Indian village cheers for Harris during swearing-in as US VP

India_Kamala_Harris_08202 Indian villagers gather outside a local eatery next to a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with a message wishing her best, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris’ inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
India_Kamala_Harris_08650 The name of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is made from ingredients of a local savory Murukku at a village house, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris’ inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
India_Kamala_Harris_83814 A worker prepares a traditional snack next to a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, lying outside a local eatery in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris’ inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
India_Kamala_Harris_94430 Villagers burst firecrackers and hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_08561 Villagers burst firecrackers and hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_82918 Congratulatory cards sent with boxes of packaged food and sweets by a non-government organization to be distributed among villagers lie at the desk of a Hindu temple official ahead of the inauguration of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_74891 A banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with a message wishing her the best is displayed in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held today.
India_Kamala_Harris_08285 An Indian villager stands in front of a banner displaying photographs of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_53410 Officials of a Hindu temple open a box full of packaged food and sweets sent by a non-government organization to be distributed among villagers ahead of the inauguration of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_57365 A villager hangs a calendar featuring photographs of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris inside a wedding hall in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inaugural ceremony for Biden and Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_32909 Schoolgirls carry boxes of packaged food and sweets sent by a non-government organization to be distributed among school children and villagers ahead of the inauguration of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_29057 An Indian villager unloads paddy from a truck next to a banner displaying photographs of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_95668 An Indian villager walks past a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with a message wishing her best, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris' inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
India_Kamala_Harris_26439 Villagers spend time next to a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, background right, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris' inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
APTOPIX_India_Kamala_Harris_27535 A child reacts as villagers hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after participating in special prayers ahead of her inauguration, outside a Hindu temple in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_48684 A child holds a tray of chocolates as others hold portraits of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after participating in special prayers ahead of her inauguration, at a Hindu temple in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
APTOPIX_India_Kamala_Harris_94430 Villagers burst firecrackers and hold placards featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Biden_Inauguration_57315 An Indian artist Aejaz Saiyed gives finishing touch to an art work featuring U.S.President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, ahead of Biden's inauguration ceremony, in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. The inauguration of Biden and Harris is scheduled be held Wednesday.
India_Kamala_Harris_17582 A portrait of U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris lies on the ground as a villager prepares to burst firecrackers ahead of Harris' inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_64698 Village women ride past a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
APTOPIX_India_Kamala_Harris_83814 A worker prepares a traditional snack next to a banner featuring U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, lying outside a local eatery in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny village in a remote part of South India is gearing up for celebrations ahead of Kamala Harris’ inauguration as the first female vice president of the United States.
India_Kamala_Harris_72446 A Hindu priest prepares to break a coconut to offer to a deity during special prayers for U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, at a temple in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_12709 Villagers prepare to burst firecrackers after offering special prayers at a Hindu temple for U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
India_Kamala_Harris_85359 A Hindu priest stands next to a calendar featuring photographs of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on a wall of the temple where special prayers were held for Harris ahead of her inauguration, in Thulasendrapuram, the hometown of Harris' maternal grandfather, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
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THULASENDRAPURAM, India (AP) — With chants of “Long live Kamala Harris,” fireworks and prayers, residents of a tiny Indian village celebrated her inauguration as U.S. vice president.

People flocked to the village and its Hindu temple in southern India, to watch Harris, who has ancestral roots in the village, take her oath of office on Wednesday in Washington.

Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants watched the inauguration live as reporters broadcast the villager’s celebrations to millions of Indians. The villagers chanted “Long live Kamala Harris” while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Harris becoming U.S. vice president a “historic occasion. Looking forward to interacting with her to make India-USA relations more robust.”

Earlier, the villages adorned their temple with flowers, offering special prayers for Harris’ success. Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) from the southern coastal city of Chennai

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

At the prayer ceremony in Thulasendrapuram, the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by a priest. Then the village reverberated with the sound firecrackers as people held up posters of Harris and clapped their hands.

Harris made history Wednesday as the first Black, South Asian and female U.S. vice president and what made her special for the village is is her Indian heritage.

Harris’ grandfather was born more than 100 years ago. Many decades later, he moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state. Harris’ late mother was also born in India, before moving to the U.S. 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 several speeches, Harris has often spoken about her roots and how she was guided by the values of her Indian-born grandfather and mother.

So when Joe Biden and Harris triumphed in the U.S. election last November, Thulasendrapuram became the center of attention in entire India. Local politicians flocked to the village and young children carrying placards with photos of Harris ran along the dusty roads.

Then and now, villagers set off firecrackers and distributed sweets and flowers as a religious offering.

Posters and banners of Harris from November still adorn walls in the village and many hope she ascends to the presidency in 2024. Biden has skirted questions about whether he will seek reelection or retire.

“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.

On Tuesday, an organization that promotes vegetarianism sent food packets for the village children as gifts to celebrate Harris’ success.

In the capital New Delhi, there has been both excitement — and some concern — over Harris’ ascent to the vice presidency.

Modi had invested in President Donald Trump, who visited India in February last year. Modi’s many Hindu nationalist supporters also were upset with Harris when she expressed concern about Kashmir, the divided and disputed Muslim-majority region whose statehood India’s government revoked last year.

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