Kamala Harris' ancestral Indian village 'feeling very proud' as it readies for inauguration

  • The village of Thulasendrapuram prepares with prayers and pictures of Ms Harris

Kamala Harris' ancestral Indian village has been gearing up for Wednesday's inauguration celebrations.

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

In her maternal grandfather’s hometown of Thulasendrapuram, about 350 kilometres from the southern city of Chennai, resident's were beaming with joy on Wednesday morning.

"We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America,” said Anukampa Madhavasimhan, a teacher.

A villager walks past a hoarding featuring Kamala Harris at a village south of Chennai, India on Wednesday. Credit: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Harris’ grandfather moved to Chennai decades ago. Her late mother was also born in India, but moved to the the States to study at the University of California.

She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for “lotus flower.”

In Thulasendrapuram, a tiny, lush-green village, the local temple held prayers for Harris' success ahead of her inauguration. The idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by the priest.

A man holds cut-outs of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on a street in Chennai. Credit: AP

After Biden and Harris' November election win, the villagers set off firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering.Since then, posters of Harris from the November celebrations have adorned walls in the village. Many there hope she ascends to the presidency in 2024, although President-elect Joe Biden has declined to answer questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire.

  • Two villagers express their support for the incoming VP

“For the next four years, if she supports India, she will be the president,” said G Manikandan, who has followed Harris politically and whose shop proudly displays a wall calendar with pictures of Biden and Harris.