This mango business is no joke! Despite my best efforts and those of my fellow mutineer Ennis to steer the whole mango conversation in absurd and salacious directions, it seems that out among the high and mighty, the triumphal return of the Indian mango to the American market is proving to be a very serious deal. Mango Diplomacy is being discussed at the White House, courtesy of none other than…
Raghubir Goyal of the India Globe held up a basket wrapped in colored cellophane. “Mangoes from India arrived, and here is a basket for President Bush,” the reporter offered. “My question is: What message does mangoes bring, as far as India-U.S. relations are concerned?”
In return Snow had only this:
For one of the few times during the briefing, Snow smiled. “I don’t know. It is my first mango-related inquiry,” he admitted.
Undaunted by this callous official indifference, however, Mango Nationalism is, um, ripening among proud Indians and Indo-Americans here, if submissions from Fareed Zakaria, David Davidar, and Shashi Tharoor to SAJAforum are any indication. Apparently Tharoor thinks that American ignorance of true mangoes, while surely just as grave as our ignorance of cricket, is a more redeemable condition:
After years of penury, where what passed for mangoes in American supermarkets was a travesty of the term, we at last have the real thing! I used to believe that true mango lovers could sue American groceries for false advertising — the tasteless, fibrous, tart and flavor-challenged fruit they sold did not deserve the name of mango. Now we should urge every American we know to try a real Indian mango. They’ll never think of mangoes the same way again.
Full quotes from all three eminences plus a comment thread here. Mango pride is sweeping across the land. Will there be a backlash?