MP Meenakshi Lekhi attempts to educate Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the man widely credited with turning around the company’s fortunes and making it cool again, is no stranger to criticism but it is unlikely he has been told that he needs “to be educated”.
That alleged inadequacy was addressed on Tuesday by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s member of Parliament from New Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi.
“How the literate need to be educated ! Perfect example. Precise reason for CAA is to grant opportunities to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan & Afghanistan. How about granting these opportunities to Syrian Muslims instead of Yezidis in USA?” Lekhi posted on Twitter.
Her comments came after Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed News, on Monday, quoted Nadella on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act saying: “I think what is happening is sad... it’s just bad... I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys.”
While several Twitter users pointed to Nadella’s credentials, others mocked Lekhi by suggesting that the Microsoft CEO should perhaps go to “WhatsApp University”.
The Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala described Lekhi’s comment as a typical example of the BJP’s thin skin.
“Whenever someone nationally or internationally tries to show the BJP leadership a mirror, they are dubbed anti-national and are stopped from doing business in India,” Surjewala said.
Microsoft issued a separate statement from Nadella where he nuanced the issue without mentioning the names of countries or companies. “Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds. I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefiting Indian society and the economy at large”.
Nadella isn’t the first technology industry executive to face criticism for his position on CAA. In December, venture capitalist Tim Draper tweeted: “India choosing one religion over another makes me seriously concerned about my plans to fund businesses there. #freedom #freedomofreligion”.
That comment, too, attracted debate.
The CAA fast-tracks Indian citizenship for non-Muslim minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The passage of the act has caused people to come out on the streets in protests across India. In the North-east, where there is a fear that outsiders will take away jobs and claim scarce resources, the act is seen as something that could legitimise their claims. In other parts of the country, there is concern that CAA will be applied in tandem with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), although the government has claimed there are no such plans for now. An NRC in Assam excluded 1.9 million people from the roster of citizens for want of documents. Some people also see CAA as exclusionary because it doesn’t cover Muslims.
The act has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
Nadella’s comments prompted historian Ramachandra Guha to comment on Twitter: “I am glad Satya Nadella has said what he has. I wish that one of our own IT czars had the courage and wisdom to say this first. Or to say it even now.” Some users on social media also posted that they wanted to know if Lekhi would boycott Windows, Microsoft’s flagship operating system.