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A painting of Raja Birbal, as he was known

Birbal, an intelligent and witty man, was a beloved courtier to Emperor Akbar. He was one of the youngest men of the court, who had the greatest influence on the ruler. Despite his Hindu background, he supported the Mughal ruler and even adopted Din-i-ilahi towards the end of his life. He died in a battle that he led against a rebel army. He belonged to the precious nine courtiers of Akbar's court known as the Navratnas (nine gems).

Born as Mahesh Das, Birbal was renamed in Akbar's court. He solved many petty issues with his wit and is known as a man of practical wisdom. He lives on today in the literature that shapes children's formative years, in application comedy for adults, and in folktales for everyone else. His wisdom is so unique and so practical that it does not take too much to understand it. At the same time, it is not something that can be easily emulated.

There are certain instances where Birbal's wit is not entirely useful, nonetheless, it provides for a good laugh. As a man who set out to make a change in the world, particularly in a king's court, he is a man who has left a rather impressive legacy for humility, loyalty, and unbounded talent. Although his position in the court was perhaps far more important than that of a jester, he is portrayed as one, and this remains for centuries.

He lives on in the tales of grandparents, in moral science textbooks for young children, and sometimes unconsciously in the decisions that we take daily. Many of the stories we have heard ourselves through various sources remain with us and reflect in the way we look at situations and understand their outcomes.

Birbal, as a character in a story, will not die away anytime soon. As a stalwart for common sense, and a symbol of exercising the innate ability to reason everyday phenomena, he will remain immortal in literature. Children of today and those of tomorrow will surely never tire of reading about him and his marvellous witticisms.

Keywords: Birbal Literature, Witticism, Navratna, Mughal rule in India, Akbar's nine gems, Indian literature



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