Haji Kalimullah Khan from Malihabad, Lucknow, India, also called as ‘Mango Man’ has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2008 for his rare technique of growing more than 300 varieties of mangoes of different shapes, sizes and hues on one tree.
Khan’s prized tree is about 100 years old on which he started work in 1987 to develop the craft of growing different varieties on one tree. Using the asexual propagation technique of grafting, he has developed several new varieties of mangoes, some of which has been named after his family members who also were mango growers and some named after celebrities such as Akhilesh Yadav, Sachin Tendulkar, Sonia Gandhi and Aishwarya Rai. Anarkali, a variety of mango developed by him is reported to have two different skins and two different layers of pulp, each having a different taste. Every fruit on this tree has a tiny tin label of identification on its pale green pedicle.
No wonder the tree has been put together with great care. So, the Alphonsos have come all the way from Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, the Langras from Bihar, the Himsagars from West Bengal and the Bangan-pallis from Andhra Pradesh. He knows all eyes are on the tree. Hence the constant striving for perfection. “I am angootha-thek (illiterate),” he says, “but I do have something to contribute.”
“Kaleemullah is an amazing man,” grants an official of the Uttar Pradesh government’s directorate of horticulture and food processing.
A local Hindi-language journalist acquiesces: “It’s unbelievable. Kaleemullah can grow two or three varieties of mangoes on the same stalk. What’s more, he recognises every single variety from the way it looks and smells.”
Listen the complete story from Haji Kalimullah Khan own.
You may contact “Padam Shree Haji Kalimullah Khan” at his Mobile No : +91 9936653445 and address Malihabad, Lucknow, from state Uttar Pradesh in India. His website is http://hajikaleemullahkhan.in