Born: September 15, 1860
Died: April 14, 1962
Achievements: Architect of Krishnarajasagar Dam; devised steel
doors to stop the wasteful flow of water in dams; honored with Bharat
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was an eminent engineer and statesman and
played a key role in building of modern India.
Sir M. Visvesvaraya was born on September 15, 1860 in Muddenahalli
village in the Kolar district of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore
(present day Karnataka). His father Srinivasa Sastry was a Sanskrit
scholar and Ayurvedic practitioner. His mother Venkachamma was a
religious lady. He lost his father when he was only 15 years old.
Visvesvaraya completed his early education in Chikkaballapur and then went to
Bangalore for higher education. He cleared his B.A. Examination in 1881.
He got some assistance from the Government of Mysore and joined the
Science College in Poona to study Engineering. In 1883 he ranked first
in the L.C.E. and the F.C.E. Examinations (equivalent to B.E.
Examination of today).
When Sir M. Visvesvaraya cleared his engineering, Government of Bombay
offered him a job and appointed him Assistant Engineer at Nasik. As an
engineer, he achieved some marvelous feats. He planned a way of
supplying water from the river Sindhu to a town called Sukkur. He
devised a new irrigation system called the Block System. He devised
steel doors to stop the wasteful flow of water in dams. He was the
architect of the Krishnaraja Sagara dam in Mysore. The list is endless.
Sir M. Visvesvaraya lead a very simple life. He was a strict vegetarian
and a teetotaler. He was known for his honesty and integrity. In 1912,
Maharaja of Mysore appointed Visvesvaraya as his Dewan. Before accepting
the position of Dewan of Mysore, he invited all his relatives for
dinner. He told them very clearly that he would accept the prestigious
office on the condition that none of them would approach him for
favours. As Dewan of Mysore, he worked tirelessly for educational and
industrial development of the state. When he was the Dewan many new
industries came up. The Sandal Oil Factory, the Soap Factory, the Metals
Factory, the Chrome Tanning Factory , were some of them. Of the many
factories he started the most important is the Bhadravati Iron and Steel
Sir M. Visvesvaraya voluntarily retired as Dewan of Mysore in 1918. He
worked actively even after his retirement. Sir M. Visvesvaraya was
honored with Bharat Ratna in 1955 for his invaluable contribution to the
nation. When he reached the age of 100, the Government of India brought
out a stamp in his honor. Sir Visvesvaraya passed away on April 14, 1962
at the age of 101.
Some of the honours and laurels conferred on Sir M. Visvesvaraya