Early Mughals In India Study Materials
THE EARLY MUGHALS (1526-1556)
Zahir-ud-din Babur was the founder the Mughal Empire. He was forced to leave Samar-kand and initially established his rule in Kabul in 1504. Thereafter, he invaded India and became the first Mughal ruler (1526-1530). He tried to expand towards Punjab, for which he had to make a number of forays.
Then he received aninvitation from an opportunistic Afghan chief in Punjab which offered him the opportunity to come to the very heart of the Delhi Sultanate. At that time the Delhi Sultanate was being ruled by Ibrahim Lodhi. Babur, who was a brave and experienced military commander, came to India in 1526 with a well-trained army of 12,000 to face the sultan’s large disunited army of more than 1,00,000 men. He inflicted a defeat on Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat on 21 April 1526. This victory made him the emperor of Delhi. Babur could achieve this resounding victory because of gun carts, moveable artillery, and superior cavalry tactics. Babur achieved a resounding victory. In 1527, he defeated Rana Sanga at Khamva, in the Battle of Khanwa and captured Agra. In 1529, Babur defeated the combined armies of the Afghans and the Sultan of Bengal, in the Battle of Ghagra. This victory made him the undisputed ‘master of India”. In 1530 he died at age of 48, before he could consolidate his military gains. In his autobiography Tuzuki-i-Badri he has given an excellent account of India and his empire. He left behind, as legacies, his memoirs, Babur Namah, several beautiful gardens in Kabul, Lahore and Agra. His descendants fulfilled his dream of establishing an empire in Hindustan.
Humayun (1530-1540 and 1555-1556)
Nasir-ud-din Humayun, who was the son of Babur and his successor, ascended the throne in 1530. His brothers Kamran, Hindal and Askari along with the Afghans challenged his succession. He lost completely against Sher Shah Suri in the Battle of Chausa (1539) and Battle of Kanauj (1540) He had to flee to Persia, where he had to spend 10 years of his life as an embarrassed guesl at the Safavid court. After the death of Sher Shah Suri, he invaded India in 1554 and defeated his brothers and the Afghans. These victories once again made him the ruler of India. In 1555, he invaded Lahore and later defeated the Afghans at Machivara. He also defeated Sikander Sur in the Battle of Sirhind in the same year. He was killed in an accident in 1556, barely two years after he regained his kingdom.
Sher Shah Suri (1540-1545)
Sher Shah was an Afghan ruler who ruled the kingdom for a small period, from 1540 to 1545, after dethroning Hurnayun, He caused a brief interruption in the Mughal rule. His empire expanded from the Brahmaputra in the east to the Indus in the west, from the Himalayas in the north to the Narmada in the south. During his 5 years of rule he introduced a significant administrative system, land revenue policy and several other measures to improve the economic conditions of his subjects. He introduced the coin called rupia and fixed standard weights and measures all over the empire. He also improved transportation by constructing many highways. He got the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) constructed that connects Peshawar with Kolkata. He also introduced many military reforms; he recruited and paid the soldiers directly and every soldier had his chehra (face) recorded and his horse branded with theimperial sign, dogh. He set up cantonments in various parts of his empire and a strong garrison was maintained in each cantonment.
Highpoints of Sher Shah’s Rule
Sher Shah remained the ruler of Delhi for not more than 5 years. However, his rule proved to be excep-tional in the subcontinent. He designed a solid Imperial administration that was Inspired by the Safavid, regime in Iran. SherShah had a strong army, comprising 1,50,000 horses, 2,50,000 foot soldiers and nearly 5,000 elephants. He personally inspected, appointed, and paid the soldiers, thus making him the focus of loyalty and subduing the jealousies between clans and tribes. To check fraud, he revived the custom of branding horses. Introduced first by Ala-ud-din Khilji. The main reforms for, which Shar Shah is, Still known are those associated with revenue administration. He established a revenue collection system based in the measurement of land. He also introduced finely minted silver coins known as dam. During his lifetime, Sher Shah commissioned the construction of tombs for his father, Hasan Khan Suri, and for himself. He died in 1545, in a gunpowder explosion and left his empire to his two sons and grandsons who were incompetent and succumbed to old Afghan rivalries.This led to the decline of theSuri dynasty.
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