Baburnama

Baburnama

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Bāburnāma is the name given to the memoirs of Ẓahīr ud-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

 (1483-1530), founder of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 and a great-great-great-grandson of Timur. It is an autobiographical work, originally written in the Chagatai language
Chagatai language
The Chagatai language is an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia, and remained the shared literary language there until the early twentieth century...

, known to Babur as "Turki
Turki
The Turki language is a Türkic literary language active from the 13th to the 19th centuries, used by different Türkic peoples...

" (meaning Turkic), the spoken language of the Andijan
Andijan
Andijan or Andizhan is the fourth-largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the Andijan Province. It is located in the east of the country, at , in the Fergana Valley, near the border with Kyrgyzstan on the Andijan-Say River...

-Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

s. Because of Babur's cultural origin, his prose is highly Persianized
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 in its sentence structure, morphology, and vocabulary, and also contains many phrases and smaller poems in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

. During Emperor Akbar's
Akbar the Great
Akbar , also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great , was the third Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Emperor Humayun, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India...

 reign, the work was completely translated to Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 by a Mughal courtier, Abdul Rahīm
Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana
Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana , also known as Rahim was a composer in the times of Mughal emperor Akbar, and one of his main nine ministers in his court, also known as the Navaratnas; he is most known for his Hindi couplets and his books on Astrology...

, in AH
Hijri year
The Hijri year is year numbering system used in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates the Hijra , or emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622 CE. In Arabic, AH is symbolized by the letter هـ...

 998 (1589-90).

Overview


Bābur was an educated Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 and his observations and comments in his memoirs reflect an interest in nature, society, politics and economics. His vivid account of events covers not just his life, but the history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 and geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 of the areas he lived in, and their flora and fauna, as well as the people with whom he came into contact.

Contents


The Bāburnāma begins with these plain words:
After some background, Bābur describes his fluctuating fortunes as a minor ruler in Central Asia - in which he took and lost Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 twice - and his move to Kabul in 1504.

There is a break in the manuscript between 1508 and 1519. By the latter date Bābur is established in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and from there launches an invasion into northwestern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The final section of the Bāburnāma covers the years 1525 to 1529 and the establishment of the Mughal empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, which Bābur's descendants would rule for three centuries.
Babur also writes about his homeland, Fergana:
He also wrote:
The Bāburnāma is widely translated and is part of text books in no less than 25 countries mostly in Central, Western, and Southern Asia. It was first translated into English by John Leyden and William Erskine as Memoirs of Zehir-Ed-Din Muhammed Baber: Emperor of Hindustan and later by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 orientalist
Oriental studies
Oriental studies is the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology; in recent years the subject has often been turned into the newer terms of Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies...

 scholar Annette Susannah Beveridge (née Akroyd, 1842-1929).

Further reading

  • The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor, Zahir-ud-din Mohammad Babur, Translated, edited and annotated by Wheeler M. Thackston. 2002 Modern Library Palang-faack Edition, New York. ISBN 0-375-76137-3
  • Babur Nama: Journal of Emperor Babur, Zahir Uddin Muhammad Babur
    Babur
    Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

    , Translated from Chagatai Turkic by Annette Susannah Beveridge, Abridged, edited and introduced by Dilip Hiro
    Dilip Hiro
    Dilip Hiro is a playwright, political writer, journalist, historian and analyst specializing in South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Islamic affairs. He was born to Hindu parents in Larkana, British India, who migrated to independent India after partition in 1947. Hiro received a masters...

    . (ISBN ) ISBN 978-0-14-400149-1; (ISBN ) ISBN 0-14-400149-7. - online version
  • Local Culture

External links