Kamala Harris' ancestral village in India erupts into celebration as she becomes US vice president

Thulasendrapuram, an Indian village with connections to Kamala Harris, celebrated with fireworks and chanting as she was sworn in as Vice President.

A village in India with ancestral links to Kamala Harris erupted into celebration during her inauguration.

A village in India with ancestral links to Kamala Harris erupted into celebration during her inauguration. Source: AP

Residents of an Indian village have set off firecrackers and prayed at a Hindu temple as they watched Kamala Harris, who has strong roots there, take her oath of office and become the US vice president.

Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants watched the inauguration live as reporters broadcast the villager's celebrations to millions of Indians.

The villagers chanted "Long live Kamala Harris" while holding portraits of her and they set off fireworks the moment she took the oath.



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Earlier, the villages adorned their temple with flowers, offering special prayers for Harris' success. Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 350km from the southern coastal city of Chennai

"We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America," said teacher Anukampa Madhavasimhan.

Residents prepare to put up a hoarding with a photo of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram.
Residents prepare to put up a hoarding with a photo of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram. Source: Getty


At the prayer ceremony in Thulasendrapuram, the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by a priest. Then the village reverberated with the sound of firecrackers as people held up posters of Ms Harris and clapped their hands.

Ms Harris made history on Wednesday as the first black, South Asian and female US vice president and what made her special for the village is is her Indian heritage.



Ms Harris' grandfather was born in the village more than 100 years ago. Many decades later, he moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

Kamala Harris has broken by barriers by becoming the first woman of colour to become Vice President.
Kamala Harris has broken by barriers by becoming the first woman of colour to become Vice President. Source: LightRocket


Ms Harris' late mother was also born in India, before moving to the US to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for "lotus flower."

In several speeches, Ms Harris has often spoken about her roots and how she was guided by the values of her Indian-born grandfather and mother.

So when Joe Biden and Ms Harris triumphed in the US election last November, Thulasendrapuram became the centre of attention in India.

"For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president," said G Manikandan, whose shop proudly displays a wall calendar with pictures of Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

Women make a traditional snack to celebrate the inauguration of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Women make a traditional snack to celebrate the inauguration of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Source: AFP


In New Delhi there has been both excitement and some concern over Ms Harris' ascend to the vice presidency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invested in President Donald Trump, who visited India in February last year.

Mr Modi's many Hindu nationalist supporters also were upset with Harris when she expressed concern about Kashmir, the disputed Muslim-majority region whose statehood India's government revoked last year.


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3 min read
Published 21 January 2021 at 5:27am
Source: AAP,SBS