After Rooh Afza shortage in India, Pakistan offers to help

Published: May 7, 2019
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Rooh Afza being sold at a super market.

Rooh Afza being sold at a super market.

After a shortage in the staple iftar drink Rooh Afza in India, the beverage producer in Pakistan has offered to fill the gap.

According to a story published in Indian publication The Print, the sherbet has been off the market in India for last four to five months.

Officially, India’s Hamdard Laboratories says that a lack of raw material is behind the shortfall.

The report; however, citing sources, claimed that a dispute among the owners was the reason for the shortage.

Pakistan to the rescue

Hamdard Laboratories Waqf Pakistan has offered to supply the drink to India through the Wagah border in view of the shortage.

“We can supply RoohAfza and RoohAfzaGO to India during this Ramzan. We can easily send trucks through Wahga (sic) border if permitted by Indian Government,” tweeted Usama Qureshi, MD and CEO of Pakistani Hamdard.

Shared ancestry

The two Hamdards have common ancestry — the original was founded by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed in old Delhi in the early 1900s, while the one in Pakistan was founded by his son Hakeem Mohammed Said, who migrated after Partition, in 1948.

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Courtesy: @thesingingsingh Follow: @puranidilliwaley The Partition of Rooh Afza: Established in 1906 by Hakeem Abdul Majeed, Hamdard (meaning "Sympathizer") was a Yunani medicine shop in Delhi's Lal Kuan Bazaar. Around 1907-1908, Hakeem Majeed launched a non alcohoalic medicinal concentrate called 'Rooh Afza' (Soul Enhancer) to combat Delhi's hot loo winds. Packaged in glass bottles with the iconic label by Delhi artist Mirza Noor Ahmad, Rooh Afza contained a perfect mix of fruits, vegetables, herbs and roots all infused in a sugar syrup. It is said that the first consumers were so mesmerized by the taste of this ambrosial drink that over a hundred bottles were sold in a few hours. What started as a medicinal drink became popular as a delicious summer drink all over Delhi. To meet the rising demands, Hakeem Abdul Majeed started to mass produce Rooh Afza at a factory in Ghaziabad, just outside Delhi. Soon this drink became one of the most iconic delicacies of Delhi along with Nihari and Bedami poori. By 1947, Rooh Afza was found in every kitchen in Delhi and most of the places in the United Provinces. With the September riots of 1947, Delhi's Muslims started to flee their homes and started to take refuge in the refugee camps built in Purana Qila and Jama Masjid. Many families were torn apart, as one part opted for Pakistan and the other chose to stay behind. Hamdard was no exception. In 1948, one part of the Hamdard family headed by Said migrated to Karachi in the new state of Pakistan. Hamdard Pakistan was started from scratch in a two room rented space. The magic of Rooh Afza worked, and in no time Hamdard Pakistan became very successful. The creation of Bangladesh in 1971 resulted in a final partition when Hamdard Pakistan gave birth to Hamdard Bangladesh. #puranidilliwaley #1947partition #olddelhi #delhiarchives #britishlibrary #roohafza #beverages #foodporn #stories

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