Bairam Khan was a Persian Turk and Shia Muslim. He served under Babur, Humanyun and Akbar.
He had also accompanied Humayun in his wanderings and gone to Persia with him.
Humayun was so much pleased with his wisdom and loyalty that he regarded him as his most trustworthy follower and used to say,
“There is no other so luminous a star in our family as you are.”
Bairam Khan played a promiment role in Humayun’s restoration of Delhi’s throne. Bairam Khan’s services as the guardian and tutor of Akbar are praiseworthy. He guided the affairs of the state for four years between 1556 to 1560 when Akbar was still a minor. Bairam Khan was a great commander and it was because of him that Akbar could defeat Hemu and capture the throne of Delhi and Agra. In 1560, fall of Bairam Khan began. The unbridled power made him arrogant. He showered favours on his friends and relatives.
In the meanwhile, Akbar had become major. He desired to be the king not only in name but in reality also. Akbar relieved Bairam Khan of his duties and gave him a jagir for his maintenance. Bairam Khan revolted but was defeated. Akbar pardoned him and asked him to proceed to Mecca with dignity. Unfortunately on the way, he was murdered by an Afghan.
Causes of Bairam Khan’s fall:
1. Unpopularity of the Bairam Khan among Muslim nobility. He was a Shia and a majority of the Mughal nobles followed Sunni faith.
2. Vanity and haughtiness of Bairam Khan.
3. Showing favours to some nobles.
4. Execution of Governor Tardi Beg who had failed to defend Delhi against Hemu.
5. Akbar’s own ambition to work as an independent ruler without any interference.
6. Conspiracy of royal household against Bairam Khan.
7. Bairam Khan’s revolt against the emperor Akbar.