41st Annual Conference of Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand (ISSH)

Co-hosted by Singapore Society for Hand Surgery (SSHS)


Message from Patrons

Dr. Ravin Thatte

To the question as to why the constellation of 'sense organs' are so close to the skull and the brain, the answer in the field of evolutionary science is "the 'sense organs' are in fact extensions of the brain". In the Indian tradition the external eye is made of skin (charma chakshu) and the brain is the 'eye of the eye'. The same analogy is applied to the ear, the nose and the tongue and the brain is energy or force which has temporarily evolved into matter and is the seat of instinct, emotion and intelligence. The only sense organ which extends way beyond the skull is skin (also neuoro-ectodermal in origin), because it must envelope distant parts. In fact it is not only the largest organ in the body but also a very vital 'sense organ'.

For a long time, in my minds' eye, the human hand has been an additional and an even more splendored part of the above constellation. It arrived late, but made up for the delay in a spectacular fashion after the thumb made its appearance in some species of monkeys. Since then it has never looked back. As I write or type this, I think the hand is as much an extension of my brain as an eye or an ear. What is more unlike the eye or the ear, it is not a passive spectator, but a dynamic sensory motor organic extension of my brain. It's mechanics is superb, its sensorial ability for superficial deep and prorioceptic perception is un-matched, its vascular anatomy has a bevy of safety features, the gliding functions in its constituents may be mysterious but are masterly and as if this was not enough it also serves as an emoter, instinctively or out of necessity if the other 'sense organs' fail. I am not qualified to comment on its skeletal structure but those who are, I am sure, are fascinated by its architecture.

This slightly pedantic and philosophical passage is written to remind all of us that we need to treat this organ with utmost respect as we gather here for this meeting. To be attracted to this speciality is, in a sense, a fortune and we must preserve this fortune by putting our best foot forwards. As the speciality has evolved, the hand has been divided in several parts and sub-specialities. But let us also remember that however exceptional the hand as an organ might be, it ultimately belongs to a person whose circumstances, needs and feelings must remain utmost in our mind. We, above all, are in the business of treating people, not their parts.

I trust we are going to have a fruitful and an enjoyable meeting.


Dr. Ravin Thatte

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