Read The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor by Zahirud-din Muhammad Babur Wheeler M. Thackston Online


Both an official chronicle and the highly personal memoir of the emperor Babur (1483–1530), The Baburnama presents a vivid and extraordinarily detailed picture of life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India during the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. Babur’s honest and intimate chronicle is the first autobiography in Islamic literature, written at a time when theBoth an official chronicle and the highly personal memoir of the emperor Babur (1483–1530), The Baburnama presents a vivid and extraordinarily detailed picture of life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India during the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. Babur’s honest and intimate chronicle is the first autobiography in Islamic literature, written at a time when there was no historical precedent for a personal narrative—now in a sparkling new translation by Islamic scholar Wheeler Thackston.This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes notes, indices, maps, and illustrations....

Title : The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor
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ISBN : 9780375761379
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 608 Pages
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The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor Reviews

  • 7jane
    2019-05-18 02:57

    This was a good read, although if you really hate having loads and loads of names that seem too similar, this might be tough-going, especially at first - but if you stick to it, it becomes really enjoyable around the middle.This is the memoirs of Babur (late 15th and early 16th century), founder of the Mughal Empire in India, and one of the first Islamic autobiographies existing. It shows both the good and the bad sides of him honestly: he was both cultured and a warlord. The story (which is not properly finished) starts when he was about 12, from Transoxiana to Samarkand to Kabul and endsing in India; but I think his heart remained in Afghansitan, which was given for his oldest son to govern, as Babur had to stay in India.The introduction is by Salman Rushdie, and there are notes, maps and pictures (art, objects) included, plus some background explanation. The story is in three parts: 1) Fergana and Transoxiana (his beginnings which show youth and inexperience), 2) Kabul and 3) Hindustan (first desire of visit recorded in 1505, real visit 1519 (with some culture shock), then finally going there for good from 1525 on).The text is 2/3 edited (which shows in that some measurements are shown in Indian kind when the text still remains outside it), last part is rough draft. There are gaps in the story, some last a few years, and the ends is unfinished though he doesn't die until some years later. There are some biographies of certain people, of different length (including his father's), and descriptions of towns and places (incl. Samarkand, Herat, Kabul and Hindustan).There are plenty of sieges, battles, conquests, forays, plottings, rebellions. Battles including matchlock guns among weapons, and in India elephants. Descriptions of nature, of food (like grapes and melons), parties, hunting (incl. with falcons) and fishing. Some poetry is included, which was much valued. Nature shows in surprising deep snows, floods and monsoon rains. Two earthquakes are mentioned.It's a slight surprise to notice that Babur isn't quite completely straight: his first real sexual desire and a crush is on a boy with almost the same name (although this person is never mentioned again, nor does Babur give any sign for further same-sex desire later).His bloody side shows in often-mentioned beheadings, which sometimes are piled together. There are sometimes also severe punishments and executions, though always for a reason. Babur refrains from drink until midpoint, when also some light drug-taking starts appearing. He does give up drinking in 1527 with a pledge of temperance, and later expresses the difficulty of sticking to it at first.He builds things: the controversail Babri Masjid mosque's building is not mentioned in the text - it's in one of the missing gaps - so the true circumstances of it being built cannot be told. Anyway, he builds a lot of things (gardens, buildings etc.) and establishes a post system between Kabul and Agra.In the end, after all the facts and names and actions, which grow clearer to read and enjoy, as I've said, it is a really great read and interesting. So if you have any interest in reading this, I do recommend it. :)

  • Jairam Ranganathan
    2019-04-24 04:24

    if you can avoid the parts where he names everybody he meets and their fathers and grandfathers and dogs and cats, this is an excellent read.

  • Bubba
    2019-05-20 04:25

    According to translator/grand old man of Persian and various other languages Wheeler Thackston, "Babur's memoirs were the first--and until relatively recent times, the only--true autobiography in Islamic literature." No one knows why this Timurid/Chingisid heir from Andijan (in what is now Uzbekistan's portion of the Ferghana Valley) decided to write a candid history of his life. Modern, especially western readers, used to centuries of self-examination in print might not grasp the magnitude of what Babur did. But, it is amazing to read the recollections of a 15th/16th century conqueror and see a frank and nearly complete rendering of the many facets of his life.Babur relates how he was driven out of Ferghana by the Uzbeks and his squabbling relatives, his conquest and loss of Samarqand, his flight to Afghanistan and conquest of Kabul and Kandahar—after which he assumed the title of Padishah—his forays into Hindustan, his conquest of the Sultanate of Delhi and other Hindustani territories, and his consolidation of these holdings. That story is known to the history books, and can actually be tedious reading as Babur constantly drops names—names of towns, villages, warriors, Begs, Rajas, Khans, relatives—until you're not certain if your still reading about the same place or individual as your were a few moments before. However, it is what he reveals about himself, his worldview, habits, attitudes toward religion, bravery, marriage, penmanship, war, etc. that makes the Baburnama worth reading.Babur emerges from his memoirs as a real person, not a two-dimensional fictional character. He's a collection of contradictions. He's a pious Muslim, but loves wine. In fact he spends a lot of time describing wine parties—the beautiful garden or river raft they took place on—and the antics of those who attended. Yet he also recounts how he forswore alcohol in later years—only to regret it. In one interesting anecdote on poetry, another of his favorite topics, Babur notes that he and some drinking buddies had made some vulgar/risque verse while inflamed with wine. He then notes that he truly regrets the incident and declares that poetry should be above such crude behavior. Of course, even after swearing off demon-alcohol, Babur still regularly enjoyed the narcotic ma'jun (whatever that is) discoursing on how stoned it made him and how beautiful it made the pomegranate/other trees in one of his many gardens look. He also tells the tale of how he had to take opium to relieve the pain from an abcess...that, and that the beauty of the moonlight induced him to (in another apparent contradiction, Babur regularly lambasts the widespread pederasty of Central Asia, but then cryptically notes his affection for a certain young man). Babur comes off as a cultured Timurid, constantly laying out gardens, composing verse, chastising his grown son and heir for his poor penmanship and letter writing skills, decribing animals, fruits and flowers. Yet, he also tells gory tales of violence, where rebel villages are decimated and conquered cities are marked with skull pyramids (something more typical of his forefather Amir Timur). In telling the fate of those who plotted to assassinate him, the Padishah seems to relish in the gruesomeness of their demise—I believe someone was flayed alive, while another was trod on by an elephant. Of course, this killing was done under his authority as an heir to the Timurid dynasty, and given his rigid attention to proper decorum regarding the ruling hierarchy—the clothes each rank should wear, how they should genuflect/otherwise show respect to betters, what sort of gifts the lesser should bring to the greater—it should not seem a surprise that he never considers his bloodshed excessive or criminal. To expect him to do so would be to anachronistically impose 21st century values on a 15th/16th century man.

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-25 07:04

    The Baburnama isn't something you read from beginning to end. Rather, it's a book you dip into at random, slowly building up a patchwork view of life in what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, as seen through the eyes of the first Mughal emperor, Babur (1483-1530). Now you read about Babur's impressions of India (he hates it, apart from the gold, and mangoes); now about his private life (his mother has to force him to visit his wife, but he has no hesitation in declaring his love for a dashing Afghan boy). Most of all you read about war, and the battles between various clans, tribes and empires in central and southern Asia. A situation that hasn't changed much in 500 years.

  • Robert
    2019-05-10 10:07

    This is an excellent translation of a most compelling book, the autobiography of the founder of the Moghul empire. If you ever wondered how feudalism actually works, this is the book for you. Far from leading a life soley devoted to luxury and dancing girls, Babur is busy keeping his retinue in line and ensuring that the various challenges to his power are properly responded to.The book is disarmingly honest, reporting drinking parties and drug taking as well as battles and disloyalty by those sworn to fealty.

  • Grace Tjan
    2019-05-05 09:20

    Long before Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his beloved, there was a Great Moghul who began it all: Babur, a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane who first established Mughal rule over India. His claim to fame rests on three things: the story of his death, the controversy over the mosque that he built, and the Baburnama, the first and only autobiography in Islamic literature until the 19th century. It is a vast, complex narrative of an extraordinarily eventful life, full of battles and conquests, as befit his status as a Timurid prince in search of a realm, but also of moonlit drinking parties filled with poetry and music. The first Mughal emperor is both a sensitive man of culture deeply versed in Persian classical literature and a ruthless Ghazi (‘Slayer of the Infidels’) who reveled in erecting towers of skulls from the severed heads of his enemies. He sees no contradiction whatsoever between these different aspects of his personality, and is disarmingly frank, even at times confessional, about his weaknesses, such as his fondness for wine and the narcotic ma’jun, which he often indulged in between bouts of hunting and military expeditions. Born as a minor prince in what is now Uzbekistan, Babur is a scion of the Timurids, a dynasty established by Tamerlane, which had ruled over much of Central Asia since the 14th century. The Timurid princes were constantly engaged in territorial battles, and from his early teens, Babur had been embroiled in the complex, ever shifting intrigues between his blood relatives. More than once he had succeeded in holding and losing Samarkand, and on several occasions, desperately holding on to his life after being defeated by stronger rivals. Necessity turned him toward the north, to Afghanistan, which he conquered at the age of 23. Several years later, he made his first foray into Hindustan, a much larger and wealthier realm that he finally conquered more than two decades later. He famously loathed his new realm, complaining about its heat and dust, pining for his beloved Kabul, where he was eventually buried. A man of lively curiosity, he wrote about the flora and fauna of India, its landscapes and rivers, and of its native princes and their palaces and temples. He destroyed naked idols that offended his Muslim sensibility, and allegedly built a mosque in Ayodhya, which later became a bone of contention between Muslims and Hindu extremists (who believed that the mosque stood on the birthplace of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu).He died at the age of 47, not long after conquering India. The following is Amitav Ghosh’s retelling of the legend of Babur’s death.“Of the many stories told of Babur none is more wonderful than that of his death. In 1530 Humayun, Babur’s beloved eldest son and heir-apparent, was stricken by a fever. He was brought immediately to Babur’s court at Agra, but despite the best efforts of the royal physicians, his condition steadily worsened. Driven to despair, Babur consulted a man of religion who told him that the remedy "was to give in alms the most valuable thing one had and to seek cure from God."Babur is said to have replied thus: "I am the most valuable thing that Humayun possesses; than me he has no better thing; I shall make myself a sacrifice for him. May God the Creator accept it." Greatly distressed, Babur’s courtiers and friends tried to explain that the sage had meant that he should give away money, or gold or a piece of property: Humayun possessed a priceless diamond, they said, which could be sold and the proceeds given to the poor...Babur would not hear of it. "What value has worldly wealth?" Babur is quoted to have said. "And how can it be a redemption for Humayun? I myself shall be his sacrifice." He walked three times around Humayun’s bed, praying: "O God! If a life may be exchanged for a life, I who am Babur, I give my life and my being for a Humayun." A few minutes later, he cried: "We have borne it away, we have borne it away."And sure enough, from that moment Babur began to sicken, while Humayun grew slowly well. Babur died near Agra on December 21, 1530. He left orders for his body to be buried in Kabul.”Baburnama is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a medieval warrior and emperor, especially for those with interest in Indian history, but parts of it is also a challenging read for the general reader. As E.M. Forster observed, the greatest difficulty in reading it is not caused by the language (which had been translated into modern, even colloquial English), but is caused by the seemingly relentless onslaught of unfamiliar names of people and places.

  • Greg
    2019-04-23 09:14

    Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, is one of the most influential figures in medieval history. This journal reveals deep insights into his experiences, and his values. He could be brutal and forgiving. He could be poetic, and base. He could abstain from wine, and throw tremendous and wild celebrations. In short, his is an interesting life.Within the journal itself, there are many revealing points. At various points, Babur can be quite poetic in his descriptions. Providing a quick biography of Abu Said Mirza, he writes, “He was very generous. He was affable, eloquent and sweet-spoken, and bold. Outdistancing all his warriors, he got to work with his own sword twice—at the Gate of Akhsi and at the Gate of Shahrukhiya. A mediocre archer, he was strong in the fist—not a man but fell to his blow. Due to his ambition, peace was exchanged often for war, friendliness for hostility.” (10) A lovelier description of an agitator I cannot conceive. Babur also clearly valued poetry and language. He quotes extensively throughout his journal. A favorite quotation of mine comes when he describes the Samarkandis and their disposition after the transition from Sultan Ahmad Mirza to His Highness the Khwaja Ahrari:“Beware the build-up of an inward wound,For it will at last burst forth;Avoid, while you can, distress to one heart,For a single moan can quake the Earth.” (Gulistan, Part 1, Story 27)The journal is littered with such quotations, as well as what I can only assume are his own inventions. Babur clearly valued wisdom and language.After the surrender of Samarkand and his escape to Dizak, he writes,” I have been transported five times from toil to rest and from hardship to comfort. This was the first.” (81) Indeed, the interesting part, for me, regarding Babur’s establishment of the Mughal empire was the circuitous route that it took. I had always had the impression that he swept through territories in a mass of victories, but this could not be further from the truth. Multiple times Babur was reduced to almost nothing, and yet he kept returning.Babur always comments on the fruits and other agricultural qualities of the area. Strange to us today, he praises the quality of the fruits in Kabul, and the wines that can be found there.Ultimately, Babur’s philosophy over the territories that he conquered can be summed up by this verse he writes in his journal on the Domain of Kabul, “Where one submits like a subject, treat him well; But he who submits not, strike, strip, crush and force like hell.” (218) This is an incredibly interesting journal, and it tells a story that I think would surprise most readers.

  • Liam
    2019-05-14 11:07

    "'Come back, O phoenix, for without the parrot of your down the raven is about to carry away my bones.'" (quoting Hasan Ya'qub Beg, 17)"In taking realms and administering kingdoms, although some things appear rational on the surface, one has to consider a hundred thousand things behind every act." (77)"'If you don't seize what is at hand you will rue it until old age.'" (citing a proverb, 87)"I have no strength to go, no power to stay. You have snared us in this state, my heart." (90)"From fear and hardship we found release -- new life, a new world we have found." (111)"'For ranks already on the run, it is sufficient to say "boo."'" (quoting a saying, 133)"'A king may take possession of an entire clime, but he will still hunger for another.'" (quoting Baqi Beg, 144)"'Death with friends is a feast.'" (citing a proverb, 234)"The cities and provinces of Hindustan are all unpleasant. ... There is no limit to the people." (335)"'If I cross the Indus in safety, may my face turn black if I ever desire to see Hindustan again.'" (quoting Khwaja Khan, 358)"We suffered from three things in Hindustan. One was the heat, another the biting wind, and the third the dust." (364)"Whoever comes into the world is mortal; /he who remains forever is God." (383)

  • Abdaali
    2019-05-16 09:01

    This book will take you back in time and make you wanna quit your day job and travel to central asia from samarkand to dilli . Truman said : In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first. This book is for anyone who is interested in a great adventure,which this book is nothing short of , the life of Babur the founder of mughal empire his struggles. A very good read indeed.

  • Bryn Hammond
    2019-05-20 06:11

    An appreciation by Amitav Ghosh:

  • Robert Sheppard
    2019-04-28 04:55

    WORLD LITERATURE CLASSICS FROM MUGHAL DYNASTY INDIA---GHALIB--MASTER OF THE LOVE GHAZAL, SAUDA--MASTER SATIRIST, KABIR--POET SAINT OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE, MIR TAQI MIR, BANARASIDAS, BABUR, JAHANGIR AND AKBAR THE GREAT---FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEFTHE MUGHAL EMPIRE IN INDIA (1526-1857)In the 1500's the Mughals under their leader Babur made their way into India, expanding under Akbar the Great, and built one of the most remarkable empires in history before being suceeded by the rule of the British Empire. They extended their sway over the greater part of South Asia bringing an era of peace and stability that allowed the economy and society to flourish. The Mughal Empire ruled over 150 million people at a time when Britain had fewer than 10 million, France less than 20 and even the comparable Ottoman Empire less than 30 million. They stimulated a wide range of cultural interactions and transformations that were to enrich the Indian world in remarkable ways,, from miniature painting, to calligraphy and the growth of the Urdu language and script to the splendor of the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of world architecture. Equally important if less well appreciated in the West is the magnificent literature the Mughals produced and patronized, first in the imperial language of the court, Persian, and from the early eighteenth century, in Urdu, a north Indian language closely related to Hindi but using the Mughal Persian script and adding a large vocabulary of loan-words and cultural allusions, genres and aesthetics from Persian and Muslim Arabic. Writers of global significance from this period include such renown figues as Ghalib, master of the ghazal love poem, Sauda the great prose satirist, the Jain writer Banarasidas, Mir Taqi Mir, the great poet of religious tolerance Kabir, and even the journals and lagacies of the Mughal Emperors themselves, such as Babur, Jahangir and Akbar the Great. Though geographically the sub-continent of India is somewhat isolated from its Eurasian surroundings by the barrier of the Himalayas, it has nonetheless remained a significant "crossroads of the world" in which movements of peoples and cultures have brought great cross-fertilization from the time of the arrival of the Vedic Aryans onward to include the movements of Greeks and Persians, Kushans and Scythians, Buddhist monks from China and Japan, Mongols and Timurids, Muslims, the Portugese, French and the global British Empire. As such it has also been renown as a cradle of spirituality, the origin of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and other religions, as well as bearing the influence of other religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam. The Moghal Empire was one of the three Muslim empires which arose following the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate in the 13th century, which were often referred to as the "Gunpowder Empires" as part of their power and consolidation arose from the use of firearms and cannon, as exemplified in the Ottoman Janissary Corps. Thus the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922), the Safavid Persian Empire (1501-1736)which institutionalized the Shi'a religion in Iran, and the Mughal Empire (1526-1857) bridged the era from the fall of the Caliphate to the Mongols to the rise of global Western Imperialism. At the early stages they dwarfed the European states and their relative demise was anything but a foregone conclusion, the Ottomans almost taking Vienna; if America had not been discovered global history might have turned out quite otherwise.As the West ascended to supremacy reinforced by the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Industrial Revolution their empires gradually dismembered and absorbed their relatively stagnant Islamic rivals, particularly the modernizing Russian Empire (1547-1917) to the north and the economically, scientifically and culturally dynamic British Empire (1497-1970), which was destined to supplant all three as the largest and most powerful empire in all of world history, ruling over more than one-fourth of all global land area and human population. Nonetheless, for centuries the three Islamic empires constructively competed and also learned from each other cultually, sharing the Arabic language,Islamic religion and sharia law in the religious domain, as well as the Persian language for administration, diplomacy and culture in the royal courts, forming an impressive era of Islamic civilization. The mission of the World Literature Forum is to introduce to readers coming from their own national literary traditions such as the West, to the great writers of all the world's literary traditions whose contribution and influence beyond their own borders have had an influence on the formation of our emerging World Literature in our age of globalization, unprecedented travel and interaction of cultures including the instantaneous global communications of the Age of the Internet and the cross-border e-Book. The contributions of India and the Muslim world including those of the Mughal Dynasty in India form a rich part of this common heritage of mankind. KABIR, RENOWN POET OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AND SPIRITUALITYAn early figure in the mixing of the Vedic and Muslim traditions was that of the poet Kabir (1440-1518) born as an illegitimate child of a Brahmin mother in Varanasi who was raised by a Muslim family, then became a desciple of the Vaisnava Saint Ramananda. As such he turned away from the intolerance of sectarian religion on all sides and strove for the unification of all spiritual traditions in an ecumenical mysticism, Muslim, Sufi, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist, seeking after a simple "oneness" with God in all manifestations. He was also a staunch champion of the poor and oppressed and a devoted opponent of social injustice in all forms. Persecuted at times by all sides in the collision of faiths, Kabir's legend describes his victory in trials by a Sultan, a Brahmin, a Qazi, a merchant and god, and he became the subject of folk legends that still inspire tolerance in sectarian strife between Muslims and Hindus down to the present. His greatest work is the "Bijak" (the "Seedling"), an idea of the fundamental oneness of man, and the oneness of man and God. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur'an and Vedas and simply following the Sahaja path, or the Simple/Natural Way to Oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concept of atman, but unlike earlier orthodox Vedantins, he spurned the Hindu societal caste system and murti-pujan (idol worship), showing clear belief in both bhakti and Sufi ideas. The major part of Kabir's work was collected as a bhagat by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev, and incorporated into the Sikh scripture, "Guru Granth Sahib." An example of his poetry showing openess and tolerance is "Saints, I See the World is Mad:"Saints, I See the World Is MadSaints, I see the world is mad.If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,If I lie they trust me.I've seen the pious Hindus, rule-followers,early morning bath-takers---killing souls, they worship rocks.They know nothing.I've seen plenty of Muslim teachers, holy menreading their holy booksand teaching their pupils techniques.They know just as much.And posturing yogis, hypocrites,hearts crammed with pride,praying to brass, to stones, reelingwith pride in their pilgrimage,fixing their caps and their prayer-beads,painting their brow-marks and arm-marks,braying their hymns and their couplets,reeling. The never heard of soul.The Hindu says Ram is the Beloved,The Turk says Rahim.Then they kill each other.No one knows the secret.They buzz their mantras from house to house,puffed with pride.The pupils drown along with their gurus.In the end they're sorry.Kabir says, listen saints:They're all deluded!Whatever I say, nobody gets it.It's too simple.THE MUGHAL EMPERORS AS AUTHORS---BABUR, AKBAR THE GREAT AND JAHANGIR BABURThe first Moghul Emperor, Babur (1483-1530) laid the foundations of the later empire by leading his army from the steppes and highlands of Samarkand and Afghanistan down into the plains of India. In addition to being a conqueror he was also a keen writer, and his autobiography, the "Baburnama" or "Memoirs of Babur" has been compared to the "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius and the "Confessions" of Augustine and Rousseau, for its uncommon candor in the presentation of self. It is sometimes regarded as the first autobiography in the entire Muslim world, establishing the genre. His personality emerges from such small details as his correcting the spelling errors in the letters of his son and successor as Emperor, Humayun, and his catalogue of his likes and dislikes. He liked gardens with flowing water; he disliked India. Having conquered it, he writes of India: "It is a strange country. Compared to ours, it is another world, this unpleasant and inharmonious India." He did not stay long after the conquest but returned to the highlands; but his sons and successors did, making the Mughal Dynasty. AKBAR THE GREAT---EMPEROR OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AND REASONAkbar the Great (1542-16050 was great in more ways than one, being not only a conquering general who extended the Mughal Empire southwards to take in nearly all of India, but also like Kabir a seeker after tolerance, peaceful coexistence and unity within the Empire across the divide of Hindu-Muslim sectarianism. He abolished the Muslim tax on other religious communities and encouraged intermarriage between Muslim and Hindu princes and princesses and royal courts. He was fond of literature, and created a library of over 24,000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Hindustani, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers. Holy men of many faiths, poets, architects and artisans adorned his court from all over the world for study and discussion. He encouraged open and free debate and intercourse at the royal court between all the religions, even including atheists, first shifting his personal belief from orthodox Islam to the mystic Muslim interpretations of the Sufis, then reacting against the too prominent bigotry within his own Muslim faith to found a short-lived unsuccessful rationalist-syncretistic religion to unite all religions within India, termed Din-i-Ilahi, or Universal Peace. Needless to say, such efforts at religious tolerance and rationalism outraged fundamentalists within his own Muslim and other faiths, and ultimately his efforts, like those of Akhnaton in Egypt to found a more rationalist monotheism, were defeated by the reactionary clerics who after his death termed his policies heresy and returned to the traditions of orthodoxy and intolerance. JAHANGIRJahangir, son of Akbar the Great and a Rajasthani Princess, was fluent in Hindi, though he composed his "Autobiography" in the court Persian of the royal family. While not so penetrating as that of Babur, it is strikingly modern in revealing his personality in modern dilemmas such as his struggle with substance abuse---addiction to wine and opium, his search for spirituality from both Hindu and Muslim sources, and his almost childlike fascination with the natural world, including a passion for exotic things such as American Turkeys, pineapples, and African zebras. SAUDA----THE GREAT MUGHAL SATIRISTSauda is the penname of Mirza Muhammad Rafi (1713-1781) one of the greates prose writers, poets and satirists of the Urdu language. Urdu and Hindi, those peculiar twin languages of the Indian subcontinent are essentially the same language, yet divided into two by the usage of two different scripts for writing, Persian and Devangari, and the differing religions and cultures of their respective communities, being largely though not exclusively, Muslim and Hindu respectively. Urdu is also distinguished by the heavy influence of court Persian and of Arabic from the mosque. While Urdu literary culture was generally conservative, Sauda was anything but tradition-bound. With fierce independence of mind and an acid tongue, little around him escaped his wit and caustic laceration, including the Mughal Emperor himself. The Emperor fancied himself a good poet and often summoned literary men to hear him recite his works. Being thus called into the presence of the emperor, he remarked that his Royal Highness had composed a great many poems, asking him:"How many poems do you compose a day?""Three or four couplets a day, if I am inspired......" answered the Emperor, then adding a boast, "........I can even compose four whole poems sitting in the bathroom!" "They smell like it," replied Sauda.Escerpt from Sauda's Satires---"How to Earn a Living in Hindustan""Better to keep silent than try to answer such a question, for even the tongues of angels cannot do justice to the answer. There are many professions which you could adopt, but let us see what difficulties will beset you in each of them these days. You could buy a horse and offer yourself in service in some noble's army. But never in this world will you see your pay, and you will rarely have both a sword and a shield by you, for you must pawn one or the other each day to buy fodder for your horse; and unless the moneylender is kind to you, you or your wife must go hungry, for you will not get enough to feed you both. You could minister to the needs of the faithful in a mosque, but you would find asses tethered there and men young and old sitting there idle and unwilling to be disturbed. Let the muezzin give the call to prayer and they will stop his mouth, for no one cares for Islam these days.....You could become a courtier of some great man, but your life would not be worth living. If he does not feel like sleeping at night, you too must wake with him, though you are ready to drop, and until he feels inclined to dine, you may not, though you are faint with hunger and your belly is rumbling. Or you could become his physician; but if you did, your life would be passed in constant apprehension, for should the Nabob sneeze, he will glare at you as though you ought to have given him a sword and buckler to keep off the cold wind. You will live through torture as you watch him feed. He will stuff himself with sweet melon and cream and then fish, and then cow's tongue, and with it all fancy breads of all kinds; and if at any stage he feels the slightest pain in his stomach, then you, ignorant fool are to blame, though you were Bu Ali Sina himself......Here there is nothing but the struggle to live; there, nothing but the tumult of the Judgment Day." BANARASIDAS----JAIN MASTER OF AUTOBIOGRAPHYBanarasidas was a merchant member of the Jain religious community in the mid-1600's who left behind in his "Half a Tale" one of the remarkable autobiographies of World Literature. It tells of his sorrow as a young man at the death of Emperor Akbar the Great in 1605, and the main occupations of his life, the quest for merchant success and the greater quest for spiritual fulfillment. It is not a mere succession of years, as the autobiography of Babur tends to be, but an inner dialogue of spiritual questioning and search. In Banarasidas, the writer conveys a more vivid sense of himself as self in his world than in the case of Jahangir. As a merchant, the archetypal "self made man," he explores the unique consciousness of such a process of "self-making." If the transition to Modernity turns on new forms of self-awareness, then Banarasidas begins this process in South Asia even as writers such as Montaigne began it in Europe. MIR TAQI MIR & GHALIB, MASTERS OF THE URDU GHAZAL AND LOVE POETRYThe Ghazal love poem, or "Conversation with the Beloved" is one of the great traditions in Urdu and Indian tradition, being sung at weddings and celebrations as a living tradition. Mir Muhammad Taqi Mir (1723-1810) along with Ghalib (1797-1869) were two of the grandmasters of the genre, living in the days of the final decline and dismemberment of the Mughal Empire and the rise of the British Raj. Mir's love poems became classics of the genre, enjoyed by both Hindus and Muslims for their supple grace and lyrical expressiveness. He also left behind an autobiography, written in Persian, which relates his obsessions, his private life with his father, an eccentric Sufi mystic, and the misery of public life in Dehli where the Emperor was reduced to an impotent figurehead hardly even in command of one city, his own capital. Ghalib was one of the greatest poets in two languages, Urdu and Persian, and was, like Byron, an aristocratic rebel, religious sceptic and outsider who was difficult for either his friends or enemies to understand or deal with. Also like Byron, Ghalib made himself a leading figure in his poems, assuming the stature of a kind of "Byronic Hero." Ghazals usually ended with some personal reference to the poet, but Ghalib built this tradition up to Byronic proportions, fashioning his persona into a witty, sophisticated and melancholy commentator on his own life and the crumbling and corrupt world of society and the Mughal court around him. Though he wrote for the Emperor and the court, Ghalib was never a sychophant, and like Sauda, did not hesitate to express his dislike for the Emperor's own poetry and the claims of Muslim orthodoxy. Interrogated by the British during the 1857 Mutiny, he was asked by the British commander: "Are you a Muslim?" He curtly replied: "Half a Muslim: I drink wine but I don't eat pork." Ghalib is now considered as the greatest poet of the Urdu ghazal of any period. SPIRITUS MUNDI AND ISLAMIC LITERATUREMy own work, Spiritus Mundi the contemporary and futurist epic, is also influenced by Islamic and Sufi literary traditions. It features one major character, Mohammad ala Rushdie who is a Sufi novice in the Mevlevi order who is also a modern social activists in the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy. He in the course of the novel is taken hostage by terrorists and meets the Supreme Leader of Iran, urging him to "Open the Gates of Ijtihad," or reinvigorate Islamic tradition with creative reasoning and openness rather than binding it to blind precedent and unthinking tradition--much in the tradition of Kabir and Akbar the Great. Another historical chapter, "Neptune's Fury" features the sojourn of Admiral Sir George Rose Sartorius in the Maldive Islands where he encounters the "Sultan of the Sea of Stories" and during which he must, like the Schehereqade of the One Thousand and One Nights, tell a story each day to avoid execution by the Sultan. World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great writers of World Literature from the Mughal Age in India, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature:For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit...Robert SheppardEditor-in-ChiefWorld Literature ForumAuthor, Spiritus Mundi NovelAuthor’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr...Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads: Mundi on Amazon, Book I: Mundi, Book II: The Romance Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

  • Rowland Pasaribu
    2019-05-21 10:58

    In 1494, op de leeftijd van 12, Babur toegetreden tot een onzekere positie als een kleine heerser in Fergana, in Centraal-Azië, bij zijn dood in 1530 bedwong hij een groot deel van het noorden van India, heeft opgericht wat zou de 'Mughal' rijk geworden. Alsmede voor het dekken belangrijke historische gebeurtenissen, zijn levensverhaal, de Baburnama, biedt een fascinerend beeld van gewone (aristocratische) leven in de islamitische Midden-en Zuid-Azië rond 1500. Het is misschien niet het beste uitgangspunt voor de nieuwkomer in de periode, maar het mag niet beperkt blijven tot de academische wereld.Babur begint met een beschrijving van de geografie van Fergana en enige achtergrondinformatie geschiedenis. Hij vertelt dan zijn aandeel in de moorddadige conflicten tussen de Timurids (afstammelingen van Temur / Tamerlane) over Khoerasan, Transoxiana en Fergana en hun verlies aan de Oezbeken onder Shaybani. Aanvankelijk een marionet van anderen, wordt gebruikt voor Timurid legitimiteit, Babur werd geleidelijk aan een echte leider. Zijn wisselende fortuin zag hem mee te nemen en verliest twee keer Samarkand; Uiteindelijk werd hij gedwongen in een soort "guerilla" bestaan in de bergen. In 1504 verliet hij Transoxiana met een paar honderd metgezellen, verwierf de ontevreden aanhangers van een regionale leider in Badakhshan, en nam Kabul. Vanaf daar begon hij beitelen in een domein voor zichzelf, in een proces combineren plundering en opbouw van de staat.Het verhaal breekt in 1508, met een grote lacune in onze manuscripten, maar hervat in 1519, toen we Babur vinden die stevig verankerd is in Kabul en campagne in en rond wat nu Pakistan. Matchlocks (niet vermeld op alle eerder) worden nu regelmatig gebruikt, maar beperkt tot de elite. Een meer persoonlijke verandering is Babur's voorliefde voor losbandige partijen en het gebruik van alcohol en de verdovende ma'jun, contrasterend met een geheelonthouder jeugd. Na nog een lacune het werk eindigt met de jaren 1525 tot 1529, met betrekking tot de slag van Panipat, de verovering van Delhi, en de nederlaag van een Rajput-coalitie in de Slag bij Khanua (in welke gevechten artillerie speelde een belangrijke rol). India was slechts een troostprijs voor Babur, maar - hij vergelijkt het altijd schril af tegen Kabul en zijn geliefde Samarkand.Hoewel Thackston beweert dat het is "de eerste echte autobiografie in de islamitische literatuur", de Baburnama bevat weinig persoonlijke reflectie. Babur is eerlijk en open, maar de neiging om acties te beschrijven in plaats van motivaties. De Baburnama doet, echter tot ver buiten de militaire en politieke geschiedenis hierboven zijn samengevat. Babur bevat beschrijvingen van veel van de plaatsen die hij bezoekt en is geïnteresseerd in flora en fauna en technieken van de jacht, visserij en landbouw, er zijn ook stuk geografische overzichten van Fergana, Transoxiana, en het gebied rond Kaboel, alsmede een twintig pagina beschrijving van Hindustan. En op een paar gelegenheden die hij beschrijft gebeurtenissen op een afstand, buiten zijn eigen directe ervaring (bijvoorbeeld gevechten tussen de Perzen en de Oezbeken).Een opvallend kenmerk van de Baburnama is het grote aantal namen die verschijnen in het: Babur schrijft uitvoerig over mensen, inclusief persoonlijke volgelingen wil hij eer evenals meer prominente figuren. De dood van elke Timurid sultan, bijvoorbeeld, wordt gevolgd door een doodsbrief die niet alleen in hun strijd en de gebeurtenissen van hun regeerperiode, maar hun echtgenotes, concubines en kinderen, hun belangrijkste volgelingen, en de geleerden en kunstenaars wie ze betutteld (of gewoon regeerde over). Dichters en poëzie zijn met name zeer gerespecteerd: Babur citaten van hemzelf en anderen 'verzen, en onder zijn jeugdige exploits hij is zo trots zijn op een poëtische uitwisseling met Mulla Banna'i als van een succesvolle verrassingsaanval dat Samarkand nam.Deze editie van de Baburnama heeft een aantrekkelijke selectie van platen in kleur en zwart-wit halftonen, voornamelijk uit schilderijen van tijd Babur's. Thackston de introductie biedt een aantal nuttige achtergrondinformatie geschiedenis en de context, alsmede een beschrijving van de geschiedenis van de manuscripten en westerse belangstelling voor het Baburnama. En zijn vertaling is leesbaar en toegankelijk, met aantekeningen op de taalkundige en tekstuele kwesties en uitleg van de achtergrond informatie op een gunstige locatie in de marge.

  • PTS Books Club
    2019-05-20 07:58

    Bāburnāma, literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur"; alternatively known as Tuzk-e Babri; is the name given to the memoirs of Ẓahīr ud-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur (1483-1530), founder of the Mughal Empire and a great-great-great-grandson of Timur. It is an autobiographical work, originally written in the Chagatai language, known to Babur as "Turki" (meaning Turkic), the spoken language of the Andijan-Timurids. Because of Babur's cultural origin, his prose is highly Persianized in its sentence structure, morphology, and vocabulary,and also contains many phrases and smaller poems in Persian. During Emperor Akbar's reign, the work was completely translated to Persian by a Mughal courtier, Abdul Rahīm, in AH 998 (1589-90).The Bāburnāma is widely translated and is part of text books in no less than 25 countries mostly in Central, Western, and Southern Asia. It was first translated into English by John Leyden and William Erskine as "Memoirs of Zehir-Ed-Din Muhammed Baber: Emperor of Hindustan" and later by the British orientalist scholar Annette Akroyd.[Dilip Hiro is a playwright, political writer, journalist, historian and analyst specializing in South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Islamic affairs. He was born to Hindu parents in Larkana, British India, who migrated to independent India after partition in 1947. Hiro received a masters degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He currently lives in London, where he settled in the mid-1960s.Hiro is the author of 32 titles, the most recent being After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World (2010). His last but one title, Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Iran was listed as one of the best history books of the year by the Financial Times. His 30th book, Blood of the Earth: The Global Battle for Vanishing Oil Resources (2008), was described by Steven Poole in the Guardian as "encyclopaedic yet racily readable account of the economy, science and geopolitics of oil over the past century."]

  • Ozoda Rahimova
    2019-05-11 09:02

    Love this book

  • Köksal Kök
    2019-05-02 09:21

    Babürnâme, Babür Şah, 1530, 622 sayfa. -Babür Şah -Zahireddin Muhammed (1483-1530), -Babür Bahadır, -Cemşid -eserleri; ............Mübin ............Validiye ............Babüriye ............Mufassal -Payitaht; ............Fergana ............Kabil ............Dehli (Hindistan) -kitapta geçen bazı kavramlar-tanımlar; ............kurgan-tabya-siper-hisar-kale, ............içki-içoğlan-asker-er-adam, -kitapta geçen bazı rütbeler; ............kurbeylik ............bengeş ............kazak ............ateke ............bey ............mukarreb ............içki ............kütval ............onbaşı ............ellibaş ............nöker ............piyade ............hilat-tuğ ............şıkdar ............derviş ............sipahi -kitapta geçen bazı ölçüler; ............küruh ............geri ............pas ............pergene ............karı ............kürur ............peher

  • Dominic Carlone
    2019-05-14 09:23

    Emperor Babur’s abnormal lifeline, progressing from sober, meditative statesman in his youth to “double rainbow, what does this mean?” drunken frat boy in his middle age is shocking, but entertaining. Interrupted by an 11-year gap in the journal’s manuscript, Babur’s lifestyle not only changes, but his writing style changes too. This is nowhere more evident than in his switch from thoroughly engrossing catalogues of the cultures and landscapes he encounters as a young man to the fragmented maajun-stoned ramblings on all the pretty colours of leaves and flowers encountered in his later life (chapters on Hindustan notwithstanding). Pretty much the opposite trajectory one would expect from the life story of an ancient emperor (or anybody, for that matter) but fascinating nonetheless on both sides of the divide. Emperor Babur seems to find a balance between these extremes by the end of his life, and as the post-journal additions by the editor attest, he certainly went out in style.

  • bridget trinkaus
    2019-05-23 06:19

    i had to read this for my world lit class. it was ok. we only had to read parts from it so it got a little confusing. it is basically the story of babur who is a mughal ruler who is a barbarian with a heart of gold.i am writing a paper on babur about his being a compassionate yet brutal ruler. prior to reading this book i had never heard of the mughal empire. they are very interesting people, brutal people. this is something that i might end up reading once i am done with school. i think if it is read all together it will make more sense. i will put my grade from the paper on the end of this when i get it back and i will include any comments from the teacher that could be helpful.

  • Tushar
    2019-05-17 11:06

    Brain storming when it comes to Part 3, apart from that part 1 and part 2 were so so so boring. Babur was suffering from some cough infection on his way to India itself and therefore his death cannot be called a sudden death. Also, a great description of the country is given by Babur, from fruits to flowers to animals and birds. Regions which stand today just as stop over small towns are called the big places of those times. He obviously came from one big family and hence saw a lot of teenage rebel cousins which ruined his chances for a reign in Kabur or Samarkand. A believer of God, he sure loved his life. Great man. Great story.

  • اویس
    2019-04-30 03:19

    I remember buying this book in Peshawar.The excitment I experianced on my way home as I finally had in my hands what I wanted to read for so long.I remember reading his description of Peshawar and it was like I was looking through his eyes at the scene..This book was soothing, a consolation for me for it provided me with peace while my city was going through a very difficult period in its history.babur writes from the heart.He is frank and well read ( as when he quotes from Nizami) and his own verses show us what a brilliant poet he was.

  • Tim Robinson
    2019-05-08 06:58

    The diary of Babur, charting his long, slow, erratic and precarious rise from a minor warlord in central Asia to the ruler of northern India. Yet he never creates a proper state with real institutions. The best he can manage is a pony express from Delhi to Kabul! For the rest, he relies on delegation to friends and relatives of varying untrustworthiness, most of whom are determined to become warlords in their own right.

  • Sanjay Casula
    2019-04-30 07:12

    a biography of one of the greatest rulers of India but equally a very good writer in keeping with the ancient timurid saying to be both proficient with the sword as well as the pen. it describes his struggle with alcohol, his initial surprise at first running a rhinosaurus in India.his personal vanity his observations on India its people etc etcall in all a warts and all biography

  • Adam
    2019-05-23 09:23

    The babur awards go to...Best incarnation of babur - The one that got high all the time and would gallop home asleep because he was so drunkMost tiresome Babur - hyper-Islamic BaburBest Name - Quite the pool to choose from, but Muhammed Ali Jang-Jang takes this one homeBest Son - Obviously Humayoon, because he did not care a whit about the restWorst place, as voted by the author - Hindustan

  • Vatsala Tewary
    2019-05-07 08:06

    Definitely a good read. It gives a detailed account of the life of Babur, his ambition, failings, sense of judgement, generosity, filial duty, and of course the persistence in the face of defeat and death. You get to see Babur as an emperor and Babur as a poet.

  • Sheokhanda
    2019-05-08 08:00

    A must read inspirational stuff. How a boy from Tajikistan and Kabul Area went on to capture Delhi and India. This in turn led to a formation of one of the most powerful empires in the world. The Mughals.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-09 06:02

    Quite possibly the world's first autobiography, and since its from a 16th Century prince on the lam from his homeland who ends up founding the Mughal Empire in India you couldnt really ask for a better setting.

  • Juan
    2019-04-30 06:19

    An Emperor and adventurer, also a complex human being, who liked to write and tried to do it well, many times critizicing his own efforts. Its a superb historical document as well as well as good reading.

  • Abhishek
    2019-05-12 07:07

    A truly exceptional account of Babur's journey from Padshah of Timurid dynasty in Transoxiana to becoming a fugitive and finally as Emperor of Hindustan.

  • Faryal
    2019-05-16 07:18

    Fascinating details about Babur's journey from modern day Uzbekistan to The Indian Subcontinent

  • Somendra
    2019-05-15 04:58

    A must read for anyone interested in India's history.

  • Rocky Dahiya
    2019-05-18 04:02

    Babur's auto-biography. Experiencing the world again with the Moghul emperor's eyes after 500 years he did.