At 25, Infosys becomes India at Mysore

Bangalore, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 06:20am hrs
The trajectories of Indias most admired company, Infosys Technologies, celebrating its silver jubilee, and the worlds fastest growing democracy, a decade-and-half into sweeping economic change, intersected wonderfully at dusk on Sunday in small town Mysore with both the companys chairman and the countrys chief finance officer setting a common goal: raise the bar on excellence and deepen reforms.

Let the critics of Indias economic reforms realise by this shining example (of Infosys) that there is no alternative to creation of jobs to the problem of poverty, NR Narayana Murthy, chairman of the $2-billion Infosys, told a crowd of over 7,000, predominantly coders in their early 20s at the companys training campus. Let them understand by this noble example that there is no alternative to high aspirations, courage, confidence and excellence in execution.

Murthy described his early trysts with red tape in the 80s as a fate he wouldnt wish on anybody. Waiting at the entrance of the RBI month after month, some times with my wife Sudha and a few times with little Akshita, my daughter, for 4-6 hours to obtain part of our own hard-earned dollars to support my six other founders, is an experience I cannot forget, he said. Finance minister P Chidambaram, on the dais, smiled.

Chidambaram has his own tale to tell. His first brush with Indian bureaucracy came, he said, was when he applied for forex to study at Harvard. He was granted $7 a day just for 10 months a year irrespective of whether I had a place to stay or food to eat for the remaining two months of the year.

He had salutes for Infosys and its founders. Standing here, it is difficult to believe that were in India, he said, gesturing with a sweep at the 330-acre campus. This could be Silicon Valley in California; this could be the Rhone Alps region of France; this could be Stuttgart. But we are proud this is India.