As the sun strikes its merciless rays and shimmering heat, India welcomes the summer with a refreshing and vibrant array of sherbats and beverages. Yet, as Ramadan approaches, the streets of South Asia begin to reflect a dazzling red hue, and the aroma of roses and herbs starts filling the air. Yes, we are talking about the classic beverage, Rooh Afza, whose symphony of flavour and colour has bound numerous communities together, regardless of the borders between them. 

Rooh Afza was crafted by the renowned Unani medical practitioner Hafiz Abdul Majeed over a century ago in Old Delhi. He endeavoured to combat the harsh sun with a tasty and refreshing drink, blending several fruits, herbs and florals, including its iconic notes of rosewater and pandan.

This magical brew was named 'Rooh Afza', which means 'soul refresher', a perfect name for the perfect drink, as it quickly became a favourite of thousands of Indians. 

According to Hamdard's official website, "In 1906, Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed established a small Unani clinic in the historic Old Delhi to provide access of Unani medicines to a large number of people. His fledgling venture was named "Hamdard", meaning 'sympathy for all and sharing of pain."

Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed passed away on 22 March 1922 and as per National Public Radio, his wife and two sons assumed control of the company following his death. During the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, one brother remained in Delhi while the other went to Pakistan. The family established factories under two companies in both countries, as well as in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. 

Both companies operate independently from each other today, but almost all of their products are the same. Hamid Ahmed, the great-grandson of Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, serves as the CEO of Hamdard's India food division. According to NPR, the company's annual turnover is around $70 million. The company reported earnings of $37 million from the Rooh Afza alone in 2020. 

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