Tibetans Gain Fulbright
For years, Tibetan students and scholars in Dharamsalai DeEhi and Kathmandu could only watch as Nepalis and Indians wont off to the United States on prestigious fellowships. The irony was that, as a group, Tibetans refugees are among the better educated communities; in South Asia.
The United States Congress has now made it possible for Tibetan refugees to pursue specialised study in the United States. In December 1987, it unanimously adopted legislation instructing US1A "to make available to Tibetan students and professionals who are outside Tibet" not fewer than 15 scholarships for study in institutions of higher education. US1A made available the Fulbright fellowships and asked the Tibet Fund, a New York based non-profit group, to administer the programme.
The Fund has already placed two groups of ten graduate students in American universities for Masters in journalism, political science, geography, education, business administration and in Uralic and Altaic studies. A third group is scheduled to leave for the United States in September 1989 and will concentrate on the sciences.
Thubten Samphel, who is about to complete a Masters in Journalism at New York´s Columbia University, says that the Fulbrights will allow Tibetans to learn practical, technical skills for which there is a great need in the refugee community. "My only regret is that this was not done earlier," he says.
The Fulbright fellows are chosen by an independent selection committee in New Delhi, made up of Indian and American scholars and Tibetan officials. For further information, contact; Council for Tibetan Education, Gangchen Kyishong. Dharamsala, H.P. 176215.
What would a successful portrait photographer with a prosperous business smaek ijr the middle of Delhi´s: Connaught Place have itv common with the remotest corners of me Indian Himalaya? Plenty, if you are Ashok Dilwali
Dilwaii burst forth into the coffee-table book marker iast..´./ year with one glossy presentation -on the Gangs: and: another on Garhwal´s under-appreciated mountains. Suddenly, every mountain state´s tourism development corporation seems to Want a Diiwaji book. With his office closet full t>f slides and negatives on the mountains "in the kgs", Dilwali is more than willing to comply. V
After a breather on the high seas, doing a book on the Andaman and Nicobar Isles, Dilwali plans to return
Geologist Charged With Fraud
Viswa Jit Gupta, a prominent professor at Punjab University, Chandigarh, has built an enviable international reputation over the last 20 years by reporting and writing on fossil discoveries in the Himalaya. His studies have helped shed light on the geological formation of- the mountain range and ace today´.´ a significant part of the scientific literature on the geological history of the whole region.
Along comes John A. Talent, an Australian scientist, who accused Gupta of massive paleontological fraud. Talent says that Gupta has tainted the entire science of Himalayan geology misrepresenting discoveries of prehistoric organisms 5n Bhutan, India and Nepal,
t<j the mountains in May and . June to work on another^: this time on Himacha!/ He´s negotiating to do a pictorial on the Kashmiri highlands, and a book on Kumauii "is ¦70 per cent finished".
Believing in Gupta´s findings, he says, would be like believing that kangaroos are native to Kashmir.
Talent, whose accusations appeared in the April issues of the British journal Nature ¦ and the American journal Science, calls Gupta´s findings a "Himalayan hpax". He accuses Gupta of : numerous suspect claims. The Australian contends that fossils of 360 million: year old organisms called coneodonts which Gupta reported to have found in India and Nepal : actually came froiti a creek in New York, In another instance, he claims ancient mollusks said by Gupta to be from the high Himalaya actually came from southern Morocco. Talent says Gupta: has failed to pinpoint the geographical location of his discoveries. Once, he says, Gupta even .claimed the very same eoncodoni specimen to
-..´. Dilwaii´s: love for the : mountains had a rather mundane beginning in 1979 when a nephew booked by train for Sikkim had to cancel his plans, Dilwali used the ticket instead and it was in Gangtok that the mountain bug bit the lerisman. He has a Maruti Gypsy jeep just for: his mountain travels and goes back to the hills with his trusty Nikon again and again "to catch the right light". He has been up to Kumaun seven times from Delhi for his forthcoming book on the U.P. hill district.
Some people are unhappy that Dilwali focuses almost exclusively on landscapes and ignores people, but the portrait photographer from Delhi has a ready reply. "People I do all the time," he says; "But in the hills I am on holiday," Perhaps that´s why his mountains look so enchanting.
have come from Kishtwar in India and Phuichowki in Nepal.
In an interview with The New York Times newspaper in late April, Gupta vigorously disputed the charges and accused Talent of "malicious bias and professional jealousy" based on differences between the two over the past 20 years. Even though the concodonts he unearthed had a "strong similarity" with the New York fossils, he says, eoncodonts have a very Wide natural distribution in the Himalaya.
Talent has asked for an independent panel of scientists to investigate Gupta´s work. For his part, Gupta says he has sent a six-page explanatory letter to Science and that he plans further formal replies. It will Surely take a some time for the Himalayan dust to settle and the truth to he told.
A New Roof for Chiwong Gumba
For the past four years, the Shcrpa monks and villagers of Junbesi, Salleri and Phaplu have been restoring Chiwong Monsatery, which over the years hud fallen into extreme disrepair. Situated south and away from the main trekking route that leads up the Khumbu from Lukla airstrip, Chiwong is Solu´s main seminary. It represents a classic example of Sherpa monastery architecture.
Damp and leaking roofs had threatened the monastery´s magnificent frescos. The main courtyard gallery, built in the 1950s to accommodate nearly 1,000 people during the Mani Rimdu festival, was falling apart. Undermined by decades
of erosion, the monks´ kitchen was about to slide down the hillside,
fn 1985, Abbot Nawang: Phintsok. and former Minister of Forests, Tsering Tenzing : Lama, and the people of Solu set up the Chiworig Gumba Samrakshan Samiti. The Samiti engaged architect: -Tohn Sanday to draw: up restoration plans. Sanday is a pioneer in using local methods and materials and was responsible for the rehabilitation of Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu and the Shah: kings´ ancestral palace in Gorkha.
Sariday completed his survey in December 1986 and tire community rallied,: to the project. Two western film-makers who. made a 1984 documentary on Chiwong raised modest funds abroad, but most of the restoration funds were raised locally. An enterprising iamn went to
Darjeelirig to solicit funds from Sherpas there, A retaining wall has been built around the monastery, a: new kitchen is complete, rooms for visiting lamas have been renovated, and there is : a new gallery roof.;. ¦ ;¦¦
Chiwong is well on the way towards restoration, but a lot remains to be done. For further information, write to the Chiwong Gumba Samrakshan Samiti, Phapiu-Salleri, Solu Khumbu Jilla, Sagarmatha AnchaM