Five Times Sudha Murthy Inspired Us With Her Humility

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Acclaimed author, philanthropist and chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murthy turned 71. She has led a life of simplicity, and inspires young people with her humility. Here are five powerful must-know moments from her life.

Trailblazer for equality in work opportunity

Sudha Murthy noticed a vacancy at auto company TELCO that asked women candidates to not apply for the role. Following which she sent the postcard to JRD Tata questioning the policy. Murthy asked him why a social conscious company like Tata Group was not considering giving women a chance?

After reading her letter, JRD Tata directed his staff to interview Sudha to test her technical skills and asked to hire her if she fits the role. Sudha did well in the interview and successfully secure the job. She also became the first woman technical officer in TELCO.

“It is easy to give money but devoting yourself to physical seva is not”

In September 2020, a picture of Sudha Murthy got viral online. In the photo, Sudha was sitting amidst the heap of vegetables with the caption that the Co-founder of Infosys foundation Sudha Murthy every year spends a day selling vegetables to scrap her ego and remain down to earth. However, the claim was false.

The reality was, Sudha believes in the practice of seva (public service). And so every year, she visits the Raghavendra Swamy temple in Bengaluru at 4 am to devote herself to seva. During her seva, she washes utensils, dust shelves, chops vegetables and sweep the floor. Sudha believes that it is easy to give money but devoting yourself to physical seva is not. She further added that we are all equal in the eye of God but not in the eyes of society.

“Class does not mean massive possession of material wealth”

Sudha Murthy believes massive possession of material wealth and money doesn’t define a person. She explained her point with a story from her personal experience. When she was heading for her flight at Heathrow Airport in London, Sudha Murthy was called ‘cattle class’ by a fellow passenger.

The passenger was a woman who was dressed in western clothes, asked Murthy, who was dressed in a salwar kameez to stand in the economy class queue and not the business class queue. Murthy had the option of showing her boarding card and clarifying the lady’s presumptions but she didn’t. Murthy says it’s unfortunate people are judged on what they wear and how they dress.

Later in the day, Murthy met the lady once again at a meeting which was chaired by Murthy. The woman was shocked to see Sudha as lead in that meeting. Sudha Murthy had made her point without saying a word.

Where are the toilets?

Sudha Murthy was the first woman to complete her degree in engineering. She became the first woman engineer from the city of Hooghly, West Bengal. But her success didn’t come easy. Several challenges were waiting in her path.

As she was on a journey to break the shackles of equality for women in technology, she crossed numerous hurdles at the beginning of her career. She was the only girl in her college, which had 599 boys. She was asked to don a saree also.

She was not allowed to visit the canteen. Sudha expressed that she had no issue with wearing a saree and didn’t like canteen food, But the serious challenge she encountered during her college was that there were not women toilets in her college. After becoming the Infosys chairperson, Sudha asked for construction of 16,000 toilets for girls across projects.

Gifted Laptop to sibling struggling during lockdown

Sudha Murthy is also known for her philanthropic work. When she learned about two siblings from Karnataka, determined to attend the online classes, they reached the hillock to catch the internet network.

Impressed by their level of dedication amidst the hardships, Murthy gifted them a laptop, internet dongle and a one-year subscription to continue their studies smoothly at home.

During the outbreak of COVID-19 in April 2020. Sudha had also asked the Karnataka authorities to take preventive measures. She had also requested the government to shut down malls, theatres and schools.

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