Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, who defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal Empire in India. Babur was a descendant of Timur on his father’s side and of Chengiz Khan on the side of his mother.
The Mughals were so proud of their connections with Timur that they called themselves Timurids. On the death of his father Umar Shaikh Mirza, Babur inherited the ancestral kingdom of Farghana in 1494.
On account of his precarious position in Central Asia, he, after crossing the Indus, invaded India five times. The first real expedition took place in 1519 when he captured Bhera, and the fifth was the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi in the first battle of Panipat in April 1526.
Panipat was merely the beginning of the Mughal rule and not its real foundation which was laid by Akbar in 1556. At the time of the battle of Panipat, the political power in Hindustan was being shared by the Afghans and the Rajputs. After defeating Ibrahim Lodi he had won a decisive victory against the Afghans.
But Babur’s conquest of Hindustan would have been incomplete till he defeated the Rana of Mewar, Sangram Singh or Rana Sanga, who was the greatest Rajput prince of the period. Consequently, a decisive battle took place on March 16, 1527, at Khanua, a village some 60 km west of Agra, between the forces of Babur and Rana Sanga.
In this battle the latter was decisively defeated and Khanua confirmed and completed Babur’s victory at Panipat. In 1528, he captured Chanderi from a Rajput Chief Medini Rai and a year later he defeated the Afghan chiefs under Mahmud Lodi in the battle of Ghagra in Bihar.
These conquests made Babur the master of Hindustan; but he was not destined to enjoy the fruits of his conquests because shortly afterwards he died at Agra on December 26, 1530.
Babur’s conquest of Hindustan has been called by R.P. Tripathi “a result of chance thought”, because his original intention was only to annex the Punjab to his Central Asian territories. But the subsequent political developments led him to aim at capturing the entire Lodi heritage.
The infant Mughal Empire was, however, “rather a congeries of little states under one prince than one regular and uniformly governed kingdom”. A detailed record of Babur’s career is found in his autobiography- Tuziik-i-Baburi or Baburiiamah-which he wrote in his mother-tongue (Turki). It is reckoned among the most enthralling and romantic literary works of all time.