World

Tamil Nadu village euphoric after Harris' victory

CHENNAI: Indians set off firecrackers yesterday and offered prayers of gratitude over the election of Ms Kamala Harris as the next US vice-president, declaring it a proud moment for Indian Americans.

Ms Harris, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, both of whom immigrated to the US to study, made history by becoming the first woman to win the second highest US office in the election.

At her ancestral village in southern India, about 14,000km from Washington, DC, children clutched posters of Ms Harris as people gathered at a Hindu temple to thank the gods for the victory that she and president-elect Joe Biden won.

Priests at the temple in Thulasendrapuram village bathed the local deity in milk and prayed. Women drew murals in the courtyard and musicians played traditional music.

Ms Harris, who visited the village when she was five, has often recalled walks with her maternal grandfather on the beaches of the southern city of Chennai during annual trips from the US.

Those conversations with her grandfather, who was among millions of people who joined India's independence movement, left a profound impact, Ms Harris said in a 2018 speech.

She has been in close touch with her family in India, and her uncle said he planned to attend the inauguration in January. "It's great (the victory). It was needed and it was good. And the next four years will be good," said Mr G. Balachandran, a leading defence scholar.

In Mumbai, people shot off fireworks and a group of artists painted a portrait of Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Ms Harris' win was historic.

"Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian Americans," he said in a tweet, referring to the Tamil word for aunts that Ms Harris referred to in her acceptance speech for the Democratic Party nomination.

Actress Mindy Kaling tweeted images of Ms Harris and wrote: "Crying and holding my daughter, 'Look baby, she looks like us.'" - REUTERS

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