Though popularly known as Birbal, his real name was Maheshdas. It is believed that he belonged to a
poor Brahmin family of Trivikrampur (now known as Trikawanpur), on the banks of the river Yamuna. It
was only by virtue of his sharp intellect that rose to be a minister in the court of Akbar. His
phenomenal success made many courtiers jealous and, if popular accounts are to be believed, they
were busy plotting against him. According to legend, even his death, while he was on an expedition to
Afghanistan at the head of a large military force, was due to treachery. Though he was killed in the
battle, the expedition was successful and subdued the turbulent province.
Akbar had found in Birbal, a true friend and sympathiser. Of the handful of followers of the
Dine-e-Elahi, the new faith preached by Akbar, there was only one Hindu – Birbal.
Though popular known as Birbal, his real name was Maheshdas. It is believed that he belonged to a
poor Brahmin family of Trivikrampur (now known as Tikawanpur), which is situated on the bank of the
River Yamuna. It was only by virtue of his sharp intellect the he rose to be a minister at the court of
He was a good administrator, a brave soldier and perhaps 0 what pleased Akbar the most – a good
jester. Hardly known is the fact that he was also a good poet. He wrote under the nam0e, ‘Brahma’ and
a collection of his poems is preserved in the Bharatpur Museum.
In the following stories, Akbar is portrayed as more legendary than historical. Raja Birbal, the hero of
these stories, is hardly mentioned in history. Yet, the stories of Akbar and Birbal have continued to be
a vital part of the folklore of India.
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