Succumbing to the pressure from its employees, Google cancels a talk by Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a US-based Dalit activist scheduled to speak on the topic of caste equity.
As an initiative of Google’s Diversity Equity Inclusivity (DEI) program meant for employee sensitization, the talk was being coordinated by the senior manager at Google News, Tanuja Gupta, who has now quit the company in protest.
Ahead of the talk, which was scheduled for April 18, the authorities, including Tanuja, allegedly received inflammatory mass emails from a group of pro-Hindu employees who accused Soundararajan of being anti-Hindu and claimed that their lives would be at risk if the talk proceeded.
A report by the Washington Post alleges the cancellation of the discussion was the direct consequence of the pressure from the South-Asian employees of the company.
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After hearing about the talk’s cancellation, Thenmozhi wrote an email to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, expressing how alarming the situation was and how the issue must be addressed to achieve an equitable society.
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a world-renowned anti-caste campaigner and former president of the Ambedkarites Association of North America (AANA), has led many causes that have drawn global attention to the discriminatory caste system in the South Asian culture. Her California-based non-profit initiative, Equity Labs, advocates for the civil rights of Dalits or formerly addressed as “untouchables” in a millennia-old system of social hierarchy.
Diversity Equity Inclusivity (DEI) programs, a standard part of most multinational companies of today, primarily focus on race, gender, and sexual orientation. However, Dalit activists have been lobbying to include caste sensitization in the programs over the years.