M. Visvesvaraya

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M. Visvesvaraya
Vishveshvarayya in his 30's.jpg
Sir M. Visvesvaraya in his 40s
19th Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom
In office
MonarchKrishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Preceded byT. Ananda Rao
Succeeded byM. Kantaraj Urs
Personal details
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

(1860-09-15)15 September 1860
Muddenahalli, Kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka, India)
Died14 April 1962(1962-04-14) (aged 101)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Alma mater
ProfessionCivil Engineer and Statesman
AwardsBharat Ratna (1955)

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya KCIE FASc[1] (15 September 1860 – 14 April 1962),[2][3] more commonly known as Sir MV, was an Indian Civil Engineer, statesman,[4] and the 19th Diwan of Mysore, serving from 1912 to 1919.[5] He started his primary education in Bangalore, received his BSc degree from the University of Madras, and then DCE (Diploma in Civil Engineering) from the University of Bombay through its affiliated institution and 3rd oldest Engineering College in Asia, College of Engineering, Pune. He received India's highest honor, Bharat Ratna, in 1955. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good. His birthday,15 September, is celebrated as Engineers' Day in India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania in his memory. He was Chief Engineer of Krishna Raja Sagara dam in the north-west suburb of Mysuru city, Laxmi Talav Dam near Kolhapur in south-west Maharashtra, and also served as Chief Engineer to develop a flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.[6]


Visvesvaraya was born in a Telugu Brahmin family,[7] to Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry and Venkatalakshamma who hail from the Mokshagundam village in present-day Andhra Pradesh.[8][9] Vishwesharaya was born in Muddenahalli of Mysore Kingdom (present-day Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka). He took a job as Assistant Engineer with the PWD of Bombay, and later was invited to join Indian Irrigation Commission. He implemented an intricate system of irrigation in Deccan Plateau and designed and patented a system of automatic water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune. These gates raised the storage level in reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained without causing damage to the dam. Based on the success of these gates, the same system was installed at Tigra Dam in Gwalior and Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam in near Mysore, Karnataka. In 1906–1907, Government of India sent him to Aden to study water supply and drainage systems. The project prepared by him was implemented in Aden successfully.[10] 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.[11] This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built.[12] Visvesvaraya gave his technical advice for the location of Mokama Bridge over Ganga in Bihar. At the time, he was over 90 years old,[13][14] and was called the "Father of Modern Mysore State". During his service with the Gov't of Mysore state, he was responsible (under the patronage of the Mysore Gov't) for the founding of Mysore Soap Factory, Parasitoid Laboratory, Mysore Iron and Steel Workshop known as Visvesvaraya 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 places. He encouraged private investment in industry during his tenure as Diwan of Mysore. He was instrumental in charting out a plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati.[15][16] He was known for his sincerity, time management and dedication to his 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 improvement of Kannada. He wanted seminars for Kannada supporters to be instituted and conducted in Kannada itself.[17]

Career timeline[edit]

  • Assistant Engineer in Bombay, 1885; served in Nasik, Khandesh (mainly in Dhule) and Pune (Poona)
  • Services lent to Municipality of Sukkur, Sind, in 1894; designed and carried out water works for the Municipality
  • Executive Engineer, Surat, in 1896
  • Assistant Superintending Engineer, Pune (Poona), 1897–1899; visited China and Japan in 1898
  • Executive Engineer for Irrigation, Pune (Poona),in 1899
  • Sanitary Engineer, Bombay, and Member, Sanitary Board in 1901; gave evidence before Indian Irrigation Commission
  • Designed and constructed automatic gates patented by him at Lake Fife Storage Reservoir; introduced a new system of irrigation known as "Block System", 1903; represented Bombay Government at Shimla Irrigation Commission, 1904; on special duty, 1905
  • Superintending Engineer,1907; visited Egypt, Canada, USA, and Russia, in 1908
  • Consulting Engineer to Hyderabad/Nizam State; supervised and carried out engineering works on Musi river; Hyderabad floods of 1909
  • Retired from British Service,1909
  • Chief Engineer and Secretary to Government of Mysore,1909
  • Diwan of Mysore, PWD; and Railway,1913
  • Board of Directors of Tata Steel, 1927–1955[18][19][20]

Diwan of Mysore[edit]

Visvesvaraya on a 1960 stamp of India

After opting for voluntary retirement in 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialized nations. Then, for a short period, he worked for Nizam of Hyderabad. He suggested flood relief measures for Hyderabad, which was under constant threat by Musi river. In November 1909, Visvesvaraya was appointed Chief Engineer of Mysore State. Further, in 1912, he was appointed as Diwan (second Minister) of Mysore and served for seven years.[5] With support from Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya contributed to the general development of Mysore. He was instrumental in founding of Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917, one of first Engineering Colleges in India.[21] This institution was later named University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. He commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore state.

Awards and honours[edit]

Visvesvaraya was appointed a Companion of Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911.[22] In 1915, while he was Diwan of Mysore, Visvesvaraya was knighted as Knight Commander of Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by the British for his contributions to the public good.[23] After India attained independence, he was awarded the nation's highest honor, Bharat Ratna, in 1955,[24] an honorary membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers,[25] a fellowship from Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), and several honorary degrees including D.Sc., LL.D., D.Litt. from eight universities in India. He was the president of the 1923 session of the Indian Science Congress. He is most popular person in Karnataka, according to newspaper Prajavani. On 15 September 2018, to celebrate his 157th birthday, Visvesvaraya was honored with a Google Doodle.[26]


Visvesvaraya received recognition in many fields, most notably education and engineering. Visvesvaraya Technological University in Belagavi (to which most Engineering Colleges in Karnataka are affiliated) was named in his honor, 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, erected a statue in his honor.[27] The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore is named in his honor. Two metro stations in India, one in Bengaluru on the Purple Line (Sir M. Visveshwaraya Station, Central College), and another one in Delhi on the Pink Line (Sir Vishweshwaraiah Moti Bagh), are named after him.[28]

Memorial at Muddenahalli[edit]

The Samadhi of Visvesvaraya at Muddenahalli

Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust manages a memorial for Visvesvaraya at his birthplace of 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 the construction of, are exhibited. The memorial is adjacent to his house, which was refurbished and regarded as a temple by locals.[29][30]


  • Visvesvaraya, M (1920), Reconstructing India, P. S. King & son, ltd, OCLC 2430680
  • Visvesvaraya, M (1936), Planned economy for India, Bangalore: Bangalore Press, OCLC 19373044
  • Visvesvaraya, M (1951), Memories of my working life, Bangalore, OCLC 6459729
  • Visvesvaraya, Mokshagundam (1932), Unemployment in India; its causes and cure, Bangalore: The Bangalore Press, OCLC 14348788
  • Visvesvaraya, Mokshagundam (1917), Speeches, Bangalore: Govt. Press, OCLC 6258388
  • Engineer of Hirakud Dam.
  • A Brief Memoir of my complete working life, Government Press, Bangalore, 1959
  • M V Hall of Residence in NIT Rourkela is named after M Visvesvaraya


  1. ^ "Fellowship – Visvesvaraya, M." Indian Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ Sir M. Visvesvaraya | Sir MV | Karnataka Personalities Archived 27 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Karnataka.com (1 October 2007). Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  3. ^ Complete biography of Dr. M. Visvesvaraya [1] Archived 21 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 14 October 2016
  4. ^ "Opinion An unsentimental man of action". 14 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Diwans take over". The Hindu. 15 August 2002. Archived from the original on 22 June 2003.
  6. ^ "Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya: Model engineer and scholar". Hindustan Times. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  7. ^ Ikegame, Aya (7 May 2013). Princely India Re-imagined: A Historical Anthropology of Mysore from 1799 to the present. Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-136-23909-0.
  8. ^ "Do you know why Engineers Day is connected to Karnataka?".
  9. ^ "Byappanahalli once belonged to Visvesvaraya's ancestors".
  10. ^ Gupta, Jyoti Bhusan Das, ed. (2007). Science, Technology, Imperialism and War. History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization. XV(1). Pearson Longman. p. 247.
  11. ^ "Visvesvaraya's services recalled". The Hindu. 16 September 2006. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  12. ^ Husain, Dildar (1966) An Engineering Wizard of India, Institution of Engineers(India);AP, Hyderabad.
  13. ^ Ranganath, D. (25 September 2010). "Sir's inimitable vision". The Hindu.
  14. ^ "THE JEWEL OF KARNATAKA". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  15. ^ Sree Venkateswara Ghat Rd, Tirupati, AP Archived 7 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Tirumala to Tirupati ghat road". Youtube. 10 September 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  17. ^ Nath, Pandri (1987). Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya: life and work. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. pp. 37, 47, 49, 91.
  18. ^ Sinha, Arindam (23 September 2014). "How a relentless R&D approach propelled Tata Steel to zenith". The Financial Express. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  19. ^ "44th Sir M Visvesvaraya Memorial Lecture by Dr. Amit Chatterjee" (PDF). Advancement of Engineering in India in New Millennium: A Compilation of Memorial Lectures Presented in Indian Engineering Congresses (2001–2010): 12–13. December 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 March 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  20. ^ Mahanti, Subodh. "The Most Celebrated Indian Engineer: Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya". Vigyan Prasar Science Portal. Archived from the original on 4 June 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Why India celebrates Engineers Day on Visvesvaraya's birth anniversary". The Economic Times. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  22. ^ "No. 28559". The London Gazette. 8 December 1911. p. 9363.
  23. ^ "No. 29180". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1915. p. 5329.
  24. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  25. ^ "Welcome to Chikballapur District – Visvesvaraya". Chikballapur.nic.in. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  26. ^ "Google doodle marks engineer M Visvesvaraya's 157th birth anniversary". The Time of India. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Engineer's Day 2010 Celebrations". Today24news. 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  28. ^ "Delhi gets metro station named after Sir.M Visveswaraya". The Hindu. 6 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  29. ^ "MV memorabilia give glimpses of a genius". DNA India. 13 August 2011. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  30. ^ Kamath, Vijesh (8 September 2009). "For locals, Vivesvaraya's house is a place of worship". Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
Political offices
Preceded by
Diwan of Mysore
Succeeded by

External links[edit]