US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’ ancestral village in India celebrates her inauguration

THULASENDRAPURAM (REUTERS) : Residents of the ancestral Indian village of Ms Kamala Harris celebrated her inauguration as US vice-president on Wednesday (Jan 20) by setting off firecrackers and distributing food.

Thulasendrapuram, a leafy village about 320km south of the city of Chennai, is where Ms Harris’ maternal grandfather was born more than a century ago.

Calendars featuring the faces of Mr Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn in as US president, and Ms Harris have been distributed throughout the village by a cooperative.

Villagers holding photos of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at Thulasendrapuram village, in Tamil Nadu, India, on Jan 20, 2021.
Villagers holding photos of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at Thulasendrapuram village, in Tamil Nadu, India, on Jan 20, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

“A local politician conducted a special prayer and villagers have been distributing sweets and letting off crackers since the morning,” said village shopkeeper G Manikandan.

The scenes were in contrast to the sombre mood in Washington – locked down due to security concerns and the threat of the novel coronavirus – where Mr Biden and Ms Harris are due to be sworn in later on Wednesday.

India Kamala Harris
A child holds a tray of chocolates as others hold portraits of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after participating in special prayers ahead of her inauguration, at a Hindu temple in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris’ maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, January 20, 2021.AIJAZ RAHI/AP

TOPSHOT-INDIA-US-POLITICS-INAUGURATION
Villagers hold photos of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as they light firecrackers to celebrate in her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on January 20, 2021.ARUN SANKAR/AFP/GETTY

Ms Harris, who was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, both of whom immigrated to the United States to study, visited Thulasendrapuram when she was five and has recalled walks with her grandfather on the beach at Chennai.

Separately, artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand sculpture featuring Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

Ms Harris becomes the first woman, first black American and first Asian American to win the second highest US office.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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