Bairam Khan



Akbar's Generals




Synopsis [to be expanded]



Bairam Khan also Bayram Khan (d. 1561) was an Afghan military general who served as the regent to the underage Mughal ruler Akbar, who came to power in 1556. Bairam was very important in securing Akbar's rule during the young ruler's first years in power. He also contributed greatly to the reconquest of the Mughal empire under Humayun, while his most notable battle was at the Second Battle of Panipat. He was appointed as a guardian for Akbar.


One of Bairam's most unchivalrous acts was the cold-blooded execution of Hemu.

  • Hemu was a Hindu commoner who became King of Delhi by sheer ability when Humayun was in exile. Bairam defeated Hemu at second Panipat.
  • Bairam asked the Emperor to kill Hemu. When Akbar - moved as he always was by a gallant enemy - refused, Bairam seized a sword and beheaded Hemu.

Despite his unwavering loyalty and devotion to Akbar, to protect whom he had had sworn oaths to his master Humanyun, Bairam was dismissed upon Akbar's coming-of-age in 1560. The reasons were:

  • Akbar's wish to take charge himself
  • Bairam's power, arrogance, and habit of living better than even the Emperor
  • The above factors played in the hands of  Mahim Anga, mother of Bairam's rival Adham Khan; she was very close to Akbar as she had been his nurse. She wished her son to become Akbar's leading general, and hoped through the love her son and Akbar had for her to be the defacto ruler.

Because of the affection Akbar still bore him, despite a failed attempt to revolt, Bairam was pardoned and permitted by Akbar to go on Hajj to Mecca - this was the manner in which dissidents were permitted to quietly retire into exile. On his way to Cambay in the Kutch, he was killed by a Lohani Afghan whose father Bairam had killed.