Origins of Dukan

The Origins of ‘DUKAN’

Throw a lucky man into the sea, goes an Arab proverb and he will come up with a fish in his hand. When dame luck decides to smile on someone nothing can stop her. In 1912 undeterred by his father’s misfortune in some business ventures and having no money and little education, a very young Lalchand Dadha migrated to Madras from the small town of Phalodi, Rajasthan. He was a dynamic man who, by dint of hard work built up a business enterprise imbibing fair play and ethics. Over a period of time ‘Dadha & Co.’became a household name in drugs and pharmacy products, receiving patronage from several princely states, presidencies and government agencies in Southern and Western India.
In spite of the growing business and the pressures that came along with it, he never lost sight of bringing succour to the needy. His contributions to various educational, medical 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 Nehru amongst a host of others.

In 1934 Milapchand joined the family business under the shadow of the towering personality of his now famous father. He preferred to stay away from public gaze, only to concentrate and expand – distribution in the rest of Eastern India and setting up a bulk drugs manufacturing facility at ‘Dadha Nagar’, Madras. A great visionary, it was he who acquired various British Pharmaceutical companies thus introducing them to the Indian markets. 

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. Unfortunately, his personal goals, business ambitions and desire to do more for the community were cut short when he was snatched away in a tragic plane crash on 12th October 1976 in Bombay, aged 53. 

It was but natural for Milapchand’s sons to take forward the legacy of their beloved father. Following their father’s unexpected death, Maher, the youngest son, was entrusted with the early responsibility of managing the group’s foray in the new-era businesses ranging from a Gems & Jewellery Trading Corporation to a Safe Deposit Lockers facility and a Sisal Fibre & Manila Ropes plant to a Greenfield Reclaim Rubber unit, besides serving on the board of the flagship company ‘Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals Ltd.’ 

After the group decided to exit the reclaim rubber business due to various reasons, 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. 

Thus, the desire to share the same 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, lithographs, antiquarian books, artefact etc. Thus, in 1992, ‘Dukan’ came into existence – the name when translated in English literally means ‘a shop’.