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Vet science dates back to ancient India

None | BySatyen Mohapatra, New Delhi
Jan 19, 2007 05:46 PM IST

This has been brought out in certain ancient manuscripts found on the subject, reports Satyen Mohapatra.

Ancient Indians were not only well versed in the Indian system of medicine Ayurveda but seem to have disciplines specifically for certain animals like elephants or horses titled "Gajayurveda" or "Hayayurveda".

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This has been brought out in certain ancient manuscripts found on the subject, according to Director of the National Mission for Manuscripts Sudha Gopalakrishnan.

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"The huge database of manuscripts which have gathered now shows that we have large number of works on every field of medicine including veterinary science," she added.

The Gajayurveda also known as Hastiayurveda or Gajachikitsa and is attributed to sage Palakapya a contemporary of King Dasharatha of Ramayana according to Indian myths.

His treatise has 160 chapters with four sections. Eighteen chapters concerned with 'maharoga' or critical diseases, 72 chapters taking up the minor diseases or "kshudraroga" which elephants may suffer from.

As many as thirty four chapters have been given to surgery or "shalya" of elephants and thirty six chapters deal with general up keep of elephants.

The Gajayurveda is mentioned in the Agnipurana and Kshiraswamina's eleventh century commentary on the Amarakosha.

A manuscript of Gajayurveda which was commissioned by King Amar Singh II of Mewar and written by Bhattakrishnadasa in the early 18th century with beautiful Mewar style illustrations on the reverse side of each folio was exhibited early this month at an exhibition on the Indian Manuscript Tradition in Germany.

Shalihotra is considered an ancient authority on horses and horse breeding and number of works like Hayayurveda, Salihotrasamihita, Ashvaprasna and Ashvalakshnashastra are attributed to him.

Ashvalakshnashastra tells people what are the signs to look for and how to choose the best horse. The owner of a horse with "chakra" (ring) on the back predicts his becoming a king.

His treatise "Shalihotra Shastra" gives history of horse rearing and horse trading in India, lists breeds of horses and various veterniary medicines and practices.

Hayayurveda which is mentioned in Agnipurana, Matsyapurana and Garudapurana was even translated into Persian, Arabic, Tibetan and English.

There is a manuscript of Shalihotra Shastra in mahajani, modi and devnagari script in Rajasthan of nineteenth century with exquisite illustrations of horses.

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