What a moment it must have been for Kamala Harris when she was chosen as running mate by Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday. This is seen as a great moment in the US; Kamala is the first woman from South Asian origin to have been picked as a vice president nominee. And, if elected, she would be the first woman to be the Vice President of the United States of America.
In South Asia, this moment would be celebrated. Twitter and Instagram are already filled with all sorts of messages reading a halo of would be victory, though it is to early to do so, of the nomination of Kamala Harris. There is a difference, however, between the celebrations. For Indians, it is a proud moment for her origins lie in this country but at the same time the US thinkers are quick to remind that she has a mind of her own on Kashmir, the place about which Delhi is hyper-sensitive, no matter who rules at the Centre. The sensitivities have gone up in the recent months as August 5, 2019, has become a defining moment for those who hailed the day and the decisions as “historic”, and others who interpreted it as “ black day.”
This tweet of Joe Biden “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” has made it to the headlines world over. The commentary on the choice has already begun, rather there is a full-fledged debate going on the choice, Senator’s profile is being discussed and debated in the global media.
This shows that how the US matters to the world, where political choices in the electoral race matter a lot to the people across continents, despite President Donald Trump having diminished the global role of the country in the world affairs by his whims. He has receded American influence in the world by way of his words and actions .
But that has not made the world to look other way round. The US is still an important country where democracy is breathing in spite of the breathlessness to which George Floyd was subjected to. The presidential race after the entry of Kamala Harris as VP candidate in the US election 2020 has added, what the American press sees “ Color”. This is different from the colour that we are used to. Theirs is a racist term , ours is dignified.
Earlier, as an aspirant for presidential nomination, Kamala Harris made several comments about Kashmir and its situation. These should not be viewed as something permanent. Things alter with the times, because the situation that existed in Kashmir when she made some comments, that sounded bad to the ears of the Indian policy makers and observers, has changed. It should also not be forgotten that she neither had the first-hand knowledge of the things happening in the Valley. Secondly, she must have reacted to certain utterances of some people. But that cannot be taken as the permanent stand. And, it must also be admitted that while speaking about Kashmir, she knew what it meant, where it would appeal and where it would evoke strong reaction. It should also be admitted that the Kashmir had come into the international focus, something that was confirmed on the first anniversary of the revocation of the Article 370 this year, August 5. There were a series of articles in the international media that were uniformly negative. That perception exists in many quarters, and it is there because the Kashmiri voices have been superimposed by the outsiders. If something positive is happening, it cannot escape their eyes and it would be unethical not to report the same. But the men and women on the ground know the reality that exists around them. The imported narratives built on artificial claims are harmful. Their toxicity lasts quite long and this is no way to correct the picture. The past has its own lessons, those , too , should be brought into picture with all their positives and negatives. There never is a one side of the story only, and unless we start telling the real story, we would have impaired view of the things at the international level.
Senator Kamala Harris is a well-known and influential personality of the US, whose words would matter at the international level, whatever be the outcome of the American polls in November. This should be borne in mind.