Kamala Harris’s aunt Sarala Gopalan said she has always been an achiever.(ANI Photo)
Kamala Harris’s aunt Sarala Gopalan said she has always been an achiever.(ANI Photo)

What Kamala Harris’s ‘chitti’ said about the US vice president-elect

Kamala Harris had also put spotlight on her Tamil roots during her acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee for the post of vice president. Explaining what family means to her, she added, “Family is my uncles, my aunts, and my chittis”.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON NOV 09, 2020 09:35 AM IST

While Indians are all praises for the new vice-president elect of the United States, her aunt on Sunday spoke about how Kamala Harris grew up as a “good child” and how she always accomplished what she aimed for.

“We have always seen her (Kamala Harris) grow up as a good child. She was very good at whatever she did and she has achieved what she wanted to do,” Dr Sarala Gopalan, Chennai-based maternal aunt of Harris was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

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Harris’s landmark election as the first woman US vice president has marked festivities in the Tamil village of the aunt of the Indian-American elect. Residents of Thulasendrapuram village in Tiruvarur district burst firecrackers, distributed sweets and drew colourful rangolis.

Harris had also put spotlight on her Tamil roots during her acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee for the post of vice president. “She raised us (Harris and sister, Maya,) to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage. She taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose,” she had said referring to her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. Explaining what family means to her, she added, “Family is my uncles, my aunts, and my chittis”.

The use of the word ‘chittis’, which is Tamil for aunts, was hailed by the Indian-American community . MR Rangaswami, a California IT entrepreneur turned philanthropist, said he was “punching” himself in excitement when he heard Kamala Harris utter the word “chittis” in her speech. “Indians and Tamilians would have felt a connection with Kamala during her acceptance speech when she addressed her aunts as ‘chittis’,” he said.

Born of a mother from India and a father from Jamaica, Harris is the first woman, first Indian American, first Black, first South Asian American and the first Asian ever elected as vice-president.

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