|19th Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom|
|Monarch||Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV|
|Preceded by||T. Ananda Rao|
|Succeeded by||M. Kantaraj Urs|
15 September 1860
Muddenahalli, Chikkaballapura, Kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka, India)
|Died||14 April 1962 (aged 101)|
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
|Profession||Civil engineer and statesman|
|Awards||Bharat Ratna (1955)|
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya FASc (15 September 1860 – 14 April 1962), more commonly known as Sir MV, was an Indian civil engineer, statesman and the 19th Diwan of Mysore, serving from 1912 to 1919. He pursued his degree from one of the best and the 3rd oldest engineering college in Asia, College of Engineering, Pune. 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. His birthday, 15 September, is celebrated as Engineers' Day in India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania in his memory. He was the Chief Engineer of Krishna Raja Sagara dam in the north-west suburb of Mysuru city, and also served as one of the Chief Engineers of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.
Visvesvaraya was born in a Telugu Brahmin family, to Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry and Venkatalakshamma who hail from the Mokshagundam village in present-day Andhra Pradesh. Vishwesharaya was born in Muddenahalli of Mysore Kingdom (present-day Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka). He took a job as an assistant engineer with the Public Works Department of Bombay, and later was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He implemented an intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan Plateau and designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates that were first installed in 1903 at Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune. These gates raised the storage level in the 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 Mandya/Mysore, Karnataka. In 1906–1907, the Government of India sent him to Aden to study water supply and drainage systems. The project prepared by him was implemented in Aden 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. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built. Visvesvaraya gave his technical advice for the location of Mokama Bridge over Ganga in Bihar. At the time, he was over 90 years old, and was called the "Father of Modern Mysore State".
During his service with the Government of Mysore state, he was responsible (under the patronage of the Mysore government) for the founding of Mysore Soap Factory, Parasitoid Laboratory, Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravathi, Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Bangalore, Bangalore Agricultural University, the State Bank of Mysore, Century Club, Mysore Chamber of Commerce (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry), the 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. He was known for his sincerity, time management and dedication to his cause. The Bangalore Press and the 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.
- Assistant Engineer in Bombay, 1885; served in Nasik, Khandesh (mainly in Dhule) and Pune
- Services lent to Municipality of Sukkur, Sind, 1894; designed and carried out waterworks for the municipality
- Executive Engineer, Surat, 1896
- Assistant Superintending Engineer, Pune, 1897–1899; visited China and Japan, 1898
- Executive Engineer for Irrigation, Pune, 1899
- Sanitary Engineer, Bombay, and member, Sanitary Board, 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 the Bombay Government at Simla Irrigation Commission, 1904; on special duty, 1905
- Superintending Engineer, 1907; visited Egypt, Canada, United States, and Russia, 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, Public Works Department 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. Then, for a short period, he worked for the Nizam of Hyderabad. He suggested flood relief measures for Hyderabad, which was under constant threat by the 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. With support from Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya contributed to the general development of Mysore. He was instrumental in the founding of 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 the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by the British for his contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, he was awarded the nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955, an honorary membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers, a fellowship from the 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, as well as the most popular person in Karnataka, according to the newspaper Prajavani. On 15 September 2018, to celebrate his 157th birthday; Visvesvaraya was honored with a Google Doodle.
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 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. The College of Engineering, Pune, his alma mater, erected a statue in his honour. The Viswesvarayya Industrial and Technological Museum Bangalore is named in his honour. 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.
Memorial at Muddenahalli
Viswesvarayya 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.
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- 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.
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- "Do you know why Engineers Day is connected to Karnataka?".
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