Your next meal today is more likely than not going to be spiced by flavours most familiar to every Indian palate. Adding masala to your lives since 1919, Mahashian Di Hatti or MDH, has come a long way since being just a ‘masala ki dukan’ at Sialkot, Pakistan.
Dropping out of school at the age of 10, Mahashay Dharampal Gulati started the business alongside his father. He then became a refugee owing to the traumatic and devastating partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. After partition, a young 23-year-old Gulati moved to a refugee camp in Amritsar but fearing the breakouts of riots, relocated to Delhi where he drove a horse-drawn carriage to make a living. Since the income was hardly enough to sustain his family, he soon re-started his family business of spices out of a shop he built in Ajmal Khan Road and thereby began the journey of a man set out to establish a legacy!
The 94 year old Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, better known as the King of Spices, is the Indian FMCG sector’s highest paid CEO with 12% of market shares under his belt. Standing tall and confident, undaunted and proud, behind a company whose annual revenue is greater than 924 crores, Mr. Gulati has some miraculous experiences that makes his journey so far, spicier than many others basking in the glow of success, like him.
Notably, MDH’s iconic old man, with a salary of 21 crores last fiscal, as opposed to the 2 aanas he earned per tonga ride, 60 years ago, has outlived many iconic eras in the history of India such as the communist rule in Bengal, the reign of the Ambassador cars, telegrams, etc.
Today, after treading a path marked by grit and struggle, the unchallenged Spice King has opened 15 factories supplying to 1000 dealers in India and 100 countries across the globe. Also, this 1500 crore spice empire now runs 20 schools and a hospital and has international offices in Dubai and London.
MDH today has more than 60 products and gets the bulk of its sales from three variants – Deggi Mirch, Chat Masala and Chana Masala. Each of these variants sell roughly a crore packets every month and the company attribute its success to its supply-chain which entails contract farming and sourcing spices from Karnataka and Rajasthan to Afghanistan and Iran.
Wanting to produce quality products at affordable prices has always been the motto of Mahashay Dharampal Gulati. Today, carrying forward this philosophy, the magnanimous MDH empire is being managed by his son and 6 daughters who handle distribution region wise.
MDH’s success story is not only highly motivating and inspiring but also revolutionising and talks greatly of the inherit entrepreneur streak found in the Indian blood.