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HUMAYUN, NASIR UDDIN MUHAMMAD (1508-1556), Mughal emperor of India, was born at Kabul on 6 March 1508, the eldest of the four sons of ZahTr udDin Muhammad Babar. Humayuri succeeded Babar to the throne of Delhi in December 1530 at the age of 23, but his reign was beset with difficulties. Babar had left an empire barely held by force of arms and lacking any consolidated civil administration. Though earlier Humayuri had served an apprenticeship as governor of Badakhshari, he did not have the sustained energy of his versatile father. Sher Khan Sur, an Afghan chief, who had been consolidating his power in south Bihar, defeated him in a battle at Chausa on the Ganges, in 1540.

Sher Khan again defeated Humayuri still more decisively opposite Kanauj, and then pursued the fleeing Mughals to Lahore. Humayuri became a homeless wanderer, first in Sindh, then in Marvar, and then in Sindh again. In 1544, he reached Persia and was granted asylum by Shah Tahmasp. In 1555, with Persian help, Humayuri invaded India where four Sur claimants were struggling for power. He occupied Delhi and Agra in July 1555, thus regaining his father`s capital cities. But he was not destined to rule for long. An accidental fall from the staircase of his library at Delhi ended his troubled life in January 1556. His second reign lasted barely six months.

The story ofHumayuri`s visit to the second Sikh Guru, Arigad, after having been defeated by Sher Khan Sur, is referred to in Sikh chronicles. It is recorded that Humayuri went to Khadur to seek the Guru`s blessing. At the time of his visit, the Guru was in meditation and Humayuri, impatiently waiting for the Guru to attend to him, was in a rage. As the tradition goes, he attempted to draw his sword to attack the Guru. However, the sword would not come out of the scabbard. Meanwhile, the Guru came out of the trance and remarked that he should have drawn his sword against his enemies. Humayuri was repentant and craved forgiveness.

References :

1. Smith Vincent, The Oxford History of India. Oxford, 1958
2. Beveridge, H., tr., The Akbar Namn. Delhi, 1989
3. Sharma, Sri Ram, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. Bombay, 1962

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