MAHMUD GAWAN, 1411-1481 A.D.
Imaduddin Mahmud Gawan ( mehmUd gavAn) (ಮೆಹ್ಮೂದ್
ಗವಾನ್) belongs to that rare breed of
administrators who rendered great service to the community they live in with
out wielding any royal power. His life is a saga dedicated to education, art
and scholarship. He worked under three monarchs belonging to the Bahmani
dynasty that ruled from Bidar. They were Allauddin Ahmed-2, Mubarak Humayun and
Shamsuddin Muhammed Shah-3. He was the prime minister during the rule of the
last two. His ancestors hailed from Iran and
he arrived in India in
1453 A.D. at the age of 42. He was a trader and businessman by profession.
Howewver he was well versed in many subjects such as Mathematics, Islamic lore
and Persian language and literature. He represented a refined and cosmopolitan
vision of the contemporary Persian culture He became the minister of Fairoze
and exhibited his ability in more than one field. He raided the Vijayanagar
Empire frequently. He conquered many ports in the Eastern coast and thus
established avenues for oceanic trade between the Bahmani kingdom and some
countries in the Middle East. He
was instrumental in the defeats of the kings of Malva, Orissa and Khan Desh. He
could bring in many administrative reforms. He divided the existing four parts
of the kingdom to eight segments. The governors became directly accountable to
the Sultan. Sultan obtained control over the taxes levied by these governors.
Lands were properly measured and ownership documents were created. Educational
and Judiciary reforms were also brought in.
However there was an
undercurrent of hatred against him because he was treated as a foreigner by
local Muslim communities and his rise to power was not tolerated. Some of the reforms
brought in by him were detrimental to the interest of the Governors from
Dakhan. Consequently a conspiracy was hatched against him. He was held
responsible for a compromising letter with his forged signature and he was
executed by the king Mehmud-3 in 1481, for alleged treason. The King realized
his folly later and that of no consequence.
well known for his contribution to education. He built a Madrassah (School /
place of learning) in Bidar the capital city of the Bahmani kingdom in the year
1472 A.D. He was familiar with the
renowned colleges at Samarkhand and Khorasan in Persia and his own college or Madrassah was modeled on the
West Asian architecture. “This institution, built to
reaffirm Shiism as the state religion, is clearly modeled on contemporary
central Asian buildings. Its principal east facade, now partly ruined, faces
the city's main street leading to the citadel. An imposing minaret is in three
stages separated by cantilevered balconies and surmounted by a dome.” The
minaret and façade walls were once covered with blue and white tiles, with
traces of yellow and green. This was a three storied building containing thirty six
rooms meant for students. It contained six separate suites meant exclusively
for the faculty members. The building had four minarets almost 100 feet tall in
its corners. Blue -glazed tiles and
Q'uranic verses were carved on the walls in flowing calligraphic style that
have survived the ravages of time, point to the erstwhile splendor of this
architecture is essentially a combination of Islamic and native styles. Provisions were made for
separate lecture halls and a prayer hall. The library had some 3000 books
related to various disciplines. He had a personal library consisting of 1000
centuries, the madrasa suffered as Bidar witnessed a series of political
struggles. In 1656, it was appropriated by Aurangzeb for use as a military
barrack. Rooms near the southeast minaret were used for gun-powder storage. An
explosion resulted in damage to one-fourth of the edifice of the tower and the
entrance. Whatever remains now is not even a pale shadow of its former self.
Gawan is credited
with two books namely ‘Riyaad al-Insha’ (Rauzat Ul Inshaa?) (A book on
epistolology) and ‘Dewan E Ashar’. (?) A couple of long poems written by him in
Persian have survived. He lead a simple life. He slept on a mattress and his
food was cooked in earthen vessels. However his achievements are more
meritorious than those of many a monarch.
results for Mahmud Gawan (Some Images of the Madrassah)
Gawan, the Great Bahmani Wazir by Haroon Khan Sherwani, 1942, Allahabad.
Home / Land History and People