Dr. Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya


Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, KCIE, popularly known as Sir MV; 15 September 1861 – 14 April 1962) was a notable Indian engineer, scholar, statesman and the Diwan of Mysore during 1912 to 1918. He was a recipient of the Indian Republic's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955. He was knighted as a Commander of the British Indian Empire by King George V for his myriad contributions to the public good. Every year, 15 September is celebrated as Engineer's Day in India in his memory. He is held in high regard pre-eminent engineer of India. He was the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad, as well as the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mysore.

Visvesvaraya supervised the construction of the KRS Dam across the Cauvery River from concept to inauguration. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built. He was rightly called the "Father of modern Mysore state" (now Karnataka): During his period of service with the Government of Mysore state, he was responsible for the founding of, (under the Patronage of Mysore Government), the Mysore Soap Factory, the Parasitoide Laboratory, the Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravathi, the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute, the Bangalore Agricultural University, the State Bank of Mysore, The Century Club, Mysore Chambers of Commerce and numerous other industrial ventures. He encouraged private investment in industry during his tenure as Diwan of Mysore. He was instrumental in charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati. He was known for sincerity, time management and dedication to a cause.

After opting for voluntary retirement in 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialised nations and after, for a short period he worked for the Nizam of Hyderabad. He suggested flood relief measures for Hyderabad town, which was under constant threat of floods by Moosi river. Later, during November 1909, Visvesvaraya was appointed as Chief Engineer of Mysore State. Further, during the year, 1912, he was appointed as Diwan (First Minister) of the princely state of Mysore. He was Diwan for 7 years.

With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya made an arguably unprecedented contribution as Diwan to the all-round development of the state. Not only the achievements listed above, but many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurturing to him. He was instrumental in the founding of the Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later named the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering after its founder. It remains one of the very most reputed institutes of engineering in Karnataka. He also commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore states. Visvesvaraya was Sir Mirza Ismail's mentor and in 1926 by way of recommendation to the King who supplemented Mirza Ismail by elevating him to the coveted position of the List of Diwans of Mysore.

Awards and Honours:

Visvesvaraya was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911. In 1915, while he was the Diwan of Mysore, Visvesvaraya was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by the British for his myriad contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, he was given the nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.

He was honoured with honorary membership of the international Institution of Civil Engineers (based in London) and a fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science (based in Bangalore). He was awarded several honorary doctoral degrees like D.Sc., LL.D., D.Litt. from eight universities in India. He was president of the 1923 Session of the Indian Science Congress. Sir M.V. was awarded honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken 50 years. He was the most popular person from Karnataka, in a newspaper survey conducted by Praja Vani

Memorial at Muddenahalli: The Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust manages a memorial of Visvesvaraya in his birthplace of Muddenahalli. The memorial exhibits his awards, titles and personal belongings of his, including his living room, spectacles, cups, his copy of the Webster's dictionary, 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 also exhibited. The memorial is located adjacent to his house, which was refurbished and regarded as a temple by the locals.

Recognition: Visvesvaraya has received recognition in various fields, most notably the education sector and the engineering sector. Visvesvaraya Technological University, the University to which most engineering colleges in Karnataka are affiliated to, has been named in his honour, as well as prominent colleges like University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore and Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. College of Engineering, Pune, his alma mater, has erected a statue in his honor. The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, a museum in Bangalore is named in his honor.

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