Humayun

Humayun

Overview
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor
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...

 who ruled present day 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...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and parts of northern 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...

 from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, 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...

, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 aid, he eventually regained an even larger one. On the eve of his death in 1556, 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...

 spanned almost one million square kilometers.

He succeeded his father in India in 1530, while his half-brother Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza, sometimes known simply as Kamran, was the second son of Babur Mirza, the founder of the Mughal dynasty.Kamran Mirza was born in Kabul...

, who was to become a rather bitter rival, obtained the sovereignty of 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...

 and Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, the more northern parts of their father's empire.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Humayun'
Start a new discussion about 'Humayun'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor
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...

 who ruled present day 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...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and parts of northern 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...

 from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, 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...

, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 aid, he eventually regained an even larger one. On the eve of his death in 1556, 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...

 spanned almost one million square kilometers.

He succeeded his father in India in 1530, while his half-brother Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza, sometimes known simply as Kamran, was the second son of Babur Mirza, the founder of the Mughal dynasty.Kamran Mirza was born in Kabul...

, who was to become a rather bitter rival, obtained the sovereignty of 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...

 and Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, the more northern parts of their father's empire. He originally ascended the throne at the age of 22 and was somewhat inexperienced when he came to power.

Humayun lost Mughal
Mughal
Mughal, a word related to the Mongols, may refer to the:* Mughal Empire of South Asia* Mughal emperors* Mughal , the central Asian tribe from which the rulers of the Mughal Empire hailed* Mughal architecture* Mughal painting* Mughlai cuisine...

 territories to the Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 noble, Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

, and, with Persian aid, regained them 15 years later. Humayun's return from Persia, accompanied by a large retinue of Persian noblemen, signaled an important change in Mughal court culture, as the Central Asian origins
Moghulistan
Moghulistan or Mughalistan is a historical geographic unit in Central Asia that included parts of modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Chinese Autonomous Region of Xinjiang...

 of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language
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...

 and literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

 and also there are many stone carved and Persian language In India
Persian language In India
The Persian language, before the British colonized India, was the country's second official language and was considered the language of culture and science...

 from the time of humayun also thousands of Persian manuscript in India..

Subsequently, in a very short time, Humayun was able to expand the Empire further, leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar. His peaceful personality, patience and non-provocative methods of speech earned him the title Insan-i-Kamil, among the Mughal
Mughal
Mughal, a word related to the Mongols, may refer to the:* Mughal Empire of South Asia* Mughal emperors* Mughal , the central Asian tribe from which the rulers of the Mughal Empire hailed* Mughal architecture* Mughal painting* Mughlai cuisine...

s.

Background


Babur's decision to divide the territories of his empire between two of his sons was unusual in India, but it had been a common Central Asian practice since the time of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

. Unlike most European Monarchies which practised primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, the Timurids, following Genghis Khan's example, did not leave an entire kingdom to the eldest son. Although under that system only a Chingissid
Chingissid
Chingissid refers to someone who is a direct blood descendant of Genghis Khan, known as Chinggis Khaan in Mongolian.Elite families of following empires, belonged to his royal line:Mongol Empire and its major subdivisions:#Yuan Dynasty...

 could claim sovereignty and khanal authority, any male Chinggisid within a given sub-branch (such as the Timurids) had an equal right to the throne. While Genghis Khan's Empire had been peacefully divided between his sons upon his death, almost every Chinggisid succession since had resulted in fratricide.

Timur himself had divided his territories between Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad was a grandson and appointed successor of Timur. He was the son of Jahangir.In 1392 he received the governorship of Qandahar. His territory extended from the lands west of the Hindu Kush to the Indus River...

, Miran Shah
Miran Shah
Miran Shah was a son of Timur, and a Timurid governor during his father's lifetime.Miran Shah's first charge was a vast region centered around Qandahar, which he was granted in 1383. That same year, he destroyed a rebellion against Timurid authority by the Kartids, then vassals of Timur in...

, Khalil Sultan
Khalil Sultan
Khalil Sultan was the Timurid ruler of Transoxiana from 1405 to 1409. He was a son of Miran Shah and a grandson of Timur.-Biography:During Timur's lifetime, Khalil Sultan gained the conqueror's particular favor. He distinguished himself during the campaign in India and in 1402 was given rule of...

 and Shah Rukh
Shah Rukh (Timurid dynasty)
Shāhrukh Mīrzā was the ruler of the eastern portion of the empire established by the Central Asian warlord Timur - the founder of the Timurid dynasty - governing most of Persia and Transoxiana between 1405 and 1447...

, which resulted in inter-family warfare. Upon Babur's death, Humayun's territories were the least secure. Babur had ruled only four years, and not all umarah (nobles) viewed Humayun as the rightful ruler. Indeed earlier, when Babur had become ill, some of the nobles had tried to install Humayun's uncle, Mahdi Khwaja, as ruler. Although this attempt failed, it was a sign of problems to come.

Personal traits


Humayun was portrayed in the biography Humāyūn-nāma written by his sister Gulbadan Begum
Gulbadan Begum
The Imperial Princess Gulbadan Begum was a Perso-Turkic Princess, the daughter of Emperor Zāhir ud-Dīn Mohammad Babur of India, she is most known as the author of Humayun Nama, the account of the life of her brother, Humayun...

, as being extraordinarily lenient, constantly forgiving acts which were deliberately aimed at angering him. In one instance the biography records that his youngest brother Hindal killed Humayun's most trusted advisor, an old Sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

, and then marched an army out of Agra. Humayun, rather than seek retribution, went straight to his mother's home where Gulbadan Begum was, bearing no grudge against his younger brother, and insisted he return home. Humayun was loyal, gentle and humane man by the standards of the day. As a warrior he had served honorably alongside his father 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...

 during the Battle of Khanwa
Battle of Khanwa
The Battle of Khanwa, was fought near the village of Khanwa, about 60 km west of Agra on March 17, 1527. The second major battle fought in modern day India, by the first Mughal Emperor Babur after the Battle of Panipat . As the Mughal Empire expanded it faced new opponents especially in the...

 while he was just seventeen years old.

He was interested in poetry and fascinated by Astrology and the Occult. Upon his accession as Padishah
Padishah
Padishah, Padshah, Padeshah, Badishah or Badshah is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian pād "master" and the widespread shāh "king", which was adopted by several monarchs claiming the highest rank, roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of "The Great" or "Great King", and...

(Emperor), he began to re-organise the administration upon mystically determined principles. The public offices were divided into four distinct groups, for the four elements. The department of Earth was to be in charge of Agriculture and the agricultural sciences, Fire was to be in charge of the Military, Water was the department of the Canals and waterways while Air seemed to have responsibility for everything else. His daily routine was planned in accordance with the movements of the planets, so too was his wardrobe. He refused to enter a house with his left foot going forward, and if anyone else did they would be told to leave and re-enter. His servant, Jauhar, records in the Tadhkirat al-Waqiat that he was known to shoot arrows to the sky marked with either his own name, or that of the Shah of Persia and, depending on how they landed, interpreted this as an indication of which of them would grow more powerful.

Early reign


Upon his succession to the throne, Humayun had two major rivals interested in acquiring his lands — Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat to the south west and Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

 (Sher Khan) currently settled along the river Ganges in Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 to the east. Humayun’s first campaign was to confront Sher Khan Suri. Halfway through the counter offensive Humayun had to abandon it and concentrate on Gujarat, where a threat from Ahmed Shah had to be squelched. In this he succeeded and annexed Gujarat and Malwa. Champaner and the great fort of Mandu followed next.

During the first five years of Humayun's reign, these two rulers were quietly extending their rule, although Sultan Bahadur faced pressure in the east from sporadic conflicts with the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. While the Mughals had acquired firearms via the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Bahadur's Gujurat had acquired them through a series of contracts drawn up with the Portuguese, allowing the Portuguese to establish a strategic foothold in north western India.

Humayun was made aware that the Sultan of Gujarat was planning an assault on the Mughal territories with Portuguese aid. Showing an unusual resolve, Humayun gathered an army and marched on Bahadur. His assault was spectacular and within a month he had captured the forts of Mandu
Mandu
Mandu or Mandavgad is a ruined city in the Dhar district in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh state, central India. The distance between Dhar & Mandu is about 35 km. In the 11th century, Mandu was the sub division of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom...

 and Champaner
Champaner
Champaner चंमपानेर شمبنر is a historical city in the state of Gujarat, in western India. It is located in Panchmahal district, 47 kilometres from the city of Vadodara. The city was briefly the capital of Gujarat....

. However, instead of pressing his attack and going after the enemy, Humayun ceased the campaign and began to enjoy life in his new forts. Bahadur, meanwhile, escaped and took up refuge with the Portuguese.

Sher Shah Suri



Shortly after Humayun had marched on Gujarat, Sher Shah
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

 saw an opportunity to wrest control of Agra from the Mughals. He began to gather his army together hoping for a rapid and decisive siege of the Mughal capital. Upon hearing this alarming news, Humayun quickly marched his troops back to Agra allowing Bahadur to easily regain control of the territories Humayun had recently taken. A few months later, however, Bahadur was dead, killed when a botched plan to kidnap the Portuguese viceroy ended in a fire-fight which the Sultan lost.

Whilst Humayun succeeded in protecting Agra from Sher Shah, the second city of the Empire, Gaur
Gaur, West Bengal
Gour, or Gaur , as it is spelt mostly in modern times, or Lakhnauti is a ruined city, in the Malda district of West Bengal, India, on the west bank of the Ganges river, 40 kilometers downstream from Rajmahal.-History:...

 the capital of the vilayat of Bengal, was sacked. Humayun's troops had been delayed while trying to take Chunar
Chunar
Chunar छुनर شُنَر, located in Mirzapur District of Uttar Pradesh state, India, is an ancient town. The railway tracks passing through Chunar leads to major destinations of India, including Howrah, Delhi, Tatanagar and Varanasi. National Highway number 7 also passes through Chunar...

, a fort occupied by Sher Shah's son, in order to protect his troops from an attack from the rear. The stores of grain at Gauri, the largest in the empire, were emptied and Humayun arrived to see corpses littering the roads. The vast wealth of Bengal was depleted and brought East giving Sher Shah a substantial war chest.

Sher Shah withdrew to the east, but Humayun did not follow: instead he "shut himself up for a considerable time in his Harem, and indulged himself in every kind of luxury." Hindal, Humayun's 19-year old brother, had agreed to aid him in this battle and protect the rear from attack but abandoned his position and withdrew to Agra where he decreed himself acting emperor. When Humayun sent the grand Mufti, Sheikh Buhlul, to reason with him, the Sheikh was killed. Further provoking the rebellion, Hindal ordered that the Khutba or sermon in the main mosque at Agra be read in his name, a sign of assumption of sovereignty. When Hindal withdrew from protecting the rear of Humayun's troops, Sher Shah's troop quickly reclaimed these positions, leaving Humayun surrounded.

Humayun's other brother, Kamran, marched from his territories in the Punjab, ostensibly to aid Humayun. However, his return home had treacherous motives as he intended to stake a claim for Humayun's apparently collapsing empire. He brokered a deal with Hindal which provided that his brother would cease all acts of disloyalty in return for a share in the new empire which Kamran would create once Humayun was deposed.

Sher Shah met Humayun in battle on the banks of the Ganges, near Benares, in Chausa. This was to become an entrenched battle in which both sides spent a lot of time digging themselves into positions. The major part of the Mughal army, the artillery, was now immobile, and Humayun decided to engage in some diplomacy using Muhammad Aziz as ambassador. Humayun agreed to allow Sher Shah to rule over Bengal and Bihar, but only as provinces granted to him by his Emperor, Humayun, falling short of outright sovereignty. The two rulers also struck a bargain in order to save face: Humayun's troops would charge those of Sher Shah whose forces then retreat in feigned fear. Thus honour would, supposedly, be satisfied.

Once the Army of Humayun had made its charge and Sher Shah's troops made their agreed-upon retreat, the Mughal troops relaxed their defensive preparations and returned to their entrenchments without posting a proper guard. Observing the Mughals' vulnerability, Sher Shah reneged on his earlier agreement. That very night, his army approached the Mughal camp and finding the Mughal troops unprepared with a majority asleep, they advanced and killed most of them. The Emperor survived by swimming the Ganges using an air filled "water skin," and quietly returned to Agra.

In Agra


When Humayun returned to Agra, he found that all three of his brothers were present. Humayun once again not only pardoned his brothers for plotting against him, but even forgave Hindal for his outright betrayal. With his armies travelling at a leisurely pace, Sher Shah was gradually drawing closer and closer to Agra. This was a serious threat to the entire family, but Humayun and Kamran squabbled over how to proceed. Kamran withdrew after Humayun refused to make a quick attack on the approaching enemy, instead opting to build a larger army under his own name. When Kamran returned to Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, his troops followed him shortly afterwards, and Humayun, with his other brothers Askari and Hindal, marched to meet Sher Shah just 240 kilometres (149.1 mi) east of Agra at the Battle of Kanauj on 17 May 1540. The battle once again saw Humayun make some tactical errors, and his army was soundly defeated. He and his brothers quickly retreated back to Agra, humiliated and mocked along the way by peasants and villagers. They chose not to stay in Agra, and retreated to Lahore, though Sher Shah followed them, founding the short-lived Sur Dynasty
Sur Dynasty
The Suri Empire was established by a Muslim dynasty of Afghan origin who ruled a vast territory in the Indian subcontinent between 1540 to 1557, with Delhi serving as its capital...

 of northern India with its capital at Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

.

In Lahore


The four brothers were united in Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, but every day they were informed that Sher Shah was getting closer and closer. When he reached Sirhind, Humayun sent an ambassador carrying the message "I have left you the whole of Hindustan (i.e. the lands to the East of Punjab, comprising most of the Ganges Valley). Leave Lahore alone, and let Sirhind be a boundary between you and me." Sher Shah, however, replied "I have left you Kabul. You should go there." 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...

 was the capital of the empire of Humayun's brother Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza
Kamran Mirza, sometimes known simply as Kamran, was the second son of Babur Mirza, the founder of the Mughal dynasty.Kamran Mirza was born in Kabul...

, who was far from willing to hand over any of his territories to his brother. Instead, Kamran approached Sher Shah, and proposed that he actually revolt against his brother and side with Sher Shah in return for most of the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

. Sher Shah dismissed his help, believing it not to be required, though word soon spread to Lahore about the treacherous proposal and Humayun was urged to make an example of Kamran and kill him. Humayun refused, citing the last words of his father, 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...

 "Do nothing against your brothers, even though they may deserve it."

Withdrawing further


Humayun decided that it would be wise to withdraw still further, Humayun and his army rode out through and across the Thar Desert
Thar Desert
The Thar Desert |Punjab]] province. The Cholistan Desert adjoins the Thar desert spreading into Pakistani Punjab province.-Location and description:...

, when the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 ruler Rao Maldeo Rathore
Rao Maldeo Rathore
thumb|Rao Maldeo RathoreRao Maldeo Rathore was a Rajput ruler of Marwar, which was later known as Jodhpur . He was a scion of the Rathore clan. His father was Rao Ganga and his mother was Rani Padmavati of Sirohi.The then Muslim historean Ferishta calls him as the "most Potent Prince of Hindustan"...

 allied himself with Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

 against 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 many accounts Humayun mentions how he and his heavily pregnant wife, had to trace their steps through the desert at the hottest time of year. All the wells had been filled with sand by the nearbyHindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 inhabitants in order to starve and exhaust the Mughal
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...

s further, leaving them with nothing but berries to eat. When Hamida's horse died,no one would lend the Queen (who was now eight months pregnant) a horse, so Humayun did so himself, resulting in him riding a camel for six kilometeres (four miles), although Khaled Beg then offered him his mount. Humayun was later to describe this incident as the lowest point in his life.

He asked that his brothers join him as he fell back into Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

. While the previously rebellious Hindal Mirza remained loyal and was ordered to join his brothers in Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

. Kamran Mirza and Askari Mirza instead decided to head to the relative peace of 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...

. This was to be a definitive schism in the family.

Humayun expected aid from the Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 of Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Hussein Umrani, whom he had appointed and who owed him his allegiance. The Emir Hussein Umrani welcomed Humayun's presence and was loyal to Humayin just as he had been loyal to 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...

 against the renegade Arghun
Arghun
Arghun Khan aka Argon was the fourth ruler of the Mongol empire's Ilkhanate, from 1284 to 1291. He was the son of Abaqa Khan, and like his father, was a devout Buddhist...

s. Whilst in the oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

 garrison of Umerkot
Umerkot
Umarkot or Umer Kot,, also known as Amar Kot, Omarkot and Omercote, is town in the Umerkot District in Sindh, Pakistan...

 in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Hamida gave birth to Akbar on 25 October 1542, the heir-apparent to the 34-year old Humayun. The date was special because Humayun consulted his Astronomer to utilize the astrolabe
Astrolabe
An astrolabe is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers. Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and longitude, surveying, triangulation, and to...

 and check the location of the planets.

While in Sindh, Humayun alongside Emir Hussein Umrani, gathered horses and weapons and formed new alliances that helped regain lost territories. Until finally Humayun had gathered hundreds of Sindhi
Sindhi
Sindhi may refer to more than one article:*the Sindhis, an ethnic group from the Sindh region in Pakistan.*the Sindhi language, an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Sindhi people.*a resident of Sindh province of Pakistan.-See also:*Sindhu Kingdom...

 and Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 tribesmen alongside his Mughal
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...

s and then marched towards Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 and later 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...

, thousands more gathered by his side as Humayun continually declared himself the rightful Timurid
Timurid
Timurid may refer to:* Timur , also known as Tamerlane in English, a fourteenth-century conqueror of Western, South and Central Asia, founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty in Central Asia...

 heir of the first Mughal Emperor 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...

.

Retreat to Kabul


After Humayun set out from his expedition in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, along with 300 camels (mostly wild) and 2000 loads of grain, he set off to join his brothers in Kandahar after crossing the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 on 11 July 1543 along with the ambition to regain 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 overthrow the Suri dynasty.

In Kamran Mirza's territory, Hindal Mirza had been placed under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

 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...

 after refusing to have the Khutba
Khutba
Khutbah serves as the primary formal occasion for public preaching in the Islamic tradition.Such sermons occur regularly, as prescribed by the teachings of all legal schools. The Islamic tradition can be formally at the dhuhr congregation prayer on Friday...

recited in Kamran Mirza's name. His other brother Askari Mirza was now ordered to gather an army and march on Humayun. When Humayun received word of the approaching hostile army he decided against facing them, and instead sought refuge elsewhere. Akbar was left behind in camp close to Kandahar for, as it was December it would have been too cold and dangerous to include the 14-month old toddler in the forthcoming march through the dangerous and snowy mountains of the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

. Askari Mirza found Akbar in the camp, and embraced him, and allowed his own wife to parent him, she apparently treated him as her own.

Once again Humayun turned toward Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 where his brother Kamran Mirza was in power, but he received no help and had to seek refuge with the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 of Persia.

Refuge in Persia


Humayun fled to the refuge of the Safavid Empire in Iran, marching with 40 men and his wife and her companion through mountains and valleys. Amongst other trials the Imperial party were forced to live on horse meat boiled in the soldiers' helmets. These indignities continued during the month it took them to reach Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

, however after their arrival they were reintroduced to the finer things in life. Upon entering the city his army was greeted with an armed escort, and they were treated to lavish food and clothing. They were given fine accommodations and the roads were cleared and cleaned before them. Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

, unlike Humayun's own family, actually welcomed the Mughal, and treated him as a royal visitor. Here Humayun went sightseeing and was amazed at the Persian artwork and architecture he saw: much of this was the work of the Timurid Sultan Husayn Bayqarah
Husayn Bayqarah
Husayn Bayqarah was a Timurid ruler of Herat from 1469 to 1506, with a brief interruption in 1470. His father was Mansur, a great-grandson of Timur...

 and his ancestor, princess Gauhar Shad, thus he was able to admire the work of his relatives and ancestors at first hand. He was introduced to the work of the Persian miniaturists, and Kamaleddin Behzad had two of his pupils join Humayun in his court. Humayun was amazed at their work and asked if they would work for him if he were to regain the sovereignty of Hindustan: they agreed. With so much going on Humayun did not even meet the Shah until July, some six months after his arrival in Persia. After a lengthy journey from Herat the two met in Qazvin where a large feast and parties were held for the event. The meeting of the two monarchs is depicted in a famous wall-painting in the Chehel Sotoun
Chehel Sotoun
Chehel Sotoun is a pavilion in the middle of a park at the far end of a long pool, in Isfahan, Iran, built by Shah Abbas II to be used for his entertainment and receptions...

 (Forty Columns) palace in Esfahan
Isfahan (city)
Isfahan , historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Sepahan or Hispahan, is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 km south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,583,609, Iran's third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad...

.

The Shah urged that Humayun convert from Sunni to Shia Islam, and Humayun eventually and reluctantly accepted, in order to keep himself and several hundred followers alive. Although the Mughal
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...

s initially disagreed to their conversion they knew that with this outward acceptance of Shi'ism, Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

 was eventually prepared to offer Humayun more substantial support. When Humayun's brother, Kamran Mirza, offered to cede Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 to the Persians in exchange for Humayun, dead or alive, Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

 refused. Instead the Shah threw a party for Humayun, with 300 tents, an imperial Persian carpet, 12 musical bands and "meat of all kinds". Here the Shah announced that all this, and 12,000 choice cavalry were his to lead an attack on his brother Kamran. All that Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

 asked for was that, if Humayun's forces were victorious, Kandahar would be his.

Kandahar and onwards



With this Persian Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 aid Humayun took Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 from Askari Mirza after a two-week siege. He noted how the nobles who had served Askari Mirza quickly flocked to serve him, "in very truth the greater part of the inhabitants of the world are like a flock of sheep, wherever one goes the others immediately follow". Kandahar was, as agreed, given to the Shah of Persia who sent his infant son, Murad, as the Viceroy. However, the baby soon died and Humayun thought himself strong enough to assume power.

Humayun now prepared to take Kabul, ruled by his brother Kamran Mirza. In the end, there was no actual siege. Kamran Mirza was detested as a leader and as Humayun's Persian army approached the city hundreds of Kamran Mirza's troops changed sides, flocking to join Humayun and swelling his ranks. Kamran Mirza absconded and began building an army outside the city. In November 1545, Hamida and Humayun were reunited with their son Akbar, and held a huge feast. They also held another, larger, feast in the childs' honour when he was circumcised
Circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

.

However, while Humayun had a larger army than his brother and had the upper hand, on two occasions his poor military judgement allowed Kamran Mirza to retake Kabul and Kandahar, forcing Humayun to mount further campaigns for their recapture. He may have been aided in this by his reputation for leniency towards the troops who had defended the cities against him, as opposed to Kamran Mirza, whose brief periods of possession were marked by atrocities against the inhabitants who, he supposed, had helped his brother.

His youngest brother, Hindal Mirza, formerly the most disloyal of his siblings, died fighting on his behalf. His brother Askari Mirza was shackled in chains at the behest of his nobles and aides. He was allowed go on Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

, and died en route in the desert outside Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

.

Humayun's other brother, Kamran Mirza, had repeatedly sought to have Humayun killed, and when in 1552 he attempted to make a pact with Islam Shah, Sher Shah's
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

 successor, he was apprehended by a Gakhar
Gakhars
The Gakhars are an ancient warrior clan who have predominantly resided in what is present day northern Punjab and South-Western Kashmir, Pakistan. In particular in the cities of Rawalpindi, Jhelum and regions of Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Khanpur and Mirpur, Pakistan...

. The Gakhars were one of only a few groups of people who had remained loyal to their oath to the Mughals. Sultan Adam of the Gakhars handed Kamran Mirza over to Humayun. Humayun was tempted to forgive his brother, however he was warned that allowing Kamran Mirza's continuous acts to go unpunished could foment rebellion within his own ranks. So, instead of killing his brother, Humayun had Kamran Mirza blinded which would end any claim to the throne. He sent him on Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

, as he hoped to see his brother absolved of his hateful sins, but he died close to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 in 1557.

India revisited


Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

 had died in 1545; his son and successor Islam Shah died too, in 1554. These two deaths left the dynasty reeling and disintegrating. Three rivals for the throne all marched on Delhi, while in many cities leaders tried to stake a claim for independence. This was a perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India. Humayun placed the army under the able leadership of Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan also Bayram Khan was a important military commander, general of the Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar.-Background:...

. This was a wise move given Humayun's own record of military ineptitude, and turned out to be prescient, as Bairam was to prove himself a great tactician.

Marriage relations with the Khanzadas


The Gazetteer of Ulwur states:

Soon after Babar's death, his successor, Humayun, was in AD 1540 supplanted by the Pathan Sher Shah, who, in AD 1545, was followed by Islam Shah. During the reign of the latter a battle was fought and lost by the Emperor's troops at Firozpur Jhirka, in Mewat, on which, however, Islam Shah did not loose his hold. Adil Shah, the third of the Pathan interlopers, who succeeded in AD 1552, had to contend for the Empire with the returned Humaiyun.


In these struggles for the restoration of Babar's dynasty Khanzadas apparently do not figure at all. Humaiyun seems to have conciliated them by marrying the elder daughter of Jamal Khan, nephew of Babar's opponent, Hasan Khan, and by causing his great minister, Bairam Khan, to marry a younger daughter of the same Mewatti.


Bairam Khan led the army through the Punjab virtually unopposed. The fort of Rohtas
Rohtas
Rohtas can refer to:*Rohtas, Pakistan, a village located in Rohtas Fort, Pakistan*Rohtas Fort, Pakistan*Rohtas District, a district in Bihar, India*Rohtas Plateau in north-western Bihar...

, which was built in 1541-43 by Sher Shah Suri to crush the Gakhars
Gakhars
The Gakhars are an ancient warrior clan who have predominantly resided in what is present day northern Punjab and South-Western Kashmir, Pakistan. In particular in the cities of Rawalpindi, Jhelum and regions of Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Khanpur and Mirpur, Pakistan...

 who were loyal to Humayun, was surrendered without a shot by a treacherous commander. The walls of the Rohtas
Rohtas
Rohtas can refer to:*Rohtas, Pakistan, a village located in Rohtas Fort, Pakistan*Rohtas Fort, Pakistan*Rohtas District, a district in Bihar, India*Rohtas Plateau in north-western Bihar...

 Fort measure up to 12.5 meters in thickness and up to 18.28 meters in height. They extend for 4 km and feature 68 semi-circular bastions. Its sandstone gates, both massive and ornate, are thought to have exerted a profound influence on Mughal
Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture, an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture, is the distinctive style developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It is symmetrical and decorative in style.The Mughal dynasty was...

 military architecture.

The only major battle faced by Humayun's armies was against Sikander Suri in Sirhind, where Bairam Khan employed a tactic whereby he engaged his enemy in open battle, but then retreated quickly in apparent fear. When the enemy followed after them they were surprised by entrenched defensive positions and were easily annihilated.

From here on most towns and villages chose to welcome the invading army as it made its way to the capital. On 23 July 1555, Humayun once again sat on Babur's throne in Delhi.

Ruling North India again



With all of Humayun's brothers now dead, there was no fear of another usurping his throne during military campaigns. He was also now an established leader, and could trust his generals. With this new-found strength Humayun embarked on a series of military campaigns aimed at extending his reign over areas to East and West India.

His sojourn in exile seems to have reduced Humayun's reliance on astrology, and his military leadership instead imitated the methods he had observed in Persia, allowing him to win more effectively and quicker.

This also applied to the administration of the empire. Persian methods of governance were imported into North India in Humayun's reign. The system of revenue collection is held to have improved on both the Persian model and that of the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 one. The Persian arts too were very influential, and Persian-style miniatures were produced at Mughal (and subsequently Rajput) courts. The Chaghatai language, in which Babur had written his memoirs, disappeared almost entirely from the culture of the courtly elite, and Akbar could not speak it. Later in life, Humayun himself is said to have spoken in Persian verse more often than not.

Trusted Generals


After defeating Bahadur Shah's confederacy in Gujarat, Humayun placed the following Generals in Gujarat:
  1. Mirza Askurry at Ahmedabad
  2. Yadgar Nasir at Patan
  3. Kasim Hussein Sultan in Bharoach
  4. Hindu Beg in Baroda
  5. Tardy Beg Khan in Champaner


However, these officials and generals could not contain uprisings and left Gujarat to be occupied by Bahadur Shah again.

Death and legacy



On 27 January 1556, Humayun, with his arms full of books, was descending the staircase from his library when the muezzin
Muezzin
A muezzin , or muzim, is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets; in most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzin in his task.The professional muezzin is chosen for his...

 announced the Adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 (the call to prayer). It was his habit, wherever he heard the summons, to bow his knee in holy reverence. Kneeling, he caught his foot in his robe, tumbled down several steps and hit his temple on a rugged stone edge. He died three days later, and was succeeded by the 13-year old Akbar.

Further reading

  • Persian and English text
  • Cambridge History of India, Vol. III & IV, "Turks and Afghan" and "The Mughal Period". (Cambridge) 1928
  • Muzaffar Alam & Sanjay Subrahmanyan (Eds.) The Mughal State 1526-1750 (Delhi) 1998
  • William Irvine The army of the Indian Moghuls. (London) 1902. (Last revised 1985)
  • Bamber Gasgoigne The Great Moghuls (London) 1971. (Last revised 1987)
  • Jos Gommans Mughal Warfare (London) 2002
  • Peter Jackson The Delhi Sultanate. A Political and Military History (Cambridge) 1999
  • John F. Richards The Mughal Empire (Cambridge) 1993
  • James Tod Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan (Oxford) 1920 Ed. Wm Crooke (3rd Edition)

External links