Nepali Times Asian Paints
RABI THAPA
Kalam
The Mangols are coming!


RABI THAPA


I've never understood beauty pageants. Yes, I know there are as many arguments for as there are against these glittery, chittery tamashas, both sides claiming they are speaking in the interests of womankind as a whole. On the whole, I've tended to regard them as rather harmless, gormless, aesthetically pleasing exercises in corporate promotion, but I wouldn't care to overly judge any such event Ė either from the picket lines or from the judges' panel.

I can understand, however, that a Miss Nepal event represents an opportunity for participants to develop character, empower themselves, or simply make a pile of cash. Ditto for the promoters. If the winner then goes on in the time-honoured tradition to promote certain worthy causes, good for them (and hopefully for us).

What I can't understand is the proliferation of ethnic beauty pageants. Miss Newa, Miss Sherpa, Miss Limbu, the list goes on. Ok, these too represent an opportunity for participants beyond that offered by Miss Nepal, ostensibly because they also represent historically disadvantaged ethnic communities. But I'm yet to hear of a Miss Chamar or Miss Chepang. There must be such a thing as being too disadvantaged to attract corporate backing. And the hypocrisy of the Maoist-affiliated groups who once shut down Miss Nepal for 'denigrating' women, but now allow a dime-a-dozen Miss fill-in-the-ethnic-blank-unless-you-are-Bahun-or-Chettri pageants in the name of ethnic expression is, well, typical.

But what really gets my goat is the latest edition Ė Miss Mangol. Who are the Mangols? Are they everyone in the country except for Bahuns and Chettris? Is Miss Mangol a forum for indigenous women to express themselves Ė as opposed to Bahun and Chettri women, probable migrants from India, who may have their own trouble expressing themselves? If Miss Mangol is a front for 'real' Nepali women, then why does the idiotic term 'Mangol' claim roots thousands of kilometres away, on the other side of the Great Wall of China?

I will be accused of resenting janjatis for their fun in the sun (being a non-janjati automatically disqualified from commenting on janjatis, just as the application forms for Miss Mangol imply Bahuns and Chettris, and those lacking 'good moral character', are disqualified from competing). So I had better make it clear I have nothing against any ethnic community in this riotous Nepali garden of ours. What I do resent is attempts Ė calculated or not Ė to simplistically pit those Nepalis of Mongoloid ethnic origin against those of Indo-Aryan origin, and justify and augment the division by implying the former lack the privileges of the latter, wholesale, period. It's one thing to be proud of your ethnicity and culture Ė Newar, Chettri or Limbu Ė it's quite another to create false Great Walls of China in our own backyard.


If, as this year's winner Barsha Rani Gurung declared, it is crucial to make youth culturally aware, and, as organisers Action Entertainment claim, "Unity in differences and equality in multiplicities are our common characteristics", then why is it necessary to exclude Bahuns and Chettris, that is, to manufacture an event of their own? Perhaps no one really sees the irony in the dash for filthy lucre. It's no surprise that Miss Mangolian Kid was sponsored by the Chaudhary Group. Being plain Nepali has never been more difficult.



1. Toksang Tamang
The great wall of divide had always existed, in Nepal. Before it was silently excepted by the oppressed.

Now it is only being stirred. Perhaps when everyone and I mean everyone is socially and economically represented, then we can all live in true harmony.

Cheers
Toksang


2. manoj aryal
Rabi has hit the bull's eye, you are right miss Mongol should be organized in Mongolia not in Nepal,it is intresting that these ethinc groups say that they are indigenious group of Nepal but why they are doing such ridiculous activity which shows that they love Mongolia but not Nepal, Bahun Chettris has never organized a beauty peasent  which say miss aryan..!!and that will never be organized, these flourishing beauty peasents like miss limbu, miss rai, miss tamang, miss maharjan is leading these people into more communal space which is harmful to them.

3. Nep1
So what's your real point and if you don't have one then its a waste of space for an esteemed news magazine to publish such a garbage.

4. R RAI

I agree with the writer to a great extent.

Indigenous ethnic young women and girls need good role models like Anuradha koirala Gurung,Sapana Malla - professors,doctors, lawers and activists- not brainless bunch who can not understand the difference between Mongoloid race and Mongoloid origin / Mongoloid nationality. Perhaps, Thapa could have clarified the difference.

Sadly,these young women are being used, and they do not seem to realize they are doing disservice to their communities by encouraging young girls to adopt superficial values and NAKKAL.

 



5. Nirmal
What molests is this vehemence. Their claim of liberation when at the same time they love practising such kind of segregation, I sometime read declarations sent to me by mongol organizations, Khumbuwaan limbuwaan etc, and sorry to say but that they are really bad prolifics. ardent xenophobs and abusive racists.

As the right to association or protest is a fundamental right, and it is needed a group of individuals to be exercised, the right to ones identity is also an individual right in a same way. Which allow to constitute a particular boundary within them but not barring others or demeaning. This racial obsession in identity politics is truly undemocratic and hinders to exercise ones one right to identity. Radicalisation san civilisation has been in rise. This reflects the upwards trends in these kinds of racioethnic politics. But with stealth and precision, among the spray that rises up like a gentle slap taking profit of the tide, insert the harpoon through the tail. The identity politics should be taken as an opportunity not as a conflict or a panacea to conflict. This does not generate solutions but will further complicate the life.


6. anuj

@ Mr. Thapa, i hope you are reasonable enough not to label others, who sympathesize and fight for Adivasi Janjati people's cause as racist / casteist / element instigating dysharmony like Nirmal (commentator 5) says !!! However, I am surprised to read an artcle of such low standard from you and that too get published in NT. Your article has made me even more convinced that NT is conspiring against the spirit of Adivasi Janajati movement. Any article that fails to include opinions / views of those who have been  involved in making such beauty peasants a success or people from Adivasi Janajati community, is just a CRAP or a monologue from disturbed and insecured mind. Cmn..see the bright side, why do you make unnecessary issue out of good things happening around???


7. JP
Identity politics does more harm than good. But what gets me is the perpetuation of the idea of 'oppressing' caste. When I was in school, more than half of the students were Janjatis of the "mangol" variety. Almost all of them are in Britain, Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong, while the majority of Bahun Chhetris and Dalits, if you like, stayed behind in Nepal. So, don't see why we get blamed while the best of them want to get out, and not really contribute to the development here. 

Worse of it all is, this offence-defence identity politics can only end in a bloodbath. Scary idea!


8. tepal
if you think this is bad, try reading the so-called expat intellectuals of this country churn out dollar funded garbage on ethnic and indigenous "rights" as if those folks evolved from bacteria right here under the himalayas. talk about ngo funded intellectual corruption ...


9. Mr. Mangol.

Hey guys,

I think this forum needs to tone down thier identity exclusive opinions, The fact is that we live in a recession prone underdeveloped capitalist country where corporate sponsors need to come up with these ideas to keep consumer spending on the increase. Hence, the mangol paegent is nothing but product diversification in the language of the cosmetic industry. Its funny that we get bogged down into identity based arguments where the man with the pie gets the last laugh.



10. toksang
JP,
Mangol variety? what exactly do you mean by that. And Majority of  Bhaun and Chettris stayed back!  where did you get that idea.
People around the world get a shock when they come across  a Mongloid Nepali. They always think Nepali stock is more akin to Indian. You know why, becuase that's who they come across all over the world.

look at all those expats  association around the world and judge for yourself.


11. sarangsh
'I've never understood beauty pageants' - yes you're right, judging by the way you've written, you obviously don't. 

12. Ohboy
Hey, perhaps non mongols aren't attractive enough!

Just kidding.¬ Why take this thing so seriously?¬ Who cares? Miss this, miss that.... everybody's a winner.¬ Everybody is smiling and posing for a great shot.

BTW, there is a proper argument for Miss Mongol beauty pageant.¬ Mongolian appearance is distinctly different from the Indo-Aryan.¬ Since beauty pageants are more about appearance than anything else, why not have a pageant just for Mongols?¬ It makes perfect sense to me.¬ Now, whether all beauty pageants are a good thing or not is a different argument altogether.

But, like I said earlier, who cares?¬ It's the lighter side of life and just enjoy it.¬ If you want, have a "Miss India" or whatever pageant you want to counter Miss Mongol :) Wonder, how (un)cool that would be?¬ Haha...


13. Gokul Yadav
Toksang, really? the comments I get is that you look more like Indian than Nepali, they automatically assume that Nepali's have Mongoloid features. And I'm just an immigrant (and that too illegal from India). And you have the galls complain as if you are the only one that has been oppressed and "Non-Mongoloids" have been doing the oppression

14. jange
Every Tol and every street and every village and every town should have its own beauty pageant. Let us henceforth be known as the Land of the Beauty Pageants.


15. Mangol Dangol

This is also a signal to change an existing stereotype beauty concept (chuchcho naak, laamo ankha and more like a UP, Bihar and Bollywood type).

JP is out of line and reality when he says more Mongolian stock people are abroad while Chetri bahun stayed back. I see chetri bahun all over. In the Panchayat era, it was hard for anyone else to get a passport INDIVIDUALLY who is not in the know of the administration or panchayat bigwigs and Janajatis suffered the most from this policy. Chetri bahuns took full advantages of the panchayat era.

Now seeing how the country is run and ruined by those who stayed back, mostly all chetri bahuns, we all belatedly realize that they are not capable of running the country. Of course, they would have received the credit and accolade had the country made a tremendous progress but you can see who are at the helm of the power and how they have RUINED our beautiful country day in and day out. 



16. thuski
I feel that somehow, somewhere Mr.Thapa has taken things out of context. It is true that beauty pageants do as much for women's empowerment as wearing pants will do any good for women in terms of social equality. However, we should not forget a minor hurdle has somehow appeared to have been removed. In a country where young people are fast skipping their cultural identity, young girls/women representing their ethnic identity is a progressive sign. [This is in no way endorsing beauty pageants as the means though. The history of beauty pageants began with commercial incentives in the west and I don't think the real motives behind organizing beauty pageant has since altered in any way.] Exclusion of 'bahuns and chhetris' is just maintaining guidelines for an event meant to involve certain social communities. I see nothing in the lines of forming divisions or forming a quasi-'Great Wall of China' due to these beauty pageants. I wish Mr.Thapa would spend his time contemplating on more viable issues, like do ethnic beauty pageants really promote ethnic identities? Rather than sticking his fingers in puddings that no one should pay attention to.



17. Nirmal
I have a desire to adopt an african baby and put him/her my surname(in my homeland it is too tardy and the existing bureaucracy is something untolerable but in my karmaland I am allowed to adopt inspite of being single and foreign national) and allow him to grow up in some possible ethnic federal state, Limbubwaan, Khumbuwaan etc. let's see If he/she wins anyone of these ethnic beauty or handsome contest!! I wish God listens to my desire.

18. ms. limbu
as far as i know its been only a few years (around 7-11) since we started doing ms. newar, ms. tamang, ms. sherpa, limbu, etc. where as the brahmins and the chettris have been doing lots of other things to oppress the non-nepali speaking, usually of mongloid origin and thei own groups like women and what they perceive as lower castes. we are proud of our origins even if it is many hundreds of kilometers in central asia. many groups outside of monglia like in the koreas through central asia and parts of southern russia and eastern europe are proud of their ancestry. its like the new nepali immigratns in australia, USA, darjeeling, even bhutan (before they left) are proud of their nepali origin whether we are more closer to the mountain groups or the valleys or plains. we are happy and proud so hence forth, there are still many groups in the valleys like newars, lower and uppers hill groups, ones next to the mountains, most can relate and are proud of their origin and past influences. another example is that of african-americans or hispanic. most are now americans and are not directly from the continent of africa or from spain and its has been many generations since they families came to the newlands however, they relate and proud to their history, even negative history so it doesn't repeat. we should help, even for commercial purposes for the good of all. other groups that are not known, even bhahuns/chettris/dalits, etc. should come up with their own ms. this or that. why not? embrace diversity and pushout racism or caste system. last thing, these gurls are very cute.

19. R RAI

Anthropologists have traditionally divided human race into categories like Caucasians,Mongoloids etc. on the basis of physical features(colour,facial features etc.). Japanese,Koreans,Chinese,Tibetans,Burmese,Nagas,Kirats etc. therefore would  be considered Mongoloids.This does not mean these peoples originated in Mongolia or they migrated from there.In fact, there is no evidence to suggest this theory.

 

 



20. Saurav

Yes Mr. Thapa,

you are right "Mongols are coming".

since last two century "Nak Chhuce"; bahun and chhetry , Indo Aryan   migrated from India, who is still predominately ruling Nepal are always rasist in pointing other ethic group as Bhote or "Nak thebchhe"; Mogol Jati etc..You people made them Mongol although they are here much earlier than you people "Nak chhuce" and now for the first time if they want to play the same game that you imposed then what's the wrong? And why you are making such a big bang?



21. S. B. Bisht
I am a great fan of mongoloid girls. T he girl in the picture of this article looks just gorgeous. Did she win? Miss mongol seems alright to me. Carry on girls. The sky is the limit.

22. anuj
one thing, i have  to say that following the pattern of news articles published  in Nepalese media, be it NT or Nepal news and many more, Adivasi Janajati related news are either distorted or not given space or if given, very very minimal and that too with negative meanings. Guys, you can check yourselves!!!! However, i am not surprised. Why?? Because Adivasi janajati people still have a long way to go, when it comes to creating its niche in the field of journalism and  need to work hard to built stronghold in the field of journalism / legislature / bureaucracy for few more more decades to come. so, these areas are weak, when it comes to the welfare of Adivasi Janajati community and for their voice to be heard meaningfully across all sphere of Nepalese horizon. Surprisingly, it is happy to notice in this article, there seems to be many commentators, who sympathesize Adivasi Janajati cause. Bravo, keep it up and keep on writing more counter attack publications that tries to humiliate and discourage Adivasi janajati peoples' aspiration and dreams.

23. shakya
Hey Rabi Thapa, why don't you have your own beauty paegent : - Miss used to be social elite, but not anymore, so I bitch and complain.

Let people do whatever they wanna do. If there is a miss chepang, then great. Let miss chepang go to her chepang community and empower it. If there is a miss mongol, then let her go to her mogol community and empower it. Why does this tickle your "social elite" ass?

You got a problem? You are in no position to have one.

This article is bullshit.



24. Monk.Goal
Adivasi Janajati, name itself needs to be changed
as it referes to Half Stale....
Debate puzzled in Sattya.Nose behaviour.......
Flat nose.... Pointed nose..... Mountain nose.... Gaida nose.....
WHO nose    WHAT air     BREATH fair
hope the domination ends one day.......
if Sir.Car ensures all flowers got access to water......
every nose recycles the healthy air.....


25. rishav
The Mangols, it's all good if it means even more opportunities to see some hotties try to strut their stuff for all to see. Don't know about the name "Mangols," sounds like an award ceremony for Mangoes.


26. Nepali
Hi Rabi Dai,

Knowing you, I know you have nothing against the Janajatis and I know you have lots of Janajati friends. Just to clear things up a bit here, where accusations are getting pretty nasty.

As a janajati myself, my first reaction to the proliferation of the beauty pageants was of disillusionment, is this the kind of empowerment what janajatis wanted? But then, more I pondered about it, I made peace with myself in the fact that this is a part-and-parcel of the whole janajati movement. Just like Malcolm X started the "Black is Beautiful" movement, this I equate with a similar endeavor--where the facial features and the skin tone of the janajatis were never considered the typical beauty-types. To find records of a Helmule or Maithali actress in the history of Nepali film is a joke, because women from our communities were never considered the beautiful enough.

The number of Bahun Chettris winners in previous Beauty Pagents, and the dominance of Bahun Chettris--actors, actresses, directors in the film industry, and most scripts are almost always based on a Bahun-Chettri village or a family in Kathmandu. So, when all the avenues are closed, people find ways, and not that janajatis have inferior complexity of how they look, but its more about "We are Beautiful as well, and lets be proud of it," and I think it goes along with the janajati movement of indigenous peoples' empowerment, is an avenue of expression. Janajatis feel empowered finally, so let them express. And as you mentioned, commercial junkies always tap this kind of fervor no matter where you are. Here in America where I reside, there are BET (Black Entertainment Television), Essence Magazine (Blacks beauty magazine). And things look fine despite their arrivals!


27. Mr. Aryan
   Let 'em do anything they want. What's wrong with people? Let every community choose their own Miss (fill in the blanks). We are blessed to be such diverse, aren't we? Let's say a Mongolian girl couldn't get chance to participate on Miss Nepal peagent, at least she can do it over her own race. But, don't forget we're all NEPALI. 

PEACE


28. Mohan
For the commentators:
8 out 13 Miss Nepal were from janjatis...


29. Bipin

For those who are about to call Nepal bandh to protest against this article, read the article one more time and respond with sagacity to validate your moronic arguments (in my opinion)….

 

Same group of people who bellyache about not being integrated into the "main stream society" are the same bunch who segregate themselves into a little niche. If one doesn't want to be integrated, it won't happen. Quit blaming. This by no means that one has to forget his/her ethnic identity. Every society has a collective identity made up of individual identities. Contribute towards the collective identity by integrating.

 

Do you think that if your ethnic group can get a corporate sponsorship to promote their products because they think your ethnic group has enough money to become potential consumer of their products, your group is a disadvantaged group? Oh! By the way the corporate sponsors will be the same group of people who you claim to be oppressing you (you know since they control everything).

 

Few examples of people who are/were in the forefront of what they do and well liked by most Nepali are (and forgive me if I miss spell their names)

Narayan Gopal, Prem Dhwoj Pradhan, Sukmit Gurung, Ambar Gurung, Kunti Sundas (now Moktan), Nima Rumba, Raju Lama, Amrit Gurung, Golchas of Golcha group, Chaudharys of Chaudhary group, Sabin Rai, Nhu Bajracharya, Jharana Bajracharya, Tenzing Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, and the list is very long.  None of the aforementioned names belong to Bahun or Chettri ("the elites").

 

Only 5 out of 16 Miss Nepal 2009 contestants were Bahun or Chettri. Yep. The Janajatis are truly under represented in Nepal. Who created these Janajatis any way? As far as I can see, the true oppressed in the society has been, is, and always will be the poor. Regardless of the ethnicity, or race, or cast, poor are and will always be the "Janajatis". Ethnicity, race, and skin color has very little do with who is being oppressed. This is even truer in the 21st century world and status conscious country like Nepal. Go to Tarai and you'll find that the oppressed and oppressor are both Madhesi. Go to Pahad and you will find plenty of examples that the landlord and the indebted farmer are both of the same caste.

 

To those who think that women empowerment comes from a beauty pageant (especially segregated beauty pageant), I would like to know of a beauty queen who truly contributed towards betterment of a society and the world. Not saying that there are none. It is just that I can't think of one.

 

 Finally in response to Nepali (#26)…..

Can the reason Maithali or Helmule women were/are not in Nepali movies because it is not deemed decent within the community they live in to be in a movie or in a show business for that matter?

 

Bipin



30. Ajit Jung Gurung

this is a great article and expresses views that i had been pondering in for a long long time.

answer this question. what if the bahuns and chetrtis organised Ms. Aryan and excluded all other groups other than aryans from participating in this competition? what would happen?

take some time and think about it. i am sure the indigenous would feel intimidated and who knows maybe we would have a few bandhs as well. now i am sure that miss mangol would have surely intimidated a lot of aryan people and i believe this is something that goes against the constitution and against the human rights that no one should be prevented to participate in a competition because they belong to a different ethnic group. that's clearly a discrimination of people based on ethnicity.

thus such events should not be allowed to take place and people who conduct such events should be punished by law



31. akos
Let us all appreciate the never changing fact that we are all nepalis. That should work for everyone and we have varieties.


32. Tashi Tamang
When everything are well balanced, things runs smoothly i.e. like in our physical body, too much of sugar, too much of fat or too much of salt makes our body sick and unhealthy! So, the balance of everthing is important!

Concerning this Mongol factor, it appeared because of the causes and conditions from many centuries of dominance and oppression. Now at present, it seems that ethnic groups are sickened with too much of dominance by Bahuns and Chhetris in every field of Nepalese society. From the Mallas, from the Ranas, from the Shah dynasty, Panchayati  and at this present stage scenario of Nepal, in which all the leaders are from Aryan back ground. In realistic issue, average Bahuns and Chhetris are well educated, but it seems that they are not educated in warmheartedness and broad mindedness, so the out come result is all these stupid and narrow minded leaders at present, who are dragging Nepal down to poverty and suffering. But the good news is that, now there are some Bahuns in Nepal who have found real jewel in Buddha's teaching, if this growth increases, it is a positive result for Nepal, because Nepal needs a leader whose mind and heart are both well trained and educated for the welfare of all.

If our mind and heart gets well trained and educated, all these barriers of differences vanishes, after all we are all same human being on this only planet called earth!



 


LATEST ISSUE
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