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Sudha Murthy’s lessons on living

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Sudha Murthy
Sudha Murthy

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: What did it feel like to sit in a “value education” class back in school?

Those who had faded memories of this experience had an opportunity to relive it at an interactive programme organised by the Department of Kannada and Culture on Saturday with Sudha Murthy, writer and Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

In a presentation generously sprinkled with quotations from many sources, from Taittiriya Upanishad to Bill Gates, Ms. Murthy enlightened the audience on how she had experientially learnt to treat money with “nirliptate” (indifference) after she had seen a lot of wealth.

Following her husband N.R. Narayana Murthy’s rise to the position of an IT baron, she had realised that she is no more than a “mere instrument” through which God wanted to “give money to the deserving”, she said.

“If money is not given away as charity to the deserving, it will consume the man who hordes it,” she warned.

Ms. Murthy had more lessons to teach to the packed crowd, on the value of forgiveness, humility and much more.

Not content with Ms. Murthy’s advice, the audience swamped her with questions. While one wanted to know if the IT revolution had not resulted in erratic growth and a lifestyle with no value for money, another sought to know why Infosys is not expanding to north Karnataka from where she hails.

Ms. Murthy, with the modest rider that her husband is better equipped to answer that, went on to say that “any revolution has a plus and a minus side” and it should be treated with “equanimity”. On the question of setting up Infosys in Bijapur or Gulbarga, she said that these are “commercial decisions and cannot be decisions of the heart alone”.

Farmers’ suicide

Another question on farmers’ suicide elicited no specific answer from her. “I would rather speak about things I know,” she said.

Ms. Murthy had a word of advice for software engineers who end up with health problems because of using computers for long hours.

“They should lead a balanced life and dedicate time for family and other activities,” she said. “They should chat person-to-person rather than on e-mail,” she said.

Ambition

When someone in the audience wanted to know if she had any ambition of making a foray into politics to “expand her horizon and reach out to more people”, she said that she had never felt the need to enter politics and was not temperamentally suited for it.

Manu Baligar, Director of the Department of Kannada and Culture, who presided over the function, said that she was a “parallel government” of sorts in her own right.

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