'One of our own.' Indians cheer Biden's pick of Kamala Harris as White House running mate

By Sudarshan Varadhan CHENNAI (Reuters) - On annual trips to India as a child, Kamala Harris would go for strolls on the humid beaches of Chennai with her maternal grandfather and his friends, listening intently as they chatted about democracy and the need to treat everyone equally. Harris, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who both immigrated to the United States to study, made history on Tuesday when U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden picked her as his vice president.

Reuters August 13, 2020 00:12:32 IST
'One of our own.' Indians cheer Biden's pick of Kamala Harris as White House running mate

One of our own Indians cheer Bidens pick of Kamala Harris as White House running mate

By Sudarshan Varadhan

CHENNAI (Reuters) - On annual trips to India as a child, Kamala Harris would go for strolls on the humid beaches of Chennai with her maternal grandfather and his friends, listening intently as they chatted about democracy and the need to treat everyone equally.

Harris, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who both immigrated to the United States to study, made history on Tuesday when U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden picked her as his vice president.

In a speech in 2018, Senator Harris recalled those early visits to her grandparents in the upscale neighbourhood of Besant Nagar, along the shores of the Bay of Bengal in southern India.

"I was not conscious of it at the time, but it was those walks on the beach with my grandfather in Besant Nagar that had a profound impact on who I am today," Harris, now 55, said in New York.

Her grandfather, who was among millions of people who joined India's independence movement, later became a high-ranking government official.

On Wednesday, reporters and camera crew from local and national news channels crowded into the quiet, tree-lined street where Harris had spent time with her mother's family.

A post box with her aunt's name embossed on it was the last remaining link to Harris's family in Chennai, after the aunt sold her ground-floor apartment.

The aunt, gynaecologist Sarala Gopalan, told CNN-News18 that she had been up since 4 a.m. local time, after hearing that Biden had picked her niece as his vice president.

"She is very caring and kind to people, and that's what I like about her the most," Gopalan said. "If I send her a message right now saying Kamala I need you, the next day she will be here."

Her uncle Gopalan Balachandran told Reuters partner ANI about her love for both South Indian and American food. Her taste in music also points to her diverse upbringing, he said.

"She likes India, she likes Indian music, but she likes jazz music also."

Harris trended on Twitter in India as business leaders and politicians praised her.

"First Indian and Asian woman to get the nomination as official VP candidate. Thumbs up," Ram Madhav, a senior official of India's ruling party, wrote on Twitter.

On social media, users joked about how hyper-competitive Indian parents in the United States will now push their kids to aim even higher.

"The bar for 'desi' achievement has suddenly been raised!," Indian opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor said, using a Hindi word to describe Indians.

"Beta (son) what are you doing these days? Oh, just a Harvard professor? Not even a mayor yet?"

(Reporting by Sudarshan Vardhan; Additional reporting by Sunil Kataria; Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.