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Lecture: Babur Nama – An Emperor’s Diary

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11th Jun 2009




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LECTURE

Babur Nama - An Emperor's Diary


Wednesday 17 June

6:45pm at Asia House / 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP


Zahir Uddin Muhammad Babur - Uzbek warlord, descendant of Tamerlaine and Genghis Khan and the first emperor of Mughal India - kept a diary from the age of 10. Action packed, vividly descriptive the Babur Nama is perhaps the greatest autobiography of any ruler in history. Dilip Hiro discusses the extraordinary memoir and reads some delightful extracts.

Dilip Hiro is a widely published author, journalist and cultural commentator. He abridged and edited the Babur Nama for Penguin Books in 2007.

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A Biography of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur

Summary: This is a Biography of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, a great 16th century leader of the Mughal Empire, which is in modern-day India.

Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur had plenty of energy and strength, he was kind, wise, and a great leader, his love of culture and poetry allowed the Mughal Empire to be artistic and military involved. Babur was the founder of the Mughal Dynasty. He was born on February 14, 1483 in Fergana at Andijan. He was a Central Asian Turk. Babur is related to Timur on his father's side and Genghis Khan on his mother's side (Armento 180). He was descended from brutal conquerors, but he was not like that.

He had ideas aboutarchitecture,administration, and civilization. When he succeeded his father, Babur was at the young age of twelve. After his father's death in 1494, Babur inherited the kingdom of Farghana. Babur's full name means "tiger".

Babur is the grandfather of Akbar, he was not fully a Mongol, his mother was descended from Genghis Khan, and his father descended from Timur . His uncles tried to steal the succession from him and prove him unsuccessful, however, Babur proved his strength and they failed.

Babur loved nature which made him want to create beautiful gardens and allowed him to influence his empire to write poetry, he was also a warrior and influenced his people to join his army of thousands of men. He was highly cultured and wrote poetry often. Babur was the first Islamic conqueror to use muskets and artillery. These weapons were great for conquering Hindustan because Hindustan couldn't match with Babur's weapons. He was a magnificent swordsman and he enjoyed it. Along with his skills to do many things, he had plenty of energy and strength, which was needed when he was living. During his reign, Babur lost Samarkand many times, but whenever he did he would do anything to retake the lost land.

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Above all, Babur was truly a warrior. He was a powerful ruler, a compassionate one. He influenced his people to write poetry and join his army to conquer more land as one of the greatest conquerors in his time. Babur loved nature, poetry, and having a military involved empire considering he was a warrior with great experience in weapons and battle.

Babur was kind, wise, and definitely a great leader. When he was young, he had many ideas for his empire. He mostly wanted to reestablish a grand empire in the Mongol Tradition. He strived to take effective control over his empire. Babur spoke Persian; the word "Mughal" is simply the Persian word for "Mongol." Babur followed the tradition of illustrating books and set up workshops at his court. Babur and his ancestors even believed they had the proper "blood" to be rulers. In 1519 was Babur's first military campaign against the Sultanate of Delhi. In 1526 was the battle of Panipat. After this, Babur conquered Delhi, making his empire larger and more powerful. Although he only ruled for four years, Babur grew and became an even more powerful leader as the years went by. Babur set goals for his empire and proceeded with them. He had a kind and wise personality, he had ideas for his empire and did well during his reign, and he became one of the greatest conquerors of his time.

Babur's empire was one of the greatest empires, he was a genius, he was kind to his people, and he had great compassion toward his empire. Babur was a brilliant general. He was born a leader, and a military genius. He had light colored skin, black colored eyes, and high cheekbones. People have said that Babur is a man of compassion, a person who would certainly not allow his troops to kill innocent people. Every time Babur lost land, he would spend years trying to regain the lost land. He was a good person for becoming conqueror and was the founder of a large empire. Babur was extremely well educated.

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During his life he wrote about the Indian people, animals, landscapes, and customs. When Babur ruled, the importance of slavery was down, and it was more peaceful in his empire. Babur allowed Hinduism and even allowed Hindu temples to be built with permission. There was religious tolerance in his empire. The religions included Persian, Mongol, and Indian culture. During Babur's reign, trade with the Islamic world was increasing.

Around 1526, the power in India was split between the Afghans and the Rajputs. During the battle of Kanwaha, Babur defeated the Rajputs. Babur defeated the Rajputs in 1527, who were the strongest Hindu State). On March 10, 1527, he named himself absolute leader of northern India. His empire took up most of northern India. Babur had been facing hardships, after passing the Indus, he invaded India five times. At one time Babur's soldiers were worn out due to the intense heat and he himself was losing confidence, he restored his soldiers' courage and won a victory of his life soon after that. He discovered the best form of defense was attack, he

thought of building an empire for himself over Samarkand. Babur attempted to take over Fergana but failed 3 times, next, he turned towards India. Babur's reign went on until 1530, when he died.

Babur turned from owning little land to becoming one of the greatest conquerors. He had a kingdom located in Turkestan, and attacked Afghanistan and captured Kabul in 1504, he kept expanding the empire. He then went over the mountains to Hindustan and conquered the Delhi Sultanate. Babur had an army of 12,000 men. With the rest of his army, Babur had 100 elephants. With the army, he attacked the Sultan at Panipat, conquered Delhi and Agra, and referred to himself as Sultan. After conquering Delhi, he forbade the killing of cows because he believed it was offensive to Hindus. From there he attacked a confederation of the Rajput states. In 1526, Babur marched into India with 12,000 soldiers, his enemy, Ibrihim, with 100,000 soldiers fought against him and at once took possession of Agra. In 1530, just before his death, he conquered the rest of Hindustan and controlled an empire from Deccan over to Turkestan.

Babur tried to conquer most of the northern India but died before he could establish the empire. His empire declined in the 1700's and completely abolished by the British in the mid-1800's. Babur died on December 26, 1530. He ruled from 1526 to his death. He was homesick for his homeland, Asia, and the items it brought, such as good horses, grapes, muskmelons, ice-cold water, bread, and hot baths. Babur was buried at Kabul, where he wished to be buried. After he died, his son Humayun became the ruler. Humayun was a terrible ruler and lost the empire at times and was a drug addict. Throughout Babur's life he wrote an autobiography. It was poetic and honest about himself.

In conclusion, Babur was kind, wise, and a great leader, he was compassionate, his love of culture and poetry allowed the Mughal Empire to be artistic and military involved.