Business Today
N.R. Narayana Murthy says got the best advice from one of his favourite teachers

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys says he learnt one of the most important lessons from his favourite teachers.

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys hoto: Deepak G . Pawar/

I am a product of many lessons learnt from context - parents, teachers, friends, colleagues and even my children. Most of the advice I got and lessons I learnt were not from the prescription they gave me, but from how they conducted themselves.

I will just talk about one important lesson I learnt from one of my favourite teachers. The teacher who influenced me most as a high school student was Mr K.V. Narayan (KVN), the head master of Sarada Vilas High School, Mysore, where I did my 10th and 11th years of high school. KVN was a tough taskmaster, a disciplinarian, and expected a lot from his students. But outside school, he was kind and affectionate. He taught us Chemistry in my final year. I sat in the front bench in his class.

One day, he was demonstrating an experiment for which he needed to put some common salt into a test tube. He was extremely careful about how much salt he put in, and he took quite some time to optimise the amount. My friend, who was sitting next to me, found it very amusing and burst out laughing. KVN stopped the experiment, asked my friend to stand up and asked him why he laughed. My friend was very honest and said he was amused at how stingy he was in using salt for the experiment. Even today, I remember KVN's words: "Children, I want you all to learn one important lesson.

That is, this country became a slave nation because we all looked after our families and not our society. Therefore, it is very important for every one of us to treat what belongs to the community much more carefully than what belongs to our family. This salt belongs to the school and I have to be very careful how much I use. Please come to my house, and I will give you a large quantity of salt."

This was a very important lesson for all of us. From that day on, I have attempted to treat community property with lots of care. From day one of Infosys, I set rules that ensured that nobody used community resources for private benefit. In my opinion, this is the most important advice for every Indian - particularly for politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats, who violate this rule so blatantly day after day.

 WORDS OF WISDOM: Personal accounts by 50 of India's corporate leaders

 Adi Godrej

 Alok Mittal

 Schauna Chauhan

 Prashant Tandon

Dhruv Shringi

 K.V. Kamath

 Adhil Shetty

 Mohammad Imthiaz

 Anil Gupta

 Deep Kalra

 Y.C. Deveshwar

 Sasha Mirchandani

 Pankaj R. Patel

 Krishnan Ganesh

Sachin Bansal

 Anil Agarwal

 Rajiv Bajaj

 C.P. Krishnan Nair

 Tulsi Tanti

B.S. Nagesh

 Ajay Piramal

 Shiv Nadar

 Glenn Saldanha

 Ashni Biyani

Ishita Swarup

 K. Anji Reddy

 R.S. Agarwal

 Ajay Bijli

Manmohan Agarwal

Inderpreet S. Wadhwa

 Y.M. Deosthalee

 Subhash Chandra

 Kushagra N. Bajaj

 Gautam Thapar

 Pallav Nadhani

 Shivinder Singh

 Mehul Choksi

 V.G. Siddhartha

 Naveen Tewari

 Alok Kejriwal

 N.R. Narayana Murthy

 Deepak Ravindran

 Riyaaz Amlani

 Lynn De Souza

 Phanindra Sama

 Romesh Sobti

 Meher Pudumjee

 Vijay Shekhar Sharma

 Baba Kalyani

 Kunal Bahl

Get latest news & live updates on the go on your phone with our News App. Download The Business Today news app on your device