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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Spice King Of India, Dharampal Gulati, Dies At 98

Fondly known as "Mahashayji," he was the owner of the famous ‘Mahashian Di Hatti’ (MDH) brand of spices

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Niloy Chattaraj
Niloy Chattaraj
COO of Transcontinental Times, A double gold medalist engineer who covers social issues, science, and Indian history.

INDIA. New Delhi: Dharampal Gulati, known as the ‘Spice King Of India’, has died due to cardiac arrest. Gulati was 98 years old at the time of his death. Fondly known as “Mahashayji,” he was the owner of the famous ‘Mahashian Di Hatti’ (MDH) brand of spices. He was a famous name in the advertisement world for his appearance. In most of his advertisements, he was seen wearing a red turban and white clothes with an arrow mustache. His story of rag to riches is an inspiring tale of how pure hard work, determination, and honesty can help a person to achieve their dreams.

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Early life struggles

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Mahashay Dharampal was born on March 27, 1923, in Sialkot (now in Pakistan). His parents were philanthropists, religious, and avid followers of the Arya Samaj. He dropped out of school even before completing his fifth-grade studies. At the age of 15, he set up a business selling mirrors. He soon tried his hands at different petty businesses like soaps, carpentry jobs, a cloth merchant. But these businesses could not fruit the desired results. So, he turned back to his parental business of spices. This business was under the name of MDH and they are popularly known as the ‘Deggi Mirch Wale’ people.

After partition, he came to India and reached Delhi on September 27, 1947. With only Rs. 1500($20) in his pocket, he bought a Tonga for Rs.650($8). He used to daily drive his Tonga from New Delhi Railway Station to Qutub Road to earn some money for himself.

Gulati in Tonga. / Photo Credit: mdhspices.com

The success of MDH company

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After doing many odd jobs, Gulati thought of doing a permanent job. For this, he bought one small wooden Khokha (shop/Hatti) at Ajmal Khan Road, New Delhi. In this small cabin, he started his family business of ground spices with the name of MDH. With his sheer perseverance, honesty, and true vision, Mahashayji led his enterprise to new heights. He developed a variety of spices in more than sixty flavors.

From a small wooden cabin to the manufacturing unit of MDH in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi, his efforts and zeal speak volumes for this man. Presently, the operating income of MDH spices is Rs. 2000 crores (approx $270,597,200). In 2017, He was the highest-paid Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) CEO in India. Gulati took Rs. 21 crores ($28,41,270) as salary in the 2017 fiscal year. In 2019, the Indian government honored him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award.

Gulati receiving Padma Bhushan Award from The President of India. / Photo Credit: Twitter

His philanthropic works

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Gulati was well-known for his philanthropic works. In 2018, he donated nearly 90% of his salary to charity under the banner of Mahashay Chunni Lal Charitable Trust. This trust is now operating a 250-beds hospital in Delhi along with a mobile hospital for slum dwellers. He alone has established more than 20 schools.

The philosophy of Mahashay Dharampal was simple, “Give to the world the best you can, and the best will come back to you automatically.”


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