H. K. Dharmadasa
Mr Dharmadasa didn’t have any formal education, any professional qualifications and neither did he master the English Language. But that hasn’t stopped him from reaching the top and has the competence of an accountant, engineer and administrator - all rolled into one.
At a press briefing this week at the Nawaloka office in Peliyagoda to announce the programme for Nawaloka Mudalali’s 90th birthday celebrations, Mr Dharmadasa said, "My best achievement in my life is the venture I began 25 years ago to save lives, establishing the fully-fledged 'Nawaloka Hospital' the first private hospital of that magnitude in Sri Lanka". He said that he is elated to note that out of 100 patients admitted, 99 or the entire 100 go back home with better health.
H.K Dharmadasa on his wedding day
Born and bred in Sulthanagoda, Matara, Mr Dharmadasa's family consisted of mother and father, him and his sister. At the age of 13 years, when his father died, he decided to leave home to the metropolis and when he reached Colombo he was left with only 75 cents. Luckily he knew some businessmen in Colombo who came from Matara.
Working for one of them, he sold groceries for two years and then went to Sandalankawa to join Manamperi Mudalali. Two years later he came back to Colombo to work for Piyadasa Mudalali – all the time working hard before deciding to set up on his own.
Mr Dharmadasa began transporting goods that were brought to Colombo to various companies in bullock-carts. All this time he stayed at Peliyagoda and then married Milinnona with the couple being blessed with six children - Malani, Rukmani, Pushpa, Priyani, Jayantha and Upali.
Dharmadasa’s home where he was born
The Nawaloka conglomerate has 16 companies with businesses in hotels, timber trade, construction, industries, piling, polythene manufacturing, housing and hospitals. The newest venture in the Nawaloka Group is aviation.
The Nawaloka hospital also celebrates its silver jubilee. It was started with 100 rooms and now has 400 rooms and is serviced by the best-known specialists in the country. To coincide with Nawaloka Mudalali's 90th birthday, Nawaloka hospital would be further modernized with 14 operation theatres and ultramodern medical equipment of which some of them would not be available elsewhere in Sri Lanka, at a cost of around Rs 2 billion.
With the family
His hard work and achievements have been recorded in a book titled 'Son of the Soil' which would also be released at the birthday celebrations.