Book I the Sultanate Period Chapters /. The Arabs and the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent 1



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[Ch. 9
fifth Samma ruler wBKmo had spent some years at the court of Firuz Tughluq as a bm«nDstage__ was the first native ruler of Sind with a Muslim name.
Alter the de«cz2 line ozzrf Delhi government, the rulers of Sind became inde^p=>ender»««t and built up relations with Gujarat. .There wei - «^ inteisHsrmarriages between their ruling families, some \\mrn •! of ” ” Multan went and established themselves at Patan .-and A hmadabad in Gujarat, and in the days of sultan M ilium •ninl EEE3egada of Gujarat, efforts were made by the latter fr - •* sprea^^d the knowledge of true Islam in Sind. The best know- J*«n SamiBmtma ruler was Jam Nizam-ud-din (popularly known as=. Jam N- «Janda). He came to the throne in

843/1439, and reign- «ed for nearly sixty years. Towards the end of his reign, the __Mugh=sals of the Arghun clan who had established themselv--^- es at Qandhar, began to make their


influence felt in Sir~a*>d, ani when in 927/1521, Shah Beg Qandhar by Babur, he came to son Jam Fitw, who took refuge
Shah Beg Arghi a. n was • brave ruler, patron of learning,
and, according to J~Ma’atFmfiir al-Umara, author of many scholastic works. In «!S**63/15:^56, he was succeeded by his son, Shah Husain, who fo ar- a tiiiauoe had Multan under him. During his reign, Humayun went to Sind in search of help. In
963/1556, Tarkans, MSSf ughal Empire. During their short rule, the Arghuns and the ’•r*””arkans--i were able to introduce into Sind the cultural tradition^~s whic H h had grown up at Herat and Qandhar, and the cum ABtural 1 life of the territory was greatly enriched.
Multan which thBM>«e Arau»u*b geographers mention as the principal city of uppe«B«r’ Sind,. . . became independent during the confusion following the iHMivasion of Timur, when the
authorities at Delhi d iBd not even nominate a governor. In

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 144


842/1438, the people of Multan chose as their ruler Shaikh Yusuf Quraishi, the guardian of the shrine of Hadrat Baha’-uddin Zakariya. The Shaikh, however, was a simple man of piety and devotion and was soon beguiled out of his possessions by an Afghan chief, Sahra Langah, who set up, in 749/1348, the Langah dynasty, which endured until the capture of Multan by the Arghuns of Sind in 934/1528. Husain Langah who defeated the armies sent by Bahlul Lodi, the contemporary king of Delhi, and held power from 860/1456 to 907/1502, was the ablest of the local rulers of Multan. In 934/1528, the Arghuns of Sind captured Multan, but their occupation of the city was marked by such cruelty and oppression that the inhabitants rose against the Arghun governor under Langar Khan, the former commander of Multan army. After deriving out the Arghuns, Langar Khan submitted to the Mughal governor of the Punjab, and Multan was once again united to Delhi.
Gujarat
The kingdom of Gujarat was established in 805/1403, when Zafar Khan, who had been appointed governor of the province in 793/1391, assumed the title of Sultan Muzaffar Shah and declared himself independent in 793/1391. He was succeeded by his grandson, Ahmad Shah (814-835/1411-1432), who extended his dominion over the whole of Gujarat and built the city of Ahmadabad which is named after him. His grandson, Mahmud Begada (862-917/1458-1511), was the most eminent member of the dynasty. He waged successful wars against the Ranas of Kathiawar and the Rajput chiefs, annexed Junagarh, and led an expedition to Somnath. He successfully interfered in the affairs of Malwa, Khandesh, Sind and the Deccan. So great was his prestige that anybody having a grievance against rulers in these areas would approach Mahmud, and usually these grievances were redressed through his intervention. Towards the end of his rule, he come in conflict with the Portuguese who had appeared on the Malabar Coast in 903/1498, and were interfering with seaborne traffic in the Indian Ocean.
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Regional Kingdoms
[Ch. 9
The last king of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah (933-944/1526-

1537), occupied Malwa in 938/1531, conquered Chitor in

940/1533 and repulsed the attacks of the Protuguese on Diu. In

942/1535, Humayun invaded Gujarat and, two years later, the fugitive Bahadur Shah was drowned off Diu. The defeat of Humayun by Sher Shah threw the kingdom into a state of anarchy, and it was ultimately conquered by Akbar in 980/1572. During the two centuries of their independent rule, the kings of Gujarat built many magnificent buildings and founded new cities like Ahmadabad and Mahmudabad. They encouraged arts and crafts, and laid the foundation of many industries for which Gujarat became famous during the Mughal period. Gujarat also became an important centre of Muslim learning. Cambay and Surat were two important ports of pilgrims and scholars visiting Hijaz, and at one time the learned men of Gujarat were even more renowned than those of Delhi, as it was attracting scholars from other important centres (e.g. the renowned Shaikh ’Ali Muttaqi of Jaunpur).


The Kingdoms of the Deccan
More magnificent than most of contemporary kingdoms of the North was the Bahmani Sultanate in the Deccan. It was founded in 748/1347 when Hasan, the leader of Muslim nobles in the Deccan, revolted against Muhammad Tughluq’s severity and set up an independent kingdom with Gulbarga as its capital. The Bahmani kingdom lasted from 748/1347 to

933/1526. For a little less than a century and a half (748-

887/1347-1482) it prospered, until it extended from the west coast of India to the eastern coast. Towards the end of this period, weaknesses set in, but the affairs of the State were well managed by the scholarly wazir Mahmud Gawan, who ranks as one of the ablest Muslim statesmen of the subcontinent. He was an honest and efficient organiser, who reformed the administration and centralised authority in the hands of the king. But the Deccani nobles got jealous of him and poisoned the king’s ears against him. The able minister was put to death on false charges, and soon the order and unity which he had

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India <& Pakistan 146 maintained in the kingdom came to an end. Mahmud Gawan was also a distinguished writer and his Persian letters have been recently published. He maintained contact with many celebrities outside the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, and amongst


those who benefited by his munificence was the famous poet /ami.
The death of Mahmud Gawan in 894/1488 was followed by a period of anarchy, and the kingdom broke up into five principalities- the ”Adil Shahis of Bijapur (895-1097/1490-

1686), the Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar (885-1043/1480-

1633), the ’Imad Shahis of Berar (813-976/1410-1568), the Barid Shahis of Bidar (988-1018/1580-1609) and the Qutb Shahis of Golkonda (918-1098/1512-1687).
The Bahmani kings and their successors at Bijapur and Golkonda ”were great builders who have left massive fortresses which are monuments of high military engineering and their mosques and tombs are impressive”. The college established by Mahmud Gawan at Gulbarga, though now in ruins, must have been a magnificent building at one time; and the Gol Gumbad at Bijapur is the second biggest dome in the world.
The rulers of the Deccan attracted scholars, poets, and statesmen from Persia and other lands, but local talent was also employed to a much larger extent than was the case at Delhi. In some cases, the principal ministers, as at Bijapur, were Hindus, and the Maratha chiefs like Shahji of Ahmadnagar, the father of Shivaji, occupied distinguished position in the army. In linguistic matters also, there was closer collaboration between Hindus and Muslims. Marathi was the language used for village records, and the sufi saints helped the development of the Deccani variety of Hindustani. Some of the rulers composed verses in that language and encouraged others to do so, and it was not mere accident that, although Hindustani appeared in Northern India at the very beginning of the Muslim rule, it was the Deccani idiom which first attained literary status
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Regional Kingdoms
Malwa and Khandesh
[Ch. 9
Malwa became independent after Timur’s invasion in

804/1401 and remained so until 938/1531, when it was incorporated in the kingdom of Gujarat. The kingdom of Malwa was never extensive, but its independent existence was distinguished by some interesting development. One noteworthy feature of the activities in independent Malwa was the creation of the splendid buildings with which the two capitals of Dhar and Mandu are adorned. The rulers also encouraged literary activity and permitted greater freedom of thought than was customary at Delhi or other States in Northern India with the result that the kingdom became a refuge for many heterodox sects. Sayyid Ahmad, the Mahdi of Jaunpur, received a warm welcome in Malwa, and Shaikh ’Abdullah of the less orthodox Shattari order made it the centre of his activities. Perhaps the most important contribution of Malwa to the cultural history of the subcontinent was the encouragement which the local rulers, particularly Baz Bahadur, the last king of Malwa, gave to Hindustani music. Not only did music flourish during their reign, but such important centres were established as at Dhar, that, for centuries later, a large number of musicians who distinguished themselves at the Mughal court were from this area.


Another minor kingdom was that of Khandesh, with its capital at Burhanpur. It was established in 784/1382 and came to an end in 1010/1601 when Akbar incorporated the kingdom in his empire. Burhanpur, however, continued to be an important cultural centre under the Mughals.
Hindu Kingdoms of Northern and Southern India
The break-up of the Delhi Sultanate led, not only to the establishment of a number of Muslim kingdoms, but in certain areas Hindu chiefs reasserted themselves. In addition to the minor chieftains, who became virtually independent, the Sisodias of Mewar established a powerful State in Rajputana. Kumbh (837-873/1433-1468) defeated the ruler of Malwa in

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 148


841/1437 and built a tower of victory at Chitor to commemorate his success. He was assassinated by his son in

873/1468, after some quarrels within the family, Rana Sanga came to the throne in 915/1509. He was successful, not only against the king of Gujarat, but defeated the Lodi ruler of Delhi at Khatauli in 923/1517. By 932/1526, he had become the most powerful ruler of northern India, and when Babur was establishing the Mughal rule, his most important victory was no against the Lodi ruler at Panipat, but against Rana Sanga and his Afghan confederates at Kanwah (933/1527). Sanga was poisoned shortly after his defeat, and the importance of Mewar declined with him.


In the South, a bigger and more important Hindu kingdom was established Two brothers Harihar and Bukka, who had embraced Islam, were appointed by Muhammad Tughluq as governor and deputy governor of Kampili, and were sent there to restore order. After initial set-backs they were successful, but southern India was at this time in a ferment. The Hindus had recovered from the stunning effects of the Muslim victories, and were trying to reassert themselves. Muhammad Tughluq’s ineptitude and conflicts with Muslim nobility gave them their chance. There was a revival of Hindu power in the south and the rise of a powerful politico-religious movement in the area. In this atmosphere, Harihar and Bukka were reconverted to Hinduism by the Hindu religious leader Madhava Vidyaranya, and, instead of remaining loyal to Delhi, Harihar declared himself independent and laid the foundation of a new capital at Vijayanagar in 737/1336. The kings of Vijayanagar became independent of the control of Delhi, but they had often to fight the Bahmani rulers and their successors. In order to increase their military strength, they recruited a large force of Muslim archers, and gave them special privileges. Their task was facilitated by differences amongst Muslim principalities into which the Bahmani kingdom had broken up. Occasionally the aid of the Raja of Vijayanagar was obtained by Muslim kingdoms in their mutual conflicts, and it
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Regional Kingdoms
[ Ch. 9
was due to excesses committed by the army of Vijavanagar in one of such campaigns that sealed its fate. In 965/1557, the kings of Bijapur and Golkonda sought the assistance of Vijayanagar army in an attack against Ahmadnagar, but the way in which the Hindu soldiers behaved shocked even their confederates. They laid waste the entire country and, according to Firishtah: ”The infidels of Vijayanagar, who for many years had been wishing for such an event, left no cruelty unpractised; they insulted Muslim women, destroyed mosques, and did not even respect the sacred Koran.” This outraged Muslim sentiment, and all the Muslim rulers of the Deccan combined to form a grand alliance against Vijayanagar. In Jumadi I

927/December 1564, the hostile forces met near the town of Talikota, where the Vijayanagar army was completely defeated, and the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar came to an end.


The Portuguse
Shortly before the advent of the Mughals, a new power appeared in the south which did not establish a large regional kingdom, and was confined, but which became a powerful factor in shaping the destinies of the subcontinent. On 27 May

1498, Vasco da Gama, guided by the Arab pilot Ahmad ibn Majid and his companions whom the Portuguese had pressed into service on reaching the East African coast, appeared before Calicut, and a new chapter opened, not only in the history of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, but of the entire East. The object of the Portuguese was twofold - to regain direct access to spices and other goods of the Indies for which Western Europe was now dependent on Egypt and Venice, and to wrest the trade and political power in the east from the Arabs.


The pattern of the Portuguese activities was laid down by Vasco da Gama himself. ”Without any kind of warning, he intersected and destroyed any vessel he came across on his voyage,” but special treatment was to be meted out to the ships carrying Muslims. Vasco da Gama came across some unarmed vessels returning with pilgrims from Mecca. He captured them, and ”after making the ships empty of goods, prohibited anyone

Regional Kingdoms
Bk. I j History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 150
from taking out of it any Moor, and then ordered them to set fire to it”
Vasco da Gama returned to Lisbon in August 1499, but soon the Portuguese forces returned in greater strength. In

1506, a strong fort was built at Cochin, and, a year later, a settlement was established on the island of Socotra near the entrance of the Red Sea. Zamorin, the Hindu ruler of Calicut, had welcomed the foreigners, but soon the behaviour of the Portuguese led to hostilities. Zamorin was successful at first, but when strong Portuguese forces started coming, he realised the need for allies. The Portuguese actions and plans were also fatal to the interest of Egypt, and they had made themselves obnoxious to the Muslim rulers of Gujarat. It was, therefore, arranged by correspondence between the Sultan of Egypt, the king of Gujarat, and Zamorin, that a powerful fleet should be equipped at Suez and sent to the Indian coast, where it should be reinforced by vessels of the other two allies. Amir Husain Kurd, the governor of Juddan, was the commander of the Egyptian fleet, while the contingent of Gujarat was under the command of Malik Ayaz, a Russian convert to Islam who had accepted employment under the king of Gujarat. In 913/1507, a fierce fight took place at the harbour of Ghaul (near modern Bombay) where the Portuguese forces were utterly defeated, but this victory was without lasting results. According to Sir DenisonRoss, this was due to the fact that jn the following year there was another desperate fight near Diu, where the entire Portuguese fleet met the Egyptian fleet and its Indian auxiliaries. ”In the desperate battle which followed, the Muslims were totally defeated and the Egyptian fleet was a most entirely destroyed.” Dr Panikkar, who had access to the Portuguese archive; in Lisbon, states that in spite of the fact tha* the Portuguese had secretly won over Malik Ayaz, the governor of Diu, ”the actioji was inconclusive”.M Whatever may have been the exact course of the battle, the outcome of the developments at Diu was very definite. The Egyptian commander became so disgusted with the behaviour of Malik


151
Ayaz that he broke up and Portuguese, results which
In 978/: Empire. The the dislocati
Portuguese r*u-.”!. sjspite during WHICH My/ »*>,.<- »- - . their naval p-««czzrj*sition’. By now they had occupied and Diu, and wee- .«M@ interfering with all shipping in the Indian which was mot covered by their permits. These <
highlighted Lu»»....--.y the tragic death of Bahadur Shah, fh<
Gujarat, at t ~ ’ *-
home to the
hi. 9
”ithdrew from the Indian Ocean. The confedev even if the naval battle was ”inconclusive,’\racy
til A
their successful diplomacy, had attained complete victory would have achieved. e
:570, Egypt was incorporated in the Otta struggle between the Egyptians and the Turk\ inevitable in a new conquest ”gave an
=-spite during which they were able to consol
* . _ ., i _ j A....:/isl o«rl fnrti
the
°
UIC 11 dgiv UVU.M* ^. - -
me hands of the Portuguese, brought the situ . home to the Ottoman ruler, Sulaiman I. He ordered Sula.
Pasha, the g: «-««Buzr3»vernor of Egypt, to equip a fleet and to pr^
ters to deal with the Portuguese. Sulaiman L cf” sands with Khwajah Safar, commander of the es ruler of Gujarat, and with the admiral G Calicut. This collaboration, however, die e On his way, Sulaiman dealt harshly wit\ n° Aden and some people around Khawajah
i JIT or*
& dangers from the Turks and ”convinced hit\
nothing to gain by their taking the place ^ e t^n a^t Diu.15 In the meantime the Portuguese go\ ^force the Calicut admiral to fight an action ^ ships. Getting no real help from Khawajah ^
commander sailed back to Egypt, after a . ,’
futile
- Arabian Sea. This left the Portuguese navy j e Indian waters for the next sixty years.
town whether amongst those friends of Kru
dissuaded him from active collaboration .,

- , T, u with


-•- - •»-»-*..**.» rtr-a Hi.
to Indian w was to join forces of tht Zamorin of” materialise, governor o played on thTMt Gujarat had_ Portuguese was able to disperse histhe Turkis cruise of th control of
It is k_ Safar who Sulaiman, had, in ca treachery achieved a help of a
nere were any agents of the Portuguese,
e of Malik Ayaz, shown great skill in fo\ . ^
»tering
imongst their enemies. Some years late^, signal victory at Ghaul and Goa, where, w, ^ ery small force, they defied and defeated ^

Bk. I J History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 152 larger and better equipped army (978/1570). Commenting on this success, Sir Wolseley Haig says: ”These victories were due no less to the skill with which Portuguese exploited corruption and dissensions of their enemies than ttvtheir valour and discipline.”16


Having become masters of the seas, the Portuguese established themselves at important ports. They had already established a fort at Cochin (912/1506). In 916/1510, Albuquerque, who was ”the principal exponent of occupation policy.” secured the island of Goa, the principal port in the kingdom of Bijapur. He introduced a system of direct administration for the district of Goa, which became” the first bit of Indian territory directly governed by Europeans since the time of Alexander the Great”. The Portuguese had some keen and efficient administrators, and they made useful contributions to Indian life and society. In the tenth/sixteenth century they introduced printing in Goa and, though this did not immediately extend to other parts of the subcontinent, some of the articles introduced by the Portuguese have been generally adopted. They were the first to encourage the growth of tobacco, potatoes and cashew nuts. Some articles of daily use (for example, the table) bear Portuguese names in Indian languages and were probably introduced by them into the subcontinent. They were, however, religious fanatics and failed to conform to the standards of international and interreligious conduct current in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent at the time of their arrival. ”Albuquerque reported to his master that he had put every Moor in Goa to the sword.” The mosques would be filled with Muslims and set on fire. Soon others began to share the fate of the Muslims. To quote Vincent Smith:
”After Albuquerque’s death, the government of Portugal, under the guidance of King John in, a bigoted fanatic, based its policy on a desire to make Christians by fair means or foul, rather than on political or commercial motives. The inquisition, which had been established in Goa in 1560, indulged from the beginning of the seventeenth century in an atrocious religious
153
Regional Kingdoms
h. y
persecution, torturing and burning replaced converts and unlucky wretches supposed to be witches.”’7
An interesting relic of the Portuguese occupation of the Malabar ports is an Arabic book which Shaikh Zain-ud-din of Ponani, a Malabari scholar, wrote in 991/1583, giving a brief history of Malabar, an account of the spread of Islam in the area, and the story of Struggle of the Zamorin of Calicut against the Portuguese and his efforts to get the assistance otf the neighbouring Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Bijapur. It is popularly known as Tuhfat al-Mujahidin, but its full title is Tuhfat al-Mii]ahidmfi Ba’d Akhbar al-Puttugalin (”A Present to the Mujahids Containing Some Account of the Portuguese”). It was dedicated to ’Ali ’Adil Shah I of Bijapur (964-988/1557-

1580), though it was completed three years after his death. The author’s aim was to draw the attention of the contemporary Muslim rulers to the crisis which was developing in the area The author did not succeed in his object, but his book has beeni a source of useful material. Firishtah included a brief summary in his well-known book, and an English version, by Major Rowlandson, appeared in 1833.


Zain-ud-din’s account is objective, and, although he was deeply hurt by the trend of events, he paid a compliment to the sense of discipline amongst the Portuguese, whom he, according to the practice of the times, called ”the Franks”. ”All of them being actuated by the same spirit, and obeying to the letter, the order of their superiors, not with standing the distance by which they were removed from their government, for although dissensions might arise amongst them, yet it was never heard that any one of them ever fell a martyr to his exercise of the authority invested in him. This general obedience to authority enabled them, notwithstanding the smallness of their numbers, to overcome the native princes of Malabar, who, as well as the Mahomedans, were all intriguing for power amongst themselves, every man being desirous of authority, and prepared to encompass the death of all who stood in his way to it.”18

Bk. IJ History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
154
NOTES & REFERENCES
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9. JO.
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