A new variety of mango, harvested at Uttar Pradesh's famous mango centre Malihabad, has been named Nirbhaya after the 23-year-old Delhi girl who was brutally gang-raped Dec 16 last year and died of her injuries two weeks later.
The new variety, its grower Kaleemullah Khan said, was his way of honouring the bravery and spirit of the young physiotherapist, whose rape and death galvanised the entire nation.
Khan, who has been awarded with a Padma Shri, said he had planted the tree three years ago and was surprised that it bore fruit in such a short span. This year, he added, the mangoes were 'slightly small' but the next harvest would be hopefully be normal.
Khan, 57, is a venerated mango grower and has his name registered in the Limca Book of World Records for growing 300 varieties of mangoes on a single tree. In 1999, he grew 54 varieties of mangoes on a single tree and gifted the tree to the president. This tree still finds place in the Mughal Gardens at the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
In the past, Khan has named new mango varieties after celebrities like actresses Aishwarya Rai and Nargis, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.