Bangalore’s 7 Gifts to the World: #5 – Mr. N.R Narayana Murthy


Nobody can deny that N.R.Narayana Murthy’s contribution in helping put Bangalore on the world map. When people think of Infosys, they know it’s a company headquartered in Bangalore, the city where NRN also resides.

In 1981, along with 6 other budding entrpreneurs, NRN began the company Infosys, leaving behind a plum job. 25 years down the road, there has been no looking back for him – only with pride and typical of the man, in restrained style, perhaps – and the organisation that he started. Today, NRN and Infosys are, in my opinion, synonmous with each other and have become role models, not only in the Indian scenario, but also on a global scale.

I have been along time admirer of NRN. Thanks to our current blog theme, I have the opportunity now to express & articulate my reasons for staying an admirer. While this is purely my opinion and is adulatory, to say the least, I will not be too far away from the truth that there are many amongst us who feel the need for more Narayana Murthy’s for India’s sake. In the Indian firmament, there are too few stars a.k.a heroes, far too many petty politicians!

I have been an entrepreneur once and I know how difficult it is to want to share one’s profits with those helping realise it. But since day one, it has been NRN’s aim to create wealth and share the same equitably. How many can espouse this cause openly, transparently?

For being a role model to entrepreneurs for his unwavering focus on business ethics. Similarly, for choosing to adopt the highest standards of corporate governance. Again, for never shirking from contributing back to society as part of corporate social responsibility.

For being a role model to the public sector / government as to how the private sector can shine when it chooses to benchmark itself to excellence. Ergo, the first company to be chosen for Award for Corporate Excellence by Economic Times & the first company to be awarded the “National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance” conferred by the Government of India. For repeatedly being chosen as India’s most admired company and best known global brand.

For opting to give his customers the highest standards of customer service. For choosing to adopt the highest standards of disclosure to shareholders & stakeholders.

For building an organisation that is a magnet to the talented and meritorious. For openly saying that Infosys’s real assets are those that walk out every evening and how the challenge is to bring them back in, day after day. In spite of this, how do they manage 65000+ Infoscions where the estimated average age is 26?

For unfailingly and tirelessly championing the cause of meritocracy, training and education (5500 libraries have been set up in government schools?) in the public realm.

For choosing to stay away from politics, narrow-mindedness and chauvinism.

For choosing to stay simple, humble & generous in spite of all the stupendous wealth.

For doing things that make every Indian be proud. Want to be a world class company? Choose to be like Infosys. First company to offer stock options? First company to open the NASDAQ stock market from India? That’s Infosys. First company to offer US Engg. graduates a chance to work/train at Infosys? That’s Infosys for you.

For being the one Indian (amongst very few!) that heads of state from across the world & CEO’s of global corporations choose to come visiting. This inspite of the potholed roads & unimaginable traffic congestion.

For speaking his heart out, every time, on the need to improve basic givens such as city infrastructure, road safety, health care and education & the quality of life of every Bangalorean.

These are the reasons why I believe N.R Narayana Murthy is Bangalore’s gift to the world.

Further reading:

1. Time Magazine article in the 60 years of Asian Heroes issue.
2. Forbes, The World’s Richest People.

7 Comments so far

  1. usha (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 10:29 am

    “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!”

    That is the kind of MAN That NRN is -a real Hero!

    Lovely piece Ravi, agree with every word.

  2. silkboard (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    Now that he is retired, I wish he would try for an active role in framing public policies. Hope he gets to enter Rajya Sabha soon. And then perhaps a ministry.

    Come on Mr NRN, if well placed guys like you won’t, then who would?

  3. SHADOW (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

    Forget Rajyasabha & Ministry,He is in the race of President of India

  4. silkboard (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

    Shadow, as I had said here earlier, relatively speaking, it will be a waste to have NRN do the president job.

  5. rubic_cube (unregistered) on December 5th, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

    I completely agree with SB in that NRN should not run for President. He would be an illustrious person wasted in a role like that. Maybe when NRN gets to 75-80, he can run for president. ;-) Now, India needs him for more important things.

    BTW, Just like MKG, who was so instrumental in getting India its independence, has detractors who do not appreciate his contributions, the same goes for NRN too. I did hear from people that do not speak highly of him and of having displayed favoritism towards Nandan Nilekani when there were more able people to lead Infy. Just like MKG favored Nehru.

    I personally do not know what to believe. But I know one thing. There are more merits and goodness that NRN has propogated than otherwise. So, to me, he is a good person. And I respect him.

    But at the same time, I wonder what is it that makes some people talk ill of him. Can anyone throw light on that please?

  6. Sanjay M (unregistered) on December 11th, 2006 @ 11:00 pm

    Informative and well researched – definitely will come back for a more leisurely second read!

  7. maatugaara (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

    first of all..he is mysore’s gift to the world…and ya he is a great man…but needs to provide parking facilities in his buildings…all his employees line ur our street with their cars.. ;) ..

    well written nevertheless…

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