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Bihar's 'Mango Man' develops new variety, names it 'lockdown'


PATNA: Ashok Kumar Choudhary of Bihar, who is affectionately called 'Mango Man' in the state, has named a new hybrid variety of Jardalu mango "lockdown" after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Choudhary, a 58-year-old law graduate-turned-farmer of Maheshi-Tilkapur village under Sultanganj PS in Bihar's Bhagalpur district, is popular among people for gifting baskets of Bhgalapur's famous 'Jardalu' variety of mango every year to the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister of India.

Earlier, he had named two varieties of mango developed by him after the PM - 'Modi-I' and 'Modi-II'.

Speaking to this newspaper, Choudhary, a recipient of over a hundred awards for his contribution in the development of mango since 1992, said: "The latest hybrid variety of 'Jardalu' mango has been developed amid the lockdown. That's why I  have named it 'lockdown'."

Credited to have developed more than 80 varieties of mango so far since 1992, Choudhary has developed "Madhuban Farm", mango orchard where he grows many varieties of mango plants, some of which are brought from Florida in US and Thailand.

He develops the mango variety through grafting technology. The "lockdown" variety of mango was grafted before the outbreak of COVID-19 that got fully developed amid the lockdown. Choudhary has won many accolades for developing 72 varieties of mango from one tree through grafting.

"In 2019, I named a new variety of Jardalu mango after the PM when he returned to power second time as "Modi-II" after naming a variety of 'Maldah' mango as Modi-I in 2014", he said.

Another variety of mango, which is currently in the process of development at his farm , would be named after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in the coming days.

It was Choudhary's sheer efforts in the field of mango cultivation that fetched the prestigious Geographical Indicator (GI) tag to the Bhagalpur's famous Jardalu mango in 2018.

When asked why he quit the job of a teacher in a government school, Chowdhury said: "Mango is called the king of all fruits. I realised the need of doing something to save the fruit and dedicated my life for the preservation of the to-be-extinct varieties."