Joe Biden’s India Connect: All You Need To Know

Joe Biden
Joe Biden (File Image)

If you thought that only Kamala Harris had an India connect, we’d say think again. Just like Harris, US President-elect Joe Biden might also have his ancestral roots lie in Chennai.

As per Tim Willasey-Wilsey, visiting professor at the King’s College, London, Joe Biden’s ancestors worked in the East India Company in the 19th century.

East India Company and Biden Connection 

As per Prof Tim, in the 19th century, brothers Christopher and William Biden worked for the East India Company. They took the ship route between London and India.

While William died at an early age, Christopher went on to Captain several ships during his service and eventually settled down and led a prosperous life in erstwhile Madras, according to Professor Tim Willasey-Wilsey.

Christopher Biden became a well-known figure in Madras for many years and he did settle in India, Tim wrote in an article in a publication of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Biden & His India Connect: What He Said in 2013

Joe Biden first spoke of his probable connect with India when he visited Mumbai in March 2013. During this first vice presidential trip to India, he spoke about a letter he received when he became the senator for the first time several decades ago.

Narrating his story of the “’Biden from Mumbai”, he had said, “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.”

‘5 Bidens In Mumbai’

Two years after her had talked of his Indian connect in 2013, Joe Biden 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 lady.

“There are five Bidens in Mumbai, India,” Biden had then said at the Washington event. 

Prof Tim’s Account Of Bidens

Prof Tim says there are no records of a George Biden in India, but there were two Bidens who became Captains of East India Company armed merchant ships.

“They were brothers. Both started out as humble Third and Fourth Mates in their early teens on the arduous route between London and India via the Cape of Good Hope. It was dangerous and uncomfortable work but the prospect of advancement made it attractive for sons of financially distressed but aspirational families,” he writes in the report.

“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,” Prof Tim Willasey-Wilsey says.

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