Why does Kamala Harris care more about human rights than her Indianness?

Is she indian? Is she Black? Is she Hindu? America’s Democratic nominee for vice president 2020 has confused RW Indians

Image Courtesy:vox.com

If all goes well for her Kamala Devi Harris will be the the first, Black-Indian-American woman to become the vice president of the United States of  America, and if things continue to get better she may first take all those credentials and become the President.  She, as the world knows by now, is the daughter of  Tamil Nadu born, Indian-American, cancer researcher and civil rights activist Shyamala Gopalan and Jamaican-American economist Donald J. Harris. Kamala’s father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to study economics and her mother immigrated from India. But it is her ‘amma’ who matters most in the life of Senator Harris. She credits all her achievements, and indeed her thought process to the life lessons she learned from her mother Shyamala, who herself is hailed as a cancer research pioneer, and activist. Brought up by her mother, as a single parent, it is her influence that Kamala has always admitted too. 

One would think that would be great news for us Indians. We love to pick a connection and bond with all things indian origin, and half indian, that have achieved great global success. Notable corporate leaders, doctors, astronauts, all have been hailed as ‘children of mother India,” in some form or the other. Kamala Harris , however, has confused many in the motherland. While that is still fine, she seems to have upset those who align with the myopically homogenised Right Wing idea of India, and Indianness. 

They have found in Kamala Harris a fresh candidate to target with their hate speech. As always it has begun with mocking, and vile personal attacks. Leading from the front is writer, Madhu Kishwar who posted, “Video of her dosa making skills will not wash away the hateful narrative peddled by @KamlaHarris & her #DemocraticGang on #Kashmir projecting India in fascist hues! Such phoney hybrid Hindus more dangerous than those openly belonging to #BarbaricCults”. 


With a thousands likes and countries replies to this were predictable, “She is not Hindu. By her own admi6 she is a Christian and she identifies herself as a black”


And , “she cynically wooed Indian diaspora, suddenly she loves idli, sambhaar & dosa; & wooing the Paki diaspora by talking Kashmir. Anti Hindu is the Democratic narrative, with Biden and Sanders talking up a storm backing the Pak narrative.

She is NOT an Indian, just a US politician!” 


Ironically, her nomination was welcomed by none other than Ram Madhav, the national general secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party, who  was also a member of the National Executive of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He gave a ‘thumbs up’ to Kamala Harris for being the “first Indian and Asian woman to get the nomination as official VP candidate.”


Over three thousand likes and counting, Madhav’s words soon snowed under more Right Wing ‘counter’ tweets aimed to show the US senator as a ‘anti-India. His own followers trolled him, calling his tweet ‘foolish’.


Some others told him to “Wait till she calls for UN intervention in J&K. Then we’ll see how you feel. And by the way she is a Black American.”


And of course a RW influencer even told him what to do next, “please stay away from this dubious, corrupt woman who supports Kashmiri #terrorists


The ultimate one has come from journalist Rahul Kanwal, who posted his thoughts on the “The Kamala Conundrum” while pushing a story by India Today, according to him “There’s cheer in India as Democrats named Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate for US presidential elections later this year, but her relatives back home caution that human rights matter to the senator than her Indian ancestry.”


The India today story itself is based on a conversion with Harris’s Delhi-based uncle Dr G Balachandran, who has been a  consultant with the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Dr Balachandran has been quoted by India Today as saying, “She has a strong sense of public service, public rights and human rights. Even if she is of Indian extraction, as a VP or even as a Senator now, if she thinks anything in India impinges upon the civil rights of Indian citizens, she will speak out loud and clear,” he said.

He was also asked if her election would change the dynamics of the relationship between Donald Trump led-US, and Narendra Modi-led India? Dr Baachandran said, “India-US relations is well beyond one senator or even the President. India-US caucus is the biggest caucus. There is a need for some tweaking here and there, that she will do.” 

The fact of course remains that if  Kamala Harris becomes the Vice President of American, it means that the government has changed and a new government will have its own take on India-US relations. 

To say that her relative has “cautioned” that Kamala Harris is more “concerned about HUman rights, “than her Indian ancestry” is assuming that the two factors are polar opposites. 

As posted by an India Today editor, Dr. G Balachandran also said that his niece Kamala Harris will “take a stand on #Article370 not on why the govt did it but on issue of liberties of ppl of #Kashmir”


His remarks too set off a series of personal jibes, aimed both at him and his niece. The comments, as expected came from handles with minimal following and on expected lines of “she is Christian, or “she is not Indian.”




According to the campaign site joebidden.com “Kamala’s mother told her growing up “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,” which is what drives Kamala every single day. She too shared this, her life mantra, as she paid homage to her mother. 


She has, of course, continued to ignore the  Right Wing trolls and not responded to any hate speech so far.


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