Rooh Afza
TypeConcentrated herbal, Squash (drink)
InventorHakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed Old Delhi, British India
Inception1906; 118 years ago (1906)
ManufacturerHamdard India, Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Bangladesh, and Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan
AvailableIndia, Pakistan, Bangladesh
and the Middle East
SloganDrink of the East

Rooh Afza (Urdu: روح افزا; Hindi: रूह अफ़ज़ा; Bengali: রূহ আফজা) (Soul Refresher) is a concentrated squash.[1] It was formulated in 1906 in Ghaziabad, in India by Hakeem Muhammad Kabeeruddin[2] and introduced by Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed,[3][4][5] and launched from Old Delhi. Currently, Rooh Afza is manufactured by the companies founded by him and his sons, Hamdard Laboratories, India, Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan and Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Bangladesh. Since 1948, the company has been manufacturing the product in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.[3]

Other companies formulate the same un-patented recipe in these countries as well. The specific Unani recipe of Rooh Afza combines several ingredients popularly believed to be cooling agents, such as rose, which is used as a remedy for loo (the hot summer winds of Northern India and Pakistan and Bangladesh). The drink is commonly associated with the month of Ramadan, in which it is usually consumed during iftar. It is sold commercially as a syrup to flavour sherbets, cold milk drinks, ices, and cold desserts such as the popular falooda.[6] The name Rooh Afza is sometimes translated as "refresher of the soul".[7] It is said that this name was made up by the original formulator of the drink, with possible cultural influences.[8][3]

History

A bottle of Rooh Afza.
A sharbat drink made from Rooh Afza syrup.

Rooh Afza was founded by Hamdard's founder Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed in old Delhi, India. In 1906, he wanted to create a herbal mix that would help Delhi's people stay cool in the summer. He selected herbs and syrups from traditional Unani medicine and created a drink that would help counter heat strokes and prevent water loss in people. An artist, Mirza Noor Ahmad, designed the labels of Rooh Afza in many colours in 1910. Progress in development and refining the original recipe continued all along until the final drink emerged.[3]

After Majeed's death 15 years later, his wife Rabea Begum established a charitable trust in the name of herself and their two sons.[9]

Following the partition of India in 1947, while the elder son, Hakim Abdul Hameed, stayed back in India – the younger son, Hakim Mohammad Said, migrated to Pakistan on 9 January 1948 and started a separate Hamdard Company from two rooms in the old Arambagh area of Karachi.[3][7] Hamdard Pakistan finally became profitable in 1953. Hakim Mohammad Said had opened a branch of Hamdard in the former East Pakistan. According to Hakim Mohammad Said's daughter, Sadia Rashid, chairperson of Hamdard Pakistan in 2019, her father gifted the business to the people of Bangladesh after their independence in 1971.[3]

In 2010, chef Nita Mehta and Indian film actress Juhi Chawla were hired for promotional activities by Hamdard Laboratories to create new mocktail and dessert recipes for Rooh Afza, their all-season summer drink, which was used in a new marketing campaign.[10]

Ingredients

Its original formulation included:[11]

Preparation

Rooh Afza syrup is generally served mixed with cold milk and ice. Rooh Afza is often prepared as part of Iftar (the evening meal for breaking the fast or roza), during Ramadan[12] (the holy month of fasting for Muslims). The concentrate can also be mixed with water, which is a common preparation in the hot Pakistani summers. When mixed with water, the final drink is a type of sharbat. Rooh Afza syrup is often mixed with Kulfi ice cream and vermicelli to make a similar version of the popular Iranian dessert Faloodeh.

Lawsuit and fine in Bangladesh

On the complaint of false information, misleading advertisements and publication of false information on the web site, Safe Food Inspector Kamrul Hassan filed a case against Hamdard Laboratories Bangladesh on May 30, 2018. In the case, he mentions that the information published in the advertisement with 'Rooh Afza made with 35 fruit juice' is not correct.[13] On June 12 of the same year, Pure food court judge AFM Maruf Chowdhury fined the company four lakhs taka for publishing misleading advertisements. If unable to pay the fine, then the Hamdard chairman and managing director would be punished for three months' imprisonment.[14]

Variants

Hamdard Laboratories India has launched two ready to drink variants in India namely RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake.[15][16][17][18]

In Pakistan one of the ready-to-drink variant, called the Rooh Afza Go, [19] is available in a can form. In addition a drink commonly prepared by parents for kids in Pakistan, is now available as a product from Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan, called the Doodh Rooh Afza.[20] It is essentially Rooh Afza flavored milk, packaged in a 225ml milk carton. Note that Rooh Afza is exclusively written as two words on products packaged in Pakistan.

References

  1. ^ Raza, Syed Qasim (19 May 2018). "Rooh Afza: the eternal elixir of the east". Aurora.
  2. ^ "In India, Rooh Afza lovers rejoice as the drink returns to shelves in time for Ramadan". Qrius. 11 May 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Family Rift Behind Disappearance of Favourite Summer Drink Rooh Afza, But Company Denies NEWS 18 INDIA website, Published 9 May 2019, Retrieved 4 May 2020
  4. ^ [1][2] Introduction-history Hamdard Rooh Afza
  5. ^ "How Hamdard's Ruby-Hued Refresher Became an Indian Summer Staple". The Better India. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  6. ^ H. Panda (2004), Handbook on Ayurvedic Medicines with Formulae, Processes and Their Uses, National Institute of Industrial Research, ISBN 81-86623-63-9, ... When we keep in mind the many qualities Rooh Afza's ingredients described above, it is easy to understand why it has been found to be an exceptionally appropriate summer drink ...[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Rooh Afza, the syrup that sweetens the subcontinent's summers". The National (Abu Dhabi) (newspaper). 27 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Rooh Afza History English". www.roohafzabd.com. Archived from the original on 14 May 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Across Borders and Divides, One Heavenly Refresher Cools Summer Heat". The New York Times. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Hamdard gives century-old Rooh Afza a facelift". Hindustan Times. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  11. ^ Rooh Afzalː The unique composition of Rooh Afza(Archive)
  12. ^ Roohafza reigns supreme in Pakistan during Ramzan ZEE TV News website, Published 12 October 2007, Retrieved 26 April 2020
  13. ^ "The case against Ruh Afza". Jago News. 31 May 2018.
  14. ^ "'Ruh Afza' fined four lakh taka". Bangla Tribune. 31 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Hamdard Laboratories India launches 'ready to drink' RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Hamdard Laboratories India forays into 'ready-to-drink' segment with RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake". www.bestmediaifo.com. 17 June 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  17. ^ "FNB News - Hamdard forays into 'ready to drink' with RoohAfza Fusion and Milkshake | FNB News". www.fnbnews.com. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  18. ^ "RoohAfza Fusion: Hamdard Laboratories India enters ready-to-drink segment". ETRetail.com. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Rooh Afza Go".
  20. ^ "Doodh Rooh Afza".