Bengaluru; Today (September 15) is the day one of India’s genius engineers was born, Sir M Visvesvaraya (Sir MV) was born in the year 1861 at Muddenahalli of Chikkaballapur district. On this birth anniversary, let’s look at some interesting facts.

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1.    Sir MV had this peculiar habit of having two candles at his home. He used to blow out the official candle once the office work was done and light the other candle, which was the personal candle.

2.    Sir MV always gave importance to facts and figures. He loved statistics. When he published a book Reconstructing India in 1920, he mentioned that India had 19, 410 post offices at that point in time. It is also said he was unmoved by oratorical skills and laid emphasis on facts and facts alone.

3.    Sir MV was asked to put in his papers as the Dewan of Mysore (1918) when he openly opposed reservation in government services (he was for meritocracy) and advocated that schools be opened for kids of backward classes. The issue at hand was that the administration was filled with Brahmin domination. The then Maharaja wanted to counter this domination. Sri MV and the Maharaja had a lot of letters exchanged in this regard.

4.    Sir MV always wanted large-scale industries in India. However, Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to this idea. In 1934, the Mahatma and Sir MV even had a joust over this issue. Gandhiji did not hesitate in saying that he and Sir MV had diametrically opposite views. But Sir MV confessed that “I could never persuade myself to take up a hostile attitude toward…one with your brilliant achievements," addressed to Gandhiji. 

5.    Sir MV also had constructive and healthy debates with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The engineer-legend felt that the Centre was trampling upon the federal rights. But Nehru empowered the capital and did not give much thrust to real autonomy to the states. Sir MV would also write a lot of letters to the then Prime Minister. In simple words, the two did not have any personal animosity and shared the concerns of the country.

6.    It is said that in his last days, Sir MV had a bank balance of Rs 36,000. He had distributed a lot of money to his workers like gardeners and his cook. He had a strong feeling that his family had to stand on its own legs.

7.    Sir MV was never perturbed by the thoughts of death. Nearing his 100th birthday, when he was asked the secret behind his longevity, he is reported to have said that “Death called on me long ago but found me not at home and went away."

Sir MV is no more in flesh and blood, but he continues to live on with his phenomenal and efficient work for the betterment of his countrymen.