Mahashay Dharampal Gulati was an Indian Businessman who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 97 on 3 December 2020. Spending his first 25 years of his life in Pakistan, he came to India during the partition and established his spice business. From a small shop in Delhi, his spice business spread throughout the world gradually.
Gulati was born in a Punjabi family on 27 March 1923 at Sialkot in Pakistan. He spent his childhood in Pakistan and attended a Primary School there. He was not interested in the study and dropped out of his school in 5th standards. His father ran a spice shop in Pakistan. After leaving school, he began to assist his father in his spice shop named “Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH)” and started to sell ‘Mehandi‘ and used to make around ₹20/day.
During the partition of India in 1947, his family decided to migrate to India. He along with his family settled in Delhi. In Delhi, initially, he used to live at his niece’s house in Karol Bagh, which had no electricity, no water supply, and no toilet facilities.
Dharampal Gulati was born to Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati and Mata Chanan Devi in a Khatri family on 27 March 1923 in Sialkot, North-East Punjab, Pakistan.
He had two brothers and five sisters. His brothers, Mahashay Satpal Gulati and Dharamveer Gulati, were also businessmen.
In 1941, when he was 18 years old, he got married to Lilawati, but in 1992, she died.
He had two sons. His son Sanjeev Gulati died just 2 months after his mother’s death in 1992. Gulati had six daughters.
While in Pakistan, when he left his school, he learned many handicrafts such as Carpentry, Embroidery, Painting, etc, but not to avail, later, his father got him into his spices shop. When he migrated to India, he had Rs. 1500 in his pocket. Out of that money, he bought a Tanga (a horse-drawn carriage) worth ₹650 and used to take passengers from Connaught Place to Karol Bagh. Later, he sold his Tanga as it was not his cup of tea. He built a small shop in Karol Bagh in 1948, to restart his old family business of spices.
After initial success, he took another shop at Chandni Chowk in 1953.
In 1959, he set up his first spice factory at Kirti Nagar in Delhi. Gradually, MDH emerged as one of the biggest brands in the category of spices in India and Abroad. His spice market is spread in more than 100 countries across the globe.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
In 2016, he was named ‘Indian of the Year‘ at the ABCI Annual Awards.
In 2017, Gulati received “Excellence Award” for Lifetime Achievement.
In 2019, he was honoured with Padma Shri- India’s third highest civilian award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
Salary, Assets, Net Worth
He had an 80% stake in MDH, owned 1 hospital, 15 factories, and 20 schools.
In 2017, he was the highest paid CEO in India with a salary of Rs. 21 crore/year. In 2017, his company’s turnover was around Rs. 1000 crore. According to a report in 2014, his net worth was Rs. 500 crore.
On Thursday, 3 December 2020, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati breathed his last at Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, New Delhi where he was undergoing post-COVID treatment. Reportedly, he died of cardiac arrest. Outlook
- He founded ‘Roopak Stores’ in 1954 in Karol Bagh, Delhi. That was India’s first modern spice store in Delhi during that era. However, later, he handed over ‘Roopak Stores’ to his younger brother, Satpal Gulati.
- Even during the fag end of his life, he used to appear as the brand ambassador of MDH products.
- Reportedly, he was an early riser, and he never missed his daily morning walk. He used to practice Yoga and before leaving home, he used to take part in “Havan” (a public fire ritual) at his home.
- He was highly spiritual and followed Arya Samaj.
- Gulati founded a trust called ‘Mahashay Chuni Lal Charitable Trust’ that runs a hospital with 250 beds and, another mobile hospital for slum dwellers.
- Apart from charitable trusts, MDH also runs a magazine called ‘Sandesh,’ which showcases the traditional family values of India.
- He published his autobiography in which he revealed the details from his early childhood to his success.