Bairam Khan

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Bairam Khan was a Turkoman military general, who served as the regent to the underage Mughal ruler Akbar, who came to power in 1556. Although the period of Bairam Khan’s regency is very brief, that is, from 1556-1560, he played very important role in guiding footsteps of Akbar while he was too young to establish his power. He gave great support to Akbar at the most difficult time when the border states of Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan enjoyed perfect freedom from all superior control and the Surs has recaptured Delhi and Agra. Thus Akbar was left only with the Punjab. Bairam Khan skillfully commanded the Mughal army and defeated Himu, the commander-in-chief of the Surs at Panipat on November 1556 and thus recaptured Delhi and Agra. Bairam Khan was in fact the real administrator and faithfully extended his kingdom when the young king spent most of his time in hunting, elephant fighting and other youthful sports.

Bairam Khan’s regency can be divided into various phases. The first phase covers the period from Akbar’s accession to just before the battle of Panipat when Bairam Khan’s leadership was acknowledged by all nobles in the face of a grave threat to their common interests. During the Second phase, which saw the second battle of Panipat and closed with the arrival of the ladies of the court from Kabul (Apr.1557). Bairam Khan’s control over the state apparatus was complete and he attempted to create a personal following. In the third phase, which extended till the middle of 1559 Bairam Khan’s influence and powers diminished progressively. The final phase, which began with an attempt on the part of the Regent to regain control over the state apparatus, witnessed the renewal of factional struggle at the court in an accentuated form leading to Bairam Khan’s dismissal.

Bairam was dismissed upon Akbar’s coming of age in 1560. He was allowed to leave for Mecca but on the way was killed by a Mughal noble Lohani who had a personal grudge with him. Akbar married his widow and brought up his infant son Abdur Rahim who became his able minister and gained the title of Khan-i-Khanan.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006