BAHMANID DYNASTY

 

BAHMANID DYNASTY, a dynasty founded in 748/1347 in the Deccan (Sanskrit Dakṣiṇa, lit. right hand; Prakrit Dakkhin, lit. south; Persian Dakan), the table-land region in India situated south of the Narbadā River and the Vindhyāchal range and north of the Mysore Plateau and the Tungbhadra River, by ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan Bahman Shah, who with other ṣadah nobles rose in revolt against Toḡloq rule at Delhi. The dynasty ruled until 934/1528, finally disintegrating into the five independent Muslim kingdoms of the ʿEmādšāhīs of Berār, the Neẓāmšāhīs of Ahmadnagar, the Barīdšāhīs (q.v.) of Bīdar, the ʿĀdelšāhīs of Bījāpūr, and the Qoṭbšāhīs of Golconda (Hyderabad). The Bahmanid kingdom with its fluctuating boundaries, stretched at its zenith from the Arabian Sea in the west to the Bay of Bengal in the east and from Berār and the Vindhyāchal range in the north to the Tungbhadra River in South India. The first eight Bahmanid kings who ruled from their capital at Gulbarga (Aḥsanābād) were: ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan Bahman Shah (Jomādā I, 748-Rabīʿ I, 759/August, 1347-February, 1358); Moḥammad I (until Du’l-qaʿda, 776/April, 1375); ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Mojāhed (until Moḥarram, 780/April, 1378); Dāʾūd I (until Ṣafar, 780/May, 1378); Moḥammad II (until Šaʿbān, 799/April, 1397); Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Tahmtan (until Šawwāl, 799/June, 1397); Šams-al-Dīn Dāʾūd II (until Rabīʿ I, 800/November, 1397); and Tāj-al-Dīn Fīrūz (until Šawwāl, 825/September, 1422). The last ten kings who ruled from their capital at Bīdar (Moḥammadābād) were: Šehāb-al-Dīn Aḥmad I (until Šawwāl, 839/April, 1436); ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Aḥmad II (until Rajab, 862/May, 1458); ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Homāyūn (until Du’l-ḥejja, 865/September, 1461); Neẓām-al-Dīn Aḥmad III (until Šawwāl, 867/July, 1463); Šams-al-Dīn Moḥammad III (until Ṣafar, 887/March, 1482); Šehāb-al-Dīn Maḥmūd (until Ḏu’l-ḥejja, 924/December, 1518); Aḥmad IV (until Moḥarram, 927/December, 1520); ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Shah (until Jomādā II, 929/March, 1523); Walī-Allāh (until 931/1526), and Kalīm-Allāh (until 934/1528); for the political history of the Bahmanids see Ferešta, I, pp. 273-376; Ṭabāṭabā, pp. 11ff.; and ʿEṣāmī, pp. 421ff.).

The Bahmanids claimed descent from the legendary king of Iran, Bahman b. Esfandīār. According to Ferešta (pp. 273-74) the founder of the dynasty, ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan, adopted Gangū (Kānkūy) Bahman as part of his name because while at Delhi he served Gangū, a Brahman whose blessings led him to kingship. Others have read the names Gangū or Kānkūy as Kākūya, suggesting his link to the Kākūya of Isfahan (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 35).

The Bahmanid kingdom was not only the first independent Muslim kingdom in South India, but it was also one of the greatest centers of Iranian culture in the sub-continent. The Bahmanid elite consisted mainly of Iranian, Turk, Dakanī, or Muslim migrants from northern India, in addition to the local Hindu population; however, the Iranians along with the Turks and Afghans dominated Bahmanid society and to a large extent shaped its destiny. Its two most powerful ministers, Fażl-Allāh Īnjū and Maḥmūd Gāwān, like many other Iranian nobles and officials, played a vital role in the expansion of the Bahmanid domain. They also cultivated Persian poets, writers, and scholars.

The Bahmanid kings and princes also took a deep interest in Persian, some of them becoming well-versed in Persian language and literature. Mojāhed Shah spoke fluent Persian and Turkish, as did Moḥammad II and ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Aḥmad II (Ferešta, pp. 296, 301, 338). Fīrūz Shah, whose reign is regarded as the golden period of the Bahmanid rule, had a passion for languages; he married a number of Iranians, Arabs, and Indians to practice speaking their own languages with them. In addition Fīrūz is said to have known several Indian languages (Ferešta, p. 308; Siddiqi, 1952, p. 98). He composed Persian verses under the pennames of Fīrūzī and ʿOrūjī (Besṭāmī, p. 83).

The active interest which the Bahmanid rulers took in Iranian culture and Persian, might be attributed, among other factors, to their eminent Iranian teachers, one of whom, Fażl-Allāh (Ferešta, p. 302) later rose to the position of prime minister (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 106). Himself a student of the great Iranian savant Mollā Saʿd-al-Dīn Taftāzānī (d. 792/1390), Fażl-Allāh was in charge of teaching the Bahmanid princes, including Fīrūz, under Moḥammad II. Another Iranian teacher was Šaraf al-Dīn Ṣadr(-e) Jahān of Šūštar who was subsequently appointed as the chief magistrate of the kingdom. (For Gāwān’s letter to the magistrate see Gāwān, p. 185.) He was entrusted to educate the young king Moḥammad III whom Ferešta (p. 347) calls the most accomplished Bahmanid king after Fīrūz.

Many scholars from Iran, Arabia, and Central Asia assembled at the Bahmanid capital. Fīrūz used to send ships to Iran and Arabia to bring Persian and Arabic scholars, and himself taught important Persian and Arabic classics three days a week (Ferešta, p. 308). He had an observatory built which was supervised by Sayyed Maḥmūd Garzūnī and Ḥakīm Ḥasan of Gīlān (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 100). Fīrūz visited the scholars in the madrasa and, despite the disapproval of Mollā Esḥāq Sarhendī, would engage in free conversation with them (Ferešta, p. 307). He was also fond of listening to the Šāh-nāma (Besṭāmī, p. 80).

The spread of education was instrumental in the wide knowledge of Persian. Several madrasas were established in various parts of the kingdom where Persian, Arabic, and Islamic studies were taught. Among them the madrasa founded by Maḥmūd Gāwān at Bīdar in 876/1471 was known for its academic excellence. Writing in 1023/1614, Ferešta praises the fine building of the madrasa (p. 385), which consisted of one thousand rooms for the students and teachers and a grand library housing rare Persian and Arabic manuscripts. Among the scholars invited by Gāwān to teach in the madrasa were the celebrated Persian poet ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492), Jalāl-al-Dīn Davānī (908/1502), and Shaikh Ṣadr-al-Dīn ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Rawwāsī (d. 871/1466; Šērwānī, 1985, p. 203; Gāwān, pp. 14, 152, 172).

The origins of Indian Sufism were in Iran; many of the great Indian Sufis traced their ancestry to Iran, and the Bahmanids held Sufis in great esteem. ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan, while at Delhi, visited Neẓām-al-Dīn Awlīā (d. 725/1325), the spiritual guide of Amīr Ḵosrow (d. 725/1325), who prophesied his kingship (Ferešta, p. 274). His and his two successors’ coronations were performed by the noted Sufi Shaikh Serāj Jonaydī (670-781/1271-1380; Šērwānī, 1985, pp. 33, 82). However, the greatest Sufi of the Bahmanid reign was Sayyed Moḥammad Bandanavāz Gīsūdarāz (d. 825/1422), a renowned poet and writer of Persian whose tomb at Gulbarga still attracts more devotees than any other shrine, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. These Sufis exerted moral influence on the kings and nobles. For instance, it was at the displeasure of Shaikh Zayn-al-Dīn of Shiraz (d. 771/1369) that Moḥammad I gave up drinking. When the shaikh gave shelter to Bahrām Khan of Māzandarān who had rebelled against Moḥammad I, the king ordered the exile of the saint but he took refuge in the mausoleum of his spiritual guide Borhān-al-Dīn Ḡarīb (d. 738/1337) at Ḵoldābād. Ultimately the king had to apologize to the saint (Ferešta, p. 294; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 33).

Other Sufis, delivering their discourses generally in Persian, often would quote Persian verses from the great mystic poets of Iran. Disciples recorded these discourses and compiled them in the form of books, which eventually endeared Persian to the seekers of truth. Aḥsan al-aqwāl, a collection of Borhān-al-Dīn Ḡarīb’s sayings, was compiled by Ḥamīd Qalandar (Aʿẓamī, p. 63). The Jawāmeʿ al-kalem is a compilation of Gīsūdarāz’s sayings. Qawwālī (mystical song recital) was a regular feature of the assemblies of these Sufis where Persian ḡazals were generally sung. Moḥammad I was so fond of qawwālī that he invited a number of qawwāls (singers) and musicians from Delhi who sang the ḡazals of Amīr Ḵosrow and Amīr Ḥasan Sejzī (d. 737/1356) who is known as the “Saʿdī of India” (Ferešta, p. 288). It was out of the Bahmanid devotion to Sufism that Aḥmad I, who shifted the capital from Gulbarga to Bīdar, invited the great Iranian mystic Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī (d. 834/1431) to Bīdar through his two emissaries Shaikh Ḥabīb-Allāh Jonaydī and Mīr Šams-al-Dīn of Qom. The saint sent a letter written in his own hand and a green cap of twelve scallops (tark) to the king along with his disciples Qoṭb-al-Dīn of Kermān, who was received by Aḥmad I with all reverence. Not satisfied with this, the king again dispatched Ḵᵛāja ʿEmād-al-Dīn of Semnān and Sayf-Allāh to the saint with the request that if he could not come himself to India, he might kindly send one of his sons. But since Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh had only one son, Ḵalīl-Allāh, he sent his grandson Nūr-Allāh who was received by the Bahmanid officials, including Mīr Abu’l-Qāsem of Gorgān at the Čāl Port and escorted to Bīdar. Aḥmad I himself went out of the capital to receive Nūr-Allāh, and they met at Neʿmatābād, so called because of the king’s devotion to Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh. The site practically assumed the status of the Bahmanid capital. Later on, we find Maḥmūd Ḵaljī, the king of Mālwa, searching for the treasure of the saint’s family at Neʿmatābād (Kermānī, p. 97). Nūr-Allāh was given the title of malek-al-mašāʾeḵ.

After the death of Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh in 834/1431, his son Ḵalīl-Allāh came to Bīdar along with his two sons Ḥabīb-Allāh and Moḥebb-Allāh. Both Nūr-Allāh and Ḥabīb-Allāh were married to daughters of Aḥmad I while Moḥebb-Allāh was married to the grand-daughter of the king, the daughter of Prince ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Aḥmad II (Ferešta, pp. 328-29; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 65; Šērwānī, 1985, p. 152; Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī, introd.). The marriage relations between the two families continued in the subsequent years, which shows that the Bahmanids set store by family relations with the Iranian elite. The third daughter of Aḥmad I was married to Jalāl-al-Dīn, a grandson of the Sufi Sayyed Jalāl of Bukhara. Another daughter of Aḥmad II was married to a Mongol prince, Šāhqolī (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 152). The grandsons of Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī played crucial roles in the Bahmanid politics, occasionally siding with the anti-king factions. Thus, Ḥabīb-Allāh lent his support to Ḥasan Khan who had rebelled against his brother, King Homāyūn, and he was killed in 863/1459. His death was mourned by Shah Ṭāher of Astarābād in a versified chronogram (Ferešta, p. 342). Moḥebb-Allāh retained his saintly position, as a result of which successive kings paid great reverence to him as well as to his successors (Ṭabāṭabā, pp. 88, 96, 107; Ferešta, p. 366; Šērwānī, 1985, p. 250). Ḵalīl-Allāh is buried at Bīdar; his domeless tomb bears the finest specimens of ṯolṯ calligraphy written by Moḡīṯ of Shiraz (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 154; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 81).

The mausoleum at the tomb of Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh at Māhān in Kermān was built by Aḥmad I; however, it was completed a little after his death in Moḥarram, 840/July, 1436 (Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī, introd., pp. xviii, xix). The king was so devoted to the saint that when he fed the poor and the pious at the first anniversary of the saint’s death, he himself stood up to wash the hands of the guests (Ṭabāṭabā, p. 68; Šērwānī, 1985, p. 134). Aḥmad I is himself known as walī (saint), which may be a reference to his devotion to Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī. The anniversary of his death is celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims, on the 20th of the Muslim lunar month coinciding with the Hindu festival of Holi (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 135; for Aḥmad I, see Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Aḥmad, 1940). Another Iranian Sufi who was equally revered at the Bahmanid court was Sayyed Ḥanīf of Gīlān (d. 900/1494). We find him along with Šāh Ḵalīl-Allāh and Moḥebb-Allāh performing the coronation of Aḥmad II, Aḥmad III, and Moḥammad III (Ṭabāṭabā, pp. 75, 96, 107; Šērwānī, 1985, p. 158, no. 13).

The Bahmanids also cultivated poets and writers of Persian. Among these poets was Shaikh Faḵr-al-Dīn Āḏarī of Esfarāʾen, famous for, among other works, the Bahman-nāma, a versified history of the Bahmanids till the time of Homāyūn, composed at the instance of Aḥmad I. Later, he went back to Khorasan with a huge gift from the king, but continued to update his work until his death in 866/1462. The work was continued by two other poets of the Bahmanid court, Naẓīrī and Sāmeʿī, who brought it up to the fall of the dynasty (Ṣafā, Adabīyāt IV, p. 323). The poet was held in great esteem by the Bahmanids; Aḥmad II gave up drinking under the influence of a didactic poem (naṣīḥat-nāma), which Āḏarī had addressed to him in 855/1451 (Siddiqi, 1952, p. 125). The couplets composed by Āḏarī in praise of the new royal palace at Bīdar were beautifully calligraphed by Šaraf al-Dīn of Māzandarān, a disciple of Neʿmat-Allāh Walī and engraved artistically by the stone-cutters of the Deccan (Ferešta, pp. 325-26; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 71). Sāmeʿī was patronized by Maḥmūd Gāwān, for whose madrasa built in 876/1471 he had versified a chronogram (Ferešta, p. 358; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 119, ascribes the chronogram to Maḥmūd Badr of Shiraz). The poet was alive at least until 887/1482 when he mourned the death of Moḥammad III in a versified chronogram conveyed by the key-phrase ḵarābī-e Dakan (ruin of Deccan; Ferešta, p. 361; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 134); subsequent events proved the phrase to be true. Gāwān was killed by Moḥammad III, and Sāmeʿī along with other poets mourned his death (Ferešta, pp. 357-58).

Another poet who continued Āḏarī’s Bahman-nāma, Naẓīrī of Ṭūs, whose dīvān is extant, was attached to Shah Ḥabīb-Allāh and was imprisoned along with him by Homāyūn while he was crushing the rebellion of his brother, Ḥasan Shah. The prisoners were later on released forcibly by Ḥasan Tork. Naẓīrī must have been greatly relieved at the death of Homāyūn as is evident from his pungent and satirical chronogram composed on the occasion (Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 95; Rieu, II, p. 642). ʿEṣāmī’s Fotūḥ al-salāṭīn is another important historical Persian maṯnawī of this period and is aptly described as the “Šāh-nāma of India” as it contains, in about 12,000 couplets, the accounts of Muslim India from the reign of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna to that of the first Bahmanid ruler ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan. ʿEṣāmī, whose forefathers held ministerial positions under the Slave Kings of Delhi, had to migrate to Dawlatābād in 727/1327 at the age of sixteen, under the order of Moḥammad b. Toḡloq (725-52/1324-51). He started composing the Fotūḥ on 27 Ramażān 750/10 December 1349 and completed it on 6 Rabiʿ I 751/14 May 1350. The work is the only extant contemporary history of the Bahmanids and, being written by an eye-witness to the events, which are mostly described without poetic exaggeration, can be considered quite authentic (Fotūḥ al-salāṭīn, preface).

Sayyed Moḥammad Ḥosaynī known as Bandanavāz Gīsūdarāz (720-825/1320-1422), a Češtī saint whose ancestors belonged to Herat, was not only the great spiritual guide of the Bahmanids but also a noted Persian poet and writer. His poems, especially the ḡazals, were compiled under the title of Anīs al-ʿoššāq by one of his disciples. True to the Iranian Sufi traditions, Gīsūdarāz sings of his deep love for the Divine Being. In his mystical poetry he seems to be under the impact of Amīr Ḵosrow, Amīr Ḥasan Sejzī, Shaikh Aḥmad Jām, and Saʿdī. Gīsūdarāz is also credited with a large number of prose works, including a collection of sixty-six letters; however, the authenticity of some of his works is doubtful. Like other Češtī saints of India, Gīsūdarāz was given to samāʿ (song) where Persian ḡazals were performed. He observed that Hindi poetry does not carry the deep spiritual appeal of Persian poetry. The most notable prose works of Gīsūdarāz is Jawāmeʿ al-kalem, a collection of his sayings compiled by his son Moḥammad Akbar in 803/1400. It is regarded as one of the best collections of Sufi sayings, on a par with such works as Fīh mā fīh, Asrār al-tawḥīd, and Fawāʾed al-fowād. (For his life and works see Ḥ. Ṣeddīqī, Ḥażrat Gīsūdarāz, Hyderabad, n.d.; Jawāmeʿ al-kalem, Hyderabad, 1356/1937; Anīs al-ʿoššāq, Hyderabad, 1360/1941; Ḥadāʾeq al-ons, Hyderabad, n.d.)

Maḥmūd Gāwān, the celebrated vizier, is considered the greatest prose stylist of the Bahmanid period, although he composed poetry as well. Gāwān hailed from Gīlān and came to Bīdar as a merchant; he was awarded the title of malek al-tojjār. Later on, Homāyūn made him prime minister. He expanded the Bahmanid kingdom with his strategy and statesmanship and introduced a series of reforms in administration; unfortunately his tenure was cut short when he was put to death by Moḥammad III in Ṣafar, 886/April, 1481, and buried at Bīdar. His death was mourned by a number of poets including ʿAbd-al-Karīm of Hamadān and Mollā Sāmeʿī, whom he had patronized (Ferešta, pp. 357-58; Ṭabāṭabā, p. 132; for his life see Šērwānī, 1942; Ṣafā, Adabīyāt IV, pp. 499ff.). Maḥmūd Gāwān’s extant works are: Rīāż al-enšāʾ and Manāẓer al-enšāʾ; both in Persian, the former is a collection of his personal as well as official letters, 148 in number, which he wrote to the kings, rulers, nobles, viziers, scholars, and poets of his day as well as his relatives. His correspondents include ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmī, Šaraf al-Dīn ʿAlī Yazdī, Jalāl-al-Dīn Davānī, Ḵᵛāja ʿObayd-Allāh Aḥrār (d. 896/1490), Sultan Abū Saʿīd Gūrkānī, Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā, Moḥammad II, the Ottoman sultan, ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Gīlānī, the king of Gīlān, etc. The author wrote a preface to this collection which he entitled Rīāż al-enšāʾ. Though the letters are written in a very flowery, ornate style and are profusely interspersed with Arabic verses and quotations, they contain valuable information on the social, cultural, and political life of the Bahmanids (Rīāż al-enšāʾ, introd.). In his other surviving work, Manāẓer al-enšāʾ, which deals with the art of enšāʾ or letter writing and allied subjects, Gāwān maintains that a monšī (secretary) is superior to a poet, but a real monšī is not easily available. He also explains the various kinds of official letters such as manšūr, farmān, ʿarīża, roqʿa, meṯāl, etc. (S. H. Askari, “Manāzir-ul-Insha of Mahmud Gāwān,” Bayāż 1/2-3, 1977, pp. 126-41).

Another Bahmanid scholar, Shaikh ʿAyn-al-Dīn of Bījāpūr (d. 795/1392) known as Ganj-al-ʿOlūm, wrote a supplement to the Ṭabaqāt-e nāṣerī of Menhāj b. Serāj. His tomb at Bījāpūr was built by Maḥmūd Gāwān (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 75). Shaikh Ebrāhīm of Multan (d. 900/1494) compiled a sort of encyclopedia called Maʿāref al-ʿolūm in the reign of Aḥmad II. Sayf al-Dīn Ḡūrī, prime minister under ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Ḥasan and the successive kings, wrote Naṣāʾeḥ al-molūk on the art of politics and administration but the work does not seem to be extant (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 55). Ḡūrī reminds one of Neẓām-al-Molk, and he might have been prompted to compose Naṣāʾeḥ al-molūk on the pattern of the Sīāsat-nāma. Qāżī Šehāb-al-Dīn ʿOmar of Dawlatābād, a great scholar of Arabic and Persian during this period, is the author of numerous works among which al-Baḥr al-mawwāj is said to be a Persian commentary on the Koran in several volumes (Siddiqi, 1952, p. 112). Among no longer extant Persian and Arabic works composed under Fīrūz Shah are historical works by Mollā Dāʾūd of Bīdar (Ferešta, I, p. 277), Mollā Moḥammad Lārī (Besṭāmī, pp. 75, 79), and Mollā ʿAbd-al-Karīm of Hamadān (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 237).

Bahmanid architecture shows the influence of the Iranian style and is quite different from the Muslim architecture of North India. The outward decorations, especially calligraphic embellishments, are all deeply marked by the influence of Iranian architecture. It is significant to note that some of the important official buildings of the Bahmanids were constructed under the supervision of Rafīʿ b. Šams, a master architect of Qazvīn who built a unique mosque in the Gulbarga Fort in 769/1367 (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 59). The great mausoleums of Gīsūdarāz at Gulbarga represent the height of Iranian-Bahmanid architecture (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 126). The tombs of the Bahmanid kings at Gulbarga and Bīdar also reflect Iranian influence in their domes and arches, use of colored tiles, calligraphy, and plaster decorations. The tomb of Aḥmad I at Bīdar bears beautiful specimens of Persian calligraphy depicting two šajaras (genealogical trees) of Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Walī. The calligrapher Moḡīṯ of Shiraz had written there the names of the Prophet Moḥammad and ʿAlī in various calligraphic hands: kūfī, ṭoḡrā, nasḵ, etc., a masterpiece of Iranian calligraphy as hardly seen in other Bahmanid buildings (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 131). The Iranian insignia of a lion with a rising sun behind it is carved on a royal palace in Bīdar (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 130).

The large number of the Iranian nobles and officials—as well as Turks, Afghans, and Arabs who had embraced the Iranian culture—at the Bahmanid court must have made considerable impact on the social customs of the elite and the masses. The Bahmanid rulers celebrated the Iranian festival of Nowrūz. When Moḥammad I was presented the famous Fīrūza throne, he ascended it on Nowrūz (Ferešta, p. 288). Sayf al-Dīn Ḡūrī, Fażl-Allāh Īnjū, and Maḥmūd Gāwān all served the Bahmanids as prime ministers. Ṣafdār Khan of Sīstān helped Moḥammad and Mojāhed in their wars and his son Moqarrab Khan was in charge of the Bahmanid artillery (Šērwānī, 1985, p. 57), while another son, Ṣalābat Khan, was appointed governor of Berār with the title of majles-e ʿālī. Bahrām Khan of Māzandarān, who revolted against Moḥammad I and saved himself by taking shelter in the monastery of Shaikh Zayn-al-Dīn. Aḥmad Beg of Qazvīn was appointed pēšvā (deputy prime minister) by Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Tahmtan (Ferešta, p. 304). Fīrūz sent Taqī-al-Dīn Īnjū, the son-in-law of Fażl-Allāh Īnjū along with Mawlānā Fażl-Allāh Sabzavārī as his envoy to Tīmūr, who favored the Bahmanid king by accepting his suzerainty over the Deccan, Gujarat, and Mālwa (Ferešta, p. 312). Ḵalaf-e Ḥasan of Baṣra received the title of malek al-tojjār from Aḥmad I and the position of wakīl-e moṭlaq (prime minister). Later on, Maḥmūd Gāwān also became malek al-tojjār. Gord-ʿAlī of Sīstān, Mīr-ʿAlī Kāferkoš, and Efteḵār-al-Molk of Hamadān were some of the generals of Ḥasan Baṣrī (Ferešta, pp. 320-21). Both Ḥasan and Gāwān are said to have favored Iranians over the local Muslims. Gāwān seems to have employed a number of officers from Gīlān; one of his close associates, Saʿīd Gīlānī, was killed with him (Ferešta, p. 357).

The death of Gāwān put a halt to the growing Iranian influence in the Bahmanid kingdom and provided an opportunity for the rise of the local nobles. However, some of the Iranian nobles took advantage of the weakening Bahmanid kingdom and declared themselves independent. Thus, Yūsof ʿĀdel Khan established the ʿĀdelšāhī kingdom at Bījāpūr and Qoṭb-al-Molk of Hamadān founded the Qoṭbšāhī dynasty at Golkonda (Hyderabad).

Bahādor of Gīlān, who was in the service of Maḥmūd Gāwān, was entrusted with the administration of Konkan, Goa, and the western coast. He assembled an army consisting mostly of the soldiers from Gīlān, Māzandarān, Iraq, and Khorasan and declared himself independent. Maḥmūd Bahmanī marched against him, and after several skirmishes, Bahādor pleaded for peace through the mediation of Ḵᵛāja Neʿmat-Allāh of Tabrīz. It was however a short-lived respite. Bahādor was ultimately killed by the Bahmanid forces in 899/1493 (Ferešta, p. 368, Siddiqi, 1952, pp. 177-80, Ṭabāṭabā, p. 177, Šērwānī, 1985, p. 255).

While the Bahmanids inherited their administrative system from the Toḡloqs at Delhi with Persian as the official language, they introduced several reforms and changes in the government and consequently many new terms found their way into Persian. The kingdom was divided into a number of ṭarafs (plur. aṭrāf, provinces) and the governor was called ṭarafdār. The ṭarafdārs were known by their special titles; thus the ṭarafdār of Berār was titled majles-e ʿālī and that of Dawlatābād masnad-e ʿālī. The ṭarafdārs of Bīdar and Gulbarga were called respectively aʿẓam-e homāyūn and malek nāʾeb. The wakīl-e moṭlaq or wakīl al-salṭanat (prime minister) was assisted by a minister designated as pēšvā. The officers who mobilized the irregular army were known as bārbardārs. The king was guarded by his special body guards known as ḵāṣṣa ḵayl and the king’s personal armament were kept by yakka javānān (see Siddiqi, 1935, pp. 463ff.).

 

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(N. H. Ansari)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: August 24, 2011

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Vol. III, Fasc. 5, pp. 494-499