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Tuzuk-i-Baburi


Tuzuk-i-Baburi (Baburanamah) is the autobiography of Zahiruddin Muhammad babur, the founder of the Mughal empire in India. Babur wrote it in Turkish language; Mughal imperial officer, Abdur Rahim Khan Khan-i-Khanan, son of Bairam Khan Khan-i-Khanan, translated it into Persian. Well received by European scholars, the book has been translated into various European languages.

The Tuzuk-i-Baburi is a faithful description of the world the author had lived in, and of the people he had come into contact. According to modern scholars, no other eastern prince has written such vivid, interesting and veracious account of his own life as Babur. He writes about his own success and failure or about his shortcomings with candour, which greatly impresses the reader. His style of writing is not pompous or ornate like many Persian writers; rather it is simple and clear, there being no hypocrisy. With great regard for truth, Babur recorded historical events exactly as they had occurred.

Babur was a passionate lover of nature who found pleasure in streams, meadows and pasture lands of his own country; springs, lakes, plants, flowers, and fruits all had charm for him so that even when he came to India and founded the Mughal empire in India, he could not forget his native land Farghana. This love of nature gave him the poetic genius, he cultivated poetry from his early youth and his Diwan (collection of poems) written in Turkish language is regarded as a work of considerable merit. His mastery over prose was equally remarkable, he could write with ease both in Turkish and Persian and the most remarkable of his prose works is his autobiography.

Babur's observations about India in the Tuzuk are very important. He briefly dwells upon the political condition at the time of his invasion, and also gives a minute account of the flora and fauna of Hindustan. He mentions about mountains, rivers, jungles, and streams and about various kinds of foodstuffs, fruits and vegetables. He says that in India they have no aqueducts or canals in their gardens or palaces, their peasants and people of lower classes all go almost naked and use only a langoti to cover their nakedness. He says that the excellence of Hindustan consists in the fact that there is abundance of gold and silver in the country. The climate of India is pleasant, there is no dearth of workmen in any profession or trade, but their occupations are mostly hereditary, and for particular kinds of works particular groups of people are reserved.

Babur's observations about Bengal are also noteworthy. He did not come to Bengal, but he had to measure sword with the Bengal sultan nusrat shah. Being a keen observer, he collected information about the sultan, the country and the people of Bengal, and his observations are found to be appropriate. Babur praised Nusrat Shah as one of the great rulers of India. He also praised Bengali solders, particularly the sailors and gunners. He observes that the Bengalis are loyal to the throne and express loyalty to whoever occupies the throne. He further says that in Bengal hereditary succession is rare. Babur refers to other customs prevalent in Bengal. First, the new king does not spend the wealth accumulated by former kings, he has to arrange for his expenditure; secondly, the Bengalis look upon accumulation of wealth with disfavour and thirdly, they earmark revenues of particular parganas for specific expenses. [Abdul Karim]

Bibliography AS Beveridge (tr), Memoirs of Babur, 2 Vols, New Delhi, 1970; Ishwari Prasad, A Short History of the Muslim Rule in India, Allahabad, 1958.