Mughals ruled parts of the sub-continent with Delhi as their capital for over two centuries. Few of the Mughal rulers maintained patience towards Hindu rituals and maintained communal harmony encouraging Hindu scholars and prophets.
Delhi was in Adil Shah’s rule concurrently while Sri Krishna Deva was ruling Vijaya Nagar. A war broke out between the two kingdoms for supremacy over one another. At one stage, both the rulers felt that the war didn’t worth it and sought to restore peace. So, meeting was called for in Delhi for finalising the peace treaty.
Hoping to establish a cordial relation between the two empires, Sri Krishna Deva headed for Delhi with a big team comprising of poets, dancers, scholars and others. At Delhi, Adil Shah gave red carpet welcome to Sri Krishna Deva and his team. During the pleasant rounds of discussions, Adil Shah urged the scholars and poets from the Sri Krishna Deva team to recite some sequences from the epic Mahabharat.
Hearing the beautiful naration of the character and capacity of Panadavas, Adil Shah was lured. He expressed his wish and requested Sri Krishna Deva to make his men rewrite the Mahabharat portraying him and his friends as Pandavas and his rivals as Kauravas. Sri Krishna Deva was shocked to hear the Sultan.
Sri Krishna Deva was worried about the development and called for an emergency meeting with the learned persons of his team. In the meeting, he sought suggestions from them to avert the problem. Nobody could come out with any concrete proposal to contain the issue. After watching all this, suddenly Tenali Rama raised and put his proposal before Sri Krishna Deva.
He said, “My Lord! I think there is not much for you or us to get so much worried and burdened about the Delhi Sultan’s wish about Mahabharat. You please leave the problem to me and I shall handle it.”
But Sri Krishna Deva was worried about the safety of the kingdom and his subjects.
“Tenali Rama…” Sri Krishna Deva said, “…I am aware that you are a genius. However, this is a very critical situation. Dealing with the Delhi Sultan is not an easy task. It is like walking on the edge of a sword. We have be very careful!”
He was worried that if the problem was not dealt properly, there was a chance that Delhi Sultan might declare a war on Vijaya Nagar.
Tenali Rama was stiff to his argument and assured everyone to leave the matter to him. The big heads of the meeting could not comprehend how Tenali Rama was confident that he could solve this ‘so easily!’ Anyway, they told each other, as we could not come out with any proposal for the solution, let him handle this.
Next morning, the court was packed with both the rulers and their henchmen. Adil Shah recalled his wish about re-composing of the Mahabharat.
Tenali Rama rose from his seat and saluted the Sultan. “Huzoor! All of our scholars are into the job assigned by your majesty’s wish. However, we are stuck at one specific issue. It is not proper for us to discuss the subject in the court. If you can kindly permit me, I wish to present the issue before you in private.”
Adil Shah thought that there should really be some problem and consented for the one-on-one meeting with Tenali Rama in a separate room.
Tenali Rama folding hands and presenting all respects to the Sultan in his words started, “Your Highness! You are the king of kings! It is our pleasure to know about your inclination about our epics like Mahabharat. The scholars started re-composing the whole epic, in accordance to your majesty’s wish. You are being portrayed as Dharmaraja, eldest of Pandavas and your friends as Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.”
Tenali Rama paused a second and continued, “This is where we had to scratch our brains…” However he was not forth coming with the problem.
Adil Shah waited and when it was clear that he has to get it out of Tenali Rama he ordered, “What is the problem? Tell me clearly and quickly.”