Someone who ‘smiles’ and wins hearts;
Someone who pens a simple story and leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of the reader;
Someone who took a backseat in terms of power and positions and found herself standing steadfast in the most towering position…
These are not the traits or achievements of Mrs Sudha Murthy… These are just a few amongst the countless outcomes of her being herself. She does not have to do a lot to make a difference. She has just to be herself. She has shredded to pieces the claims of the modern, urbane, competitive and bashful folks who teach us that having a ‘killer spirit’ and the confidence to assert yourself will push others behind and give you a position at the top. She does not brag; does not authoritatively command or have airs about her education and social standing and yet she is at the top; she is a role-model to millions and without seeking any of it — she has it all!
Yes, that is Sudha Murthy — an author, teacher, entrepreneur, social worker and most importantly, a warm and endearing person par excellence. Born on 19 August 1950 in Karnataka, she completed a B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the B.V.B. College of Engineering & Technology (now known as KLE Technological University), standing first in her class and receiving a gold medal from the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Later, she completed M. Eng. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science, standing first in her class and receiving a gold medal from the Indian Institute of Engineers.
Sudha Murthy became the first female engineer hired at India’s largest auto manufacturer TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO). She joined the company as a Development Engineer in Pune and then worked in Mumbai and Jamshedpur as well. She later joined Walchand Group of Industries at Pune as Senior Systems Analyst. She has been a visiting professor at the PG Center of Bangalore University and has also taught at Christ University.
Sudha married Narayana Murthy in 1978. Simplicity and charity aren’t virtues that she has now adopted after the husband-wife duo tasted success or prosperity. These virtues were in their very being always. Their wedding was a simple affair with just the family of the two. The whole wedding cost 800 wherein both pitched in equal amounts.
They both shared the passion and dream of triggering a digital revolution in India However, they too had their own share of struggles to cope with and decisions to make. “He (N. R. Narayana Murthy) told me, ‘I require three years of your hard work and I will not be able to earn, you have to manage the family, and give me the initial investment.’ I said okay and let him do it. What I would have lost, only three years in my career, that is okay,” Sudha said in an interview with CNBC-TV18 in 2007.
Dr Navniit Gandhi is an academic, author, and a trainer/counsellor based in Kuwait. She has authored nine books and has written more than 300 feature articles till date, and is presently on the editorial board of The Teenager Today.