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Engineers Day: Rejoicing the day of technical artisans

Shubham Sharma

The 15th day of September marks another unique and proud day for the community of millions of all-rounders of India. Here, we're not talking about an all-rounder of any game like cricket. These are the 1.5 million all-rounders the country produces every year.  Yes, almost every street, every building comprises of at least such an all-rounder. These are today serving in every field. They are pilots, cooks, sportsman, and even writers.

But, who are these all-rounders we still didn't know?

These all-rounders are prominently known as Engineers in India. Yes, the vast community of engineers which exists in India, today is the day to celebrate.

Sir Visvesvaraya: The foundation stone 

However, every important event symbolises a historic event for remembrance. So the National Engineers Day. The day commemorates the birthday of India's first engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. Visvesvaraya was born on September 15, 1861, in Mudenhalli village of Karnataka.  He studied Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at the University of Madras.

He further pursued Civil Engineering at College of Science at Pune. After completing his engineering, he installed and patented an irrigation system with water floodgates at Khadakwasla reservoir in Pune in 1903.

Lauding the efforts, the British crown assigned him the task of making the city of Hyderabad flood-free in 1909. A similar dam with the highest food supply and storage level was built at Gwalior(Tigra Dam). Karnataka's famous Krishna Raja Sagar Dam on River Kaveri is another example of his perfection. The latter served as Asia's largest reservoir in the 20th century. With the famous Block System technique, Visvesvaraya also transformed the city of Mysore as a model city which we admire today. He also saved the ports of Vishakhapatnam further from sea erosion. Appreciating his contribution, the British government crowned him as the Diwan of the State of Mysore from 1912 to 1918.In the meantime, he was awarded Knighthood by the British empire in 1915, which granted him the special status of Sir.

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The Engineer of Soul

Sir Visvesvaraya was a man of simplicity. He didn't charge even a single penny for all the development projects he undertook. Instead, he invested the money offered to him in his next assignment. While construction of a dam in Southern part of India, he asked the British supervisor to put an India insignia in the nameplate of the dam. On the refusal, innovative Visvesvaraya architected the grassland near the dam in such a way that it resembled the map of pre-partitioned India.

After Indian independence, Visvesvaraya became the first Indian to secure a seat in elite London Institute of Civil Engineers. He further supervised certain dam projects and highway constructions in independent India. Certain economic and industrial assignments were also successfully completed under his supervision. For his exemplary contributions, he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1955.

The designer's legacy

Visvaraya took his last breath at the age of 101 in Bengaluru in 1962. However, the civil constructor of the nation left an eternal legacy behind to follow. Owing to this, today's rapidly changing technical globe revolves around leadership of Indian engineers. Be it Satya Nadela of Microsoft, or Sundar Pichai of Google. At national level, companies like PhonePe, Paytm and many more- all are creations of an Indian Engineer's mind.

Indian Engineering 2020: Engineering in assignments

Today, India produces 1.5 million engineers every year. Unfortunately, only 20% of these have the required skillsets. Other 80% don't have an appropriate knowledge of industrial requirements. These masses remain unemployed for years. Or apply for a low profile job.The credit goes to the outdated Indian engineering curriculum. This is the curriculum which still uses Windows XP or 2000 for programming.  Students are still taught the same which were the requirements of 20th century. Nanochips have still not been converted into smart chips. Words like Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence still remains an alien technology.

Moreover, the 4-year syllabi still lays emphasis on 8 semesters, 48-52 subjects, 500-600 assignments, and clearing backlogs. Final year projects are more important than an apprenticeship or industrial training. In past 9 years more than 500 engineering colleges have shut down due to no admissions. The maximum closings have been reported in 2020 itself, accounting for 179 colleges. Thus, the dream of engineering society which Visvesvarsya dreamt of, is today going into the girth. Indian flyovers, are still constructed with old kinematics. For a new technology, we require a foreign assistance. Be it in National Highways, or Metro Trains. The projects today are more reflected on papers than on grounds.

 

Thus, it is imperative to move with the moving technological world. The syllabus, the pattern and most importantly the skillset must be revolutionised at apex level. After all, the century has upgraded!! 

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