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With Prayers, Rangoli & Crackers, Kamala Harris' Ancestral Village in TN Celebrates Her Victory

The rangoli made at Kamala Harris' ancestral village after she won.

The rangoli made at Kamala Harris' ancestral village after she won.

The temple held special prayers once it was known that Harris would be the running mate to Biden.

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Poornima Murali

As Vice-President Elect Kamala Devi Harris made her speech in Delaware hours ago in an epoch-making moment, a sleepy little village in Tamil Nadu's central district of Thiruvarur welcomed the victory and the historic underpinning with special celebrations. Considering it is Senator Harris' ancestral village, the rejoicing makes sense.

Arulmozhi S, a resident of Thulasendhirapuram, laid out an elaborate rangoli to mark the victory of Harris: "It's a big deal that a woman will be the Vice-President of the United States, and the fact that she hails from this village makes it so, so special. Kamala Harris is a household name here..."

A few supporters celebrated her victory by bursting crackers. Some of them offered special prayers for Harris in two temples in the village. Thulasendhirapuram in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvarur district is the village of Harris's maternal ancestors. It's the village where her grandfather PV Gopalan, a former Indian diplomat, hailed from. Thulasendrapuram gave a rousing reception to the news of Harris's naming as the running mate of Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for the Presidential Elections.

The village temple in Thulasendhirapuram has a plaque that immortalises its connection with the Gopalans. The temple held special prayers once it was known that Harris would be the running mate to Biden. Going by the highly combative positions taken by the lead runners in the elections, it appears as though Thulasendhirapuram should keep its show of solidarity a little while longer.

Meanwhile, in Chennai, one of Harris' aunts (chithis'), Dr Sarala Gopalan, expressed her thrill knowing one from the family has reached such a pinnacle. She spoke to CNN-News 18 after Harris’s victory. “She is my sister’s daughter and we are happy and thrilled. I haven't been able to talk to her. I just sent her a message. She will call me whenever she is free. It feels very good. Kamala has always got what she wanted. She has always been good and she is a good worker. She has promised a lot to the people. I’m sure she and Joe will get together and do whatever is necessary,” Dr. Gopalan said.

Dr. Gopalan added that they may travel to the U.S for Harris’ swearing-in.

Just minutes after the U.S media networks declared that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris the first-ever woman Vice President, Harris’ sister Maya Harris took to social media to congratulate her sister.

“OMG it’s happening...our next Vice President of the United States...our first-ever MADAM Vice President...my sister, @KamalaHarris!” Maya tweeted.

Maya Harris in another tweet paid a tribute to their mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris.

Kamala Harris too in her first victory speech in Willmington, Delaware, remembered her mother. “I’m grateful to the woman most responsible for my presence here today -- my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris -- who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she may be didn’t imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in America where moment like this is possible…. I’m thinking about her..” she added.

Kamala Harris in her earlier address in August this year spoke at length about her mother and reiterated that her mother taught her to ‘put family first’. In the same speech, Harris spoke about her family including her ‘chithis’ (aunts).

(With inputs from J. Maheswaran)


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