Almost 40 years after her last visit to India and the holy city, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is all set her foot on the land of her ancestors again as she reaches Amritsar on November 14.
Haley, who was elected as governor of South Carolina for the second successive time, starts her ten-day India tour on Tuesday. Aiming to promote trade and tourism, Haley is scheduled to visit Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Amritsar.
However, her visit to Amritsar is likely to be more of a personal one, as apart from paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and visiting Jallianwala Bagh, she will also be meeting some of her relatives, according to district authorities.
After receiving the detailed programme of the visit, Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat said, "The South Carolina governor will be landing at the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport on November 14. She will be coming in the evening and going straight to the hotel. On November 15, she will be paying obeisance at Harmandar Sahib in the early morning. From there, she will be visiting Jallianwala Bagh and later Guru Nanak Dev University."
"The district administration is also trying to get her list of relatives as we are told that she will be meeting relatives during her visit to the university," he added.
"During her visit to Amritsar, Nikki Haley will also visit Teja Singh Samundari Hall. We are told that ancestors of Nikki Randhawa Haley had some association with Samundri family," the deputy commissioner said.
Excited about the Haley's visit to Amritsar, her cousin Kanwaljit Singh Randhawa said, "We first lived at Verka but we have now shifted to a place near Nawanshahr. Haley's father Ajit Singh Randhawa shifted to America in early sixties. Haley once came to India when she was around two-year-old. We are very happy that she is coming to India and look forward to meet her."
Notably, Randhawa's house in Verka had old pictures of Haley and the house had seen jubilation when Nikki was for the first time chosen as governor of South Carolina in 2010.
Kanwaljit claimed that Ajit Singh Randhawa came to India in mid- nineties and stayed at Verka. The ancestral village of the family is Pandori Ramana in Tarn Taran district.
TO MEET STUDENTS, STAFF AT UNIVERSITY
Speaking about the proposed visit to GNDU on November 15, university vice-chancellor, Prof Ajaib Singh Brar, said, "Although it is a Saturday but we have made it a working day. Nikki Haley will visit the University for one hour. She will address the students and staff members. There will also be a question and answer session".
The V-C added that the GNDU would also hold talks with her over possibilities of collaboration with universities in South Carolina.