§ 23. The Emperor's repartee.

Prince Muhammad Azam Shah, owing to his levity of character and vileness of tongue, had likened His Majesty to the sweeper Jama who used to serve in the Hall of Private Audience, and the matter had reached the imperial ears. One day, while Jama was sweeping the courtyard of the Private Audience Hall, the Emperor turned towards Azam Shah and said, “Baba! this sweeper has four sons.” Azam Shah replied, “He has only one son, and that too a mere child.” His Majesty rejoined, “Your statement is wrong. My information is even that one of these four sons has gone away to Persia!” On hearing these words, the prince understood the point [of the Emperor's speech] and was greatly ashamed. He complained to his sister, Zinat-un-nisa Begam, “His Majesty, utterly disregarding the consideratiou and honour due to my lady mother, has described Jama sweeper as my father!” The Emperor retorted, “But, then, son! you showed no consideration and honour to Shah Jahan, when you described his late Majesty's son as the sweeper Jama!”

Text.–Ir. MS. 6a, MS. N. 11a & b.

Note.–Only four sons of Aurangzib were alive at this time, and one of these, Prince Akbar, had fled to Persia after the failure of his rebellion in 1681.