Rooh Afza Sharbat: It is very hot these days for a sorbet. The matter is of India-Pakistan, in which the American company Amazon has also joined. It is actually a matter of RoohAfza. Roohafza is a very popular soft drink consumed by people across the country for generations. However, its consumption is not limited to India. People of Pakistan and Bangladesh are also crazy about it.
Recently, the Delhi High Court directed Amazon India to remove ‘Rooh Afza’ manufactured by a Pakistani company from its listing. The order comes after a petition filed by Hamdard National Foundation, an Indian social welfare NGO, contended that ‘Rooh Afza’ listed on the Amazon e-commerce site in India is not manufactured by India-based Hamdard Laboratory. But it is not mentioned on the packaging of RoohAfza manufactured by Pakistani companies.
The history of RoohAfza dates back to the partition of India.
Interestingly, the history of this sweet drink predates the partition of India. When there was neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh. Hamdard was founded in 1906 by Hakim Abdul Hameed. His grandson Hamid Ahmed, CEO and Trustee of Hamdard Laboratories-India, Food Division, says that the trademark of RoohAfza is with Hamdard Laboratories, India. They have stated that this product cannot be sold by any other enterprise in India directly or through other channels. But Pakistan-made RoohAfza was being sold on Amazon. We discussed the matter with Amazon and other e-commerce sites. But he showed his inability to remove it. We then had no option but to go to the High Court.
Ahmed pointed out that in 1906, there was only one sympathizer. But after 1947 his great-grandfather’s second son – Hakim Mohammad Sayeed went to Pakistan. He started sympathizing there. When Bangladesh came into existence in 1971, there was a sympathizer there too. These three make up Rooh Afza.
Roohafza is older than the birth of Pakistan and Bangladesh
Ahmed says that RoohAfza is older than the birth of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is an Indian product. We want to protect the Indian market from gray market penetration. He said that Rooh Afza was originally a medicine. It has cooling properties, which is why it is always in demand in summers. Today it is crafted with state-of-the-art. He uses cold vegetables, fruit juices and aroma extracts to prepare it.
However, the Delhi High Court has directed Amazon to remove the listing of Pakistan-made RoohAfza from its e-commerce site in India. The court has said that RoohAfza is a product that the Indian public has been consuming for more than a century. Its quality standards will have to comply with the applicable regulations laid down by the Food Safety and Standards Act and the Legal Metrology Act. It is surprising that an imported product is being sold on Amazon without disclosing the full details of the manufacturer.