The Bahmani kingdom was founded by Alauddin Hasan in 1347. After his coronation, he assumed the title of Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah and it was from this title that the kingdom was called the Bahmani kingdom. He established his capital at Gulbarga which remained till 1424, after which the capital was shifted to Bidar by Ahmad Shah.
The most important step taken by him was the induction of Hindus in the administration on a large scale.
Hasan Gangu (1347-1358) established the Bahmani Sultanate or the Bahmanid Empire based in Ahsanabad, Gulbarga, and assumed the title of Abu’l-Muzaffar Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah. He was also called Zafar Khan. He defeated Warangal and had frequent skirmishes with the Hindu Kingdom of Vijaynagar in the South.
During his reign, the Bahmani Kingdom stretched from Daulatabad in Maharashtra to Bhongir in Andhra Pradesh.
In totality the Bahmani Kingdom lasted for 180 years out of which the first 78 years (1347-1425) were based in Gulbarga and remaining 102 years (1425-1527) were ruled from the new capital of Bidar.
The Bahmani Sultanate was its peak during the Prime Ministership of Mahmud Gawan (1461-1481). After his death the kingdom declined. The regional governors set up their own kingdoms; Adil Shahis set up Bijapur in 1489, Imad Shahis established Berar and Nizam Shahis set Ahmadnagar in 1491, Barid Shahis established Bidar and Qutb Shahis set up Golconda in 1512. These were collectively called the Deccan Sultanates.
Bidar while being a province (1347-1425) of the Bahmani Sultanate was its capital (1425-1527) for 102 years and was also the centre of the Bidar Sultanate (1489-1619) for about 130 years. The overlapping years had puppet Bahmani kings ruled by the Bidar Sultanate kings or Barid Shahis.
Khwaja Mahmud Gawan (1453-1481) was a Persian scholar and merchant who arrived in the Bahmani Kingdom in 1453. Through his dedication and knowledge he soon rose through the ranks and served as a General and Prime Minister during the reign of Muhammad Shah III Lashkari (1463-1482).
He built a magnificent Madrasa that attracted a number of philosophers, scientists and divines and was the repository of over 3000 manuscripts.
The Madrasa is the best known example of Bahmani architecture. The building functioned like a residential University. The walls were covered with blue, green, golden and white glazed Persian tiles. The architecture provided the perfect setting for intellectual brainstorming and discussions. The scene of harried professors and students scurrying between classes would be similar to being played out at Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s madrasa at Delhi.
Malwa and Mewar
Once Mewar had been conquered by the sultan of Delhi, a vassal ruler was placed on the throne, governing Mewar as well as his own domains in Jalore. In order to establish some cooperation from the locals, he married his widowed daughter, Songari, to a member of a minor branch of the former ruling dynasty, a young man named Hamir.
In 1326, Hamir organised a coup against his father-in-law and re-established an independent Mewar. His ‘new’ dynasty was named after the mountain village of his birth, Sisoda.
There were a number of small Rajputana kingdoms at this time, including Amer, Bikaner, Bundi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Malwa, and Marwar, and all were eventually conquered by the Moghuls.
Hoshang Shah (1406-35) was the first appointed Islamic king of the Malwa region. His father Dilawar Khan Ghori had belonged to the court of Firozshah Tughlaq. Dilawar Khan Gori was appointed Governor of Malwa probably by Tughlaq, but made himself independent of the Delhi Sultanate for all practical purposes in 1401. Thus he had practically come as the first King of Malwa, although he did not declare himself a king.
Hoshang Shah ruled Malwa for 27 years. Despite being a warrior, he had a sympathetic heart and was dearly loved by his subjects. He was also an impartial ruler and extended his patronage to other religions and is remembered for his wonderful taste in architecture. It was he who made Mandu one of the most impregnable forts of India.
Kumbhkarana Singh, popularly known as ‘Maharana Kumbha’, was one of the most celebrated rulers of Mewar. He is known as a King who ‘never lost a battle’ in his 35 years of reign. (ruled Mewar from 1433 to 1468).
He is the builder of the famous, ‘Vijay Stambha’ of Chittorgarh. The 9 meter high tower, dedicated to lord Vishnu, is exceptionally known for its intricate carvings over all its storey’s. The word ‘Allah’ was carved nine times in the third storey and eight times in the eighth, considering the fact that if someday Chittor went to Muslim invaders, they did not destroy the structure.
For his many successful operations over other kingdoms, specially Mahmud of Malwa, he was given the title of ‘Hindu Surratna’, ‘Hindu Sultan’, by the Muslim Sultans.
Apart from being a great warrior, Kumbha was also a fine patron of arts, he himself was a great writer. Maharana Kumbha is credited with writing the Samgita-raja, the Rasika-priya commentary on the Gita govinda, the Sudaprabandha, and Kamaraja-ratisara. Unfortunately no copies of the Sangita-ratnakara and Sangita-krama-dipaka (two books on music by Rana Kumbha) have survived.
Rana Sanga succeeded Mewar after the death of his father Raimal and his two brothers. He was not only a great warrior who fought the invaders gallantly but also a visionary, under whom many Rajput states united and fought the foreigners.
He was a warrior with a resolute as strong as his grandfather Rana Kumbha. It is said that despite losing one arm, an eye and numerous other grave injuries, he continued fighting his enemies. He is also remembered for his chivalry, when he restored the kingdom of Mandu. After defeating Sultan Mahmud of Mandu and taking him as prisoner of war, he treated him and his kingdom with generosity and chivalry.
Rana Sanga fought the rulers of Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat numerous times during his lifetime defeating them on various accounts. After the assassination of Ibrahim Lodi by Babur, the power in Delhi declined and he emerged as the strongest Hindu king of North India. He decided to conquer Delhi; the most prized possession of Muslim rulers, and bring the complete territory of India under his rule.
Rana Sanga united with the Rajputs and fought Babur in the battle of Khanwa which proved to be exceedingly brutal and deadly. Although with initial advantage, the Rajputs lost heavily and Rana Sanga fell unconscious, nd was whisked away to safety by his men. He died soon because of his injuries. Rana Sanga’s death established the Mughal rule in India; marking a new beginning to the history of Indian subcontinent.