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Know All About Babur – The ‘Ghazi’ Who Set Up Mughal Empire In India

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Babur was just 48 (1482-1530) when he died. In 1494 at the young age of 12, Babur succeeded to Farghana, a small state in Trans-Oxiana. He was invited to India by Rana Sanga of Mewar and Daulat Khan Lodi (Governor of Punjab) to oust Ibrahim Lodi from Delhi. They invited Babur with the hope that he would defeat Ibrahim Lodi and leave India for them, but that didn’t happen. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the Battle of Panipat in 1526 and when he didn’t leave India, Rana Sanga who was supported by almost all Rajput rulers and Afghans organized his army but was defeated at the battle of Khanwa in 1527.

Babur in his autobiography ‘Tuzki Babri’ accuses Rana Sanga of breach of agreement. He says that Sanga had invited him to India and promised to join him against Ibrahim Lodi but made no move while he conquered Delhi and Agra.

Babur’s advent into India was significant from many points of view for the first time since the downfall of the Kushan Empire, Kabul and Kandahar became integral parts of North India and this stopped foreign invaders from invading India and thus Babur and his successors were able to give to India security from external invasions, peace and prosperity for almost 200 years.

Babur introduced a new mode of warfare in India. He showed what a skilled combination of artillery and cavalry could achieve. By his new military methods as well as by his personal conduct, Babur re-established the prestige of the crown which had been eroded since the death of Firuz Tughlaq.

Barber had the prestige of being a descendant of two of the most famous warriors of Asia Changez and Timur. None of his nobles could therefore claim a status of equality with him or aspire to his throne.

Babur endeared himself to his soldiers by his personal qualities. He was always prepared to share the hardships with his soldiers. Once at the height of winter, Babur was returning to Kabul. The snow was so deep that horses would sink into it and parties of soldiers had to trample the snow so that the horses could pass. Despite being a king and commander, Babur without hesitation joined in the back-breaking task. Following Babur’s example, his soldiers also joined in the task.

Babur was fond of wine and good company and was a good and merry companion. At the same time, he was a stern disciplinarian and a hard taskmaster. He took good care of his soldiers and was prepared to excuse many of their faults as long as they were not disloyal. He was prepared to adopt the same attitude towards his Afghan and Indian nobles, however, he did have a streak of cruelty probably inherited from his ancestors for he made towers of skulls from the heads of his opponents on a number of occasions. These and other instances of personal cruelty have to be seen in the context of the harsh time in which Babur lived.

An orthodox Sunni Muslim, Babur was not bigoted or led by the religious divines. At a time when there was a bitter sectarian feud between the Shias and the Sunnis in Iran and Turan, his court was free from theological and sectarian conflicts. He declared the battle against the Rana Sanga a jihad and assumed the title of Ghazi after the victory but the reasons were clearly political. Though his reign was a period of war only a few instances can be found of the destruction of temples.

Before the battle of Khanwa, Babur solemnly declared the war against Sanga to be a jihad. On the eve of the battle, he emptied all the wine jars and broke the wine flasks to demonstrate what a staunch Muslim he was. He also banned the sale and purchase of wine throughout his dominions and abolished customs taxes on the Muslims.

Babur was deeply learned in Parisian and Arabic and is regarded as one of the two most famous writers in the Turkish language which was his mother tongue. As a prose writer, he had no equal, and his famous memoirs, the ‘Tuzki Babri’ is considered one of the classics of world literature. His other works include a Masnavi and the Turkish translation of a well-known Sufi work.

He laid out a number of formal gardens with running water thereby establishing a tradition.

[Source: NCERT]

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