‘Like winning Olympic gold’: Kamala Harris' village gears up for her oath taking
Kamala Harris’ ancestral village of Thulasendhirapuram in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvarur district is once again decked up with her posters ahead of her swearing-in as Vice President of the United States of America. The villagers burst firecrackers and distributed sweets on Wednesday while children held placards of Harris.
“We feel proud as though India has won an Olympic gold medal,” said Vinod Pulavendran, a resident of the village and an employee of the Trichy airport. “It is common for Indians to become American citizens, but how often does an Indian become the vice president of the US? She has put us on the map,” he added.
Joe Biden will take oath as the 46th President of the United States on January 20 and Harris will be the vice-president, becoming the first woman to hold the position besides being the first African-American woman and first person of Indian-origin to have achieved that.
The Dharmasastha Temple in Thulasendhirapuram conducted a special pooja for Harris as her maternal grandfather PV Gopalan was born in this village and her family has been offering donations to the temple. Her late mother Shyamala Gopalan’s younger sister Dr Sarala Gopalan visited the temple last December soon after the results made it clear that Harris will be vice president.
A placard in the temple bears the name of Kamala Harris. “We are planning to invite Kamala to the temple through her aunt,” said temple in-charge SV Ramanan.
Ever since Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate, the village has been celebrating by conducting special poojas and erecting flex banners praising Harris.
When the US presidential elections were held in November, local leaders here offered annadhanam (free food for the poor). They had offered idli-sambhar which Harris revealed is her favorite south Indian dish, relished during her childhood visits to Chennai with her mother who was born in the city and later moved to the US.
“Her victory is a motivation for the entire village to dream of achieving something,” said Arulmozhi Sudhakar, a local village head of Thulasendhirapuram. “We hope she visits us as it is her roots.”
Harris particularly struck a chord with Tamil people and her heritage when she called out to her ‘chithis’ (referring to a parent’s younger sister in Tamil) during her speech in August at the Democratic National Convention.
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