Padma Shri Sudha Murthy : An Inspiration

Padma Shri Sudha Murthy

For a well cultured Indian woman, you will have an image of a cotton saree clad sober lady, who can never be taken as a badass. We are frequent of a badass image having tattoo, messy hair, black tight, denim shirt with pulled up collar, and bullying around. This image has been time and again created in movies. But, can you imagine a cotton saree clad woman as badass as the hippy one. You can affix it as Padma Shri Sudha Murthy.

Ms. Murthy is a woman of strong will. She is a determined worker, a regular globe trekker, a warm-hearted social worker, an innovative engineer, and she keeps adding feathers to her caps being a passionate homemaker and learned author.

She forayed into a male chauvinist tech world where she dared to have a bob haircut during conservative 60s, later to become the vital pillar of Infosys. In the 1960s, Ms. Sudha enrolled as the first woman in engineering college. She was the only female in 150 students. She faced hardships, but the exam results turned the tables for better days and respect for her.

Sudha owed money to Narayana 

The campus brought Narayana and Sudha together, and they visited all the cinemas and restaurants in Pune, during their free time. Narayana would always ask Sudha to pay his share as he was still broke. But he promised to return later. Sudha became a perfect bookkeeper, kept the record of his debt till their marriage, which summed up to about Rs 4000. And, not to mention, Narayana never returned, and Sudha had to tear the book, after their marriage.

Solo Trip in the US 

Sudha had all the adventures during the conservative era of the ’60s, which most of us watch in Hollywood Movies. She went and explored the US, on a solo trip after being encouraged by Narayana to travel as a backpacker for three months. She even got into police custody because she was mistaken as an Italian drug peddler while spending a night with an old couple in Grand Canyon.

First female engineer in TELCO 

While applying in TELCO, she noticed footnote `female candidates need not apply for the job’. She took it as a gender bias, which she did not approve of and appreciated, she wrote to JRD Tata to ask him that how a prime and innovative house like the Tatas, which always thought ahead of time, could put such a restriction. She was surprised to be granted an exclusive interview, that too, with a paid round trip. Later, she was hired on the spot and joined as a Development Engineer in India’s largest auto manufacturer, TATA. She worked at Mumbai, Pune, and Jamshedpur for the organization.

Gave support and funds to start Infosys

Ms. Sudha moved to Mumbai and gave Narayana Rs 10,000 for his idea that later became Infosys. She gave Narayana her full support by managing and taking care of the house expenses during a three-year term of Narayana to let him chase his dream. She stood like a pillar of her family as well as Infosys. She worked as Senior Systems Analyst with Walchand group of Industries for finances, at home as a cook, and supported Infosys by being a clerk and a programmer. She let Narayana convert their home as Infosys’s office to work with his team.

Sudha Murthy – The Writer

Sudha’s children’s books and travelogues are one of the bestsellers. She has sold over 1.5 million writeups, including a vibrant mix of short stories, technical publications, and nonfiction books. She has written 24 novels in her busy schedule while traveling in rural India to do relief work for Infosys Foundation, which generally spans 20 days a month.

Sudha Murthy – The Philanthropist

JRD Tata’s words inspired Sudha to take her work to the level of philanthropist, whom he met out of the blue while leaving TELCO, which came as a surprise to JRD Tata as she had fought a hard battle to earn that place in the organization. He said, “If you make lots of money, you must give it back to society as you have received so much love from it.” 

Inspiring the Infosys Foundation, Padma Shri Sudha Murthy strengthens the underprivileged by building hospitals, rehabilitation centers, school buildings, orphanages, libraries, toilets, and houses in the flood-affected areas. 

An ardent movie fan, she encountered gender discrimination by being called ‘cattle class’ in London but stood up for what she believed. Ms. Murthy has always spoken her heart and soul.  She is one of the richest women in India; Padma Shri Sudha Murthy remains unaffected by wealth. She still keeps on working from her office at the Infosys Foundation, with a mantra to donate money as it is a heavy bag on your back, and you should lead a lightweight and straightforward life. She is a constant learner and an inspiration around the globe.