Sir Dr.M.VISVESVARAYA   –  Bharata Ratna (The Gem of India)

Any state will be lucky to have a minister of Visvesvaraya’s ability. Would any salary be too high for such a genius? The Maharaja’s secretary suggested to the Maharaja that MV’s salary should be raised; he had not consulted MV. Visvesvaraya came to know about it. He wrote to the Maharaja saying that he did not want a rise.

For some time, when the Bhadravati Factory was in trouble, he worked as the Chairman. At that time, the Government had not decided the salary. It took some years to do so; the Government owed him more than a hundred thousand rupees. But he did not touch a rupee even. He told the Government, “Start an institute where boys can learn some profession.”

Sir Visvesvaraya

Sir Visvesvaraya

The Institute was about to start work. The Government wanted to name it after Visvesvaraya. But he said, “Name it after the Maharaja of Mysore.” This is the Sri Jayachamaraja Polytechnic Institute of Bangalore.

How many such selfless patriots’ do we have?

Free India honors great servants of the country every year by awarding titles. The highest of this award is ‘Bharata Ratna’. In 1955 Visvesvaraya was made a ‘Bharata Ratna’, the Gem of India. He was a gem of mankind itself.

Visvesvaraya was a genius. The Block System which he invented, the automatic doors which he devised to stop wasteful overflow of water, the water supply and drainage system which he planned for the city of Aden – these won high praise from engineers all over the world. The Krishnarajasagara Dam is a brilliant proof of his genius.

His memory was an amazing as his genius. We saw how in 1908 he tamed the Moosa. Fifty years later, one day, there was a discussion about the river, and he referred to some detail.

Then he called a servant and, pointing to a bookshelf, said, “Bring the three or four books in the middle of the third row.” Then he opened one of them and pointed to the detail under discussion on one page. He was 96 or 97 when this happened.

How did Visvesvaraya use his genius and his extraordinary memory? This is the important question. He was the embodiment of discipline and hard work. He was never late by a minute and he never wasted a minute. Once a minister was late by three minutes; MV advised him to be punctual. A man should do any work he undertakes methodically – that was his firm faith. Every man should understand his responsibility and do his best – which was the essence of his teaching. He practiced this very honestly, and there are hundreds of instances to show this. Until he was confined to his bed he was very particular about his clothes. Even when he was 95 people who went to see him were surprised – he was so carefully and neatly dressed.

Quite often he had to make speeches. Because of his genius, experience and mellow wisdom people wanted to hear him. But whenever he had to make a speech he would think about what he was going to say, write, the speech, get it typed and weigh every word and revise it. He would revise it four or five times and give it final shape. Then he would remember important points. Once he visited the Primary School in his native village, Muddenahalli; he gave the teacher ten rupees and asked him to distribute sweets to the children. The teacher said, “Please say a few words to the children, sir,” MV spoke for five minutes and went away. But later he was unhappy because he had spoken without preparation. Some days later he prepared a speech and went to the school again; once again he distributed sweets to the children.

Then he made his speech. In 1947 he was the President of the All India Manufacturers’ Association. He had to make a speech at a function. Some of his friends were staying with him. On the day of the function they woke up at half past four in the morning. What they saw astonished them; Sir MV, who was 87, was already up and faultlessly dressed; he was walking up and down; he had in his hands a copy of the speech he was to make and was carefully reading it!

In 195 he went to Patna. He was to study a plan for a bridge across the Ganga. The sun was cruel and the heat unbearable. MV was 92. There were parts of the site to which he could not go by car. The Government had arranged to have him carried in a chair. MV did not use the chair; he got off the car and walked briskly. The Government had also arranged for his stay in the GuestHouse. He would have been comfortable there. But he stayed in the railway coach and went on with the work.

A hundred such instances of his discipline and devotion to work can be listed. He once said, “The curse of our country is laziness. At first sight everyone seems to be working. But in fact, one man works and the others watch him. As someone said with contempt, ‘it looks as if five men are working. But really only one man works. One man will be doing nothing. One man will be resting. Another man will be watching them. Yet another man will be helping these three.”

Visvesvaraya was dedicated to work. He was also a man of spotless honesty. We saw how, as the Dewan, he refused to favor a relative. In 1918 he decided to give up the Dewanship. He had to give the Maharaja his letter. He went to the palace in the Government car. He returned in his own car. Those were days when people had to work by candlelight. MV used, for official work, the stationery and the candles supplied by the Government; for his private work he used stationery and candles which he had bought. Once, one of his friends was advised rest after some illness. He wanted to spend some days in Bangalore. MV was the Dewan. The friend wrote to him asking for a house for some days. He thought the Dewan would give him a Government Guest House, free of rent. The Dewan gave him a Government House; but as long as the friend stayed there, the Dewan himself paid a rent of Rs. 250 a month.

MV had the courage of his convictions. He did what he thought was right and was not afraid of opposition. We have already seen how much he did for Mysore State. At every step he had to face opposition. The British, who were then the masters here, opposed him. Many Mysoreans could not understand his greatness. He was far-sighted; he could see what the country would need fifty years later, a hundred years later. But the shortsighted and small-minded men made fun of him. Some of the officers under him thought he was not practical and laughed at him. He tried to give -the State a University. Colleges in Mysore State were then under Madras University. The Governor and high off icers of Madras were Englishmen., They did not want a University in an Indian state. Englishmen in Mysore State also opposed the Dewan. In fact, the principal of one college even said, “The Dewan is mad. He must be sent to a mental hospital.” Only because MV was firm, Mysore University was born.

MV also planned the KRS dam. The cost was estimated; it came to 25,300 thousand rupees. Officers of Mysore State were shocked and opposed the scheme. At last Visvesvaraya satisfied the Mysore Government with his arguments and it agreed. A new difficulty arose. MV wanted the height to be 130 feet. The Government of India approved a height of only 80 feet. MV went ahead with a foundation for a dam 130 feet high. Later, the Central Government agreed with him. Many people made fun of him when he started the Bhadravati Steel Factory and called it ‘a White Elephant’. Some officers did not manage it properly and the factory suffered heavy losses. Quite a few persons felt happy! But today it is an asset.

MV was the Maker of Modern Mysore. He wanted education to spread ‘ He wanted people to give up blind beliefs. He wanted the fullest use of science and technology. But he also knew that being modern did not mean giving up everything that was old and forgetting our culture.

Somebody once said to him, “You have done great service to the country. You are like Bhishmacharya.” MV said, “You make me remember what a small man I am. What am I before Bhishmacharya?” He was so modest. Even at the age of 95, he rose to receive a visitor; he got up again when the visitor was leaving. But he also knew modesty did not mean pocketing insults. In the old Bombay Province the rules did not permit an Indian to become the Chief Engineer. Only an Englishman could sit in the Chief Engineer’s chair. So MV gave up his post in Bombay. The Dewan was the highest officer in Mysore State. He himself gave up that very high office. He had self-respect without arrogance.

Sir MV was a fearless patriot. Those were days when the Englishman was the lord of India and wanted to be treated like a god. The Maharaja of Mysore used to hold a Durbar during the Dasara. On the day of the European Durbar, the Europeans were given comfortable chairs but Indians were required to sit on the floor. MV went to the Durbar for the first time in 1910. The arrangements pained him. The next year he did not attend the Durbar. When the officers of the palace made enquiries he f rankly gave the reason. Next year all – Europeans and Indians -were given chairs. A British officer wrote a letter to MV. He said that in the Maharaja’s Durbar, he wanted a cushion to rest his feet because the chair was too high. MV got the legs of the chair shortened and wrote to him that the height had been reduced. In 1944, an association arranged* a conference. Visvesvaraya was the Chairman of the association. The Governor of Berar, an Englishman, was to open the conference.

(In those days the Governors were very powerful.) The conference was to discuss a resolution that India should have a national government. The Governor said that the resolution should not be discussed. “Otherwise,” he said, “I will not come.” Sir MV said to his friends, “All right. Why wait for him? Let us go on with the conference.

MV gave thousands of families food, he gave thousands and thousands of students education. Tens of thousands of houses are bright with electricity because of him. And he led the country to the path of progress.

The Bhadravati Steel Factory, Mysore University, Krishnarajasagara, the Bank of Mysore – every one of his creations was mighty and magnificent. But far mightier and far more magnificent was the Bharata Ratna, who was at once a matchless Dreamer and Doer.

He once said:
“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.”
(I copied this text from somewhere on the net, I don’t remember exactly from where, but still credit to whoever wrote it.)

117 thoughts on “Sir Dr. M. VISVESVARAYA

  1. Pingback: Engineers Day « Life Love and Logic

  2. beautiful information, i am completely impressed with this information iam proud of myself that iam from the same state, where sir.M.V, is born. Jai Hind & Jai karnataka to Bharat Ratna Sir.M.V

  3. beautiful information, i am completely impressed with this information iam proud of myself that iam from the same state, where sir.M.V, is born. Jai Hind & Jai karnataka (Bharat Ratna Sir.M.V is great)

  4. Jog Falls (Sharavathi power station) / Shivanasamudra power station were also designed by the great man. It is so said, that on looking at the water fall, Sir MV did not comment about the beauty, but was of the opinion that so much water can be of a lot of help for us.

  5. You have written those things which are not written normally about sir, I thing the analysis u have made is so depth that only very less people can understand. Good work. Do continue such work.

  6. Thanks for the information about the great man. Though there is a brief mention of his greatness not to get influenced by his relatives or his near ones by not appointing any of his relatives (though they had enough qualifications) today’s world needs to know about this and needs to be highlighted. Also the fact that when he got an important posting he called his relatives and near ones and told them that he would accept the post only if they assure him that they would never try to influence him – Aneel Hegde

  7. he is my empower…….hats of to sir M.vishveshwaraiah. I will Pray to God Give him a birth again in India in His family

  8. hi fnds this infoprmation is more useful ur life becouse when v follow him v getting more chance success .even though me also follow them……v hav such great person hats off karnataka has well has india………

  9. gr8 inspiring history ……A Salute 2 being a Engineer i really proud my slf n its my privilege 2 thank u 4 providin such a inspirin details about a GEM n GENTLE …..apy engineers day….:-).

  10. Its easy to read our sir’s achievment but its hard to follow sir’s path…God is also seen in such genius personalities…

  11. he said that,curs of our country is laziness it is true.such great man worked 4 country but we only think ourselves not 4 nation

  12. my boss dedication towards works and discipline inspires everyone on the earth ,,,,,, i beg every youngsters! to follow sir M V ‘s life and advice to make our india No 1 in every good thing.

  13. i am very happy to read MV’s life story i pray to god plz sent him again
    in india becuse we need this kind of people he is very genies man

  14. Sir M Vishweshwaraiah = Discipline + ENGINEER + HONESTY + Bharatha ratna always….

    We are very very Proud to have him with us in memories even… Haaaaats off to Sir M V ☺


    One of the makers of modern India. ‘MV’ was a genius. Perfectly honest and devoted to his work, he set new standards of efficiency. This is the story of a poor boy that became the Grand Old Man of India.

    Author – L.S.Seshagiri Rao

    Dr. M. Visvesvaraya

    This happened some years ago in the United States of America. Some Indians stood at the foot of a seventy-five-foot ladder in a factory. They were visiting important factories in the States to study th9ir working.

    Officers of the factory were with them, explaining how the factory worked In one part Of the factory, the officer said “If you want to see how this machine works you will have to climb to the top,”

    That meant that they had to climb up the seventy-five-foot ladder, past four stories.

    The leader of the Indians was “Very well, let us climb,” he said.

    The others were very much surprised. He was the oldest of them all; most of them trembled at the thought of climbing up the steel ladder.

    The old gentleman briskly stepped towards the ladder, and started to climb. Many of the others stayed back. A few followed as a matter of duty, but some of them soon gave it up. The old gentleman reached the top, completed the inspection and briskly climbed down. Only three others completed the feat.

    It was always so with the gentleman – anything he undertook he did systematically and very well. No difficulty, any danger could keep him back.

    The old gentleman went up the ladder!

    He was Doctor Sri M. Visvesvaraya -or, Sir M.V., as he was popularly known.

    This and your write up comes from Sri L S Sheshagiri Rao’s Biography of Sir M V

  16. Beautiful information, I am completely impressed with this information, I am proud of myself that I am from the same state, where Sir.M.V, is born.
    Hats of to Bharat Ratna Sir,M.Vishweshwaraiah

  17. Pingback: Happy Engineers Day | Life Love and Logic

    • Kannadigara kanmani, annadatha, kannadigara bhagya vidata,Pragati para dhuradrusti chintaka.udyama belavanige inda matra deshada abhivruddi hendu tilisida karmayogi Bharata ratna ‘ Sir M Visvesvaraya. Ivara karma siddanta hella yuvajanarige adarshavagali

  18. Very interesting and have captured all the salient features of his illustrious life. Commendable job. This should be read by every indian and more so every youngster which would be an inspiring and motivating experience. Thanks for this informative writeup
    Sheshadri Mokshagundam

  19. this article is really similar to the article in 1st year btech eng book……..not that this article didnt help me in finishing my assignment…..thanks

  20. That great personalty 15 September celebrate as Engineering Day But Today On Calender 15 Sept Not Mentioned M.V Birthday/Engineering day & in Engineering College Celebrate or not I Don’t Know.This is a Big joke that Personalty in our Country.

  21. no match to a personality of his stature! proud of u Sir. will honestly try to give as much as possible to the Mother India.

  22. Thanks for e-mail Mr.Kantharaj .I Also State of Karnataka But Before 20 year we are comes in Pune.When i am in 2-3 standard I Drawn Mr.Vishweshwarayya photo Draw.Anybody ask to me what you will become in feature my answer is Engineers But some Economic Situation I study in Kannada & Marathi medium but it is not possible to me.Now also look Mr Vishweshwarayya Photo I Feel Great One of the Indian became Popular in Engineering section in the time of British are in India.They also Feel Great on that person Capacity that is not easy to any person today in our country. In India too many states that state popular persons name only know the that state person I Feel Guilty that problem in India & 15-09-1860 Dr.Vishwesharayya Birthday (Engineering Day) That also not Mentioned today’s Calender.It is another Bad-luck to That Person Name,who do for his country for Dam Plan that Person Ignore.

  23. it is not possible in india Because everybody joining politics for easy money earning not hardworking a progress of country & Dr.Vishwesharayya doing Hardwork for progress to India In International Level.

  24. dr. vishwesharayya self discipline every body has to be followed during their entire life time, then you can see the india in number one place in the world.

  25. Nice article.Very Inspiring.Hope the author adds engineering contributions of Sir MV also to the article.Some tit bits about his family too can be added.Very nice article indeed.

  26. nimma saralate,nimma doordrushti,nimma shistu,nimma sanskruti,nimma avishkar nammannu muttalarada ettarakke tandu nillisali endu harisuve……..

  27. Mokshagundam is a village in Prakasam District’s Cumbum Tahasil (then Kurnool District ) of Andhra Pradesh where the ancestors of Visvesvarayya emigrated from. Additional peace of information that adds value.

  28. Wonderful article about a legendary thinker. Intha yugapurusharanna srishtisiruva namma kannada naadina bagge nanagidda gaurava,preeti innu jaasti aytu .
    Sir Visvesvaraya avaru ajaramaravagirali. Sirigannadam gelge!!

  29. If MV is to be saluted for more than anything else it is ‘When the King of Mysore offered to make him the Dewan, MV called his relatives & wellwishers for Dinner & told them “Only if all of U promise me that U’ll not come for any favors so long as I’m the Dewan I’ll accept the post”. When all of them promissed, he accepted the post. So long as MV was the Dewan (CM) none of his relatives despite being qualified got any favours (jobs or contract) – Aneel Hegde Mob 9663638482

  30. If MV is to be saluted for more than anything else it is ‘When the King of Mysore offered to make him the Dewan, MV called his relatives & wellwishers for Dinner & told them “Only if all of U promise me that U’ll not come for any favors so long as I’m the Dewan I’ll accept the post”. When all of them promissed, he accepted the post. So long as MV was the Dewan (CM) none of his relatives despite being qualified got any favours (jobs or contract) – Aneel Hegde Mob 9663638482

  31. That Person Birth date Celebrate Engineering Day But In this year No one Calender Mention that person birth date as a Engineering Day.Its a Feeling Guilty of that great Personalty person Keep Indians Value in Today’s Life.

  32. the past seventy years have seen such decadence that,reading the great sir MV s life and achievement looks like fairy tale.shame on we Indians who,instead of carrying forward legacy of greats of yesteryear, have turned our nations all service,private and public institutions in to,havens of corruption,nepotism,casteism and centers of inefficiency to the core ,without redemption till eternity.whatever intelligentsia stricken of penury,is left,has to seek a job for living in a private sector or abroad

  33. State Bank of Mysore has grown upto a great height which was founded by sir MV. having more than 1000 branches all over India. When started it was BANK OF MYSORE LTD. now State Bank of Mysore, during 2017, may be, after merger process, the name of bank will be changed as State Bank of India. P

  34. Great human of the great man. Personaly felt that he was the living example suites Vasudaiva Kutumbam.

  35. Nice article,
    But there are few typos which I request you to correct.
    1. The year MV has visited to Patna visited is mentioned as 195. Please correct by mentioning actual year.
    2. At some place, frankly is written as f rankly. Please correct this as well.

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