Summers have begun, and the first mangoes of the season have arrived. From Haapus to Safeda and more – there are so many varieties of the fruit thronging the markets. Also known as the ‘King of Fruits’, mango is abundantly used in many dishes in Indian cuisine. The love for mangoes is manifested in countless Indian recipes such as Aamras, Aam Panna and more. But the love for mangoes that this 84-year-old man has is truly incomparable. BV Subba Rao Hegde has been identifying and preserving over 150 rare varieties of Mango. Take a look:
Karnataka: A 84-year-old man in Sagar, Shivamogga says he has identified and preserved 120 varieties of mangoes.
“I visited so many villages to source local varieties of appe midi (mangoes used for pickles) & collected 120 varieties,” said BV Subba Rao Hegde. (30.03) pic.twitter.com/WpPZ2XbPYW— ANI (@ANI) March 31, 2021
(Also Read: 5 Offbeat Mango Delights To Try This Summer Season)
Hegde hails from Beluru village in Shivamogga, Karnataka, and he has preserved more than 150 native mangoes from the Western Ghats. These were varieties that were on the verge of extinction. The process was not an easy one, as he travelled across villages for several years as part of his passion project. He told ANI, “I visited the villages to hunt native varieties of Appe Midi (tender mangoes used for pickles). At the initial stage, we had collected 120 varieties of mangoes with different aromas.” This went on for about six months from November to March, as various mango samples were collected by Hegde.
He spoke to ANI and told them about his love for mango pickle, which stemmed from his childhood days. “I love mango pickles right from childhood. There was only one variety of mango in my house. When I was 60 years, I made a plan to grow the native varieties in my tiny land of about one-acre space. My wife cooperated with my work,” he said. In fact, he brought home some of the samples he collected for the purpose of making pickles!
However, out of these 150 varieties of mango, only 15 are preservable for a long period of time. Thus, Hegde took it is in his own stride to make these mangoes grow and save them from extinction. “I have grafted five varieties on to one tree in my house, and also grew them in pots. I have donated many varieties to schools,” he said. The octogenarian’s efforts have been recognised with an award too, as he was recently presented with the ‘Award for Excellence’ for innovative farming in the National Horticulture Fair held in Bengaluru on 8th February.
Take a look at the reactions on Twitter:
Commendable.— Dr Shobha (@DrShobha) March 31, 2021
He is Aam Aadmi of India— Roop Darak BHARTIYA (@iRupND) March 31, 2021
The power of “aam” aadmi. Thank you sir, generations to come will cherish the fruit.— HongKongGeezer (@Hongkonggeezer) March 31, 2021
Great work. Bravo. keep going . Very good mission— RICHI (@RICHARD19384447) March 31, 2021
In fact, he has also created a ‘Mango Park’ in his house for explaining the importance of mangoes to people. Well, if that isn’t a passion for mangoes, what is? What did you think of Mr Hegde’s zeal for mango preservation? Tell us in the comments below!