Historically Speaking : Babur

6 min readJun 8, 2020


In my previous post I mentioned this amazing podcast called Masala Monk. I did check on their return and happy to share this:

For this episode let’s throw some light on how the Mughal Empire came about. Let’s begin :

  • Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur was the founder of the Mughal Empire and first Emperor of the Mughal dynasty (1526–1530) in the Indian subcontinent. He was a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan through his father and mother respectively. #Ancestry.com
  • Zahiruddin Muhammad gained the name Babur because his rustic maternal uncles couldn’t pronounce “Zahiruddin Muhammad”. #Easywayout
  • Moghuls was derived from Mongols, though they hated being called Mongols. #touchymuch
  • Babur kept a diary (Baburnama) from his early adulthood, and put the notes together in a coherent form near the end of his life. Many of the pages were lost during his final campaigns in India and during the course of his son Humayun’s wanderings. #B4AnneFranktherewasBabur
  • Babur’s dairy is filled with personal details like about how lovely the view was, or how his friend came to visit, or that he had a terrible tummy-ache. #DearDiary
  • Soon after the birth of his first son Humayun, the Baburnama breaks off in the middle of a sentence. When the memoirs resumes in 1519, after an 11-year hiatus, we meet a changed king. This Babur is a hard drinker and is just beginning to ingest the narcotics on which he will grow increasingly dependent in the years ahead. #11yearsagochallenge
  • In Baburnama Babur also talks about his lust for a boy and how he shunned advances from women. Homosexuality was common in Islamic culture during the 15th century. #OneLove

Origin :

  • Babur ascended the throne and became ruler of Fergana — Uzbekistan at the age of eleven, due to his father having an unexpected accident which caused his death. Although Babur had uncles in neighbouring kingdoms that tried to dislodge him as ruler, thanks to the help he received, mostly from his maternal grandmother, he was able to hold on to power. #OriginsofFamilyFeud
  • The city of Samarkand came into focus as rivals were warring over it, and Babur decided he would capture it. He did just that in 1497, and after seven months, he finally took control. He was only 15, and the city’s capture was his first major achievement. #Whatwereudoingat15?
  • Babur became ill, and whilst he was concentrating on holding Samarkand, back home at Fergana (Uzbekistan), his brother took over the throne with the help of some of the nobles. #Bhaibhainaraha
  • Babur began the march back with his army to fight his brother, and he lost Samarkand to another prince, so he was caught in the middle, with both kingdoms lost. #Lostinthemiddle
  • In the Seige of Kabul,1504 Babur was able to cross the snowy Hindu Kush mountains and capture Kabul. With this move, he gained a new kingdom, re-established his fortunes and would remain its ruler until 1526. #Kabulilife
  • Kabul is Babur’s first stable kingdom; he will retain it for the rest of his life.
  • In 1505, because of the low revenue generated by his new mountain kingdom, Babur began his first expedition to India; in his memoirs, he wrote, “My desire for Hindustan had been constant. It was in the month of Shaban, the Sun being in Aquarius, that we rode out of Kabul for Hindustan.” #travelgoals
Timur, Babur and Humayun. 1630 Mughal, painted by Govardhan from the minto album

Babur In India

  • Babur wanted to expand his fledgling empire and was looking for areas to do so, he naturally turned to the rich lands of northern India, which were controlled by the faltering Sultanate of Delhi. #Delhiabdoornahin
  • Babur is astounded by India and writes : “a new world — different plants, different trees, different animals and birds, different tribes and people, different manners and customs. It was astonishing, truly astonishing.”
  • The capital of North India is at Agra, having been shifted there from Delhi by Sikandar Lodi, whose son Ibrahim now occupies the throne.
  • Babur invaded the Sultanate and in 1526 fought the Sultan Ibrahim Lodi’s army at the first battle of Panipat. Babur’s army only numbered about 12,000 men, but he managed to completely annihilate Sultan Lodi’s much larger army.
  • Babur’s army had guns and cannons and the Lodi’s did not.
  • Babur seized Delhi and sent his son, and future emperor Humayun to seize the Lodi capital of Agra, which housed the royal treasury and numerous royal palaces.
  • The huge amount of wealth was distributed among the various Mughal nobles who had followed Babur. He eventually joined his son in Agra and it became his new capital.
  • Babur faced opposition from Rana Sanga, who at first promised to help Babur defeat Ibrahim Lodi; however he later backed out upon realising that Babur had plans to stay in India.
  • A confederation of Rajput Kings led by the ruler of Mewar, Rana Sanga, were marching against Babur. The Rajputs had, by one account, 80,000 cavalry (probably exaggerated) and 500 armoured elephants. The two sides met at the battle of Khanwa & Chanderi.
  • Despite being outnumbered Babur again triumphed due to the skill of his cavalry and the effective use of cannons and muskets. Rana Sanga and numerous other Rajput leaders were killed. Shortly after this battle Babur marched his troops to the great Rajput fort of Chanderi, and stormed the fort and massacred all inside.
Battle of Panipat

Babur Non Known Facts :

  • Uzbekistan considers Babur as their national hero and celebrates “Babur day” on February 14.
  • The Garden of Babur is a historic park in Kabul, Afghanistan, and also the last resting-place of the first Mughal emperor Babur. The garden is thought to have been developed around 1528 AD (935 AH) when Babur gave orders for the construction.
  • Humayun (Babur’s son), who protected members of the Gwalior Raja’s family from harm in Agra after the battle, has been presented with a 40-gram diamond as a token of their gratitude. It is probably the gem from which the Kohinoor will be cut.
  • Once a few camel-loads wine had just arrived in camp. Babur was fighting alcoholism and ordered the wine be turned to vinegar. He breaks his gold and silver drinking cups and has the pieces distributed to the poor.
  • On India he wrote : “Hindustan is a place of little charm. There is no beauty in its people, no graceful social intercourse, no poetic talent or understanding, no etiquette, nobility or manliness. The arts and crafts have no harmony or symmetry. There are no good horses, meat, grapes, melons or other fruit. There is no ice, cold water, good food or bread in the markets. There are no baths and no schools. There are no candles, torches or even candlesticks.”#Orkuttestimonials
  • Babur liked to massacre his enemies and build towers out of their skulls #Artist
  • Babur didn’t drink until he was in his twenties. He’d simply never been interested. But then he did drink, and then he got very interested indeed. And he noted it all down in his diary (along with the massacres and the skull towers and the occasional skinning of his enemies alive). #wineconnoisseur
Babur supervises a garden being laid out. | Painters of Babur

Babur died in Agra at the age of 47 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Humayun. He was first buried in Agra but, as per his wishes, his mortal remains were moved to Kabul and reburied in Garden of Babur in Kabul.