Today is Engineers Day in India. It is a day when rich tributes are paid to Bharat Ratna M Visveswaraiah (MV as he was popularly known) who is regarded as a preeminent engineer of India.
In the days when he studied and worked as an Engineer, people’s preference was tilted more towards Arts and Science. Engineering, though viewed promising, did not have the necessary infrastructure for education and technical training. Engineering aspirants were few and only a handful of them could really rise in life and career after studies.
MV was one among the selected few. He pursued a course that was not popular but he liked anyway, and worked his way up. He proved that it is Engineering that can bring about development and nation building. His contributions took the nation to dizzying heights that in the years and decades that followed, the young of India got the flavour of Engineering. Thanks to him, more than 80% children and their parents now feel that an education in Engineering is the best bet to get opportunities and see development.
Today is MV’s 158th birth anniversary.
His skill of moving forward in Engineering through scientifically crafted steps that were designed admirably through a technical brain has changed the face of the nation.
We are in a position in which it is difficult to say whether technology drives man or man charts his path forward through technological innovation. Every walk of life has a technological step that makes the next step appear friendly and with a newer and more enlivening ambience than imagined earlier.
Today’s day is not just to see life through the prism of technology, but to also view the current scenario through the eyes of MV and see where we stand. In this connection, I recall two of MV’s quotes.
“To give real Service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money.” and
“Work Hard, work harder and work with efficiency and make your country great, self-supporting and strong.”
In the days when MV was a working professional, when everything was manual and every inch of development was through the imagination and creativity of the human mind, MV could design automatic flood gates for reservoirs, water supply and drainage system for the city of Aden, flood protection system for Hyderabad, and sea erosion protection system for the Vizag Port – all this with just ten years at work.
As a matter of fact, when implemented on ground, all these designs were highly successful and earned him the status of a celebrity in a span shorter than he would have expected. Even after retirement, he remained focused on innovative schemes that would bring development through technology and benefit the masses.
In 1959, when Bangalore was smaller than half of its present size, he designed and developed what is today’s Jayanagar area. This portion of Bangalore stands out even today as a prime area most loved for residential and shopping activities.
Such was the man to whom we dedicate this day. A man known for his honesty, his extraordinary skill and sharp capability at work, and a life of 100 years replete with sincerity and simplicity with no dilution in his devotion and dedication towards work.
On this day, we need to introspect, where we stand today in terms of numbers, quality, sincerity and dedication.
India’s Rosier Side
Our achievements in space and software have astounded other countries and raised eyebrows of leaders across the globe. Chandrayaan-I’s successful entry into the Moon’s orbit, a feat achieved through indigenous technology, is a moment of pride. Our techniques and strategies in disaster management are regarded as the best. The Navy and Airforce have their might and capability from under water to high up in the skies. Even sectors such as food, leather and even printing have pioneering and innovating technologists who have contributed immensely to GDP growth and job creation.
The list keeps growing. We have assimilated and adopted the best technology available in the world and once trained, our engineers excel in its application at every subsequent opportunity and deliver what makes the final finish a treat to the eyes. No wonder India is the most favoured nation for medical tourism.
Our roads have improved tremendously in the last two decades. Travel time is considerably less as metro trains have made commute within cities easier, though avenues still exist for improvement. Such strides have earned qualitatively better ratings for the performance of our engineers.
Shards of Darkness
While this appears rosy, dark shades too are omnipresent. Year after year, engineering colleges churn out fresh graduates in large numbers, but 90% of them are not employable, possessing bare minimum intellect, and inept to face the challenges on the shop floor or in the construction sector.
Creativity at work is wanting while willingness to learn techniques is not palpable. Majority look upon work in industry as alien to their expectations and find it difficult to adjust. A handful of those who acclimatise themselves remain to be the ones into nation building. Industries across various disciplines struggle to find the right manpower for the right job despite overwhelming numbers of applications. Despite the plethora of electronic gadgets available before today’s engineers, the scarcity of skill has a telling effect on sustaining the quality of work.
We want to give a thrust to the manufacturing sector, but we do not have able hands to drive and oversee the same. Flagship programmes like “Digital India” are carried out through Indians who have migrated to US. We want to build smart cities, but we are unable to get smart hands at work. We want to become a superpower, but we are finding it difficult to employ our own manpower. We empower women, but not all women power and propel.
Our national leaders have a wide vision, but the mission of making India a superpower by 2020 is nowhere close to being achieved. The task ahead is onerous. In the aftermath of MV, we produced Dr Abdul Kalam and a lot more who took India to great heights in their discipline. However, alongside, we also need to arrest our production of substandard stock in huge numbers.
As Engineers celebrate their day, the nation looks upon them to take a vow to commit wholeheartedly to nation building, both in letter and in spirit.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.