About 150 years back,the famous Mirza Ghalib while sitting with friends and eating mangoes remarked thus when he had eaten yet another irresistable mango.Let there be plenty of them and let them be sweeter.
In the month of June, when mangoes are on the peak,one can really go mad.The botanical name for the fruit is mangifera indica.Thanks,otherwise,even the dasheri and chausa could get patented by the Kellogs and the like.There is competition from Northern Australia,South Africa and Southern USA.But can there be a match to our alfonsos,chausas and langdas?
There is one horticulturist who has become a phenomenon in mango cutivation.He lives in a dusty village some 20km from Lucknow called Malihabad.He is Kaleemullah Khan. And Malihabad is India's mango capital In 20 sq km radius,about 700 varieties of mangoes are grown.And it fetches a whopping Rs150 crores each season.Of course,hopefully,if the mango mukuls(flowers) don't get affected by a cloudy spell.And there is a 90 year old tree on which grows 300 different varieties.
Dassheri,Chausa,Amrapali,Chitla,Sharifa,Abdulla Pasand,Langra,Alphonso,Bombay Green,Banganapalli,Neelam,Swarnarekha and even Prince,Glass and Tommy Atkins.We have close to 1000 varieties which have hit the market this season.
Probably,the quantities would have been more if the Red Dragon had not shown interest in our king of fruits.For the first time,China has lifted the iron curtain on mangoes and there is a flood of mangoes from India and Pakistan.For 20 years we have been trying to export mangoes to Japan and with no luck so far.That speaks volumes of how difficult it is to trade with Japan.
As usual our friend Kaleemullah Khan is the cynosure of all eyes this year also.He has nurtured 300 varieties of mangoes in one tree,has got himself into the Limca Book of Records and this summer his tree was laden with 1000kgs of mangoes.Yeh to mitti ka masla hai!