Picture of the Day: Mangoes, Princess Di, et al.

Posted on July 7, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Food, Photo of the Day, Society
9 Comments
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Adil Najam

For us Pakistanis, mangoes are much more than just fruit. The love affair we have with mangoes is obviously a central part of our Pakistaniat!

After all, when Pakistan had to send a state gift for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, what do you think we chose? Sindhri mangoes from then Prime Minister Junejo’s own farms! And you know what, reportedly Princess Diana liked them so much that she asked for more each year and we kept sending them to her each year, until she die… at least that is what I have heard, and its too good a story not to repeat.

My snooping tells me that this picture was taken in Vienna, Austria in June this year, where Pakistani mangoes were selling for 6.90 Euro per kilo (approximately Pakistan Rs. 530 per kilo). Readers in Pakistan, can you tell us what they are selling for in Pakistan right now?

My thanks to Bilal Zuberi for alerting me to this wonderful picture. Bilal used it on his own blog in an informative post about mangoes and what they do to the Pakistani psyche.

…what is a summer without mangoes? Green ones, yellow ones, small ones, big ones: so many varieties that only my dad could tell some of them … Langda, Sindhri, Chaunsa, Alphonso, etc… Mirza Ghalib, the most romantic Urdu poet was also a fan of the mangoes. When he was once asked to spell out his eating preferences, he is supposed to have remarked in his unmistakable style: “Aam meethe hon aur bahut se honâ€Â? (let there be sweet mangoes and in plenty).

On his weblog Moments of Tranquility, Fawad has a wonderfully emotive and nostalgic post on why mangoes have this place of importance in the Pakistani mind.

… the hot summer days of my childhood and adolescence in Lahore and to the memories of feasting on the rich variety of mangoes, my mother chastising me for eating too many and chasing them down with glasses of ice cold “lassi”. For Lahoris, the appearance of particular varieties of mangoes were the markers of different phases of the long, drawn out and brutally hot summer. Large, deep yellow Sindhri mangoes were the first to appear in May but the much prized varieties arrived later; Langra, Chaunsa, Saharni, Dusehri, Anwar Ratol. These distinctive names evoke stories of their provenance no longer remembered or half-forgotten places of their origin…

(Photograph originally posted on Flickr.com as ‘Mango aus Pakistan‘ by fortune cookie.)

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9 responses to “Picture of the Day: Mangoes, Princess Di, et al.”

  1. sher muhammad dars says:

    i m realy so gald to know that our areas mangoes were sent to famous lady diana and prince charles.this is honour for us .

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  3. Owais Mughal says:

    It is very possible that Gen Zia sent mangoes grown on Junejo’s farm and that tradition continued when Junejo became PM. Sindhri Mangoes were regularly sent to many dignitaries around the world during Zia’s time. I remember one ‘tokri’ of mangoes was sent to India every year too.

    A day before Junejo was nominated as PM, a big headline appeared in ‘roznama Jang’ where Pir Pagara said:

    “Kal hamara ghoRa (horse) jeetay ga”

    And true, next day Mohd Khan Junejo who belonged to Pir Pagara’s Muslim League won.

    The discussion started from Mangoes and is going all over :) but I love it. Thanks Adil. I really like reading your blog and visit here few times a day.

  4. FU says:

    The record has been set right in the comments. Farm was of Late Mr.Junejo(what a Noble soul),and the sender was Gen.Zia.

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