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Indian people applaud Kamala Harris ahead of America's inauguration

Indian people applaud Kamala Harris ahead of America's inauguration

A lush little Indian village surrounded by rice paddies is beaming with joy, hours before her descendant, Kamala Harris, takes the oath and becomes Vice President of the United States.

Harris is set to make history as the first woman, the first woman of color, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.

In the village of Thulasendrapuram of her maternal grandfather, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) from Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, people were jubilant and preparing for the celebrations.

“We are very proud that an Indian is being elected vice president of the United States,” said Anukampa Madhavasimhan, 52, a teacher.

Harris's grandfather moved to Chennai decades ago.

Harris's late mother was also born in India, before moving to the United States to study at the University of California. She married a man from Jamaica and they named her daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for lotus flower.

Before the US elections in November, the villagers of Thulasendrapuram had organized a ceremony at the main Hindu temple to wish Harris good luck.

After her victory, they lit firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering.

Harris's posters of the November celebrations still adorn the village walls and many expect her to ascend to the presidency in 2024.

President-elect Joe Biden has sidestepped questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire.

"For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president," said G Manikandan, 40, who has followed her politically and whose store proudly displays a wall calendar with photos of Biden and Harris.

Before the inauguration, special prayers for his success are expected to be held at the local temple during which the idol of the Hindu deity Ayyanar, one of the forms of the Hindu god Lord Shiva, will be washed with milk and adorned with flowers by the priest. .

“I wish her all the best, success, and I wish that after four years [Kamala Harris] becomes the President of the United States, that's my wish, sincere wish,” said Sheshadri Venkatraman, the temple administrator.

On Tuesday, an organization that promotes vegetarianism sent food packages to the town's children as gifts to celebrate Harris' success.

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