Queen honour for Indian surgeon


London, June 10: The Queen has drawn attention to the most senior surgeon in the royal household – one Satyajit Bhattacharya – by bestowing a personal honour on him on the occasion of her 92nd “official birthday”.
The Queen celebrated her actual 92nd birthday on April 21 but June 9 is marked as her official birthday.
Bhattacharya, who holds the position of “Serjeant Surgeon to the Royal Household”, has been made a “Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order”.
There is speculation that he was involved in a successful hip operation that Prince Philip – he turns 97 on Sunday – underwent 2 months ago.
It clearly went well because Philip was able to walk in unaided into St George’s Chapel on May 19 when the royal family gathered for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.
The origin of the post of “Serjeant Surgeon” goes back to 1253. Early holders of the post were military surgeons who accompanied their king into battle. Over the years, other duties of the Serjeant Surgeon included “embalming of the royal corpse, oversight of torture to ensure the prisoner was not killed and screening patients who were expected to be healed by the royal touch”.
Many of Bhattacharya’s predecessors were distinguished, none more so than Joseph Lister, the founder of antiseptic surgery, who held the post in 1901 and was given a peerage by Queen Victoria.
Bhattacharya, who was appointed Serjeant Surgeon in 2016, did his early medical training in Mumbai followed by extensive periods in the UK and US. He was named as one of Britain’s best consultants by the society magazine Tatler in 2014 and 2015.
The overwhelming majority of the honours announced on Saturday come via 10, Downing Street. These included knighthoods, for example, for Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year, and the historian Simon Schama.
The Queen’s official birthday is marked by a colourful ceremony in Horse Guards Parade in London called Trooping the Colour when “over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare”.
For the first time since the ceremony began 260 years ago, a 22-year-old from Leicester, Charanpreet Singh Lall of the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards, will be able to parade alongside his fellow soldiers wearing bearskin hats but in a black turban.
This year the ceremony will see the Colour of the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards being trooped.
Lall who joined the British Army in January 2016, was born in Punjab and moved to the UK as a baby.
He said he hoped people watching the ceremony “will look at it as a new change in history. I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, will be encouraged to join the army.”
He told journalists: “For myself, being the first turban-wearing Sikh to troop the colour and to be part of the escort it is a really high honour for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well.”
He added that his mother, father and sister, who are “really, really proud” of him, will be coming to watch him take part.
“My mum was crying on the day I passed out so I wonder what is going to happen to her when she sees me in this,” he said, indicating his turban with the ceremonial cap star.
(Courtesy: TT)