Akbar's punishment

Once, in the kingdom of the greatest Mogul Emperor, Akbar, the traders were all quarrelling and fighting among themselves. The Arab, Indian and Portuguese traders were all trying to exploit one another.

One day a Portuguese merchant got mad at a Muslim trader, so he tied a copy of the Koran around the neck of a dog and set the dog free. The dog started roaming along the streets, going here and there at random with the book hanging around his neck.

Akbar’s mother, Hamida Bhanu Begam, saw the dog and became furious. She said, “It is such a sacred book! How can someone put it around the neck of a dog!” Hamida Bhanu asked her son, the Emperor, to send someone to catch the dog and punish it. She also wanted Akbar to find out who the owner was so that he could also be punished mercilessly.

Poor Akbar! On the one hand he was very devoted to his mother. On the other hand, what kind of punishment could there be for this kind of crime? Suddenly a brilliant idea entered into his mind. He asked one of his servants to bring him a monkey. When the servant brought it to him, Akbar tied a Bible around the neck of the monkey and asked the servant to let the monkey loose in the street. The monkey started wandering along the street, going from one place to another with the Bible hanging around his neck.

When Akbar’s mother heard about this, she was not satisfied. She said to her son, “What are you doing? You are making this a fight between a monkey and a dog. Is this what I wanted? I wanted the dog and its owner to be punished.”

Akbar said, “Mother, how can I do that kind of thing? Someone has created this kind of mischief to make fun of our religion, but I don’t know who the culprit is. The sacred book is innocent, the dog is innocent, and nobody will confess to being the owner of the dog. So, if somebody speaks ill of the Muslims and puts the Koran around the dog’s neck, then the best thing that we can do is to put a Bible around a monkey’s neck. We can only play the same kind of trick on that person. If he makes fun of us, we can make fun of him. But more than that we can’t do. We can’t punish people for these kinds of jokes.”