THE narrative of Bābur is here broken off, at one of the most interesting moments of his history. Whether this defect be owing to the imperfection of the copies or to design in the author, it is not easy to decide; though, from A D. 1508. a similar interruption at the beginning of the year 914 of the Hijira, when Bābur appears to be on the point of falling into the hands of a desperate band of conspirators, it seems probable that it was intentional; and, we may be almost tempted to believe, that the Imperial author derived a sort of dramatic pleasure from working up to a very high pitch the curiosity of his reader or hearer, and leaving the mind in a state of awakened suspense by a sudden break in the narrative. All the three copies which I have had an oppor­tunity of comparing, break off precisely at the same period in both instances. This holds in the original Tūrki as well as in the translation; and it is hardly conceivable that a translator would have deserted his hero in the most memorable passages of his life. The copy which Dr. Leyden followed was evidently, in this respect, exactly like the others. The blank which Bābur has left in his own Memoirs it is difficult to supply, in spite of the great number of authors who have written the details of his reign; as they have in general confined themselves to the grand military and political actions of his times, and give us little assistance where Bābur, who is his own best biographer, happens to fail in detailing the earlier, which are by no means the least interesting events of his life.

The Khans
defeated by

The Memoirs break off in A. H. 908, and are resumed in A. H. 910.* Whether Bābur was delivered into the hands of Sheikh Bayezīd, or whether he effected his escape from the painful custody in which he was held at Karnān, I have not been able to discover. The narrative of Abul-Fazel* is here very imperfect. It would appear, however, from the brief account of Ferishta,* and of Khāfi Khan,* that Bābur had succeeded in rejoining his maternal uncles the two Khans; but, if this was the case, the advantage derived from this junction was of short continuance. Sheibāni Khan, whom Ahmed Tambol had invited to his assistance, arrived soon after with an army more in number than the rain-drops, says Mīr Khāwend Shah,* attacked the Moghuls, defeated them in a bloody battle,* made both the brothers prisoners, and compelled Bābur to fly into Moghulistān. Immediately after the battle, Sheibāni Khan dispatched a messenger to Tāshkend, to communicate information that the two Khans were in his hands, and that Bābur had been obliged to abandon the country; and with instruc­tions to add that, if the inhabitants had any wish to save their princes, they must prevent the escape of Khwājeh Abul Makāram and detain him in custody. Sheibāni Khan, after having kept the Khans a few days as his prisoners, dismissed them to go where they would; ‘and they came by their end’, continues Mīr Khāwend Shah, ‘in the way mentioned in the Account of the family of Chaghatāi Khan.’ The particulars of their death I have not been able to ascertain, and there is some disagreement among historians on the subject.* By some, Sheibāni Khan* is represented as having used his victory with considerable lenity. He is said to have set the brothers at liberty, prompted by the recollection that he had formerly been in their service, and that he had been received and kindly treated by Yunis Khan, their father. We are told by Ferishta that Sultan Mahmūd Khan, the elder brother, fell into a deep melan­choly; when advised by one of his friends to use a famous antidote brought from China, for the purpose of averting the effects of poison, which it was suggested might have been administered by Sheibāni Khan, he is said to have replied, ‘Yes; Sheibāni has indeed poisoned me! He has taken away my kingdom, which your antidote cannot restore.’* But these accounts are not very consistent with the narra­tive of Bābur himself, who informs us that Sheibāni Khan put Sultan Mahmūd Khan to death in Khojend, with his son Baba Khan, and many other princes of his family. It is not improbable that Sheibāni Khan affected to set the Khan at liberty a few days after the battle, as is mentioned by Mīr Khāwend Shah, and that he gave orders to pursue, and put him to death privately, along with his family; a policy which he appears to have followed on other occa­sions, in order to avoid part of the odium likely to arise from an unpopular act.

Fate of
Abul Mu-

Khwājeh Abul Mukāram was thrown into prison at Tāshkend, but in two or three days effected his escape and set out from that city on foot. That he might not be recog­nized, he submitted to the mortification of cutting off his beard: but being unable, from his age and infirmities, to reach any place of safety, he was compelled to take refuge with a man who lived in a neighbouring village. This person concealed him for a day or two, but having after­wards informed against him, he was seized and carried before Sheibāni Khan. The Khan, on seeing him, inquired, ‘What have you done with your beard?’ to which the Khwājeh answered in two Persian verses, the sense of which is, that he who puffs at the lamp which God has lighted, singes his beard. But the felicity of this allusion did not avail him, and he* was put to death. Sheibāni Khan, following up the advantages which he had gained, took possession of Tāshkend, Shahrokhīa, and all the dominions of Sultan Mahmūd Khan, as well probably as of the territories of his younger brother Alacheh Khan, so that his territories now extended along both sides of the Sirr or Jaxartes, and stretched southward to the banks of the Amu. He fixed the seat of his government at Samarkand, and gave his brother Mahmūd Sultan the charge of Bokhāra. Tāshkend, with the dominions of the two Khans, he gave to his paternal uncles, Gujenjeh Khan and Sanjek Sultan, whose mother was the daughter of the celebrated Mirza Ulugh Beg Gurgān. The office of Dārogha of Shahrokhīa he bestowed on Amīr Yākub, who was one of the chief of his nobles.

Bābur flies
to Asfera,
A. D. 1503.

Bābur is said to have taken refuge after this disaster in Moghulistān, an incident to which he himself never refers. This at least is certain, that he was soon after fortunate enough to escape from the north side of the Sirr, and to gain the hill country of Sūkh and Hūshiār, villages which lie in the district of Asfera, among the mountains that separate Ferghāna from Hissār and Karatigīn, where he wandered for nearly a year as a fugitive, often reduced to A. D. 1503-
the greatest difficulties.* Finding his partisans completely dispersed, however, and all hopes gone of recovering his hereditary kingdom, after consulting with his few remaining adherents, he resolved to try his fortune in Khorasān, which was at that time held by Sultan Hussain Mirza, a sovereign of great power and reputation, and beyond comparison the most distinguished prince then living of the family of Taimūr.

leaves Fer-

When Bābur bade adieu for the last time to his native country, which he appears to have regarded during all the future years of his life with the fondness which a man of warm attachments feels for the scenes of his early affections, he crossed the high range of hills to the south of Ferghāna, and came down west of Karatigīn on the country of Cheghā­niān and Hissār, territories at that time belonging to His conduct
to Khosrou
Khosrou Shah, to whom Bābur always professes a deep-rooted hatred. The murder of Baiesanghar Mirza, and the blinding of Sultan Masaūd Mirza, both cousins of Bābur, and the latter the full brother of one of his wives, were certainly sufficient to justify the terms of strong detestation in which that prince always speaks of him; but Ferishta seems to insinuate that he hated the man whom he had injured; and that Bābur, though treated by Khosrou Shah with great hospitality, stirred up a faction in his court, seduced the affections of his army, and by his intrigues forced him to abandon his troops, his treasure, and his dominions. Whether or not Bābur was aware that such charges had been made, or were likely to be brought against him, is uncertain; but the narrative in his Memoirs is certainly fitted to meet accusations of this nature; and he appears throughout to show uncommon solicitude to justify himself in regard to Khosrou Shah, whose general character for hospitality and generosity to others he acknowledges, while he pointedly accuses him of niggardliness and want of common civility to himself, in the two different instances in which he was obliged to pass through the country of that chieftain. That he intrigued with the army of Khosrou Shah, particularly with the Moghul troops, Bābur boldly avows, but appears to regard his conduct in that respect as only an act of fair hostility towards an inveterate foe.

Ulugh Beg
of Kābul
A. D. 1501.

Ulugh Beg Mirza, Bābur’s paternal uncle, the King of Kābul and Ghazni, had died in the year A. H. 907, leaving his territories to his son Abdal Razāk Mirza, who was still young. The whole power was usurped by one of his ministers, Shīrīm Ziker, who soon rendered himself odious to the chief men of the country. A conspiracy, headed by Muhammed Kāsim Beg and Yunis Ali, was formed against Confused
state of that
the minister, in consequence of which the conspirators, entering Kābul with a formidable band of adherents, put Ziker to death while sitting in state at a grand festival, which was held for celebrating the Id.* The kingdom for some time was a prey to disorder and tumult. Muhammed Mukīm Beg, the son of Zūlnūn Arghūn and brother of Shah A. H. 908.
A. D. 1502-
Beg, names which often occur in the following pages, avail­ing himself of this situation of things, marched without orders from the Garmsīr,* which he held for his father, and appeared suddenly before Kābul, which opened its gates. Zūlnūn Beg, without professing to approve of the pro­ceedings of Mukīm, sanctioned his retaining possession of A. H. 910.
A. D. 1504.
his conquest. Abdal Razāk Mirza had retired among the hills, and was still making ineffectual efforts for the recovery of his capital, when Bābur entered the territories of Khosrou Shah.*

It is necessary then to recollect that, at this period, when Bābur resumes the history of his own adventures, Sheibāni Khan had conquered Samarkand and Bokhāra, Ferghāna and Uratippa, Tāshkend and Shahrokhīa; Sultan Hussain Mirza governed Khorasān; Khosrou Shah still held Hissār, Khutlān, Kunduz, and Badakhshān; and Zūlnūn Beg, though he acknowledged Sultan Hussain Mirza, had the chief and almost independent power in Kandahār and Zamīn-dāwer, the country of the Hazāras* and Nukderis*, the Garmsīr, and great part of Sīstān, and the country south of Kandahār.