Photo Credit: New Age
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, recently travelled to India and became the subject of a blasphemy complaint because a picture of him holding a sign saying “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy.” Dorsey had been meeting with women journalists and activists when the picture was taken.
Aljazeera reports that the reference to Brahmins, the traditional priestly class who sit atop the rigid caste hierarchy, outraged some Hindus when the photograph was posted online on Sunday evening. The statement is actually in reference to the archaic Hindu caste system which still disproportionately hurts women and anyone on the lower rungs of the social hierarchy.
The petition was filed by one of the pro-Brahmin Vipra Foundation’s youth wing. “Metropolitan Judge Rachan Bissa has admitted the petition and listed the matter for hearing on December 1,” the petitioner’s counsel H M Saraswat said. Sharma said the post was “anti-Brahmin” and used coarse language, which was humiliating and intolerable for the community.
Perhaps the problem is that Sharma can’t handle a statement that says women deserve equal treatment, and religion plays a role in keeping them down?
While some blame Dorsey, others praised the Twitter chief for touching on the plight of marginalized, low-caste Dalit communities and women in India. "Dalit lynching and oppression, incidents of which we read about every other day, do not cause as much Twitter outrage as Jack Dorsey holding up a placard saying 'End Brahmin Patriarchy,’" wrote Twitter user Ranjona Banerji.
South Asian historian Audrey Truschke said: "My Twitter feed is full of elite men hyperventilating about Twitter CEO @jack holding a sign that calls out sex-based & caste-based discrimination in India." "Caste and sexism are real and virulent in modern India. If you want to be angry about something, let it be that reality," she added.
Dorsey didn’t do anything wrong but another high-level Twitter staffer apologized on behalf of the company. Actually, Vijaya Gadde (the legal, policy, trust & safety lead at Twitter) accompanied Dorsey to India and apologized.
“I’m very sorry for this. It’s not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us — we should have been more thoughtful,” she said in a tweet. “Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India.”
The petitioner's counsel H M Saraswat said the petition has been filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 500 (defamation)and 120B (criminal conspiracy). “He has committed the crime of triggering hatred for a community and we would proceed against him in the court,” he added.