Sudha Murthy, the chairperson of Infosys Foundation and philanthropist has recently published a book consisting of 11 chapters. The book which has been published by Penguin House describes the author’s life experiences while she was with Infosys.
Talking about one of the shocking incidents mentioned in the book Murthy told that when she was at International Heathrow airport in London a fellow passenger shouted at her,“Go and stand in the economy class queue. This line is for business class travelers“.
Mrs. Murthy was at the airport wearing a salwar kameez, which perhaps made her look like a misfit in the queue.
But the thing that shocked her was that she was called a “cattle-class person”.
In an interview with PTI she was talking about the existing biases in the society.
She writes in the book,“class does not mean huge possession of money. Mother Teresa was a classy woman. So is Manjul Bhargava, a great mathematician of Indian origin. The concept that you automatically gain class by acquiring money is an outdated thought process”.
Murthy further told that she could have shown her boarding pass to the lady and could have cleared all the doubts about her “class”, but she wanted to know how she was not in accordance with business class standards.”Soon I realized it was because of my dress!” she said.
The best part that happened was, later that day Murty saw that woman who had shouted at her in the meeting which Murty was heading. As expected the woman was shocked to see her. The other thing that caught her attention was that the woman had changed her dress, from an Indo-Western silk outfit and Gucci bags she had slipped into a plain khadi saree to suit the theme of the meeting. In the meeting, Sudha was pitching Infosys Foundation to sponsor funds for the overhaul of a government school.
“The clothes were a reminder of the stereotype that is still rampant today. Just like one is expected to wear the finest of silks for a wedding, social workers must present themselves in a plain and uninteresting manner,” she writes in the book.
She has also expressed concern over how these external factors dictate the lives of people. The incident clearly shows our stereotypes and judgemental views about the people in our society and how without knowing about people and their achievements we often judge them by their appearance.