Mujahid Shah

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Mujahid Shah Bahmani was the 3rd Sultan of the Bahmani sultanate. He was the son of Mohammed Shah I. Unlike his predecessors Mujahid only had a reign of 3 years as he was assassinated by his Uncle Dawood Shah Bahmani after his unsuccessful campaign to Vijayanagara[1]


When Mujahid got the throne he got support from the Chisti Saint Sirajuddin Junaidi as he sent his own shirt and turban to him which Mujahid worn on his head on special occasions. He was tought on the art of war and was fluent in Persian and Turki languages. He was proficient in archery and swordsmanship. [2]. He was also affectionately called as 'Balwant' or the strong bodied.[3]. While he was crown prince he broke the collar bone of Mubarak, The Royal Betel Leaf bearer during a wrestling bout. While campaigning in Vijayanagar he went to hunt a ferocious tiger in the vicinity of his camp with his select followers. When he got near to the Tiger he pierced the heart of the Tiger with his arrow. Later on he exaggerated that had his arrow missed the mark, he would have killed the Tiger with his own Dagger.[2][4]

War with Vijayanagara

Practically the whole of Mujahid's reign was concentrated on the campaign to Vijayanagar. The Raichur Doab has always been the contention between two sides. Mujahid proposed to the King of Vijayanagara Bukka to cede the forts of Bankapur to him which the King found ludicrous ,this made war inevitable. Mujahid decided to gain victory quickly by encircling the Kingdom's capital and ordered Safdar Khan Sistani to lay siege to the fort of Adoni. [5]. The King finding it untenable to oppose Mujahid's vast army left the capital and continued his struggle by waging a guerrilla war in the forest. For 6 months Mujahid tried to give battle to the King but in vain. But Bukka's health deteriorated and this forced him to back to his capital and he died. He was succeeded by Harihara II.[6]. The campaign is described differently by Muslim Historians like Ferishta, Shirazi and Tabatai.

According to Ferishta Mujahid then penetrated upto Rameshwaram and renovated the mosque built by Alauddin Khilji[7] that has fallen into negligence but there are numerous problems with this narrative as other Islamic historians do not mention such an event and as asserted by K S Lal and N Venkataramayya there is no evidence that Malik Kafur the general of Alauddin at that time, penetrated upto Rameshwaram at that time to warrant construction of a mosque there.[8][9]

Eventhough with this setback he nevertheless continued the battle. During the attack on the capital, Mujahid reached the great lake overlooking the citadel, He attacked the Hill fort of the citadel where the temple dedicated to Sri Ranga was looted. He along with one follower Mahmud Afghan, crossed the lake with his black horse when he narrowly escaped murder from a Vijayanagara soldier by stabbing and killing him with his sword. The Bahmani army was seeming to win the battle but then the king come out with his army having 8000 Cavalry and many infantry joined the fray.[10]. The Sultanate army was overwhelmed by the attack with it's general Muqarrab Khan being killed. The situation could have been more dangerous had not the King's cousin Daud Khan performed a rearguard action with his 7000 infantry but he soon left the position unchecked for which Mujahid reprimanded him. This made Mujahid realise that attacking the capital was futile and retreat towards the fort of Adoni.[11]

The fort of Adoni was at that time laid to siege for 9 Months and was on the near point of capitulation due to lack of water but then a heavy rain relieved the forces and they refused to capitulate and the situation became more better with the arrival of Chennapa Odeyar's force which pushed the sultanate forces out of the fort and relieved the fort.[12]. According to the Kunigal inscription dated to 1380 AD Chennapa Odeyar wrested 'from the hands of the Yavanas the territory they had seized, presented it as tribute to king Harihara'[13] All hope of a victory was soon lost and the sultanate army began to suffer from disease and famine and Mujahid had to retreat and cross the Tungabhadra river and the whole expedition was disbanded and the generals were sent back to their own provinces [14]


On 17 April 1378,The King reached the fort of Mudgal and crossed the Krishna River for a fishing expedition then the stage was set at the worst. Masud Khan ,Son of Mubarak the royal betel leaf bearer whom Mujahid broke his collar bone when he was a crown prince and Daud Khan, whom the king reprimanded for his negligence towards his position during the military campaign conspired to kill him and on that day they assassinated him in his tent and Daud himself ascended the throne after his death.[14]


  1. Haig, Wolseley (ed.), "Mujahid", Cambridge History of India Vol 3- Turks and Afghans, Cambridge University press
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 118.
  3. King 1900, Mujahid pp. 28.
  4. Briggs 1909, Killing of the Tiger pp. 331.
  5. Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 119.
  6. Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 120.
  7. Briggs 1909, Mujahid pp. 333.
  8. Lal, K S, ed. (1950). 'Did Malik Kafur attacked Rameshwaram'. History of the Khalji Dynasty. The Indian Press Allahabad. pp. 368–371.
  9. N Venkataramayya. "Mujahid Shah Bahmani and Vijayanagar". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress Vol 5 1941: 572–583. JSTOR 44304828.
  10. Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 121.
  11. Briggs 1909, Mujahid pp. 335.
  12. Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 122.
  13. Rice, B L (ed.). Fig 43 - Kunigal inscription of Chennapa Odeyar. Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 12-Tumkur District. p. 317.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sherwani 1946, Mujahid Bahmani pp. 123.

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