Humility’s like happiness. If we think we have it…

K. JAVEED NAYEEM writes: Along with all the positive media coverage that President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam‘s visit to Mysore got, we also got, a glimpse of the unfortunate controversy generated by the rather careless remarks made by Narayana Murthy of Infosys with regard to the singing of the National Anthem and the Cauvery protests.

Although every whiff of the life-giving oxygen he breathes and every coin that jingles in his pockets is from beyond our shores, he should have been a little more cautious with his statements, especially while referring to sensitive issues at a rather sensitive and painful time.

But what amused me most were the pictures in almost all the newspapers of the star couple of the IT sector squatting on a humble kerbstone of their own citadel while waiting for the President to arrive.

The duo could easily have asked for a few chairs to be put there not only for themselves but also for all the others who were waiting with them. In fact, I am sure that members of their staff would have offered to do this which they might have declined.

I know that they have had very humble beginnings and continue to be very down to earth despite their present position but I wonder if such a show of mock humility was really necessary. I would have considered this scene perfectly natural if they had been seen like this in a place where they were unknown and unrecognised.

Pictures like this look too “painted” and people can easily see through such subterfuges and will only laugh at such gimmicks.

The founder and chief of Infosys and his wife squatting on the roadside certainly would have been more of an embarrassment and discomfort to the foreigners on their campus than the singing of our National Anthem as all others in the group, both Indian and foreign, could then only have stood or squatted likewise.

Incidentally, it has been rightly said that humility is a very strange and elusive thing: The moment we think we have it, we have lost it!


Dr K. Javeed Nayeem is a practising physician. This piece appears in today’s Star of Mysore, where he writes a regular column, ‘Over a cup of evening tea’.

Photo courtesy: Star of Mysore