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Humayun Namah


Humayun Namah of Gulbadan Begum is a very important and valuable source book for the history of humayun. Gulbadan, daughter of babur was born in about 1523 and was a princess of about eight at the time of Humayun's accession to the throne. She was married to Khizr Khwajah Khan, a Chaghtai Mughal, and it appears from her account that at the age of 17 she was a married woman. Gulbadan was an well-educated talented lady. Fond of books and learning, she was a gentle, cultured and pious woman. She enjoyed the confidence of Humayun and other ladies of the imperial harem.

After Humayun's death, she received protection and honour at akbar's hands. She went on a pilgrimage to Makka in 1575. On her return to India she lived to a ripe old age and died in February 1603. Akbar respected her so much that he carried her bier to some distance and made lavish gifts for the peace of her soul.

Gulbadan says that she had received an order from Akbar to write what she remembered about Babur and Humayun. Her account of Babur is short, but the bulk of the book is occupied by the story of Humayun's life, his victories and his defeats. She lived at Kabul when Humayun went to Persia. She discussed the warfare between Humayun and Kamran in the Afghan region. Besides throwing light on political matters, Gulbadan also discusses the social customs and manners of the time and the prevailing Mughal court etiquette. As an eyewitness account Humayun Namah is extremely valuable as a source of history. For certain events the authoress depends on the trustworthy accounts of the senior ladies of the harem.

The Humayun Namah was written in Persian, but in the text there is an admixture of Persian and Turkish words. The only copy of Gulbadan's book is preserved in the British Museum, and bears the following words on the flyleaf: Ahwal Humayun Padshah Jamah Kardom Gulbadan Begum bint Babur Padshah amma Akbar Padshah. AS Beveridge translated the book into English. [Abdul Karim]