Many Indians are studying the Indian roots of US President-elect Biden, because he once hinted at the possibility of having relatives in the country.
During a 2013 visit to Mumbai, India, US Vice President Joe Biden said that he had received a letter from a Biden in India after becoming a senator in 1972, suggesting they could have a relative relationship. The letter mentions “the ancestors of two people who worked for the East India Trading Company in the 1700s”.
“It was one of the first letters I received and I’m sorry I didn’t follow it,” he said.
In a heightened sense of pride after Kamala Harris, a native of India, became Vice President elected to the US, many Indians revisited Mr. Biden’s speech and began to explore his potential roots in India.
Biden’s remarks particularly sparked excitement in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, east India and also home to relatives in India. A memorial stele of Christopher Biden, born 1789, at St George’s Church in Chennai, has become a local tourist attraction.
“We have known the records of the Biden, William Biden and Christopher Biden. They were brothers and became captain of the East India Company on merchant ships in the 19th century,” said a bishop. “William Biden died early, Christopher Biden went on to captain several ships, and eventually settled in Madras”, now Chennai.
Despite the rumors, there has been no confirmation that the William and Christopher Biden brothers are linked to the 77-year-old president elected in America. According to experts who have studied the Biden family genealogy, if the President is elected with Indian ancestry, Christopher is considered the most likely candidate.
There are also Biden of Mumbai and Nagpur, Maharashtra, possibly a descendant of Christopher. According to the Biden family in Maharashtra, Indian media is focusing attention on their families. The media speculated that their late grandfather, Leslie, was the one who wrote Biden.
Rowena Biden, a family member in Mumbai, said they did not try to “make them” with the President-elect.
“We wish Joe Biden all the best as the new president, but we’re not trying to make any connections. We share the same last name and that’s all,” she said. “We are all well-off financially and have a stable life so we don’t need any support.”
Rowena Biden said that after the first news appeared about a possible relationship between her family and the US President-elect, “people started to follow us home and the family was very pressured about that”.