Sunday, December 11, 2011

As we have seen in one of the previous posts, Mohammed Shah became the ruler after Hassan Gangu Bahmani. His entire tenure was spent in waging wars and expanding his country, especially with the Vijayanagara rulers who at that time were in mode of expansion. At one time, he repented all his bloodshed and vowed to have peace in his kingdom and made a treaty with the opposition. He also took an oath of not to put to death a single enemy after victory and he would make sure that his successors bound to this principle. From then on, says Ferishta, it has been the general custom in the Deccan to spare the lives of prisoners of war and not to shed bloodshed of enemy’s unarmed subjects.

Mohammed Shah spent his last years touring his country and died peacefully in the year 1374 after a glorious reign of 17 years. The subsequent period was all chaos. During the 24 years that followed Mohammed Shah’s regime, there were five Sultans who reigned in Gulbarga and four of them we assassinated, the aggregate duration of each regime was only four and a half years.

The first of them was Mujahid Shah. He chose to dishonor the earlier treaties and waged a war against the Vijayanagar Empire, which already enormously grew till the whole South India. There is an interesting story here. Outside the city of Vijayanagar, was a sacred Hanuman temple. The Sultan fired by either religious zest or by plunder destroyed the temple. Not only all the pilgrims were put to death, but also the Sultan used a battle axe and mutilated the idol inside. One of the Brahmins, in his dying words cursed the Sultan that he would never see his kingdom and would never return to his capital city alive. It so happened that Mujahid Shah had to put and end to the battle and return. He had to oppress other revolts within his kingdom later. Ultimately, one of his generals killed him and became the ruler. The Brahmin’s curse came true indeed.

After the Hassan Gangu Bahmani and Mohammed Shah, the only other notable rulers of the kingdom were Sultan Feroz Shah and Ahmed Shah. Feroz Shah’s 25 year rule bought the development of Gulbarga to its pinnacle and art and trade flourished all across. His brother Ahmed Shah followed his footsteps and continued on the legacy. Not only did they concentrate on trade, but also on expansion of the kingdom. There were frequent wars with the Rajas of Vijayanagar and Telinga (Warangal) and as we have talked earlier, it was during Ahmed Shah’s rule that Bidar was made the capital of the kingdom. There were other rulers like Allauddin-II and Humayun who ruled the kingdom, however, their entire tenure was full of wars and treachery. The only good thing that Humayun did was to appoint Khaja Mohammed Gawan as his Prime Minister, whom we will talk about in the further posts.

The year 1482 was the beginning of the end of the Bahmani dynasty with the death of Sultan Muhammed Shah-II. It is true that his son, who was eight years of age was placed on the throne and ruled for thirty eight years and succeeded by three other Sultans, but these princes were nothing more than puppets and their dominion was confined to the capital city of Bidar and its vicinity. Taking advantage of the young son Muhammed Shah-II, the powerful nobles of different provinces asserted their independence. Yusuf Adil Khan was the first to take advantage of this and founded the Adil Shahi dynasty with Bijapur as its capital. Malik Ahmed soon followed suit and came to be the founder of the Nizam Shahi dynasty with Ahmednagar as his capital. In Berar, Imad-Ul-Mulk proclaimed his independence by having the Khutba (prayer) read on his name in his capital Burhanpur. And finally, Kutub-Ul-Mulk, the governor of Golkonda who was already practically independent founded the Kutub Shahi dynasty and became the Sultan of the Telinga region. Even in Bidar, the young Sultan was taken over by Kasim Barid whom we talked about in the previous post.

As we see, such was the end of the great Dynasty which made way to five others.


References: History of the Deccan by J.D.B. Gribble


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