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A 40-feet-tall statue of ancient sage Sushruta, regarded as the Father of Surgery and Plastic Surgery, was unveiled by the Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Center (AIMS) on February 4, 2016. The two-tiered concrete statue, by celebrated sculptor Chavara Vijayan, shows Sushruta seated in the lotus pose (padmasana) on a raised pedestal. At its base, there is also a detailed sculpture of the sage performing surgery on a patient, assisted by a team of physicians.
Many well-known dignitaries were present during the unveiling of the statute, including Sampoojya Swami Purnamritananda Puri, General Secretary of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math; Dr. N Gopalakrishnan, Hon. Director, Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage; Soumini Jain, Mayor of Kochi; Hibi Eden, MLA of Ernakulam; Ambika Sudarshan, Councillor and Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director of AIMS, Kochi. The sculptor Chavara Vijayan was also felicitated during the ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said, “Sushruta was a great sage who contributed immensely to surgery during ancient times. Sushruta Samhita, the text authored by him, describes 1,200 diseases and around 700 medicinal herbs. The contribution of Mata Amritanandamayi Math in fostering Indian cultural values is unparalleled. Installing this magnificent statue of Sushruta at AIMS will go a long way in introducing the glory of ancient India to our present and future generations. I also congratulate the sculptor Chavara Vijayan for his extremely impressive work, which is a fitting tribute to the memory of the great ancient sage.”
Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, AIMS, Kochi, added, “Sushruta is recognized today as the ‘Father of Surgery and Plastic Surgery’ worldwide. All Indians are proud to have such a genius as part of our ancient tradition. It is staggering to think that Sushruta was performing surgeries on the human body 1,000 years before Hippocrates and 2,000 years before European stalwarts like Celsius and Galen were even born! The great sage took the art and science of surgery to admirable heights and his era came to be regarded as ‘The Golden Age of Surgery’ in ancient India. However, it is sad that such pioneering contributions of ancient Indians have gone largely unnoticed in modern India. Installing this statue at the AIMS premises is our attempt to create more awareness about our ancient heritage, which is the envy of the whole world.” In another interesting development, AIMS is also planning to set up a museum at Kochi to showcase the contributions of ancient Indians in all areas of human endeavor.
Sushruta is the earliest surgeon ever recorded in human history. He is the main author of the treatiseSushruta Saṃhita, which is one of the most important surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a foundational text of Ayurveda. The treatise addresses all aspects of general medicine but also gives extraordinarily accurate and detailed descriptions of surgery, especially plastic surgery. Due to this, Sushruta is now regarded as the “Father of Surgery and Plastic Surgery.”
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