Emperor Humayun

Humayun (1530-1556) Mughal emperor of India and the eldest son of babur. He succeeded his father in 1530. He was preoccupied with Bahadur Shah of Gujrat, and a great danger was mounting up for him in the east. Sher Khan, who emerged as the most powerful Afghan leader, became all in all in Bihar after his victory at Surajgarh over the combined forces of Jalal Khan Lohani of Bihar and ghiyasuddin mahmud shah of Bengal in 1534.

Sher Khan invaded gaur and forced Mahmud to pay a huge tribute. The ambitious designs of Sher Khan frightened Humayun considerably and he moved towards the east and captured Chunar. Meanwhile Gaur fell in the hands of Sher Khan (1538). The fall of Gaur hastened Humayun's advance at the request of the ousted Sultan Mahmud Shah. Sher Khan did not oppose him and let Humayun enter Gaur almost unopposed. The emperor renamed the Bengal capital 'Jannatabad' and stayed there for six months.

In the meantime Sher Khan recovered Bihar and occupied territories as far as Benares and Kanauj.

He cut off the supply line of the emperor, gathered strength and kept alert to interrupt him on his return journey to the capital. Eventually Humayun left Jahangir Quli Khan with a force of 5000 in Gaur, moved towards the west and reached Chausa near Buxar in 1539. Sher Khan';s army attacked the Mughals who fell into utter confusion and were severely defeated. The battle of Chausa was a great victory for Sher Khan and the Afghan cause. Sher Khan declared himself an independent ruler with sovereign powers and adopted the title of sher shah. Immediately after this battle, Sher Shah defeated Jahangir Quli Khan and occupied Bengal.

After his discomfiture at Chausa, Humayun, however, prepared for a final showdown with Sher Shah. His defeat at the battle of Kanauj (1540) cost Humayun his throne and on the other hand Sher Shah revived the Afghan Sultanate. Humayun, after this, was reduced to a homeless wanderer for long fifteen years. While wandering in the deserts of Sind, he married Hamida Banu Begum by whom he got his son akbar who was born at Amarkot in 1542. Humayun next hastened to Persia where Shah Tamasp received him cordially and helped him in recovering Kabul and Qandahar from the hands of the refractory brothers. Thereafter he defeated the Afghans led by Sikandar Sur at Sirhind and occupied Delhi and Agra in 1555. He did not live long to extend his kingdom further and consolidate it. He died in an accidental fall from the staircase of his library in 1556. [KM Karim]