A lot of websites mentioned that his attitude was one of enjoyment. Even a wikiquote says this.

Are these sources reliable, meaning that this is true? Or are there other sources that impeach or contradict them? What, in fact, do the most reliable sources say about Babur's attitude in this regard?

  • 2
    "Enjoy" might not be exactly the right word, and the first link within your first link claims this was a Mongol custom.
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 6 '17 at 18:43
  • Babur is famously honest in his autobiography. The second link you mention is opinion of one particular individual who hints that Babur was motivated by religious motives and enjoyed such antics and confessed that but he doesnt provide any reference to where did babur confess it?
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:34
  • Such revisionists conviniently forget that Most of Babur's campaigns were against Muslim Lodhis of Delhi, Afghans, Uzbeks and Persians, not against Hindus. If I were to speculate, I'd say this is just another example of historical revisionism which is undergoing in India to suit the current political narrative and claiming a genocide (When in fact even after a 1000 years of rule, Muslims were a minority in 1857 when their rule de-jure came to an end).
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:36
  • 1
    There can of course be no denying that there were beheadings and conflicts with Hindus too in Babur's era but beheading was an accepted way of execution back then. And stacking up heads was seen as "setting an example". World in 1526 was not governed by laws and morals of our day and era. Babur was a King. Kings are not Black or White, they are grey with both good and bad parts. Even if their bad parts weren't considered bad in their time
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:38
  • Just spotted another amusing falsehood in the quote of Mr. Goel. He states that Ghazi means slayer of Infidel which shows his ignorance of the matters he is providing opinion on. Ghazi does not mean slayer of Infidels. Not to mention Goel claims that his accounts of his "Massacres" show he was proud of his acts when all noted historians praise Babur for his unflinching honesty in his book even if it made him look bad. Would Mr. Goel be more pleased if he had lied and denied that such massacres of captives, enemies and pows took place?
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:44

In the memoirs Babur himself wrote, the Bāburnāma, there's indeed a lot of beheading.

Some examples (by no means an exhaustive list):

Husain Mirza ordered that all prisoners should be beheaded; this not here only but wherever he defeated a rebel son, he ordered the heads of all prisoners to be struck off. And why not? Right was with him.

p. 140-141

Our men brought in many of their braves; we ordered the heads of all to be struck off.

p. 183

While we were there, Khudai-birdi Tughchi, then newly favoured with beg's rank, fell on some of Tambal's raiders and brought in a few heads.

p. 184

Another time Qasim Beg led his braves out through the Needle-makers' Gate, pursued the Auzbegs as far as Khwaja Kafsher, unhorsed some and returned with a few heads.

p. 214

He cut off a few heads and sent to me.

p. 241

they got up with him, beat his Auzbegs well, cut off and brought in a few heads.

p. 267

a hundred or two were taken, some were brought in alive but of most, the heads only were brought.

p. 302

All this before we reach, on the same page 302, these statements of Babur:

Those our men had brought in as prisoners were ordered to be beheaded and a pillar of their heads was set up in our camp.


Our men went straight up, broke into it and cut off a hundred or two of insolent Afghan heads. There also a pillar of heads was set up.

The edition of the Bāburnāma linked above has a note on this:

This barbarous custom has always prevailed amongst the Tartar conquerors of Asia (Erskine). For examples under Timur see Raverty's Notes p. 137.

There are more examples in pages 303, 441 and 474.

I don't know if Babur enjoyed using human skulls as Lego, but by the tone of his comments, certainly very upset he was not.

  • 1
    Beheading was an accepted way of execution back in 16th century. This good answer establishes that there were beheadings and stacks of dismembered heads but it does not provide the answer to main question, did Babur personally take joy in it? Did he confess as such in Baburnama? or Did he just consider it something that needed to be done as per customs and rules of his time. +1 regardless for research.
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:32
  • If I might ask, how did Indian kings treat enemy soldiers ? When they deemed to be killed, were they beheaded, or something was done ? I understand "Indian kings" is a very broad generalization, but still..
    – Daud
    Feb 7 '17 at 7:59
  • 3
    @Daud Beheading yes, impaled yes, hanged yes. But not stacking up towers of head. That is characteristically Mongol/Tatar tradition. Babur was heir of Timurlane and House of Timur and was Turco-Mongol in descent. He came from Ferghana Uzbekistan when his uncles and Ozbeks occupied his native lands. He was therefore raised with the Persianized Turco-Mongol culture and therefore constructed towers of heads.
    – NSNoob
    Feb 7 '17 at 8:27

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