Zahir ud-din Muhammad Babur (30 April 1526 – 26 December 1530) is one of the most captivating figures of Indian history. He was a link between the predatory swarms and the imperial government, a link between Timur and Akbar. The blood of Mongols, Turks, Chengez Khan and Timur was mixed in his veins.

A descendent of Timur through his father and descendant of Changez Khan through his mother, Babur represented the culture and urbanity of the Persians and spread it in India. He laid foundation of the splendid fabric which was completed by his grandson Akbar.

  • Babur has written his biography i.e. Baburnama which is also known as Tuzk-e Babri.
  • Babur and Jahangir are the only two emperors of Mughal Empire who wrote their own biographies.
  • Baburnama is also known to be the first true autobiography in the Islamic literature.
  • Baburnama was written in Chagatai Turkic, which was Babur’s mother tongue.
  • In contrast Jahangirnama or Tuzk-i-Jahangiri was written in Persian.

Babur was born in 1483 at Fargana situated between Persia and Turkestan i.e. modern Uzbekistan and spent 36 years of his life in that country.

During the time period between Timur’s invasion on India in 1398 and Babur’s birth in 1483, none of the successors of Timur was capable to consolidate the common heritage of the large Timurid Empire.

So when Babur took birth this large empire was broken into pieces which were being ruled by a large number of Timurid princes. Likewise, Babur’s father Umar Sheikh Mirza had inherited the Kingdom of Fargana.

When Babur was just a young boy of 11 years Umar Sheikh Mirza died and Babur succeeded him. But soon he became busy in countering the plots and intrigues of his uncles and cousins. He was exiled but was able to take Fargana back later.

Like his great grandfather Timur, Babur wanted to win the Samarkand, capital of Transoxiana. He attacked Samarkand in 1497 and was able to retain it for 7 months, but a rebellion at home led him to march towards Fargana which is 200 miles of Samarkand. But during this march, his troops at Samarkand deserted him and he lost it.

In 1501, he tried to win Samarkand and was defeated by Muhammad Shaybani. Muhammad Shaybani took Herat too in 1507. The only lasting success of Babur in his initial career was Kabul. At Kabul, as soon as 1523, the Afghan nobles began to intrigue with him to dislodge Ibrahim Lodi.


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