An intelligent statesman, Birbal holds a renowned position in the folklore of India. He was born to a poor Brahmin family in Tikawanpur on the banks of the River Yamuna. Popularly known as Birbal, his real name as Maheshdas.
Birbal's strong sense of wisdom coupled with humor enabled him to become the Prime Minister of Emperor Akabar. He was vested with the duties of administration and military. Many courtiers were jealous of Birbal's fruitful friendship with the emperor and this has often led to wacky situations in Akbar's court.
Birbal has written a substantial number of poems under the pen name of Brahma, which won him the title of Kavi Priya (poet laureate). A collection of them is preserved in Bharatpur Museum, Rajasthan.
Birbal was killed in a battle on north-west frontier. There prevail numerous stories depicting Birbalís wisdom and wit. He was one among the nine gems (nava-rathna) of Akbar's court.