Kamala Harris Receives Prayers from Her Family's Ancestral Village in India on Election Day

Maria Pasquini
·3 min read
Kamala Harris Receives Prayers from Her Family's Ancestral Village in India on Election Day
Kamala Harris Receives Prayers from Her Family's Ancestral Village in India on Election Day

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They cannot vote in the 2020 United States presidential election, but residents from Kamala Harris’ ancestral village in India are sending their support to the vice presidential nominee.

On Tuesday, a number of people in Thulasendrapuram — the Indian village where Harris’ maternal grandfather P.V. Gopalan was born — gathered in a Hindu temple to pray for her victory, according to The New York Times.

About 200 residents came together for a special puja ceremony, a prayer ritual often performed for the spiritual celebration of a special event. Afterward, according to the the Times of India, organizers presented the village with a feast idli and sambar, two South Indian dishes that they said are favorites of Harris, the California senator and veep candidate.

Win McNamee/Getty Images Kamala Harris

“She is the daughter of the village’s soil,’ one local woman told The New York Times. “The position she has attained is unbelievable.”

“She is from here and we are proud of her,” another local man said, according to Reuters. The news organization also reported that, in Delhi, a Hindu fringe group gathered in support of President Donald Trump.

ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty A poster of Kamala Harris in her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram

Harris, who is the first Black woman and first Indian-American on either major party's presidential ticket, has spoken about how her grandfather inspired her career path.

“My grandfather was really one of my favorite people in my world,” Harris has said of Gopalan, who joined the Indian government in the 1930s, according to The Los Angeles Times. The California senator remained close with her grandfather until his death in 1998.

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While accepting her vice presidential nomination, Harris also reflected on the values instilled in her by her late mother, cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who was born in India and moved to California in the 1950s.

Harris credited her mother for raising her and her younger sister to be “proud, strong Black women ... [who grew to be] conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people."

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In a message on Twitter as Americans headed to the polls on Tuesday, Harris wrote: "We cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump.”

“Today we must vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do. We must vote like our democracy depends on it. Because it does,” she added in a separate message. “And we must vote like justice, equality, and opportunity are possible. Because they are.”