Aryabhata invented zero ages ago. Narayana Murthy is right when he says India hasn’t invented in a long time!

Posted on by Sakshi Behl

This is what Einstein said: “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made”. For how long are we going to live in that bubble? We have failed to keep up with the times, we have failed to harness India’s latent talent, we have failed to…


India’s science and technology community is quite touchy. They are a proud lot, and rightly so, but have an extremely low threshold for criticism.

Infosys founder, NR Narayana Murthy’s, on Wednesday made an acute observation: “Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? Is there one idea that has led to an earth-shaking invention to delight global citizens? Folks, the reality is there is no such contribution from India in the last 60 years.”


Murthy doesn’t speak casually. It is true that we have not made any ground-breaking invention worthy of global recognition, yet, the science and technology class is protesting collectively, asking Murthy to explain himself.

Emotionally affronted by Murthy’s remarks, V. Siddhartha, a former science policy manager with over three decades of experience in India’s department of space and the Defence Research and Development Organisation, retorted: “This is the pot calling the kettle black!”

He added, becoming more and more aggressive, “Is there a single software product developed by Infosys which has become a household word even among computer users?”

I fail to see a co-relation here. Mr Murthy remarked as an informed observer, he reflected on the sad state of affairs of the ‘invention brigade’. Even if Murthy’s Infosys didn’t contribute to the Indian software pool, he still has every right to comment.


Interestingly, NR Narayana Murthy’s most laudable contribution to Indian business is not Infosys, but a possibility that underprivileged people ‘can’ build multi-billion dollar companies, purely on the basis of an idea, zeal and perseverance. Today, Infosys generates over 3 billion dollars in revenue, employs over 70,000 people, and has a customer base of over 500!

Surely, such a man has more rights than most.

Adversity is the best test of character. In 1990, Narayana Murthy faced his biggest challenge when his co-founders, dejected and hopeless, decided to exit the company because the Government of the day was proving too hard to handle. There was a one million dollar offer for Infosys, and the other founders wished to make a quick exit. Narayana Murthy was different. He believed in Infosys. He was never a quitter.


Although short of money, Narayana Murthy managed it and offered to buy out the others. The rest, as they say, is history and historical, both!

If such a man cannot comment on India’s inability in the last 60 years in relation to global standard inventions, nobody can.

And as for what has Murthy given India, here’s what: Narayana Murthy is responsible for two ideas that have transformed the efficiency of global companies – the global delivery model, and the 24-hour workday!

This came from Infosys, created by NR Narayana Murthy.


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