Bahmani Kingdom (Bahmani Sultanate)

The Bahmani kingdom (also Bahamani Kingdom, Bahmani Sultanate) of Deccan (South India) was founded by Alauddin Bahman Shah. It was an Islamic state.

Background: The Bahmani kingdom came into existence when Muhammad-bin-Tughluq was the ruler of Delhi. The kingdom emerged as a challenge to his authoritarian rule. The eccentric policy of the Sultan of Delhi drove the nobles of Deccan into rebellion who occupied the city of Daulatabad and one of them an Afghan chief—Ismail Mukh became the King of Deccan. He assumed the title Nasir-ud-din Shah. Nasir-ud-din Shah was an old man and hence he resigned from the post and the nobles nominated Hasan Gangu or Zafar Khan as the new chief under the title Abul Muzaffar Alauddin Bahman Shah.

Bahman Shah: Alauddin Bahman Shah (also Hasan Gangu, Zafar Khan) became the founder of Bahmani Kingdom. King Bahman Shah ascended the throne and made Gulbarg his Capital. Gulbarg was renamed as Ahsanabad. He was earlier working

Alauddin Bahman Shah was a powerful ruler. He was an empire builder and through incessant warfare extended his domain from Daulatabad in the west to Bhongir in the east. He was a good and efficient administrator and divided his kingdom into four provinces namely Gulbarg, Daulatabad, Berar and Bidar. Each of these provinces was placed under a governor who maintained an army and made appointments in all civil and military posts under him.

Alauddin Bahman Shah (Hasan) died in 1358 but before his death he established peace and prosperity in his kingdom.

Muhammad Shah I: The successor of Alauddin Bahman Shah (Hasan) and son Muhammad Shah I ruled from 1358 to 1375 A.D. There was constant conflict between the Bahmani Sultanate and the Vijayanagar Empire. Muhammad Shah I organized his government properly and thoroughly but had to fight with the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and Telangana or Warangal throughout his reign. He defeated the rulers of these states and made them to pay huge war indemnity.

Mujahid Shah: After the death of Muhammad Shah I, his son Mujahid Shah became the ruler after his father’s death and marched towards Vijayanagar Kingdom. In spite of besieging the country he failed to capture it and hence a peace was concluded between him and the Hindu Raja of Vijayanagar. But he was killed in a conspiracy and his relative Daud Khan became the new king, who was soon killed and the new king Sultan Muhammad Shah II ascended the throne.

Muhammad Shah II was the ardent lover of peace and learning. His reign was a peaceful one and as such he could build mosques, establish free schools for orphans and also invited the learned men from all parts of the Asia. But the intrigues of his two sons Ghiyas-ud-din and Shams-ud-din Daud had embittered his last days and thus he died in 1397 A.D. But none of his sons could rule successfully for any length of time and eventually the throne was seized by Firoz, a grandson of Alauddin Bahman Shah who assumed the title “Taj ud-din Firuz Shah”.

Taj ud-din Firuz Shah was a brave ruler and defeated the armies of Vijayanagar kingdom twice and compelled the king to pay tribute to him. However, towards the close of his reign he was badly defeated by the Vijayanagar king’s army at Pangul and lost much of his territory. He was a lover of building and built his capital Gulbarg a beautiful one. On his death, he was succeeded by his son to the throne assuming the title Ahmed Shah.

Ahmed Shah transferred his capital from Gulbarg to Bidar in about 1425 A.D. and also carried a terrible war against Vijayanagar Kingdom to avenge the losses sustained by the Bahmani troops. Vijayanagar was seized by Bahmani troops and ultimately the Raja had to conclude peace by paying a huge war indemnity. In 1424-25 he also conquered Warangal and killed its ruler. Warangal became a part of Bahmani Kingdom. He also annexed Malwa and made an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Gujarat, however he conquered Konkan. Bidar the Capital of Ahmed Shah was indeed a beautiful city. Ahmed Shah was not a learned man but he encouraged learning. The great poet Shaikh Azari in his court. Another famous poet was Maulana Sharfuddin Mazandarani. Of course, during his reign, there was a perpetual feud between the Deccan nobles with their allies on one side and the foreign nobles composed of the Turks, the Arabs, the Persians and the Mughals on the other. Religious differences also added to political rivalry. The Deccan nobles were Sunnis and most of the foreign nobler were Shias. As a result of this feud the administration became very much weakened.

The son of Ahmed Shah, Alauddin II, suppressed some of the rebellion. The chiefs of Konkan were also suppressed.

Conclusion: The Bahmani sultanate originated as a result of revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. There was good development of art and architecture during this period. However, the constant struggles with Vijayanagar empire caused pain to the subjects of both the kingdoms.