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Indian Radiology

Though Prof. W.C. Roentgen discovered the mysterious X-ray on 8th November, 1895, it is difficult to be sure as to when and where the first X-ray machine was installed in India. The late Dr. K.P. Mody had mentioned, in his editorial in the Indian Journal of Radiology & Imaging, in 1956 that the first X-ray machine was imported by a chemist in 1902 into India; that was only 7 years after the discovery.

New Delhi became the capital of India in 1912. It appears that, in Delhi the first X-ray machine was installed at Lady Hardinge Hospital in 1918, and a chair in radiology was established in 1923 at the Lady Hardinge Medical College & Hospital. After World War I, the government established a dispensary with X-ray facilities somewhere near Jama Masjid. Rai Bahadur Hari Ram started private practice in radiology along with his general practice in 1932, but exclusive radiology practice was started by Dr. S.C Sen in 1933 who later became a founder member of the Indian Radiological Association (IRA). He had a 150 mA unit. Dr. Sen claimed two other “firsts” to his credit. He started deep X-ray therapy in New Delhi in 1935 with a 180 kv machine and also started group practice.

Radiology in North India further evolved at the time of partition in 1947, when a large number of medical practitioners including radiologists migrated to Delhi from Pakistan. Some of the prominent radiologists among them were Dr. Diwan Chand Agarwal, Dr. R K Handa, Dr. R.C. Goulatia, Dr. R.M. Sharma and Dr. Roshan Lal. Dr. D.C. Agarwal had been one of the leading radiologists in Lahore since 1927. This remarkable man laid down the foundation of a modern X-ray clinic in Delhi.

Similar advancements were taking place in the southern, western and eastern parts of India and Madras (now Chennai), Bombay (now Mumbai) and Calcutta grew in stature. The Barnard Institute of Radiology was established in Chennai and many radiologists who could not go abroad for training, went to Madras for their post-graduate studies.