Human Traffickers dumping Nepalis to Afghan jails.doc

Human traffickers luring Nepalis to Afghan jails
Dubai a conduit for human traffickers

With lax monitoring and confused legal arrangements governing the manpower trade to Afghanistan, thousands of Nepalis continue to be duped and illegally trafficked to the war-torn country annually. Officials aware of the illegal trafficking racket said some underground networks of traffickers in Kathmandu, Dubai, Kabul and New Delhi have been operating the racket for quite a long time making the Dubai airport their main transit.

An unofficial estimate is that there could be around 15,000 to 20,000 unskilled Nepali labourers, most of them illegal, currently working in Afghanistan under critical conditions, many of them in jails and out of contact with their families back home. The Nepal government, however, remains largely unaware of the situation. As Nepal has no diplomatic presence in the country, any kind of support is virtually inaccessible to the Nepalis in trouble there.

Roughly 15,000 Nepali workers illegal
Govt record shows only 4286 as legal
Traffickers charge Rs. 2.5 lakhs per head
Dubai and New Delhi, main transit points

Officials at the Nepal Embassy in Pakistan, which oversees Afghanistan, say the situation of Nepali workers in the country is disturbing and it is getting harder for them to oversee the country form Islamabad.

“We have received information that Nepalis get trafficked in hoards to Afghanistan by agents via Dubai on duplicate visa. Most of them get caught in Kandhar and are sent to jail,” said Durga Bhandari, Deputy Chief of Mission at Nepali Embassy in Islamabad. “Nobody knows how many Nepalis are in Afghan jails. We issue travel documents for their release and return to home only when we are informed.”

Statistics at the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) show that it has issued permissions to only 4286 Nepalis for employment in Afghanistan since 2002, which is way too low than the current estimate of 15,000 to 20,000. “The gap indicates, there are a large number of illegal Nepali migrants, who could be working under exploitative conditions,” said Bhandari.

Some of the victims of this trafficking racket, who were interviewed by the Post, here in Kathmandu, said they paid up to 250,000 to local agents who promised employment in Afghanistan with wages as high as US$ 1000 per months.

Krishna (name changed), 25, one of the victims who recently returned from Dubai after being duped by an agent said he paid Rs. 180,000 to an agent for the job. “I flew to Dubai fully assured that I will be sent to Afghanistan within a week. But unfortunately, I was badly duped. I waited for two weeks inside the airport hiding from the security only to return home at last,” he said. “I’m making a second attempt through another agent as I have no courage to return home broke and face the moneylenders.”

In most of the cases, agents here in Kathmandu tell their clients that “the other party” in Dubai would receive them and make arrangement for their travel to Afghanistan. “But, in most of the cases, no such party comes to receive,” said Ramesh, another victim, who returned after waiting two weeks in Dubai airport. He said he was duped by a Kathmandu-based agent named Nau Maya Ghimire in collusion with her Dubai-based husband.

There are, however, some instances where some of the illegally trafficked workers get placements in well paying companies and thus legalise their work. In an average, a successful unskilled worker fetches at least US$ 1000 monthly, according to officials. “It’s only one lucky person out of ten that succeeds” said Ramesh. “It is the stories of those successful few that are luring many youths to risk their money and lives.”

The Nepal embassy in Islamabad said in the last couple of weeks, it received information of arrests of about one and a half dozen illegal Nepali migrants in Afghanistan. As it has no presence in Afghanistan, the Nepal embassy is working with ICRC, Cabul in helping out the Nepalis in trouble.

Manpower agents here in Kathmandu say more and more Nepalis will continue to suffer unless the government clears the confusion in the labour trade to Afghanistan and bring the traffickers to book. While the government says it has permitted sending workers in security companies, the manpower agencies are unaware of it.

“The government seems to have been issuing work permits to Afghanistan secretly, or else we could have known,” said Kumud Khanal, General Secretary of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA). “Such practices have pushed many Nepalis to opt for illegal routes.”

However, according MoLT Spokesman Purna Chandra Bhattarai, the government has never banned sending laborer to Afghanistan. “The government has been issuing work permits to Afghanistan. Manpower agencies can send workers on security sector,” said Bhattarai.
(Originally Published at TKP:

NC for conditional CA extension, Maoists must buckle up


Despite differences of opinion within the party and hard public posturing, a proposition to agree with the government on extending the Constituent Assembly tenure "under a condition" is gaining momentum in Nepali Congress.


The condition is there should be some “concrete progress” in the peace process, especially in the integration and rehabilitation of its combatants.


Some senior NC leaders said the party could support Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal’s proposal to extend the CA for a short time, possibly six months. “Since it is impossible to complete the peace process within the reaming one month time, NC may support CA term extension provided the ruling parties, especially the Maoists made concrete progress in integration and rehabilitation process and expressed commitment on completing remaining issues,” said Sushil Koirala’s close confidante Bal Bahadur KC, who is also a member of the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led taskforce assigned to prepare party's position on peace process.


The concrete progress, according to NC leaders, could be things like fixing the number of the combatants to be integrated, starting the regrouping process, handing over of the combatant’s weapons, and implementing past agreements. “Besides the commitment and some progress in peace process, there should be a convincing explanation how the extended time could be used to complete statute writing process,” said KC.


But the leaders are still not clear what would be the alternative if the no such “concrete progress” is made. "If Maoists don’t make any progress on the peace process, especially the integration and rehabilitation, the way they have failed to implement most of the past agreements, there is no point in extending the term of this government in the name of the CA," said NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat. Though Mahat said he was hopeful of Maoists making a positive move, he did not like to comment on what would be NC's stand if things did not progress as expected.


There are, however, also differences among leaders on how much progress must the Maoists make because NC has little to bargain before agreeing on extending the CA term. "The CA term will be extended anyhow, but it would be meaningful if it is done after agreeing on key contentious issues of the pace process and basic framework of the new constitution," said Narahari Acharya.


The “conditional” extension -- which is one of the three main options floating in the party -- looks more plausible for some NC leaders given the Maoist party's newly floated interim strategy to focus on peace and statute. “If things don’t move to the positive direction, the other voices, such as for fresh mandate, will grow stronger,” said youth leader Gagan Thapa.


The other two options floating in the party’s informal discussions are: One, as mentioned earlier, to go for fresh polls, and two, to forge a new power equation or a presidential rule. While there have been public statements advocating for fresh mandate, the option of presidential rule is just a fringe voice and has not come out openly.


NC’s influential leader Bimalendra Nidhi, for instance, thinks a fresh people’s mandate is the “only alternative if the constitution is not promulgated within the stipulated timeframe”.


While there are some who see the possibility of forging a new power equation under NC leadership (this time Deuba) with Maoist backing after May 28, a section close to establishment are cynical about Maoist ‘U-turn’. They warn of any camaraderie with the Maoists stating that the U-turn is just another strategy to grab power.

(First published at:

kamal.sigdel @

Spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Times of India


Sathya Sai Baba, who had millions of followers across the world, is no more. Baba's heart stopped beating at 7.28 am on Sunday morning. 

He had been on ventilator support for many days with all his vital parameters failing. He was being treated at the super speciality hospital that he himself had created for the masses. Doctors confirmed that Sai Baba died of cardio-respiratory failure. 

Baba's body will be kept for darshan at Sai Kulwant Hall in Puttaparthi on Monday and Tuesday. About 4 lakh people are expected to come to Puttaparthi, a small town of 25,000 in Andhra Pradesh's Ananatpur district. This includes VVIPs, VIPs and common devotees from across the globe and India.

Andhra chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has left for Puttaparthi to pay tributes to Baba. 

For the first time since Baba was admitted to Sathya Sai Baba super speciality on March 27, the doctors did not issue a morning bulletin on Sunday. 

Although everybody was preparing for the inevitable for the last few days, a decision had been taken by representatives of Baba's family and members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust to not pull the plug from the ventilator. 

Devotees had been praying for a miracle and had kept their faith that the 86-year-old Baba would rise once again and give darshan to the faithful. 

The Central trust was headed by Sathya Sai Baba himself and had luminaries like PN Bhagwati, former chief justice of India, SV Giri, retired central vigilance commissioner as members amongst others. A nephew of Baba, Ratnakar was also part of the trust. The trust secretary, K Chakravarthi, who influenced by Baba resigned from the IAS to devote himself to the service of the godman, executed all the programmes of the organisation

Since this is all powerful body, it has to be seen as to who becomes the new chairman. But indications are that nephew Ratnakar who otherwise runs a cable TV operation and a gas agency will play a more active role. 

Satyajit, the personal caregiver of the Baba and a product of the university at Puttaparthi set up by the godman will also play a key role. It is believed that Satyajit, still in his early thirtees, has the support of most trust members and also that of Chakravarthi. A whole array of philanthropic activities including water supply is carried on by the trust. 

(Originally published at:


Sri Sathya Sai Baba passes away

The Hindu Apr 24 2011, 10:18 hrs

Sri Sathya Sai Baba, whose spiritual clout ran far and wide, passed away this morning in this town in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district due to cardio-respiratory failure.

Sai Baba, who was 86, breathed his last at 7.40 AM at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, its Director A N Safaya said in a bulletin.

"Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He left his earthly body on April 24, 2011 at 7:40 am due to cardio-respiratory failure," it said.

The body will lie in state at Sai Kulwant Hall for two days -- Monday and Tuesday, it said, adding that arrangements will be made for darshan after 6:00 pm today at the Hall.

"We appeal to all not to rush to the hospital, but to remain calm and have Darshan in an orderly manner," it said.

A pall of gloom descended on this town, 450 km from Hyderabad, as the news of Sai Baba's death spread. His family members, four ministers and government officials rushed to the hospital following reports that the Sai Baba's condition had deteriorated further.



Who is Sathya Sai Baba?

Born as Sathyanarayana Raju (23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011)[1] was a popular Indian guru, spiritual figure and educator.[2] He is described by his devotees as an Avatar, godman,[3] spiritual teacher and miracle worker.[1][4][5][6][7] The apparent materializing of vibuthi (holy ash) and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches by Sathya Sai Baba has been a source of both fame and controversy – skeptics consider these simple conjuring tricks, while devotees consider them evidence of divinity.[8] Sathya Sai Baba has claimed to be the reincarnation of the great spiritual guru, Sai Baba of Shirdi, whose teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim beliefs.[9]


Sathya Sai Baba and his organizations support a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in India and abroad. The number of active Sathya Sai Baba adherents was estimated in 1999 to be around 6 million, although followers' estimations are far higher.[10] Since there are no formal ties of membership, the actual figure may never be known.[9] The Sathya Sai Organization reports that there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries worldwide.[11][12] In India itself, Sai Baba draws followers from predominantly upper-middle-class, urban sections of society who have the "most wealth, education and exposure to Western ideas."[13] A cultural icon in his home country, Sai Baba has attracted presidents and prime ministers from India and beyond who have become his devotees; in 2002, he claimed to have followers in 178 countries. (Wikipedia)

How Did Dinosaurs Have Sex?

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

By Brian PalmerPosted Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at 6:33 PM ET
The American Museum of Natural History in New York will unveil an exhibition of the world's largest dinosaurs this Saturday. Some visitors may wonder how the creatures could ever eat enough to sustain their size, but the Explainer's mind is in the Jurassic gutter. How did those monsters manage to have sex?

From behind, probably. Paleontologists know very little about how dinosaurs mated, because soft tissue rarely appears in fossils. (They figured out how to determine dinosaur genderonly a few years ago: Females had a special calcium reservoir to help with eggshell formation.) It is highly probable that dinosaurs had a cloaca—as do most birds and reptiles—which is a single opening for urination, defecation, and reproduction. If that's the case, we might speculate that the male and female would have aligned their cloacae such that the male's penis could emerge to penetrate the female cloaca. (It's also possible that dinosaurs had no penises, and, like some birds, reproduced by squirting semen from one cloaca at another.) Modern ornithologists and herpetologists call this a "cloacal kiss." Beyond that, it's all conjecture. Paleontologists can only guess about mating positions, duration, and behavior. The majority view seems to be that large males like the Mamenchisaurus—a 60-foot-long behemoth featured in the new exhibition—probably mounted from behind, like modern giraffes and elephants.

There was probably a courtship ritual among dinosaurs, involving signature body features. Last year, a group of paleontologists showed that the enormous fins on the back of pterosaurs and pelycosaurs were most likelythere to attract mates, because they seem to have grown larger and larger through the generations. Similarly, some researchers think sauropods like the apatosaurus (which was once called the brontosaurus) grew long necks for mating displays rather than to reach the high leaves. Male triceratops may have locked their massive horns for the right to mate.

Unfortunately, we know almost nothing about the size of other, more intimate dinosaur parts. The ratio of penis length to body size varies so widely among dinosaur relatives that it's hard to make a solid guess about a dinosaur's endowment. Some ducks, for example, are just a couple of feet long, but have 7-inch penises. On the other hand, crocodiles that grow to 15 feet sport just a 4-inch organ. If you applied those ratios to the 40-foot-long body of a Tyrannosaurus rex, you'd get a penis of anywhere between 10 inches and 12 feet.
Paleontologists have spent a lot of time musing about dinosaur sex positions, and they can't agree on very much. For example, even though sex for large, long-necked dinosaurs probably looked something like giraffe mating, there's a dispute as to what the male did with its head. Some researchers believe he couldn't have maintained adequate blood supply to the brain with it so high off the ground, so he must have gotten into some kind of high-pelvis, low-neck position. Others believe he could have held his head up high and proud during his few moments of glory.
Then there's the weight issue. While elephant females are perfectly capable of supporting a good portion of the male's 15,000 pounds, the largest dinosaurs weighed 100,000 pounds. For that reason, a small number of paleontologists believe the larger species probably had sex in the water, where the male's buoyancy would take some stress off his partner.
The rear-mount hypothesis has its detractors. Some point out that neither elephants nor giraffes sport long, thick tails to obstruct male access. Others note that the spikes, spines, and plates that some females had all over their backs would have made the position unpleasant or impossible. These paleontologists suggest that the dinosaurs may have laid down on their sides and mated belly-to-belly. Or they could have faced opposite directions and backed into each other. The male may even have rested three legs on the female and wrapped his tail under hers.
Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

Bhutan Prime Minister visits Nepal

KATHMANDU, April 14, 2011

The Bhutan People’s Party in exile in Nepal has urged the government of Nepal and Bhutan to come to an understanding on repatriating the willing Bhutanese Refugees back to Bhutan respectfully.


In a statement issued on the day Bhutani Prime Minsiter Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley arrived Kathmandu on a three-day visit on Thursday, the Bhutan People’s Party said that the government of Bhutan that practiced ethnic cleansing cannot be regarded as democratic.


“The dictatorial regime of the Bhutan has deprived 20 percent of the Bhutan’s people from their basic rights as they were driven out of the country forcefully,” said Bala Ram Poudel, Chairman of the Party.


Uninspiring Sushil Koirala in Nepali Congress

The Kathmandu Post Editorial:

Uninspiring Sushil


APR 14, 2011 
Sushil Koirala may have spent over half-a-century in politics, but most of his actions since he became chief of the Nepali Congress following his cousin Girija Prasad Koirala’s death last year seem to indicate that he has accumulated precious little political skills during that time. It used to be said that Sushil did not know anything about matters such as governance or foreign policy but, as he had spent most of his life working within the party organisation, his skills of internal political management were formidable. Almost every single action of his in the recent past has belied this claim. Rather than being able to manage varied interests, he has emerged as a leader concerned only with imposing his will upon the party while oblivious of the negative consequences it could lead to. Unlike the former Congress chief, Girija Prasad Koirala, who too had authoritarian tendencies, Sushil does not possess the capacity to inspire broader loyalty among the party organisation

The recent events within the Nepali Congress—where Sushil Koirala is pushing for a dissolution of the party’s sister wings and is adamant that only his loyalists be represented on a committee to prepare for the Nepal Students’ Union General Convention—are only the most recent in a long line of incidents where Koirala has managed to alienate large numbers of his party colleagues. He prefers to rule over his party with the support of a small coterie of loyalists and seems unconcerned about the impact of such a mindset. This is the same political style Sushil has consistently brought in his negotiations with the other parties: He starts from one negotiating position then refuses to budge. He is suspicious and apparently incapable 

of any real give-and-take. He also nurses a deep grievance that the Nepali Congress—with the years of sacrifice of its leaders and their commitment to democracy—has lost power to other political forces, but seems unable to chart out a new course of recovery. 

Due to his intransigence, the Nepali Congress could further lose its relevance in the current national politics, which calls for building common ground with other parties on important constitutional and peace related issues. The NC is suffering from Sushil Koirala’s inability to manage the party organisation, aptly reflected in the leadership’s inability to give full shape to the Central Working Committee, more than six months after NC General Convention.  The rift between Koirala and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba also seems to be growing over the dissolution of the party’s youth wings. As Koirala fears, the centrality of the Nepali Congress in Nepali politics has been steadily eroding post-1990. Yes, the party has an illustrious history. But for the party to regain its centrality in Nepali politics, its leadership has to learn to adapt to the changing political circumstances. Sadly, Sushil Koirala, at present, does not seem capable of shouldering this burden. (THK Editorial)

Pakastan Embassy staffer shot at by unidentified man in Kathmandu, Nepal

Hindustan Times, April 14, 2011

An official of the Pakistan embassy in Kathmandu sustained bullet injuries when he was shot at by an unidentified gunman on Thursday. Mehboob Asif, posted in the visa section of the embassy, was riding to work on a motorcycle when the assailant fired four rounds at him. Police say the assailant esc


aped on Asif’s motorcycle, which was later found abandoned outside a hospital. The victim who sustained bullet injuries on his stomach and hand was rushed to the nearby Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital. He is stated to be out of danger.

In a statement, the Pakistani embassy expressed the hope that the Nepal government would take appropriate steps “to bring the criminals to justice.”


Pakistan’s Ambassador to Nepal Syed Abrar Hussain told reporters after visiting Asif in hospital that he was confident that the investigating authorities would look into the matter seriously.


The police have arrested five persons in connection with the incident and have detained several others for questioning.


Thursday’s incident comes close on the wheels of Nepal’s newly appointed energy minister Gokarna Bista surviving a ‘khukri’ attack outside his Kathmandu home on Monday.


A day earlier, an Indian businessman, Anjani Kumar Chachan, was shot dead at his garment go-down in central Kathmandu by unidentified assailants.


The incidents have raised questions about security and opposition parties like Nepali Congress have sought Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal’s resignation for failing to maintain law and order. (The Hindustan Times)

Whither freed Haliya rehabilitation?



When the government announced the “liberation” of all Haliyas (tillers) from bonded labour in 2008, Lachhuwa Mahar, 52, was one among 83,000 whose happiness saw no bounds.

“It was probably the most joyous moment in my life,” says Mahar, whose family has been bonded labourers for the last three generations in the remote Daduldhura district of Far Western Nepal. “We were liberated and free of all our debts. They said we would be rehabilitated. We were also assured of compensation for the free labour we provided to our landlords. It was great news for us at that moment.” 

The happiness, however, was short-lived. The decision turned out to be a hollow promise as it was taken in haste and without plans on how to rehabilitate the freed Haliyas. “We realised soon after that there was nothing to be happy about. Let alone land, we did not even receive compensation for our labour. It’s been over two years and nothing has changed,” says Ram Bahadur Parki, another freed Haliya.

The government’s seemingly noble decision instead promoted antagonism between the Haliyas and their landlords—right after the Haliya system was outlawed, landlords were left off the hook as they were not held responsible for their labourers’ rehabilitation. The decision came as liberation to the landlords rather than the Haliyas, who were left without jobs or shelter.

“I had nowhere to go as the government could not provide me with an alternative shelter and my landlord sold his land to another man who would not entertain us,” says Mahar, breadwinner of a family of eight.

Thousands of freed Haliyas live in complete destitution today, and their stories continue to create irony vis-à-vis the claims of “big

political changes” following the 2006 democratic uprising.


No political will

Very little has been done since then Peace Minister and Maoist leader Janardhan Sharma announced the liberation of the Haliyas after inking a five-point deal. “Haliya rehabilitation has been delayed under different pretexts. But the real problem is the lack of political will,” says Raju Bhul, Chairman of the National Free Haliya Society Federation. “If things don’t progress soon, there will be no alternative but to take to the streets.”

These reactions are understandable. Two and half years since the decision, the government does not even have a mechanism for the Haliya rehabilitation. The current budget has allocated Rs. 6.4 million for this cause, but officials are confused as to which body would mobilise the funds. For the time being, the Mukta Kamaiya Rehabilitation Implementation Committee under the Ministry of Land Reform is taking charge.

Coordinator of the Committee Sri Ram Pant says that since the Haliya rehabilitation project is a political issue the bureaucracy alone can do little unless there is a consensus. Pant also points out to some technical problems—lack of land is a serious problem in rehabilitating the landless, he says. “We have virtually run out of free land that can be distributed to the landless. We are already facing problems rehabilitating the remaining ex-Kamaiyas, who were freed a decade ago.”

Experts on land reform, however, do not buy this argument. “There is enough land to distribute. What is lacking is political consensus,” says Som Paneru, an expert on land reform and Kamaiya issues. “For instance, there is over 6,000 bighas of land that belongs to Nepal Kapas Bikas Nigam that has remained uncultivated in Kailali. Thousands of landless people can be rehabilitated there.” What is also lacking according to Paneru is pressure from the civil society. The civil society organisations did it well when they raised the Haliya issue, “but they failed to follow up,” he says.

Repeated Blunder

Experts studying bonded labour issues concede that the government’s 2008 announcement to liberate the Haliyas without preparation for their rehabilitation was a “second blunder.”

The government had made a similar mistake when it freed the Kamaiyas without working out how they would be rehabilitated. The hasty decision in 2000 created a serious problem for some 30,000 freed Kamaiyas. The Kamaiya problem has been festering for over a decade now as some 6,000 of them are still homeless and it is not sure if they will ever be rehabilitated in the true sense of the term. The same mistake was repeated in 2008 with the Haliyas, pushing some 20,000 of them towards further uncertainty.

It does not take much to understand that these ad-hoc decisions are taken for political gimmicks. “Once they come to power, political leaders often seem to be in a hurry to make popular announcements lest they miss the opportunity to gain credits for welfare,” argues Suresh Chaudhary, a social science researcher from the Tharu community.

Besides, officials at Singha Durbar say the government made another mistake when it collected the baseline data of Haliyas without making the landlords responsible for their rehabilitation. The landlords are unwilling to cooperate at this stage—none of the 20,000 forms filled up by Haliyas contains landlords’ signature expressing commitment to help. To many, this was a serious oversight.


What’s cooking in Singha Durbar?

Over the past two and a half years, the Land Reform Ministry and the Peace Ministry, in consultation with some leaders from the freed Haliya community have accomplished some meaningful tasks the new guard in Singha Durbar can build upon, if taken as a priority. 

A database of around 20,000 freed Haliyas from 12 districts prepared by the Peace Ministry is undoubtedly an important achievement. This database, after verification, could provide a basis for issuing ID cards to around 83,000 members of the Haliya families, claims Sri Hari Paili, who coordinated the database collection project. “If the new government could at least distribute ID cards to the Haliyas based on the database, that would be commendable,” he says.

Legislation is another area that the Land Reform ministry is currently working on. Officials are mulling over an alternative faster route to a law for Haliya rehabilitation to be enacted through the parliament. According to Coordinator Pant, the Land Reform Ministry is planning to introduce some quick and interim rehabilitation packages through the executive order of the Cabinet.

“We are now trying to narrow down to a viable modality of rehabilitation. Once it is agreed, we could immediately start providing relief packages.”

At present, the ministry’s proposal presents four possible modalities:

The first modality proposes to adopt the package that was used to rehabilitate Kamaiyas. That is to provide certain land (10 katthas in the tarai/10 ropanis in the hills) to each of the Haliya families.

The second modality requests the landlords themselves to contribute their land to build houses of the liberated Haliyas.

The third modality proposes to rehabilitate the tillers through the government’s Janatko Awash Yojana (People’s Housing Project) implemented in some eastern Tarai districts. This package includes relocation of the tillers in the housing and skill trainings to help the tiller find new jobs.

The fourth modality proposes to grant Rs. 100,000 to each Haliya family to buy land of their choice.

The Haliyas are in favour of the first modality. But having failed to find land to rehabilitate freed Kamaiyas, the government is more comfortable with the fourth. As discussions over the proposed modalities proceed, experts believe it is crucial that the tillers and the government make the right decision, for whatever be the options, the tillers would always be better off if their relocation is avoided, “for that changes existing labour dynamics and doubles their difficulties,” says Paneru.

(Originally published on April 09, 2011 at:

sundae: Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the term sundae is obscure, however, it is generally accepted that the spelling "sundae" derives from the word Sunday or, according to one source, from the German name Sonntag, which means Sunday.


Among the many stories about the invention of the sundae, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874. The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.


Classic ice cream sundae

The original sundae consists of vanilla ice cream topped with a flavored sauce or syrup, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. Classic sundaes are typically named after the flavored syrup employed in the recipe: cherry sundae, chocolate sundae, strawberry sundae, raspberry sundae, etc. The classic sundae is traditionally served in a tulip-shaped, footed glass vase. Due to the long association between the shape of the glass and the dessert, this style of serving dish is generally now known as a sundae glass.

[]Hot fudge sundae

The classic hot fudge sundae is a variation on the classic and is often a creation of vanilla ice cream, sprinkles, hot chocolate sauce (hence the "hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single bright-red maraschino cherry on top. A hot fudge sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream.

[]Double fudge sundae

The double fudge sundae is like a regular hot fudge sundae, except that it is two times bigger and served in a glass banana split dish or boat. It is made from the same ingredients a regular hot fudge sundae, including whipped cream, optional nuts or sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry on top.

[]Caramel sundae

This is a variation of the hot fudge sundae in which heated caramel sauce replaces the heated chocolate sauce. The other ingredients remain unchanged.

[]Turtle sundae

The popular combination of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and hot caramel sauces, and toasted pecans is known as a turtle sundae. The name derives from a popular candy called a turtle, which consists of pecans covered with caramel and then dipped in chocolate.

[]Other heated sauce sundaes

Occasionally other stiff-textured sweet sauces replace the hot chocolate sauce of the classic hot fudge sundae. These novelty sundaes include the peanut butter sundae, the Nutella sundae, the hotmaple syrup sundae, and so forth.

[]Black and white sundae

This sundae features a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a scoop of chocolate ice cream with creamy white marshmallow topping.

[]Brownie sundae

This is a rich sundae made with brownies, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, peanuts, hot fudge, and whipped cream, often topped with maraschino cherry. If a blondie replaces the brownie, then caramel sauce is used as a topping instead of chocolate sauce.

[]Banana split

Main article: Banana split

This dessert consists of three sundaes in one, side by side between two halves of a banana, sliced lengthwise. The classic banana split consists of strawberry ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, chocolate ice cream topped with crushed pineapple, and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry syrup. Each scoop is individually garnished with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. (Wiki)

Was Mahatma Gandhi gay?





APRIL 02, 2011: Joseph Lelyveld, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, has new book out about Mahatma Gandhi. In the book, he hints at a homosexual relationship between Gandhi and a German man, Herman Kallenbach.

The book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India, has been banned in a western state of India. Other parts of India are considering the ban as well.

The Mumbai Mirror ran a front page story saying "Book claims German man was Gandhi's secret love," and some Indian politicians have also called for the central government to bar publication nationwide.

Perhaps outing revered historical figures is a new trend: a couple of years ago there was a biography of Abraham Lincoln that alleged a homosexual love affair in his past.

We’re used to hearing about gay artists or performers. I read a Hollywood biography about the actor/decorator William Haines which alleged Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and all kinds of famous – and married – people were gay or bisexual. This is not that surprising, but I have to admit Gandhi and Lincoln caught me off guard.

Apparently, eminent statesmen have been taking same-sex lovers left and right, and now their stories can finally be told. Or at least, alleged.

In both the Gandhi book, and the Lincoln book (The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Tripp), the evidence of homosexuality is circumstantial, and open to interpretation. But just by implying it, you’re going to sell some books.

I say we go back and take another look at everybody to see who might have been gay. First of all, anybody from ancient Greece or Rome, that’s pretty a much a definite yes. Middle Ages … DaVinci? Of course, we already knew about him. Richard the Lion-Hearted? Absolutely! William the Conqueror? Well, they did call him the Conqueror. That’s evidence enough for me.

The Age of Enlightenment … Napoleon? I think we can agree that’s a yes. No reason, really, just seems like he would be. And don’t even get me started on Abigail Adams.

Our generation can’t relax about gays. Either they’re the victims of bias, or they’re triumphantly out and thriving. And now we’re seeing our historical figures through the “Queer Eye for the Historical Guy”, and getting all excited about it. It’s a thrilling new branch of scholarship, and we can all look forward to future, stirring biographies.

I can’t wait for one on Mao Tse Tung. They didn’t call him the Chairman for nothing.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at


Do You Believe Author's Claim That Gandhi Was Both Gay and a Racist?

by SodaHead News


Mother Theresa got thrown under the bus after her death and now it seems like it’s Mahatma Gandhi’s turn. ABC News reported that a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld claims the revered Indian man of peace left his wife for a male lover, and, oh yeah, he was racist. 

Former New York Times reporter Lelyveld writes in “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle With India,” that the diminutive leader of India’s independence movement and worldwide symbol for peaceful civil disobedience took German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach as a lover and had a secret love nest in South Africa. 

Lelyveld claims Gandhi left the arranged marriage to his wife, “Ba,” in 1908 for Kallenbach and that the intimacy between the men is revealed in letters between Kallenbach and the spiritual guru. 

"How completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance,” Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach. "Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in the bedroom ... The mantelpiece is opposite the bed." 

It also claims that their nicknames for each other were “Upper House” and “Lower House,” suggesting the power dynamic between the men.

The book has already been banned in the Western Indian state of
Gujarat after one state politician called it “perverse.” Other Indian states have tried to have the book about the man whose name means “great soul” banned, in no small part because like Christianity, the Hindu religion frowns on homosexuality. 

The book also chronicles Gandhi’s admiration of young women, including his 17-year-old great niece, and asserts that he had racist attitudes about black South Africans, who he referred to by the epithet “kaffir.” He is said to have referred to blacks as “uncivilized” and considered them to be “untouchables,” the lowest class in his homeland. 

To put it mildly, The Wall Street Journal said the book depicted Gandhi as “a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent, a fanatical faddist, implacably racist, and a ceaseless self-promoter, professing his love for mankind as a concept while actually despising people as individuals."

Do you believe Gandhi was gay?

(April 5, 2011, Source:

Pilot reinstated after sex with flight attendant

A pilot has won his job back after being sacked for a late-night drinking spree during which he had sex with a 19-year-old flight attendant.

The Employment Court found the grounds for his dismissal were unjustified and ordered he be reinstated and paid $10,000 compensation and $51,000 for lost wages.

The pilot had earlier unsuccessfully sought a personal grievance case with the Employment Relations Authority.

In a brief statement tonight, Air Nelson and its parent company, Air New Zealand, said they were disappointed "that the Employment Court in its judgment sets a far lower standard of expectation on the behaviour and professional standards of pilots than the airline".

The pilot, the flight attendant and a male first officer, whose names are suppressed, were forced to abandon a flight out of Napier in May 2008 due to heavy fog.

They booked a hotel, picked up alcohol and engaged in smutty, sexual banter on the way there, according to evidence given to an Air Nelson probe into the incident.

Because they had no overnight clothes, the pilot arranged for three bathrobes to be sent and the three met in his room for drinks and nibbles, wearing the robes and their underwear.

The first officer said at some point the woman went to the pilot's bed uninvited and lay next to him.

According to the pilot, who was married, the woman told the men she had had sex with at least one flight attendant previously and led them to believe she may do so again.

"She talked about having sex with no strings attached and said that that was the same for married men when we asked more.

"There was a tattooed man on the TV and we asked if anybody had tattoos. She showed her pierced belly button. We asked if she had any more piercing... (She) said that she used to have a pierced nipple and showed us her breasts."

They then moved on to the topic of waxing.

The first officer said when he left the woman was fully conscious and smiling suggestively.

She and the pilot had sex, which the pilot claimed was consensual but which she said was something she would never have consented to, although she said she had no memory of events after midnight due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed.

"My next memory was standing inside (the pilot's) room with my bathrobe on but nothing else. My bra and underwear were gone.

"I went back to my room. As soon as I got there I started crying. I felt really dirty and disgusted. It felt like I had had sex but I could not remember it. I had my period at the time and I remember thinking that (the pilot) was a married man and there was no way I would have willingly had sex with him."


She laid a complaint and the pilot was sacked for serious misconduct, with Air Nelson general manager John Hambleton finding he had breached the trust the company had placed in him as a captain and that his actions amounted to sexual harassment.

A police investigation did not find any foundation to the allegations.

In his decision, Judge Mark Perkins said Mr Hambleton had come to his conclusion based on the woman's state of hysteria and anxiety but had failed to consider other possibilities.

"He should have considered whether (the woman's) memory loss was simply a convenient way to avoid confronting her own behaviour that night."

Mr Hambleton had also not taken into account scientific evidence that suggested they had drunk less alcohol than was alleged.

The man is due to be reinstated later this month.



Pilot to return to Nepal with 'yeti hand'

Yetis, monks, thieves and Jimmy Stewart. Mike Allsop's tale has all the makings of a Hollywood movie.

But there is nothing phony about his mission to help restore the pride of the 1000-year-old Pangboche monastery in Nepal, nestled high in the Himalayan foothills near Mt Everest base camp.

Mr Allsop, an Air New Zealand pilot, Everest climber and adventurer, will return to the monastery this month with a special gift from Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop.

The replica hand is a copy of the monastery's "original" yeti hand, which was stolen by persons unknown in the 1990s.

The hand, and part of a skull that proved to be from a rare goat, provided the monastery's small source of income, from tourists who came to see the artefacts.

In the 1950s, explorer Peter Byrne and Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart conspired to take one finger from the hand and have it tested in Britain, but the results were inconclusive, Mr Allsop said.

"There's two stories – one says Peter Byrne got the monks drunk and switched the finger. But I've spoken to him, and he says he offered to pay the monks and they agreed to let him take it."

Since the rest of the skeletal hand and the skull part were pinched in the 1990s, the monastery and its leader, Lama Gershe, have been without their main source of income. Mr Allsop hopes the replica items will help it survive until he can track down the originals.

He admits being sceptical about the existence of yetis, but said the legend was real enough to the monks.

"I asked Lama Gershe if he believed in it, and he started arguing with his wife in front of me. His daughter was translating for me and I asked her what they were fighting about.

"She told me he'd said his wife's friend was attacked at her back door by a yeti five years ago – and she'd said no, it was 10 years.

"And the sherpas, if they're around other people, they'll tell you they don't believe, but get them alone and they'll say: 'We don't have problems with yetis ... except in monsoon season."'

Mr Allsop has had a special connection with Pangboche since he first visited on his way to climb Everest in 2007. Lama Gershe helped to name his youngest son, Dylan Michael Dalha Allsop.

Last year when his eldest son, Ethan, turned seven he took him to see Everest and Pangboche, and plans to do the same with his younger children when they reach the same age.

He will leave for the monastery, with 15 Air New Zealand staff, on April 17 to install the replica artefacts in a secure glass case.

He hopes his campaign, Return The Hand, will locate the original bones, but time may be running out for Lama Gershe, who suffered a stroke last year.


The yeti, or abominable snowman, is one of the most famous mythological creatures. It is said to inhabit the mountainous areas of Nepal, Tibet and India.

Several explorers, including Peter Byrne, believe they have found tracks and dung belonging to yeti.

Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt Everest, led an expedition in 1960 with a team of 21 scientists, climbers and other specialists, along with 310 Sherpas, to do scientific research on acclimatisation to altitude and to hunt for yetis. They failed to find any but brought back hair samples. Fellow Everest conqueror Tenzing Norgay told Sir Ed his father had twice seen a yeti.

Sir Ed's long-time friend, Tom Scott, said Sir Ed did not believe in the yeti but liked the concept. "The locals believed in them and Ed felt really bad for myth-busting them. He liked the possibility of the yeti. If someone found one, he would have been delighted."

- The Dominion Post



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