|figure 1 of Babur|
|A portrait of Babur, from an early illustrated manuscript of the Baburnama|
|Reign||30 April 1526 – 26 December 1530|
|Spouse||Aisha Sultan Begum
Zaynab Sultān Begum
Masuma Sultān Begum
Kamran Mirza, son
Askarī Mirzā, son
Hindal Mirzā, son
Gulrang Begum, daughter
Gulbadan Begum, daughter
Gulchehra Begum, daughter
Altun Bishik, alleged son
|Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur|
|Father||Umar Shaikh Mirza II, ʿAmīr of Farghana|
|Mother||Qutlugh Nigar Khanum|
14 February 1483|
|Died||26 December 1530
Agra, Mughal Empire
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur (14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530; sometimes also spelt Baber or Babar) was a conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian Subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor. He was a direct descendant of Timur, from the Barlas clan, through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother. Culturally, he was greatly influenced by the Persian culture and this affected both his own actions and those of his successors, giving rise to a significant expansion of the Persianate ethos in the Indian subcontinent.
He was born as Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad (Persian: ﻇﻬﻴﺮﺍﻟﺪﻳﻦ محمد), but was more commonly known by his nickname, Bābur (بابر). He had the royal titles Padshah and al-ṣultānu 'l-ʿazam wa 'l-ḫāqān al-mukkarram bādshāh-e ġāzī. Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad ("Defender of the faith") was an Arabic name and difficult to pronounce for the Central Asian Turko-Mongols, therefore the name Babur was adopted. According to Babur's cousin, Mirzā Muḥammad Haydar:
[...] at that time the Chaghatái (descendants of Genghis Khan) were very rude and uncultured (bázári), and not refined (buzurg) as they are now; thus they found Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad difficult to pronounce, and for this reason gave him the name of Bábar. In the public prayers (khutba) and in royal mandates he is always styled 'Zahir-ud-Din Bábar Muhammad,' but he is best known as Bábar Pádisháh.
According to Stephen Frederic Dale, the name Babur is derived from the Persian word babr, meaning "tiger", a word that repeatedly appears in Firdawsī's Shāhnāma and had also been borrowed by the Turkic languages of Central Asia. This thesis is supported by the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, explaining that the Turko-Mongol name Timur underwent a similar evolution, from the Sanskrit word cimara ("iron") via a modified version *čimr to the final Turkicized version timür, with -ür replacing -r due to need to provide vocalic support between m and r. The choice of vowel would nominally be restricted to one of the four front vowels (e, i, ö, ü per the Ottoman vowel harmony rule), hence babr → babür, although the rule is routinely violated for words of Persian or Arabic derivation.
Contradicting these views, W.M. Thackston argues that the name cannot be taken from babr and instead must be derived from a word that has evolved out of the Indo-European word for beaver, pointing to the fact that the name is pronounced bāh-bor in both Persian and Turkic, similar to the Russian word for beaver (бобр – bobr).
Babur wrote his memoirs and these form the main source for details of his life. They are known as the Baburnama and were written in Chaghatai Turkic, his mother-tongue,[unreliable source?] though his prose was highly Persianized in its sentence structure, morphology and vocabulary. Baburnama was translated in Persian during the rule of Babur's grandson Akbar.[unreliable source?]
Babur was born on February 14 [O.S. ] 1483 in the city of Andijan, Andijan Province, Fergana Valley, contemporary Uzbekistan. He was the eldest son of Omar Sheykh Mirzā, ruler of the Fergana Valley, the son of Abū Saʿīd Mirza (and grandson of Miran Shah, who was himself son of Timur) and his wife Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, daughter of Yunus Khan, the ruler of Moghulistan (and great-great grandson of Tughlugh Timur, the son of Esen Buqa I, who was the great-great-great grandson of Chaghatai Khan, the second born son of Genghis Khan).[page needed]
Although Babur hailed from the Barlas tribe which was of Mongol origin, his tribe had embraced Turkic and Persian culture, converted to Islam and resided in Turkestan and Khorasan. His mother tongue was the Chaghatai language (known to Babur as Turkī, "Turkic") and he was equally fluent in Persian, the lingua franca of the Timurid elite.
Hence Babur, though nominally a Mongol (or Moghul in Persian language), drew much of his support from the local Turkic and Iranian people of Central Asia, and his army was diverse in its ethnic makeup. It included Persians (known to Babur as "Sarts" and "Tajiks"), ethnic Afghans, Arabs, as well as Barlas and Chaghatayid Turco-Mongols from Central Asia. Babur's army also included Qizilbāsh fighters, a militant religious order of Shi'a Sufis from Safavid Persia who later became one of the most influential groups in the Mughal court.
Personal life and relationshipsEdit
Babur claimed in his memoir to be strong and physically fit, claiming to have swam across every major river he encountered, including twice across the Ganges River in North India. His passions could be equally strong. In his first marriage he was "bashful" towards Aisha Sultan Begum, later losing his affection for her.
Though religion had a central place in his life, Babur also approvingly quoted a line of poetry by one of his contemporaries: "I am drunk, officer. Punish me when I am sober". He quit drinking alcohol before the Battle of Khanwa, only two years before his death for health reasons, and demanded that his court do the same. But he did not stop chewing narcotic preparations, and did not lose his sense of irony. He wrote, "Everyone regrets drinking and swears an oath (of abstinence); I swore the oath and regret that."
Origins of the Mughal EmpireEdit
In 1495, at twelve years of age, Babur succeeded his father as ruler of Farghana, in present-day Uzbekistan. His uncles were relentless in their attempts to dislodge him from this position as well as many of his other territorial possessions to come. Thus, Babur spent a large portion of his life without shelter and in exile, aided by friends and peasants. In 1497, he besieged the city of Samarkand for seven months before eventually gaining control of it. Meanwhile, a rebellion amongst nobles back home approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) away robbed him of Farghana. As he was marching to recover it, Babur's troops deserted in Samarkand, leaving him with neither Samarkand nor Fergana.
In 1501, he laid siege on Samarkand once more, but was soon after defeated by his most formidable rival, Muhammad Shaybani, khan of the Uzbeks. Samarkand, his lifelong obsession, was lost again. Escaping with a small band of followers from Fergana, for three years Babur concentrated on building up a strong army, recruiting widely amongst the Tajiks of Badakhshan in particular. In 1504, he was able to cross the snowy Hindu Kush mountains and captured Kabul from the Arghunids, who were forced to retreat to Kandahar. With this move, he gained a wealthy new kingdom and re-established his fortunes and assumed the title of Padshah. In the following year, Babur united with Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqarah of Herat, a fellow Timurid and distant relative, against the usurper Muhammad Shaybani. However, the death of Sultan Husayn Mirza in 1506 delayed that venture. Babur instead stayed at Herat, spending just two months there before being forced to leave due to diminishing resources. Nevertheless, he marvelled at the intellectual abundance in Herat, which he stated was "filled with learned and matched men.", and became acquainted with the work of the Uzbek poet Mir Ali Shir Nava'i, who encouraged the use of Chagatai as a literary language. Nava'i's proficiency with the language, which he is credited with founding, may have influenced Babur in his decision to use it for his memoirs.
A potential rebellion finally forced him to return to Kabul from Herat, Khorasan. He prevailed on that occasion, but two years later a revolt among some of his leading generals drove him out of Kabul. Escaping with very few companions, Babur soon returned to the city, capturing Kabul again and regaining the allegiance of the rebels. Meanwhile, Muhammad Shaybani was defeated and killed by Ismail I, Shah of Shia Safavid Persia, in 1510, and Babur used this opportunity to attempt to reconquer his ancestral Timurid territories. Over the following few years, Babur and Shah Ismail would form a partnership in an attempt to take over parts of Central Asia. In return for Ismail's assistance, Babur permitted the Safavids to act as a suzerain over him and his followers. Conversely, Shah Ismail reunited Babur with his sister Khānzāda, who had been imprisoned by and forced to marry the recently deceased Shaybani.
Babur's early relations with the Ottomans were poor because the Ottoman Sultan Selim I provided his arch rival Ubaydullah Khan with powerful matchlocks and cannons. In the year 1507, when ordered to accept Selim I as his rightful suzerain Babur refused, and gathered Qizilbash servicemen in order to counter the forces of Ubaydullah Khan during the Battle of Ghazdewan. In the year 1513, Ottoman Sultan Selim I reconciled with Babur (probably fearing that he would join the Safavids), dispatched Ustad Ali Quli the artilleryman and Mustafa Rumi the Matchlock marksman and many other Ottoman Turks, in order to assist Babur in his conquests. Thenceforth this particular assistance proved to be the basis of future Mughal-Ottoman relations.
Formation Of Mughal EmpireEdit
By 1502, Babur had resigned all hopes of recovering Farghana, he was left with nothing and was forced to try his luck someplace else. Opportunity came in 1504 when son of his uncle, Mirza Ulugh Beg who had died in 1501, Abdul Razzak, was ousted by usurper Mukin Beg from the seat of Kabul. The strong current of opposition arose amongst the populace, which wanted to the usurper to be dethroned, Babur managed the whole situation to his own advantage and occupied Kabul in 1504 and will remain the ruler until 1526.
Babur, even though being the ruler of Kabul, didn't gave up the dream of reclaiming Samarkand, in 1513 he tried reclaiming it after death of Shaibani. Entering alliance with Shah of Persia, Babur was successful in capturing Bokhara and Samarkand, but his success was shortlived, as he was driven out a year later. After this defeat Babur gave full attention on conquest of India, launching a campaign he reached Chenab in 1519. At the time India was under the rule of Ibrahim Lodi of Lodi dynasty, but the empire was crumbling and there were many defectors, to note he received invitations from Daulat Khan Lodi, Governor of Punjab and Ala-ud-Din, uncle of Ibrahim. He sent an ambassador to Ibrahim, claiming himself the rightful heir to the throne of the country, however the ambassador was detained at Lahore and released months later.
Babur started for Lahore in 1524 but found that Daulat Khan Lodi had been driven out by forces sent by Ibrahim Lodi. When Babur arrived at Lahore, the Lodi army marched out and was routed. In response, Babur burned Lahore for two days, then marched to Dipalpur, placing Alam Khan as governor. Alam Khan was quickly overthrown and fled to Kabul. In response, Babur supplied Alam Khan with troops who later joined up with Daulat Khan Lodi and together with about 30,000 troops, they besieged Ibrahim Lodi at Delhi. Ibrahim easily defeated and drove off Alam's army and Babur realized Ibrahim would not allow him to occupy the Punjab.
First battle of PanipatEdit
Babur started his campaign in November 1525, when he reached Peshawar he got the news that Daulat Khan Lodi had switched sides and drove out Ala-ud-Din. Babur then marched onto Lahore to confront Daulat Khan Lodi, only to see Daulat's army melt away at their approach. Daulat surrendered and was pardoned, thus within three weeks of crossing the Indus Babur became the master of Punjab.
Babur marched onto Delhi via Sirhind, he reached the historical field of Panipat on 20 April 1526, where he met Ibrahim Lodi along with his numerically superior army of about 100,000 soldiers and 100 elephants. The battle began on morning of 21 April 1526, Babur utilised the tactic of Tulugma, encircled the Ibrahim Lodi's army and forcing them to face artillery fire directly, and frightening the war elephants utilised by the Delhi's army.
Babur wrote in his memoirs about his victory :
"By the grace of the Almighty God, this difficult task was made easy to me and that might army, in the space of a half a day was laid in dust."
After the battle Babur occupied Delhi and Agra, seated himself on the throne of Lodi and laid the foundation of the Mughal Rule in India, but it was yet to be established and Babur was yet to become the ruler of India, as new contenders for the throne like, Rana Sanga, who rose to challenge his rule. However, Babur was able to take the fortress of Bayana, after sending the commander, Nizam Khan, a convincing poem in Persian:
"Strive not with the Turk, O Mir of Bayana."
Battles with the RajputsEdit
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
Although master of Delhi and Agra, Babur records in his memoirs that he had sleepless nights because of continuing worries over Raja Hasan Khan, Mewatpatti (title, Lord of Mewat), the Khanzada ruler of Mewat, Rana Sanga, the Rajput ruler of Mewar.
In A.D. 1526 a new power appeared in India. Babur, who claimed to be the representative of Timur Lang, after winning the battle of Panipat, took possession of Delhi and Agra, and determined that his enterprise should not be a mere raid like Timur's, but the foundation of a new and lasting empire. Then it was that the Rajputs made their last great struggle for independence. They were led by Rana Sanga, a chief of Mewar, who invited the Mewatti chief, Hasan Khan, to aid the nation from which he had sprung in resisting the new horde of Musalmans from the north.[full citation needed]
The political position of Hasan Khan at this time was a very important one. Babur, in his autobiography, speaks of him as the prime mover in all the confusions and insurrections of the period. He had, he states, vainly shown Hasan Khan distinguished marks of favour, but the affections of the infidel lay all on the side of the natives, the Hindus (Indians), and the propinquity of his country to Delhi made his opposition especially dangerous. Hasan Khan's seat at this time was at Ulwur, but local tradition says that he was originally established at Bahadarpur, eight miles from Ulwur.
Babur says that the ancestors of his opponent Hasan Khan had governed Mewat in uninterrupted succession for nearly 200 years, and that Tejara was their capital. In another place he calls him Raja Hasan Khan Mewati, an infidel, who was the prime mover and agitator in the insurrection against the Mughals. The title of Raja and the term "infidel" show that Babur was aware of Hasan Khan's Hindu descent, and the period of '* nearly 200 years" most probably refers to the date when his ancestor became a Muslim in the reign of Firoz Shah between A.H. 752 and 790.[full citation needed]
The Rajput lords had, prior to Babur's intervention, succeeded in conquering some of the Sultanate's territory. They ruled an area directly to the southwest of Babur's new dominions, commonly known as Rajputana as well as fortified dominions in other parts of northern India. It was not a unified kingdom, but rather a confederacy of principalities, under the informal suzerainty of Rana Sanga, head of the senior Rajput dynasty.
The Rajputs had possibly heard word of the heavy casualties inflicted by Lodi on Babur's forces, and believed that they could capture Delhi, and possibly all Hindustan. They hoped to bring it back into Hindu Rajput hands for the first time in almost three hundred and fifty years since Sultan Shah-al Din Muhammad of Ghor defeated the Rajput Chauhan King Prithviraj III in 1192.
Furthermore, the Rajputs were well aware that there was dissent within the ranks of Babur's army. The hot Indian summer was upon them, and many troops wanted to return home to the cooler climes of Central Asia. The Rajputs' reputation for courage preceded them, and their superior numbers no doubt further contributed to the desire of Babur's army to retreat. According to Babur's own calculations the potential strength of the Rajput army was much larger than that deployed by the Lodis at Panipat. Babur resolved to make this an extended battle, and decided to push further into India, into lands never previously claimed by the Timurids. He needed his troops to defeat the Rajputs.
Despite the unwillingness of his troops to engage in further warfare, Babur was convinced he could overcome the Rajputs and gain complete control over Hindustan. He made great propaganda of the fact that for the first time he was to battle non-Muslims, the Kafir, to the extent of taking a vow to abstain from drinking (a common fraction among his people) for the rest of his life to win divine favour, and declared the war against Rana Sanga.
After Babur fell seriously ill, Humayun, his eldest son, was summoned from his Jagir. He died at the age of 47 on January 5 [O.S. 26 December 1530] 1531, and was succeeded by Humayun. In accordance to his will, his body was moved to Kabul, Afghanistan there it lies in Bagh-e Babur (Babur Gardens).
It is generally agreed that, as a Timurid, Babur was not only significantly influenced by the Persian culture, but that his empire also gave rise to the expansion of the Persianate ethos in the Indian subcontinent.
For example, F. Lehmann states in the Encyclopaedia Iranica:
His origin, milieu, training, and culture were steeped in Persian culture and so Babur was largely responsible for the fostering of this culture by his descendants, the Mughals of India, and for the expansion of Persian cultural influence in the Indian subcontinent, with brilliant literary, artistic, and historiographical results.
Since he was a patrilineal descendant of Timur, Babur regarded himself a Timurid and a Turk. Some sources therefore claim that Babur's empire was Turkic in nature. But, commenting on Babur's remarks about his father Omar Sheykh Mirzā enjoying the Persian poetry of Nezami, Rumi and especially the Shahnama of Ferdowsi, Svat Soucek points out that:
Babur's remarks illustrate the by then refined, chiefly Persian culture of the Turco-Mongol elite.
Although all applications of modern Central Asian ethnicities to people of Babur's time are anachronistic, Soviet and Uzbek sources regard Babur as an ethnic Uzbek. At the same time, during the Soviet Union Uzbek scholars were censored for idealizing and praising Babur and other historical figures such as Ali-Shir Nava'i.
Babur is considered a national hero in Uzbekistan. Many of Babur's poems have become popular Uzbek folk songs, especially by Sherali Jo‘rayev. Some sources claim that Babur is a national hero in Kyrgyzstan too.
Babur is popularly believed to have demolished the Rama Temple at Ayodhya and built Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India. On 6 December 1992, Babri Masjid was demolished by Karsevaks of Ramajanmabhumi movement mobilised by the call given by organisations like VHP and Bajrang Dal. L K Advani of BJP party was a leading figure of the movement, along with several other leaders of Hindu organisations. Its destruction sparked off communal clashes around the country. resulting in the killing of thousands of Muslims and Hindus.[dead link] However, from the three inscriptions which once adorned the surface of the mosque it becomes apparent that the mosque was constructed during his reign on the orders of Mir Baqi, who was one of the generals of Babur's forces sent towards this region. In 2003, The Archaeological Survey of India was asked to conduct a more in-depth study and an excavation to ascertain the type of structure that was beneath the rubble of Babri masjid. The summary of the ASI report  indicated "no mention of a temple, only of evidence of a massive structure, fragments of which speak about their association with temple architecture of the Saivite style."
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BaburBorn: 14 February 1483 Died: 26 December 1530
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