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Thread: An inspiring read !!

  1. #1

    An inspiring read !!

    Forwarding you something which is worth of spending five minutes.

    >An angry letter from a young lady made JRD Tata change his rule.
    >Sudha was livid when a job advertisement posted by a Tata company at
    >the institution where she was completing her post graduation stated
    >that "Lady candidates need not apply". She dashed off a post card to
    >JRD Tata, protesting against the discrimination. Following this, Sudha
    >was called
    >an interview and she became the first female engineer to work on the
    >shop floor at Telco (now Tata Motors). It was the beginning of an
    >association that would change her life in more ways than one.
    >The following is in her own words:
    >"THERE are two photographs that hang on my office wall. Everyday when I
    >enter my office I look at them before starting my day. They are
    >two old people. One is of a gentleman in a blue suit and the other is a
    >black and white image of a man with dreamy eyes and a white
    >beard.People have often asked me if the people in the photographs are related to me.
    >Some have even asked me, "Is this black and white photo that of a Sufi
    >saint or a religious Guru?" I smile and reply "No, nor are they related
    >to me. These people made an impact on my life. I am grateful to them."
    >"Who are they?" "The man in the blue suit is Bharat Ratna JRD Tata and
    >the black and white photo is of Jamsetji Tata." "But why do you have
    >them in your office?"" You can call it gratitude."
    >Then, invariably, I have to tell the person the following story. It was
    >a long time ago. I was young and bright, bold and idealistic. I was in
    >the final year of my Master's course in Computer Science at the Indian
    >Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, then known as the Tata
    >Life was full of fun and joy. I did not know what helplessness or
    >It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and
    >were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my
    >postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies' hostel. Other
    >girls were
    >research in different departments of Science. I was looking forward to
    >going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been
    >offered scholarships from Universities in the US. I had not thought of
    >taking up a job in India.
    >One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I
    >an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement
    >notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors). It
    >stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking
    >and with an excellent academic background, etc. At the bottom was a
    >"Lady candidates need not apply." I read it and was very upset. For the
    >first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.
    >Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I
    >had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers.
    >did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to
    >be successful. After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I
    >inform the topmost person in Telco's management about the injustice the
    >company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but
    >there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco. I thought it must
    >be one
    >the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen
    >his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the
    >company's chairman then).
    >I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I
    >remember clearly what I wrote. "The great Tatas have always been pioneers.
    >They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in
    >India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives.
    >They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were
    >responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science.
    >Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as
    >Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender."
    >I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I
    >received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at
    >Telco's Pune facility at the company's expense. I was taken aback by
    >the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go
    >free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected
    >Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel
    >like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed
    >to make the trip. It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell
    >in love with the city. To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as
    >much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed
    >my life in
    >many ways.
    >As directed, I went to Telco's Pimpri office for the interview. There
    >were six people on the panel and I realised then that this was serious
    >"This is the girl who wrote to JRD," I heard somebody whisper as soon
    >as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job.
    >realisation abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while
    >interview was being conducted.
    >Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so
    >I told them, rather impolitely, "I hope this is only a technical interview."
    >They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about
    >my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all
    >of them. Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me,
    >know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we
    >never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed
    >college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first
    >ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work
    >I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited
    >place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their
    >difficulties,so I answered, "But you must start somewhere, otherwise no
    >woman will ever be able to work in your factories."
    >Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So
    >this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I
    >would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka
    >there, we became good friends and we got married.
    >It was only after joining Telco that I realised who JRD was: the
    >uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get
    >to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show
    >some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I
    >was in his office on
    >first floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD
    >walked in. That was the first time I saw "appro JRD". Appro means "our"
    >in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay
    >House called him. I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode.
    >introduced me nicely, "Jeh (that's what his close associates called
    >him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She
    >is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor." JRD looked at me.
    >I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or
    >the postcard that preceded it).
    >Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. "It is nice that girls are
    >getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?"
    >"When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir," I replied. "Now I am
    >Murthy." He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM.
    >As for me, I almost ran out of the room. After that I used to see JRD
    >on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an
    >engineer. There
    >nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.
    >One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after
    >office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not
    >know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard.
    >Looking back, I realise JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a
    >small incident for him, but not so for me. "Young lady, why are you
    >here?" he asked. "Office time is over." I said, "Sir, I'm waiting for
    >my husband to come and pick
    >up." JRD said, "It is getting dark and there's no one in the corridor.
    >wait with you till your husband comes." I was quite used to waiting for
    >Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.
    >was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a
    >simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing.
    >There wasn't any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, "Look at
    >this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and
    >he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee." Then I saw Murthy
    >and I rushed out. JRD called and said, "Young lady, tell your husband
    >never to make his wife
    >In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go,
    >but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of
    >Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD
    >coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him,
    >so I stopped. He saw me and paused. Gently, he said, "So what are you doing, Mrs Kulkarni?"
    >(That was the way he always addressed me.) "Sir, I am leaving Telco."
    >"Where are you going?" he asked. "Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a
    >company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune." "Oh! And what will
    >you do when you are successful."
    >"Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful." "Never start with
    >diffidence," he advised me. "Always start with confidence. When you are
    >successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we
    >reciprocate. I wish you all the best."
    >Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed
    >like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive. Many years
    >later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair
    >JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco.
    >Later, he wrote to me, "It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad
    >part is that he's not alive to see you today."
    >I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy
    >he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must
    >have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine
    >away, but he didn't do that. He respected the intentions of that
    >unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an
    >opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he
    >changed her life and mindset forever.
    >Close to 50 per cent of the students in today's engineering colleges
    >are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry
    >segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops
    >and asks me
    >I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how
    >the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it
    >My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the
    >passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model
    >for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took
    >of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they
    >had the
    >vastness and magnificence."
    >Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the
    >Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development
    >initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayan Murthy is her husband.


  2. #2
    it was a wonderful incident. thanks for publishing it.

  3. #3
    Hey thanx deepthi 4 ur rply......

    Lini K

  4. #4
    Nice.. lina.

  5. #5
    well lina

    a mind touch story to whome who have courage to do some thing imposible...........

    cause courage n ideas can change values/rules

  6. #6
    hai Lina.....

    so nice to read about Sudha Murthy. I became so fond of her after hearing the interview you know.... I was also thinking to write about her....Bcoz she inspired me a lot. Her simplicity, as well as her humble conversation really made me to feel She is a great lady. Thanks a lot for sending such an article.

    You noticed her smile.....How cute it is na...?

  7. #7
    Ya hema u r right,she is very down to earth & she is d inspiration 4 all of us(all males,females,youngsters) i hope this article will give d inspiration & spirit to all of us.

    Thanx 4 ur rply guys,

    Lini K

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