The name of the first Moghul Emperor was Babar, ‘the Tiger’. He was not as great as Akbar, who was the greatest of all the Moghul Emperors, but he still was a very great Emperor. Since he was the first to conquer India and remain as Emperor, he had to fight and fight and fight to establish his kingdom.
He entered India on his own behalf to subjugate Ibrahim Lodi once and for all and seize Agra and Delhi for himself. Babar seized Samarkand from his cousin in 1497, but was soon ousted. The young warrior took it again a few years later, but once again he was forced to abandon it. He then advanced to Kabul, which he conquered in 1504 at the age of twenty-one. He adopted the Persian title of ‘Padishah’, meaning ‘Emperor’. He soon set his sights on the conquest of India. India had been divided between two brothers: Ibrahim Lodi and Jaunpur. Jaunpur’s supporters requested Babar to help them defeat Ibrahim Lodi. But every time he tried they were defeated.
At that time Babar’s son Humayun was sixteen years old. Humayun means ‘Fortunate’. Sad to say, a series of unfortunate events later took place in Babar’s and Humayun’s lives like poisoning of Babar, ill health of Humayun, ill health of Babur etc.
As they were about to embark on their campaign, Humayun said, “Father, you know our army is nothing in comparison to Ibrahim Lodi’s army. He has over 100,000 soldiers and 1,500 elephants, whereas we have only 12,000 soldiers. How can you dare to fight with him?” But Babar replied, “No, my son, we shall conquer them. Let them have the number. We have the quality and the capacity.” Humayun said, “Father, I shall always abide by your will. Let us go.” Babur did not have any elephants in his army. Indeed they saw elephants the first time in india.
Both father and son were great heroes, and with their small army they went to conquer Ibrahim Lodi’s army. There ensued a bloody battle known as the Battle of Panipat. Although Babar’s forces were outnumbered by those of Ibrahim Lodi, Babar had both guns and cannons in his weaponry. Cannons were previously unknown in India, and they brought destruction to Ibrahim Lodi’s soldiers and also caused his elephants to stampede. Finally, Babar’s army began to overpower the vast forces of Ibrahim Lodi.
The King fought very bravely, but eventually he was killed by Babar’s men. The commander who killed him was full of happiness that the enemy King was dead and he hurried to tell Babar the news. Babar immediately asked the commander to take him to the dead body.
When Babar got to the scene, he raised Ibrahim Lodi’s head from the ground and said, “I admire you. You fought very, very bravely. Now I will take full responsibility to see that you are honoured as a King should be when he dies. I will give you a grand funeral worthy of a King and I will have a King’s tomb erected. I will do everything for you. You are a real hero!”. Ibrahim Lodhi’s tomb is at panipat. Thus babar gave respect to his enemy who had earlier defeated him in war many times.