New Delhi: Engineering legend Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was honoured by Google on his 157th birthday with its special ‘Doodle’ as India celebrates Engineers Day on Saturday (September 15) as a tribute to the Bharat Ratna.

The Google Doodle comes days after Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu spoke about the civil engineer and said that history lessons should focus on “historical figures and social reformers” like him, and not British rulers who “looted” the nation and “our mind”.

The vice president also spoke about search engine Google and said that despite technology making rapid inroads into the education sector, it cannot replace ‘gurus’ or teachers. He said that children, who often find solutions to their queries on Google, should also apply their mind as “Google can never replace guru”.

The dams we see today across India is due to the prolific engineer, M Visvesvaraya, who is known world over for his contribution to harnessing water resources. He is also credited with inventing the Block System — automated doors that close in the conditions of overflow.
India’s ‘dam builder’ was born on September 15, 1861, in Muddenahalli near Chikkaballapur and went on to become India’s most greatest civil engineer, economist, statesman, and is counted among the last century’s foremost nation-builders.

PM Modi had also remembered M Visvesvaraya in his recent ‘Mann ki Baat’, saying, “lakhs of farmers and common people continue to benefit from the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam built by him”.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu took to Twitter on Saturday to pay tribute to the legend on his birth anniversary.

In fact, people who credit Subash Chandra Bose for mooting the idea of the Planning Commission many years before Independence, will be amazed to know that the title perhaps belongs to Visvesvaraya. Robert S Anderson writes in Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks, and Power in India that Visvesvaraya, a renowned engineer and public administrator in the state of Mysore, was “better known in this committee as the author of a 1934 book, A Planned Economy For India”.

A full four years before Bose first spoke of planning in Haripura, Visvesvaraya wrote this 300-plus page book with a remarkably full vision for a planned Indian economy. It even included a 10-year plan and the outlines of a planning body.

An opinion piece in one of the leading newspapers, once wrote about Visvesvaraya, saying that “….scientist Meghnad Saha convinced Visvesaraya that without political leadership, Bose’s baby (Planning Commission) would be seen as too academic. Visvesaraya graciously bowed out, Anderson writes, and Nehru, then in Europe, was invited in as chair”.

Visvesaraya was also the Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918. He was the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore as well as as the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad. Due to his outstanding contribution to the society, Government of India conferred ‘Bharat Ratna’ on this legend in the year 1955.

He was also awarded the British knighthood by King George V, and hence has the honorific “sir”.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid tribute to the Bharat Ratna awardedd on Engineers’ Day and said, “Tributes to Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya on his birth anniversary. An exemplary engineer himself, he is a source of immense inspiration.”

Not just the Prime Minister, other Union Ministers like Smriti Irani, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Piyush Goyal also remembered the great engineer.

| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti

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