Today is Engineers' Day - celebrated in reverence of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the magician-engineer who converted the erstwhile Mysore state to being the most industrialized and progressive state of the India of his times. I hit upon a review of his book "Memoirs of my working life" by a certain "J.C.G" published in the Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Science, Aug. 1951 which I'd like to share:
Memoirs of My Working Life. By Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Published by the author, 'Uplands', High Ground, Bangalore. Price Rs. 6.
The one aim in life of the author has been "to plan, promote and encourage developments chiefly in education, industries, commerce and public works to enable the people to work well, earn well and live well".
This book is a record of his endeavours in pursuit of this aim. He has achieved notable success in many spheres. As irrigation and sanitary engineer, he won laurels in early life in the Bombay Presidency and then as Special Consulting Engineer in Hyderabad and as Chief Engineer in Mysore. Long before T. V. A. was conceived, Sir Visvesvaraya executed the multipurpose development of the Cauvery River consisting of a storage reservoir of 48,000 million cubic feet of water, 150,000 acres of irrigated lands and hydroelectric installation of 80,000 H.P. It required unusual boldness, vision and administrative ability to set up an iron and steel works based on the use of charcoal in the Mysore State. Such faith can achieve the impossible; and today, Mysore is very much the richer for the trust her Government and people have reposed in him.
For more than three decades after retirement from Public Service, Sir M. Visvesvaraya has devoted himself incessantly to the task of developing the resources of the land., both human and material, with the utmost intelligence, enterprise and vision. At the age of 90, fired by the divine discontent that his people still continue to be "slow, sleepy and easygoing", he is as active as ever, preaching the doctrine of intelligent and disciplined work, of self-help, and of risk-taking.
May his countrymen profit by his advice and his example! Then, they may be sure that the dawn of new life, which was ushered in four years ago, will break into a bright day of prosperity and happiness.
- J. C. G.