the-south-asian.com FEBRUARY 2002
FEBRUARY 2002 Contents
'My Secret of
at Every Alien Door'
Fashion & Jewellery
Page 4 of 5
The South Asian MANGO - The Fruit of Kings & the King of
The South Asian MANGO
- The Fruit of Kings & the King of Fruits
South Asian Mango regions:
Wild forests & a variety of mangoes are found in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Chittagong hill tracts and Rajshahi & Chapai Nawabganj districts in eastern India and Bangla Desh. In the south humid tropical areas of Andaman & Nicobar islands, south Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Western Ghats are the second centre of mango origin in the world. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan are other major areas of the mango.
Mango Maharajas - the Mughals' Mouthwatering Mangoes :
The centre for Science & Development [www.CSEindia.org] has a very interesting magazine called " Down to Earth" which documents the rapid erosion of the biodiversity of fruits indigenous to the south Asian region. Writing about the Mango varieties, it credits the Mughal rulers and Avadh [Lucknow] based Nawabs in Uttar Pradesh [U.P.] and Darbhanga-Bihar as having planted in the "Lakha Bagh" orchards about 100,000 mango seedlings.
Being mango lovers, the Mughal rulers were able to get the finest varieties brought by the people to be planted in their royal gardens. The article mentions the general decline of these famous UP mango orchards. Specifically, it states that the "Anwar Rataul" is "rarely sighted" in India and has become the "number one mango export to West Asia from Pakistan". Overall there has been a 40 % decline in the mango germplasm, This is due mostly to the rural to urban labour migration as youth no longer "see" / perceive mango growing to be of economic advantage to them. Similarly the article mentions rural mango groves that have been cut down to build multi-storeyed residential complexes with "all modern amenities".
The article mentions the two techniques "hybridisation " and "grafting" which are used to create endless new mango varieties A breakthrough technology of Hybridisation came to India about 25 years ago. Here self-sterile /unfruitful varieties were crossed with other varieties to produce new varieties. Some of the new names as a result are Amrapali, Ratna, Niranjan, Sunderdamagara, Alafazli, Lalavia Bhog. As an example, the Amrapali produces about 9 tons per acre in the ninth year of planting - this is about ten times the harvest from most south Asian cultivators.
In hybridisation, the two desired mango tree varieties are planted close to each and the result is basically a waiting game of chance- much like "Waiting for Godot" . Each mango seedling is a unique variety. Haji Kaleemullah khan in Malihabad , Uttar Pradesh is the owner of a tree with about 200 varieties on it. In Harayana, in a village called Burail near Chandigarh is a mango tree with a girth of 32 feet , branches upto 80 feet long, covering an area of 2700 square yards and producing about 37,000 pounds of mangoes every year.
In grafting, another way of mass mango variety production, the mother plant branch with a bud is stuck with the desired plant variety stem with bud - a kind of a "Lego" type snap on technique.
Probably a lot of the current famous mango names originate from this 16th century "lakha bagh" planted by the famous Mughal rulers or from other various regions of Uttar Pradesh.
"Langra" [ literally means lame] - Owes its origin to a chance seedling from near Benares city.
"Amman Dussehri " - the name of a village near Lucknow and Malihabad. A superior chance seedling. Other varieties of this name include Laila Majnu [the famous folktale lovers] ,
"Hussanara" [ a lovelorn princess or lady / begum., Sofiya [ tasting of saunf or anise seed] .
"Samar Bahisht" [fruit of paradise] - comes from superior chance seedling near Muzaffar Nagar, U.P.
"Anwar Rataul- from the Shora-e-Afaq garden in Rataul, Meerut, U.P.- it is small [ less than an apple ] and very strongly sweet with a wonderful flavour and smell.
Other popular varieties from India
Alfonso – considered by many the Royal among all mangoes – is grown in Maharashtra. It rates number one on the popularity chart of ‘favourite mangoes’. British actor Terence Stamp was once asked by an interviewer what his favourite food was. "Alfonso mango" came the prompt reply. He was asked ‘Why?’ His answer to that was "Because unless you’ve had an Alfonso mango you’ve never had a mango." Known for its delicate and subtle flavour, Alfonso is the most expensive mango in India.
Bengal/ Bangla Desh
Fazli is the name of the largest variety goes upto 1.5 kilograms . Along with other varieties such as Gopalbhog, Kirshapat, Mohanbhog, these are the so called Kalami [ buddded - grafted ] varieties. Ideal climatic conditions and sandy , loamy soils of the delta area combine to produce these excellent varieties.
Anwar Ratual - it is small [[ less than an apple ] and very sweet and wonderful flavor and smell ; Amman Dussehri ; Bangapali ; Chaunsa; Dussehri; Fajrikalan ;
Langra [ very good quality but lower than Summer Bahist Chaunsa]
Mohammadwala ; Neelam; Summer Bahisht ; Summer Bahisht Chaunsa[ Top Quality] Net Return on Investment is half of Langra ; Sindhri .
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