Just when you thought the year couldn’t get any worse, we’re hit with more devastating news — the beloved MDH waale Dadaji, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, has passed away. For those of us who grew up watching the good old TV, it was the MDH ads that felt closest to home. I, for one, do not remember ever watching the brand’s advertisement without Dharampal Gulati in it. His death truly marks the end of an era, and this feels like the right time to revisit the brand’s inspirational journey. Here’s the story of MDH and Mahashay Dharampal Gulati.
Humble beginnings in Sialkot
Dharampal Gulati was born on March 27, 1923, in Sialkot (now in Pakistan). His father, Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati owned a small spice shop by the name of Mahashian Di Hatti which was set up in 1919. In 1933, Dharampal quit school before he could even complete Class 5. After trying his hand at setting up several businesses, he finally decided to join his father’s spice business.
Following the partition in 1947, the family moved to India and stayed at a refugee camp in Amritsar from where Dharampal later travelled to Delhi. After moving to Delhi, Dharampal first tried his hand at a horse-drawn carriage business.
However, its slow pace made him sell the carriage and buy a shop in Karol Bagh to restart the family business, Mahashian Di Hatti. As the business took off, Dharampal rented another shop in Chandni Chowk in 1953 and set up his own factory in 1959 in Karol Bagh. That was the beginning of the iconic brand that we now know as MDH!
A philanthropist at heart
A known philanthropist, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati continued to commit to humanity and society throughout his life. He set up a charitable trust in his father’s memory that supports a 300-bed facility to treat the needy for free. Additionally, he set up 20 schools to support children from lesser privileged backgrounds. His most recent contribution was a donation of 7,500 PPE kits for healthcare workers in Delhi fighting the ongoing pandemic.
In 2019, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati was awarded the Padma Bhushan by President Ramnath Kovind. With his grit and determination, Dharampal Gulati made MDH a household name in India. Most of us today purchase our spices with our faith in him and his face on the packaging. Dharampal Gulati will always remain the inspiration we all need whenever we think of giving up on our dreams.