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History of Deccan Sultanates | Bahmani Kingdom [ 1347-1527 AD] | Notes

 Table of Contents:

  • About Bahmani Kingdom ( Sultanate)
  • Ruler of Bahmani Kingdom ( Sultanate)
  • Administration of Bahmani Kingdom ( Sultanate)
  • About Deccan Sultanates

Bahmani Kingdom ( Bahmani Sultanate)

The Bahmani Kingdom, also known as the Bahmani Sultanate, was a medieval Islamic state in South India. It was founded by Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah in 1347 and lasted until 1527. The kingdom was named after its founder and its capital was first established in Gulbarga (now in the state of Karnataka) and later moved to Bidar ( Karnataka).

Bahmani Kingdom -Bahmani Sultanate

The following are some key points about the Bahmani Kingdom:

Foundation: The Bahmani Kingdom was established after the breakup of the Delhi Sultanate. Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, who was the governor of the Deccan region under the Delhi Sultan, Alaudin Khalaji, declared independence and founded the Bahmani Sultanate.

Conflict with Vijayanagara Empire: The Bahmani Kingdom was often in conflict with the Vijayanagara Empire, which was another major power in South India. The two kingdoms engaged in frequent battles over territorial control and supremacy in the region.

Decline and Disintegration: Internal conflicts, power struggles, and regional rebellions weakened the Bahmani Kingdom over time. The rise of the five Deccan Sultanates, also known as the Deccan Sultanates, further fragmented the kingdom's territories. The last ruler of the Bahmani Kingdom, Kalimullah, was overthrown by his minister, Amir Barid, who established the Bidar Sultanate in 1527.

The Bahmani Kingdom played a significant role in shaping the history and culture of the Deccan region in South India. Its legacy can still be seen in the architectural marvels and cultural heritage left behind, including the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur and the Bidar Fort in Bidar, among others.

Rulers of the Bahmani kingdom:

The Bahmani Kingdom was ruled by a series of sultans from the Bahmani dynasty. Here are some of the notable rulers of the Bahmani Kingdom:

  • Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah
  • Muhammad Shah I
  • Mahmud Shah Bahmani
  • Firoz Shah Bahmani
  • Ahmad Shah I
  • Humayun Shah
  • Muhammad Shah III
  • Mahmud Shah II
  • Kalimullah

Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah (1347-1358): 

Hasan was the founder of the Bahmani Kingdom. Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah was the governor of the Deccan region under the Delhi Sultanate. After declaring independence, he established the kingdom with its capital in Gulbarga.

Muhammad Shah I (1358-1375): 

Muhammad Shah was the second ruler of the Bahmani Kingdom. Muhammad Shah expanded the territories of the kingdom and initiated the construction of several forts and buildings. He shifted the capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.

Mahmud Shah Bahmani (1375-1397): 

He was a patron of art, literature, and architecture. Mahmud Shah Bahmani continued the expansion of the kingdom and constructed notable structures like the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa.

Firoz Shah Bahmani (1397-1422):

He further expanded the Bahmani Kingdom's territories and strengthened its administration. Firoz Shah Bahmani was known for his interest in astrology and patronage of scholars.

Ahmad Shah I (1422-1436): 

He shifted the capital once again, this time from Bidar to Gulbarga. Ahmad Shah, I continued the patronage of art and architecture and initiated the construction of the famous Gulbarga Fort.

Humayun Shah (1463-1465): 

He ascended the throne after a period of internal conflicts within the kingdom. Humayun Shah's reign was short-lived, and he was succeeded by his son.

Muhammad Shah III (1465-1482): 

During his rule, the Bahmani Kingdom faced several rebellions and regional conflicts. Muhammad Shah III attempted to restore stability but was unable to overcome the internal challenges.

Mahmud Shah II (1482-1518): 

He faced numerous challenges, including revolts and invasions by neighboring kingdoms. Mahmud Shah II witnessed the decline and disintegration of the Bahmani Kingdom during his reign.

Kalimullah (1518-1527): 

He was the last ruler of the Bahmani Kingdom. Kalimullah's reign was marked by power struggles and rebellions. He was eventually overthrown by his minister, Amir Barid, who established the Bidar Sultanate.

Administration of Bahmani kingdom

The administration of the Bahmani Kingdom was organized in a hierarchical structure with various administrative divisions and officials. 

The following are some key points of the administration of the Bahmani Kingdom:

Sultan: The Sultan was the supreme ruler of the Bahmani Kingdom and held ultimate authority over all administrative and political matters. The sultan was responsible for making important decisions, governing the kingdom, and maintaining law and order.

Central Administration: The central administration was headed by several high-ranking officials who assisted the sultan in governing the kingdom. These officials included ministers, viziers, and secretaries who oversaw different aspects of administration such as finance, justice, and revenue collection.

Provincial Administration: The Bahmani Kingdom was divided into provinces known as "Tarafs", which were further divided into smaller administrative units called "Sarkars". Each Sarkar was governed by a noble or a governor appointed by the sultan. The governors were responsible for maintaining law and order, collecting taxes, and implementing royal decrees.

Revenue Administration: The revenue administration was an essential part of the Bahmani Kingdom's administration. Revenue officials known as Muhtasibs were responsible for collecting taxes, assessing land revenue, and maintaining financial records. The revenue system was based on the traditional Islamic taxation system, including land tax (Kharaj), irrigation tax (Ushr), and customs duties (Ushur).

Military Administration: The Bahmani Kingdom maintained a standing army to defend its territories and expand its influence. The military administration was headed by a high-ranking military commander known as the Malik-ul-Siyar or the commander-in-chief. The army consisted of cavalry, infantry, archers, and artillery units. The kingdom also had a navy to protect its coastal regions.

Judicial Administration: The judicial administration of the Bahmani Kingdom was based on Islamic law (Sharia). Qazis, who were appointed by the sultan, served as judges and resolved disputes according to Islamic legal principles. The Qazis administered justice in various matters, including civil, criminal, and religious cases.

Local Administration: The Bahmani Kingdom had a system of local administration to govern towns, cities, and rural areas. Local administrators called Amils or Munsiffs were appointed to manage local affairs, maintain law and order, and collect taxes at the grassroots level.

The administration of the Bahmani Kingdom evolved over time and underwent changes under different rulers. However, the basic administrative structure and divisions remained consistent throughout the kingdom's existence.

About Deccan Sultanates:

The Deccan Sultanates were a collection of independent Muslim kingdoms that ruled parts of the Deccan Plateau [ Maharashtra, Northern Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh]  in South India from the 14th to the 17th centuries. These sultanates emerged as a result of the decline of the Delhi Sultanate and the disintegration of the Bahmani Kingdom.

The Deccan Sultanates were comprised of five Sultanates namely- the Bahmani Sultanate, the Ahmadnagar Sultanate, the Bijapur Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate, and the Bidar Sultanate.

The Bahmani Sultanate was the first major sultanate to be established in the Deccan in 1347. It was founded by Alauddin Bahman Shah, who declared independence from the Delhi Sultanate. The Bahmani Sultanate was known for its administrative and military organization. It also patronized scholars, poets, and artists, contributing to the growth of Deccani literature and architecture.

Over time, the Bahmani Sultanate disintegrated into five smaller sultanates: Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Golconda, Bidar, and Berar. These sultanates continued to rule their respective territories and engage in frequent conflicts with each other as well as with other regional powers such as the Vijayanagara Empire.

The Deccan Sultanate witnessed a flourishing of art, culture, and architecture. The sultans patronized the construction of grand mosques, palaces, tombs, and other architectural marvels. The Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur and the Charminar in Hyderabad are notable examples of Deccani architecture.

However, the Deccan Sultanates faced numerous challenges, including conflicts with neighboring kingdoms and the expansionist ambitions of the Mughal Empire in North India. The Mughals, under Emperor Aurangzeb, gradually annexed the Deccan Sultanates one by one, and by the end of the 17th century, the Deccan came under Mughal control.

The Deccan Sultanates left a lasting impact on the culture, language, and history of the Deccan region. Their contributions to art, architecture, literature, and music continue to be celebrated and studied today.

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