Dahya Punja, a Khoja Ismaili, emigrated to this region from Gujarat in the mid-1800 (exact date is unknown). He was between the ages of 9-12 years when his family told him to move to Dar es Salaam. He accidentally landed in Zanzibar where he spent most of his early life until he reached in his twenties, when he went back to British Indiato get married.
He and his bride came to Dar es Salaam where he bought a huge farm, much of what is now Upanga.
The family eventually lost the farm after successive deaths of young Jaffer Daya and lack of support from the community at large.This farm area was later made into an exclusive European residential area by the colonial authorities. see Dar es Salaam
Daya Punja was an avid reader with a large collection of books, mostly in Gujarati and on a broad range of subjects.
Upon his passing, his son Jaffer Daya bought the land and erected Dahya Punja Library in 1928 to honour his father and give back to the community.