September 15 is celebrated as National Engineers’ day in India. Engineers’ contribution to a country’s development is obvious; from civil to mechanical, they build the backbone of infrastructure. The computers we use to the buildings we live in – everything has an engineer behind it.
The day is a homage to commemorate one of India’s finest engineer’s, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. In a small village called Muddenahalli in Karnataka, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born on September 15, 1861. Due to his various contributions to the field and being a pioneer of education, he is also called as “VM Sir”.
VM Sir was born to two Sanskrit Scholars as parents. After his primary education in the village, he moved on to Bangalore for higher studies, pursuing a bachelor’s in arts. But he always knew he was an innovator.
From Pune College of Engineering, he received a degree in civil engineering. His expertise was in the fields of irrigation and flood disaster management. His claim to fame was his ground-breaking works in these fields with modern irrigation techniques as well as flood control and mitigation.
He designed the ‘automatic barrier water floodgates’ which was installed in Pune in 1903 at Khadakvasla reservoir. He would later become the architect behind Krishanasagar dam, the largest dam in India.
After serving as an engineer for four decades, he established the famous Government Engineering College, now known as University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, in 1917. This was the fifth engineering college in India.
He was an engineer and educator, but he was also industrious. He was a member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Later, he became a member of Tata Iron and Steel governing board. He also founded Mysore soap factory.
Sir VM has been referred as “precursor of economic planning in India”, according to the Institution of Engineers India (IEI). He’s written two books – Reconstructing India and Planned Economy of India.
In his later stages, he served as the Diwan of Mysore, where he was also knighted in 1915. In 1955, he was awarded Bharat Ratna. The legend left the world in 1962, but his legacy is still a part of the country’s machinery.