Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Born on 19th August, 1950, Sudha Murthy is a teacher, an acclaimed author, a philanthropist, a social worker, member of the healthcare initiatives of the Gates Foundation, and co-founder of Infosys Foundations. Born and brought up in Karnataka, she is a breaker of “men only” concept. Her father, Dr. R.H. Kulkarni and mother Vimala Kulkarni had 4 children. Surrounded by siblings and grandparents, she had a modest upbringing. The short stories written by her, reflects her lovely/intimate bond with her grandparents. She credits her values to her parents and grandparents she grew up with. Her decision of studying B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronical Engineering from the B.V.B College of Engineering was a matter of concern to her parents predominantly because it was a male dominant college. Convincing/persuading her parents, she went on to becoming the first female student of the college. She was the only female candidate in a class of 600 students. She further went on to studying M.Eng. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science. She topped her class and bagged gold medals for her stellar academic performance. She wrote a postcard to JRD Tata, who was TELCO’s chairman at the time, showing her disappointment about the gender discrimination that the footnote of the advertisement contained, noting “female candidates need not apply”. She was called for an interview and was immediately hired for the position of development engineer. She was the first female engineer to be hired at India’s largest auto manufacturer, TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO).’
She co-founded “Infosys Foundation” with her friend in 1996, which is a non-profit organisation. It aims to help the underprivileged sections of the society through an aid in education, healthcare, rural development, arts and culture, and destitute care. The foundation has helped build more than 10,000 toilets, 2,300 houses in flood-affected areas, and over 7,000 libraries for schools in India. In one of her books, “Three Thousands Stitches,” she narrates her experience of working with devadasis in imparting knowledge about the dangers of AIDS. Being a movie connoisseur, she has watched over 700 movies. In one of the interviews, she confessed watching 365 movies in 365 days. ‘I could have actually become a film journalist. I never get bored of movies. I watch movie in its totality – its direction, editing… all aspect.
The Padma Shri recipient has many more accolades to her name. She is known to break the barriers in her own bold ways. Safe to say, her determination and will power opened gateway for female candidatures. It wouldn’t be wrong to call her a revolutionary, after all!