Sudha Murthy (née Kulkarni) (born 19 August 1950) is an Indian engineering teacher, Kannada, Marathi and English author as well as a Social worker. She is also the Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. She is the wife of co-founder of Infosys, N. R. Narayana Murthy.
Sudha Murthy began her professional career in computer science and engineering. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and a member of the public health care initiatives of the Gates Foundation. She has founded several orphanages, participated in rural development efforts, supported the movement to provide all Karnataka government schools with computer and library facilities, and established ‘Murty Classical Library of India’ at Harvard University. Murthy initiated a bold move to introduce computer and library facilities in all schools in Karnataka & taught computer science. She got “Best Teacher Award” in 1995 from Rotary Club at Bengaluru (erstwhile Bangalore). Murthy is best known for her social work and her contribution to literature in Kannada and English. Dollar Bahu (English: Dollar Daughter-in-Law), a novel originally authored by her in Kannada and later translated into English as Dollar Bahu, was adapted as a televised dramatic series by Zee TV in 2001. Sudha Murthy has also acted in the Marathi film Pitruroon and the Kannada film Prarthana. She has also appeared in Kaun Banega Crorepati season 11 in its Karamveer episode of finale week. Sudha Murthy once attended an interview with Shashee Tharoor.
Early life and education
Sudha Murty was born into a Deshastha Madhwa Brahmin family on 19 August 1950 in Shiggaon, Haveri in Karnataka, India, the daughter of surgeon Dr. R. H. Kulkarni and his wife Vimala Kulkarni. She was raised by her parents and maternal grandparents. These childhood experiences form the historical basis for her first notable work entitled How I Taught my Grandmother to Read ,wise and Otherwise and other Stories. Murthy completed a B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the B.V.B. College of Engineering & Technology (now known as KLE Technological University), standing first in her class and receiving a gold medal from the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Murthy completed M.Eng. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science, standing first in her class and receiving a gold medal from the Indian Institute of Engineers.
Sudha Murthy became the first female engineer hired at India’s largest auto manufacturer TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO). She joined the company as a Development Engineer in Pune and then worked in Mumbai & Jamshedpur as well. She had written a postcard to the company’s Chairman complaining of the “men only” gender bias at TELCO. As a result, she was granted a special interview and hired immediately. She later joined Walchand Group of Industries at Pune as Senior Systems Analyst.
In 1996, she started Infosys Foundation & till date has been the Trustee of Infosys Foundation and a Visiting Professor at the PG Center of Bangalore University. She also taught at Christ University. She has written and published many books, of which two are travelogues, two technical books, six novels and three educative books.
Two institutions of higher learning, the H.R. Kadim Diwan Building housing the Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) department at IIT Kanpur and the Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library at NLSIU, were both endowed and inaugurated by the Infosys Foundation.
The President, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam presenting the Padma Shri Award to Dr. Sudha Murthy
- Gold Medal from the Indian Institute of Engineers, India for having secured the 1st Rank in MTech of all the branches of Engineering
- Gold Medal from the Chief Minister of Karnataka Sri Devaraj Urs, for securing the highest marks in B.E. of all the Universities of Engineering in Karnataka
- Cash award for having secured the highest marks in SSLC
- C S Desai Prize for standing first in University Exams of Karnataka
- Youth Service Department Prize from Government of Karnataka, for having been the outstanding engineering student of Karnataka
- 1995: Best Teacher Award in 1995 from the Rotary Club of KARNATAKA
- National Award from Public Relation Society of India for outstanding Social Service to the Society
- ‘Attimabbe’ award for her technical book in Kannada (Shaale Makkaligagi Computer _ meaning computers for school children)
- Award for Excellent Social Service by Rotary South – Hubli
- 2000: ‘Karnataka Rajyotsava’ State Award for the year 2000, for achievement in the field of literature and social work
- 2001: ‘Ojaswini’ award for excellent social work for the year 2000
- ‘Millenium Mahila Shiromani’ award
- 2004 Raja-Lakshmi Award by Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation in Chennai
- 2006: She also received the R.K. Narayana’s Award for Literature.
- 2011: Murthy was conferred honorary LL.D (Doctor of Laws) degrees for their contributions to promote formal legal education and scholarship in India.
- 2013: Basava Shree-2013 Award was presented to Narayan Murthy & Sudha Murthy for their contributions to society at Basaveshwara Medical College auditorium. Basava Shree award comprises a plaque and a cheque of `5 lakh, Sudha Murthy handed over award money to an orphanage run by the mutt.
- 2018: Murthy received the Life Time Achievement Award at the Crossword-Raymond Book Awards.
- 2019: Sudha Murthy received “Hemmeya-Kannadiga” award from television.
- 2019: IIT Kanpur awarded her Honorary Degree (Honoris Causa) of Doctor of Science.
- She won India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri
Sudha Murthy married N. R. Narayana Murthy while employed as an engineer at TELCO in Pune. The couple has two children Akshata and Rohan. Her daughter Akshata married Rishi Sunak, her classmate from Stanford, a British Indian. He is now finance minister of UK.
In an interview with the Filmfare magazine, Mrs. Murthy said “I have 500 DVDs that I watch in my home theatre. I see a film in totality – its direction, editing… all aspects. People know me as a social worker, as an author… but no one knows me as a movie buff. That’s why I am glad to do this interview with Filmfare”. The cineaste, who even went to the extent of watching 365 films in 365 days confides, “I could have actually become a film journalist. I never get bored of movies!” In an installation ceremony of chairpersons of Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO), Murthy said the advice she got from J.R.D.Tata when she left her job to assist her husband Narayana Murthy to startup company Infosys which changed her life. He told her to remember that no one was owner of money. “You are only trustee of money and it always changes hands. When you are successful, give it back to society that gave you so much goodwill”. The money was first donated by Sudha Murthy. She gave 10000 rupees by which the Infosys company was started. Sudha Murthy’s mother has always told her to save money for a rainy day. That’s how she had the money to donate to Infosys.
Murthy’s Infosys Foundation is a public charitable trust founded in 1996 and Murthy is one of the trustees. Through Foundation she has built 2,300 houses in the flood affected areas. Murthy’s social work covers the healthcare, education, empowerment of women, public hygiene, art and culture, and poverty alleviation at the grassroots level. Her vision of a library for each school has resulted in the setting up of 70,000 libraries so far. She is helping out rural areas by building 16,000 public toilets and several hundred toilets in the city of Bengaluru. She has handled national natural disasters like tsunami in Tamil Nadu and Andaman, earthquake in Kutch – Gujarat, hurricane and floods in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and drought in Karnataka and Maharashtra The Government of Karnataka awarded her the prestigious literary award, the ‘Attimabbe Award’ –for her literary work for the year 2011–12.
Murthy is a prolific fiction author in Kannada and English. She has published several books, mainly through Penguin, that espouse her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realization through fictional narratives.
- Dollar Sose
- Kaveri inda Mekaangige
- Hakkiya Teradalli
- Guttondu Heluve
- Nooniya Sahasagalu
- Samanyralli Asamanyaru
- Compuer lokadalli
- Guttondu Heluve
- Yerilitada Daariyalli
- Sukhesini Mattu Itara Makkala Kathegalu
- The Mother I Never Knew
- Three Thousand Stitches
- The Man from the Egg
- Here, There, Everywhere
- Magic of the Lost Temple
- How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and other stories
- The Old Man And His God
- Dollar Bahu
- Wise and Otherwise
- The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
- The Serpent’s Revenge
- Gently Falls The Bakula
- House of Cards
- Something Happened on the Way To Heavens
- The Magic Drum and other favorite stories
- The Bird with the Golden Wings
- How The Sea Became Salty
- The Upside Down King
- The Daughter From A Wishing Tree
- The magic of the lost
- Grandma’s Bag of Stories