Himalayan magazine

Northwest makes it easy to go to America

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Northwest makes it easy to go to America. With a choice of 8 gateways. And connection to 200 cities beyond.

Choose a connecting city that suits you best : Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore.

generous free flight plan there is. General Sales Agent in Nepal :

Ma I la Treks,

Malla Hotel Arcade,

Kathmandu, Tel. 418 389

Northwest has daily 747 flight via Tokyo or Seoul straight to the U.S.A.

Be sure to ask about WorlclPerks, the most




V0I8 No 1 January/February 1995

The Abode of Gods, King of

Mountains, Himalaya You bound the oceans from

east to west A northern yardstick To measure the Earth Kaltdasa (Kumara Sambhavaj


Associate Editor Photography Manager Administration

Kanak Mani Dtxit Manisha Aryai Bikas Rauniar Kiran Shrestha Balaram S harm a Mamata Manandhar

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Mdernise, Or Else! Building the New Lhasa

by John Grey

The modernisation offensive in Tibet today has largety bypassed the Tibetans themselves.

Cover picture by Kevin Bubriski

shows a Lhasa child with a mock Chinese ?nilitary headgear.






1 year














OlherS, Asian Countries




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Send subscriptions & rotate

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South Asia: P.O. Box 42, Laliipur. Nepal

[1619771 523845, fax 977 1 521013), or

Central News Agency, 23/90 Connaught

Circus, New Delhi 110001

Japan: Akio Horiucl.i,

P.O.BoxS, Kiyose, Tokyo, 204 Japan.

Australia: Indra San, 12 Norfolk SI.,

Paddingtsn 2021, Sydney, Australia.

North America: Barbara Bella & Associates,

500 Sansome Sireat, Suite 101, PO Box 470758

San Francisco, CAB4H7

United Kingdom & Ireland: Jcli Girl (Rat: H),

221 Ashly Gatdens, Emery Hill Street, London SWI 1PA

The Netherlands: C. F. de Stoppelaar,

Foundation Himalaya, Keizersgracth 463,


Switzerland: Helene Sngg, Tamenweg 18,

CH-3073, Guemilgen, Switzerland

Europe: Dutga Press (Himal), LuitpoUsir. 20.

D-82211, Herrsching, Germany

Himal© 1995 is published every two months by

KImal Association, PO Box 42, Patan Dhoka, Laliipur, Nepal

Tel: 9771533845, Fax: 521013,ema>: himal® mosnepal.emat.ki

LbaryotCongrass Card, Catalogue Number 88 912882


PrinSng: Jagadamba Offset Pvt. Ltd. Tel: 521393.

An Elegant Return

by Roger L. Plunk

The Dalai Lama's presence in Lhasa would help the Tibetan people face their day to day problems with confidence and resolve.


Kang Rlmpoche Trashed and Commercialised

uy junn v. oeiieiid



Haiti Cuisine, Kuinauri Fashion

Biofencing Elephants

Climbing Unopened Peaks

Tourism, Bali Style

Placename: Kanchenjunga

Notes from the Karakoram



Asia's holiest place is turning into a dirty Disneyland.

33 35

Review 1994 Himal Index


Himalaya Mediafiie


Know Your Himal

Kathmandu, Uailo Kathmandu



A Photo Essay





No Sops for Uttarakhand

Citizenship Made Simple

Intellectual Challenge


Gurkha Sorrow

by Prem Krishna Gongaju


Abominably Yours

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Vajra (literally-flash of lighting), is an artists' condominium, a transit home for many, providing a base during months of hibernation and creative inspiration. Its isolation, graphic splendour and peaceful ambience, make an ideal retreat from the clock of pressure.

Ketaki Sheth Inside Outside

I stayed a week at the Vajra, by which time I had become so fond of it that I stayed another.

John Collee The London Observer

in Kathmandu, the Vajra

Swayambhu, Dallu Bljyaswori, PO Box 1084, Kathmandu Phone 271545, 272719 Fax 977 1 271695 Telex 2309 HVGHPL



Himalayan Chic for the Upper Crust

Elephant Menace? Try Bio-Fencing

I am enclosing an entirely r


alti cuisine is all the rage-in London, and Kinnauri fashions have caught the i ma gi na t > o n of Delhi's beautiful people. The Himalaya is suddenly coming in from the cold as far as the Upper Crust is concerned. Should We be worried? Or should we just have fan?!

Sunday of Calcutta reports that "the Balti curry is sweeping the British Isles in the 1990s the way tandoori did two decades earlier". Balti restaurants have sprouted all over, and at last count there were over 100 in Birmingham alone. The dish is a type of Kashmiri curry which is served hot in karahis. It is more Asian nouvelle cuisine than authentic fare from the Northern Territories.


Inew concept in controlling the elephant menace," writes Umesh Dwivedi, Darjeeling environmental activist and editor of the magazine Himalayan Paryaxwran. "I have been experimenting with it in my farm which is in the Bhabar area in Garhwal. It was extremely effective, I have suggested it to the Government of India and the Government

A good question to ask. would be; is there a'Balti' ■■■:■ restaurant in Skardu? Would the locals recognise what is put in front of them?

But who cares about authenticity when there is money to be made! Today, even British pubs deign to have the odd Balti Jamb or chicken on the menu, arid a : . range of frozen, readyrcooked dishes have been added to Marks and Spencers'curry department.

Scene shifts to New Delhi's Siri Tort auditorium; where the National Institute of Design is presenting its ^nnual collection. Models shashay down the ramp and flashguns ..■■. go off as the graduating class of India's topmost fashion school showed off their work.;

of West Bengal."

Dwivedi calls his new concept -bioifencing' and it is intended to create a barrier against encroachment into

Critics and

others in ihe.. 1 ■■■■■

audience cc>nceded:

that the most

striking fashion

statement was that


sardarji Tejinder ■= ■■■■■■■:■

Si nghj whose

collection Was,'.



Pream Revisited".

Drawing... .;.... ., ,

inspiration from

the weaving "..

traditions of the

Kinnauri peasants,

Singh paraded a


winter collection

which included a

centrepiece which

was an adaptation of the dqhru

hill sari. He and included

traditionaUy crafted brooches,

with motifs for shawls, caps

and shoes borrowed from

Buddhist and Hindu symbols

such as the swastika and trisul.

The natural greys of Himalayan w6ol without dye

villages and fields by wild elephants, a grobjem in West Bengal and Assam.

"I made a fence of the succulent century plant {Agapeamericatia); TThis plant belongs to the k family Agavaceae and ^ has a rosette of leaves which have sharp' margirts. The elephants were notable to cross it jas they cannot raise their

"looks classy and lends sophistication to the costume", explained Singh to the Pioneer critic. The designer bagged four awards at the gala.

If Kinnaurand Baltistan have made it, can Dolpoand Lo be far behind?

feet very high and were scared of the sharp margins. Apart from preventing the elephant menace, this plant is a very good soil binder and has fibre value, which will also promote the rural economy."

Dwivedi also suggests certain "alternative plants" which can be used for bio-fencing: prickly pear, aloe and yucca.

. S.,:..

H1MAL January/February 1995

,w ♦ *

.... .... Sow to use wormsfc produce .

fertiliser arid how to dry" vegetables. In Colombia they I
observed the finer points about 'raising pigs and livestock marketing.

Wecan only peer over at

If the Andeans Can,

Why Can't the Himalayans?

legumes and indigenous fruits.

The Peru group used its prize

money tti visit women's groups this sistei- region of the Andes,

in Ecuador and Colombia, and wonder when inter-people

From the peasant women in exchanges will begin to happen

Ecuador, the Peruvians learned on this hemisphere.

Sunder Lai's Rebuke

Sunder Lai BahugOria, Chipko guru andTehri's nemesis, has aimed his walking stick at NGOs arid NGSism io aDeeembar 12 note entitled "To the Social Workers of Himalaya". Excerpts from his lengthy broadside:

Cooperation among people's groups strung out across the Himalaya seems harder to start and sustain than in the Andean region, where cross-cultural and exchange programmes appear to happen spontaneously. One such programme, as reported in the United Nations magazine Cooperation South, was a recent "women and food technology contest".

UNIFEM, the organisation which supports women's activities, estimates that the Andean women produce, process and sell close to 80 percent of the region's food, products and run 70 percent of the small enterprises. Yet they have little or no access to land, credit or technical support.

To highlight the fact that women play a key role in promoting food security and developing small business, a Latin American network of women's groups has already organised two contests, in 1992 and 1994.

These competitions have attracted more than 50 societies engaged in a wide range of activities, from agricultural production to agro-processing, distribution and marketing. One award-winning group from central Ecuador's Tungurahua Province was rewarded for successful cultivation of highland crops and fodder on terraced Jand, and using indigenous organic farming techniques.

Another award went to an indigenous women's milling and baking group from Peru's central highlands, which concocts nutritious candy bars from local cereals, protein-rich
I was fortunate to live with three dedicated souls to the service of the Himalaya, Martyr Shri Dev Suman, Mira Bchn and Satla Behn—and get inspiration from them for awakening the masses living in the remote corners of the Himalaya. Sairla Behn was the last in this trinity of servants of the Himalaya to live amongst us. The new crisis of establishing pur identity, which is confronting us today, was not there in those days. We were known as the social activists free from power and party politics, who had launched non-violent struggles to.solve the burning problems of society.

The Chinese aggression in 1962 drew the country's attention towards the security of the northern borders. One of the defence measures was; khadi village industries and other constructive activities. To carry on these activities a group of institutions and their paid workers eajne. Though it had no effect upon the small group of activists inspired by Sarla Behn, she became suspicious about the future* She said, "We shall fight the ideological invasion

(communism of China) of the north with the stronger ideology of Gram swaraj,but the invasion of social work controlled by the institutions of south is more dangerous."

The flood of new institutions after 1980, which has certainly attracted the youth desirous-to serve, is an unprecedented event. The roots arid sources of nourishment of these institutions were somewhere else> so the place of Sarla Behn's hill lifestyle and dedicated work style was taken by NGQs born and bred in the West; The number of these in the Himalaya is in the hundreds, but in thousands all over the countryi

(These) NGOs are functioning as supplementary to the governments and organisations like the World Bank. They have played the same role in extending the sphere pfjnfluence of state power as was played by the Church in the Medieval Age. Being part of the establishment* they get finances from the government, and fthe governments of the rich countries now distribute money through these to the

NGOs of the poor countries. They create a favourable atmosphere for the spreading and thriving of their mercantile civilisation.

These new institutions required a new type of workers, technical and professional, and gradually the place of 'dedication' was taken by 'profession'. It was not necessary that their living standard, life and work style resembled the dedicated workers, because for professionals it is not essential to maintain the oneness of personal and public Hfc.

There is a tradition of voluntarism in this country founded by Gautam Buddha and Gandhi. They were practical revolutionaries who wanted to bring total change iii the system. In his daily prayers, Gandhi used to say, "Oh Lord, give me strength and eagerness to identify myself with the common masses of India." This is the source of sustenance of the social activist. In the Himalayan scene, where both poverty and suffering are pert of life, adoption of the standard of life of the common people is a practical necessity.

It should not be difficult to decide whether we are

1995 HIMAL

Clandestine Climbing

rJGOs> or voluntary agencies, or workers of the Garidhi-Buddha lineage. There is a need for; hundreds of life-workers in the Himalaya who by identifying themselves with the common people may worship the living idols and make themselves confident about their bright future.

The development policy whose goal is economic: growth regards nature as a commodity. It believes in squeezing everything out of it. With the extension of the means of transport, there is not a single corner of the Himalaya left; where nature has not been invaded by development in the form of felling of trees or


he climbing accident that tookll lives on Pisang Peak last November (see Himal Nov/Dec 1994) had the value of raking up matters that have gone unaddressed in the past. Among the many issues that the Pisang accident threw up was the open flouting of Nepal's climbing regulations by agencies in the business. The Pisang incident indicates that the government is prepar­ed to iopk the other way while some trek agencies take their clients up pretty much any peak that catches their fancy.

The ill-fated group of climbers that tumbled down the icy slopes of the northwest face of Pisang had a 24-day trek itinerary which included climbing of Pisang and two other peaks, both of which have not been 'opened' by His Majesty's Government. Eight days before tackling Pisang, the group had climbed Rambrung peak (4440m), ostensibly for acclimatisation.

extraction-of medidna] herbs, hunt of wild animals, arid minihg. With the groWing demand for water and: electrieity, cbnstructionio£ dams first began in the foothills arid now has been extended to the middle Hi rna] aya. The government s are promoting luxury tourism in the Himalaya, which is 'regarded as eco^ friendly; For. this,air Strips arid five-star hotel s are being coris tf ucted. People are beirigejected from thelirnitM flat land. This is a conspiracy to demoralise the people;

Mountain people are :freedom-loving by nature, but the centralised system has robbed them of this freedom.

Six days later,, ■they were scheduled to have climbed the 6200m ThorungRL

In their press note released in Kathmandu after the tragedy, the company Deiitscher Alperiverein (PAV) Summit Club indicated that :they had been selling the same itinerary for at least ten years.

Neither Rambrung nor Thprang Ri appear on the long ■list of 141 peaksoperito foreign expeditions, including the 18 'lesser peaks' tinder the purview of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) of which Pisang is one, Climbing any unopened peak is illegal under Nepali law.

It might be argued that Rambrung is not a peak of substance arid Thoning Ri is frequently tackted even by individual trekkers on the way; over the Thpnjng La to Muktiriath. And it is true that neither the Tourism Act nor the mountaineering regulations explicitly define

Legislation declaring , natural resources as national property has been forced upon them. These are exported in tfie name of national interest. The local people do not get water for drinking and irrigation, but it is exported 300 km away to abig city and to grow cash crops like sugarcane;

Who elsewtfl care a.bout these issues if the voluntary orga ni sat ions 'arid' the workers do not awaken the people against these disastrous activities, which are alluring the people with immediate gairts? There is no alternative except direct action...

what constitutes a 'peak'. However, no matter how inexplicit, the rules encompass all hittiaJchuli,of snowy peaks> of Nepal,

A look at DAV's glossy tour Catalogue for 1995 reveals that it plans to continue offering itineraries that are not in conformity with the law of the land. On a 24-day trek to the Langtang region, clients can climb Yala Peak (5520m), Big Surja Peak (5144rn> and Small Surja Peak (5000m). Another trek of similar length to Khurnbu offers a chance to top SanuTaboche (53QSm>.

The round-Manasuiu trek includes Larky a PeakNorth (6065m) arid Saitido Peak (5100m). If one is climbing Parchamo, an 'NMA peak' in Rolwaling Himal, Yalung Ri is provided as a bonus. The real highlight of the 24^day trek to Yalijng Glacier in the Kanchenjunga region is £he climb of 52Q0m-high Itamze peak. Similarly, a 31-day trek to Kanchenjutiga Base Camp culminates with the climbing

qi Drohmo" peak (6100m) up the Kangpachen valley.

- None of the peaks, named above are open to climbers".

If Nepal's climbing regulations do not make sense, and if they actually have the effect of retarding the growth of elimbing-activities, powerful agencies like the DAV should be in the forefront of trying to change those regulations, not flouting them.

It is intriguing that no eyebrows were raised in the Ministry of Tourism or the N^IA over the years that the' DAV has been conducting clandestine climbing. It required a tragedy of massive proportions for the public gaze to skim even momentarily over issues important to the healthy growth of guided mountaineering in the country.

The open disregard for Nepal's mountaineering regulations shows insensitivity towards the host country. At the same time, it causes massive loss of revenue to a country that seeks to earn income from mountain tourism as one Of its few resources.

There are sure to be other overseas tour agencies as Well who are quietly applying the modus operand! of DAV. The German operator just got caught in the act. It is now up to the Nepali authorities to wake up, and either change the laws or apply them.

-Basanta Thapa

HIMAL January/February 1995

Kathrnandu government goes com mil nist »nd hi-tech.

Both Karl Marx and Deputy; Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal look the other way as Nepal's new Mnister of Communi­cations Pradeep Nepal keys in vital data into his Apple PowerBook during a Parliamentary Board Meeting of (he Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) in Kathitian-du, Nepal. (Editors' note:five Nepa/s in-brie sentence is a record.)

but f or theGrace of Lord Pashupatinath Goes tKe Himalaya


hat to do: when the.;eyer-expanding tide of tourism thieateiis to swamp the core of one's culture? In Nepal, where visitors are allowed to photograph funeral pyres close-up as a touristic draw, this is a question that is not eyisrt asked, leave alone addressed. The Hindu Indonesian island of Bali, however, has seen it all before; How Bali has fought and has adjusted to the tourism JHggernautshould.be educational rpr budding tourism-and>culture activists in the Himalaya.

Fears that tourism would cause basic changes to Balinese society have been around for long,reports:TWpf Features. [ The anxiety was heightened in

the■ 1970s, when the hippies arrived at Kuta beach, and later when unmarried Balinese coupies started to live together, and when boys started to work as gigolos in the 1980s, New concerns also arose: drugs, the commercialisation of art for the tourists'sake, and problems with tourists entering temples to'witness'rituals.

The Baliriese regional government reacted with regulations: Nude sunbathing was prohibited, and citizens were exhorted to preserve tradition as the final fortress against the impact of the Western way of life. At the same time, the locals seem to have maintained their ritual and traditional activities if only because this attracted visitors^ In major tourist areas such as Kuta, the Balinese New Year, " Nyepi, is strictly observed; Thus, outside culture seems to have touched, but not penetrated, the core of Balinese life.

Fears that tourism would


Gepgra^h;kally,B^ncriertji4ng Nepal'and: Sil*:im for a short distant Mowever, the world Of tourismrecognises it as the mouiitainotl^tjeeling,:smcethey^ew of the elongated; massif from, this; hill town is rr\agnificertUy jifisurpassedi Tlie people of I)arjeeling are given to referring to the :: mountain as hamro J^/^flLlTi;^ five summit of Kari

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