Intro to Mughals – History of the Mughal Empire


The word Mogul in English language is used
to define an important or powerful person, especially in the film or media industry.
Etymologically the word “Moghul” originally meant “Mongol”, or a person of Mongolian
descent in Persian. The word traces its origin to the Mughal empire
which ruled much of India, Pakistan & Bangladesh from 16th till 19th century. The Mughal Empire
was founded by Babur a warrior chieftain from a small town in central Asia called Andijan
in modern day Uzbekistan. Babur the first Mughal emperor had a very
fascinating genealogy, from his father’s side he was a descendant of the Turko-Mongol
conquerer Timur and from Genghis Khan on his mother’s side. Two very successful but ruthless
conquerers. Ousted from his ancestral domains in Central
Asia, Babur turned towards India to satisfy his expansionist ambitions. He established
himself in Kabul and then pushed steadily southward into India from Afghanistan through
the Khyber Pass. Babur’s forces occupied much of northern India after his victory at the
First Battle of Panipat on 21st April 1526 A.D. against the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim
Lodi. The battle was fought in northern India and
marked the rise of the Mughal Empire and the end of the Delhi Sultanate. This was the first
battle involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery in the Indian subcontinent which
were introduced by Mughals in this battlefield. This gave them an upper hand. Although Lodi’s army was more than twice
the size of the invading force, Babur’s guns proved detrimental and decisive in the battle.
Ibrahim’s army was devoid of any such fighting machine like field artillery further the sound
of the cannons frightened Ibrahim’s elephants, causing them to trample their own men. Thus, the year 1526 A.D. marked the beginning
of Mughal empire in India which lasted for more than 300 years, and at its peak united
almost the entire Indian subcontinent a feat only achieved by a handful of empires in history.

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