1.2 Who’s the Greatest
For the Questions click on – Questions.
For a pdf – click on the link below
patron of art and culture : a person who appreciates, supports and
encourages art and culture
flog : beat someone hard, especially with a whip
agitated : disturbed
incur our displeasure : make me angry
in a proper fix : in a tight corner, in a difficult situation
vast: of very great size or area
empire: a group of people or nations under an emperor’s rule.
generations: a group of people living at a particular time.
stunned: astonished, surprised, amazed
moustache: facial hair growing on between a man’s upper lip and nose.
lashes: to strike or beat with a whip
whip: to beat with a belt, strap or thin object like a cane or rod
offending: action disliked by others
opinion: a personal view
favours: a kind act
compete: try to do better than the other
curious: eager to learn or know
banish: to expel or drive away someone from a country.
1. Listen to the stories carefully, as your teacher reads them aloud. Note down the new words, ideas or concepts. Discuss them in the class.
2. Guess the meaning of the following words and phrases :
untold wealth – a large amount of wealth
closest to the Emperor’s heart – Emperor’s favourite
grave offence – serious crime
banish – to expel or drive away someone from a country.
3. Say with reasons, whether the following statements are true or false.
(a) Akbar wanted to punish the person who pulled his moustache.
False, because his own grandson had pulled his moustache that morning.
(b) Akbar thought he was greater than God.
False, because it was not Akbar but the courtiers who showered false praises on him.
(c) Birbal thought Akbar was greater than God.
False, because he knew that God is greater than anyone as God’s kingdom is so vast.
4. Write a sentence each about three of your friends. Each time you should say what your friend cannot do, and yet, pay a compliment to your friend.
(i) My friend Rahul writes very slowly but his handwriting is very neat and beautiful.
(ii) My friend Neeti, is very short but she runs very fast and wins the race.
(iii) My friend Anita, fails in Maths but she is very good at drawing and in basket ball.
5. Write a short note on Emperor Akbar.
Emperor Akbar was born on 14th October, 1542 in Umarkot, Pakistan and died on 27th October, 1605. He was the son on Emperor Humayum. Akbar became the king at the age of 13 after his father’s death. Akbar had nine jewels or Nav- Ratnas in his court, they were Abul Fazel, Faizi, Tansen, Birbal, Raja Todar Mal, Raja Man Singh, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Fakir Aziao-Din and Mullah Do Piazza. Of them Birbal was very close to his heart. Akbar the Great is known as one of the greatest rulers in the world – not just because he had a vast empire, a very strong army, untold wealth, but because he was a good human being. He cared for his subjects. He had great respect for scholars, writers, poets and artists belonging to different religions. He was a patron of art and culture.
6. Convert the stories into dialogues and read the dialogues aloud in the class.
Akbar: (enters the court with a serious expression) I have a question for
all of you. What should be the punishment for someone who pulls
Nobleman 1: Flog him! Give him fifty lashes of the whip.
Nobleman 2: That’s not enough. Put him in jail without food and water.
Courtiers: (shouting) “Whip him!’’ “Beat him up” “Hang him!’’ “Cut off his
Birbal: (sitting silently and smiling a little)
Akbar: What do you say, Birbal? What is your opinion?
Birbal: In my opinion, O Giver of Peace to the World, the offender should
be given his favourite sweetmeats.
Courtiers: Raja Birbal, are you out of your mind? Give sweetmeats for such
a grave offence ?
Birbal: Yes, who would be so bold as to pull the Emperor’s moustache ?
Only his own grandson!
Akbar: (laughing loudly) Ha! Ha! Ha!
Emperor Akbar relaxing with some courtiers.
Courtier 1: You are the greatest of the kings!
Courtier 2: You are the greatest of the kings or emperors that ever lived on the earth!
Courtier 3: You are the greatest of all the people in heaven or earth!
Courtier 4: You are as great as God Almighty!
Courtier 5: You are greater than the God Almighty!
Akbar: (stopping the courtiers) Do you all believe so?
All the courtiers: Yes!
Akbar: All right, then, prove it to me. Tell me at least one thing that I can
do but God Almighty will not be able to do. Otherwise, you will all
incur our royal displeasure! You have till tomorrow morning to prove
Courtiers thinking and thinking.
Courtier 1: Let’s take Birbal’s help.
Courtier 2: That’s a good idea.
Courtier 3: We should meet him right away.
Courtier 4: Let’s all go together.
At Birbal’s house.
Birbal: What’s the matter? Why are you all here, so late in the evening?
Courtier 5: We are in a fix. By tomorrow morning we have to prove to the
Emperor that he is greater than the God Almighty!
Birbal: That’s all! Leave it to me. You all return home now. Don’t worry. I’ll
prove it tomorrow morning.
They all leave.
The next morning, the court is full of people who are curious to know what would happen next.
Akbar: Well, have you found a good answer to my question? Or are you
ready to leave the court forever?
Birbal: (stepping forward and bowing low) Please don’t be angry with those
who think you are the greatest. There’s certainly at least one thing
that you can do, but the God Almighty cannot!
Akbar: (thoughtfully) Hmmm! And what is that one thing?
Birbal: When you want to punish someone, you can banish that person – you
can throw him out of your kingdom. But God’s kingdom extends
everywhere. The Almighty cannot banish anyone from his kingdom.
Akbar: (smiling) That was very clever, Birbal! While showing how I have an
advantage, you have also shown that God is greater. I believe you.
All courtiers: O! Great Emperor! Please forgive us for our stupidity.
Akbar: (happily) Go, I pardon you all. Do not repeat it again.
7. Form pairs and make a ‘pair presentation’ of any one of the two stories. To do so, each person presents only one sentence at a time, and the next one is immediately presented by the partner. Thus, each person in the pair presents alternate sentences without breaking the flow of the narration.
8. Find at least five other Akbar and Birbal stories and share them with your friends. Make a list of the stories collected by the entire class. Put your list in alphabetical order.
9. Visit a library : Find the stories of
- Mulla Nasiruddin
- Gopal Bhand and
- Tenali Raman.
Share them in the class.
Passage 1 (pg 2)
Emperor Akbar or Akbar the great …………… by word of mouth)
(a) Who is known as one of the greatest rulers in the world? Why?
Ans. Emperor Akbar is known as one of the greatest rulers in the world because he was a good human being.
(b) Apart from being a good human, what was Emperor Akbar also known for?
Ans. Apart from being a good human being, Emperor Akbar is also known for his vast empire, a very strong army and untold wealth.
(c) For whom did Emperor Akbar have great respect?
Ans. Emperor Akbar had great respect for scholars, writers, poets and artists belonging to different religions.
(d) Who was a patron of art and culture?
Ans. Emperor Akbar was a patron of art and culture.
(e) Who were famous in Emperor Akbar’s court?
Ans. The nine jewels or ‘nav-ratnas’ were famous in Emperor Akbar’s court.
(f) Who was the closest to the Emperor’s heart?
Ans. Birbal was the closest to the Emperor’s heart.
(g) What kind of questions did Emperor Akbar love to pose?
Ans. Emperor Akbar loved to pose interesting questions or problems in his court.
(h) Who answered Akbar’s questions?
Ans. Birbal always answered Akbar’s questions.
(i) How have the Akbar and Birbal stories handed down?
Ans. Akbar – Birbal stories have been handed down over generations mainly through word of mouth.
(j) Can we believe all the Akbar – Birbal stories that are told? Why?
Ans. No, we cannot believe all the Akbar-Birbal stories that are told because nobody knows whether they have any basis in history.
Passage 2: (pg 2-3)
One day, the Emperor entered ………… was smiling a little.
(a) What expression did the Emperor have?
Ans. The Emperor had a serious expression on his face.
(b) What did he say as soon as he was seated?
Ans. As soon as he was seated, he said, “I have a question for all of you. What should be the punishment for someone who pulls my moustache?”
(c) Why was the court stunned?
Ans. The court was stunned because they wondered who would dare to pull the Emperor’s moustache. And such a thing was unheard of.
(d) What did one nobleman exclaim?
Ans. One nobleman exclaimed to flog and give fifty lashes of the whip to the offender.
(e) What punishment did the other nobleman want the emperor to give?
Ans. The other nobleman suggested to put the offender in jail without food and water.
(f) What did the agitated courtiers cry out?
Ans. The agitated courtiers cried out, “Whip him!’’ “Beat him up!’’ “Hang him !’’ “Cut off his offending hands.’’
(g) Describe Birbal’s reaction to the emperor’s question?
Ans. Birbal was silent and even smiling a little.
Passage 3 (pg 3)
“What do you say ……………. What had happened in the morning.
(a) What questions did the Emperor ask Birbal?
Ans. The Emperor asked, “What do you say, Birbal? What is your opinion?”
(b) What punishment did Birbal want the Emperor to give?
Ans. According to Birbal the offender should be given his favourite sweetmeats.
(c) How did Birbal address the Emperor?
Ans. Birbal called the Emperor, ‘O Giver of Peace to the World.’
(d) How did the courtiers react to Birbal’s punishment?
Ans. The courtiers said, “Raja Birbal, are you out of your mind? Give sweetmeats for such a grave offence?”
(e) Why did the courtiers feel that Birbal was out of his mind?
Ans. They felt that Birbal was out of mind as he had suggested that the offender who had pulled the Emperor’s moustache should be given his favourite sweetmeats as punishment.
(f) What explanation did Birbal give?
Ans. Birbal explained that only the Emperor’s grandson would be so bold as to pull his moustache.
(g) Was Emperor Akbar anger with Birbal’s answer? How do you know?
Ans. No, Emperor Akbar was not angry with Birbal because when Birbal explained the reason for giving sweetmeats to the offender, he burst out laughing.
(h) Why did Akbar burst out laughing?
Ans. Akbar burst out laughing because Birbal had correctly remembered that the Emperor’s grandson had pulled his moustache in the morning and so Birbal had suggested giving him sweetmeats as punishment for his offence.
(i) What had happened in the morning?
Ans. In the morning the Emperor’s grandson had pulled his moustache.
(j) Explain the phrase:
out of your mind – unable to think or do anything correctly.
burst out laughing – to suddenly start laughing.
Passage 4 (pg 3-4)
On another occasion …………. Tomorrow morning to prove it!”
(a) What was Akbar doing?
Ans. Akbar was relaxing with some of his courtiers.
(b) What did a few of the courtiers think?
Ans. The few of the courtiers thought that this was a good opportunity to shower praise on the Emperor and get some favours from him.
(c) How were the courtiers competing with each other?
Ans. They began competing with each other in praising Akbar.
(d) How did the courtiers praise Akbar?
Ans. The courtiers started showering false praises on Akbar. They said, “You are the greatest of the kings! “, “ You are the greatest of the kings or emperors that ever lived on the earth!”, “ You are the greatest of all the people in heaven or earth!”, “ You are as great as God Almighty!” and “You are greater than the God Almighty!”
(e) What did Akbar not care for?
Ans. Akbar did not care for false praises showered on him.
(f) What question did Akbar ask the courtiers? Why?
Ans. Akbar asked the courtiers to tell him at least one thing that he could do but God Almighty would not be able to do. Because while showering false praises they said that Akbar was greater than the God Almighty.
(g) What did Akbar want the courtiers to do? How?
Ans. Akbar wanted his courtiers to prove it to him by telling him atleast one thing that he could do but God Almighty would not be able to do, till the next morning.
(h) What would happen if the courtiers were not able to prove their point?
Ans. If the courtiers were not able to prove their point then they would have to leave the court forever.
(i) How much time did Akbar give to the courtiers?
Ans. Akbar gave them time till the next morning to prove their point.
(j) Why do you think it is not right to shower false praises?
Ans. It is not right to shower false praise on others as it would mislead them to think wrongly of them and whenever they will come to know the truth then they will feel very sad.
(k) Write about an incident when someone was showering false praises.
(students have to write on their own)
Passage 5 (pg 4 – 5)
Akbar then left ………………….. the courtiers for their stupidity.
(a) How did Akbar leave the place?
Ans. Akbar left the place without another look at the courtiers.
(b) What situation were the courtiers in? Why?
Ans. The courtiers were in a proper fix because now the Emperor had ordered them to prove to him by the following morning at least one thing that he could do and God Almighty couldn’t.
(c) To whom did the courtiers go to for help? Why?
Ans. The courtiers finally went Birbal for help as they could not figure out how to prove to the Emperor that he could do something that God Almighty could not.
(d) What did Birbal tell them?
Ans. When Birbal heard their story he told them not to worry and he would prove it the next morning.
(e) Why was the court full the next morning?
Ans. The court was full the next morning as everyone was curious to know what would happen next.
(f) What punishment did the Emperor want to give the courtiers?
Ans. The Emperor wanted to banish the courtiers from his kingdom.
(g) What did Birbal request the Emperor?
Ans. Birbal requested the Emperor to not get angry with those who thought him to be the greatest.
(h) How did Birbal prove that Akbar was greater than God?
Ans. Birbal told that whenever the Emperor wanted to punish someone he could banish that person i.e. throw that person out of his kingdom. But God’s kingdom extends everywhere. The Almighty cannot banish anyone from his kingdom. Thus Birbal proved that Akbar was greater than God.
(i) Why cannot the Almighty banish anyone from his kingdom?
Ans. God Almighty cannot banish anyone from his kigdom because God’s kingdom extends everywhere.
(j) Was the Emperor happy with Birbal’s answer? How do you know?
Ans. Yes the emperor was happy with Birbal’s answer because Akbar face was lit up with a smile.
(k) Why did Akbar think that Birbal was clever?
Ans. Akbar thought that Birbal was clever because by showing that Akbar had an advantage over God he also showed that God is greater than everyone.
(l) Why did Akbar forgive the courtiers?
Ans. Akbar was very pleased with Birbal’s answer so he forgave the courtiers.
(m) Find the words from the passage that mean:
(i) eager to learn or know – curious
(ii) to expel or drive away someone from a country – banish
For the Questions click on – Questions.
For a pdf – click on the link below