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The unsung kings of Bijapur

Salim Dhundasi, Apr 24, 2012 : 2:12 IST
Bijapur’s past is an inseparable part of south Indian history. At the fag end of the Bahmani era, Yusuf Adil Khan who was the then governor of the province, broke away from the Sultanate.

He proclaimed he was an independent king in 1489 AD and in doing so, founded the Adil Shahi dynasty.

Initially, he had to face numerous challenges like consolidating his army, gaining the trust and confidence of the locals and finding ways to expand his territory.

He also faced stiff resistance from the Portuguese, who had just landed on Indian soil, over the possession of Goa. In addition to surmounting these odds, Yusuf tried to strengthen the base of his new kingdom for the next generation.

He was the first king to begin the construction of strong defensive monuments in Bijapur. Some examples of these are Faroukh Mahal or semi circle fort (Ark-Killa). However, except among historians, Yusuf’s existence remains unknown to the locals of Bijapur.

Ismail Adil Khan came to power in 1510 AD, but as he was a minor, it was the minister Kamal Khan who ran the show. Kamal Khan tried to imprison the young king and stage a coup, but Ismail favoured by good luck and his mother’s support, managed to escape and kill Kamal Khan. Slowly he began managing affairs of the state on his own.

Ismail also faced a struggle to consolidate his kingdom. Close to the end of his reign, he warred with Qutub Shah of Golkonda (Hyderabad) which lasted many months. On the return journey, he succumbed to ill health and passed away.

The dynasty was consequently ruled by Ibrahim-I for the next 24 years from 1534-1557. Ibrahim-I seems to have been a wise king. He led most of his battles, gave importance to his people and even promoted dhakanis (Deccanis).

He also built Ibrahimpur to the South and constructed one of the largest wells of the time. The well, now called Ibrahim’s well, was probably the inspiration for the much larger wells like Chand Bowdi and Taz Bowdi constructed by subsequent rulers.

Resting place

The first three kings of Bijapur (excluding Mallu Adil Shahi, who was deposed within six months) and gave the dynasty a strong foothold in the region, were not interred in Bijapur. So where was their last resting place ?

Yusuf, before he became king, had been running all the affairs of the Bijapur area as governor from a small village, Gogi, which had been given to him by the Bahmani Sultan Jahangiri. Yusuf wanted to be buried near his spiritual leader Hazarat Chanda Hussaini and was interred at Gogi. The subsequent kings were also buried there.

A small structure containing the tombs of the first three kings and their family was built at Gogi near the Darga Sharif of Hazrat Chanda Hussaini. Owing to lack of maintenance, the tomb stones are now in a pathetic condition. Gogi is now a part of the Yadgir district at Shahpur.

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