New Delhi:19/7/20: It doesn’t matter from which generation you belong to because the one thing that is synonymous with all of us is watching ‘Asli Masaale Sach Sach‘ ads featuring ‘MDH uncle.’ Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, famously known as the ‘MDH uncle’, ‘Dadaji’, ‘Masala King’, or ‘King of Spices’ is the owner and CEO of MDH (Mahshian Di Hatti).
Most fondly known as ‘Mahashay’, Gulati was born in 1919 in Pakistan’s Sialkot, where his father had set up a small shop. However, after partition in 1947, the family moved to Delhi in India. In 1953, Gulati rented a shop in Chandni Chowk, named it Mahashiyan Di Hatti (MDH), and started selling spices.
The company was officially established in 1959 when Gulati bought land in Kirti Nagar and set up a manufacturing unit. Currently, MDH Spices, which reportedly manufactures nearly 50 different varieties of spices, has 15 factories across the country and sells its products across the globe, as per reports. Gulati became highest-paid FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) CEO in India in 2017.
Dharampal Gulati was born and raised in Pakistan. His father Chuni Lal sold spices at a shop called Mahasian Di Hatti that opened back in 1919. The family migrated to India and they stayed as a refugee in Amritsar.
When Gulati left with his brother-in-law to Delhi, that is when he bought a horse-drawn carriage (Tanga) with the money his father gave him. Back then, when he realised that the business wasn’t doing well, he decided to open a small shop and restarted his own family business of selling spices in Karol Bagh (A popular market located in Central Delhi). Slowly, he noticed that the pace at which the spices were selling was helping him gain success as this was an untouched niche during that time.
Later, Gulati rented one more shop in Chandni Chowk to begin his factory. This was the starting of Mashian Di Hatti (MDH), his father’s legacy.
The business did not just flourish in India but he became a distributor and exporter as well. As of this day, the spices are exported in various parts of the world, that includes the UK, Europe, UAE, Canda, etc. amongst others.
‘Mahashay’ the philanthropist
Another intriguing fact about Gulati is that about 90 per cent of his salary goes to charity, “My motivation to work is being sincere in product quality sold at affordable prices. And nearly 90% of my salary goes to a charity in my personal capacity,” said Gulati. He also has a charitable trust named after his father, which runs a 250-bed hospital for slum dwellers and runs four other schools for the less privileged.
Most recently as a contribution to support the fight against the novel coronavirus, Gulati donated PPE kits and an undisclosed amount to the Delhi CM relief fund. On 28 April, Manish Sisodia took to Twitter to share the news that Dharmpal had donated 7,500 PPE kits for healthcare workers in Delhi. Additionally, he also contributed to the CM Relief Fund.
The tweet read, “Each opportunity to meet @MahashyDharmpalji is a blessing. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude by Mahashay ji’s gesture to donate 7500 #ppekits in addition to his generous contribution to the #CMReliefFund. Sir, your kindness gives #Delhi hope & strength in these difficult times”
Despite his age, Gulati takes all major business decisions. Three aspects that he believes to be extremely important for his company and product are – sincere work, quality products, and affordable prices. The owner of around 80 percent stake in the company, he routinely visits his factory and the market to ensure things are running smoothly.
In 2019, among the 112 distinguished people who were conferred with Padma awards, was Gulati, who received the Padma Bhushan award from President Ram Nath Kovind for his work.