"I had named the first fruits after Modi solely for the prime minister, but I do not have a medium to send them to him," says Haji Kalimullah, a Padma Shri awardee famous for growing scores of mango varieties.
Celebrated mango grower Haji Kalimullah has come out with a new "Modi mango" variety and wishes that it will reach Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that he can taste this royal fruit named after him.
"I had named the first fruits after Modi solely for the prime minister, but I do not have a medium to send them to him," Kalimullah, a Padma Shri awardee famous for growing scores of mango varieties and naming them after celebrities, told PTI.
"It is my wish that I can offer him the king of fruits myself and I am confident that he will love it," Kalimullah said, adding that it would be an honour if the PM finds the taste of the fruit to his liking. It has a good taste and is also beautiful to look at, he said, adding that the fruit skin bears lines of crimson giving it a very rare and appealing hue.”
"All those who have tasted it, be it officials or the connoisseur of the fruit, have found it very delicious and delectable," Kalimullah who has orchards in the mango belt of Malihabad on the outskirts of the state capital Lucknow said.
The noted mango grower, who has become an institution in his own right having a particular tree bearing fruits of 300 different varieties, said he has prepared five saplings of 'Modi mango' and wants to present them to the prime minister for planting in his home state Gujarat. "I want that the variety grows in Gujarat," he said, adding that it is a cross between Kolkata's Husn-e-Aara and Lucknow's Dussehri.
Kalimullah, a Std VII drop out who has earned recognition far and wide for his innovations, said he finds it surprising that dignitaries coming to Lucknow find time to visit his orchards. "Foreign delegates coming to the SGPGI in Lucknow for some conference came over to me recently and were delighted to see the different varieties," he said.
On what inspired him to name a variety after the prime minister, he said Modi's gesture of inviting heads of SAARC member nations to his oath taking ceremony endeared the PM to him.
Kalimullah, who had earlier named his mango varieties after Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar, christens different varieties after people who have excelled in their areas of work so that they are always remembered. It is not just Kalimullah who has named his varieties but also dignitaries visiting him who have put in their contribution in finding names for him.
“The then governor T V Rajeswar had named a beautiful mango having two coloured skin, pulp and taste as 'Anarkali' and also awarded him with a cash prize of Rs 25,000," he said.
On how he develops the varieties, Kalimullah said unlike others who develop it through grafting process, he crosses flowers and sows their seeds as every seed is different from the other.
Nevertheless this is a very arduous process and the success rate is low but the ones that succeed are worth spending time and energy as they grow into rare samples, he said.