Together we can make things happen

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TP Mishra (L) receives letter of honor from newly elected OBCA chair DJ Khaling. The honor was handed over to Mishra jointly by former OBCA chair and chief coordinator of second national convention. Photo/Buddha Mani Dhakal.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by extending my appreciation and gratitude to the government of USA, American citizens, the UN’s refugee agency, the International Organization for Migration, Government of Nepal, the resettlement agencies and all others who have explored the options of the third country resettlement program. It is because of all of your good-will humanitarian assistance that we are proudly gathered here today. Many among us never have imagined that we would be in the USA, a country widely believed to be a place of opportunities and new hopes.

I am also grateful to my colleagues: especially the editors, board members, and correspondents at the Bhutan News Service (BNS). It is because of their continuous dedication and effort that the Agency is being honored today. In every respect, I will consider this honor as the one to all exiled journalists, who are dedicated to safeguarding Bhutanese citizens right to information.

Despite many challenges, the team of BNS continued to work to offer a reliable, responsible and objective news service.  We regularly covered stories about the hardships faced by our fellow community members—groups, families or individuals. We were and are always ready to celebrate, through our news coverage, the success stories that involve our community.

BNS activities Vs Challenges
Interestingly, the sufferings and hardships encountered by our emerging media outlet have been rarely mentioned. We have been running the BNS as a service to the community, funding it from our own pocket. Over the years it has cost us dearly in terms of personal contributions and effort but we, as a team of volunteer journalists felt that our primary role was informing the public—their right to information—in an era where reliable information was a far cry.  Behind all we did, our main calling has been to continue to campaign for press freedom in Bhutan.

When other needs become the top priority of the community, we have never run off from such situations. We collected 16,000 plus US dollar for recent fire victims in camps within few weeks and mobilized it very transparently. It is supplementary evidence that explores our readiness to get involved in society’s welfare, besides our reporting duty.

In addition to what we have received, I urge everyone to support our mission in the best possible way. The media has a powerful and momentous role to play in continuing to highlight the issues faced by Bhutan’s refugees worldwide and the issues of freedom of expression in Bhutan. It’s an ongoing and continually evolving story that must receive pellucid and accurate coverage – a role we are committed to undertake.

TP Mishra (L) receives letter of honor from newly elected OBCA chair DJ Khaling. The honor was handed over to Mishra jointly by former OBCA chair and chief coordinator of second national convention. Photo/Buddha Mani Dhakal.

The honor
Having said this, I would like to thank those who have closely observed our works for years, appreciated us and thus, considered us worthy enough to bestow with honor. The honor, as I believe, will add yet another brick to building our foundation in a stronger way. On a personal level, I have felt that more responsibilities have been placed on my shoulders. As a team, BNS has felt that such encouragement has added on to our sense of responsibility and our cause. For several years our media works went unnoticed.

At the initial phase, we lacked support and encouragement. During that time we faced negative criticism, discouragement and opposition. The honor from this Dias today, in my opinion, represents a new chapter in our history and we have no comprehension how that chapter will unfold. BNS team fills that Bhutanese care for our professional contribution in the community and it gives us an added incentive to work harder for the group. We honestly respect the support and dedication of the community.

Question of single national level organization
More than 38,000 Bhutanese refugees have begun new lives in the US. They have new hopes, new opportunities, new friends and new horizons. Various success stories have continued to emerge. Many of the resettled Bhutanese have made a valuable contribution and have been doing well, despite the situation in the job market. Much of the hope for the future rests on the shoulders of our younger generation, who have started pursuing the standard modern education. However, this does not mean all the resettled Bhutanese in the USA have become self-reliant.

A majority of the resettled folks have language barriers in their new homes. This has served as the greatest setback during job hunt. Some have been struggling for more than a year to secure any kind of job position, but to no avail. Many in course of time have lost their jobs. At a time when we are having fun times here with a get- together (though for good cause), chances are that some of our fellow friends in other States might be struggling to pay off their basic bills.

Due to their working policies and lack of adequate resources, resettlement agencies have limited roles after certain period of time. There are other several minor problems our resettled folks might have been undergoing, which I believe, can be solved through community efforts. There is still a great deal of work to be done to help them settle, adapt, contribute and grow. Together we can make this happen. This has been well proven by other communities in the USA.

Ongoing calls have been continuing since the past year for a single and united national level organization in the US. It might sound odd, especially at this hour, but I will not hesitate to join the individuals or groups to strengthen the voices further for a single national level community organization. BNS will contribute to this in best way possible, if needed. We have miles to go to reach our final destination. As a journalism practitioner, I strongly believe we will reach there if we move ahead collectively. We don’t have options than working together for a common cause and we have to iron out our differences by unlearning our differences that we have got accustomed to in our camp life.

The Future
For us, the recognition is evidence that people have listened to us and that people do understand the effort and cost that have been invested to tell the story of the Bhutanese refugee communities. We are a dignified people. Despite many imputes and challenges, we are proud that we remained true to ourselves. We fought for the highest standards in journalism and refused to be beaten down. We knew that all we were creating was for the future generation of Bhutanese; both inside Bhutan and living globally in the Diaspora.

The role of journalism – as made clear by the Bhutan News Service over the years – is to inform the public debate. To do so, we must always aim to rise above and beyond the circumstantial situations we find ourselves in. During the years of journey to our mission in the refugee camps we managed to do this through our training programs for young journalists. They are trained at the par of standard journalism ethics keeping them away from prejudice and personal bias. Our journalists were taught to be fair, to be accurate, objective and, most of all, to operate with integrity. These are the values that kept us alive. They are the assets that we believe Bhutan will one day aspire to adopt.

I want to thank you all again for making this moment possible. America has given us precious opportunity. We are proud and honored to be here and we want to make a positive and meaningful contribution in return. Thank you again for your generosity, warmth and, most importantly, continued support.

(The writer delivered this speech in Nashville, TN on June 12, 2011 after he was given honor by Organization of Bhutanese Communities in America, Inc, for his contribution in diaspora through journalism)

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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.

26644 COMMENTS

  1. Dear TP Bhai,

    Congratulation for receiving the honor and you have made all BNS team feel proud from the way you authored and delivered the speech.

    Personally and with honesty I am highly appreciative of your timely production of the news item and your dedicated work together. The community I am sure will continue to benefit from the BNS writings and this is one way to learn what is happening around.

    I am a close observer and reader of BNS and have seen the way you have worked to bring individuals and groups together besides journalism and that is a critical role at this time in the Diaspora. At the same time you have incorporated the news and incidences that are taking place inside Bhutan which is critical, otherwise the world gets to know and read only one side of the story.

    I wish you and the BNS team continued solidarity in your work ahead.

  2. Congratulation all the newly elected OBCA leaders.

    Keep on bouncing the ball, send your outreach mission in all the states and cities.

    We heard of bridge team meeting with OBCA officers in Nashville Tennessee for the unification purpose. What is the result and where can we read the detail of discussion?

    Tika

  3. Congratulations Thakur Prashad Mishra Jee:

    You deserved it. You have worked very hard (And you are still working very hard), and Bhutanese people living here in USA and all around the world see it.

    You have mentioned about criticism and financial difficulties Bhutan News Service have faced (And it is still acing). Let me respond to this issue. There are may media organizations in the world, that have tons of money, and have offices in tall buildings in almost every major city in the world, but their reporters and editors lack dedication and devotion. I strongly feel that your organization, Bhutan News Service is 100 times better that that kind of media organizations. So, please do not let financial difficulties or lack of other resources slow you down. I hope you and other editors, reporters and other staff members of BNS, some day, will not have to experience financial difficulties any more.

    I also thank newly elected OBCA Chair D J Khaling for recognizing the services of Mr. T P Mishra for the Bhutanese community.

    Mr. Shahid M. Pasha, Massachusetts, USA

  4. Congrats! TP Bhai.
    Your interest from the childhood to work and serve the Bhutanese community is ever glowing. You overcame the entire complex and challenging situation through your determination, each of your struggle is exploration. And today, at least a part of our people began to realize your contribution as pure ‘priceless’ for the community.
    As you yourself mentioned, you need to yoke the further responsibilities, amidst your daily routine. As a well-wisher (team in the beginning), I feel proud of you in specific and overall BNS team in general. Keep up the spirit to meet the vision of the organization. We all are always with you. Good job! Man.

  5. Congratulation first to TP Bhai being honored as of your hard work in BNS and then to DJ Khaling becoming chair person of OBCA respectively. Being shown interest from the childhood itself with improving and deserving quality to explore the core problems and developments with dedication in the community is now start to give you a glowing and twinkling light for your further struggling responsibilities to keep up BNS and OBCA with spirit and vision to fulfillment.
    We well-wisher felt proud of you in specific and overall BNS good job being remained as a good man with good spirit and vision in the organization to give good result or fruits like this.
    Keep it up we are always with you.

  6. Congratulatin TP jee.
    Your hard work is getting eye of OBCA. It is the community responsibilites to keep eye on good deeds. You and BNS really work hard to get the information for the Bhutanese around the globe. Once again, I wish you all the best of luck for your hard work. May god keep us in the single umbrella in future, where people dont really have to run in different ways.

    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  7. Congratualtion Tp g . This kind of respect added some more brisk in our team. God helps those who help themself is true . You proved that dignity of nonprofit team work. I do hope this help us to go ahead more progressive way to restore press freedom in Tyranny land rule by Druk regime . Your sweat and hard work will be respected every where in coming days . Keep your cooperation and network for every every region of bhutanese community . we will follow your steps and have been following since establishment of BNS.We never bowed our head in any kind of difficulties in camp and bhutan.
    Thank you for your good job
    BNS
    Canada.

  8. First of all, I extend my sincere words of congratulations to Mr. Mishra. You have been proving the history otherwise– you are youth’s pride, our pride: no sugar-coating say. We wish that the community will be led by people like you, a young visionary social worker who with the hard work is on the verge of rising up each moment. God bless you and BNS team.

    Subash Gurung
    NC, USA

  9. I like to extend by wishes and many, many congratulations to TP vai and the cohort of BNS for their inspiring work to bring BNS to this level.
    I also believe that, we have also helping BNS by contributing comments negative or positive.
    BNS has been sailing in the ship that you guys have designed and promoted. Your ship is strong and will be even stronger if the diaspora and the Bhutanese people at large support your endeavors.
    And I truly appreciated your effort for bringing the latest happening from the camps, the resettled countries and from Bhutan.
    OBCA has taken the right step by honoring a media activist and a social worker. I hope, OBCA, with the new leadership will go ahead with helping the community in the days to come.
    Thanks

  10. Congratulations TP Bhai for the recognition and honor bestowed by OBCA. Your dedication, hardwork, efforts and contributions to the good of the community is highly laudable..I am particularly impressed with this line,-, “..I will consider this honor as the one to all exiled journalists, who are dedicated to safeguarding Bhutanese citizens right to information”

    Hope that BNS keeps the good work up this way and achieve successes of greater magnitude in the days to come…
    {Claif}

  11. Many blessings upon you for the work you have already done and for all that remains to do. Highest praises for your efforts on behalf of so many who still remain silent. It is your vision and courage that gives voice and hope to those silenced by systemic oppression and inequality.

  12. I express my happiness on the recognisition given to BNS by the Bhutanese community in USA. This institution has contributed enormous amount of inputs to the Bhutanese movement.TP bhai you have rightly remembered and paid honor to your colleagues spread all over the globe in your speech.
    Despite of various odd situations your team has struggled and I as a community member see a big ray of hope from you promising young Bhutanese. Keep up your good work.We are proud of your team.

  13. Dear Thakurbhai I am delighted that my short congratulatory note was read during the ceremony that honored your work for and commitment to the Lhotsampa community in exile and feel that it may be appropriate if as one who considers you a dear friend to reproduce it below:-

    I regret that I am unable to be with the Bhutani community assembled to celebrate home in exile as honor my good friend TP Mishra.

    It was almost twenty-one months ago that I met Thakurbhai when a New York Times article appeared about the group of Lhotsampa refugees resettled in the Bronx. It was through the New York Times reporter writer that TP & I made contact.

    Our relationship has grown and we’ve become good friends who share thoughts and experiences—mine is the experience and story of an immigrant who arrived on this continent almost fifty years ago to make a new home. TP Mishra’s story, on the other hand, like that of most of the folk in this room, is a telling and retelling of the tragic experience of forcible and cruel dispossession, languishment for twenty years in an inhospitable UNHCR camp in a country and having to avail of a choice-less choice to migrate as persona non grata to an unknown land and alien culture.

    I’ve learned much during these two years from TP. First that despite his separation from family and community this young man has supported himself and shouldered his responsibility to his family especially his two sisters through hard and long working hours. Undaunted by the rigors of work and family responsibility, TP continues to tell the Lhotsampa story. He has at his young age become well known not just to the Bhutanese community here, in Nepal and in Bhutan but also to hundreds all over the world who read his writing in the blogsphere that he doggedly maintains at his own expense.

    I wish I were there in person to share be with you as you honor Mr. Mishra for his continual commitment of speaking truth to power. I am sure we will all hear much for many, many more years from this courageous man.

    Vivodh Z.J. Anand, Ph.D.
    New York, NY 10027-4662