Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
¤ Babur's Early Days
Babur, who was to lay the foundation of the most enduring and
enriching dynasty of Indian history, was born of a family that had the
great fighting blood of Timur from one side and Chingez Khan from the
other. He was a stripling of 12 when his father Sultan Umar Shaikh
Mirza died, leaving the kingdom of Farghana (of Samarkand fame) for
him to govern. As is with most young rulers, his uncles and cousins
ganged up and usurped the throne.
¤ Babur Grew As A Great Military Leader
But Babur was showing all the signs of growing up into a great
military leader. It took him five years to strike back and take his
kingdom. However this was not the end, but just the start of a long
battle. Between the period of 1497 to 1502 after being in and out of
Samarkand several times, Babur was finally forced to leave home and
set up kingdom elsewhere. This had important bearings on not only
Baburs character, but filtered down into the subconscious of the
entire Mughal dynasty. Right down to Shah Jahan, the Mughals never
gave up the idea of a Central Asian empire.
now set out for Kabul to start afresh. He was busy building a kingdom
for himself when the Indian princes asked him to help them get rid of
Ibrahim Lodi. Had the Rajputs and Dilawar Khan known him slightly
better, they would have had second thoughts about inviting him to
India. It was only when he was amongst them in Delhi and showed no
signs of leaving that they woke up to their gross miscalculation.
¤ Mughal's Arrival In India
In 1526, Babur had written in his Tuzuk-i-Baburi, From the time
I conquered the land of Kabul till now, I had always been bent on
subduing Hindustan. That very year he crossed over the Indus to
reach Panipat, where he defeated Ibrahim Lodi in one of the most
significant battles of Indian history. It was curtains now for the
Delhi Sultanate. The Mughals had arrived.
In retrospect, the Delhi Sultanate was very much just that a
monarchy which ruled Delhi and its environs. Initially, the Sultans of
the Slave dynasty certainly toyed with the idea of an empire which
embraced all India. The biggest hurdle in this proved to be that old
trouble spot the Deccan. Ultimately, it was the Sultanates
failure to hold the Deccan that led to their reluctantly abandoning
the idea of the Great Indian Empire. But the idea was never entirely
given up. It was eventually revived and given concrete shape when the
Mughals came to India in the 16th century.
¤ The First Mughal's Tenure - Brief and Battle-Scarred.
Rana Sanga, who was stung by Baburs refusal to budge from
Delhi, took him to battleground in 1527 in an attempt to take over
Delhi himself. In fact Rana Sangas first attack was so
successful that he was able to repel Baburs advance guard. Here
again that curious Rajput psychology of regarding a battle won as the
end of war came into play. While Babur was making an emotional appeal
to his soldiers to go to battle again, Rana Sanga was already
¤ Babur Firm His Feet On Indian Soil
This was one of Baburs finest moments and he displayed his
formidable ability as a leader. In a passionate appeal to his
soldiers, which involved his swearing off wine for the rest of his
life, he said, With fame, even if I die, I am contented; Let
fame be mine, since my body is deaths. Rana Sanga was
Many more battles followed in Chanderi, Ghagra, Kanwah and so on. By
the end of it all, Babur had managed to firmly establish the Mughals
in India. He died in controversial circumstances - some say he was
poisoned. There is a more romantic version, however. Apparently, his
son and successor Humayun had taken ill. Babur appealed to God to
spare the son and take his life instead.
Miracle or poison, that was precisely what happened. Babur was
undoubtedly a great man a brave fighter, poet, scholar and
visionary. No one who has read his remarkable autobiography and
understood how he carved out an empire out of nothing can doubt his
sagacity and his military shrewdness.
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