A town in southern India about eight hours away from Chennai, is doing its part to boost the election hopes of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, holding a prayer ceremony in her honor on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
Thulasendrapuram has a special connection to Harris because it is where her grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, was born more than 100 years ago.
“She is the daughter of the village’s soil. The position she has attained is unbelievable,” a woman named Lalitha told The New York Times.
The town had an event at a local temple featuring dozens of people carrying roses, jasmine and other flowers as they prayed for Harris' success.
???? ???????? Residents in Thulasendrapuram, India, the ancestral village of @KamalaHarris gathered at a temple today to pray for her victory
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) November 3, 2020
After the prayer ceremony, dozens congregated to enjoy some idli and sambar, two meals the townspeople said were Harris' favorite dishes.
Harris is the first woman of Indian descent and first Black women to serve as a running mate on a major party presidential ticket.
During rallies, speeches and interviews, she has spoken at length about how her Indian and Jamaican heritage influenced her life and upbringing, often mentioning Gopalan and the long walks she took with him where he would regale her with stories from his past.
“My grandfather was really one of my favorite people in my world,” Harris said in a 2019 interview according to The Hill.
Gopalan was part of the Indian government in the 1930s and supported the movement to gain independence from the British, according to The Los Angeles Times. In the 1960s he lived in Zambia and worked with refugees fleeing from Zimbabwe.
Harris' mother was one of just 12,000 Indian immigrants living in the United States after she immigrated in the late 1950s. She eventually became a breast cancer researcher and passed away in 2009, The New York Times reported.
Indian Americans have turned out big time for Harris, according to Foreign Policy, helping spur a blue wave in a number of previously deep red states like Texas and Georgia.
Polls from The Hill have shown that about 72% of Indian Americans said they supported Harris and presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Some of the village elders that spoke to The New York Times said they hoped a Harris win would bring donations, colleges and more resources to the town.
“It’s quite obvious that the village people are hoping that once she wins this election she will do us some favors. We are hoping the prayers work,” said elder R. R. Kalidas Vandayar.