Sir M. Visvesvaraya in his 40s
|19th Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom|
|Monarch||Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV|
|Preceded by||T. Ananda Rao|
|Succeeded by||M. Kantaraj Urs|
|Born||15 September 1861|
Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapura, Kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka, India)
|Died||12 April 1962 (aged 100)|
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
|Cause of death||Natural causes|
|Awards||Bharat Ratna (1955)|
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya FASc also spelled as Sir Mokshagondam Visweswarayya, popularly known as Sir MV (15 September 1860 – 12 April 1962) was an Indian civil engineer and statesman and the 19th Diwan of Mysore, who served from 1912 to 1919. He received India's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good. 15 September is celebrated as Engineer's Day in India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania in his memory. He is held in high regard as a pre-eminent engineer of India.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born into a Telugu speaking family on 15 September 1861 in Muddenahalli village (now located in Chikkaballapura district, but part of Kolar district at the time of his birth) in princely state of Mysore (now Karnataka), India. His father, Mokshagundam Srinivasa, was a school teacher and a noted Sanskrit scholar, while his mother, Venkatalakshamma, was a homemaker. His parents were from Mokshagundam, a village of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.
Visvesvaraya lost his father at the age of 12. He studied primary education at Bandlahalli school, middle and high school from chikkballapur junior college. Chikkaballapur, and later moved to bangalore for collegeBangalore. In 1881, he received BA degree from Central College, Bangalore (then affiliated to University of Madras). He then enrolled at College of Engineering, Pune and received LCE (Licentiate in Civil Engineering), which is equivalent to DCE (Diploma in Civil Engineering), from University of Bombay to which the college was affiliated then.
He had 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.
Visvesvaraya achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system for city of Hyderabad. He was instrumental in developing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built. 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 called "Father of Modern Mysore State". During his service with Government of Mysore state, he was responsible for founding of (under the patronage of the Mysore government) Mysore Soap Factory, Parasitoid Laboratory, Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Viswesvarayya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravathi, Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Bangalore, Bangalore Agricultural University, State Bank of Mysore, Century Club, Mysore Chamber of Commerce (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry), apex Chamber of Commerce in Karnataka, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (Bangalore) and numerous other industrial ventures. He encouraged private investment in industry during his tenure as Diwan of Mysore. He was instrumental in charting out plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati.
He was known for sincerity, time management and dedication to a cause. Bangalore Press and Bank of Mysore were established during his tenure. A very important part of his nature was his love for Kannada. He set up Kannada Parishat for the upliftment of Kannada. He wanted seminars for Kannada lovers to be instituted and conducted in Kannada itself.
Visvesvaraya is known to have designed and planned the entire area of Jayanagar in South Bangalore. The foundation of Jayanagar was laid in 1959. It was one of first planned neighbourhoods in Bangalore and at the time, the largest in Asia. It is believed that locality, designed by Visvesvaraya, is one of the best-planned layouts in Asia. National institute of technology, Nagpur is named after him.
- Joined service as Assistant Engineer in Bombay, 1885; served in Nasik, Khandesh (mainly in Dhule ) and Pune.
- Services lent to Municipality of Sukkur in Sind, 1894: designed and carried out water works of Municipality
- Executive Engineer, Surat, 1896;
- Assistant Superintending Engineer, Pune, 1897–99; visited China and Japan, 1898
- Executive Engineer for Irrigation, Pune, 1899
- Sanitary Engineer, Bombay, member, Sanitary Board, 1901; gave evidence before Indian Irrigation Commission
- Designed and constructed automatic gates patented by him at Lake Fife Storage Reservoir; introduced new system of irrigation known as the "Block System", 1903; represented Bombay Government at the Simla Irrigation Commission, 1904; on special duty, 1905
- Superintending Engineer, 1907; visited Egypt, Canada, United States, Russia, 1908
- Services lent as Consulting Engineer to Hyderabad/Nizam State, to supervise and carry out engineering works in connection with Musi river; Hyderabad floods of year 1909
- Retired from British Service, 1909
- Chief Engineer and Secretary to the Government of Mysore, 1909
- Dewan of Mysore, PWD and Railway, 1913
- Board of Directors of Tata Steel, 1927–1955
Diwan of Mysore
After opting for voluntary retirement in 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialized nations. 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 by Musi river. During November 1909, Visvesvaraya was appointed as Chief Engineer of Mysore State. Further, during 1912, he was appointed as diwan (second minister) of princely state of Mysore. He was diwan for seven years.
With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya made good contribution as diwan to the all-round development of Mysore 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 University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. He commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore state.
Awards and honours
Visvesvaraya was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911. In 1915, while he was Diwan of Mysore, Visvesvaraya was knighted as a Knight Commander of Order of Indian Empire (KCIE) by British for his myriad contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, he was awarded nation's highest honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1955. He was awarded honorary membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers. He was awarded fellowship of Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore). He was awarded several honorary degrees including D.Sc., LL.D., D.Litt. from eight universities in India. He was president of 1923 session of Indian Science Congress. He was the most popular person from Karnataka, in a newspaper survey conducted by Prajavani.
Visvesvaraya has received recognition in many fields, most notably education and engineering sectors. Visvesvaraya Technological University which is based in Belagavi (to which most engineering colleges in Karnataka are affiliated) 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.
Viswesvarayya Industrial and Technological Museum Bangalore is named in his honour.
Two metro stations in India, one in Bengaluru on Purple Line (Sir M. Visveshwaraya Station, Central College), and another one in Delhi on Pink Line (Sir Vishweshwaraiah Moti Bagh), have been named after him.
Memorial at Muddenahalli
Viswesvarayya 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 block with which his visiting cards were printed. Models of Krishna Raja Sagar dam, which Visvesvaraya designed and supervised construction of, are exhibited. The memorial is adjacent to his house, which was refurbished and regarded as a temple by locals.
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- Visvesvaraya, M (1936), Planned economy for India, Bangalore: Bangalore Press, OCLC 19373044
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- Visvesvaraya, M (1932), Unemployment in India; its causes and cure, Bangalore: The Bangalore Press, OCLC 14348788
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T. Ananda Rao
| Diwan of Mysore
M. Kantaraj Urs
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