Falling for anti-heros, by now, is a hobby. Especially, when they bring out the animal instincts of their character so brilliantly. 

With intimidating gaze and eccentric mannerisms, actor Dino Morea has raised the stakes as Uzbek leader Shaibani Khan in the latest Disney+ Hotstar series The Empire.

But who was this villain that dominated the majority of the episodes in the series?

Muhammad Shaibani Khan was an Uzbek leader who united numerous Uzbek clans and set the groundwork for their rise in Transoxiana and the establishment of the Khanate of Bukhara


Also, King Babur’s biggest hurdle came in the form of Shaibani Khan, who was obsessed with taking control of Ferghana and neighbouring Samarkand, and his nasty tactics were no match for Babur. 

Babur and Khanzada’s mother, Qutlugh Nigar Khanum describes Shaibani in the following lines. 

His name is Shaibani Khan. Enemy he may be, but he is still a Wretched Uzbek usurper. A parasite that sucks the life out of land; a scoundrel who cares not about dignity and self-respect.

Shaibani was an Uzbek warrior who led a force of 3,000 soldiers in the army of Samarkand’s Timurid ruler, Sultan Ahmed Mirza, who was commanded by the Amir, Abdul Ali Tarkhan. 

When Ahmed Mirza went to war against Sultan Mahmud Khan, Khan of Moghulistan, to reclaim Tashkent, Shaibani met the Moghul Khan in secret and promised to betray and loot Ahmed’s force. 

This happened in 1488 CE at the Battle of the Chirciq River, ending in a decisive victory for Moghulistan. Sultan Mahmud Khan gifted Shaibani with Turkistan.

By 1500, Shaibani had driven the Timurids from their capital of Samarkand. He fought victorious battles against Timurid ruler Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire. He retook Samarkand in 1505 and Herat, the Timurids’ southern capital, in 1507.


Shaibani Khan besieged Babur and his entourage in Samarkand for six months and then called for a truce but with a catch. 

If you would marry your sister, the Begum to me, there might be peace and a lasting alliance between us. 

Babur’s freedom to escape Samarkand was dependent on his agreement to this alliance. Khan got Babur’s sister, Khanzada Begum, and they actually married in a barter agreement.


She eventually bore him a son, Khurram, her only son, who died in his childhood. 

Khanzada was then accused by Shaibani of siding with her brother in a conflict, and she was later divorced. 

Shaibani Khan was defeated and killed in the Battle of Marv (between Saibani Khan and Shah Ismail) in 1510 while attempting to flee.


Shaibani Khan’s army was surrounded by Ismail’s 17,000-man force and defeated after a tough fight. The army’s remnants were killed by enemy arrows. 

He was killed trying to flee after the battle, and Ismail had his skull made into a jewelled drinking goblet. 

The Empire is a period epic created by Nikhil Advani based on the Empire Of The Mughal, a historical fiction book series.