Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal slammed for calling gender pronouns an ‘illness’. Internet is ‘disappointed, disgusted’ | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal slammed for calling gender pronouns an ‘illness’. Internet is ‘disappointed, disgusted’

May 06, 2024 04:37 PM IST

Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has been facing the ire of the Internet after he slammed gender pronouns and termed them an “illness” from the “West”.

Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Ola, has sparked a flurry of strong reactions on social media after he slammed gender pronouns and termed them an “illness” from the West. While many said that they were “disappointed in him”, others expressed that “respecting someone’s pronouns is the basic act of decency”.

Bhavish Aggarwal said that he hopes that “pronoun illness doesn’t reach India”. (Bloomberg)
Bhavish Aggarwal said that he hopes that “pronoun illness doesn’t reach India”. (Bloomberg)

Read| Ola CEO called ‘they’, not he by AI; says West ‘illness’ shouldn’t reach India

It all started when the 38-year-old entrepreneur asked LinkedIn’s AI bot about himself. While answering the question “Who is Bhavish Aggarwal?” the chatbot used “they” and “their” to address the CEO.

For the unversed, gender pronouns such as “he/him/his,” “she/her/hers,” and “they/them/theirs,” indicate the gender identity of the person being referred to. They/their pronouns are used by people who do not exclusively identify as male or female or who prefer not to specify their gender identity.

Sharing a screenshot of the same, Aggarwal said that he hopes that “pronoun illness doesn’t reach India”. He went on to say that the use of gender pronouns is being taught to the kids in “big city schools” and has become a common thing on “CVs” these days. He concluded that we need to “draw a line in following the west blindly!”

“Hoping that this ‘pronoun illness’ doesn’t reach India. Many ‘big city schools’ in India are now teaching it to kids. Also see many CVs with pronouns these days. Need to know where to draw the line in following the West blindly!” wrote Aggarwal on X.

In another post, he expressed that most people are ignorant about the “politics of pronoun illness”, adding that it is better to “send this illness back where it came from”. The CEO of Ola cabs declared that there is “no need for new pronouns”.

“Most of us in India have no clue about politics of this pronouns illness. People do it because it’s become expected in our corporate culture, especially MNCs Better to send this illness back where it came from. Our culture has always had respect for all. No need for new pronouns,” he added.

Aggarwal’s post soon went viral, and many slammed him for being “homophobic”.

“Respecting pronouns is a basic act of decency, not an illness. Using someone’s correct pronouns is the bare minimum to respect LGBTQ+ folks. You’re tweeting this just a month before Pride Month is celebrated, and I’d suggest you take this time to follow through Queer leaders in India to understand their journey, struggles and needs,” posted an individual.

Another added, “Why am I not surprised? Just disappointed in you. Such potential.”

“Calling it an illness is way beneath you as an industry leader, Bhavish. Yes, it was wrong on LinkedIn’s part to use non-binary pronouns as default when you identify with he/him, although mocking the pronouns and how people chose to identify themselves is disgusting. Delete,” expressed a third.

A fourth commented, “You have violated me with your homophobia!”

“If you didn’t live under the rock, you’d know that our generation of Indians happily evolved long ago,” said a fifth.

A sixth wrote, “Bhavish takes copying Melon very very very seriously. Absolute perfectionist.”

This is not the first time that someone has slammed gender pronouns. In April this year, TV anchor Julia Hartley-Brewer refused to use correct gender pronouns for an Indian-origin guest, saying that she was using “correct grammar”.

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