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Mango Diplomacy through National Fruit of India

Both India and Pakistan recognize Mangoes as the national fruit. It is also a diplomatic approach for the two countries

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Mangoes: National Fruit of India is Mango
It is common to see bright mangoes stocked up during season in India. Wikimedia
  • Mango is the national fruit of India as well as Pakistan
  • Both countries have also used mango diplomacy, often in the form of gifts to their leaders
  • The two countries compete for the export market of the world

June 12, 2017: Despite political upheaval between the two countries, India and Pakistan love their mangoes. The mangoes from these two nations are popular and thus in demand all over the world. In the early start of the year (February-March) and monsoons, the mangoes are popular and an essential fruit in every home. But it is really about Mango diplomacy.

India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes while Pakistan grows one-third of that. India is the world’s largest mango producer (13 million tons a year) while Pakistan stands at 5th spot (1.6 million tons).

Historically, the fruit has been given prime importance even by the ‘outsiders’. The plantation of mangoes was encouraged by the Mughals who also used the fruit as a gift to the nobles of the court.

[bctt tweet=”India grows 1,200 varieties of mangoes.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Mangoes were also being exported out of the country by air as well as sea. Bombay was sending crates of mangoes as a gift to Sweden and Holland in an effort to develop mango markets.

As early as 1935, crates of mangoes (along with pearls and nuts) were part of consignments in JRD Tata’s air cargo after the launch of Tata Aviation. The Alfonso mango was selected as the ideal gift by the government to be sent to London by shipment for the crowning of George VI. This may have led to a global demand for mangoes.

The fruit has also carried a diplomatic tradition. It was particularly a favorite for Dr. Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru may have been biased to guavas personally (hailing from Allahabad) but he understood the diplomatic importance of mangoes. Any visit by a foreign leader to India was greeted by gifting mangoes. Nehru also took mangoes when it was his turn to make the visit abroad. In some instances (when it must not have been mango season) Nehru has carried mango saplings to be gifted abroad.

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Particularly different is how mangoes are to be eaten. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev adopted the Indian method of squeezing and then sucking on the fruit. Unlike most leaders who would use spoon and fork, Nikita loved the Indian way.

It has become a cross-border gift for India and Pakistan since the 1980s when Zia ul-Haq exchanged crates of mangoes with the former Indian Prime Minster Indira Gandhi.

On Eid 2015, PM Nawaz Sharif sent 10 kgs of mangoes to Indian PM Narendra Modi. Further, 15 kgs to President Pranab Mukherjee and 10 kgs each to former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Atal Behari Vajpayee was also sent.

It seems Pakistan wants to take its mango diplomacy with India seriously irrespective of the insecurity between the two nations. Every year, India receives Mangoes from Pakistani leaders, but India does not always respond by an exchange.

With security tensions mounting in South Asia, some suggest returning to Mango diplomacy (especially with China) may benefit India.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

 

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India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)