Mangoes

Owais Mughal

Would it be enough to catch your attention, if I said that Mango was a fruit officially revered by countries which comprise at least 25% of World’s population. Yes it is true. Mango is the national fruit of Pakistan, India and Philippines and it as much revered in Bangladesh where they’ve declared Mango tree as their national tree.

At least in Pakistan, it didn’t need the Government declaration to be regarded as such because growing up there I knew that Mango was the King of the fruits. Mango is essentially a part of the culinary delights, literature, poetry, drinks, monsoon and so many varied items of our daily lives that one wonders what would the life of an aam aadmi (Mango person) would be if we took mango out of our lives.

Qateel Shifai had once famously wrote in a ghazal.

Jeena hai to phir jeenay ka izhar na Mango


Jury is still out whether Qateel meant the fruit Mango or the word Mango (means ‘to ask for’). What do you think? Well more on these ‘Mango’ effects later on but first let’s see how many mango types are out there from Pakistan.

There are several varieties of Mangos in Pakistan e.g. chaunsa, Sindhri, langra, anwar ratol, desi, gohar, lab-e-mashooq, chaman, dusehri, saroli, laal badshah, jagirdar and several others. The above list is not exhaustive but first four or five of these are the more famous ones.


Chaunsa: For the last decade or so, it has been one of most popular varieties of mangoes from Pakistan. In Pakistan this variety is grown in Multan and Rahimyar Khan area. It is known for sweet taste and unique fragrance.

Langra: In Pakistan this variety is grown in Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Mirpurkhas. I want to write that langra is a very sweet variety of mango but then isn’t it obvious. It better be sweet enough to be regarded as the top mango variety.

The name langra in Urdu means lame which makes this choice of name for a mango variety quite interesting. Once Akbar Illahbadi sent a gift of langra mangoes to Allama Iqbal. The gift arrived as a postal parcel to Allama Iqbal. On the receipt of the parcel Allama Iqbal wrote this famous misra

Illahabad se Langra chala, Lahore tak puhancha

Sindhri: This mango is named after a place called Sindhri in Tharparkar, Pakistan. It is said that this variety in Sindhri was first cultivated by the family of late Prime Minister of Pakistanm Mr. M.K. Junejo. For many decades Sindhri used to be the number one Mango export of Pakistan. In every mango season it was also sent to Heads of States. I vividly remember reading news of Pakistan sending boxes of high quality Sindhri mangoes to other country heads.

Sindhri also remains one of my favorites. Well my personal likeness should not be the criteria of mango’s taste judgment but I want to assure you that if you try a ripe Sindhri, you won’t be disappointed.

Anwar Ratol: This variety is famous for its unique taste and smaller size. To me personally the word Anwar Ratol sounds very cute and I’ll eat this mango just because of its name. Sometimes it reminds me of my friend Anwar and sometimes additional words come to mind like tot batot, mahnaama batol, tatol tatol, maatha phatol or even dettol which make me yearn for this variety even more.

As I wrote above, the effect of mango on daily lives of its consumers is usually so intense that you will find references to it every aspect of life. E.g. In the form Urdu rozmarra (idioms and phrases)

(1) aam kea aam, guthlion ke daam (Got Mangoes at the price of seeds)
(2) pakkay hoay aam ki tarah girna (Fell like a ripe mango)
(3) aam khao, guthlian mat gino (Eat Mangoes and don’t count the seeds)

Famous Urdu/Persian poet Amir Khusro had called Mango Fakhr-e-Gulshan (Pride of Garden) and Ghalib is said to have tasted almost all varieties of mangoes that existed in his time in the sub-continent. In a famous saying Ghalib once said

In my opinion, there are only two necessary requirements concerning mangoes. Firstly, they should be sweet and secondly, they should be plentiful!

Ghalib also said following ‘ashaar’ in praise of Mango

nazar aata hai yooN mujhe yeh samar
ke dawaa khaana-e-azal mein, magar
aatish-e-gul pe qand ka hai qawaam
sheeray ke taar ka hai resha naam

Taking cue from a famous Urdu writer who originally said it for watermelon, I want to state that Mango is a fruit which you can eat as well as drink. Choice is yours.

Now I want to sell you few dishes made from Mango. Try them at leisure and be happy always. These include mango pickles (hot and sour taste), mango chutney (sweet and sour taste), mango pudding, mango custard, mango ice cream, mango salad etc.

If you feel like drinking mango then you can try it in the form of Mango shake, Mango lassi, Mango juice, or simply by sucking at the fruit itself.

Don’t you now want to try them in one of the several delicious ways we’ve described above?

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