A famous line of Shaikh Saadi’s couplet translates, ‘the Creator has created everyone for a specific work’, and Lutfullah Khan’s personality corroborated this claim. Born in Madras, now Chennai, he was the founder and head of an advertising agency. He had a keen interest in the study of literature, fine arts, music, poetry and personalities. While making advertisements, when he got introduced to tape recorders, he first thought of perpetuating his mother’s voice. He then turned his attention to recording classical music, Mushairas, speeches, interviews with personalities, and so on. Gradually, an exquisite treasure of recordings turned up, one which was absolutely unparalleled. God bestowed him a long life and he continued to accumulate this unique treasure of recordings for the generations to come, irrespective of any reward. Lutfullah Khan has also authored several books including memoirs, travelogues and sketches of some important personalities.
Lutfullah’s audio archives are so unique and extraordinary that from time to time individuals and institutions have been trying to take charge of it. But his wife Begam Zahida Lutfullah, who was always alongside him in this mammoth task, did not want to part ways with this treasure like this. However, she also realized that it wasn’t coming of any use to anyone.
Lately, Dr. Mohammad Khurshid Abdullah became interested in this treasure. Dr. Sahib holds a responsible position in Agha Khan University Hospital Karachi. At the same time, he has an extraordinary interest in reading books, cultivating civilization and being immersed in the sources of modern and ancient wisdom. He is also well acquainted with Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English. Extremely fond of reading books he says, ‘if everyone started writing, then who’ll be left reading those books?’.
In short, Dr. Sahib gained access to Lutfullah Khan’s treasure, and also gained the confidence of his wife. For the past year and a half, Dr. Khurshid has been bringing this treasure closer to everyday people with the help of technology. Connoisseurs can find these tapes on both YouTube and his Facebook wall. Although he wishes for the new generation to benefit more from these archives, people with taste for arts appreciate his selfless deeds from all over the Urdu world.
Few people may be aware that this sound treasure exists in the form of "spool tapes" and the amount of effort it takes to convert and bring these sounds in digitized quality to listeners is unimaginable. Dr. Sahib spends many hours in unseemly conditions recovering these sounds. He is the Messiah in terms of the medical profession, but conveying these artifacts to art lovers is no less than a Messiah.
We pray for Dr. Muhammad Khurshid Abdullah’s health and well-being, and hope that he will continue to light the lamp of goodness in the society.