September 15 is observed as National Engineer’s Day in India
By Prabhat Kishore
In year 1968, Government of India has declared 15th September as “Engineers Day” as a tribute to the greatest Engineer Bharat Ratna Mokshagundam Vishveshvaraiya. Born on 15th September 1860, Dr. Vishveshvaraiya went to become India’s most prolific civil engineer, dam & bridge builder, economist, statesman and can be counted among the last century’s foremost nation-builders. Nation as well as society recalls the priceless and irreplaceable contribution of their engineers in nation building.
The history of engineers is as old as civilisation. As civilisation developed people began reshaping their environment with villages, farms, watersheds, roads, ships and eventually towns. With each advancement came new challenges that required more complex and creative solutions, which were solved by experiments as well as experience. With the passage of time, there has been considerable overhauling in the system. The advent of computer & software has completely changed the scenario in infrastructure sector. Quality in construction, planning, scheduling, organising, co-ordinating, controlling, management etc has been improved and elapsed time minimised.
In religious scripture, Bhagwan Vishwakarma has been enshrined as an engineer & architect of the Devlok. In Treta Yug, during departure of Shri Ram to Sri Lanka, two warriors of the Vanar Sena – Nal and Neel have showed their engineering expertise by constructing stone bridge “Shri Ram Setu” across the ocean between present day Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram (Bharat) & Mannar (Sri Lanka). The bridge, having approximately 30-35 Km length & 3 Km width, is the unique model of ancient engineering dexterity.
Engineers play a very important role in every walk of life. They are technically skilled professionals, who are responsible for solving problems through the use of machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. They convert knowledge of basic sciences into products. Their main focus is on making things work efficiently and effectively by applying the theories and principles of sciences and mathematics to research, and develop economic solutions to technical problems. The engineer differs from scientist by the nature of their training. While the scientists try to explore the natural world and discover new knowledge about the universe and how it works, engineers apply that knowledge to solve real problems, often with an eye toward improving cost and efficiency.
Their works are the link between the perceived social needs and economic applications. They are the bridge between science and art. Engineers are the backbone of nation building and the purpose of engineering is to innovate, design, create and maintain products, system and equipment for the benefit and wellbeing of humans. They help improve living conditions for the common people. If a country fails to realise the role of engineers in her nation building and the engineers are leaving for better opportunities abroad, then the country will continue to experience collapsed buildings and bridges, substandard products, failed roads, communication failures, environmental hazards, epileptic power supply etc.
Engineers contribute to the nation’s technological & industrial progress. As nations in the world are undergoing reformation and the economy is getting more modernised, consumption patterns have expanded and demand is constantly on the increase. There is therefore a growing consciousness of quality control at every level of production.
The engineers have to realise their responsibility and play an effective role in tackling today’s complex issues in the nation building. To build a nation is to make it habitable for the citizens by providing social amenities, infrastructural facilities, job creation and security and many more; the engineers therefore have a very important role to play. Thus, they are duty bound to design products, machineries and plants to manufacture these products, and systems to ensure quality and efficiency. They are to design, plan and supervise construction of buildings, and ensure their safety and stability against hazards; design highways, bridges, railways and transit systems, dams, irrigation canals, power systems, ports, harbours as well as off-shore structures.
Engineers should equally know that it is their duty to develop and implement improved ways to extract, process and use raw materials; develop new raw materials that can improve product performance and take advantage of advances in technology to harness the power of the sun, the gas, the earth, atoms and electricity to supply the nation’s power needs; analyse the impact of the products they develop or systems they design on the environment and the people; design ways of managing the nation’s waste, converting or recycling them to useful products. Parts of their functions also include determining the cause of component failures, estimating the time and cost of completing new projects as well as maintaining the existing ones.
Engineers are pivotal not only in infrastructure, but can act a catalyst in the field of trade and commerce too. In sales and management, an engineering background enables one to discuss the technical aspects of projects/products and assist in the planning, installation and product use. With such a vast and varied nature of their job, the engineers are really the foundation stone of a nation’s building and their role cannot be neglected in a nation’s all round progress. The engineers on their part should be proud of what they do and contribute effectively towards the growth of their country and the world at large.
(Author is a technocrat & academician. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )