Left Menu
Development News Edition

'MDH Dadaji' Gulati, who drove tonga for livelihood before embarking on Rs 1,500-cr empire journey

School-dropout Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, famously known as 'MDH Dadaji' for repeated appearance in his spice brand's television ads, started his spices business journey as a nondescript shack in Delhi's Karol Bagh after selling his tonga, and went on, at the age of 94, to becoming the highest-paid CEO in the country's FMCG sector.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 03-12-2020 16:45 IST | Created: 03-12-2020 16:45 IST
'MDH Dadaji' Gulati, who drove tonga for livelihood before embarking on Rs 1,500-cr empire journey

School-dropout Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, famously known as 'MDH Dadaji' for repeated appearance in his spice brand's television ads, started his spices business journey as a nondescript shack in Delhi's Karol Bagh after selling his tonga, and went on, at the age of 94, to becoming the highest-paid CEO in the country's FMCG sector. Gulati, also known as the Spice King, was born in Sialkot (now in Pakistan) on March 27, 1923, and moved to India after Partition and set up his business in Delhi.

His father had a spice shop in Sialkot, called 'Mahashian Di Hatti' (MDH), but the outlet was popularly known as 'Deggi Mirch Wale'. His family left behind everything during Partition to come and settle in Delhi.

Gulati, who dropped out of school in 1933 after class 5, dabbled in many odd jobs including learning woodwork, working in a soap factor, fabric factor and a rice factory. After Partition, he arrived in Delhi in September 1947 with Rs 1,500, mentions a bio-sketch of him on MDH's portal.

He used the money to buy a tonga (horse cart) for Rs 650 and drove it from New Delhi Railway Station to Qutab Road and Karol Bagh to Bara Hindu Rao for few days. He sold his carriage in October 1948 to restart his ancestral business by opening a small shop at Ajmal Khan Road, Karol Bagh.

He never looked back. As the business grew, he himself appeared on television commercials endorsing Deggi Mirch, Chat Masala, and Chana Masala, among the most famous products from the MDH stable, which has over 50 products.

Over the years, the MDH Dadaji, or Mahashay as he was popularly known, became a household name. The King of Spices is now no more -- he passed away in Delhi on December 3, aged 97.

His father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati founded MDH Spices in 1919, and Dharampal would later turn it into a Rs 1,500-crore empire. The company was officially established in 1959 when Gulati bought land in Kirti Nagar and set up a manufacturing unit. Starting with manually ground spices, MDH soon switched over to automatic machines to meet the fast-growing demand for spices. Today, spices worth crores of rupees are manufactured and packed by modern machines and sold throughout India and abroad by the company through a network of over 1,000 stockists and over 4 lakh retail dealers.

These machines have the capacity to produce 30 tonnes of spices in powders packed in different sizes (10g to 500g) in a day. Today, MDH spices are exported to various parts of the world, including the UK, Europe, UAE and Canada.

Gulati, who took home Rs 21 crore salary in 2017, was said to donate nearly 90 per cent of it to charity through his Mahashay Chunni Lal Charitable Trust. The Trust operates a 250-bed hospital in Delhi, along with a mobile hospital for slum-dwellers as well as four schools. Gulati established more than 20 schools.

He was associated with several educational institutions including MDH International School, Mahashay Chunnilal Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Mata Leela Wati Kanya Vidhayala, and Mahashay Dharmpal Vidhya Mandir, according to his bio-sketch. For his contributions, Gulati was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian award, in 2019.

Tributes for the entrepreneur, whose face became synonymous with his brand, has poured in on social media platforms. President Ram Nath Kovind and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid their tributes to the popular personality on Twitter.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

China: A savior for emerging markets or a poison pill?

... ...

Future of Urban Planning: Artificial Intelligence guiding the way

Advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help us understand our cities better and derive useful insights from real-time data collected through automated models....

Videos

Latest News

Trump trial pending, McConnell calls it 'vote of conscience'

President Donald Trumps impeachment trial is likely to start after Joe Bidens inauguration, and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is telling senators their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president over the Capitol riot wi...

Adar Poonawalla takes Covishield jab, wishes success on launch of COVID-19 vaccine drive

Adar Poonawalla, whose Serum Institute of India SII manufactured the first lot of COVID-19 vaccines, was among those who got vaccinated on Saturday, as India kicked off worlds largest immunisation campaign to bring the pandemic under contro...

Argentina tour will be a good indicator of where we stand: women's hockey skipper Rani

The Indian womens hockey team skipper Rani feels the tour of Argentina will help her side understand where they stand, nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted all competitions around the world.The womens side will become t...

Need to support economic revival, financial stability: RBI Guv

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Saturday said the financial stability is a public good, and its resilience and robustness need to be preserved and nurtured by all stakeholders.Delivering the 39th Nani Palkhivala memorial lecture through a v...

Give Feedback