The Mughals were descendants of two of the greatest lineages of rulers. From their maternal side, they descended from Ghenghis Khan, the ruler of Mongols. On the other hand, they were the descendants of Timur from their paternal side. However, they referred to themselves as Timurids because of the massacre associated with Genghis Khan’s name. The most prominent Mughal emperor of all time was Babur. But who was he and why is he so important to the dynasty?
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Who was Babur?
Babur was the first Mughal emperor of India. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi during the Battle of Panipat in AD 1526 and established his kingdom. His original name was Zahiruddin Muhammad and he is well-known for his historic military campaigns and expeditions. Moreover, he gave five lineal descendants, also known as the Great Mughals, to the Mughal empire. It includes Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb.
Early Life of Babur
- Babur was born on February 14, 1483.
- His father, Umar Sheikh Mirza, was the ruler of Ferghana. His mother, Qutlaq Nighar Khatnum, was the daughter of Moghul King Yunus Khan.
- Babur ascended to the throne at a young age when the Emir of Ferghana died unexpectedly.
- He was usurped by his uncles which is one of the the numerous internal struggles he had to face.
Baburnama- Babur’s Memoirs
It is widely believed that Babur highly adored literature and made great contributions in his time. During his rule in India, he started writing poetry in Turkish in his life book called Baburnama. Later on, his grandson Akbar the Great, translated Babur’s memoir into Persian. Eventually, Baburnama was later translated into English and renamed as Memoirs of Babur. Today, Baburnama is considered one of the most important Mughal manuscripts.
Babur and Early Conflicts
The emperor was known for his ambitious personality to gain control over towns and smaller regions. In 1497, he took charge of the city of Samarkand at the age of 15. However, his geographical distance from Fergana resulted in a rebellion. As a result, he was forced to leave empty-handed from his new siege. To regain the territory, Babur spent years building a strong and large army by forming alliances with other rulers. However, his attempt to regain Samarkand was defeated due to unexpected attacks by Uzbek rivals.
Babur moved to the Hindu Kush Mountains in 1504 to conquer Kabul, in modern-day Afghanistan. During his rule, Muslim princes and rulers often sought refuge in Kabul. However, despite his successful rule in the region, Babur was unsatisfied with poor trading routes and domestic rebellions.
Babur’s Victorious Journey to The Throne
After conquering Kabul, he moved to Hindustan to expand his territory. He took control over Lahore in 1524, followed by Panipat in 1526 where he defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the famous Battle of Panipat. Despite being outnumbered, Babur was able to defeat a massive army of skilled warriors and elephants.
Babur continued with his unending battles to lay down the foundations of the Mughal empire in India. The Battle of Khanwa fought in 1527, was another important victory for Babur. This was a decisive engagement between the Rajput alliance of Rana Sanga of Mewar and Babur. Babur then moved on to capture Chanderi by defeating Medini Rai of Malwa in the Battle of Chanderi. The Battle of Ghagra which was between Sultan Mahmud Lodi and Babur is also one of the most important victories for the first Mughal emperor of India.
Tomb of Babur
Babur passed away in the year 1530 due to excessive drinking and was succeeded by his eldest son, Humayun. However, it is also believed that he sustained deadly injuries and diseases during his military campaigns which eventually led to his death. Although Babur was at first buried in Agra, his tomb was later transferred to Kabul in 1544. Accordingly, Babur’s tomb was erected in Bagh-e Babur.
History is truly magnificent and mind-blowing. While it talks about the glorious lives of kingdom rulers and martyrs, it also sheds light on the old cultures and societies. This blog was all about Babur. If you want to read more such informative stuff, check out our dedicated page on famous personalities.