Humayun | Second Mughal Emperor, Tomb & Death

Summary

Humayun, also known as Nasir ud-din Muhammad, was the second Mughal king of India who was more courageous than the consolidator of his empire. Humayun was the child of the Founder of the Mughal EmpireJahiruddin Muhammad Babur” and the father of the 3rd Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar.

Facts About Humayun

Humayun - TS HISTORICAL
Mirza Nasir ud-din Baig Muhammad Khan Humayun
BornMarch 6, 1508, Kabul, Afghanistan
DiedJanuary 15, 1556, Delhi, India
SpouseHamida Banu Begam > Mah Chuchak Begum > Bega Begum
ParentsBabur > Meham Begum

The early life of Humayun

Nasir Ud-Din Humayun was born on 6 March 1508 in Kabul where his father Zahir ad-Din Babur was planning an invasion of India. He had led small forces for his father and had been fairly capable. However, when he became Padishah of the Mughal Empire at the age of 22, he wasn’t the only ruler of the Empire. His brothers were given portions of the empire to rule while remaining under the command of Humayun.

This succession plan actually comes from the Turko-Mongol tradition that Babur descended from. Genghis Khan himself had divided his realm among his four sons. This idea of collective sovereignty, where all sons of the king had equal claim to the throne, was inherited from the Mongols by the Timurids and that’s what Babur himself did.

Kamran Mirza was given Kabul and Kandahar. Askari Mirza was given Multan and Hindal Mirza was given Malwa. Almost as soon as Humayun came to power, the brothers started plotting to take the throne from him.

Kamran marched from Kabul to Lahore to secure the allegiance of men loyal to his father. Also taking advantage of Babur’s death, the Afghan tribes of the east, who had previously been in power before the Mughals, began raiding Mughal territory. Humayun led his army east to deal with the Afghans where Mahmud Lodi, the brother of the last Lodi Sultan, had declared himself Sultan of Hindustan.

Humayun faced and defeated his army at Lakhnau. Almost immediately after doing that, he got the news that the Sultan of Gujarat was planning to attack the Mughals with the help of the Portuguese who had sent up trading posts on the Gujarati shore.

Humayun Attack on Gujrat

Humayun Attack on Gujrat
Humayun Attack on Gujrat

In 1535, Humayun attacked and defeated the Sultan of Gujarat and even took some strategic forts but he failed to end the Sultan and annex Gujarat in its entirety. That was because the Afghans were back. This time they had united behind an extraordinarily capable commander named Sher Khan Suri. He was really no match for Sher Khan and his army. The Afghans used guerrilla tactics in the eastern forests against Humayun who was famous for his addiction to wine and opium.

Sher Khan, on the other hand, was disciplined and collected. He was born Farid Khan in 1486 in Haryana. Because of his talent and valor, he was given the name of Sher Khan, meaning the Lion Khan or more accurately, the Lion King.

In the 1510s, he had become a freelance soldier or as we call them, mercenaries. Mercenaries were in high demand in India due to the absence of central authority before the Mughals. Various groups militarized to protect themselves and then started selling their services.

When Babur defeated the Afghan Lodi dynasty, their former soldiers, who were now out of work, united behind Sher Khan. Sher Khan was managing to pay them because he was protecting a wealthy widow from the Lodi establishment. Her money and his leadership created a formidable force. Initially, he paid off the Mughal governors with a tribute to keep himself safe from them while he built power.

By 1537, he was powerful enough to invade Bengal and end the ruling dynasty. He crowned himself Sultan there, changing his name to Sher Shah Suri. By this time, he was aware of the threat he posed and so, Humayun attacked Bengal. Sher Shah’s forces melted into the interior and used guerrilla tactics.

In 1538, his other younger brother, Hindal attacked Agra, the Mughal capital, and seized the throne for himself. Kamran also marched towards Agra to strike a deal with Hindal and divide the empire among themselves. When Humayun heard of this news, he rushed back but the Monsoon hindered his ability to maneuver his army.

Sher Shah took advantage of this and attacked Humayun, badly defeating him. He was barely able to get away with his life. He was able to regroup in Agra where he pardoned his brothers and tried to present a united front against the Afghan threat. However, his brothers refused to cooperate. Kamran even withdrew to Lahore and raised his banners for independence.

In May 1540, the Mughal and Afghan forces met at Kanauj where the Mughal army was defeated. Humayun withdrew to Lahore but Sher Shah pressed on until Lahore too belonged to him. Humayun and his brother Hindal were left without land to rule. Kamran and Askari still held some holdings in Afghanistan.

Second Mughal Emperor

The Mughal Empire

Sher Shah Suri established himself in Delhi and Agra and started to rule his new Suri Empire. He was as great a ruler as a commander by all reasonable measures. He reminds me of another great ruler of India, Ala ad-Din Khalji, a man Sher Shah himself looked up to. He reorganized noblemen and held the way land. He introduced a trimetallic currency with the Gold Mohur, the Silver Rupiya and the Copper Dam.

Additionally, he understood the need for Central Asian goods, especially war horses, so he built a great road known as the Grand Trunk Road, which runs from Afghanistan to Bengal, connecting all of North India. Previously, this route was covered by many roads which weren’t always in great condition. Meanwhile, Humayun and his brother Hindal were wandering homeless across Western India looking for allies.

While they didn’t find many of them, Humayun did find a wife from an Indian nobleman’s family. She soon gave birth to Humayun‘s first son, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad. He finally got some hope from the Safavid Shah Tahmasp. He visited him in Herat first and then in the Safavid capital of Qazvin. Tahmasp, as his father had done to Babur, offered him support if he converted to Shi’ism. Humayun agreed.

He was given an army with which he first attacked Kabul and Kandahar. Both brothers evaded capture, but he took both cities and started planning his invasion of India from Kabul, as his father had some twenty years earlier. The same year, 1545, Sher Shah died in a cannon accident. The road to India was becoming more open as He invited supporters from all over India to help him in his invasion.

While Humayun did that, Kamran also raised an army. Humayun finally defeated his brother in 1553, but he couldn’t bring himself to execute him. After all, it’s said that Babur had told Humayun, on his deathbed, not to hurt his brothers no matter how much they deserved it. Kamran was blinded and exiled to Mecca. With the Safavids on his side and the issues with his brothers resolved, he invaded India. The Suri Empire had weakened by this time due to internal problems. With his loyal general Bairam Khan on his side, Humayun swept across India and finally entered Delhi in 1555 after 15 years in exile.

The Mughal Empire was back. Humayun would rule for only six months as the Padishah of Hindustan, but these six months made Mughal Empire what it would be for centuries to come. Unlike his father, Humayun seems to have liked India, given that he married an Indian Muslim woman and urged his officials to take Indian wives.

He didn’t consider himself first among equals as his father did. He created a centralized government with him in the centre. He also greeted the sun every morning, which is quintessentially Indian tradition. Also, he reorganized the land and put as much of it as possible directly under the Mughal crown instead of noblemen. He was wise enough to see the good policies of his rival, Sher Shah Suri and kept the good ones, such as his monetary reforms. All these things started making the Mughal Empire a truly Indian Empire. His successor would bring this Indianization to completion.

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun ka Maqbara
Humayun’s Tomb

In January 1556, he fell from the stairs of his library in Purana Qila, Delhi. His young son, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad, only 13 years of age was put on the throne. Immediately, powers from around the Mughal court began competing for influence over the boy king. However, Jalal ad-Din would be no one’s puppet. Instead, he would be the great Shahanshah Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Akbar.

Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560s under the patronage of the great emperor Humayun’s son Akbar The garden-mausoleum was built in collaboration by Persian and Indian artisans and was far superior to any other tomb built in the Islamic world. Humayun’s garden tomb is a char bagh (a four-quadrant garden depicting the four rivers of paradise in the Qur’an), with lakes connected by channels. The garden can be accessed from the south and west through high gates, with pavilions in the center of the east and north walls.

Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi was the first magnificent royal mausoleum associated with Mughal architecture, reaching its pinnacle 80 years later at the Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb is part of a 27.04-hectare complex that includes Nila Gumbad, Isa Khan, Bu Halima, and Afsarwala, all 16th-century Mughal garden tombs. Baber’s Tomb and Arab Sarai, where artisans live. Humayun‘s tomb is being built.

People Also Ask?

What was Humayun famous for?

Humayun Attack on Gujrat

The Safavids on his side and the issues with his brothers resolved, he invaded India. The Suri Empire had weakened by this time due to internal problems. With his loyal general Bairam Khan on his side, Humayun swept across India and finally entered Delhi in 1555 after 15 years in exile.

How did Humayun died?

In January 1556, he fell from the stairs of his library in Purana Qila, Delhi.

Who was Humayun defeated by?

In 1535, Humayun attacked and defeated the Sultan of Gujarat and even took some strategic forts but he failed to end the Sultan and annex Gujarat in its entirety. That was because the Afghans were back. This time they had united behind an extraordinarily capable commander named Sher Khan Suri.

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