Maharaja Siddharaj Jaisingh
(1094 - 1143 AD)
In 1094 AD, the very young Solanki Rajput ruler Maharaja Siddharaj Jaisingh (1094 - 1143 AD), aided by his mother and prime minister, had emerged victorious from many hard fought battles and settled down in a town built by him, Siddhapurpatan, near Palanpur in Gujarat. Baadji, a descendant of the same bloodline had moved to Sindh and was bestowed the appellation 'Dhaddha'(Dadha) - Sindhi for strong or brave-hearted - by the Aamir of Sindh who was impressed not only by his business pursuits across the length and breadth of the country but also by his well-built physique. Of the same clan&attributes, Saarangdas (born c.1600 AD) was the Diwan of Jaisalmer until the time he moved to Phalodi, Jodhpur District in 1653 AD for commercial reasons. With his royal ancestry and enterprising ways he was proclaimed the 'Nagar Seth' (first citizen) of Phalodi after having settled there. Thereafter, having being influenced by Jainism for centuries, Seth Saarangdas Dadha's family became leading members of the respected Oswal Jain sect of Rajasthan and traded successfully and famously from their new family seat of Phalodi on the caravan route from India to Persia.
Born in 1865, Suganmal Dadha was the 8th descendant of Seth Saarangdas Dadha. Like his ancestors, Suganmal Dadha too was visionary in his entrepreneurial pursuits and decided to migrate to far-away Madras and set up a banking business over there. However, he had to return back to Phalodi as the venture did not fully work out as planned.
Consequently, his three sons had to seek their own livelihood. Not withstanding their father’s misfortune, the older two – Lakshmi Chand Dadha and Sobhag Mull Dadha decided to migrate to Madras and sought employment at ‘Lahore Drug Store’ - a popular pharmaceutical dealer of those days.
The youngest of the three, Lalchand, too decided to join his two older brothers in Madras after they convinced the owner to employ their kid brother.
Having almost nothing – no money and little education - the brothers would have resigned to their new found ‘employee’ status had not fate decided to take a hand and revive the familial entrepreneurial zeal. When their employer refused to pay Lalchand his annual wages, claiming that he had offered only boarding and lodging, the brothers were infuriated and walked out of the shop, deciding never to seek employment again.
Dadha & Co has the distinction of being the earliest ‘Pharmaceutical Chemists’ in Madras (now Chennai), with a rich legacy that includes the introduction of Allopathic medicines in South India.
In the early 1900’s, Madras had only two extant pharmacies that served the then ruling British and expat community. To fill this void and provide quality service, the brothers set up Dadha & Co in 1914. The first pharmacy was set up in George Town, (also known as Black Town), at 262 China Bazaar, which is now known as NSC Bose Road. With the imposing statute of King George V in the backdrop, the “pharmaceutical chemists” as it was called then, was one of the only Indian outlets of that nature to be manned with qualified pharmacists who were trained and equipped to produce medicines as prescribed by doctors, in the form of mixtures, powders, pills, eye drops, ointments, plasters, lotions and liniments.
The incident at ‘Lahore Drug Store’ followed by over a year of even more struggles would have defeated lesser men, but the triumvirate remained steadfast in their resolve to set up a business of their own and with a meagre capital of ` 100 opened a small drug store ‘Dadha & Company’in the month of February (on Amavasya Day), in the process laying the foundation for the re-emergence of a family known for its economic pursuits and contributions.
The experience gained at Lahore Drug Store, along with the contacts the eldest of them had forged, now came in handy. May & Baker and E. Merck, two of the leading drug suppliers extended to the brothers their total support and allowed them credit for eighteen months. Their courage and perseverance paid quick dividends and from then on there was no looking back.
Always in touch with their roots in Rajasthan, the brothers donate towards the establishment of Jain Chatrawas and school at Osian, Rajasthan.
Dadha & Co secure their first major agency for the whole of South India – C.F. Fulford of Leeds, the manufacturers of Peps.
Dadha & Co become agents of Boots in India.
The Maheswari community at Sowcarpet, Madras came forward to start a Hindi medium school, called Sri Sanatana Dharma Vidyalaya. Lakshmi Chand Dadha was the only Jain member to be one of the founder donors.
Dadha & Co become agents of Harrow, a trading firm that represented Bayer, Hex & Sherring.
Dadha & Co appointed the accredited single suppliers of drugs to the princely states of Travancore, Cochin and Pudukottai (this distinction lasted for a decade until 1930, after which Dadha & Co had become well established as the largest importers of drugs and medicines in South India. In the days to come, the firm soon ranked as a leading retailer and wholesaler and rose to the No. 1 position in India)
First foray into manufacturing medicines – ‘Cirobil’ and ‘Hedarin’ for liver and stomach ailments.
Lalchand Dadha is founder-shareholder of Bengal Immunity Company Ltd, Calcutta, that goes on to become the country’s largest serum and vaccine manufacturer.
He also assumes a key role in setting up the Pharmacological Research Institute at Madras, which manufactured medicines from indigenous herbs.
Along with other traders, Lalchand Dadha formed The Chemists & Druggists Association, Madras
With the untimely demise of Lakshmi Chand in 1926 and Sobhag Mull in 1930, Lalchand had to manage the rapidly growing business all-alone. He was a dynamic man who by dint of hard work built up a business enterprise imbibing fair play and ethics. The confidence that people reposed in Dadha & Co for the ‘right medicine at the right price’ created a reputation in the business world that can best be explained in the words of Mr. Gyan Chand “Bata for Shoes, Tata for Steel, Dadha for Medicine”, who himself ran a famous pharmacy ‘Hale & Company’.
The family donates towards the setting up of a Kanya Udyog Shala in their native Phalodi
Lalchand Dadha becomes founder-shareholder of Wilfred Pereira (a manufacturing firm) in India.
Lalchand’s son Milapchand joins the business and with the onset of the war, as German companies are sent out of India, Dadha & Co becomes the first firm to bring Sulphonamides to the city of Madras and also buys the entire stock of the same firm - Bayer Geschelshaft of Leverkusen, Germany. However, the entire stock is sealed by the collector with Germany being declared an enemy.
Nevertheless, the war years helped Dadha & Co enhance its reputation for service. It rendered valuable help in making available vital drugs and medicines at controlled prices, one instance that is testimony to this is bringing life-saving Penicillin to the city of Madras on an aircraft – Lalchand Dadha carried it personally with him from Germany and was highly commended by all in the trade. Lalchand Dadha also took the initiative to create an ‘All India Chemists and Druggists Federation’ (which is now known as AIOCD) that could represent their problems to the government and also help in securing alternative sources for drugs. He was the longest serving President of the same.
On 11th August, Milapchand, the heir is conferred with PALKI SAROPAO by H.H. Maharaja Sahib Bahadur of Jodhpur.
The family develops the Senior Secondary School building at Phalodi in the same year.
Lalchand Dadha becomes the first Marwari businessman to be elected the President of the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce.
On the corporate social responsibility front, Lalchand Dadha actively participates in the establishment and development of A.M. Jain College, Madras.
Lalchand's younger son Mohanchand Dadha joins the business at the same time as Dadha & Co is collaborating with C.J. Hewlett in the preparation of Hewlett Mixture.
Through the forties and fifties the business expanded and distribution outlets were opened in Hyderabad, Bombay, Bangalore and Cochin. However, the margins on wholesale distribution were slowly dwindling. Stringent drug laws coupled with various duties were eating into profits and the firm decided to concentrate only on manufacturing.
A modern manufacturing unit is set up at Dadha Nagar in Pallavaram (near Madras) at the same time as the acquisition of the British drug manufacturing company Ward Blerkinsop’s unit in India.
In commemoration of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Dadha & Co, the entire retail business is converted to a Public Charitable Trust by the name of Dadha & Company Golden Jubilee Trust.
Earlier, in 1957, Lalchand Dadha had founded the Lalchand Dadha Trust by donating one of his real estate properties and assigning to the Trust all his life insurance policies.
Dadha & Company (Mysore State) transfers its retail and distribution business to Mohan & Company.
On 29th November 1968 Lalchand Dadha had a premonition that he was not going to be around any longer and on 30th November 1968 he passed away. The entire city of Madras came to a standstill. The Sheriff of ‘Madras Patnam’ convenes a first ever Public Condolence meeting for a Marwari businessman, presided over by His Excellency Ujjwal Singh, Governor of Tamil Nadu where the legendary founder of the Dravidian Political Outfit DMK – C. Annadorai springs a surprise by participating as the Citizen’s Representative.
In spite of the growing business and the pressures that came along with it, Lalchand Dadha had never lost sight of bringing succour to the needy. His contributions to various educational, medical (most notably the ‘Shree Jain Medical Relief Society’ of which he was the chief architect) and cultural institutions were munificent. Indeed he exuded such a deep concern for these causes, which coupled with his intellect, personal charm and business success, captivated the attention of the tallest of Indian statesman like C. Rajagopalachari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Pandit Jawharlal Nehru amongst a host of others.
In less than a year after Lalchand Dadha's death, in a tragic incident his grandson, Milapchand's16 year old son Mansukh Dadha, died whilst swimming in the sea at Mahabalipuram, leaving the family devastated.
Following Lalchand Dadha’s death, the family continued to make strides in the business with Milapchand forging alliances with various British Pharmaceutical companies, prominent amongst them being Biddle Sawyer & Co, manufacturers of Browon (inhaler for asthma) and Croydon Chemicals UK Plc, manufacturers of ‘Wintogeno’. He was also instrumental in introducing the world famous Kiwi Shoe Polish to the Indian markets by setting up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Dadha Nagar, Madras.
A momentous year during which, with their experience, infrastructure and socio-economic contributions the Dadhas were selected by the 'Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation' (TIDCO) to start India's first-ever joint-sector manufacturing company 'Tamilnadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals Limited' (TDPL).
The family builds a Dadabari (Jain place of worship) which was consecrated during the Prathista Mahotsav at Cochin and handed over to the Sri Jain Sangh, Cochin.
Dadha Textiles Corporation is established for distribution of Bombay Dyeing products in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Milapchand is snatched away in a tragic plane crash on 12th October in Bombay, aged 53. He had joined the family business under the shadow of the towering personality of his famous father. However, he preferred to stay away from public gaze, only to concentrate and expand. A great visionary, like his father, he too exhibited strong philanthropic traits and strengthened further the family's efforts in helping out with various religious and social causes. From the young age of 17 he had helped in steering the Dadha Group with acumen, vision and a grace so rare and magnanimous that touched everyone he met.
Under his tenure as President, from 1969-1976, of the Mangal Singh Ratan Singh Deo-Ki-Pedhi,that manages the historical 2500-year-old Jain shrine in Osian (Rajasthan), a major renovation work was commissioned under his personal supervision. He was also the Chairman of the Sri Vardhman Jain Sikshan Sangh, Osian (Rajasthan). From 1974 until his death he was also actively involved in the construction of a mammoth Community Hall in Aynavaram, Chennai, which was subsequently named after him.
To commemorate & perpetuate Lalchand Dadha & his son Milapchand Dadha's legacy, the LMD Senior Secondary School is set up in Madras.
The business was now becoming global with bulk drugs being exported across all continents
A formal export division of TDPL by the name of Globus is setup
The family decides to merge the flagship company TDPL with Baroda based Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd - making the combined entity the 15th largest pharma company in the country. S. Lalchand Dadha's younger son Mohanchand Dadha continues to be on the board of Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
- Maher Dadha: Born in 1954, Maher is the youngest son of Milapchand Dadha. Following their father's death, it was but natural for the sons to take forward the legacyof their beloved father, although for Maher, over a course of time whilst getting accustomed to dealing with the twists and turns of business life, it turned out (and continues) to be in a field far removed from pharmaceuticals & industries.
Maher started off his career by setting up Dadha Gems Corporation. He travelled extensively and visited major royal houses to source gems and jewellery, in the process developing, what was to become a great passion later, an interest in collecting works of art.
Is instrumental in acquiring Alle Chemicals for the manufacture of Hecogenin, the basic raw material for steroids. Along with the acquisition of the factory land came more than 1000 acres of wild Sisal plantation and as a down-stream project a Sisal & Manila Fibre Rope unit was also set-up.
He becomes a Director on the board of the flagship company 'Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals Ltd.'
The brainchild of Maher, a Safe Deposit Lockers business by the name of Dadha Securilockers (P) Limited is started with the objective of providing the much needed ‘secured and reputed’ vaults in the old commercial district of Madras and to this day the firm’s vaults are much sought after.
Through a public issue, a Greenfield Reclaim Rubber unit is started in Dadha Hills, Penukonda – Andhra Pradesh, by the name of Dadha Brothers Ltd. Maher is the unit’s Managing Director.
1992: Dukan - Fine Art & Antiques
After the Group decided to exit the reclaim rubber business, Maher, proudly aware of his family’s distinguished background yet certain that he wanted to experience a life beyond running industries, decided to nurture his long-standing fascination for arts and antiques.
After 20 years of collecting through antique road-shows, auctions, dealers and flea markets from across India & England, Maher had accumulated an impressive and expansive collection comprising engravings and lithographs by well known ‘company school’ artists like Thomas Daniel (1749-1840 AD), William Daniel (1769-1837 AD), Robert Grindlay (1786-1877 AD) and Emily Eden (1797-1869 AD) besides paintings by Indian masters such as Raja Ravi Varma, K.C.S Panicker and Jamini Roy amongst others.
Thus, the desire to share the knowledge with admirers, collectors and connoisseurs took precedence above all else while at the same time presenting a unique business opportunity. Hence, along with the support of his wife Madhu, a law graduate, he started giving shape to an establishment that would patronize old paintings, prints, porcelain, silver & jewellery, artefacts etc. Subsequently, in 1992, ‘Dukan – Fine Art & Antiques’ came into existence.
This new initiative, though a rather small and offbeat venture for an industrialist, became an overwhelming success, giving Maher and Madhu the confidence to start focusing on the arts without any inhibitions, including opening an outlet of Dukan in the hills of Ooty (during the summer months) and also at Puttaparthi.
Dukan publishes a book titled ‘Views of India – Connoisseurs Compendium’ by Maher Dadha. The book is a guide to collecting antiquarian prints, maps and books, specifically covering the work of British artists in India.
Dukan publishes a limited edition folio Six Views of Bangalore – 1791 A.D. by James Hunter.
His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur releases ‘Illustrated Imperial Impression’, a newsletter published by Dukan to create an interest amongst the general public in understanding, appreciating and preserving ancient monuments and works of art. Her Excellency Rama Devi, Governor of Karnataka, lauds Dukan’s efforts in this direction.
Dukan publishes a limited edition folio of Six Views of India – 1780 A.D. by William Hodges for distribution by Prakrit Art Gallery, Chennai.
Dukan’s success in preserving, displaying and selectively publishing (hitherto unpublished) & promoting limited edition works of exceptional artistic importance, besides consigning to various international auctions, forms the basis and the precursor of Maher’s eventual vision of starting an auction house in India at an opportune time.
At a time when the burgeoning Indian auction market was synonymous with Indian paintings, Maher embarks on executing his long-standing vision of setting upa full-fledged Indian auction house that offers all categories of genuine fine and decorative art, antiques and collectibles.
Consequently, with his knowledge and much sought after specialist skills coupled with his immense business experience and contacts in the art world, Bid & Hammer is established with the able support of his sons Ankush Dadha & Apoorva Dadha, along with Charu Sharma (auctioneer &cricket commentator), HH Gaj Singh II (Maharaja of Jodhpur and convener of Marwar Chapter of INTACH), Rukmini Varma (artist and grand-niece of Indian master artist Raja Ravi Varma), Savita Apte (world reknown Modern & Contemporary Indian Art specialist) and Bob Hayton (decorative arts specialist & international auctioneer)amongst others.
The brainchild of Apoorva Dadha, Dadha Bio-Fuels is established. The concept drew inspiration from eco-friendly notions & technologies, consequentially encompassing a diverse spectrum of ground-breaking green tech innovations, thus helping reduce C02 emissions to make the environment safer.
With a team of directors, advisors & specialists that have a wealth of international experience allied to a deep understanding of the complex dynamics of the Indian market, Bid & Hammer continues to emerge as India's Foremost Multi-Category Auction House striving to service every type of collector and conducts an exclusive auction at the historic Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur that is attended by major collectors from across the globe and also features a private performance by international rock star Sting.
2014: 100 Years of Enterprise
Completion of 100 Enterprising Years of the Dadha Family. As part of the Centenary Year celebrations a major auction is held in Delhi on 27th June 2014 comprising works from prominent private collections including that from the estate of Maharaja of Burdwan, Hemendranath Mazumder, Nandalal Bose, freedom fighter Radha Devi Goenka and actress Namrata Shirodkar amongst others.
The family also announces that 'Dadha & Co Golden Jubilee (1964) Trust'on the occasion of 'Dadha & Co Titanium Jubilee (2014)' would construct a College at Osian, Rajasthan under the auspices of the Shri Vardhaman Jain Shikshan Sangh. The institution will be named 'Shri Lalchand Milapchand Dadha Jain College' and will be co–educational and the medium of instruction will be Hindi and English and will have Arts, Commerce, Science and Computer Science streams. It is expected to be functional from the academic year 2015-2016. http://www.jaincollegeosian.in
''I think successfully adapting and sustaining in rapidly changing business environments without compromising on our core values and integrity for 100 years is indeed a very proud feeling and I wish to continue building Bid & Hammer and also Dadha Bio-Fuels based on fair play and ethics whilst also endeavouring to be as culturally and socially munificent as possible, thus ensuring that the contribution of my family in these fields is also carried out for the next 100 years and more"
- M. Maher Dadha