Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Here we listed out some Interesting facts about The Great Engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievemnet, etc

Born: 15 September 1860
Birth Place: Karnataka, India
Died: 14 April 1962 (age 101)
Profession: Civil Engineer

  • M. Visvesvarya was born on September 15, 1861 at Muddenhalli in Mysore (Karnataka state), in a poor Brahmin family. His father expired while he was studying in Middle School  at Chikballapur.
  • Due to financial constraints young Visvesvaraya was sent to Bangalore to his uncle’s place. Visvesvaraya took tuitions and somehow e managed to fund his   He was a keen, disciplined and focused person and Principal of the Central College, where he studied, noticed this and encouraged him to study well.
  • The Principal, Charles Waters was so impressed by this young, intelligent student that he willed his beautiful, expansive cuff-buttons to Visvesvaraya.
  • He became an Asst. Engineer in the P.W.D. of the Bombay Government. Within three months he was admitted to the Associate Membership of the Institute of Civil Engineers, London and very soon he began to soar in his chosen profession.
  • Visvesvaraya felt that water resources were not put to proper use in India and therefore india suffered from lack of water, famine, destruction of crops etc. and so he took keen interest in building dams, bridges, lakes etc.
  • He is also known for the designing of a new type of wastewater flood gate which was installed at the headwork of the river Mutha in Pune and also a new scheme of irrigation called the ‘Block system’ of irrigation to meet the peculiar problem of the Deccan.
  • Visvesvarya received an offer from the Nizam of Hyderabad to take on development activities in his state. He was appointed as Special Consulting Engineer to the Government of Hyderabad.  In a short span of six months he had worked out a plan to save the city from recurring floods.
  • The most notable achievement of Visvesvaraya was the designing and construction a major part of the mansory dam across the Kaveri forming the reservoir to be built in India at that time.
  • He appointed a committee on technical education, organized a mechanical and engineering school at Bangalore and subsequently founded the Chamarajendra Technical Institute at Mysore. He also established a Railway Construction Department.
  • All these achievement led to his being appointed as the Dewan of Mysore State on November 10, 1912. Within nine years of his being appointed as a Dewan, Visvesvaraya brought about a complete change in the economic and educational systems in the State of Mysore.
  • As the Dewan, Visvesvarya gave full freedom to the press and newspapers, including journals.
  • Visvesvarya opened many Technical Institutions, Schools and Colleges for higher education. He gifted many plans, schemes and institutions to Mysore Government; they are:

Bank of Mysore (1913),

Malnad Improvement Scheme (1914),

Engineering college at Bangalore (1916),

The Mysore University (1916),

Bhadravati Iron Works (1918), and

Hydroelectric Power at Jog Falls (1918).

  • The British Government honoured him with the title ‘Sir’ and the Government of India honoured him with the title ‘Kaiser-e-Hind’ (Lion).
  • Visvesvaraya retired at the age of 58 from active service and joined the national movement in 1921. He attended the Round Table Conference and presided over various other conferences from time to time.
  • He authored many books, the most important being, ‘Reconstructing India’, Planned Economy for India’, ‘Memoirs of my working Life’ and ‘A brief Memoir of My Complete Working life’.
  • He was 92 years old when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru suggested that Visvesvaraya should examine the proposal from various State Governments to build bridges over the River Ganges, Nehru chose Visvesvaraya for this job because he knew that he was the only engineer who could take an unbiased view without any political pressure and whose views would be perfect and acceptable to all.
  • Visvesvaraya was quite modern in his outlook. He considered casteism, illiteracy, dowry and child marriage as social evils.  Visvesvaraya was proud to be an Indian.  He had a great zest for life and education.  He kept himself fit and took regular walks.
  • When he was 102 years old, he said, “it is better to work out than rest out”, Even after retiring from service he did not sit idle but continued to work as consultant in different projects in various states.
  • In1955, when Visvesvaraya was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ , he wrote to Pandit Nehru, “If you feel that by giving this title, I will praise your Government, you will be disappointed. I am a fact finding man,”  Nehru appreciated his stand and assured Visvesvaraya that he was free to comment on the national events and development and that the award was given to him  in appreciation of his outstanding services to the country.
  • The Government of India issued a stamp featuring Visvesvaraya on September 15, 1960 to celebrate the centenary of this great engineer. Normally a person is featured on a stamp posthumously; Visvesvaraya was one of the few great personalities to be portrayed on the Indian stamp during his lifetime.  His zeal for life and quest for knowledge never diminished till the end.


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