Book on Pashtun spouse of Mughal emperor Babur launched

By Bureau report
March 21, 2023

PESHAWAR: A poetic epic book on the Pashtun wife of Zahir-ud-Din Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire that ruled much of South Asia for around 300 years, was launched here at Victoria Hall of the Peshawar Museum.


The book entitled `Bibi Mubarika and Babur’ has been authored in English by a former KP chief secretary, Sahibzada Riaz Noor.

Caretaker Chief Minister KP, Muhammad Azam Khan was the chief guest at the launching ceremony that was attended by intellectuals, writers and members of the English Literary Society of Edwardes College Peshawar.

Some of the speakers joined the event virtually and sent video messages to express accolades for the author for bringing to the limelight a legendary woman from the Pashtun belt, who is relatively not much known in the pages of history.

Babur married Bibi Mubarika, daughter of Malik Shah Mansur, chief of the Yousafzai tribe and resident of the Thana area of Malakand, for cementing relationships with a Pashtun chieftain who showed resistance during his expedition to the sub-continent. She was the fifth spouse of the Mughal Emperor.

By writing the poetic book `Bibi Mubarika and Babur’, Sahibzada Riaz Noor has not only done a favour to literature but also to history,” commented Akbar S Ahmad, an anthropologist, scholar and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University. He has given us not only a poem rich in imagery, colour and emotion but also a history lesson full of insights, he added in his virtual message from Washington.

The lady played an important reconciliatory role between the Mughals and Pushtuns who had fought Babur.Bibi Mubarika was so loving and loyal to her husband that she put herself in danger of travelling around 1100 km distance from Kabul to Agra for bringing back earthy remains of her husband (Babur) to fulfill his wish of burial in Char Bagh (Kabul),” said Dr Sayed Amjad Hussain, a US-based doctor from Peshawar and author of several books. He said Raiz Noor painted the life of Babur and his Yousafzai wife using well-chosen words to paint a vivid imagery.

The former chief secretary and a noted poet, Ejaz Rahim, said the book by Sahibzada Riaz Noor has outclassed his own 24 books. He said the first book written by Riaz Noor `Dragon Fly’ in 2019 was about the lyrical poetry genre and this is about epic.

“Bibi Mubarika and Babur” is a wonderfully rich and vivid narrative poem which brings into mind the epic of antiquity”, observed Muneeza Shamsie, a writer. Whilst reviving epic poetry tradition, the book makes a significant contribution to throwing new light on roles women played in Mughal history, she added.

Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan appreciated the efforts made by Sahibzada Riaz Noor in highlighting the role played by a Pushtun lady in the Mughal dynasty. He said he was also very glad to see that a number of former bureaucrats from KP are making their debut in literature by authoring books. Interestingly, five former chief secretaries were present in the hall for the book launch.

Azam Khan disclosed that he also has authored his memoir and the book was ready for going to the press but he got the responsibility of serving as head of the interim government. Azam Khan said he has now decided to incorporate experiences from his work as caretaker chief minister and print the book later.

The author in his address gave references to establish the historical authenticity of events mentioned in his epic. The book launching ceremony was also addressed by Spuzhmai Khattak, Teacher of English Literature Swabi University, Prof Shujaat Ali, Principal of Edwardes College Peshawar, Nasir Iqbal, Coordinator, BS English Programme, and Ms Maria, a student representative of the Edwardes College English Literary Society.