Dhudial was a sleepy little village about twelve miles north east of Chakwal, the tehsil town in district Jhelum in 1883. In Dhudhial at that time most of the non-Muslim residents were of Khukhrain caste, only one Arora caste family and two Pandit families. While in Mughal times, Dhudial was a bigger town than Chakwal, having bigger markets, later during British occupation, sitting of session judge was ordered in Chakwal, after which Chakwal began to flourish and now was the largest market of the district. This place was also famous for ‘Dhanni’ breed of horses which were quite famous since ancient times. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was very fond of them and had a large pool of over 400 such horses. Sometime towards the end of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign, one of his risaldars, a khatri sikh called Gurdit Singh decided to settle down in Dhudial probably due to the presence of his beloved ‘Dhanni’ horses. He was a risaldar (roughly equivalent to Cavalry Major) and saw action in Bannu and Jamrud, probably under Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, the famous general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was respected by his peers and was given a medal of honour by Maharaja Ranjit Singh for his exploits on the battlefield. Due to the decline of the Sikh empire in late 1840s, family fortunes plummeted as Gurdit Singh did not choose to serve under English army and gave up arms, as did thousands of others in similar predicament. Over time, he had two sons the elder one called Hari Singh and the younger one Sant Singh. Hari Singh grew up to become a simple trader in a middle class family leading a comfortable life. On attaining marriageable age he was married to Bhag Sudhi and went on to have three children, a girl (eldest), a boy named Mathra Singh (born on 16 March 1883) and his younger brother Labh Singh (born on 1 March 1898). Mathra singh attended the village primary school in Dhudial till class five and then was enrolled at Khalsa High School, Chakwal for senior classes.
However Hari Singh died early, in 1899, when Mathra Singh was studying in 8th standard and Labh Singh was only one year old. This cruel hand of fate was borne with fortitude and courage by his widow Bhag Sudhi who worked tirelessly to make ends meet somehow and provide for the vital education to her children. At this point Mathra Singh showed his mettle early and rose to the occasion by supplementing his mother’s income by taking tuitions of his fellow students since he was highly intelligent and gifted in this respect. With his earnings the financial strain of the family was reduced. Life went on in such way for the next couple of years when he successfully completed matriculation in 1901. Immediately thereafter, he decided to pursue pharmacy education and therefore went to work in Rawalpindi for a famous pharmaceutical firm by the name of Jagat Singh and Brothers, who also had another premises at Muree. Here he immersed himself in learning the trade and after five years acquired excellent knowledge of pharmacy and chemistry and also qualified as a registered medical practitioner, (henceforth, he came to be known as Dr. Mathra Singh). Showing his exceptional entrepreneurship at such a young age, he went into a partnership in 1906 with another such brilliant young man called Dr Thakur Das. After arranging loans from the bank they each invested about Rs. 3,000 in the business and the establishment was set up at 19, Station Road, Cantonment, Nowshera and named as Harnam Das Thakur Das and Sons in honour of Harnam Das, who was the Mama of Dr. Thakur Das, his mother’s brother, who had brought him up from a very young age after his parents had passed away. Read more in the book.