'Waiting for this day': Touching tribute to Kamala Harris from across the world

·3-min read

People in the small ancestral Indian village of Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris have woken up to the news of her making history.

Most of them had gone to sleep by the time Biden clinched the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes, making Harris the first woman and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice president.

"Congratulations Kamala Harris. Pride of our village. Vanakkam (Greetings) America," one resident wrote in colour powder outside her residence.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (left) with US President-elect Joe Biden (right).
Kamala Harris (left) is first woman and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice president as Joe Biden (right) wins the 2020 US election. Source: Getty

"We all have been waiting for this day. Congratulations," Aulmozhi Sudhakar, a village councillor, said.

The village of Thulasendrapuram, population 350, planned to celebrate Harris' success with singing, dancing and firecrackers at a temple later Sunday.

"Kamala Harris is the daughter of our village. From children to senior citizens, each one of us is awaiting the day she would take oath as the vice president of the US," Sudhakar said.

As Americans voted, nearly 50 residents, lined up in the temple that reverberated with the sounds of ringing bells, and a Hindu priest gave them sweets and flowers as a religious offering.

The lush green village is the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, who had moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, decades ago.

Inside the temple where people have been holding special prayers, Harris' name is sculpted into a stone that lists public donations made to the temple in 2014, along with that of her grandfather who gave money decades ago.

"Congratulations Kamala Harris. Pride of our village. Vanakkam (Greetings) America," one resident wrote in outside her residence.
Women in U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ ancestral village in Thulasendrapuram, India write messages congratulating her on her win in the US election. Source: AAP

Harris' late mother also was born in India, before moving to the US at 19 to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican, and they named their daughter Kamala, Sanskrit for "lotus flower."

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet described Harris' success as pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for her relatives but also for all Indian-Americans.

"I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership."

Modi had invested in President Donald Trump, who visited India in February.

Modi's many Hindu nationalist supporters were upset with Harris when she expressed concern about the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, whose statehood India's government revoked in August last year.

Rights groups accuse India of human rights violations in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where insurgent groups have been fighting for independence or merger with neighbouring Pakistan since 1989.

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