Indians in America watched with tears of joy when Kamala Devi Harris, daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, took the oath as Vice President of the United States of America, watched by billions of people across the world.
As Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States, took over, a wave of elation washed over the United States.
Harris, 56, sporting a purple coat, walked hand in hand with her husband, Douglas Emhoff. She took the oath by placing her left hand on two Bibles, and her right hand raised.
One of the Bibles belongs to Regina Shelton, a black woman who was an emotional anchor during Harris’s early years in California. The other Bible belongs to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath.
It was the American dream coming to fruition. Kamala Harris’s parents fell in love at the University of California, Berkeley, while participating in the civil rights movement.
Harris’s father, Donald J Harris, emeritus professor of economics at Stanford, a Jamaican immigrant came the US in the 1960s and her late mother Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher, divorced when Harris was five years old and had an infant sibling, Maya Harris.
Kamala Harris is known as a fearless tigress in public life, a debater who can shred her opponent to bits. She also cooks daal and paneer for her husband.
At the Democratic Convention in California in 2016, this reporter had asked Emhoff if Harris cooked Indian food at home. “Yes, daal and paneer,” he had said.
The Indian-American community was awash with a sense of achievement as Harris took oath.
MR Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora, who was very much involved in helping create momentum after Harris was selected as Joe Biden’s running mate, told indica News that he felt “mighty proud as an Indian American when I saw Kamala take her oath.”
He added: “The daughter of an Indian immigrant just became the Vice President of the United States of America. An amazing moment in our history that we will treasure forever!”
Neil Makhija, executive director of Impact, the leading Indian American advocacy organization and PAC, echoed Rangaswami.
“Generations of immigrants came to our country for a better life for their children. Today, the daughter of an Indian immigrant, who made dosas on the campaign trail, and spoke to her chithis in her nomination speech, took her oath of office as Vice-President of the United States. And as Kamala Harris takes her place in the American story, the hearts of her countrymen and women are swelling with pride and hope for the future,” said Makhija.
“The inauguration of Kamala Devi Harris is not only the culmination of an American dream but marks the launching of millions of new dreams,” he added.
“Beginning today, a generation of American children will grow up knowing an Indian-American and black woman as Vice President of the United States. As Vice President Harris has said, she may be the first, but she won’t be the last. And, with her as an inspiration, we look forward to helping the next generation prove her right.”
Harris’s sister Maya Harris, who was seen with her family at the inaugural venue, tweeted: “Whew, missing Mommy this morning.”
California-based physician Dr Jasbir Kang said Kamala Harris’s story was something that was part of what makes America great.
“Despite challenges and barriers, it is the greatness of America that an immigrant’s child can become Vice President of the most powerful country in the world. My salute to American Constitution and its people,” Kang told indica News.
The sense of joy pervaded all sections of Indians in America.
AGK Karunakaran, TiE Silicon Valley president, told indica News: “Vice President Kamala Harris is an inspiration and is a model for anyone to aspire for leadership roles. The future is bright for women who want to be entrepreneurs and leaders in America.”
Radhika Iyengar, TiE Silicon Valley board member, said: “For many of us here and globally, this was a momentous day, marking the triumph of democracy and renewing our hope for better tomorrows.”
“As a woman of color, a South Asian, and a ‘TamBram’, it was especially poignant for me. With tears of joy, I watched as Kamala Devi Harris, born to immigrant parents, took her oath of office as our Madam Vice President. What an incredible journey!”
TiE board member Mini Suri said: “I have tears of joy and lots of hope for future women to aim higher and believe that no glass is tough to shatter if there is a will.”
Another TiE Silicon Valley board member, Dipty Desai, said Harris had shattered stereotypes.
“She is a straight shooter. She does not bullshit! And she means business. There
is a lot to admire about her,” Desai said. “Our country is built by immigrants moving to America in search for a better life. Her family is no exception and she understands that better than our old President. She understands the values this country has been built upon and will continue to support them through her reign unlike the divided front of yesterday!”
[Photo courtesy: Twitter Maya Harris posted