Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, was born on February 14, 1483. Babur succeeded in securing the dynasty’s position in Delhi after a series of sultanates failed to consolidate their seats and his empire went on to rule for 175 years in India. (East India Company came to India on August 24, 1608). He passed away on December 26 in 1530. He was 48. So the myth of Mughals ruling India for 800 years is wrong and full of supercilious mindset.
Some interesting facts about Babur:
- His actual name was Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. His name is derived from the Persian word ‘Babr’, which means Tiger.
- He was the eldest son of Umar Sheikh Mirza, a direct descendant of Turk-Mongol conqueror Timur, also known as Tamurlane. His mother was a direct descendant of Asia’s conqueror Genghis Khan.
- He ascended the throne of Fergana (now in Uzbekistan) in 1495, at the age of 12. In 1504, he conquered Kabul, which was an important citadel in Central Asia.
- Babur was invited by Daulat Khan Lodi, a rebel of the Lodi dynasty, in 1524, to invade North India and fight the dynasty and their enemies in Rajputana. Rajputana was ruled by a Hindu Rajput confederacy, led by Mewar king Rana Sanga.
- In 1526, Babur won the Battle of Panipat against Ibrahim Lodi, the Lodi king. He captured Delhi and founded his dynasty of North India — the Mughal Empire.
- He also defeated Rana Sanga, who considered Babur as a foreign invader, in the Battle of Khanwa. Rajputana became a subjugated ally of the Mughals till Rana Pratap took the fight again.
- There is confusion about Babur’s ethnicity. Being a descendant of Timur, he considered himself as a Timurid of Turk. However, Uzbek history suggests that Babur was an ethnic Uzbek. (Babri Masjid team, any document you guys have for this clarity from past!)
- Babur claimed to be very strong and physically fit. He also claimed to have swum across every major river he encountered, including twice across the Ganges River. “I swam across the river Ganges for amusement. I counted my strokes and found that I swam over in thirty-three strokes. I then took a breath, and swam back to the other. side. I had crossed by swimming every river I had met, except only the Ganges,” he noted, according to Medieval India from the Mohammedan Conquest to the Reign of Akbar the Great, written by Stanley Lane-Poole.
- Babur was well-known for his oratory and literary skills. Although a religious person, Babur indulged in drinking (UnIslamic/ Haram). He once said, quoting a contemporary poet, “I am drunk, officer. Punish me when I am sober.”
- To date, he is considered a national hero in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. He wrote his autobiography, Baburnama, in Chaghatai Turkic. It was translated to Persian during the reign of his grandson Akbar.