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Kamala Harris' ancestral village in Tamil Nadu beaming with joy before her swearing-in as US VP

Harris is set to make history as the first woman, the first woman of color, and first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.

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New Delhi Published on: January 20, 2021 16:31 IST
Kamala Harris swearing-in as US Vice President
Image Source : AP

Villagers burst firecrackers and hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram.

A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president. Harris is set to make history as the first woman, the first woman of color, and first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.

In her maternal grandfather’s hometown of Thulasendrapuram, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) from the southern coastal city of Chennai, people were jubilant and gearing up for celebrations.

India Tv - Kamala Harris swearing-in as US Vice President

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Indian villagers gather outside a local eatery next to a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with a message wishing her best, in Thulasendrapuram.

“We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America,” said Anukampa Madhavasimhan, a teacher.

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Harris’ grandfather moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, decades ago. Harris’ late mother was also born in India, before moving to the U.S. to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for “lotus flower.”

Ahead of the inauguration, special prayers for her success were held at the town temple during which the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by the priest.

India Tv - Kamala Harris swearing-in as US Vice President

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The name of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is made from ingredients of a local savory Murukku at a village house, in Thulasendrapuram.

Ahead of the U.S. elections in November, villagers in Thulasendrapuram also pulled together a ceremony at the temple to wish Harris good luck. After her win, they set off firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering.

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Posters of Harris from the November celebrations still adorn walls in the village and many hope she ascends to the presidency in 2024. President-elect Joe Biden has skirted questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire.

India Tv - Kamala Harris swearing-in as US Vice President

Image Source : AP

Villagers burst firecrackers and hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram.

“For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president,” said G Manikandan, who has followed Harris politically and whose shop proudly displays a wall calendar with pictures of Biden and Harris.

On Tuesday, an organization that promotes vegetarianism sent food packets for the village children as gifts to celebrate Harris’ success.

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