In India, joy of the maternal family of Kamala Harris

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Kamala Harris’s mother, running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, certainly left her native India in 1960, but her uncle and aunt, who still live there, follow her every move.

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Kamala Harris was born in 1964 in California, USA, to a Jamaican father, economics professor John Harris, and a breast cancer specialist mother, Shyamala Gopalan.

She was California’s first black attorney general, the first woman to hold the office, and the first woman from South Asia to be elected to the United States Senate.

Chosen on Tuesday as running mate by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the 55-year-old politician is now seeking to become the first female vice-president of the United States.

“There is no doubt about our joy,” his maternal uncle, Balachandran Gopalan, an academic from New Delhi, told AFP on Wednesday. “She has a very committed personality, dedicated to public service and, more importantly, to human dignity.”

His mother Shyamala often brought her daughters to India, he explains, and upon her death in 2009, Kamala Harris returned “to scatter her ashes in the Bay of Bengal.”

She does not speak Tamil, the language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu where the family comes from, but “she understands it a little”, according to him.

For him, the appointment of his niece – her name means “lotus” in Tamil – is “a big step” for Indians living in the United States, because “they have certainly already reached high-level positions professionally, but there he is. it is one of the highest political offices ”.

“To the angels”, Kamala Harris’s aunt, Sarala Gopalan, also a doctor, still lives in the town her older sister left at the age of 19, in Chennai.

“A friend living in the United States sent us a message at 4 am, and since then we are up,” she told the news channel CNN-News18.

“She is a person who does not forget her roots and believes in family values,” she also told the Deccan Herald daily. “Even today, she still calls me ‘chithi’ (the Tamil word for her mother’s younger sister). She has always been a caring person ”.

And since her mother Shyamala is no longer, “we will always be there for Kamala and (her sister) Maya,” her aunt added.

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