April 14, 2024

M.Visvesvaraya: the Diwan of Mysore

The full name of M.Visvesvaraya is Sir Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry Vishveshwarayya. He was an Indian engineer and statesman, best known for his contributions to irrigation works in the Mysore region of British India. A few of the numerous technical innovations he created are the first zonal irrigation system, the design of a canal system using earth as a packing material, and his plan to increase run-off in monsoon weather by constructing multiple polders to replace reservoirs.”

In short, Sir Mokshagundam Vishveshwarayya was an Indian engineer who contributed many technical innovations that improved water management systems worldwide.

About M.Visvesvaraya

Sir M.Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1861 in Muddenahalli village, Chikballapur District, Karnataka State. His father, Srinivasa Sastry, was a headmaster and Sanskrit scholar from a small village called Melkote in Mandya district.

Personal life of M.Visvesvaraya

Sir M.Visvesvaraya married Ramakka, a woman from his village, in 1881. They had five daughters and one son.

Study of Visvesvaraya

Sir M.Visvesvaraya was deeply interested in the study of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. He spent his childhood days in the village of Kudikote as a purohit (priest). He liked to sit under the shade of a neem tree with his friends and discuss various topics.

Job of M.Visvesvaraya

Sir M.Visvesvaraya completed his schooling and joined the service of the British Government at age 16 in 1875 at Madras (now Chennai). However, he was assigned to one of the British Government’s great works, which was the construction of a dam across the river Cauvery near Srirangapattana, Tamil Nadu.

Sir M.Visvesvaraya wanted to go on pilgrimage to Tibet, but his father selected the profession of engineering and he was presented with a good opportunity to get training at the world’s largest engineering college in Madras. Visvesvaraya was given a scholarship for further studies by the Engineering College.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya went to England in 1881 as a student of Madras Government Engineering College and from there. Therefore, he entered Trinity College of Cambridge University where he acquired higher education in Mathematics and Physics. He then joined the Scottish Mathematical Society and acquired knowledge about James Clerk Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism.


Visvesvaraya’s contributions to India

New irrigation projects

Sir M. Visvesvaraya made major contributions to irrigation engineering during his service under the Maharaja of Mysore from 1888 until 1913 by making dams to harness water resources for growing crops. He also introduced many technical innovations which greatly improved water management systems throughout India and other countries worldwide.

Visvesvaraya’s innovations for irrigation

During his time at Mysore, he created a model farm and developed various plans for river utilization. However, he led the building of the Krishnarajasagara Dam on the Kaveri River in 1902. Therefore, Visvesvaraya developed an ambitious plan to irrigate 320,000 acres (130,000 ha) in the basin of the Cauvery River. As a result, he worked on a canal system using earth as packing material with a very economical cost-benefit ratio. The ‘Visvesvaraya System’ was adopted throughout India and other countries of Asia and Africa.

Diwan of Mysore

In 1912 he was appointed as Diwan of Mysore and served from 1912 to 1918.

In 1916, Visvesvaraya formulated a plan for the construction of several dams and canals to irrigate large areas in the Kaveri basin in south India. The plan included a dam across the river Kaveri at Krishnarajasagara, which became a reality during his lifetime. He continued from 1913 to 1915 on this work.

Monsoon failures in 1914 lead to widespread famine, with some 4 million people affected by year-end. Visvesvaraya appealed to London for urgent help with £1 million needed urgently: “Unless prompt measures were taken many millions will die.

Death of Visvesvaraya

Sir M. Visvesvaraya died on 12 April 1962 at the age of 100 and was cremated on the banks of the Krishna River at Hampi, Karnataka State.

Honour to Visvesvaraya

To honour Sir M. Visvesvaraya was honoured in 1962 on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations of Madras government Engineering College by the Government of India.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya gave technical training in the Public sector engineering colleges throughout India. Therefore, he helped develop highly skilled engineers for the new industries that were being set up from 1902 onwards. It is a remarkable example of how the Government can use its huge resources effectively to create social change at a national level and overcome local disparities which are so key to development at later stages. Therefore, all this helped strengthen the industrial base of India’s economy and laid a good foundation for future industrial strength.

Engineer’s day is celebrated on 15 September every year in India in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Sir M. Visvesvaraya.

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