Indian-American Nikki Haley Scripts US History

WASHINGTON, Jan 14(TOI): Daughter of Sikh immigrant parents from Punjab, Indian-American Namrata "Nikki" Randhawa Haley proudly recollected her Indian heritage while being sworn in as the first woman and non-white Governor of South Carolina.

"I stand before you today, the proud daughter of Indian immigrants," Haley said in her inaugural speech on the State House's south steps.

Top several Republican leaders including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a number of Congressmen and a large number of Indian Americans from various parts of the country, and the Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, braved some frigid weather to be present during the historic occasion.

"Growing up in rural, small town South Carolina, my family experienced this state and this country at its best. No, not every day was perfect. No, we were not always free from the burdens faced by those who look and sound different," said Haley who after Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, is only the second Indian-American Governor. She is also the first ever Indian-American woman governor in the United States.

Describing swearing in of Haley as governor of South Carolina as a "proud" moment for Indian-Americans, eminent members of the community expressed hope she would serve as an inspiration for younger generation to join the political mainstream of the US.

"Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina made all Indian-Americans proud. She is an inspiration and a role model to all women in the US and India. Governor Haley is the new face and a positive message of the conservative Republican Party," said Puneet Ahluwalia, from Republican Party of Virginia.

Indian-Americans from as far as California, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Texas attended the day-long function, that ended with a gala in the night.


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