- Padma Bhushan awardee Mahashay Dharmpal Gulati died of a cardiac arrest
- Dharmpal Gulati was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, in 1923
- Mr Gulati moved to Delhi after the Partition with Rs 1,500 to his name.
Dharampal Gulati, the owner of the MDH Masala brand often called the grand old man of spices, died on Thursday. He was 97.
"Mahashay" Dharampal Gulati, as he was known, had been in a hospital in Delhi for weeks. He died of a cardiac arrest early this morning, said reports.
A familiar face on MDH products in his signature red turban and pearl necklace, Dharampal Gulati was the face of the ads of MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti). Many recalled on social media platforms his smiling face at the close of the ads with the tagline "Asli Masale Sach Sach, MDH, MDH".
Last year, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
"Saddened by the demise of ''Mahashiyan Di Hatti'' (MDH) President Shri Dharampal Gulati ji, who was honoured with Padma Bhushan. He was a well-known personality of the Indian industry. His social service activities are also commendable. My condolences to his family and fans," President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted in Hindi.
पद्म भूषण से सम्मानित, 'महाशयां दी हट्टी' (एमडीएच) के अध्यक्ष श्री धर्मपाल गुलाटी जी के निधन से दुःख हुआ। वे भारतीय उद्योग जगत के एक प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तित्व थे। समाज सेवा के लिए किये गए उनके कार्य भी सराहनीय हैं। उनके परिवार व प्रशंसकों के प्रति मेरी शोक-संवेदनाएं। pic.twitter.com/9Z2e5Rgl82— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) December 3, 2020
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia were among the first to post their tribute on Twitter.
"Dharam Pal ji was a very inspiring personality. He dedicated his life for society. God bless his soul," Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
"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," tweeted Mr Sisodia.
India's most inspiring entrepreneur,— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) December 3, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/SOdiqFyJvX
Mr Gulati was born in Pakistan's Sialkot in 1923. A fifth-grade dropout, he joined his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati's spice business early.
According to his biography on the MDH site, he set up his own business in 1937 with help from his father and started selling mirrors, soap, hardware and rice. When it failed to take off, he returned to work with his father for the company Mahashian Di Hatti. At the time, they were the "Deggi Mirch Wale" to their customers.
He moved to India after the Partition of 1947 and arrived in Delhi with Rs 1,500 to his name.
He opened his first store in Karol Bagh in Delhi and expanded his business from there.
MDH, the company he re-established in 1959, today sells 62 products available in over 150 different packages. His spices sell worldwide.
Mr Gulati, at 94 in 2017, became the highest-paid CEO in India. He was also known to be a philanthropist and built several hospitals and schools.
The nicknames that millions gave him over the years range from "Dadaji" to "Chacha" to "MDH uncle".