Saturday, September 26, 2015

Unique Gift to PM Modi by Menaka Gandhi

Unique Gift to PM Modi by Menaka Gandhi
NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi got a special gift from Menaka Gandhi a few days ago. Finding the present wasn't easy. In fact, the search took a while and it was even feared that the hunt might be futile. But then it was located in Dehradun and, since there was just one of its kind, a courier was dispatched to Uttarakhand to bring it back unharmed.

What the minister for women and child development got the PM for his 65th birthday was a "rare" and "sacred" offering with a mythological resonance. It may have been a few days after September 17, which is the PM's birthday, but Gandhi was able to present Modi with a sapling of Ficus Krishnae, a tree that's more commonly known as Makhan Katori, for his garden at 7, Race Course Road.

The local name reflects the mythological association, playing on Lord Krishna's love of butter (makhan) as a boy, which he would often steal from homes in Vrindavan. During one such gastronomic escapade, his mother Yashoda discovered him.

To get out of a scolding, he hid the butter by cupping it in a leaf. The leaves of that tree thenceforth took the shape of a cup and it came to be known as Makhan Katori—biological name, Ficus Krishnae.

Here's more to the story. After Krishna got an earful from his mother, the butter melted and started running out of the cupped leaf. That's the explanation for the latex-like sap that flows whenever a leaf is plucked from the tree.

 Accompanying the gift was a note from Gandhi to the prime minister elaborating on the mythological value of the tree with the hope that the prime minister would plant it in the garden of his official residence.

At various times in his career, Modi has been compared to Krishna by members of his party — and not for his love of butter.

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