was only thirty-two. But some very difficult work fell to his lot. For instance, he had to
find a way of supplying water from the river Sindhu to a town called Sukkur. He prepared a
plan, which many other engineers admired.
Water is very precious to the farmer and it has to be put to the best possible use.
Water should not be wasted. The Government appointed a Committee; it was to find ways
of helping irrigation. Once again it was Visvesvaraya who found a solution. He devised a
new system called the Block System. He devised steel doors; these could stop the wasteful
flow of water in dams. Even British officers were full of praise for the invention.
The Government appreciated Visvesvaraya's genius and work. He was promoted to higher
places. This meant even more difficult work. But there was no problem he could not solve.
Aden is a port; it is the first port as one travel from India and enters the Suez
Canal. All around it there is a desert. Drinking water is hard to get. Seawater has to be
distilled to get drinking water. MV prepared a plan to supply rain water from a place 60
miles away. In India, the lake near Kolhapur was damaged and the city was in danger. MV
planned and executed the repairs.
From Bombay Visvesvaraya went to Hyderabad as Chief Engineer. His great achievement in
Hyderabad was the taming of the river Moosa. This river divides the city into two. In 1908
the river was in floods as never before. The waters of the river poured into many houses,
and men and cattle were carried away. Visvesvaraya planned dams to tame both the Moosa and
another river, the Isa. He also suggested that lovely parks should be laid out on the
banks of the rivers. Even now visitors to Hyderabad can visit the dams and the parks.
Visvesvaraya was appointed Chief Engineer in Mysore State. Today Mysore (Karnataka)
State comprises twenty districts. But in Sri MV's days Mysore was a much smaller state,
divided into eight districts. The ruler was a Maharaja.
As an engineer Visvesvaraya did not interest himself only in buildings, roads and
bridges. The people of India were then in a miserable condition. There were very few
schools. Only six persons out of every hundred could read and write. There were no big
factories; so it was difficult for people to get jobs; they had to get into government
service, or else depend on agriculture and trade. A number of things had to be got from
other countries. The farmer depended completely on the rains; if the rains failed hundreds
of thousands of families had no food. Farmers followed very old methods of cultivation and
used ancient tools. The average income of the average Indian was just one anna (that is,
six paise) a day! Many villages had no hospitals. In many parts of the country there were
no good roads. Ignorance, poverty and sickness plagued the people. Visvesvaraya suggested
that an Economic Conference be set up; it was to find ways of removing ignorance, poverty
and sickness. We have already referred to the Krishnarajasagara Dam near Mysore. A lake of
50 square miles was created here. As a result, the very dry lands of Mandya District began
to smile with plenty. When the dam was constructed India was not producing cement. Out
engineersprepared mortar much stronger than cement. The dam also gave Mysore State plenty
Visvesvaraya was the Chief Engineer of Mysore for three years.
In those days the Maharaja used to appoint the ministers. There used to be three
ministers and the Chief Minister was called the Dewan. In 1912 the Maharaja choose
Visvesvaraya as his Dewan.