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Cult Pakistan: Part 1

Discussion in 'Members Club' started by Dance, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Dance

    Dance SENIOR MEMBER

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    BY:NADEEM F. PARACHA

    Pakola Ice-cream Soda

    Every Pakistani knows about Pakola Ice-Cream Soda. The bright green coloured soft-drink that is also hailed (unofficially, though) to be ‘Pakistan’s national soft-drink.’

    Launched by Mehran Bottlers in 1950, just three years after the country’s sudden formation, Pakola arrived by claiming to be ‘the cola of Pakistan’ (hence the name Pakola) – even though both in taste and colour it was quite unlike the usual dark coloured colas.

    For the first few years Pakola struggled to find a market for itself that was packed with popular soft-drinks such as Coca-Cola, 7Up and Bubble-Up.

    Then in the mid-1950s it even had to print the words ‘Non-Alcoholic’ on its bottles because thanks to its striking colour, some stores (in Karachi) actually began storing it alongside their stock of alcoholic beverages!

    Nevertheless, in the early 1960s Pakola was saved from fading into obscurity when keepers of some shrines in Lahore and Karachi began mixing Pakola with chilled milk (in jugs) during the communal iftars that they held in the Muslim holy month of Ramzan.

    This trend soon made it into various households as well and Pakola mixed with milk became a fixture of most Pakistanis during Ramzan.

    Ever since the 1960s, the green coloured Pakola has remained to be a soft-drink icon in Pakistan, despite Mehran Bottlers also introducing it in other flavours from late 1970s onwards.

    Interestingly, according to the makers of Pakola, the drink also became popular with western tourists who used to throng the markets of Peshawar, Lahore and the beaches of Karachi in the early and mid-1970s.

    Most of these tourists were young Europeans and Americans who’d travel (on buses, bikes and cars) on the famous ‘hippie trail’ that began in Turkey, and then after curving and zigzagging through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, ended either in India or Nepal.

    Today, though by no means is Pakola Pakistan’s largest selling soft-drink, however it certainly is the most recognised, and as mentioned earlier, a permanent fixture on tables and dastarkhuans during Ramzan – so much so that only a few years ago Pakola introduced its own version of Pakola flavoured milk in Tetra Packs.

    Pakola is also exported in limited quantities to the Middle-East and to Pakistani-Indian stores in the United States, Canada and Britain.

    Rooh-Afza

    Till even about thirty years ago, if you’d ask a young Pakistani child what the ‘rivers of sharab in Paradise’ would look and taste like, he or she would most probably have said ‘like Rooh-Afza.’

    Formulated by Hakeem Abdul Majeed and manufactured by his sons in 1906 in India through their company, Hamdard Laboratories, Rooh-Afza is no ordinary ‘sharbat’ (concentrated fruit drink).

    Deep red in colour and thick in texture, it is to be mixed with cold water and preferably enjoyed with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon. The taste is refreshing but not remarkable, perhaps a bit too sweet.

    However, it wasn’t exactly its taste that turned Rooh-Afza into becoming such a popular icon among Pakistanis. It is the whole aura and image that it’s marketing created about the brand right from the beginning.

    It was introduced as being the ‘Mashroob-e-Mashriq’ (the drink of the east), a slogan it has continued to use for over a century now.

    The image that still adorns its front label is that of a delicious looking heap of colourful fruit, an allusion to the imagery found in the tales of ‘Arabian Nights’ as well as to the royal prosperity of Mughal rule in India.

    Incidentally, when a part of Hamdrad Laboratories moved to the newly formed Muslim majority country of Pakistan in 1948, Rooh-Afza’s imagery morphed into something with ‘Islamic’ overtones, especially when it became extremely popular with fasting Muslims who broke their fasts during Ramzan with Rooh-Afza or milk mixed with the red beverage.

    In the mid-1970s, Rooh-Afza was also introduced in plastic bottles but the experiment failed when the bottles began to leak in the hot summers of the country.

    It was also in the 1970s that Pakistanis began freezing cubes made from the Rooh-Afza and milk in ice trays and turning them into ready to eat ice-cream to be enjoyed during special occasions.

    In the early 1980s Rooh-Afza began facing its first real competition when two more red concentrated fruit drinks hit the market, Nauras and Jam-e-Shireen.

    Though Rooh-Afza struggled for a while to ward off the challenge, it did manage to hold its ground. But by the 1990s it was faced with a generation of young Pakistanis who were clearly moving away from ‘traditional beverages.’

    To counter this, Rooh-Afza for the first time changed its marketing strategy by replacing its ‘eastern/traditional/Islamic’ similes with (albeit kitsch-like) pop imagery.

    Failing on that count, in 2007 Rooh-Afza ran a campaign hitting out at colas and asking Pakistanis to return to the ‘mashroob-e-mashriq,’ albeit in a more contemporary manner.

    Murree Beer

    A popular beer brand in Pakistan made by Murree Breweries (founded in 1860) one of the three functioning breweries in the country,

    Pakistanis who drink have all had a taste of Murree Beer, a brand that competed with imported beer brands (especially German and Dutch) from 1947 till 1977 when sale of alcohol was legal in the country.

    Murree was mostly found in the smaller bars and nightclubs, social clubs and coffee houses. Murree Beer was also advertised through billboards (but only in Karachi).

    Ever since April 1977 when sale of alcohol was prohibited (to Muslims) in the country, Murree Beer is only available in ‘licensed wine shops’ in Karachi and the rest of Sindh, and in some restaurants in Karachi.

    These shops can only be found in Karachi and Sindh, whereas alcohol (even locally made) is usually purchased from bootleggers elsewhere in Pakistan.

    Murree Breweries is one of the biggest tax payers to the government, and in the last decade it has introduced various variations of their beer brand.

    Though it is not allowed to import its products, Murree has issued licences to a few Belgian breweries to make and market its beer in Europe.

    According to the Brewery, Murree Beer is one of its largest selling products in Pakistan.

    K2 Cigarettes

    K2 cigarettes began life as an inexpensive brand catering to the smoking needs of urban working classes and rural peasants of Pakistan.

    Till about the early 1980s, K2 could only be found in packs of ten and was without a filter. In fact, it could be smoked from both ends!

    By the 1960s, K2 became iconic with working-class Pakistanis, so much so that in the 1970s middle-class college and university students who smoked and were supporters of socialist ideas used to make a conscious decision to only smoke K2 (as a political statement).

    However, by the late 1970s, K2 began facing stiff competition from other inexpensive brands (especially King Stroke, Scissors and Belga).

    As a response, K2 decided to also enter the ‘higher-income’ cigarette market and for the first time introduced soft packs of 20 filter cigarettes. The entry was backed by lavish TV advertising.

    Nevertheless, though over the years demand for filter-less cigarettes has significantly dropped, even among ‘low-income’ smokers, K2’s image, however, remains to be associated with rugged working-class Pakistanis and peasants.

    Babu Bidi

    Made in Hyderabad, Sindh, from bidi leaves and tobacco imported from India, Babu Bidi became a status symbol among working-class bidi smokers in Sindh.

    Tasting smoother than the usual bidi, Babu was launched in 1977 and was especially popular with Sindh’s and Karachi’s rickshaw and taxi-drivers.

    In fact, the sales among these consumers were so good that Babu Bidi even ventured into TV advertising (in 1979).

    In the TV commercial (that became a cult favourite of 1980s young generation), Babu Bidi used an actual rickshaw driver as a model who, (in the TV commercial), is seen becoming a ‘babu’ (gentleman) after smoking Babu Bidi.

    From the late 1980s, Babu Bidi’s sales began to suffer, especially due to the widespread availability of superior bidis imported from India and an overall fall in the demand for bidis.



    Cult Pakistan: Part 1 | Blog | DAWN.COM
     
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  2. Dance

    Dance SENIOR MEMBER

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    There were two other sections to this article but I took them out cause I didn't want any one to be offended. You can read the whole article in the link
     
  3. American Pakistani

    American Pakistani ELITE MEMBER

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    I love Pakola, unfortunately i am totally failed to find it in US.
     
  4. Dance

    Dance SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yeah they are sold in limited places!

    I wish more Pakistani grocery stores carried Pakola
     
  5. W.11

    W.11 ELITE MEMBER

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    a mere khuda!!!!!, can this empty head say one thing tht can be understood by non insane guy??

    this guy is a complete nut to the core!!!

    the guy cant even spare one innocent looking beverage from his anti islamic bashing and craps??:rofl::rofl: do people not drink 'tang' in ramazan in after breaking fast, and does 'tang' not dvertise in islamic tunes during ramazan and also lower its prise along with coca cola and pepsi so tht people buy more of them in ramazan

    he is finding another conspiracy theory is a beverage??? lollzzzzzzzzzz man
     
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  6. W.11

    W.11 ELITE MEMBER

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    thank god!!!!!, he didnt say zia was responsible for the fall in sales of this product
     
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  7. Karachiite

    Karachiite BANNED

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    Really interesting to see how pornographic magazines and adult films were tolerated in Pakistan back in the days. Although it's nothing to be proud of but just goes to show how liberal and tolerant Pakistan was then. Unfortunately those days wont come back any time soon.
     
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  8. Skies

    Skies SENIOR MEMBER

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    At least, beer should be legally allowed in PK.
     
  9. T-Faz

    T-Faz RETIRED MOD

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    I am posting the rest of it:

     
  10. integra

    integra SENIOR MEMBER

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    Actually I've heard about this Pacola soda thing
    from some oldie. Didn know that came from the west.:alcoholic:
     
  11. T-Faz

    T-Faz RETIRED MOD

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    Pakola is nice, its the best soft drink in the world.

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  12. Ziras

    Ziras FULL MEMBER

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    i miss polka ice cream..Toyo Nasic glass ware. celluco toys...... my fav plastic elrphant was made by celluco..and it survived me and my 4 younger bros and sis.... remained in our house for so long that even our children played with it.
     
  13. integra

    integra SENIOR MEMBER

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    damn and I thought heavenly drinks came in red or brown:lol:
    Someone should seriously export that stuff over here.
    The good part is Its GREEN!
     
  14. Peregrine

    Peregrine SENIOR MEMBER

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    I have never had Pakola, Is it aerated like Pepsi etc? I am so gonna try it tomorrow, it kind of looks good.
     
  15. Skies

    Skies SENIOR MEMBER

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    Cut.......