Gulbadan Bigam d. 1011/1603


Daughter of Bābur (see author 35), Gulbadan Bigam was born in Ḫurāsān c. 929/1523 just two years before her father began his expedition to India and established the foundations of the Mughal Empire. Shortly after her birth, Gulbadan Bigam was adopted by Māham Bigam, Bābur’s senior wife and mother of Humāyūn, Bābur’s eldest surviving son at the time of the latter’s death and second emperor of the Mughal Empire. Gulbadan Bigam moved to the seat of her father’s government at Āgra in 936/1529 until she was sent to Kābul in 947/1540, when Humāyūn suffered one of his most devastating defeats in his decades-long struggle to stabilize the empire against threats from family members and external enemies. In 982/1574 she left on a pilgrimage to Mecca and was not to return to India until 990/1582. She had stayed in the Ḥijāz for three and a half years, having performed the ḥajj four times, and spent a year in Aden following a shipwreck.

When she returned to India, Akbar, Humāyūn’s son and Mughal ruler, asked her to write her personal memoirs, resulting in the Humāyūn-nāmah or Aḥwāl-i Humāyūn Pād¯šāh. Akbar had wanted the material for the benefit of Abū al-Fażl (see author 7) who was writing the Akbar-nāmah. Gulbadan Bigam died at Āgra in 1011/1603.


Humāyūn-nāmah     The Book of Humāyūn

Extends to 960/1553.