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MDH owner Dharampal Gulati dies at 97

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Padma Bhushan awardee and owner of MDH spices Dharampal Gulati died due to a cardiac arrest on Thursday. He was 97.

The grand old man of spices, as he is often called, was availing treatment at a Delhi hospital where he was admitted for weeks. He was awarded India’s third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2019.

Life at a glance

Dharampal Gulati was born in Pakistan’s Sialkot in 1923. A fifth-grade dropout, he joined his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati’s spice business early.

He set up his own business in 1937 with help from his father and started selling mirrors, soap, hardware and rice. When it failed to take off, he returned to work with his father for the company Mahashian Di Hatti. At the time, they were the “Deggi Mirch Wale” to their customers.

He moved to India after the Partition of 1947 and arrived in Delhi with Rs 1,500 in his pocket.

He opened his first store in Karol Bagh in Delhi and expanded his business from there. MDH, the company he re-established in 1959, today sells 62 products available in over 150 different packages. His spices sell worldwide.

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Gulati, at 94 in 2017, became the highest-paid CEO in India. He was also known to be a philanthropist and built several hospitals and schools. The nicknames that millions gave him over the years range from “Dadaji” to “Chacha” to “MDH uncle”. He featured in all MDH ads.

Condolences pour in

As soon as the news of Gulati’s death spread, condolences started pouring in. President Ram Nath Kovind, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia were among the hundreds of people who paid their tribute to the philanthropist.

The President tweeted: “Saddened by the demise of ”Mahashiyan Di Hatti” (MDH) President Shri Dharampal Gulati ji, who was honoured with Padma Bhushan. He was a well-known personality of the Indian industry. His social service activities are also commendable. My condolences to his family and fans.”

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Dharam Pal ji was a very inspiring personality. He dedicated his life for society. God bless his soul.”

“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,” Manish Sisodia tweeted.

 

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