Bairam Khan as the guardian of Akbar

Bairam Khan became the guardian of Akbar when Akbar was just 13 year old. Bairam Khan was the Chief Military commander in the Mughal Army.

Bairam Khan was born in Badakhshan and joined the service of Mughal Emperor Babur at the age of 16. Later on Bairam Khan contributed towards the establishment of Mughal Empire in India under Humayun and Akbar.

The outstanding achievements of Bairam Khan as a regent were the defeat of Hemu and the elimination of Akbar’s Sur rivals. The next problem awaiting solution was the setting up of a provisional administration in the territory that had passed into Mughal possession after the second battle of Panipat. A rough and ready type of government for the maintenance of order and realization of revenue was established. While operations were still continuing against Sikandar Shah Suri, Akbar’s mother and other ladies of the family arrived from Kabul and rejoined him at Mankot.

At Jalandar, Akbar publicly gave evidence of his regard for his guardian by permitting Bairam Khan to marry his cousin, Salima Begum (daughter of Humayun’s sister, Gulrukh). On his return to Agra in October 1558, Bairam Khan made arrangements for Akbar’s education, and appointed Mir Abdul Latif his tutor.  But Akbar continued to spend his time in hunting, elephant fights and similar other pursuits. The work of administration remained in the hands of Bairam Khan, who discharged his duties satisfactorily.

Besides consolidating the newly occupied territory. Bairam Khan sent expeditions to Gwalior and Jaunpur. Raja Ram Shah, who was attempting to recover his ancestral capital, was driven away and the fortress of Gwalior was occupied in 1557. Ali Quli Khan re-occupied Sambhal and seized the country between that town and Lucknow. Ajmer in Rajasthan was also conquered. But expeditions to Ranthambore and Chunar did not prove successful. Another expedition planned to conquer Malwa had to be recalled owing to strained relations between Bairam Khan and Akbar.

The regency of Bairam Khan lasted for 40 years. Though very loyal and successful administrator and guardian, Bairam Khan was not very popular with the other members of the Mughal Court.

In 1560, the guardian was dismissed from the office and directed by Akbar to proceed on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Bairam Khan died on his way at Gujarat on January 31,1561.

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