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Narayana Murthy, sirf naam hi kaafi hai, a gentleman who needs no introduction, the iconic founder of Infosys graced FLAME’s campus with his presence and formally inaugurated FLAME’s Vivekananda Library, (one of the most modern libraries in India today). Not only this, he addressed as well as interacted with the student community at FLAME.

Like everyone, even I knew who Narayana Murthy was. However, I thought I must read up on him before he visited us. So I hit the net, and there was a tsunami of information online about him. This man is obviously an institution. I found myself mesmerized by his story, such a humble beginning and the amount of success achieved with it was absolutely inspiring. 

Narayana Murthy was born on 20 August 1946 in Sidlaghatta, Karnataka. After completing his school education, he appeared for the Indian Institute of Technology entrance test but could not attend. Instead he went to the National Institute of Engineering and graduated in 1967 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1969 he received his master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. 

Mr. Murthy started his career at IIM Ahmedabad as chief systems programmer. There he worked on India’s first time-sharing computer system and designed and implemented a BASIC interpreter for Electronics Corporation of India Limited. He started a company named Softronics. When that company failed after about a year and a half, he joined Patni Computer Systems in Pune. It was during his stint at IIM Ahmedabad, that he met our Founder President, Dr. Indira Parikh, who was also beginning her career in academia at the revered institution.  

Mr. Murthy and six software professionals founded Infosys in 1981 with an initial capital injection of Rs.10,000, which was provided by his wife Sudha Murthy. Mr. Murthy served as the CEO of Infosys for 21 years, turning it into a phenomenal success. I am awestruck, Rs. 10,000 as a seed capital? really!..and now his net worth is over $ 1.55 billion! There has got to be a strong vision and a focused mind behind this, not to mention lot of hard work and dedication. This was not a co-incidence, as the initial success repeated itself over the years consistently.

Now, I looked forward to his visit to our campus even more eagerly then before. And then, on 10 November 2014 promptly Mr. Murthy arrived well on time at the appointed hour. The entire lot of students, all faculty members, our President, board members, staff, guests everyone had gathered and those big sprawling rooms of campus suddenly seemed smaller. All benches were occupied, people were clamoring for space to sit, students were sitting on the floor right up to the platform, and some stood outside the room (as there was no space left inside) so they could at least listen to him. 

Mr. Murthy inaugurated FLAME’s Vivekananda Library, and took to the dais. Although his presence was compelling, there was a certain humbleness about him, which filled the room with good vibes. In fact, he insisted on interacting with students first and then chose to give his speech. He made it clear, that he is all for women empowerment and will take the first question from a lady. He alternated the questions/interaction between men and women present. He took the most unlikely questions sportingly and responded with genuine warmth, humor and precision, without missing the plot. 

Mr. Murthy then spoke how he knew FLAME’s President, Dr. Indira Parikh and talked about her fondly. He told us how he always believed in creating a civilized society – a society where everyone has equal opportunity to better his/her life, where every child has food, shelter, health care and education. He spoke about India’s future and how technology is here to stay. India’s bright future in the world of information technology was always his vision and related to an incident, as to how he was offered a substantial amount of money to sell the company during early 1990’s, but his belief in the future growth had him in two minds, hence he consulted his partners and was relieved to find that they too share his vision and were not willing to sell the company, irrespective of the amount of money. They then made a pact not to be swayed by such offers in the future. The gamble paid off handsomely and they continued to grow many folds. 

He continued to address us, holding the interest of the crowd with anecdotes punctuated with humor, yet with a strong message. The underlying theme of his talk highlighted his struggle and hard work, presence of mind, and futuristic vision. Tough decisions, cash crunches, losses, challenges and hardships, he faced it all. He stressed upon the fact how he continued to read, learn and educate himself and others around him to the ever evolving scenario of technology. Change was the only constant in his chosen stream, and he adapted well to it.

At the end of the morning, all students were filled with positivity, hope and renewed faith in hard work. I could see everyone was as awe struck and positively inspired as much as me, if not more. Best learning I got was with success one should stay grounded and never forget one’s roots.

His inspiring interaction with the students and community gave everyone a keen insight on entrepreneurship, life, respect and everything in between. We hope to have him back with us soon!

Author – Parth Joshi -FSB-2