Malihabad: Kaleemullah Khan`s Nursery in Lucknow`s Malihabad has introduced new mango varieties named after several frontline workers including doctors and policemen, who lost their lives in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Padma Shri awardee Haji Kalimullah Khan, popularly known as the `Mango Man`, told ANI, “I came to know that so many doctors died due to COVID and I thought that they should continue to live, so I decided to name a variety of mangoes after them. Similarly, many policemen too died of the infection while on national duty, so I named a variety after them as well.”
“These varieties will remind people that they sacrificed their lives to save the lives of several others. The varieties named after them will keep them alive forever,” he added.
Talking about his idea of naming mango varieties after popular personalities of the country, Kalimullah Khan mentioned that people who have done something extraordinary in their lives and have made the country proud should be the ones after whom the varieties of the fruit which is loved by all should be named.
He is further quoted by ANI as saying, “….I have named mango varieties after people who have done something good and extraordinary because of which everyone knows them. They are an inspiration to common people. For example, PM Modi, under whose leadership India has touched great heights and has earned a significant place in the international community. We were very happy and proud to see the heads of other countries participating in the first swearing-in of PM Modi in 2019.”
He further said, “Similarly leaders like Yogi Adityanath, who I have heard works 18 hours, and Sonia Gandhi, who is also a dedicated political leader. Akhilesh Yadav is another young and hard-working leader who has achieved so much at a very young age. Similarly, I have named a variety after Aishwarya, who is among the most beautiful women this country has.”
“Whatever names I have given to the mango varieties are after those people who have achieved something substantial for the country and have made the country proud,” Khan said, added.
Khan, who has been in the business of mango cultivation since 1987, said that their work will always remain alive in the beauty of these mango varieties that will continue to live even after they die.
The `Mango Man` further stated that politicians rarely share similarities unless they are siblings or belong to the same party, but something of this sort has happened in his nursery.
Kalimullah Khan, aged 81, said that he is himself surprised to see that trees of mango varieties named after politicians haven`t seen any mangoes this year, something that has never happened in his 65-year-long experience of mango cultivation.
“I am surprised that for the first time in my experience of 65 years, the trees of mango varieties named after politicians have not seen a single fruit this year. I don`t know what has happened this year. All other varieties named after other personalities like Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai have witnessed a lot of mangoes. But I am hopeful that mangoes will grow on trees that are not bearing the fruit yet,” he added.
Haji Kalimullah Khan, popularly known as `Mango Man` is an Indian horticulturist and fruit breeder, known for his accomplishments in breeding mangoes and other fruits. He is known to have grown over 300 different varieties of mangoes on a single tree, using grafting techniques.
Born in Malihabad, near Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Khan dropped out of school at seventh standard and took to the family business of farming. Using the asexual propagation technique of grafting, he has developed several new varieties of mangoes, some of which have been named after celebrities such as Akhilesh Yadav, Sachin Tendulkar, Sonia Gandhi and Aishwarya Rai.
Anarkali, a variety of mango developed by him has two different skins and two different layers of pulp, each having a different taste, said Khan, who was awarded with the fourth highest civilian honour of Padma Shri in 2008, for his contributions to horticulture.
(With ANI Inputs)