Indian-Americans celebrate Biden, Harris inaugurations
By: Lalit K Jha
Washington: Indian-Americans are celebrating the commencement of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ administration, terming it a “historic moment” and an affirmation that America at its best is a land of “limitless” opportunities.
Harris, 56, made history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female, first Black and first Asian-American US vice-president. The former senator was sworn in just before Biden, 78, took the oath of office to become the 46th President of the United States.
“This is a historic moment for many reasons: First-ever woman and woman of colour having Indian heritage,” Indiana-based community leader and entrepreneur Gurinder Singh Khalsa said on Wednesday.
A traditional Republican, Khalsa said that the defeat of Donald Trump in the November presidential election signals the beginning of the end of populist governments around the globe.
“Democracy prevailed. It will be a very very long time before we will elect a president like Donald Trump. Americans will never repeat that mistake,” he said.
“I am very excited and hopeful for our country and the world with President Biden and VP Kamala Harris. I had the honour of spending time with the President-elect in the campaign,” Indian-American from California Ajay Jain Bhutoria said.
Biden is a “good, kind, and compassionate” human being, he said, exuding confidence that the president’s “genuine kindness” will make a difference on policies and will unite the country.
“We all have a lot to be proud of today as we together helped to restore integrity and competency back into our democracy. I know we are all confident that the Biden Harris administration will reunite our country and address the serious challenges it’s facing. Biden and Harris will work to unite and heal the country. Restore the soul of our nation, revive the economy and restore our leadership on the world stage,” he said.
Rajwant Singh, founder of EcoSikh and Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, welcomed Biden and Harris’ inauguration.
“We are pleased that Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States. We are very confident that he will bring the nation together, a task which is critically needed in the face of pandemic and deep polarisation in America,” he said.
“Sikh community is especially pleased with his choice of Kamala Harris and the diversity she represents. By making her the Vice-president of the United States, Biden has taken a giant step in women empowerment. This ceiling needed to be broken,” Singh said.
Biden has shown deep respect for the Sikh community throughout his political career and especially during the Obama administration and he is familiar with the issues of concern to the community, he said.
“He has always spoken in support of the Sikhs on hate crimes and particularly after the attack on Sikh gurdwara by a white supremacist in Wisconsin in 2012. We are looking forward to a close relationship with Biden White House,” Singh said.
“South Asians for Biden is delighted to celebrate the commencement of President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’s administration,” said Neha Dewan, National Director of South Asians for Biden.
President Biden and Vice President Harris are the right leaders for this moment when the US is experiencing multiple, converging crises, and their leadership gives hope that the country can emerge from this, she said.
“We express gratitude to the countless volunteers, organisers, activists, and voters, who made this jubilant day possible. We are particularly overjoyed in observing the many historical firsts of this day marked by the ascendance of Kamala Devi Harris to the role of Vice President of the United States.
“Vice President Harris is the first Black and South Asian woman elected to national office, where she will have a substantial role in setting American policy as President Biden’s trusted partner and as the tiebreaker vote of a 50-50 Senate. For South Asians who wondered whether this moment could ever be possible, today affirms that America at its best is a land of limitless opportunities,” Dewan said.
South Asians for Biden is heartened by the fact that the South Asian community played a critical role in the 2020 election, and looks forward to deepening the community’s engagement in government and politics in the months and years ahead, she added.