(First published in HuffPost India in April 2017.)
It’s that time of the year again when Pakistani mango nationalists start beating the war drums, raising their claims of mango superiority to decibel levels that cross the noise pollution mark.
The campaign has begun. It’s not even May yet. Lies, damned lies and statistics are being used to suggest Pakistani mangoes are better. Looking for foreign approval as always, Pakistanis are tom-tomming export figures that show Pakistan exports more mangoes than India, even though India produces a lot more of them.
Such data should be seen with scepticism. The statisticians who calculate India’s GDP should look into the mango export data and update it to Achhe Din levels.
Yet the real issue isn’t about export numbers. A few million tonnes of exploding mangoes here and there isn’t going to end the aams race. It’s a more fundamental idea of why the Pakistanis are so eager and desperate to export their mangoes, and India isn’t.
It’s obvious: Pakistani mangoes aren’t delicious enough to be consumed by Pakistanis themselves, so they export them. This is why Pakistan exports more mangoes than India.
Any mango lover will tell you there is no such thing as enough mangoes. The more you eat, the more you want. Mangoes are best eaten from buckets of water, one after another, like chimpanzees eat them. It’s criminal to keep count.
You can eat mangoes like there’s no tomorrow only if they are good. If they taste and smell like mangoes do. What would Pakistanis know? Hence the exports.
In fact, Modi’s New India should ban mango exports altogether. It’s outrageous that mango export is even allowed. Indian mangoes should be for Indians only. How can we go about selling the family silver?
It makes sense to export wheat and rice because India produces so much of it that it rots in our godowns. China exports electronic goods because their factories make too many of them, all year round. But mangoes don’t get made in factories. They are seasonal and their supply is limited.
Pakistan’s population is less than a sixth of India’s, but it produces less than a tenth the number of mangoes India does. Pakistan produced just 1.72 million tonnes mangoes in 2014, India produced 18.43 million tonnes. You can do the per capita math. Despite such a shortfall, Pakistan chooses to export its mangoes in large numbers. What does that tell you? Pakistanis don’t want their own mangoes!
As part of their conspiracy to defame Indian mangoes, Pakistan has even begun exporting some Pakistani mangoes to India. Which makes you wonder where the Shiv Sena is when you really need them. How can India allow counterfeit Pakistani mangoes to destabilises the Indian faith in the king of fruits? If only we could demonetise mangoes to separate the fakes from the tax-paying ones.
Pakistan has 400 varieties of the fruit, India has 1,200. Pakistan’s famous Anwar Ratol mango has its roots in the mango orchards of Ratol village in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, three hours from Delhi. The first Ratol tree stands proudly there even today.
To further their mango business, Pakistan has the habit of sending crates of them to global leaders including the Indian president and prime minister, nearly every year, often even when soldiers are firing at each other across the Line of Control. India, a mango superpower, secure in its mango love, rightly does not reciprocate. India produces more than a third of all the world’s mangoes.
Our mango heritage needs to be preserved. Gau rakshaks and anti-nationals alike will agree that India shouldn’t fall into the trap of Pakistan’s international mango conspiracy and start exporting more mangoes. We should all trend #BanMangoExports on Twitter to save the day.
It should be a matter of deep concern, for instance, that Australia is tightening work visas for Indians but wants hundreds of tonnes of Indian mangoes. What do they mean they want our mangoes but not us?
Instead of letting Bharat Mata’s children have their mangoes and eat them too, the Modi government is begging the United States to take away more of our mangoes. Is this why we give all our votes away to Narendra Modi?
Indian mango export is a fifty thousand tonne scam that needs to end immediately. Mangoes are not Vijay Mallya or Lalit Modi that we can just let them go.
Mirza Ghalib said mangoes should be sweet and plentiful. Once Ghalib was eating mangoes with his friends. They were throwing away the peels on a street corner. A donkey passing by, took a sniff but turned away without eating the peels. One friend of Ghalib who didn’t like mangoes said, “Look Ghalib, even donkeys don’t eat mangoes.” Ghalib replied, “Only donkeys don’t eat mangoes.”
They export them.