Thursday, May 17, 2012
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar is here. So is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Padma Shri Kalimullah Khan has grafted and grown 350 varieties of mangoes on a single tree
Kalimullah Khan in his Mango orchard
Come summer and the mystic muse of Malihabad beckons the mango lover to soak in the distinct aromatic zing of the Dussehri aam. About 29kms from Lucknow on the Lucknow-Hardoi road resonates the mantra Go (man)go! This is not a prompt to egg on a marathon runner but a teaser to embark on a sojourn to experience the mango musings of Josh Malihabadi, the 18th century poet par excellence. And without further ado let us embark on a journey that would aptly sum up Avadh’s Dussehri spirit and how it transcends the persona of the aam aadmi.
A charming, almost endearing sight greets you as you drive along the Hardoi highway from Lucknow to Malihabad; innumerable orchards and nurseries lining both sides of the road, farmers lying on string cots in the shade, guarding their mango trees against the unwelcome attention of squirrels, parrots and naughty children.
Known as the home of poet Josh Malihabadi, Malihabad is a town in Lucknow district and it was in Malihabad’s palaces that Shyam Benegal shot his 1978 film, Junoon. Presently, Padma Shri Kalimullah Khan, who took to mango cultivation in 1957, shortly after failing his seventh standard, is the town’s most famous resident. His achievments include grafting and growing some 350 varieties of mango – from the bitter-gourd-shaped Karela to the heart-shaped Asroor Muqarar – on a single 100-year-old tree. “Mangoes are my passion,” he readily acknowledges. “They are more important to me than my children.” Despite his advancing years, Kalimullah glides swiftly, weaving his way amid the dense mango orchard and presto.
Avadh is not only about kite-flying, homing pigeons and courtroom trivia nor about the decadence captured in Shatranj ke Khilari, a la Satyajit Ray’s magnum opus. Instead, here you will get a taste of the perfect blend of Dussehri aam, the Kababi panache and Dhai Bhalle’s of Hazratganj. It’s also a city where Salam Alaikum merges so beautifully with Namaste.
The famous Malihabadi Dussehri mango bagged the prestigious Geographical Index (GI) status, bringing it international recognition and protection of its distinct identity.
Raising a toast to the king of fruits, local orchard owner, Naseeb Ahmed Khan says, “The GI status comes as a boon because it will allow us to market our produce at higher prices. However, with this, it will also mean that we must maintain uniform standards of quality across all orchards in the area.”
The thousands of mango orchards in Malihabad, Mal, Rahimabad and Kakori in Lucknow district and other parts of the state including Saharanpur and some other districts of western Uttar Pradesh have trees blooming at the onset of summer. The Dussehri is grown in other parts of the state but the Malihabadi mangoes are ‘special’ for its taste.
Most people know Kalimullah for his impassioned speeches about Dussehri mangoes. But there is a lesser-known side to him. Kalimullah loves cricket and is fascinated with Bollywood.
To celebrate the ‘goodness and sheer brilliance’ of cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, the Udyan Pandit (he has been conferred the award generally reserved for those who excel in apple orchard farming) has named one variety of the fruit in his orchard after Tendulkar. Called ‘Sachin’, the mango is a unique cross between the Chausa and Amin Gudad Shah (a variety Kalimullah developed himself).
If Sachin has found space in his repertoire, Bollywood’s diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the next to put her name to a mango. And this one is a cross between ‘Kacche Meethe’ and Dussehri. Where Sachin gets a mango to his credit, only a mango will not do for Aishwarya. Kalimullah explains, “I have also named a variety of guava after her. Both the fruits have a distinctly red hue that make it unmatched in beauty.”
Among his most precious creations is a tree in the Mughal Garden at the Rashtrapati Bhawan flowering 54 varieties. The craft developed by him has become a mystery for researchers and agriculturists among the country and abroad who have been left baffled by his work.
The sexagenarian who also finds mention in the Limca Book of Records has the support of his sons in keeping the tradition alive. He has also cultivated a new variety of an all season flowering guava, which on ripening grows as red as an apple.
On the global radar, the diminutive town of Malihabad is tickling the taste buds of people with a sweet tooth. For once at least, commoners can take pride in being addressed as mango people!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
By Chander Mahadev
As the provisions of the Right To Education Bill wend its way insidiously into the collective conscious of the nation I cannot but confess that while teachers administer knowledge writers make you experience it. From the profound to the profane, the lofty to the lowly, such bi-polar questions engage my tired mind even as I feel the moist kiss of the September air pregnant with deceit. And as I whiz past on my cocooned virtual world and maneouvre
my being on the information highway -- that charts my mundane life -- I feel orphaned; left to live life in virtual reality. I sight ugly billboards hanging overhead tom-tomming the virtues of technology and I wilt. . The hoardings beseech me to learn English online, on my mobile to be specific and it hurts Without getting hyper about crass consumerism becoming the order of the day, I often wonder about the present , and experience the trauma and tragedy of living in an era of missing models. You may well say these are the laments of a teacher fossilized in a retro generation And as I dissect such wayward thoughts realization soon dawns upon me that the written word is fast losing its sanctity.
Or else, how would you justify the spawning of coaching shops that go by laughably ludicrous names like Oaf Public School and Dabble college—believe me they exist in downtown Lucknow. Oh, yes, this makes me recall a hilarious incident in the not-too-distant past. One fine evening one of my favourite ex-students landed up at my house seeking my urgent attention. He confessed that he was at his wit’s end in thinking up an appropriate and invitingly ‘saintly’ name for a school he intended to set up in his home town . I wondered as to what was so difficult in going about such a piffling issue. He went on to explain that the ‘St’ factor holds immense importance in the Hindi hinterland. And names like St Fidelis and St Agnes lend gravitas if not unimpeachable credibility. In jest I retorted I was presently engrossed in reading the biographical sketch of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov so why does he not name his school St. Isaac Asimov School. The last I heard on the issue was that St. Asimov School was up and running and had a student base of 230.
. I can’t but help recall that way back in the seventies and eighties there was a venerable English professor who was canonized by the Indian Government for his pioneering role in sharing his knowledge of classical English. And as a just reward he was anointed governor of Rajasthan, Well, if things have come to such a sorry pass, it would not be long before I find that some English primer may innovatively dish out A for Amitabh, B for Bachchan and C for, well Kat(rina). And if you have any reservations on that score please spare a thought for Dr Radhakrishnan the scholar in whose memory we celebrate this august day. For then I would know all is not lost and that teachers are still worthy of emulation if not veneration. Jai Dronacharya!!!
(The author is a senior journalist and is presently Assistant Professor, Amity School of Communication, Lucknow, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Suggested Column Name: Pedestrian Promises By Wayfarer Chander Mahadev
Amity Lucknow Campus is all revved up and raring to go on the Dhak, Dhak Go
mode! Yes, I am referring to the most talked about motorcycle ad of the year. And
what you may ask is my reason for drawing this unlikely parallel.
Simple! For the ad's compelling catchline of "Fill it, shut it, forget it," best describes
Amity's education policy. More importantly, with the launch of the Amity International
School on the Mango Orchard Campus earlier this year the wheel has come the full 360
Yes, you can now admit your
child in Prep school and then just
leave it to us. For we then mould
and shape young minds right
through their academic life --
from KG to the PhD, doctorate,
Soon I hear the click of heels
that beat down the foyer to the
basement lecture rooms. I hear
the babble of voices amid giggles
of delight. To me these sounds
usher in the dawning of a new
morning. And further as one
hears the sound of music that
flow in through their mobile
phones go on to remind me that
yet another odd semester of a
summer has arrived on the Amity
Campuses. Yes the old order
changes and it is fresher-times
and admission time.
Here I am tempted to recall
the story of the Selfish Giant
penned by the unforgettable
Oscar Wilde. I am quite sure
some of you may have heard of
this story in your primary school
avatar. Well, it talks about a Giant
in whose garden played the best
of children, birds and animals.
Irritated by the giggles, chirping
and whistling he banished them
from his lovely garden. The next
day he was shocked to find that
winter had set in right earnest
and all he could see was icicles
and snow. Having realized his
self-centered attitude he set
about cajoling his young audience
back to his garden, and hey
presto, spring and blossoms
returned to his garden.
Much in the same manner
Amity has been donning the mantle
of the soothsayer, the harbinger
of hope and knowledge. The
admission rounds beginning
June, has seen a slew of parents
and hopeful young aspirants giving
their everything to enter
Amity's precincts. They were privileged
to share Assistant
Professor Anviti's motivating
anecdotes and with each admission
round they became that
much more profound and wise.
And to lend gravitas to the sombre
proceedings was none other
than the D-G himself-with his
unique interaction style.
Radio Heads: GRIN(S) and hear it
For those of you who thought your career as a Radio Jockey was not the most happening job think again!! If the latest development in the Radio world is any indicators, job openings are sure to follow. The recent launch Gurgaon Ki Awaaz as a community concept may well change the parameters of Radio broadcast. The community Radio portal has also installed the Grameen Radio Inter Networking System (GRINS) that may usher in a revolution of sorts. Their website states that theirs is a free share software and is a one-stop recording and RJing studio and it is up for free. A plug-n-play server to run a community radio station. It enables radio station operators to schedule broadcasts, preview programs, make and receive phone calls, record live transmissions, and maintain an extensive semantically searchable library, all through a single user-interface. It has been designed specifically for community radio stations in remote and rural areas, to keep costs low, provide extremely robust functioning, and enable rich features for greater community interaction
Back to the Written Word
Daily newspapers & Editors have been trying to grab more eyeballs to kindle interest among Gen Next!
And in order to attract more mass communication graduates to opt for print journalism they conducted a self-reflection exercise.. Last fortnight a leading English daily’s editors put on their thinking cap and held a brainstorming session in Delhi to chart a road map to bring more visibility to their newspaper . They decided to re-invent themselves and bring back to focus the role of hard news in their front pages. A moot point was that due emphasis should be given to the fact that newspapers are a vehicle for social change. They came to the conclusion that their state capital editions should carry exclusive stories to awaken the public. And for that to happen they would shortly appoint more budding journalists in their editorial
Come join the mobile content hub!
The Queen of K serial soap operas,- Ekta Kapoor revealed this weekend that Balaji Telefilms is going to enter the field of broadcast content Giving a sneak preview to her new project she hinted that her company is entering the field of Internet Journalism. Flushed with the success of her online programme Bol Niti Bol, shared that with the advent of 3G technology the mobile platform is the way to go. Soon there will be a special content hub for mobile entertainment and content creation. So boys and girls get ready to fine-tune your technical and creative skills for there are plenty of jobs around the corner.