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Qutb Minar

Delh, The Qutb Minar and Alay Darvazahi (1236)

Courtesy -- Brend, B. (1991). "Islamic Art". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

The Reign of Babur, 1526-1530

Turks were patrons of the arts and education. They often were poets in Persian or Chaghatai Turkish; amateur painters or calligraphers; and singers or instrumentalists. The Turks were fine warriors, capable of handling a sword as dexterously as a brush or a pen. They loved palaces, gilded tents, fine clothing and rich accouterments. The Turks were collectors of books and paintings who eagerly sought out every new luxury.

Babur had attempted to capture Delhi more than once but had lacked the resources to mount a sufficiently large expedition. However, the steady decline in popularity of Delhi's Sultan Ibrahim was a factor working strongly in Babur's favor. Babur seized the opportunity by uniting his followers in an adventure which, if successful, would offer them boundless wealth.

At the Panipat battle, Babur's guns and fine skills as a commander brought him a well deserved victory which changed the course of Indian history. Hambly writes that Humayun, the eldest son of Babur, was dispatched to seize Sultan Ibrahim's household and treasure at Agra while Babur, himself, advanced on Delhi.

According to Hambly, Babur was unhappy to find no gardens in India like the ones he had known in Kabul. As soon as Babur arrived in Agra, he selected a site across the river, had a well dug and constructed a bath-house. This was followed by a tank and a pavilion. And soon a Persian garden was laid out that reminded Babur of his northern home.

Babur was well organized with a keen eye for natural beauty of every kind. He was a brave man, humble and good-humored. His attractive personality combined a fine sense of taste and style with boyish gaiety and the obvious virtues of soldier and ruler. Although Babur's life was occupied with warfare and physical exertion, he enjoyed the company of artists and writers. Babur, himself, has serious literary contributions to his credit. He left to his successors a legacy of artistic sensitivity; a passion for beautiful, artistic objects; an articulate patronage of Persian as well as indige

The Mughals were led into India by Babur who had been born in Central Asia in 1483. Babur's victory at Panipat in 1526 established the Mughal Empire and ended the reign of the Delhi Sultanate.

Babur, the new conqueror of Delhi, had been ruler of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, for 20 years. Racially, Babur was a Turk with a thin stream of Mongol blood in his veins; therefore, notes Hambly (1968), the term 'Mughal' by which he and his descendants were known in India was really a misnomer. In Persian, the word Mughal, always highly pejorative among the civilized inhabitants of Iran or Mawarannahr, simply means a Mongol. It is clear, however, from Babur's writing that he considered himself a Turk. Although Babur was descended on his mother's side from Chingiz Khan's second son, Chaghatai, it is clear that this Mongol lineage meant less to him than his paternal ancestry which linked him with the great Turkish conqueror, Timur.

Turks boasted high-sounding genealogies from other conquering tribes and clans of Inner Asia, yet they were steeped in Persian traditions of culture and refinements. They delighted in war and the chase; in their skills with bow and scimitar and polo-stick; and in the possession of fine weapons, horses and hunting-falcons.

  Introduction
  Mughal Line
  Babur
  Humayun
  Akbar
  Jahangir
  shahjahan
  Aurangzib
  Twilight