Tuesday, 31 March 2015

One Question & The Real King

I am a great fan of Akbar-Birbal stories and I find great leadership lessons from these simple folk lores. 

The following are two of my favourite stories. Enjoy .....

The Real King

The King of Iran had heard that Birbal was one of the wisest men in the East and desirous of meeting him sent him an invitation to visit his country. 

In due course, Birbal arrived in Iran. 

When he entered the palace he was flabbergasted to find not one but six kings seated there. 

All looked alike. All were dressed in kingly robes. Who was the real king? 

The very next moment he got his answer. Confidently, he approached the king and bowed to him. 

"But how did you identify me?" the king asked, puzzled. 

Birbal smiled and explained: "The false kings were all looking at you, while you yourself looked straight ahead. Even in regal robes, the common people will always look to their king for support." 

Overjoyed, the king embraced Birbal and showered him with gifts. 

Leadership lesson :  Open your eyes and spot the leader.


One Question 

One Day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. 

He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" 

Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave. 

"Ask me one difficult question," sad Birbal. 

"Well, then, tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" 

"The chicken," replied Birbal. 

"How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. 

"We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" said Birbal and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping. 

Leadership lesson : Tact and wit are important to win the game


Raja Birbal, was an advisor in the court of the Mughal EmperorAkbar. He is mostly known in the Indian subcontinent for the folk tales which focus on his wit. Birbal was appointed by Akbar as a poet and singer in around 1556–1562. He had a close association with the Emperor, being part of his group of courtiers called the navaratna or nine jewels. In 1586, Birbal led an army to crush an unrest in the north-west Indian subcontinent, which failed tragically when he was killed along with many troops, in an ambush by the rebel tribe. 
By the end of Akbar's reign, local folk tales emerged involving his interactions with Akbar, portraying him as being extremely clever and witty. As the tales gained popularity in India, he became even more of a legendary figure across India and neighbouring countries surrounding it. These tales involve him outsmarting rival courtiers and sometimes even Akbar, using only his intelligence and cunning, often with giving witty and humorous responses and impressing Akbar. By the twentieth century onwards, plays, films and books based on these folk tales were made, some of these are in children's comics and school textbooks. [Source : Wikipedia]