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M. LUTFULLAH KHAN
"I serve history, not culture"
By Mian Ghulam Qadir*

Born at Madras (now called Channai). He had extra-ordinary fascination for music and singing from his childhood. He participated as amateur singer at the Madras Boys and Girls Exhibition in the year 1931 and received the merit award for Hindustani Music. He signed an agreement in 1933 for classical singing with the Indian State Broadcasting Service, later re-named as All India Radio. He performed publicly at the age of 19, during a radio concert in 1935. Known as Madras Radio Artist, he sang Ghazals at a function of Muslim students Association of St. Xaviers College in January 1939 and rendered classical singing at Bombay in December the same year. During quarter century of daily practice (1963-1988), he practiced singing with Maulana Abdul Shakoor (nephew of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan) and explored the intricacies of only one raag, the Darbari.

As a young writer his books (Pehloo, Dukhti Ragaeen etc.) were published in early 1936. He performed his first sound recording (voice of his mother) on 29th of July 1951 by using "Sound Mirror" tape recorder, having a single speed of 7.5 inches per second. Paper tape, coated with magnetic material, was used. He lost this antique device after it was loaned to somebody.

His museum gallery displays rare photographs, photography equipment, International and Pakistani coins, a set of 12 inch 78 rpm discs of Late "Barey Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib", sound recording equipment and accessories, drawing instrument and stationary items used in documenting the collections and personal items of nostalgic importance as well as a wonderful matchbox collection. (This is my main hobby also). But the pick of this array is an album containing posters of old Hindi and American movies, some of them dating back to twenties. (Late Mr. Theodore Phailbus of 31-A, Street, Cavalry Ground Extn. Lahore Cantt had the most wonderful collection of Posters in Pakistan). All are arranged in properly illuminated showcases and display boards.
Electronic devices installed include "Revox" tape recorders. Such a broad based collection requires periodic maintenance for which he has established in a separate room a small workshop with inventory of spares and tools.

His archive contains a large number of rare books on a variety of subjects, including religion. In his personal files, papers are arranged in chronological order in a healthy state. Indexing has been done in simple manner to facilitate easy location of the desired document.

Different articles published on his work in the newspapers and magazines are compiled in an easy to refer binding. Up to the year 2001, the total number of such essays was 185. His recent publications include four books as under:

1. Tamashaey - Ahley - Qalam
2. Sur ki Talaash
3. Hijratoun key silsiley
4. Zindagi ka Safar

He has transcribed all the Urdu Ghazals of Mirza Ghalib into Roman Alphabets. His library comprises the following six categories:

1. Music of the subcontinent
2. Urdu Literature - Poetry (Ghazals, Marsia, etc.) and Prose (Novel, Tanqeed etc.)
3. Religion (Religious books - recitation and narration)
4. Speeches of public figures including Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan and Mr. Z.A. Bhutto
5. Education - Mainly Music and Urdu Literature 
6. Art - Fine Arts, Interviews supported with transparencies, Musical Instruments description with slides.

The music section is further categorized as under:
1. Instrumental
2. Pure Classical
3. Semi-Classical
4. Ghazal
5. Geet
6. Folklore
7. Qawali

The taped recordings of each category are contained in different colour boxes. Original Gramophone records have been preserved.

Recordings of distinguished poets like Josh Malihabadi, Hafeez Jalundhry and Akhtar Iman (India). Faiz Ahmed Faiz has gifted recording of his poetry in his voice.

Lutfullah Khan has computerized his directory of musical collection. The same Raag is indexed for different instruments and vocalists. Among the vocalists he often listens to, with devotion, are Salamat Ali Khan, Amanat Ali Khan, and Roshan Ara Begum. His most liked Vichtarveena player in Pakistan is Habib Khan. Other outstanding instrumentalists include Ustad Bundoo Khan for "Sarangi" and Sharif Khan Ponchwala for Sitar. He considers Villayat Khan as unique in Playing of Sitar.

Most of the catalogues have been prepared through computer in the shape of properly bound hard copies. It was too much of a work to be done by a single person. This is the lifetime achievement of a dedicated hobbyist - indeed a wonderful work, which may not have a match in the Subcontinent. 

His birth place in India (Madras/Channai), is said to have another collector of old records namely Mr. V.A.K. Ranga Rao, (His probable address is Pycrofts Garden, Street 1940. Off Haddows Roads, Nungam Bakkam, Channai 600034, India Phone 8278308).
Can someone write an article on Mr. Ranga Rao?


Mian Ghulam Qadir is a great hobbyist and collector of a variety of match boxes, walking sticks, coins (old & new) of various countries, key-chains, cartoons (150 volumes), playing cards Jokers, postal stamps. View cards, sugar cubes (Airlines & Restaurants). His archives contain large number of gramophone records, taped music and "mushaira's", flags of the countries visited and advertisement pencils. Calligraphy of important persons and original letters of important writers. Urdu, English, Persian, Pushto, German, French, Turkish (from 1940) books and the Holy Quran from Saudi-Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey,Pakistan, Germany, Iran, Egypt etc.
Translations of Holy Quran in Urdu, English, Persian, Pushto, German and self-prepared multi-lingual manuscript of verses from the Holy Book. He has translated (first ever in the sub-continent) in Urdu Prose Goethe's West-oesticher Divan. His unpublished books are "Europe ke Shab-o-Roz", "Kuch yaden kuch baten" and "Qism qism ki tasbehein". He is M.A. Urdu from Peshawar University and M.A.English from Punjab University - with 2-year diplomas in German, French, Turkish and honours in Persian.

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