Himalayan magazine

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:: Darjeeling wrjat Ehafara is to Kaihmandu; or Tashicho Dzong to

ph v .. , :

; Asiftakingihecue from itsim'ult,iplepeaks,K:arichenjungahas: endowed with as many forms Of spelling, nurnerpus etlinic names, and their equally abundant interpistations. Schoi!ar,s haye :Sn^ only, been ^azzted^

equally baffled by this prpfusjorr of nairtes and

', W.KfresM^

sheer ftustfation, i-wrbte, fThe najne' Kanchenjpnga (however ft may be spelled) js fairly, familiar.?' In fact in his,book oF.nearly 400 pages; he avbided cdntroyersyvby not even attempting fo *xpkin


H.H5Ri%|ey, in The Gazetteer of Sikkim (1894), writes, 'Tn the mountains ^nd passes we .have-such names as Kanchihjingna '^ :png-di^,"grWflsnow.''/T^2^,."^

legend has 'ftthere are five[treasures fe) be found in' the mountain;: but itmay have referenc<*to: thefivepeaks formingthe moun^in." - : ■■'..' -A>.v elaborate,exglafiarion with minor Va fiat ioifis irj interpretationand speptig is gi^'en byjGolvL. A. Waddell inAmong' "tfeJtimnltyas U&V); which Teads* ^'The highest peak oi ::Kariehartjunga and the true summit (28156 ft), is called" by the Tibetans, The Repository of Gold', This name, it seems to rne,iias ■ .arisek ftpntfjieir(terpT^at|Qnt>t.t^

intco Hteraland mytrtQlogicalmahner^The na-me^Kanchanjuhga is

Tibetan and means; JiteraUy, 'The Five Repositories of the iQreat

Glaciers/..and it is physicaliy descriptive of the-nyepeaks., Whea,-

: however^ rhepatron saint of Sifekim wrote the manual for wbtship*

for this mountain-god Jte converted, these five 'reposijtories' fet©

f real Storehouses, of thc"gQd's,.treasures,.. la this way t^e Ibjftaest

Jmary/Fabwaiy 1S95 HtMAL

A Revolving Restaurant on Nuptse

I fit''happened on this side of i

destroy the moral foundations of the Balihese society have been assessed as being too alarmist and unjustified. As Ida Bagus Oka, the Governor ©f Bali, says, "Bali will always be Bali."

But there has been no let up as to now threats; In the 1980s, there was a land boom fueled by tourism. Many Balinese became :rich: overnight as their land was sold for previously unimaginable sums. There was also concern over non-Baliriese being allowed to own land for hotel development: Meanwhile, those who sold the land moved into the interior,''buying coffee and clove plantations, while those from the interior left Bali altogether and moved to other islands.

The latest focus of controversy are plans to built the Bakfie Nirwana Resort at Tanah Lot in Tabanan, Never before has a tourist resort development been so widely and unanimously rejected, for

Tanah Lot is a sacred site for Balinese Hindus! It is also a major draw for the tourist, with millions of images of the main temple sold as postcards and between coffee table book covers. While no one in tanah

I Chomolpngma, it had to happenoti the other side as well: a luxury hotel up close by the mountain. Climber Stephen Venables reports M the O£t0b6rissueof ffigk'graplans to build a five-starrer at Rongbuk BaseCamp- The Chi n a Tib et Mouritai neering Assoc iation ha s already taken the decision, and the plan is being chaperoned by New Zealand mountain guide Russell Bnce/remernbeced for his balloon flight over Chofnolorigrna in 1991.

Veitables is a pragmatist-fatalisti While conceding that traditiorialists wjil! balk at the

Lot wants to be described as anti-tourist, they are ncverthel ess gripped by doubt.

Those who worry about tourism and Balinese culture have begun to ask

idea of a hotel at the hallowed site, he maintains that "whatever one's opinion of the place, the fact is that Everest is increasingly a commodity, ori sale to ever larger numbers of '.. people, putting ever greater pressure on a fragile desert environment/'

He continues, "Brice's view isthafr, rather than bury our heads in the Tibetan sand, we should accept the reality of theproblerh arid cater for it effectively; if the GTMA wants :to build a lodge it might as well be a really good lodge." "The, entrepreneur Brice is said to be anxious thatthe hotel be built of local stone and that the

themselves; Does the increase in tourism activity have to give birth to a never-ending succession of ah>deties? A question that is increasingly relevant in parts of the Himalaya as well.

buildings do not project over the moraine, disturbing the famous view southward from Rongbuk gomba.

The hotel's clients will be tourists traveling the overland Lhasa^Kathmandu route. Mountaineers will get spin-offs from the hotel's presence: vehicle servicing, telecommunications, 24-hour monitoring of climbers' radios, and emergency services. Venables reports that Brice is negotiating with Asian Helicopters in Kathmandu to fly its Russian whirlybirds over the border on rescue missions.

Next, obviously, will be*a funicular up to the North Col and a rotating restaurant atop Nqptse.

crest; Which was most conspicuQ«sly: glided !by the rising; ami setting- sun, was rriade the treasury of gcUd;: the southern peak---which ternairted in cold grey shade tillitwhitened in the rising sun was made1 the treasury of silver, arid the remaining peaks were made respectively the treasures of gerns, grain s a ft d hplybooks;'., "■:■ 'According toff. A.jaschke' sA Tibeta h ^ngtishOicfwita nji 19S8 J,,. there a^ two names.t. in Tibetan: Yr:gQns-ceti~im7i.£>d~hia, the pye rfeceptactes of the vast glaciet ice> and 2: ga^ceH-rjc-lnd^tkc five kings of the vast glacier ice. It is interesting that the above nanies carry no mention of the Tibetan word rDzoriidzong), meaning castle or fortrfess, Jn The Jrido-Ti&etans tJ954)> Hermann's Tibetan yersiori is similar to Jaschke's, where kati^pitati-trtdzGd-ingq isgiven as 'Great glacier ice of the five store-rooms'. ..: . ■■■■ ''".'"■'■ .■

The Le^cha; ind igehous pet^ple of the Sarjefeling1jiilifey have itneir own riain^ for this toi^moiintam.T^e closest to the Tibetan name is tofig-cfei?or kang'-chen wMch is Wrrowe'd from the Tibetan/' Sikkimese pronunciation gaftg£-cb£n: Actjordiiig to Lepcha dictionary (riow iri-print), the L£]^nasriatfieis ■: zongin wruchte5E^-te(i»f: means "fate; fortune prdesfiny. Qn; theotherhand, Fr.M'.JierntaRS claimslhai thejLepcha>nameis^1K^ tzum-$ougzbuf meaning: 'tlie highest over pur■ih^ad'i His booi^. The indo-TibelanS: (1954) explains that kirig'tzuin- (the highest part of ■■■■ihe-f.o£ehea,d,

«A pother %ep.cha rigme^pw Ju^ctiit he highest.curtain pi snow)
is cited frorn Wacldell in C.-B; Mairiwarirtg^s': A Dictwrmry of t!fe~
Lepdui Langwge tf 898),. Prdi. K.K. Sprigg believes that few is a
mistekerL reiference to- kangjkmig (snow) and Jo also a iriistakeii
referefice t(j lha(a high tfioiiniairi), While £« w*puld mean the snowy
raiigeofsnowypeak. .,.. ■■■"..■■ ■■■.■■■■ *-"■' " ■ " :i- ..

1 According to another researcher; T, Chattbpadhay (tepchiis, wtdTHmr Heritage, 1990) th^feis yet another interprefatipn: kdnff-ctizn-fcorigAlp, in which the lastiw6: words are Lepcha/as given by ErpL Spriggp^arid. the first two have been borrowed from Tibetan1..

'■'is etymologically of Lepcha oriein witlt the phonetic reprociuctiofL in Tibetan havings co-incidentally, s'ferikingly meaningful' intefpretatiOns, ■" ~ ■ "■■ ?;::'

Jn this writers opiijiein, the name is b£ Tibetan origiri, and^ Waddell's explanatiort (quoted above) has too nvudi in it to be just' astrikingcpincidfitce.^yenMainwanrig, whom" mariy consider to be the fath erof th e Lepcha la nguage, hi his d i c.t ionaty ofthc-Lf^cha^ gives kgn-ceihjoir~iia and gfm$^c(w~tJQns-lvn& as Tibetan equivalent of a'". He'even adds for iwrfien prdpium another variant," ii which is alsp Tibetan.

HIMAL January/February 1995.

Notes f rom jtlte Karakaranx

Gitgtt and Hunza have seen a dacade of steady growth since the opening of the Karakoram Highway (KKH)Jjt 1978. Kathmandu-based writer John Mock, who was in \h& Northern Areas recently, shares his notes on Gifgit's development, the accompanying environ­mental woes, plus some encouraging signs of activism.

Khunjerab Stutdents Federation

Gilgitto the Sea With the KKH, once-isolated GiLgit was linked by road to the major population centres of Pakistan; Overland ?. trade, which had previously been mostly with nearby Kashgar,, shifted to down-country Pakistan, an 18-hour drive through the Indus River

In 1984, foreigne allowed on the stretch of the KKH north of Gilgit, through Hunza and over the Kh-unjerab Pass into China,The number of foreign tourists rose to 4137 annually by 1989, but that was a small number compared to the 24,054 Pakistanis who crossed into Tibet that very year. Drawn by the profits to be made importing Chinese consumer goods and silk cjoth' for sale in down-country bazaars, Pakistani traders swarmed to the modern-day Silk Route entrepot of Kashgar.

This year, representatives of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan visited Gilgit to study the prospects of establishing a direct overland trade route from their capitals to the sea poTt of Karachi. This will require the widening of the 1300 km-long stretch between Kashgar and Rawalpindi to accommodate higher volume of heavy traffic. Once-remote Gilgit is well on its way to becoming a centre of Central Asian trade.

Bad Water. In 1993( some ■■■

Gilgit residents formed the Karakpram Society for I^atural ^nd Environmental: : Rehabilitation (KASQ>JER), The nonprofitgroup wants to promote awareness and educat io n to eqrnbat environmental problems before

KRONER has opened an information centre at the A1-
Kamal House in central Gilgit, held anti-pollution marches through the main bazaar-, surveyed the town water supply systerrVand led a protest action at this past sumrner'S: Shanctur Polo ' Tournament,

The Gvlgit water supply is fed by two main channels constructed back ial^25. the town has expanded along these channels, which have become the garbage disposal 'sites for the expanding population. People dump their refuse directly into the watercourses: old batteries, shoes, plastic bags and everything else.

Drivers cleari theirvehicles ... here, and stable boys wash their horses: Fertilizer; and pesticide runoff from the fields wa sh directly i nto the flowing wat^r.

.. Gilgit does not have a waste treatment system and" raw sewage flows directly into: the two.channels..Even as ,, K&s'QNER is pushing, for quick action,, the .incidenceof enteric-fever and hepatitis is increasing in Gilgit,

Shallow Polo, The Shandiir Polo tournament is a VveUr-publicised four-day tourist eistravaganza that draws upjto fifty thousand spectators and I merry-makers to the Shahelur "Pass, at3800 m .and lying" between Gilgit and GhitraL
Star polo players from all over Pakistan compete in this high-altitude polo, with even the incumbent Prime Minister occasionally making a guest appearance/by helicopter, At the 1994 event in July, KASONER activists protested the lack of adequate sanitation at the tournament site and the trashing of the alpine meadows and a nearby lake by the careless revellers. Police lathi-charged the protesters and removed them forcibly. After the revellers had gone home, the activists regained behind to clean up the paper and plastic refuse.

Says KASONER organiser

Ashiq Hussain, "The influx of, outsiders is commercialising this region faster than we can accomodate. At the same time, the rapidly growing population is disturbing the natural cycles of our sensitive ecosystem." J

Khurijerab Glean-Up. North of Giigit along the ..KKH, in the region of upper Hunza called Gojal, srudent activists have formed the Khunjerab. Student Federation (KSP). Although initially begun in199Q to ..; promote education, the group" has turned towards green work because of the ecological degradation along the KKH. The KSF has launched a campaign to ban the use of plastic bags and to stop the

burning of plastic. Litter containers have been placed m areas where villagers gather, particularly at the customs and border post in Soust village. The group has also branched into eco-tqurism, training local guides to be ecologically responsible during treks.

Whether another eco-friendly culture of the South Asian mountains will be overwhelmed by progress will largely depend on the success of grassroots organisations like KSF:and KASONER.
Contact: KSF, po Soust, Village Morkhun, Oojaf, Hunza District, GUgit. Northern Areas. KASOhJER, PO Box 551. GiSgil, Northern Areas.


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Modernise, Or Else!

Building the New Lhasa


banner in front of

the Jokhang


The 1990s has seen an


modernisation offensive in

Tibet, and an attempt to

transform the ancient

capitai into a frontier

boom-town. But how much

say do Tibetans have in

the future of their


Text and picture by John Grey


hen supreme leader Deng Xiaoping toured China's southern provinces in early 1992 and launched the now famous 'Spring Tide' initiative, it was a signal of the central leadership's vigorous support for liberal economic reforms. Since thattime, many of China's south­ern and eastern provinces have experienced unprecedented economic growth, with the development of free enterprise and the emergence of domestic consumerism, fuelled both by foreign investment and greater internal mobility of capital and labour. In the same period, party and government officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) unleashed a new 'Socialist Modern-isation' programme that emphasised urban construction, improved infrastruc­ture, and development of a market economy while maintaining the ongoing imperative to 'crush separatism' and ensure 'stability1. The now frequently cited 22-character

guideline handed down from the PartyCentralCommitteereads, "Seize the Opportunity, Deepen Reform, Open up Wider, Promote Develop­ment, Maintain Stability."

The grandiose language of the socialist planners can be hard to fathom, but TAR's Deputy Party Secretary Raidi (Rakti in Tibetan), addressing cadres in the Tibetan capital in early 1994, spelled the policies out in clearer terms. In the Xizang Ribao of 2 August 1994, he described 'reform' as "linking Tibet's economic restructuring with the whole country", and 'stability' as "stepping up construction of contin­gents of troops stationed in Tibet, armed police, judicial, procuratorial and public security workers."

A few days later, Raidi's colleague Danzim (Tib: Tettzin) told a visiting delegation from Macao, as reported in Xizang Ribao: "We firmly believe that a united, prosperous and civilised Socialist New Tibet will


January/February 1995 HIMAL

surely be able to stand firm on the Tibet plateau—the roof of the world." During their stay, the delegation had negotiated a contract worth 600 million Yuan (Y8=U$1, approxi­mately) to build an entertainment park on an island on Lhasa river.

In Lhasa city itself, 'socialist modernisation' policies since the spring of 1992 have had some highly visible effects. Firstly, a significant increase in the city's population, principally due to an influx of Han economic migrants from mainland provinces. Secondly, a marked increase in urban growth, including a burst of new construction projectscommercial, residential, official, military—throughout the city.

Neither are exactly new developments. One of the authorita­tive city planning documents {CCP Central Committee Document No. 31-1980) finalised in 1985 and subsequently leaked to western researchers states that "the population of the city has developed from 30,000 at the beginning of the Liberation to some 110,000 now. The built-up area has increased from less than 3 sq km to 25 sq km. The newly constructed area is ten times that of the old city... By the year 2000 population should be controlled so as to be 200,000. The area for construction should be 42 sq km by this time... (We shall) create a city that is relatively perfect, beneficial for production, convenient for daily life, rich, civilised and clean."

In fact,official population figures are notoriously unreliable throughout the People's Republic of China (PRC); official sources still give figures from 120,000 to 180,000 for the Lhasa of today, also claiming that 87 percent are Tibetan. The Han population of TAR is said to be merely three percent. Unofficial estimates of Lhasa's civilian population range from 300,000 to 400,000, perhaps 20-30 percent Tibetan.

Thedramatici ncrease in the Han population since 1992 is due to the influx of migrant entrepreneurs attracted by the new economic climate and the relaxation of controls on

internal movement. Roadblocks between TAR and neighbouring provinces were reportedly lifted in December 1992, and bureaucratic controls such as residence permits are now waived in favour of such migrants, according to an indepen­dent 1994 survey on Chinese economic migrants by a Western group, the Alliance for Research in Tibet (ART). A considerable number of the new arrivals, perhaps 20-30 percent, are Hui-zhou Muslims from the northwestern provinces of China, noted for their willingness to travel in pursuit of business opportunities—but the majority, about 45 percent of those questioned in the survey, are from the populous Sichuan province bordering eastern Tibet.

The majority of the new migrants are engaged in the commercial and retail sectors. They have swollen the city's Han population, formerly composed of soldiers, officials, technicians, engineers and cadres posted here. Inl993,an unofficial head count of shops and businesses in Lhasa found that Tibetan-owned concerns accounted for 10-15 percent of the total, government-owned concerns 8-9 percent, with the remainder being run by ethnic Han or Hui entre­preneurs. The Xinhua news agency reported in August that 1700 new businesses had opened in Lhasa since January. It added: "A series of preferential policies have been stipulated which encourage the rapid growth of the private sector."

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