It is with great pleasure we write the history of our establishment after 35 year of its existence. The memory goes beyond 1978 when the writer returned to the motherland after successfully completing the Post Graduate degree from the University of Trondheim, Norway. When returned to take up my duties at the Embilipitiya Paper mill of the National Paper Corporation, Sri Lanka there was a change in the management due to the change of government of the Country. Though, I gathered a valuable knowledge in pulp & paper field, I was not given the opportunity to work or implement my knowledge sincerely for the upliftment of the Industry Instead I Was politically harassed and had to face many problems which ended up to leave the position of Chief Chemist, a senior executive managerial post.
This made me to find a solution for my living and had to wait for months with great difficulties and frustration. At that time my father-in-law, late Mr. Alhaj M.A Fatha proposed me to enter the gem & Jewellery trade in tourism. A small building by the side and Galle road was found by him at Moragalla, Aluthgama, through one of his friends late Mr. Robet S. De Silva of Kaluwamodera.
As I was a chemistry special B.Sc graduate, the gem and Jewellery field was not new to me as all the minerals of gems are of chemical in nature but….. I was extremely new to the of gem valuation and to the business field. My father in-law took tremendous effort to train me and incline me to the business field by giving proper advice and instructions.
Then we were in need of a proper name for the business. There were so many suggestions and finally my sister’s husband my brother in- law Late Mr. Alhaj M.M.A Wadood who was a scholar in English & Arabic language proposed the most suitable name “DARA”.
It is an Arabic name and has the meaning of the beam of light around the shining moon and it has another meaning as ‘Tourist’. We were much pleased with the name and the shop was registered in 1981, as the dealers in Gem & Jewellery, Handicrafts, Textiles and Tea etc. Goods were purchased , displayed and the business outlet was opened on the 08th January 1981. The first transaction was by late Alhaj Mr. J.M.M. Raji who was a well reputed gem merchant locally, and internationally. He bought a gem mounted elephant worth of Rs. 35,000/- as an encouraging step to go ahead with the new business field. All our family members, including my brother late Mr. Alhaj A.S.M Siddhique and distinguished guests like Alhaj Mr. A.T.M. Furkhan pioneer of tourism in Moragalla, late Alhaj Mr. Mohamad Sabir Pasha one of the first Gem & Jewellery reputed businessman for tourists and many well wishers took part in the opening ceremony.
The business went on smoothly with so many teething problems and obstacles. We had to face miserable experience, threats, competition, thuggerism and many challenges.
Thank god the business survived day by day and we could recognize many good customers. We had regular customers like Rudolf Winziers & family, Stephan Kurspel, Heinz Damman of Germany, Mrs. Ave Mariya of Finland, Mr. Watson from Scotland were among many. During the existence of DARA the Business Suffered much in 1988/89 due to JVP insurrection, in 2004 from Tsunami, and also there were a number of burglary and thefts but our mission was clear and could not shake or damage our determination to go ahead with our services. We progressed well with the aim of genuine service and published the wording of our service as “your satisfaction is our pride”.
For 28 years our business stall and the premises was rented and the property belonged to the son of the owner, after his death. A few years later, the owner requested us to purchase the building and the premises. After the premises was bought, we started building a new two storied home for DARA. At its half way the communal and religious insurrection took place is June 2014 and our stall was broken, damaged and looted severely. We were helpless. The government did not provide any financial help or funds to rebuild the business but with our own effort, courage, determination the new building was completed within a few months. It was then opened for business. Now the business activities have improved and provides a good collection of gem and Jewellery. The Handicraft and other item will be displayed for business in due course.
The establishment is managed by my son Mr.M.F.M. Shazny as the Managing Director of the company. He is assisted by a team of young and well trained staff including a Manager, for the smooth running and to provide on excellent service to the customer. In addition to the recommended guests, the customers flow daily to our business outlet. Some customers reach us searching through the internet and allied modern technological ways and popular pages. All are welcome ! We are at your service!