Over the years, there has been an illusion in India that all scientific research has been carried out outside India only in Europe. If a patriotic knowledgeable Indian even tried to tell slowly that there was iron work in India, aircraft were also made, plastic surgery was also done, then he was threatened and silenced not to talk nonsense. We also had some faults in it that we were not able to come out with a true history of plastic surgery in India and only kept mentioning the impossible mythology like Ganesh. But today everyone has started accepting the truth.
Recently, the Department of Surgery of Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center has written in the History of Medicine that plastic surgery was performed in India in ancient times. It has written about Sushruta that he wrote the first book of medicine and surgery in the world. It also describes three types of skin grafting and the method of reconstructing the nose. It is also written that the techniques of plastic surgery used today are surprisingly described in the Sushruta Samhita.
Paolo Santoni Ruzio, MD of the Department of Plastic Surgery at S Chiara University and Hospital, Italy, and plastic surgeon Philip J Saic, from the Morrison Hospital, UK, have described it in detail in their book “A History of Plastic Surgery”. There is a mentioned incident in 1723 of the British Army in India being reconstructed with a severed nose there. They have also presented a picture of this process.
It is clear from this that not only the mention of plastic surgery is found in the books, but it has also been used in the country till recent years. The British got it banned by the state. This ban imposed by the British is still maintained by the governments of the independent country even today and hence there is a legal restriction on the surgery of Ayurveda practitioners in India. Not only this, Indians are also taught that surgery is the result of modern medical science, because there is no tradition in India according to modern medical science which we can also call European medical science, without knowledge of human anatomy and its surgery.
The book, A History of Plastic Surgery, details the plastic surgery of a person’s nose in Poona, India, in the year 1793. The description is as follows – the first sign of its resumption (nasal plastic surgery) was found in India, although it did not immediately respond in Europe. In 1793, an article was published in the English newspaper Madras Gazetteer titled A Cingular Operation i.e. a unique surgery. This article, written by two physicians of the East India Company, described a plastic surgery of a nose by a person from a Maratha Vaidya family whom he had seen directly. The following year in 1794, a paper by a gentleman named BL was published in a newspaper called The Gentleman, which was not a more elite but scientific paper. This paper had a tremendous impact in the development of nasal plastic surgery in Europe.
This letter is presented as it is in that book. A copy of the page referencing the issue of The Gentleman has also been published. According to that letter, the incident is as follows. A farmer named Kavasji used to drive bullock carts in the British army. In the British war with Tipu Sultan of 1792, he was taken captive by Tipu Sultan and Tipu cut off his nose and one hand. For about twelve months he wandered with his severed nose, until a Vaidya of the brick-making caste in Poona made his new nose. This type of surgery has been done here since very ancient times. Two doctors of the Bombay Presidency were seen by Thomas Crusoe and James Trindley themselves. He has also described the entire genre of nose-making by an Indian physician.
Although this article was not published in any medical research journal, it was still widely discussed in European, especially English physicians. Thus we find that the details of surgery in India and especially plastic surgery have been recorded by the British as well. There has been a lot of discussion in India. It is said that Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh is named Kangra, because the physicians there used to be experts in ear and nose making. It is written in the Bhoja Prabandha Granth that in the eleventh century, the King used to have severe pain in the head of Bhoja. His brain surgery was done by two physicians at the time. There is also a mention that those physicians used a type of supernatant to make the king unconscious for surgery. This simply means that the Indian physicians had adequate knowledge not only of surgery but also of anesthesia, that means to make the patient unconscious.
The question arises that what can we do by knowing this history? What is the use of this information in today’s scientific era of surgery? In fact, this information is not just for glorifying history. On the basis of this history, Ayurvedic surgery can be resurrected. If Indian physicians were able to perform surgery until the nineteenth century, they might be again today.
In such a situation, the ban on Ayurveda physicians is claimed be abolished. It is also important to know that Ayurveda does not use surgery as unbridled as it is today, but as the ultimate measure. Ayurveda cures many diseases, which modern medical science can cure only through surgery, only by medicine. For example, there are diseases and accidents like stones, neoplasia, bone fractures etc. Ayurveda does its treatment without any operation. Therefore, if the Ayurvedic doctors are allowed to perform surgery, then it would reduce the unnecessary surgeries. This will only improve the health of the country, as it is believed.