Beerbal was one of the distinguished nine courtiers of Mughal emperor Akbar's court, who were known as "Nine Jewels". Akbar was very impressed by Beerbal's ready wit, keen intelligence and his abilities as a poet and musician. Beerbal's original name was Mahesh Das. The emperor gave him the name of Beerbal and rewarded him in various ways. There are many anecdotes which show Beerbal's brilliant mind and his power of repartee. His birth date is not definitely known. He died in 1590.
Make it smaller without touching it
One day emperor Akbar decided to test the intelligence of his courtiers. Drawing a long straight line on the ground he said, Can anyone of you make this line smaller without touching it with anything?
The bewildered courtiers sat in silence. How could one make the line smaller without rubbing out a portion of it with one's hand or with a piece of cloth? But the emperor had already prohibited that.
When the Emperor glanced at Beerbal the latter said, Sire, if you permit me I can try and see what I can do. As Akbar nodded his assent Beerbal went up to the line and drew by its side a longer line which made Akbar's line look much smaller.
Beerbal said, Look, Sire, hasn't the line drawn by you
Akbar had to applaud Beerbal's ready wit.
At your age
Beerbal was a young boy at the time. He had not acquired the name of Beerbal, either. He was called Mahesh.
One day when Mahesh was taking lessons in Persian from a moulvi saheb he was unable to answer the questions asked by his teacher.
Moulvi saheb became quite angry and said, Do you know Mahesh, at your age emperor Humayun used to study for at least ten hours a day? And look at you!
Mahesh said politely but with a smile, Sir, if you talk about that, you surely know that at your age Humayun had become the emperor of all India.
Now look at you! You are making your living by teaching
stupid boys like me.
Beerbal's reply rendered moulvi saheb speechless.
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