14 November 2009

M Vishweshwarayya: Life and Achievements

M Vishweshwarayya (1860-1962) is the architect of modern Karnataka. A look at his life and achievements:

Early Life and Education (1860-1883)
  • 15 September 1860 - Born in Muddenahalli village near Chikkaballapur, Karnataka.
  • The initial 'M' stands for Mokshagundam - his family's native village in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Second son of Srinivas Shastri, a Sanskrit scholar, and Venkatalakshmamma.
  • Attended primary school at Muddenahalli, middle school at Chikkaballapur and high school at Bangalore.
  • In Bangalore, supported himself by giving tuitions to children. Studied at night under streetlights. (No, this is not a cliche)
  • Lost his father at the age of 15. First rank in the matriculation exam in Mysore state.
  • Did his BA at Central College, Bangalore. First rank in Madras University.
  • Studied Civil Engineering at Science College, Poona. (Today's College of Engineering Pune - COEP)
Engineer (1884-1912)
  • 1884 - Joined the PWD of Bombay Presidency as Assistant Engineer.
  • Built automatic floodgates for Khadakvasla reservoir, near Poona.
  • Built a system to supply drinking water at Aden, Egypt.
  • 1906 - Awarded the "Kaiser-i-Hind" by the British government.
  • 1908 - Resigned from the PWD. In spite of his many achievements he was not made Chief Engineer. The post was reserved for whites/Englishmen.
  • At the request of the Nizam of Hyderabad, built dams for Moosi and Iyasi rivers near Hyderabad, to protect the city from floods.
  • 1909 - Became Chief Engineer of Mysore state, then ruled by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1902-40).
Diwan of Mysore (1912-1918)
  • 1913 - Founded the Mysore Bank (today's State Bank of Mysore). The British did not want India to industrialise. Indian entrepreneurs could not get capital to set up industries. So MV founded the Mysore Bank.
  • 1916 - Founded the Mysore University. Mysore's higher education broke free of the British-run Madras University.
  • 1916 - Founded the Government Soap Factory at Mysore. Today the Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd (KSDL) - maker of the world-famous Mysore Sandal Soap.
  • 1917 - Founded the Government Engineering College at Bangalore. Today the University Vishweshwarayya College of Engineering (UVCE).
  • Gave great importance to women's education. 1917 - Upgraded the Maharani's College at Mysore to a degree college.
  • Revived the Mysore Iron and Steel Works (MISW) at Bhadravati. Today the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL).
  • Built the Krishnaraja Sagar dam (1911-31) on the Kaveri river near Mysore.
  • Started the Sharavati Hydro-Electric Project at Jog Falls near Shimoga.
  • Built the Bangalore-Mysore railroad.
  • Built the Bhatkal harbour.
  • Started the civil service exams in Mysore state.
  • 1915 - Awarded the Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by the British government.
Retirement (1918-1962)
  • 1940 - Persuaded industrialist Walchand Hirachand to found the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at Bangalore.
  • 1943 - Founded the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute with his earnings from MISW.
  • Consulting engineer for Karachi, Bombay, Nashik, Poona, Belgaum, Dharwad, Indore and Gwalior - mainly for water supply projects.
  • 1955 - Awarded the Bharat Ratna by the Indian government.
  • 14 April 1962 - Died at the age of 101.
Source: "Sir M Vishweshwarayya" by Ananthram (Student Book House, Mangalore).


Ravindra Ravi said...

Happy Engineers Day.

Unknown said...


Darshan Panchangmath said...