Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya

Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (1861-1962), popularly known as MV, was an eminent Indian engineer. He was born to Srinivasa Sastry and Venkachamma at Muddenahalli village, 40 miles from Bangalore, India on September 15, 1861. Visvesvaraya did his early schooling in Chikballapur and high school in Bangalore. His ancestors actually belonged to Mokshagundam village, Giddalur of Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh. They had migrated to Mysore some three centuries ago. He did his B.A. at Madras University in 1881 and later civil engineering from College of Science, Pune.

His father was a Sanskrit scholar and an authority on Hindu Dharma Sastras (science), besides being an Ayurvedic practitioner. His father died in Kurnool when he (MV) was only 15.

After joining Public Works Department of Bombay, he received an iniviation to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He then introduced an extremely intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan area.

He also designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates. These were installed at the Khadakvasla reservoir at Poona, for the first time, in 1903. The use of these gates was to raise the flood supply level of storage in the reservoir to the highest level likely to be attained by its flood, without causing any damage to the dam. Based on the success of these gates, the same was adopted in the Tigra dam in Gwalior and the Krishnarajasagar (KRS) dam in Mysore. The KRS dam across the Cauvery was the biggest reservoir in India at that time.

MV was a celebrity when he designed flood protection system to save Hyderabad city from floods. After taking a voluntary retirement in 1908, he took over as the Dewan of Mysore princley state, thus contributiong to the all-round development of the state, with the support of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar. He also endeavoured to promote the Mysore University.

He was knighted while he was the Dewan. He was given the nation's highest honour Bharat Ratna in 1955.

As part of his birth centenary celebrations, the Visvesvaraya Industrial And Technological Museum was set up in Bangalore.

He died on April 12, 1962.