Value of Waste

The Value of Waste

- May 4, 2020


 

One day, in the royal court of Akbar, there came a merchant who proffered a beautiful vase to the emperor. “This beautiful vase has come straight from the Orient, your highness. It will be a wonderful addition to your palace.” Emperor Akbar was not impressed. “I can see it’s a little chipped. Let this be a warning. Never show me anything that is broken.”

His wise minister, Birbal, who was watching the proceedings, was amused by the emperor’s order and questioned him. “But why, Jahanpanah?” Akbar replied, “Surely, Birbal, you will agree that anything that is broken, crushed or rotten, is of no use to anyone.”

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Birbal did not agree. “Sometimes, maybe, but that is not always true!” The emperor challenged him to prove it. Birbal explained his stand.

“The juice we get from sugarcane by breaking and crushing, gives us sugar, jaggery, and delicious sweets. These make for diving offerings!”

“The cotton pod bursts forth to yield the cotton string. Clothes made from its spinning and weaving are fit, even for a king! The rotten decaying rags, old jute and other such waste yields paper, paper on which the sacred Quran and purananas are all written on.”

Akbar conceded defeat. “Indeed! I take back what I said, Birbal. Everything has its use, even the broken, crushed and rotten stuff.”

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Comic of The Month

M.S. Subbulakshmi

M.S. Subbulakshmi was born to sing. Her unchallenged position in the realm of Carnatic music was the result of great talent combined with hours of practice and utter devotion. Subbulakshmi began her formal training in music when she was five. Her first stage performance was at the age of eight. It is said that the young Subbulakshmi would practice her ragas even between household chores, keeping time to the most intricate and complex beats of Carnatic music. M.S. Subbulakshmi used music as an instrument to motivate people, especially during the freedom movement. Her music inspired all those who heard it and she was celebrated and acclaimed wherever she went. In this graphic biography, Amar Chitra Katha pays tribute to the legend and her invaluable contribution to the world of music.

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