Sir Mokshagundam Vishweshvaraya (Sir MV) was born on 15 September 1861 and his birthday is remembered as Engineer’s Day in commemoration for his great contribution to the field of Engineering in India, especially in the field of Civil Engineering and building India’s first massive projects.
In 1884, he graduated from Poona College of Engineering and stood first in the University Examinations, and as was the norm for toppers those days, he was directly recruited by Govt of Bombay and appointed as Assistant Engineer in Public Works Department. He was later was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He was known for sincerity, time management, and dedication to a cause.
Over the next 10 years (between 1895 & 1905), Sir MV worked at different parts of India
- He remodeled the entire city & improved its drainage system for Hyderabad in the wake of frequent Musi floods
- He introduced block system of irrigation & water weir flood gates for Bombay (Mumbai)
- He was involved in building railway bridges & water supply schemes in Bihar & Orissa
- He supervised the construction of KRS dam in Mysuru which was Asia’s biggest dam when it was built.
He designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune. These gates were employed to raise flood supply level of storage in reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained without causing any damage to the dam.
Based on the success of these gates, the same system was installed at the Tigra Dam in Gwalior and Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam in Mandya/Mysore, Karnataka.
He was also instrumental in developing an irrigation system for Deccan and a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion. Visvesvaraya gave his valuable technical advice for the location of Mokama Bridge over Ganga in Bihar. At the time, he was over 90 years old.
He was instrumental in charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati. Sir M.Visvesvaraya is known to have designed and planned the entire area of Jayanagar in south Bangalore in 1959. It was one of first planned neighbourhoods in Bangalore.
Contribution to Mysuru
He was the 10th Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918. Under the Dewanship of Sir MV & the rule of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Mysore underwent major transformation in terms of
- Agriculture (transforming Mandya into Sugar city), Irrigation (KRS dam),
- Industrialization (Mysore Soap factory, Bhadravati Iron & Steel factory, Mysore lamps, Mysore chemicals, Mysore paints), Education (Mysore University),
- Banking (State Bank of Mysore),
- Commerce (Mysore Chamber of Commerce),
- Aviation (HAL) and more.
Mahatma Gandhi never missed an opportunity to praise the administration of Mysore in general & engineering feats of Sir MV in particular.
In 1906–07, Government of India sent him to Aden to study water supply and drainage systems and his recommendations were implemented in Aden successfully.
He encouraged private investment in the industry during his tenure as Diwan of Mysore.
He was the most renowned Engineer from India and was even recognized by the British empire for his tremendous contribution on public projects that benefited millions. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V. He also received India’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.
Sir M.V. was awarded honorary membership of the London Institution of Civil Engineers. He was awarded a fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. He was awarded several honorary doctoral degrees including D.Sc., LL.D., D.Litt. from eight universities in India. He was president of the 1923 session of the Indian Science Congress. He was the most popular person from Karnataka, in a newspaper survey conducted by Prajavani.
Visvesvaraya has also received recognition in many other fields, most notably the education and the engineering sectors.
- Visvesvaraya Technological University (Belagavi) has been named in his honour, as well as prominent colleges like Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore, Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore and Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur.
- College of Engineering, Pune, his alma mater, has erected a statue in his honour. The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore is named in his honour.
- Two metro stations in India, one in Bengaluru on the Purple Line (Sir M. Visvesvaraya Station, Central College), and another one in Delhi on the Pink Line (Sir Vishveshwaraiah Moti Bagh), have been named after him.
Memorial at Muddenahalli
Sri MV left for his heavenly abode on 12 April 1962. The Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust manages a memorial of Visvesvaraya at his birthplace Muddenahalli. The memorial exhibits his awards, titles and personal belongings, including his living room, spectacles, cups, books and a block with which his visiting cards were printed. Models of the Krishna Raja Sagar dam, which Visvesvaraya designed and supervised the construction of, are exhibited. The memorial is adjacent to his house, which was refurbished and regarded as a temple by the locals.