Despite challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and acute economic depression, Indian policymakers and citizen are waiting for January 20, when a ‘daughter of India’ will be entering the White House as Vice President, who is also seen by most of the Indians as the future president of the US.
January 20 is going to be a very special day for the Indians. There will be celebration throughout the country. People will come on the street celebrating the inauguration of their own Kamala Harris.
Where is Kamala’s ancestral home in India?
A village named Thulasendrapuram is where Harris’s maternal grandfather was born. And this is where media outlets captured pride, anticipation, and euphoria that made international headlines.
Home to 350 people, the South Indian village erected posters and banners with Harris’ photos to show their pride in her nomination. One of the banners read in Tamil, “We, the people of Thulasendrapuram, wish for the electoral success of American vice president nominee Kamala Harris, whose ancestors were a native of Thulasendrapuram.”
Meanwhile, Indian policymakers are also planning a grand heroic reception to Kamala Harris immediately after the January 20 inauguration of Biden-Harris administration.
According to media reports. dozens of locals made a beeline to a Hindu temple to offer prayers to the deity to wish her luck as they waited with bated breath for the result. Religious verses were recited, roses and jasmine were presented to the Lord, milk was poured over the idol, and a feast of idli-sambar was offered to the poor—all to ask blessings for Harris for the upcoming election results.
When it was (finally) announced that Biden-Harris had taken the White House, this little-known village in South India erupted in celebration. Jubilant villagers marked this historic win by bursting firecrackers, distributing sweets, making rangolis (the art of making patterns and shapes on floors using colors or flowers), and praying some more. The Hindu festival of Diwali came a week early to this part of India.
Back in August 2020, no one in the village knew about Harris. It was after the media started talking about her Indian roots when Joe Biden chose her as his running mate that the villagers were left amazed by the connection. Harris’s grandfather PV Gopalan was born in 1911 in this village, located about eight hours from the state capital Chennai. He was 20 years old when he relocated to Chennai, where Harris’ mother Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris was born. Shyamala was just 19 when she emigrated to the U.S. to study—she got her doctorate from UC Berkeley and married Donald Harris in 1963 after meeting at a civil rights protest. After their divorce, Kamala and her sister Maya moved to Canada with their mother.
Per Harris, her mother “raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.” Shyamala, a cancer researcher and activist who died in 2009, would take her daughters to India to help them understand where they came from, and “of course, she always wanted to instill in us a love of good idli,” Harris once said (Idli is a South Indian savory dish made of rice).
During these visits, a young Harris would go on walks on Elliot’s Beach with her retired grandfather. PV Gopalan was a civil servant and a great inspiration to Harris. She has often talked about her grandfather and how his fight for India’s independence has instilled in her a deep respect for democracy. In an Instagram post, she shared, “When I was a young girl visiting my grandparents in India, I’d join my grandfather and his buddies on their morning walk along the beach as they would talk about the importance of fighting for democracy and civil rights. Those walks made me who I am today.”
Some of those Harris insiders say, she is prouder of being having Indian blood connection than proud of being an American.
During the past several years, Kamala Harris has made plenty of Indian friends – both in the US and India, few of whom are believed to be suddenly becoming busy in working as lobbyists – mostly for the Indian business conglomerates and political parties, while they are also going to render the same service to entities from other countries in exchange for handsome amount of fees.
In addition to Kamala’s Indian friends, top business houses in India are already looking for hiring lobbyists with the goal of enhancing India’s influence in Washington. They are particularly trying to get Willie Brown and Hunter Biden as lobbyists in exchange for annual retainer fees, which might be above US$ 1 million for each of them.
According to credible source, India will push several issues, including China and Pakistan with their “own people” in the White House as well as the US Senate and Congress. Strategists in New Delhi are seeing Biden-Harris administration as the best opportunity for India in gaining huge plus point, as Kamala Harris in particular will play aggressive role in favor of India against China and Pakistan.
Moreover, it is rumored that, during her university days and between 1991-1997, Kamala Harris has dated two Indian-Americans, one of whom is still maintaining regular connections with her. This Indian-American national may play key role in getting India’s interest served by the Biden-Harris administration, while he also is expected to be considered as one of the mightiest lobbyists in the Washington DC, for the next four years.