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Entrepreneurial Journey of Mahashay Dharampal Gulati aka The MDH Uncle

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati aka The MDH Uncle is the owner of the famous MDH spices. Let's read through his entrepreneurial jou
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati aka The MDH Uncle is the owner of the famous MDH spices. Let’s read through his entrepreneurial journey.

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, also known as the MDH uncle is the owner and CEO of an Indian spice company named MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti) Pvt. Ltd. (1). He is a well-known entrepreneur who leads his business quite well, even at 97 years of age. Gulati was born in Sialkot on March 27, 1923. His family migrated from Sialkot, which is a part of present-day Pakistan, and has been living in India since the partition. Soon after their migration, they spent a lot of days in a refugee camp in Amritsar. Later, the family traveled to Delhi in search of better employment. It was his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati who established the MDH company as a small shop in Sialkot,  Pakistan in 1919.

mdh uncle

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati began his business as a small retail shop in Karol Bagh, Delhi. The second shop of MDH was created at Chandni Chowk in 1953. Later in 1959, Gulati started expanding his business and built a manufacturing unit in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi. It was the first unit of Mahashian So Hatti. The company achieved massive success over the decades, and by 2017, the MDH uncle had become the CEO of the most profitable Fast Moving Consumer Goods company in the country. He was able to collect more than 21 crore rupees as salary. He has also received the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honor in India. MDH uncle’s age has never halted him from becoming a brilliant entrepreneur in the country.

MDH uncle, the familiar face for all

MDH uncle

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati may not have appeared in the high-end magazines, but his face is familiar to all of us through the MDH advertisement. His frequent presence in the television ads has won him the name – MDH uncle. A picture of Gulati wearing a red turban and the brightest smile can also seem on the MDH spices packets. The fame that this school dropout has achieved is much higher than any other competitor in this field. His yearly salary is more than that of Adi Godrej and Vivek Gambhir of Godrej Consumer, Sanjiv Mehta of Hindustan Unilever, and YC Devashwar of ITC.

Other than “MDH uncle“, Gulati also has nicknames such as Dadaji or Mahashayji. He continually observes the business and never fails to complete his rounds though the manufacturing units, markets, etc. even during Sundays. He also maintains a friendly relationship with the dealers and sellers. MDH products are sold at affordable prices, yet they strive to build the product quality in every way. Many people had a lot of confusion regarding MDH uncle’s age and some even went so far as to circulate fake news about his death. In 2018, many reports declared that MDH uncles had passed away at a hospital in Delhi. The MDH family had to release a video of him to show that the emperor of the spice market was well alive.

The success of MDH company

MDH uncle

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati has dedicated 60 years of his life to MDH and holds an 80 percent stake in the company. As of now, the company has more than 15 manufacturing departments all over the country and supplies to about 1000 dealers. The business which started as a small shop in Karol Bagh is now a 1500 crore enterprise. Other than India, MDH exports its products to more than 100 countries all around the world. They even have branches in Dubai and London. Gulati’s son governs the public undertakings while his six daughters take care of the distribution to various areas. The company hopes to inspire more customers to stop using unbranded products.

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati receiving the Padma Bhushan
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati receiving the Padma Bhushan

As time passes, more consumers have started using packaged goods which helped in the growth of the MDH company. By 2016, the company saw an increase of 16 percent, which made the total revenue hit 13,200 crore rupees. The sales of MDH spices, dressing, and seasonings were the most fast-moving branch. MDH has more than 60 products out of which Deggi Mirch, Chat Masala, and Chana Masala are the most in-demand. These items account for a large part of the company’s profits. MDH sells around one crore packets of these products every month. The affordability of MDH products ensures the loyalty of customers from all over the country.

The Indian Spice market

mdh uncle (1)

Companies like DS Foods, Ramdev, and Eastern were the most significant competitors of MDH in the country’s spice market. While the Indian brands had an indisputable lead in the case of traditional masala herbs and spices, international brands like Nestle and Hindustan Unilever Limited were still the leaders in the business of table sauces. Other competitors in the spice market are Keya, a company based in Kerala, the Patanjali brand by Baba Ramdev, Mother’s Recipe, etc.

MDH uncle

The birth of many new brands also indicates that more people are enjoying the convenience provided by ready to use packaging. Mahashay Dharampal Gulati says that India being a diverse country, has a varying taste in the spices too. The combination of the same spices used to make masala in one state may be different from that of another state. These changes make it challenging to cater to customers from different cultures. Moreover, an Indian spice brand can not make a lot of changes in their products, as an international brand does.

Charity services by Mahashay Dharampal Gulati

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati recently donated 7500 PPE kits to Manish Sisodia
Mahashay Dharampal Gulati recently donated 7500 PPE kits to Manish Sisodia

Gulati always had a keen interest in contributing to society, which helped him grow. He believes that he and his company will always be indebted to the people of India for their profits. Therefore, most of the income is given back to the people in the form of charities. Gulati gives away most 90 percent of his salary to those in need. He also runs a charitable scheme named Mahashay Chunni Lal Charitable Trust. He owns the Mata Chanan Devi Hospital in Delhi, which is a 300-bed super-specialty hospital. He also owns a mobile hospital to help those living in slums. Gulati has also built about 20 educational institutions through the Mahashay Chunni Lal Trust.