Inspiring Indians - Vishweshwaraiah

A great engineer and a visionary who shaped many landmarks that awe inspire us to this day. His brilliance, efficiency, legendary administrative skills and immense contribution to public life earned him the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

Early Days

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya popularly known as Sir M.V, was born in Muddenahalli village in the Kolar District (Karnataka), on the 15 September 1861.

His father was Srinivasa Sastry and his mother Venkachamma. Srinivas Sastry was a scholar in Sanskrit. Visvesvarayya learnt from them, respect for the culture and the traditions of the land. He completed his early education in Chikkaballapur; and then came to Bangalore for higher education. He joined the Central College. As soon as the results were out, the Government of Bombay offered him a post. He was appointed Assistant Engineer at Nasik. 

As an Engineer

Sir M.V. was only thirty-two when some very difficult work was assigned to him. He had to find a way of supplying water from the river Sindhu to a town called Sukkur. He prepared a plan, which many other engineers admired.

Water is very precious to the farmer and it has to be put to the best possible use and should not be wasted. For this, the Government appointed a Committee; it was to find ways of helping irrigation. Once again it was Visvesvarayya who found a solution. He implemented an extremely intricate system of irrigation (Block System). He devised steel doors; these could stop the wasteful flow of water in dams. Even British officers were full of praise for the solution.

The Government appreciated Visvesvarayya genius and work. He was promoted to higher positions. This meant even more difficult work. But he loved these challenges.

From Bombay, Sri M.V. went to Hyderabad as Chief Engineer. His great achievement in Hyderabad was the taming of the river Moosa. This river divides the city into two. In 1908, the river was in floods, as never before. The waters of the river drowned many houses and men and cattle were carried away. Visvesvarayya planned dams to tame both the Moosa and another river, the Isa. He also suggested that lovely parks should be laid out on the banks of the rivers. Even now visitors can visit the dams and the parks. 

As the Dewan of Mysore 

He was instrumental in the founding the "Government Engineering College" at Bangalore, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later renamed as the "University Visvesvarayya College of Engineering" (UVCE) after its founder. It remains as one of the most reputed institutes of engineering in Karnataka to this day. After taking voluntary retirement in 1908, he was appointed Dewan, or First Minister, of the Kingdom of Mysore. With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, he made an unprecedented contribution, as Dewan, to the all-round development of the State. The famous Krishna Raja Sagar dam (KRS) and reservoir, the hydroelectric projects at Shivanasamudram, the steel mills at Bhadravathi, the railway system of Mysore, the University of Mysore, many other industries and public works, owe their inception or active nurture to him. 

He was instrumental in the founding the "Government Engineering College" at Bangalore, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later renamed as the "University Visvesvarayya College of Engineering" (UVCE) after its founder. It remains as one of the most reputed institutes of engineering in Karnataka to this day. 

 

Honours

He was knighted by the British for his contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, Sir M. V was given the Nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955. 

As an Ideal Person

Throughout his life Sri M.V. was known for his impeccable manners, disciplined behaviour and meticulous work. His contributions to the national development in the filed of Economics, Industry, Irrigation, Agriculture and Education etc. are unparalleled. Everything about him was spick and span and regular. He passed away in April 1962.

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