NEWS COURTESY:Outlook India and from other internet sources. http://malihabad.blogspot.com/ www.outlookindia.com | The Mango Maharaja A mango tree that flowers 300 varieties! It is hard to believe that a farmer can have as a hobby the grafting of multiple varietal scions of interesting and unique mango diversity on to a single tree. Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan in Malihabad (a town in Lucknow district) maintains several trees with many varieties grafted onto them in his orchard. Two very remarkable mango trees in one of his family’s orchid known as “dussehri”( Abdullah Nursery, Kaleemullah's 14-acre orchard )…One is said to be 100 years old and is named Al-Muqarrar. It has had more than 300 varieties of mango skilfully grafted onto it by Hajii’s father. The other, younger tree has more than 150 mango genotypes grafted on to it. Each branch looks like a different tree! Both trees are bearing fruits of different colour, shape and size, and at different times. The man has grafted and grown about 300 varieties of mango(The original tree is nearly 80 years old.)— every fruit has a tiny tin label of identification on its pale green pedicle. The names are as fascinating as the mangoes themselves: the heart-shaped Asl-ul-Muqarrar, the bright red Husn-e-Ara, the bitter gourd-like Karela, Kelwachampa, Sharbati Bagrain, Pukhraj, Walajah Pasand, Khas-ul-Khas, Makkhan, Shyam Sunder, Prince, Himsagar...they are all there. In all their splendour.—on this single 100-year-old tree The oldest mango tree in Dussehri village “Mangoes are my passion,” he readily acknowledges. “They are more important to me than my children.” A boy climbs on the mango tree When Khan talks about the variety of mangoes grown by him in his orchards in the renowned 'dussehri' belt in Malihabad, it seems that he is fondly referring to his family members. He has named the mangoes on this particular tree after his family members who also were mango growers, he said. Relentlessly working in his nursery, Khan's passion for the fruit goes back to his childhood when he began experimenting with mango saplings. Driven by zeal to preserve vanishing variety of mangoes, Khan started his conservation effort by grafting seven to eight varieties of mango stems. He has also cultivated 5 more new varieties of Mango and named it after the famous actress “Aishwarya, Anarkali ,Nayantara, Nargis and Jahanara “ . “The ‘Anarkali’ variety of mango which I developed had two different types of fruit peel, with two layers of pulp having totally different taste,” he says. Anarkali "It were the children in the family who on seeing the new variety remarked that it resembles the actress Aishwarya in its colour and grace," Khan said. Born in 1945, Kaleem Ullaj Khan Khan does not have any academic horticultural degrees, but he is widely renowned in India for his skills and knowledge in multiple grafting on a single tree. He was awarded the title of Udhyan Pandit (Professor of the Orchard) by a former President of India. He has also presented a mango tree bearing 54 varieties to the current President for the premises of the Mughal Garden of Rastrapati Bhavan in 1999 which stands as a living monument at Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapathy Bhavan, Delhi even now. This 10 foot long tree with 6 foot long roots dug out with 5 quintals of mud from his farm house and transported to Rashtrapathy Bhavan in the year 1999 and re-planted it there. He has been acknowledged by many high-profile visitors from abroad and also decorated with the Padamashri award. His name is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for his grafting feats. The craft developed by him has become a mystery for researchers and agriculturists from the country and abroad who have been left baffled by his work. The sexagenarian who also finds mention in Limca Book of records for growing the rare tree has the support of his sons in keeping the tradition alive. The Mango Maharaja Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan uses ground layering for his propagation for most commercial saplings, and veneer or wedge grafting in special cases. Uses only natural manure .he says ”using chemicals over them equals killing my own child. Will never do that blunder" He has also grafted a guava tree that flowers and fruits all year round, which is another attraction for the nursery.