Surendran K Pattel, an Indian American hailing from Kasargod in Kerala took oath as the district court judge of the Texas Fort Bend County, USA. Surendran beat Republican candidate Edward Krenek in the elections held on November 8, 2022. Surendran hails from a humble background in Kerala. His parents were manual laborers and Surendran himself had to drop out of school in the 10th standard. He and his sister rolled beedis for a living. However, young Surendran didn’t give up. He pursued the law with the financial assistance of friends in the village. Speaking with the NDTV, Surendran remarks that rolling beedis and studying law altered his perspective and philosophy of life. While he was studying law, he also took up a housekeeping job at a local hotel. He says that no one believed in his journey or dreams. Even when he was running for his position, his own (Democratic) party ran negative campaigns against him. The party didn’t think he could ever win. Unfazed, he went ahead like delicately rolling those beedis with utter precision and care. Surendran now has one message for everyone striving
Don’t let anyone decide your future.”
He says, you should be the one in charge of your dreams and future.
#NDTVExclusive | “No one believed I could win, comments were made on my accent… Despite all odds, I won against an incumbent judge”: Indian-origin US District Judge Surendran K Pattel on his journey from rolling ‘beedis’ in Kerala to being a district judge in Texas pic.twitter.com/IrYnnTrB2V
— NDTV (@ndtv) January 8, 2023
In his runup campaign site, Surendran mentions the hardships he faced during his education and a career as an attorney. In India his career as a lawyer began in 1996 in Kerala. He moved to Delhi in 2005 where he practiced at the Supreme Court, representing 32 cases. In 2007, he moved with his family to the US, as his wife, a registered nurse, got a gig at a major hospital in the US. Surendran didn’t chip away his time here. He studied for the Texas Bar exam on his own and cracked it in the first attempt itself in 2009. He also took the MultiState Professional Responsibility Exam in which he scored 113, where 85 is a standard passing mark. He completed his International Law program in 2011.
Many Indian expats have such awe inspiring anecdotes that can put LinkedIn’s humble bragging dimfluencers to shame. When all the fluff around you about success and failure is embellished in social media for likes, comments and views, remember the likes of Surendran who chiseled away every chip patiently and silently without blowing their own trumpets. Cheers to Surendran. More of his tribe please.
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