Humayun’s First Reign: 1530-1540

Introduction to Humayun

When Babur left the throne to his eldest, lovable son Humayun, it was not a bed of roses. When he ascended the throne, he was a young man of 23 years, but not without experience. He was one of the commanders of his father and governed the frontier province of Badakshan, beyond Hindukush.

The Lazy Playboy

The young prince was lovely fellow, warm hearted, emotional, courteous, witty and accomplished like his father but lacked character and resolution. The quality of sustained efforts like his father was not his own trait. Even a moment of triumph would take him to bury himself in harem and dream away precious time in Opium. He had an attractive character but not the dominating one. Life of this gentleman but indolent King was an utter failure.

  • Humayun was portrayed in his biography “Humayunnama” written by his sister Gulbadan Begum.

Challenges for Humayun

Babur had not conquered the entire India. His territory comprised little more than today’s Afghanistan, Pakistan, India’s Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and partially Bihar. He had neither annexed West Bengal, nor Malwa nor Gujarat. Malwa and Gujarat were now united under one King. The Rajputs of Rajasthan were only restrained but not subdued; the Afghans were still dominant and had not forgotten that a ruler at Delhi was Afghan a few years back.

Humayun was also not safe from the intrigues and plots of the family members. There was not one of his 3 brothers who did not plot against him. His younger brother Kamran was ruler of Kabul, who annexed Punjab, but it was Humayun’s brotherly affection that he tolerated this usurpation. With Kamran taking North West territories of the empire, the main recruitment ground for the Mughal army was crosscut for; the hill tribes of Afghanistan restored the fighting strength of Muslims in India.

The army already in India depleted due to battles and “natural causes”. Two other brothers were also dangerous who engaged in worthless treacheries against their magnanimous brother. Further, two cousins of Humayun also made their futile bids for the throne. This was added by the division of the army.

There were three major problems for Humayun

  1. In North west, it was his brother Kamran
  2. In east it were the Afghans
  3. In south it was Bahadur Shah the king of Gujarat and Malwa.

The Rajputs were also sitting at a striking distance from Agra.

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