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On Sudha Murty’s ’10 Downing Street’ Story, An Unexpected Backlash

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Sudha Murty was this year awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Author and philanthropist Sudha Murty is facing a surprising backlash for a comment that many would perceive as a reaffirmation of her humility and unpretentious lifestyle. Appearing on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show‘, the wife of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and mother-in-law of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said an immigration officer in London refused to believe her residential address when she wrote ’10 Downing Street’ on a form. The officer apparently asked her if she was “joking” – a comment she said was triggered by her simple appearance.

The comment has inspired comments and memes on Twitter, some of them caustic.

“Sudha Murthy is one of the country’s richest people yet she breathes oxygen. Simplicity Pro Max,” read another tweet.

Ms Murty, one of the richest people in India, also said on the show that she was called “behenji” by two women at the London airport. She said she was dressed in a salwar kameez and had a business class ticket to catch a flight to Bengaluru from London. “Wearing salwar Kameez with a business class ticket, I was standing in the queue at the Heathrow airport. The two co-passengers called me behenji because I was in salwar kameez. According to them, if you wear a saree or salwar suit, then you are a didi or behenji,” Ms Murty said on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show‘.

Several users came out in her support. “Why people are trolling her unnecessarily? She don’t deserve this much hate. Everyone have their own perception and she said nothing wrong to be trolled. Her company is the second largest employer in Country. If can’t respect at least don’t troll,” said one user.

“Is it a coincidence that some people (including so called regionalists) suddenly after elections started talking ill of Smt. Sudha Murthy? Chill guys. She has dedicated her life trying to solve such social evil in NorthKarnataka that… you JOKERS will shiver to even talk about it,” tweeted another.

Last month, Sudha Murty had said that her daughter Akshata Murty, “made her husband a Prime Minister”. Rishi Sunak’s quick ascension to power has been highlighted before but his mother-in-law claimed it was her daughter who made that possible.

Mr Sunak is the youngest Prime Minister of UK in modern history at age 42.

Ms Murty once worked at Telco, now known as Tata Motors, as the first female engineer. The job offer came after her unique interaction with JRD Tata, a pioneer of the Indian industry and chairman of Tata Group.

She wrote a postcard to Mr Tata when she was looking to work at Telco and could not apply due to gender discrimination. She highlighted the discriminatory language in the job ad in her postcard to Mr Tata. Less than 10 days later, she was called for an interview and landed a job.

Ms Murty was this year awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. After her nomination was announced, she spoke at length about her life and dreams.

Originally an engineer and computer sciences expert, she has written over 20 books, some of which have inspired TV series.

“I have a passion for writing, I used to write in Kannada… When my first book in English was published, it was a turning point in my life because then it could be translated into all Indian languages… I was able to reinvent myself,” Ms Murty told String Reveals.

She also offered advice to her husband, daughter and son-in-law, particularly on how to face controversies.

“People who are in the limelight, they will always have controversy,” she said, urging them, and others, to “be morally and ethically right, and work sincerely”.

The renowned author said that patience and wisdom to know one’s limits are the key requirements for success.