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M Visvesvaraya, The Genius Whose Work We Celebrate On Engineers Day

M Visvesvaraya with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (Source – Wikimedia Commons)
M Visvesvaraya with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (Source – Wikimedia Commons)


M Visvesvaraya, The Genius Whose Work We Celebrate On Engineers Day

Known for his solutions to complex engineering problems, he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna.

India observes Engineer’s Day on 15 September every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of one of the country’s greatest engineers, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, or M Visvesvaraya.

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of Engineer’s Day and the 157th birth anniversary of M Visvesvaraya, who was honoured with a Bharat Ratna.

The theme of Engineers Day in India 2018 is “Engineering Challenges for Knowledge Era”.

M Visvesvaraya: Early Life

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1861, in the Muddenahalli village, Karnatakato a Telugu Brahmin family.At an early age, Visvesvaraya lost his father and moved to Bangalore with his mother to complete his high school.

He studied Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Madras. Later, he went on to study civil engineering at the College of Engineering, Pune, where he graduated with distinction. Then, the government of Bombay directly recruited him and he joined the Public Works Department (PWD) as an assistant engineer.

Professional Career: Inventions and Innovations

M Visvesvaraya manifested excellence inhis role at the PWD and quickly earned the status of a dependable engineer with solutions for complex engineering problems.

His early achievements included the design of the automatic weir water floodgates, capable of controlling the maximum level of water storage permissible without damage to reservoir walls. It was implemented in the Tigra Dam in Gwalior, theKhadakwasla Dam near Pune, and in the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam in Mysore.

Apart from this, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya also administered Krishna Raja Sagar Dam’s construction as the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad. At that time, Krishna Raja Sagar Dam was the biggest dam in Asia.

While serving as the Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918, he established the University Visvervaraya College of Engineering in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), Mysore Bank and the Mysore Chambers of Commerce.

M Visvesvaraya also commissioned the first Bangalore-Mysore railway line. He also initiated the government soap factory and developed the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant in Bhadravati.He transformed the state of Mysore (now Mysuru) into a model state.

Visvesvaraya is also credited with inventing the Block System to prevent overflow, a flood protection system for Hyderabad and an erosion protection system for the port city of Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Awards and Achievements

King George V honored him with the title of ‘Knight’ in 1915 as a commander of the British Indian Empire.

After Indian achieved Independence, he received the Bharat Ratna in 1955. He was awarded a fellowship by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore,and became a member of the London Institution of Civil Engineers.

He passed away in 1962, gifting the world with his beneficial inventions and contributions. Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust installed his memorialat Muddenahalli. Mokshagundam’s name lives eternally through numerous universities including Visvesvaraya Technological University in Belagavi.

Engineer’s Day Beyond Borders

Engineer’s Day is observed on different dates in different countries.

  • Argentina- June 16
  • Bangladesh- May 7
  • Brazil- December 11
  • Columbia- August 17
  • Chile- May 14
  • Italy- June 15.
  • Mexico- July 1
  • Russia- December 22

Wishes Pour In

Google has paid a tribute to Visvesvaraya with a Doodle on his birth anniversary today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate and appreciate the hard work of engineers on the Engineer’s Day.

Earlier on 26 August, in the Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Narendra Modi talked about the engineers in the country who made “the unimaginable possible” and “presented such marvels of engineering before the world”.

Referring to Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, PM Modi said “in this lineage of great engineers, we were blessed with a diamond whose work is still a source of wonder for all”.

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