Causes behind Babur’s Victory at the Battle of Panipat


Babur was victorious at the Battle of Panipat because of a number of factors. The main factors are as follows:-

1. Scientific Combination of Cavalry and Artillery:

Firstly, the victory of Babur was due to the Scientific Combination of cavalry and artillery. The effective use of mobile cavalry and the skill with which Ustad Ali and Mustafa, two great Turkish gunners, fought in the field of Panipat were also important factors which contributed towards Babur’s victory. Rushbrook Williams writes. “If it could be possible to emphasize any one of the factors as being the most important cause of his (Babur’s) victory, one would surely have to assign the first place to his artillery.”


2. Disunity:

The Indian Rulers did not visualize any eventuality beyond the borders of their kingdoms and could not stand unitedly to face a threat on India from outside. Babur defeated them one by one, captured their kingdoms, and became their overlord.

3. Babur’s Personality:

One of the biggest cause of Babur’s victory was also his impressive personality. He did not lose heart even in most critical times. He had the capacity to infuse spirit in the dead bodies with his lively speech. He was a born general and was fully conversant with all the tactcs of war.


4. Ill-treatment of Ibrahim Lodi Towards His Amirs:

Sultan Ibrahim’s treatment towards his Amirs was most discourteous and insulting. The proud Afghan Nobles, who used to share the carpet with Ibrahim’s father and grandfather, were made to stand in his Durbar in an humble posture and with their arms folded to their breasts. He also declared that kingship knew no kinship. Hence the Amirs went against him.

5. Disciplined Army:

Babur’s Army was better disciplined than the Indian Army. His soldiers knew how to stand in battle arrary and when to charge and when to retreat. On the other hand the Indian Soldiers moved more or less like a crowd and a little charge from the enemy side was enough to cause confusion among them. Their vast numbers were more a source of weakness than a source of strength. They were ill-organised, ill- trained and ill-disciplined.


6. Inefficiency of Ibrahim as a General :

Fortunately for Babur, the revival he had to ontend with was an inefficient Military General, who lacked the qualities of Generalship. Neither could he properly organize his forces nor could he plan the battle well. Babur himself remarks that,, “Ibrahim was an inexperienced youngman, careless in his movements who marched without order, halted or retired without plan and engaged in the battle without foresight.'” It was not difficult for a brilliant general like Babur to defeat such an inefficient rival.

7. Use of Elephants by the Lodis:

Ibrahim Lodi, made a big use of elephants in his army. As compared to this, horses of Mughal Cavalry were more active. Very often elephants wounded in battle used to run back trampling their own armymen under their feet.


8. Babur’s Formations or Tlilugama:

Babur took strategic positions as soon a he reached Panipat. He strengthened his position by resting one wing of his army in the city of Panipat which had a large number of houses, and protected the other by means of ditch filled with branches of trees. In front, he lashed together a large number of carts, to act as a defending wall. Between two carts, breastworks were erected on which soldiers could rest their guns and fire.

Babur calls his device an Ottoman (Rumi) Device for it has been used by the Ottomans in their famous battle against Shah Ismile of Iran. This device of Tulugama surrounded the Ibrahim Lodi’s army and disturbed its formation, Historians praise Babur’s for his formation which were offensive as well as defensive. In brief we can say that one of the causes of Babur’s victory at Panipat was Tulugama Strategy of war.

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