Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inadvertently coined a Twitter hashtag Sunday when he praised the courage of Bangladesh's prime minister to take on terrorism "despite being a woman."
The hashtag #DespiteBeingAWoman was one of Twitter's top trending topics Monday as Indians reacted to Modi's speech at Dhaka University during a two-day visit to the neighbouring country.
In the speech, Modi praised Sheikh Hasina for her commitment to tackling terrorism in both countries.
"I am happy that the prime minister of Bangladesh, despite being a woman, is openly saying that she has zero tolerance for terrorism. I would like to congratulate Sheikh Hasina for her courage to deal with terrorism with zero tolerance," he added.
Modi's critics seized on those words on Twitter.
When a PM of the country has such a mentality about women, we can imagine where will he drive the country to. #DespiteBeingAWoman— @rohanrgupta
When you don't see and think of women as equal & respect then for who they are, you end up saying sexist things like #DespiteBeingAWoman!!— @Fashionopolis
Indira Gandhi managed to liberate Bangladesh #DespiteBeingAWoman thank you Mr PM for insulting every woman!— @bainjal
Some Indian women boasted, with tongue firmly in cheek, about their own accomplishments #DespiteBeingAWoman.
ok. off to work. after cooking sending kid to school to write big story and run errands. like every other woman i know #despitebeingawoman— @Gayatri__J
The hashtag was filled with photos of accomplished women in Indian politics, science and technology.
However, Modi's defenders also posted using the same hashtag.
Those Modi haters & self crowned liberals , making fun of #DespiteBeingAWoman things probably havent understood south Asia well .— @PawanDurani
Later Monday morning, the counter-hashtag #ModiEmpowersWomen was the top Twitter trending topic in India.