The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 | Why Sudha Murty said no to running Infosys

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who has written historic fiction and feminist retellings of the epics, speaks about her experiences as she profiled the Murthys in her first book of non-fiction, An Uncommon Love

Updated - February 15, 2024 01:28 pm IST

Published - January 26, 2024 04:45 pm IST - Chennai

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation with Shunali Shroff at The Hindu Lit for Life festival 2024 held at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in Chennai on Friday.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation with Shunali Shroff at The Hindu Lit for Life festival 2024 held at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in Chennai on Friday. | Photo Credit: B.Jothi Ramalingam

“I can run Infosys, but can he take care of the family?” This was the question Sudha Murty pondered over and came up with a ‘no’, when Narayana Murthy told her, “You run Infosys, I will take care of the family.” Ms. Murty was upset when he had told her that only one member of the family would be working in the company he was launching, not being a fan of family-run businesses.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who has written historic fiction and feminist retellings of the epics, profiles the Murthys in her first book of non-fiction, An Uncommon Love. 

She shared her experience, and many stories in an engaging conversation with writer, journalist, and podcaster Shunali Shroff at The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 in a session titled, The Power Couple: The Life and Times of Sudha and Narayana Murthy.

“This book is a real departure for me,” said Ms. Divakaruni, but she felt inspired by their story – it ends with the birth of Infosys – and wanted to tell the story because “it’s about people who rose from such ordinary backgrounds to become extraordinary people.”

Watch | Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni on profiling Sudha and Narayana Murthy

Ms. Divakaruni, who went to school with Ms. Murty’s brother, spent time with the Murthys in their Bengaluru home.

At the session, she provided a glimpse about the Murthys pre-Infosys, which is now a $18.55 billion company; when and how they met, their first impressions of each other, how he proposed to her in a rickshaw and the rickshaw driver paused to hear her reply, their differing backgrounds, and the highs and lows.

“Mr. Narayana Murthy had the vision and Sudha inspired him, but she is as much a creator of whatever he has achieved. He is also instrumental in what she has achieved,” Ms. Divakaruni said, talking about Ms. Murty’s prolific journey as a writer.

“They are vastly different people; Sudha is ebullient, optimistic... Mr. Murthy is reserved and disciplined to a fault,” she said. “But the important thing is though they don’t always agree, they always have each other’s back.”

Ms. Murty, who stuck to the Sanskrit spelling of her surname, is clear about boundaries, said Ms. Divakaruni. “They were not sure [daughter] Akshata was making the right decision [when she decided to marry Rishi Sunak] but they listened to her.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.