I want to tell a story regarding the 'Father of Surgery', the legend Sushruta who de facto started the scientific practice of surgery and now a totally forget hero of ancient India. I personally admire this person (may be school not a person) for achieving highest standards of surgical principles and practices.
Why am I narrating the story to you because it is a fact that He was a great surgeon of ancient India and everybody knows Him. It is not true; in fact, He is not remembered by the highest knowledgeable persons of India.
I got an opportunity to appear for a personal talk before a learned board of the highest selection body of this country. It was a friendly discussion.
But one thing was very disappointing. I was asked, 'Was Sushruta a myth or reality?'
Some years before our central government gave an affidavit, 'Ram was a mythological character.' I personally hate the word 'Myth' as it has never been a part of our culture and for we people each and every character of our history have given us enlightenment.
I replied, 'He devised many surgical instruments, demonstrated many surgical procedures, started many firsts and most importantly gave the concept of reconstructive surgery as well as the ethics in surgical practice.
The next question was also very disheartening, "Is it mentioned in any modern surgical books?'
I had to reply, 'Yes Sir, Sabiston in his book of Surgery mentioned the Sushruta's contributions in the field of surgery and he categorically mentioned that western writers ignored Sushruta contributions even He was first person to devise over 100 surgical instruments along with use of organic material in the management of wound. He was first to describe the puya as a foreign body, but we know J Lister as the father of aseptic surgery.
The next question was, 'Do modern surgeon follow the principles of Sushruta?'
I said, 'Yes?'
The pedicle flap plasty is the principle that is followed by all modern plastic surgeons. He was a little bit convinced as I thought. In the meanwhile, my mentor asked some questions regarding 'artery to vas saving procedure based on the principle of sushruta' and things went well.
Next came a question regarding use of modern medicines and I replied that I have been working with my surgeon friends to stop antabuse (Antibiotic abuse) and I have been using an Ayurvedic formulation containing Panchvalkal kashaya, chopchini and dalchini. The results have been encouraging.
Now the question arise whether our Ayurveda is myth as perceived by most of the educated Indians? We may have highest regard for Ayurveda but reality is different. In fact, Ayurveda is conceived as a science where 'Pudiya' or 'Kadha' are prescribed after examining pulse. Surgery has nothing to do with Ayurveda. I am not hurting the sentiments of people of different departments of Ayurveda but it is true that Shalya departments in Ayurvedic colleges are equally or most productive.
I leave the discussion with a question mark?
Why Sushruta has been a forgotten Hero in world, India and even in Ayurveda?
Why surgery has not been promoted to its highest level in Ayurveda?
Dr Praveen Choudhary