Write a short essay on: “Babarnama as a source of history.” [2002, 20m]
The Babarnama, written by Babur, is often considered as one of the most authoritative memoir written in the sixteenth century which not only describes the political and physical landscape of India but also the socio-economic and religious live of its countrymen.
Written in the mother tongue of Babur i.e. Chaghatai Turki was translated to Persian during Akbar’s regime and later into many European languages. Though the manuscripts obtained are not complete and much have been lost, a substantial portion of it has been devoted to his experience with Hindustan.
Babur specifically mentions the situation of contemporary state and its citizen. While describing its landscape, he curiously mentions the Hindu Kush and Shivaliks and expresses his lack of knowledge about the hill men of India.
Similarly, he identifies the socio-cultural conditions prevailing over the period and probably did not notice much difference in the life style of Muslims and Non-Muslims. However, he is critical about the towns, and socio-cultural life. He complains of having no social intercourse, paying and receiving visits, and lack of manners. However, it notes without hesitation that India is a country of gold and silver.
Babarnama though might not be justified in each and every aspect of the prevailing life and culture as Babur could not spend much time here, it certainly helps the contemporary and modern historians to construct the history of sixteenth century with much ease and accurateness
His recollections are broadly divided into three parts. The last part gives a detailed account of India. According to an estimate Baburnama is “One of those priceless records which are for all times; It is fit to rank with the confessions of St. Augustine and Rousseau and the memoirs of Gibbon and Newton. In Asia it stands alone.”