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The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Both an official chronicle and the highly personal memoir of the emperor Babur (1483–1530), The Baburnama presents a vivid and extraordinarily detailed picture of life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India during the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. Babur’s honest and intimate chronicle is the first autobiography in Islamic literature, written at a time when the ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published September 10th 2002 by Modern Library (first published September 10th 1531)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 26, 2015 7jane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in the history of Afghanistan and/or India around early 1500s
This was a good read, although if you really hate having loads and loads of names that seem too similar, this might be tough-going, especially at first - but if you stick to it, it becomes really enjoyable around the middle.

This is the memoirs of Babur (late 15th and early 16th century), founder of the Mughal Empire in India, and one of the first Islamic autobiographies existing. It shows both the good and the bad sides of him honestly: he was both cultured and a warlord. The story (which is not
Jairam Ranganathan
Jul 17, 2007 Jairam Ranganathan rated it liked it
Shelves: recentstuff
if you can avoid the parts where he names everybody he meets and their fathers and grandfathers and dogs and cats, this is an excellent read.
Apr 14, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent translation of a most compelling book, the autobiography of the founder of the Moghul empire. If you ever wondered how feudalism actually works, this is the book for you. Far from leading a life soley devoted to luxury and dancing girls, Babur is busy keeping his retinue in line and ensuring that the various challenges to his power are properly responded to.
The book is disarmingly honest, reporting drinking parties and drug taking as well as battles and disloyalty by those s
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it
The Baburnama isn't something you read from beginning to end. Rather, it's a book you dip into at random, slowly building up a patchwork view of life in what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, as seen through the eyes of the first Mughal emperor, Babur (1483-1530). Now you read about Babur's impressions of India (he hates it, apart from the gold, and mangoes); now about his private life (his mother has to force him to visit his wife, but he has no hesitation in declaring his love for a da ...more
May 01, 2010 Bubba rated it it was amazing
According to translator/grand old man of Persian and various other languages Wheeler Thackston, "Babur's memoirs were the first--and until relatively recent times, the only--true autobiography in Islamic literature." No one knows why this Timurid/Chingisid heir from Andijan (in what is now Uzbekistan's portion of the Ferghana Valley) decided to write a candid history of his life. Modern, especially western readers, used to centuries of self-examination in print might not grasp the magnitude of w ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, is one of the most influential figures in medieval history. This journal reveals deep insights into his experiences, and his values. He could be brutal and forgiving. He could be poetic, and base. He could abstain from wine, and throw tremendous and wild celebrations. In short, his is an interesting life.

Within the journal itself, there are many revealing points. At various points, Babur can be quite poetic in his descriptions. Providing a quick biography of
Grace Tjan
Dec 19, 2009 Grace Tjan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Long before Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his beloved, there was a Great Moghul who began it all: Babur, a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane who first established Mughal rule over India. His claim to fame rests on three things: the story of his death, the controversy over the mosque that he built, and the Baburnama, the first and only autobiography in Islamic literature until the 19th century. It is a vast, complex narrative of an extraordinarily eventful life, full of battles a ...more
May 12, 2013 Liam rated it really liked it
"'Come back, O phoenix, for without the parrot of your down the raven is about to carry away my bones.'" (quoting Hasan Ya'qub Beg, 17)

"In taking realms and administering kingdoms, although some things appear rational on the surface, one has to consider a hundred thousand things behind every act." (77)

"'If you don't seize what is at hand you will rue it until old age.'" (citing a proverb, 87)

"I have no strength to go, no power to stay. You have snared us in this state, my heart." (90)

"From fear
May 10, 2015 Abdaali rated it it was amazing
This book will take you back in time and make you wanna quit your day job and travel to central asia from samarkand to dilli . Truman said : In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first. This book is for anyone who is interested in a great adventure,which this book is nothing short of , the life of Babur the founder of mughal empire his struggles. A very good read indeed.
Vatsala Tewary
Sep 24, 2013 Vatsala Tewary rated it really liked it
Definitely a good read. It gives a detailed account of the life of Babur, his ambition, failings, sense of judgement, generosity, filial duty, and of course the persistence in the face of defeat and death. You get to see Babur as an emperor and Babur as a poet.
Köksal Kök
May 21, 2015 Köksal Kök rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-tarih
Babür Şah, 1530,
622 sayfa.

-Babür Şah
-Zahireddin Muhammed (1483-1530),
-Babür Bahadır,




............Dehli (Hindistan)

-kitapta geçen bazı kavramlar-tanımlar;


-kitapta geçen bazı rütbeler;

Rowland Bismark
Jul 26, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it liked it
In 1494, op de leeftijd van 12, Babur toegetreden tot een onzekere positie als een kleine heerser in Fergana, in Centraal-Azië, bij zijn dood in 1530 bedwong hij een groot deel van het noorden van India, heeft opgericht wat zou de 'Mughal' rijk geworden. Alsmede voor het dekken belangrijke historische gebeurtenissen, zijn levensverhaal, de Baburnama, biedt een fascinerend beeld van gewone (aristocratische) leven in de islamitische Midden-en Zuid-Azië rond 1500. Het is misschien niet het beste ui ...more
Robert Sheppard



In the 1500's the Mughals under their leader Babur made their way into India, expanding under Akbar the Great, and bui
PTS Books Club
Feb 19, 2011 PTS Books Club rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bāburnāma, literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur"; alternatively known as Tuzk-e Babri; is the name given to the memoirs of Ẓahīr ud-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur (1483-1530), founder of the Mughal Empire and a great-great-great-grandson of Timur.

It is an autobiographical work, originally written in the Chagatai language, known to Babur as "Turki" (meaning Turkic), the spoken language of the Andijan-Timurids. Because of Babur's cultural origin, his prose is highly Persianized in its sentence str
Dominic Carlone
Emperor Babur’s abnormal lifeline, progressing from sober, meditative statesman in his youth to “double rainbow, what does this mean?” drunken frat boy in his middle age is shocking, but entertaining. Interrupted by an 11-year gap in the journal’s manuscript, Babur’s lifestyle not only changes, but his writing style changes too. This is nowhere more evident than in his switch from thoroughly engrossing catalogues of the cultures and landscapes he encounters as a young man to the fragmented maaju ...more
bridget trinkaus
Mar 02, 2008 bridget trinkaus rated it liked it
Recommended to bridget by: dr. ferrara
Shelves: for-school
i had to read this for my world lit class. it was ok. we only had to read parts from it so it got a little confusing. it is basically the story of babur who is a mughal ruler who is a barbarian with a heart of gold.
i am writing a paper on babur about his being a compassionate yet brutal ruler. prior to reading this book i had never heard of the mughal empire. they are very interesting people, brutal people. this is something that i might end up reading once i am done with school. i think if it i
Dec 25, 2012 Tushar rated it really liked it
Brain storming when it comes to Part 3, apart from that part 1 and part 2 were so so so boring. Babur was suffering from some cough infection on his way to India itself and therefore his death cannot be called a sudden death. Also, a great description of the country is given by Babur, from fruits to flowers to animals and birds. Regions which stand today just as stop over small towns are called the big places of those times. He obviously came from one big family and hence saw a lot of teenage re ...more
A truly exceptional account of Babur's journey from Padshah of Timurid dynasty in Transoxiana to becoming a fugitive and finally as Emperor of Hindustan.
Feb 14, 2016 Natsu added it
just started but i think it will be good.
Nov 02, 2011 اویس rated it really liked it
I remember buying this book in Peshawar.The excitment I experianced on my way home as I finally had in my hands what I wanted to read for so long.I remember reading his description of Peshawar and it was like I was looking through his eyes at the scene..This book was soothing, a consolation for me for it provided me with peace while my city was going through a very difficult period in its history.babur writes from the heart.He is frank and well read ( as when he quotes from Nizami) and his own v ...more
Tim Robinson
Sep 14, 2015 Tim Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The diary of Babur, charting his long, slow, erratic and precarious rise from a minor warlord in central Asia to the ruler of northern India. Yet he never creates a proper state with real institutions. The best he can manage is a pony express from Delhi to Kabul! For the rest, he relies on delegation to friends and relatives of varying untrustworthiness, most of whom are determined to become warlords in their own right.
Jul 03, 2009 Adam added it
The babur awards go to...
Best incarnation of babur - The one that got high all the time and would gallop home asleep because he was so drunk
Most tiresome Babur - hyper-Islamic Babur
Best Name - Quite the pool to choose from, but Muhammed Ali Jang-Jang takes this one home
Best Son - Obviously Humayoon, because he did not care a whit about the rest
Worst place, as voted by the author - Hindustan
Sanjay Casula
Aug 10, 2011 Sanjay Casula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a biography of one of the greatest rulers of India but equally a very good writer in keeping with the ancient timurid saying to be both proficient with the sword as well as the pen. it describes his struggle with alcohol, his initial surprise at first running a rhinosaurus in India.his personal vanity his observations on India its people etc etc
all in all a warts and all biography
Oct 08, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
Quite possibly the world's first autobiography, and since its from a 16th Century prince on the lam from his homeland who ends up founding the Mughal Empire in India you couldnt really ask for a better setting.
Jul 07, 2012 Sheokhanda rated it really liked it
A must read inspirational stuff. How a boy from Tajikistan and Kabul Area went on to capture Delhi and India. This in turn led to a formation of one of the most powerful empires in the world. The Mughals.
Jul 10, 2007 Juan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel-history
An Emperor and adventurer, also a complex human being, who liked to write and tried to do it well, many times critizicing his own efforts. Its a superb historical document as well as well as good reading.

May 06, 2015 SANTOSH REDDY rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Description of geographical regions ,cultures etc reveals the curious mind of Babur.Babur was a ruler who was way ahead in many things when compared to his contemporaries(rulers)
Azeem Ali
Really great read and many of the places he visited are still important in contempory foreign affairs such as Kandahar and Kabul.
Rocky Dahiya
Babur's auto-biography. Experiencing the world again with the Moghul emperor's eyes after 500 years he did.
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Zahir ud-din Muhammad Babur more commonly known as Babur,was a military adventurer from Central Asia who rose to power at Kabul after establishing his first kingdom in 1504. From there he built an army and conquered nearby regions until 1526, when he invaded the Lodi Afghan Empire of South Asia and laid the basis for the Mughal Empire.

Babur was a descendant of Timur through his father, and Genghis
More about Zahirud-din Muhammad Babur...

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