Anu Peshawaria

16 Jun

“What impressed me the most about United States was the fact that the government gives recognition to exceptional persons and encourages talented persons to immigrate” – Anu Peshawaria

Anu Peshawaria is one the most inspirational Indian women to walk earth. She began her walk down fame as a professional tennis player who won many accolades for India. Her real dedication came in the form of social work in helping women who walk the aisle in NRI marriages only to become victims of various daunting situations. SevA, an organization founded by the immigration lawyer, is her means of assisting these women and informing them of their legal rights. While she has great support in the Bay Area, SevA is has a clear vision, and are always on the lookout for more encouragement from the community. Roshni Magazine sat down to discuss Anu’s life thus far, SevA and her accomplishments.

Born and bought up in India, how did you make your move to the U.S.?
I used to travel very extensively for tennis matches and that gave me tremendous international exposure at a very young age. When I was in school I got tennis scholarships and was offered a green card in USA but I was not interested to move to US. Ultimately when my mom passed away I decided to move with my son to USA and took the green card under extraordinary ability and that is what made me decide upon living here!

What impressed me the most about United States was the fact that the government gives recognition to exceptional persons and encourages talented persons to immigrate. I started my tennis foundation and a legal office in California because I simply loved this place.

When it comes to decide where I want to live, I still think I will return to India. However I love California as it has the best weather and my son and family is settled here permanently.

Why and how did you found SevA?
I founded SevA Legal Aid in 2005 with the help of like minded friends and volunteers however I had been devoting my time to free legal aid as long back as 1983 when I completed law school. When I was very young still in school I used to always wonder how laws are made. Then I realized if there is society then automatically customs followed by them take the shape of laws. Laws constantly evolves and so does society and culture.

The idea of forming SevA Legal Aid came to me because I felt their was a tremendous need to simplify the laws as they had become very complex Also their was a tremendous need to make them universal since migration and globalization had made it nearly impossible to follow different laws in different countries. Common people do not understand complex laws and commit crime inadvertently. It has to be someone’s duty to make them understand these complexities and who else can do it better than compassionate lawyers.

What is SevA’s goal? How do they help women?
Seva’s goal is to understand customs, laws and culture and help society to be just and honest and follow laws thereby making society a better place.

We help all people including women. We realized we had a problem when women from India were quickly getting married to grooms in US, Canada and UK. The marriages went sour very quickly and sometimes the women were left in India having no recourse to justice. In these cases usually it’s the children who suffer therefore we try and help these families reunite or separate in the best interest of the children.

How did you get involved in SevA?
I got involved with the very motto of SevA which is compassionate justice!

What do you hope to achieve from SevA?
I hope to achieve justice, happiness and peace of mind for all fellow human beings.

Why the capital “A” in SevA?
Capital A is not for any particular reason but maybe because my dad always referred to me as A for Anu and A for Anu the atom. He used to tell me when I was very young that anu means atom. Atom is the smallest molecule in the world and yet the most powerful. That is why I always handle the A with lot of care and respect!

You have received many awards. How do they make you feel?
I feel very humbled but awards and recognition are not the only measures of success. Success is when one feels happy and content from within and one is most happy when friends and family are happy! Therefore my goal is to live life fully, be content and happy and pass bring happiness in other peoples lives.

You have so many titles to you name: Social worker, lawyer, tennis player. Which is one you love the most?

I love social worker the most as it really is who I am and it also encompasses my contribution to society as a tennis player and as a lawyer.
However, I loved the time I played tennis the most and won trophies for India. I was most happy to see our flag go up each time I represented India.

Where do you hope to take SevA from here?
I hope to get more and more people involved in this noble cause and hope that we can create a society that all of us are proud of.

How can people in the community and otherwise get involved in SevA?
They can get involved by becoming a member. It’s free of cost. They can either be a volunteer, a donor or simply a friend who can share his views with us. For becoming a member you could visit www.sevalegalaid.com.
What cause will it be supporting and working towards?
It will be supporting the cause of Indians marrying their children in foreign countries as they often fall prey to false information and ruin their future and the future of their children by not making enough enquiries about the man or woman before hand and vice versa.

How can people in the community get involved?
They can get involved by assisting SevA in creating awareness and doing workshops and campaigns

How can the youth get involved?
The youth can get involved in our crime prevention workshops’, our teen dating workshops and many more. For visit our website at www.sevalegalaid.com or http://www.indiavisionfoundation.org or www.eindiaverify.com or call us in the US at +1 (510) 299-1907

~ Roshni M.
(June 2009)

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