'As an immigrant I am beyond grateful', says New York's first Indian-American woman judge
news Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 05:30
Raja Rajeswari moved to the US from India when she was a teen. Now, close to three decades later, she has become the first person of Indian descent to be named as a criminal court judge in New York City. 43-year-old Rajeswari, an assistant district attorney at the Richmond County District Attorney's office, was nominated to the bench by Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I was honored and humbled by the appointment. It's like a dream. It's way beyond what I imagined," Rajeswari told silive.com, a Staten Island news website. "For someone like me, an immigrant who comes from India, I'm beyond grateful. I told the mayor this is not only my American Dream, but it shows another girl from a far away country that this is possible," she had added. Chennai-born Rajeswari, who has worked at the district attorney's office for 16 years, has been the deputy chief of the Special Victims Unit for more than four years. She hopes to use her new position to improve the judicial system by encouraging interpreters to have more access to aid immigrants, the news site said. Rajeswari told Desi Talk she had observed gender inequality even before coming to the US when some of her "brilliant" girlfriends in India were married off at the age of 14 and 15. "That has always stayed with me." As a prosecuting attorney in New York, she has come across numerous cases of spousal and child abuse within the South Asian community in New York, Rajeswari said. "Many of the domestic violence victims have been South Asians, Sri Lankans." Currently, there are two male judges of Indian descent in civil court settings - Jaya Madhavan on the New York City Housing Court in Bronx County, and Anil C. Singh of New York County Supreme Court, 1st District, according to ethnic New India Times. Besides her legal acumen Rajeswari is an accomplished Bharat Natyam and Kucchipudi dancer who continues to perform at Indian events and temples with her troupe from the Padmalaya Dance Academy, named after her mother, Padma Ramanathan. With inputs from Arun Kumar (IANS)
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