NewsIndiaTimes - page 10

– that’s all you need to know
By Ela Dutt
n accomplished
Bharata Natyam and
Kucchipudi dancer will
become a judge in a
matter of few days, cre-
ating history not just in NewYork
but also in the country.
Raja Rajeswari, assistant dis-
trict attorney in Staten Island,
NewYork, will be sworn in as a
criminal court judge April 14.
NewYork City Mayor Bill de
Blasio nominated her and
among the many recommenda-
tions on her behalf, the South
Asian Bar Association of New
York gave her a ringing endorse-
ment, Rajeswari told News India
Times. She will be the first
female judge of South Asian and
Indian-American descent ever to
become a judge in NewYork City.
Currently, there are two male
judges of Indian-American
descent – Judge Jaya Madhavan
on the NewYork City Housing
Court in Bronx County, and
Judge Anil C. Singh of NewYork
County Supreme Court, 1st
District. Congressman Joseph
Crowley, D-NewYork, in an
emailed comment to News India
Times called Rajeswari’s nomi-
nation “historic” and praised the
Indian-American community for
its contributions locally and
nationally.
In an interview with News
India Times, Rajeshwari revealed
she was somewhat of a child
prodigy in dance who began
learning the art at the age of two,
had graduated in dance by the
time she was five, and was teach-
ing at her mother’s dance school
in India when she was 10. Today,
Rajeswari lives in Staten Island
with her husband Michael
Christie, a real estate magnate,
and her daughter Padma, 18.
Her commitment to public
service drew her to law she said.
“I wanted to give something
back other than art and culture,
to enrich my community with
legal expertise, and abolishing
gender inequality.” She observed
gender inequality even before
coming to the U.S. at the age of
16, when many girls with
immense potential were married
off at 14 and 15, in India.While
practicing law in NewYork she
has dealt with and seen numer-
ous cases of spousal and child
abuse within the South Asian
community, Rajeswari said.
Daughter of dance maestro
Padma Ramanathan who died
more than 20 years ago in a trag-
ic accident, and Krishna
Ramanathan of Chennai, who
died from Lymphoma about a
year ago, Rajeswari is considered
a highly successful prosecutor.
She told News India Times
she was with her mother when
the accident happened, and at
the age of 18, she was suddenly
left bereft and broken.
It was the kindness of Indian-
Americans and Sri Lankan-
Americans in Staten Island who
surrounded her with love and
supported her, that she is what
she is today, she noted.
A prosecutor for more than 16
years, Rajeswari graduated from
Staten Island Community
College with a full scholarship.
She did law at Brooklyn Law and
joined the Staten Island District
Attorney’s Office immediately
after that in 1998.
Because of her experience
performing before large crowds
and in public speaking,
Rajeswari said, being a prosecu-
tor was a breeze. She has secured
the prosecution of some high
profile sexual predators and
other criminals during her
tenure at the DA’s office.
One of her biggest successes
was the conviction of Carlos
Rosario, whom Rajeswari calls
“the poster child of predatory
sexual assault.” He was the first
to be convicted under the
Predatory Sexual Assault law in
2009, for raping children and
videotaping hundreds of others.
“He’s never coming out,”
Rajeswari said.
Members of the Malayalee
Association of Staten Island said
they were thrilled by her
appointment.
“We are extremely proud of
her getting this opportunity to
serve,” S.S. Prakash, former pres-
ident of MASI told News India
Times. Dr. Ramachandran Nair
who has known the family for
decades, told News India Times
Rajeswari would make a great
criminal lawyer but she was
more interested in public service
than making money.
Rajeswari heads the
Padmalaya Dance Academy
named after her mother, and her
troupe performs at many com-
munity functions and Hindu
temples for free. “My mother was
my guru,” she said.
First Indian-AmericanWoman Judge in NYC is an Accomplished Dancer
By a StaffWriter
– PLAINSBORO, N.J.
W
omen members of the
Federation of Indian
Associations of New
York, New Jersey and
Connecticut (FIA Tristate), along
with women employees of the
Indus American Bank and Cox
&Kings Global Services, the
Indian visa processing agency,
inaugurated the April 4 visa
camp to mark International
Women’s Day, which was
observed March 8.
The visa camp, held at the
Indus American Bank here, host-
ed by the FIA along with the
Indus American Bank and Cox &
Kings, was inaugurated by a pur-
ple ribbon cutting to honor
women achievers.
Attendees at the event includ-
ed Anil Bansal, executive chair-
man and founder of Indus
American Bank, Dhirendra
Singh, Consul (Consular,
Passport, Visa & OCI/PIO) at the
Consulate General of India in
NewYork, Mercedes Turner, chief
of HR for Cox &Kings Global
Services, Alka Aggrawal, COO of
EBC Radio; FIA Chairman
Ramesh Patel, FIA President
Ankur Vaidya, FIA members
Andy Bhatia and Mahesh
Dubbal, and Ranjit Singh, man-
ager at Cox &Kings Global
Services, NewYork.
According toVaidya, the event
aimed to empower women and
mark InternationalWomen’s Day.
Women make up 70 percent of
the 1.2 billion population around
the world living in poverty; they
contribute to 67 percent of the
work hours performed around
the world and yet get paid 10
percent of the world’s income
and own 1 percent of the world’s
properties,” Vaidya said. “It is
high time that we unite as one to
work collectively in empowering
our mothers, sisters, wives and
daughters for a better and equal
tomorrow” he added.
The event supported two
charities that work to empower
women – Svayam of India, and
Manavi, a New Jersey-based
organization dedicated to end-
ing all forms of violence against
South Asian women. The FIA ini-
tiative, which is the first of its
kind, will not be our last one and
the group will contribute and
support towards more causes
that empower our women” Patel
said. The ceremony was followed
by the visa camp were a total of
107 applications were processed
during the course of the day.
The camps are held for resi-
dents of NewYork, New Jersey
and Massachusetts, with approx-
imately 1,000 applications
processed at various camps held
so far.
Women Achievers Honored at Plainsboro Visa Camp Inauguration
At the inauguration of a visa camp held April 4 in Plainsboro, New Jersey, from left, Anil Bansal, executive chairman and founder of
Indus American Bank, Dhirendra Singh, consul (Consular, Passport, Visa & OCI/PIO) at the Consulate General of India in New York,
Mercedes Turner, chief of HR for Cox & Kings Global Services, Alka Aggrawal, COO of EBC Radio, and FIA women members
Karishma Vaidya, Krina Parikh, Chhavi Singh, Arti Rai and Daxa Amin.
A
Raja Rajeswari
“I wanted to give
something back other
than art and culture,
to enrich my
community with
legal expertise, and
abolishing gender
inequality”
News India Times
April 17, 2015
10
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