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Bharatratna Sir Er. M. Visvesvaraya : A Rare Gem

  Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on dt. 15.9.1861 in village   Muddenhalli of Kolar District about 40 miles away from Bangalore. His   father was a Sanskrit scholar by name Srinivasachary, coming from a   poor family. He could not even afford secondary education in those days.   For completing his secondary education he had to leave his house and   stay with his uncle. He has completed his whole high school education   by giving tuitions to needy students. All the higher education were   completed with the help of scholarships and tuitions. Originally the family   belonged to village Mokshagundam, a village in Kurnool dist., Andhra   Pradesh. From there his forefathers migrated to Muddenhalli. So he is   known as Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

  The year 1861 was really a lucky year for India. The year produced great   personalities like Pandit Motilal Nehru, Pandit Madanmohan Malviya, Sir   Rabindranath Tagore and Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Though he was a great Enginner , Industialist, Administrator and Statesman, he was very simple in his day to day life.  Even though he constructed hundreds and thousands of houses for the poor in his life, he was not having his own house even till his death.

 He passed Matraculation in 1876, B.A. in the year 1880 from Madras University  and stood first in the university. As he stood 1st in the university he was granted a  scholarship for further studies from Dewan Rengacharlu of Mysore State.

He passed LCE, a diploma course in civil Engineering in November , 1883 and stood first in the whole of Bombay Presidency, winning James Berkeley prize.

He passed Degree in Civil Engineering in the year 1884 from Engineering College, Pune.

His Professional Career

Sir M. Visvesvarya was an institution in himself. In addition to the jobs, he was holding for earning bread, he was associated with several projects of India and abroad on honorary basis. Though it will not be possible to mention all his professional associations, an attempt is made here to mention some of them. Immediately after completing his degree course in Civil Engg. from Engineering college, Pune, he joined Public Works Department of Bombay in 1884 as an Assistant Engineer at the age of 23 years. Then he took over as Executive Engineer Irrigation Pune in 1889. He gained several accelerated promotions in his career and left Govt. Service as Superintending Engineer in 1908.

Then in the ravaging floods which shook the Nizam state on 28-09-1908, he joined the team of Engineers at the request of H.H. the Nizam of Hyderabad and proposed permanent measures for controlling havoc of floods to the Hyderabad City. Then he took over as Chief Enginner of Mysore state on 15-11-1909. He continued in this post upto 1917, then the King of Mysore made him Dewan of Mysore state. He continued as Dewan of Mysore state for a full period of six years.

In the year 1923, he started the Bhadravati Iron Works, first steel plant in India and became Chairman of the company. He was elected President of All India Manufacturers Organisation in 1949.

His Prime achievements

It is highly impossible to list out his achievement and projects undertaken by him. But an honest effort is made to list out some of his major contributions.
  1. Designing and Fixing of automatic flood gates for Lake, Khadakvasala in 1901. The Patent of   the design was with Sir Visvevaraya only, but he refused to accept any royalty for his patent.  The same type of flood gates later were designed for Tigara dam at Gwalior and Krishnaraja   sagar dam at Mysore.

  2. Designing and construction of Osman sagar & Himayat Sagar solid gravity dams at Hyderabad  in 1911 Over Musa river.Prior to 1911 the city of Hyderabad was suffering from chronic floods.  H.H. Nizam has consulted Sir M. Visvesvaraya for a permanent solution for making the city  safe from floods. Sir M.V's plan not only made the city safe from floods but also provided  modern drainage system, dustless roads, paved arcades and supply of wholesome water to  the city's population.

  3. Development of Cauvery falls Power scheme in  Mysore state. This scheme was completed in  the year 1902 as the first long distance transmission of hydro electric power system in India.

  4. Design and construction of Reservoir of the Cauvery.

  5. Design and construction of Krishnaraja sagar dam Mysore and setting up of Brindavan gardens  near the dam. The Brindavan gardens are ranked as the most beautiful gardens in India today.

  6. Design and Construction of Sukkur Barrage and canals.

  7. Establishment of Bhadravati Iron works in the year 1923.

  8. He was the prime architech in setting up "Premier Automobiles Ltd" Bombay in the year 1935 by Walchand Hirachand group. The firm produced Fiat cars and was one of the major Automobile Manufacturers in India.

  9. In the year 1942 he set up Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. Banglore in the erstwhile Mysore State. The firm later on after independence, was taken over by Govt. of India and is presently known as Hinsustan Aeronatics Ltd. Banglore. A firm which is engaged in manufacture of defence air crafts.

  10. He went to Orisa in 1937 and seen the flood devastated state. Then he prepared a scheme for diversion of water from Mahandi to Chilka lake. This was an extra ordinary scheme and was implemented into

  11. Introduced "Block system of Irrigation" for the first time in India in the Year 1901, when he was working as Exe. Engineer (Irrigation) Pune.

  12. He was responsible for the establishment of Bank of Mysore in the erstwhile state of Mysore.

  13. Established Mysore University in the year 1916.

  14. In 1947 he worked in an advisory capacity in design and construction of Tunganbhadra dam.

  15. While he was working as Dewan of Mysore, he earned several laurels to his administrative capacities. He introduced "Efficiency audit" a novel scheme to check the efficiency of Govt. servants.

  16. Designed numerous water schemes for towns in India and out side India also. Prominent among them are Bombay, Gwalior , Hyderabad, Nagpur , Pune, Surat and Aden.

    Awards & Honours Conferred

    Numerous awards were given to Sir Visvesvaraya in honour of his services to the Nation and world at large.
    Some notable awards are -

    1911 CIE award Commander of order of the India Empire awarded by the British Govt.
    1915 KCIE award Knight Commander of order India Empire, awarded by theBritish Govt.
    1944 MEI Life Membership of Institution of Engineers (India)
    1955 Bharat Ratna The highest award of the Govt. of India. Award given by Dr. Rajendra Prasad first
    President of India.
    1887 AMICE Associated membership of Institution of Civil Engineers (London)

    These are only a few of the awards/honours received by Sir M. Visvesvraya. In addition to this, he was awarded honourary membership of several world over institutions in recognition of his services in various fields.

    His Books : Prominent among his writings are,

    1. Reconstructing India,

    2. Planned Economy for India

      These books are still used as reference books of the past period.

    A Globe Trotter :

           In his persuance of Engineering profession he visited almost all the cities of the world. All over the world wherever visited he got VIP treatment and world Engineers sought his advise on diverse matters.