Dr. Tribhovandas Motichand Shah (1850-1904)
Assistant Surgeon, Cheif Medical Officer of Junagarh State
Fellow of Bombay university

The tradition of rebuilding the nose was reimported from Europe into India following the establishment of the Raj. Within the Westernized tradition of India surgery in the 19th century there was a further development of this reception. Indian surgeons did indeed stress the idea of the “nose job” as an “original” Indian contribution to surgery. They read these origins quite differently from the way Europeans did .

Tribhovandas Motichand Shah (1850-1904), writing in Junagadh in 1889, rationalized his clinical account of a hundred cases of rhinoplasty by labeling the Indian patients the victims of criminal activity: “The Makrani outlaws, who carried out depredations against the Jungadh State for a period of nearly three years, had not infrequently indulged in mutilating the noses of undefended and unarmed ryots [peasants] of villages.”

Such activities are criminal. Unsanctioned by the state. It is true that there is a tradition of vendettas in India, Motichand Shah continues, in which the nose is cut off, in contrast to the (much worse, he implies) Western tradition of vendettas in which the chief modes of mortal revenge are homicide, either by poisoning, shooting, or wounding.

It is true, of course, that the West, too, has a problem with lost noses: In these countries loss of the nose is only a consequence of disease- chiefly syphilis. The rationale for the rebuilding of the Indian nose, on the other hand, is the reconstitution of delicate feelings of honour and the overcoming of “feelings of the greatest humiliation.”

• Remember Tribhovandas Motichand Shah as first known modern plastic surgery surgeon!
• Europe was brutal and barbaric as far as vendettas and revenges are concerned.
• Europe of 19th century was suffering from infectious diseases like syphilis.

His paper was accessible online till last week when I first accessed. Now it shows access denied.


  1. Hi Marut,
    You can copy paste the link on to and download the research papers for free. Generally,most papers come with a doi link which you can copy paste on to and download the full PDF. In this case, I didn’t see any doi link but just pasted the URL on sci-hub and I was able to download the PDF