Famous Personalities

BHARATHA RATNA Sir Mokshagundam Vishweshwaraiah(1862-1962) 

Mokshagundam Vishweshwaraiah, popularly and affectionately known as Sir M.V., was born on September 15, 1861 in a village known as Muddenahalli in Chikballapur ,(Old Kolar District). Sir M.V. belongs to that small band of eminent Indians whose ideas and achievements have been among the truly creative and formative force of modern India. Sir M.V.’s slogan was Industrialize or Perish,

Some of the job positions he held were:

  • Assistant Engineer, Bombay Government Service[in 1884]
  • Chief Engineer, Hyderabad State [he served only for 7 months starting April 15, 1909]
  • Chief Engineer in Mysore State [Nov 15, 1909]. He was also Secretary to the Railways
  • President of Education and Industrial Development committees in Mysore State
  • Dewan of Mysore. [for six years starting 1912]
  • Chairman, Bhadravati Iron Works
  • Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Member of the Governing Council of Tata Iron and Steel Company [TISCO]
  • Member of Back Bay enquiry committee, London
  • Member of a committee constituted in 1917 to make recommendations regarding the future of Indian States.

Sir M.V. retired in 1908 and Sri Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore, was eager to secure the services of Vishweshwaraiah to serve Mysore. He joined as Chief Engineer in Mysore because he wanted challenging opportunities. Sir M.V. had earned a reputation for his honesty, integrity, ability and intelligence. He had introduced compulsory education in the State which later was embodied as a fundamental right in the Constitution of independent India.

To name few of the many things he was responsible for:

  • Architect of the Krishnarajasagara dam – or KRS or Brindavan gardens, one of the biggest dams in India which irrigates a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land.
  • Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works – as its Chairman he rescued it from becoming defunct.
  • Mysore Sandal Oil Factory and the Mysore soap factory
  • Mysore University – Sir M.V.’s question was “If Australia and Canada could have universities of their own for less than a million population, cannot Mysore with a population of not less that 60 lakhs have a University of its own?”
  • State Bank of Mysore (it was first named The Bank of Mysore)
  • Public libraries in Mysore and Bangalore
  • Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Encouraging girls to attend school.
  • Kannada Sahitya Parishad or the Kannada Literary Academy
  • Sri Jayachamarajendra Occupational Institute, Bangalore

Sir M.V. was never interested in fame or publicity. But they came to him on their own. Every university in India sought him out to confer honoris causa-the universities of Allahabad, Andhra, Bombay, Calcutta, Jadhavpur, Mysore, Patna and Varanasi.

Some of the honours and laurels conferred on Sir M.V., :

  • Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken period of 50 years
  • “Kaisar-i-Hind” in recognition of his services
  • ‘Companion of the Indian Empire’ (C.I.E.) at the Delhi Durbar
  • ‘Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire)K.C.I.E.
  • D.Sc. – Calcutta University
  • LLD – Bombay University
  • D.Litt – Benaras Hindu University
  • Elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers (India)
  • Doctorate – LLD., Mysore University
  • D.Litt – Andhra University
  • Awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India
  • Conferred ‘ BHARATHA RATNA’ (The gem of India), the highest distinction of the country

The centenary of the birth of Sir M.V. was celebrated in Lal Bagh in Bangalore. Prime Minister Nehru flew down to Bangalore by a special plane to honour the greatest son of India. Sri Jayachamaraja Wodiyar presided over the function.

Sir. M.V. died on April 12, 1962 at the age of 102 years, 6 months and 8 days. As per his wish, he was cremated in his birth place, Muddenahalli.

Sir Mokshagundam visveshvaraya tomb