Not just Vice President Kamala Harris, even US President-elect Joe Biden seems to have an Indian connect, especially in Mumbai and Chennai.
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 the 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
After finding five Bidens in Mumbai, he said that his “great, great, great, great, great grandfather George Biden” was a captain in the EIC. And though there are no records of a Captain George Biden in EIC, there were 2 siblings - Christopher and Henry Biden who served.
Tim Willasey-Wilsey, a visiting professor at the King’s College, London, stated that Joe Biden’s ancestors worked in the East India Company in the 19th century.
According to Tim Willasey-Wilsey, the brothers who served in the EIC came to India from London for the uncomfortable work as humble Third and Fourth Mates in their early teens. Biden's Indian connect is cemented by the Christopher Biden plaque in a Cathedral in Madras (Chennai) where he passed away.
There is also a portrait of Biden by George Chinnery seated with his dog, Hector. His wife Harriott lived on in London until 1880. Some of her papers are kept at Cambridge University and testify to her husband’s kindness and their mutual love. Nowhere is there mention of an Indian wife but Christopher seems the most likely candidate if Joe Biden indeed had an ancestor in India
- Tim Willasey-Wilsey
Joe Biden said that his ancestor was an EIC captain and may have had an Indian wife in the city where he settled down in India. However, Tim uncovered that Christopher Biden, captained his first ship in 1821, between Britain and Calcutta, making five journeys post that. Christopher supposedly retired at 41 in 1830 and settled near London. He also wrote a book about naval discipline titled, “Naval Discipline: Subordination Contrasted with Insubordination: Or, a View of the Necessity for Passing a Law Establishing an Efficient Naval Discipline on Board Ships in the Merchant-Service”.