When Hakeem Mohammed Moizuddin Farooqui discovered the wonder potion in a ramshackle building in Nimboli Adda in 1920 little did he know that it would be in demand a hundred years later also? Today it is not just a much sought-after over-the-counter medicine but the first choice of many. That's what Zinda Tilismath is. Be it a headache, muscular pains, cold, cough, or nausea, it is considered a sure-fire cure. Over the years it has taken many forms - from liquid formulation to tooth powder and cough lozenges. And in its hundredth year, it has donned a new avatar to emerge as a balm.

The best part is that the product has retained the trust and goodwill of consumers. In a market flooded by numerous ointments and pain killers, Zinda Tilismath remains the pehli pasand of the consumers. Interestingly this unique concoction hit the market when Hyderabad was in the grip of the Spanish flu. And when it completed its long journey of 100 years last year the city was in the grip of another disease - Coronavirus. As in the past, many found relief in Zinda Tilismath during the pandemic. In fact, its sales shot up with people using it as an immunity booster.

To mark the milestone, the Farooqui family held a glittering ceremony the other day at a posh hotel in upscale Madhapur. Amidst dance and foot-tapping music, the Zinda Tilismath balm was released. The entire ZT clan was there to witness the memorable event which caps a journey of hundred long years of blood, sweat, and tears. The founder's only surviving son, Masihuddin Farooqui, was there to take part in the celebrations.

According to Imad Farooqui and his cousin, Sohail Farooqui, their grandfather started off with the production of just three lakh vials, and today the production has shot up to 70 lakh vials. Over the years they have never tinkered with the original herbal formula through constant improvements have been made in the way the bottles are filled, packed, and labeled. The Karkhana Zinda Tilismath at Amberpet has seen massive transformation - from manual preparation to total automation. As machines have taken over every aspect of production, the management has not dispensed with the labor. They have been absorbed elsewhere as per the wishes of the founder, says Imad.

How different is the ZT balm from similar products? Well, it is different in that it has a cooling effect. Initially, it causes a burning sensation but soon one will experience a cool feeling. The balm comes in packs of 1 gram (Rs. 2) and 10 gram (Rs. 35).

Not many know that the ZT uses the Nizam's crown (dastar) as its trademark. Also, the logo of a colored man on the Zinda Tilismath pack is a reflection of the strength of Siddis, the African Cavalry Guard of the Nizam. The brand has a steady presence in the market and now the Farooqui family plans to take it to the nook and corner of the world to make it har ghar ki dawa and not merely har marz ki dawa.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. His third book - Urdu Poets and Writers , Gems of Deccan  - is just released. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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