BRITISH IN INDIA MANGO
Mango are an acquired taste . In one hand we have Dr.John fryer of the East India company saying in the seventeenth century! ‘the apples of the Hesperides were nothing but fables to a ripe mango “for taste ”, the nectarine , peach and apricot fall short’. On the other hand, a nineteenth century English bishop in India described the fruits as ‘noble’ from the point of view of size but in taste “like apricot smeared in turpentine”. His prognosis in 1822 was that it would not be popular in England. How clearly off the mark his observation was it was discovered by an English official who spent most of his life in India because he found mangoes insipid the first time’ he tried them again until he was about to retire. The mango that he then tasted was a succulent Alphonso and it proved to
be his undoing. When he returned to London to live on his meager pent ion, he was obliged to buy his mangoes at specially stores and that too at a high cost. Such is the hold of the mango, for once you have fallen in love with the fruit it remains a lifelong romance.
The earliest description of the mango using scientific terminology is by Watt in 1891 and Maries in 1901-02. They were the first to collect 500 varieties of Indian mangoes and describe them in botanical terminology. The Indian council of agricultural research was set up in 1948 and many agricultural universities were also established. The mango festival held in Delhi in July annually by the Delhi tourism Corporation and APEDA (Agricultural and processed food products export development authority) mark the culmination of ‘mango lore’ getting institutionalized in India . Various competitions are held and people participate with great enthusiasm. Mango eating contests draw both the young and the old, with the contestants eating 3-4 kilogram of the mango in 4
minutes .Exclusive mango parties are catered for in private homes and some politicians have even gone so far as to host formal mango parties for visiting foreign dignitaries!