Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraiah


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Mokshagundam Visvesvaraiah
Sir M.Visvesvaraya.jpg
Diwan of the Mysore kingdom
In office
Monarch Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Preceded by T. Ananda Rao
Succeeded by M. Kantaraj Urs
Personal details
Born September 15, 1861
Muddenahalli, Chikballapur, Kingdom of Mysore (now in Karnataka)
Died April 14, 1962 (aged 101)
Nationality Indian
Alma mater COEP
Occupation Engineer, Diwan
Profession Engineer
Religion Hindu
Sir Mokshagundam Vishveshwariah KCIE, (popularly known as Sir MV; 15 September 1860[1] – 14 April 1962[1]) 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 Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (KCIE) 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 as a pre-eminent engineer of India. He was the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad, now capital city of Andhra Pradesh, as well as the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya. He was born in Muddenahalli in Karnataka state.

Early years

Sir MV was born in 1861 September 14 in a Telugu Brahmin [2][3]family to Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry and Venkatalakshmamma in Muddenahalli village,[4] 40 miles from Bangalore, now in Karnataka India, Mokshagundam is a village in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh where the ancestors of Visvesvarayya emigrated from[5]. Visvesvaraya lost his father at the age of 15. He enrolled for primary school in Chikballapur and attended high school in Bangalore. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Central College,Bangalore affiliated to Madras University in 1881 and later studied civil engineering at the prestigious College of Engineering, Pune, popularly known as COEP.[6]

Career as an engineer

Upon graduating as an engineer, Visvesvaraya took up a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Mumbai and was later invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He implemented an extremely intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan area. He also designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at the Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune. These gates were employed to raise the flood supply level of storage in the reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained by a flood 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 the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam in Mandya/ Mysore,Karnataka. In 1906-07, the Government of India sent him to Eden, Africa to study water supply and drainage system and the project prepared by him was implemented in Eden[disambiguation needed] successfully. Visvesvaraya achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad. He was instrumental in developing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Career In Brief

  • Joined service as Assistant Engineer in Bombay, 1884; served in Nasik, Khandesh and Poona;
  • services lent to Municipality of Sukkur in Sind, 1894: designed and carried out the water works of that Municipality, 1895;
  • Executive Engineer, Surat, 1896;
  • Assistant Superintending Engineer, Poona, 1897–99; visited China and Japan, 1898;
  • Executive Engineer for Irrigation, Poona, 1899;
  • Sanitary Engineer, Bombay, and Member, Sanitary Board, 1901; gave evidence before the Indian Irrigation Commission, 1901;
  • designed and constructed Automatic Gates patented by him at Lake Fife Storage Reservoir; introduced a new system of irrigation known as the "Block System", 1903; represented the Bombay Government at the Simla Irrigation Commission, 1904; on special duty, 1905;
  • Superintending Engineer, 1907; visited Egypt, Canada. United States of America and Russia, 1908;
  • services lent as Special Consulting Engineer, Hyderabad, to supervise and carry out Engineering works in connection with the Musi floods, 1909;
  • retired from British service, 1909;
  • Chief Engineer and Secretary to the Government of Mysore, 1909;
  • P. W. and Railway Department; Dewan of Mysore, 1913.

Diwan of Mysore

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, India. He suggested flood relief measures for Hyderabad town, which was under constant threat of floods by Musi 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 reputed institutes of engineering in Karnataka. He also commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore state.

Awards and honours

The Bharat Ratna medal
The Knight Commander of The Indian Empire medal
Visvesvaraya was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911.[9] 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.[10] After India attained independence, he was awarded with the nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.[11] He was feted 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.[12] He was the most popular person from Karnataka, in a newspaper survey conducted by Prajavani.

Memorial at Muddenahalli

The Samadhi of Sir M.V. at Muddenahalli
The Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust manages a memorial of Visvesvaraya at his birthplace 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.[13][14]


Visvesvaraya has received recognition in various fields, most notably the education sector and the engineering sector. Visvesvaraya Technological University which is based in Belgaum, 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, 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 honor.[15] The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, a museum in Bangalore is named in his honor. An Indian Institute of Technology is being planned at Muddenahalli, the birthplace of Sir.MV as an honour to this great Engineer.[citation needed]


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