One of the Most Inspiring Indian Entreprenuerial stories ever: Dharmapal Gulati, Founder of the MDH!


Have you ever noticed that old man with the long thick ear-to-ear mustache with a peculiar red turban in most of the spices’ Ads? He is Sir Dharampal Gulati, the founder of Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH) spices and ingredients.

Gulati is one of the earliest entrepreneurs in India has been the highest paid CEO of 2015-16 and the most prominent names in spices/ ingredients industry of India.

But his way to becoming the undisputed Masala King of India has not been easy.

In fact, his is one of the most inspiring Indian entrepreneurial story ever heard!

Gulati was born and brought up in Sialkot, Pakistan, where his father used to sell spices from a shop called Mahashian Di Hatti, which he started in 1919.

It was during the partition when Gulati family faced the biggest blow of fate that tore them into pieces.

As the communal wars begun, Gulati lost his younger cousin sister and paternal aunt, in a turn of the single night, who was raped and murdered during communal wars.

Then, they had to shift to Delhi and so their entire business went down to ashes.

Young Gulati’s family was left with absolutely nothing except a rented single room kutcha house with no electricity, water supply or toilet facility.

Before Gulati’s father died, he gave him a sum of Rs. 1500 with which he purchased a Tanga (Horse Cart) to carry passengers from Karol Bagh to Connaught Place.

But this did not give him much of an earning, and soon his mother died of pneumonia.

Now he was also regularly insulted by people so he sold his car and opened a small shop with the same name in the Old Ajmal Khan Road.

Mahashian Di Hatti; MDH (which means “the shop of a magnanimous man” in Punjabi) was a successful venture and helped him recover from some much required financial gap.

After the initial success, he rented another shop at Chandni Chowk in 1953, and in 1959 he set up his own factory of MDH spices empire or Mahashian Di Hatti Private Limited.
Today this home grown firm exports more than  50 products in various packages to USA, Canada, UK and  Europe and is one of the biggest FMCG brands in the country

Gulati also has a Mahashay Chuni Lal Charitable Trust, that owns a hospital with 250 beds and, a mobile hospital facility for slum dwellers.

Gulati also runs 4 schools at Delhi and financial support for needles are readily availed via various associated charitable trusts and foundations.

Gulati’s life has been an underdog for sure, and until now we perhaps only knew him as an old uncle in spices’ commercials. But, when dug deeper, this man was found to be one of those rare inspiring figures who didn’t lose their grounds and stand equal both in their adversities and their glories.