'Mahashay' Dharampal Gulati, the owner and face of masala brand MDH Spices passed away on December 3. He was 97 years old.
According to reports, Gulati was undergoing treatment at a hospital in New Delhi where he suffered a cardiac arrest on December 3 morning.
Gulati was born in Sialkot (now in Pakistan) on March 27, 1923 and later migrated to India after the partition. He dropped out of school and set up a small business in 1937 with the help of his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati, before joining the family business of spices.
After the partition, Gulati opened a shop in Delhi’s Karol Bagh and restarted his family business of ground spices and under the "Mahashian Di Hatti of Sialkot" banner. MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti) now has 15 factories across India and exports nearly 50 different type of spices across the world.
Gulati, affectionately called 'Dadaji' by some, was reportedly India's highest-paid consumer products CEO in 2017 when he took home more than Rs 21 crore as salary.
Often referred to as the 'King of Spices', Gulati appeared in several advertisements of MDH products. But he was also known for his work towards improving the quality of education and was associated with a number of educational institutions. In 2019, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award.
Condolences and tributes started pouring in as soon as the news of Gulati’s demise broke. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter that “Dharm Pal ji was (a) very inspiring personality” who “dedicated his life for the society”.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted that he was "deeply saddened" by the news. "He was a shining beacon of India’s entrepreneurial journey who turned MDH Spices into an iconic brand. He will always be remembered for his philanthropic work," Patnaik said.
भारत के प्रतिष्ठित कारोबारियों में से एक महाशय धर्मपालजी के निधन से मुझे दुःख की अनुभूति हुई है।छोटे व्यवसाय से शुरू करने बावजूद उन्होंने अपनी एक पहचान बनाई। वे सामाजिक कार्यों में काफ़ी सक्रिय थे और अंतिम समय तक सक्रिय रहे। मैं उनके परिवार के प्रति अपनी संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूँ।
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 3, 2020
In a tweet, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “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.”
Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, said:
देश के मसालों की सुगंध को पूरे विश्व मे फैलाने वाले, पद्मभूषण पुरस्कार से सम्मानित महाशय धर्मपाल गुलाटी जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख हुआ।
अपनी उद्यमिता से स्वदेशी व आत्मनिर्भरता के साथ ही उन्होंने सामाजिक कार्यों का एक आदर्श स्थापित किया। ईश्वर उन्हें मोक्ष प्रदान करें। ॐ शांतिः pic.twitter.com/Nzi0zA6VPw— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) December 3, 2020