Washington, August 16, 2020: US Vice President candidate Kamala Harris on Saturday (local time) extended her greetings to India on the country’s 74th Independence Day.
“Happy Indian Independence Day! Reflecting on the past 74 years, it’s remarkable how much progress our people have made in the fight for justice. I hope you will join me today in celebrating and then commit to building an even better future,” she said in a tweet. Harris was recently picked by Democrat Joe Biden as his running mate, becoming the first African-American and Indian-American woman to be nominated on a major party ticket.
The 55-year-old California Senator took a trip down memory lane, recalling her mother’s attempts to “instill a love of good idli” in her and sister Maya and “long walks” with her grandfather in Chennai while speaking during an event by ‘South Asians of Biden’.
Harris said that Indian and US communities are bound together by so much more than their shared history and culture.
“When my mother Shyamala (Gopalan) stepped off a plane in California as a 19-year-old, she didn’t have much in way of belongings but she carried with her lessons from home, including ones she’d learned from her parents,” she said.
Harris said that her mother, a Tamil Indian-American, who became a leading cancer researcher and activist, would take her and sister Maya to India because she wanted her daughters to understand where she had come from.
The California Senator remembered how she and her grandfather, PV Gopalan, would go on long walks in what was then called Madras where the latter would tell her about “heroes” who were involved in the freedom struggle in India. Harris said that the lessons from her grandfather, who was a career civil servant, are a big reason “why I am where I am today”.
“Growing up, my mother would take my sister Maya and me back to what was then called Madras because she wanted us to understand where she had come from and where we had ancestry. And, of course, she always wanted to instill in us, a love of good Idli,” she said.