September 2020 \ Diaspora News \ USA:DIASPORA AND POLITICS
Kamala’s Indian and Jamaican heritage creates new American dream

Kamala Devi Harris has deftly melded her dominant ...

By Arul Louis

“I was also very close to my mother’s brother, Balu, and her two sisters, Sarala and Chinni (whom I called Chittis, which means ‘younger mother’ [in Tamil]),” she recalled. Her uncle G Balachandran is a retired academic who has a PhD from the US. Her aunt Sarala is a retired obstetrician and the other aunt, whose formal name is Mahalaxmi, was an information scientist in Canada. She made a humorous video with actor-director Mindy Kaling about making masala dosai and it was released during her campaign for presidential nomination.

Her father P V Gopalan was born in Painganadu in Tamil Nadu and joined government service under the British and his work took him and the family to Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Lusaka in Zambia, before he retired in Chennai. Harris writes that her grandfather had also been a “freedom-fighter.” She recalls visiting him as a child in Lusaka, where he had been sent by the Indian government in the late 1960s to help that young nation deal with a refugee crisis brought on by a renegade White supremacist government breaking away from Britain in neighbouring Southern Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe after overthrowing them.