Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, KCIE (other spellings include Visvesvaraya, Visweswaraiah, Vishweshwaraiah However, “Visvesvaraya” is recognised as official spelling; Kannada); 15 September 1860 – 14 April 1962) was a notable Indian engineer, scholar, and statesman born at Muddenahalli, near Kanivenarayanapura, in present day Chikballapur District of Karnataka State. He is a recipient of the Indian Republic’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955. He was also knighted as a Commander of the Indian Empire by King George V for his myriad contributions to the public good. Every year, 15 September is celebrated as the Engineer’s Day in India in his memory. He is held in high regard as the first and pre-eminent Engineer of India.
Sir M. V. was born to Srinivasa Sastry and Venkachamma at Muddenahalli village, Kanivenarayanapura hobli, Chikkaballapur District of present-day Karnataka, in what was then the princely state of Mysore. His father Srinivasa Sastry was a Sanskrit scholar and an authority on the Hindu scriptures, besides being an Ayurvedicpractitioner. Sir M. V.’s ancestors actually hailed from the village of Mokshagundam near Giddalur in the Prakasam District of present-day Andhra Pradesh; they had migrated to Mysore state perhaps three centuries ago. The family name “Mokshagundam”, preserves the memory of his association with Andhra Pradesh. His mother tongue was Telugu
The young Visvesvaraya lost his father at the age of 15. The family was resident at Kurnool of Andhra Pradesh when this calamity befell them; they moved back to Muddenahalli thereafter. Sir M. V. attended primary school at Chikkaballapur and high school at Bangalore. He earned his B.A. from the Madras University in 1881 and later studied civil engineering at the College of Science, Pune, now known as the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP).
Career as engineer
Upon graduating as an engineer, Visvesvaraya took up a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Bombay now known as Mumbai, and was later invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He implemented an extremely intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan area. He also designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates which were first installed in 1903 at the Khadakvasla reservoir near Pune. These gates were employed 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 system was installed at the Tigra dam in Gwalior and the Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam in Mandya but many of them say that it is in Mysore.
Visvesvaraya achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system to protect the city of Hyderabad from floods. He was also instrumental in developing a system to protect Vishakapatnam port from sea erosion.
Sir M. V. supervised the construction of the KRS dam across the Cauvery River from concept to inauguration. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia at the time it was built. Sir MV was rightly called the “Father of modern Mysore state” (now Karnataka): During his period of service with the Government of Mysore state, he was responsible for the founding of, under the aegis of that government, the Mysore Soap Factory, the Parasitoide laboratory, the Mysore Iron & Steel Works (now known as Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited) in Bhadravathi, the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute, the Bangalore Agricultural University, the State Bank of Mysore, The Century Club, Mysore Chambers of Commerce and numerous other industrial ventures. He also encouraged private investment in industry during his tenure asDiwan of Mysore. He was also instrumental in charting out the plan for road construction between Tirumala and Tirupati.He was known for sincerity,time management and dedication to a cause.
As the Diwan of Mysore
After opting for voluntary retirement in 1908, he took a foreign tour to study industrialised nations and there after, for a short period he worked for Nizam of Hyderabad. He suggested flood relief measures for Hyderabad town,which was under constant threat of floods by Moosi river. Later, during November 1909, Visvesvaraya was appointed as Chief Engineer of Mysore State. Further, during the year, 1912, he was appointed as Diwan or First Minister of the princely state of Mysore. With the support of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, Visvesvaraya made an arguably unprecedented contribution as Diwan to the all-round development of the state. Not only the Krishnaraja Sagara dam and reservoir, the steel works at Bhadravathi, the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute at Bangalore, the University of Mysore, Bank of Mysore Limited (now State Bank of Mysore) at Bangalore Karnataka Soaps & Detergents Limited (KSDL) – Govt Soap Factory  and many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurturing to him. He was instrumental in the founding of the “Government Engineering College” at Bangalore in 1917, one of the first engineering institutes in India. This institution was later named the “University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering” (UVCE) after its founder. It remains one of the most reputed institutes of engineering in Karnataka. He also commissioned several new railway lines in Mysore states.