The 18th Memorial Lecture

Every year, since its inception, the Foundation invites an eminent person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women and human rights. Dr Shashi Tharoor, Hon'ble MoS HRD, Government of India delivered the Eighteenth Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture on "Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Barriers to Women's Empowerment' on 5th November, 2012 .

The Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, His Excellency the Governor of Odisha Shri Muralidhar Bhandare, Hon'ble Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Damar Murugesan, Trustees of the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a matter of great privilege for me to have been invited to deliver the 18th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture. I have met her a couple of times in the company of her illustrious husband, my friend Murali, but sadly did not have the opportunity to know her well before her untimely demise due to cancer in 1994. I am however aware that the Foundation set up in her name has done exemplary work in promoting the causes that Justice Bhandare worked for so tirelessly and selflessly, during her distinguished career both as a lawyer and then as a Judge of the Delhi High Court in the 1980s and 1990s. I come to this podium to deliver this lecture in the footsteps of many stalwarts from all walks of our public life, including former presidents late Shri KR Narayanan and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, national leaders such as Smt Sonia Gandhi, legal luminaries such as Justice VR Krishna Iyer and Justice MN Venkatachaliah, eminent professors such as Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. MS Swaminathan and spiritual leaders such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This distinguished lineage of speakers has not only cherished the memory of Justice Bhandare and paid homage to her work, but they have also enriched our public discourse on one of the most significant issues facing India in the 21st century, the cause closest to the heart of Justice Sunanda Bhandare, namely, gender equality.