Treasure Seekers: Empires of India

Synopsis:
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Graham Townsley
 
IMDB:
6.2
Year:
2001
23 Views

India a land of seductive riches,

land of the Kohinoor diamond

a priceless gem which legend says

was given by the god Krishna

to test mankind's greed.

Possessed of such wealth and beauty,

thought Krishna, would men

behave like beasts?

or would they think and

achieve wisdom?

This is the story of India

and its conquerors.

One stormed south

across the mountains,

one came from across the seas,

both were hungry for wealth

and dominion.

Each would become his own answer to

Krishna's question

wise man or beast?

For three hundred years the

Mughal empire dominated India.

It was a Mughal emperor who created

the radiant mountain of white marble

called the Taj Mahal,

one of the wonders of the world.

The wealth and sophistication of

the Mughal court were legendary.

Here, Mughal kings ruled

from the famous peacock throne

made of gold, rubies and sapphires.

All these treasures of

the Mughal empire

were the legacy of one remarkable

man, a poet, a killer,

a wild nomad who was not

from India at all.

His name was Babur.

Babur's life began in 1483

in Fergana,

a small kingdom in the highlands

of central Asia.

Fergana was one square of a

bloodstained checkerboard

of competing dynasties,

each struggling to expand

its little empire.

But a little empire wasn't

what Babur had in mind.

Babur's dynasty was part Turk

and part Mongol

"Mughals" as the Persians

called them.

Babur was a direct descendant

of the two greatest conquerors of

Central Asian history,

Genghis Khan

and Timur or Tamerlane.

He wanted something that would be

worthy of their memory.

From the very beginning,

Babur tried to take inspiration

from Genghis and Timur.

These were his two heroes.

And it was probably this reason

which had, at times, goaded him

to think of India as

his final destination.

Born to nobility,

at 11 Babur inherited Fergana.

Almost immediately other warlords tried

to take it away from him.

Not surprisingly for one so young,

the fortunes of war started to

turn against him.

Before long, he had lost much of

his kingdom and his men

deserted in droves to hitch their

fortunes to more promising leaders.

All seven or eight hundred of

my lords and warriors deserted me.

It was a terrible blow.

I remember, I couldn't help crying.

He was only fifteen.

It was a harsh education which made

young Babur's heart ache.

But his early failures toughened him.

If you desire to rule and conquer,

you don't just fold your hands

when things go wrong you act.

Action meant war.

And with whichever followers

he could muster,

he started to wage guerrilla warfare

against his more powerful neighbors.

He and his men seesawed

between victory and defeat.

Allies deserted him;

enemies became allies.

One day in 1501, he laughed

when he realized

a sword he had given to an ally as a

token of loyalty one year,

was the same one that almost split

his skull in battle the next.

My own soul is my most

faithful friend.

My own heart, my truest confidant.

Always, Babur's ambition was to found

a great dynasty like his ancestors.

He needed children who would be

his heirs.

He admitted he was so shy

as a young man,

his mother and sisters had to bully

him into sleeping with his first wife.

But before long he had more wives,

and a son, Humayun,

on whom the weight of Babur's dreams

would fall.

With his succession assured,

the question that now dogged him was:

what would he leave his sons?

He had lost his kingdom and was

being shut out of Central Asia.

So where was the land in which

his dynasty could flourish?

Slowly, Babur's reputation as

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