Nepali Times


After reading Kunda Dixit's 'Peace postponed' (#375), I felt depressed and even more so when he predicts that Jimmy Carter will see the same lack of movement in his next visit to Nepal. The excitement of the polls have faded but what is clear is that it is all due to these unaccountable and irresponsible politicians. The Maoists, who should has been different, are not faithful to the people. It is a shame to hear politicians like CP Gajurel say that they won't let the elections happen if they are to lose.

Samyam Wagle,

l The return of internally displaced people, security and a suitable proportional electoral system are prerequisites for elections. I think the dates to election by a neutral civil government are necessary as no one has the right to keep the people in a state of uncertainty for such a long time.

Name withheld,

l You are confused. On one hand you say (Editorial, 'Conceptual continuity', #375) the ruling bloc should immediately announce elections but on the other hand declare that the Maoists don't want it and would do everything to spoil it. You exhibit the dilemma as the UML and other political parties: hoping against hope to blame the Maoists. Their strategy is: the other parties want elections, not us. When nobody wanted elections, it was our agenda but when everyone wants it, it is no longer our agenda. Now we want a republic to be declared and once you agree to that, we will promulgate the constitution. In their vocabulary, there is no responsibility, commitment or ideology. Prachanda is the supreme leader of the world. Whatever he says, you have to accept. There is no alternative.

Kishor Kamal,


Thank you very much for bringing the sea-buckthorn into the limelight ('Sagarmatha superfruit', #374). We really need to push and popularise such unexplored and underestimated treasures of Nepal. Back in 2004 when I first tasted sea-buckthorn in Sing Gompa. It has long been prepared and processed in Tibet as a medicinal drink. Kudos to the Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council for teaching villagers the technical know-how and encouraging its preparation in the Khumbu region. With more refinement and research for its nutritious value, this could be the next big health drink. Seeing it being packed and labeled in bottles is a good start.

Matiram Pun,
Institute of Medicine, Maharajgunj


Frank de Lange (Letters, #375) has concluded that by the act of translating a literary novel, one can become the 'embodiment of de-contextualised peace industry'. He also questions my motives in translating Elephant Polo and presumes the book is destined for a 'happy few'.

I doubt that he would have written his letter if he had taken the trouble of actually reading the book, rather than drawing far-flung conclusions from a short description of the book's launch ('Dutch elephant', #373).

I much prefer, but not necessarily agree with, the straightforward argument made by S Ranjit in the same page to the effect that 'the top-down approach for development never worked'. The book makes exactly the same point. I quote the main protagonist of Elephant Polo, Oscar, who states in a speech: "Ladies and gentleman, although traditional development assistance is characterised by a selfish, paternalistic and short-sighted approach, it remains one of many possible models for development. But, in my eyes, it is barely productive. Moreover, it costs tax payers handfuls of money without any accountability whatsoever for results-at least, if you do not wish to use sentimentality or self- gratification as a yardstick.' Incidentally, readers will find that Oscar's own model of development does not survive the confrontation with the rather grim realities of Nepal today. It goes under in a finale that is as spectacular as it is moving.

So what was my motive in translating the book? Simple: I discovered an entertaining and well-written novel that provides a sharp insight into Nepal and opens a window into the soul of a foreigner who loves Nepal and struggles to understand it. Often complex realities are much better explained through literary expression rather than in thick consultants' reports full of jargon. Problem was, this novel was written in inaccessible Dutch. I felt it deserved a wider audience, certainly not a happy few.

Adriaan Verheul,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)