Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya is one of the most influential and powerful engineers in the history of India. In his career, he reigned as an engineer for 30 years, as an administrator for 20 years and as an adviser and statesman for 20 years.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya or Sir MV served as Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918. He was born on 15th September 1861 in Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapura, Karnataka, British India and breathed his last on 12th April 1962 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya hailed from a Telegu Brahmin family residing in Chikkaballapur district. He lost his father at the age of twelve which made him take up teaching for earning his livelihood. After completing his studies, he went to Bangalore for receiving higher education. From Central College, Bangalore, he received his Bachelors in Arts after which he went to Pune for pursuing civil engineering.
In 1884, he topped his topped his university and landed a job as an Assistant Engineer in Public Works Department.
Visvesvaraya joined the Indian Irrigation Commission. In 1895, he designed waterworks for Sukkur’s municipality which helped in supplying Sindhu River’s water to Sukkur town. He invented the Block System which helped in preventing excess water flow in the dams.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya helped in developing State Bank of Mysore and encouraged girls to attend school.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya has written a lot of books regarding construction, economy, unemployment along with incidents from his life.
Served as Chairman of Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works
1904- Held honorary membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for record-breaking fifty years.
1906- In lieu of his work, he got ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’
1911- Held the position of Companion of the Indian Empire at Delhi Darbar
1915- Knight Commander of the Order of Indian Empire
1921- Achieved D.Sc. in Calcutta University
1931- Achieved LLD at Bombay University
1937- Achieved D.Litt at Banaras Hindu University
1943- Became Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers
1944- Achieved D.Sc. in Allahabad University
1948- Achieved doctorate in LLD at Mysore University
1953- Achieved D.Litt. at Andhra University and was awarded the Honorary fellowship of Institute of Town Planners in India
1955- Achieved India’s highest honour- The Bharat Ratna
1958- Achieved D.Sc. at Jadhavpur University in Calcutta and Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal bestowed him with ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’
1959- Got fellowship of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore
VISVESRAYA’S WORK AND RECOGNITION
15th September is celebrated as Engineers Day which is dedicated to him. Visvesvaraya is known to be the Father of Engineers. In 1955, he bagged the highest honour in the Indian Republic, also known as the Bharat Ratna.
He got knighted by King George V of British Indian Empire as a Knight Commander owing to his good work in public sector. He was even knighted by the British Government as Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1915.
As for Mysore, he even served as the Diwan of Mysore in 1912 and Chief Engineer of Mysore in 1909.
In 1924, the Krishna Raja Sagara Lake dam was built which served as a major source of drinking and irrigation water for neighbouring areas. Visvesraya is well known for his role in the construction of the dam.
In 1906, the government of India sent him to Aden for studying about the drainage system and water supply. Based on his studies, he even designed a project that got implemented in Aden. He invented the block system which consisted of automatic doors for preventing the overflow of water. Such was his work!
The Engineer College at Bangalore was renamed as Visvesvaraya College of Engineering to pay honour to his exceptional work in the public sector.
He solved the issue of flooding situation at Vishakhapatnam port. The port was on high alert.
In 1909, by acting as a Special Consulting Engineer, he saved the city of Hyderabad from the threatening condition of floods. The river Musi has already caused havoc in the past. He created reservoirs above the city that could store water more than the capacity of the river named Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar. He submitted a report including establishing City Improvement Board which could work for prevention of flood. In 1912, Aaraish-e-Balda was established that collected funds for flood prevention.
In his honour, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore was named.
INCIDENTS FROM HIS LIFE
He was really good at remembering the details. Once he asked his servant to bring him a book from his shelf and opened the book to point at the detail written.
Once, in a conference, he served as a chairman where the topic of discussion was making India’s national government. The Governor of Berar was an Englishman who refused to come if the topic was discussed. Visvesvaraya opted to go through the conference without him.