Preeti Verma Lal
May 16, 2019
That summer afternoon, on the rutted road to Malihabad, the mango capital of India 21 miles from Lucknow, I was counting. I was counting the children of Afridi Fakir Mohammad Khan Sahib Goya, the Afghan who started the mango village many centuries ago. He had 11 wives and 52 offspring. I was also counting the 700+ mango varieties the town produced — 300 on a single tree.
In the early 1900s, Malihabad was home to nearly 1,300 mango varieties, and rich nobles would develop new mango varieties on a whim. Today, Malihabad is still the mango capital of India, but due to a lack of commercial interest, the rough count has dwindled down to 700.