Late Kishor Rai from the eyes of Bhutanese Refugee camp founders: Mr Gauri Shankhar Nirola and Mr Ram Karki.
Another co-founder, Mr Bhim Khapange, could not be contacted; thus, his views on Late Rai are missing here.
The news of Kishor Rai’s untimely demise has deeply shocked all of us. Our last communication with him was on 29 May 2022. He wrote on that day from his Siliguri based hospital bed that he needed to be shifted to a better-equipped hospital outside Siliguri. He requested we share this information with all the exile based Bhutanese Community members, especially those who know him. He could only write his words as he mentioned that he needs to be on 24 hours oxygen and cannot talk or leave a voice message. His written message on 19 May informed us that it was ill due to his breathing problem; he was hospitalised on 10 May 2022.
Meanwhile, we were busy sharing information with his well-wishers and friends from far and near. We were suddenly shocked to receive the message that he left all of us forever on the evening of 2 June 2022 at the same hospital.
Kishor Rai was one of the very bold and visionary leaders of the Bhutanese refugee community. We both had known the late Kishor Rai since 1990, when we used to live together in one of the tea garden areas located at Doors in West Bengal, India.
The most memorable memory that we wanted to cherish about Kishor Daju can be mentioned in the following points:
One day he was talking about his vision for the future of Bhutan. He feels that one day Bhutan can be developed like a Switzerland. It has all the qualities and natural resources to become the Switzerland of the South Asian region.
Kishor Daju, then general secretary of the Peoples Forum for Human Rights in Bhutan, requested that we take a group of the most vulnerable and evicted Bhutanese to Nepal. There they can be at least saved. Meanwhile, the Nepali authorities denied us entry into Nepal in the initial period. Still, due to the hard work and the timely intervention by Mr DP Kafley and Mr Madhusudan Dhakal, we could enter Nepal and settle in a safe place at Maidhar. Both Kafley and Dhakal were our Nepal based leaders during that time.
Later in late 1991, Kishor Daju helped us administer the camp systematically when it was uncontrollable due to the arrival of thousands of evicted Bhutanese at the maidhar camp.
Kishor Daju was a very friendly, always ready to help anyone, accommodating to everyone, humorous, cool minded, tolerant and a committed personality.
There are innumerable and remarkable instances where the late Kishor Daju could successfully help the welfare and safety of all the Bhutanese refugees. All these are universally known to all the sensible exile-based Bhutanese community members. Thus need not be mentioned here.
We have lost a great social reformer and a tireless leader. In Kishor Daju, there was a great sense of humour and tolerance. “Your farsighted vision and capable leadership have helped former Bhutanese refugees like us to lead a good life Daju”. Though you are physically gone from us, Daju, you have left vast memories that are more than enough for us to feel proud of you and cherish you in all the days to come. Please rest in eternal peace Kishor Daju.
We extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved family members. May the almighty provides them with enough strength to overcome this irreparable loss.