Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur - Famous people - Turkestan Travel
Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur was a great Uzbek poet, philosopher, historian and statesman; the founder of the Baburid dynasty and empire. Among the scientific works of Babur, the special place hold “Treatise on Aruz” (1523-25), which describes the theory of oriental metrical Aruz. In 1521, he wrote the philosophical and religious work “Mubayyin”, in which he expounded the 5 foundations of Islamic Sharia.

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur was born in Andijan on 14 February 1483, the son of the ruler of Fergana and great-grandson of Amir Temur. In 1494, when Babur was only 12 years old, he became ruler of Fergana. In 1503 – 1504 he conquered Afghanistan. In 1519 – 1525, he attempted to conquer India five times. He became the founder of Babur’s empire (entered into world history as the “Great Mughal Empire”), which lasted for more than three centuries (1526 – 1858, until the conquest of India by the British). He died on 26 December 1530 in the city of Agra. His tomb was in Agra, but was then moved to Kabul.

Babur’s literary legacy is varied and rich. His lyrical works are collected in the “Kabul Devoni” (1519), then in the “Hind Devoni” (1529-30). He wrote poems in more than 10 genres of Oriental poetry. His poems reflect his personal life, his environment and historical events. The core of Babur’s poetry is love poems. The poet’s mastery is evident in his original literary style and skilful use of the most expressive devices of the Turkish language.

There is information that he created the finished Devon. The general quantity of his poems is more than 400. 119 of them are written in a style called “Ghazal” and 231 of them are “Ruboi”.

His poems realistically reflect the historical events of the period, personal life, environment, attitude towards man, religion, customs and traditions of the time.

It can be said that Babur’s poems are the poet’s autobiography, expressing deep feelings in a poetic language that touches and masterfully portrays the feelings arising from the collision with the circumstances of life.

The core of Babur’s poetry is the poems with love lyric content. One of the important aspects of his work is the glorification of a truly human, earthly, genuine love. The poet’s lyrics are imbued with the inspirational poetry of Alisher Navoi. In his Ghazals and rubai, he highlights problems of human relationships such as love, friendship and the pursuit of beauty. The poet praises earthly love as the highest human dignity.

Babur declares that he is willing to endure any hardship to meet his beloved. He cannot imagine life without his beloved. With great sincerity he expresses his willingness to sacrifice his whole being for the sake of love.

The sunlight does not shine without the moon face,
Sugar is not without her whose sweetness I have sung.
Without the slender, the cypress pierces my breast with an arrow,
Without Rosette, roses have no fragrance and no colour.
What shall I do in paradise? I want to be with her,
What else should I do in the gardens of another world?
Have your head cut off for her, Babur,
But it is impossible to tear it from my beloved heart!

For Babur, love is loyalty, devotion, nobility and humanity. He places it above all: wealth, social status and all earthly goods. In his accomplished Ghazals, the poet creates an image of the beautiful beloved by endowing her with unparalleled beauty, rich inner content and spiritual perfection. In doing so, he skilfully employs original artistic devices.

This beauty, whose body is so delicate, I need,
Like the sun whose light illuminates the soul, I need.
Me who has fallen down, not the sacred vault of the mihrab.
The brow that the artful woman furrowed, I need.
“Forget thy head, O heart, the way of lovers….
Will thou, shun it.
Anyone who has fallen at her feet may fall at her lips,
If he but needs a grave for eternal sleep.
What’s the matter, Babur, when everyone is unkind to you?
All you need is your friend’s smile.

In praising the sincere feelings of love and asserting earthly human love, Babur sharply criticises the hypocrisy of fanatical sheikhs and ascetics, indeed he turns against the gloomy dogmatists. The flames of hell seem like a spark compared to the fire of separation:

Had I known that separation would kill me viciously,
I could have lived with my beloved until death without sorrow.
Scares the hell out of me… But of the fire of separation.
The flame of hell is no more than a mere spark.

The theme of the motherland occupies a special place in Babur’s poetry. His poems, especially quatrains, express with great power the longing for the homeland and the boundless love for it.

You are in a foreign land – and forgotten, of course, man!
You only feel pity for yourself from the bottom of your heart, human.
In my travels I have never known an hour of joy!
Forever one mourns for the beloved homeland, human.

The poetry of Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur also deals with issues of morality and the spiritual perfection of man. The poet elevates man, treats him with great respect and values human dignity. He rejects the things that contradict this. Egoism, vanity, greed, conceit are useless qualities that ruin a human being. The poet gives sincere advice to people. In his columns he talks about how one must cultivate the best moral qualities in oneself.

Touching on this subject, he describes kindness, magnanimity, nobility and honesty as the most important meanings of human life. He considers friendship as the most important aspect of human quality and a powerful force in the fight against the enemy.

Talking about the artistic language of Babur’s works, one should note their simplicity, accessibility, clarity and conciseness. The poet is not a friend of loud phrases and complicated expressions. The simplicity of Babur’s language helps his works to be clearly perceived by readers and contain a rich palette of feelings and emotions.

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur calls for avoiding meaningless chatter, expressing one’s thoughts briefly, clearly and simply, not using such words that one does not understand oneself. In particular, he remarks: “Write more simply, with clear and pure syllables, it will be less trouble for you and for the one who reads.”

Undoubtedly, these lines from “Baburnoma” testify to the fact that Babur’s poetic mastery had a profound and palpable influence on the imagery of his prose work, giving it great artistic beauty and wide renown.

Babur’s poetic skill is expressed in the artistic-literary style and skilful use of the most expressive means of the native language, as well as in the creative transformation of the sources of folk art.

Among the scientific works, the special place in the development of Oriental philology belongs to his “Treatise on Aruz” – the result of careful and professional study of the poetic foundations of poetry, critical mastery of its achievements. Babur enriched the theory of prosody (the system of pronunciation of stressed and unstressed, long and short syllables in speech) with new phenomena, positions and generalisations he had absorbed, developed the classification of their types and variants.

He argues his views with materials from Arabic, Perso-Tajik and Turkic poetry. This scholarship not only shows the kinship and mutual influence of poetry, but also demonstrates a wide range and inexhaustible poetic potential of the poetry of Turkic-speaking peoples. Continuing the tradition of Alisher Navoi, he laid great emphasis on folk poetry. His work contains valuable data on folk song genres and interesting ethnographic material.

The famous “Baburnoma” shows the history of the great Temurids, the struggle for the establishment of the great power (events from 1494-1529). The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences preserves more than 10 manuscript versions of “Baburnoma”. On this basis, the Babur scholar Porso Shamsiev published a critical text (1960) of the ingenious work by comparing several manuscripts. Later, the Japanese scholar I. Mano also published a critical text “Baburnoma” (1994). The text of “Baburnoma” was also published by N. Ilminsky (1847), Beverige (1905), Fitrat (Fragments, 1928) and P. Shamsiev (1960).

It has been translated into Persian (1586), Dutch (1705), English (1826), French (1871), Turkish (1940) and Russian (1942). The theme of “Baburnoma” is treated by novels of foreign authors F.A.Style (Paris, 1940), F.Grenard (Paris, 1930), G.Lemb (New York, 1961), V.Gasconi (New York, 1980), Munilayl (6 novels) and others. Uzbek writers have written poems (Oybek, Baikabulov, Khurshid Davron), a novel (Pirimqul Qodirov) and a novella (H. Sultanov) about him.

In 1521, he wrote a philosophical and religious work “Mubayyin”, in which 5 fundamentals of the Islamic Shari’a are set out, he also wrote a book on taxation “Mubayyinu-l-zakot” in the same year. His scientific works “Harb ishi” (“Warfare”), “Musika ilmi” (“Science of Music”) have not been found yet.

Babur wrote on the basis of the Arabic script “Khatti Boburiy” (“Babur’s script”) to suit Turkish phonetics. He transcribed the Koran and some works by Babur himself using this script.

He also engaged in literary translations, translating in verse the religious-philosophical work “Volidia” (“Parenthetical Treatise”) of the greatest master of Sufism – Khoja Ahror Vali, the follower of Bahouddin Naqshbandi.

The members of the international scientific expedition to study the work of Babur organised scientific trips on the “traces” of the poet several times, they found more than 500 books and documents, which are kept in the memorial museum “Babur and his place in the civilised world”. The park of Babur with his symbolic tomb and the memorial complex “Ark Ichi” are located in Andijan.

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur was not a superficial observer of public life and history, he tried to analyse the events and phenomena, to express his views, to express his thoughts and feelings. And these thoughts and feelings were aimed at serving the principles of goodness and justice, truth and beauty.

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