A day after Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella created ripples in the country by voicing his opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith today released the complete transcript of his comment on “popular demand”.
In his statement, which came in response to a question from Ben Smith, Mr Nadella spoke on the country’s inherent multiculturalism, the need to create equal opportunities for all, and the importance of debate in a “messy democracy”. In the end, the Microsoft CEO affirmed that he was “definitely clear on what we (Indians) stand for and what I stand for”.
Mr Nadella said that he was exposed to different cultures during his childhood days in Hyderabad, and cited equitable immigration policies as one of the many reasons for him going on to achieve success in the United States. “I think it’s just bad. If anything, I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the CEO of Infosys, that should be the aspiration. If I had to sort of mirror what happened to me in the US, I hope that’s what happens in India,” he said.
By popular demand, here’s the verbate pic.twitter.com/I8YcMDJsf8
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 13, 2020
The Microsoft CEO said that while immigration is an issue in India as in any other country, a lot depends on the approach adopted by the administration concerned. “That’s where I hope these liberal values that we’ve kind of come to – it’s capitalism, quite frankly – has only thrived because of market forces and liberal values… I hope India figures it out,” he added.
He, however, claimed that the scenario unravelling in the country was not without its silver lining. “The good news, at least as I see it, is that it’s a messy democracy and people are debating it. It’s not something that is hidden. It is something that’s being debated actively,” Mr Nadella said, apparently referring to the various voices of opposition that have emerged against the amended citizenship law.
The Microsoft CEO’s statement drew a sharp reaction from the ruling BJP. “How literate need to be educated! Perfect example. Precise reason for CAA is to grant opportunities to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. How about granting these opportunities to Syrian Muslims instead of Yezidis in USA?” tweeted party MP Meenakshi Lekhi.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.