Battle of Bajaur (1519)

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Battle of Bajaur
Part of Mughal conquests
Bajaur, present day FATA, Pakistan
Result Decisive Mughal victory
Bajaur annexed by the Mughals
Other FATA Tribes Submit.
Dilazak Pashtuns
Bajaur Sultanate
Yusufzai &
Other Pashtuns
Commanders and leaders
Zahir ud-Din Muhammad Babur Mir Haider Ali Gabri
? ?
Casualties and losses
Low High

From 1515-1519, Zahir ud-Din Muhammad Babur enjoyed a relatively calm period when he returned to Kabul in the aftermath of his defeat at the Battle of Ghazdewan and loss of Transoxiana to the Uzbeks.[1] But all that came to an end, when he had troubles with the Pashtuns who are various mountain tribes on either side of the current Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which had previously yielded an imperfect obedience or none to the throne of Kabul.[1] The Pashtuns have never been subdued or conquered per se but only restrained. Baburs’ predecessors like Alexander the Great, Mahmud Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori, Genghis Khan and Timur Lane all either managed to only restrain the Pashtuns for a while or did not bother them at all in order to avoid a bloody and needless confrontation.[1] But Babur had no choice as he had to confront the people in his immediate territory.He too had to make alliances and give autonomy to the Pathans in order to maintain peace.[1]


Eventually he would come to battle in Bajaur in present-day Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan next to the Afghanistan border.[1] Thirty years before Babur’s invasion of Bajaur, the Yusufzai had settled in the lower parts of that tract expelling the Dilazaks the former inhabitants.[1] This territory which lies at the southern roots of the Hindu Kush range and was highly cultivated, had in older times been held by the Jahangiri Sultans of Swat and Bajaur, (Chiefs of the today's old Swatis a predominant Pashtun tribe in Hazara Division), a race of princes whose authority appears at one time to have been very extensive especially among the rich cultivated valleys of that hill country.[1] The dominions of the Sultan of Swat at one period had even extended to both sides of the Sind.[1] The Yusufzai had succeeded in expelling the Dilazaks from part of the Swat territory and had also encroached upon the Sultan so that he had been compelled to retire into Upper Swat.[1] The Sultan of Bajaur, Mir Haider Ali Gabri of the Jahangiri Dynasty was still independent.[1] Babur when he entered the country was attended by several Dilazak chiefs who served him as guides and directed his vengeance against their deadly enemies the Yusufzai.[1] He first marched against the strong Fort Gabar of Bajaur and the Sultan refusing to submit he attacked it with engines of war and with matchlocks which were quite new to the garrison.[1] The alarm which these produced as soon as their effects were experienced was employed to cover an escalade that proved successful.[1] The whole male inhabitants 3000 in number including their chiefs were cruelly put to the sword and a pillar erected of their heads.[1] The women were taken as slaves. At this time the Sultan of Swat and the Yusufzais sent their envoys to appease Babur.[1] After repeated hostilities they came to a final truce and agreement which was that they should make no inroads into Swat above Anuha; the amount of contribution which they had been accustomed to levy higher up being allowed as a deduction in the rolls of their revenue collections and that the Pashtuns who cultivated lands in Bajaur and Swat should pay six thousand loads about 38000 cwts of grain to the government.[1]


Part of the peace treaty included Babur’s marriage to Bibi Mubarka, daughter of Malik Shah Mansoor, one of the chiefs of the Yusufzai.[1] It may be imagined that it was no easy task to restrain tribes which like those around Kabul had for ages been accustomed freely to indulge in robbery and insubordination of every kind and it should seem that hardly a year passed in which Babur did not make inroads into the country of someone or other of them to chastise their licentiousness to protect his more peaceable subjects and sometimes perhaps for the less laudable object of plundering them of their wealth or of reducing them to subjection.[1]


A History of India Under the Two First Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, Báber and Humáyun By William Erskine;Published by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans,1854 [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r A History of India Under the Two First Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, Báber and Humáyun By William Erskine;Published by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans,1854; Public Domain