While the world admires Sudha Murty for her great philanthropy and act of kindness as Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, very few of us know how she really found her life purpose of serving people.
On multiple occasions, Sudha Murty has credited her daughter Akshata for waking her up in life; and help her find a purpose in life. It was an argument between the mother and daughter that changed the course of Sudha Murty’s life.
Sudha shared with ToI how her daughter helped her in finding a life purpose. She also quoted a Sanskrit shloka, which translates roughly into `the beholder of knowledge, irrespective of age, should be respected’,
As per the report, in the course of an argument, Akshata, Sudha Murthy’s daughter had said, `
“Amma, you are now 45 years old. What exactly is your aim in life?”
“Amma, when an educated person like you, well travelled, well read and without love for money does not help poor people, then don’t expect anyone else to do. Is it not your duty to give back to those unfortunate people? What are you looking for in life? Are you looking for glamour or fame?
You are the daughter of a doctor, granddaughter of a schoolteacher and come from a distinguished teaching family. If you cannot help poor people then don’t expect anyone else to do it.”
This made Sudha Murty, who was around 45 years old at the time, question her purpose in life. She found herself asking questions about the life choices she was going to make.
“I was forty-five years old. What was my duty at this age? What was I looking for in life? I did not start out in life with a lot of money. A great deal of hard work had been put in to get to where we were today.
What had I learnt from the hard journey that was my life? Did I work for money, fame or glamour?
No, I did not work for those; they came accidentally to me.
Initially I worked for myself, excelling in studies. After that I was devoted to Infosys and my family. Should not the remaining part of my life be used to help those people who were suffering for no fault of theirs? Was that not my duty?”
Sudha Murty took eight days to understand and act on the words of her daughter. She finally resigned from her post as a full-time lecturer in computer science and went to work for the poorest of the poor.
Recently, Sudha encountered a defining moment in her life. 3,000 sex workers, who have been rehabilitated by Sudha Murthy’s organization, arranged a thanksgiving ceremony for her. Sudhaji has worked tirelessly for 18 years to empower them to lead a normal life.
While sharing the details she mentioned:
“I went there on the stage and the 3,000 of them, who were now leading normal lives, wanted to hear from me and I was absolutely speechless. The tears started to flow and I quoted a shloka from Ramayana: ‘God… don’t make me rich, don’t make me beautiful, don’t make me a queen. If at all you want to give me anything, give me a soft heart and a strong hand, so I can wipe the tears of others.’
At that moment, I realised why I was born, and it gave me a tremendous amount of peace.”
It is heartwarming to see how Sudha Murty’s daughter helped her finding her life purpose at the age of 45. While many of us, as parents, help our kids to find their life purpose, Sudha Murty’s inspiring story is a reminder of how our kids can help us too.