Saturday, September 15, 2012

Engineer's park

Chennai, or even Madras, does not have much to connect it with this grand old man of Indian industry. Bharat Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born in Mysore and carried out most of his pathbreaking projects in Mysore or for the Nizam of Hyderabad. That kept him away from both Madras city as well as the Madras Presidency.

But the work he did - the automatic floodgates at Khadkavasala, the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad, and the various public works that he oversaw as the Diwan of the Mysore State - served as models for post-independence India's effort in building 'modern temples'. Sir MV was over 85 when the country became independent, which probably hampered him from being the country's Chief Engineer. Still, his birth anniversary, today, is observed as 'Engineers' Day' in India.

Madras honoured him by naming the tower at Anna Nagar after him. And that remains as his connect to the city - apart from the BA degree he earned from the University of Madras in 1881!

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