Becoming the ‘singing icon’

As an exiled youth from Bhutan, initially Duthraj felt strange to be in the reality show meant for Nepal and Nepali artists. However, he took it normal. Additionally, he got much inspired and encouraged, as he thought at once that ‘artists can become refugees, but art can never be’.

Tek Duthraj

An exiled youth has been nominated as a top 10 Singing Icon of Nepal in a state-owned television reality show, leaving behind thousands of young contestants.

“I have never thought I would be grasping opportunities to participate in mega singing events in Nepal and India,” says 22-year-old Tek Duthraj of Beldangi-I refugee camp.

Duthraj was a child of three when his family was evicted from Sarpang district in 1992.

He started his singer career as a young teenager and regards his father as his source of inspiration.

Duthraj accompanied his father in singing bhajans during frequent events at Manab Dharma Sewa Samiti in camps and outside. Every member in his family is a follower of Manab Dharma.

Duthraj with his friend Bishwo Pratap Singh from India

“I begun my career by singing bhajans,” he says, recalling the happiest moment of his life, when he was declared Bhajan Idol in 2006.

Duthraj defeated hundreds of youth from Nepal, Bhutan and India in the Sunkosh-Tista-Mahakali Bhajan Idol, a stage reality show involving people from these three nations.

Currently, Duthraj has been lodged with one of his friends in his room in Kathmandu, where he is attending music classes.

Several Bhutanese artists from abroad have pledged to support him financially, covering his expenses and tuition fees in Kathmandu. A few of them have contributed money already, according to him.

“I have joined two music classes, one in Kalimati and another at Lazimpat, since my seniors have assured me of bearing the tuition fees,” says Duthraj, who is compelled to borrow a guitar for regular rehearsal in his room.

He plans to buy at least a harmonium this month. “I am exploring all possibilities to get this instrument,” he says.

The NTV Singing Icon reality show airs on a weekly basis, Saturdays at 9:30 pm, and will end in three months.

As an exiled youth from Bhutan, initially Duthraj felt strange to be in the reality show meant for Nepal and Nepali. However, he took it normal. Additionally, he got much inspired and encouraged when one of his seniors told him  that ‘artists can become refugees, but art can never be’.

He says he is fully committed to becoming the Singing Icon and has a dream to fulfill if he has to quit in the middle – “I will sing simanale kina parai hunu parcha Nepalile of Arjun Rasaili, also a Bhutanese singer, before I leave the stage.”

Watch an interview with Duthraj by the writer


  1. Congratulation Mr. Dhutraj for being able to be in the top ten nomination of singing icon Nepal. Your success justifies that, there are Narayan Gopal,devkota,araniko and hence forth,sharpening their art despite leaking roof and struggle for basic necesities.

    Thanks to team of singing Icon Nepal for giving chance to participate genius refugee folks in their campaign. Keep up the hard work Dhurtaraj, we are in support of you.

    Keep marching ahead, achieve singing icon Nepal and you deserve that.

  2. Dear Tek,
    I cannot express my gladness in this site for hearing your name in the Top Ten Singing Icons! You’re really blessed and you’ll surely achieve your greatness in this most competitive program. May God always bless you and be No.1 and only 1 in this competition. Our blessings from abroad (from all over the world) are with you and we pray for your success. I am confident that you have very good vocal and you choose the best songs (most sentimental) and demonstrate accordingly. You may be the first from Bhutanese community to compete and we are very proud of you. After all we are Bhutanese of Nepali origin where ever we live. Hope you would be judged impartially and be BEST SINGER!

    May God bless U and see as No.1 Icon very soon!

    Well wisher,

  3. Hey Tek I have been watching your singing Icon nepal since you get there. You are really good singer. I am pretty sure that you can do it and reach into your goal. best of luck for your coming program. If they started voting things then don’t worry I am here from USA will help you as much as we can. you will be the finalist.

  4. Awesome interview to watch. I am really impressed by his interview and watching this program since 3-4 weeks.Tek Duthraj is really doing well. He is the Icon for all Bhutanese and Nepalis. so, to uplift our Young talented artist,TEK Duthraj,Honestly, we the well wishers has the sole responsiblity to support him for his upcoming bright future in MUSIC industry,which certainly makes huge proud to all Bhutanese.
    Thus, it is best idea if BNS mentioned the full contact details such as contact person , number etc in regarding how we support him directly. In addition, Its right to encourage him . I hope we all help him generously.

    Cheers !!

  5. Dear Tek Vai,
    I am much amused to see u singing and progressing to attain the unattainable. Nevertheless, I have been watching your program and you have been giving the toughest fight ever. U have almost reached the crescendo of the music crusade. Go ahead keep it up; I am pretty sure u will be able to kiss the height of success.
    Be determined and courageous, we are here to support your accomplishments, whatever way we can.
    This morning I accepted your face book friend request which fetched me the happiness, which we are always clamoring for.
    We shall continue to watch your performances and u shall go on unveiling your best of the best talents.
    I also like to thank Mr.TP Mishra for posting Tek’s best movements which surely thrilled me to that very end.
    DB Adhikari
    United States

    SEND: 3264.

  7. Tek bhai you are almost at the summit of everest.Keep going. Definitely success will be on your side.
    I think we from aboard should help tek with his basic needs. His succes helps to keep the name and fame of Bhutanese community.


  8. Tek Bhai You own very good voice.I have been watching all episodes of Singing icon.I’d like to request you to stay in your place or host country to build your good singing career. I am knowing you and your people have very tuff life in the refugee camp and prefer for resettlement in the third countries.I have seen many reputed Nepali artists and singers struggling even from your community like Mahesh Thulung,Ram Gurung,Manoj Kumar Rai,Kishor Siwakoti and others are in abroad and vanished in foreign land for sakes of good fortune But they have earned their names and fames to some extend too.Tek you are very popular with wellknown artists of Nepal like Manoj raj,Anju Pantha,Tika Bhandari,Gyanu Rana,Udai and Manila Sotang,Reema Gurung Hoda and others.If you success in achieving genuine Nepali singer,obviosly you will be known by all Nepali living around the World.We are the Nepali and proud to be a Nepali.Don’t feel inferior being a refugee.Feel superior to be a Nepali.If you need help please email me @ [email protected]

  9. Hello Mr Tek.
    We all the BHUTANESE in USA (america)are proud of you participating in the singing icon and we are watching every episodes because to listen your cute voice i pray to almighty that you will own this title,we are voting you buddy……….if you think that i can do something for you feel free to mail me ………….all the bast keep it up ([email protected])