It all began with the first battle of Panipat in 1526 where the Lodi Sultanate had the misfortune of falling to the founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur. Born in Ferghana (present-day Uzbekistan), the emperor was not native to India. Descendant of Tamerlane, one of the last great Turkic conqueror, and the famous Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire, Zahir-ud-Din Mohammed Babur was without a doubt a military adventurer and a soldier of distinction. Thus, when he made his raid to Panipat, with no more than 12 000 soldiers against Ibrahim Lodi’s 100 000 soldiers, he won the battle with his use of artillery, unique Central Asian tactics, and ruling experience. Indeed, Babur ruled in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) and Kabul before successfully invading Hindustan and so beginning the period of Mughal rule over India.
‘The chief excellency of Hindustan is that it is a large country and has abundance of gold and silver. … as far indeed as the great ocean the peoples are without break.’
He describes with fascination and detail in his memoir the country he was beginning to conquer. In fact, one of the reasons behind the invasion of India was specifically to utilize the country’s wealth and prosperity, India being at that time one of the richest lands in the world. This greatly favors the newly founded empire’s financial status and lightens the burden of establishing an elaborate system for the functioning of the empire.
It is recognized that India is home to the largest population of people following the Hindu faith and it was no different during Mughal rule. Reaction from the Hindu majority of the population towards the Muslim Mughal Sultanate was conventional to any newly established monarchy. It is an expected attitude considering the fact that the Mughals were not the first Muslims to rule significant parts of India as that honor goes to the Delhi Sultanate which started in 1206. Thus, the religious changes and its impacts on the new policies were not a matter of concern for the subject. The actual problems lied within the empire’s proximity to the Hindu Rajput kingdoms occupying northern India. Not only did Babur’s empire make way for expansion, it also made new enemies, particularly the Rajputs. The war of conquest in northern India had just begun.
Babur became king at a young age and died aged only 47, before he had securely established his dynasty, leaving his son a difficult inheritance.
Due to instability within the empire, Nasir-ud-Din Muhammed Humayun had difficulties with his succession.