The village of Thulasenthirapuram near Painganadu in Tamil Nadu, tucked away in a corner of Tiruvarur district, erupted into celebration as Kamala Harris was declared the Vice-President elect of the United States of America, after a heated election. Locals at the village, which is native to Kamala's maternal grandparents, set off firecrackers, drew rangolis and played music to celebrate her win.
Speaking to the media and congratulating her and President-elect Joe Biden on the win, Malar Vendhan, a local resident, said, "We are celebrating this as a woman whose roots are in our village is getting elected as the Vice President of America. It is a matter of immense pride." "Not only for Tamilians in Tamil Nadu, but this victory is a matter of pride for all Tamilians across the world," he added.
Even ahead of the result, the road leading to the village from nearby Mannargudi town was filled with wall posters and digital banners wishing a resounding win for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The US presidential election results were an animated topic of discussion in this hinterland of Tamil Nadu in public places like tea stalls. Some people were also glued to the television looking for updates.
Tamil Nadu Food Minister R Kamaraj also visited the village and offered prayers at the local temple on Sunday, telling mediapersons that it was a 'proud moment'.
Tamil Nadu:State Min R Kamaraj offers prayers at a temple in Thulasendrapuram,native village of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,for her victory in US polls.â€” ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2020
"A woman hailing from this small village now holds one of highest positions in US. It's a proud moment,"says Kamaraj pic.twitter.com/MnKSDPl9jy
Earlier, on November 2, when the US went to the polls, the locals had performed special prayers in a temple. Thulasenthirapuram is an agrarian village located close to Mannargudi town.
Kamala's grandfather P V Gopalan moved out of Thulasenthirapuram village as a young man and took up a job in the British government service. Though Kamala's ancestors left the village many decades ago, family members had kept their connections with the temple at Thulasenthirapuram intact.
Gopalan and other family members have made donations for temple renovation during various periods. As recently as 2014, a donation was made, says the temple trustee Ramani.
"It all started about a year ago when Kamala Harris herself disclosed about her grandfather in social media. We realised that someone connected with our village was becoming prominent in the US. Everyone here started talking about her," said Ramanathan, a retired school teacher in the village, told PTI ahead of the result.
"We don't know much about her ancestors.Yet, it feels good she is creating history in the US," he added.
Meanwhile, giving her victory speech, Kamala Harris had invoked the journey of her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris from India as a teenager and hailed her for being among those who "paved the way for this moment tonight" when her daughter could become the Vice President.
With IANS and PTI inputs