I am yet to find a person who doesn’t love mangoes. Just like wine, the taste for mangoes matures with time. I have been having mangoes since childhood, but each season I discover a new taste. The king of fruits, India’s national fruit and divine in its truest sense – it’s not an exaggeration why people go bonkers over it.
Mangoes have been scrupulously grafted over millenniums as Indian masterwork and literally revered as a fruit of God. If its mango, it’s got to be Indian – a feeling which will not be relented under any circumstance. Believe me, most of us don’t reckon the fact that mangoes can exist anywhere other than India. And why not – the first written reference to mangoes dates back to 1000 B.C. in Bradaranyaka Upanishad. This makes them as old as the Indian civilization itself.
So while roaming the grocery market last weekend, I stopped at a shop that boasted of being first to bring season’s first mangoes. It’s a novelty here to be first to have these exotic fruit. Its uniqueness lies in the aroma, taste and the fact that you have to wait for the mango season in order to relish this fruit again.
Standing in a queue to buy these delicious, I understood why mangoes, through ages have been a perfect tool to appease relations with nations and forge friendship. It is their endearing quality to warm up the deepest corners of your heart, and helplessly force a person to immerse senses into sheer bliss.
It is significant to note the love Mughals bestowed on this fruit. Jahangir in Ain-i-Akbari goes down to declare that “notwithstanding the sweetness of the fruits of Kabul, not one of them has, to my taste, the flavour of the mango.”
Whilst poet Mirza Ghalib wrote volumes in praise of mangoes, Dar sifat-e amba is one such poem, explaining his love for mangoes. In fact it is believed that after defeating Humayun at Chausa, Sher Shah Suri gave the name ‘Chausa’ to his favourite mango. Emperor Akbar hastened the process of planting a garden of 100,000 mangoes trees – such was their love for this fruit.
Mango somehow manages to dissolve all difference. Mango diplomacy has been used as an instrument to improve economic and trade relations. This traces back to Indus Valley civilization, to the advent of Mughals all through the British rule to our modern day nation. India and Pakistan, at many times have tried to sort their differences with mango. It worked the same with United States.
So whether it the sweet and sour taste of Totapuri, the rich pulpy Kesar with gritty aftertaste, the candy sweet dussehris of Lucknow or the utterly exotic taste of Alphonso of Ratnagiri – each variety of mangoes have a flavour that speaks about centuries of love and passion for them.