THE BAHAMANI SULTANATE


In the fourteenth century two powerful kingdoms arose in South India.

One was the Bahamani Sultanate and the second kingdom was the Vijayanagar Empire that ruled for 300 years.

The Deccan region was a part of the provincial administration of the Delhi Sultanate.

In order to establish a stable administration in the Deccan, Mohammad bin Tughlaq appointed amiran-i-sada/ Sada Amir, who were the administrative heads of hundred villages.

From 1337 the conflict between the officers in Deccan and Delhi sultanate accelerated.

This led to the establishment of an independent state in the Deccan in 1347 with the capital at Gulbarga in Andhra Pradesh.

Its founders Haran Kangu assumed the title Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah as he traced his descent from the mythical hero of Iran, Bahman Shah and the kingdom was named after him, the Bahamani Sultanate.

After Mohammad bin Tughlaq there were no attempts by the Delhi Sultanate to control the Deccan region.

Therefore, the Bahamani Sultans without any checks annexed the kingdom.

One of the important acquisitions was the control over Dabhol, an important port on the west coast.

Under Bahman Shah and his son Muhammmad Shah, the administrative system was well organised.

The kingdom was divided into four administrative units called ‘tarafor provinces.

These provinces were Daulatabad, Bidar, Berar and Gulbarga.

Muhammad I defeated the Vijayanagar kingdom and consequently Golconda was annexed to Bahamani kingdom.

Every province was under a tarafdar who was also called a subedar.

Some land was converted into Khalisa land from the jurisdiction of the tarafdar.

Khalisa land was that piece of land which was used to run expenses of the king and the royal household.

Nobles used to get their salary either in cash or in form of grant of land or jagir’.

Bahamani ruler depended for military support on his amirs.

There were two groups in the ranks of amirs:

One was the Deccanis who were immigrant Muslims and had been staying for a long time in the Deccan region.

The other group was Afaquis or Pardesis who had recently come from Central Asia, Iran and Iraq and had settled in the Deccan region recently.

 

One of the most important personalities in the Bahamani kingdom was Mahmud Gawan.

He was an Iranian by birth and first reached Deccan as a trader.

He was granted the title of ‘Chief of the Merchants’ or Malikut- Tujjar by the Bahamani ruler, Humayun Shah.

The sudden death of Humayun led to the coronation of his minor son Ahmad III.

Mahmud Gawan wanted a compromise between the Afaquis and the Deccanis.

Gawan conquered the Vijayanagar territories up to Kanchi.

On the western coast, Goa and Dhabol were conquered. It was a great loss for Vijayanagar.

Bahamani strengthened its trading relations with Iran and Iraq after gaining control over Goa and Dabhol.

In order to curb the military power of the tarafdar, Gawan ordered that only one fort of each province was to be under the direct control of the provincial tarafdar.

The remaining forts of the province were placed under a Qiladar or commander of the forts.

The Qiladar was appointed by the central Government.

After the death of Mahmud Gawan, the governors declared their independence and the Bahamani kingdom broke up.

In the fifteenth and the sixteenth century, some amirs in Bidar, Ahmadnagar, Golconda and Bijapur and Berar established independent sultanates of their own and formed new states.

These were—

[1] the Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar

[2] the Adil Shahis of Bijapur

[3] the Qutb Shahis of Golconda

[4] the Imad Shahis of Berar and

[5] the Barid Shahis of Bidar

They formed a league of states and strengthened them by matrimonial alliances.

They maintained the traditional rivalry with the Vijayanagar rulers.

Golconda and Bijapur entered into matrimonial alliances and led the Battle of Talikota against Vijayanagar.

They finally succumbed to the Mughal armies.