An ‘Indian’ in the White House?


(B.Someswar Rao)

A PIO (Person of Indian Origin) in the White House, where the world’s most powerful Head of State resides? That is what one would have thought seeing the hype about Kamala Harris contesting elections in the USA, though the ‘Ayyangar girl’ is in the run only for the Vice-President post against Donald Trump’s running- mate Mike Pence and not for the POTUS (President of the United States)post. The chance of the Vice-President becoming the POTUS, as Americans call the President, is always there if the incumbent is removed by natural cause or by an assassin.

The 1960 United States presidential election for the 44th President, between Edward Kennedy and the then Vice-President, Richard Nixon, held on November 8 that year was one of the most closely contested elections in US history, and the interest in India was so high that one would have though it was being held here, not in that distant nation.Most Indians supported the Democratic Senator and Kennedy’s victory was hailed here as much as it was in the US. It was the first
election in which fifty states participated and the last in which the District of Columbia (which has Washington, the capital) did not. It was also the first when an incumbent president (Dwight D. Eisenhower) was ineligible to run for a third term because of the term limits established by the 22nd Amendment.

Kamala Devi Harris is the granddaughter of an Indian father P.V. GoapalnAyyar of Tamil Nadu, a civil servant and daughter born to his daughter Shyamala and a Jamaican, Donald Harris. A senator from California since 2017 she contested the Democratic presidential primaries before withdrawing. Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden chose her as his running-mate. An attorney by profession, she married Douglas Emhoff in 2014. She was born on 20 October 1964 at Oakland Medical Center at Oakland, California toDonald J. Harris,(born 1938), a Jamaican-American economist and professor emeritus at Stanford University and Shyamala.Her sister Maya Harris, is a lawyer and political commentator.

Maya’s daughter, 36-year-old MeenaHarris, is an author of children’s books and brought out a picture-book called ‘KamaIa andMaya’s Big Idea’(Harper Collins)on their childhood. She has two daughters byher husband Nikolas Aajagu.Meena posted on social media a poster brought out hailing Kamala in Tamil Nadu. She tweeted that she was sent the poster (in picture) from Tamil Nadu and that she remembered her grandfather Gopalan from trips to Chennai.

People in India, especially Tamil Nadu, seem to be very excited at the prospect of a an ‘Ayyangar girl’ as the Vice-President of the US and may even become POTUS, given that Biden is one of the oldest candidates to contest (and perhaps win) the poll – which you would know by the time this issue is in your hands, as the election, on November 3, will be over by then.

Joe Biden, famous for his malapropisms, has been a Democrat, lost a son to cancer, and wrote a touching book on it. Though he had been hesitating about the contest for quite some time, he is backed by several intellectuals and leaders and the latest reports say he was ahead of David Trump in popularity asTrump, a novice in politics, had antagonized many people, especially on the refugee and H1-B issues. He is regarded as the champion of private profiteering and White supremacy, while some feel that these very factors will ensure his win. Republican leader John McCain chose him and President Obama instead of his own party’s Donald Trump, to read his funeral oration

The people of Indian origin in America and of Tamil Nadu seem to be more excited than Californians about the candidature of Kamala Harris. But their victory will be a bad day for India as she is known to be a ‘socialist and liberal‘and had piloted a resolution against India on the Kashmir issue in the Democratic Party convention. With Kennedy’s election, support of the US for Pakistan had reached its peak, leading to the joke that Pakistan was the 51st state of America. For decades the country lived on the charity of America and its defence was based on American arms supplies, ostensibly to ‘contain’ China but in reality targeting India, seen to be cozying up to the Soviet Union thanks to Indira Gandhi’s “socialism”.

Will Biden and Kamala bring back those days?