Now, a 'Modi Rose' blooms!
The rose 'Saffron-Vermillion Red with Yellow River' has German parentage and has been carefully developed after nearly five years of research and development at the world-famous KSG Rose, Bangalore.
This is one of the rare instances in the country when a rose - the universal symbol of love - has been named after a top politician.
In the past, special rose varieties have been named after prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, president S. Radhakrishnan and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Some decades ago, prime minister Indira Gandhi had a special rose dedicated to her - Pink with White River - and called 'Indira Priyadarshini'.
KSG Roses Managing Director Sriram K. Rangan said that usually they do not part with their global exclusive creations, but since the Dombivli Rose Society (DRS) wanted to immortalize it by naming it after the prime minister, they agreed.
"This year, we developed over two dozen new varieties, of which the 'Modi Rose' turned out to be the best and healthiest," Rangan told IANS from his nursery in Bangalore.
After tending to it dedicatedly, with considerable research and efforts over the past five years, the new rose became ready early this year when Modi was still campaigning for the April-May Lok Sabha elections.
The company's 84-year old Chairman Kasturi Rangan said that there are presently around 4,000 varieties of roses, authentically documented and catalogued.
"Besides, worldwide, there are around 25,000 varieties and another 25,000 varieties which are yet to be properly documented," Rangan told IANS.
Referring to the roses named after VVIPs, he said there are a variety of protocols to be followed before a rose can be dedicated to any dignitary - the most important being his or her consent.
Confirming that Modi has given his consent, a pleased Ravindra Chavan, DRS patron and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator said that when they saw this particular rose at the KSG Roses nursery, they fell in love with it.
"It is of a medium size, but appears unique and stands out among others, emits a soothing and sweet fragrance. We requested Kasturi Rangan to allow us dedicate it after the prime minister," Chavan told IANS.
According to Chavan, they toured around the entire country to acquire the best and unique rose saplings for the DRS before they finally went to KSG Roses and settled for the varieties there. It was a sea of beautiful roses of different shapes, sizes, colours; single, dual or multi-coloured, each with a unique fragrance and texture, et al.
Rangan said that developing and selling roses is a huge business in the country, with Maharashtra's Pune city alone accounting for over 10 million saplings annually, followed by West Bengal with 7.50 million and Karnataka 1.50 million through some 60-odd nurseries around the country.
"The sad part is that most customers still insist on imported varieties of roses, though the Indian varieties are among the best available in the world," rued Rangan, who heads the 100-year old company.
KSG Roses supplies the flower to some of the top government bodies, residences of governors and chief ministers, ex-royalty, top corporate houses and private individuals and rose lovers around the country for their unique gardens or nurseries.
The country's single largest collection of 2,500 rose varieties can be found at the famed Ooty Rose Garden.
Legendary horticulturist and rose master M.S. Viraraghavan lives in Kodaikanal and his creations are globally patented and adorn the homes of the rich and powerful worldwide, Rangan said.