‘Mahashay’ Dharampal Gulati, the popular face of spices brand MDH, died on Thursday morning. Aged 98, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati had been hospitalised for the past few weeks in Delhi. With his condition deteriorating, the man who was often called the ‘King of Spices’ breathed his last on Thursday morning. Owner of the MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti) spices brand, Dharampal Gulati was a popular figure known for his appearance in various TV advertisements of the brand.
Born in 1923 in Sialkot – now in Pakistan – Dharampal Gulati had an eventful life, which is the success story from the times of partition. Having left school before even completing the 5th standard, Dharampal Gulati tried his hands at many businesses before joining his ancestral business of spices under the brand name Mahashian Di Hatti — popularly known as ‘Deggi Mirch Wale’ at the time.
2 annas for tonga ride
Struck by the horrors of partition, Dharampal Gulati and his family reached Delhi in September of 1947. In an effort to earn a living in post partition India, he bought a ‘tonga’ for Rs 650 in Delhi and drove it between New Delhi Railway Station, Qutab Road, Karol Bagh and Bara Hindu Rao at two Annas sawari for a few days. However, his true calling continued to be the spices business. Treading towards that, Dharampal Gulati, after his initial days in Delhi, bought a small shop in Karol Bagh and once again set up his family business of ground spices under the banner of Mahashian Di Hatti of Sialkot ‘Deggi Mirch Wale’.
MDH empire takes shape
The company was officially established in 1959 when Dharampal Gulati set up a manufacturing unit in New Delhi’s Kirti Nagar. MDH is now a brand known across the globe with 62 different products. Even at such an old age, the ‘MDH Uncle’ was known to be at the helm of business affairs of his company, and in 2017 was among the highest paid FMCG firm CEOs in India.
‘Mahashay’ Dharampal Gulati was not only known for his spices business but was also a well known philanthropist. He started a small 10-bed eye hospital in Subhash Nagar, New Delhi in 1975 and then set up a 20-bed hospital in Janakpuri in 1984 in the memory of his mother Chanan Devi. These facilities have continued to expand with the growing MDH empire. Apart from this, Dharampal Gulati opened more than a dozen schools across the country. Recognising his work in various fields, in 2019, the Government of India had conferred Dharampal Gulati with the Padma Bhushan award, the third highest civilian award in India.
His desire to help the society did not rest even at this age and was not deterred by a pandemic either. Earlier in April this year, the man who was fondly called ‘Dadaji’ donated 7500 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to the Delhi CM Relief Fund.