Sir MV’s personal belongings are on their first outing. Get a closer look at his Bharat Ratna award that has been brought out of the safe deposit for public viewing.
His entire living room set, including furniture, spectacles, cup and saucer he brought from China, his copy of Webster’s dictionary, pens, block with which his visiting cards were printed and many more items are being exhibited at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum.
The items, preserved by Sir MV’s family, will go back to the museum run by the Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust in Muddenahalli once the exhibition concludes.
The letters he wrote to his family members are also on display for the first time, said Satish Mokshagundam, president of the Visvesvaraya National Memorial Trust.
“His letters written to my father when he was studying in Manchester are here. The clothes that Sir MV wore as the Dewan of Mysore are in Bangalore for the first time,” he said.
The trust, that is now restoring Sir MV’s house in Muddenahalli with help from the Karnataka government, will also receive copies of a few pictures that it might not have in its collection.
The exhibition, titled Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya — the legendary nation builder, is enlightening even for the family, he said.
Showcasing Sir MV’s early career, contribution to industrialisation, education, community development, and his foreign travels, the exhibition gives a glimpse into the many facets of Sir MV’s life.
It is a befitting 150th birth anniversary celebration of the great engineer’s achievements. Anyone who walks in here will stop thinking of him only as the man who built the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, the making of which is also extensively featured here.
“I too associated Sir MV only with the KRS. It was when we started this project from late January this year that I discovered there was a whole lot more to him. Putting together his exhibition, we have worked with several archival agencies, science centres, museums, contacted the educational institutions where Sir MV studied. We have also sourced material from the many cities that he worked in including Hyderabad, Orissa, Bihar,” said Jyoti Mehra, the curator of the exhibition.
One of the major attractions is the working model of the automatic sluice gates for which Sir MV received a patent.
The curious science enthusiasts will want to spend plenty of time on the pictures, records, letters, and details of the many projects he led and contributed to. The young ones will be attracted to the interactive and informative bits.
“Our key word is engagement with science,” said director general of National Council of Science Museums. “Karnataka is far ahead in setting up museums, at least in desire. There are eight more requests pending. The Mysore centre is starting this year,” he said.
“However, there are concerns — not getting good science teachers, students not participating in active science, and shortage of engineers. We do not get brilliant people to science. It is an unpopular profession. Students take up software engineering; few pursue research and higher studies. As a result, we are also not finding people to man our scientific institutions. But we need engineers who can solve the problems of the common people,” he said to a roomful of students who were attending the inaugural function.
The students got more advice from Prof VS Ramamurthy, director National Institute of Advanced Studies. “Do not get attracted to the pay packet. Do it (a job) because you like it,” he said.
Shakuntala Krishnamurthy, daughter-in-law of Sir MV and author of Dr Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya spoke of the well-dressed man Sir MV was, and how he never relied on memory and wrote down everything he needed to remember. He thought of economic planning which is today called five-year planning, she said.