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Author: Anant Pai
Illustrator: A S Chitrak / Ram Waeerkar
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175082763
This special issue of Amar Chitra Katha comics includes three narratives on the life of Birbal. These are: Birbal, the Just ; The Ten Greatest Fools ; and How Akbar met Birbal.
The wit and wisdom of Birbal had endeared him not only to Akbar, but also to a vast majority of the subjects of the Mughal empire. He had the rare distinction of achieving immense popularity during his lifetime, next only to that of Akbar. He was a good administrator, a good soldier and perhaps, what pleased Akbar the most, a good jester. Less known is the fact that was also a good poet. He wrote under the pen-name "Brahma" and a collection of his poems is preserved in the Bharatpur museum.
Though popularly known as Birbal, his real name was Mahesdas. It is believed that he belonged to a poor Brahmin family of Trivikrampur on the bank of the River Yamuna. It was only by virtue of his sharp intellect that he rose to be a minister at the court of Akbar. His phenomenal success made many courtiers jealous of him and, if the popular accounts are to be believed, they were ever busy plotting against him. According to a popular 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 was so deeply moved, when he heard the news of Birbal's death, that he burst forth into a couplet and lamented, 'Birbal, you never hurt the helpless. You always gave them whatever you had. I am helpless now and yet have left nothing for me."
Akbar had found in Birbal a true friend and sympathizer. Of the handful of followers of the Din-e-Elahi, the new faith preached by Akbar, only was a Hindu - Birbal.
Birbal the Just
Birbal the Witty
Birbal the Genius