LUCKNOW: Toss the word 'mango man' in Malihabad, it would refer to Haji Kalimullah Khan.
His rare technique of growing more than 300 varieties of mangoes of different shapes, sizes and hues on one tree has helped him get Padma Sri recently.
When Khan talks about the variety of mangoes grown by him in his orchards in the renowned 'dussehri' belt in Malihabad, it seems that he is fondly referring to his family members.
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.
He has named the mangoes on this particular tree after his family members who also were mango growers, he said.
Khan who had put in about 50 years of efforts on mango growing has lately developed five new varieties of mangoes.
He is, however, excited about a "most delicate" and "graceful" looking latest variety which he has named as "Aishwarya" as it reminds him of Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.
"It were the children in the family who on seeing the new variety remarked that it resembles the actress in its colour and grace," Khan said.
Among his most precious creations is a tree in the Mughal Garden at the Rashtrapati Bhawan flowering 54 varieties.
The ten-foot tall tree, having six-foot-long root, was dug out not with the help of axe or spade but by water currents and transported from the orchid to Delhi in five quintiles of mud in 1999 as a present to the then president, Khan said.
The craft developed by him has become a mystery for researchers and agriculturists from the country and abroad who have been left baffled by his work.
The sexagenarian who also finds mention in Limca Book of records for growing the rare tree has the support of his sons in keeping the tradition alive.
Among his regular visitors is the Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar who had in 2006 named three of his varieties as Nayantara, Nargis and Jahanara, his son Nazimullah Khan said.
Khan has also cultivated a new variety of all season flowering guava which on ripening grows as red as apple.
7 months ago