Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared in a photograph with women journalists holding this placard, irking Right-wing ideologues who called it ‘hate speech’.

New Delhi: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in India, seemingly to convince young Indians to vote in the 2019 general elections through his #Powerof18 campaign.

Having meditated with Shah Rukh Khan, given a lecture to IIT Delhi students, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, Dorsey attended a conference with women journalists to discuss the ‘Indian Twitter experience’.

However, a photograph from the conference reveals that not all his social media PR was well thought-out. Dorsey is seen holding a placard that reads ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’, as he stands beside journalists Barkha Dutt, Anna M.M. Vetticad and Nilanjana Roy amongst others.

The placard is from Project Mukti, an organisation that describes itself as being a “Dalit Bahujan Adivasi Minority women, gender non-binary, and trans led technology start-up working to end digital caste apartheid in South Asia (sic)”.

The image has sparked significant backlash on Dorsey’s own platform, with people claiming that the slogan promotes hate-speech, targets a minority community, and “exposes” Dorsey’s true political allegiances.


Also read: Are Hindus really the victims in India? Of what, asks Barkha Dutt


Right-wing outcry

A significant portion of the outcry came from Right-wing ideologues.

Replying to Vetticad’s tweet, T.V Mohandas Pai tagged top government officials, asking them to take this up with Dorsey and persuade him “to apologise to the Brahmin community for this hate poster and being party to a hate campaign”.

Pai also shamed Vetticad for “maligning an Indian community and being part of this Hate campaign of #brahminphobia with a foreigner!”

Dutt replied to one of Pai’s tweets, asking him to clarify about what he was referring to, and stating that she merely went to meet Jack Dorsey to talk about “our issues with Twitter!”

Meanwhile, Swarajya columnist Shefali Vaidya liked Pai’s tweet and made her own reply to the image.

IAS officer and author Sanjay Dixit also joined the furore, suggesting “Smash Church Patriarchy?” as an alternative.

Seshadri Chari, former editor of Organiser, an RSS publication, questioned whether Dorsey even knew the meaning of what was written on the placard he was holding.

“If yes he should explain, or else apologise for such insinuation,” Chari wrote.

Chitra Subramaniam, editorial adviser at Republic TV, and journalist and entrepreneur Hindol Sengupta also commented.

Twitter India sought to address the controversy by saying that the poster was not a “statement from Twitter or our CEO, but a tangible reflection of our company’s efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world”.

‘A reality’

The liberal media, meanwhile, has been largely silent on the debate. Apart from Dutt’s initial reply to Pai, no one else in the photo has publicly replied to the criticism yet.

Journalist Vasudha Venugopal of The Economic Times was one of the voices that tweeted in defence of Dorsey.

“Why are people outraging against twitter’s campaign to smash brahminical patriarchy,” she asked, adding that it “only refers to a culture where discriminatory notions of purity, pollution, and inherent hierarchy prevail”.

Controversial Indologist Audrey Truschke put out a tweet scoffing at the “elite men  hyperventilating about Twitter CEO @jack holding a sign that calls out sex-based & caste-based discrimination in India”.

The real focus, she wrote, should be the fact that caste and sexism are a reality in India.

The outrage comes hot on the heels of activist Shehla Rashid quitting Twitter earlier this month, blaming “organised” hate from pro-BJP accounts.

“I don’t want to be dehumanised to the point where hate—irrational and abundant hate—doesn’t affect me anymore,” she told Huffington Post.

This report has been updated to elaborate on the statement issued by Twitter. 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Brahminical patriachy, for that matter any kind of patriarchy isn’t something to be proud of,so why the brouhaha?? And the term, by the way has little to do with religion instead more to do with Power (that one doesn’t necessarily deserve)?…Ever heard of the “Boston Brahmins”

  2. True. And all of these are because of the reality of what the placard says. This chain of threats, comments and scoffing only prove the reality of the message on it. And the people who are averse to it, mostly are identified as renowned hate-mongers amongst twitteratti.

  3. It is high time Hinduism goes through a major up-gradation……It is because of caste system weakness that Muslims & English have ruled for over Hindus for over 1000 years !!!

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