“Remember, your work may be only to sweep a railway crossing, but it is your duty to keep it so clean that no other crossing in the world is as clean as yours.”
-Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya
These were the words of the greatest engineer, India has ever seen. The 15th of September is celebrated as the ”Engineers Day“ in India every year, as a tribute to one of the finest engineers India is proud of, Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya. Today is his 150th Birthday and with all the pride let us cherish his deeds. Visvesvaraya is often used as a metaphor, they say “He has Visvesvaraya’s brain “ for an extremely intelligent person.
If one has to list some of the most influential engineers from the history of contemporary India, Sir M Visvesvaraya would undoubtedly be on the top of the list. Visveswaraya published numerous short books on rural development, industrialization, state planning, and nation-building. He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s topmost civilian award, in 1955 and was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire by King George V for his contributions to the public good. On his birthday and India’s Engineers day we bring out the outstanding achievements of the man and a few anecdotes from his life which inspire us in plenty ways.
Contributions by Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya:
- He was the Architect of the Krishnarajasagara dam (This is the first that pops in the mind to any Mysorean).
- He implemented irrigation system in Karnataka.
- He was a Diwan of Mysore. He set up Mysore University which happened to become one of the earliest university among the princely states
- He was an important cause to bring in industrial revolution in Mysore kingdom with Industries like The Sandal Oil Factory, the Soap Factory, the Metals Factory, Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works.
- He was the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad in Telangana.
- He designed automatic, weir water floodgates, installed at Khadakvasla reservoir.
- He planned the Indian Economy in 1934
His Ounce of Loyalty :
Once he was working in the dark under a lamp with a pen and paper when one of his friend came to meet him. Visvesvaraya quickly blew the lamp, brought another set of lamp, pen and paper near his friend. When his friend asked him – why he did so, “that was office work and I use that lamp and stationary for that purpose only” he replied. He was a great man with work ethics. What better example for loyalty, right? He was sincere for his work and made sure he never misused his powers, unlike many people who are in power today.
Age was never a barrier in his life :
At an old age, he made a trip to USA with his fellow Indian engineers to learn metallurgy procedures. They came across a giant machine with 75 foot ladder. The rest of the engineers who were very young as compared to Visvesvaraya, hesitated to take a step forward but he was the first person to start climbing.
Visvesvaraya lived for 101 years and he never let his old age stop him from trying something new.
Discipline and Particularity – His Key Elements :
He was never late for work. He worked from 7am to 8pm and was considered to be a disciplined man. When it came to his work he was extremely punctual and disciplined. His time sense did not even spare a minister who was 3 minutes late for a meeting. The minister had to take Visvesvaraya’s advice to be on time. He was not particular to impress others rather followed the discipline for life.
He always believed in Equality and embraced the rights of Indians:
Once a British officer wrote him a letter to arrange comfortable cushions at the Durbars to rest their feet as the height of chairs were pretty big. Visvesvaraya replied to the letter saying “The height of the chair has been reduced”. He never encouraged bossism and discrimination against Indians. He brought many changes in the government offices to treat people equal and nice.
So here, Educolada wishes Sir M. Visvesvaraya, a very happy birthday who is an inspiration for millions of engineers today!