Babur

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Zahiruddin Babur
Babur portrait
Birth name: Zahir-ud-din Mohammad Babur
Family name: Timurid
Title: Emperor of Mughal Empire
Birth: February 14, 1483
Death: December 26, 1530
Succeeded by: Humayun
Marriage:
  • Ayisheh Sultan Begum
  • Bibi Mubarika Yusufzay
  • Dildar Begum
  • Gulnar Agacheh
  • Gulrukh Begum
  • Maham Begum
  • Masumeh Begum
  • Nargul Agacheh
  • Sayyida Afaq
  • Zainab Sultan Begum
Children:
  • Humayun, son
  • Kamran Mirza, son
  • Askari Mirza, son
  • Hindal Mirza, son
  • Gulbadan Begum, daughter
  • Fakhr-un-nisa, daughter
A portrait of Babur, from an early illustrated manuscript of the Baburnama 1589-90

Zahiruddin Babur or Zahir-ud-din Mohammad Babur (14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530) was a chieftain and prince from Fergana who became the first Mughal Emperor. He defeated Hindu and other Muslim kings many times using new technology. He founded the Mughal Empire in the Hindustan. He was descended from both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Many people consider him to have been a great emperor.

Early years and origins[change | change source]

Babur (1483 – 1530) was a descendant of Tamerlane from his father's side and Genghis Khan from his maternal side, and was destined in turn to be the first ruler or founder of the Mughal Empire. Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur was born at Fargan state in Turkistan in February 14th, 1483. His name, ‘Babur’ meant ‘lion’ and he proved the justification of his name, as he had courage and audacity just like a lion.

When Babur was only eleven (11) years old, his father, Omar Sheikh Mirza, died. As soon as the old chief, or Mirza had died, Babur’s cousins and uncles turned against him and he had to run away. He returned three years later and took control of the city Samarkand. But one day, while he was out on an expedition to Fargana to regain the city, his enemies won back the city, Samarkand. As Babur went wandering around mountains, he slowly assembled a small army and entered what is now Afghanistan and attacked Kabul in 1504 A.D. He then came to be known as ‘Ameer’ (King/Ruler) of Kabul.

Plans of the conquest of India[change | change source]

In 1525 Babur set out to attack and conquer India. He had only about twelve thousand men with him but he had been promised help by Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of Punjab. They planned to march together against the ruling Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, who was the king of Delhi at that time. When Babur reached India, Daulat was afraid to help him, and eventually backed out, and so Babur started off to Delhi by himself with his small army of men.

Ibrahim Lodi was reported to have one hundred thousand men and one hundred elephants. But Babur had something which Ibrahim did not have – heavy guns and cannons, the first proper Turkic style artillery seen in medieval India. There were hardly any guns at that time in India and Babur had managed to get hold of some in Kabul. He had cannons and some rifles as well.

The two armies met at the famous First battle of Panipat, at a small village near Delhi. Both armies remained in position opposite each other for a week before the battle began. Babur was an excellent general and he planned the battle very carefully as conquering Delhi was indeed very important to him. After the battle about fifteen thousand men of the enemy were killed including their commander Ibrahim Lodi.

Before the enemy could recover from their defeat, Delhi was captured.

Consolidating victory[change | change source]

Babur had to fight more major battles, the battles of Khanua and Gogra. In 1527 A.D. he had to face a fierce enemy of his at Khanua, the Rajput hero, Rana Sangram (or Sanga)of Mewar. A ferocious battle was fought between the two in the field of Khanua and Babur won the battle magnificently.

In 1529 A.D., Babur got into a battle with the Afghans. Babur won, but the Afghans were not totally weakened. They joined hands with Mahmud Lodi, the brother of Ibrahim Lodi, to fight Babur again. But Babur approached forward and was a successful winner of this Battle in Gogra.

Death and legacy[change | change source]

After all these victorious battles, Mughal Rule started under Babur. But, unfortunately, Babur, could not enjoy it for long. When his son Humayun fell ill, Babur prayed to God to spare his son at the cost of his life.Soon after that, Humayun recovered miraculously and Babur fell ill. He died in 1530. He was buried in Kabul.

Babur's character and writings[change | change source]

As a person, Babur was very emotional and affectionate towards his family, his people, his empire and his servants and workers. He believed that peace can only be obtained by accepting and tolerating other races and religions and not creating any sort of difference. He told Humayun that “Islam can better be preached by the arms of love and affection, rather than the sword of tyranny and persecution.” Giving love to his people would be the only way of uniting everyone, was one of Babur’s central beliefs, which became the foundation of Mughal success and reached its highest point under his grandson, Akbar the Great.

Apart from his liberal, tolerant personality, Babur was also a fine poet and prose-writer. His famous memoirs, the Tuzk i Baburi are ranked amongst the world's great autobiographies.