There is a village in India that is praying for the Biden-Harris ticket to win the election. The village of Thulasendrapuram has not forgotten her. Her maternal grandfather was born there more than 100 years ago. Today villagers came together for a special ceremony at the main Hindu temple to wish good luck to the vice-presidential candidate.
It’s easy to forget that Kamala Harris is of Indian ancestry. Her mother was born and raised in India. Her father is Jamaican. Like her father, she identifies as black.
About 20 people in the village of Thulasendrapuram in the southern part of the country gathered at a local temple for the ritual of “abhishekam’’ — or the pouring milk over a Hindu idol while reciting prayers, in this case on behalf of Joe Biden’s Democratic running mate.
“She is from here, and we are proud of her,’’ said supporter R.R. Jayakumar Vandayar from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Villagers say that Kamala visited as a girl with her mother. Her grandfather was not a conservative, as many are in the village, and supported women in pursuit of careers. Kamala’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, came to America in the 1950s and became a breast cancer researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. She died in 2009. Kamala’s name is inscribed on a board at the main temple and it is believed that she gave a donation to the temple, though memories are cloudy about that.
Thulasendrapuram may be hoping for a Democrat victory in this election but President Trump has a lot of support in India. Indian media has focused on the election as a referendum on Trump and there have been few stories about Kamala and her Indian connections. Most Americans and Indians alike didn’t connect Kamala Harris to India before she became Biden’s running mate. Indians view Trump as strong on terrorism and acknowledge that a vice-president is not powerful, like a president.
But despite some Indian nationals’ pride in Harris, there were those who favored her and Biden’s rivals, Republican President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
To the north, in Delhi, a territory that includes the nation’s capital of New Delhi, just as many people from a Hindu group gathered around a priest in saffron robes as he lit ceremonial fires and chanted prayers for a Trump victory.
“India can fight terrorism only if Trump is around, and both China and Pakistan will stay restrained as long as he is the president,” leader Vishnu Gupta said.
“We wish Harris well because of her Indian ancestry,’’ Gupta said. “But vice presidents are not as powerful’’ as presidents.
A piece in the New York Times mentions the hope of “some favors” if the Democrat ticket is victorious. The people in Thulasendrapuram are “planning big things.”
And although Ms. Harris’s family left long ago, with her grandfather eventually moving to Chennai, the village is already planning big things. One villager said the temple was sure to get more donations, should Ms. Harris win. Another hoped the government would now build a college in this area, something residents have been wishing for for years.
“It’s quite obvious that the village people are hoping that once she wins this election she will do us some favors,” said R. R. Kalidas Vandayar, an elder. “We are hoping the prayers work.”
Perhaps we’ll have to take a look at how Indian-Americans voted in this election. It just sounds odd that potential future favors became a part of the story. What does Quid Pro Joe think about that?
The piece in the NYT was an Election Day puff piece, one that you won’t find today about anyone in either the Trump or Pence families. The NYT editorial board endorsed Biden for president in October. They will be bitterly disappointed if Trump wins re-election. One ironic note in the endorsement was stating that Biden moved the Obama administration leftward, specifically on the subject of gay marriage. I’m old enough to remember when we were told what a moderate Biden is. You knew that was malarkey in today’s Democrat Party, right? Labeling a candidate as a moderate is a very bad thing. A moderate Democrat would not have chosen a running mate that is listed as the senator with the most liberal voting record. Biden turned a blind eye to that in order to check off a couple of boxes in identity politics – Kamala is black and female.
Sorry, villagers. In American politics, it is more useful for her to identify as a black American than an Indian-American.