The maternal grandparents of the Democratic presidential candidate are from Tamil Nadu. The Hindu propitiatory rite of "abhishekam" is celebrated. Dalit analyst: Harris's fight against racial discrimination in the US could help fight against the Indian caste system.
Chennai (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Prayers are being said for Kamala Harris' victory in the US presidential elections with the electoral count still underway. Those praying are the inhabitants of Thulasendrapuram (Tamil Nadu), the birthplace of the maternal grandparents of the candidate US vice president for the Democratic Party.
The streets of the small town are lined with Harris posters. They recite phrases such as "from Thulasendrapuram to America" or "we, the inhabitants of Thulasendrapuram, hope Kamala Harris wins". To propitiate the desired result, the local population also conducted the "abhishekam" rite, pouring milk on a Hindu idol.
Harris was born in the United States to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Since being nominated as a candidate for vice presidency on the ticket with Joe Biden, her origins have captured the attention of Indian public opinion.
According to Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, a Dalit political analyst, former director of the Center for the Study of Social Exclusion and Political Inclusion at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, the personal story of the parents shaped Harris’s political orientation. In the name of Martin Luther King, the mother was an activist in the civil rights movement; her father a progressive economist, sensitive to the issue of equality.
Ilaiah sees a common cultural trait between the Indian caste system and the problem of discrimination against African Americans in the US. He says Harris's fight against racial discrimination could help fight inequalities in other parts of the world, including India.
(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)