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The great ruling of Bahmani kingdom in South India

Updated on October 3, 2015

Bidar Fort


Sultan Ahmed Shah Al Wali Bahamani


Bahmani Kingdom


One of the Amirs of Muhammad – bin – Tughluq revolted against his master and established himself as the Sultan of the Deccan. His full name was Abul Muzaffar Alauddin Bahman Shah. He called himself Gangu Bahman in reverence to his former Brahmin master Gangu. He made gulbarga his capital and ascended the throne on 2 nd August 1347. With this, the Bahmani Kingdom of the Deccan came into existence.

Dividing the kingdom into `tarafs' (provinces), the Bahmani Sultan administered it on feudal principles. Under this, the head of the taraf was tarafdar. This amir maintained an army of behalf of the Sultan and placed it at the services of the Sultan when he ended it. He derived income from his tarafdari. There were nine provinces of the kingdom in the late 15th century.

In the capital, the Sultan appointed the Prime minister and several other minister. Finance, foreign office, religious and judicial matters were under these ministers. The Kotwal maintained law and order.

Though Hindus were taken into the administration, the chief positions were more or less held by the Muslim aristocrats. There were two classes of aristocrats – 1) Dakhani Sunnis of local and Africa origin, and 2) Gharib Shahs of men of origin Turks, Persians, Arabs and Mughal. The rivalry between these two classes was so intense that some of the Sultans preferred to fall back on Hindu officers. The majority of Bahmani subject were Hindus. Muslims formed only 11 percent of the population.

The Bahamas maintained a huge army. It was better trained and disciplined than those in the neighbouring kingdoms. They built a large number of forts. The fort at Narala, with impressive gateways, was one of the their best. These were mounted with the locally produced large guns.

The countrymen - While the aristocracy enjoyed a life of Luxury in cities, the peasants were miserable in the country side. A Russian merchant named Nikitin who lived in Bidar and travelled around, observed that the country was over – populated and the peasantry was utterly miserable. The Sultan and the aristocrats held fast feasts, drank heavily and maintained large harem. Firuz maintained a lavish harem in which women of many nationalities, including Europeans, were housed. Positive cultural contributions of the Bahmanis of the latter half of the 15th century go to Muhammad Gawan, the Vazir. His military administration and cultural contributions can be summed up.

He built and maintained an Islamic centre at Bidar. This Madrasa attracted great scholars from Iraq, Iran and other parts of the world.

Even a man of such achievements, as Gawan's could not die either a natural or heroic death in the Bahmani kingdom. He became a victim of court politics and on the misjudged verdict of the Sultan, he was executed in his old age.

Khwaja Mahmud Gawan Madrasa



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      madugundu krishna 2 years ago from Yemmiganur

      thanks for comment

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      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      I have travelled to all these areas. Very interesting post