On Occasion of Engineers Day- Salute to Shri Er M Visvesvaraya

Engineers Day is celebrated each year on the 15th of September in memory of Shri M Visvesvaraya. He served British Indian empire from 1884 to 1909 for at total service of 25 years. In this period, he served in many locations at many posts and was sent to many foreign countries by the British to hone his engineering skills further. Let us have a look at his illustrious career.

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on August 28, 1860 at Muddenahalli, a village in Kolar District in Karnataka. He joined service as an Assistant Engineer in Bombay in the year 1884. He served in Nasik, Khandesh and Poona. He also went on to lend services to the Municipality of Sukkur in Sind in the year 1894. He also designed and carried out the water works of that Municipality in the year 1895.

He went on to become the executive engineer of Surat in the year 1896 and worked there for a year before moving to Poona as an Assistant superintending Engineer in the year 1897. After this, he visited China and Japan in the year 1898 to further develop his engineering skills.

After coming back from China and Japan, he worked as an executive engineer for irrigation in Poona again for 2 years till 1901. After this, he was shifted to Bombay as a Sanitary Engineer as well as a member of the Sanitary Board of Bombay in the year 1901.

He then went ahead to design and construct the Automatic Gates, which were patented by him, at the Lake Fife Storage Reservoir. He had introduced a new system of irrigation known as the “Block System” in 1903 and represented the Bombay Government at the Simla Irrigation Commission, 1904. After this, he went on special duty in the year 1905.

He was then made the Superintending Engineer in 1907. After this, he went on to visit Egypt, Canada, United States of America and Russia in the year 1908 to further hone his engineering talent.

Thereupon, he lent his services as a Special Consulting Engineer to Hyderabad. His main task there was to supervise and carry out Engineering works in connection with the Musi floods that occurred there in the year 1909. Finally, he had served India enough and went on to retire from British service in the year 1909.


Chief Engineer and Secretary to the Government of Mysore, 1909;
Dewan of Mysore, P. W. and Railway Department, 1913

Board of director of TATA STEEL, 1927-1955

With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya made good contribution as Diwan to the all-round development of Mysore state. Not only the achievements listed above, but many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurturing to him. He was instrumental in the founding of the Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later named the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering after its founder. He also commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore state.

Visvesvaraya was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1911.

In 1915, while he was the Diwan of Mysore, Visvesvaraya was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by the British for his myriad contributions to the public good.

After India attained independence, he was awarded with the nation’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.

He was feted with honorary membership of the international Institution of Civil Engineers (based in London) and a fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science (based in Bangalore). He was awarded several honorary doctoral degrees like D.Sc., LL.D., D.Litt. from eight universities in India.

He was president of the 1923 Session of the Indian Science Congress. Sir M.V. was awarded honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken 50 years.

He was the most popular person from Karnataka, in a newspaper survey conducted by Prajavani.

YEMEN : His services were requisitioned for organisation of irrigation, sanitary and water works in all parts of the Bombay Presidency. He was also deputed to the Port of Aden, a military settlement of the British Government. Port of Aden occupied a very important strategic position in the British Empire. Aden is the first sea port when one enters the Suez Canal from India. If a ship does not go via the Suez Canal it will have to make a big detour. Visvesvaraya went to Aden in 1906. His tasks were to lay out an effective underground drainage system and to prepare a scheme to provide drinking water. In solving the problems of Aden he not only demonstrated his ability as an engineer but also exemplified his far-sightedness. In recognition of his valuable services Visvesvaraya was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal.