Among the most-admired entrepreneurs in India, Infosys Foundation’s chairperson Sudha Murthy has time and again won several hearts with back-to-back CSR activities. She has been extensively working for the underprivileged and in terms of philanthropy, her contribution towards the nation has been immense. From offering relief to migrant labourers and helping a sibling duo attend online classes, to saving wildlife in Karnataka zoos, the CSR queen has been putting her best foot forward for social welfare amid the pandemic. She is also touted as one of the most admired Indian entrepreneurs.
What is today the second-largest Indian IT company, was established with the initial fund of Rs 10,000 that Sudha Murthy gave to her husband N.R Narayana Murthy. At a time when the notion of women being ‘dependent’ on men infested our society, Sudha had shattered the glass ceiling and was one such woman whom her husband could lean on to. She was, in fact, instrumental in the growth of Infosys as well.
Sudha’s recognition is not just limited to the amount of effort she puts into social causes and how she has been the backbone for her husband and his entrepreneurial dream. Her contribution towards the literature world has also been unparalleled. With around 40 books to her credit (written in Kannada and English), she is a prolific author too. Her books, through which she promotes feminism and moral values, are mainly targeted towards young children, youth and parents. Doing what she does best, Sudha has written a new children’s book Grandparents’ Bag of Stories during the lockdown period. It was released recently on Children’s Day. “Today, doctors, nurses, and housekeeping workers are putting their lives on the line more than ever before, to fight against the virus and protect our country. That is the reason this book is dedicated to them,” she said. Owing to her literary contributions, Sudha has been honoured with several awards including RK Narayan Award for Literature (2006), Padma Shri (2006) and the Attimabbe Award from the Government of Karnataka (2011).
A quintessence of a woman with many titles, Sudha Murthy is an impeccable academician and an engineer as well. She was also the first female engineer hired at TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company, India’s largest auto manufacturer. Before the inception of Infosys Foundation, Sudha also worked as the head of the Department of Computer Science at Bangalore University.
Talking about why she chose to become a full-time philanthropist, she said, “My daughter asked me: ‘A person like you who is well-read and well-travelled, what do you expect in life? Do you want to be glamorous? Do you want to spend your time in technology? Or do you want to spend your time with your large family? What do you want to do in life?” She said it was then that she started questioning herself about her purpose in life. Quitting her position at Bangalore University, she then went on to establish Infosys Foundation in 1966. Now can there be any more reason to admire Sudha Murthy?