Zahir uddin Babur indo pak


Which words describe a lion?, stronger?, brave?, fierce?, deadly?. These words tell us something about the character of Zahir ud din Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire. His nickname was “Babur”, which means lion, Babur is a word of Turkish language. He was given it because of the way he behaved in battle.. His real name was Zahir Ud Din Muhammad and Babur was title. He was the first Mughal Emperor who laid the foundation of Mughal Empire.

Zahir ud din Babur was a brave warrior who also loved nature and poetry. Zahir ud din Babur dreamt of ruling an empire as great as that of his ancestors. Zahir ud din Babur felt that because Punjab and the Delhi Sultanate had a right to rule them. In 1504 he captured Kabul in Afghanistan and the made the area a base from which to attack India, or Hindustan as it was then known.




  • Muslim rule in the Subcontinent began in 633AD from Makran.
  • In 712AD, Muhammad Bin Qasim( entered Sindh and afterwards reached Multan.
  • Then Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi, Sultan Muhammad Shahab Uddin, Sultan Qutbuddin Aibek and afterwards Alauddin Khiliji and Muhammad Bin Tughlaq strengthened Muslim power in their successive terms.


In 1526AD Zahir Ud din Muhammad Babur defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi and founded Mughal Empire. Zahir Ud Din Babar was born in Fergana ( now in Uzbekistan) in 1483AD. His father Umar Sheikh Mirza was the ruler of Fergana. He was a Chughtai Turk and belonged to the stock of Amir Timur. Babar’s mother Qaltagh Nigar Khanum, daughter of the ruler of Kashgar Yunus Khan, was descendant of Mongol chief Genghis Khan. So, by descent Babar was scion of two famous rulers of Central Asia. He inherited the power of Mongols and bravery and courage of Turks.

  • Zahir Ud Din Babur’s father paid particular attention to the education and upbringing of his son.
  • He taught Zahir Ud Din Babur’s the the knowledge and literature of Persian, Arabic and Turk languages as well as the art of poetry.
  • In personal grooming Zahir Ud Din Babur’s was greatly indebted to his maternal grand-mother and mother.
  • Babar noted in his autobiography ‘Tuzk-e-Babari’ that he learnt courage and self confidence in hard times from these two women.
  • Zahir Ud Din Babur’s was brought up in scenic mountainous region so, his love for nature and natural beauty was inherent.
  • In an early age he excelled in arts of warfare like swordsmanship, archery and horse riding.


Zahir Ud Din Babur’s was a competent man of letters and also an appealing poet. He had a complete grip on Turkish and Persian languages. He is classed among eminent grammarians of Chughtai dialect of Turkish language and literature. It has been translated in many languages of the world . This book provides information about many aspects of Zahir Ud Din Babur’s age from political matters to the life ordinary people. Knowledge of Zahir Ud Din Babur’s about Subcontinent is amazing.


In 1494AD, when Zahir Ud Din Babur’s was 11 year old, his father passed away. He had to bear the administrative responsibilities of the state. This was the starting point of his practical life. His all practical life can be divided into  two parts. In the first one, he was struggling to get his political position recognized in Central Asia, but after failing in this endeavor, he stated his second part with his rule in India.


After the battle of Panipat Zahir ud din Babur’s men wanted to return to their cool mountain homelands in Central Asia. the new country was too hot and food was scarce. But Zahir ud din Babur did not want to give up all that he had fought for. He made a stirring speech to his men and they agreed to stay in India. The army quickly captured Delhi and Agra Zahir ud din Babur declared himself emperor of Hindustan.

But Zahir ud din Babur success did not success give him immediate control of the Delhi Sultanate lands. In 1527 he defeated the powerful Hindu Rajput princes of Rajasthan. Before this battle Zahir ud din Babur made a speech to his army, swearing never to drink again wine until he had won. He smashed his wine cups and poured out wine onto the ground. In a difficult. In a difficult battle, Zahir ud din Babur’s army defeated the Rajputs. Two year later he defeated an army near Patna led by Muhammad Lodi, a brother of Ibrahim Lodhi.


When Zahir Ud Din Babur’s used firearms at the Battle of Panipat these weapons were still very new and Zahir Ud Din Babur’s had to hire Turkish Soldier who knew how to use. Firearms were not only very expensive but they were also dangerous too. Sometimes they blew up the people who were using them. And they were not good at hitting their targets. Even so, they changed the way battles were fought.


Gunpowder had been discovered by the Chinese in the 9th Century. It was a mixture of saltpetre (potassium nitrate), charcoal and Sulphur. The Chinese called this invention “Black Powder” and used it to make rockets, simple cannons and bombs. Black powder was forgotten for many centuries until Europeans learnt about it in the 13th Century. In the 15th Century European gunsmiths made “small arms”-guns which could be held in the hand. The matchlock pistol (fired by lightning a fuse) was developed from 1460 to 1480 and used by Babur at the Battle of Panipat.


Several types of large cannon were also used in the subcontinent, probably as early as the 14th century. Cannons were heavy, weighing thousands of pounds and some were up to twenty five feet long. They were made of iron and brass and moved on carriages pulled by up to 250 Oxen. Even so, cannon carriages could travel only three or four miles in ten days. Going uphill, an elephant might also be used to push from behind. Cannons each weighed between ten and a hundred pounds and could knock down city walls.


In the era of Zahir ud din Babur, there were only two important political rivals in Central Asia. One was the king of Iran and other Shaibani Khan, in the tenth generation from Genghis Khan. He founded a great empire in Central Asia which lasted from 1500AD to 1598AD. Babur had continuous fierce battles with Shaibani Khan during his stay there.


  • Samarkand, once the capital of Amir Timur, was among most beautiful cities of the world.
  • It was a big trade center where merchandize of different countries was brought.
  • Zahir ud din Babur wanted to conquer this city because of its beauty and links with Amir Timur.
  • Moreover, he could get economic and political benefits by capturing this city.
  • So Zahir ud din Babur consolidated his rule in Fergana, and then in 1496AD attacked Samarkand but failed.
  • However, another attempt after one year proved fruitful.
  • He had spent hardly 100 days in Samarkand, when he got the news that his cousin has captured Fergana.
  • Babar immediately left Samarkand for Fergana, but eventually lost both.
  • However, he was also unsuccessful.
  • At last in 1498AD he succeeded in recapturing Fergana.
  • Those days, Samarkand, but after eight months Shaibani Khan once again expelled him from this region.
  • Meanwhile, Zahir ud din Babur’s cousin took advantage of his absence and took back Fergana once again.


Considering this state of affairs, Zahir ud din Babur and his followers decided to establish their rule in Kabul and Kandahar. So in 1504AD Babur conquered Kabul and in 1511AD with the help of Persian monarch, he managed to take possession of Kandahar. Thus consolidating his rule in Kabul and Kandahar, Babur marched toward Indian Subcontinent.


  • During his stay in Kabul, Babur marched upon Indian Subcontinent.
  • Initially he made small incursions between  1516-24AD to get information about geo-political situation of the region.
  • At that time Northern areas of the Subcontinent were under the sway of Ibrahim Lodhi who had caused some serious-problems for himself through his personal attitude and political ambitions.
  • His emirs and officials were annoyed because of his obstinate behaviour, and governor of Punjab, Daulat Khan Lodhi got so much irritated that he invited Zaheer ud din Babar to attack and  promised his help.

Babar accepted this invitation of Daulat Khan Lodhi and marched against Lahore. In 1524AD he defeated the army of Ibrahim Lodhi and got hold of Lahore. Daulat Khan Lodhi was thinking that Babar will appoint him as governor of Lahore before returning back, but Babar nominated another interim governor and awarded Daulat Khan Lodhi only the part of Jullundur.

After the departure of Babar, Daulat Khan Lodhi once again got hold of all Punjab. On hearing this, Babar asked his nominated governor to retaliate, but till that time nearly all emirs of Punjab had joined hands with Daulat Khan Lodhi. In these circumstances, Babar decided to launch an attack on India himself.

When the emirs of Ibrahim Khan Lodhi heard about Babar’s personal characteristics , they thought him as a better alternative and changed their allegiances. Many of them offered Babar their help in conquering India.


In November 1525, accompanied by his eldest son Humayun (seventeen) and an army of only 1200 men. Zahir ud din Babur marched from Kabul to Indian territories and reached Sialkot without meeting any resistance. In 1526, Zahir ud din Babur’s army met Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi, which had 100,000 men and a hundred elephants. Their battle lasted all day.. It was hard for Daulat Khan Lodhi to stand against Babar, so he at once showed his submission. At the end of it, 20,000 Hindustanis including Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi lay dead on the battlefield.. After vanquishing Delhi, Babar entered into Agra as a conqueror.


Reasons of Zahir ud din Babur success in the battle of Panipat are as under


  • Army of Zahir Uddin Babur was small in numbers but very well organized.
  • Babur gave particular importance to discipline in his army. 
  • He strictly punished any wrongdoer to warn others.
  • Armies of Ibrahim Lodhi and Rana Sanga were far numerous than Zahir ud din Babur
  • He commented on the unorganized army of Indians by saying that ‘Indian army knows how to die, but not how to fight.


  • Zahir ud din Babur was the first person who used the technology of firing projectiles through cannons.
  • Zahir Uddin Babur had a specialized contingent in his army for this purpose who worked under the supervision of a master gunner.
  • Presence of artillery in Babur’s army was enough to prove him superior against his rivals.
  • Other weapons of warfare, like arrows and swords were less effective in comparison to cannons.
  • Artillery could give maximum harm to the enemy.
  • Above all, due to artillery fires, Ibrahim Lodhi’s elephants agitated and stampede his own soldiers. Consequently, Ibrahim Lodhi’s main army was soon in disarray.


  • Zahir ud din Babur used to lay out a detailed plan before any engagement.
  • Before starting fight he would survey the surrounding area and analyze his own and enemy’s military strength.
  • For example, in the battle of Panipat he was competing with a very large horde.
  • To cover up his numerical inferiority, he used the array of carts as a defence line to stop the advance of the enemy.
  • Similarly, he used to dig a trench or place obstacles for the safety of his army.
  • Zahir ud din Babur actively monitors every move and maneuvers in the battlefield and would control his army through quick and ingenious.
  • In comparison to Babur, Indian generals were not well versed in war tactics.
  • For example Ibrahim Lodhi did not array his army properly or fought haphazardly.


Babur’s army was far away from their homeland. A minor mistake would mean death and dishonor. This thought would fuel the fighting spirit of Babar’s army. On the other hand, Indian soldiers lacked the will to fight and discipline.


Ruler of Mewar Rana Sanga was one of the persons who instigated Babur to run over India. Rana Sanga thought that Babar would return after sacking and plunder, as his ancestor Timur had done. He would be able to establish a Rajput state in a crises caused by his departure. Zahir ud din Babur’s decision to take a permanent residence in India perturbed the ambitions of Rana Sanga, so he decided to expel him from India.

Armies of Zahir ud din Babur and Rana Sanga confronted each other in the battlefield of Kanwaha near Agra. Army of Rana Sanga was more than ten million which caused some fear among Babur’s army. Prediction of an astrologer exasperated their embarrassment even more. Astrologer told that stars were not in favour of Babur. Soldiers were dismayed. In this situation, Zahir ud din Babur gave a stirring  speech which gave new energy to the army. Babar assembled his army and addressed this:

“Don’t you know that there is a distance of many months between our homeland and this country. If we are defeated( may God save us from this disgrace) what will be our fate? What will  happen to us , to our homeland and city? We  will have to face strangers and foreigners. Every one should remember that every living being has to die. Life invariable ends with death. A courageous death is better than life of disgrace and infamy. So it is better that each of us should consider two options: first, to fight for Allah, and become a ghazi; and second, die while fighting and get the honour of a martyr. These two things guarantee our wellbeing.”

The address fully revived the energies of the army. They all took oath on the Holy Quran to fight till their last breath. Preparations for the war were completed. Babar adopted the more or less same strategy as he had adopted in the battle of Panipat. His artillery caused a great disorder in Rana Sanga’s army, who was very upset with this state of affairs. He tried one final maneuver to turn the tide in his favour but failed. Eventually he was caught while escaping from the battlefield and was afterwards put to death.


After success in Kanwaha, Zahir ud din Babur marched towards Chanderi where a general of Rana Sanga was making preparation to fight. Babur tried to manipulate  him into obedience but failed. Consequently Zahir ud din Babur besieged the castle. Both sides fought valiantly but Zahir ud din Babur came out victorious. After defeat in Panipat and battle of Ghagara, Afghans had also quickened their activities in Bihar and Bengal, where the brother of Ibrahim Lodhi had announced himself as king. Babur defeated him at Ghagara.


Babar’s memories are delightful tribute to the refreshing honesty and humour of the founder of the great Mughal dynasty. Despite being Emperor Hindustan, Babur pined for his Central Asian homeland and often spoke the sweetness of its musk and melon.

  • The cool breeze and fresh mountains air could not be compared to the heat and dust of the subcontinent.
  • Babur’s character is reflected in his autobiography as being a kindhearted monarch who cared for the welfare of his people.
  • Zahir ud din Babur was very generous and when the conquest of Delhi brought huge wealth to him, it was divided among all ranks of his army, and a good portion of it was sent to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina.
  • At the same time , he was optimistic and courageous and had the physical strength of a lion.
  • When faced with adversity, Babur always took the path of determination and with his military strategies was able to defeat his foes.

Zahir ud din Babur spent his last year in organizing the administration of the province. He had not deprive the original Hindu and Muslim landowners of their lands if they were loyal to him. Introducing a feudal system, Babur divided his territory into a large number of jagirs or estates and distributed them among the bags or nobles who had come with him from Kabul. These Jagirdars were made responsible for the civil administration and revenue collection of their areas.


In his memories Zahir ud din Babur found little to praise in the land he conquered. He wrote : Hindustan is a country of few charms. Its people have no good looks, no polite social habits, they do not pay and receive visits; they have no genius and capacity’ no manners; in handicraft and work there is no symmetry, method or equality, there are no good horses, no good dogs, no grapes, musk-melons or first rate fruits, no ice or cold water, no good bread or cooked food in the bazar, no hot baths, no colleges, no candles torches or candle sticks.

Zahir ud din Babur did, however, admire the fine fresh quality of the Indian air and the skill of the craftsmen. As a conqueror he was particularly pleased by the wealth of the country he had invaded.” Its chief excellency”, he wrote ” is that it is a large country and has much gold and silver”. Zahir ud din Babur never returned to Central Asia but stayed in India to organise the administration of the provinces. But as his life he longed for his homeland.

They are recently thought me a single muskmelon. While cutting up i felt myself affected with a strong sense of loneliness, and a sense of of my exile from my native country; and i could not help shedding tears while i was eating.

An extract from the Babur-nama


  • The king must be above the nobles, and they must obey him.
  • The empire should be united by understanding and tolerance, not by force: no killing of Cows, no temple smashing and no Sunni-Shia quarrels.
  • Different peoples should be judged according to their own community’s laws.


In 1530 Zahir Uddin Babur seriously ill perhaps weakened by alcohol and opium. When his favorite son Humayun rushed to be with him he too fell seriously ill. It is said that Zahir ud din Babur walked round Humayun’s bed three times, praying that his own life be taken and Humayun’s saved.

This is indeed what happened as Zahir ud din Babur died later that year, aged 48. His body was first buried in a garden on the banks of the River Yamuna at Agra. But in about 1540 it was moved to a small memorial building in his favorite garden in Kabul. Zahir Ud Din Babur passed away in 1530AD. (


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