The Struggle and Success of Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya

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Sir M Visvesvaraya

India celebrates ‘Engineer’s Day’ on 15 September every year. We celebrate this day in the honour of the Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya. Today we celebrate the birth anniversary of the engineering legend Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. He is known as one of the greatest engineers in India. His biggest contribution to the society was the construction of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore.

What we will discuss:

  • Early Life
  • Excellence at Work
  • Some Offices Held by Sir M Visvesvaraya
  • His Greatest Achievements 
  • Some Facts Related to Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya
  • A Memorable Persona

Early Life

Sir M. Visvesvaraya, born on 15 September 1860 (Some sources state his birth year as 1861) at Muddenahalli in Chikballapur District of Karnataka. His father Srinivasa Shastri was an Ayurvedic practitioner & Sanskrit scholar and his mother was a religious woman named Venkachamma.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya completed his schooling in Chikballapur and studied BA at Central College in Bangalore. After completing the BA in the year 1881, he joined the Science College in Pune to study civil engineering. He ranked first in the F.C.E AND L.C.E examinations in 1883. When he was studying engineering, he got a job offer from the Government of Bombay on the post of Assistant Engineer in Nasik.

He was the chief architect behind the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam. This dam was like a boon for the farmers of the surrounding area. This dam fertilized the barren land and made it farming worthy.  Still, many farmers are getting benefited from this dam.

Excellence at Work

  • Besides being the chief architect behind the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya District of Karnataka, Sir M. Visvesvaraya also was the brain behind the planning the road construction between Tirumala, and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
  • He also played a major role in planning the Indian Economy before Independence in the year 1934.
  • The waterworks for the Municipality of Sukkur in the year 1895 was also designed and planned by him. He also played a major role in the Block System development to prevent the wasteful flow of water in dams.
  • Sir M. Visvesvaraya was the founder of the Mysore soap factory, Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute, The Mysore Iron & steelworks (Bhadravathi), the State Bank of Mysore and The Bangalore Agricultural University.
  • In the year 1894, he designed a water filtration system on the riverbed to ensure supply of clean water to Sukkur, in Sindh, which is now in Pakistan.
  • In the year 1889, he designed an irrigation system for the Bombay Presidency in order to distribute water to large blocks of land thereby increasing the crop production. This irrigation design is known as the Block System of Irrigation.
  • In 1908, he to improve the drainage of Hyderabad he developed a drainage and water supply to save the city from cyclonic rains that caused the Musi river to flood. To design this system, he was invited by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
  • Sir Visvesvaraya designed the Automatic Sluice Gates to increase the capacity of the Khadakvasla reservoir, Pune to prevent it from overflowing in monsoon and hold more water for summer. Similar systems were installed in Krishna Raja Sagar dam, near Mysuru and Tigra dam, near Gwalior.

Some Offices Held by Sir M Visvesvaraya

As per the karnataka.com, Sir M Visvesvaraya held many offices, naming a few below:

  1. In 1884 – Assistant Engineer, Bombay Government Service.
  2. Chief Engineer, Hyderabad State, where he served for a period of seven months starting 15th April 1909.
  3. In 1909, he was appointed as the chief engineer of the Mysore state.
  4. He was also worked as Secretary to the Railways.
  5. In 1899 – Executive Engineer for Irrigation, Pune.
  6. Dewan of Mysore for six years starting 1912.
  7. Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
  8. Member of the Governing Council of Tata Iron & Steel Company [TISCO]
  9. Member of Back Bay enquiry committee, London.

His Greatest Achievements 

1904 Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for a period of 50 years
1906 Title of “Kaisar-i-Hind” in recognition of his services
1911 Companion of the Indian Empire (C.I.E.) at the Delhi Darbar
1915 Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
(K.C.I.E.)
1921 Received D.Sc. from Calcutta University
1931 LLD (Doctor of Laws) from Bombay University
1937 D.Litt from Benaras Hindu University (BHU)
1943 Elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers, India
1944 Received Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) – Allahabad University
1948 Received Doctorate – LLD., Mysore University
1953 Received D.Litt from Andhra University
1953 Awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India
1955 Honoured with ‘Bharat Ratna‘, which is the highest distinction of the country
1958 Received D.Sc. from Jadhavpur University Calcutta
1958 Honoured by Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal with ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’
1959 Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore

Some Facts Related to Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya

Sir M. Visvesvaraya was not only the most prolific civil engineer and dam builder but an economist and statesman too. He is a perfect role model for today’s generation. We all know about the achievements of Sir M. Visvesvaraya but unfortunately, most of us are not aware of his struggles.

Here are the few facts related to Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya’s life.

  • Sir M Visvesvaraya was born in a Kannada speaking Brahmin family. His father was a Sanskrit scholar. The financial condition of M Visvesvaraya’s family was not very good.
  • When M Visvesvaraya was 12 years old, his father was passed away. Now M Visvesvaraya has to do work to earn the livelihood for the family. So he started giving tuitions to the younger kids but didn’t stop his studies.
  • Sir M Visvesvaraya used to study under the street light and used to walk for many kilometer to reach his school.
  • With the help of government, he completed his engineering from the prestigious College of Engineering at Pune.
  • After the completion of his graduation, he joined the PWD Mumbai as Assistant
  • He developed the Block System to prevent the wasteful flow of water in dams.
  • Because of his work, he was sent to Aden for further study of water supply and drainage system in 1906-07.
  • Sir M Visvesvaraya supervised the engineering work in Hyderabad to design flood protection system for the city. From here many people started to recognize
  • He also saved the Visakhapatnam port from being eroded from the sea by using his intelligence and engineering tactics.
  • He was appointed as the Chief Engineer of Mysore State in 1909 and from 1912-1918 he served Mysore as the 19th Diwan of the kingdom.
  • Sir M Visvesvaraya became so famous by the engineering works that King George V awarded him the British knighthood. That’s way has the honorific “sir”.
  • He was awarded The Bharat Ratna in 1955 for his work in the field of Engineering.
  • He received the Doctorate degree from 8 Indian universities.

A Memorable Persona

He passed away in 1962 at the age of 102 years. But we still remember him and his works. His life as a child was completely different from his life in his later years. This is an example that shows the importance of study and hard work.

Being an engineer is not an easy task, but to be the best engineer is the most difficult thing. Even after a struggle in childhood, Sir M Visvesvaraya proved that he is the best engineer.

I hope you will learn something from the struggles and the success of Bharat Ratna sir M Visvesvaraya.

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