Explainer: Who is Sudha Murthy?
Sudha Murty (centre) in a group photo with her family members after receiving Padma Bhushan Award for Social Work from Indian President Droupadi Murmu (Image Credit: Twitter)
Sudha Murthy is a renowned Indian educator, author, social worker, and philanthropist who has made significant contributions to the fields of literature, education, and social welfare.
She is chairperson at the Infosys Foundation and is the spouse of N. R. Narayana Murthy, one of the co-founders of Infosys, an Indian multinational information technology company.
Murthy is also known for being the mother-in-law of Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister of the UK. Sunak is married to Sudha Murthy’s daughter, Akshata Murthy. The couple met while studying for an MBA at Stanford University in California and got married in 2006.
Born on August 19, 1950, in Shiggaon, Karnataka, India, Murthy has been an inspiration to many with her achievements and dedication to social causes.
Murthy’s parents, Dr R.H. Kulkarni, a surgeon, and Vimala Kulkarni, were supportive of her goals from a young age, and her family’s educational background instilled in her a drive to achieve excellence.
Her dedication and hard work led Murthy to excel in her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, earning her a gold medal for exceptional academic performance in electrical engineering from B.V.B College of Engineering in Hubli, and later in computer science from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
Murthy’s commitment to women’s rights and education development is evident in her pioneering efforts. As an advocate for women’s rights, she challenged the men-only policy at Tata Motors, earning an interview and becoming the first female engineer employed in India.
Her position at Tata Motors helped redefine the company’s job policies, contributing to the advancement of women in the workforce.
Murthy started her career as an engineer and worked with Tata Motors, Mumbai before turning to writing. She has made a significant contribution to literature, inspiring readers of all ages to cultivate a love of reading.
Murthy is also a regular columnist for newspapers in both English and Kannada languages.
She has authored and released numerous books across a diverse range of genres, such as novels, non-fiction, travelogues, technical literature, and memoirs. She has also written children’s books, short stories, and non-fiction books in English and Kannada.
Her works have been translated into several major Indian languages and have been widely appreciated for their simplicity, relatable characters, and inspiring themes. Some of her popular works include ‘Dollar Bahu,’ ‘Wise and Otherwise,’ ‘The Serpent’s Revenge,’ and ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read.’
Apart from writing, Murthy has also been actively involved in social welfare activities for several decades. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, which works towards promoting healthcare, education, rural development, and the arts.
She has also been instrumental in setting up several libraries and schools in remote areas of India, providing access to education to underprivileged children.
In addition to her role in supporting her husband Narayana Murthy in establishing Infosys, through the Infosys Foundation, Murthy has raised awareness about education, public hygiene, poverty alleviation, and other issues, leaving a lasting impact on society.
Her philanthropic work extends to a variety of causes. She has initiated the establishment of multiple orphanages, contributed to rural development projects, and played a crucial role in establishing the Murty Classical Library of India at Harvard University.
In recognition of her contributions to society, she has been honoured with several awards, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, two of India’s highest civilian honours.
Murthy’s philanthropic work is not limited to India, and she has also been involved in several global initiatives. She has also been a part of the Gates Foundation’s Global Development Programme.
Despite her numerous accomplishments, Murthy remains grounded and is known for her simplicity and down-to-earth nature. She often shares anecdotes from her life and experiences in her books and speeches, inspiring readers, and listeners with her positive outlook on life.
In conclusion, Murthy is a multifaceted personality who has left an indelible mark in various fields. Her contribution to literature and social welfare has earned her respect and admiration from people across the globe.