Kitchen king ho ya garam masala Asli masala sach sach! MDH MDH... Every 90's kids have grown up watching to MDH ads and clearly remembers, the face of Dharampal Gulati, the man behind the famous masalas.
The world woke up to the sad news of MDH masala king Mahashay Dharampal Gulati passing away, and his demise feels like it's the end of an era. The 98 years old entrepreneur Dharampal Gulati was lovingly called 'Dadaji'. The image of the ever-smiling 'Dadaji' in his iconic red turban and a sherwani will never fade away.
Let's reminisce Dharampal Gulati aka MDH uncle's rags to riches journey.
Born in 1923 in Sialkot (Pakistan) to Mahashay Chunnilal and Mata Chanan Devi, Gulati had a simple childhood. Spending time with buffaloes near riverbanks, playing kushti in akharas, helping his father sell milk products and going to school occupied his early days.
Disinterested in studies from the very beginning, Gulati dropped out of school in class five and joined his father in their small business of selling mirrors, followed by soaps. He also branched out to other products like hardware, cloth, and rice trading.
This was when Dharampal left his brother-in-law to Delhi, and that's where he bought a horse-drawn carriage (Tanga) with the money his father gave him. He invested Rs 650 out of Rs 1500 given to him.
The business was not doing so great, and hence he decided to open a small shop and restarted his own family business of selling spices in Karol Bagh. In 1953, Gulati rented another shop in Chandni Chowk.
Post this phase, Dharampal noticed the pace at which the spices were selling was helping him gain success as this was untouched niche during that time. Later on, he rented one more shop in Chandni Chowk, with a plot in 1959 in Kirti Nagar to begin his factory. This was the starting of Mashian Di Hatti (MDH), his father's legacy.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal Gulati had said:
On Sept 7, 1947, I reached a refugee camp in Amritsar with my family. I was 23-years-old at the time. I left Amritsar with my brother-in-law and came to Delhi to look for work. We felt Amritsar was too close to the border and the riot zone. Having travelled to Delhi several times before, I also knew that it was cheaper than Punjab.
MDH, short for 'Mahashian Di Hatti.'
MDH was founded a century ago in 1919 by Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati in undivided India's Sialkot region. Over the years, Gulati tirelessly worked to build his small family business into a multi-crore company that promises just one thing — a perfect blend of fragrant Indian spices in a powdered form.
Dedicated to work
Gulati was a dedicated entrepreneur who did not take off even on Sundays. He would make daily rounds of factories, markets and meet dealers to supervise and make sure everything was running smoothly. He soon took our Indian spices to an international level by exporting to various parts of the world, including the UK, Europe, UAE, Canda, etc. Today, MDH Masala exports its products to more than 100 countries. Gulati's son manages the overall operations now, and his six daughters handle distribution region wise.
His salary was higher than Adi Godrej and Vivek Gambhir of Godrej Consumer, Sanjiv Mehta of Hindustan UnileverBSE 1.63 % and ITC's YC Deveshwar.
According to The Economic Times, in 2017, Gulati was the highest-paid entrepreneur at the age of 94 and took home more Rs 21 crore as salary.
It is said that it was his motivation to work and quality of products offered at an affordable price that made him the king of spices. He was also a king of hearts as 90% of his salary went to charity.
Awards and rewards
In 2019, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the country, in 2019.
Cause of death:
Dharampal Gulati, the owner of MDH Masala, passed away on Thursday morning. He was 98. According to initial reports, Gulati was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Delhi for the last three weeks. He suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday morning. The nonagenarian breathed list last at 5:30 AM.
As Mahashay Dharampal Gulati passes away: Condolences pour in.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia were among the first to condole the death of the MDH owner.
भारत के प्रतिष्ठित कारोबारियों में से एक महाशय धर्मपालजी के निधन से मुझे दुःख की अनुभूति हुई है।छोटे व्यवसाय से शुरू करने बावजूद उन्होंने अपनी एक पहचान बनाई। वे सामाजिक कार्यों में काफ़ी सक्रिय थे और अंतिम समय तक सक्रिय रहे। मैं उनके परिवार के प्रति अपनी संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूँ।— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 3, 2020
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati ji was an iconic entrepreneur and an inspiration to many.— Dalvir Singh (Goldy) (@GoldyDS_Dhuri) December 3, 2020
Lost everything to partition, came to India with almost nothing and then with hard work and dedication he established one of the most iconic brands of spices. #MDH
Waheguru ? pic.twitter.com/Z7psUWQ9ly
Deeply saddened to know the passing away of Padma Shri #DharampalGulati ji, popularly known as #MDHDadaji. He was a shining beacon of India’s entrepreneurial journey who turned #MDHSpices into an iconic brand. He will always be remembered for his philanthropic work. Om Shanti pic.twitter.com/PGq8FhyN7o— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) December 3, 2020
May his soul rest in peace!