A video purportedly showing the “last moments” of India’s ‘Masala (spice) King’ Dharampal Gulati — who passed away at the age of 98 on December 3 — was widely shared on social media.
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The video shared by social media users shows Gulati lying on his hospital bed, immersed in a song sung by a person standing near him.
The man is seen singing a Hindi patriotic song, ‘Preet Jahan Ki Reet Sada’, with people standing around Gulati clapping to the beat of the song as he is seen enjoying the rhythm.
Following the release of the video, people from various walks of life, including some from the Indian film industry and politicians took to Twitter to express their feelings.
मसाला किंग महाशय धर्मपाल (MDH) की आख़िरी समय की तस्वीरें, आख़िरी समय में भी उनका दिल देश के लिए ही धड़कता रहा. pic.twitter.com/JusNLqvYoO
— Vikas Bhadauria (ABP News) (@vikasbha) December 4, 2020
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri said in a tweet,
“Most overwhelming video you can see today. Even in his last breaths owner of MDH masale (spices) (Swargiya Dharampal ji’s heart was beating for India. I hope this will inspire you.”
The video was also shared by ABP News journalist Vikas Bhadauria who tweeted,
“Last moment pictures of Masala King Mahashay Dharampal (MDH), his heart kept beating for the country even at the last moment.”
Most overwhelming video you can see today. Even in his last breaths owner of MDH masale Swargiya Dharampal ji’s heart was beating for India. I hope this will inspire you. pic.twitter.com/KmRqS0EpOC
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) December 4, 2020
However, it was later revealed that the video in question is an old one. According to Rakesh Ahuja, the man singing in the video, it was shot in September last year. Speaking to The Quint, Ahuja said,
“The viral video is from September-October 2019. Mahashay Dharampalji had fallen down, so I had gone to meet him in the hospital and that’s when I sang a song for him. We have close family relations with him. He had asked me to sing this song and even the doctors said that we have to make him energetic.”
According to sources, the owner of MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti) Spices had not been well for almost a year. Last year, Ahuja had gone to meet him when he sang Gulati’s favorite song.
From Horse-Cart Puller To Masala King
According to the MDH company’s website, ‘Mahashay’ Dharampal Gulati was born on March 27, 1923, in Pakistan’s Sialkot. After Partition, he came to India and reached Delhi. At that time he had only Rs 1,500 with him.
With that money, he purchased a Tonga (horse cart) for Rs 650 and drove it between New Delhi Railway Station and areas like Karol Bagh and Bara Hindu Rao in the national capital, the spice company said on its website.
Later, he set up a small shop in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area and started his family business of ground spices, under the banner of Mahashian Di Hatti of Sialkot “Deggi Mirch Wale”.
Manoj Sharma wrote in Hindustan Times, saying Gulati’s was one of the remarkable post-partition refugee success stories. He said:
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“Gulati became the highest-paid CEO in the packaged consumer goods business in 2017, drawing a salary of Rs 21 crore — most of which went to charity. Conferred Padma Bhushan for his contribution, he also ran a number of educational institutes and a super-specialty hospital, Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, in Delhi.”