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Twitter boss angers Hindus during India trip

Margi Murphy
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last week met with students, journalists and policymakers in India, one of the company's fastest growing markets - REUTERS

A row has erupted in India after a photo of Twitter boss Jack Dorsey holding a poster that criticised the Brahmin, the most revered Hindu caste, went viral on social media. 

He was photographed holding a picture of a woman waving a banner which read "smash the Brahminical patriarchy" during a trip to the nation last week. 

Dorsey was posing with a group of female journalists and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal and safety in India.  

Notable Indians, including a high ranking officer in the Indian Police Force, Sandeep Mittal, suggested the photo was so inflammatory it could spark political chaos across the nation. 

“Do you realise that this picture has potential of causing communal riots at a time when several States are going to Assembly Elections in India. Even now an apology is not offered. Actually it's a fit case for registration of a criminal case for attempt to de-stablise the nation,” he wrote under the photo. 

Infosys executive TV Mohandas Pai also accused Dorsey of harbouring hate against Hindus. 

“Tomorrow if @jack is given a poster with anti Semitic messages in a meeting, will his team allow him to hold it up?” he added.

Gadde quickly apologised for the photo and said the company regretted Dorsey’s actions.

“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. 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 apology further added fuel to the fire, with some arguing that the apology was “terribly disappointing”. The term #BrahminicalPatriarchy is used by Indian feminists to describe caste and gender issues. “It is fact not violence to name how one caste through scripture has held hegemonic power for centuries”, wrote one Indian journalist.

The Brahmin are the highest caste or varna in Hinduism, specialising as priests and teachers. 

Twitter said that the poster had been handed to Dorsey by an activist when it hosted a discussion with a group of women to know more about their experience using the service.

A spokesman told Reuters: "The sentiments expressed on the poster do not reflect the views of Twitter as a company or Jack as the CEO, and we regret that this picture has detracted from an otherwise insightful trip to India."