Babur: Mughal Empire Ruler – History, Founder of Mughal Dynasty, Battles

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Babur was the founder of the Mughal Empire. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the Mughal Empire, an Islamic early modern empire, ruled over a large portion of South Asia. Babur (reigned 1526–1530), a native of Central Asia, established the Mughal Empire. Babur was a descendant of Genghis Khan on his mother’s side and the Turco–Mongol conqueror Timur on his father’s side. The Mughals belonged to a branch of the Turks known as Chagatai, which bears the name of Genghis Khan’s second son.

It is important to know in detail about Babur, as he was an important ruler and founder of the Mughal Dynasty. The topic of Babur is covered in the Medieval History part of the UPSC Syllabus and holds great significance for the UPSC Exam.

Mughal Empire Ruler – Babur

Babur, born Zahiruddin Muhammad, was the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. On February 14, 1483, Babur was born into the Timurid royal family in Andijan, Uzbekistan. His mother, Qutlaq Nigar Khanum, was a daughter of Yunus Khan (king of Moghulistan, Moghul Khanate or the Eastern Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia), while his father, Umar Sheikh Mirza, was the Emir of Ferghana. He was a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan.

When the Emir of Ferghana unexpectedly passed away in 1494, 11-year-old Babur took the throne. Babar had to deal with a great deal of hostility from the aristocracy since the situation in Central Asia was unstable. Even though he successfully took Samarqand, he soon had to retreat due to some of his nobles deserting.

Farghana was also lost to the Uzbeks. He took control of Kabul in 1504 after years of wandering. He had planned to move toward Hindustan during the entire time. Finally, he started making bold strides in the direction of India starting in 1517.

Facts About Babur: First Ruler of the Mughal Empire

Following are the important facts about Babur, relevant from the IAS Exam point of view.

Facts Description
Born on February 14, 1483
Babur’s Parents Umar Sheikh Mirza and Qutlaq Nigar Khanum
Babur Also Known as Zahir-ud-din Muhammad
Major Battles Fought First Battle of Panipat, Battle of Khanwa and Battle of Chanderi
Known For Founder of the Mughal Dynasty
Died on December 26, 1530

Babur: Advent to India

Conflict erupted between several Afghan leaders and Ibrahim Lodi in India in the 1517s. Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of a significant portion of Punjab, stood out among them. Rana Sanga, the Rajput monarch of Mewar, attempted to expand his influence in north India and reassert his control over Ibrahim Lodi. They both informed Babur to come to India. Babur’s ambitions to come to India may have been stimulated by Rana Sanga and Daulat Khan Lodi’s invitations. He encroached on Bhera, Sialkot, and Lahore between 1519 and 1524.

At Panipat, Ibrahim Lodi and Babur’s army finally came face to face in 1526.

Battles of Babur: Military Conquest

Ibrahim Lodi’s army had an estimated strength of 100,000 soldiers, whilst Babur’s army had only 12000 warriors that were actively engaged. Babur’s strategies were distinctive when he faced opponents on the battlefield. He used the Rumi (Ottoman) strategy of war successfully. The use of cannons in battle during the sixteenth century was crucial. Babur efficiently deployed them in the First Battle of Panipat.

First Battle of Panipat

  • Babur travelled to India on four preliminary missions. He was subsequently invited to India to overthrow Ibrahim Lodi by Maharana Sangram Singh, the ruler of Mewar (also known as Rana Sanga), and Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of Punjab.
  • Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in AD 1526.
  • The artillery of Babur was exceedingly potent. In North India, guns were utilised for the first time. Babur was a superior general as well.
  • Following the conflict, Babur acquired control of Delhi and Agra, ascended to the throne of Ibrahim Lodi, and set the groundwork for the eventual ascent of Mughal power in India.

Battle of Khanwa

  • Despite extending an invitation to Babur to visit India, Rana Sanga organised a union of Rajput princes to fight the invader after he realised Babur had decided to stay. On March 16, 1527, Babur and Rana Sanga engaged in the Battle at Khanwa.
  • Rana Sanga wished to depose Babur because he saw him as an outsider in charge of India.
  • At the Battle of Khanwa at Fatehpur Sikri in AD 1527, Babur and Rana Sanga met. Babur’s superior weaponry and strategy allowed him to beat Rana Sanga.
  • Because it firmly established the Mughal empire in India, the Battle of Khanwa was more decisive than the Battle of Panipat.

Battle of Chanderi

  • The Battle of Chanderi followed the Battle of Khanwa. Babur decided to isolate Rana Sanga by overthrowing Medini Rai, the ruler of Malwa, after learning that Rana Sanga had started making plans to resume the fight with him.
  • Medini Rai was one of Rana’s most steadfast allies.
  • On January 20, 1528, after reaching Chanderi, Babur made a peace approach by offering Shamsabad to Medini Rai in exchange for Chanderi. However, the offer was turned down.
  • Rajputs under Medini Rai committed Saka and Jauhar after realising there was no chance of success.

Battle of Ghaghra

  • In the Battle of Ghagra in AD 1529, Babur defeated the Afghans on the banks of the river Ghagra after defeating the Rajputs.
  • Babur’s power consequently encompassed nearly all of northern India, including Kabul, Agra, Awadh, Gwalior, Bihar, and portions of Rajasthan and Punjab, Agra, Awadh, and Awadh.
  • Babur established Delhi as the Mughal Empire’s capital.

Life of Babur

Babur was a well-known author with a strong passion for books. He also included poets, musicians, and other learned individuals when listing the rulers and nobility of a conquered territory in his chronicles. Babur left behind a significant literary and scientific legacy over his 47-year life.

During the reign of Emperor Akbar, Babur’s Baburnma, a compilation of memoirs which was composed in the Chagatai language was translated into Persian, the preferred literary tongue of the Mughal court by then. Babur also wrote in Persian, although most of his poems were written in Chagatai Turkic, also known as Türki.

Babur was a keen admirer of nature and drew inspiration from it. He had a strong affinity for gardens. He created numerous gardens around his realm, including the Rambagh in Agra.

Death of Babur

Babur was not given enough time to live to see the benefits of his conquests. In AD 1530, four years following the Battle of Panipat, Babur passed away. On December 26, 1530, Babur died in Agra at 47. His eldest son, Humayun, succeeded him. His lifeless remains were initially interred in Agra, but, following his wishes, they were later transported to Kabul and reinterred in Bagh-e Babur sometime between 1539 and 1544.

Babur was a fantastic poet and writer and is famous as the man who established the Mughal Empire. His autobiography, the Tuzk-i-Baburi written in Turkic (later translated as the Baburnama in Persian), provides details about his life, circumstances, and way of life during the period.

Babur UPSC

Babur was the founder and ruler of the Mughal Empire. Babur is extremely important for the upcoming UPSC Exam, and one must refer to the NCERT Books for UPSC to cover the topic well in detail.

Babur – Mughal Empire UPSC Questions

Question: Before which of his important battles in India did Babur declare the abolition of the Tamgha tax?

  1. Panipat
  2. Khanwa
  3. Chanderi
  4. None of these

Answer: Option B

Question: Who among the following was defeated by Babur in the First Battle of Panipat?

  1. Bahlol Lodi
  2. Ibrahim Lodi
  3. Sikandar Lodi
  4. Dawlat Khan Lodi

Answer: Option B

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