Pooja for Harris's victory in ancestors' village in TN

Tamil Nadu: Special pooja for Kamala Harris's victory in her ancestors' village

Special pooja and abhishekam will be conducted at 11 am on Tuesday at the Dharmasastha Temple

Senator from California and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Credits: AFP Photo

November 3 is undoubtedly a very crucial day for Kamala Harris, the US Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate. On Tuesday, when the US goes to polls, people from Harris' maternal grandfather's native village will seek divine intervention for her "grand victory".

Painganadu, a nondescript village 350 km from here in Tiruvarur district in the fertile Cauvery Delta region, takes pride in calling Harris as their own as her grandfather P V Gopalan was born and raised in the hamlet.

Special pooja and abhishekam will be conducted at 11 am on Tuesday at the Dharmasastha Temple, for whose consecration the Gopalan family had donated money in the past, in the village near Mannargudi. Cut-outs and hoardings adorn the village already wishing a "grand success" for Harris, US Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden's running mate.

"We have arranged for an abhishekam and a special pooja at the temple on Tuesday to pray for Kamala Harris' success in the US elections. Since her ancestors hailed from our village, we wanted to do our bit by praying for her victory. Already her family is a pride of the village," Kalidass Vandaiyar, President of the Thanjavur District Cricket Association, told Deccan Herald.

Divine interventions have helped Harris in the past. When Harris contested the California Attorney General Democratic primary election in 2010, her aunt, Dr Sarala Gopalan, an obstetrician and gynecologist by profession, broke 108 coconuts at a temple in Chennai.

Vandaiyar, who also hails from Painganadu village, said his grandfather had enjoyed "good relations" with Gopalan, who worked as a bureaucrat under the British regime and later in independent India.

"My grandfather knew Gopalan and his family very well. The special pooja is just a goodwill gesture from our side. After all, Harris herself said it was her grandfather who had inspired her. Harris's victory will make all of us proud," he added.

Ramani of the village told DH that though the Gopalan family moved out of the village decades back, his children had been donating money for the temple's development. "Gopalan's family pitched in to help develop the temple and conduct its consecration by donating money. Mr Gopalan's name still finds mention in the list of donors," said Ramani.

Gopalan's daughter Dr Shyamala Gopalan married a Jamaican Donald Harris and the couple had two daughters Kamala Harris and Maya Harris, a lawyer by profession.

Harris and her sister had accompanied Dr Shyamala to Chennai often to meet their grandparents at their home in upscale Besant Nagar. Gopalan had taken them for a walk on Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar.

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