Engineers Day – Bharat Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Bharat Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was an eminent engineer and statesman and played a key role in building of modern India. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, popularly and affectionately known as Sir M.V., was born on September 15, 1860 in a village known as Muddenahalli in Chikballapur Taluk, Kolar District. In India Sept 15th is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in memory of our beloved Sir MV.

Known for his simplicity, he was appointed as the Dewan by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1912. During his tenure as the Dewan of Mysore, he worked relentlessly for the overall development of the state. Many new industries came up during his tenure as the Dewan. These include the Sandal Oil Factory, the Soap Factory, the Metals Factory, the Chrome Tanning Factory and the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works.

A Telugu by birth and an Kannadiga by place, great Indian by work and a great Human by his way of life. He became a legend in his own lifetime – lived a life filled with singular engineering achievements unparalleled by any one in India in the last century. What made him a unique person was his foresight and grand vision of industrial development which he considered extremely important to alleviate India’s poverty. Effective utilization of water resources to provide safe drinking water and appropriate irrigation was his passion. He did not take up large engineering projects unless he was convinced of their techno-economic feasibility, adequate return on investment and serving a social purpose. He was also versatile. He not only designed and built large dams and water supply schemes, which was his forte, but also contributed to industrial development by planning a steel plant, railway system of Mysore, effective technical education for the posterity and even a reputed financial institution – namely the Mysore Bank.

Some of the job positions he held were
1. Assistant Engineer, Bombay Government Service [in 1884]
2. Chief Engineer, Hyderabad State
3. Chief Engineer in Mysore State. He was also Secretary to the Railways.
4. President of Education and Industrial Development committees in Mysore State
5. Dewan of Mysore. [for six years starting 1912]
6. Chairman, Bhadravati Iron Works
7. Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
8. Member of the Governing Council of Tata Iron and Steel Company [TISCO]
9. Member of Back Bay enquiry committee, London
10. Member of a committee constituted in 1917 to make recommendations regarding the future of Indian States.

Some of the honours and laurels conferred on Sir M. Visvesvaraya:

• 1904: Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken period of 50 years
• 1906: “Kaisar-i-Hind” in recognition of his services
• 1911: C.I.E. (Companion of the Indian Empire) at the Delhi Darbar
• 1915: K.C.I.E. (Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire)
• 1921: D.Sc. – Calcutta University
• 1931: LLD – Bombay University
• 1937: D.Litt – Benaras Hindu University
• 1943: Elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers (India)
• 1944: D.Sc. – Allahabad University
• 1948: Doctorate – LLD., Mysore University
• 1953: D.Litt – Andhra University
• 1953: Awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India
• 1955: Conferred ‘ BHARATHA RATNA’
• 1958: ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’ by the Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal
• 1959: Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Institutions in his honour
• The Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, to which nearly all engineering colleges in Karnataka are now affiliated.
• The Visvesvaraya Institute of Advanced Technology located in Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura.
• The upcoming Indian Institute of Technology Muddenahalli is being built in Sir M.V.’s birthplace.
• The University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore popularly known as UVCE, is an engineering college, affiliated to the Bangalore University, established in 1917 by Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya. The college was renamed University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering from its earlier name — University College of Engineering, Bangalore — in honour of its illustrious founder.
• Vishweshwarayya Polytechnic College
• Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute Of Technology (popularly known as Sir M.V.I.T), Bangalore, is named after Sir M.V.
• Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (V.N.I.T.), Nagpur (formerly Visvesvaraya Regional College of Engineering) was established in the early 1960s in his honour. The college is among the elite 19 National Institutes of Technology (formerly Regional Engineering Colleges) in India.
• The Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum, Bangalore, set up as part of his birth centenary celebrations
• Visvesvaraya Iron & Steel Limited, a public sector undertaking, at Bhadravathi, the founding of which he was instrumental. He also supervised VISL and, under his supervsion, the loss-making factory started earning profit.
• His alma mater, the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), has erected a statue in his memory and honour on their campus in central Pune, immediately outside the historic COEP administration building.
• Institute of Technology – Banaras Hindu University (the largest residential university in Asia) has a hostel named after Sir M Visvesvaraya.
• Karnataka Industrial Cooperative Bank Ltd
• NIT Rourkela named a hall of residence in his honour