(Last Updated on : 25-01-2012)
Bairam Khan was the guardian of Akbar when the later was declared as the Mughal Emperor in the year 1556 A.D. Akbar appointed his guardian, Bairam Khan as the wazir of the empire and gave him the title of Khan-i-Khana at the time of accession. The next four years after the accession of Akbar to the throne was actually the rule of Bairam Khan. Bairam Khan was a Persian and had come to the service of Humayun
at the age of sixteen years. He was a capable commander and had served Humayun well in recapturing Kabul, Kandahar and other Indian Territory. The credit of successfully eliminating the early difficulties of Akbar and safeguarding the Mughal Empire goes to Bairam Khan.
After Hemu held his coronation at Delhi
and assumed the title of Maharaja Vikramaditya, a majority of Akbar's nobles advised him to retreat to Kabul. But Bairam Khan rejected this advice. Akbar agreed with him and decided to proceed towards Delhi. Tardi Beg Khan, Iskandar Khan and Ali Quli Khan met him near Sarhind. Bairam Khan executed Tardi Beg Khan on the plea that it would restore confidence, unity and discipline in the army. Contemporary historians, however, have commented that this action of Bairam Khan was primarily motivated by personal rivalry and jealousy between the two. The failure of Tardi Beg Khan at Delhi had provided the right opportunity to Bairam Khan to finish his rival. The consent of Akbar was secured by Bairam Khan only after his execution. Bairam Khan was a great support to Akbar in his combat with Hemu.
The tutelage of Akbar under Bairam Khan lasted nearly for four years. Except the loss of Kandahar, this period had been that of conquest and consolidation. The sovereignty of Akbar in the territory from Kabul in the north to Jaunpur in the east and from me hills of Punjab
in the south was re established. Bairam Khan, who was largely responsible for the success of Akbar during the early years of his reign was asked to resign in 1560 A.D. Contemporary historians have given different reasons which resulted in the downfall of Bairam Khan. Instigation of the jealous nobles and the ego of Bairam Khan are chiefly considered the main reasons of his downfall. The behaviour of Bairam Khan, the jealousy of certain nobles particularly of a few near relatives of Akbar and the desire of Akbar, to keep the power of the state to himself were responsible for the fall of Bairam Khan. The nobles and relatives desired the overthrow Bairam Khan, in the hope, to monopolise the power for themselves.
There was some suspicion towards Bairam Khan because t was a Shia while members of the royal family and most of the nobles of Akbar were Sunnis. The treatment of Bairam Khan towards Shaikh Muhammad Gaus who was revered by Akbar and a few other minor incidents created further gulf between Bairam Khan and Akbar. But the root cause of the fall of Bairam Khan was the desire of Akbar to be the king not only in name but in practice also. Akbar was growing to manhood. He felt that he was a mere puppet in the hands of his guardian who did not care to consult him even in important matters of the state and did not allow him least power in financial matters so much, so that his personal expenses were sanctioned by Bairam Khan with stringency. Bairam Khan treated Akbar as a child and failed to understand and give him allowance to the growing desires. Thus all these resulted in the downfall of Bairam Khan.