Twitter can't keep calm after Kamala Harris uses Tamil word 'chithi' at DNC - what does it mean?

As the video made rounds on social media, Tamilians on Twitter shared their happiness on the micro blogging platform.

Oshin FernandesUpdated: Thursday, August 20, 2020, 10:26 AM IST
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Kamala Harris | Photo by AFP

Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris was nominated the Democratic Party's candidate for the US vice-president, becoming the first-ever American of Indian and African descent to be selected by a major party for the top post.

Harris, 55, is the first Indian-American to be selected for the second-highest elected office of the United States after that of the president.

She is also the first-ever Black and first-ever African American to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate by a major political party.

If elected in the November 3 presidential elections, Harris would be the first-ever women vice president of the United States.

"I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America," she said. She was nominated as the vice presidential candidate on Wednesday at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

Invoking powerful memories of her mother, "the most important person" in her life, Harris said, "Oh how I wish she was here tonight, but I know she's looking down on me tonight.”

Harris' mother Shyamala Gopalan, from Tamil Nadu, India, died more than a decade ago but she remains a powerful force in the Senator's life.

Gopalan found repeated mention in one of the most important speeches of the California Senator's political life.

Harris spoke about the values her mother taught her: "To walk by faith, and not by sight, and to a vision passed on through generations of Americans, one that Joe Biden shares."

Citing her heritage, Harris in her address said: "...That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me.

"Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.

"I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States of America."

However, while expressing her gratitude toward all the important people in her life she used the Tamil word for aunt – ‘chithi’.

Chithi in Tamil refers to the younger sister of one’s mother, or wife of the younger brother of one’s father. Also, one’s father’s second wife is too mentioned as chithi.

As the video made rounds on social media, Tamilians on Twitter shared their happiness on the micro blogging platform.

TV host Padma Lakshmi wrote, “I literally have tears in my eyes. @KamalaHarris just said “chithis” which means auntie. My heart is so full right now.”

Here are some more reaction.

Dressed in a deep burgundy coloured pantsuit, Harris made her case to a national audience on a night filled with rockstar candidates including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, incumbent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Representative Gabby Giffords.

With PTI inputs

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