Long Long ago…
To give relief to the public affected by the great famine of 1882, rural irrigation and other projects including the laying of railway line between Bangalore and Mysore were undertaken. Mysore State was well known for irrigation works. In the early days, Public Works Department was manned by importing some engineers from outside the state. The posts of the Chief Engineer and the Deputy Chief Engineer were held by European officers, some of whom were from the Corpos of Royal Engineers of the British Army and amongst these Col.Bewan distinguished himself with his organizing capacity.
A number of projects were taken up. To meet the increased demand for Engineers and to give an opportunity to the boys of Mysore, a College of science was started and Engineering was taught there. It was wound up after training a batch or two. Later, to meet the needs of personnel for replacement due to retirement etc., selected science graduates were sent to the Engineering colleges at Madras and Poona. they were awarded stipends or scholarships.
When Sir M Visvesvaraya who succeeded late Capt. Dawes- who met his end under tragic circumstances- as Chief Engineer, was appointed as Diwan, with his characteristic zeal he submitted proposals for the rapid development of irrigation and power resources of the State and for starting Industries and enlarging of the communication systems. Several meter gauge and narrow gauge lines were constructed and a separate department was opened. In the field of irrigation, the Vanivilas Sagar Works which was the biggest one at the time was taken up as an irrigation cum power project. This is the first multi-purpose project in India and perhaps in the world.
These activities in the new field of industry gave rise to a great demand for skilled workers and supervisors. To meet this demand, the Government in 1913 or so, started the Mechanical Engineering School at Bangalore with the late S V Shetty, as its Superintendent. He was a member of the PWD and was deputed for training as an Electrical Engineer to Faraday House, London. On his return, he was deputed to the Electrical Department and hence lent to the Educational Department.
To give a fillip to higher education and to enable Mysore boys to play their part in the Engineering field, the Mysore University was started in 1916 as a unitary type. Along with the birth of the University, the College of Engineering was also established at Bangalore in 1917, as some facilities regarding accommodation and works had already existed at the School of Engineering. According to Govt order, the College was only temporarily located at Bangalore. To start with tuition and training were given only in two branches of Engineering, namely, Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
It is not to be expected that such far reaching proposals as to establish a University and an Engineering College would run a smooth course. Many influential quarters did not react favorably to the idea. There were also quite a few who would thwart the attempt, if they could. But the proposals had been made by Sir M Visvesvaraya, our Diwan at that time, who the public and posterity of Mysore have more reasons than one to be grateful for. They had also the approval and the powerful backing of Sir Sri KrishnaRaja Wodeyar, our beloved Maharaja who had implicit confidence on his Diwan.
No wonder all oppositions and obstacles could easily melt away. The institutions were established as per proposals.