Kamala Harris and the Indian connection: Music, food and Chennai beaches

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Aug 17, 2020, 10:37 PM(IST)

Kamala Harris Photograph:( AFP )

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In her speech two years ago, Senator Harris had mentioned her early visits to her grandparents in Chennai.

Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris, 55, as his running mate for the US presidential elections effectively pitching her as a vice-presidential candidate to take on the Trump-Pence combination. Biden's decision has been hailed as a victory for the India-American community with Kamala's roots going back to India.

Also Read: Democrats, Republicans eye Indian-Americans votes, but what are they offering?

Harris is the daughter of an Indian immigrant, her mother was from India and father from Jamaica. Even though the India-American voters make up little over 6 per cent of the overall US population but their votes could become a crucial factor in the key battlegrounds states in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas.

In her speech two years ago, Senator Harris had mentioned her early visits to her grandparents in Chennai. Her grandfather had joined India's independence movement and later became a government official.

Kamala has been widely known to have gone for walks in Chennai beaches with her maternal grandfather while chatting about democracy and equality in the south Indian state. 

Her parents had emigrated to study in the US as they made a new life in the country.

"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 had said. Her maternal uncle Gopalan Balachandran said Kamala likes Indian food but also likes all American food including hamburgers, yoghurt rice and lemon rice.

Gopalan Balachandran said she is also "Jamaican" along with being an "Afro-American". Not only does she like India but also likes Indian music including Jazz music.

"Kamala doesn't carry her religion to public life. She has gone Shyamla (Harris' mother) used to take her to the temple, she used to sing there. So, she has done those things. When she came to India my mother used to take to temples and she used to go there. As I said, her mother died, she brought her (mother's) ashes and immersed it in Bay of Bengal," her uncle told Reuters.

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