In your childhood, would you start singing ‘MDH MDH’ after listening ‘Asli masale sach sach’ on TV and Radio advertisements? What comes to your mind when you hear about MDH? You would have remembered the picture of an old man smiling on the packaging of MDH masalas? But do you know the success story of the old man behind MDH? Let’s know more about the Masala(spice) king Mahashay Dharmpal Gulati.
What is MDH
MDH is a firm where its founder Mr Gulati started selling his handmade spices at a very small place. This article will let you know more about MDH man and how he started his entrepreneurial journey at a very small firm and how he achieved success.
MDH mainly known as ‘Mahashian Di Hatti’, was founded in 1919 by Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati in Sialkot that is located in Pakistan. At that time, it was a part of undivided India. For a long time, Gulati worked hard for changing his small firm into multinational company that promised just one thing – pure fragrant Indian spices in powdered form.
Class 5th dropout and his humble beginning
Dharmpal Gulati, his son, would spend most of the time with his buffaloes or play kushti (Wrestling) in akhadas (Wrestling arena). Gulati had a simple childhood. He would help his father for selling milk products and then going to school occupied those days for Gulati.
From the very beginning, Dharmpal Gulati was not much concerned about his studies and as a result, he dropped out from his school at 5th standard. Then he joined his father’s business which was about selling mirrors, soaps. He also started selling products like rice, cloth, utensils etc.
From the profit of selling mirrors, soap, cloth, Gulati thought of starting a spice shop and opened it under the banner of Mahashian Di Hatti that was popularly known as ‘degi mirch waale’. However, during partition, the Degi Mirch Wale family had to leave behind all their businesses over there and migrated to Delhi overnight.
That was 7th September 1947 when Gulati moved to Amritsar with his family. He was 23 years old at that time. Then he left Amritsar and came to Delhi in need of work. Dharmpal was a young man with only ₹1500 in his pocket. Then he bought a ‘tanga’ (Bullock cart) and started ferrying people’s from Qutab Road to New Delhi Railway Station and Karol Bagh to Bara Hindu Rao.
However, god had some other plans for him. Gulati was confident of making profit in his spice trading business, so he sold his tanga and bought a wooden shop at Ajmal Khan Road in the Karol Bagh area. He gave new shaped to his Mahashian Di Hatti. In next few months, he and his younger brother Satpal opened more shops in different regions of Delhi. They also set up the first modern spice store in Delhi.
What makes the MDH stand out
Imagine coming from an area where it was believed that spices can be only handmade if it has got to be pure. Fast consumerism was still alien and it was certainly challenging for Gulati. Since Gulati sensed the need to make his masalas stand out from the rest, he started putting all his energies on advertisement or development of MDH. He started cardboard packaging with the word hygienic, full of flavors and tasty.
Can you imagine a man with no qualifications or education degree or marketing team putting only his photo on the packaging and still the same with a few changes in current time as well? Gulati started the technology advancements. He ensured that the taste and quality of spices remained the same.
The legacy which will continue
He was man who traded in multiple locations, lived in a refugee camp during partition, and survived through financial difficulties. His brand equity is still remarkable in the market and staying ahead of competitors. After gaining prominence in India as well as abroad, most companies set a higher value for their products, but not this spice hulk. It still has not overpriced or got away from its core principle of affordable pricing.
Apart from this, according to the changes in time, MDH started the acceptance of changes and came up with some new flavors like MDH Chunky Chat, MDH paneer masala, Chicken masala and many more. This desi (indigenous) brand has penetrated a whole lot of Indian kitchens and serves some of the purest and fragrant form of spices.
Moving forward, MDH also started a charitable trust. It has 300 bed hospital in West Delhi that treats needy for totally free. The trust also runs 20 free schools for underprivileged children. As for our dearest Dharampal Gulati, he’ll always be missed and remain in our heart forever.