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The Bahmani regent meets his end when he lets his guard down during a spot of hunting and fishing, on retreat from battle. Picture shows a later Bahmani Sultan Adil Shah II slaying a tiger (c. 1660), Bijapur. The Ashmolean Museum.

SULTAN MUJAHID succeeds his father to the throne and is called into action almost immediately. Their old rival – the Vijayanagar Empire – challenges them over the historic tract of the Doab. The Bahmani army advance in pursuit of the King of Vijayanagar, as far south as Rameswaram and back to his capital. On his way there, an ill-advised act of plunder, incites the sentiments of locals who unexpectedly rise against the Bahmani army. On the back foot, the army is forced to retreat and after negotiating some peace with the Vijayanagar Empire, the Sultan takes it slowly and decides to bivouac on the banks of Vijayanagar’s Tungabhadra River. Here he is relaxed enough to indulge in hunting and fishing.

Venison, rabbits, fowl and fish will definitely be on the menu on such outings. However a brief distance away within the walls of the prosperous capital city of Vijayanagar – residents have access to markets that are replete with a variety of meats including that of fowls, sheep and goats. Later visitors to the markets of Vijayanagar will remark on the quality of mutton sold in the streets. They note three types of patridge and two types of doves.

betelnutbearerWhile the relaxing Bahmani forces have no access to bounty beyond the walls, they are short of nothing. Not even internal conspiracy. For a while now, a few members of his entourage (including his betelnut bearer) have been plotting their revenge on the Sultan, for previous slights. They successfully manage to execute their plan when the Sultan retires to his tent after a few leisurely hours of fishing. The chief conspirator takes to the throne on return to the Bahmani capital of Gulbarga. But he does not keep it for long and Gulbarga sees a quick succession of young princes take to throne, before stability is restored with the appointment of Mahmood Shah, the last surviving heir of the Second Bahmani Sultan.

  • A History of the Deccan, by James Dunning Baker Gribble
  • A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar): A Contribution to the History of India, by Robert Sewell
  • The Oriental Biographical Dictionary, by Thomas William Beal