1918 Sri MV retired voluntarily. People think retirement means rest. MV lived for 44 years
after he retired from service. He was 101 when he died. Except in the last few days when
he was very weak, he wore himself out for the country.
From his boyhood Visvesvaraya was eager to learn new things. (When he was past one
hundred, a relative was going to Madras; he asked MV, "What shall I bring you from
Madras?" Said Sir MV, "Bring a good Modern English Dictionary.") As Dewan
he had visited foreign lands twice. After retirement he went abroad so many times, for
some work or the other. Japan, America, England, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France - he
toured ever so many countries. Wherever he went, he had a notebook and a pencil in his
hand. He made notes of any new information; and then - he had but one thought: how can
this new knowledge help India? And when he was back he had but one aim - to carry out the
new plans. How could he find time to think of personal matters?
Ten years after he retired from government service, floods in the Bhadra put a stop to
the work in the Steel Factory in Bhadravati. It fell to Sir MV's lot to set things right.
The General Manager of the factory, an American, said it would take at least six months to
reopen the factory. Sir MV thought the period was too long. The officer was stubborn. Sri
MV removed him. In a few days he got the factory going. Many officers in the factory
belonged to other countries; naturally they were not as interested in the working of the
factory as Indians. MV got a number of engineers of Mysore trained. In three years
Mysoreans took the places of the foreigners.
It was MV's dream to start an Automobiles Factory and an Aircraft Factory in Mysore
State. He worked in this direction from 1935. The Hindustan Aircraft Factory (now called
the Hindustan Aeronautics) in Bangalore, and the Premier Automobile Factory in Bombay owe
much to his efforts.
Suppose we make a list of all that Sir MV did for the country when he was in service;
and another list of all that he did after he retired. Which list will be the longer? It is
difficult to say.
The rivers of Orissa were frequently in floods; they caused a lot of trouble to the
people. It was necessary to tame the rivers and to use the waters for the welfare of the
people. MV studied the problems and prepared a report. This report paved the way for the
construction of the Hirakud and other huge dams. New Delhi is the capital of India; the
Government wanted to develop it in a planned way and make it a beautiful city also. A
committee was formed to advise the Government; and Visvesvaraya did valuable work as a
member. Big cities have municipalities and corporations to look after them, haven't they?
Sometimes they do not have enough money, or do not use wisely the money they have. Then
they get into serious difficulties. A number of municipalities and corporations were able
to get out of difficulties because of MV's guidance - Bombay, Karachi, Baroda, Sangli,
Marvi, Bhopal, Pandharpur, Ahmednagar, Nagpur, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Goa .......
We hear so much about five-year Plans. If a country is to progress, planning is
necessary. Where shall we begin? What is the most important need of the country?
What comes next? How much money do we
need? How shall we get the money? Do we, have the experts we need? Otherwise How shall
we get the experts? How shall we train our young men? Where shall we get the machines? How
can we make sure that money is spent properly? All these and a thousand other questions
have to be considered. If we want to build a house, we prepare a plan; we estimate the
cost; we get the money; we get the materials; and then we start the construction. Building
up a country also requires planning and preparation. It is said that the first country to
plan in this way was Soviet Russia. Her first five-year Plan dates back to 1928. Eight
years earlier - in 1920 - MV had thought a good deal about planning and published a book,
'Reconstructing India'. In 1934 he wrote another book, 'Planned Economy for India'. Even
at the age of 98 MV was writing books on planning.
Service of the country was this great man's 'tapas'. When he reached the age of 100,
people all over India showered affection and respect on the Grand Old Man. The Government
of India brought out a stamp in his honor.
Visvesvaraya passed away on 14th of April 1962. He was 101.