ;xefuLx?aLr cGt{;DalGwt ;d:ofx?nfO{ xn ug{ klg ;kmn /Xof] of] sfo{qmd . ;d:ofsf >f]t / ;dfwfgsf e/kbf{ dfWod b'j} xfdL cfk}Fm aGg ;S5f}F eGg] s'/fsf] cg'e"lt ;LPnP;\ sfo{qmddf efu lnPkl5 zfob clwsf+z o'jfx?n] cg'ej u/] . ;}4flGts lx;fan] ;a} s'/f l;sfpg hfGg], 52 | YZINE.COM.NP

/rgfsf] cg'ej

t/ Jojxf/df nfu' ug{ l;sfpg ghfGg] xfd|f] k|f}9 ;+:sf/nfO{ kl/jt{g ug]{ Wo]o xf] ;LPnP;\ sfo{qmdsf] . h] ug{ cx|fOG5, h;/L ug{ cx|fOG5, ;a}eGbf klxn] Tof] cfk}Fmn] u/]/ x]g'{ k5{, clg dfq} ;d:ofsf] ulx/fO{;Dd k'Ug ;lsG5 / rf}tkmL{ ;dfwfg klg xfl;n ug{ ;lsG5 eGg] lzIff sfo{qmddf Jofjxfl/s tl/sfn] lbOPsf] lyof] . ;fd'lxs sfddf lsg ;d:of cfpF5, ;a}n] tf]s]sf] lhDd]jf/L k'/f ug{ lsg ;Sb}gg\, Ps csf{k|lt c;dembf/L lsg a9\5, Ps csf{k|lt cljZjf; lsg k}bf x'G5 eGg] laifonfO{ ulx/fO{df k'u]/ a'e\mg ;xfos 5 of] sfo{qmd . d]/f] ljBfyL{ /fhgLlts hLjg ;'? ePsf] !! aif{ eof] . o;aLr d}n] ljleGg sldl6x?sf] g]t[Tj txdf sfd u/]F . Tolta]nf d}n] e]mNg' k/]sf ;d:ofx?sf ;dfwfg s:tf] x'g'kYof]{ eGg] s'/f sfo{qmddf efu lnPkl5 dnfO{ cGbfh nufpg ;lhnf] ePsf] 5 . ;+u7g / JolQmut hLjgdf cufl8 a9\g], Jojl:yt x'g] / Ps csf{k|lt

s;/L ljZjf;sf] jftfj/0f agfpg] ljifodf sfo{qmdn] Jofjxfl/s 1fg lbPsf] 5 . ;d"xdf sfd ubf{ ;fd'lxs efjgf ;a}eGbf dxTjk'0f{ x'G5, cfk;df ;"rgfsf] ;xL ;Dk|]if0f ug'{k5{ tyf ;d'xsf ;b:ox?nfO{ of]Uotf, Ifdtf / ljz]iftf cg';f/sf] lhDd]jf/L k|bfg ug'{kb{5 eGg] lzIff klg sfo{qmddf ;dfj]z lyof] . s'zn g]t[Tj lagf cleofg c;kmn x'g] ;Defjgf tyf cfk;L ;Ddfg / cl:tTjsf] :jLsf/f]lQm ;xsfo{sf e/kbf{ ;fwgx? x'g\ eGg] h:tf ljrf/ dfq xf]Og r'gf}tL / cK7\of/fnfO{ cj;/sf ?kdf lng'kb{5 eGg] ;f]r klg k|ToIf ?kdf dgg ug{ ;LPnP;\sf] sfo{qmd :d/0fLo lyof] . nfdf] åGå kl5 bL3{sfnLg zflGt :yfkgfsf] ;Defjgfsf] ;+3f/df xfdL 5f}F . ljutdf o'jf tyf ljBfyL{x?nfO{ /fhgLlts kl/jt{gsf nflu x'g] ;8s cfGbf]ngdf dfq} ;xefuL agfOof], ;fdflhs / cfly{s kl/jt{gsf] cfGbf]ngsf] ;xofqL agfOPg, ltgnfO{ ljZjf; ul/Pg, ;fy} lhDd]jf/ aGg klg l;sfOPg . kmn:j?k d'n'ssf] ljsf; cleofgdf o'jfx?sf] ;xeflutf / g]t[Tj t /x]g g}, ;fdflhs / cfly{s kl/jt{gsf nIo klg cw'/} /x] . To;} n] jt{dfg kl/l:yltdf d'n'snfO{ åGå/lxt, ;dtfd'ns / ;d[4 agfpg] nIo lng] xf] eg] o'jfx?nfO{ b]zsf ljsf;sf] ;+efjgf 7Dofpg ;Sg] agfpg' h?/L 5 . /, cfgf ;Defjgfx?nfO{ cfk}Fmn] klxrfg ug{ ;Sg] agfpg' emg\ h?/L 5 . o'jf cleofgn] cfof] hgf ug]{ ;LPnP;\ h:tf sfo{qmdx?n] o'jfx?nfO{ To; lbzftkm{ pGd'v u/fpg] k|of; u/]sf] 5 . o:tf] sfo{qmd cfof]hgf u/]sf]df o'jf cleofg wGojfbsf] xsbf/ 5 .  /rgf v8\sf k|d'v, s]Gb|Lo k|rf/ ljefu, cg]/f:oljo'



Woh Lamhe is a popular song by Atif Aslam and features in the soundtrack of the Bollywood flick, Zeher. Not long ago this track was a party anthem. While many may recollect burning the dance floor to its peppy tune, it brings back some bad memories to me. Giving due credit to the artist, being subjected to Woh Lamhe in full blast at 2:00am, in repeat mode, would probably give nightmares to anyone else.

I live in a quiet and, generally, peaceful part of Kathmandu. It is in the heart of the city and yet we are not bothered by the noise, congestion and confusion of this busy metropolis. It is an almost idyllic setting, but for my neighbour who lives on the other side of our perimeter wall, he is rich, loud and brash. His affluence is visible, he drives a big, wide Pajero, and to the dismay of us, neighbours, audible at odd hours. I call him the Woh Lamhe guy for giving me the nightmare. This guy loves to party, and his affluence affords him a hip, loud lifestyle. Weekdays and weekends alike, he hops from one party to another and believes in dragging the partying back to his house long after the party is over. He parties hard and he listens to his music loud, and if you see or hear a Pajero on the streets, in the wee hours of the morning with music blasting full on, it could perhaps be him. I have never had any problems with the affluent and their affluence, but the vulgar display of wealth sometimes makes me think hard. Recently, I awoke at 1:30am to a sound of painful wailing that came from across our perimeter wall. Peeping out from my window, I saw the Woh Lamhe guy flogging his domestic help. It was a disturbing and pitiful scene, but being sleepy and not aware of what the issue was, I did not ponder over the right or wrong of it. I, however, lay awake for a long time after that thinking about things in general. I could be getting old or maybe, soft, but human suffering disturbs me a lot these days and the wail of desperation that I had heard earlier burned a hole in my soul.

The numerous debates I have had on class, wealth and property came to my mind and lying sleeplessly in bed, I strove for answers and a better understanding of the very values that I had been basing my arguments on. I have been very practical and neutral on matters of wealth and property because I am resigned to the reality that in a society there are, and will be, the rich and the poor, and that the divide between the rich and poor will never be bridged. Even in the only surviving Communist monolith, China, there are the rich and there are the poor. Being affluent is not a sin in any system and society, but I started having my doubts, then. I then got an insight that it was not the disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor that was spoiling the dynamics between them, but the ‘power’ that comes with wealth in societies like ours that was legitimising the actions of the rich over the poor. What is wrong with our system, and many others as well, is not the difference in purchasing power that comes as a result of the disparity in income, but in the access that it extends to. My rich neighbour may have the wealth to buy a Lear jet, but I cannot expect to be able to buy one myself. I have to be content with buying a bike instead because that is what I can afford, and, I cannot point a finger at my neighbour for being able to afford a private jet. One can buy anything material with one’s wealth, but the real problem, the wrong, begins when one’s purchasing power extends to the administration, the courts and the society. When that happens, the rich become powerful and with their power they can purchase morality, justice and legality, and that is wrong. Impunity is said to be on the rise in present-day Nepal and concerns are being raised on all fronts. However, the impunity that I see being talked about now is mostly limited to that of the gun. It is a visible impunity, a serious issue, but we face a more serious threat from an invisible impunity - one that arises out of wealth, and the access it provides. We may talk about equality and empowerment, but all of it will be in vain if ‘power still comes attached with wealth’, the power to buy positions, to buy justice, to buy laws, to buy legitimacy, to buy morality and to buy social status and acceptance. The affluent should not be victimised for their wealth, but the new system that is in the making should not allow the purchasing power of the wealthy to flow beyond material things, to get away with anything solely on account of their affluence. In a just JUN-AUG 2009 | 53

and equal system, power should not be synonymous with wealth. While being wary of the ‘impunity of wealth’, the access that money can buy, there should also be caution about the ambiguity that covers ‘access’. Access and rights are interlinked, their scope often crossover, and they are sometimes misrepresented, especially when the definitions are not clearly laid out. The debate about the disparity in the quality of education between the private and public (government) schools has raged on for long. Some even state that there are two parallel education systems in the country today. Education, for example, is a child’s right and no one should prohibit a child from getting an education, but where, is a matter of access. Education, at least private education, is a commodity available in the open market, is of varying quality and at different prices (fees). What one chooses depends on what one can afford. If a child is not given admission, despite being able to afford the fees, on the basis of race, class, religion or any other grounds, then that would be a violation of the child’s right to education. If that does not happen, I see no reason why the private school system in Nepal should be viewed in a negative vein. The private schools may cater to only a limited section of the people, but they are providing a service nonetheless. Rather than condemning them for what they do, it would make better sense for the administration to channel their resources to the public schools, so, that the section of people who do not have access to private education get a chance at as good an education elsewhere. If that end could be achieved, the dynamics of the market itself would make the private schools irrelevant.

It does not take a capitalist to figure out the intricacies of the impunity of wealth and neither does it take a communist to take a chance at the impunity of the gun. Talking of access and rights, change has come with the dawning of the New Nepal, for worse as some say, but it is changed times nonetheless. Traditional stereotypes are being broken and efforts are on to usher in a new system, one that is inclusive, secular and grants equal rights to all citizens. It is empowering times - women, backward classes, ethnic minorities. But are we right in empowering the people? Is em‘power’ment the way to go? I am pro-equality, but in my current state of mind, I have a problem with empowerment and power in general. Why 54 | YZINE.COM.NP

can’t we just guarantee, implement and execute equal rights for people? Do we need to give power to specific groups? Going by common observation, empowerment generally manifests as pay back. It is often seen that the erstwhile oppressed turn into present-day oppressors once they hold power in their hands. Even a gun empowers a person, so, is it right to fall into a power play? The very fact that we are empowering certain groups is an admission that the balance of power was, and is, wrong in the system, some groups having more and some, less. Power corrupts and it is power that is fouling up the socio-political dynamics in our system. It is power accrued through the Woh Lamhe guy’s affluence that is manifesting in his impunity towards his domestic help. If the domestic help is guaranteed his right to redressal, irrespective of his poverty, it will automatically act as a deterrent to his affluent owner. Rather than empowering groups and falling into the vicious cycle of power, we would be better off aspiring for a system that guarantees equal rights for everyone, a system that is beyond the purchasing power of wealth. There will never be a state of equal wealth in any system and there will never be a state of equal power. Some group will always have an upper hand in the power play and empowerment will only tilt the scale, temporarily, this way or the other, leading to a fresh power struggle. A welfare state should be able to ensure at least a bare sustenance for its citizens: food, clothing and shelter. It will, however, be foolish to imagine a state without wealth inequalities, where one is as wealthy as anyone and everyone else, it could be an ideal though. Enterprise should not be snubbed and wealth should not be made a sin. There will be the rich and so the poor: it may not be practical and realistic to aspire for a system of uniform wealth, instead, we could try for one where everyone has equal rights irrespective of how rich or how poor one is. Let it be a level playing field for both the rich and the poor when it comes to justice, opportunities and access - from the humble queue in a government office to the elevated courts of law, the poor should have a right to the same space, platform, access and treatment as the rich. The song may be different now, but I do not foresee a change in the Woh Lamhe guy even in the post-newconstitution Nepal. I will still be subjected to my nightmares and the domestic help may still need to bear with his owner’s blows. A new constitution may be written, it may guarantee equality and more, but as long the system, the judiciary, the administration and the society are for sale to the highest bidder, and the affluent are able to buy as they please, no real change will be forthcoming. It does not take a capitalist to figure out the intricacies of the impunity of wealth and neither does it take a communist to take a chance at the impunity of the gun. Money can buy guns, guns can raise money - guns or money, it's just power play. 

Pedagogy of the Oppressed ‘They (the oppressed) may aspire to revolution as a means of domination, rather than as a road to liberation.’

Just Powerplay is a layperson’s take on impunity. It’s a ramble about how ‘power corrupts’ and how, possibly, power may be behind most of our socio-political woes. There are the scholars, the researchers and there are us, the average people, with a sprinkling of knowledge, but without the desire or need to delve deep into any subject. There is so much to the dynamics of human relationship and yet we seldom look beyond what is evident or is presented to us in popular media. The dynamics of power, likewise, is something we all are familiar with, bear with, take for granted but do not look into in much detail. Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paul Freire is a study in contrast to Just Powerplay. One is an informal jabber while the other, an academic treatise steeped in jargon. And yet, they both revolve around the same fundamental human percept - the dynamics of power. A scholarly work may perhaps not be as palatable fare as a thriller, but with Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we were surprised to find it as engaging, perhaps more. Scouring the jargon took us quite an effort, but within its depth we discovered ourselves meaningful explanations to reasons behind what is manifesting around us in the New Nepal. We thus present excerpts from Pedagogy of the Oppressed as an enlightening and involving complement to Just Powerplay.

PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED – Excerpts If true commitment to the people, involving the transformation of the reality by which they are oppressed, requires a theory of transforming action, this theory cannot fail to assign the people a fundamental role in the transformation process. The leaders cannot treat the oppressed as mere activists to be denied the opportunity of reflection and allowed merely the illusion of acting, whereas in fact they would continue to be manipulated – and in this case by the presumed foes of manipulation. It is absolutely essential that the oppressed participate in the revolutionary process with an increasingly critical awareness of their

role as subjects of the transformation. If they are drawn into the process as ambiguous beings, partly themselves and partly the oppressors housed within them – and if they come to power still embodying that ambiguity imposed on them by the situation of oppression – it is my contention that they will merely imagine they have reached power. .......................................................... They may aspire to revolution as a means of domination, rather than as a road to liberation. .......................................................... Sooner or later, a true revolution must initiate a courageous dialogue with the people. Its very legitimacy lies in that dialogue. It cannot fear the people, their expression, their effective participation in power. .......................................................... Denial of communion in the revolutionary process, avoidance of dialogue with the people under the pretext of organizing them, of strengthening revolutionary power, or of ensuring a united front, is really a fear of freedom. It is fear of or lack of faith in the people. .......................................................... Were it not possible to dialogue with the people before power is taken, because they have no experience with dialogue, neither would it be possible for the people to come to power, for they are equally inexperienced in the use of power. .......................................................... The struggle for a free society is not a struggle for a free society unless through it an ever greater degree of individual freedom is created.  JUN-AUG 2009 | 55



SHITAL MOKTAN Shital Moktan is currently pursuing her MBA. Under the guidance of her father, composer Shila Bahadur Moktan, she has arranged songs for artists including Deepak Limbu. Shital and her sister Subani are set to hit the studio soon to record their as-yet-untitled third album. White sleeveless cotton top: Rs. 1,150 Bangles: Rs. 150 per piece Needlework bag: Rs. 2,225 Blue Red Danglers: Rs. 1,450 Wrap-around skirt: Rs. 1,450 Available at Trance Trip Garment Thamel, Narsingh Chowk,Saatghumti, Kwabahal 4418751 56 | YZINE.COM.NP


smart SUBANI MOKTAN Subani Moktan hosts shows SMS @ 4 (daily) and Campomania (Saturdays, 12 noon) on Nepal 1. She and older sister performed at the Everest Marathon concert. It took place in Namche, Lukla and Khumbu on May 25, 29 and June 1. Studying to be a Chartered Accountant Subani is in her second- year at Prime Chartered Academy Purple/Black stripe top: Rs. 1,350 Red Jeans: Rs. 4,200 Available at: Giordano Durbar Marg, Bluebird Mall, City Center Phone: 4243988

DECHEN DOLKAR Back in Kathmandu after seven years for a well-deserved break Y! caught Dechen Dolkar, former Miss Nepal Runner Up to style Shital and Subani Moktan. Based in Buffalo, NY, Dechen is pursuing acting. JUN-AUG 2009 | 57


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Of the young, for the young by AARTI BASNYET

The final draft of the proposed National Youth Policy runs 10 pages and 4,789 words. With a majority of the Nepali population being young, the Youth Policy comes as a ray of hope that the government may actually work towards addressing the issues facing young people in the country. However, how the policy works and the ways in which it will be implemented still raises many questions and people remain skeptical about its efficacy. The first and foremost issue that is raised in the Policy is the term ‘youth’ itself. According to the Websters-Merriam dictionary, youth is defined as ‘the time of life when one is young; especially: the period between childhood and maturity’. The ambiguity of this definition in no way helps the policy makers fix the bracket for youth in Nepal. The final draft of the Youth Policy defines youth in Nepal as people between the age of 16 to 40. 47-year-old member of UML, Udaya Raj Pandey who is the coordinator of the National Youth Policy Drafting Taskforce says, “Originally we had started off with 35 as the maximum age group, but when we did surveys and had discussions, we found that the youth of the country preferred to extend the age limit to 40. They rejected the age limit of 35. The majority vote among taskforce members from the various political parties was also 40, hence we stuck with 40 as the upper age limit.” "How can a 40-year-old be considered in the same bracket as a 16-year-old? This means that both a parent and a child could potentially fall in the same bracket - youth,” says Rukh Gurung, vice president of Youth Initiative. “They should have set the age bracket between 15 to 29 years, and maybe extended the upper bracket to even 35. An alternative idea would have been to have a different policy for people over 30,” says Raman Bhattarai, founder of the youth club, NODAN, and general secretary of the Association of Youth Organisations of Nepal (AYON). Pandey disagrees. He feels that argument is irrelevant because there are countries such as China where the upper age limit is 40. Same with Vietnam and Malaysia where the age bracket is 45, so, he feels that it depends on the country and the situation as well. “Look at Japan,” Pandey says, “there a ‘youth’ is defined as a person from 0 to 24 years old. Even in that situation a mother and child could fall under the same policy. It could be that a 16-year-old and a 40-year-old are working on the issues of similar nature and hence the policy addresses both these age groups. There really is no logic behind saying no to extending the age factor to 40.” The debate on extending the age limit of the youth to 40 is also what led Kabindra Burlakoti, president of AYON and a participating task-force member in the drafting of the Youth Policy, to refuse to sign the final draft. “If we can’t even negotiate on the age of the youth, where will this policy lead us? People will laugh if they find out that we consider a 40year-old as a youth. I am still hopeful that the government will not pass the Policy unless the age is reduced,” he says. Pandey feels that the reason people preferred to increase the age limit was because till the age of 27 - 28 they are still 58 | YZINE.COM.NP

in university so they feel that it is only after that age that they can venture out into the real world to make a significant contribution. Further, in Nepal due to our family life and other responsibilities we only achieve real independence and the ability to work towards our goals late in life. “The Policy sounds like a political memo. There is no feeling of ownership for the young people in the country,” says Gurung. “A lot of young people did not even know that such a policy was being drafted,” he adds. Bhattarai also feels that the wording of the Policy in itself is negative. “It implies that it will bring young people who are going down the wrong path back onto a correct path, which in itself is a negative way of looking at things in the first place,” he says. The other huge problem that is seen with the Youth Policy is its implementation. “I feel happy that there is a youth policy, but then again, there must be so many policies in our country, where will we go look for them? Implementation is the key. We should not have a youth policy just for the sake of having one,” says Bhattarai. “It should not be that the actual youth is sidelined while people over 30 take advantage of the Policy. I also don’t know where they are planning to come up with the resources that are needed for the implementation of this Youth Policy,” adds Gurung. Burlakoti believes that the whole aim of having a youth policy is so that 10 -15 years in the future, it will be the youth of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, it is essential to nurture and invest in them to make them successful and prosperous citizens, so, they can build a New Nepal tomorrow. He also feels that the main areas that the policy should focus on in its immediate implementation are education and employment for the youth. “Employment is the biggest problem the youth face today. Then it is educational reform. If we are able to generate employment and promote self-employment then the other things will slowly come about and soon we shall have young people in decision making positions as well,” he says. In Pandey’s opinion the policy does address the youth of most ages around the early twenties. “If you look at the policy programmes such as vocational or skill-based training is mostly for the youth under 25, it really depends on the programmes and that is why I feel that the question of advantage being taken by people over 30 does not arise, he says. The problems are many and thankfully the Youth Policy also leaves room for change. There is a provision for the revision and amendment of the Youth Policy every five years. This flexibility gives hope to the Youth Policy and reassures people that should the current policy not be effective there is a way out. But as Bhattarai says, “Prevention is better than cure, we should be proactive now why wait until things get bad?” But then again the Youth Policy is a draft of hope and everyone agrees that in the long run it is a step forward for the government to even work towards formulating a policy that focuses on its young and realises their importance. Let us just hope that we won’t have to be young 40-year-olds to enjoy its implications. 

Continued from Pg.11

problems but is here anyway, against the doctor’s wishes. Jiva is sporting a faded gray suit he brought from Nepal. Asked if he’s nervous, he says, “I don’t know.” His parents and brothers are here, too, his father dressed in a suit coat over gray kurta, a trident-like design painted on his forehead, his mother wearing a floral-pattern sari. About 30 people, mostly Odaris and Neupanes, a third of them children, are here. The ceremony begins when the groom’s family enters and circumambulates the room. Deepak sits on one of two chairs in front of a short table laden with flowers, apples, and rice. Ganga follows the same route with her family, then circles Deepak while dripping water on his head. Guided by a Hindu priest, Deepak and Ganga exchange rings and smear tika on each other’s forehead. Jiva’s father carefully peels two singles from a thin roll of bills and hands them to Deepak. Others do likewise, including Bishnu and Yubraj, who each offer a dollar Jiva had given them. The priest tries to skip a step where relatives wash the couple’s feet but an attendee, a Bhutanese psychologist who emigrated to the US years ago, protests, then ignores the priest’s claim that they can’t hold on to every old ritual and gets the water herself. After a few more steps, Deepak presents Ganga with a beaded necklace and they are officially wed. The audience applauds and heads downstairs, where samosas, daal, and curries are served. Ceremonies in Nepal last a full day, sometimes three. This lasted only an hour, but they found almost everything they needed for the ceremony in Jackson Heights and even if it was scaled back, says Narapathi Odari, Deepak’s uncle, “We are very happy we could do this in a traditional way.” August 21: None ever held a job. Only Ganga spoke a few words of English. For 17 years, they relied on the UN for everything. All things considered, Debbie Krauss says, “I think they’re as well adjusted as they can be thus far on this journey.” She, Coon, and Lang Nan give the family a positive assessment, but they wish Deepak and Ganga had waited and, more importantly, the self-sufficiency message is sinking in. Deepak actually found a job a few days earlier, preparing food from 5am - 1pm for a midtown Japanese restaurant that also supplies a Japanese airlines and employs several other refugees. Ganga is looking, guided by in-house employment counsellors who’ve helped her write a resume, coached her on interviewing, and explained that she should expect a low-paying, possibly minimum-wage job. Ganga had gone to some open interviews with no luck, but missed others when she had to take her mother to the doctor. She’d initially said she wanted to be a cashier. But, says Heidi Gaulthier, one of the counselors, “This week is the first time she said, ‘I want anything.’” In the coming weeks, Jiva is expected to start a welfareto-work programme that includes ESL classes and job training. Kalawati will in all probability do likewise. Krauss says everyone wants Tuka Devi to go to school, but that’s the welfare office’s decision. Language is the biggest hurdle,

but they’re also hampered because they are among the first Nepali Bhutanese to resettle in New York. Krauss say IRC’s counselors can place Burmese, for instance, who speak no English in jobs other Burmese are already doing and can explain. The Nepali Bhutanese have no forbearers, so Gaulthier and her boss, Jimmy Lu, will have to mine their contacts hoping someone has a need they can fill. August 29: A few days earlier, Jimmy Lu got a call from an Upper East Side deli that needed a cashier. He sent Ganga, who got hired for $7.50 an hour, 40 hours per week. Deepak picked her up at 6pm and they’re on their way. Tuka Devi, meanwhile, learned that school would have to wait. This was hard to take. She’d badly wanted to continue her education, to study science in particular. Nonetheless, soon after hearing about it, she walked into the department store across the street and asked about openings. A few hours later, with no help from anyone, she had a $9-per-hour job as a floor helper. Now Ganga and Deepak are considering applying for part-time positions. Kalawati serves corn on the cob with apple slices followed by rice, yogurt, chicken, and pickled mango. She confesses that she’s gotten lost twice recently, and that one time policemen who found her in tears guided her from Woodlawn back to Fordham Road. Jiva admits he feels lonely sometimes and usually can’t talk to people he meets. They used a different calendar in Nepal and he now realises they forgot to celebrate Yubraj and Bishnu’s birthdays this past month. But the collective hardships don’t change his sense of being here. “We can start over here,” he says. “It’s better for us than it has ever been.” Asked if she’s worried that her children will become more American, Kalawati says that wouldn’t be a bad thing, that the more they plug into the society, the more they can benefit from it. Ganga and Deepak arrive, followed soon after by Tuka Devi. They sit across from their parents, eating and joking amongst themselves. “You can’t get a job in the US if you are not willing to stand for hours at a time,” Deepak says. Everyone speaks Spanish at her job, Tuka Devi says. “You’re making $9 and now you have a lot to say?” Ganga chides her, laughing. Tuka Devi does seem more assertive, but she’s wistful about missing school. “If I were back in Nepal, I would have started university by now,” she says. In many ways, that encapsulates their experience. Gains and losses, things they understand and things they don’t, ways in which they are growing closer together and ways they are moving further apart, and a great deal of uncertainty ahead, all made worthwhile by their faith that something is possible here that simply wasn’t back in the camps.  Ed. Note: In February, Ganga was hospitalised for gallstones. She left her job for recovery and has not worked for three months now. In October, Ganga and Deepak are expecting a child. "We will know the gender in a month," Deepak said over the phone last week. "The child will be American before us!" JUN-AUG 2009 | 59



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JUN-AUG 2009 | 61

(Top left & top center) Reena Khadka is 24 and worked as a hostess in a cabin restaurant for four years before joining Chahari, an NGO that provides counselling, healthcare and legal services to women who work in the entertainment industry. To be stopped and body searched on the street on account of 'looking suspicious' is not a new phenomenon. “In our country, if the police find condoms in your bag, they harass you and might even arrest you. A policeman once

Deepa ran away from her village to escape forceful recruitment into the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA), but could not find work in Kathmandu. After almost a year of living off a friend, she was introduced to a massage parlour in Thamel. In the beginning Deepa was scared; she had to make physical contact with customers. Now she is accustomed to the work, and even to the social stigma she must bear.

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threatened to arrest me unless I slept with him. The government distributes condoms through HIV prevention programs and then arrests people for carrying them.” Reena says. (Top right) 'Open restaurants' serve food, drinks and most often, sex. Some are even family-run establishments. In these establishments, girls get to keep up to 50% of what they earn. It is a quiet afternoon at an open restaurant in Gongabu and the girls are enjoying a game of cards.

Full of life, Roma bounces about her workplace, joking with coworkers and laughing at her own jokes. “No use being gloomy all the time,” she says. “One must do what it takes to stay alive.” Since she came to Kathmandu nine months ago, Roma has washed dishes, danced topless and now works as a hostess. “It's hard to find other jobs, it's not like I haven't tried."

JUN-AUG 2009 | 63

Poonam came to Kathmandu six years ago with a husband her father found for her because she feared forceful recruitment into the PLA. In less than a year, she discovered that her husband had two previous wives and five children. By then, she was pregnant. She began working at a cabin restaurant to support herself. After her baby was born, her husband left her, and at two years old, with no one to provide proper care, her baby caught pneumonia and died. Poonam continues to work at a dance restaurant as a hostess. She is pictured above with her roommate's baby. Recently, she applied for a Korean marriage service where young and healthy Nepali girls are married off to men in Korea. "Its almost like winning the lottery" says Poonam.

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Children at a day-care center that is run by Chahari. With their mothers gone to work long hours, these children spend 10 12 hours here. They will hopefully grow up to have better futures.

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JUN-AUG 2009 | 65

Contd. fromPg. 40 Of other initial studies in Nepal, a nursery in Nepalgunj has reported the highest yield of over 15kgs from a single plant, a 100 bigha farm is set to begin in the Koshi region soon while a project in Siraha has been successfully farming on a similar sized plot for a couple of years. A comprehensive study has to be conducted in various parts of Nepal during the next two years to see what production patterns emerge and base Nepal’s target accordingly. 4. Establish a minimum quality standard requirement of all bio-fuel sold or distributed. Anyone using biofuel that meets these standards should not have to give up their warranties or pay extra for insurance. 5. Strictly regulate the industry to ensure subsidies are not abused and that the program makes continued ecological sense. 6. Distribute Jatropha seeds to public to raise awareness, aid carbon sequestration and possibly help individuals generate additional income by eventually selling the fruits or seeds.

• Indian experience shows that •

3kgs of Jatropha = a liter of crude oil. A Jatropha farm with well-developed vegetation sequesters as much as 7 to 8 tons of CO2 per year per hectare

and, so...

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed and to which life on earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385ppm to at most 350ppm... An initial 350ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2 is captured and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon.” - Scientist James Hansen and 66 | YZINE.COM.NP

colleagues (Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?, November 2008) Generating electricity from multiple small hydro projects and other mix of alternative sources such as solar (PV and thermal) could certainly aid in reducing Nepal’s dependency on energy generated via coal. Using these sources to power EVs reduces CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. And large-scale Jatropha plantations qualify not only as development of clean bio-fuel but as a source of carbon sequestration too. But there is much irony in Nepal’s alternative energy sector in relation to its global counterpart. While solar water heaters have been a staple in Nepali homes for over 25 years, many developed nations are finally headed towards that direction with government subsidies and personal commitment. On the other hand, countries around the globe have enthusiastically and realistically begun preparing for an era of EVs and other alternative-energy-based vehicles with the nods of their governments and the global auto industry. It’s going to happen whether Nepali leaders and car dealers like it or not. Here, Nepali leaders in several governments over the years have remained persistent about ensuring the impossibility of making EVs a real option for motorists. Not only should the government be tax-exempting EVs, it should be investing heavily in building the infrastructure required for a society that commutes on EVs and starting test phases. Why play catch up instead of simply making the right moves at the right time? While there is a gold rush on Jatropha farms right now, the EV policy is stunningly myopic; to serve the interests of a handful of businesses, the country is preventing the growth of an entire industry that can be beneficial. At the time of going to print, a new Prime Minister has taken office

although it is uncertain who will head the various ministries during his party’s leadership. In the transitional phase between the two Prime Ministers, a few new developments seems to have taken place in the energy sector. On May 24, the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) announced they are working on a 25-year National Energy Strategy, which does make considerations for EVs and renewable sources, though news articles did not get into details. Sanjay Dhungel, senior divisional engineer, WECS, was quoted as saying “generation of hydroelectricity will be encouraged and prioritised as the chief energy sector needed for an overall development of the country.” On May 25, Nepal Electricity Authority announced they are working on a deal that involves importing 250MW/year from India for at least 25 years at the rate of Rs.17,00,00,00,000/year. On May 26, a day-old government with an undecided cabinet expressed its interest in announcing the national budget by July, an important document that decides what Nepal’s development goals will be. We don’t need to be careless with the ecology for the sake of energy or economy. We just need to get busy drafting and implementing coherent progressive environmental policies that tie into our energy needs, economic strategy and educational programmes. We know we need to develop adaptation plans for climate change but also mitigate its contributors. We know that energy generation and availability is key to development and economic growth. We know the problems and have an idea of the potential of our hydropower sector and we also know what alternative energies hold most potential in Nepal right now. And we know that energy generation is meaningless without an upgraded transmission infrastructure. We certainly know all this needs to be figured into an Energy Policy 2.0 for Nepal. How much will this matter to the new government? That, we will soon know. 


/∙Lg dg;fo sfua]gL / ;fgf] ;+;f/ h:tf rnlrqx?n] g]kfnL rnlrq If]qdf clns km/s lsl;dsf] k|:t'tLs/0fsf] yfngL u/]sf] 5 eGg ;lsG5 . o; s|ddf Pp6f gofF l;g]df ylkPsf] 5 – …/ËLg dg;foÚ . lgd{ftfx? g/]z b]j kGt, gL/h sf]O/fnf, lgdf ?Daf, cfb]z zfSo tyf l;lz/ afËb]nsf ;fy} gfos gflosfx? pbo l;hfklt, ;L;g lrqsf/, pzf /hs, ;'lgn yfkf, dlgif 9'Ë]n / l;lz/ afËb]n klg o;sf] tof/Ldf h'6]sf 5g\ . x'g t klxn] em/gf ah|rfo{nfO{ d"Vo e'ldsfsf] nflu lng] of]hgf /x]sf] lyof] . t/ clGtd ;dodf pgsL xh'/ cfdf la/fdL eP/ pgL ljb]z hfg' k/]sf] x'Fbf pgsf] ;6\6fdf pgL h:t} b]lvg] ;L;g lrqsf/nfO{ lnOof] /] . em/gfn] Ps dlxgfsf] ;do dfu]sL lyOg\ t/ lgd{ftfx?n] TotL nfdf] ;do kv{g g;s]sf] klg yfxf x'g cfPsf] 5 . rnlrqsf] kGrfGgAa] k|ltzt 5fof+sg e} ;s]sf] / afFsL 5fof+sg sf7df8f}+df ul/g] of]hgf /x]sf] 5 . e[s'6L dG8kdf ;]6 lgd{f0f klg e};s]sf] 5 . o; rnlrqdf ;Djfb lgs} sd\ 5g\, nueu d's rnlrq h:t}g} x'g]5 /] . To;}n] of] c? g]kfnL l;g]df eGbf a]Un} x'g] bfaL u5{g\ lgdf{tf g/]z . g]kfnL bz{snfO{ dfq nlIft u/L gagfOPsf] of] rnlrqn] ;+;f/ el/df g]kfnsf] gfd :yfkgf u/fpg ;xof]u ug]{ cfzf lgd{ftfsf] /x]sf] 5 . /ËLg dg;fo xfdLn] o;} jif{ x]g]{ dg;fo /fv]klg x'G5 /] . 

/ljg sf] gof“ cflj:sf/ xfn} l;lSsd uPsf] a]nf kv{fnaf6 xfd kmfNbf /s ufos /ljg tdfËsf] v'6\6f efFlrPsf] lyof] . sf7df8f}+ kmls{P kl5 ;Nos[of klg ul/of] / lrlsT;sx?n] pgsf] v'6\6fdf Knf:6/ klg nufO lbP . v'6\6f efFlrg' t s'g} gf}nf] s'/f x}g, w]/} sf] v'6\6f eFlrPsf] 5 cfh ;Dd . t/ pgn] h:tf] cfk\mg} Knf:6/df c8\sfP/ htf klg cfkm';Ë} nfg ;lsg] la:dosf/L …lrnfpg] n6\7LÚ sf] cfljZsf/ eg] zfob} s;}n] u/]sf xf]nfg\ . tkfO{+nfO{ klg o:t} …lrnfpg] n6\7LÚ rflxPsf] 5 eg] o;nfO{ agfpg] tl/sf ;/n 5 . Pp6f aË\ofpg ldNg kmnfdsf] n'uf em'G8\ofpg] Xof+u/ lng';\, o;nfO{ s'g} Pp6f 7fpF+ df sf6\g';\ clg tGsfP/ n6\7L agfpg';\ . v'6\6fdf Knf:6/ nufPsf] a]nfdf lrnfpg slt ufx|f] x'G5 tkfO{n + fO{ t yfx} 5 t/ o; n6\7Lsf] k|of]u u/]/ tkfO{+ Tof] sfd ;lhn} ug{ ;Sg' x'G5 . ePg t uHhasf] s'/f < /ljgsf] v'6\6fsf] s'/f ug]{ xf] eg] r}F pgsf] Knf:6/ t sfl6;lsof] t/ pgnfO{ 8fS6/n] tLg dlxgf cf/fd ug]{ ;Nnfx lbPsf 5g\ /] . 

;+rf/ b]lv rnlrq b]lv ahf/ Aoa:yfkg ;Dd dflNjsf ;'Aaf, cy{ft sn sflGtk'/sf] Pp6f rL/kl/lrt cg'xf/ . o;}af6 pgn] ;+rf/ hutdf cfk\mgf] nflu Pp6f /fd|f] :yfg agfO ;s]sL lyOg\ . t/ pgn] To;df gc8\sL cufl8 a9\g] lg0f{o ul/g\ . To;kl5 plg rnlrq v]Nb} l5g\ /] eg]/ ;'lgof] . clxn] gofF va/ cg';f/ plg Aoj;flos dlxnf ePsL l5g\ /] . jfO{n] pgL;Fu o;af/] k|Zg /fVbf pgn] elgg, æd}n] ;+rf/ 5f]8s ] f] xf]Og . d EjfO; ckm OG8Lof;+u sfd ug{ lbNnL uPF t/ dnfO{ ToxfF sfd ug{ dg nfu]g, To;}n] kms]/{ cfPF .Æ sf7df8f}+ kms]/{ cfPkl5 eg] lsg ;+rf/ s} sfd nfO{ lg/Gt/tf glbPsf] t eGg] k|Zgdf eg] plg clxn] sfd ug]{ ;Defjgf Tolt /fd|f] gb]lvPsf] sf/0f lblG5g\ . xfn plg zf+lu|nf xfpl;Ësf nflu ahf/ Aoj:yfkg tyf ljj|mL k|aGwssf] ?kdf sfo{/t l5g\ . ca eg] xfpl;Ë Aoj;fodf Unfd/ cfpg] kSs} 5 x} . ToxfF klg pgn] cfkm\gf] Sofl/o/ agfpg ;sf];,\ xfd|f] z'esfdgf ∕  JUN-AUG 2009 | 67


DEMOCRACY IS… Democracy is one of the most difficult terms to explain, but it is also the easiest to expound. Using a few words and in a short time I am interested in explaining it. Democracy is empowering the individual, To make the individual powerful, To make the individual supreme, To make the individual content. To make the individual the focus of every thought is what I feel is democracy. - Gagan Thapa, Youth Political Leader, Constituent Assembly Member A really good way to describe democracy is basically a salad bowl and a salad bowl is where everything is part of a salad but each one is able to maintain their own identity. And so basically they don’t have to become a melting pot. - Anil Chitrakar, Social Entrepreneur, Conservationist What New Nepal, what republic, what democracy? * Everybody remember everyone’s talk. Wipe away the tears in today’s eyes with a laugh Tomorrow’s talk with the bullets Forget not. If it has to be Why not remove evil, Poverty, war, weapons that are lethal. You and I got different versions of the word equal. Freedom, voice, life, my people and what I say might not be feeble, 68 | |YZINE.COM.NP 68 YZINE.COM.NP

probably not legal. I got a chance to say it once, there never was a sequel. Coz democracy does not see demographically. Human trafficking and tragedy spreading sporadically and geographically we all one people sharing the same place, fighting the bloody race of the government trace and that’s just the base of all murders and killings, counterfeit billings left untraceable but history stays irreplaceable and in case of all we just expect democracy to save it all. Check it Through the clustered crowd and crowded streets, impatient pedestrians and micro heaps and trekkers don’t need to climb the highest peak. They can plant their flag on a garbage heap. I hear a message of distress, an SOS – Save Our Souls or is it Stress On Stress. Look at the mess we got ourselves into. All we do is talk about the things we’ve been through, instead raise an issue. I made a documentary but I didn’t go to film school, so I wrote a verse about no water, lights, gas, speech that’s free, living in a state of emergency, but this state is not emerging free, it’s still locked up behind bars, night blackouts has me looking up at the stars. They say the rebels came home but it

still feels like war. We need democracy, I support autocracy, we need a republic, I don’t favour any of them. More than advocating a system, it is the people running it that counts more, I think. - Viplob Pratik, Poet, Lyricist The people together. Democracy is just namesake. For the progress of the country There should be peace. Their work is not proper Without fear. This way we wither and die, that way we wither and die. No idea. Democracy is…the movement of the people. * Rap: Lyrics InThePenDense Transcribed from the video Democracy Is… an entry from Nepal that reached the final 18 of the Democracy Video Challenge (http://www., a worldwide video contest where contestants had to complete the phrase Democracy Is... within three minutes.




The jury has selected 18 videos (three from each region) from over 900 submitted. Now you have the chance to choose the top six videos. Voting is on from May 15 to June 15, 2009. How to vote for the entry from Nepal: - Go to democracychallenge - Click ‘Vote Now’ - Click ‘Next Video’ till you reach the title ‘Democracy is… From: cash0612’ - Click on the ‘Thumbs-Up’ to vote (wait till the thumbs up turns green).


Too Quick to Judge BY LIZ LANCE


Last September, I trudged up the redcarpeted steps inside the International Club in Sanepa, heavy messenger bag and camera bag slung over one shoulder. My pants were flecked with mud, my hair haphazardly pulled back into a ponytail, sweat dripped down my face. It was the end of the monsoon, hot and humid, and I was in search of the 15 or so young women competing for the Miss Nepal title. I returned to Nepal in late August 2008 on a Fulbright fellowship to document the effects of mass media on beauty and body image in young women in Nepal. Since my first stay in Nepal in 1998, I had seen significant changes in Nepal’s media landscape and also in how young women dressed and presented themselves in public. Modesty seemed to be out, and tight jeans and cleavage-baring shirts were in. With my own history of rebelling against my American Southern upbringing that valued dainty women who drawled their way into the arms of eligible young men, I began my research with a strong agenda. I

was going to spend time with beauty contestants and models and expose them for the insecure attentionseekers they must be, all the while blaming the media and advertising industries for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty to women and blaming these young women’s parents for encouraging their daughters to be exploited. Oh, yes, I had an agenda. As I walked through the set of French doors into the tired, dark room where the contestants were rehearsing, I tried to be inconspicuous, as inconspicuous as a six-foot-tall blond bideshi woman lugging 20 pounds of gear can be in Nepal. I also walked into that room full of assumptions and judgement about the kind of women who would subject themselves to being judged on their appearance. They must be silly, uneducated girls, I reasoned, more interested in showing off their bodies than using their minds, not critical enough to question the ideals served up to them by the media. I was afraid of being outed as a feminist in a room

full of beauty queen wannabes. And suddenly I was a cliché – a 30-year-old woman intimidated in the presence of thinner, prettier, better-dressed women 10 years or more her junior. The next day I wore mascara. But then I started to spend time with these Miss Nepal contestants and other young women: an aspiring young singer, a tough mountain bike champion, a beauty parlour proprietor and a single young woman from Eastern Nepal trying to survive in Kathmandu. These women may spend a lot of time putting on their makeup, threading their eyebrows or choosing their clothes, but they are not silly or uneducated. Nor are their parents allowing them to be exploited, exactly. Their parents encourage and support them in their professional ventures, be it mountain biking, singing or competing in a beauty contest. As I formed closer relationships with these women and they opened themselves up to my questions about beauty and how they view their bodies, I naturally reflected on my own answers to those same questions. And I realised what a hypocrite I had been to walk into that room of Miss Nepal contestants loaded with my agenda six months earlier. I like to think of myself as an educated woman, a critical media consumer, someone who is confident in herself and comfortable with her own body. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t fantasise about what it would be like to be thin, to wear a bikini, to turn the heads of people as I walked down the street. The truth is that every woman in this world who has been exposed to any media has a conflicted perception of her body image. And I can’t condemn these young women for their conflicted body image any more than I can condemn myself. If an educated young woman wants to participate in a beauty contest, she’s smarter than I’ve ever thought of giving her credit for, because her participation is going to open professional doors for her, and there JUN-AUG 2009 | 69

P L A I N J A N E : sic k and tired


And so it came to pass… The cry for all things new! Anew! But why is it that I’m not jumping for joy? Why is there a hollow feeling? What could it be that’s reeling?

I’m sick and tired Of the pollution, the corruption Sick and tired Of knowing there’s little solution. I’m sick and tired Of the mob, the mute Sick and tired Of the slogans that bear no fruit.

It’s been a stressful day, Triggering something within. The wool is off my eyes, And what I see is not pretty as a picture.

Of the problems that face us Of the lack of will to face up.

So I thought I’d write a song, To dabble in words the ramble in my head.

I’m sick and tired Of being sick and tired So I will let this rest For tomorrow I know This song I wrote Only to forget. 

I’m sick and tired Of the lies, the deceit Sick and tired Of people not seeing beyond their feet. I’m sick and tired Of the news, the views Sick and tired Of raging wars and refugees.

Send in your free verses to

I’m sick and tired Of the insinuations, the games Sick and tired Of the politics in different names.


I’m sick and tired Of the masks, the facade Sick and tired Of playing to a dumb charade.


I’m sick and tired Of the majority, the minority Sick and tired Of policies with no longevity.


shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. There isn’t anything wrong with that. So what if one woman says to me that she thinks it’s better to be darkerskinned than fair-skinned but still wears facial lightening cream? So what if a beautiful young athlete expresses pride in the muscles she’s built up over the past five years, but still thinks they’re too unfeminine to show off in public? And so what if the singer tells me that women don’t need to wear makeup to be beautiful, but insists on applying eye shadow, gajal and lipstick on me before we go out one night, all the time telling me how beautiful I look. I still demonise the media and advertising industries for propagating outrageous standards of beauty, here in Nepal and across the world. And I still think the idea of a beauty contest with male judges crowning one woman the most beautiful of all is patriarchal and archaic. But I no longer judge these women I meet and talk to about beauty. Instead, I hope for them to find confidence, success and happiness without worrying about measuring up to societal standards, the same as I hope for myself. Wasn’t the whole point of the feminist movement to let women make their own decisions and take control of their bodies without judgement, even if they choose to wear Fair and Lovely skin cream? 

t r a v e l i n g

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