Aam Naama, an ode to mangos, is a podcast series in Urdu, spread over 10 episodes, celebrating the national fruit of India, produced by the London-based, Cine Ink, a digital hub of Hindi Urdu podcasts.

Having its roots and origin in India, Mango or Mangifera indica, commands respect in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist scriptures. Mango leaves are integral to several Hindu rituals, and the fruit and its tree rekindle folklores in Indian masses.

South Asian literature and music thrive on the metaphor of Aam. The series ‘Aam Naama’ goes beyond the metaphor by discussing various varieties of mangos, their origin, cultivation and the love of Muslim rulers for one and only- the Aam.

Mango Diplomacy: NSA Condoleeza Rice receiving a basket of Indian mangos from PM Manmohan Singh’s Communication Advisor, Sanjay Baru (2007)

Why is it that most of the mango orchard owners in North India come from the higher castes among Muslims! Is it not true that just before the 1857 revolt against British Raj, some Muslim scholars considered the love for eating Mango a bid’ah- any innovation that has no roots in the traditional practice (Sunnah) of the Muslim community.

But how can one forget that the legendary Hindi-Urdu poet, Amir Khusrau (1253–1325) called mango Fakhr-i Gulshan (the pride of garden) and Naghztarin Samar-i Hindustan (the fairest fruit of India).

Great Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797 – 1869) went on to write a masnavi, Dar Sifat-e-Amba, an ode to mangos. Allama Iqbal, Akbar Allahabadi and many others followed Ghalib, the Imam-e-Aam, writing poems in praise of mangos.

Aam enjoys the status of the National Fruit in India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Aam has gone global, grown almost all over the world.

Aam is both love and sex.

Writing for The Wire author Radhika Oberoi says: “Summer in the Indian subcontinent is overripe with clichés. Milky clusters of champa blossom in the searing heat; koels, hidden from mankind behind the glossy leaves of jamun trees, are crazed with song; jamun trees, laden with purple fruit, buzz with bees making honey while rose-ringed parakeets make love on low-lying branches.

Among all these – the heat and dust of the city, the hullaballoo of birds and small animals, strange and sublime summer vacations – is one great enduring metaphor of the subcontinent’s summer: the mango. Too beloved an image to be discarded for being overused, the mango as a literary device in literature and poetry represents unspoken thoughts and feelings, unseen body parts of potential lovers, the summer’s transience, (and, as a corollary, the transience of youth and beauty), or even the quality of light on a particular day.”

Aam Naama records mango growers, mango lovers, musicians, poets, authors, cuisine masters and commoners- all paying tributes to the one and only Aam. There are excerpts from acclaimed literary works on Aam, including Mohammed Hanif’s novel ‘A Case of Exploding Mangos’, Chekhov’s Urdu adaptation of The Proposal by Achala Sharma who uses aam in her adaptation as the bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

The series Aam Naama is presented by Pervaiz Alam and Mehr-e-Alam Khan. Cine Ink Podcasts are available on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, Jio Saavn and many other podcast platforms.

All episodes are also available on www.cineink.com and www.spreaker.com/cineink. Cine Ink has got dedicated pages on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Episode 01: Aam Tera Kya Naam Re

In the first episode of ‘Aam Naama’, an ode to mangos, Pervaiz Alam discusses the origin of aam or mango with Meher-e-Alam Khan, whose forefathers have been cultivating mango orchards for centuries. The episode is interspersed with anecdotes about aam, Rama Sundar Ranganathan’s song ‘Koyaliya bole ambua daar daar par’ and Saghar Khaiyyami’s poem Aam ka Sehra.

Episode 02: Kahan Se Aaya Kahan Gaya Vo

In this 2nd episode of the Cineink’s 10-part Urdu podcast series, Aam Naama, Pervaiz Alam and Mehr-e-Alam Khan discuss the origin and cultivation of Aam (Mango) in India and its journey to other countries. Enjoy, Ghazala Khan’s mango recipes, mango songs by Ustad Kamal Ahmad and Jyotsna Rana, and an Urdu Nazm on Aam by Matin Amrohvi, recited by Sajid Raza Khan. You can send us your comments: post@cineink.com

Episode 03: Khaas AamoN Ka Kuchh BayaaN Ho Jaaye 

Enjoy Tagore’s O Monjori in Bangla and Hindi with translation by Achala Sharma, Aam Geet by Ambassador Jyoti Pande, Classical singer Rama Sunder Ranganathan and others. Listen to a fascinating conversation about the characteristics of Chausa, Langda, Dussehri, Rataul, Alphonso, Malda, Bainganpalli, Tota Pari, Himsagar, Kesar and Swarn Rekha in this 3rd episode of Cine Ink Podcast series ‘Aam Naama’, presented by Pervaiz Alam and Mehr-e-Alam Khan.

You can write us at: post@cineink.com

Episode 04: Chaman Aur Bhi AashiyaN Aur Bhi HaiN 

Indian mangos face stiff competition from foreign varieties as  we discuss famous mangos from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Australia, Japan and America. Enjoy Mango songs sung by Jyoti Pande and Jyotsana Rana, along with a poem by Akbar Allahabadi, recited by Sajid Raza Khan. 

In this 4th episode of Cine Ink Podcast series, Aam Naama, presenters Pervaiz Alam and Mehr e Alam Khan read messages, comments and feedback received from Aam Naama listeners. You can also write us at: post@cineink.com

Episode 05: Zikr Kuchh Aam Diplomacy Ka

Jawahar Lal Nehru was known for presenting mangos to his foreign counterparts but he also taught them how to eat mangos. Did Queen Victoria eat the Indian mango as suggested by her servant Abdul Karim? What made Bilawal Bhutto angry when he sent Pakistani mangos for the Queen Elizabeth II? What did Chairman Mao do with the mango gift sent to him from Pakistan? What led George W Bush to lift a ban on the import of Indian mangoes in the USA? This episode of Aam Naama explores the the role of mangos in world diplomacy, presented by Pervaiz Alam and Mehr e Alam.  

Enjoy Jyoti Pande’s singing and Achala Sharma’s recitation of Dharmavir Bharati’s epic poem Kanupriya, having sensual references to mangos.