MDH owner 'Mahashay' Dharampal Gulati Biography: From fifth-grade school dropout to highest-paid CEO in India

The owner of the MDH masala brand, 'Mahashay' Dharampal Gulati passed away in the wee hours on 3 December 2020 at the age of 97.
Created On: Dec 3, 2020 11:14 IST
Modified On: Dec 3, 2020 12:58 IST
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati (27 March 1923 – 3 December 2020)
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati (27 March 1923 – 3 December 2020)

The owner of the MDH (Mahshian Di Hatti Private Limited) masala brand, 'Mahashay' Dharampal Gulati passed away in the wee hours on 3 December 2020 at the age of 97. He was fondly called 'Masala King'. 

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati 


27 March 1923 (Sialkot, Pakistan)


3 December 2020 (New Delhi)

Known as 

Masala King


Owner and CEO of MDH




Padma Bhushan (2019)

Dharmpal Gulati: Birth, Education and Early Years

Dharmpal Gulati was born on 27 March 1923 in Sialkot, present-day Pakistan. He is a fifth-grade school dropout. 

In 1937, he set up a business with the help of his father which failed miserably. Shortly afterwards, he joined his father's spice shop. At that time, his family was popularly known as 'Degi Mirch Wale' people. 

During the partition in 1947, his family migrated to India and spent initial years in a refugee camp in Amritsar before moving to Delhi. 

Establishment of MDH

In 1919, his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati opened a small spice shop in Pakistan by the name 'Mahshian Di Hatti'. When the family moved to India after Partition, Dharmpal Gulati opened a spice shop in Karol Bagh, Delhi and rented a second shop in Delhi's Chandni Chowk. In 1959, he purchased land in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi to reestablish the manufacturing unit of MDH. 

Dharmpal Gulati: Highest Paid CEO in India

In 2017, Dharmpal Gulati became the highest-paid fast-moving consumer goods CEO in India. He took home more than Rs. 21 crores as salary in the last FY. He held 80% stake in MDH.  

Dharmpal Gulati's Motivation to work

Dharmpal Gulati once said that his motivation to work is being sincere in product quality sold at affordable prices. 

Padma Bushan Awardee

In the year 2019, the Government of India honoured Dharmpal Gulati with India's third-highest civilian award-- Padma Bhushan. 

Dharmpal Gulati: Positions held

MD- Super Delicacies Private Limited

Director- MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti Pvt. Ltd)

Chairman- Mahat Chanan Devi Hospital, New Delhi

Dharmpal Gulati: Charity

Dharmpal Gulati donates around 90% of his salary to charity under the banner of  Mahashay Chunni Lal Charitable Trust. The Trust operates a 250-bed hospital in Delhi, along with a mobile hospital for slum dwellers and four schools.

Death of Dharmpal Gulati

Dharmpal Gulati was undergoing treatment at Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, Delhi for the last three weeks and died of a cardiac stroke at 5:21 a.m. on 3 December 2020.