The other side of Emperor Babar

Babar, the founder of Mughal dynasty in India was an unusual character of his times. A poet, writer and a free soul, he was so modern and some would say post-modern in an era otherwise categorised as medieval. I was delighted to find this piece authored by Ashfaque Naqvi.

An interesting book has landed at my table. As the title, Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babar, is about the person who laid the foundations of the Mughal Empire in the sub-continent. Written by the eminent Indian educationist, Qamar Rais, it gives a different picture of the man from what we gather about him from his self-written, Tozak-i-Babri…..

As Prof Qamar Rais says in the foreword, he had for long been studying the works of Ali Sher Nawai and such other classical poets of Uzbekistan but realized during his stay in that country that those people revered Babar more for being an intellectual and a lyrical poet. In fact, even during the Soviet era, he saw Babar’s pictures hung in most homes showing him holding a book and sunk in deep thought. As a consequence, he directed his studies in that field.

… even today, Babar is held in esteem and considered a hero both in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. He even quotes Pandit Nehru as having said that the greatness of Babar lay not in capturing India but in capturing the hearts of Indians. […]