Plastic surgery started in ancient India, says Columbia University; big blow to Left-liberals

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First Published 12, Jan 2019, 6:59 PM IST
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Plastic surgery started ancient India Columbia Univ blow Left-liberal
Highlights

The Left-liberals have often attacked the RSS and BJP for placing 'modern' scientific discoveries in ancient India, perhaps unaware of the fact that such discoveries find mention in ancient Indian texts such as the Rig Veda.

New Delhi: Plastic surgery originated in 6th century BC and had its roots in India, a recent study by the Columbia University has found. 

This would come as a big blow to the Left-liberals, who have always tended to belittle the ancient Indian knowledge systems. Ironically, the linkage between the 'modern' science of plastic surgery and ancient Indian traditions has been made by an institution that the Left-liberals swear by.  

According to a paper published by Columbia University’s Inving Medical Centre, “The roots of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures go back more than 2,500 years.”

The publication from the Division of Plastic Surgery of the medical centre said that while it was a “misconception” to dub 'plastic' in 'plastic surgery' as referring to something artificial, etymologically it was derived from the Greek 'plastikos', meaning 'to mould' or 'to give form'.

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The Left-liberals have often attacked the RSS and BJP for placing 'modern' scientific discoveries in ancient India, perhaps unaware of the fact that such discoveries find mention in ancient Indian texts such as the Rig Veda. Detractors have accused the traditionalists of supplanting science and history with myth, but the Columbia University's paper traced plastic surgery to the fabled ancient physician Sushruta, who wrote a treatise called Sushruta Samhita.

“During the 6th century BCE, an Indian physician named Sushruta — widely regarded in India as the ‘father of surgery’ — wrote one of the world’s earliest works on medicine and surgery,” the paper said.

“The Sushruta Samhita documented the etiology of more than 1,100 diseases, the use of hundreds of medicinal plants, and instructions for performing scores of surgical procedures, including three types of skin grafts and reconstruction of the nose,” the varsity’s publication added.

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The article titled, History of Medicine: Ancient Indian Nose Jobs & the Origins of Plastic Surgery, said: “Skin grafts entail transplanting pieces of skin from one part of the body to another. Sushruta’s treatise provides the first written record of a forehead flap rhinoplasty, a technique still used today, which a full-thickness piece of skin from the forehead is used to reconstruct a nose. At that time, patients in need of that procedure generally included those who had lost their noses as punishment for theft or adultery.”

Amazed at how the modern techniques were “all explained in Sushruta Samhita”, the article concluded: “Today, surgeons use skin grafts to restore areas that have lost protective layers of tissue due to trauma, infection, burns, as well as to restore areas where surgical intervention has created a loss of skin, as can happen with melanoma removal. Some grafts include blood vessels and muscle, such as in reconstructive breast surgery.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was criticised in 2014 for saying that the science of plastic surgery was practised in ancient India. "We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant's head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery," Modi had said at that time.

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