Bāburnāma (Chagatai/; literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur") are the memoirs of Zāhir ud-Dīn Mohammad Bābur (1483-1530), the 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. It also contains many phrases and smaller poems in Persian. It is also known as Tuzk-e-Babri.
Bābur was a highly educated Central Asian Muslim and his observations and comments in his memoirs reflect an interest in nature, society, politics and economics. His vivid account of events covers not just his life, but the history and geography of the areas he lived in, and their flora and fauna, as well as the people with whom he came into contact.
The Bāburnāma begins with these plain words:
After some background, Bābur describes his fluctuating fortunes as a minor ruler in Central Asia - in which he took and lost Samarkand twice - and his move to Kabul in 1504.
There is a break in the manuscript between 1508 and 1519. By the latter date Bābur is established in Kabul, now in Afghanistan, and is campaigning in northwestern India. The final section of the Bāburnāma covers the years 1525 to 1529 and the establishment of the Mughal empire in South Asia, which Bābur's descendants would rule for three centuries. It is important to note that these dates are B.C., by Islamic calendars Babur's affairs would have taken place in the 10th century.
Babur also writes about his homeland, Fergana:
The Domain of Fergana has seven towns, five on the south and two on the north of the Syr river. Of those on the south, one is Andijan. It has a central position and is the capital of the Fergana Domain.
He also wrote:
A man took aim at Ibrahim Beg. But then Ibrahim Beg yelled,"Hai!Hai!"; and he let him pass, and by mistake shot me in an armpit from as near as a man on guard at the Gate stands from another. Two plates of my armour cracked. I shot at a man running away along the ramparts, adjusting his cap against the battlements. He abandoned his cap, nailed to the wall and went off, gathering his turban sash together in his hand.
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 the British orientalist scholar Annette Akroyd.
The Garden of the Eight Paradises: Babur and the Culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India (1483-1530).(Book review)
Oct 01, 2008; The Garden of the Eight Paradises: Babur and the Culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India (1483--1530). By...