New Delhi: An epic family battle has reportedly taken its toll on a favourite summer drink – Rooh Afza. With Hamdard Pakistan jumping into the fray arguing that it can provide backup for the holy month of Ramadan where Rooh Afza appears to have vanished from kirana shops, it makes sense to track the reasons behind the halted production.
The Rs 400-crore rose flavoured brand has enormous salience and is a pan-Indian favourite in the summer months. Hamdard Labs which is the company behind the brand is facing a shortage of key ingredients which, it claims, is behind the supply bottlenecks.
Hamdard founder Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed’s grandson Abdul Majeet, it is beleived, is in a conflict with his cousin Hammad Ahmed. This is taking its toll on the business. Speculation is rife that the 450,000 retailers who stock the popular indigenous drink are in a panic because its maximum sales take place during ‘iftari’ or the breaking of the fast. Production has been stopped since last November.
Hundreds of tweets rolled in about the drink being an integral part of an iftar. Tweep @vrishtibeniwal posted: “Breaking the fast in the evening, iftar, has traditionally consisted of pakoras (fritters), fruit chaat (fruit salad), dates and Rooh Afza. An iftari without Rooh Afza is just not the same.” While, Twitter user @Tanima wrote about the sentiments and memories attached to the drink: “I don’t think I like Rooh Afza as much as I like the nostalgia attached to it. It tastes of school summer vacations and those hot afternoons when there was no AC and these simple respites were enough to keep us happy.”
Dismissing any rift within the family, Mansoor Ali, chief sales and marketing officer at Hamdard, according to a report by The Economic Times said, “We are facing supply constraints of certain herbal ingredients. We hope to fix the demand-supply gap within a week.” But the drink with a history of uninterrupted supply disappearing from the shelves has led to major speculation which cannot be without truth.
Gulf News in June 2016 had traced the geneology of the drink — In 1908, in the bylanes of Old Delhi, Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed decided to create a herbal mix that would help Delhi’s masses stay cool in summer. Selecting herbs and syrups from traditional Unani medicine, he created a drink that would help counter heat strokes, bring down palpitation and prevent water loss. He named it Rooh Afza, which in Urdu literally meant something that refreshes the soul.
Mirza Noor Ahmad, an artist, prepared the labels of Rooh Afza in several colours in 1910. Such colourful prints could not be processed in Delhi then. It was, therefore, printed under special arrangement by the Bolton Press of the Parsees of Bombay (Mumbai).
Country’s favourite summer drink Rooh Afza disappearing due to family rift:
A few decades later, Abdul Majeed decided to turn this medicament into a drink. The reception to the first batch ever made of Rooh Afza was an indicator of its future. “When they actually made Rooh Afza for the first time, the flavour and the smell were so enticing that a crowd began to gather around asking, ‘Ho kya raha hai?’ (what is happening?). The whole batch got sold off within an hour,” Abdul Majeeb, the great grandson of Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed, told Gulf News. Today, he is the CEO of Hamdard India, continuing the family’s work in offering affordable medical care to the masses.
The partition of India was the turning point, which went on to divide not just the family but Rooh Afza as well. “In 1947, most of the family travelled to Pakistan. Only my grandfather, Hakeem Abdul Hameed, and his two sons stayed. Even as his younger brother, Hakim Mohammad Said, went to Pakistan, my grandfather said, ‘I will not be able to leave India because it is my motherland’,” Abdul Majeeb said.
With one brother in India and the other in Pakistan, they both continued to carry on the legacy left behind by their father on their own. While the business was already established in India, Mohammad Said faced a lot of hardships launching Rooh Afza in Pakistan.
Sadia Rashid, chairperson of Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan and president of Hamdard Foundation Pakistan, told Gulf News: “My father (Mohammad Said) migrated to Pakistan, on January 9, 1948. The challenges of a fledgling country and a lack of means posed difficulties … he laid the foundation of Hamdard Pakistan in two rented rooms in Karachi’s old area of Arambagh, with Rs 12 (Dh0.42) worth of rented furniture.”
In 1953, Hamdard Laboratories Pakistan finally became lucrative, and it was converted into a waqf or a Muslim endowment entity. According to her, the brand name was “taken from the poetic book ‘Masnavi Gulzar e Nasim’ by Pandit Dia Shankar Nasim”. Rooh Afza was a character in the book.
Apart from the India and Pakistan, Hamdard also has a presence in Bangladesh. Rashid said: “My father (Mohammad Said) had opened a branch of Hamdard in former East Pakistan. After the creation of Bangladesh, instead of winding up that office and plant, he gifted that to the people of Bangladesh to be run and managed by its workers.”
Govt plans to boost organic farming by doubling allocation,but experts say it’s anti Swadeshi
- Agriculture Ministry has proposed to double the allocation for the sector to Rs 1,300 crore annually in coming years
- It has also proposed to bring additional 25 lakh hectares under organic farming in the next 5 years.
- The current organic farming coverage of 28 lakh hectares is a measly 2% of the total farm land.
- Zero budget farming expert Subhash Palekar thumbed down the government’s move saying it was a foreign concept and destroys fertility of the farmland
In a serious push to natural farming within the nation, the Agriculture Ministry has proposed to double the allocation for the sector to Rs 1,300 crore yearly. The Center has supplied Rs 660 crore to help the sector in its funds estimate (BE) for FY21. In a presentation to the Fifteenth Finance Fee, the Agriculture Ministry has proposed to convey extra 25 lakh hectares underneath natural farming within the subsequent 5 years. The present natural farming protection of 28 lakh hectares is a measly 2% of the entire farm land.
The federal government has been selling natural farming within the nation by varied central schemes. The transfer is geared toward decreasing the usage of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and progress regulators. States corresponding to Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Sikkim have boosted natural farming by offering varied incentives and help.
In January 2016, Sikkim was declared India’s first 100% natural state. Regardless of the federal government’s push for natural farming, its adoption has been sluggish. In comparison with a few of the European nations, the entire acreage underneath natural farming is far decrease. As per Eurostat, the entire space underneath natural farming within the European Union (EU) has been growing through the years. In 2018, the entire space underneath natural farming was 13.four million hectares of the agricultural land.
This made up about 7.5% of complete EU agricultural land in that 12 months. Moreover motivating farmers to take up natural farming, India has been pushing for exports of natural merchandise particularly vegetables and fruits. As per Agricultural and Processed Meals Merchandise Export Improvement Authority (APEDA), complete exports of natural merchandise in worth phrases recorded a 50 per cent leap in 2018-19 to Rs 5,151 crore. Among the many main meals gadgets that had been shipped out from the nation included flax seeds, sesame, soybean, arhar (purple gram), rice and tea. The US and European Union (EU) member-countries had been the most important consumers of those natural merchandise.
However not everybody is happy about natural farming. Subhash Palekar – the pioneer of Zero Funds Pure Farming (ZBNF) – mentioned that natural farming is a overseas technique and shouldn’t be inspired when the federal government is stressing on AtmanirbharBharat.
“AtmanirbharBharat means Swadeshi. Natural farming will not be Swadeshi and it destroys the fertility of the land. It’s far dearer than standard farming utilizing chemical fertilizers. The enter value is much increased in case of natural farming. It is past my understanding that whereas the federal government is speaking about Atmanirbhar Bharat it has determined to advertise natural farming. This coverage will not be proper,” Palekar mentioned.
Agriculture coverage professional Vijay Sardana mentioned that there was no dependable information to conclude that productiveness goes up in natural farming. “There is no such thing as a subject in pushing for natural farming however the authorities also needs to spell out its meals safety plan. Then, the opposite subject is natural merchandise are offered at a premium so solely the wealthy can afford to purchase,” Sardana mentioned.
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