There were so many causes for the Battle of Panipat, some important causes were as under:
1. Ambition of Babur:
Like other Contemporary Brave Rulers Babur was very ambitious. He himself says that “I had never ceased to think of the conquest of Hindustan.” But he had never found a suitable opportunity for undertaking it, “Hindered as I was sometimes by the apprehensions of my Begs, sometimes by the disagreement between my brothers and myself.” He was involved incessantly in struggle for the conquest of Samarquand. (which Babur loved dearly). When he was finally unsuccessful there, he tried to fulfil his ambition by conquering India.
2. Miserable political condition of India :
The political situation in North West India was suitable for Babur’s entry into India. Sikandar Lodi had died in 1517, and Ibrahim Lodi had succeded him. His efforts to create a large centralised empire had alarmed the Afghan Chiefs ‘as well as the Rajputs. Amongst the most powerful of the Afghan Chiefs was Daulat Khan Lodi, the Governor of the Punjab, who was almost an independent ruler. Daulat Khan Lodi attempted to conciliate Ibrahim Lodi by sending his son to his court to pay homage.
At the same time he was trying to capture neighbouring states. He wanted to strengthen his position by annexing the frontier tracts of Bhira, etc., which Babur had captured in 1518-19 and all hopes of Daulat Khan Lodi were shattered. Babur put a demand through his Ambassador that Daulat Khan Lodi and Ibrahim Lodhi should surrender those all places to Babur which were at one time under the Turks. Daulat Khan Lodhi very cleverly made the Ambassador of Babur to stay at Lahore so that he could’nt meet Ibrahim Lodi.
When Babur returned from Bhira, Daulat Khan Lodi took away Bhira from the representative of Babur. Next year Babur again attacked Bhira and captured alongwith it Sialkot. This served to Babur as the gateway of India. One thing was made clear by these preliminary invasions to Babur that India lacked the feeling of political unity.
Babur knew that India is divided into several petty principalities and the rulers of these states could never unite together. It was within his knowledge that they often used to quarrel amongst themselves. Babur considered this anarchical political situation as the appropriate opportunity to invade India.
3. Immense riches of India and legal right to occupy some areas:
Like countless earlier invaders from Central Asia, Babur was drawn to India by the lure of its fabulous wealth. India was famous as the land of gold and “riches. Babur’s ancestor’s Timur, had not only carried away a vast treasure and many skilful artisans, who helped him to consolidate his Asian Empire and beautify his capital, but also annexed some areas in the Punjab. These areas remained in the possession of Timur’s successor for many years. When Babur conquered Kabul, he felt that he had a legitimate right to these areas.
4. Geographical Reasons:
Moreover, India being very near to Kabul, where Babur was ruling it was natural for an ambitious ruler to invade India.
5. Meagre Income From Kabul:
Another reason of Babur’s invasion of India was the meagre income of Kabul. The Historian Abul Fazal remarks .”He (Babur) ruled over Badakhshan, Kandhar and Kabul which did not yield sufficient income for the requirement of the army, in fact, some of the boarder territories the expense on controlling the armies and administration was greater than the income.” In this way the meagre income of Kabul also promoted Babur to invade India. Babur knew very well that after capturing the fertile province of Punjab he would have no financial problems and he coyld strengthen his position very easily.
6. Fear of the Uzbeks:
Babur was also apprehensive of an Uzbek attack on Kabul, and considered India to be a good place of refuge, and a suitable base for operations against the Uzbeks.
7. Invitations extended by Daulat Khan Lodi, Alam Khan and Rana Sanga :
Some of the Historians opines that Babur had been invited to attack Delhi Sultanate by Daulat Khan Lodi and Rana Sanga. According to them in 1524 Babur received an Embassy from Daulat Khan Lodi, led by his son, Dilawar Khan. They invited Babur to invade India, and suggested that he should displace Ibrahim Lodi since he was a tyrant and enjoyed no support from his courtiers and nobles.
According to some of the Historians, it is probable that a messenger from Rana Sangram Singh (The Ruler of Mewar and popularly known as Rana Sanga) arrived at the same time, inviting Babur to invade India). These Embassies convinced Babur that the time was ripe for his conquest of the whole of the Punjab, if not of India itself.
In brief we can say many factors inspired Babur to the Battle of Panipat. His ambitions, immense wealth of India, weak political condition of India and some invitations extended by enemies of Ibrahim Lodi were major of them.