Humayun (1530 – 1540 & 1555 – 1556)

  • Humayun, a cultured and learned person, was not a soldier like his father.
  • He was faced with the problems of a weak financial system and the predatory Afghans.
  • Bahadur Shah, the ruler of Gujarat, also posed a great threat.
  • Humayun’s brother Kamran who was in-charge of Kabul and Kandahar extended his authority up to Punjab.
  • Humayun remembering the promise he had made to his father on the eve of his death that he would treat his brothers kindly, agreed to Kamran’s suzerainty over Punjab to avoid a civil war.
  • The growth of Afghan power in the regions around Bihar and Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Sher Khan (later Sher Shah) made Humayun to initiate action.
  • Defeating the Afghans at Daurah in 1532 Humayun besieged the powerful fort of Chunar.
  • After a period of four months, Humayun, believing the word of Sher Shah that he would be loyal to the Mughals, withdrew the siege.
  • This turned out to be a great mistake.
  • Humayun spent the succeeding years of his life in constructing a new city in Delhi, Dinpanah, while his enemies were strengthening themselves.
  • Realising the ensuing danger from Bahadur Shah who had annexed Rajasthan and instigated and provided refuge to all anti-Mughal elements, Humayan marched against him.
  • He captured Gujarat and Malwa and left them under the control of his brother Askari.
  • Unable to put down the rebellions of the Gujarati people, Askari decided to proceed to Agra.
  • This alarmed Humayun stationed at Mandu, for he was afraid that Askari would take Agra for himself.
  • Hence, abandoning Gujarat and Malwa Humayun pursued his brother.
  • Both the brothers reconciled after a meeting at Rajasthan.
  • When Humayun was deeply engrossed in the affairs of Bahadur Shah, Sher Khan had strengthened himself by defeating the ruler of Bengal.
  • Sher Khan captured the fort of Rohtas and Bengal.
  • After capturing Chunar Humayun marched to Bengal to confront Sher Khan.
  • When Humayun reached Gaur or Gauda he received information on the rebellion of Hindal, his younger brother.
  • Humayun proceeded to Agra to quell the rebellion.
  • Sher Khan who had been quiet all this time started attacking the army of Humayun.
  • When Humayun reached Chausa with great difficulty there was a full-fledged battle.

Battle of Chausa (1539)

  • This battle was won by Sher Khan due to his superior political and military skills.
  • Humayun suffered a defeat in which 7000 Mughal nobles and soldiers were killed and Humayun himself had to flee for his life by swimming across the Ganga.
  • Humayun who had arrived at Agra assembled his army with the support of his brothers Askari and Hindal to counter Sher Khan.
  • The final encounter took place at Kanauj.

Battle of Kanauj (1540)

  • This battle was won by Sher Khan and Humayun’s army was completely routed, and he became a prince without a kingdom.

Humayun’s Return from Exile

  • After Sher Shah’s death in 1545 his weak successors ruled for ten years.
  • Humayun,who had fled after his defeat at Kanauj, had taken asylum in Persia.
  • Humayun then went to Afghanistan with Persian troops.
  • He succeeded in capturing Kandahar and Kabul.
  • But his brother Kamran did not allow him to hold them in peace.
  • The struggle between the brothers intensified, and yet in the end Kamran had to seek a compromise with Humayun.
  • Meanwhile the Sur empire had fragmented, and so Humayun’s invasion became easy.
  • The Afghan forces in Punjab, on the approach of Mughals, began to flee. Humayun became the Emperor once again.
  • He died very soon after regaining Delhi when he slipped down the stairs of the library in the fort at Delhi.
  • In the colourful words of Lane Poole, “Humayun stumbled out of his life, as he has stumbled through it.”

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