For most of us Indians, rose sherbet meant Rooh Afza; in fact the latter became a synonym for rose sherbet. This sherbet, with its delectable and delicate pink colour, holds the promise of quenching your thirst and bringing the much needed calmness and coolness to the body.
This brand is over 100 years old. Coming from the stables of Hamdard, it was first sold in 1906 – it was made and sold by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul and his wide Rabia Begum through Hamdard Laboratories. It was a runaway success even then but Majeed died in 1922. Then came the partition and one of his sons, Hadeem, migrated to Pakistan and he set up his Hamdard there. Majeed’s other son, Abdul, preferred to say back in India and he started scaling up the facility and products which his father had built, going on to build a virtual unani empire.
Today, even in this age of Pepsi and other beverages, RoohAfza holds its steed. The new generation at Hamdard is reinventing itself and projecting itself as a new age product. Two years ago, for the first time in its 100-year history, Hamdard turned to PET bottles for RoohAfza and also smaller units of 250 ml at Rs.50. Last year, Hamdard extended the brand to a ready-to-drink beverage—RoohAfza Fusion, priced at Rs.20 for 200ml. It is also planning to launch new products under the RoohAfza and Safi umbrellas, extending to the personal care segment. Hamdard is tapping into a network of qualified hakims for the many wellness centres it plans to set up across India.
Its very heartwarming to know that some things of that age, over 100 years old are still around and doing well. Hamdard clocks a turnover of over Rs.700 crore. They are changing to keep pace with the changing time but the core remains the same – rooh remains the same!