Chennai: The people of Painganadu Thulasendrapuram village in Tamil Nadu are so delighted by the nomination of Kamala Harris as a vice-presidential candidate in the US elections that they put out colourful posters wishing her success but when a photo of the poster was sent across to America the message in the text was lost in translation.
"I was sent this from Tamil Nadu where our Indian family is from," tweeted Meena Harris, the 35-year-old California-based niece of Kamala Harris. "It says ‘P V Gopalan’s granddaughter is victorious."
The poster is from the obscure village near Mannargudi, where people have taken pride in the fact that the maternal grandfather of Kamala Harris originally hailed from there. Paiganadu and Thulasendrapuram are two different but nearby villages in Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu. Gopalan belonged to Paignadu and he married Rajam of Thulasendrapuram.
Meena Harris also tweeted a photograph of the late Gopalan with a small child and said, "I knew my great grandfather from our family trips to Chennai when I was young – he was big figure for my grandma and I know they’re together somewhere smiling now."
"Curious if you’ve had any reaction from Jamaica," wondered a Twitter follower of Meena Harris, prompting her to reply "Yep" with a link to a story titled ‘Kamala Harris Ignites Pride in Brown Town’ in the Gleaner which quoted an 81-year-old historian Omar Mustafa, who attended Park School in St Ann with Donald Harris, Kamala’s father.
The article also quotes a few persons with the Harris surname and brings out the fact that people of the region from where Donald Harris hailed were excited about her nomination even if they had not put out posters like the people of Painganadu Thulasendrapuram.
"Thank you! I’ve received several different translations," replied Meena Harris to another Twitter respondent who had given the correct translation in English of the words in the poster, while another Twitter user gave the link to a story in the New York Times that states that one of the brightest childhood memories of Kamala Harris was her walks on the Besant Nagar beach with her grandfather Gopalan.
"During the later race for California attorney-general, Ms Harris called her aunt Sarala Gopalan in Chennai and asked her to break coconuts for good luck at a Hindu temple overlooking the beach at Besant Nagar," the article says, giving details of her close links with her mother’s family in India though there is no mention of Painganadu Thulasendrapuram.