Random Thoughts

Jan Lokpal and Birbal

Kalidas, Birbal and Tenali Rama have guided the kings in historic time by their wise and selfless counsel to achieve great prosperity in different spheres - art, culture, economic, military, judiciary etc. Do those stories have any relevance to the present day situations, or are merely confined to bedtime stories for the kids.

Let us take one Birbal story, 'Golden gallows' for our analysis.

That was an unusual day in the Emperor's Court. Akbar entered the Court in a bad mood, pulled up many Courtiers. All the scared Nobles sat quiet, till the Emperor left the Court.

Later in the day Birbal met the emperor and asked thhe reason for his displeasure.

'Birbal, do not ask. It is my son-in-law, the scoundrel.'

'Your Highness! if you tell what happened, maybe we can find a solution.'
'Birbal, it is ages that I have seen my daughter. My son-in-law does not send her to us.'
'Not a big problem, Your Majesty. We shall send some one right away to your son-in-law.'
"I have tried that, but that scoundrel is very stubborn. He refuses to send her. But I shall teach him a lesson. Birbal, please do me a favour. Please erect gallows in the open space in the city outskirts. I shall put all the sons-in-law in them.'

Birbal was aghast. What an unusual order. But as a minister he has to obey. Soon gallows came up in open places in the city. All were amused and scared at the same time. At the end of the construction Birbal took Emperor Akbar to inspect.

Akbar was deeply pleased to see the gallows, but was taken a back to see a golden and a silver gallows. On enquiry Birbal said,
'Your Highness, the golden one is for you and the silver one for me'.
'But why, we have not done any thing wrong?'
'True, but we too are sons-in-law of some body.'

Akbar was deeply impressed with the wisdom of Birbal, realised his mistake and soon revoked the order.


Akbar as a ruler did not think that he can make any mistake, and more than that felt that he is above the law of the state. In the Jan Lokpal Bill, PM, a few more policy makers and influentials likewise feel that they are no ordinary people to come under the bill.

Here comes Birbal's wisdom. A ruler needs to be selfless and wise. He too is a citizen.


More by :  Dr. Kumarendra Mallick

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