In the late 18th century a British Magazine called the Gentleman’s Magazine carried a fascinating piece of information regarding an Indian bullock cart driver named Cowasjee who had his nose cut off during a war. The magazine reported that Cowasjee had a surgery performed to restore his nose in the streets of Pune, Maharashtra at the hands of a potter. The magazine went on to define the process which the potter used to perform today’s equivalent of a rhinoplasty using the Indian Flap method.
This generated a lot of interest in Britain, as the British had been unsuccessful in performing similar surgeries in the past. A British surgeon named J. C Capure was one of the firsts to perform rhinoplastic surgery, based on the Indian flap method, in Britain, which was subsequently taken up by other European medicine men. Carpue even had the Indian method validated by British officers in India, who confirmed that this method had been commonly practiced in India since ancient times.
Almost a century later, in 1890 A.D. the accidental discovery of an ancient manuscript written in the Gupta-Brahmi script by Hamilton Bower revealed an ancient study on the Indian Medicinal System citing the names of many Indian Rishis whose works on Indian Medicine are still extant.
One of the Rishis cited in the Bower Manuscript was Sushruta, who is widely known for his treatise called the Sushruta Samhita, one of the most important ancient Indian treatises on medicine. Rudolf Hoernle, a British-German Indologist, translated the entire Sushruta Samhita into English. Hoernle erroneously dated it around 500 CE based on an assumption that since Sushruta Samhita finds mention in the Shatapatha Brahmana, and since Shatapatha Brahmana was commonly accepted to have been composed in the 6th century BCE, Sushruta Samhita too must have been composed in the 6th century BCE.
In this Srijan Talk, noted author, researcher and Indologist, Nilesh Nilkanth Oak calls out this unfounded dating of Sushruta Samhita by British researchers and presents his original research along with his teammate Sanket Kulkarni, wherein he points to a much more authentic and older date for the treatise and an even older date for Rishi Sushruta. Examining multiple internal and external evidences like astronomical data points from Sushruta Samhita itself, authentic dating of the Shatapatha Brahmana, and genealogical references from the triangulation of evidences from Sushruta Samhita, Garuda Purana and the Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata, Nilesh Oak and Sanket Kulkarni methodically establish that the Sushruta Samhita existed for sure around 3000 BCE and Rishi Sushruta existed for sure in or before 6000 BCE.
Please watch this riveting Srijan Talk to understand how ancient Indian Medicinal Knowledge, like most other ancient Indian Knowledge, was undermined by the British, and how vital it is for Indians to claim their rightful, authentic place in science, medicine, history, arts, spirituality and many other domains in the present times.