First Battle of Panipat (21st April, 1526)

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First Battle of Panipat (21st April, 1526)


The First Battle of Panipat was fought between armies of Ibrahim Lodi and Mughal Emperor Babur. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated in the battle. The war took place on 21st day of April, 1526.

Ibrahim Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi, was an arrogant type ruler. As a result of Afghan aristocrats were engaged in a conspiracy to dethrone him.

Daulat Khan, the Afghan ruler of Punjab, invited Mughal ruler Babur to invade India. In 1524 Babur tried to attack India. But as the difference between Babur and Daulat Khan grew, Babur had to make a retreat.

In the next year Babur came back with bigger force and by defeating Daulat Khan captured Punjab. Then the Mughal army marched towards Delhi. The Afghan and Mughal army faced each other in the battle field of Panipat near Delhi (1526 A.D.).

On reaching Panipat, Babur organized the defense of his troops. His right flank was covered by the town of Panipat while the left was protected by a ditch filled with trees.

Babar wanted Ibrahim to start the offensive. The latter knew nothing about the defensive arrangements of the enemy. He, therefore, launched an offensive. But the line of his troops was so extended that there was no room for all of them to participate in the attack. This caused the initial confusion. When they came within range they were hailed with a volley of guns and matchlocks and a shower of arrows. The presence of chained carts checked their advance. This broke their ranks. The Afghans began to get huddled together. The gunners and archers of Babur continued doing havoc in their ranks while the flanking parties on the right and the left turned their flanks and surrounded them on all sides.

By his clever leadership Babur defeated very large Afghan regiment with only twelve thousand soldiers.  Ibrahim died on April 20, 1526. Thus, the Sultan Shahi in ended in India.  Babur’s troops occupied both Delhi and Agra and the Mughal rule came into being.

Causes behind Babur’s success and Ibrahim Lodi’s defeat

The empire which Bahlul Lodi and Sikandar Lodi had reared up with such labor was rolled up by a single attack of Babur. This was the outcome of Ibrahim’s defeat in the First Battle of Panipat. What were its causes?

  1. Ibrahim was not a good diplomat. Even in a crisis, he could not rope in the support of Daulat Khan, Muhammad Shah or Rana Sanga so that Babur found practically no difficulty in occupying the Punjab. Fortunately for Babur, his central Asian neighbors caused him no distraction so that he could confidently pursue his plans in India.
  2. The soldiers of Ibrahim were not satisfied with him. Afghans were a house divided among them and Ibrahim was no able general.
  3. If his spies of Ibrahim Lodi had been efficient, he should have surrounded the camp of Babur and cut off supplies instead of making a frontal attack on him. But Ibrahim was utterly innocent of even the existence of some defensive arrangement.
  4. The tactics of Babur were utterly unknown to Indians and they possessed no arm which could be a match for Babur’s artillery.
  5. The trained archers of Babur also contributed to Babur’s success.
  1. Second Battle of Panipat (1556)
  2. Third Battle of Panipat (1761)

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