The tales of Akbar and Birbal have been passed on from generation to generation, enthralling young and old listeners alike. This book brings together a selection of these stories, along with fascinating historical details about the Mughal court, the emperor and his witty courtier. From the time that a chance meeting in the forest brought Akbar and Birbal face-to-face, the emperor and his minister together faced dilemmas that ranged from the ethical to the personal, from debates on the true nature of justice to the problems of hen-pecked husbands. An old widow is robbed of her bag of gold and Birbal nails the culprit. A thief runs away with the emperor’s royal seal but gives Akbar a surprise later. Birbal manages a miraculous escape when envious courtiers conspire to have him killed. The king asks his ministers how many crows there are in the city, and only Birbal has the answer.
With well-researched introductions to each aspect of Mughal life, Amita Sarin recreates Akbar’s court in all its grandeur and vitality. The stories in this collection are both amusing and thought-provoking, both historical and timeless.