Pioneering Spirit: Sudha Murthy’s Journey

6 minutes

Powerful people don’t come from powerful places. They make places powerful”. 

Sudha Murthy’s metamorphosis from an aspiring young girl to an author, philanthropist, and chairperson of one of the most renowned organisations – Infosys, is a testament to her dedication and hard work. The small town of Shiggaon now feels magnificently big ever since one of its inhabitants decided to chase her aspirations and not give up until she achieved them. 

Often, the world doesn’t witness incredible human beings who break free from their conventional norms. Sudha Murthy is one such luminary who shattered traditional barriers while being humble, kind, and extremely generous. Hailing from a small town, Sudha had strong aspirations. Her family was highly educated. Her father was a surgeon who also happened to teach at a university, while her mother was a school teacher. 

A Dreamer, A Believer!

During her childhood, Sudha was inspired by strong ideas and ambitions. She wanted to change the world for the better and after her schooling, she wanted to pursue engineering. Mind you, back then the idea of women getting an education was not encouraged. But this made Sudha just persevere more to get what she wanted. She was the only woman in the class when she was admitted to the B.V.B College of Engineering. People were unfriendly, she was ordered to not talk to the boys and never come to the college canteen. Since she was the only woman, no female bathroom was available either. Friendless and alone, Sudha’s passion for studying continued to burn brighter. 

“When you look at difficulties, yes, they are hard. But they also teach many things”

The world can sometimes be unforgiving. It may try to shatter our confidence and make us feel alone. But one of the beautiful things about the human spirit is its ability to persevere and hope, no matter what. Sudha Murthy is the epitome of this spirit of endurance. She trained herself to make the best of this situation and reminded herself of her goals every day. Lo and behold, she graduated with the highest honors and was facilitated by the then Chief Minister of Karnataka. 

Shattering Misogyny Since 1974

After graduating with flying colors, Sudha Murthy secured a scholarship for a master’s degree at Bangalore’s Indian Institute of Science. She was all set to complete her Master’s in 1974 and move overseas to study further. But she changed this plan when she came across a hiring advertisement. 

The recruitment poster was by TELCO (Tata Motors). It was the last line on the poster that got Sudha Murthy’s attention. It said, “Lady students need not apply”. Murthy took it as a challenge to change this! Her father’s words of wisdom and her family’s educational upbringing had opened her to a pioneering way of thought. Murthy believes knowledge is “No particular gender’s domain. It is the seeker’s domain”, and rightly so. She resolved to apply to the company and get selected. She wanted to write to the senior management at TELCO and address this misogynistic ad. And who did she choose to write to? The renowned JRD Tata himself.  

Sudha never expected to hear from him. However, he did write back! The letter said her application was considered and she could give an interview. Sudha cleared the interview and got selected at TELCO. During her tenure, she met Narayan Murthy and went on to tie the knot with him! 

The Woman Behind Infosys

While Narayan Murthy also had strong ambitions, he needed help to turn those ambitions into reality. Sudha, lent him a sum of 10,000 Rupees, money she had kept for emergencies. The money became the initial capital for Infosys and Sudha was its first investor. Infosys performed wonderfully and grew to become a legend in the field of IT. After working at Infosys for some time, Sudha Murthy took time out to take care of her children and prioritise her family. 

Over the years, Infosys continued to perform amazingly. It soared heights that were not imagined by anyone, except Narayan Murthy and Sudha. As the saying goes, behind every successful man, there is a woman! 

Sudha Murthy is a strong force of nature to be reckoned with. Soon after the success of Infosys, Sudha became proactively involved in charity work. That was how the Infosys Foundation came into being. Through the Infosys Foundation, Sudha has helped many underprivileged individuals across various sectors such as education, healthcare, rural development and destitute care, mid-day meal schemes, and water projects.

A Multi-Talented Personality With A Passion To Do Good

In addition to inspiring the world through her actions, Sudha Murthy also encourages people to think and dream bigger with her writing. She is a prolific writer, whose creativity knows no bounds. She published many stories, both fiction and non-fiction that went on to garner many accolades. One of them even made it to the school’s CBSE syllabus! Owing to her contributions to society, Sudha Murthy was also nominated to become a member of Rajya Sabha by the prime minister Narendra Modi. Whenever she is seen at interviews, we can always see her smiling. But there is a fire burning within her, a fire to be good, help people, and transform the world into a better place. Her life and convictions did not just lead to the barriers being shattered but also became a source of inspiration to many women in India. Sudha Murthy is the epitome of perseverance, resilience, and empowerment, serving as a role model for generations to come.

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