The Reign of Emperor Babur, the Founder of the Mughal Dynasty

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The Reign of Emperor Babur

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Babur who is the founder of the Mughal dynasty comes from bloodlines of great invaders. He was a young boy when he came to the throne. Repeated fighting from an early age made Babur a man skilled in war tactics that culminated in him becoming the founder of the Mughal dynasty. This dynasty was to rule India for three centuries and is one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the country. In this article, we will be exploring all about Babur, his ancestry, military achievements, warfare tactics, interesting facts about Babur and his death. We also have a FAQs section where your most asked questions will be answered.

So, without any delay, let’s get started…

Who was Babur?

Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur or Babur was the founder of the Mughal empire that reigned India from 1526 to 1857. He hailed from the region of Ferghana in modern-day Uzbekistan. He is considered one of the finest Mughal emperors in history. Babur consolidated his dynasty’s position in Delhi after a series of failed attempts at conquests by the Delhi Sultanates. He was an eminent scholar in Arabic and Persian languages.

Babur’s Early Life

Babur was born on 14 February 1483 in Farghana, Uzbekistan. He was named Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur and was the eldest son of his parents. He later acquired the name Babur which is derived from the Persian word “Babr” meaning “Tiger”.

The father of Babur was Umar Sheikh Mirza who is said to be a direct descendant of Turk-Mongol emperor Timur. Umar Sheikh was the ruler of the Farghana Valley. The mother of Babur was Qutlugh Nigar Khanum who was one of the direct descendants of Asia’s greatest conqueror, Genghis Khan. Babur prided himself as a Timurid of Turk (from his father’s side) and rarely as a Chagatai (from his mother’s side). However, Uzbek history opposes this view and claims that he was an ethnic Uzbek.

PATERNAL FAMILY TREE OF BABUR

  • Timur (1370-1405)
  • Prince Miran Shah (1366-1408)
  • Prince Sultan Muhammad
  • Sultan Abu Sa’id (1424-1469)
  • Umar Sheikh Mirza
  • Babur (1483-1530)

MATERNAL FAMILY TREE OF BABUR

  • Genghis Khan
  • Chagatai Khan
  • Esen Buqa I (great-great-grandson of Chagatai Khan)
  • Tughluq Timur
  • Yunus Khan (great-grandson of Tughluq Timur)
  • Qutlugh Nigar Khanum (daughter of Yunus Khan)
  • Babur (1483-1530)

Hailing from these two accomplished bloodlines, becoming an able warrior was eventually to be his destiny.

Babur’s father died under the rubble of the dwelling that collapsed suddenly.

Following that, Babur came to power at the early age of 12 by ascending to the throne of Fergana (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1495.

After he became the Amir of Ferghana, Babur made several attempts to capture Samarkand but lost in no time.

What are the Military Achievements of Babur?

While Babur was trying to win Samarkhand, Fergana went out of his hands. He made persistent attempts by reorganising his army and forming alliances with Persian rulers to recapture his homeland but failed. He took shelter in Tashkent where his maternal uncle lived but he constantly faced humiliation because of his poor condition.

Therefore, in 1504 at the age of 21, Babur captured Kabul which was a citadel of profound importance in Central Asia. He crossed the snowy Hindu Kush mountains to occupy the region from the Arghunids who were compelled to retreat to Kandahar. This was the onset of the rule of the Mughal emperor Babur which was to be continued until his death.

Although there were many revolts in Kabul, Babur successfully suppressed all of them.

Similar to other invaders in Central Asia, Babur was attracted by the wealth of India. His ancestor, Timur had annexed some areas of Punjab and also took home several treasures and artisans. Timur had left behind some of his men who ruled Punjab and the north-western region. As a consequence, Babur felt he had a legitimate right to these regions.  It was because of his low revenue after having lost Fergana and Samarkand that he set off for his military expedition in India. However, Babur had no plans to build an empire in India. He aimed to gather wealth, return to Kabul and live a settled life.

After his loss of Samarkand, Babur reached the Chenab river  (present-day Pakistan) in 1519 and set off for Lahore in Punjab in 1524.

Babur also decided to invade India as Daulat Khan Lodi, the powerful noble of Punjab and a rebel of the Lodi dynasty invited him to invade Northern India and usurp their enemies in Rajputana. The Rajputana was the kingdom of the Hindu Rajputs that were ruled by the Hindu Rajput confederacy, led by king Rana Sangha. Rana was known as the “Hero of the Hundred Battles”.

Following this, Babur launched four expeditions to India between the years 1519 and 1523.

Babur’s Year-Wise Military Campaigns

In 1524, Babur occupied Lahore but Daulat Khan had turned against him. When Babur retreated to Kabul, Daulat Khan took over Punjab.

A year later in 1525, Babur re-attacked and occupied Punjab.

The Battle of Panipat was fought between Babur and the king of the Lodi dynasty, Ibrahim Lodi in 1526. The Mughal warrior reached Panipat through Sirhind and Ambala on April 1526.

Ibraham Lodi’s army was around 1,00000 men and 1000 elephants. These men were hastily recruited for the war and the number of real warriors was less. The presence of war elephants was an advantage for the Lodis but they went berserk and started trampling their men.

Babur fought in a defensive mode at night where he waited for the opposing army to march close to them. Had he attacked first, he might have lost the war. Such strategies were adopted by Babur to win the war.

Despite Babur troops having a mere 20,000 troops, he managed to win because of his smart strategy, well-trained troops and usage of gunpowder and artillery in the battle.

Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the battle on 21st April 1526 and claimed Delhi where he consolidated his position as the founder of the Mughal empire.

After conquering Delhi, he sent his son Humayun to take hold of Agra.

He had plans to accumulate wealth and return to his home country but when he tasted victory, Babur decided to move forward in his conquests in India.

Babur also won the Battle of Khanwa on 17th March 1527 against the Rajput confederacy that was led by their Mewar king and warrior Rana Sangha.

Since the conquest, Rajputana became an ally of the Mughals.

Although Rana Sanga fought the war with rulers of Marwar, Amber,  Ajmer, Chanderi, Gwalior, and Sultan Mahmood Lodi (son of Sikander Lodi who was acknowledged by Rana Sangha as the Delhi ruler), Babur emerged victorious in the decisive contest. The Sangha forces were said to exceed 200,000 but these figures are exaggerated. The army of Rana Sanga lacked coordination because of separate military tactics used by the Rajputs, Mahmood Lodi and the Afghans. Additionally, some Rajputs turned against the Mewar army and fought in favour of Babur.

Thus, Babur took on the title of Ghazi after the Battle of Khanwa.

He tried on diplomacy with Medini Rai, ruler of Chanderi which failed. This led to the Battle of Chanderi in 1528 A.D in which Babur emerged victorious.

Following this, the Battle of Ghaghra was fought in 1529 where Babur defeated the combined forces of Mahmud Lodi and Nusrat Shah.

On May 6, 1529, Babur defeated the allied Afghan groups of Bihar and Bengal on the banks of a river near Patna. Conquering this region provided greater control to Babur in northern India.

After having won repeated victories, Babur pronounced himself the “Emperor of Hindustan”.

How did Babur Die?

Babur died at the age of 47 on December 26 in 1530 in Agra. Initially, his body was allowed to rest at Arambagh in Agra but later it was taken to Kabul and buried there. He assumed the posthumous name of Firdaws Makani, meaning “Dwelling in Paradise”.

After his death, Humayun, his son ascended the throne and became the new Padishah (emperor).

Facts About Mughal Emperor Babur

Babur was physically very fit and active. He swam over every major river in India.

Babur was also celebrated because of his oratory and literary skills. Babur’s autobiography known as Baburnama written in Turkish is a classic of Persian literature. Through this memoir, one can have a peek into the life and times of the Mughal emperor. Another memoir written by him in the Turki language is Tuzuk-i-Baburiin.

He was a great patron of art and architecture. The reign of Mughal emperor Babur also saw incredible forms of architectural developments that were exemplified by the Taj Mahal. Some distinct Mughal styles of painting emerged during his period.

Babur adored gardens and the famous Bagh-e-Babur in Kabul is a beautiful garden that was built during the Mughal emperor’s reign. As per his wishes, he was buried there after his death.

Although Babur was religious, he committed himself to drinking bouts.

Final Thought!

Apart from his military tactics, what makes Babur a winner is that he was always calm and resourceful even in the heat of a battle or a grave crisis. He also acknowledged the fact that the bravest of men always have a sense of fear in them. Like his Mongolian ancestors, Babur always sought diplomacy before resorting to war. All these qualities not only make him a great ruler or a good military commander but also a well-formed personality.

Have you visited any of the historical regions of Babur? Share with us your experiences in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What was Babur Known for?

Mughal emperor Babur is particularly known to have laid the foundations for one of the greatest empires in Indian history, the Mughal empire.

Who were the Mughal emperors in order?

The main Mughal emperors in orders are Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. For Indians, the mnemonics to remember these names are BHAJI ( B=Babur, H= Humayun, A=Akbar, JI=Jahangir) and SABJI (S=Shah Jahan, A=Aurangzeb, B=Bahadur Shah, JI=Jahandar Shah).

Who was the most kindest Mughal emperor?

The most kindest Mughal emperor was Akbar.

Who is the longest reign of the Mughal emperor?

The Mughal emperor to have the longest reign is Aurangzeb.

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