Not Just Kamala, Biden May Also Have Ancestral Connect With India

Joe Biden, on visiting Mumbai in 2013, had claimed of an Indian connect. 

Published
India
2 min read
US President-elect Joe Biden.
i

It’s not just Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who has an Indian connect, US President-elect Joe Biden might also have an ancestral connect with India, tracing back to Chennai.

As per Tim Willasey-Wilsey, a visiting professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London, during the 19th century, brothers Christopher and William Biden worked for the East India Company, and they took the arduous route between London and India. William went to command many ships before he died of a stroke at Rangoon in 1843.

William’s older brother Christopher Biden, by contrast, became a well-known figure and eventually settled down in Madras (Chennai), Wilsey wrote in an article titled ‘Biden’s ancestral Chennai connect’ in a publication of ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations).

Joe Biden, when he first visited Mumbai in 2013, had claimed of an Indian connect. In 2015, he said that he descended from George Biden, his “great, great, great, great, great grandfather” who was a Captain in the East India Company. After his retirement, George Biden settled in India and married an Indian woman.

Professor Willasey-Wilsey, however, states that there are no records of a George Biden in India.

In yet another potential connect that has emerged, Biden in 1972 received a letter from Mumbai – the sender had the same last name as his.

Joe Biden, then 29, wanted to follow up on the letter and get in touch with the "Biden from Mumbai". But he couldn’t manage to do so.

Back in 2013, Biden learned that about five Bidens are living in Mumbai, but no connection was established. The Biden from Mumbai (earlier Bombay) had congratulated Joe Biden on his election as the senator from Delware and had told him that they were related, NDTV reported.

During his address to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai as the Vice President of the US, Biden narrated his story of “Biden from Mumbai”

“It’s an honour to be back in India and to be here in Mumbai. Off script for a second here, I was reminded – I was elected to the United States Senate when I was a 29-year-old kid back in 1972, and one of the first letters I received and I regret I never followed up on it. Maybe, some genealogist in audience can follow up for me, but I received a letter from a gentleman named Biden – Biden, my name – from Mumbai, asserting that we were related,” Joe Biden had said, NDTV reported.

In 2015, Biden was addressing the US India Business Council in the Washington DC, and during the speech, he again mentioned the Indian connect.

Biden said that a day after his 2013 Mumbai speech, in which he mentioned about the “Biden from Mumbai,” a journalist gave him a list of five Bidens living in Mumbai, reported The Print.

(With inputs from Gateway India report, The Print, NDTV)

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