Bhopal’s First Plastic Surgeon Dr Zaheer-ul-Islam Passes Away

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Zaheer sahab was a pioneer and credited with Madhya Pradesh’s first sex reassignment surgery which was the biggest achievement of his life. In 1977, he performed a sex change surgery on a girl making her a boy. He changed the gender of Munnibai to Munnalal.

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

BHOPAL – People bade a tearful adieu to Bhopal’s first plastic surgeon Dr Zaheer-ul-Islam when he passed away here on Wednesday last. He was in his late eighties. He is survived by his wife and a large number of relatives and friends to mourn his loss.

Dr Zaheer-ul-Islam was laid to rest in the graveyard near Bhopal Talkies late in the evening after his Namaz-e-Janaza was performed in the courtyard of historic Sufiya Masjid. Hundreds of people of Bhopal expressed their heartfelt tributes to him. He was known for his work as well as his cheerful behaviour and smile.

Dr Zaheer-ul-Islam took his MBBS degree from Indore Medical College and did a specialisation in Plastic Surgery from Patna Medical College. Forty years ago, when different types of techniques were not available in plastic surgery, Dr Zaheer set a record of successful operation of plastic surgery.

Pioneer in sex reassignment surgery

Zaheer sahab was a pioneer and credited with Madhya Pradesh’s first sex reassignment surgery which was the biggest achievement of his life. In 1977, he performed a sex change surgery on a girl making her a boy. He changed the gender of Munnibai to Munnalal.

In the history of plastic surgery, Dr Zaheer, who was honoured with many an award at international level.

Dr Zaheer served in Bhopal’s Hamidia Hospital associated to Gandhi Medical College (GMC), for nearly 30 years. Besides, he taught at GMC. From there he took voluntary retirement.

A poet & aerial photographer

Dr Zaheer was a multifarious personality. Poetry flowed in his veins with blood. He paid poetic tributes to his near and dear ones who departed this world by composing “Qata’t” which were published in Nadeem, an Urdu daily. Just 24 hours before he went to an eternal sleep he recited the last “Qat’a” of his life in a video recording: “Mere janaze pe pura shahar tha sharik; ek tum nahin the jiska mujh ko intezar tha”. He was also an expert aerial photographer with a passion to document the evolving city of lakes.

GMC golden jubilee celebrations were held in 2005. Dr Zaheer was scriptwriter for a documentary ‘Down the memory lane’. For the poet it came naturally. His passion for aerial photography made him many friends and some dubbed him as ‘would be pilot’.

Dr. Zaheer’s aerial photography of Bhopal dates before the age of the internet and satellite imagery. He welcomed anyone who wanted to use his pictures for publication. As early as in 2000, Dr Zaheer digitised his collection for preservation. He also was one of the first to use videos in medical conferences for demonstration.

According to GMC’s Assistant Professor Dr S K Patne, the plastic surgeon Dr Zaheer was one of the favourite teachers in the medical college and was the first to showcase aerial photographs of the GMC campus, proving college building was designed in shape of medical cross from the top.

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