Mughal emperors were sticklers about court etiquette. Places were assigned to courtiers according to rank and none besides princes of royal blood allowed a seat. When ordered to approach the throne, the first step forward had to be taken with the right foot and the person had to stop at a prescribed distance from the monarch. Even close relatives had to observe these rules.
Badauni records a transgression of etiquette by the daughty Bairam Khan, the seniormost of courtiers, while attending on Humayun. The emperor was being longwinded in his speech and the aged courtier, who was overcome with drowsiness, became inattentive. Humanyun spoke sharply, 'Bairam Khan! We are speaking to you and you seem not to be listening to us.'
The old man roused himself and replied, 'Yes, your Majesty, I am all ears. I am told that in the service of kings, watch should be kept over the eyes; among dervishes watch should be kept over the heart; and among men of learning, watch should be kept over the tongue. Your servant was wondering what he should keep a watch on as your Majesty is at once a king, a dervish and a man of learning.'
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