Off and on there has been speculation on N.R. Narayana Murthy‘s political ambitions. In April this year, the Straits Times of Singapore reported that he was planning to revive the Swatantra Party, though it was officially denied that he was planning to either join politics or to start a party. But there can be little doubt that the Infosys chief mentor harboured serious presidential hopes till the row over the national anthem extinguished them.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped the middleclass masses from thirsting for corporate chieftains to get their hands dirty in the cesspool of politics. Predicated on the belief that the country can be run like a company, business leaders with their youthful image, iconic status, demonstrated record and bottomline focus, are suspected to possess the magic broom that can sweep India clean of the cobwebs that have constricted its spring.
Somehow, also, there is an impractical belief that one clean, capable, charismatic figure at the top is enough to set right things in every nook and cranny of our 30 States.
S.K. SHAMA SUNDARA, editor of thatskannada, has penned an open letter to Nandan Nilekani, in which he exhorts the Infosys co-founder to quit the company and take the plunge in politics, but not on the larger, national stage that his boss has been aiming, but on a smaller canvas, his home-state, Karnataka.
My dear Nandan
It’s been while since we met. So let me first-up congratulate you and your team for the success that you have helped your company achieve in the flat world, through your intellect, innovation and business values—and the consequent recognition that you have all brought our City and our country.
I know you don’t have too much time, Nandan, let me cut to the chase.
I am writing to you to request you to step foot in politics—not national politics, but State politics; the politics of your State and mine: Karnataka. This may sound vague and funny, sudden even, but believe me, I broach this issue with you after long and considered thought, and after talking to several like-minded friends.
As a Kannadiga yourself, I don’t have to enlighten you on the current state of our State. It is a veritable shambles. Corrupt, communal and casteist politicians, and violent thugs, rowdies and goondas, who cannot appreciate or handle the fame and wealth that has flown into the State, thanks to the sweat and toil of hard-working professionals, are squabbling for the spoils.
The bad news is Karnataka politics has sunk so low in the national esteem it can go down no further. The good news is, from this point on, the only way is up, which is why I believe that this is the right time to usher in and administer a new and radically different brand of politics.
And this is where you, Nandan, as a decent boy from Dharwad, can come in as the modern-day messiah.
Why do I think you are the answer?
1. Because the youth of the State, need a good leader they can look up to and identify with, and I recognize that leadership in you.
2. Because you have been the product of a good value system, at home and in your company, and are in no need of making your pile, which is what our politics has become.
3. Because with your vision, hard work, determination and dedication you have made the world aware of the existence of a country like India.
Karnataka is currently under President’s Rule, and I hear this situation may well continue until April next year. We, the people of Karnataka, could not have asked for a better opportunity provided by this interregnum, to go in for a course-correction and set right the situation.
Which is why, I and several of my friends believe someone like you should float a political party.
# We believe that somebody like you at the helm you will be the right motivation for ordinary, middle-class, educated people like us, who have been detached and divorced from the dreadful politics of the recent past, to get interested in the polity. There are thousands who are keeping quiet and swallowing the shame as there is no person with strong values to lead the masses.
# We believe that somebody like you will remove the stain of dirty money that has become the curse of our politics. The reason our system has become corrupt is because our elections cost big money. And that is because it takes a lot of money to motivate innocent, ignorant people to vote for unwanted characters. With your image, there will be no need of that.
# We believe that with your record of creating a top-notch company from scratch and taking it to far corners of the globe, the people are already aware of your abilities. They know you are not in it for money, that you are in it for the good of the people and the State, and that you will be able to provide the stable governance that the State desperately needs.
# We believe that with television available in every part of Karnataka, we can carry your message into every home and heart effectively. This is the only way I can think of, going forward, if we want to reinstall the value system in our youngsters, who are already running away to other countries in search of a better life and surprisingly better values.
I know that the word “politics” can be scary. It can be dark, dirty, dangerous. But if Al Gore could show that even a politician can turn around and create awareness of environmental issues, I am positive that a good business entrepreneur like you can step into politics and lead the way for change in Karnataka.
There is no need to be scared. What can happen at worst? We may lose the elections, but at least we will have the satisfaction of having tried and failed, instead of being a silent party to the crime—the daylight robbery that is taking place of our values, wealth, heritage, image, reputation, and future.
I request you to bid goodbye to Infosys, pass on the IT keys to the boys and girls you have so brilliantly inspired and nurtured, and join us for a social reorientation in our mother land, Karnataka.
The time is opportune for a new project, Nandan.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
S.K. Shama Sundara
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Also read: Why Narayana Murthy will make a poor president
Aap aghe badho hum tumhare saath hain . .
Hate to be the party pooper!! This reminds me of ‘Alice in Wonderland’! Didn’t we have the same hopes when Abdul Kalam became President? Didn’t we have the same hopes when Lankesh and his friends jumped into politics?
When Shivarama Karanth ran for Lokasabha Seat, the ‘smart’ people from Daskhina Kannada ended up electing some other moron!
However, I can understand why Sham feels the way he feels after seeing all the political garbage in the recent days domincated by ‘human waste’ DG and his sons! Very depressing.
Aside from the fact that it throws up a new name (Nilekani) for a smaller stage (Karnataka), this article is clearly the result of watching too many pirated VCDs of Kannada/Telugu/Tamil movies, in which a one-man army enters the scene in super slow-motion and then proceeds to wipe out the bad guys and clean up society with his hairstyle still intact.
What’s the point Shama Sundara is trying to make? That no Karnataka politician can fit the bill? That only young, successful businessmen can? That if a new role model like Nilekani arrives, the politics of the state will get transformed? Maybe, but how likely is it?
Managing the quarterly results to match GAAP and managing politicians is not the same thing. Yes, 30 per cent growth rate year after year is amazing. But does Nilekani have an answer for the big issues of the day—Bababudanagiri crisis, bellary mining, coastal communalism?
If Bangalore agenda task force that Nilekani and his gang cornered was a minor test of their skills, then they came away very poorly.
Not very sure how would be if this ‘Naani Adda’ dha Nilekani become the CM and how good he would for the State and Ppl of Karnataka. Hope for the good!
Anyways, if u ppl already donot know there is a National Party that is not known to most of us…that’s Started by few Students and though, the Success rate is not good for them so far…they honestly keep trying in all sort of elections. Its time for us to evaluate and support such a cause
For More details -> http://www.lokparitran.org
Is he asked to fight the elections since FUNDS required are not an issue.Seriouly one Nandan is not going to bring out a change in the landscape of Karnataka.Even assuming He agrees to enter Politics is there any safe consituency available .Nandan is known only among the urban Janta of Karnataka and with castes , communities , religions and money power playing a role in deciding the outcome of the elections , it is not practical.Please also understand HIS winning also will not make a difference unless HE is able to MAKE a difference , and that can be achieved only by HAVING a majority in the assembly.With the likes of Deve Gowda , Dharm Singh , Kharge , Siddaramiah , Yediyurappa in the fray and with liquor contractors footing the election bills , i cant foresee Nandan getting even 20 individuals to fight the elections leave alone 224.
Paapa yeno swalpa jasthi thagondu baredha haagidhe!
Just one thot for Mr Shamsundar c/o Fantasy land- the middle class havent become detached from politics coz they are dreadful but coz being thoroughly compromised in that dread of their own making now are riding a moral high horse.
A good idea but not practicable.
How about a much smaller canvas -churumuri? Can NN win hands down in an election of Churumuri respondents?
I dont know about karnataka. but if asked Nandan would probably be more upbeat about taking the mayorship of Bengalooru. That is both fortunate as well as unfortunate. Fortunate, because we have takers for leadership for atleast the urban level. Unfortunate because we dont have leaders who can “bridge” the “urban-rural divide” and take both forward at the same time.
Either S K Shama Sundara was fully drunk or wants some help from Nandan or somebody close to him.
I have heard lot of good things about good natured karnataka people and specifically about Bangalore no doubt a happening city, IT or no IT. But denial of power to bjp by kumarswamy and his another brother at the instance of his father hd devegowda has put the state map on the dark. I believe devegowda should use his vast experience to help his state, country rather than dissolving himself in panchayat politics.
All x mps, x pms and x ministers together must do something worthwhile for the sake of modern india. Just getting z security and free airtickets and receiving garlands from scheming peoples is no good to either.
If he stands for election he wil surely get support from TOI… Lead India!
He doesnt know fully about bangalore only… then how will he manage the rest of the state
I don’t know if he can form a party and win. But if he does, he will be better than Gowda & Gowda & Gowda & Sons.
ERR sahebare since we all know what Gowda and Sons are good at you have to specify Nilekani would be BETTER at what ?
obviously churumuri is thrilled to bits that Shama Sundara has floated a non-NRN name for politics. but aren’t we all a little bit confused? we do not have a presidential form of government. so nilekani even if he has the b**** to enter politics is only one individual.
also we seem to have to much faith in the wisdom of voters bred on booze and other blandishments like caste and religion, to plump for good people. i remember an IIT-IIM guy who stood for elections from an upmarket locality full of so-called educated types in mysore. in the end, the man got fewer votes than the number of people on his election staff.
Surprised to see some of the comments. I don’t see Sham as drunk at all. It is just a thought. It just shows his frustration with politics in Karnataka.
It was very authentic to read it in Kannada. Wasn’t aware of oneindia.in till now. Thanks for introducing me to it.
It takes b***s and also mass media to start a new political outfit and win power through elections. NTR had it. Thanks to his mass appeal. In a matter of months he started TDP and won power single handedly. Now Chiranjeevi, is thinking to repeat it and the AP congress and TDP politicians are already shivering in their pants and dhotis. Perhaps late Dr. Raj could have done it in Karnataka. Nandan/Narayana Murthy can never dream of doing so. In our country media is the message.
can you show us a single proof where NRN shows his desire for being president of India ? How do you say that there is ‘little doubt’.. If anyone from Infosys needs to enter then it should be MD Pai and not NRN or NN. MD Pai can surely be a good politician
This open letter is a hilarious piece of work!
Considering the fact that Nilekani’s wife takes donations to run her philanthropic works, you can well imagine him spending his own money and resources on winning in a political race. He is the biggest kanjoos of Bangalore. All fart no shit.
al gore made his millions. global warming could be a rip off after all.. nandan has made his and doing good in giving back to the community. rest all is just plain wishful thinking………..
When a guy who doesn’t know what is politics and what the revenues generated in the state can become a CM, why not the educated intellectual people not greedy of others money come into politics and make the country brighter.
Come on guys wake up, dont stick your bumbs on the cushion chairs and slog out in the software companies. Come on lets change what is politics now.
A good leader leading doesnt end it… but yes a good leader to take the initiative is very important. Lets reform our karnataka and florish the goals of millions.
As an ex infosys employee and also as a sincere citizen of India , i want to know what happens to all the money that is collected from the employees towards Infosys welfare trust? …
This is one of the few organizations wherein an employee’s variable pay is 45% and 55% is the fixed pay for a employee and this is done to cheat employees of their salary.
Don’t get swayed by infosys and its management.