Bahmani Kingdom UPSC: Sultanate Rulers, and Administration

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Bahmani Kingdom was a Persianised Sunni Indo-Muslim state of the Deccan. It was the first autonomous Muslim state in the Deccan and was well-known for its ongoing conflicts with Vijayanagara, a competitor that would live longer than the Sultanate. Following the triumph of the uprising against Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq in 1327 A.D., the Bahmani Kingdom began to expand. Hasan Gangu Bahmani established the Bahmani Sultanate.

The Bahmani Empire is one of the major medieval Indian kingdoms and an important part of the history of Medieval India. The article here covers the history of the Bahmani Kingdom in detail, including the list of rulers, their administration, art and architecture. Read the article to cover all the important aspects of the UPSC Exam.

Bahmani Kingdom

Hasan Gangu Bahmani established the Bahmani Kingdom in the year 1347 A.D. The Bahmani Empire’s capital was Gulbarga, which is now in Karnataka. The Vijayanagar Rulers were the Bahmani Dynasty’s principal adversaries, and the conflict stemmed from Krishna Tungabhadra Doab (Raichur doab).

  • Hasan Gangu Bahmani frequently fought with the Warangal state, Rajahmundry, and Kondavidu reddy kingdoms. He succeeded in all these missions, earning him the moniker Second Alexander.
  • Mohammed, I succeeded Bahman Shah. His raid on Warangal in 1363 netted him a hefty reward, including control of the prized turquoise throne and the significant citadel of Golkonda, which afterwards passed to the Bahmani rulers.
  • The Orissan kings halted their advance further east after Warangal was conquered in 1425.
  • Ahmed Shah al-Wali changed the capital city from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1429.

Bahmani Kingdom: Key Facts

Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah, or Hasan Gangu, founded the Bahmani Kingdom in 1347. Later, it broke up into five successor states, the Deccan Sultanates.

  • Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh joined the Bahmani Kingdom.
  • Initially established as the capital of the Bahmani Kingdom, Gulbarga was eventually succeeded by Bidar.
  • The monarchs of this kingdom had an administrative style akin to that of the feudal system.
  • At that time, its provinces or states were referred to as Taraf.
  • Persian was the official language, while Urdu, Deccani, Marathi, Telugu, and Kannada were widely used regional tongues.

Bahmani Kingdom Rulers

The Afaquis and Deccanis nobles of the Bahmani kingdom were divided into these two groups. While Afaquis were nobles of foreign descent, Deccanis were native-born. There were 14 Bahamian Sultans in total. The Bahamani Sultanate facilitated cultural exchange between the South and the North. It extended from the Wainganga River to Krishna in the north and from Bhongir to Daulatabad in the east and west.

The Bahmani Kingdom Rulers include:

Hasan Gangu Bahmani

  • In the present-day Deccan region of India, he founded the Bahmani dynasty.
  • He previously served as a Turkish officer for Devagiri under Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.
  • In 1347, he formed the Bahmani Kingdom.
  • His dominion stretched from the Arabian Sea in the west to the Bay of Bengal in the east, and it included the entire Deccan region up to the Krishna River. Devagiri served as its capital.

Muhammad Shah I

  • He took over from his father to lead the Bahmani Kingdom as its second king.
  • He was an excellent general and administrator.
  • He vanquished Bukka-I of Vijayanagara and the Kapila Nayaks of Warangal.

Muhammad Shah II

  • In 1378, he assumed the throne.
  • He made significant contributions to the Bahmani Empire’s architecture.
  • He had a calm disposition and built cordial diplomatic ties with his neighbours.
  • He constructed hospitals to treat the residents of his state. He also constructed numerous mosques, madrasas, and other religious institutions.

Feroz Shah Bahmani

  • Most people agree that Taj ud-Din Feroz Shah was the best sultan of the Bahmani Kingdom.
  • He married the daughter of Vijayanagara Empire Emperor Deva Raya I after defeating him.
  • On the banks of the Bhima River, he founded the city of Firozabad.
  • He valued culture, poetry, and the arts.

Ahmad Shah

  • After Feroz Shah Bahmani, Ahmad Shah assumed the role of the ruler in 1422.
  • He was a cruel and violent monarch who lacked compassion.
  • He was successful in subduing the Warangal kingdom.
  • He made Bidar his capital instead of Gulbarga.
  • In the year 1435 A.D., he passed away as was expected.

Muhammad Shah III

  • Muhammad Shah ll ascended to Sultan of the Bahmani Kingdom in 1463 A.D at just nine years old.
  • Sultan was too young; therefore, Muhammad Gawan took over as regent.
  • Because of the skilful leadership of Muhammad Gawan, the Bahmani kingdom rose to great strength.
  • Muhammad Gawan vanquished the sultans of Sangameshwar, Orissa, Konkan, and Vijayanagar.

Muhammad Gawan

  • He was a sage academic and a superb administrator.
  • His efforts to organise the finances, promote public education, modify the tax code, and discipline the army allowed him to enhance the administration.
  • To a significant extent, he was effective in eliminating corruption.
  • Muhammad Shah III executed Muhammad Gawan in 1481 as punishment for being persecuted by Deccan Muslims.

Administration Under Bahmani Kingdom

In the Bahmani Kingdom, the system of government was feudal. For administrative purposes, the kingdom was divided into four “Taraf,” or provinces. Daultabad, Bidar, Berar, and Gulbarga were these provinces.

  • Every province was under the control of a tarafdar, sometimes known as a subedar.
  • From the tarafdar’s purview, some territory was turned into Khalisa land. The Khalisa land was the land used to support the king’s and his household’s costs.
  • Nobles used to receive their pay in cash or the form of a land grant, or “jagir,”

In 1482, Muhammad Shah III died. The Bahmani kingdom soon fell into decay and was split into the following successor kingdoms, each with a different king.

  • The Adilshahis of Bijapur (1490-1686 A.D.)
  • The Nizam Shahis of Ahmednagar (1490-1633 A.D.)
  • The Qutub Shahis of Golconda (1518-1687 A.D.)
  • The Imadshahis of Bera (1490-1574 A.D.)
  • The Baridshahis of Bidar (1528-1619 A.D.)

Military During the Bahmani Empire

The monarch of the Bahamas relied on his amirs for military assistance. The two groups that made up the ranks of amirs were the Deccanis, who were long-term residents of the Deccan region and were immigrants from the Muslim faith. The other group was Afaquis or Pardesis, who had just arrived from Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia.

The Bahamanis were accustomed to using gunpowder in battle.

Literature During the Bahmani Sultanate Period

Persian, Arabic, and Urdu literature flourished. Mohammad Gawan published Persian-language poetry. His works include Riyaz-ul-Insha and Manazir-ul-Insha.

  • During this period, “Dakhini Urdu,” a new dialect, gained popularity.
  • Khwaja Bande Nawaz Gesu Daraj, a well-known Sufi saint from Gulbarga, wrote in this dialect.

Bahmani Kingdom: Art and Architecture

The Bahmani Kingdom modified the Indo-Islamic architectural style to some extent. The buildings were made using local materials. Persian architecture had a big impact on the design.

The features of this style are:

  • Crescent moon at the top of the building
  • Tall minarets
  • Spacious Hazaras
  • Strong arches
  • Huge domes

The Bahmani rulers were fond of art and architecture and built many mosques, madrasas and libraries. Some of them are:

  • The Golgumbaz at Bijapur (also called the whispering gallery)
  • The Madrasas of Muhammad Gawan
  • The Juma Masjid at Gulbarga
  • The Golconda Fort

Bahmani Kingdom UPSC

The Bahmani Sultanate is an important topic of the medieval history of India, covered under the UPSC Syllabus. One must refer to the NCERT Books for UPSC to know more about the topic.

Bahmani Kingdom UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following was not among the four provinces into which the Bahamani kingdom was divided?

  1. Daulatabad
  2. Bidar
  3. Berar
  4. Mysore

Answer: Option D

Question: Every province under the rule of the Bahamani kingdom was headed by which of the following?

  1. Tarafdar
  2. Afaqis
  3. Sadar-i-Jahan
  4. Wazir

Answer: Option A

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