Akbar was three years old in 1545. He was then staying with his uncle Kamran. On a special day, there was a feast. And Kamran had bought a kettle drum for his son, Ibrahim Mirza. Akbar took a fancy to it and decided he must have it.

Ibrahim Mirza, who was older than Akbar, was not in a mood to part with his toy. So he set a condition. He suggested a wrestling match. Whoever won would take the toy. The future emperor agreed at once. One doesn’t know if he gave any thought to the fact that his cousin was older and physically bigger than him. He rolled up his sleeves and prepared for the wrestling bout.

The Emperor who Won a Toy in a Fight [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
The Emperor who Won a Toy in a Fight [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]

The match began. And soon it became apparent that Ibrahim Mirza was no match for his younger cousin. Putting his hand behind Mirza’s waist, Akbar lifted his cousin up and then flung him on the ground. It was as clear a victory as could be. The kettle drum was his. And for the next few moments, he drummed away madly…

Much later, when Akbar became emperor, the story of his life was written by his biographer Abul Fazl. And when Abul Fazl wrote about this incident, he wrote about in glowing terms! He saw the incident as a sign from the heavens that the child was a future emperor. The fact that he wanted the kettle drum surely meant that Akbar would do deeds that would make people celebrate his achievements! The fact that the young Akbar managed to defeat his elder and stronger cousin meant that he was being supported by a divine power, said Fazl.

What do you think?

292 words | 2 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: features
Tags: #emperor, #akbar

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