Biography of Mughal Emperor Babur (Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur)


Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur was born in February, 1483 A.D. The sudden death of his father made Babur the ruler of Farghana, a small state in Transoxania when he was only 12 years old.

Babur was very ambitious even when he was merely a boy. He made a bid to conquer Samarkand, the ancient capital of Chinghiz. He won the city twice, but lost in no times on both occasions. He lost his paternal kingdom Farghana too. Then, for a period he lived the life of a wanderer along with a band of loyal and faithful followers. At last he occupied Kabul in 1504. In 1522 he seized Kandahar and thus rounded off the western boundary of his kingdom.

Having failed to extend his empire in Central Asia, Babur turned his eyes to India. Political conditions in India were favorable to his designs. The Delhi Sultanate had lost its past glory and was on the point of disintegration. In northern India there were several states under the Afghans and Rajputs which were practically independent. Ibrahim Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi, was not a capable ruler. The governor of Punjab was a disaffected noble named Daulat Khan. Ibrahim’s uncle Alam Khan, who was a serious claimant of the throne of Delhi, was in touch with Babur. They invited Babur to India. Thus, on the eve of Babur’s invasion there was no political stability in North India.

First Battle of Panipat

Babur made four probing raids before the Battle of Panipat. Meanwhile some other disgruntled Afghan nobles invited Babur to invade India. Possibly Rana Sangram Singh of Mewar too had asked Babur to attack Ibrahim Lodi against whom he had a long-standing grudge. All of them hoped that Babur would leave India after defeating Ibrahim Lodi and plundering the country. But Babur had other intentions. He wanted to be the Padshah of India. With this purpose he proceeded towards India in November 1525.

Babur at first captured Lahore. Then, he proceeded towards Delhi. At the head of a big army Ibrahim Lodi faced Babur in Panipat. On 21st April, 1526, the First Battle of Panipat took place. Babur won a decisive victory. Ibrahim’s army was completely routed and he himself was killed in the battle. Babur won this battle by a skillful combination of artillery and swift flanking attacks by his cavalry. The First Battle of Panipat (1526 A.D.) marks the end of the Delhi Sultanate and the rise of the Mughal power in India.

Battle of Khanwa

The victory at Panipat, however, did not make Babur’s position secure. He had yet to defeat Rana Sangram Singh (or Rana Sanga) of Mewar, and the Afghan chiefs of Eastern India. Rana Sanga, who also had asked Babur to invade India, thought that after plundering Babur would go back to Kabul. But Babur’s decision to stay in India spurred the Rana to action. Some Afghan chiefs also joined him. When Babur was informed of the Rana’s war-like preparations, he adopted a policy of conciliation toward the petty Afghan Chiefs and declared war against Rana Sanga. The two armies met at Khanwa on March 17, 1527. The Rajputs fought with their traditional bravery, but they could not withstand the deadly artillery fire. In this hotly contested fight the Rajputs suffered disastrous defeat with heavy loss of life. Rana Sangha escaped and died broken-hearted. With his death the dream of a Rajputs empire received a serious setback. In celebration of this victory Babur assumed the title of Ghazi.

Battle of Ghagra

The Rajputs were thus disposed of, but Babur had still to deal with the Afghan rulers of Bihar and Bengal. In 1529 Babur defeated the combined Afghan forces at the Battle of Ghagra (May, 1529).

Death of Babur

This victory in the Battle of Ghagra brought Babur’s campaign to a close, and in the next year Babur died on December 26, 1530.

Soldier of fortune as he was, Babur was not the less a man of fine literary taste and critical perception. His autobiography is known as Tuzk-e-Babri (also Baburnama, Memoirs of Babur) originally written in Turki, is an example of his literary capacity.

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