Nadella’s CAA remarks trigger furious debate

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 14, 2020 Published on January 14, 2020

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella   -  REUTERS

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was caught in the middle of a Twitter storm after he expressed concerns over the new Citizenship Amendment Act.

Responding to a question on citizenship rules from Buzzfeed News’ editor-in-chief Ben Smith at an event in Manhattan, Nadella said: “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.”

“...I hope these liberal values that we’ve kind of come to — its capitalism, quite frankly has only thrived because of market forces and liberal values... I hope India figures it out. The good news, at least as I see it, is it’s a messy democracy and people are debating it,” he added. “I’m definitely clear on what we stand for and what I stand for.”

Microsoft clarifies

This triggered a furious debate on Twitter between those backing CAA and those against it, forcing Microsoft to put out a statement clarifying Nadella’s comment.

“Every country will and should define its borders, protects its 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 its economy at large,” Nadella clarified through a statement issued by Microsoft.

Nadella was criticised by many but noted names in the industry lauded him for his stance. “I’m somewhat surprised that Satya Nadella touched this issue, but not at all surprised that he disapproves of India’s citizenship law. A successful firm like Microsoft is built on the principle of treating all people equally regardless of their faith,” tweeted journalist Sadanand Dhume.

“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,” noted historian Ramachandra Guha tweeted. Guha had been detained by the police while protesting against the Act in Bengaluru last month.

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Published on January 14, 2020
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