Tributes to Sir M Visvesvaraya

Dear Editor,
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born to Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry and Venkatalakshmi on in 15/09/1861 in a village called Muddenahalli, 7 kilometre from Chikballapur in Karnataka state. He was a most accomplished engineer. September 15th is celebrated as National Engineers’ day. He has been regarded as “Father of Engineering” in a global sense. He was an Indian Civil Engineer, Administrator and Statesman. Karnataka has reason to be proud of the world famous engineer Visvesvaraya. He was founder of erstwhile State Bank of Mysore. Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant was the first iron and steel factory established by Visvesvaraya in 1923 in Bhadravathi city in Shivamogga district of Karnataka. How he averted a Railway accident is known to everybody. When he was travelling by train, he sensed a bad sound ahead of 2 or 3 kilometres. He pulled the chain and the train was stopped. Asked why he pulled the chain, he narrated what he felt. It was found that the fishplate of rail was removed by probably an act of sabotage. He saved the life of many passengers. “Plan or perish” and “do or die” are his pet slogans. He was the other name for sincerity, honesty and strictness. He used to have two lamps for reading during night time. One to do office work and the other for his personal use. Once a visitor to his house asked why he put out one lamp and lit the other, he said “First one is office lamp the cost of which was borne by the department and the other one was bought by him at his own cost for personal use. There was a time when Visvesvaraya visited the house of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was playing charkha. Pointing to a chair in his house, Gandhi asked Visvesvaraya to sit on the chair. Gandhi proceeded to taunt Visvesvaraya saying “you people are not used to sit on the floor because your cloth gathers dust if you sit on floor”. For it, Visvesvaraya said “Yes. I do not sit on it without deserving”. He continued, “once a British Sepoy passed before him on horseback staring at him twirling his moustache. I was so poor at that time that I could not afford for a morsel of rice and I was virtually in a state of beggary. That was the time when I decided to work hard and attain a position to sit on chair. I worked hard. If I had had the same mindset as yours, perhaps I would have been obliged to sit on the floor only forever”. Vishvesvaraya studied under street lights during night time. Today the whole world remembers him. He passed away on 14/04/1962. It is learnt that the Britishers had asked for his brain to test and know the factor behind his extraordinary intelligence quotient. India did not give. He lived full life. Rich tributes to him who made India proud in the eyes of the world.
K.V. Seetharamaiah

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