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Updated: Feb 27, 2021

Portrait of Babur
First Mughal Emperor

The remarkable autobiography of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur begins at the age of 12, the precious central Asian nobleman whose journey of conquest through the Indian subcontinent- laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire.

Babur, not only a powerful Emperor, was also an artist, writer and a distinguished soldier. He was born in Andijan in Fergana Valley (present day Uzbekistan) in 1483. He was the eldest son of “Umar Sheikh Mirza”, the then Emir (Governor) of Fergana. He’s the descendant of Timur and Genghis khan from paternal and maternal side respectively, who were known to be the greatest emperors the history has ever seen.

He started his education at the age of 4, unlike his ancestors who were illiterates. His memoirs "Baburnama" also termed as "Tuzk e Babri" is one of the oldest autobiography is Asian History. His observations and comments reflect an interest in nature, society, politics and economics. His book not only covers his own life but also about history and geography of places he covered and the people with whom he came into contact. His grandson Akbar, who prepared the translation of Persian language in 1589. One of the four copies was made available at National Museum, New Delhi.

Also, he assumed power at early age of 12, which naturally put him in a quite challenging circumstances, being the heir of such great rulers, ascending to power at childhood and rebellion in the kingdom, it was too hard to sustain for him. After two years of ascension to power, he had successfully conquered Samarkand (a Southeastern city in Uzbekistan), but lost Fergana and in order to regain Fergana, he lost Samarkand. The misadventures of him might be the foundation for the greatest gunpowder empire in the history. Furthermore, he has conquered Kabul and parts of Turkistan and lost it over and over again. He has conquered Samarkand alone for 3 times and subsequently lost it every time.

Babur was engaged to his paternal cousin, Ayesha Sultana Begum, while she was at an age 5 and he was married to her at an age of 16, soon after he lost Fergana, she left him. Later married to Zaynab and she was died within two years of marriage. He had been going through tough time throughout his adolescence both in his personal life and in his ruling. He had total 9 wives, but Maham Begum or Mahim Begum was the most beloved wife (Chief concert and third wife), from her, his crown Prince Humayun was born.

After tumultuous turns in his life, lost everything and took refuge in a small village and lived like an ordinary person and under the shelter of a village head. During his stay, the mother of that village head, who was 111 years old by then, used to narrate the stories about India which she heard from her relatives who had been traveled to India as part of Taimur Baig’s army raid. These stories have fascinated him and led to a strong desire to conquer India.

While conquering India, Babur with his vast experience gained from the battlefields and foreign diplomacy of Turkistan, Safavid, and Ottoman Empire, he has employed one of the earliest application of Gunpowder firearms and field artillery in the Indian Battlefields. Also, the years of bad luck turned into Midas touch, the opponents of Ibrahim Lodi have united, they directly helped him in attaining a decisive victory in the battle of Panipat-I, thus led to the formation of the Great Mughal Dynasty. Meanwhile, by realizing his plan to stay back in India, a previous ally Rana Sanga of Mewar turned into a foe. Rana Sanga is well revered in the memoirs of Babur, as the greatest Indian warrior, who united the Rajputana for the first time after almost 300 years. It has been reported that he has quit drinking, before the battle of Khanwa, to defeat the Rana Sanga who otherwise deemed as undefeatable.

He has been blamed for his cruelty, converting Hindus to Islam and destroying temples as contrary his grandson, The Akbar is considered as the Emperor with great peace. But, Babur, in his wasiyatnama(will) for his son and crown prince, Humayun, says

“Don’t do politics in the name of Religion. Do not place religious hatred in your heart. By taking care of the religious sentiments and religious rituals, do justice to all people. And don’t destroy temples of other religions”.

He is a religious person and maintained strict punctuality in offering Namaz, still, he avoids to be blind faith. His daughter, “Gulbadan Begum”, explained Babur’s death is like a spiritual one and further said that, “when, Humayun, was severely ill, he pledged and prayed to God his life in place of his son’s.When finally, Humayun recovered and Babur’s health worsened and died on 26th December 1530 in Agra and buried there. But, as per his wish he was reburied at Kabul. Ending the Legacy of the Great Mughal Emperor, Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur.

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