मुझसे पूछो, तुम्हें खबर क्या है।
आम के आगे नेशकर क्या है।।
No words more apt than these by Mirza Ghalib can be said, when talking about Dasheri, the much-loved Mango.
Touted as one of the oldest varieties, dating back to 18th century, the present Dasheri cultivar is said to have propagated from a 200+ years old mother plant in the village Dasheri, in Late Mohammad Ansar Zaidi’s garden. Both the mother tree & the propagated ones are said to be well bearing fruit even today.
One of the interesting stories surrounding it goes like this – A merchant was once travelling with 10 varieties of mangoes in a cart. As his cart wheel broke the mangoes tumbled into a pit. Apparently he couldn’t retrieve them so the mangoes remained buried. From that pit arose a single tree and myth has it that since the tree grew from 10 kinds of mangoes – the cultivar was called Dasheri.
Another interesting story involves the Nawab of Malihabad who was said to be so possessive about the Dasheri mango that he had a fence built around the tree to protect the fruits. And only the slices were distributed among commoners, minus the seed, to prevent anyone else planting it! However myth has it that one day a courtesan managed to smuggle a mango out, which then propagated the fruit cultivation. Another story talks about a clever farmer who tricked the Nawab into parting with a graft from the tree and the rest is history.
The myths notwithstanding, one has to agree, that the stories around Dasheri are as interesting as the fruit!
And while on the subject, here’s some trivia to savour, Dasheri was accorded GI status in 2010. The low-hanging fruits enjoy a short season, and it is said that, the fruits from this tree are still sent to the descendants of the Nawab, now residing in cities.