Nagpur: In a curious development, Nagpur connection has emerged in the election of Joe Biden as next President of the United States of America. It is learnt that some of the distant relatives in India the US President-elect Biden spoke of in 2013 and then again in 2015, have been living in Nagpur city since 1873. The claim to this effect was made by the distant relatives on Tuesday, November 10.
When Biden, the then US Vice President, was in Mumbai in 2013, he had said at an event there that some of his distant relatives reside in India’s financial capital. At the Mumbai event in 2013 and at another one in Washington in 2015, Biden had said that after becoming a Senator in 1972, he had received a letter from one of the Bidens in India and learned that his “great, great, great, great, great grandfather” worked in the East India Company.
The letter was written by Nagpur-based Leslie Biden, whose grandchildren stay in Nagpur, and claim their family has been living there since 1873. Leslie’s granddaughter Sonia Biden Francis, a Nagpur- based psychologist, said that ”Bidens in Nagpur and everywhere” are elated with Joe Biden’s victory in the US Presidential election. Sonia said Leslie Biden was based in Nagpur and was the manager of the Bharat Lodge and Hostel, and Bharat Cafe in the Orange City’, before he died in 1983.
She further said that “While reading the ‘’Illustrated Weekly of India’’ weekly issue of March 28-April 4, 1981, Leslie came across an article about the then US Senator Joe Biden. “Leslie got in touch with Joe Biden through a letter sent on April 15, 1981. Joe Biden replied to Leslie through a letter dated May 30, 1981, said he was pleased after getting the letter from India and also discussed the Bidens’ genealogy,” she said.
Sonia’s elder brother Ian Biden (44), a former seafarer in the Merchant Navy, who also stays in Nagpur, said Leslie and Joe Biden shared information regarding a common ancestor John Biden and his wife Anne Beaumont. “Leslie and Joe Biden thanked each other for corresponding and committed to continue corresponding with each other. However, Leslie Biden’s health worsened and he died in 1983 at Nagpur. Leslie’s wife was unable to pursue the family tree further,” said Leslie’s granddaughter Rowena, who also lives in Nagpur.
The Biden family showed this correspondent letters they claimed were part of the correspondence between Leslie and Joe Biden. Asked if the Nagpur-based Bidens would attend Joe Biden’s swearing-in in January, the family members said they are extending their best wishes to the 77-year-old Biden.