Friday, 21 June 2013

Mango Tree summoned as witness!

Once Shahenshah Akbar and his wise counsel Birbal were walking in the garden outside the palace, when two people approached them. One of them was Bolu Ram, while the other was a merchant by the name Uttam Ram. Bolu Ram told the Emperor that he had lent money to Uttam Ram, though the  merchant bluntly refused to even recognize Bolu Ram, leave alone borrowing money from him!

Bolu Ram was close to tears when Birbal asked Bolu Ram if there was any proof for his claim. He told Birbal that he trusted people and Uttam Ram was known to him for many years and therefore had not thought it necessary to have a proof or witness.

This set Birbal thinking. Though from his voice and body language Birbal knew that Bolu Ram was telling the truth, there was no way of proving it. Birbal then asked Bolu Ram if there was any witness to what he claimed. By now Bolu Ram had given up all hopes of getting his money back. He simply shook his head and said, rather wryly, that there was a mango tree which witnessed the whole proceeding.

Birbal’s heart went out to Bolu Ram and immediately he hatched a plan. He asked Bolu Ram to go with one of the soldiers to fetch the mango tree. The soldier, who stood guard, was aghast, but dared not speak a word. Bolu Ram was speechless, but followed the soldier obediently. Akbar could not hide his amusement as he knew Birbal had a new trick up his sleeves and was rather curious to find out what Birbal would come up with this time!

Then Birbal started walking towards the courtroom and waited just a while, so that Akbar could lead the way. Uttam Ram, not knowing what to do, went silently behind the emperor and his trusted counsel.

An hour later Bolu Ram and the soldier walked in rather exhausted. Birbal asked the soldier if Bolu Ram had gone to the mango tree and the soldier told him that he had even pleaded with the tree. 

The obliging mango tree...
Before anyone could say another word, Birbal turned towards Uttam Ram and said, “See, did not the mango tree oblige?” Then he turned towards his colleagues and began addressing them, "Did the mango tree not come here and tell us what he had seen? Al those who saw the tree, please put up your hands," Birbal said. He then turned towards the Emperor and told him that all those who had not spoken a lie in their lives had seen the tree walk into the court as witness. Slowly many hands went up and by the time Birbal turned around to face the merchant even the Emperor’s hand had gone up.

Before Birbal could utter a word, Uttam Ram fell at the feet of the Emperor and accepted having taken money from Bolu Ram. The Emperor then asked Uttam Ram to payback twice the amount that he had taken from Bolu Ram. Bolu Ram thanked the Emperor for his fairness and thanked Birbal for his quick wit.

After the court dispersed, Akbar told Birbal that only in kingdoms where ministers were wise, mango trees walked to courts! Birbal calmly countered saying that only in kingdoms where the King was just and fair such ministers could be found!

Akbar and Birbal were in mutual admiration of each other, weren’t they?