As a child wandering between aunts, uncles, and family friends who filled her grandparents’ apartment in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Kamala Harris from She was accustomed to being called in Tamil. Kamala Harris For The People Yes We Kam 2020 Vote shirt
It was the primary language spoken by her grandmother, who had only sporadic English, and during Harris’s childhood travels from California to Chennai – which was then known as Madras – to visit her mother’s family, she gradually learned to understand. , if not speaking, in her native Indian language.
Standing on the Democratic congress podium last week when accepting her historic nomination for US vice president, Harris nodded through but meaningful approval for this aspect of her legacy. She said her mother has “raised us to know and take pride in our Indian heritage”, adding: “The family is my uncle, aunt, and chithis.”
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Harris was the first candidate of Indian origin to be on an American presidential ticket, and she used chichi’s, the Tamil term for intimacy to mean “aunt”, to send reverberations through the South Asian household in America and also 8,000 miles observations in India.
“I really shed tears,” model and chef Padma Lakshmi tweeted, who resembles Harris’s mother, was born in Chennai and moved to the US. “Kamala Harris just said‘ chithis ’means you. My heart is very full right now.
Harris’s use of Tamil in her speech boosted her growing fan base in India, especially in the tiny village of Painganadu in eastern Tamil Nadu, where her grandfather was PV Gopalan was born in 1911 and Harris visited once as a child with her grandmother.
During the past week, posters have appeared throughout the village, decorated with Harris’s face and carrying slogans expressing pride in the locality, wishing her good luck and describing her as “the heart Lion”.
Bharathi Selvam, 27, whose grandfather knew Harris’s grandfather, was one of the people in Painganadu who organized the posters that were hung in the village teahouse and on every lane. “It was a very proud moment for us,” he said. “We all became very active, people put signs of support for her and started reading about American politics. We all prayed for her, so I’m sure she will win. ”
Harris’s Indian family still sends financial donations to the Dharma Shastra temple in the village and her name, along with the names of her relatives, is engraved on the temple’s wall. Temple manager SV Ramanan, 71, said Harris’s aunt Sarala Gopalan asked him to perform a small prayer ceremony to pray for good luck for her granddaughter. “The villagers were very pleased with the news,” Ramanan said.
Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, left India at the age of 19 after receiving partial funding for her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. According to Harris and her Indian relatives, Shyamala ensures that her two daughters do not lose contact with their Indian heritage despite being raised in the US.
Every few years, Shyamala, a former cancer scientist and famous singer of traditional Carnatic music, brings her daughters to Chennai to see their retired grandparents and Harris will go for a walk. along with my grandfather along the beach. Harris was unable to return to India to attend the funeral of her grandfather who died suddenly in 1999, but she returned to Chennai beach to scatter the Kamala Harris For The People Yes We Kam 2020 Vote shirt ashes of her mother, who died of cancer in 2009.
In a speech last week at the “South Asians for Biden” event, Harris talked about her time in Chennai. “Growing up, my mother brought my sister Maya and I back to the place called Madras because she wanted us to understand where she came from and what kind of ancestry we have,” she recalls. “And of course, she always wanted to nurture in us a love of nice guys.”
Harris’s ties with the Kamala Harris For The People Yes We Kam 2020 Vote shirt Indian side of her family remained tight and they all flew to Washington for her to take office as a senator in 2017.
“We are naturally very proud,” said Harris’s uncle, G Balachandran, 79, who lives in Delhi. “This has brought great happiness to all of us in her family.”