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Chapter 10 – The Memoirs of the Emperor Babar

It is generally agreed that the Memoirs of the Emperor Babar form one of the best and most faithful pieces of autobiography that exist. They are considered to be decidedly superior to those of Timur and Jahangir, and may compare favourably with Xenophon’s Anabasis or Caesar’s Commentaries, as they are fully equal to the latter in the matter of simplicity and are much more straightforward.

These autobiographical records were written by Babar in remarkably pure Chagatai Turkish, and are extant in a very few copies, one of which may be found reproduced in facsimile in the Gibb Memorial series of publications. A Persian translation of the famous journal was made in Akbar’s time and presented to that monarch. The Memoirs have since been turned into German, Russian, and French, as well as into English by Leyden and Erskine. The extracts from the latter’s version as given below, with slight alterations and omissions, give a detailed account of some of Babar’s operations in India in 1519 A.D. and the following years.

When we left Bajaur, on the fourteenth of Safar,

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925 A.H. (Feb. 15, 1519 A.D.), we did it with the intention of attacking Bahrah, the country on the Jihlam, or Hydaspes, near the town of that name, but chiefly on the right bank of the river, before we returned to Kabul. We were always full of the idea of invading Hindustan, but this had been prevented by various circumstances. For the three or four months that the army had been detained in Bajaur, it had got no plunder of value. As Bahrah is on the borders of Hindustan and was near at hand, I thought that, if I were now to push on without baggage, the soldiers might light upon some booty. Moving on with this idea, and plundering the Afghans in our progress, I was advised by several of my principal adherents, when I reached Makam, that if we were to enter Hindustan, we should do it on a proper footing and with an adequate force. Though the advice was perfectly judicious, we made the inroad in spite of all these objections.

Early next morning we marched toward the passage over the Sind. I despatched Mir Mohammad Jala-ban in advance, with his brothers and some troops to escort them, for the purpose of examining the banks of the river, both above and below. After sending the army forward toward the river, I myself set off for Sawati, which they likewise call Kark-khanah, to hunt the rhinoceros. We started many rhinoceroses, but as the country abounded in brushwood, we could not get at them.

Next morning, being Thursday, the seventeenth of Safar (Feb. 18), we crossed the ford with our horses,

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camels, and baggage, while the camp bazaar and the infantry were floated over on rafts. The same day the inhabitants of Nilab (fifteen miles below Attok on the SindY waited on me, bringing a horse clad in full panoply and three hundred Shah-rukhis (almost £15) as a present. That same day at noonday prayers, as soon as we had got all our people across, we proceeded on our march, which we continued for one watch of the night, halting at the river of Kachah-kot (the modern Haroh). Marching thence before daybreak, we crossed the river of Kachah-kot, and the same evening we surmounted the pass of Sangdaki, where we halted. Sayyid Kasim, who brought up the rear-guard on the march, captured a few Gujars who followed the camp, cut off the heads of some of them, and brought them in.

Marching at dawn from Sangdaki and crossing the river Sohan (a stream lying between the Sind and the Jihlam), we encamped about the hour of noonday prayers. Our stragglers, however, continued to come in till midnight, for it was an uncommonly long and severe march, and as it was made when our horses were lean and weak, it was peculiarly hard on them, so that many of the animals were worn out and fell down by the way. Seven leagues to the north of Bahrah (possibly Bhira, south of the Swan) there is a hill, which, in the Zafar Namah and some other books, is called the hill of Jud. At first I was ignorant of the origin of its name, but afterward discovered that on it there were two races of men descended from the

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Mohammedans at Noonday Prayers

same father, one tribe being called Jud, and the other Janjuhah.

As I always had the conquest of Hindustan at heart, and as Bahrah, Khushab, Chinab, and Chaniut, where I now was, had long been in the possession of the Turks, I regarded them as my own domains, and was resolved to gain possession of them either by war or by peace. It was, therefore, right and necessary that the people of the hill should be well treated, and I accordingly issued orders that no one should molest or trouble their flocks and herds, or take from them so much as a bit of thread or a broken needle.

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Marching thence rather late, about noonday prayers, we reached a place of some size named Kaldah-kahar (the modern Kallar-kahar), where we halted, setting forth again at dawn on the following day. In various places on the very top of the Pass of Hambatu we met men bringing gifts of small value and coming to tender their submission. About luncheon-time we reached the bottom of the pass, where we halted, and having cleared the pass and emerged from the wooded ground, I formed the army in regular array, with right and left wings and centre, and marched toward Bahrah. When we had almost reached that place, Deo Hindu and the son of Saktu, who were servants of Ali Khan, the son of Daulat Khan Yusuf Khali, accompanied by the head men of Bahrah, met us, each bringing a horse and camel as a gift, and tendering his submission and service. Noonday prayers were over when we halted on the banks of the river Behat to the east of Bahrah, on a green field of grass, without having done the people of that town the least injury or damage.

From the time that Timur Beg (Tamerlane) had invaded Hindustan and left it again, these countries of Bahrah, Khushab, Chinab, and Chaniut had remained in the possession of the family of Timur Beg and of their dependents and adherents. Sultan Mas’ud Mirza, the grandson of Shah Rukh Mirza and son of Siurghnamsh Mirza, was, in those days, the ruler and chief of Kabul and Zabul, on which account he got the title of Sultan Mas’ud Kabuli.

Next morning I sent out foraging parties in proper

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directions, and afterwards rode round Bahrah. On Wednesday, the 22d (Feb. 23), I sent or the head men and chief craftsmen of Bahrah and agreed with them for the sum of four hundred thousand Shah-rukhis (nearly £20,000 sterling) as the ransom of their property, whereupon collectors were appointed to receive the amount. Having learned that the troops had exercised some severity toward the inhabitants of Bahrah and were misusing them, I sent out a party, which seized a few of the soldiers who had been guilty of excesses. I then put some of them to death and slit the noses of others, and commanded them to be led about the camp in that condition; for I considered the countries that had belonged to the Turks as my own territories, and therefore allowed no plundering or pillage.

People were always saying that if ambassadors were to be sent in a friendly and peaceable way into the countries that had been occupied by the Turks, it could do no harm. I therefore despatched Mulla Murshid to Sultan Ibrahim, whose father, Sultan Iskandar, had died five or six months before, and who had succeeded his parent in the empire of Hindustan; and giving my envoy the name and style of ambassador, I sent him to demand that the countries which had belonged to the Turks from days of old should be given up to me. Besides these letters for Sultan Ibrahim, I gave Mulla Murshid letters to Daulat Khan, and having also delivered verbal instructions to him, I dismissed him on his mission. The people of Hindustan, and particularly the Afghans, are a strangely foolish and senseless race,

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possessed of little reflection and less foresight. They can neither persist in a war and manfully support it, nor can they continue in a state of amity and friendship. Mulla Murshid was detained some time in Lahore by Daulat Khan, who would neither see him himself nor suffer him to proceed to Sultan Ibrahim; so that, five months later, he returned to Kabul without receiving any answer.

On Friday, letters of submission came from the people of Khushab. We remained one day in the fort of Bahrah, which they call Jahan-numa, and on the morning of Tuesday set out on our march, encamping on the rising grounds which skirt Bahrah toward the north. Next morning, after the council was dismissed and I had finished my ride, I went on board of a boat and had a drinking party.

In the hill country between Nilab and Bahrah, but apart from the tribes of Jud and Janjuhah and adjoining the hill country of Kashmir, are the Jats, Gujars, and many other men of similar tribes, who build villages and settle on every hillock and in every valley. Their chief was of the Gakkar race, and their government resembled that of the Jud and Janjuhah. At that time the government of these tribes, which skirt the hills, was held by Tatar Gakkar and Hati Gakkar, sons of the same family and cousins. Their strongholds were situated on ravines sand steep precipices. The name of Tatar’s fortress was Parhalah, and it was considerably lower than the snowy mountains. Hati’s country is close to the hills, and he had also won over

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A Distant View of Kabul

to his side Baba Khan, who held Kalinjar. Tatar Gakkar had waited on Daulat Khan and was, in a way, subject to him. Hati had never visited him, but remained in an independent turbulent state. At the desire of the amirs of Hindustan, and in conjunction with them, Tatar had taken a position with his army several miles off, and kept Hati in a sort of blockade. At the very time when we were in Bahrah, Hati had advanced upon Tatar by a stratagem, had surprised and slain him, and had seized his country, his women, and all his property.

Having arranged the affairs of the country in such a way as to give hopes that it would remain quiet, I marched from Bahrah on my return to Kabul on Sunday, the eleventh of Rabi’-al-awwal. Some persons who were acquainted with the country and with the political situation of the neighbouring territories, and particularly with the Janjuhah, who were old enemies of the Gakkars, informed me that Hati Gakkar had

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been guilty of many acts of violence, had infested the highways by his robberies, and had harassed the inhabitants; so that it was necessary either to effect his expulsion from this quarter, or at least to inflict exemplary punishment on him.

Next morning I accordingly left Khwaja Mir Miran and Miram Nasir in charge of the camp, and set out, about breakfast-time, with a body of light troops, to attack Hati Gakkar, who had killed Tatar a few days before and had seized the country of Parhalah, where he now had taken his stand, as has been mentioned. About afternoon prayers we halted and fed our horses, resuming our march about bedtime prayers. Our guide was a Gujar servant of Malik-hast, named Surpa.

All night long we marched straight on, but halted toward morning and sent Beg Mohammad Mughal toward the enemy’s camp. When it was beginning to be light, we mounted again, and about luncheon-time we put on our armour and increased our speed. About a league from the place where we had made this halt, the stronghold of Parhalah began to appear faintly in sight. The skirmishers were now pushed forward and the right wing proceeded to the east of Parhalah, while Kuch Beg, who belonged to that wing, was directed to follow in their rear, as a reserve. The left wing and centre poured in straight toward Parhalah. Dost Beg was appointed to command the party assigned to support the left wing and centre, who made the direct attack on the stronghold.

Parhalah, which stands high in the midst of deep

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valleys and ravines, has two roads leading to it. We advanced by the one on the southeast, which runs along the edge of the ravines and has gullies and precipices on either side. Within half a league of Parhalah, the road becomes extremely difficult, and so continues up to the very gates of the city, the ravine road being so narrow and steep in four or five places that only one person can go along it at a time, while for about a bow-shot it is necessary to proceed with the utmost circumspection. The other road is on the northwest, and here also but one man can pass at a time. It advances toward Parhalah through the midst of an open valley. Except these two roads, there is no other on any side. Although the place has no breastwork or battlement, yet it is so situated that it is not assailable, being surrounded by a precipice seven or eight gaz (fourteen or sixteen feet) in perpendicular height.

The troops of the left wing passed along the narrows and went pouring on toward the gate. Hati, with thirty or forty horsemen, all, both man and horse, in complete armour, accompanied by a number of foot-soldiers, attacked and drove back the skirmishers. Dost Beg, who commanded the reserve, then came up, and falling on the enemy with great impetuosity, killed a number of them and routed the rest. Hati Gakkar, who distinguished himself by his courage and firmness in the action, could not maintain his ground in spite of all his exertions, and fled. He was unable to hold the narrows, and on reaching the fort, found that it was equally out of his power to defend himself there.

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The detachment which followed close on his heels entered the fort along with him, and Hati was accordingly obliged to make his escape, nearly alone, by the northwest entrance. On this occasion Dost Beg again greatly distinguished himself, and I ordered an honorary gift to be given him. At the same time I entered Parhalah and took up my abode at Tatar’s palace. During these operations, some men, who had been ordered to remain with me, had joined the skirmishing party, and to punish them for this offence, I gave them the Gujar Surpa for their guide and turned them out disgracefully into the wilds and deserts to find their way back to camp.

On Thursday, the fifteenth of Rabi’-al-awwal, we halted at Andarabah, which lies on the banks of the river Sohan. This fort of Andarabah depended, in ancient times, on the father of Malik-hast, but when Hati Gakkar slew Malik-hast’s father, it had been destroyed, and had remained in ruins ever since. Hati, after killing Tatar, had sent to me one Parbat, his relative, with a caparisoned horse and with gifts. He did not meet me, but fell in with that part of the army that had been left behind with the camp; and having arrived along with the division that accompanied the baggage, he now presented his offerings and tribute, and tendered his submission. Langar Khan, who was to be left behind in Bahrah, but who had accompanied the camp to finish some business, also rejoined me; and having brought everything to a conclusion, he took leave of me and returned to Bahrah,

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accompanied by some zamindars of that district. After this we continued our march and crossed the river Sohan, encamping on rising ground. I gave a robe of honour to Parbat, Hati Khan’s relative; and having written letters to confirm Hati in his good intentions and to remove any misapprehensions he might entertain, I dismissed Parbat in company with a servant of Mohammad Ali Jang-jang.

Marching at the time when the kettle-drum beats (an hour before dawn), we halted about luncheon-time at the foot of the pass of Sangdaki. We renewed our march at noonday, and ascending the pass, we crossed the river and halted on an eminence, where we remained till midnight. In going to examine the ford by which we had crossed on our way to Bahrah, we found a raft loaded with grain, which had stuck fast in the mud and clay, and which the owners had been unable to extricate with all their efforts. We seized this grain, which came very seasonably, and divided it among the men who were with us. Toward evening we halted below the junction of the Sind and Kabul rivers, but above the old Nilab, midway between the two. We brought six boats from Nilab and divided them among the right and left wings and centre, who immediately began to exert themselves in crossing the river. On Monday, being the day on which we arrived, and on Tuesday and the night following, they continued to cross, and a few went over even on Thursday.

Parbat, Hati’s relative, who had been sent from the neighbourhood of Andarabah with the servant of Mohammad

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Ali Jang-jang, returned to us while we were on the banks of the river, bringing from Hati a horse clad in armour, by way of tributary offering. The inhabitants of Nilab likewise brought an armed horse as a gift and tendered their submission. Since Mohammad Ali Jang-jang wished to remain in Bahrah, which had been given to Hindu Beg, I bestowed on him the tract of country between Bahrah and the Sind, together with other estates in the district, such as the Karluk Hazaras, Hati, Ghiyasdal, and Kib.

On Thursday, the twenty-second of Rabi’-al-awwal (March 24, 1519), at sunrise, we moved from the banks of the river, and resumed our march, and six days later I reached Kabul.

On Friday, the first of Safar, in the year 932 A.H. (Nov. 17, 1525 A.D.), when the sun was in Sagittarius, I again set out to invade Hindustan. We made two marches from Bikram (Peshawar); and after the third, on Thursday, the 26th (Dec. 13), we encamped on the banks of the river Sind. On Saturday, the first day of Rabical-awwal, we passed the Sind, and having also crossed the river of Kach-kot, we halted on its banks. The various officials who had been detailed to superintend the embarkation now brought me the return of the troops who were on the service, and reported that, great and small, good and bad, servants and no servants, they amounted to twelve thousand persons.

We then advanced along the skirts of the hills toward Sialkot to secure a proper supply of grain. On coming opposite to the country of the Gakkars we

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A glimpse of Lahore

repeatedly found a quantity of standing water in the bed of a brook. These waters were entirely frozen over, and although there was not much of it, the ice was generally a span in thickness. Such ice is uncommon in Hindustan. We met with it here, but in all the years I have been in Hindustan, this is the only time that I met with any trace of ice or snow.

Advancing five marches from the Sind, the sixth brought us close to the hill of Jud, below the hill of Balinat-jogi on the banks of a river at the station of

Bakialan, where we encamped. Marching thence, we halted, after fording the river Behat below Jihlam. From this encampment I sent Sayyid Tufan and Sayyid Lachin forward, giving each of them a spare. horse, with directions to push on with all speed to Lahore, and to enjoin our troops in that city not to fight, but to form a junction with me at Sialkot or Parsarur; for there was a rumour that Ghazi Khan had collected an army of thirty or forty thousand men; that Daulat Khan, old as he was, had buckled on two swords; and that they would certainly try the fate of a battle. I recollected the proverb which says, “Ten friends are better than nine,” and that no advantage might be lost,

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I judged it most advisable to form a junction with the detachment of my army that was in Lahore before I offered battle. I therefore sent messengers with instructions to the amirs, and at the second march reached the banks of the river Chinab, where I encamped.

On Friday, the fourteenth of Rabi’-al-awwal, we arrived at Sialkot. Every time that I entered Hindustan, the Jats and Gujars regularly poured down in prodigious numbers from their hills and wilds in order to carry off oxen and buffalos. These were the wretches that really inflicted the chief hardships and were guilty of the severest oppression in the country. These districts had been in a state of revolt in former times and had yielded very little revenue that could be collected. On the present occasion, when I had reduced the whole of the neighbouring districts to subjection, they began to repeat their practices. As my unfortunate people were on their way from Sialkot to the camp, hungry and naked, indigent and in distress, they were attacked along the road with loud shouts and plundered. I sought out the persons guilty of this outrage, discovered them, and ordered two or three of them to be cut in pieces.

A merchant arrived at this same station, bringing the news of the defeat of Ala-ad-din Khan by Sultan Ibrahim. The particulars are as follows: Ala-ad-din Khan, after taking leave of me, had marched forward, despite the scorching heat of the weather, and had reached Lahore, having gone two days’ journey every march without any consideration for those who accompanied

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him. At the very moment that he left me, all the sultans and khans of the Uzbegs had advanced and blockaded Balkh, so that I was obliged to set out for that city as soon as he departed for Hindustan. When Ala-ad-din reached Lahore, he declared to such of my nobles as were in Hindustan that the emperor had ordered them to march to his assistance, and that arrangements had been made for Ghazi Khan to join him and for all to march together upon Delhi and Agra. The nobles answered that, as things were situated, they could not accompany Ghazi Khan with any degree of confidence; but that, if he sent his younger brother Haji Khan to court with his son, or placed them in Lahore as hostages, their instructions would then leave them at liberty to march along with him; that otherwise,. they could not; that it was only recently that Ala-ad-din Khan had fought with Ghazi Khan and had been defeated by him, so that mutual confidence between them was impossible; and that altogether it was absolutely inadvisable for Ala-ad-din Khan to allow Ghazi Khan to accompany him in the expedition.

Whatever expostulations they employed to dissuade Ala-ad-din Khan from prosecuting his plan were in vain. He sent his son Sher Khan to confer with Daulat Khan and Ghazi Khan, and the parties themselves met soon afterwards. Dilawar Khan, who had been in confinement very recently, and who had escaped from custody and come to Lahore only two or three months before, was likewise associated with them; and Mahmud Khan Khan-Jahan, to whom the custody of Lahore had been

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intrusted, was also pressed into their measures. In a word, it was definitively arranged among them at last that Daulat Khan and Ghazi Khan should take command of all the nobles who had been left in Hindustan, and at the same time should assume the government of all the adjacent territories in the Panjab or near Lahore; while Dilawar Khan and Haji Khan were to accompany Ala-ad-din Khan and occupy the whole of the country about Delhi and Agra, and in that neighbourhood. Ismail Jilwani, and a number of other amirs, waited on Ala-ad-din Khan and acknowledged him, after which he proceeded toward Delhi by forced marches without delay. On reaching Indari, Sulaiman Shaikh-zadah came and joined him, thus raising the numbers of the confederate army to thirty or forty thousand men. They laid siege to Delhi, but were unable either to take the place by storm or to reduce it by famine.

As soon as Sultan Ibrahim heard that they had collected an army and invaded his dominions, he led his troops to oppose them. Having notice of his march as he approached, they raised the siege and advanced to meet him. The confederates agreed that if the battle was fought in the daytime, the Afghans would not flee, out of regard for their reputation with their countrymen; but that if the attack was made by night, when one man could not see another, each chief would shift for himself. Resolving, therefore, to attempt a night surprise, they mounted to proceed against the enemy, who were six leagues distant. Twice they

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Indian tents and pavilions

mounted their horses at noon and continued mounted till – the second or third watch of the night, without going either backwards or forwards, and without being able to come to any resolution or to agree among themselves. The third time they set out for their surprise when only one watch of the night remained. Their plan was merely for the party to set fire to the tents and pavilions, and to attempt nothing further.

They accordingly advanced and set fire to the tents during the last watch of the night, at the same time shouting the war-cry. Jalal Khan Jaghat, and several other amirs, came over and acknowledged Ala-ad-din Khan. Sultan Ibrahim, attended by a body of men composed of his own tribe and family, did not move from the royal pavilion, but continued steady in the same place till morning.

By this time the troops who accompanied Ala-ad-din Khan were dispersed, being busy plundering and pillaging, whereupon Sultan Ibrahim’s troops perceived

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that the enemy were not in great force, and immediately moved forward from the station which they had kept, though very few in number, with only a single elephant. No sooner had the elephant come up, however, than Ala-ad-din Khan’s men took to flight without attempting to keep their ground. In the course of his flight Ala-ad-din Khan crossed over to the Doab side of the river, and again recrossed it toward Panipat, where he contrived by a stratagem to get three or four lacs (£750 or £1000) from Mian Sulaiman, and went on his way. Isma’il Jilwani, Babin, and Jalal Khan, the eldest son of Ala-ad-din Khan, now left him and betook themselves to the Doab. A small part of the army which Ala-ad-din Khan had collected, such as Saif-ad-din, Darya Khan, Mahmud Khan, Khan-Jahan, Shaikh Jamal Farmuli, and some others deserted before the battle and joined Ibrahim.

After passing Sirhind, Ala-ad-din Khan, Dila-war Khan, and Haji Khan heard of my approach, and that I had taken Milwat; whereupon Dilawar Khan, who had always been attached to my interests and had been detained three or four months in prison on my account, left the others, and coming by way of Sultanpur and Kochi, waited upon me in the neighbourhood of Milwat, three or four days after the reduction of that town. After crossing the Sutlaj, Ala-ad-din Khan and Haji Khan at length reached Kinkuta, a strong castle in the hills between Dun and the plain, where they prepared to defend themselves. One of my detachments, consisting of Afghans and Hazaras, chanced to

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Modern tribesmen of Afghanistan

come up and blockade them, so that only the approach of night prevented them from taking the castle, strong as it was. These noblemen then attempted to escape, but some of their horses fell in the gateway, and they could not get out.

Some elephants that were along with them were urged forward, and trampled and killed a number of the horses. Although unable to escape on horseback, Ala-ad-din Khan and his followers left the place during a dark night on foot, and after incredible sufferings joined Ghazi Khan, who, in the course

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of his flight, had directed his course toward the hills, finding that he could not get refuge in Milwat. Ghazi Khan did not give Ala-ad-din Khan a very friendly reception, and this induced him to wait on me below Dun in the neighbourhood of Palhur, where he came and tendered me his allegiance. While I was at Sialkot, some of the troops that I had left in Lahore arrived to inform me that they would all join me by morning.

Next morning I continued my march and halted at Parsarur, where Mohammad Ali Jang-jang, Khwaja Husain, and some others came and waited on me. As the enemy’s camp was on the banks of the Ravi toward Lahore, I sent Bujkah with his party to reconnoitre and bring in intelligence. About the end of the third watch of the night, they returned with information that the enemy had fled in consternation as soon as they heard of my detachment’s approach, every man shifting for himself.

On the following morning, leaving Shah Mir Husain and some other officers to guard the camp and baggage, I left them and pushed on with all possible speed. About the middle of afternoon prayers we halted at Kalanur, midway between the Ravi and the Bias, where Mohammad Sultan Mirza, Adil Sultan, and the other amirs came and waited on me.

Marching before daybreak from Kalanur, we discovered certain traces on the road that Ghazi Khan and the fugitives were not far off. Mohammadi and Ahmadi, with several of the nobles about my person,

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whom I had recently promoted at Kabul, were detached to pursue the fugitives without halting. Their orders were to overtake the flying enemy if possible; but if not, to guard every approach and issue of the fort of Milwat with such care that the garrison might not be able to effect their escape. Ghazi Khan was my principal object in these instructions.

After sending this detachment forward, we crossed the river Bias opposite to Kanwahin, and halted there. From thence, after three marches, we encamped in the mouth of the valley in which the fort of Milwat lies. The nobles, who had arrived before us, as well as the amirs of Hindustan, were directed to encamp and lay siege to the fort. Isma’il Khan, who was Daulat Khan’s grandson (being the son of Ali Khan, Daulat Khan’s eldest son), and who had arrived in our quarters, was sent into the fort to offer terms of capitulation, bearing a message in which we mingled promises and threats. On Friday I made the camp advance and take ground half a league nearer. I myself went out, reconnoitred the fort, and assigned their respective stations to the right and left wings and to the centre, after which I returned to the camp.

Daulat Khan now sent a messenger to inform me that Ghazi Khan had escaped and fled to the hills; but that if I would excuse his own offences, he would come as a slave and deliver up the place. I therefore sent Khwaja Mir Miran to confirm him in his resolution and to bring him back. To expose the rudeness and stupidity of the old man, I directed Mir Miran to take

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care that Daulat Khan should come out with the same two swords hung round his neck which he had girded at his side to meet me in combat.

Although matters had gone this length, he still contrived frivolous pretexts for delay, but was at length brought out. I ordered the two swords to be taken from his neck. When he came to offer me obeisance, he affected delays in bowing; I directed them to push his leg and make him bow. I then made him sit down before me and desired a man who understood the Hindustani language to explain to him what I said, sentence by sentence, in order to reassure him; and to tell him these words: “I called you Father; I showed you more respect and reverence than you could have desired or expected. The countries held by Tatar Khan, to the amount of three crores (thirty million rupees), I bestowed on you. What evil have I ever done you, that you should come against me thus? “Finally, after further rebukes, it was settled that he and his family should retain their authority in their own tribes, and possession of their villages, but that all the rest of their property should be sequestrated.

Abd-al-Aziz and several other nobles were now directed to enter the fort and to take possession of their treasures and all their property. I examined Ghazi Khan’s library, and found in it a number of valuable books, including a number of theological works, but I did not, on the whole, find so many books of value as, from their appearance, I had expected.

I staid in the fort all night, and next morning

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returned to the camp. We had been mistaken in imagining that Ghazi Khan was in the fort. The traitorous coward had escaped to the hills with a small number of followers, leaving his father, his elder and younger brothers, his mother, and his elder and younger sisters in Milwat, which I gave to Mohammad Ali Jang-jang, who left his brother Arghun in the place with a body of troops. We then advanced one league from the station at the gorge of Milwat and halted in a valley; and marching thence, and passing the small hills of Ab-kand by Milwat, we reached Dun, which denotes “dale” in the language of Hindustan.

As we were unable to get any certain intelligence of Ghazi Khan, I sent Tardika and Barim Deo Malinhat, with orders to pursue the fugitive wherever he might go, to engage him, and to bring him back a prisoner. In the small hills lying around Dun there are some wonderfully strong castles. To the northeast is a castle called Kutila, which is surrounded by a perpendicular rock seventy or eighty gaz (between 140 and 160 feet) in height. At its chief gate, for the space of about seven or eight gaz (fourteen or sixteen feet), there is a place, perhaps ten or twelve gaz (twenty or twenty-four feet) in width, that permits a drawbridge to be thrown across. The bridge is composed of two long planks, by which their horses and flocks pass out and in. This was one of the forts of the hill country, which Ghazi Khan had put into a state of defence and garrisoned. The detachment that had been sent ahead attacked the place vigorously, and had nearly taken

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A Chain-Work Helmet

it when night came on. The garrison then abandoned the castle and fled.

After sending a detachment in pursuit of Ghazi Khan, I placed my foot in the stirrup of resolution and my hand on the reins of confidence in God, and proceeded against Sultan Ibrahim, the son of Sultan Iskandar, the son of Sultan Bahlol Lodi Afghan, who then held the throne of Delhi and the dominions of Hindustan with a field-army said to amount to one hundred thousand men, and with nearly one thousand elephants, including those of his amirs.

The detachment which had proceeded to Milwat advanced against Harur, Kahlur, and the forts in that part of the country, among which, from the natural strength of the ground, no enemy had penetrated for a long time. My troops took all these strongholds and returned and joined me, after having plundered the inhabitants of the district. It was at this time that Ala-ad-din Khan, being reduced to great distress, came naked and on foot to meet me. I directed several noblemen of my court to go out to receive him, and also sent him some horses. He waited upon me in this neighbourhood and made his submission.

After marching from Dun we came to Rupur, but

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while we stayed there it rained incessantly and was so extremely cold that many of the starving and hungry Hindustanis died. After marching from Rupur, we halted at Karil opposite Sirhind, and there a Hindustani presented himself, assuming the style of an ambassador from Sultan Ibrahim. Though he had no letters or credentials, yet, as he requested that one of my people might accompany him back as my ambassador, I sent a Sawadi Tinkatar along with him. These poor men had no sooner arrived in Ibrahim’s camp than he ordered them both to be thrown into prison, but the very day that we defeated Ibrahim, the Sawadi was set at liberty and waited on me.

After two marches more we halted on the banks of the stream of Banur and Sanur, which is a running water, of which there are few in Hindustan, except large rivers. They call it the stream of Kagar, and Chitor stands on its banks. At this station we had information that Sultan Ibrahim, who was on this side of Delhi, was advancing, and that Hamid Khan Khasah-khail, the military collector of revenue for the province of Hisar-Firozah, had also advanced ten or fifteen leagues toward us, with the army of Hisar-Firozah and of the neighbouring districts. I sent Kittah Beg toward Ibrahim’s camp to procure intelligence, and despatched Mumin Atkah toward the army of Hisar-Firozah to get information of its movements.

On Sunday, the thirteenth of Jumada-l-awwal, I had marched from Ambala and had halted on the margin of a tank, when Mumin Atkah and Kittah Beg both

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returned on the same day. I gave the command of the whole right wing to Humayun and other generals, and the next morning, Monday, the fourteenth, he set out with a light force to surprise Hamid Khan, sending as an advance-guard a hundred or a hundred and fifty select men. On coming near the enemy, this detachment went close up to them, hung upon their flanks, and had one or two encounters until the main body of the troops of Humayun appeared in sight. No sooner were these perceived than the enemy took to flight. Our troops brought down one or two hundred men, cut off the heads of half of them, and brought the other half alive into the camp, together with seven or eight elephants. On Monday, the twenty-first, Humayun reached the camp, which was still at the same station, with one hundred prisoners and seven or eight elephants, and waited on me. I ordered Ustad Ali Kuli and the matchlockmen to shoot all the prisoners as an example. This was Humayun’s first expedition, and the first service he had seen, so that I accounted his success a very good omen. Some light troops followed the fugitives, took Hisar-Firozah the moment they reached it, and returned after plundering it. Hisar-Firozah, which, with its dependencies and subordinate districts, yielded ten million rupees, I bestowed on Humayun, and also presented him with an equal sum of money.

Marching from that station, we reached Shahabad, where I halted several days and sent envoys toward Sultan Ibrahim’s camp to procure intelligence. In this

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station, on Monday, the twenty-eighth of Jumada-l-awwal, we began to receive repeated information from Ibrahim’s camp that he was advancing slowly by a league or two at a time, and halting two or three days at each station. I, for my part, likewise moved to meet him, and after the second march from Shahabad, encamped on the banks of the Jumna, opposite Sirsawah. Haidar Kuli, a servant of Khwaja Kilan, was sent out to procure intelligence, after which I crossed the Jumna by a ford and went to see Sirsawah.

From this station we held down the river for two marches, keeping close along its banks, when Haidar Kuli returned, bringing information that Daud Khan and Haitim Khan had been sent across the river into the Doab with six or seven thousand horse and had encamped three or four leagues in advance of Ibrahim’s position on the road toward us. On Sunday, the eighteenth of Jumada-l-akhir, I despatched Chin Timur Sultan against this column, together with the whole of the left wing commanded by Sultan Junaid, as well as part of the centre under Yunas Ali, directing them to advance rapidly and to take the enemy by surprise. Next morning, about the time of early prayers, they came upon the enemy, who put themselves in some kind of order and marched out to meet them; but our troops had no sooner come up than the enemy fled, and were followed in close pursuit and slaughtered all the way to the limits of Ibrahim’s camp. The detachment captured Haitim Khan, Daud Khan’s eldest brother, and one of the generals, as well as seventy or eighty prisoners

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A procession of elephants

and six or eight elephants, all of which they brought in when they waited on me. Several of the

prisoners were put to death to strike terror into the enemy.

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Marching thence, I arranged the whole army in order of battle, with right and left wing and centre, and after reviewing it, performed the vim. The custom of the vim is that after the whole army is mounted, the commander takes a bow or whip in his hand and guesses at the number of the army, declaring that the troops may be so many. The number that I guessed was greater than the army turned out to be.

At this station I directed that, according to the Ottoman custom, the gun-carriages should be joined together with twisted bull-hides, as with chains. Between every two gun-carriages were six or seven breastworks, behind which the matchlockmen stood and discharged their pieces. I halted five or six days in this camp for the purpose of getting this apparatus arranged. After every part of it was in order and ready, I convened all the amirs and men of any experience and knowledge, and held a general council. It was settled that as Panipat was a considerable city, it would cover one of our flanks by its buildings and houses, while we might fortify our front by covered defences and cannon, behind which the matchlockmen and infantry should be placed. With this resolution we broke up camp, and we reached Panipat in two marches on Thursday, the thirtieth of Jumada-l-akhir. On our right were the town and suburbs, and in front I placed the guns and covered defences which I had prepared. On the left, and at various other points, we drew ditches and made ramparts of the boughs of trees, but at the distance of every bow-shot, space was left for a hundred

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or a hundred and fifty men to make a sortie. Many of the troops were in great tremor and alarm. Now, although trepidation and fear are always unbecoming, since whatsoever Almighty God has decreed from all eternity cannot be reversed, I could not wholly blame them, for they had come two or three months’ journey from their own country and were about to battle with strange people, whose very language they did not understand, and who did not understand ours.

The army of the enemy was estimated at one hundred thousand, while the elephants of the emperor and of his officers were said to be nearly one thousand. He possessed the accumulated treasures of his father and grandfather ready for use in current coin. In situations similar to that in which the enemy now were, it is customary in Hindustan to expend sums of money in collecting troops who engage to serve for hire. Had Ibrahim chosen to adopt this plan, he might have engaged one or two hundred thousand more troops, but he had not the heart to satisfy even his own army, and would not part with any of his treasure. Indeed, how was it possible that he should satisfy his troops, when he was himself miserly to the last degree, and avaricious beyond measure in accumulating pelf? He was a young man of no experience; he was negligent in all his movements; he marched without order, retired or halted without plan, and engaged in battle without foresight. While the troops were fortifying their position in Panipat and its vicinity with guns, branches of trees, and ditches, Mohammad Sarban said

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The Kanch Mahal at Amber

The ruined city of Amber, adjoining Jaipur, was once the capital of its district, but has been practically deserted for two centuries and has fallen into decay and desolation. Yet its crumbling and tenantless palaces. still retain signs of departed glory and exhibit some of the most exquisite specimens of Indian art in inlaid work, mosaic panels, and the mirror and spangle decorative design for which Jaipur is renowned.

to me: “You have fortified our ground in such a way that it is impossible that he should ever think of coming here.” I answered: “You judge him by the khans and Sultans of the Uzbegs, but you must not estimate our present enemies by those who were then opposed to us, for these opponents have not even the sense to know when to advance and when to retreat.” God brought everything to pass favourably, and all happened as I foretold.

During the seven or eight days that we remained in Panipat, a very small party of my men advanced close to the enemy’s encampment with its vastly superior force and discharged arrows at them, but, notwithstanding this, they would not move or make any attempt at a sortie. Finally, induced by the persuasion of some Hindustani amirs in my interest, I sent Mandi Khwaja and other officers with four or five thousand men to make a night attack. They did not assemble properly in the first instance, and as they marched out in confusion, they did not get on well. Even when dawn came on, they continued to linger near the enemy’s camp till it was broad daylight, whereupon our opponents beat their kettle-drums, got their elephants ready, and marched out against them. Although our people did not effect anything, yet they returned safe and sound without the loss of a man, despite the multitude of troops that hung upon them in their retreat. Mohammad Ali Jang-jang was wounded with an arrow, and though the wound was not mortal, it prevented him from taking his place in the day of battle.

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On learning what had occurred, I immediately sent Humayun and his division a league or so in advance to cover their retreat, while I myself, remaining with the army, drew it out and made ready for action. The party which had marched to surprise the enemy fell in with Humayun and returned with him, after which, as none of the enemy came near us, I drew off the army and led it back to the camp. In the course of the night we had a false alarm, and the call to arms and the uproar continued for almost an hour. Such of the troops as had never before witnessed an alarm of the kind were in great confusion and dismay, but in a short time the disorder subsided.

By the time of early morning prayers, when the light was such that you could distinguish one object from another, notice was brought from the outposts that the enemy were advancing, drawn up in order of battle. We too immediately put on our helmets and armour, and mounted. The right division was led by Humayun and the left by Mohammad Sultan Mirza; the right of the centre was commanded by Chin Timur Sultan and the left of the centre by Khalifa; the vanguard was led by Khusru Gokultash; and Abdshal-Aziz, the master of horse, had command of the reserves. On the flank of the right division I stationed Wali Kizil and others with their Moghuls, to act as a flanking party, and on the extreme left I placed Kara Kuzi and his troops to form the Hankers, with instructions that as soon as the enemy approached sufficiently near, they should make a circuit and come round upon their rear.

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When the enemy first came in sight, they seemed to direct their chief attack against the right wing, and I therefore detached Abd-al-Aziz, who was stationed with the reserves, to reinforce that division. From the time Sultan Ibrahim’s army appeared in sight, it did not halt, but advanced upon us at a quick pace. When the enemy came closer and found my troops drawn up in the order and with the defences already mentioned, they stopped and stood for awhile as if considering, “Shall we halt or not? shall we advance or not?” They could not halt, and yet were unable to advance with the same speed as before. I sent orders to the troops stationed as flankers on the extremes of the right and left divisions to wheel round the enemy’s flank with all possible speed and instantly to attack them in the rear, while the right and left divisions were ordered to charge. The flankers accordingly wheeled on the rear of the enemy and began to discharge arrows at them.

Mandi Khwaja came up before the rest of the left wing, and a body of men with one elephant advanced to meet him. My troops gave them some sharp discharges of arrows, and the enemy’s division was at last driven back. I despatched Ahmadi Parwanchi from the main body to the assistance of the left division, but the battle was likewise obstinate on the right, and I accordingly ordered Mohammadi Gokultash to advance in front of the centre and engage. Ustad Ali Kull also discharged his foreign guns many times in front of the line to good purpose, while Mustafa, the

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The great howitzer called Malik-i Maidan

cannoneer, on the left of the centre, managed his artillery with excellent effect.

The right and left divisions, as well as the centre and flankers, having surrounded the enemy and taken them in the rear, were now engaged in hot conflict and were pouring discharges of arrows on them.

The enemy made one or two very poor attacks on our right and left divisions, but my troops, making use of their bows, plied them with arrows and drove them in upon their centre. The troops on the right and left of their centre, being huddled together in one place, threw Ibrahim’s army into such confusion that it had no way to flee and was equally unable to advance. The sun had mounted spear-high when the battle began, and the combat lasted till mid-day, when the enemy were completely

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broken and routed, and my friends victorious and exulting. By the grace and mercy of Almighty God this arduous undertaking was rendered easy for me, and this mighty army was laid in the dust in the space of half a day.

Five or six thousand men were discovered lying slain in one spot near Ibrahim. We reckoned that the number killed in different parts of the field of battle amounted to fifteen or sixteen thousand men. On reaching Agra, we found from the accounts of the natives of Hindustan that forty or fifty thousand men had fallen in this field. After routing the enemy, we continued the pursuit, slaughtering them and taking them prisoners. Those who were ahead began to bring in the amiss and Afghans as captives, and also brought in a very great number of elephants with their drivers, offering them to me as a gift. Having pursued the enemy to some distance, and supposing that Ibrahim had escaped from the battle, I placed Kismai Mirza at the head of a party of my immediate adherents, and ordered him to follow in close pursuit as far as Agra. Having passed through the middle of Ibrahim’s camp and visited his pavilions and accommodations, we encamped on the banks of the Kalini.

It was now afternoon prayers, when Tahir Tabari, the younger brother of Khalifa, found Ibrahim lying dead amid a host of slain, cut off his head, and brought it in.

That very day I directed Humayun Mirza to set out without baggage or encumbrances, and to proceed

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with all possible expedition to occupy Agra and take possession of the treasuries. At the same time I ordered Mandi Khwaja and others to leave their baggage, to push on by forced marches, and to enter the fort of Delhi and seize the treasuries.

Next morning we broke up camp, and after proceeding about a league, we halted on the banks of the Jumna to refresh our horses. On Tuesday, after two other marches, I visited the mausoleum of Nizam-ad-din Auliya, four or five miles south of Delhi, and at the end of the third march I encamped on the banks of the. Jumna near the city. On that same night I circumambulated the tomb of Khwaja Kutb-ad-din and visited the tombs and palaces of Sultan Ghiyas-ad-din Balban and Sultan Ala-ad-din Khalji, also viewing the minaret of the latter, as well as the Shams tank, the royal tank, and the tombs and gardens of Sultan Bahlol and Sultan Sikandar, after which I returned to the camp and went on board of a boat, where we drank arak. I bestowed the office of military collector of Delhi on Wali Kizil, and also made Dost governor of Delhi, directing that the various treasuries be sealed and given into their charge.

On Thursday we moved thence and halted hard by Taghlakabad, on the banks of the Jumna south of Delhi. On Friday we continued to halt in the same station, and Maulana Mahmud, Shaikh Zain, and some others went into Delhi to Friday prayers. There they read the public prayer in my name and distributed some money among the dervishes and beggars, after which

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they returned. On Saturday we again set out, and proceeded, march after march, toward Agra.

On Friday, the twenty-second of Rajab, I halted at the palace of Sulaiman Farmuli in the suburbs of Agra. As this position was very far from the fort, I moved next morning and took up my quarters at the palace of Jalal Khan Jaghat. The people of the fort had put off Humayun, who arrived before me, with excuses; and he for his part, considering that they were under no sort of control, had taken a position which commanded every exit from the place, wishing to prevent them from plundering the treasure.

Vikramajit, a Hindu, whose family had governed that country for upwards of one hundred years, was raja of Gwalior. Sikandar had remained several years in Agra, seeking to take Gwalior, and afterward, in the reign of Ibrahim, Azim Humayun Sirwan had invested it for some time, attacking it repeatedly and finally succeeding in gaining it by treaty, Shamsabad being given as an indemnification. In the battle in which Ibrahim was defeated, Vikramajit was killed, but his family, as well as the heads of his clan, were in Agra at this moment. When Humayun arrived, Vikramajit’s people attempted to escape, but were taken by the parties which Humayun had placed upon the watch, and put in custody. Humayun did not permit them to be plundered. Of their own free will they offered Humayun a gift of jewels and precious stones, including a famous diamond which had been acquired by Sultan Ala-ad-din, and which is so valuable that a

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Tomb of Babar at Kabul

judge of diamonds valued it at half of the daily expense of the whole world. On my arrival Humayun presented it to me as a gift, and I gave it back to him as a present4.

A district of the value of seven hundred thousand rupees was bestowed on Ibrahim’s mother, and districts were also given to each of her amirs. She was conducted with all her effects to a palace about a league below Agra, which was assigned her as her residence. On Thursday, the twenty-eighth of Rajab, I entered Agra about the hour of afternoon prayers and took up my residence in Sultan Ibrahim’s palace.

In 925 A.H. (1519 A.D.) I again collected an army, and having taken the fort of Bajaur by storm in two or three’ hours, I put all the garrison to the sword. I next advanced into Bahrah, where I prevented all

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marauding and plunder, imposed a contribution on the inhabitants, and levied upon it four hundred thousand Shah-rukhis (almost £20,000 sterling) in money and goods. I then divided the proceeds among the troops who were in my service, after which I returned to my capital, Kabul.

From. that time till the year 932 A.H. (1526 A.D.), I devoted myself particularly to the affairs of Hindustan, and in the space of these seven or eight years entered it five times at the head of an army. The fifth time God Most High, in His grace and mercy, cast down and defeated an enemy so mighty as Sultan Ibrahim, and made me the master and conqueror of the powerful empire of Hindustan.

Babar then proceeds to give a lengthy account of his several campaigns in India during the course of the following years. His memoirs terminate abruptly, the last event chronicled being the third of Muharram, 936 A.H. (March, 1530 A.D.), and his early death at Agra on December 26, 1530, at the age of forty-eight, may account for the absence of further records.


4. This diamond is thought to have been, perhaps, the famous Koh-i-nur.

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
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