There is no documentary, numismatic or sculptural evidence to prove the time and period in which Sushruta lived. The Maurya, Kushan, Gupta, Mughal, Vijayanagar and Mahratta rulers, including Shivaji have not made any reference to Sushruta or the practice of rhinoplasry in India. Muslim rulers including Akbar had to seek the services of unani physicians. Unani medicine first arrived in India around 12-13 century A.D. with establishment of Delhi Sultanate (1206-1527 A.D.) and Muslim rule over North India and subsequently flourished under Mughal Empire. Alauddin Khilji ( 1296-1316) had several eminent Unani physicians (Hakims) in his royal courts. European presence in India began with the Portuguese. Charles Dellon has provided an interesting insight into contemporary medical practice in Potuguese territories. "The pagan physicians, whom they call Pandites, are a sort of people without learning or any knowledge or insight into anatomy. All their skills are confined to a certain number of receipts which they have received from their ancestors. These they apply promiscuously without making the least alteration as often as they meet with a patient afflicted with the same distemper, without making the least reflection upon the different age, sex, constitution or strength of their patient. They are very timorous and rather will let a patient perish than run the hazard of a remedy which, as they believe, not being sufficiently approved by experience, appears doubtful to them, though they judge the distemper to be mortal or incurable without it..."( Charles Dellon. A French surgeon of XVII Century. Bull. Dept. Hist. Mec'. Osmania 2: 185-196, 1964). The East India Company established the Indian Medical Service (IMS) as early as 1764 to look after Europeans in India. IMS officers headed military and civilian hospitals in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. They also accompanied the Company's ships and army. On 9 May 1822 the government laid down a plan for the instruction of up to twenty young Indians to fill the position of native doctors in the civil and military establishments of the Presidency of Bengal. The outcome was the establishment of "The Native Medical Institution"(NMI) in Calcutta (21 June 1822), where medical teaching was imparted in the vernacular. Treatises on anatomy, medicine, and surgery were translated from European languages for the benefit of Indian students. So for the first time in 1822 Indian students came to know about anatomy and surgery. Translation of surgery and anatomy in vernacular made Indian students realize the futility of studying Ayurveda for anatomy and surgery were totally absent in that branch of medical system.
The British did not want to ignore native medical remedies. So from 1826 onwards, classes on Unani and Ayurvedic medicine were held respectively at the Calcutta madrasa and the Sanskrit college. The Sanskrit College was established during the Governor-Generalship of Lord Amherst, based on a recommendation by HT James Prinsep and Thomas Babington Macaulay among others. In 1827 John Tyler, an Orientalist and the first superintendent of the NMI started lectures on Mathematics and Anatomy at the Sanskrit College. . In general, the medical education provided by the colonial state at this stage involved parallel instructions in western and indigenous medical systems. Translation of western medical texts was encouraged and though dissection was not performed, clinical experience was a must. Trainee medical students had to attend different hospitals and dispensaries. Successful native doctors who had gained knowledge in anatomy and surgery were absorbed into government jobs. Due to the efforts of John Tyler surgery and anatomy were translated into Sanskrit and Ayurveda students studied these subjects in Sanskrit.
Towards the end of 1833 a Committee was appointed by the government of William Bentinck in Bengal to report on the state of medical education and also to suggest whether teaching of indigenous system (ayurveda) should be discontinued. The Committee consisted of Dr John Grant as President and J C C Sutherland, C E Trevelyan, Thomas Spens, Ram Comul Sen and M J Bramley as members. The Committee criticized the medical education imparted at the Native Medical Institute (NMI) for the inappropriate nature of its training and the examination system as well as for the absence of courses on practical anatomy. Ayurveda had no knowledge of surgery, virology, opthalmology, general medicine,gyanecology, microbiology and obsterics. The Committee submitted a report on October 20, 1834 and it recommended that the state found a medical college 'for the education of the natives'. The various branches of medical science cultivated in Europe should be taught in this college. The intending candidates should possess a reading and writing knowledge of the English language, similar knowledge of Bengali and Hindustani and a proficiency in Arithmetic. This recommendation, soon followed by Macaulay's minute and Bentinck's resolution, sealed the fate of the school for native doctors and medical classes at the two leading oriental institutions of Calcutta. The Native Medical Institution (NMI) was abolished and the medical classes at the Sanskrit College and at the Madrasa were discontinued by the government order of 28 January 1835. This action of the government infuriated Ayurvedic students and the faculty of NMI and Sanskrit College. From that time onwards Ayurvedic teachers carried on a battle against Western medicine and produced spurious Sanskrit manuscripts to cover all the topics in modern medicine and claimed all these topics were known to ancient Indians, especially Sushruta and Charaka, long before the British doctors came to know about them. The English surgeon Carpue's technique in rhinoplasty was copied and attributed it to Sushruta. Althgough Carpue had never visited india , they made a false statemenet that he was in India for 20 years to study rhinoplasty. The proposed new college, known as the Calcutta Medical College (CMC), which was established by an order of 20 February 1835 ushered in a new era in the history of medical education in India. But the abolition of medical classes in the Sanskrit College and NMI angered Ayurvedic teachers and students. It was at that time spurious Sanskrit manuscripts in the names of Charaka and Sushruta were produced and propagated to claim surgery and anatomy were known to Indians long before Europeans came to know about them. How could Sushruta perform difficult surgeries without anesthesia? Sushruta and Charaka are fictitious names and the manuscripts in their names were produced by fanatical Ayurvedic physicians by copying from English text books to claim superiority and antiquity over Western system of medicine.
The Indian History Congress in its 75th session, held in Delhi on December 31, 2014, has, in a resolution, criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statement that an ancient plastic surgeon must have attached the head of an elephant on the body of Ganesha.At its ongoing 75th session here, it criticised attempts in "influential quarters" to rewrite history through "ancient mythology", "speculative chronology" and "fresh myths". "Unfortunately even the Prime Minister has suggested that in the hoary past Indians had learnt, and then, forgotten, plastic surgery of a kind going far beyond what is now possible," the resolution said