Man Bahadur Darjee

I think I was 20-22 years old when I got married. Although my marriage is both special and unique, many others may not believe it. One day, I had spent all my morning chores working in my crop-land, and I returned home drained looking to eat lunch. Januka, 16-year-old then, had come to my house with a firm proposal to marry me. Indeed it was her second marriage. I was single. Januka told me that her mother wanted her to leave her other husband, a gentleman with the last name ‘Siwa.’ I do not want to disclose too much details about him. I learned that Januka’s mother recommended that she leave that ‘Siwa’ and elope with me. She [Januka] was my elder sister-in-law’s sister. Indeed, Januka and I grew up together as neighbors in Dallayni, Chirang district. That day, she [Januka] insisted that she wouldn’t leave my house. She said she no longer wanted to be with that ‘Siwa’. She asked if I would accept her as my wife. I readily accepted her proposal. I think she was married to that man [Siwa] when she was nine years old. You can ask her if she remembers anything. I doubt she does. But since I was a bit older than her, I still remember her age at the time of her first marriage. She [Januka] had been with ‘Siwa’ for seven years before she married me. Although repercussions from her ex-husband were equally possible, I did not fear it; I don’t know why. Maybe that has to do with my age back then. There were no repercussions whatsoever. It was a big sigh of relief for me, and probably for her as well. Since then, we’ve stayed as a blessed couple – we have 13 children together.”

Man Bahadur Darjee, 78 is originally from Chirang, Bhutan and based in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time when this story was compiled.

Story and Photo compilation by TP Mishra for BNS 

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A father, husband, public speaker, and a freelancer, Mr. Mishra returns to this news portal as the Executive Editor after he had served in the same capacity for nearly three years in the recent past. Born in Dagana, Bhutan and raised in the refugee camp in Nepal, Mishra’s entry into journalism began as early as 2002, and he has been volunteering in the area since then.
Mr. Mishra worked as a special correspondent for The Bhutan Reporter (TBR) Monthly for a few years in the early-mid 2000s. Later, he became Editor at the same newspaper, and also served as the Chief Editor of TBR for two years. He is one of the founder members of Bhutan News Service (BNS), where he started serving as Editor (2006-2009), and later Chief Editor (2009-2011).
Mr. Mishra also served as one of the main hosts of the radio program, Saranarthi Sarokar (translates to ‘Refugee Concern’ in English) in one of the local FM stations in Kathmandu, Nepal from 2007 through 2009. As a host of the program, he interviewed dozens of high-profile Nepalese and Bhutanese politicians, academicians, social and community leaders, including foreign diplomats then based in Kathmandu and Jhapa, Nepal.
Aside from his reporting work while in Kathmandu, Mr. Mishra also got involved in other philanthropic work, and helped needy refugees. Mr. Mishra led two donation campaigns through the lobby in Kathmandu among fellow Bhutanese refugees and supported fire victims in the refugee camp in the eastern part of the country. Mr. Mishra also directly assisted dozens of sick patients with various illnesses from the refugee camps in Jhapa to get their appropriate treatment in Kathmandu-based hospitals at a discounted rate and/or free of cost.
Mr. Mishra has appeared in various national, regional and international publications including the Wall Street Journal, Aljazeera America, Explore Parts Unknown, Global Post, Himal Southasian, among dozens of other media outlets with articles aimed at advocating the Bhutanese refugee issue. The New York Times, BBC, Guardian Weekly, among many others have featured Mishra’s work. Mr. Mishra has also written articles extensively reflecting the state of ‘freedom of speech & expression in Bhutan.’
Mr. Mishra is also the author of a handbook called Becoming a Journalist in Exile.
Mr. Mishra is the recipient of two awards—one by the Bhutan Press Union (2006), and the other by the Organization of Bhutanese Communities in America (2011) for his contributions in the related field. Founder President of the Bhutan Chapter of the Third World Media Network (2006-2012), Mishra has also represented Bhutan in various regional and national-level trainings and seminars on media freedom while during his stay in Nepal.
Mr. Mishra holds his first Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Purbanchal University in Nepal, and the second Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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