‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants,

‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, defines herself simply as ‘American

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), center, sings the Alpha Kappa Alpha hymn at the sorority’s annual “Pink Ice Gala” on Jan. 25 in Columbia, S.C. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg News)

In early 2010, an Indian American couple hosted a fundraiser in their elegant Pacific Heights home for Kamala Harris, then a Democratic candidate for California attorney general.

Harris had been San Francisco’s high-profile district attorney for more than six years, but Deepak Puri and Shareen Punian had only recently learned that Harris was, as Punian said, “one of our peeps,” a woman whose mother was an Indian immigrant.          

They had always assumed Harris was African American, and so did most of the 60 or 70 Indian American community leaders at the event, many of whom asked Puri and Punian why they had been invited.

“At least half of them didn’t know she was Indian,” said Punian, a business executive and political activist.



Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On February 7, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Kamala’s (Flower) middle name is “Devi” meaning Goddess, which she obviously doesn’t use. (My sister’s middle names are also Devi; as is one of my mixed daughters. The other daughter and granddaughter’s is “Shanti” meaning Peace).

    Kamala ‘s other sister is Maya. Most non-Indian and Western readers would think of Maya Angelo. But Maya has deep philosophical and spiritual meaning in Hinduism (and Buddhism). In Hinduism, this phenomenal world is Maya – not Illusion, as is often translated.
    Later I’ll tell you a short story on how Lord Vishnu explained and illustrated Maya.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On February 7, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Note that the Buddha’s mother was “MayaDevi” meaning “the Goddess Maya”. So, both sisters’ middle names share Buddha’s mother’s name.
    (The link with Hinduism, for those unfamiliar with the connection is that the Buddha – Prince Gautama – was a Hindu reformist. His followers spun it off into a separate religion)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: