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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021
Outlook.com

The Mango Maharaja

Revealed in 315 ways, Kaleemullah Khan's secrets grow on a 75-year-old mango tree—Malihabad's one-stop orchard

The Mango Maharaja
Jitender Gupta
The Mango Maharaja
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

ON Kaleemullah Khan's magic tree—it can bear over 300 varieties of mangoes—every fruit has a tiny tin label of identification on its pale green pedicle. The names are as fascinating as the mangoes themselves: the heart-shaped Asl-ul-Muqarrar, the bright red Husn-e-Ara, the bitter gourd-like Karela, Kelwachampa, Sharbati Bagrain, Pukhraj, Walajah Pasand, Khas-ul-Khas, Makkhan, Shyam Sunder, Prince, Himsagar...they are all there. In all their splendour.

But try pinning a label on the man behind the tree. It's tough. In Malihabad's mango country, where the luscious fruit seems to grow on virtually everything that resembles a tree, 57-year-old Kaleemullah Khan is King. Quite clearly, he is not your average mango-grower. What is he, then? A scientist of sorts? Most certainly. Or horticulture's equivalent of a collage artist? That, too. Or simply a sorcerer whose nature-aided legerdemain defies all explanation? Undoubtedly.

The tree may not be the sum total of his life's work—there's more to the short, stocky, bearded man than a 'freak'...

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