The followers of the Islamic faith began to celebrate Ramadan on May 5, and it is worth noting some very dear foods and drinks by the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. One of the most consumed drinks in Muslim homes in the region is a concentrated juice of herbs called Rooh Afza (soul enhancement). However, as Ramadan approached this year, Rooh Afza lovers in India faced an unprecedented crisis – the drink (manufactured by Hamdard Laboratories) was not available for months.
– Anisa Draboo (@Drabooanisa) May 7, 2019
Ramadan without Rooh Afza in Iftaar is unimaginable. My 8 year old son has been looking for him for three days in every store. It seems to be sold out. ?
This complete summer till now I had been looking for #RoohAfza in almost all markets near me. It's not available locally anywhere. Ramzan started now, but #RoohAfza is out since the start of this summer. So let's not make it #Muslim drink .. it's a drink of India in summer. https://t.co/bow1zVuL6O
– ??मैं भी चौकिदार सा? (@pagal_panthi) May 8, 2019
No. It is not a crisis for Muslim Indians. It is a crisis for all Indians who like Rooh Afza. Serious problem.
Throughout the summer and until today I have been looking for Rooh Afza in almost all nearby markets. It is not available anywhere. Ramadan has already begun, but Rooh Afza has been sold out for weeks. Let's not turn it into a Muslim drink … it's a summer drink in India.
A century of history
Hakim Mohammed Kabiruddin, a Unani herbal medicine doctor in Ghaziabad, British India, made the beverage formula for the first time in 1906, as an herbal remedy to counteract heat. Later, Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed of Old Delhi, India, launched it to the market.
In 1907, #HakeemAbdulMajeed launched a non alcohoalic medicinal concentrate called ‘Rooh Afza’ (Soul Enhancer) to combat Delhi’s hot loo winds.
Soon #RoohAfza became one of the most iconic delicacies of Delhi along with Nihari and Bedami poori.#RoohAfzaGO https://t.co/7qBjovy28V
– Heritage Times (@HeritageTimesIN) May 8, 2019
The Rooh Afza division:
Established in 1906 by Hakeem Abdul Majeed, Hamdard (meaning “Sympathizer”) was a Yunani medicine shop in Delhi’s Lal Kuan Bazaar.
In 1907, Hakeem Abdul Majeed launched an alcohol-free medicinal concentrate called Rooh Afza (Improvement for the Soul) to combat the heat of Delhi. Soon, Rooh Afza became one of Delhi's most iconic delicacies in conjunction with Nihari and the poori (pan) Bedami.
Rooh Afza is commonly associated with the month of Ramadan, during which the drink is consumed in the iftar (food to break the fast). It is sold commercially as a juice to flavor sharbats, dairy drinks, frozen waters and cold desserts. Around 20 million bottles are produced annually in India alone.
– M E H R E E N (@MehreenTweets) May 8, 2019
To quench thirst!
After the division of India and so far, Rooh Afza has been manufactured by companies founded by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed and his sons, which expanded throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Mayank Austen Sufi wrote on LiveMint:
Exoticizing itself as the “Summer drink of the East”, Rooh Afza in Pakistan tastes exactly the same as its Indian counterpart. After East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, the property in Dhaka was transferred to a local entrepreneur, who carried on the legacy that began in Old Delhi’s Lal Kuan.
Rooh Afza highlighting his exoticism as “the summer drink in the east”, in Pakistan it tastes the same as its Indian counterpart. After East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, the property in Dhaka was transferred to a local businessman, who continued the legacy that began in Lal Khuan, Old Delhi.
The current dispute
Apparently the company is going through a management dispute that may have contributed to Rooh Afza's shortage in India. Shivam VJ wrote in the online newspaper Print.in:
The dispute is over the chair of Chief Mutawalli (equivalent to CEO) of Hamdard, which is currently held by Abdul Majeed, the great-grandson of Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, the Unani medicine practitioner who founded the company in old Delhi over a century ago . The company also owns traditional medicine brands such as Safi, Cinkara, Masturin and Joshina.
Abdul Majeed’s cousin Hammad Ahmed has been trying to take over the company, claiming rightful inheritance. He even went to court for it, and the legal battle put a stop to the production of RoohAfza.
The dispute revolves around the post of Chief Mutawalli (equivalent to the figure of executive president) of Hamdard, who currently holds Abdul Majeed, great-grandson of Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, the unani doctor who founded the company in Old Delhi more than a century. The company also owns brands of traditional medicine such as Safi, Cinkara, Masturin and Joshina.
Abdul Majeed's cousin, Hammad Ahmed, has tried to seize the company claiming hereditary rights. He even went to court and the legal fight stopped the production of Rooh Afza.
The shortage of Rooh Afza became more noticeable after Hamdard Pakistan Laboratories offered to supply India with Rooh Afza during Ramadan.
Usama Qureshi, doctor and chief executive of Hamdard Pakistan, tweeted:
– Usama Qureshi (@UsamaQureshy) May 7, 2019
Brother Shivam Hij, we can provide Rooh Afza and Rooh Afza GO in India during this Ramadan. We can easily ship the trucks across the Wahga border if the Government of India allows it.
Hamdard denies the reports
However, Hamdard Laboratories in India refuted media reports on the dispute over command and blamed to the shortage of ingredients as the main reason for the lack of product. According to the latest report, the company mentioned that the product is available again.
#RoohAfza-maker #HamdardLaboratories India said, its popular drink is now available in the market after a temporary shortage due to short supply of certain herbal ingredients pic.twitter.com/MI2le6lgqs
– ET NOW (@ETNOWlive) May 9, 2019
RoohAfza's manufacturer, Hamdard Laboratories India, said its popular drink is now available, after the temporary shortage of some herbal ingredients.
And the citizens celebrated his return:
– Pawan Gogna (@pgogna) May 9, 2019
The pride of the country for 113 years, Hamdard's most popular herbal drink, Rooh Afza, is back after six months … cheers! ??