Unfazed by politics over name, revadi makers of Meerut prepare for winter sales
New Delhi/Meerut: Sunil Gupta, an otherwise reserved person, is quite loquacious when he talks about revadis-- the traditional candy sweet made from jaggery and sesame seeds
New Delhi/Meerut: Sunil Gupta, an otherwise reserved person, is quite loquacious when he talks about revadis-- the traditional candy sweet made from jaggery and sesame seeds. After all, his family has been selling the sweet for the past 118 years, earning fame and fortune in the process. His shop in Meerut, Ram Chandra Sahai Revadi Wale , attracts revadi lovers from far and wide.
“ Unfortunately, revadis have come to be associated with freeloaders in the past couple of months,” says Gupta referring to the political debate over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ use of revadi as a metaphor for political freebies being promised by various parties to grab power during a public address in Uttar Pradesh in July.
“The fact is, people who buy revadis from us are those who really relish the sweet and are willing to pay any price to buy it, ” adds Gupta, whose shop produces 500 kg to 700 kg of revadis every year between October and March.
Meerut has over 150 big revadi makers (an entire locality deals in revadis), producing hundreds of kilos of revadi every day during the winter, making it arguably the revadi capital of India.
September is the time when these sweets makers start preparing for the revadi season. Budhana Gate, a locality in Meerut , alone has over 40 revadi shops and many like Rajendra Kumar’s , have already started making the candy. Like many others in the city’s famed revadi market, Kumar believes any publicity is good publicity. “I am happy that revadis are the flavour of the season, all thanks to the Prime Minister. I am hoping for a big spurt in sales this year,” says Kumar, supervising the production in the backyard of his shop, which boasts large cauldrons, sacks of hulled sesame seeds, cans of ghee, and jaggery slabs that will be turned into a thick syrup.
“I make about 200 kg of five different kinds of revadis during the peak winter season.” During off season, most revadi makers sell Nankhatai (shortbread biscuits), another speciality of Meerut.
Interestingly, he says that among the biggest buyers of their Revadis have been local politicians, who buy in bulk to give them as gifts at party offices in Lucknow and Delhi. But Sunil Gupta claims to have much more illustrious patrons. Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav is among the politicians who has a taste for revadi, he says.
“In fact, over the 118 years of our history, we have supplied revadis to Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai , among many other political bigwigs. Morarji Desai was very fond of our sugar revadi,” claims Gupta. “What makes our revadi special is the recipe, which was prepared by my great grandfather who innovated and used ingredients such as chhoti ilaichi (green cardamom), zafran ( saffron) and laung (cloves) to give it a unique flavour. The precise measurement of all the ingredients is key to getting the taste of revadis right,” says Gupta.
Gupta’s shop is so famous that there are over a dozen shops, imitating the name of his establishment. There are as many as nine shops that call themselves Ram Chandra Sahai Revadi Wale, with little variations in spellings. “We are fighting legal cases against all of them,” says Gupta.
Sandeep Goyal, another revadi maker, says that in the late 2000s, revadis had lost some ground to chocolate during festival gifting, but have since recovered at the cost of Mawa sweets. “There have been concerns about the quality of mawa (coagulated milk solid) used to make various Indian sweets, so a lot of people avoid gifting them. Besides, revadi has a longer shelf life,” says Goyal.
Ambuj Rastogi , whose family has been in revadi business for over 100 years, says that during peak winter season over 25, 0000 people are directly or indirectly involved in the business in Meerut.
“ We supply revadis all across the country ; quite a lot of our orders come from various online platforms. We also make revadi for well-known sweet brands on contract basis ,” says Rastogi, who has a grand three-floor shop called New Basant Rewadi Bhandar at Budhana Gate in Meerut.