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

Posted on July 7, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Food, Photo of the Day, Society
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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. Adil Najam says:

    Good wrk Owais, you are right. For some reason I do remember that they were regularly sent from Junejo’s farms…. which may have been selected before he was PM…. I do also recall that his farms were famous for the quality of mangoes…,. guys, does anyone else ecall any of this or is my mind playing tricks with me

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    Lady Diana and Prince Charles got married in 1981. Mohammad Khan Junejo became prime Minister in 1985. Therefore it is not possible for him as a PM to send mangoes on Diana’s wedding. Gen Zia-ul-Haq however, may have sent them.

    It is true that Sindhri was hometown of Junejo and famous for Sindhri mangoes.

    Good article otherwise. I don’t know the street price of mangoes in Pakistan these days. TCS sentiments Express is charging Rs 180 per kilogram for delievery in Pakistan.

    Last year in Pakistan I did buy Sindhri mangoes at Rs 30/kilo in the month of June.

  3. Adil Najam says:

    Ah ha….. Zakintosh… Thank you so much for reminding me; that had in fact slipped my mind…… yes, that Tokri had a deep and lasting impact on Pakistan politics and on all things Pakistani….. For those of you who are wondering what we are talking about: the C130 that blew up with Gen. Zia ul Huq in it reportedly carried some Tokris of mangoes that had been given to the General as a gift and, supposedly, one of those Tokris may have had teh explosives that ultimately blew the plane up… or so goes that story….

    DO I get it right Zakintosh?

  4. Zakintosh says:

    If one is mentioning ‘famous gifts of mangoes’, should one forget the lovely tokri that Zia-ul-Haq was given?

  5. MSK says:

    Yummm. Anyone know when the offical import of Pakistani mangoes to the US begins. Its to be done with the Indian import, right?

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