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Bahmani Sultanate - 1347-1526

Bahmani Sultanate (1347-1490) The disastrous fall of Warangal in AD 1323 brought the Andhras, for the first time in their history, under the yoke of an alien ruler, the Muslims. In AD 1347 an independent Muslim State, the Bahmani kingdom was established in south India by Alla-ud-din Hasan Gangu by revolting against the Delhi Sultanate. In 1347 the successful revolt of the new nobles against Muhammad Tughlik resulted in the founding of the Bahmani dynasty (1347-1490) and the separation of the Deccan from Northern India. The founder of the Bahmani dynasty was an Afghan named Hassan Gangu, whose capital was at Kulbarga nearly midway between Bijapur and Haidarabad. Within a short period the whole country between the Bhima and Adoni or Advani about forty miles north-east of Belari and between Cheal and Bidar, including the west Nizam's Deccan and Karnatak, the Bombay Deccan and the north Bombay Karnatak, and the central Konkan, was brought under the authority of Alla-ud-din the first Bahmani king (1347-1358).

To stabilise his position, Hasan waged wars to annex the two neighboring Hindu kingdoms, Warangal, under the Musunuri Nayakas, and Vijayanagar, which was under the Rayas. He occupied the area up to the river Tungabhadra in AD 1358, and shifted his capital from Daulatabad to Gulbarga.

In 1357 Alla-ud-din Bahmani divided his kingdom into four chief governments. His Belgaum possessions were included in the first of these divisions which stretched from Knlburga west to Dabhol in Ratnagiri and south to Raichur and Mudgal. This was placed under Malik Seif-ud-din Ghuri. Part of the Karnatak, as far west as the Kanara frontier, including south Belgaum, acknowledged as overlords the Vijayanagar kings. Thus, as before, the border line of the Deccan and the Karnatak continued to pass through the present district of Belgaum. The Bahmanis and the Vijayanagar kings kept up an almost constant rivalry.

The Hindu rulers, however, reoccupied their lost territory during the period between AD 1358-75. Harihara Raya II of Vijayanagar conquered many areas which were under the Bahmanis during the period of Muhammad Shah II (AD 1378-1397). The successors of Muhammad Shah II, who were also hostile to Rayas of Vijayanagar, waged wars against them. But they were defeated by the Vijayanagar armies. During the reign of Muhammad III (AD 1463-82), the Bahmanis, for the first time, extended their empire from sea to sea and thereby got into their possession a large part of the Telugu area, namely, the area north of the Krishna up to the coast and the present Guntur district.

The founder of the Bahmani kingdom was Alauddin Bahman Shah also known as Hasan Gangu in 1347. The Sultans of Southern India derived their origin from the conquests of Ala-ud-din (1303-1306). After a period of confused fighting, the Bahmani kingdom of the Deccan emerged as the representative of Muhammadan rule in Southern India. Zafar Khan, an Afghan general during the reign of Muhammad Tughlak (1325-1351), defeated the Delhi troops, and set up as Musalman sovereign of the Deccan. Having in early youth been the slave of a Brdhman, who had treated him kindly, and foretold his future greatness, he took the title of Bahmani, and transmitted it to his successors.

The usual seat of their wars seems to have lain beyond the limits of the Bombay Karnatak, and the record of their wars is probably one-sided as Ferishta dwells on Musalman victories and passes over Musalman defeats. In 1368 Bukka, the second Vijayanagar king (1350-1379) suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Muhammad Shah Bahmani (1358-1375), the first Muhammadan sovereign who, in person, crossed the Tungbhadra and entered Vijayanagar territory. Ferishta describes the Vijayanagar territory of 1375 as comprising the sea-port of Goa, the fortress of Belgaum, and other places not included in the Karnatak proper. The woods and hill forts of the Vijayanagar country, between the Krishna and the Tungbhadra, guarded it against foreign invasion, and the country fas filled with a prosperous and loyal people.

Its capitals were successively at Gulbargah, Warangal, and Bidar, all in Haidarabad; and it loosely corresponded with the Nizam's dominions of the time of the British. At the height of their power, the Bahmani kings claimed sovereignty over half the Deccan, from the Tungabhadra river in the south to Orissa in the north, and from Masulipatam on the east to Goa on the west. Their direct government was, however, much more confined.

There were a total of fourteen Sultans ruling over this kingdom. Among them, Alauddin Bahman Shah, Muhammad Shah I and Firoz Shah were important. Ahmad Wali Shah shifted the capital from Gulbarga to Bidar. The power of the Bahmani kingdom reached its peak under the rule of Muhammad Shah III. It extended from the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal. On the west it extended from Goat to Bombay. On the east, it extended from Kakinada to the mouth of the river Krishna. The success of Muhammad Shah was due to the advice and services of his minister Mahmud Gawan.

Gulbarga Period (75 years)
1Aladdin Hassan Bahman ShahAugust 3, 1347Feb 11, 1358
2Muhammed Shah IFeb 11, 1358April 21, 1375
3Aladdin Mujahid ShahApril 21, 1375April 16, 1378
4Da'ud ShahApril 16, 1378May 21, 1378
5Muhammad Shah IIMay 21, 1378April 20, 1397
6Ghiyath ud-Din ShahApril 20, 1397June 14, 1397
7Shams-ud-Din Shah IIJune 14, 1397Nov 15, 1397
8Taj ud-Din Firuz ShahNov 16, 1397Sep 22, 1422
Bidar Period [116 years]
9Ahmad Shah I Wali14221436
10Ahmad Shah IIApr 17, 1436May 6, 1458
11Humayun Zalim ShahMay 7, 1458Sep 4, 1461
12Nizam-Ud-Din Ahmad IIISep 4, 1461Jul 30, 1463
13Muhammad Shah III LashkariJul 30, 1463Mar 26, 1482
14Muhammad Shah IVMar 26, 1482Dec 27, 1518
15Ahmad Shah IIIDec 27, 1518Dec 15, 1520
16Aladdin ShahDec 28, 1520Mar 5, 1523
17Wali-Allah ShahMar 5, 15231526)/td>
18Kalim-Allah Shah15261527
The Bahmani kingdom reached its peak under the guidance of Mahmud Gawan, who served with a great distinction as Prime Minister of three Bahamni Sultans for about twenty three years from 1458 to 1481 AD. He was a Persian merchant. He came to India at the age of forty two and joined the services of Bahmani kingdom. Slowly he became the chief minister due to his personal qualities. He remained loyal to the kingdom. He lived a simple life and was magnanimous. He was also a learned person. He possessed a great knowledge of mathematics. He made endowments to build a college at Bidar which was built in the Persian style of architecture. He was also a military genius. He waged successful wars against Vijayanagar, Orissa and the sea pirates on the Arabian sea. His conquests include Konkan, Goa and Krishna-Godavari delta. Thus he expanded the Bahmani Empire through his conquests.

His administrative reforms were also important. They were aimed to increase the control of Sultan over the nobles and provinces. Royal officers were appointed in each province for this purpose. Most of the forts were under the control of these officers. Allowances were reduced to the nobles who shirked their responsibility. This was disliked by the nobles. So, the Deccani nobles organised a plot against Gawan. They induced the Sultan to punish him with death sentence.

They derived support, in their early struggle against the Delhi throne, from the Hindu southern kingdoms of Vijayanagar and Warangal. But during the greater part of its career, the Bahmani dynasty represented the cause of Islam against Hinduism on the south of the Vindhyas. Its alliances and its wars alike led to a mingling of the Musalman and Hindu populations.

For example, the King of Malwd invaded the Bahmani dominions with a mixed force of 12,000 Afghans and Rajputs. The Hindu Raja of Vijayanagar recruited his armies from Afghan mercenaries, whom he paid by assignments of land, and for whom he built a mosque. The Bahmani troops, on the other hand, were frequently led by converted Hindus. The Bahmani armies were themselves made up of two hostile sects of Musalmans. One sect consisted of Shias, chiefly Persians, Turks, or Tartars from Central Asia; the other, of native-born Musalmans of Southern India, together with Abyssinian mercenaries, both of whom professed the Sunni faith. The rivalry between these Musalman sects frequently imperilled the Bahmani throne.

Under Dev Raya (1401-1451), Mallikarjuna (1451-1465), and Virupaksha (1465-1479) the power of Vijayanagar gradually waned. The Musalmans claim that the wars in 1435 and 1444 reduced the Vijayanagar kings to be tributaries. Some disastrous campaign may have forced Vijayanagar to buy off the Musalmans, but the little advance of the Musalman borders shows that the permanent position of the two powers was not greatly changed. In 1470 the capture of Goa by Mahmud Gawan Gilani, the prime minister of Muhammad Shah Bahmani II (1463-1518), was a severe blow to Vijayanagar.

The capture of Belgaum and the conquest of its dependencies brought the whole of the Bombay Karnatak under Musalman rule and for a time crushed the power of the Vijayanagar king. In 1478 the Bahmani minister Khwaja Gawan, a Persian of great learning and power, finding so large a territory unwieldy, divided the Bahmani kingdom into eight tarafs or provinces. Each proviuce had its own governor appointed by the king,and each governor had several officers under him also appointed by the king for the management of the different parts of the province. The practice of leaving all the forts in each province in the hands of each provincial governor was stopped. One fortress only was allowed to the governor. The others were kept in the hands of officers and troops appointed by the king and paid from head-quarters.

In 1498, though they continued to acknowledge their nominal supremacy till 1526, that is a century after (1426) the Bahmanis had moved their capital from Kulburgato Bidar, the three strongest of the Bahmani nobles, Ynsuf Adil Khan of Bijapur, Ahmad Nizam Khan of Junnar afterward of Ahmadnagar, and Kutb Khan of Golkonda agreed to divide the Deccan. In this division Ein-ul-Mulk Gilani's estate of Belgaum and the neighbouring districts was assigned to Bijapur. Ein-ul-Mulk Gilani did not resist the transfer of his allegiance from Bidar to Bijapur and in token of his approval went with 6000 horse to the capital of his new overlord.

The fall of the Bahmanis at the close of the fifteenth century resulted in the emergence of the independent kingdoms of Golconda, Bidar, Berar, Khandesh and Ahmadnagar. The kingdoms of Bidar, Berar and Khandesh were contiguous to Ahmadnagar which was ruled by the Nizamshahis. All these independent but petty kingdoms remained fighting against each other and thus, instead of gaining strength, they lost what was bequeathed to them by the Bahmanis. Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, subedar for Telangana under the Bahamanis, with Golconda as his capital, declared his independence in 1496 and seven sultans of this dynasty ruled not only Telangana but the entire Telugu-speaking land including parts of present day Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Muhammad Shah IV [r. Mar 26, 1482 - Dec 27, 1518] was succeeded by weak Sultans. During this period the provincial governors declared their independence. By the end of the 15th century the Bahmani rule was plagued with faction fights and there came into existence the five Shahi kingdoms, the Nizamshahis of Ahmadnagar, the Adilshahis of Bijapur, the Imadshahis of Berar, the Qutbshahis of Golconda and the Baridshahis of Bidar.

By the year 1526, the Bahmani kingdom had disintegrated into five independent sultanates. They were Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Berar, Golkonda and Bidar and known as Deccan Sultanates. Out of its fragments, five independent Muhammadan kingdoms in the Deccan were formed. These wereŚ(1) The Adil Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Bijapur, founded in 1489 by a son of Amurath Il, Sultan of the Ottomans; annexed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1686-1688. (2) The Kutab Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Golconda, founded in 1512 by a Turkomdn adventurer; also annexed by Aurangzeb in 1687-1688. .(3) The Nizdm Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Ahmednagar, founded in 1490 by a Brahman renegade from the Vijayanagar Court; subverted by the Mughal Emperor Shih Jahan in 1636. (4) The Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar, with its capital at Ellichpur, founded in 1484 also by a Hindu from Vijayanagar; annexed to the Ahmednagar kingdom (No. 3) in 1572. (5) The Barid Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Bidar, founded 1492-1498 by a Turk or Georgian slave. Territories small and undefined; independent till after 1609; Bidar fort taken by Aurangzeb in 1657. Of the five Shahi dynasties, it was the Qutbshahi dynasty that played a significant and notable role in the history of Andhras.

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Page last modified: 01-03-2018 18:35:43 ZULU