Bharath Ratna Sir M Vishweshwaraiah
His Early Life and Beginnings
Vishweshwaraiah was born in Muddenahalli, a village in Kolar District of Karnataka, on 15th September 1860 to Srinivasa Sastry and Venkachamma. His father was a Scholar in Sanskrit and was a practicing Ayurvedic physician. His early education was in Chikkaballapur. He completed High School from Wesley Mission High School, Bangalore. When he was 15 his father died. M V completed his B A in 1881 from Bangalore Central College. He received some assistance from the Government of Mysore for further studies. He joined the Science college in Poona for Civil engineering course. In 1883 he passed with 1st Rank in the L C E and F C E which is the equivalent to B E of today. Vishweshwaraiah received a gold medal while the studies going on he for outstanding performance from James Berkley.
Vishweshwaraiah used to go to bed at 10 p m and get up at 6 am. He was a simple personality. He was a pure vegetarian with frugal food habits. His food was also simple as he was. He never had any hot drinks. He was famous for his punctuality and discipline; honesty, integrity and professionalism. He was always well dressed.
His first job was under the erstwhile Bombay presidency in the Government Public Works Department as an Assistant Engineer at Nasik. He had a long career as an engineer and has served as the chief Engineer in the erstwhile State of Mysore. The Krishna Raja Sagar Dam near Mysore is his brain child. He has contributed immensely in the construction of several dams and water supply projects in our country. The use of sluice gates in many dams was his idea. In the year 1912 Vishweshwaraiah was appointed as the Dewan of Mysore State. During his Dewanship he had introduced many developments in the educational, irrigation and administration fields. He was the person behind the formation of the Mysore University, University of Vishweshwaraiah Engineering and University of Agricultural Sciences. The State Bank of Mysore (the then Bank of Mysore) and the Mysore Iron and Steel Works at Bhadravathi were examples of his achievements.
Some of the positions held by Vishweshwaraiah
Assistant Engineer in Bombay Government Service during 1884
Chief Engineer, Hyderabad State – from April 15, 1909 for 7 months
Chief Engineer in Mysore State from Nov 15, 1909 concurrently as Secretary to the Railways.
He was in the committees on Education and Industry as president in the state of Mysore.
From 1912 to 1918 he was Dewan of Mysore.
Chairman, Bhadravathi Iron Works
Worked as the Governing Council Member of the Indian Institute of Science and Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO).
Member of Back Bay enquiry committee, London
Indian States reorganization study committee.
Sir M.V. retired in 1908 and Sri Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore, was eager to secure the services of Visvesvaraya to serve Mysore. Sir M.V. had earned a reputation for his honesty, integrity, ability and intelligence. He had introduced compulsory education in the State which later was embodied as a fundamental right in the Constitution of independent India.
To name few of the many things he was responsible for
1. K R S Dam. One of the biggest dams in India which irrigates a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land.
2. Brindavan Gardens attached to the Dam
3. Mysore Sandal Oil Factory and the Mysore soap factory
4. Public libraries in Mysore and Bangalore
5. Encouraging girls to attend school.
6. Mysore Chamber of Commerce
7. Kannada Sahithya Parishad or the Kannada Literary Academy
8. Sri Jayachamarajendra Occupational Institute, Bangalore - funded by the ENTIRE money [Rs 2 lacs] he earned from rescuing Bhadravati Iron Works
Sir M.V. was never interested in fame or publicity. But they came to him on their own. Every university of Allahabad, Andhra, Bombay, Calcutta, Jadhavpur, Mysore, Patna and Varanasi in India sought him out to confer honoris causa.
Some of the honours and laurels conferred on Sir M. Vishweshwaraiah
He had the Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers till his death from 1904.
1906 he was conferred the title of "Kaisar-i-Hind" for his services.
1911 He was given the title of Champion of Indian Empire (C I E) at the Delhi Durbar.
1915 Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (K.C.I.E.)
1921 Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) by the Calcutta University
1931 L L D Bombay University
1937 D Litt by Benaras Hindu University
1943 Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers
1944 D Sc by Allahabad University
1948 Doctorate LLD Mysore University
D Litt Andhra University
1953 Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India
1955 Bharath Ratna - Highest distinction of the country by Government of India.
1955 Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal by the Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal
1959 Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
One full book will require to mention his qualities. One incidence was that when he was given the posting of the Dewan by the Mysore State, he called all his family members and relations and told them that he will accept the post only if all of them agree for the condition that they will not go to him for any personal favor.
"Indian Express" had news item on March 24, 2005. Sir MV maintained had an account with Bank of Mysore (founded by him - now State Bank of Mysore). On March 27, 1918, he had Rs 990 which increased to Rs 11,487 on March 3, 1919. This included the interest earned and maturity amount of his F D.
Sir M V and Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhiji and Vishweshwaraiah were eminent Indians who had the interests of the country's development and making it a modern one as the foremost thing in their heart and they had mutual respect to each other. But both of them had diametrically opposite views on several issues. But as far as industrialization is concerned they were totally opposed to each other. While Gandhiji's stand was industrialize and perish Sir M V's stand was industrialize or perish. Vishweshwaraiah did not agree with the non-cooperation movement of Gandhiji. When Gandhiji was to go to attend the round table conference at London M.V. wrote to Gandhiji urging him to wear suit.
Sir M Vishweshwaraiah's birth centenary was celebrated in Lal Bagh Garden of Bangalore and the then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came to honor the great son of India. The function was presided over by Jayachamaraja Wodiyar.
On his reaching 100 years of age the Government of India brought out a Postal stamp in his honor.
Sir M.V. died on April 12, 1962. He was 102 years, 6 months and 8 days old at the time of his death. He was cremated in his birth place at Muddanahalli as desired by him. A memorial is erected at the village but the maintenance is very poor.
He had introduced compulsory education in the State which later was embodied as a fundamental right in the Constitution of independent India.
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.
On 15 September, Dr M Visvesvaraya, engineer-statesman, listed what he called certain "basic wants" in the country
(1) The working hours were short in the aggregate – they should be increased for all workers and employees.
(2) There should be regular working hours with discipline; A minimum of six to eight working hours daily on every working day should be introduced.
(3) Unity, harmony and co-operation is to be expected from every citizen.
(4) Everyone should practice diligence, discipline and precision as part of his/her character.
(5) Everyone should cultivate loyalty, honesty and selflessness.
(6) He should be courteous and do service to fellowmen in daily life.
(10) In schools and universities, a few working habits, business habits and sense of behavior should be discussed steadily practiced and rendered popular and,
(11) Time should be managed effectively.