Even as Kamala Harris took oath as the first woman, black, South-Asian Vice-President of the United States, in far away two villages in Southern India celebrated the event as they saw their daughter being sworn-in to the second higest post, only next the the President.
Two villages in Tamil Nadu – Mannargudi and Thulasenthirapuram-Painganadu villages in Tiruvarur district were the places where 56-year-old Kamala Harris‘ maternal grandparents once lived.
Harris’ grandfather PV Gopalan had moved out of Thulasenthirapuram village in his young days and got a job under the British government. Her grandmother Rajam belonged to the nearby Painganadu village.
The two villages have been waiting to celebrate this moment for days. Roads were lined with huge digital banners decorated with flowers and leaves.
Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants watched the inauguration live. The villagers chanted ‘Long live Kamala Harris’ while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath.
Celebrations in two villages
Roads were cleaned and prayers were offered for her at the village temple.
The local traders distributed calendars with her Kamala Harris photo.
Political leaders distribute sweets to passers-by standing on the streets.
Hours before the Presidential inauguration, the festivities started.
Crackers were burst and sweets distributed as the villagers waited for the programme to begin.
Kamala Harris biography
Kamala Harris was born to two immigrant parents, Black father and an Indian mother. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who immigrated to the US from Chennai in 1958. Harris defines herself simply as ‘American’.
Kamala Harris was roped into the re-election campaign by then US President Barack Obama in 2012, when she was the Attorney-General of California.
Her rise to the second highest office in the US was a watershed moment in the country’s history, which she marked on Wednesday with a special tweet.
“I have a message for all the little girls and boys out there who dream of growing up to be superheroes: Superheroes walk among us. They’re teachers, doctors, scientists, vaccine researchers and you can grow up to be like them too,” her post read.