Monday, September 27, 2004

Namaste! is a nice weblog about an American Christian family who spent some time living in Nepal. Please take a look at the photo gallery; also the piece 'The Danger of Getting Too Close'.
This struck a chord with me. In the short time that I have been associated with Nepal, I have come to empathise with the sentiments in this piece. The Nepalese are desperate to improve their lives, and see the West as a sort of paradise, where we can cure Aids, cure cancer. A Nepalese friend had a hard time understanding that we could not cure many diseases in the Western world, and there is poverty and suffering here too. The West is no paradise (for one thing, the strong sense of community which Nepalese people live with - where everyone helps everyone else - is totally lacking, which I think is one reason why stress and depression seem to be more widespread in the Western world - I started this discussion some time ago as to reasons why this might be).
The Nepalese are intelligent people; linguistically, mathematically. But their world is totally different from the West. Everyone seems to want to jump on the bandwagon of charity; but like giving to beggars, this ultimately helps nobody to break the cycle of dependence.
To stay sane in Nepal, you need to keep a chip of ice in your heart.
Some good articles in the Nepali Times: check out this piece on Maoist radio, and this piece on the human rights of the Kumari (the little girl who becomes a living goddess until puberty - 'How to reconcile a little girl’s rights with the need to protect a national tradition').

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Update :- Nepal Handmade Paper Products is still around. Please check the website.

Plep has been invited back to a more extensive trip of Nepal in 2005. Whether I got or not all depends on the political situation. Please keep following the Nepali Times and Nepal News as there have been numerous strikes and actions in Nepal, including a recent blockade of the capital by the Maoists for a period of one week (which collapsed under national and international pressure; yet again the Nepalese people showed their mettle); and riots targeting the Muslim community following the beheading of Nepalese migrant workers in Iraq (possibly the Maoists were involved in this two).

Also in the news - the campaign by several ex-Gurkha soldiers for UK citizenship.

I will try and keep this blog updated with news and current events as I still have an ongoing interest in events in this country.

If you are able to, I can recommend Jonathan Gregson's 'Blood Against the Snows' as an excellent primer on the history of the royal family of the country, from its origins in the conquest of the Kathmandu Valley by the ruler of Gorkha in the 18th century, through the plots of the Shahs and the Ranas of the 19th, to the democratic reforms of Kings Tribhuvan and Birendra, and the royal massacre of 2001.

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