By Devanshi Thakkar
‘Mahashay’ Dharampal Gulati, the owner of masala brand MDH passed away on December 3. He was 97 years old. Gulati was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Delhi for the last three weeks. He suffered cardiac arrest on Thursday morning of 26th November 2020. He breathed his last breath at 5:21 AM on 3rd December 2020.
The King of Spices was known for being the sprightly old man with a turban promoting masala brand MDH on television commercials and on every pack.
In 2019, Gulati was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. In a tweet, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “India’s most inspiring entrepreneur, MDH owner Dharm Pal Mahashay passed away this morning. I have never met such an inspiring and lively soul. May his soul rest in peace.”
Gulati was born Born on 27 March, 1923 in undivided India in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, into a middle-class Punjabi joint family where his father used to sell spices at a shop called ‘Mahashian Di Hatti’ (Deggi Mirch Wale) that he started in 1919. He was never interested in studies and left his schooling at the age of 10 (when he was in the 5th standard); Mahashayji was a school dropout. He joined his father’s spices business at a young age.
In 1954, he founded ‘Roopak Stores’ in Karol Bagh, India’s first modern spice store in Delhi during that era. However, he later handed over ‘Roopak Stores’ to his younger brother, Satpal Gulati. In 1959, he purchased a plot in Kirti Nagar to set up his own factory, where he founded ‘MDH spices’ empire or ‘Mahashian Di Hatti Limited,’ which means “the shop of a magnanimous man” in Punjabi.
Today MDH has emerged as one of the biggest brands in the category of spices in India, and even after crossing the age of 95, Dharampal Gulati himself endorses MDH products. He has a trust called ‘Mahashay Chuni Lal Charitable Trust’ that runs a hospital with 250 beds and another mobile hospital for slum dwellers. He also runs 20 schools, out of which, 4 are in Delhi. Need-based financial help is also available for social organizations from the trust.
In 2017, he was the highest paid CEO in the Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, with an annual salary of ₹21 crore.
He has released his autobiography where he has revealed the details from his early childhood to the secret behind his success.