“These days people write ‘Padma Shri’ in bold letters on their name plates after getting the award, but being a such a close friend, I got to know today itself that he’s got a Padma Shri as well as a Padma Bhushan” says a friend of Dr. M. Khalilullah, who turned 80 this June. A career spanning more than half a century, Dr. Khalilullah has given every single moment of his life in the service of humanity, by making innovations and advancements in the field of cardiology. Dr. Khalilullah is credited for developing the first indigenous pacemaker of the country, equipment for cardiac monitoring and resuscitation with innovating technique.
Though developing the first pacemaker of the country remains the magnum opus of his exemplary medical career, he introduced various modes of investigations and treatment of heart disease for the first time in the country, noted among them are trouble shooting of pacemakers, research in the field of cardiac pacing and dual chamber pacing, technique of Digital Substraction Angioplasty, dynamic electrocardiography using computerised Holter monitoring system, computerised stress testing and detailed electrophysiological studies, endocardial mapping of Supraventricular Tachyacrhythmias and many other leading techniques that have helped saving millions of lives. The Epicardial mapping and surgery of Wolf-Parkinson White Syndrome technique was established for the first time in Asia, thanks to the tireless efforts and sheer hard work of Dr. Khalilullah.
Yet, being a pioneer of so many path-breaking techniques in the country, his humility and child-like curiosity, both have only grown manifold all these years. Even today, when he’s become an octogenarian, he works 17-18 hours a day. During a conversation he divulged “there are two things that God has not blessed me with- to eat and to sleep.” My instant response was the famous Persianised Urdu saying, ‘kam guftan, Kam Khamdan and kam khurdan, aqlmandi ki alamatein hain’ talking less, sleeping less and eating less are characteristics of wisdom, to which Dr. Khalilullah’s modest being gives a smile at that.