Januka Darjee

“I should have been 9-10 years old when I first got married in Dallayni, under Chirang district in Bhutan. I don’t recall much from my wedding day. I vividly recall though that I was scared. I did not know what marriage meant then. I wanted to continue to stay at my parents’ house. My first husband was from a big family. We lived together for 6-7 years before I eloped with another man, my current husband. My mother started disliking my first husband after we were a few years into our marriage. I think my mother knew that I was working too hard to take care of chores, even those that I was not capable of doing it, at my husband’s house. My mother-in-law made me work too hard at such a young age. I used to be frustrated at times. I would share my stories of struggle with my own mother. One time my mother told me that I should leave my first husband because she had found another man for me. I was 15-16 years old by then. One fine day, I left my first husband and came home. My mother took me to the house of another man. As soon we got to his (my current husband) house, I proposed to him that I would marry him and that I wouldn’t leave his house until he would accept me. With an open arm, he accepted me. He was not married. And now guess what? We’ve 13 children together; We are a happy couple.”   

Januka Darjee, 76, 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.