On Dec. 10, Hon. Raja Rajeswari, the first South Asian female judge in New York City, spoke at the Consulate General of India in New York City, as part of the Consulate’s Media-India Lecture Series. This series was started in 2014 by the Consulate and features monthly lectures by prominent Indians and India experts in a variety of fields, speaking on “issues related to India’s global image, identity, aspirations, and impressions.”

Judge Rajeswari’s topic was “Pathway to the Bench,” and she traced her path from Chennai, India, through her childhood years as a classically-trained Bharathanatyam Dancer who performed around the world, to coming to the United States at age 16, eventually becoming an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in the Richmond County District Attorney’s office.

As an ADA, Judge Rajeswari served for over 16 years, in the Criminal Courts, Narcotics, and Supreme Court Bureaus. She was the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Special Victims Bureau.

Judge Rajeswari currently sits in Criminal Court in New York County.

Judge Rajeswari shared that during her final round interview with Mayor de Blasio, he acknowledged her significant achievements as a lawyer and prosecutor but was most impressed with her background as a classically-trained Indian dancer and dance teacher. Judge Rajeswari advised all aspiring judges to be active and engaged in pursuits outside of law that helps prospective candidates stand out from the crowd.

Judge Rajeswari’s informative lecture was followed by enthusiastic and probing questions from the audience. After that, everyone was treated to dance performances by students of Padma Christie, Director of Padmalaya Dance Academy. (By the way, Padma is Judge Rajeswari’s daughter, named after the judge’s mother, who first taught the judge how to dance.)

The evening concluded with a dinner reception, featuring delicious vegetarian dishes that are the hallmarks of South Indian cuisine.

AABANY was represented by Executive Director Yang Chen. The lecture was co-sponsored by SABANY. In the photo with Yang, from left to right are: Shivani Honwad, SABANY’s VP of Public Interest; Hon. Raja Rajeswari; Vichal Kumar, President of SABANY; Nasreen Syed, SABANY’s VP of Events; and Merium Malik, MuBANY Director.

Thanks to Judge Rajeswari, the Consulate General of India, and SABANY for a great event.