Reading the autobiography of Gandhi I just wondered what happened to the company Dada Abdullah & Co, which hired Gandhi to go to South Africa. What is it now?

As given in the book Dada Abdullah & Co was a large company in South Africa when Gandhi went there in 1893. They even had their own steam ship in which Gandhi was even given free tickets in. So for such a large company what happened later like during the great depression (1930), during the world war (1945) and now?

Reference from "The Story of My Experiments With Truth"

  • 6
    You should provide a few references and explain the context.
    – Rajib
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 18:28
  • 1
    You should reference it a little better, give the whole title, possibly a link, some page numbers for a specific edition, etc.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:30
  • 2
    Did i do enough referencing? The links can be used to go to the respective references in the latest edit. Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


Like most early Indian trading firms operating in South Africa, Dada Abullah & Co. went into rapid decline after the turn of the century.[1] The firm's founder and principal partner, Abdullah Haji Adam Jhaveri (i.e. Dada Abdullah) did not have any sons to succeed him, while his sole daughter was married in India. Thus, upon his death in 1912, the firm appears to have been dissolved.[2] This obviously long predates both the Second World War and the Great Depression.

Abullah & Co was one of the biggest South African trading concerns during the 1890s. At one point the company operated 15 branches and imported from Germany, India, and England. However, there were tensions between Dada Abdullah and his cousin Tayob Haji Hkan Mahomed, who managed the company's Transvaal branches. In 1890, Tayob bought out the firm's Transvaal operations and incorporated them as Tayob Hajee Abdulla & Co., but then fell short on the payments. The ensuing legal dispute led to Mahatma Gandhi's employment by Dada Abdulla.

[1] Vahed, Goolam. "Passengers, Partnerships, and Promissory Notes: Gujarati Traders in Colonial Natal, 1870-1920." The International Journal of African Historical Studies (2005): 449-479.
[2] Padayachee, Vishnu, and Robert Morrell. "Indian Merchants and Dukawallahs in the Natal Economy, c. 1875–1914." Journal of Southern African Studies 17.1 (1991): 71-102.


Being junior partners in number of Pakistani and foreign monopolies, this provided the basis for Mahbubul Haq’s including the Dada’s among the 22 monopoly families in Pakistan while Kasim Dada today has only two companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange, his name does not appear in the 22 families or anywhere in the income tax or wealth tax directory, yet undoubtedly, he is the single biggest investor on Karachi Stock Exchange.

He was perhaps Pakistan’s first industrialist to own a private Cesena plan in the 1960’s in which he used to fly down to his cement factory in Hyderabad.

His ancestors had set up the well-known firm of Dada Abdullah and Company which sent M K Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, to South Africa, as their legal representative 1890.


Some of Dada Abdullahs nephews who were in the business remained in business in India and later in Pakistan in a new firm.

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