Remembered By: Staff
Dharampal Gulati (27 March 1923 – 3 December 2020), also known as Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, was an Indian businessman, and founder and CEO of MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti; transl. gentleman's shop), an Indian spice company. He was referred to as 'spice-king' in reference to his pioneering of ready-touse ground spices. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, in 2019. Gulati was born on 27 March 1923 in Sialkot in present-day Pakistan. His father, Chunnilal Gulati, had a spice shop in the town named Mahashian Di Hatti also known by Deggi Mirch Wale. In 1933, at the age of 10, he dropped out of school and worked assorted jobs including carpentry, rice trading, and selling hardware, before joining in to help his father in his spice business. Joining his father's spice shop in Sialkot, Gulati helped expand the store to Lahore, Shekhupura, Nankana Sahib, Lyallpur, and Multan in Punjab. He recounts the business in Mallika Ahluwalia's book, Divided by Partition: United by Resilience, growing with a turnover between Rs 500 and Rs 800 per day during this time. However, in 1947, with the partition of India, the family was forced to leave Sialkot and make the journey across to what would be present day India.The family spent time in a refugee camp in Amritsar before making it across to New Delhi, to join his sister. He bought a tonga (English: horse carriage) for Rs 650, and operated around New Delhi railway station, Qutab Road, and Karol Bagh to make ends meet.