U.R. Anantha Murthy on N.R. Narayana Murthy

In the aftermath of the N.R. Narayana Murthy row over the National Anthem, and the storm over Sachin Tendulkar cutting a cake in the colours of the National Flag, CNN-IBN’s daily 10 pm programme “Face the Nation” had a discussion last night on whether we are oversensitive to issues like these, and batting from Bangalore was the Jnanpith Award winning Kannada writer U.R. Anantha Murthy.

***

Sagarika Ghose: Narayana Murthy about the national anthem. Murthy has always been perceived as a capitalist with a difference, he is a homegrown international icon, a boy next door who made good. Are you disappointed at these comments? Does it take away from his attractive Indian rootedness?

U.R. Anantha Murthy: I don’t think we should overdo this. He chose a wrong word…

You know, he is such a votary of the English language, and I am surprised that he used a word like “embarrassment”. He should have said that it is difficult for them to sing it, then there would have been no controversy.

Sagarika Ghose: Is this in some senses the face of globalisation? Infosys is our flagship-globalised company and in order to globalise, you have to compromise a little bit on your national identity, you have to play your nationalism down.

U.R. Anantha Murthy: You know, speaking for myself I am also unhappy with Narayana Murthy because he speaks only for the English medium. He is a cosmopolite. He is a great achiever and we admire him, but we differ from him.

Murthy should be grateful to the Karnataka government and to India because it made it possible for him. And he has no sympathy with the Nehruvian kind of socialism which created, really, the infrastructure necessary for people like Narayana Murthy to flourish. So, there is something wrong with the corporate culture.

Sagarika Ghose: So has this damaged his reputation?

Anantha Murthy: Yeah, he used a wrong word. That’ what I think. Embarrassment is a wrong word.

I don’t think he really meant it but because he belongs to the corporate culture, the globalising world, he does not have enough respect for mass movements, the people of Karnataka and the languages of India. That really worries us.

It’s not only Narayana Murthy. He is a very decent man, but man people like him are like that.

Sagarika Ghose: So in fact, the viewers and audience and members of the public—on our channel 90 per cent wanted NRN as President on this channel a couple of nights back—do you think they also signify this kind of dissconnect with India? They are the same kind of brand of people as NRN who are very successful, very humane, very compassionate but disconnected at some fundamental level with India.

Anantha Murthy: I still want a Dalit woman to be as President… Not only he but people like him are disconnected with India. They represent a cosmopolite culture…

Sagarika Ghose: Who is a greater patriot? Is it someone like Narayana Murthy or Sachin Tendulkar who prove their sentiments through actions or is it someone who displays the flags and tricolour of Indian nationhood?

Anantha Murthy: Neither of them. It is the people of India. The farmers of India…

The common masses…. People like Narayana Murthy do not have enough respect for them. Indian democracy is alive because they are alive…

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39 Responses to “U.R. Anantha Murthy on N.R. Narayana Murthy”

  1. Subbu Says:

    This blog wants cheap publicity… U guys Suck…., We Indians do not know how to treat Legends with respect. Be it Sachin Tendulkar or NRN (For Example). I want to know whether the blog writer has the vison (that is create a world class company)… U are all Envious and Jealous fuckwits.

  2. anonymous Says:

    you see now even Anantha Murthy wants someone from the farming community as the first citizen of the nation. essentially what i mean is our views and outlook should focus on the greatest happiness of the greatest number. taking away farmers’ lands for industrialisation or housing is nothing but daylight robbery, against individual liberty. but this can be done to create essential infrastructure.

  3. tarlesubba Says:

    kannaDadalli anthaaralla ”gumppal govinda” haage.
    everybody gets to peddle their theories and ideas.

    this reminds of that meme about why the hen(duck) cross a road.

  4. Mohan Says:

    very sensible comments from URA. There is a phrase for this phenomenon, “Secession of the successful” and NRN’s “lack of respect for mass movements or for India” for that matter isn’t surprising.

  5. Andy Says:

    Sorry subbu..i find your comments juvenile and quite dumb..can you just buzz off for now, pls ?

  6. Ila Says:

    Secession of the successful ? Umm doesnt that apply to politicians too ? If only we could tab the amounts of money thats fled the country , we would probably find that a fair chunk belonged to people of all castes and creeds but with a common vocation – politics.

    If SRT were not successful, he would not be contributing several crores by way of taxes to the govt. kitty and every rupee the country gets, is needed to uplift the poor masses. Its a different story that Rajiv G himself said that of every rupee collected, only 15 paise finds it way to the palm of a poor man …

    We as a country resent the success of any of our fellow citizens and dont know how to respect our heroes…be they NRN,SRT or even Rajkumar – the shocking visuals on TV of the rioting last year is proof of how little the so-called “fans” representing the “masses” respected Dr. R.

  7. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    Anonymous, the greatest good for the greatest number has no room for leadership. The greatest good for the greatest number right now would be to give free housing to all citizens. Can’t do that can we? It also has another name – communism.

  8. Nikhil Moro Says:

    Gokulam, rightly said.

    The controversy shows how important word usage is. Language constructs thought, not the other way round. URA nicely sums up the issue in the early part of the interview.

    Nevertheless, URA’s latter comments seem vague, out of subject, unsupported, even illogical: That only farmers are patriots, that “corporate culture” does not respect India, that “cosmopolite” folks are unsympathetic to others, or — completely irrelevant to the topic — that a Dalit woman should be president. The man, from the sharpness I knew about him, seems to have become a bit muddled in the head.

  9. Dheerendragopal Says:

    ahh..NM.I was expecting your reply on URA post sooner or later .
    Language constructs are unimportant when two friends sit and chat over a bisi bisi coffee. NRN was addressing media and I am pretty much sure
    ‘Mansalli yirodhe bayalli barodhu’…lets close this NRN topic .

    According to DoddiBuddi . URA has taken a small and Large ( Swalpa lightaagi)

  10. Anonymous Guy Says:

    NRN topic innyenu maja kodthailla.

  11. Dheerendragopal Says:

    Howdappa..NRN bittu Sudhabagge naadhru yendru bareeri .
    I heard she is rehabilitating devdasis …yenadru adara bagge Statistics gotha .

  12. Gouri Satya Says:

    What about the Kannada books her Trust has donated to a large number of schools across the State? And, the financial help she doles out to the poor and the needy? And the portion of their income she and Narayana Murthy contribute to the Trust fund?

  13. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Yes Gouri, lets all worship her as the great goddess.
    DG, devdasi andhralla – yenri adhu?

  14. tarlesubba Says:

    the community which has one of the highest incidences of HIV +ve patients in KA. (while KA itself is one of the most effected states in IN)

  15. Dheerendragopal Says:

    `Servant Of God.’ Devadasis are Dalit women sold into sexual slavery.You can tell the “servants of God” from the other Dalit women outside the Hindu temple in Saudatti ( yellamma temple) .These Dalit Women were abused sexually by the temple priests and other high caste for centuries.
    It exists even today .
    Havent you seen that excellant film which starred ‘Vajramuni’ and Arathi .
    I am not remembering the name right now .

  16. Hanuman Says:

    Dheerendragopal Says:
    April 12th, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Howdappa..NRN bittu Sudhabagge naadhru yendru bareeri .
    I heard she is rehabilitating devdasis …yenadru adara bagge Statistics gotha .

    Dragging his wife into argument s that concerns NRN is sheer wickedness bordering thuggery. The guys who come to America still have the ‘koppal’ brains screwed in to their heads

  17. Dheerendragopal Says:

    I am reading Hanuman Chalisa….

  18. Dheerendragopal Says:

    Hanuman ..LOL
    Did you leave your ‘KOPPAL’ brains back?
    naanu change agilla sir haage yidheeni ?

    I was referring to Philanthropist Sudha murthy..I dont know why are you getting pissed?

  19. Hanuman Says:

    My friends and I had chatted with URA after he wrote that famous novel of his. He was in that central institute whose name escapes me before he moved to manansa gangothri. He was highly critical of everything. We wondered whether he had anything positive to say about the society in Mysore at all- which was not bad, maharaja was still giving out for charities, Poornayya Chowltry was still there giving free meals, Mysore was still Mysore as we knew it and for ten rupees one would get a bag full of fresh vegetables in Devaraja market etc.. He never held the same view of anything within a single week! Well after these years I would not take him seriously anyway.

  20. Indu Ramesh Says:

    Agreed. Bashing a few selected communities, wearing the ‘secular’ tag on their shoulders, trying to be at the right place at the right time to garner the goodies avaiable, these are some characteristics of the leaders like him and a few others. But tell me, are these characters really relevent to us in the society, apart from providing soundbytes to the news channels?

  21. Ravi MS Says:

    Have different opinion compared to the one you have presented.

    1. I certainly agree that NRN has committed a mistake by saying “Embarrassing”, for that he had asked sorry .

    2. I can give many instances where people have turned there backs when National Anthem was sung.
    Ex: Lalu and Rabdi Devi were sitting in the Chair when it was played. (Citations can be provided Later ).

    3. The main reason is “IT”, people recognize India Just because of IT , nothing else.

    4. What does URA knows about Corporate Culture, if he writes some bull shit novels he is not great, a person will be great if he can create jobs for other people , inturn reducing the unemployment rate. Who asked him to give his view, certainly dont understand.

    5. People Like Watal Nagaraj ” So called Kannada Activist” doesnt have any work to do apart from making the things more complicated for others. He doesnt hold a IIM- A degree to brag about this. He doesnt know what is meant by Corporate Ethics. Have seen him stopping trains and burning them , making life of the Common people Hell.

    6. Why cant NRN be President , bullshit people can become prime minister and president and Chief Minster , why cant he be. How many prime ministers and presidents and Chief Minsters have a Bachelors Degree, How many can speak English, How many can present India without the Help of Assistants. But NRN will.

    7. Most of all one should respect NRN , rather than yelling at him. All sectors in India are growing , since IT is growing way fast.

    8. Even though i dont live now in India, i hear news about the Indian Growth everyday in the country where i live in the form of Daily newspaper.

    9. If India didnt had the IT growth , people from other parts of the world would still be thinking that Indians are beggars.

    I believe that Media Should portray the things which are presented not the ones which are not existent .

  22. quizman Says:

    If URA believes; “You know, speaking for myself I am also unhappy with Narayana Murthy because he speaks only for the English medium. He is a cosmopolite. He is a great achiever and we admire him, but we differ from him.” WHy did he speak English himself?

    And the following statement is such utter tripe, it need not even be commented upon: Murthy should be grateful to the Karnataka government and to India because it made it possible for him. And he has no sympathy with the Nehruvian kind of socialism which created, really, the infrastructure necessary for people like Narayana Murthy to flourish. So, there is something wrong with the corporate culture.

    URA is a big politician himself. He just sides up to whosoever is in power in Karnataka at the moment.

  23. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Quizman

    URA is right. You speak English in an English interview- Ditto with NRN.

    Didn’t Nehruvian Socialist Principles create individuals like NRN? If you deign to see this from URA’s viewpoint he will even claim Nehru was Left’s ‘finest hour’ :)

    Did any Kannada newspapers bother to interview NRN?

  24. Arun Says:

    Let us not take the dubious CNN-IBN programme seriously. I was watching the interview, and the great Sagarik Goose was concluding every comment from URA the way she wanted, without letting URA conclude. AS URA WAS NOT IN THE STUDIO HIS COMPLETE COMMENTS WERE BLOCKED.

    Let us not take URA too very seriously. He was partially right and we don’t know what were his complete thoughts on this.

    Sensibly, our Assembly members have decided that they will not discuss this issue anymore in the Assembly. Don’t these guys love wasting time in fighting over matters where it doesn’t concern them?

    Saakuu…let’s leave this here. Discussing Sudha Murthy’s works will be interesting.

  25. Prakashr Says:

    RAVI.M.S says…..
    What does URA knows about Corporate Culture, if he writes some bull shit novels he is not great, a person will be great if he can create jobs for other people , inturn reducing the unemployment rate. Who asked him to give his view, certainly dont understand.
    6. Why cant NRN be President , bullshit people can become prime minister and president and Chief Minster , why cant he be. How many prime ministers and presidents and Chief Minsters have a Bachelors Degree, How many can speak English, How many can present India without the Help of Assistants. But NRN will.

    Yaar Siva neenu gaamuddu…yenu kaadalli yidhya.
    ninna makkostu….

  26. goodjoke Says:

    Neither our Sagarika Ghose, nor our UR Anantha Murthy will understand that it is not a Narayana Murthy or a Dalit Woman (two ends of our Indian social spectrum) who will occupy the Rashtrapathi Bhavan in August 2007… what we will land up will be some crooked Politician like Deve Gowda… and those who tell about Deve Gowda the Humble Farmer, please give a break.. this man is a insult to India , to Kannadinga and his views on other state people (esp Tamilians) and Kavery River issue make him a worst creature, but this is India, where politicians and powerbrokers get the final word, and we will see only such people in the Pres post. Jai Hind!!!

  27. emailxyz Says:

    Isn’t URA the same b*****d who went and begged S M Krishna for a Rajya Sabha nomination ? Him commenting on NRN’s patriotism, ha ha ha…URA’s entire literary career was based on his bashing of one community (full disclosure : I don’t belong to that community either)…NRN at least helped create wealth and jobs…What have the politicans who abuse him have done ? If the middle class tax paying people still manage to make a living in India without emigrating, it is thanks to the likes of Murthy and Premji…URA shuld shut up and do what he does best…Go around begging for favours from politicos

  28. vinay Says:

    @emailxyz ….why are u so apologetic to mention the community that gets the bashing from all and sundry, the books are public domain , the community has a name (full disclosure : I DO belong to that community :)) )

  29. Hanuman Says:

    As I said earlier URA catapulted into fame through a novel which was rational
    in its outlook. I though it was timely at that time. I should say that he wrote it not because he wants to focus on some unsavory aspects of that community ( I belong to that community and yet appreciated what URA highlighted), but of what his experience was in his own personal life. Novel was born out of vengeance and not with a desire to radicalize certain aspects which belong to dark days of civilization.

    As far as I know, he never created a single job for any one, never held the same opinion twice within a week, always came up with criticisms without at the same time appreciating the good aspects of an issue, had the arrogance that he was the only social reformer around ( the dalit and formers his formula remarks) butted into things which he has no knowledge of ( such as corporate culture, job creation, globalisation etc,..), hated modern technology including IT and the Internet, though had a doctorate from London University in English never
    used his knowledge in that area to bridge the divide, etc.. etc.. Do I care what he says. NO!!!

  30. Goutham Says:

    Karnataka should do exact opposite of what “URA” and Justice Saldana propose. I am just glad that Saldana has retired. These 2 guys have no clue about anything they speak off.

    Saldana will oppose anything which cuts a leaf of a tree. He has said he looked after a tree for some 50 years in MG Road.:) What the hell.It that his private property?He is also oppsosed to BMIC. One more scientific comment is that M G Road will have no oxygen if Metro comes up.

    URA is complete nut.

  31. James Barzini Says:

    URA is a bullshit writer. He has written such trash as ‘Samskara’. They have given him a Gnaan Peeth award; he should have been given an Agnaan Peeth award. He neither understands economics and management. Such people should be asked to shut up and keep quiet. They are pests in our society. He does not have comparable status to that of NRN. It is like a dog barking at the temple elephant.

  32. Joe Eshwar Says:

    I believe, Dr. Anantha Murthy was right in saying ‘Corporate culture has failed’ in receiving the Nehruvian kind of Socialism which made a platform for people like Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji. I am shocked at the way people have reacted to this interview accusing URA. Well to all ignorant ones here is a tip-URA is not only a great writer but also a great academician. He was the Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, perchance one of the best Universities in India. Now for a person like Narayanamurthy to become that would cost, say-20 Janmas. Sagarika Ghose needs to learn the craft of interviewing people because in an interview it is 2 people who speak and not one

  33. singhapunga Says:

    “Well to all ignorant ones here is a tip-URA is not only a great writer but also a great academician. He was the Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, perchance one of the best Universities in India. Now for a person like Narayanamurthy to become that would cost, say-20 Janmas. ”

    NRN could never become that, 20 janmas is too less for NRN to degenerate so low. NRN would have to do a lot of politiking by slandering some upper castes, do a lot of bootlicking with the ministers and powers to be to be a VC of this caste ridden university. Write a lot of stories and articles against brahmins and also on how backward our nation is because of them. Also he needs to get approval for his brand of literature from the socialists, marxists and other great intellectuals from american academecia. THis would be tough for NRN to do, he better well concentrate on earning dollars.

  34. Joe Eshwar Says:

    ‘NRN could never become that, 20 janmas is too less for NRN to degenerate so low. NRN would have to do a lot of politiking by slandering some upper castes, do a lot of bootlicking with the ministers and powers to be to be a VC of this caste ridden university. Write a lot of stories and articles against brahmins and also on how backward our nation is because of them. Also he needs to get approval for his brand of literature from the socialists, marxists and other great intellectuals from american academecia. THis would be tough for NRN to do, he better well concentrate on earning dollars’.

    This comment sounds pathetic as M.G University is never nor has it ever been a caste ridden University. In fact Dr. Murthy was invited by the then Government to head it. It was not just one person’s decision to appoint him but a group of people which consisted of Ministers and senior academicians (Either because my friend who has commented is not aware of the University or it’s history). ‘Boot licking’, the term used by my friend reflects his idea of reaching a position. Which is not true with people like Dr. Murthy.

    Now it’s foolishness to blame writers for the problems our country is faced with nor it has to do anything with the Brahmanism. The fate of India was, is and will be decided by it’s people and that includes my friend who has made the comment, Dr. Murthy, Mr. Narayana Murthy and I. We have recieved what we truly deserve.

  35. Hosa-Belaku Says:

    Now that the Supreme Court has had its say, let us think ahead. NRN to “redeem” himself, (oops, wrong word I should say, “to silence critics “) should convince Infosys to start/end the day with the National Anthem -with an assembly. Adhe schools nal madtharala…as done in schools. After all it is an “INSTITUTION. ” Global no doubt, but proud about its Indian roots. Alternatively an Infosys Anthem may be penned and sung which reflects both the Indianess and international identity.
    URA has his point of view as always. And why not? His fitting reply to the negatives of corporate culture can only come from another literary jewel… “samskrithiya samskara : Udhyama style”–the death of culture at the hands of corporates.

  36. CHURUMURI POLL: Is Samskara a little too sexy? « churumuri Says:

    [...] U.R. Anantha Murthy on N.R. Narayana Murthy [...]

  37. oochara Says:

    God!! Only if NRN had revealed his Kannadiga identity or spoken kannada at least in the state of Karnataka or city of Bangalore in openness (…IF NOT OUTSIDE. IF NOT FOR national and global media at least for local media, in excess), emulators would have proliferated and young cosmopoliteness- aspiring Kannada kids would have gotten their first act right: IDENTITY.

    Ex, chidamabaram the finance minister–reads a tamil poet out in every annual budget. Ram Gopal Verma–Gives enough surrogate publicity to telugu channels and actors in Hindi movies pushing them forward.

    NRN screwed up…Role Models in the recent kannadiga days, i.e. outside politics, were very few in number. He needed to set an example, he failed. He also failed to stand for India. May be his misappropriate usage of word such as “embarrassment”, could be forgiven. English is alien to all of us…but what is unforgivable is not representing your culture, language and state–especially when you get popular.

    What did he think, by being a cosmopolite he would beckon more business? May be right.

    What did he think, by being identified as an Indian or a kannadiga (not passively but actively), he would shoo away business? WRONG.

    No one cares in the business world or the efficiency-oriented world which language you speak in your state or what your ideology is. Cause there is a different idealogy that one needs to be successful in business and that we can assume he had enough–or else one cant make it that far.

    Forgive and forget, what is Infosys called at the end of the day? A Global Indian Company, simple. India would still stay even if everything else would wane away.

    So would his identity as a kannadiga–it is here to stay. He should have been awake when he made those cosmopolite choices, keeping his own mother tongue away (personally) even inside his very own state.

    Infy, if at all was an American company, given the revenue it has now would still be one of the run of the mill companies. It would not be popular in India, as Microsoft is to the world, if not for its Indian Tag.

    ALL SAID AND DONE. If NRN does not give a hoot about all these leadership and role model aspects for the country/State and just plainly calls himself a true Indian who did what he could. And be a role model in his own right–without bothering who follows or not, THEN HE’S RIGHT TOO.

    Which I would equate with Bill Clinton of a different kind: what if i’m a womanizer. I do the best for my country! And what i feel right.

    THERE is something called SOCIETY. There are people looking upto you sir!

  38. ANIL KUMAR Says:

    I just read about his so called Controversy. Kiron comments and some more sensible people comments.

    Firstly UR ANATHA MURTHY comes from a background of Literature and defines the the literal meaning of any given word in the contextual sense. And also reacts to the sensibilities of very common man and his commitment towards the last couple of decades with the atmosphere he breaths and lives in and there is absolutely nothing wrong in expressing his view on the word EMBRASMENT and the context in which he has used this. And he respects the NRN achivement from the gross route level to his global standards. I am sure any kannadiga like NRN would not mistake this and would take his usage as normal as one could think. URA has just suggested a simple use of the precise word to express and I also of the opinion that NRN would have taken in the right spirit.

    URA has not become what he is after using his nativity in his highest form and he has been critisied by his own fellow meet LANKESH in absolutely abnoxious way in right or wrong reasons thoughtout his literaray carreer and he has reacted, embrased and objected in all possible right occasions and has also learnt from it. After all URA is one of the greatest novelists expressing his own brahmanism at the cost of throwing his own originality in its fullest form and has achieved his literary excellency and I would aggree most certainly the form of his expression but not always with the theme he has interpreted in his novels. I think the URA comment to NRN is more to do with form of expression in a very literal sense keeping the sensibilities in mind.

  39. anonymous Says:

    yet another debate on caste, nation and regional identities. the academia has discussed this in so many books do not repeat it

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