Story at a glance

  • Harris will be the first Black, South Asian and Caribbean woman to serve in the country’s second-highest office.
  • Residents in Thulasendrapuram, a village of 350 people in southern India, celebrated the win with fireworks, prayer and admiration of Harris.
  • The village is the birth place of Harris’ grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, who served as a civil servant in India and abroad.

Celebrations that included fireworks, prayer and music erupted Sunday in the tiny village in southern India where Kamala Harris’s maternal grandfather was born following the news that she will be the next vice president of the United States. 

Harris, the daughter of two immigrants, will officially become the first woman to be vice president of the U.S. after Democratic nominee Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election on Saturday. 


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Her historic election will make her the first Black, South Asian and Caribbean American woman to serve in the country’s second-highest office. While Harris was born in California, her late mother was born in India and her father is from Jamaica. 

The Associated Press reports residents in Thulasendrapuram — a village of 350 people — wrote messages of congratulations to the vice president-elect in front of their homes, handed out traditional sweets, sang and danced and waved posters featuring photos of Harris. 

A special prayer was also performed at the village temple in celebration of the victory. 

“Kamala Harris is the daughter of our village,” Aulmozhi Sudhakar, a village councilor, said according to AP. “From children to senior citizens, each one of us is awaiting the day she will take the oath as the vice president of the U.S.” 

The village is the birth place of Harris’s grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, who served as a civil servant in India and abroad. He migrated from Thulasendrapuram to Chennai, capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, close to 90 years ago. Harris has often spoken about how her grandfather inspired her with stories about fighting for the rights of Indians to secure their independence from British rule. 

On Election Day, villagers came together to perform a special ceremony at the main temple to bestow Harris with good luck. Inside the temple, Harris’s name is engraved into a stone that lists public donations made to the temple, along with her grandfather’s.


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Published on Nov 09, 2020