Short Biography of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (Sir MV)
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (also Sir MV, M Visvesvaraya) was one of the greatest engineer the country has produced. He was also the Diwan of Mysore during the years between 1912 to 1918. Visvesvaraya was really a ‘Bharat Ratna’ Jewel and it is no wonder that the Government of India bestowed on him the highest honour of the country, Bharat Ratna 1955.
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born at Muddenahalli village in the Telugu-speaking Kolar district of the Karnataka State on 15 September 1861. Visvesvaraya’s forefathers belonged to Mokshagundam village in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and they migrated to Kolar district in the early part of the last century.
Visvesvaraya lost his father at an early age. He was therefore brought up by his uncle Ramayya who spared no effort in giving his nephew the best possible education. Visvesvaraya stood first among the successful candidates of the B.A. examination from the Central College, Bangalore which was then affiliated to the University of Madras. This enabled him to secure the scholarship of the Mysore Government to pursue further studies in Engineering at Poona. He took his degree in Engineering in 1884 securing a first class and winning the much coveted award, the James Berkeley Prize. This enabled him to join the Public Works Department of the Government of Bombay as Assistant Engineer. He retired from the service of Bombay Government as Superintending Engineer in 1908.
Visvesvaraya showed his brilliance by introducing what was known as the Block System of Irrigation. His talents were recognized by persons like Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief of India and Lord Sydenham the Governor of Bombay, when they saw the Khadakwasla Reservoir at Poona built as per the new innovation introduced by Visvesvaraya.
The services of Visvesvaraya were used by the Government of Hyderabad to control the floods of the Musi River, which caused immense damage to life and property of the city of Hyderabad in 1908. The Hyderabad Government implemented the recommendations of Visvesvaraya and saved the city of Hyderabad from the scourge of annual floods. Again in 1922 his services were utilized while drawing up the drainage scheme to Hyderabad city.
Visvesvaraya was the maker of modern Mysore. As the Dewan of Mysore during the years 1912 to 1918 he initiated industrialization of Mysore by starting the Mysore Iron and Steel Works at Bhadravati. Earlier as the Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department of the Government of Mysore, he was responsible for the construction of a dam across the river Cauvery. This dam known as Krishnaraja Sagar Dam and the famous Brindavan Gardens attached to it are well known throughout the country and they stand testimony to the engineering skill and aesthetic sense of Visvesvaraya.
Visvesvaraya was the first to realize the importance of planning. His ideas on planning and industrialization of the country caught the fancy of no less a person than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Speaking at a function held at Bangalore to honour Visvesvaraya on his hundredth birthday Nehru said that Visvesvaraya was a dreamer, thinker and a man of action and that the country was full of memorials of the work done by him.
Visvesvaraya died on 14th of April, 1962 at the age of 101.