AERATED WATER COMES TO LAHORE
NABI BAKSH DEHLAVI FACTORY 1851
Lemonade good for digestion
Every day we see advertisements on our media. Girls and boys frolicking over a bottle of Pepsi and Coca Cola. But they were not always there. An obscure advertisement in the newspaper Kohinoor Lahore of 1851 tells us that Nabi Baksh of Calcutta, had come from Delhi with an aerated bottle factory and ready to sell lemonade in Lahore. Very simple news. Who could have imagined the end results? The funny thing is that the factory was of Muslim origin and the Hindu population refused to partake this aerate water of the Muslims., Can you believe that?
The earliest aerated water in Lahore as we remember was the one sold by beverage shop in the bazaar of Hira Mandi. It is sold to this day. Not only was it good for digestion, it was also used to mix with locally made alcoholic drinks. Drinks and prostitution went hand in hand. To those who regularly visited Karachi, Pakola could be found there. A long time back Coca Cola found its way into Lahore. The bottle was for 5 annas each. Then Seven-up came to Lahore and was much loved by the city guys. Digestion made easy with them, for all these drinks brought burps to the drinker easily. In fact Lahoris were very suspicious at that time that a few drops of alcohol had been introduced in every bottle of Coke. That was common sense then. Nobody denied that.
But where aerated water was concerned, there was need for Iced bottles too! When did ice come to Lahore? It is reputed that Ranjit Singh used to get carts laden with ice all the way from Kashmeer. The icepits were situated in a large ground near Training College Lahore. The method of freezing some ice was to lay kiaris on which a layer of rustic straw was spread. Then pans of burnt clay were placed, all leading to some freezing of ice during the night. This ice collected used to be sold. Then in 1870s a regular machine factory was installed to make artificial ice but also at the same place. Then the same was shifted to the ground opposite the Commercial Buildings in Lahore. Regular market for same particularly in summer. Today traditional barf khanas are at many places in the city but one of the oldest was opposite Mochi Gate Lahore. Ice cream also started with these barf khanas and one of the oldest was SNOW FLAKE in Lahore. All in all, the history of Lahore is worthy of being recorded for the future.