Mango : The King of Fruits

Hiuen Tsang, after being in India is going back. Time AD 627-643, on the fabled Silk Route. Apart from his knowledge of Buddhism, his rucksack contains an extraordinary fruit called Mango.

The name in hindi AAM is derived from Sanskrit word AMRA which seems to be the loan from Dravidian and is related to Tamil words for Mango like “mamaram”. Portuguese were responsible for transferring the name to the West. It is growing in India since 4000 years at least.

Moguls were great connoisseurs of the fruit. Akbar got 100000 mango trees in Lakhi Bagh near Darbhanga Bihar. Others who relished the fruit were Shahjahan and Noor Jehan, Aurangzeb, Sher Shah Suri. Raghunath Peshwa got large numbers all over Maharashtra.

Main Constituents:

Citric acid and related compounds are responsible for sour taste. Several terpenes have been found in unripe fruit..

Ripe mango contains volatile compounds like alpha terpineol, ocimene, limonene, 3-carene etc. Yellow colour is due to beta Carotene.

Nutrients

Mangoes are rich in potassium, about 8% carbohydrate with 1.6 % dietary fibre. Very rich in vitamin A , C, B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Some famous Indian Varieties:

1: Alphonso or Hapoos
King among the mangoes. Named after Portugal admiral D Afonso de Albuquerque. Deogad in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra has got the GI tag of genuineness.

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2: Dasehri
It is birth place is Malihabad in Lucknow. Soft, succulent and mild.

3: Banarasi Langda
It was born in an orchard belonging to a Langda (lame) fellow and thus got this name.

4: Himsagar
Fibre less, creamy and full of pulp. Pride of Murshidabad in West Bengal.

5: Fazli
Quite big in size, famous in Malda of West Bengal. Late maturing.

6: Chaunsa:
From Bihar. Full of Flavour. It is pressed into mouth and juice is sucked.

7: Gulab Khaas
Native of Jharkhand. It is graceful mango

8: Kesar

Aromatic fruit of Junagadh Gujarat. Giving a tough fight to Hapoos. Plantations are on foothills of mount Girnar.

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9: Bedmi: Taste depends upon the plucking time.

10. Totapuri: it is abundant in southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

11: Sindoori: it gets its name from the vermillion colour of the skin.

12: Banganapalli/ Bagan Phali/ Safeda
From Andhra’s small town Banganapalli. Sweet, yellow and fibre less.

13: Himam Pasand/ Humayun Pasand
A cross made from Banganapalli and Malgoa. It is very popular in Deccan.

14: Chandrakaran: it is delicacy from Kerala. Sweet and sour. Quite costly.

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Mccluskieganj-Little London in India

Mccluskieganj is a village in the Jharkhand. It is situated about 40 miles north-west from state capital Ranchi. It was established by Timothy McCluskie on the 10,000 acres of land he got from Ratu Maharaj who was local ruler. He wanted to establish a place where  Anglo Indians could live together.

McCluskie was a property dealer based in Calcutta. He used to visit some villages in the area for hunting, and even built a hutment at a place called Harhu. His friend PP Sahib worked as the manager of Ratu Maharaja‘s estate. And it was PP, who convinced the maharaja to lease out the land to McCluskie.

So, in 1933, Colonisation Society of India Limited was formed and the maharaja signed an agreement with it.

It was decided that the Anglo-Indians could build their settlement in nine villages on land not occupied by the original rahiyats (tenants) of those villages. It was also agreed that the settlers would not be allowed to acquire the rivers and the hills.

The Colonisation Society acquired 10,000 acres of land spread across the villages of Harhu, Duli, Ramdagga, Konka, Lapra, Hesalong, Mayapur, Mohulia and Baseria. The society was registered as a company and started selling shares to the Anglo-Indians who wished to settle at the new colony.

It all started off well. Thousands of shares were sold and around 350 families came to settle down. The Anglo-Indians had dreamt of founding a city here, a homeland of their own. It was a Utopia, the dream of a visionary — a dream that never came true.

Today, McCluskieganj is just a rundown little village, a ghost from the past. Past glory is over. The dream is gone. Of the 350 Anglo-Indian families which settled here in the 1930s, only about 23 are left. It’s a place where — like many other Jharkhand villages — the Maoists rule the roost; where venturing out after sundown is not really safe. People here have got used to the sounds of country bombs and bullets.