‘Life is a struggle, Embrace it’. This line encapsulates the life of Sudha Murty, a writer, philanthropist, educator, and Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. She is married to Narayana Murthy, the Co-Founder of Infosys. She was born on 19 August 1950 and has received many awards and felicitations because of the selfless social work that she has done for society.
Born in a Kannada-speaking family, her parents and grandparents who raised her also shaped her thoughts and ideas, which she had crafted beautifully in her stories. She completed her Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from B.V.B College and her Master’s in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science.
The Career of Sudha Murty
Sudha Murty was the first female engineer to work at TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO) and there’s an interesting story behind her being the first. Mrs Murty sent a postcard to JRD Tata, the chairman of Tata Group, complaining about TELCO’s men-only gender inequality. Upon receiving the postcard, she appeared for a special interview and got hired right away.
She met Narayana Murthy while working for TELCO. Both tied the knot in Narayana’s house in Bangalore. The wedding expenses came to only Rs 800.
Her Contribution to the Inception of Infosys
Sudha used to save a small portion of her and Narayana’s salary without his knowledge. The emergency fund, in 1981, amounted to Rs 10,250. She lent Rs 10,000 to Narayana to build Infosys- a software company with a market capitalisation of around $80 billion today. She kept the remaining Rs 250 to restart her emergency fund.
Later, she incepted Infosys Foundation in 1996 to facilitate and provide education for poor children and spread awareness about education, poverty alleviation, and public hygiene. She has done a lot of work for society which includes:
- Building 2300 houses
- Constructing 7000 libraries in the schools and 16000 toilets
- Changing the lives of 3,000 sex workers
- Providing computers for schools, building smart classes, and initiating mid-day meals in Aalo, Arunachal Pradesh
- Arranging for doctors from Bengaluru to perform cataract operations in Arunachal Pradesh as there were no proper facilities and people had to go to Guhawati
- Creating a corpus for the Institute of Mathematical Sciences to create scholarships for students and increase the professors’ salaries
- Creating a chair worth 22 crores at IISC, allowing the Nobel Laureates to teach there for a year
Writings of Sudha Murty
Sudha Murty was just 29 years old when she wrote her first book, ‘Mahashweta’, dedicated to her husband, Narayana Murthy. She dabbled in several genres like short stories, children’s books, fiction, novels, and more. Her writings revolve around different themes like education, religion, culture, family, social attitudes, economics and feminist issues.
She has also written about the impact of Capitalism on Indian Society’s deep personal relations. Her work also deals with the deterioration of family relationships and the absurdities of Indian society. Her work is a mixture of humour, sensitivity and optimism. In her novels, she sketches strong female characters who challenge societal norms and gender stereotypes. Through her stories, she encourages women to break all the barriers and gender stereotypes, believe in themselves, defy societal norms and strive to achieve their ambitions.
Penguin Publishers has been publishing her novels for a long time. One can find her books’ translations in more than 15 languages, including Hindi and Marathi. She uses simple words and expressions to convey her thoughts. As her books are easily understood and accessible, it captures readers’ interests.
Sudha Murty And Children’s Books
Sudha Murty has also written books for children, and the themes in her books are compassion, kindness, friendship, and social issues. Her books inspire the kids to think critically, develop social responsibility, and empathise with each other. Through Children’s literature books, she helps children learn new ideas and creativity while improving their language skills and storytelling techniques.
Lessons We Can Learn From Sudha Murty
Sudha Murty is an exceptional writer and a humble person. There are so many lessons we can learn from her. Here are a few of them:
- Be passionate about your work: No matter how rich you become or even if you have all the luxury in your life, you should always stay humble and passionate about your work.
- Don’t mince your words: Always speak out whatever you feel. Do not mince your words no matter what others would feel.
- Keep learning: Always be ready to learn new things. The day we stop learning, we become old.
- Think beyond money: She believes children should be taught from childhood that money is not everything and that having money does not make you extraordinary.
- Be Yourself: Be yourself rather than imitating or trying to be like someone else.
Sudha Murty is a woman of sterling qualities. Apart from admiring her philanthropic work, entrepreneurial skills and writings, people respect her for her thoughtfulness and actions. She has been a strong advocate for Women’s rights and an ardent believer in providing Education. She is also an active member of the Gates Foundation and championed the cause of the use of Computer Technology in Educational Institutions. She is also a visiting Professor at the PG Centre of Bangalore and has taught at Christ University.