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An individuality of her own

Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, had all the answers on retaining one's identity at a small gathering in the city recently.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

TALKING HEADS: Sudha Murthy addresses the gathering. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

TALKING HEADS: Sudha Murthy addresses the gathering. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu  

Aavathum pennale, azhivathum pennale (Even as she can create, she can destroy)

anonymous Tamil saying.

A woman is in the care of her father till her marriage, with her husband after marriage and with her son when she is a widow

Manusmriti

THESE FEW stereotypical statements on the woman who does not have any identity on account of the hegemonic role of the male in a patriarchal society as embodied in the Sastraic traditions are slowly undergoing a metamorphosis. Transformations in the social milieu resulted in concomitant changes.Armed with education and employment, womenare today looking above the horizon. But there is a downside too - there is more discord in marital lives.

In this context Sudha Murty's (Chairperson, Infosys Foundation) short talk for the Spouses and Family Association at the Indian School of Business which focused on `how to retain one's identity' assumes some relevance.

Sudha Murty has tasted success, carved a niche for herself but stands firmly rooted in terra firma. Unpretentious of her achievements, she spoke on the issue interspersing the short lecture with humour and interesting anecdotes and even answered queries at the end.

She has been a perfect exemplar of retaining her identity despite being the wife of Narayana Murthy. "I like to be called Sudha Murty." And Sudha is the wife of one of the country's most successful men. She went all out to help Murty achieve his dream and became someone in her own right. She fits into several roles easily - wife, mother, teacher, author, social worker...

"They (women) are more powerful and can make or mar a man. Of course a woman has to cross more hurdles. The value system and upbringing plays a role in determining the path one takes. A woman is certainly more accountable in a household. Also she has to help in creating peace. The two can have peace by understanding each other. Walk together and achieve together" should be the principle, she pointed out.

" For centuries a woman has been conditioned to think and behave differently. For example, she is made to think that her husband should be taller, should earn more. But with education and by building skill and confidence and decision-making, women can stand on their own. The important thing is to maintain peace. That can ensure harmony in marital life. I do not sign autographs because I am Murty's wife - wife of a famous man. Success is not hereditary." Sudha emphasised on "what you are is important. Confidence is another important facet - It is never taught, one is born with it".

One can conclude with her quote said elsewhere "I play different roles like all women - that does not mean we don't have our own identity - women have that extra quality of adaptability and learn how to fit into different shoes but are their own selves still. And we have to exact our freedom by making the right choice in our lives, dictated by us and not by the word."

Therein perhaps lies the key to peace and harmony in a woman's life.

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