Short notes on the Foundation of Nizam Shahis Dynasty


The breakup of the Bahamani Empire, as already related, led to the establishment of five independent kingdoms. Included in them was the dynasty of the Nizam Shahis whose founder was Malik Hasan Bahri, a converted Hindu. His original name was Timma Bhat. His father Bhairon was a kulkarni brahman.

He had been taken as a prisoner by Bahmani Sultan Ahmad Shah in one of his campaigns against Vijayanagar. Ahmad Shah was greatly impressed by his intelligence and ability and sent him to school with his son Humayun. The latter could not pronounce his name Bharlu and called him Bahri.

Hence he came to be known as Malik Hasan Bahri. Later on, he was put in charge of royal hawks. As the word for hawk was Bahri, it came to be used as his title. He was a highly talented and courageous soldier who rose from the position of a slave to that of a noble in the Bahmani court by sheer dint of merit.


As mir-i-shikar, he held the mansab of 20,000 and was given the honour of keeping kettle-drums. Later on, he was appointed qush begi. His victory against the king of Orissa and capture of the forts of Kondavidu earned him further titles of ashraf-i-humayun nizam-ul-mulk.

Hence the dynasty came to be known as Nizam Shahi dynasty. He was put in charge of Tilangana. He was an ambitious person and greatly resented the phenomenal rise of the New Comers even when they had not given a good account of themselves. He was particularly jealous of Mahmud Ghawan who enjoyed the confidence of the Sultan.

He was determined to show his mettle in the field of battle. His conquest of most parts of Telingana alarmed Ghawan who suggested to the Emperor to separate him from his son Malik Ahmad and despatched him to distant Mahur.

Ghawan’s proposal to bifurcate the provinces further embittered Hasan who had now taken over as governor of Rajahmundri with his son as deputy. He accompanied the Sultan on the expedition against Kanchi which was captured on the return march, he successfully conspired, as mentioned earlier, to bring about the murder of Mahmud Ghawan in A.D. 1481.


With the removal of Ghawan from the scene, Hasan became all powerful. It was a great setback to the Persians or the New Comers. But opposition came from unexpected quarters. Habashis who had so far supported Hasan turned against him and their leader Dilawar Khan was able to convince the Sultan about the necessity of getting rid of the all powerful wazir.

The plot, however, failed. But Hasan became very apprehensive about his position. He distributed jagirs and honours on his favourites indiscriminately to strengthen his position. But the provincial governors conspired against him and he was killed by one of his own trusted officers.

Meanwhile Hasan’s son Ahmad made a hold bid to free himself from the control of the Bahmani emperor and declared himself independent. He was already in possession of the strategic forts of Junnar, Lohgarh, Tung and other places. He strengthened his armies and laid siege to the fort of Danda-Rajpuri which he captured.

His father’s enemies Zain- ud-din and Yusuf Adil Khan failed to intercept him and he managed the reach Junnar where he assumed the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk Bahri.


He conquered the adjoining area including Mahur, Bir and Shivgaon and consolidated his position. He visited Bir where he was well received by Sultan Mahmud Shah who granted him the newly conquered territories as jagir.

He made the necessary arrangements for the administration of his newly acquired possessions. But he was not destined to rest in peace. At the instigation of Qasim Barid, the chief of the royal household, the Bahmani emperor ordered the governors of Bijapur, Parenda, and Chakan to put down the rebel with a firm hand.

Ahmad was able to create dissensions among the governors and the expedition ended in failure. The Bahmani Sultan now deputed Nadir-uz-Zamani Shaikh Muwaddi to suppress the rebellion.

The Imperial forces were defeated in a pitched battle, their commander slain. The two expeditions which were sent by the Bahmani ruler against him also met the same fate. He now declared his complete independence and dropped the name of the Bahmani ruler from the khutba and substituted his name.

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