India celebrates Engineer’s Day every year on September 15 to mark the birthday of Sir Visvesvaraya, Bharat Ratna recipient, and engineering pioneer of India. He is fondly known as Sir MV or the builder of India. His life and work are a testament to hard work and success. Sir Visvesvaraya was awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’ for his exceptional contribution to the building of India in 1955. Besides, he was also awarded the British knighthood by King George V, which prefixed ‘sir’ to his name.
On the engineer’s day, we would like to focus on his virus that is a lesson for others.
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. Visvesvaraya is known to have designed and planned an entire area of Jayanagar in South Bangalore. The foundation of Jayanagar was laid in 1959. It was one of the first planned neighbourhoods in Bangalore and, at the time, the largest in Asia. It is believed that the locality, designed by Visvesvaraya, has one of the best-planned layouts in Asia.
At the age of 12, Visvesvaraya lost his father. Sir MV enrolled for his early education in Chikballapur, where he completed his primary education. Then for his high school education, Sir MV came to Bangalore. In 1881, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Arts from the Central College in Bangalore, affiliated to the Madras University, he pursued civil engineering from the reputed College of Engineering, Pune.
Sir MV was privileged enough to be sent to Aden to study the various techniques in water supply and the drainage system during the year 1906-07. Later he became societal for his impeccable contribution to make Hyderabad city flood-free. His ideas helped the city of Visakhapatnam port to be saved from sea erosion. Even at the age of 90, he undertook work on designing and advising in the building of dams across rivers. Before serving as Diwan of Mysore, Sir MV served as the Nizam of Hyderabad and did some eminent services for the state. During his service as the Diwan of Mysore, he founded eminent institutions such as Mysore Soap Factory, Bangalore Agricultural University, and Parasitoid Library, State Bank of Mysore, and Mysore Iron and Steel Works.
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.
Sir MV also played a vital role in promoting the Kannada language. Sir CM had designed the layout of Jayanagar in South Bangalore and is supposed to be the best locality to be designed ever in Asia. 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 Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum Bangalore is named in his honour. Two metro stations in India, one in Bengaluru on the Purple Line (Sir M. Visvesvaraya Station, Central College), and another one in Delhi on the Pink Line (Sir Vishweshwaraiah Moti Bagh), are named after him.
Sir Visvesvaraya never cared about fame. He lived his life with principle and dignity, which should be lessons for others. Don’t only talk about his achievements and notice the dignity he maintained…