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India@75: Independence era brands that define India’s cultural identity

From your great grandparents to your friends, every Indian or anyone who’s lived in the country in the last 75 years would be familiar with these iconic Indian brands

From your great grandparents to your friends, every Indian or anyone who’s ever lived in the country in the last 75 years or more is familiar with certain brands and their products.

While some were launched during the swadeshi movement, others came to serve the growing demands of newly Independent Indians. This Independence Day, let’s take a look at some such cult desi brands that set up shop even before India was officially declared independent.

HALDIRAM'S

Everyone’s favourite bhujia maker, Haldiram’s started out as a small namkeen shop in Rajasthan’s Bikaner in 1937. The owner started selling his Bikaneri Bhujia in 1946 and the brand has now grown to become the go-to for Indian snacks, sweets, namkeens, and the best place to eat some yummy chaat.

AMUL

More than just a milk brand, Amul with its tagline ‘the taste of India’ has literally fed generations of Indians. Founded in 1946 as a response to exploitative practices in the sector, the brand triggered India’s White Revolution. And the Amul Girl campaign which debuted in 1955 has become a pop culture icon in its own right.

ROOH AFZA (HAMDARD)

Before the colour was even coined, India's favourite millennial pink drink, Hamdard’s Roof Afza was formulated in 1906 in Ghaziabad. Whether in milk, falooda or with water, all of us have grown up consuming some version of the rosy and refreshing drink. Synonymous with iftar in all South Asian homes, the nostalgia is real with this one.

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OLD MONK (MOHAN MEAKIN)

The alcohol that many Indians can recall as their first drink, Old Monk Rum’s origin story can be dated back to 1855 in British India. Mohan Meakin, the rum’s producer started what is believed to be Asia’s first brewery in Kasauli, to serve British drinking needs. But Old Monk itself was launched in 1954 by Ved Rattan Mohan, former managing director of Mohan Meakin.

PARLE G

A brand with a mascot so iconic that it needs no introduction, the Parle G biscuit has been a household hit since its launch in 1939. But the iconic Parle G Girl was illustrated much later in 1960. Interestingly, Parle G introduced the first homegrown biscuit for ordinary Indians but the brand’s first product was actually an orange candy.

So, how many of these iconic Indian products do you have in your home right now?

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