Kamala Harris' Indian ancestral village celebrates her victory
- The south Indian village of Thulasendrapuram in the state of Tamil Nadu is celebrating following the news that Kamala Harris will become the Vice President of the United States.
- Thulasendrapuram was the home of Harris' maternal grandfather, P.V. Gopalan. A rural community of 350 people, it is located 350km from the state capital, Chennai.
- Kamala Harris is the first female, Black and South Asian Vice President. She will be inaugurated on 20 January 2021.
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The Indian village of Thulasendrapuram in the state of Tamil Nadu is celebrating after the news that Kamala Harris will become the Vice President of the United States.
Villagers lit firecrackers, shared sweets, and designed 'rangoli' patterns, activities which tend to be done on Diwali, the festival of lights, according to AP.
Thulasendrapuram was the home village of Harris' maternal grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, home to 350 people and is located 350km from the state capital, Chennai, where he moved many decades ago, ABC News reported.
Village councilor Aulmozhi Sudhakar said: "Kamala Harris is the daughter of our village. From children to senior citizens, each one of us is awaiting the day she will take the oath as the Vice President of the US," AP added.
Tamil Nadu Food Minister, R Kamraj, led the community's special prayers in a temple where Harris' name is recorded after she donated in 2014, along with that of her grandfather. The latter contributed to the temple decades ago, according to Al Jazeera.
The Vice-President Elect was born in Oakland, California, but visited Thulasendrapuram when she was five. She has previously recalled trips to see her grandfather, who was active in India's independence movement like many others of his generation, Sky News reported.
Despite having a close relationship with Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Harris' victory on Twitter and said: "Heartiest congratulations @KamalaHarris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride for not just your chittis (aunts), but also for all Indian-Americans.
"I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership."
Harris referred to her "chittis" in her nomination acceptance speech.
Heartiest congratulations @KamalaHarris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 7, 2020
Harris' mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in India and moved to the US in 1958 to study at the University of California before becoming a breast cancer researcher, according to The Guardian.
She married a Jamaican, and they named their daughter Kamala, Sanskrit for 'lotus flower.' Harris' mother died of cancer in 2009 but is one of the people she talks about the most publicly.
During her victory speech in Delaware on Saturday, Harris said her mother was "the woman most responsible for my presence here today," The New York Times reported.
"When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn't quite imagine this moment but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible."
Meanwhile, in Jamaica, Latoya Harris, 39, a policy analyst and second cousin of the Vice-President Elect told The Washington Post: "To have one of our own reach one of the highest seats on the world stage is humbling and profound,"
Kamala Harris is the first female, Black and South Asian Vice President and will be inaugurated as Vice President along with President-elect Joe Biden at noon on 20 January, 2021.
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