HomeIndian AmericanKamala Harris’s Ancestral Indian Village Celebrates

Kamala Harris’s Ancestral Indian Village Celebrates

The images of a somber, traditional inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday contrast sharply with those of the celebration and revelry in Vice President Kamala Harris’s ancestral Indian village of Thulasendrapuram. Crowds of people flocked to the village and its Hindu temple to watch the inauguration live, setting off fireworks, waving her portraits in the air and chanting, “Long live Kamala Harris,” Time reports.

Thulasendrapuram, approximately 215 miles from the southern coastal city of Chennai, is the birthplace of Harris’s maternal grandfather. Throughout the day, villagers have received a variety of celebratory materials from calendars featuring Harris and President Joe Biden’s faces to sweets and other food, NBC News reports. 

Much of the celebration occurred at the local Hindu temple, where visitors scattered flowers and prayed for Harris’s success. In a prayer ceremony, a priest bathed an idol of the Hindu deity Ayyanar in milk and swathed it with flowers.

Harris’s vice presidency is marked by history as a series of firsts: first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president. She has never shied away from her heritage, often speaking about her Indian roots and the guidance of her Indian-born grandfather and mother.

Her pride in her heritage has sent a strong message to many, both within the United States and beyond. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Harris, describing her swearing-in as “a historic occasion,” stating that he was “looking forward to interacting with her to make India-USA relations more robust. The India-USA partnership is beneficial for our planet.”

The pride that many AAPIs in America feel is echoed by Indian citizens. “For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president,” said G Manikandan, a shopkeeper in Thulasendrapuram.

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