“Rooh Afza” the favorite drink of Indian Sub-Continent

“Rooh Afza”

There is no doubt that the aerated drinks like Coke from America and the Perrier the natural bottled mineral water from France evoke awe and excitement. Coke is attributed as a drink of youth and instant energy and Perrier is a known health improving mineral supplement gift of nature.

Coca-Cola which is often referred to simply as Coke, is a Carbonated soft drink and is produced by ‘The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It was invented in 1886 by a pharmacist named John Pemberton, otherwise known as “Doc.” He had fought in the US Civil War, and at the end of the war he decided he wanted to invent something that would bring him commercial success.

John Pemberton is an example of a dogged will, strong determination and someone who had never given up. Having failed in every venture in his field of pharmacy, undaunted he went on to develop a pharmaceutical drink that was originally intended as a patent medicine. The name Coke refers to two of its original ingredients: Kola Nuts which is a source of Caffeine and Coca Leaves.

Perrier mineral water is part natural water captured at the source in Vergeze, located in the Gard department, France. A French doctor Louis Perrier bought the spring in 1898 and operated a commercial spa there; he also bottled the water for sale. He later sold the spring to St.John Harmsworth, a wealthy British visitor.

It is not that the whole commercial of Perrier supply comes directly from the natural spring. The spring from which Perrier water is sourced is naturally Carbonated. It is interesting to learn that mass of both the water and natural CO2 gas are captured independently.

The water is then purified, and, during bottling, the carbon dioxide gas is re-added so that the level of carbonation in bottled Perrier matches that of the original Vergèze spring. Perrier comes in several flavors: Natural, Lemon, and Lime have been in market for many years. In 1992, Perrier was bought Nestlé, one of the world’s leading food and drink companies. It is at present owned by the Nestle Corporation.

But none of these drink command that love, respect and loyalty that the ‘Rooh Afza enjoys from its consumers. On a hot day nothing quenches the thirst like Rooh Afza. From the time of ‘One India’, before the advent of Pakistan and Bangla Desh, the pleasant rose-pink tint and its delicate flavor has been savored by most of the denizens irrespective of faith and geography. Rooh Afza still unites the three divided nations. In almost third home of the county you can find the half empty bottles that had never changed its looks. The  ‘Hamdard’ manufactures Rooh Afza.

Rooh Afza is a sharbat, a slightly too-sweet concentrate that consists of the ingredients like the essences of coriander, orange, pineapple, carrot, rose petals, spinach and mint. It is sold in a bottle with a distinctive yellow cap, Rooh Afza is often mixed with cold water or milk, poured over ice cream. In Bombay, Delhi and Hyderabad and other towns across northern India, sharbat sellers make a special place in their stand with containers of ice and water, armed with bottles of Rooh Afza.

Its appearance and its flavour even moved the 20th-century Urdu poet Sa’il Dehlvi to verse. Its colour “enchants your heart” and its fragrance “outstrips that of the flowers,” he wrote. “Never has there been a sharbat like Rooh Afza, and never will there be.”

The Company ‘Hamdard Waqf’ dates back to 1906, when Hakim Abdul Majeed, founded his clinic in New Delhi. Rooh Afza, among Hamdard’s first products, was introduced in 1907. Hamdard is credited with high quality Tibbi Unani Medicines at reasonable price.

The name “Rooh Afza” has popularly been translated as “refresher of the soul,” but Hamdard’s own website – currently under renovation – admitted that the brand’s precise origin is unclear. “Some think that this name is a product of [Hakim Majeed’s] mind,” an explanation read.

The company considers, as alternative possibilities, the character Rooh Afza in the book Masnavi Gulzar-e-Naseem by the 19th-century Kashmiri poet Daya Shankar Naseem, as well as a weekly magazine named Rooh Afza, which was published in the late 19th century in Jaunpur, in Uttar Pradesh state.

When India and Pakistan separated in 1947, the company split as well, and an independent Hamdard was founded in Karachi, Pakistan. Hamdard Pakistan today exports Rooh Afza to, among other countries, the UAE.Similarly, when East Pakistan broke away in 1971, the branch of Hamdard that had been set up in Dhaka in 1953 turned into Hamdard Laboratories, Bangladesh.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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