ZINDA TILISMATH, REM­EDY FOR ALL ILLS

The nearly cen­tury-old po­tion is a house­hold name in Hyderabad

Deccan Chronicle - - Front Page -

The strong smell of eu­ca­lyp­tus en­velopes you even be­fore you reach Karkhana Zinda Tilismath, where the iconic ‘har marz ki dawa’, or cure­all, has been made since

1920. It is a mag­i­cal po­tion as the name sug­gests and Zinda Tilismath in Urdu lit­er­ally means ‘liv­ing magic’, which can be con­sumed in­ter­nally and ap­plied ex­ter­nally to treat all kinds of ail­ments.

This tiny bot­tle with its dark liq­uid has only five in­gre­di­ents — eu­ca­lyp­tus, which is the main in­gre­di­ent at 70 per cent, and cam­phor, men­thol, thy­mol and ratan­jyoth (a bark of a tree, which lends the colour to this med­i­ca­tion).

Be­fore this prod­uct was launched for­mally as Zinda Tilismath by Mo­hammed Hakim Moizud­din Fa­rooqui in

1920, he was run­ning a clinic at Moti Mar­ket (though the mar­ket ex­ists, the clinic is no more there) in the 1880s, where he would treat peo­ple for mi­nor ail­ments such as cough and cold us­ing the Unani tra­di­tion.

The then Nizam was im­pressed with the wordof-mouth re­view of this prod­uct and al­lowed Hakimji to use the Nizam’s cap (das­tar), in the shape of seven kulchas one atop the other, as the reg­is­tered trade mark when Fa­rooqui launched the com­pany in 1920.

Many com­pa­nies used this as a trade­mark in those days to show their loy­alty to the head of state. It was then that this mag­i­cal liq­uid was com­mer­cially launched as Zinda Tilismath. The Nizam’s das­tar still has its place on the pack­age.

Even in those days a lot of plan­ning went into get­ting a logo and the colour of the pack­ag­ing. The bright orange has not changed for 98 years and nei­ther has the logo of the strong African male armed with a bow and ar­row.

“There were no ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies then and my grand­fa­ther did not want to use an Euro­pean nor any women to pub­li­cise his prod­uct,” says Saad Fa­rooqui, the third gen­er­a­tion work­ing at the fac­tory. “Those days the Sid­dis were the epit­ome of health and act­ing as per­sonal body­guards both for the Nizam and his fam­ily mem­bers. They were the sym­bol of trust, pro­tec­tion and good health,” says Saad.

These Sid­dhis were of Ethiopian East African ori­gin and part of the Wana­parthy army who later joined the Nizam’s forces. So it was that the epit­ome of health and trust came to stay as the logo for this orange box.

Hakim Saab was born in Gul­barga, but his fam­ily was from Au­rangabad which was then part of the Hyderabad state.

There are those who will swear by this medicine, from a young­ster to a se­nior ci­ti­zen for this liq­uid is a quick fix for is­sues like cold, cough, headache, stom­ach pain and many oth­ers.

It has now been con­firmed by a lab­o­ra­tory at Pune that Zinda Tilismath is ef­fec­tive as a pre­ven­tive for swine flu. “It has a symp­to­matic cure and acts as a pre­ven­tive,” says Saad. The com­pany sent ham­pers to Ut­tarak­hand and Kash­mir when they had floods, while ev­ery batch of Haj pil­grims also gets a free ham­per.

“The rea­son for our sur­vival is the strong be­lief that many peo­ple have in this tiny bot­tle. In fact, I used it when my daugh­ter had a con­gested chest. As our do­mes­tic help said, ‘jaadoo ke jaisa chale gaya’,” he says.

This liq­uid medicine is un­usual in that it can be used ex­ter­nally and taken in­ter­nally, by adding a few drops (de­pend­ing on the ail­ment), to a cup of milk or other drinks There are huge boards in the com­pound of the fac­tory, which ex­plain the uses of each in­gre­di­ent which goes into the mak­ing of Zinda Tilismath, with a board show­ing the dosage that should be taken and in what man­ner.

“We bring school stu­dents to show around the fac­tory and dis­play the ben­e­fits of herbal medicine,” says Saad adding that phar­macy stu­dents come to con­duct their stud­ies at the fac­tory.

There was not too much of ad­ver­tis­ing those days and Hakim Saab was his own mar­ket­ing per­son. He would travel into the ru­ral parts of Hyderabad state by train and carry a board with him made of cast iron which an­nounced the prod­ucts he was car­ry­ing. These boards have be­come col­lec­tor’s items and have been bought by peo­ple liv­ing in the US through e-Bay.

Fa­rooky tooth­pow­der is syn­ony­mous with Zinda Tilismath and those who swear by one swear by the other. This tooth­pow­der has 16 in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing the five of Zinda Tilismath. It also has black car­damom, cin­na­mon, black salt and sev­eral prod­ucts which are ex­hib­ited for the peo­ple to see.

Black dust en­velopes the fac­tory as this tooth­pow­der is man­u­ally packed into cylin­dri­cal boxes of var­i­ous sizes. This also has an at­trac­tive orange-red colour la­bel with a shark for a logo. “Be­cause the shark has strong, sharp and shiny teeth,” says Saad.

Though Kharkhana Zinda Tilismath had huge tracts of land, the fam­ily was large and the land got dis­trib­uted. While the Zinda Tilismath fac­tory re­tains the old build­ing with its sun­burst de­sign, the fac­tory name writ­ten in a beau­ti­ful green, the tooth­pow­der is made be­hind in a small fac­tory. It still has the old grind­ing ma­chine, which is not be­ing used now but is kept there.

With the younger gen­er­a­tion get­ting into the busi­ness, there is a lit­tle di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. The com­pany has en­tered the throat lozenges mar­ket with Zint, as the prod­uct is called.

This year they launched de­li­cious lit­tle mouth fresh­en­ers called Zint Kala Khatta Chu­ran and Zint Mango Chu­ran. Though it is called chu­ran, it is in tablet form.

Ap­par­ently Zinda Tilismath has a tooth­paste in the pipe­line. Ac­cord­ing to Saad it would have the com­bi­na­tion of the same 16 prod­ucts used in the tooth­pow­der. Zinda Tilismath also has a pain balm.

Hakim Saab was a great be­liever of Unani medicine and wanted that the lo­cals work at the fac­tory. While Zinda Tilismath was mostly made man­u­ally, these days there are ma­chines to fill the bot­tles and la­bel them. The tooth­pow­der is stilled filled man­u­ally. The com­pany has 69 em­ploy­ees and of these many have been with the fac­tory for a long time. Mo­hammed Hakim Moizud­din had 12 chil­dren and all of them were man­ag­ing part­ners of the firm as per the Mus­lim per­sonal law. Now the third gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily is tak­ing the com­pany to­wards newer prod­ucts while keep­ing tra­di­tions alive.

While none of the in­gre­di­ents havs changed, the prices have in­creased three-fold. With herbal prod­ucts com­ing back into fash­ion, it is a bit of a chal­lenge for this an­cient but small com­pany. With a loyal cus­tomer base in the ru­ral hin­ter­land, the com­pany has been sen­si­tive about the pric­ing and has not in­creased it by much keep­ing in mind its cap­tive mar­ket.

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