US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' ancestral village in India celebrates her inauguration

Villagers holding photos of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at Thulasendrapuram village, in Tamil Nadu, India, on Jan 20, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

THULASENDRAPURAM (REUTERS) - Residents of the ancestral Indian village of Ms Kamala Harris celebrated her inauguration as US vice-president on Wednesday (Jan 20) by setting off firecrackers and distributing food.

Thulasendrapuram, a leafy village about 320km south of the city of Chennai, is where Ms Harris' maternal grandfather was born more than a century ago.

Calendars featuring the faces of Mr Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn in as US president, and Ms Harris have been distributed throughout the village by a cooperative.

"A local politician conducted a special prayer and villagers have been distributing sweets and letting off crackers since the morning," said village shopkeeper G Manikandan.

The scenes were in contrast to the sombre mood in Washington - locked down due to security concerns and the threat of the novel coronavirus - where Mr Biden and Ms Harris are due to be sworn in later on Wednesday.

Ms Harris, who was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, both of whom immigrated to the United States to study, visited Thulasendrapuram when she was five and has recalled walks with her grandfather on the beach at Chennai.

Separately, artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand sculpture featuring Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

Ms Harris becomes the first woman, first black American and first Asian American to win the second highest US office.

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