Short Essay on Ismail Shah


Ismail conferred jagirs and titles on his close adherents. Nur-ud-din was honoured with the title of Khwaja-i-Jahan, while Hasan Gangu became Zafar Khan. The new sultan’s task was not an easy one. He was surrounded by the Imperial armies on all sides.

Zafar Khan marched towards, Sagar, defeated the Delhi armies, joined hands with Khwaja-i-Jahan and defeated Kandhra, who held the charge of Gulbarga. Zafar and the Khwaja, however, hastened to the succour of their leader Ismail who had been engaged in a fierce fight with Muhammad Tughluq who had rushed to Daulatabad on hearing the news of the rebellion.

Their combined forces were defeated. Khwaja Jahan was killed in action and the Imperial forces took possession of the city. Ismail, however, managed to capture the citadel Dharakhera which was invested by Muhammad Tughluq.


But before he could capture it, he had to rush to Gujarat to crush a serious rebellion there. He left Malik Jauhar to continue the siege while ordered Sartej, another officer, to march against Zafar Khan.

Sartej had some initial successes and even occupied Gulbarga. But Zafar Khan was more than a match for him. He defeated Jauhar at Dharakhera, and routed the Imperial army under Sartej in a surprise attack at Sindtan.

Sartej was himself killed and huge treasury fell into the hands of the victors. Zafar Khan was the hero of the Deccan amirs who elected him as their king, Ismail having abdicated his favour. He was crowned on 11th August, 1347, and assumed the title of Ala-ud-din Hasan Bahman Shah.

We have no definite information about Hasan’s early life. He was said to have been born in A.D. 1290 and claimed descent from Sasanid ruler, Bahman son of Isfandiyar. It also explains his adoption of the title of Bahman Shah.


Firishta, however, does not give credence to this story. In his well known work Tarikh-i-Firishta, he mentions that there were many stories current about the family history of Hasan when he wrote his account. He, however, mentions that the following story seemed to him to be credible.

“Hasan, a native of Delhi, was a servant of a Brahman named Gangu. Once Hasan, while tilling the field, chanced to discover a copper pot full of gold coins, which he carried to his master.

Impressed by his honesty, the Brahman brought the fact to the notice of the Sultan who appointed him to the command of one hundred horses. The Brahman who was an astrologer prophesied his future greatness, and made him promise that if he ever became a king he would assume the title Gangu,” There is, however, no conclusive evidence to support this view.

Bahmanis thus replaced the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas.Their rule continued for about two centuries without any dynastic changes. This was in complete contrast to northern India where many dynasties changed hands during the period. Turks were replaced by the Slaves, the Slaves by the Khaljis and the Khaljis by the Turks.


The continuous Bahmani rule was mainly due to their adoption of the Hindu system of lineal succession which was respected by the nobles and the people. It assured security to the people and provided the necessary conditions under which the art and culture thrived and there was all-round development which we will discuss in detail later. There were 18 Bahmani kings in all. Their first capital was at Daulatabad which was shifted to Gulbarga and finally to Bidar in 1430 A.D.

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