Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (also spelled Visweswaraiah) (Other spellings Vishweshwariah and Vishweshwarayya) (September 15, 1861–April 12, 1962), popularly known as MV, was an eminent Indian engineer. He was born to Srinivasa Sastry and Venkachamma in Muddenahalli village, 40 miles from Bangalore, India. The family was a pious Telugu-speaking smartha brahmin family of the vaidiki Mulukanadu sub-caste. His ancestors actually belonged to Mokshagundam village, near Giddalur in the Prakasam district of present-day Andhra Pradesh, and had migrated to Mysore some three centuries ago. His father was a Sanskrit scholar and an authority on Hindu Dharmashastras (theology), besides being an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Sir M.V. lost his father at the age of 15. The family was in Kurnool when this happened, and moved back to Muddenahalli therafter. Sir M.V. attended primary school in Chikballapur and high school in Bangalore. He earned his B.A. from Madras University in 1881 and later studied civil engineering at the College of Science, Pune.
He took up a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Bombay, and was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. He introduced an extremely intricate system of irrigation in the Deccan area. He also designed and patented a system of automatic weir water floodgates, which were installed at the Khadakvasla reservoir at Pune, for the first time, in 1903. The use of these gates was 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 was adopted in the Tigra dam in Gwalior and the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam in Mysore. The KRS dam across the Kaveri River was the biggest reservoir in India at that time.
MV achieved celebrity status when he designed a flood protection system to save Hyderabad city from floods. He was also instrumental in developing a system to save the Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion. After taking a voluntary retirement in 1908, he was appointed Dewan, or First Minister, of Mysore, one of the largest and most important princely states in India. With the support of HH The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, he made an arguably unprecedented contribution as Dewan to the all-round development of the state. Not only the KRS dam & reservoir, but also the hydel projects at Shivanasamudra, the steel mills at Bhadravati, the university of Mysore and many other industries and public works owe their inception or active nurture to him. He was instrumental in setting up the 'Govt engg college' in 1917 in the city of Bangalore, one of the first Engineering institutes in the country. This institution was later named the UVCE (University Visweshvaraya College of Engineering) after its founder; it remains one of the most reputed institutes of higher learning in the state of Karnataka.
The institutions named in his honour are deservedly a legion, and include the technical university, Visweswaraiah Technological University, Belgaum, to which all the state engineering colleges of the Karnataka state are now affiliated. As part of his birth centenary celebrations, the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum was set up in Bangalore.
While he was Dewan of Mysore, he was knighted by the British for his myraid contributions to the public good. After India attained independence, he was given the nation's highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955.
Yet, higher than all these many honours is that conferred on him by the common people of Mysore, who shall ever cherish the memory of this peerless practitioner of science, this dedicated educationist, this elder statesman, this true son of the soil.