Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tales of Tenali Raman - Tenali Raman And Challenge of The Linguist

Once in the court of King Krishnadevaraya, came a linguist who was known to have traveled all over India and learnt many languages. He conversed with the king's courtiers in many languages fluently. Everyone was thoroughly impressed with him including the king. Now the linguist challenged the court to find out what his mother tongue actually was. The court accepted the challenge and each one of them tried their best to find out the linguist's mother tongue.

One courtier who spoke to the linguist in Bengali said that the linguist was indeed a Bengali. Another one spoke to him in Hindi and declared that the linguist was Hindi.  Each one of the courtier came up with many languages they thought could have been the linguist's actual mother tongue. So no one reached to any solution. The linguist was smart and kept replying without actually revealing any truth. Later on he said to the king, "Dear Lord! There definitely going to be a lot of guessing. But I want more than just guessing".

So now the king turned towards Tenali Raman and asked him to try. Tenali Raman accepted the linguist's challenge. The linguist put a condition in front of the king, that if Tenali Raman failed in proving so, the king would have to reward the linguist with whatever he asked for. The king readily agreed as he had full confidence in Tenali.

Tenali turned to the linguist and said, "Sir, I really appreciate your superior linguistic skills. You indeed are very well read and intelligent. Though you are a master of lots of languages I still believe that you love your mother tongue very much. Please give me a day's time and I promise that I will give my reply tomorrow in this court." The linguist readily agreed and was made to stay in the palace as a royal guest. Tenali Raman himself made sure that all the staying arrangements made for the linguists were comfortable. The linguist was happy with the hospitality he received and enjoyed lovely dinner and soundly retired in his bed.

Tenali Raman had worked out a plan. He waited outside the quarters of the linguist until midnight. He made sure that the linguist was deep asleep. Then he tiptoed towards the linguist's bed. Tenali tickled the linguist slowly with a rough duster. Not once but he repeated the action twice. Suddenly woken from a deep slumber, the linguist started shouting, "Kon Che! Kon Che! Chowkidar! Ma Jagdambe, Raksha karo!" Tenali hid himself behind a cupboard and witnessed the whole act. Once he made sure that the linguist had gone back to sleep, he slid back, went to his house and slept well.

Next day in the court,  everyone including the king anxiously waited for Tenali. Even the linguist was eager about what was going to happen. Tenali Raman entered the court as his usual self and bowed down to the king. The king asked him," Tenali, can you tell us what his mother tongue is?" Tenali calmly answered, "Yes my lord. I can." The King said, "Then tell us," Tenali turned towards the linguist and said, "O Scholar of languages! You are an expert and I bow down to you. But I know your mother tongue is Gujarati. Please confirm it." The linguist replied, "My mother tongue is indeed Gujarati."

Everyone including the king was shocked and surprised to hear it. The king asked, " How did you know, Tenali?" Tenali Raman replied, " Everyone of us love their mother tongue. It is the most dearest to us. Though one may be proficient in many languages, yet he would always turn back to his mother tongue in dire circumstances. I used the same trick with our guest. Last night, I woke up our guest. Being disoriented and frightened he resorted to his mother tongue and shouted in Gujarati."

The linguist came forward and hugged Tenali. He admired his quick wit and praised him. The linguist regarded Tenali as a genius and as usual Tenali Raman proved that to be true. 

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