Tenaliram was the court jester of the renowned king of Vijayanagar State, Raja Krishnadevrai, and existed prior to Birbal, the renowned court jester of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Tenaliram’s period was during Babur’s reign. But many repartees of the two celebrated court jesters have become so popular all over India that at times it is difficult to ascribe them to Birbal or to Tenaliram. Born in the family of poor brahman Ramaiyyah, Tenali rose high in life sheerly on the strength of his intelligence and quick wit. Tenali’s real name was Ramling. He was born in the small town Gallipadu of Guntur district. His repartees are the gems of a quick witted man. He had a knack of proving his contention to be true by uncultable arguments and deft word-play.
Included in the book are some famous stories which display the high level of intelligence of Tenaliram. We have selected only those stories whose meaning conveys the same effect even in an alien language. These stories are not jokes but culled from the real—life stories of Tenaliram. In this sense these are not jokes. But since jokes have the manifestation of a sharp wit, they could be placed in the categories of enlightened jokes. We hope that our readers would be delighted to read them.