A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: justice

How Rama became Maryada Rama

In ancient Andhra Pradesh, there lived a young boy Rama. This boy was extremely smart, intelligent and shrewd and could analyse any situation and judge people accurately.

In those days, whenever there was any matter in dispute judgement was given by the judge in the court of the King or by the King himself. In the kingdom where Rama lived, there was no judge in the king’s court and so the King used to deliver justice.

One day while Rama was sitting at the mandap near the temple pond, and chatting, he saw an old lady pass by sobbing and she looked as if she was in great grief.

Rama called her and asked her, “Amma, what is the matter? Why are you crying?”

The lady started crying profusely and said, “Beta, where will I go and tell this injustice? The King has ordered me to give a potful of gold coins as a punishment. Where will I go for the gold coins?”

Rama was puzzled and asked her to tell him her story.

“I am an old woman living here and I am earning a living by selling milk. One day four young men came to my house and gave me a pot for safekeeping. The pot was sealed and they told me that I should give it back to them only when all the four asked for it together”

“Then what happened?” asked Rama.

“Well, one day I was milking my cow in the backyard when one of the men came and asked me for the pot. I told him that I would give him the pot only when all of them asked for it, for which he showed me the gate of my house and told me to ask the other three who were there. I shouted from the backdoor which is very far away to the three men out there and asked them what they wanted. “Pot” they shouted back. “Give it to him.”  So, I gave the sealed pot to him and he went away. After some time the other three came to the backyard searching for their friend and asked for ‘a’ pot.

I got worried and told them that I had already given the sealed pot to their friend. I had committed a blunder. They were asking for a pot to buy buttermilk and drink whereas the fourth fellow tricked me into giving the sealed pot to him and ran away with it. The other three men got very angry that their money had gone due to my mistake. They complained to the king who has now ordered me to pay them a pot full of gold coins. In fact I did not even see the coins as the pot was sealed. What will I do now? My fate is sealed”.

Saying this, the lady started sobbing loudly.

“What sort of a judgement is this? I cannot understand!” exclaimed Rama. “If I were the judge, I would have delivered real justice.   Hmm. I do not know what the poor old woman will do…”

So saying, he left the place.

Unknown to Rama, one of the senior ministers of the king had observed the whole episode hearing every word Rama uttered. He went back to the king and told him what he had seen.

The king was angered that a common man should comment upon the judgement he had made.

The next day, Rama was sent for by the King. Not knowing why he was called for a puzzled Rama went to the King’s court.

He was surprised to find the old lady and three young men in two separate enclosures facing each other. The King looked at Rama and said in a stern voice, “Oh, you are Rama, are you? Under whom did you study law Sir? I heard that you were criticising my judgement in the case of this lady and the three men there”, he said, pointing to the lady and the three men.

Rama was not frightened. Keeping a cool face, he replied, “Who am I to criticise your judgement Your Highness? I just said that I could not understand your judgement.”

“Then, in that case,” said the King, “you can give your judgement in this case right now, here!”

“I am ready your Highness” said Rama, “but for the sake of understanding of the people here, I would like to recapitulate the case”. He went on to repeat the story he had heard from the woman about how four men had given her a pot and told her that she should give it back only when all of them demanded it together, how she was duped by one of them even though she thought all of them were asking for the same pot.

“Now,” said he, “Our King has told this woman to give the three men the pot of gold as she did not follow their instruction and in the process, the pot has been taken away by one of the men”. He continued, “There is nothing wrong with the King’s judgement, but….”

“But what?” thundered the King.

“I am just going to slightly modify your judgement your majesty” said Rama with a smile. “The lady has to give back the pot to them…”

As he paused, the three men who were in the enclosure were surprised and puzzled and the old woman was worried. The King was also wondering what different judgement was this going to be, when Rama continued, “Provided all the four of them come together and ask for the pot. That was the agreement wasn’t it?”

There was a thunderous applause from the audience and the King was pleased at the sharp mind and prudent judgement delivered by Rama. The old woman had tears of joy in her eyes and the three men looked disappointed that their joy was short-lived.

“I am very happy at your judgement Rama” said the King, “I need a person like you to assist me in my judgements. You shall be known as Maryada Rama henceforth and all cases shall come to you first for judgement”.

Rama was extremely happy that he had saved the old lady from trouble as he knew that the fourth person who took the pot and ran away would never come back to join this gang again.

Maryada Rama was famous for all the judgements he gave. There is also the story of the lost diamond where Rama, with his shrewdness delivered an excellent judgement.

Birbal Helps Again !!

akbarbirbal-1-ConvertImageBirbal was one of  the gems of Emperor Akbar’s court. He was one of those persons who could give a solution to any sort of problem which is why Emperor Akbar liked him so much.

We have heard of many instances where Birbal came to the rescue when justice had to be delivered. People preferred to go to Birbal rather than going to the court when they had a problem or case against somebody. This is yet another story of Birbal’s intelligence.

Once there was a person by name Shaam in a village near Agra. He had purchased a piece of land from his neighbour Mangat Ram. The piece of land had a well on it and Shaam had paid the purchase price in full and also registered the land in his name mentioning the presence of the well in the document. He had fenced the land and put a small gate with a lock.

The day after the purchase was over, Shaam heard a knock on his door. On opening the door, he found Mangat Ram standing outside with many drums of varied sizes. To the puzzled Shaam, Mangat Ram said, “I have come to take my water from the well and from tomorrow, give me a duplicate key to the lock you have put for the land, so that I do not have to disturb you to take my water”.

Shocked, Shaam asked, “But Sir, I have purchased the well from you by paying cash. So where is the question of your water? If you want, take water today, but I cannot allow you to take water from the well everyday as a matter of right!”

Mangat Ram, furious at Shaam’s reply said, “How dare you say that I cannot take water huh? I have sold only the well to you not the water okay? Show me where in the document is it written that I have sold you the water in the well? Don’t try to act smart!”

“Act smart?” thought Shaam. Who was acting smart? He did not feel like arguing with Mangat Ram as he knew that it would lead to nowhere. Gathering his wits Shaam said, “Mangat Ramji, it is okay if you take water today, but I want to take this matter to Birbalji for a solution. Of course, you have not mentioned the water in the well in the sale agreement, but then maybe it has to be included and I wish to meet Birbalji in this regard”.

Mangat Ram thought for a moment and said, “Theek hai, we will meet Birbalji tomorrow and I am sure he will agree that I am right! I will come to his house at 5 in the evening.” Birbal used to meet people in the evenings if his help was required by them to solve such issues. Mangat Ram was very sure that Birbal could not ‘dispute’ his version of the ‘ownership’ of the water in the well.

Shaam was worried the whole night, though he knew that he would get a just decision from Birbal. Anyhow, he thought he should apprise Birbal of the case beforehand and went to meet him in the morning.

Birbal gave Shaam a patient hearing and said, “Do not worry. I will see you in the evening. Go and take rest”

The anxious Shaam, left the place a wee bit relieved.

It was evening and both Shaam and Mangat Ram were present in the courtyard of Birbal’s mansion. Shaam was tensed up, while Mangat Ram had a cunning smile on his face.

Birbal came and signalled to them to sit on the benches there. Looking at Mangat Ram he said, “Yes, Sir, tell me what brings you here”.

Happy that he was given the chance to speak first, Mangat Ram told Birbal of how he had sold the patch of land with the well to Shaam, but had not sold the water in the well and therefore, he was entitled to take any amount of water at any time of the day from the well.

“Am I not correct Huzoor?” he asked with arrogance. “I never promised to sell the water to Shaam. Ask him if you want!”

Birbal looked at Shaam and asked him, “Is it true that Mangat Ram did not sell you the water?”

Almost in tears Shaam said, “Huzoor, I never imagined that a person would sell only the well without the water in it. I bought the land with the well only because there was copious water in the well and I could irrigate the land with that. I have paid lot of money for the purchase by mortgaging my wife’s jewels. Now what is the use of the well without the water? I feel Mangat Ram is being unjust. I plead that you may deliver justice”

Birbal said, “Mangat Ramji, I agree that you have not sold the water from your well to Shaam and that you have sold only the well. But do you agree that the well belongs to Shaam now?”

Happy, thinking that the case was moving in his favour, Mangat Ram, with a wide grin said, “Ha ji Huzoor, the well belongs to Shaam only. The water alone belongs to me!”

After a moment’s silence, Birbal, clearing his throat said, “Well, I understand that the well belongs to Shaam but the water belongs to Mangat Ram and the water can be kept only in the well. So…, Mangat Ramji, it is only fair that you should pay rent to Shaam on a daily basis for him to let you keep your water in his well. The rent can also be fixed right away. Is it not Shaamji? How much rent do you expect?”

Mangat Ram was in for a shock. He did not in the least expect that the issue would boomerang in this manner on him.

Hurriedly he said, “Huzoor, Shaam and I are very good friends and we will fix the rent mutually. I have to leave now as I have to meet a friend. Namaste!” He walked out of the place without turning back!!

Shaam had no words for Birbal. Overwhelmed by the simple, yet the best solution that had sent his foe running, all Shaam could do was to hold the hands of Birbal with tears of gratitude streaming down his cheeks.

“Thank you so much Huzoor, thank you …thank you… “was all that he could say as Birbal looked at him with the satisfaction of having saved yet another naive citizen from the clutches of a greedy fellow.

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