Sir M Visvesvaraya : The Engineer To Remember
“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 engineer whose birthday is celebrated as “Engineers Day” all over India on the 15th of September every year. Visvesvaraya is often used as a metaphor here for an extremely intelligent person. We say “He has Visvesvaraya’s brain “ 😉
He is often quoted as an example by our parents “Visvesvaraya studied under the street lamps, why can’t you with all the facilities” this is what most of the parents use at homes. I am not sure about rest of the country but its one popular say in Karnataka 🙂 You can guess that his childhood was not easy by the above line. He was born in a small village. He studied B.A in Bangalore and later persued civil engineering from Pune.
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.
- 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
Honesty and loyalty:
1. Once visvesvaraya was working with pen and paper in the dark with a lamp. His friend came to meet him. Visvesvaraya quickly blew the lamp, brought another set of lamp, pen and paper near his friend. Upon asked, on why he did so, Visvesvaraya replied “That was office work and I use it only for that purpose”
2. Once visvesvaraya received a letter from his friend asking for a place to stay for a few days, he intended to stay in the government guest house. Visvesvaraya made arrangements for his friend to stay at the government guest house by paying a month’s rent of 250 rupees.
3. He used the government car only for his official purpose. Even though he didn’t own a car initially he didn’t make use of the government car for his personal works.
He was a great man with work ethics. What better example for loyalty, right? He was sincere to his work and made sure he used office facilities only for the office purposes. He never misused his powers, unlike many people in power today.
Age? No Barrier!
To learn about metallurgy procedures he made a trip to USA with his other Indian engineers at an old age. An American officer showed them new equipments and procedures. They came across a giant machine with 75 foot ladder. The rest of the engineers who were very young compared to visvesvaraya hesitated to step forward but he was the first person to start climbing.
Visvesvaraya lived for 101 years and he never considered age as a barrier to learn something new in life. He never let his old age and physical weakness stop him from trying something new.
Time Sense :
Visvesvaraya was never late for his work . He worked from &am to 8pm and was considered to be a disciplined man and when it came to his work he was extremely punctual and disciplined. His time sense didn’t even spare a minister who was 3 minutes late for a meeting. The minister had to take visvesvaraya’s advice to be on time.
It’s said that his time sense impressed many people that there were instances of people setting time after seeing him. Being on time is mostly one tough thing for us to do, isn’t it? Being on time is something which impresses people, not just at the work place but also at homes.
When you are on time you have an opportunity to leave on time 🙂
Giving Back to The World :
It was the time when Bhadravati Factory was in trouble was in trouble and visvesvaraya was the chairman at that time. It took a few years for the government to pay him his salary, which was more than 100,000 rupees. He denied accepting it saying “Start an institute where boys can learn some profession”
People wanted to name the institution after visvesvaraya, he denied again. He asked it to be named after the king back then, the institution is “Sri Jayachamaraja Polytechnic Institute” in Bangalore.
Giving back to the world, isn’t it? Probably, this is what showing value for money means. How humble could this man be? Not accepting salary for his hard work and time, insisting to use the money for social welfare and upon that he denies to take credit. Would we do that? I am not sure about me 😀
Preparation Before Work :
He once visited his Primary school in his hometown. People were already aware of his great achievements and success. He was asked to speak a few words to the children. He spoke for just five minutes and returned home disappointed. The reason for his disappointment was the unprepared speech. He wanted to make it up . He prepared a speech for the school children, visited the school after a few days again and delivered his speech.
He always made sure he prepared well before his meetings, appointments and speeches. Isn’t it a high attribute of many successful people.?
Belief In Equality:
1. It was the time when British officers were given highest esteem in Mysore Kingdom and they were provided with comfortable chairs at the Mysore Durbars during Dasara whereas the Indian ministers were asked to stand or either sit on floor. Visvesvaraya was totally against this and because of this bifurcation he stopped going to Durbars. After repeated incidents like this, the government decided to allot chairs for Indians as well.
2. 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 or treating Indians ill. He brought in some changes in the government offices to treat people equal and nice.
He was surely a man of great deeds, ethics and values. He dedicated his life for the development of modern India and is considered an eminent engineer and will always remain the Bharat Ratna.
A very Happy Engineers Day to all engineers