Sir M. Visvesvaraya

September 19, 2006

“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”.

The obsession for perfection and excellence, which is clearly reflected in the above quote, is none other than that of the matchless dreamer, achiever, the great Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Any endeavour that he embarked on, he executed with a great degree of perfection.

An engineer by profession and a genius, Sir MV, as he was affectionately and respectfully addressed, was the architect of the Krishnarajasagara dam, which has amazed and enchanted thousands of people from all countries. It is one of the biggest dams in India which irrigates a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land. The Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works, the Mysore Sandal Oil Factory and the Mysore Soap factory, Mysore University, the State Bank of Mysore (it was first named The Bank of Mysore) – all these were the gifts of one man, Sir MV – and he gave these to his country, when it was still not free. Bharata Ratna (The gem of India), the highest honour for a citizen of India was conferred on him in 1955. He achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system to save Hyderabad city from floods. He was also instrumental in developing a system to save the Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion.

After taking a voluntary retirement in 1908, he was appointed Dewan of Mysore, one of the largest and most important princely states in India. With the support of HH The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he made an arguably unprecedented contribution as Dewan to the all-round development of the state. Not only the KRS dam & reservoir, but also the hydel projects at Shivanasamudra, the steel mills at Bhadravati, the University of Mysore and many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurture to him. He was instrumental in setting up the Government Engineering College in 1917 in the city of Bangalore, one of the first Engineering institutes in the country. This institution was later named the UVCE (University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering) after its founder; it remains one of the most reputed institutes of higher learning in Karnataka.

The institutions named in his honour are deservedly a legion, and include the technical university, Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, to which all the state engineering colleges of the Karnataka state are now affiliated. As part of his birth centenary celebrations, the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum was set up in Bangalore.

Sir MV, a great philanthropist, a fearless patriot and a soul of great conviction died at the ripe age of 101. His famous words were “Industrialise or perish”. He was one of the makers of Modern India. Every one of his creations was mighty and magnificent but the man himself was far mightier and more magnificent.

From his boyhood Visvesvaraya was eager to learn new things. When he was past one hundred, a relative was going to Madras; he asked Sir MV, “What shall I bring you from Madras?” Said MV, “Bring a good Modern English Dictionary.”

Let all of us join in saluting the noble and great soul of Sir MV, whose 145th birth anniversary just passed by.

(His birthday on Sep.15th is celebrated as Engineer’s day.)

42 Responses to “Sir M. Visvesvaraya”

  1. Vijay Says:

    Which is why even to this day.. the brightest kid in class is usually referred to having “Vishveswarayanna thale”…

    Another thing that MV founded was Century Club thats stands in Cubbon Park today (so called because it started with 100 members).

  2. rk Says:

    you are right, vijay.

    got to share this with you. my b-i-l’s grandpa’s name was ‘Visvesvaraya’. in his childhood, when anyone asked my b-i-l seeing his smartness, “yeno neenu Visvesvarayana mommaganaa?” (are you Visvesvaraya’s grandson?) he used to tell “howdhu, Visvesvarayana mommagane” (yes i am) and people used to keep quiet.

    thanks for reminding about ‘century club’. marthogittu.

  3. shark Says:

    Truely a remarkable man! Salutes to him!
    We had gone to “Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum” during one of our school educational trips. I was moved beyond words after seeing the acheivements of the man… he was really a treasure 🙂

  4. nilagriva Says:

    For Kannada readers, DVG’s jnApakachitrashAle series is a great read. DVG dedicates an entire volume to the Diwans of Mysore and Sir MV occupies a sizeable chunk of the book. Sir MV is one of those people who come only once a century. His ability to visualize things and zest for life is still unparalleled.

    The story of how Sir MV met the deadline for the construction of KR Sagar made my hair stand on one end! It is a really amazing tale. Unfortunately, today’s engineers lack Sir MV’s professionalism. Of course, Sir MV is not an easy person to emulate.

    TV Venkatachala Shastry’s Udara charitaru, udaatta prasangagaLu also has quite a few anecdotes about Sir MV.

    I pass KR Circle almost everyday on my way to work. Whenever I look at his statue near the SKSJT clock tower, I remember the ideals he stood for. I always am in awe of him. It amazes me that such a person had actually walked amongst us in flesh and blood.

  5. rk Says:

    “he was really a treasure”. true. that is the reason his brain has been kept in a museum coz the scientists wanted to know how this amazing genius’ brain was!
    me too visited the VIT museum in my school days. planning to take my son there in the next few days.

    welcome back. thanks for your informative comments. would love to read DVG’s and TVV Shastry’s books. hope they are available with the booksellers.
    in the mid ’90s, when i had got a new ‘aim and shoot’ camera, i went and took the pic. of Sir MV’s statue at KR circle. before taking the pic. i just stood seeing his face and brought tears in my eyes thinking about his achievements. what a legend he was!

  6. One other note which my grandfather keeps mentioning abour Sir MV (BTW, my grandfather is 104 and quite active for his age). Apparently Sir MV was extremely punctual and had avery good sense of time. A friend of my grandfather was supposed to meet Sir MV at 6 in the evening. Apparently he was “1 minute” late. Sir MV was was walking out of his office at 6:01 and pointed it out to my grandfather’s friend that he was late by a minute. Obviously, he had to take another appointment to meet Sir MV.

    Absolutely, Sir MV is perhaps one of the greatest men born in India !!! We salute you sir.

  7. rk Says:

    December Stud,
    Thank you very much for sharing this story. It is so amazing how Sir MV used to plan his day. Must have been a tough time for people around him.
    I pray for your grandfather’s good health and wish him many more happy years ahead. My obeisance to him.

    DS, keep visiting often and share your insightful comments. Cheers

  8. Ram Says:

    Its a very nice piece on Sir MV. My father had the opportunity to see him while he was working in MSIL, Bhadravati and he used to tell about him a lot of good things. One I still remember that lot of people in and around Bhadravati to worship Sir MV and light lamps in front of his photo.

    I’m looking for two books written by Sir MV. “Sayings Wise & Witty”and “Memoirs of My Working Life” Can anybody tell me where can get these books in Mysore or Banalore. Incidenally, I read abtout these books while reading “jnapaka Chitrashale” – “Mysoorina Divanarugalu” by Dr. D V Gundappa (popularly known as DVG).

  9. Veena Shivanna Says:


    Nice post. Great to remember the person on this day.!!
    Nothing more I can say, Everything is said here.

    Till past 4-5 years I was thinking KRS belonged to Mysore district, later somebody said its part of Mandya by its georgraphical existanace. Everytime I go to KRS, its a great time remembering the briain behind the idea. MuddenahaLLi emba oMdu saNNA halliyalli inda bandu namma deshada hesaranna uddara maaDidavaralli ivarobbaru.

    nanna namsakaara ee mahaatmanige. I would like to remmeber that day(sept 15th) in 1999 when I got a stage to perform on CFTRI auditorium to play some devaranamas & keerthanas as part of Engineer’s day that was celebrated there.

  10. rk Says:

    Thanks. “KRS belongs to Mandya” – I would like to drop the word BELONG and say KRS IS IN MANDYA.
    Good to read that you had performed on his b-day! Hope you get to perform for many more years
    Best wishes

  11. MV is a genius. I am at awe whenever I visit KRS.

  12. There is a biography on Sir M.V. in Kannada by Sri. V.S.Narayana Rao.

    Though I had learnt about Sri M.V. in my school days, this book gave a detailed account of this “maha meru”.

    Enduro mahaanu bhaavulu, andariki vandanamulu.

  13. rk Says:

    rightly said.

    i need to write down all the books you are suggesting. thanks once again for telling about this one. 🙂

  14. Dear RK,

    “Nanna vruttijeevanada nenapugalu” – which is the Kannada Translation by Dr.Gajanana Sharma,
    of “Memoirs of my working life” by Sir M.V. –
    is published by:
    Ankita Pustaka,
    No 53, Gandhi Bazar Main Road,
    Basavanagudi ,
    Banglaore -4
    Phone 2661 7100/2661 7755 both office and
    2652 6134 (res.) –
    first pirnt 2005, pages 192,
    priced at Rs 190/- is available.
    You can contact them.

    Alternatively you can also try at:
    17/18-2, First Main Road,
    Bangalore- 56 0040

    With Best wishes

  15. rk Says:

    thanks a lot for this info. will surely buy them soon. maybe this weekend.

  16. There is a correction. The price is Rs. 90/- and not Rs. 190/-

  17. rk Says:

    that’s fine. book price may be Rs.90, but the book is priceless which has the memoirs of Sir MV. eager to read it after you told me about it! (my library will be richer with this addition). thanks once again. 🙂

  18. bharathesh Says:

    Sir i’m a fan of Sir .M.V , if u have any photo collection of Sir.M.V pls send me to Mail :-

  19. rk Says:

    nice to meet a Sir MV fan! will certainly mail you when i come across any rare snap. do visit again. best wishes.

  20. Sai Says:


    If any of you could list the english books available on Sir M.V, I would be indebted. I know that ‘Memoirs of my WL’ exists. Apart from that, are there any other? Also are there english translations of his biography by Seethramiah?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Drakshayani Says:

      Recently I purchased Sir M V’S book Memoirs of my working life.when i visited to mudenahalli .Sir M V’s birth place. Iam searching for a book saying wise and witty.still if u want to know about sir M V you read Mysorena dewanaru splendid work by D V G.

      • Balaji Sampath Says:

        Hi Drakshayani – can you tell me where you bought the english version of hte book. I have been searching for the english version for many years, but unable to find one. Thanks

  21. TSSM Says:

    Dear Sai.

    Pl. visit the following site for your requirement:

  22. sujakumarshetty Says:

    Memoirs of my working life”Sir M.V

  23. […] B for Bharatanatyam…Logo Quiz: AnswersRemember the old Liril ad?Sri Purandara Dasa (1494-1564)Sir M. VisvesvarayaPencil Sketches & Cartoons by Varun KadleRemember some of those ’80s ads?BLAAG!Logo […]


  25. shekar Says:

    Sir MV Remains the all time greatest. His zeal in providing overall development of state was emphasisied repeatedly by industrialization all over the state rather than limiting it to one particular locality or field. It is surprising to see his statemanship and concern for the entire human race. Do i have words to describe his immense contribution to karnataka state and India? I really wonder why we do not end up atleast trying to emulate him rather than standing baffled. Sir My hearty Salutes to you> ” A Man with theoritical approach and practical implementor”.



  27. DEAR SAI


  28. Gokul Nagaraju Says:

    The great Sir M. Visvesvaraya has a remarkable impact on the Engineering society he is the man who allways inspires me as an Civil Engineer, i studies in Sri Venkateshwara University Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh he has designed a Auditorium for the University which is the Asias top 2nd Auditorium Design. Really it is the best auditorium to se, he has planned for the Tirupati balaji temple Ghat road which is the one of the greates work he has done i really admire him because these two things which he has done in the tirupati really gives inspiration to every student in the engineering field

  29. Swapna Says:

    Hello everyone , this is Swapna , doing Engineering from Sir Visvesvaraya Coll , Nashik , it finds me great pleasure to let u all know that I truly admire Sir M.V . Previously , I used to just read about him but now he has definetly made a new & presious place in my life.
    I will remember him till my last breadth.
    Thank you all for going through this ………………..

  30. Sachin Says:

    Hi all, this is Sachin, a Civil Engineering student from N.D.M.V.P.S C.O.E., Nashik. I believe Sir M.V. is a legend in engineering field. I am thru’ all your posts and i think i dont need to say anything more about this great personality. I would like to salute his creations, him and his vision and moreover proud of him because he is an Indian Civil Engineer.

  31. Suresh H J Says:

    Greetings to all Engineers of India.

    Sir M.V has written Ten Commandments for Engineers. I pray all our engineers read these and stick on to atleast one commandment.!!!

    Good wishes to all Engineers to build a stronger INDIA.

  32. Vibes Says:

    On what river is the KRS Dam?

  33. Pradeepa Says:

    Kaveri ( cauvery ) river.

  34. Mahabaleshwar N Hegde Says:

    A good effort to collect informations on a great visionary and architect of modern Karnataka

  35. show me Visvesvarayya brain

  36. sravani Says:

    Hi Thanks a lot for all thsi info…
    Can any one start aa blog with all the info about MV. That would be good so that you can pass the required info to the next generation also.


  37. Drakshayani Says:

    very happy to see so many fans of Sir M.V There is book Reconstructing India available in internet. in pdf and enjoy

  38. vinayaka Says:

    I want to sir m.visvesvaras brain photo please show me his photos of his brain.

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