#DespiteBeingAWoman : India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Invites Backlash With His Ill-Composed, Seemingly Misogynist Comment

While congratulating his Bangaldeshi counterpart, who happens to be a woman, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inadvertently triggered a Twitter frenzy.

The ill-composed praise included the words “despite being a woman.”

Narendra Modi inadvertently triggered a hashtag #DespiteBeingAWoman owing to his compliments to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. During an official tour to the region, Mr. Modi was admiring the strong resolve his counterpart had displayed while dealing with anti-social elements and terrorists that threaten international peace. Though he meant to admire the fact that being a woman didn’t prevent Sheikh Hasina from being stern and take action against the terrorists with an iron hand, he ended up saying.

“I am happy that Bangladesh Prime Minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism.”

Mr. Modi immediately invited responses that didn’t take so kindly to the obvious gaffe he had mistakenly committed.

Though it is common for Indian politicians, especially Modi’s colleagues in his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, to resort to gender based remarks that are outright sexist and misogynist, the Prime Minister has worked hard to portray a clean image. After being elected to represent the largest democracy in the world, Mr. Modi has worked hard to build a pro-woman persona.

During his speeches, he has time-and-again ridiculed the anarchic and barbaric practices of female infanticide and child marriage. He has been quite clear that perpetrators of crimes against women will be dealt with severely and has even openly accused Indian parents of not raising their sons well. The Prime Minister has personally invested his time and efforts to promote a gender-neutral culture that protects and nurtures the girl child as it has traditionally done only for the male offspring.

However, none of that mattered when the Prime Minister uttered those words and the hashtag quickly gained momentum, reported news-portal Scroll.

“Even though the remark was meant to be a gesture of praise, social-media users interpreted it as an insult to women around the world. Twitter started buzzing with tweets attached with pictures of women achievers of India; scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization, foreign ministers, sportswomen and more.”

It is quite apparent that a pro-woman Prime Minister wouldn’t resort to derogatory comments and that too while in the presence of his counterpart on her soil. But by the time the Prime Minister’s Office gets to clear the misunderstanding, social media would have chewed the issue to the bone.

[Image Credit | Munir uz Zaman / Getty Images]