Kamala Harris inspires women leaders in her ancestral Indian village

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – More than 8,000 miles (12,870 kms) from Washington, Indian women have been rooting for the “America lady” in the village of U.S. vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’s grandfather.

As locals in Thulasendrapuram’s temple held special prayers for a Democratic win in the Nov. 3 election, 34-year-old M. Umadevi – who was elected to the village council in December – said she related to Harris as a fellow woman politician.

“She is a daughter of our village,” said Umadevi, who has a five-year-old son and sews clothes to support the income of her husband, a driver.

“This must have been difficult and challenging for her. But anything new is like that. I feel both excited and nervous about my new role also.”

The village, located about 320 km (200 miles) south of the city of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, is where Harris’s maternal grandfather was born more than a century ago.

Harris was born in California to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who both immigrated to the United States to study. She visited Thulasendrapuram when she was five and has talked about walking on Chennai beaches with her grandfather.

The former attorney general of California, 55-year-old Harris is the first black woman and first person of Indian descent nominated for national office by a major party – and only the fourth woman on a presidential ticket.

Umadevi said her priority as a member of the village council, representing some 200 mostly farming families, was to build a tarmac road.

“The first thing on my list is to make sure we have a proper road,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

“It is in terrible shape and you can barely call it a road really. A good road will bring better fortune.”


Unlike Harris, who has a degree in law, Umadevi dropped out of school when she was 15 on her mother’s decision.

About 60% of girls in India are educated but some states record a higher rate of over 90%, according to India’s last census data.

In Thiruvarur district, where Thulasendrapuram is located, literacy level is more than 82%, with district education officials stating that all girls were enrolled in schools.

Umadevi said education was key if the next generation of girls in the village were to become high achievers like Harris, whose smiling image is plastered on banners in the village wishing her electoral success.

“Today, all our girls study, even if it means going to high school that is a few kilometers away from the village,” said Umadevi.

“College is also far but many still go and get a degree,” she said, adding that young people in the area still found it hard to get well-paid jobs.

At the Government Higher Secondary School in neighbouring Painganadu village, English teacher S. Tamilselvan has been following Harris’s campaign speeches and plans to use them to motivate his students.

“She is so articulate and clear,” he

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‘Ancestral house drowned in wedding festivities’: Kangana Ranaut dons her mother’s jhumkas brother’s Haldi ceremony : The Tribune India

Mumbai, October 21

The ancestral home of Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut has been seeing festivities galore, with back-to-back weddings of two brothers happening over three weeks.

The actress took to her verified Twitter account on Tuesday to share a video from her brother Karan’s ‘haldi’ ceremony. In the video, Kangana can be seen applying ‘haldi’ (turmeric) on her brother Karan, a groom-to-be.

“After Rangoli’s wedding for more than a decade there was no wedding in the family all thanks to me but today my brothers Karan and Aksht broke the jinx and our ancestral house is drowned in wedding festivities, two weddings in three weeks starting with Karan ki Haldi today,” tweeted Kangana.

The actress chose to keep her look traditional for the occasion and wore a deep red salwar kameez with zari work and matching zari juttis (footwear). She also borrowed her mother’s jhumkas (earrings) to complete her traditional look, which she informed in a separate tweet. Kangana decorated her hair with red roses and looks dazzling in smokey eye makeup.

Earlier this week, Kangana shared a video of another groom-to-be brother Aksht’s Badhai ceremony.

“Today at Nana’s house in Mandi for Aksht’s Badhai, it’s flagging off wedding invites, a ceremony arranged by maternal grandparents,” she had tweeted. IANS

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