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Illustrations in the Baburnama regarding the fauna of South Asia.
An image of Rhino hunt from Baburnama.

Bāburnāma (Chagatai/Persian: بابر نامہ‎;´, 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, written in the Chagatai language, known to Babur as "Turki" (meaning Turkic), the spoken language of the Andijan-Timurids. Babur's prose is highly Persianized in its sentence structure, morphology, and vocabulary,[1] 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).[2]


Bābur was an educated Timurid 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:[3]

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 and from there launches an invasion into northwestern India. The final section of the Bāburnāma covers the years 1525 to 1529 and the establishment of the Mughal empire in India, which Bābur's descendants would rule for three centuries.

The Baburnama is also the earliest known reference to mass conversions of the jatt tribes converting to Islam and the only known Islamic text describing an Islamic conquest into Hindu India providing a great insight into the ongoings of an Islamic Empire progressing.[2]

Babur also writes about his homeland, Fergana:

He also wrote:

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[4] and later by the British orientalist scholar Annette Susannah Beveridge (née Akroyd, 1842–1929).

Illustrations from the Manuscript of Baburnama (Memoirs of Babur)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dale, Stephen Frederic (2004). The garden of the eight paradises: Bābur and the culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India (1483–1530). Brill. pp. 15,150. ISBN 90-04-13707-6. 
  2. ^ a b "Biography of Abdur Rahim Khankhana". Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  3. ^ English translation
  4. ^ Bābur (Emperor of Hindustān) (1826). Memoirs of Zehir-Ed-Din Muhammed Baber: emperor of Hindustan. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]