Who were nine gems in Akbar's court

Bairam Khan - Bairam Khan

Commander in chief, regent and powerful statesman of the Mughal Empire

Bairam Khan (c. January 18, 1501 - c. January 31, 1561) was a major military commander and later commander-in-chief of the Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the Mughal emperors, Humayun and Akbar. He was also Akbar's guardian, chief mentor, advisor, teacher, and most trusted ally. Humayun honored him as Khan-i-Khanan which means "King of Kings". Bairam was originally called Bairam "Beg" but was later honored as "Kha" or Khan. Bairam Khan was an aggressive general determined to restore the authority of the Mughals in India. Two divans are ascribed to him, one in Persian and one in Chagatai.

Early life and ancestors

Bairam Khan was born in the Badakhshan region of Central Asia and belonged to the Turkoman Baharlu clan of the Kara Koyunlu Confederation. The Kara Koyunlu had ruled western Persia for decades before being overthrown by their Ak Koyunlu rivals. Bairam Khan's father, Seyfali Beg Baharlu, and grandfather, Janali Beg Baharlu, had been part of Babur's ministry. His great-grandparents were Pirali Beg Baharlu and his wife, a daughter of the Kara Koyunlu ruler Qara Iskander; Pirali's niece through his sister Pasha Begum had been one of Babur's wives.

military service

Bairam entered Babur's service at the age of 16 and played an active role in the early Mughal conquests of India. Bairam Khan later contributed significantly to the establishment of the Mughal Empire under Humayun when he assumed the position of Muhardar ( Seal keeper) and took part in military campaigns in Benares, Bengal and Gujarat. He accompanied Humayun during his exile in Persia and helped conquer Kandahar before serving as its governor for nine years. In 1556 he played a leading role as commander in Humayun's reconquest of Hindustan.

After Humayun's death in 1556, Bairam Khan was appointed regent of the young monarch Akbar. As regent, he consolidated the authority of the Mughals in northern India and led the Mughal forces in the second Battle of Panipat, which was fought in November 1556 between Akbar and Hemu.

Later years

Bairam Khan was a Shiite Muslim and was disliked by some Sunni Turkish nobles. Although he was a Shiite, he attended the services on Friday in the mosque of a well-known Sufi and was also responsible for Shah Gada, the son of Sikandar Lodi's court poet Jamali Kamboh, who returned to Delhi in the Mughal Empire after Humayun's return Sadr-as-Sudr became in 1555.


The directory of Ulwur explained:

Soon after Babar's death, his successor Humayun was supplemented by Sher Shah in 1540, and later by Islam Shah in 1545. During the latter's reign, a battle was fought and lost by the emperor's troops at Firozpur Jhirka in Mewat. on which, however, the Islam Shah did not lose its hold. Adil Shah, the third of the Pathan invaders to succeed in 1552, had to fight for the empire with the returned Humayun.

In these struggles to restore Babar's dynasty, khanzadas appear to play no role at all. Humayun appears to have reconciled them by marrying the elder daughter of Jamal Khan, the nephew of Babar's opponent Hasan Khan Mewati, and marrying his minister Bairam Khan Jamal's younger daughter. Bairam's other wife was Salima Sultan Begum, who married Akbar after his death.


Bairam Khan is murdered by an Afghan in Patan, Akbarnama, 1561

Due to a disagreement with Bairam Khan, Akbar told him he could either retire and stay at the palace or go on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. On his way, his opponents drove him to rebel, but he was defeated in Punjab. Akbar gave him the opportunity to remain at court as an advisor or to continue his pilgrimage. Bairam chose the latter. He was killed while traveling through Gujarat. It came about when Bairam Khan was in the Sahastralinga Tank, a religious site near Anhilwad Patan, and was recognized by Lohani Pashtun, an associate of Haji Khan Mewati. When Haji Khan found out about this, he planned his attack and killed Bairam Khan to take revenge on Emperor Hemu's death. Haji Khan Mewati was from Alwar and had been a general of Hemu, staying in Patan after his defeat by Akbar's forces and the capture of Alwar Sarkar in 1559.

Bairam Khan died on January 31, 1561. However, his son and wife were allowed to go free and were sent to Agra. Bairam Khan's wife, who was also Akbar's cousin, married Akbar after Bairam Khan's death. Bairam's son, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, became an important part of Akbar's administration and was one of the Nav-Ratans (nine gems) from Akbar's court.

In popular culture



  • Ansari, NH (1989). "BAYRAM KHAN". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 1 . Pp. 3-5.
  • Schimmel, Annemarie (1980). Islam on the Indian subcontinent . FLAT BUTT. ISBN.

further reading


  • Singh, Damodar (2003) Khan-i-Khanan Bairam Khan: a political biography Janaki Prakashan, Patna, India, OCLC 54054058
  • Shashi, Shyam Singh (1999) Bairam Khan: soldier and administrator (Series Encyclopaedia Indica Volume 58) Anmol Publishing, New Delhi, India, OCLC 247186335
  • Streusand, Douglas E. (2012). "Bayrām Khān". In the fleet Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Islam, three . Brill Online. ISSN 1873-9830.
  • Pandey, Ram Kishore (1998) Life and Achievements of Muhammad Bairam Khan Turkoman Prakash Book Depot, Bareilly, India, OCLC 5007653.
  • Ray, Sukumar (1992) Bairam Khan Institute of Central and West Asian Studies, Karachi University, Karachi, Pakistan, OCLC 29564939.


  • Agravāla, Sushamā Devī (1994) Bairamakhām̐ aura usake vaṃśaja kā Mugala sāmrājya meṃ yogadāna Rāmānanda Vidyā Bhavana, New Delhi, India, OCLC 34118191, in Hindi. (Contribution by Bairam Khan, 1524-1561, Mughal nobleman, to the Mughal Empire.)
  • Devīprasāda, Munśī (2001) Khānakhānā nāmā Pratibhā Pratishṭhāna, New Delhi, India, ISBN 81-85827-89-3, in Hindi. (On the life and achievements of Bairam Khan, 1524-1561, ruler of the Mughal Empire, and Khane Khana Abdul Rahim Khan, 1556-1627, Braj poet.)


External links