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Bhopal: Dr. Zaheer-ul-Islam, a pioneer in sex reassignment surgery, dies

People bade a tearful adieu to Bhopal’s first plastic surgeon Dr. Zaheer-ul-Islam when he passed away here on Wednesday last

Dr Zaheer ul Islam

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 smiling face.

 

Education and Career

Dr Zaheer took his MBBS degree from Indore Medical College and did specialisation in Plastic Surgery from Patna Medical College.

In the cases of plastic surgery, 40 years ago, when different types of techniques were not available, in that era, the record of successful operation of big plastic surgeries remained in the name of Dr. Zaheer.

Pioneer in sex reassignment surgery

He 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 surgery to change the sex of a girl to make her a boy. He changed the gender of a girl named Munnibai to Munnalal.

In the history of plastic surgery, Dr. Zaheer, who was honoured with many conferences and awards at international level, was also called abroad.

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

A poet and aerial photographer too

Apart from this he was a multifarious personality with a poetic blood flowing in his veins. He paid poetic tributes to his near and dear ones who departed this world by composing “Qata’t” which was published in Nadeem, an Urdu daily newspaper. Just 24 hours before he went to eternal sleep he recited the last “Qat’a’” of his life in a video recording saying:

“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 the 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 in 2000, Dr Zaheer digitized 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 plastic surgeon Dr. Zahir was one of our 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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