Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

cultural synthesis who believed in his patron's attempt to achieve an amalgam of the best that was in Hinduism and Islam ( P. P. Sinha115).

Today in India, even illiterate children in remote villages recite anecdotes about Birbal, the jester of the sixteenth-century Moghul emperor Akbar. Indians in more prosperous circumstances are generally familiar with the paperback editions of Birbal's jokes and the films in which he is a leading character. The folktales, comic books, and movies of popular Indian culture depict Birbal as an amiable Hindu surrounded by scheming Persian Muslim courtiers; he rises above poverty and obscurity by virtue of his skillful repartee and convinces the emperor to favor Hinduism over Islam. In these tales, Birbal is a vulnerable man of conscience whose only tools for survival are his clever mind and sharp tongue. He acquires religious, political, and personal influence over Akbar without resorting to violence or intrigue. But even though many of the legends have a historical basis, there is little evidence that Birbal affected Akbar's policies as greatly as they suggest. Modern Indian scholarship also tends to overstate Birbal's role in the formulation and implementation of Akbar's policies. Akbar's affection for Birbal is evidence of the Moghul's religious tolerance and social liberalism, but was not necessarily the cause of them.


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHV

Agrawal C. M. Akbar and His Hindu Officers. Jalandhar, India: ABS, 1986.

Ahmad Aziz. An Intellectual History of Islam in India. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh UP, 1969.

Allami Abu'L-Fazl. Ain-i Akbari. Trans. H. Blochmann. Lahore, Pakistan: Qausain Publishers, 1975.

Cragg Kenneth. House of Islam. Encino, CA: Dickenson, 1975.

Craven Roy. Indian Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 1976.

Dowson John, ed. The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians. 1873. New York: AMS, 1966.

Lal Muni. Akbar. New Delhi: Vikas, 1980.

Rushdie Salman. The Satanic Verses. New York: Viking, 1989.

Sinha P. P. Raja Birbal: Life and Times. Chauhatta, Patna, India: R. B. Singh for Janaki Publications, 1980.

Sinha Rajeshvar Prasad Narain. Our Birds. New Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1959.

Smith Vincent A. Akbar: Mogul, 1542-1605. Oxford: Clarendon, 1917. The Oxford History of India. 1919. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1958.

-96-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 552

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?