Get complete information on the early life of Humayun

Ala-ud-Din II was succeeded by his son Hamayun who ruled from 1458 to 1461. He was so cruel that he got the title of Zalim or the tyrant. According to Ferishta, “Humayun Shah, abandoning himself to the full indulgence of his cruel propensities caused vicious elephants and wild beasts to be placed in the square and the cauldrons of scalding oil and boiling water for torture.

Looking on from a balcony, he had his brother Hasan thrown to a ferocious tiger that tore him to pieces and devoured him. Ingenious tortures were invented by the King and inflicted on young and old of both sexes.

He put the women servants of his household to death for the must trivial faults and when any of the nobility was obliged to wait upon him so great was their dread that they took a last leave of their families.” He died in 1461.


According to Prof. Sherwani, “Humanyun’s character is one of the enigmas of the history of the Deccan. Ferishta paints him in the blackest of colours possible ascribing to him the most heinous of crimes. He gives him the sobriquet of ‘the Cruel’ without any reserve and tries to give evidence to prove his thesis.

To quote his translator and epitomizer: “Humayun threw off all restraint and seized at will, the children of his subjects, tearing them from their parents. He would frequently stop nuptial processions in the streets, seizing the bride to enjoy her and then send her to’ the bridegroom’s house.

He was in the habit of putting the females of his own house to death for the most trivial offence and when any of the nobility was obliged to attend him, so great was their dread that they took leave of their families, as if preparing for ‘death’.” Burhan is no doubt moderate of tone but still gives a few instances of his cruelty and agrees with Ferishta that people were so tired of his tyranny that the poet Naziri only voiced their feeling when he composed the following chronogram:

Humayun Shah has passed away from the world, God Almighty, what a blessing was the death of Humayun. On the date of his death, the world was full of delight, So, ‘delight of the world’ gave the date of his death.


“It is absolutely necessary for one who tries to estimate the real character of a historical personage to try to put himself in the surroundings in which that personage lived so as to find his bearings as objectively as possible. Humayun reigned less than three years and a half and the first thing to remember is that there was not a single campaign of aggression against his neighbours during the period.

This only goes to prove that, like his predecessor, Muhammad I, his objects was to find time to consolidate his far-flung State rather than extend it to unmanageable boundaries. This view is supported by the high ideals of government which he enunciated in the address delivered at the time of his accession.

Nevertheless, his reign was marred by almost continuous rebellions and attempts at his throne and his life and this at the hands of those nearest and dearest to him. Practically the whole course of these episodes shows that he followed the new policy of compromise and was forgiving and complacent right up to the middle of 864/1460 and whatever cruelties are ascribed to him, could only have occurred between Sha’ban 868/-June, 1460 and 28-11-865/4-9-1461.

His father had appointed him heir to the throne, still the party which was in power since Shaikh Azari’s letter to Ahmad II, i.e., the New-comers, put his younger brother on the throne and perhaps actually sent a mob to murder him and rob his residence.


Instead of laying his hand of vengeance on his deadly enemies, he contented himself by imprisoning the leaders and the mob which had supported him. We meet him next fighting against his kinsmen Sikandar Khan and Jalal Khan at Nalgunda, where, while carrying on the struggle which might have meant his own end, he enters into pourparlers with them and frankly says that he would prefer peace to war. Even when fighting had gone on for a whole day, he made a definite offer of jaguars to Sikandar. And after Sikandar’s death and Jalal’s defeat the miracle happens and on Maliku’t-Tujjar’s intercession Jalal is spared of his life.

“All this does not depict Humayun in the colours of a wanton cut-throat and there is nothing during the first two years of his reign to warrant his condemnation. It is really after the second proclamation of Hasan Khan as King, this time at Bir and his subsequent capture some time about the middle of 864/1460, that Humayun is said to have given vent to his cruel propensities.

We must remember that the two struggles with Hasan were a matter of life and death for the King. It is absolutely clear that the party of New-comers which had got the upper hand in the reigns of Ahmad I and Ahmad II was so headstrong that it chose to put on the throne a puppet in Hasan Khan in preference to a strong willed ruler like Humayun.

It is noticeable that the six or seven thousand men who were imprisoned after the failure of the first attempt are described by Ferishta in almost the identical vocabulary as used for those who had been massacred at Chakan in 850/1447. Jalal, the father of Sikandar, an arch rebel in Humayun’s reign was a New-comer and it seems probable that up to 864/1460. Humayun had thought that he would be able to make some kind of compromise with this party and perhaps forestall the moderating policy later adopted by Mahamud Gawan.


The eye-opener came in the form of the recrudescence of disorder by the forced release of Hasan Khan and his followers by another New-comer, Yusuf Turk and the renewal of the life and death struggle. Humayun could not let matters go on like this and during the last thirteen months of his short reign he subjected his enemies to exemplary punishment.

It goes to Mahmud Gawan’s credit that while he interfered so long as he had any hope of a compromise, he retired to the background when all hopes were evidently shattered by the release of Hasan Khan and his supporters and by his second proclamation as King in 864/1460

“It is therefore clear that the picture of Humayun’s character as painted by our Persian authorities and in particular by Ferishta has exaggerated the King’s defects to such an extant that it is difficult to recognise the real man among the multitude of crimes laid to his charge.

Both from the recorded occurrences of his short reign as well as from other sources, we must come to the conclusion that Humayun was a ruler of the ordinary Bahmani type but was at the same time a strict disciplinarian, intent on striking balance between the Old-comers and the New-comers and the original inhabitants of the land while trying to keep the kingdom in peace as far as possible.


It is remarkable that there is not a single campaign undertaken outside the frontiers of the kingdom right through his reign, which shows that he wanted to consolidate the state rather than be aggressive towards others. But internal turmoil cost him all his praiseworthy projects and thanks to intense propaganda carried on against him, evens his reputation.”