Back in 1972, when Joe Biden was elected as one of the youngest US senators, one of the first letters he received was from Mumbai, with the sender having the same last name as his. About five years ago, he learned that there are five Bidens living in Mumbai, and is probably yet to make a connection with them.
The “Biden from Mumbai”, had congratulated Joe on his election as the senator from Delaware and told him that they were related to each other. He always wanted to follow up on the letter and get in touch with the “Biden from Mumbai”. However, with his active life in politics, his wish was never fulfilled. Even now, it is something he still wants to fulfil after five decades later. The 77-year-old always mentions this story whenever he meets Indian-Americans and the Indian leaders.
During his visit to Mumbai in 2013, the former US Vice President while addressing to the Bombay Stock Exchange went off-script to narrate his story of the famous ‘Biden from Mumbai’.
He explains: “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, Biden had told the audience amidst peals of laughter. “Seriously. Suggesting that our mutual, great, great, great, something or other worked for the East India Trading Company back in the 1700s and came to Mumbai.”
A few years later, he brought up the same topic during his address to the US India Business Council. He explains, “He (Biden from Mumbai) went back to our mutual great, great, great grandfather, 1848, who was a British captain in the East India Tea Company. And he married I believe an Indian woman. And he settled in India.”
After the speech in Mumbai, a journalist gave Biden a list of five Bidens living in Mumbai. To which, he said in a speech at US India Business Council: “You know what I mean? I didn’t realise I had so many… And I haven’t actually followed up and embarrassed the Bidens in Mumbai. But the point is, it makes it even clearer what a small, small world this is and how this global economy is suited for, quite frankly, the two largest democracies in the world.”