Kamala Harris’ relatives in India celebrate her win, hope to attend her swearing-in

·2-min read

Upon hearing Kamala Harris’ win in the US Presidential elections, Thulasendirapuram village in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvarur district, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s ancestral village in India, erupted in loud cheer, bursting crackers and distributing sweets. The spirit of jubilation was no less for her relatives living in India.

Soaking in the moment of glory, Gopalan Balachandran, maternal uncle of Vice President-elect  Kamala Harris said that he told her niece a day earlier that she was "going to win" to become the next US Vice President. Delhi-based Balachandran said he was feeling "proud and happy", describing Harris as a fighter. Speaking to reporters on Saturday night, Gopalan Balachandran had said, "Biden-Harris victory is what we wanted to see. And, given the numbers, I told Kamala yesterday (Friday) that she is going to win.”

Dr Sarala Gopalan, her maternal aunt living in Chennai, shared her happiness on her niece’s win and said that she was hopeful of attending her swearing-in ceremony. "How do you think I should feel about her victory? I feel very happy. I was waiting for the announcement till late in the night...I felt tired and had to retire for the night," she had told reporters. "Hopefully," was her response when asked if she would attend the swearing-in ceremony of her niece in the US.

A few years ago, after Harris called her up with a request, Dr Gopalan broke 108 coconuts at the Varasiddhi Vinayagar temple in keeping with the traditional practice. Asked if she visited the Varasiddhi Vinayagar Temple at Besant Nagar here and offered prayers for Harris' victory, she said, "Normally whenever I visit Varasiddhi Vinayagar temple I break coconuts. But this time I couldn't visit the temple due to COVID-19.” However, she indicated her prayers were always with Harris.

Earlier, Harris's maternal uncle had said that she would script many firsts if she won and expressed the hope her top-level position would give Indians in the US "greater access" in interacting with the US administration.

Harris, 56, who is of Indian origin, has become the first-ever woman vice president-elect of the US. She will also be the first Indian-origin, first Black and first African American vice president of the country.

Democrat Joe Biden defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in the closely-fought presidential election. Biden, the 77-year-old former vice president, will become the 46th president of the United States.

"This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It's about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let's get started,” she had tweeted. She was born to two immigrant parents: a Black father and an Indian mother. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Chennai.

(With inputs from PTI)