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How a refugee founded Delhi’s iconic ice cream business Giani

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A traditional sweetmeat maker, Giani Gurcharan Singh, migrated from Pakistan to India post-independence. Giani today runs a multi-crore ice cream business in Delhi.

A traditional sweetmeat maker was displaced during the Partition of India after the country won independence. Gyani Gurcharan Singh migrated from Pakistan to Delhi in the 1950’s. Giani then started a business that sells ice cream.and traditional sweets. The business which is run by Giani’s family is now worth crores of rupees.

Giani was among the countless people displaced after India was divided into two parts, one of which is Pakistan. He found a place to live as a refugee in Delhi after moving from Pakistan.

Gian had to leave behind whatever he had saved in his life when he came to Delhi. However, that was not the end of the world for him, as he brought with him his experience and skills in making traditional desserts and sweets. These skills  helped Giani start a new life in Delhi which is now home to the popular ice cream brand, called Giani.

Giani adopted  traditional recipes to start a small shop where he sold rabri falooda, other traditional sweetmeat and a large range of ice creams.

Taranjeet, who is the third-generation owner of the now multi-crore business, Giani, says his grandfather owned a sweet shop in Pakistan and made all the sweets by hand. 

Taranjeet says, “After arriving in India, my grandfather opened a modest shop in Delhi where he made and sold rabri falooda, as well as mango and pineapple shakes, among other things. The company was founded in 1951-52 and was officially registered in 1956.” My grandfather’s recipes have stayed unchanged as a way of expressing gratitude to him for the job he has done. People in the neighbourhood and passers-by enjoyed the flavour, and the shop was given the moniker ‘Giani Di Hatti,’ which loosely translates as Giani’s Shop.”

The store was sited in a wholesale market area, and was frequently visited by the middle-class people. But, it eventually became so popular that even celebrities from Bollywood, as well as ministers, started visiting it for the exceptional taste of its sweets.

Taranjeet said, “My father Gurbachan, Giani’s eldest son, joined the firm in 1970. As the quantity of orders increased, we needed to purchase a used ice cream freezer and other equipment for storage and production. My grandfather had begun the firm with a little initial investment in order to keep the cost of the sweets, which were always handmade, as low as possible. However, as sales increased, we were forced to move toward mechanisation.”

It was  the ‘90s, when Taranjeet became a part of  the business and then started  expanding it  outside the commercial market area. 

He says, “Our first location was opened in Rajouri Garden to serve families and young people. In addition to classic desserts such as falooda, halwa, and shakes, we now offer ice cream. It aided us in reaching out to the younger generation, who preferred ice cream to traditional desserts.”

Taranjeet also says that the range of ice-creams kept growing and now includes more than a hundred varieties.

He asserted that they use imported high-tech to make a vast range of ice creams. 

He added, “We can certainly state that our sweets are world-class. But, the rates are still affordable.”

Taranjeet  concluded by saying that ethics are key to running any business successfully, including that of ice creams, which is true in the case of Giani.

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