Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Sengupta, Ashoke (1931 - 1997)

MRCS and FRCS 1962; MB BS Calcutta 1955; PhD Stanton 1986; FICS 1966.

21 June 1931
Kohima, Nagaland, India
5 December 1997
Hand surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Ashoke Sengupta was head of the department of surgery at the Institute of Child Health in Calcutta. He was born in Kohima, Nagaland, on 21 June 1931. His father, Jitendra Mohan Sengupta, was a surgeon and had won a gold medal in the DTM&H. His mother was Tarunbala née Majumdar. He was privately educated and passed the intermediate science course from Ashutosh College, before entering the Sri Nilratan Sircar Medical College in Calcutta for his medical training. During his junior posts in the College he was much influenced by Amulyakumar Saha, whom he regarded as his 'guru' and decided him on a career in orthopaedics.

In 1957 he went to England to study for the FRCS and worked his way up from senior house surgeon to senior registrar in Ipswich, where he was Cecil Henriques' first registrar.

On returning to Calcutta in 1965, he became lecturer and honorary orthopaedic surgeon to the Institute of Child Health, where he soon developed a special expertise in microvascular surgery and the re-implantation of severed digits: in 1968 he performed the first successful re-implantation of a severed palm. He was gradually promoted to honorary consultant in chief and head of the department of surgery, becoming Emeritus Professor in 1996.

Sengupta founded, and was the first President of, the Indian Hand Surgery Association. But his interests were wide: he published many papers on the bioengineering of joint replacement, many in association with his wife. Among his many honorary appointments, he was consultant in orthopaedics to the Calcutta Police and the Central Hospital for the South Eastern Railway at Garden Reach, and was consultant to the Employees' State Insurance for West Bengal. He received the gold medal of the Indian Journal of Surgery in 1977. In 1986 Stanton University in the USA awarded him a PhD for his work in the field of microvascular surgery.

A quiet, friendly and approachable person, he was a popular teacher and an able administrator. His hobbies included writing stories for children, painting, gardening and Indian classical music, in which he was a skilled performer.

He married Sipra Sengupta in 1956. She was an engineer with an MSc from both Calcutta and Birmingham Universities, who became his collaborator in studies for the design of total knee replacements. They had one daughter, Aparajita, who took a masters degree in business administration. He died on 5 December 1997 in an aircraft accident whilst returning from a two-week visit to Indonesia to teach postgraduates. World Orthopaedic Concern awarded him posthumously the Arthur Eyre-Book gold medal in 1998.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England