Kamala Harris is seen in this file photo during a rally Washington. Harris on Saturday tweeted her wishes on India’s 74th Independence Day.(AP Photo)
Kamala Harris is seen in this file photo during a rally Washington. Harris on Saturday tweeted her wishes on India’s 74th Independence Day.(AP Photo)

Kamala Harris wishes on India’s I-Day, talks about ‘our people’

Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in Chennai before she moved to the USA to pursue a doctoral degree at University of California Berkeley.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Meenakshi Ray
UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2020 08:57 AM IST

Kamala Harris, the US vice-presidential candidate, on Saturday congratulated India on the progress “our people have made in the fight for justice” as she extended her wishes on the country’s 74th Independence Day.

US Democratic party presidential nominee Joe Biden named 55-year-old Harris as his vice-presidential running mate earlier this week, making her the first person of Indian descent and the first Black woman in the history of America to hold a major-party national ticket in a presidential election.

“Happy Indian Independence Day! Reflecting on the past 74 years, it’s remarkable how much progress our people have made in the fight for justice. I hope you’ll join me today in celebrating and then commit to building an even better future,” Harris tweeted.

Also read: She is a woman of many firsts

Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in Chennai before she moved to the USA to pursue a doctoral degree at University of California Berkeley. Shyamala was the daughter of PV Gopalan, who was active in the Independence movement and then became a high-ranking civil servant and fought against corruption.

Shyamala Gopalan was a cancer researcher, who raised Harris and the younger daughter Maya Harris, as a single mother mostly after early separation from Donald Harris, who had come to the US from Jamaica. Gopalan died in 2009.

Also read: Indian must remember Kamala Harris is not an Indian

Harris also spoke about her mother’s attempts to “instil a love of good idli” in her and sister Maya and “long walks” with her grandfather in Chennai during an event by ‘South Asians of Biden’.

“In Madras, I would go on long walks with my grandfather, who at that point was retired, and we take morning walks where I pulled his hand and he would tell me about the heroes who are responsible for the birth of the world’s biggest democracy, and he would explain that ‘it’s on us to pick up where they left off’. Those lessons are a big reason why I am where I am today,” she said.

Harris is currently the US senator from California. She is also the first African-American of a major party and only the third woman yet to run for the office of the US vice president, after Democrat Geraldine Ferraro and Republican Sarah Palin. The US hasn’t had a female vice-president, or president, yet.

(With agency inputs)

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