AKHILESH YADAV in plate
Alphonso, Dashheri and Chausa are so passé. Next time you fancy sliced mango, you may want use the “Akhilesh” variety.
A farmer in Uttar Pradesh has bred a new kind of mango and named it after Akhilesh Yadav, the recently-elected chief minister of the Indian state. Haji Kaleemullah Khan, the fruit producer, is clearly fond of Mr. Yadav. Although he hasn’t tasted the mango yet, he expects it to be “extremely sweet and delightful.”
The reason he named it after Yadav has to do with the pace at which this mango tree has grown. “In less than five years, this hybrid mango seed has borne fruit… it’s a complete miracle,” a mango seed normally takes between six to 10 years to bear fruit. “It was therefore apt that I name the variety after Akhileshji who at such a tender age has achieved what veteran politicians could not.”
True: at 38, Yadav is U.P’s youngest-ever chief minister – and one of the youngest high-profile politicians in India. However, Khan may have overlooked the fact that Yadav owes much of his political success to his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. In line with India’s long tradition of dynastic politics, the younger Yadav was widely expected to follow in his father’s footsteps at some point. So perhaps a better pick would’ve been a variety of mango that sprouted from the seedlings of a bigger tree deeply rooted in U.P. soil.
Also, while Yadav may be “delightful,” evidence suggests that some lower-ranking members of his Samajwadi Party don’t have an unblemished core. Despite his party’s stated commitment to get rid of lawlessness in its ranks, episodes of violence remain alarmingly common.
Not everyone can have sliced Akhilesh Aam in their fruit salad. The mangoes will only be available to those who visit Khan’s mango farm in Malihabad, a locality outside Lucknow, the state’s capital. “I don’t believe in commercializing rare mangoes. You can enjoy them free of cost on a visit to my farm,” he says. Over the next five years, Khan plans to cultivate over 75 “Akhilesh Aam” trees. Currently, his mango orchard only has only one tree. He says he plans to deliver the first batch of ripe mangoes to Yadav’s party office in Lucknow this summer. Mr. Khan declined to share with us how he bred the Akhilesh mango, saying he wants to keep it a secret.
This is not the first time Khan, an award-winning horticulturist, names his mangos after famous Indians. Hybrid mangoes named after cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood superstar Aishwariya Rai and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi are already growing in his mango orchard.