Babur (Persian: بابر, romanized: Bābur, lit. ’tiger’; Persian pronunciation: [bɑːbʊr]; 14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530), born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the founder of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent.
He was a descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan through his father and mother respectively. He was also given the posthumous name of Firdaws Makani (‘Dwelling in Paradise’).
Babur’s memoirs form the main source for details of his life. They are known as the Baburnama and were written in Chaghatai Turkic, his mother tongue. Baburnama was translated into Persian during the rule of Babur’s grandson Akbar.
Babur ascended the throne at Farghana (Uzbekistan), in 1494 at the age of twelve after the death of his father.
Like his Persian ancestors, Babur was as much a scholar and poet as a soldier. When the dust settled on the plains of Paniput in 1526, Babur was dismayed to see the spoils of his victory: “Hindustan is a place of little charm,” he wrote in his memoirs.
Babur chose not to murder and loot as his famed ancestor had done 127 years earlier; instead, he stayed and founded a dynasty. In 1526, he laid out a garden on the banks of the Jamuna River at Agra to rival any in Persia and endowed his successors with a small kingdom and a passion for beauty.