Remembering an Excellent Engineer – Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

September 15 is the day when everyone commemorates the legendary engineer Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. And therefore, this day is known by the name, “Engineers’ Day”.

About Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Sir Visvesvaraya, was regarded as the most eminent Indian engineer and statesman ever, and he was bornon September 15, 1860, in Muddenahalli village in the Kolar district of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore (present day Karnataka). Hailing from a remote village of Karnataka did not limit his abilities. And ironically, Karnataka is today the Hi-tech centre of the country.

Sir Visvesvaraya’s father, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar. His name was SrinivasaSastry. Srinivasa was also an Ayurvedic practitioner. Sir Visvesvaraya’smother Venkachamma was a pious lady. You Visvesvaraya lost his father at a tender age of 15. Visvesvaraya got his early education from Chikkaballapur. HE completed his higher education in Bangalore, clearing his B.A. Examination in the year 1881. With some assistance from Mysore Government, Visvesvaraya joined the Science College in Poona to study Engineering. With persistent efforts, Visvesvaraya came first in L.C.E. and the F.C.E. Examinations in 1883 which are equivalent to today’s B.E. examination.

Sir Visvesvaraya laid the first ever roots to economic planning in India. His documents on economic planning, understanding of what a planned economy means for India and importance of reconstructing India, are still used as the parent sources for key economic decisions.


Sir Visvesvaraya was the chief architect of Krishnarajasagar Dam. He brilliantly laid the idea of steel doors that would entirely stop the water from deluging the dams. This was the feat which got him Bharat Ratna.

Sir Visvesvaraya’s excellent engineering abilities and statesman image played a significant role in establishing a modern India.After clearing engineering, Sir Visvesvaraya got a job from Bombay Government. Sir Visvesvaraya worked as an Assistant Engineer in Nasik where he achieved remarkable feats. He invented a way to supply water from Sindhu River to Sukkur town along with a new and effective irrigation system.

Below is a list of Sir Visvesvaraya’s laurels

1904: Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken period of 50 years

1906: “Kaisar-i-Hind” in recognition of his services

1911: C.I.E. (Companion of the Indian Empire) at the Delhi Darbar

1915: K.C.I.E. (Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire)

1921: D.Sc. – Calcutta University

1931: LLD – Bombay University

1937: D.Litt – Benaras Hindu University

1943: Elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers (India)

1944: D.Sc. – Allahabad University

1948: Doctorate – LLD., Mysore University

1953: D.Litt – Andhra University

1953: Awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India

1955: Conferred ‘ BHARATHA RATNA’

1958: ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’ by the Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal

1959: Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Sir Visvesvaraya’s life

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya lived a humble life. Sir Visvesvaraya was also pious by nature as his mother. He followed a stern vegetarian diet and avoided alcohol. He is still remembered for his honest demeanour and integrity in thoughts and actions.

In the year 1912, Mysore’s Maharaja or King of Mysore appointed Sir Mokshagundam as his Dewan. Prior to being anointed as Dewan, Sir Visvesvaraya summoned all his kinfolks for dinner. He clearly mentioned about his appointment to be completed only if everyone agrees for no favours. As the Dewan of Mysore, Sir Visvesvaraya worked relentlessly towards industrial and scholastic development of the Mysore state. During his reign as Dewan, numerous industries shot up like The Sandal Oil Factory, the Soap Factory, the Metals Factory, and the Chrome Tanning Factory. Sir Visvesvaraya also laid the inception of many factories like Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya voluntarily declared his retirement in 1918 from the post of Dewan of Mysore. However, he did not stop working and went on to bag India’s highest laurel, Bharat Ratna in 1955. After completing 100 years of age, Government of India launched a stamp in Sir Visvesvaraya’s honour. Sir Visvesvaraya left us on on April 14, 1962 at a wholesome age of 101.

How engineer’s day is going to be celebrated in India on September 15 2015?

This year the National Council of the Institution has selected the theme as “EngineeringChallenges for Knowledge Era”.

The fields of engineering, technology and science are witnessing fast-moving developments. We are in the knowledge era where “knowledge is the new currency of national economics.”

Engineers play a distinguished role in today’s knowledge economy. New product and process inventions from the fundamentals of new knowledge chain. These new inventions need to be protected with protocols like intellectual property rights and applicability of Cyber loss.

Disruptive technologies and pioneering technological developments need to be leveraged to achieve engineering feats. This engineers’ day we would focus on promoting research and development. This engineers’ day is going to be celebrated keeping in mind the spirit of entrepreneurship and inventing ways to nurture entrepreneurship. This will be the ground towards successful manufacturing of world class products.

Further this engineers’ day, there is also a focus on encouraging interdisciplinary team efforts which are required to successfully map the advantages of knowledge economy. Both, the Industry and Academic entities are equally responsible toensure that our engineers are trained and equipped to face the ever growing challenges of knowledge era. The theme “Engineering challenges for Knowledge Era” addresses such issues.

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