HISTORY OF INDIA
Ahmad the Saint was succeeded by his eldest son, Ala-ud-din Ahmad, who surrounded himself with Foreigners and provided for his brother Muhammad by sending him to recover five years' arrears of tribute due from Devaraya II of Vijayanagar. Muhammad recovered the arrears but his head was turned by his success, and he was led astray by evil counselors who persuaded him that his father had intended to give him a share of the kingdom and demanded that his brother should either admit him to an equal share in the government, and the honors of royalty, or divide the kingdom, giving him half. His demands were rejected and his brother defeated him, but pardoned him and, on the death of their younger brother, Daud, appointed him to the government of the Raichur Doab, where he remained faithful until his death.
Early in March, 1437, Dilavar Khan was sent into the Konkan to establish the king's authority, and reduced the Hindu chieftains of that region to obedience. The raja of Sangameshwar, besides paying tribute, surrendered his beautiful and accomplished daughter to Alauddin, who married her and bestowed on her the name of Ziba Chihra (‘Beautiful Face’). After this expedition Dilavar Khan resigned the lieutenancy of the kingdom and was succeeded by the eunuch Dasturul-Mulk.
The new minister, who had the faults of his unfortunate class, alienated the nobles by his arrogance, which led to his ruin. Humayun, the king's eldest son, a brutal youth who lived to become the disgrace of his house, desired him to attend to some particular business and when the eunuch procrastinated took him to task for his negligence. He insolently replied that he would not tolerate the prince's interference in affairs of state and Humayun employed one of the king's esquires to assassinate him, and protected the murderer. Alauddin, who in the early days of his reign was averse from taking life, was content, at his son's intercession, to leave the assassin to his care.
The king's preference for his Hindu wife aroused the bitter jealousy of Agha Zainab, who complained to her father, Nasir Khan of Khandesh, of the indignity to which she was subjected, and he invaded Berar to avenge his daughter's wrongs, and succeeded in seducing from their allegiance many of the officers serving in that province, whose fidelity to their master was not proof against their veneration for the descendant of the Caliph Umar.
Khan Jahan, governor of Berar, withdrew into the fortress of Narnala, and was there besieged by the troops of Khandesh; and the Deccani faction, which had risen to power in the capital after the assassination of Dastur-ul-Mulk and, as Sunnis, respected the descendant of the second Caliph, advised caution in dealing with the aggressor, lest he should be joined by the kings of Gujarat and Malwa, but Malikut-Tujjar, governor of Daulatabad and leader of the Foreigners, volunteered to take the field, provided that all the Foreign troops were placed at his disposal and that he was not hampered by native troops, to whose pusillanimity he attributed the mishap at Bombay. The Deccanis, resenting these aspersions, agreed that all the Foreign troops should be sent forward as an advanced guard, hoping that they would be destroyed, and that the king should follow with the rest of the army
Malikut-Tujjar left Daulatabad with 7000 Foreign horse, and, leaving the Deccani troops to guard the frontier, entered Berar. He was joined at Mehkar by Khan Jahan, who had escaped from Narnala and was sent to Ellichpur and Balapur to check the incursions of the Korkus, who were in alliance with Nasir Khan, while Malikut-Tujjar marched northward to Rohankhed, where the hills of southern Berar descend into the valley of the northern Purna, and there attacked and defeated Nasir Khan, who fled to Burhanpur and thence to Laling, where he took refuge. Malikut- Tujjar laid waste the rich plain of Khandesh, destroyed the public buildings of Burhanpur, and followed Nasir Khan to Laling. He had now no more than 4000 horse with him, and Nasir Khan, who had assembled 12,000, attacked him, but was defeated with heavy loss. Malikut-Tujjar returned with the spoils of victory to Bidar, where his success assured the supremacy of his party and gained for it the place of honor at court, on the right hand of the throne, the Deccanis and Africans being relegated to the left.
Devaraya II of Vijayanagar now reorganised his army by recruiting a large number of Muslims, to whom he gave special privileges, and by discarding the useless and ill-trained troops which had formerly swelled its numbers. It had consisted of 200,000 inferior cavalry and 800,000 worse infantry, but after its reorganization it consisted of 10,000 mounted foreign archers, and 60,000 Hindu horse, trained to the use of the bow, and 300,000 tolerably well-trained infantry, and the pay of all arms was greatly improved. With this force Devaraya, in 1443, invaded the Raichur Doab, captured Mudgal, besieged Raichur and Bankapur, encamped on the Krishna and laid waste the country as far as Bijapur and Sagar. On the approach of Ala-ud-din he withdrew to Mudgal, and Malikut-Tujjar, having compelled the raja's two sons to raise the sieges of Raichur and Bankapur, rejoined Ala-ud-din before Mudgal, where, within a period of three months, as many battles were fought, the Hindus being victorious in the first and the Muslims in the second. In the third Devaraya's elder son was killed and his troops were driven headlong into the fortress, whither two Muslim officers, Fakhrul-Mulk of Delhi and his brother, followed them and were captured and imprisoned, but a message from their master to the effect that the lives of 200,000 Hindus would be required as the price of theirs, so alarmed Devaraya that he sued for peace, which was granted on his promising to make no default in future remittances of tribute.
Death of Ala-ud-din Ahmad
Ala-ud-din, though generally pious and benevolent, gradually overcame his repugnance to taking life. He used wine himself, but prohibited its use by his subjects, and gamblers and wine-bibbers had iron collars riveted on their necks and were compelled to work as scavengers or set to hard labor on the public works; and those who persisted, despite this discipline, in the use of wine, had molten lead poured down their throats. A grandson of the saint Gisu Daraz, convicted of brawling with a woman of the town, received the bastinado in the market place, and his companion was expelled from the city. The king’s benevolence was displayed in the establishment and endowment at Bidar of a hospital where food, drugs, and medical treatment were supplied free of charge, and his piety in his love of long sermons and the destruction of idol-temples, from the materials of which mosques were built. He prided himself also on his love of justice, and added al-Adil (The Just) to his titles. At the end of his reign an Arab merchant who had been unable to obtain payment for some horses sold to officers of the court, and had also been scandalized by the massacre of the Sayyids and other Foreigners at Chakan, sprang up on hearing the king thus described, and cried, “No, by God! You are not just, generous, clement, or compassionate, tyrant and liar! You have slain the pure seed of the prophet and in the pulpit of the Muslims take to yourself such titles as these!”. The king, weeping bitterly, replied: “They will hardly escape from the fire of God's wrath who give me, in this world and the next, a name as ill as Yazid’s”. He then retired to his chamber and left it no more until he was borne forth to the grave. Against his virtues must be set that gross sensuality which his religion permitted, and which he carried to such excess that most of his time was spent among the thousand women collected in his harem, and he so neglected business as to hold a public audience no oftener than once in four or five months.
During this seclusion the Deccanis regained most of the power which they had lost, and Miyan Minullah, in order to compass the destruction of the Foreigners, organized an expedition for the subjugation of the northern Konkan. Malik-ut-Tujjar, who was appointed to the command, fortified Chakan, which he selected as his base, dispatched expeditions against several minor chieftains, who were reduced to obedience, and personally led a force against one Sirka, whose stronghold was in the neighborhood, and who was defeated and captured. Malikut-Tujjar offered him the choice between Islam and death, and Sirka professed his readiness to change his faith but declared that he could not make an open profession so long as his enemy the raja of Sangameshwar, near Kondhana, was in a position to punish him. He promised to act as guide and to lead the royal troops to Sangameshwar, and in 1446 Malikut-Tujjar set forth on the enterprise.
Deccanis and Foreigners
The march through the dense forest and over the precipitous slopes of the Ghats was intensely laborious and the climate was deadly. Malikut-Tujjar himself suffered from a severe attack of dysentery, and the army was entirely demoralized. Sirka treacherously informed the raja of Sangameshwar of its plight, and he, with 30,000 men well skilled in mountain warfare, fell upon it at night and slew seven or eight thousand men besides its leader.
The remnant of the army contrived, with infinite difficulty, to extricate itself from the hills and jungles, and joined those Deccanis who had refused to accompany the expedition to Sangameshwar. They advised the fugitives to return to their fiefs and collect fresh troops for the renewal of the war, but the Foreigners returned to Chakan. Some of them had incautiously avowed their intention of informing the king that the disaster had been due to the refusal of the Deccanis to support Malikut-Tujjar, whereupon the Deccanis at once concocted a dispatch attributing it to Malikut-Tujjar's own rashness and imputing to the survivors the intention of transferring their allegiance to the enemy. The dispatch was delivered to the king, when he was drunk, by Mushir-ul-Mulk, the bitterest of the Foreigners' enemies, who persuaded him to give him the command of a force wherewith to punish the fugitives in Chakan. He intercepted all messages which the Foreigners attempted to transmit to the court, lured them from Chakan by means of a forged decree granting them a free pardon and murdered their officers at a banquet. At the same time 4000 Deccani horse fell upon their camp, put to the sword 1200 Sayyids, 1000 other foreigners, and five or six thousand children, and appropriated the wives, daughters, and goods of their victims. Qasim Beg and two other Foreign officers, whose suspicions had led them to encamp at a distance from the rest, contrived to escape, and, after undergoing great difficulties and hardships, succeeded in conveying to the king a true report of all that had passed. Ala-ud-din, overcome by remorse, avenged the wrongs of the Foreigners by executing the leaders of the Deccani party and reducing their families to beggary. Qasim Beg was appointed to the government of Daulatabad, vacant since the death of Malikut-Tujjar, and his two companions were promoted to high rank. The Foreign party completely regained its former ascendancy, and in 1451 the king received from the poet Azari, in Isfarayin, a letter urging him to abandon the use of wine and to dismiss all Deccani officials. He obeyed both injunctions, and henceforth attended personally to affairs of state.
In 1453 the king received an injury to his leg which confined him to his palace, and rumors of his death were circulated and credited. Jalal Khan, a Sayyid who had married a daughter of Ahmad Shah, rose in rebellion in Telingana, with the object of establishing the independence of his son, Sikandar, in that province. He learned too late that the king yet lived, but might still have been recalled to his allegiance by his promise of forgiveness but for Sikandar, who, having been deeply implicated in the revolt of Muhammad Khan at the beginning of the reign, despaired of pardon for a second act of rebellion. He sought aid, therefore, of Mahmud I of Malwa, assuring him that Ala-ud-din was dead, that the courtiers were concealing his death for their own ends, and that Berar and Telingana might be annexed to Malwa without difficulty or opposition. Mahmud responded to the appeal, and in 1456 invaded Berar, where Sikandar joined him with a thousand horse.
Ala-ud-din marched against Mahmud I who, indignant at the deception of
which he had been the victim, hastily returned to Malwa, while Sikandar joined
his father at Balkonda, where both were besieged by Khvaja Mahmud Gavan of
Gilan, a foreigner
Ala-ud-din died in 1458, having some time before designated as his heir his eldest son Humayun, who bore a reputation so evil that his father had been urged to reconsider his decision, which, however, had never been revoked. On the king's death a party among the courtiers, headed by Saif Khan, Mallu Khan, and Shah Habibullah, the soldier son of Khalilullah the Iconoclast, enthroned his younger son, Hasan Khan, and the populace assembled for the purpose of attacking Humayun in his house and putting him to death, but cowardice was not among the prince's many faults, and he came forth with his personal guard of eighty horsemen, and cut his way through the crowd to the palace, where the royal troops joined him. He secured his brother's person, caused Saif Khan to be tied to the leg of an elephant and dragged through the streets until he perished, and imprisoned Habibullah, but Mallu Khan fled into the Carnatic.
Humayun the Tyrant
Humayun bestowed his favors chiefly upon the Foreign faction, and appointed Mahmud Gavan lieutenant of the kingdom and governor of Bijapur, conferring on him the title of Malik-ut-Tujjar, but the Deccanis were not entirely excluded from office, and received some appointments. Sikandar Khan, who had been with Humayun when the mob threatened to overwhelm him, and had contributed materially to his success, was so disappointed at not receiving the government of Telingana that he joined his father at Balkonda, again rebelled, and defeated the army of Berar, under Khan Jahan, which was sent against him. Humayun marched in person to Balkonda where Sikandar, on being summoned to surrender, insolently replied that if Humayun was son's son to Ahmad the Saint he was daughter's son, and demanded the cession of the eastern half of the kingdom. To this there could be but one reply, and Humayun sounded the attack. Sikandar was on the point of defeating the royal troops when he was thrown to the ground by an elephant and trampled to death by his own cavalry. His army broke and fled and Humayun captured Balkonda after a week's siege and imprisoned Jalal Khan.
The Hindus of Telingana, and especially those of the district of Deurkonda, had generally supported Sikandar, and early in 1459 Humayun marched to Warangal and sent a force to reduce Deurkonda. The garrison obtained assistance from one of the rajas of southern Orissa and Khvaja Jahan the Turk and Nizam-ul-Mulk Ghuri, who commanded the Muslims, were attacked simultaneously by the garrison and the relieving force, and were utterly defeated, and fled to Warangal. Here Khvaja Jahan basely attributed the disaster to his colleague, who had in fact recommended that the siege should be raised in order that the relieving force might be dealt with singly, and Humayun, without investigating the facts, put Nizam-ul-Mulk to death, and the family of the unfortunate officer fled to Malwa and threw themselves on the protection of Mahmud I.
Khvaja Jahan was imprisoned and the king was preparing to march to
Detirkonda when he learned of a rising in his capital. Scald-headed Yusuf, the
Turk, had released the king's brothers, Hasan Khan and Yahya Khan, Shah
Habibullah, and Jalal Khan. The
Humayun’s behaviour for the rest of his reign was that of a homicidal maniac. The torchbearer of his wrath ever consumed both Hindu and Muslim alike, the broker of his fury sold at one price the guilty and the innocent, and the executioner of his punishment slew whole families for a single fault. Nobles summoned to court made their wills and bade their families farewell before leaving them, and the inmates of the harem were butchered in mere sportive brutality, but the most hideous of all his acts of oppression were the forcible abduction of the wives and children of his subjects and his exercise of the droit du seigneur. He earned the name of Zalim, ‘the Oppressor’, by which he is still remembered by the Deccan, and tormented his subjects until 'God the Most High, the Most Merciful, and the Succourer of them that seek aid answered the prayerful cries of his people' and stretched the monster on a bed of sickness. On September 4, 1461, the tyrant died and his people were 'freed from the talons of his tortures'. It was understood that he had succumbed to his illness, but the best authority for his reign relates the true story of his death. He recovered, but the inmates of the harem could no longer endure his barbarity, and the eunuch Shihab Khan suborned an African maidservant to stab him to death when he was helpless with drink.
The dome of the Tyrant's tomb at Bidar is split, and half of it has fallen away. It is locally believed that this occurred when the monster’s body was placed in it, and that the Almighty refused his remains protection. The accident happened when the building was struck by lightning forty or fifty years ago, but the currency of the legend proves at least that his memory is still execrated.
He was succeeded by his infant son Nizam Shah, whose mother, with the assistance of Khvaja Jahan and Mahmud Gavan, managed the affairs of the kingdom, but the neighbouring rulers regarded the reign of a child as their opportunity, and the Hindus of Orissa, who were joined by those of Telingana, invaded the kingdom and advanced to within twenty miles of Bidar, where they were met by the royal army. Their advanced guard, driven in on to the main body of their army threw them into a panic, and they fled headlong, but the raja of southern Orissa was compelled to pay half a million of silver tangas in order to secure his retreat from molestation. The young king had hardly been borne back to the capital when news was received that Mahmud I of Malwa, instigated by the family of the murdered Nizamul-Mulk, had invaded the kingdom with 28,000 horse and that the Hindus of Orissa and Telingana had reassembled their forces and were menacing the capital from the east and north-east.
War with Malwa
The local troops in Telingana were instructed to deal with the Hindus while the ministers with the rest of the royal army, carrying with them the young king, met the army of Malwa in the neighbourhood of Kandhar. The wings of the invading army were put to flight and the day would have been won for the Deccan had not Mahmud I of Malwa happened to hit the elephant of Sikandar Khan, the young king's tutor, in the forehead with an arrow. The beast, maddened with pain, turned and fled, trampling down many in its flight, and Sikandar Khan bore the young king with him from the field. The army of the Deccan, no longer perceiving the royal elephant, began to retire in confusion, and, overtaking the king and Sikandar Khan, bore them back with them to Bidar. Here Khvaja Jahan threw Sikandar Khan into prison, but his incarceration, owing to the number and influence of his supporters, created dissensions which encouraged Mahmud of Malwa to advance on the capital, and the queen-mother carried her son to Firuzabad, where he was out of danger.
Mahmud of Malwa captured the town of Bidar after a siege of seventeen days, but the citadel held out, and Mahmud Begarha, in response to an appeal from the young king's ministers, appeared on the frontier with 80,000 horse, and was joined by Mahmud Gavan who, with 20,000 horse placed at his disposal by the king of Gujarat and a force of equal strength assembled by himself threatened the communications of the army of Malwa. Mahmud of Malwa, thus menaced, retreated, and was much harassed by Mahmud Gavan. His troops also suffered severely in their passage through the hills of the Melghat, into which he plunged in order to shake off his pursuers. This discomfiture failed to deter him from invading the Deccan in the following year with 90,000 horse, and he advanced as far as Daulatabad, but the reappearance of Mahmud Begarha on the northern frontier compelled him to retire to Mandu without having effected anything.
The youthful Nizam Shah died suddenly on July 30, 1463, and was succeeded by his brother, aged nine, who ascended the throne as Muhammad III.
The Foreign party retained its predominance in the state, and the kingdom was administered, as in the preceding reign, by the queen-mother, Khvaja Jahan, and Mahmud Gavan, but the ambition of Khvaja Jahan disturbed the harmony which had hitherto prevailed. He aimed at the chief power in the state, and undermined Mahmud Gavan's influence at the capital by employing him continually on the frontier. The queen-mother became suspicious of his designs and persuaded her son to put him to death. When he entered his master’s presence two maidservants of the harem appeared and cried aloud, in accordance with preconcerted arrangements, “The matter which was spoken of yesterday should now be taken in hand”. Muhammad turned to Nizam-ul-Mulk and, pointing to Khvaja Jahan said, “This man is a traitor. Slay him”. Nizam-ul-Mulk seized Khvaja Jahan by the hand, dragged him forth, and cut him to pieces.
Mahmud Gavan, who had devoted such care to the young king's education that he was the most accomplished monarch who had sat on the throne since the days of Firuz, was summoned to the capital and received the titles of Khvaja Jahan and Amir-ul-Umard. The queen-mother wisely retired from the management of public affairs when her son reached the age of fifteen, and left him in the hands of his advisers, but retained his respect, and was consulted by him throughout her life.
In 1467 Nizamul-Mulk was appointed to the command of the army of Berar and was sent against Kherla, which was in the possession of Mahmud I of Malwa. He induced or compelled the governor to surrender the place, but was himself murdered by two Rajputs of the garrison, and Muhammad gained nothing by the campaign, which was terminated by a treaty acknowledging Kherla to be a fief of Malwa, as in the reign of Ahmad the Saint. The treaty was preceded by protracted negotiations, in the course of which Mahmud taxed Muhammad with bad faith in violating the treaty which had secured Kherla to Malwa, but was forced to admit the justice of the retort that he had first violated the treaty of peace between the two countries by twice invading the Deccan during the reign of Nizam Shah.
War in the Konkan and Orissa
Mahmud Gavan yet retained the government of Bijapur, and in 1469 was sent into the Konkan to reduce to obedience the rajas of Khelna (Vishalgarh), Sangameshwar, and other districts, whose pirate fleets had inflicted much loss on Muslim merchants and pilgrims. The two leading rajas entered into a close alliance and fortified the Western Ghats, but Mahmud Gavan went patiently to work and forced and occupied the passes one by one. He dismissed his cavalry, useless in mountain warfare, and assembled corps of infantry from Junnar, Dabhol, and Karhad. The jungle was burnt and the siege of Khelna was opened and continued for five months, when Mahmud, wisely shunning the dangers of a campaign in the hills during the rainy season, withdrew into quarters at Kolhapur, leaving garrisons to hold the passes.
When the rainy season was past he returned to Khelna and, by tampering with the fidelity of the garrison, succeeded in capturing and occupying the fortress. As the rainy season approached he again retired above the Ghats, leaving a garrison in Khelna, and, returning when the rains were abated, took Sangameshwar, avenging, as Firishta says, the sufferings of Khalaf Hasan of Basrah. Leaving officers to carry on the administration of his conquests he marched to Goa, then one of the best ports of the raja of Vijayanagar, attacked it by land and sea, and took it. The exploit was celebrated with great rejoicings at Bidar, both as an important victory over the hereditary enemies of the kingdom and as a boon to Muslim pilgrims and merchants, for the western ports, which might be dominated from Goa, harbored pirates whom their nominal sovereigns might disown at will, while profiting by their depredations.
Mahmud Gavan returned to Bidar, after more than two years' absence, in the early suhimer of 1472, and was received with the highest honors by the king and the queen-mother. His slave Khushqadam, who had ably seconded his efforts during the arduous campaign in the Konkan, received the title of Kishvar Khan and was manumitted and ennobled.
Before the great minister’s return news had been received at the capital that the Hindu chieftain of southern Orissa who had vexed the kingdom during the reigns of Humayun and Nizam had died and had been succeeded by an adopted son, Mangal, whose title to the throne was contested by the deceased raja's cousin, Hambar. Hambar, having been defeated by Mangal and driven into the mountains, sought aid of Muhammad III, in return for which he promised, on attaining to the throne, to pay tribute. Malik Hasan, surnamed Bahri, the Brahman of Pathri who had been captured during the invasion of Vijayanagar by Ahmad the Saint and brought up as a Muslim, received the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk, and was sent to the assistance of Hambar. The expedition was successful. Mangal was defeated and put to flight and Hambar was placed on the throne and assisted Hasan to reduce Rajamundry (Rajamahendri), the Hindu ruler of which had maintained his independence and had assisted the rajas of southern Orissa in their campaigns against the Muslims. Kondavir also was captured, and the kingdom of the Bahmanids for the first time extended from sea to sea.
Malik Hasan, on his return to the capital with his spoils, was received with every mark of distinction and was made governor of Telingana, now the most extensive of the four provinces. At the same time Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk, the other Brahman who had been captured in Ahmad Shah’s campaign, was made governor of Berar, and Yusuf Adil Khan Savai, a Turk, received the government of Daulatabad.
Honors were now fairly evenly divided between the Foreigners and the Deccanis. Of the four great provincial governments two, Gulbarga (with Bijapur) and Daulatabad, were held by Mahmud Gavan and Yusuf Adil Khan, foreigners, and two, Telingana and Berar, by Malik Hasan and Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk, Deccanis. The leaders of the Foreigners were well disposed towards the Deccanis, and of the latter Fathullah was a lifelong friend of Yusuf Adil Khan and was on terms of intimacy with many of the Foreigners, but the crafty, unscrupulous, and ambitious Malik Hasan could not tolerate a Foreigner's tenure of the first post in the kingdom, and never rested till he had destroyed Mahmud Gavan. His ambition was purely selfish, for Mahmud was free from party spirit, and it was Yusuf that became the leader of the Foreigners, who flocked around him in Daulatabad and enabled him to complete the subjugation of the northern Konkan, which earned him higher honors than those which had been accorded to Hasan, and the bitter hostility of the latter and of his followers.
Campaign in Telingana
At the end of the same year the rajas of Belgaum and Bankapur, instigated by Virupaksha of Vijayanagar, attempted to recover Goa and Muhammad III marched, with Mahmud Gavan, to punish them. Birkana, raja of Belgaum, was besieged in his stronghold and, when the outer defences had been carried and only the citadel remained to him, escaped in disguise and appeared in the Muslim camp in the character of an envoy. It was not until he was in the royal presence that he disclosed his identity and begged for mercy. His life was spared, but Belgaum was annexed and granted to Mahmud Gavan, whose fiefs it adjoined, and Muhammad III on entering the fortress, assumed the title of Lashkary, ‘the Soldier’, by which he is known in history. After the fall of Belgaum his mother, who had served the state so well, died, and her body was sent to Bidar for burial while he halted at Bijapur as the guest of Mahmud Gavan.
The Deccan now suffered from a terrible famine, the result of the failure of the rains for two successive years. Large numbers died of hunger and of an epidemic of cholera, which usually accompanies or follows a famine in India, and the kingdom was further depopulated by the flight of a large proportion of its inhabitants to Gujarat and Malwa, which escaped the visitation. The land lay untilled and cultivation was not resumed until, in the third year, the rain once more fell in abundance.
As soon as this calamity was past news was received that the people of Kondavir had risen against their Muslim governor, an oppressor belonging to the school of Humayun, had put him to death, and had delivered the town to Hambar, who, forgetful of his obligations to Muhammad, had accepted the offering and, doubtful of his ability to retain it, had sought help of the raja of Jajpur in Orissa, who invaded Telingana and besieged Malik Hasan in Rajamundry.
Muhammad marched to Rajamundry and relieved Malik Hasan, while Hambar shut himself up in Kondavir and the raja withdrew to the northern bank of the Godavari, secured his position there by seizing all the boats which could be found, and, finding that nothing was to be gained by lingering in the neighbourhood, retired to Orissa. Muhammad followed him, invaded Orissa in February, 1478, and spent six months in the country, which he laid waste. He was contemplating its annexation when envoys arrived from the raja, bringing numbers of elephants and other rich gifts and charged with expressions of contrition, but Muhammad refused to retreat until the raja, most unwillingly, had surrendered other twenty-five elephants, the best which his father’s stables had contained. On his return he besieged Hambar in Kondavir, and on his surrendering granted him his life, but destroyed the great temple of Kondavir, built a mosque on its site, and earned the title of Ghazi by slaying with his own hand some of the attendant Brahmans.
He made Rajamundry his headquarters for nearly three years and, having completely subjugated Telingana, prepared to invade the eastern Carnatic, but, before setting out, provided for the efficient administration of Telingana by dividing it into two provinces, and appointed Malik Hasan to the eastern, or Rajamundry, division and Azam Khan, son of the rebel Sikandar, to Warangal, which became the capital of the western division. The kingdom had outgrown the old provincial system established by the first two kings of the dynasty. Its extension to the sea coast on the west and on the east had doubled the area of the old provinces of Gulbarga and Daulatabad, and very much more than doubled that of Telingana, the partition of which was part of a scheme for the division of the other provinces; but Malik Hasan, who had hoped to assume the government of the whole vast province, bitterly resented its dismemberment, and resolved to destroy Mahmud Gavan, the author of the scheme. He begged that he might be permitted to accompany the king on his expedition into the Carnatic and to leave his son Ahmad as the deputy at Rajamundry. Ahmad bore a higher reputation as a soldier than his father and had been provided with a fief in the Mahur district of Berar because it had been considered dangerous to employ father and son in the same province, but Hasan's prayer was granted, and his son was summoned from Mahur and installed in Rajamundry.
Narasimha, whose territory Muhammad invaded, was probably a viceroy or the descendant of a viceroy of the rajas of Vijayanagar, who had extended his power at the expense of his former masters until his territories included the eastern districts of their kingdom and extended on the north to Masulipatam. Muhammad made Kondapalli his headquarters, and leaving his son Mahmud, with Mahmud Gavan, in that town led a raid to the famous temple of Kanchi (Conjeveram). He rode so hard that of 6000 horse who had set out with him no more than forty, among whom were Yusuf Adil Khan and Malik Hasan, were with him when he arrived at his destination. Nothing daunted he rode towards the temple, from which emerged “many Hindus of devilish appearance, among them a black-faced giant of the seed of demons, mounted on a powerful horse, who, having regarded them fixedly, urged his horse straight at the king”. While his companions were occupied with other Hindus Muhammad slew this champion and another, and entered the temple, plundered it, and slew the attendant Brahmans.
After resting for a week in Conjeveram Muhammad sent 15,000 horse against Narasimha and, having captured Masulipatam, returned to Kondapalli, where Malik Hasan, Zarif-ul-Mulk, and the Deccani party lost no opportunity of slandering Mahmud Gavan to him.
Partition of the Provinces
It was at Kondapalli that Mahmud Gavan’s plan for the partition of the four great tarafs or provinces of the kingdom was completed. As Telingana had been divided into the two provinces of Rajamundry and Warangal, so Berar was divided into those of Gawil, or northern, and Mahur, or southern Berar; Daulatabad into those of Daulatabad on the east, and Junnar on the west; and Gulbarga into those of Belgaum on the west and Gulbarga on the east. At the same time the powers of the tarafdars or provincial governors were curtailed in many ways. Many of the parganas or sub-districts, in the provinces were appropriated as crown lands and removed from the jurisdiction of the governor, and all military appointments which had formerly been part of the governor’s patronage, were, with the exception of the command of the principal fortress in each province, resumed by the king. Allowances for the maintenance of troops, whether in cash or in grants of land, had hitherto been calculated at the rate of 100,000 huns for five hundred and 200,000 for 1000 horse. These sums were now raised to 125,000 and 250,000, but on the other hand a system of inspection and control was introduced, and deductions were made on account of men not regularly maintained and mustered. These reforms were most unpopular. The older nobles disliked them because they curtailed the power and diminished the wealth of the provincial governors, and all resented the curtailment of opportunities for peculation. They rendered their author more odious than ever to the Deccani faction, headed by Malik Hasan, who had been the first to suffer by them.
The new governments were fairly divided. Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk retained Gawil, Yusuf Adil Khan Daulatabad, Malik Hasan Rajamundry, and Mahmud Gavan Belgaum, and to the four provinces of Mahur, Junnar, Gulbarga, and Warangal Khudavand Khan the African, Fakhr-ul-Mulk the Turk, Dastur Dinar the African, and Azam Khan the Deccani were appointed. The Deccani faction thus held five of the eight provincial governments, but this advantage was neutralized by Malik Hasan’s hostility to the interloper, Azam Khan.
Murder of Mahmud Gavan
The absence of Yusuf Adil Khan with the field force encouraged Malik Hasan, Zarif-ul-Mulk, and Miftah the African, the leaders of the Deccani party, to prosecute their designs against Mahmud Gavan. They induced the keeper of his seals, an African, to affix his private seal to a blank paper, on which they wrote, above the seal, a letter to the raja of Orissa, informing him that the people of the Deccan were weary of the tyranny and perpetual drunkenness of their king and urging him to invade the country. The paper was read to the king when he was drunk, and he at once sent for Mahmud Gavan, who insisted on obeying the summons, notwithstanding the protests of his friends, who warned him that mischief was brewing. The king made no inquiries and did not even require the production of the messenger with whom the letter was said to have been found, but when Mahmud appeared roughly demanded what was the punishment due to a traitor. "Death by the sword", replied the minister, confident in his innocence. The king then showed him the letter, and, having read it, he exclaimed: “By God, this is a manifest forgery! The seal is mine, but the writing is none of mine, and I know nothing of the matter”. The king, disregarding his protestations of innocence, rose to leave the hall and, as he did so, ordered an African named Jauhar to put him to death. The minister knelt down and recited the short symbol of his faith, and cried, as the sword fell, “Praise be to God for the blessing of martyrdom!”.
He was seventy-eight years of age when, on April 5, 1481, he was unjustly put to death, and had served the Bahmani dynasty with conspicuous ability and unwavering loyalty for thirty-five years. He was generous, charitable, learned, accomplished, and blameless in his private life. His attitude towards the Deccanis might have healed the disastrous feud between them and the Foreigners, but for the inappeasable rancour of Malik Hasan, and his death deprived his master of the only counselor who united fidelity to ability.
The troops and the mob were permitted to plunder his camp, but his own Foreigners rode with all speed to the field force, where they took refuge with Yusuf Adil Khan, who was also joined by most of the Foreign nobles in the royal camp. The king sent for Nizam-ud-din Hasan Gilani, the murdered man's treasurer, and discovered, to his chagrin, that Mahmud, with all his opportunities for acquiring wealth, had left no hoard, having distributed his income, as he received it, in charity. The faithful servant boldly taxed the king with having shed innocent blood and challenged him to prove his minister's guilt. Muhammad, too late, commanded his betrayers to produce the messenger with whom the letter had been found, and on receiving no answer hurriedly left the hall of audience, leaving the courtiers trembling with apprehension. On reaching his chamber he gave way to paroxysms of grief and remorse. The body was sent to Bidar for burial, escorted by the young prince Mahmud, the king himself being unable to accompany it owing to the refusal of the nobles to march with him. Fathullah and Khudavand Khan, both members of the Deccani party, refused even to see him for the purpose of discussing the punishment of the conspirators, and bluntly replied to his summons that they would not trust the murderer of such a minister as Mahmud, but would shape their conduct by the advice of Yusuf Adil Khan. Muhammad recalled Yusuf, but he would not join the royal camp, and encamped apart, with Fathullah and Khudavand Khan.
The wretched king, thus deserted by the Foreigners and by the respectable portion of the Deccani party, was thrown into the arms of the late minister's betrayers and compelled to accede to their demands. Malik Hasan became lieutenant of the kingdom and was henceforth known as Malik Naib, his son Ahmad received his father's title of Nizam-ul-Mulk and the province of Daulatabad, vacated by Yusuf, who had decided to take possession of Mahmud Gavan’s fiefs of Belgaum and Bijapur, and Qivam-ul-Mulk the elder and Qivam-ul-Mulk the younger, two Turks who, from selfish motives, had attached themselves to Malik Naib’s faction, were appointed to Warangal and Rajamundry.
The king set out for his capital, but the great nobles, except Malik Naib and his friends, marched and encamped at a distance from the royal troops and, on reaching Bidar, refused to enter the city and were dismissed to their provinces. Shortly afterwards he commanded Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk and Khudavand Khan to accompany him to Belgaum, where he hoped to conciliate Yusuf Adil Khan, but they, though they obeyed the summons, would neither march with the royal troops nor enter his presence, but saluted him always from a distance and chose their own road. From Belgaum he proposed to visit Goa, but the nobles refused to accompany him and when news was received that Vira Nrisimha of Vijayanagar was preparing to attack the port, Yusuf Adil Khan was sent to its relief. Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk and Khudavand Khan returned to Berar without permission, and the king withdrew to Firuzabad, where he endeavored to drown his humiliation and grief in drink, and formally designated the young Mahmud heir to the throne. Thence he returned to Bidar where, on March 22, 1482, he died at the age of twenty-eight from the effects of incessant drinking, crying out in his last moments that Mahmud Gavan was slaying him.
He was an accomplished and high-spirited prince of great energy and possessed considerable military ability. He was better served than any of his predecessors, and might have been the greatest prince of his house but for his addiction to drink, which destroyed first his reputation and then his life. He may be considered the last king of his line, for though five of his descendants followed him on the throne none was more than a state prisoner in the hands of ambitious and unscrupulous ministers.
On the death of Muhammad his son Mahmud, a boy of twelve years of age, was seated on the throne by Malik Naib, Qivam-ul-Mulk the younger, and Qasim, Barid-ul-Mamalik, another Turk who for selfish reasons had allied himself to Malik Naib's faction. None of the Foreign Party or of the more respectable section of the Deccani Party was present at his enthronement, which was a mean spectacle, shorn of the magnificence to which courtiers and people were accustomed, and a superstitious populace augured ill of a reign thus ushered in.
Yusuf Adil Khan, with most of the Foreign and many Deccani ofiicers, had been absent at Goa at the time of Muhammad's unexpected death, and on his return he marched to Bidar to make his obeisance to the new king. Disregarding the rule which prohibited the attendance of armed retainers at court he entered the palace with 200 picked troops. Malik Naib had drawn up 500 of the royal guards at the gate, but none ventured to oppose Yusuf, who, as a precaution against assassination, compelled Malik Naib and Qasim Barid-ul-Mamalik to precede him into the royal presence, where he took his place above them, notwithstanding Malik Naib's high office. On leaving the palace Yusuf took Malik Naib by the hand and compelled him to accompany him as far as the gate. He lodged in the city with a guard of a thousand men while Darya Khan, with the rest of his army, remained on the alert without the walls. He resisted all Malik Naib's attempts to induce him to bring his troops into the city, where the Deccanis might have surprised them, and when the nobles met for the purpose of apportioning the great offices of state acquiesced in the retention of the principal places in the capital by the Deccani faction. Malik Naib remained lieutenant of the kingdom, Qivam-ul-Mulk the elder became minister, Qivam-ul-Mulk the younger master of the ceremonies, and Dilavar Khan the African assistant minister of finance.
Decline of the Royal Power
This concession did not blind Malik Naib to the necessity for removing Yusuf, his most formidable enemy, and to this end he summoned from Warangal Abdullah Adil Khan the Deccani, the deputy of Qivam-ul-Mulk the elder in that province. It had become customary to confer the same title on two men, usually a Deccani and a Foreigner, though the two bearing the title of Qivam-ul-Mulk were both Turks, and there was commonly much jealousy between two bearers of the same title. Abdullah Adil Khan opportunities were, however, curtailed by the simultaneous arrival in the capital of Yusufs friend, Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk of Berar.
Malik Naib first arranged that the troops of Bijapur and Berar should be reviewed by the king and that at the review the Deccanis should fall upon the Foreigners. On the day appointed he seated the king on one of the bastions of the citadel while the troops paraded below. Yusuf and Fathullah were summoned to the royal presence and the young Mahmud, tutored by Malik Naib, ordered the Deccanis to punish the Foreigners for their insolence and insubordination. Yusuf would have rejoined his men, but Fathullah, to save his life, detained him in the palace. Matters went ill with the Foreign troops until Darya Khan marched into the city with the whole of the army of Bijapur, when street fighting continued for twenty days, and 4000 fell on both sides before the Ulama could restore peace. Yusuf Adil Khan then returned with his troops to Bijapur, leaving Malik Naib supreme in the capital. He associated Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk with himself as minister, and Qasim Barid, who, though a Turk, had borne arms against the Foreigners, was rewarded with the post of Kotwal of the city, and the three carried on the administration for the next four years.
Dilavar Khan the African, resenting his exclusion from the highest offices, attempted, in obedience to the secret orders of the young king, who chafed under the restraint to which he was subjected, to assassinate the ministers, but failed and was obliged to flee to Khandesh, while the king was guarded more closely than before.
Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk grew weary of the atmosphere of treachery and
intrigue which pervaded the capital, and returned to Berar, leaving Malik Naib
supreme in the capital, and he, in order to extend his influence in the
provinces appointed two Deccanis, Wahid-ud-din and Sharaf-ud-din, as deputies
for his son Ahmad, to Daulatabad, conferred the government of Sholapur and
Parenda on Fakhr-ud-din the Deccani, whom he had entitled Khvaja Jahan, and
sent Ahmad to Junnar. These measures were necessitated by the virtual
detachment of all other provinces, where the royal seal no longer commanded
respect, the governors being well aware that all orders issued in the king's
name were in fact the decrees of the justly detested Malik Naib. In 1486 Qivam-ul-Mulk
the younger rebelled in Telingana, and when Malik Naib marched against him
complained to the king of the oppressive conduct of his minister, but the
complaint was fruitless, for it was handed by the king to the minister. Najm-ud-din
Gilani, governor of Goa, died, and his servant, Bahadur Gilani, seized the
fortress and repudiated his allegiance to Mahmud Shah. Malik Naib's son Ahmad
accused Yusuf Adil Khan of countenancing and abetting the rebel, and thus
further estranged the Foreigners. Zain-ud-din Ali, governor of Chakan, refused,
on the ground that the king was not master in his own kingdom, to recognize
Ahmad as governor of Junnar, and when Malik Naib ordered Khvaja Jahan of
Parenda and Wajih-ud-din of Daulatabad to assist Ahmad in asserting his
authority, Yusuf Adil Khan sent five or six thousand horse to the assistance of
Zainuddin Ali. The news of this act of defiance reached Warangal, where Malik
Naib and the king were endeavouring to suppress Qivam-ul-Mulk's rebellion, and
undermined the authority of the regent, whose arrogance had left him
friendless. Qasim Barid, the African eunuch Dastur Dinar, and other nobles
complained of his behaviour to the king, who replied that none could be more
disgusted than he with his minister, and besought them to seek occasion to put
him to death. Malik Naib was informed of the conference and fled from the camp,
but instead of following the prudent course of joining his son without delay
made for Bidar where Dilpasand Khan, one of his own creatures, commanded the
citadel. He and
Partition of the Kingdom
Meanwhile the quarrel between the Deccanis and the Foreigners continued with unabated rancor, and the former, dissatisfied with the king's attitude, plotted to dethrone him. On the night of November 7, 1487, they entered the palace, where the king was drinking, and, shutting the gates behind them lest the Foreign troops should come to his assistance, entered the royal apartment. The few Turkish slaves in attendance held their ground against the conspirators until the king had escaped to the roof of the great bastion of the palace, and then followed him, holding the narrow stairway.
Mahmud found means to dispatch a messenger to the Foreign troops, and
three or four hundred were soon assembled before the palace. Eight officers
scaled the bastion and blew their whistles, and the conspirators, believing
that all the Foreign troops had
Meanwhile the citizens, hearing the tumult in the palace, rose and plundered the houses of the Foreigners, but the Foreign troops, supplied with horses from the royal stables, suppressed the disorder, and when the sun rose on a scene of indescribable confusion the king took his seat on his throne and ordered a general massacre of the Deccanis and Africans. The carnage continued for three days, and was only stayed at the earnest prayer of a son of Shah Muhibbullah.
The king now devoted himself entirely to pleasure, and the great provincial governors, perceiving that he would never exercise his authority, began to strengthen themselves in their provinces, and when they attended him in court or camp shunned his presence as they had been wont to shun that of his father in the last days of his reign.
In 1490 Malik Ahmad Nizam-ul-Mulk, who had built the city of Ahmadnagar and called it after his own name, sent envoys to Yusuf Adil Khan of Bijapur and Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk of Berar, inviting them to join him in assuming the royal title and asserting their independence of Bidar, and from this date these three rulers became independent sovereigns of the territory which they had hitherto held as viceroys of the king of the Deccan. Their dynasties were known, from the titles borne by their founders, as the Nizam Shahi, Adil Shahi, and Imad Shahi dynasties, and later Qutb-ul-Mulk founded the Qutb Shahi dynasty at Golconda and Barid-ul-Mamalik the Barid Shahi dynasty at Bidar.
These declarations of independence were not, except in the case of
Ahmad, who never forgave Mahmud Shah for the murder of his father, prompted by
disaffection towards the Bahmani dynasty, for which Yusuf and Fathullah
entertained to the end of
After the composition of the strife between the Deccanis and the Foreigners Qasim Barid-ul-Mamalik became lieutenant of the kingdom. He was a Turk, but he was a Sunni and had been a friend of Malik Naib, so that he was acceptable to the Deccanis but odious to the Foreign Party. He held the king in thrall, and made no pretence of consulting his wishes. One of his earliest measures was to seize the government of the region about the capital, to take the field against the officers commanding its numerous fortresses, who refused to surrender what they held of the king, and to inflict several defeats on the royal troops. Dilavar Khan the African returned from Khandesh to help the king, drove Qasim towards Golconda, and defeated him, but his troops, while pursuing those of Qasim, were thrown into confusion by an unruly elephant, their victory was turned into a defeat, and Dilavar Khan was slain. Qasim returned to Bidar and reduced the king to a condition of such impotence that some writers date the foundation of the Barid Shahi dynasty from this year.
Qasim Barid aimed at extending his power by reducing to obedience the provincial governors, and proceeded first against Yusuf Adil Shah by inciting Saluva Timma, the regent of Vijayanagar, to attack him. The Hindus invaded Raichur Doab and captured both Raichur and Mudgal. Qasim then induced Ahmad Nizam Shah and Khvaja Jahan of Parenda to join him, and attacked Yusuf near Gulbarga, but Ahmad disappointed him by taking no part in the action, and Qasim and Khvaja Jahan were defeated.
Rebellion of Bahadur Gilani
In 1493 Mahmud Bigarha of Gujarat complained that the pirate Bahadur Gilani had plundered many ships of Gujarat and had sent his lieutenant, Yaqut, to plunder the port of Bombay, and requested the King of the Deccan to control his refractory vassal. Qasim Barid assembled the royal army and, carrying the king into the field, marched against the rebel; Yusuf, Ahmad, and Fathullah sent contingents to his aid, for it was to the interest of all that the king of Gujarat should have no pretext for invading the Deccan.
Bahadur had established himself so firmly in the Konkan and the country above the Ghats that both Yusuf and Ahmad had been constrained to treat him with respect. When he heard that the royal army was marching towards his territory, and that an envoy was bearing a farman to him, he forbade his road guards to permit the envoy to pass Miraj, and his defiant attitude left the allies no choice but to advance. To Qutb-ul-Mulk the Deccani, now governor of Telingana, was entrusted the siege of Jamkhandi, but he was slain, and his title was conferred on Sultan Quli, a Turk of Hamadan, who held fiefs in Telingana. Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk captured the fortress, handed it over to the officers of Yusuf Adil Shah, and advanced to Mangalvedha, where Bahadur had taken refuge. Meanwhile the royal army had advanced to Miraj, and, after defeating Bahadur’s troops before that place, captured the fortress, but weakly permitted the garrison to join Bahadur. The royal army marched from Miraj to Panhala, and some of the courtiers secretly informed Bahadur that the king was well disposed towards him, and that a submissive attitude would probably earn him a pardon. Negotiations were accordingly opened, but the terms offered by Qasim Barid were so generous as to encourage Bahadur to believe that his enemies despaired of crushing his revolt, and he loudly boasted that he would conquer both the Deccan and Gujarat. Qasim Barid was loth to crush the rebel, whom he regarded as a useful counterpoise to the power of Yusuf Adil Shah, but as Bahadur was not disposed to submit the war continued, and Khvaja Jahan besieged him in Panhala, and reduced him to such straits that he sent an envoy to the king offering to submit on no other condition than that his life should be spared. The required assurance was given, but in the meantime Bahadur had escaped from Panhala and demanded impossible conditions. Sultan Quli Qutbul-Mulk was therefore sent to continue the siege of Panhala and Khvaja Jahan was sent against Bahadur. He defeated and slew the rebel, whose head was severed from his body and sent to the king, and his lands were bestowed on Ainul-Mulk Kanani, whom Qasim Barid selected as one likely to be able to hold his own against Yusuf Adil Shah. The king and Qasim Band visited Dabhol and on their return towards Bidar were entertained for some time at Bijapur by Yusuf Adil Shah.
In 1495 some changes were made in the provincial governments. On the death of Qutb-ul-Mulk the Deccani Dastur Dinar the African had been appointed governor of western Telingana. He was now transferred to Gulbarga, his former fief, to make way for Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, to whom the reward of distinguished service was due. The African, resenting his supersession, rebelled, and occupied those districts of western Telingana which adjoined Gulbarga. Qasim Barid was obliged to enlist the aid of Yusuf Adil Shah against the rebel, and Dastur Dinar was defeated, captured, and sentenced to death, but was almost immediately pardoned, and even reinstated in the fief of Gulbarga.
In 1497 the Deccanis again conspired to destroy the Foreigners at Bidar, but the plot was discovered and Qasim Barid put the leading conspirators to death.
On May 3, 1494, during the expedition against Bahadur, a son, named
Ahmad, had been born to the king, and in 1498 a marriage was arranged between
the child and Bibi Sati, daughter of Yusuf Adil Shah. Qasim Barid and the king,
Yusuf, Khvaja Jahan of
At the end of this year Yusuf attempted to compel Dastur Dinar to acknowledge his suzerainty, but the African gained without difficulty the support of Ahmad Nizam Shah as well as that of Qasim Barid, both of whom were interested in curbing Yusuf's ambition, and he was content to abandon the enterprise on obtaining from Bidar a decree prohibiting Ahmad from attacking him.
In 1504 Qasim Barid died, and was succeeded at Bidar, as a matter of course, by his son. Amir Ali Barid, and Fathullah died in Berar and was succeeded, in like manner, by his son, Ala-ud-din Imad Shah. In the same year Yusuf marched to Gulbarga, defeated Dastur Dinar, put him to death and annexed the province of Gulbarga to his dominions. He now believed himself to be strong enough to carry out a project which he seems to have cherished for some time, and established in his dominions the Shiah religion, to which he was devoutly attached. The khutba and the call to prayer were recited after the Shiah form, and the use of the Sunni form was prohibited. His decree raised a storm of discontent in his kingdom, where the majority of Muslims of the middle and lower classes was Sunni, and furnished all other rulers in the Deccan with a pretext for attacking the daring innovator. Mahmud Shah, under the instructions of Amir Ali Barid, commanded Ala-ud-din Imad Shah, Khudavand Khan, Ahmad Nizam Shah, and Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk of Golconda to aid him in punishing the heretic, and the manner in which each received the order illustrates their political rather than their religious views. Ahmad Nizam Shah responded with alacrity, both as a Sunni and as a personal enemy of Yusuf, but Ala-ud-din Imad Shah and Khudavand Khan, though Sunnis, paid no heed to it, being well disposed towards Yusuf and resentful of Amir Ali Barid’s ascendancy at Bidar. The Shiah Qutb-ul-Mulk, though he was a personal friend of Yusuf obeyed the order without hesitation. His appointment to Golconda was recent, he still regarded orders from Bidar, from whatever source they emanated, as binding on him, and he probably disapproved of Yusuf’s action as inopportune and likely to render his religion odious.
Yusuf, unable to withstand the confederacy arrayed against him, fled to Berar and took refuge with Ala-ud-din Imad Shah, who was sympathetic, but could not protect him against his enemies and advised him to retire into Khandesh. From Khandesh Yusuf sowed dissension among his enemies. He wrote to Ahmad and Qutb-ul-Mulk warning them against Amir Ali Barid, ‘the Fox of the Deccan’, who desired to destroy him only that he might seize Bijapur and dominate the whole of the Deccan. Having thus detached the two most powerful members of the confederacy he addressed to Mahmud Shah a petition seeking for pardon, to which an unfavourable answer was dictated by Amir Ali Barid, whereupon Yusuf returned and with the assistance of Ala-ud-din Imad Shah attacked Mahmud Shah and Amir Ali Barid at Kalam in Berar. The king and his minister were defeated and fled to Bidar, leaving their camp in the hands of the allies.
In 1509 Ahmad Nizam Shah died and was succeeded by his son, Burhan I, and in the following year Yusuf Adil Shah died and was succeeded by his son Ismail, and Khvaja Jahan died at Parenda. In 1512 Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk of Golconda, unable to maintain any longer the fiction of loyalty to Mahmud Shah, assumed independence in Telingana. He did not use the royal title but is usually described by historians as Sultan Quli Qutb Shah.
In 1514 Amir Ali Barid conferred on Jahangir Khan, the adopted son of Dastur Dinar, the title of Dastur-ul-Mamalik, and established him as provincial governor of Gulbarga. In order to deter Ismail Adil Shah from molesting him he obtained assistance from Sultan Quli Qutb Shah and Burhan Nizam Shah, and invaded the kingdom of Bijapur, carrying Mahmud Shah with him. Ismail defeated the invaders, captured Mahmud, who was wounded in the action, and his son Ahmad, and conciliated his captive by his courtesy and deference. He marched with him to Gulbarga, where Bibi Sati was delivered to her affianced husband, Prince Ahmad, and dispatched 5000 horse to escort Mahmud to Bidar. On the approach of this force Amir Ali Barid fled to Ansa, but, having obtained help from Burhan Nizam Shah, returned to Bidar, compelled the cavalry from Bijapur to retire, and again resumed control of the king and what remained of his kingdom.
The miserable king made one more effort to free himself from this thraldom, and fled to Berar, where he sought an asylum with Ala-ud-din Imad Shah, who readily espoused his cause and marched with him to Bidar, but Amir Ali Barid had again obtained help from Burhan Nizam Shah and drew up his army before Bidar to oppose his master and Ala-ud-din. The latter could not take the field without Mahmud, whose presence was his sole justification for appearing in arms before Bidar, but Mahmud, when he should have been at the head of his troops, was loitering in his bath, and was so annoyed by an impatient message which he received from Ala-ud-din that when he was dressed he rode to Amir Ali Barid's camp, and Ala-ud-din was compelled to retreat. Henceforth none would help the wretched puppet, who was interned in a villa at Kamthana, two leagues from Bidar.
Last Days of the Dynasty
In 1517 Amir Ali Barid, taking Mahmud Shah with him, marched to punish Sharza Khan, the son and successor of Khudavand Khan of Mahur, who had plundered Kandhar and Udgir. Sharza Khan and one of his brothers were slain in the field, and Mahur was besieged, but Ala-ud-din Imad Shah marched to its relief and compelled Amir Ali Barid to retire. He placed Ghalib Khan, another son of Khudavand Khan, in Mahur as his vassal, and thus established his authority in southern as well as northern Berar.
Mahmud Shah died, worn out with debauchery, on December 7, 1518, and his son Ahmad was placed on the throne by Amir Ali Barid. He died in 1521 and his brother Ala-ud-din was permitted to succeed.
Ala-ud-din Bahmani was a spirited prince, and chafed under the yoke of the maire du palais, of which he resolved to free himself. Having deceived him with specious expressions of his appreciation of his great services to the house of Bahman he arranged that the regent should be assassinated on the occasion of one of his monthly visits to him, but as he entered the royal apartment one of the assassins concealed behind the hangings sneezed, and Amir Ali Barid withdrew in alarm and sent the eunuchs to search the inner apartment. The conspirators were discovered and were executed in circumstances of great cruelty and Ala-ud-din was deposed and imprisoned, and shortly afterwards put to death.
Amir Ali Barid would not yet venture to ascend the throne, but proclaimed Wali-Ullah, the brother of Ala-ud-din. The new king, after a nominal reign of three years, was detected in an attempt to rid himself of his minister, and was deposed and put to death by Amir Ali Barid, who married his widow and placed on the throne Kalimullah, the brother of the three preceding kings. Warned by the example of his predecessors he at first submitted meekly to the domination of the regent, but the news of the capture of Delhi by Babur encouraged him to seek aid of the conqueror, and he secretly sent to his court one of his servants, bearing a letter in which he promised to surrender the provinces of Berar and Daulatabad in return for restoration to the remainder of the kingdom of his ancestors and liberation from the thraldom in which he lived. He received no answer and Amir Ali Barid’s discovery of the secret mission so excited his apprehensions that in 1627 he fled to Bijapur. Ismail Adil Shah received him coldly, and he left his court for that of Burhan Nizam Shah I at Ahmadnagar. Burhan received him with extravagant demonstrations of respect, treated him as his sovereign, and promised to recover Bidar for him, but he soon discovered that his host had no intention of fulfilling his promise. Burhan's chief adviser, Shah Tahir, condemned the folly of according the honors of royalty to a stray mendicant, and the unfortunate Kalimullah was no longer admitted to court, but when he shortly afterwards died, not without suspicion of poison, his body was sent for burial to Bidar, where it still rests. He was the last of his line, and on his flight from Bidar Amir Ali Barid was free to assert openly that independence which he had long enjoyed in fact.
The relations of the Bahmanids with their subjects closely resembled those of their contemporaries and co-religionists with the peoples of northern India, and where it differed, differed, perhaps, for the worse. Little heed was paid to the interests of the Hindu peasantry, and the Russian merchant, Athanasius Nikitin, describes the poverty and misery of the children of the soil and the wealth and luxury of the nobles. Muhammad III who was reigning when he was sojourning in the Deccan was, even in 1474, described as being in the power of the nobles, of whom the chief was Mahmud Gavan, Malikut-Tujjar, who kept an army of 200,000 men. Another kept 100,000 and another 20,000 men, and many khans kept 10,000.
Drink was the curse of the race, and of the long line of eighteen kings there were few who were not habitual drunkards. Their addiction to this vice was the opportunity of informers, delators, and self-seekers, and inclined them to rash and inconsiderate action on the reports of such wretches. Such actions, as in the case of the murders of Nizam-ul-Mulk Ghtiri and Mahmud Gavan, were the proximate cause of the ruin of the dynasty and of the dismemberment of its kingdom. Some of the line were bigots, but their carelessness of the welfare of their Hindu subjects is to be attributed neither to their bigotry nor to the apathy bred of habitual drunkenness. It was merely the fashion of an age in which subjects were believed to exist for their rulers, not rulers for their subjects, and the peasantry of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar was equally neglected and equally miserable.