Akbar and Birbal – Birbal’s Khichdi
When the king cites an invalid reason and denies a reward to a hardworking person, it is upto Birbal to deliver justice. Is he able to convince the king of his foolishness?
~~In the royal palace
Once upon a time in the Mughal empire, the great king Akbar and his minister Birbal were drinking tea. The weather was very cold and both of them were talking about how cold it was now compared to the previous years. Amidst this talk, the king asked Birbal if anyone would be outside and working in this harsh weather. BIrbal said that there will be hardworking people who always work no matter what weather it is.
~~At the same time, in a place nearby
A wood cutter is speaking to his wife, convincing her that he needs to go and cut a few trees, otherwise they will not have money to eat. He also went on to say that no one will respect them if they do not have any money. The wife had no other choice but to agree and he left for work.
~~In the royal palace
The king started to laugh and said that Birbal was a fool for thinking like this. Birbal said that he could show him proof if he wanted and the king accepted this. So, Birbal went out in search of this hard worker.
As he went into a forest, he saw a woodcutter chopping a tree. He then knew that this was the right person to be shown to the king as proof. Birbal took the wood cutter along with him to the royal court and presented him to Akbar. The king then told the wood cutter that he has a challenge for him and if he completed it, he would be given a plate heaped with gold coins. The wood cutter agreed. Akbar then told him that he had to stand in the freezing waters of the river Yamuna for an entire night and in the morning, he would get his reward. Akbar also sent a guard to make sure he did not cheat.
The next morning, the wood cutter went to the king and said that he completed the task as specified by the king. The king checked with the guard who also said the same. The king was impressed and asked the wood cutter to reveal how he was able to stand in freezing water for so long. To this, the wood cutter said that he saw the lights from the lamps in his palace as he stood in the river. The king immediately got angry and said that he will not give the reward as he survived by getting warmth from the lamps. The wood cutter was dejected at this unfairness shown to him and left the court.
On the way home, Birbal saw the wood cutter and asked him as to why he was so sad. To this, the wood cutter explained what had happened. Birbal then promised him that he would get his reward from the king.
That day in court, the king was waiting for the arrival of Birbal, even after all the other ministers had arrived. After waiting for some time, he sent a guard to Birbal’s home to check on him. The guard came back and said that he was cooking khichdi and he would come only after eating. Akbar decided to wait.
The entire day went by and Birbal was still not to be seen. Akbar then decided to go and see for himself as to what was going on. So, he went to Birbal’s house and saw him cooking khichdi in a pot. But, the pot was hanging high in the air, away from the flame that was on the ground. The king angrily asked him as to how the food would get cooked if the pot was so high. For this, Birbal replied by saying that the food will get cooked in the same way the wood cutter got warmth from the lamps of the royal palace.
The king understood the point that Birbal was trying to make and apologised for his mistake. He then gave the reward to Birbal, which was to be given to the wood cutter. Birbal took the reward to the wood cutter’s home and gave it to him. He was very happy as Birbal had gotten him the justice he deserved.
Moral – One must always be fair and just to all, regardless of any circumstances.