It was 27th March 1923 in Sialkot (now in Pakistan), where an entrepreneur took birth who later revolutionised the spice market of the country to the extent which nobody even ever imagined of. This rags to riches journey is the life story of MDH founder Mahashay Dharampal Ji who began as a tangeywalla (horse cart puller) and reached up to the level of highest paid CEO of the country.
The journey started from Sialkot but took a different shape altogether, Mahashay Chunnilal & Mata Chanan Devi were least aware of the fact that their school dropout son who studied only till fifth standard would be awarded with country’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan. The market was calling the young lad to come and rule the spice market in coming future.
The country got freedom from the clutches of traitors and the entire country got divided into two parts, one was named India and other was named Pakistan. People were given choice of moving to the desired destination and Mahashay Dharampal Ji moved to India from Pakistan along with his family having Rs 1500 in pocket.
Mahashay Dharampal Ji tried his luck along with his brother to earn bread and butter as that time the prime focus was to earn livelihood. He started his career as a tangeywalla in New Delhi wherein he use to give a ride from New Delhi Station to Qutub Road. This stint was very small as he did not like pulling Tanga. He gave a thought to the business which he joined way back in Pakistan but he had to quit and move to another country due to partition.
He got a small shop at Karol Bagh, New Delhi with the name of the shop Mahashian Di Hatti. He maintained the quality as he was already containing the spice expertise and in no time the spices became very popular. He use to grind and sell his spices by his own and sell in the villages of Bihar & Odisa. The banner of his shop contained the same name which his father used during the inception of the spice shop at Sialkot (Pakistan) “Deghi Mirch Wale”.
The product building scaled up immensely and the brand moved from a 14ft X 9ft shop to 64 sku with a deep emergence in every household of the country. Though the brand got immense popularity majorly in northern part of the country but the brand created its presence across globe.
It was a phase wherein the companies were advertising their products to create awareness, following the steps of others Mahashay Dharampal Ji also decided to advertise his own product. He was very much involved in to all the activities of his company so the same way he was also involved in the ad making of his product as well. The set was ready for the ad shoot but Mahashay Dharmpal Ji got to know that the person who was assigned to act in the advertisement did not turn up. The advertising agency gave Mahashay Dharmpal Ji a chance to play the role of Dadaji in the advertisement playing with the children and giving blessing to young ones. The idea clicked and Mahashay Dharmpal Ji became the brand ambassador of his own brand and he became the household name for every Indian. An old man with red turban and white moustache became the imagery of the brand MDH.
The brand name MDH is a true example of hard work, dedication and focused work, despite of his elderly age he never missed visiting his factories to check the quality of raw material which gets sourced from Kerla to Afganistan. He knew very well that strong association with the channel partners is the key to success in FMCG industry so he was very much involved in strengthening his channel partners.
Mahashay Dharampal Ji was not just a true businessman but he was also a person with a very nice heart so he invested his quality time in doing social activities as well. The philanthropy was in veins as it was being gifted by his parents who were active in doing social welfare activities.
His philanthropy journey started from a 10 bed eye hospital in Subhash Nagar, New Delhi and later a multi specialty hospital was built at Janakpuri, New Delhi. The name of the hospital was dedicated to his mother and the hospital was named Mata Chanan Devi Multi Specialty Hospital.
He developed a strong educational system for the suppressed part of the society, he actively established numerous schools and to name few of them are MDH International School, Mahashay Chunnila Saraswati Mandir, Mata Leelawanti Kanya Vidhayala, etc. He founded more than 20 schools to empower the education system and benefit society with poor category at large.
Mahashay Dharmpal Ji was really a nature with religious harmony; he always maintained a balance in the religious system of the society and never differentiated between hindu, muslim, sikh or Christians. He never became part of those strata of the society where there was religious difference and this is the reason which is being sought after for him not getting into politics.
The philosophy of Mahashay Dharmpal Ji says “Give your best to the world and the best will automatically come to you.” MDH is a name which does not only stand for its quality spices but the name holds synonyms for the welfare of the society and uplifting the needy by establishing and founding schools, hospitals and various trusts.
The legend is no more with us but he has left us a great learning that true dedication, hard work and complete focus on the work can create wonders. Today almost every Indian house has a space in their kitchen for MDH range of products and the same way it is being trusted and relished globally by millions.