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Term 2 Unit 1 | History | 7th Social Science - Bahmani Kingdom | 7th Social Science : History : Term 2 Unit 1 : Vijayanagar and Bahmani Kingdoms

Chapter: 7th Social Science : History : Term 2 Unit 1 : Vijayanagar and Bahmani Kingdoms

Bahmani Kingdom

Ala-ud-din Hasan, also known as Hasan Gangu, seized Daulatabad and declared himself sultan under the title of Bahman Shah in 1347.

Bahmani Kingdom

Foundation and Consolidation of the Bahmani Kingdom

Ala-ud-din Hasan, also known as Hasan Gangu, seized Daulatabad and declared himself sultan under the title of Bahman Shah in 1347. In his effort, this Turkish officer of Daulatabad (Devagiri) was supported by other military leaders in rebellion against the sultan of Delhi, Muhammad  bin  Tughluq.  In  two  years,  Ala-ud-din  Hasan  Bahman  Shah  shifted  his  capital  to  Gulbarga.  His  successors  found  it  difficult  to organise a stable kingdom even around Gulbarga.  So  the  capital  was  again  shifted  to  Bidar  in  1429.  There  were  18  monarchs  of  the  Bahmani dynasty.


Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah (1347–1358)

Ala-ud-din Hasan ruled for 11 years. His  attempt  to  exact  an  annual  tribute  from  the  state  of  Warangal,  the  Reddi  kingdoms  of  Rajahmundry  and  Kondavidu,  led  to  frequent  wars.  Ala-ud-din  Bahman  Shah  divided  the kingdom into four territorial divisions called tarafs. A governor was appointed for each province. He commanded an army, was solely responsible for its administration and for the collection of the revenue. The system worked well under a powerful king, but its dangers became apparent during the reign of a weak ruler.


Muhammad Shah I (1358–1375)

Muhammad shah I succeeded Bahman Shah. He waged two wars with Vijayanagar but couldn’t gain from it. But his attack on Warangal in 1363 earned him a large property and wealth, including the important fortress of Golconda and his treasured turquoise throne, which thereafter became the throne of the Bahmani kings.

Turquoise is a semi-precious stone sky blue in colour. Turquoise throne is one of the bejewelled royal seats of Persian kings described in Firdausi’s Shah Nama.

Muhammad Shah laid a solid foundation for the kingdom. His system of government continued even after the Bahmani kingdom disintegrated into five sultanates. He built two mosques at Gulbarga. One, the great mosque, completed in 1367, measures 216 by 16 feet and has a roofed courtyard. A large number of Arabs, Turks and notably Persians began to immigrate to the Deccan, many of them at the invitation of Sultan Muhammad I and there they had a strong influence on the development of Muslim culture during subsequent generations.

The Golconda Fort is located about 11 kilometres from Hyderabad on a hill 120 meters height. The fort is popular for its acoustic architecture. The highest point of the fort is Bala Hissar. It is believed that there is a secret underground tunnel, which leads from the Durbar Hall to one of the palaces at the foot of the hills.


Successors of Muhammad Shah I

Mujahid, the son of Muhammad shah, ascended the throne. However, on his returnto Gulbarga from the expedition against Vijayanagar, he was assassinated and the nephew of the conspirator, Daud, the uncle of Muhammad, was enthroned in 1378 as Muhammad II. Muhammad II’s reign was peaceful, and the sultan spent much of his time building his court as a centre of culture and learning.

There were constant wars between the Bahmani and Vijayanagar rulers over the fertile Tungabhadra–Krishna region. The threat also came from the north, especially from Malwa and Gujarat. The noteworthy ruler after eight and a half decades (1377 to 1463) was Muhammad (1463–1482). Muhammad III reigned for 19 years. For most of these years, the lieutenant of the kingdom was Mahmud Gawan, the most notable personality of the time.

Eight ministers of the Bahmani state:

1. Vakil-us-saltana or lieutenant of the kingdom, who was the immediate subordinate authority of the sovereign. 2. Peshwa who was associated with the lieutenant of the kingdom; 3. Waziri-kull who supervised the work of all other ministers; 4. Amir-i-jumla, minister of finance; 5. Nazir, assistant minister for finance; 6. Wasir-i-ashraf, minister of foreign affairs; 7. Kotwal or chief of police and city magistrate in the capital; and 8. Sadr-i-jahan or chief justice and minister of religious affairs and endowments.


Mahmud Gawan

A Persian by birth, Mahmud Gawan was well-versed in Islamic theory, Persian and Mathematics. He was also a poet and a prose writer. The Bahmani king Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah greatly impressed by his wisdom and military genius, recruited him. He served with great distinction as the Prime Minister under Muhammad III and contributed extensively to the development of the Bahmani kingdom.

Gawan was known for his military campaigns as well as administrative reforms. He used Persian chemists to teach the Bahmani army about the preparation and the use of gunpowder. In his war against the Vijayanagar kings in Belgaum, he used gunpowder. In order to tighten the administration and to curb the power of provincial governors, who often functioned as virtual kings, Gawan d ivided the existingfour provinces of the Bahmani Sultanate into eight provinces so as to limit the area under the rule of each governor and to make the provincial administration more manageable.

He also placed some districts in the provinces directly under the central administration. Gawan sought to curtail the military powers of the governors by allowing them to occupy only one fort in their territory. The sultan kept the other forts under his direct control. The royal officers who were given land assignments as pay were made accountable to the sultan for their income and expenditure.

The administrative reforms introduced by Gawan improved the efficiency of the government, but curtailed the powers of the provincial chiefs, who were mostly Deccanis. So the already existing rivalry among nobles such as Deccanis and Pradesis (foreigners) further intensified and conflicts broke out. Gawan became a victim of this tussle for power. The Deccani nobles grew jealous of his success and considered him as an obstacle to their rise. They manipulated by forging a letter to implicate Gawan in a conspiracy against the sultan. Sultan, who himself was not happy with Gawan’s dominance, ordered his execution.


Decline of Bahmani Kingdom

Gawan’s execution prompted several of the foreign nobles who were considered the backbone of the state to leave for their provinces. After Sultan Muhammad III’s death, Mahmud or Shihab-ud-din Mahmud reigned as the sultan until his death in 1518. His long rule is noted for the beginnings of the process of disintegration. After him, four of his successors on the throne were kings only in name. During this period, the Sultanate gradually broke up into five independent Deccan kingdoms: Bidar, Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Berar and Golconda.


Contribution of Bahmani Sultans


The contribution of Bahmani kings to architecture is evident in Gulbarga. Archaeological excavations done in the site of the kingdom has helped to unearth palaces, halls of public audience, ambassadors’ residences, arches, domes, walls and citadels. These finds are illustrative of their architectural skill.



The founder of the Bahmani kingdom Ala-ud-din Hasan Shah was educated at Multan at the initiative of Zabar Khan, a general of Ala-ud-din Khalji. On his accession, he took specialcare in founding a school to educate his sons. His son Muhammad I was a patron of learning. He opened institutions for the purpose of educating the children of noble families in the art of soldiery. Sultan Firoz, the eighth Bahmani king was a linguist and a poet. Later his successors founded schools in Gulbarga, Bidar, Daulatabad and Kandahar. Boarding and lodging at the king’s expenses were provided in these schools. Mahmud Gawan’s world famous madrasa in Bidar, with a large library, containing a collection of 3000 manuscripts, is illustrative of the importance given to scholarship and education by Gawan.



1. The foundation of Vijayanagar kingdom by two brothers Harihara and Bukka and its consolidation by their successors notably Devaraya II are described.

2. The most illustrious ruler Krishnadeva Raya’s career and achievements are highlighted.

3. Defeat of Vijayanagar at the hands of combined forces of Deccan Sultanates is narrated.

4. Vijayanagar’s system of governance and economy are explored.

5. Contributions of Vijayanagar to literature, art and architecture are also dealt with.

6. Establishment of Bahmani kingdom by Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah and its consolidation by his able successor Muhammad I are detailed.

7. The administrative system introduced by Bahman Shah and measures adopted by Muhammad I and later by Mahmud Gawan during the kingship of Muhammad III are analysed.

8. Bahmani kings’ contribution to architecture and education are also examined.



1. conflict: a serious disagreement முரண்பாடு / மோதல்

2. ascending: leading upwards ஏறுவரிசையில்

3. subsequently: after a particular thing நிகழ்ச்சிக்குப்பிறகு

4. adorned: decorated அலங்ரிக்கப்பட்ட

5. pillaging: robbing, using violence, especially in wartime ககபாள்ளையடிப்பு

6. intrigue: conspire, plot சதிதிட்டம் / சூழ்ச்சி

7. primogeniture: the right of succession belonging to the first child முதல் குழந்தக்கு வாரிசுரிமை

8. splendor: magnificent கம்பீரம் /சிறப்புவாய்நத

9. flourishing: growing successfully செழிக்கும்

10. prominence: the state of being important முக்கியத்துவம்

11. indemnity: guarantee, surety உத்திரவாம்



1. J.L. Mehta, Advanced Study in the history of Medieval India: Mughal Empire, Vol. II, 1526-17 07, Sterling Publishers, 2011.

2. Burton Stein, Vijayanagara, The New Cambridge History of India, 1989.

3. Abraham Eraly, The Emperors of Peacock Throne, Penguin, 2007.

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