The fourth session of Day 2 at the Kolkata Literature Festival features Infosys CEO Sudha Murthy delivering the Apeejay Jeet Paul Memorial lecture. Sudha Murthy is also a social worker and author. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her works in Kannada literature. The memorial is dedicated to Jeet Paul, who helped in setting up and stabilising many a business establishment. The session is a mark of remembrance and respect for the man that he was.
Sudha Murthy spoke about “nation building.” She discussed what makes a person truly confident. It is not about having money, or having connections in the concerned fields. It is all about hard work, in order to attain success. She spoke about her experiences as a teacher of computer science. Her students, she said, remembered the experiences she had narrated, rather than the lessons that she had taught out of the textbook.
She also spoke about her travails as a woman coming from a remote village trying to pursue her dream of becoming a computer engineering. Pressure from the family, and society, is an undeniable factor looming large over the fate of young girls all over the country looking to realise their dreams. She decided to stick to her choice, because she found it “legally, ethically right”. That is a characteristic of Jeet Paul’s life as well. She went on to talk about the experiences of being the only woman in the entire engineering college, in a batch of 250 students. “When you feel it is right, you must do everything you can to achieve it” she said, talking about how she gradually tuned herself to take over the “man’s world” of engineering. “If you run after money, money runs away from you. If you run after cause, money runs behind you.” is the message she had for entrepreneurs, relating to her personal experience of building Infosys from scratch.
“Be impractical, if you want to follow your dreams. Forget about what people tell you. Do not worry about what your society asks you to do. If you give for a cause, for the subject you love, and you get engrossed in it, and you keep hope in your heart, you will always be successful. A person can be represented not because he or she has the best clothes, or the flowers in their hair, or the scent they apply. It is about what is inside of you, what is in your heart and in your brain.” she signed off.