Akbar and Birbal Stories in Telugu and English - Brief History of Birbal - Part 1







Introduction of Birbal Stories


Birbal Stories are very well known and popular in India among all ages of people. They are also called by another name Akbar-Birbal Stories.

There was a Mogul Emperor in India, Akbar The Great (1542-1605). His full name was Jalaludden Mohammed Akbar Padshah Ghazi and he ruled India from 1560 to 1605. He himself was illiterate, but he invited several learned people in his court. Among these people, nine were very famous and were called Nav Ratna (nine jewels of the Mogul Crown) of his court. Among these nine jewels, five people were more famous - Tansen, Todarmal, Abul Fazal, Maan Singh and Birbal.

1. Tansen ... A Great Singer
2. Dasvant ... A Great Painter
3. King Todarmal ... A Financial Wizard
4. Abdu us-Samad ... A Brilliant Calligrapher and Designer of Imperil Coins
5. Abul Fazal ... A Great Historian ( whose brother was Faizi )
6. Faizi ... A Great Poet
7. Mir Fareh-ullah Shirazi ... Financier,Philosopher,Physician & Astronomer
8. King Maan Singh ... A Great Man known for His Chivalry
9. Birbal ... A Great Man known for His Valuable Advice

Akbar's son Prince Sultan Salim, later known as Jehangir wrote that nobody could create out that Akbar was an illiterate. Akbar was a extremely hard-working King. It is also said about him that he slept only three hours a night.

Birbal (1528-1583) is definitely one of the most popular figures in Indian history equally regarded by adults and children. Birbal's duties in Akbar's court were mostly administrative and military but he was a very close friend of Akbar too, because Akbar loved his wisdom, funniness and delicate humor. He was a minister in the administration of Mogul Emperor Akbar and one of the members of inner council of nine advisors. He was a poet and an author too.
It is believed that he was a son of poor Braahman of Trivikrampur on the banks of River Yamuna. According to a popular legend, he died on an expedition to Afghanistan at the head of a large military force due to treachery. It is also said that when Birbal died, Akbar mourned him for several months.

The exchanges between Akbar and Birbal have been recorded in many volumes. Many of these have become folk stories in Indian tradition. Birbal's collection of poetry available under the pen name Brahm are preserved in Bharatpur Museum, Rajsthan, India.


1. Birbal Stories: Birbal Identifies Thief

One fine morning, a minister from Emperor Akbar's court had gathered in the assembly hall.

He informed the Emperor that all his valuables had been stolen by a thief the previous night.

Akbar was shocked to hear this because the place where that minister lived was the safest place in the kingdom.

He invited Birbal to solve the mystery. Akbar said "It is definitely not possible for an outsider to enter into the minister's house and steal the valuables. This blunder is definitely committed only by another minister of that court." Saying so, he arranged for a donkey to be tied to a pillar. He ordered all the courtiers to lift the donkey's tail and say "I have not stolen."
Birbal added "Only then we can judge the culprit." After everyone had finished, he asked the courtiers to show their palm to him. All the courtiers except Alim Khan had a black patch of paint on their palm. Birbal had actually painted the donkey's tail with a black coat of paint. In the fright, the guilty minister did not touch the donkey's tail at all. Thus Birbal once again proved his intelligence and was rewarded by the king with 1000 gold coins.


2. Birbal Stories: Birbal Denies Rumor

One day a man stopped Birbal in the street and began narrating his woes to him.

"I've walked twenty miles to see you," he told Birbal finally, "and all along the way people kept saying you were the most generous man in the country."

Birbal knew the man was going to ask him for money.

"Are you going back the same way?" he asked.

"Yes," said the man.

"Will you do me a favor?"

"Certainly," said the man. "What do you want me to do?"

"Please deny the rumor of my generosity," said Birbal, walking away.


3. Birbal Stories: Birbal Betrays Himself

Birbal was missing. He and the emperor had a quarrel and Birbal had stormed out of the palace vowing never to return.

Now Akbar missed him and wanted him back but no one knew where he was.

Then the emperor had a brainwave. He offered a reward of 1000 gold coins to any man who could come to the palace observing the following condition. The man had to walk in the sun without an umbrella but he had to be in the shade at the same time.

"Impossible," said the people.

Then a villager came carrying a string cot over his head and claimed the prize.
"I've walked in the sun but at the same time I was in the shade of the strings of the cot," he said.

It was a brilliant solution. On interrogation the villager confessed that the idea had been suggested to him by a man living with him.

"It could only be Birbal!" said the emperor, delighted.

Sure enough it was Birbal and he and the emperor had a joyous reunion.


See other Parts:
  1. Akbar & Birbal Stories in Telugu and English - Brief History of Birbal - Part 2
  2. Mughal Emperor Akbar and Birbal Famous Stories in Telugu and English - Part 3
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