California Senator Kamala Harris might have scripted history by becoming the first black woman, bearing Indian roots, to be picked as the US Vice-President nominee, but it hasn't evoked much enthusiasm from the Indian community. After much delay, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden finally picked Harris as his running mate for the forthcoming Presidential elections in November.
Harris bears a mixed parentage of African and Indian races. Her father Dr Donald Harris migrated from Jamaica, while her mother Dr Shyamala Gopalan, who hails from Chennai, India, moved to America to pursue a doctoral program at UC Berkeley on a scholarship.
Harris said She is Proud of Her Indian Roots
During an interview with Aziz Haniffa in 2009, Harris had said that she was proud of her Indian roots and the values instilled by her mother. "My mother was very proud of her Indian heritage and taught us, me and my sister Maya, to share in the pride about our culture. We used to go back to India every couple of years. One of the most influential people in my life, in addition to my mother, was my grandfather P V Gopalan, who actually held a post in India that was like the secretary of state position in this country," Harris had said.
Born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964, Harris majored in political science and economics from Howard University. She married Doug Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, in 2014. The 55-year-old first-term senator was the first black attorney general of California, the first woman to hold the post, and the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the US Senate.
While announcing her candidature, Biden tweeted: "I have the great honor to announce that I've picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants — as my running mate." In a text message to his supporters, Biden said, "Together, with you, we're going to beat Trump."
Social Media Stirs Up Controversy Involving Harris
However, despite the achievements, Twitter was raging with controversies related to Harris' comments on Kashmir issue and whether she was a Hindu by religion.
Last year, while commenting on the decision of the Indian government to revoke Article 370 in Kashmir, Harris had said that they were keeping a track on the situation and would intervene if the situation demands. "We have to remind the Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world," Harris had said, a comment that did not go well with those supporting government's decision.
After O Paneerselvam, the deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, India, congratulated Harris for her nomination, a user tweeted: "Sir, with due respect, firstly she identify herself as an Afro-American, not Indian Origin and secondly She wants Kashmir to be given to Pakistan, are you in agreement? She never expressed her allegiance to India unlike other Indian Americans. Just for your information."
"Kamala Harris is the biggest sell-out in the recent history of politics. Joining forces with a man she publicly denounced as a racist. Joe also happens to lean towards the militant Pakistan regime on the Kashmir issue. And as a woman of Indian origin, she betrayed her own land," wrote another user.
"Both @KamalaHarris n her sister @mayaharris prefer to call themselves 'black Baptist's', why are Indians so eager to appropriate them? We have GOT TO get over this inferiority complex!" wrote another Indian.