By Somdatta Basu
Honoring the Trailblazers: IACCGH Felicitates Four Accomplished Indo-American Judges
Houston (TX): On February 7, the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) organized a reception for the four accomplished Indo-American judges who have taken the Texas courtroom by storm and set a milestone for the Indian community in the US. It was an evening to remember as the IACCGH honored and thanked them for their work and gave members of the community opportunities for networking and getting to know the newly elected judges.
Appreciating the contribution and service of the Indo-American judges to the communities, Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director of IACCGH, said in his opening address, “they are a source of inspiration for the next generation of Indians and will continue to make a positive impact on the communities.” Rajiv Bhavsar, president of the IACCGH, spoke on behalf of the board of directors and trustees about the evening’s host, Harish Katharani, and his commitment to giving back to the community. “It is truly seva,” said Bhavsar.
Himadri and Harish Katharani, expressed their gratitude for the “remarkable evening and wonderful guests.” “The election of the judges will boost the community’s confidence. They will uphold our culture, and Indian heritage and will be excellent brand ambassadors,” added Katharani.
In his address, Judge Ravi Sandill, the state’s first South Asian judge, spoke proudly of the other judges and stressed the importance of continuing the legacy of representation in the judiciary. He said, “We’ve made great strides, with several judges being elected in the last 15 years, and we must continue this progress. I applaud the judges for continuing our legacy, as they will not only lead the future of our children but also inspire the next generation.”
Judge Juli Mathew of Fort Bend County spoke on her transition from a practicing attorney to a judge and said, “Because there are not many Indians yet in politics, I am blessed to represent and be an example for the future generations.” Encouraging people to visit her court, Mathew went on to say that penning a novel is one of her life’s ambitions.
The first Sikh woman judge in Texas, Judge Manpreet Singh of Harris County, is excited about the impact her role as a judge has on people across the nation. She added, ” I’m firmly anchored in the Indian community and culture here. My victory will hopefully inspire people to register, vote, and make their voices heard.”
Judge Surendran K. Pattel is an immigrant success story who exemplifies the American dream of working hard and achieving glory. Sharing his journey from Kasaragod, India, to Texas, the Fort Bend County Judge said, “I dropped out of high school, returned, and succeeded in college, had a successful career in India, then moved to the US, worked at a Kroger, returned to my passion as an attorney, and now, I am a district judge. This journey showcases the possibilities of immigrants in America, regardless of one’s background.”
The evening was a celebration of the achievements of the Indo-American judges and showcased the diversity and strength of the community. The judges’ stories served as a source of inspiration for the next generation and a testament to the American dream of hard work and success. The guests and judges were treated to a delicious dinner spread of Indian cuisine specially crafted by celebrity chef Sameer Gupta.