One day Akbar was taking a walk in his Royal gardens with several courtiers. Many flowers were flowering at that time of season. A poet pointed out towards a beautiful flower and said, “Look Jahaanpanaah, how beautiful flower that is? No man can produce such a beautiful thing as this.” Birbal was also there. He said, “I don’t agree with this, sometimes man can make more beautiful things than this.” Akbar said, “Oh no Birbal, you are talking nonsense. This flower is really very beautiful.”
After a few days, Birbal presented Akbar a very skilled craftsman from Agra. He presented a beautiful carved marble bouquet of flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it, and gave him one thousand gold coins.
Just then a boy came and presented the Emperor a beautiful bouquet of real flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it too, so he gave a silver coin to the boy. Birbal said, “So the carving was more beautiful than the real thing.”
Akbar understood that he had fallen in the hands of his witty minister once again.
How Birbal Brought Meat Back in the Community?
Akbar was famous for his religious tolerance. (Jodhaa Baaee, a Hindu woman, was his wife, he had married other religion’s women also) He would help to all those who wanted help even on religious matters.
Once it so happened that a group of Braahman appeared in his court and said – “O Great Emperor, You are the one who allowed us to ask you if we had problems. We have stayed silent for long time, but today we wish to speak up. We do not want any slaughtering of animals, it is against our religion.”
Hearing this Akbar got in a fix as the meat was the most important food in the market. He couldn’t think of anything else except to call Birbal and ask his help in this matter. After thinking for a while, Birbal offered his solution, he said – “Your request can be granted on two conditions; one, that if any animal was found on the road, we are not responsible for his safety; two, that all animals should be fed in houses till their death, if any animal was found eating something outside, we are not responsible for his safety also.”
Braahman went back happily. A month went by. The same Braahman again appeared in the court and said – “O Jahaanpanaah, We take our words back, we cannot keep our animals inside.”
That is how Birbal brought meat back in the community.
The Choice of Birbal
One day Emperor Akbar asked Birbal what he would choose if he were given a choice between justice and a gold coin.
“The gold coin,” said Birbal. Akbar was taken aback.
“You would prefer a gold coin to justice?” he asked, incredulously.
“Yes Jahaanpanaah,” said Birbal.
The other courtiers were also amazed by Birbal’s display of idiocy. For years they had been trying to discredit Birbal in the emperor’s eyes but without success and now the man had gone and done it himself. They could not believe their good fortune.
“I would have been dismayed if even the lowliest of my servants had said this,” continued the Emperor. “But coming from you? It’s. . . it’s shocking – and sad. I did not know you were so debased!”
“One asks only for what one does not have, Your Majesty.” said Birbal, quietly. “You have seen to it that in our country justice is available to everybody. So as the justice is already available to me also; and as I’m always short of money I said I would choose the gold coin.”
The emperor was so pleased with Birbal’s reply that he gave him not only one but a thousand gold coins.