Milkha Singh passes away: Rahul Gandhi draws flak for tweet

Delhi - Several Twitter users accused the politician of misgendering the athlete.

By Web report

Published: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 12:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 1:20 PM

Tributes have been pouring in from every quarter since news of legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh's death broke on Friday night.

Leading politician Rahul Gandhi was one among many who took to Twitter to condole the athlete's passing — however, several social media users seem to have taken poorly to the post.


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"Shri Milkha Singh ji was not just a sports star but a source of inspiration for millions of Indians for his dedication and resilience. My condolences to his family and friends. India remembers her #FlyingSikh," the Congress leader wrote in his post.

Many Twitter users seem to have misinterpreted the last line as misgendering the sports star and called on the politician to address Singh "correctly" as 'him', instead of 'her'.

"Kindly delete it and put another tweet. Otherwise it is will be treated as insult to Milkha Singh (sic)," said one.

"Milkha Singh is "her"?? In which Universe??" posted another outraged user.

However, Gandhi's post is, in fact, grammatically correct. The word 'her' is not a reference to the athlete, but to the country.


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"India remembers her Flying Sikh" is like saying "A mother remembers her son". The son is male, but the pronoun here refers to the mother.

Similarly, in Gandhi's tweet, the pronoun refers to India, Milkha's motherland — not to the Flying Sikh himself. Using the feminine sense to refer to countries is standard practice.

Although Gandhi is not new to controversy, in this case, grammar is firmly on his side.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

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