Meet the man who got Kerala govt to declare jackfruit as the state's official fruit

It was this teacher’s memorandum to the state government that finally culminated in the government declaring jackfruit as its official fruit.
Meet the man who got Kerala govt to declare jackfruit as the state's official fruit
Meet the man who got Kerala govt to declare jackfruit as the state's official fruit
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When Kerala’s Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar declared on March 21 that the mighty jackfruit will henceforth be the state’s official fruit, Palakkad-based Balakrishnan Thrikkangode saw it on the news, like many others.

While Balakrishnan was enormously happy that the fruit that he adores was chosen as the official fruit of the state, he was also slightly disappointed.

For, this headmaster of the Alathur Government School in Palakkad had given a number of memorandums to various ministers in the state, urging the government to give jackfruit the status of being the state’s official fruit. However, other than the customary acknowledgements, Balakrishnan had not heard a positive response from the government.

Until Tuesday, when the state’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac rang him up to inform him that it was Balakrishnan’s memorandum, in fact, that had culminated in the state elevating jackfruit as the state’s official fruit.

Thomas Isaac shared a note on his official Facebook page on Wednesday, crediting Balakrishnan for the state’s move.

“I came to know about the timeline of events through minister Sunil Kumar. Even as jackfruit lovers are rejoicing at the state declaring it as its official fruit, Balakrishnan did not know that the move was because of his memorandum. Until I called him up to share the news,” the minister wrote in Malayalam.

Speaking to TNM, Balakrishnan says that although he was pleasantly surprised at the announcement that came on March 21, little did he think that it was his memorandum that was the reason behind it.

When the official announcement came, Balakrishnan felt that the action was based on a memorandum filed by someone else, not anticipating that it was his own plea that had been heard.

“Since December 2016, I have given a few memorandums to the finance minister, agriculture minister, culture minister and the Chief Minister. Imagine this, jackfruit is a fruit that is in abundance in Kerala and of all the other fruits that grow here, jackfruit deserves to be called the official fruit. This fruit is like buying a share in a company, you see. When you buy a share, three things happen – the capital increases every year, you get yearly dividends and then you also get bonus. Jackfruit is like that. The capital is the trunk that grows stronger every year, the dividend is the fruit and the bonus is when you also grow pepper on the tree’s trunk,” Balakrishnan explains fondly.

At his house in Thrikkangode, Balakrishnan has a number of jackfruit trees and a bamboo forest in a 1.5 acre plot of land. Incidentally, he has also been chosen for the Vanamitra award this year, instituted by the Forest and Wildlife Department for contribution to biodiversity conservation. 

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