Besides the many Colonial as well as present-day connections between India and Australia, there's a lesser-known sweet connection between the two. Tune in to find out more...
Strawberries are the sweet connection between India and Australia during the late 1800s
Who does not love luscious bright red strawberries with a vibrant green top? Did you know they were never grown in India till they were brought to the region from Australia by the British during the British Raj. During that period Mahabaleshwar was the summer capital of the Bombay presidency.
Lord Auckland, Governor-General of India from 1836-1842 may have popularised the growing of strawberries in India after they were imported from Australia. The writer Harriet Tytler recalls in her Memoirs of An Englishwoman in India 1828-1858 that she was taken to see the first strawberry plants in India as a child. They were grown by a manservant of Lord Auckland.
Prof. Brajesh Singh Director of the Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation with the University of Western Sydney who has researched extensively in the field of Agriculture told SBS Hindi, “The British started cultivating strawberries in the temperate climate of the hills of Mahabaleshwar after bringing them to India from Australia. 85% of the strawberries available in India come from there.
Since then, local farmers have developed their own varieties of the fruit, some of which are imported from other places. They are now also grown in Nainital and Dehradun. Prof Singh adds, “local Indian scientists have developed a method of growing strawberries in the warmer climates of Uttar Pradesh as well.”
Whether we relish them in Australia or India, we are thankful to Australia for these delicious berries.