Parents still don’t want their daughters to become journalists.
She never expected to achieve so much success, and yet she is the only woman journalist outside of Kathmandu Valley who has scaled the heights of the profession. Decorations and awards line her walls and recently she was given the the Women Empowerment Award by the Nepal Press Council for this year.
She is Pratima Bibash Rai, who says, “Earlier I used to feel so frustrated that I frequently thought of quitting journalism.” However, with the many awards and felicitations she has received for her dedication and integrity, she feels her days of struggle have finally come to an end.
Born to Prem and Laxmi Rai of Dharan, she began her foray into journalism nearly a decade ago by writing a column for a local weekly magazine Sayapatri.
Fellow journalist Raj Kumar Dikpal recognised her talent and flair for writing and encouraged her immensely. Rai is currently affiliated with local weekly Mirror Times, which is being published by women journalists for women, and is also the editor and publisher of a women’s magazine named Women’s Era.
Talking about her initial days as a female journalist, Rai says there were only a few active female journalists then, and adds after a thought, “The situation has not improved much even today. Parents still don’t want their daughters to become journalists.”
She opined that the State should bring about a concept that would encourage participation of women this field.
Perhaps the greatest weakness is in women too, as Rai points out, “Women don’t want to face the challenges in journalism field. This is our weakness.”
To succeed in this field (or in any field for that matter) will power, confidence, honesty and a positive attitude are the four factors that are necessary, she says.
About her remaining single, Rai says she would not be where she is today had she married professing a deep belief BP Koirala’s philosophy.
A journalist she is, but Rai is also a budding poet. She has published a collection of poems called Jun sita bitayeko ek raat, and is in process of publishing an anthology of poems.
All the awards and felicitations conferred on her have added more responsibilities on her shoulders and she says that she needs to work even harder to prove herself and tell the world that she is worthy of all that accolade.
Feathers in her crown
•Nawa Kabita Pratibha Puraskar 2055, Nawa Kabita Publication, Kathmandu
•Women Empowerment Journalism Award 2004, Women, Children and Social Welfare Ministry
•Sirjansheel Yuva Pratibha Puraskar 2058
•Yuva Pratibha Samman 2061
•Sunsari Excellent Woman Journalism Puraskar 2005, Itahari Ladies’ Jaycees, Sunsari
•Women Empowerment Award 2006, Nepal Press Council
•Acchha Rasik Literature Felicitation 2006, Acchha Rasik Literature Academy, Sunsari