Raja Birbal (1528-1586) was the Grand Vizier (Wazīr-e Azam) of the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar and one of his most trusted members along with being a part of Akbar's inner council of nine advisors, known as the navaratna, a Sanskrit word meaning nine jewels. Birbal's duties in Akbar's court were mostly military and administrative but he was also a very close friend of the emperor, who liked Birbal most for his wit as well as his wisdom, as a result of which they frequently had witty and humorous exchanges between them. These exchanges and stories have become part of a rich tradition of folklore and legend.
Born Mahesh Das in 1528 in the village Ghoghara of Sihawal tehsil in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh, Birbal grew up in a kayastha Brahmin household, educated but impoverished. He was a poet and author whose wit and wisdom led the Emperor Akbar to invite him to be a part of the royal court and to bestow upon him a new name - Birbal. Akbar also conferred on him the title of Raja.
Raja Birbal died in the battle of Malandari Pass, attempting to quell unrest amongst Afghan or Pashtun tribes in Northwest India. Akbar was said to have mourned for a long time on hearing the news. The death was said to be caused by treachery, not military defeat. Sanchit Fazal killed Birbal because of his close relationship with Akbar.