Qutb Shahis Dynasty - History
About Qutb Shahis Dynasty
The Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the
Andhra country for about two hundred years from the early part of the 16th
century to the end of the 17th century. Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of
the dynasty, served the Bahmanis faithfully and was appointed governor of
Telangana in A.D.1496. He declared independence after the death of his patron
king, Mahmud Shah, in A.D.1518. During his 50-year rule, Sultan Quli extended
his kingdom upto Machilipatnam. He was murdered by his third son, Jamsheed, who
succeeded Sultan Quli. Jamsheed reigned for seven years till A.D.1550 but
remained maligned by all for his patricidal crime. His youngest brother,
Ibrahim, who was hardly thirteen at the time of his father's assassination, fled
to Vijayanagar and took refuge there. It afforded him a training ground and he
learned the art of administration.
After Jamsheed's death in A.D.1550, Ibrahim
returned to Golconda and ascended the throne. Ibrahim Qutb Shah, who was known
as Malkibharam in the Andhra country, was the real architect of the Golconda
kingdom. He ruled the kingdom for 30 years from A.D.1550 to A.D.1580. He
organised the central and provincial governments and brought them into close
contact. He also introduced an efficient intelligence service which kept him
informed on all affairs.
The kingdom was made safe for travel and trade. Ibrahim
had also many works of public utility to his credit. He dug lakes and tanks and
laid out towns and gardens. He also encouraged local language Telugu and
patronised Telugu scholars and poets like, Telaganarya and Gangadhara who
dedicated their works to him. Ibrahim took an active part in the battle of
Rakkasi Tangadi in A.D.1565. It immensely benefited him in cash and territories,
and the kingdom was extended to the south as far as Madras and Gandikota.
next period of forty years led by Ibrahim's son and grandson was an era of peace
and prosperity. Muhammad Quli, son of Ibrahim, was a great writer and a builder.
The city of Hyderabad was laid in A.D.1591 with magnificent buildings, straight
roads and other civic amenities. For this purpose, he invited many Persians to
settle down in Hyderabad and Machilipatnam. He was a scholar and a poet,
composed a large number of poems in the Deccani language. Muhammad Quli was
succeeded by his nephew and son-in-law Sultan Muhammad in A.D.1612. He was
highly religious and a model of virtue and piety. He followed his uncle in
promoting learning and architecture. The great mosque known as Mecca Masjid in
Hyderabad was designed and its foundation laid by him, though the main structure
of the Mosque was completed during the next four generations.
premature death in A.D.1626 was a sad prelude to the decline and fall of
Golconda. He was succeeded by his minor son, Abdullah Qutb Shah, who was
indolent. The fall of Ahmadnagar in A.D.1633 to the Mughals exposed Golconda.
Abdullah Qutb Shah acknowledged the suzerainty of the Mughals and concluded a
treaty in A.D.1636. He was reduced to vassalage and the Mughal Hajib, a resident
officer of the Mughals imposed on him, interfered in day-to-day administration
and encouraged fissiparous tendencies. The traitors of Golconda found their
strength in the Mughals who did not hesitate to invade Golconda.
Shah died in A.D.1672 and was succeeded by his third son-in-law, Abul Hassan
Qutb Shah, popularly known as Tana Shah. He had a steady mind, broader vision
and administrative experience of a high order. He handled the domestic and
foreign affairs deftly and put forth all his efforts against the Mughal tide.
Abul Hassan and his kingdom were misrepresented by false propaganda to justify
the interference of the Mughal emperor who contemplated to liquidate the Deccan
Sultanates and incorporate it in the Mughal empire. The emperor came to the
Deccan in A.D.1682 and launched his campaign against both the Marathas and the
Deccan Sultanates. His original plan was to put down the Maratha power, but
later on, he suspended the plan and directed his forces against Bijapur and
Golconda in A.D.1685. Bijapur fell in after two months' siege. But Golconda held
out for a long time. It came to an abrupt end owing to the treachery of an
Afghan general, Abdullah Khan, who opened the gate in the dead of night and
facilitated the capture of the fort. The equanimity with which Abul Hassan Tana
Shah had faced the Mughal captors and the unequalled loyalty of Abdul Razak
Lari, who remained faithful to his king, Tana Shah, are of special significance.
The fall of Golconda in A.D.1687 had far reaching consequences. It halted the
face of cultural progress for years and relaxed the administrative grip on the
English Company at Machilipatnam and Madras. So long as the kingdom was powerful
in the south, the king Abul Hassan and his Minister, Madanna, kept their
constant vigil on the English merchants. Qutb Shahi rulers adopted religious
tolerance. They treated Hindus equal with Muslims as well and maintained cordial
relations between the two throughout. They encouraged the local language Telugu
besides the Deccani Urdu. They patronised scholars and awarded them titles and
Jagirs. The builder of Hyderabad,
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was an eminent poet in
Persian and was an author of several Persian works. The fourth king, Ibrahim was
a great patron of Telugu. His court was crowded with Telugu poets besides many
others. The rulers adopted the local customs to a great extent. This tolerance
and patronage of the kings were followed by the nobles as well. Ramadas
(Goppanna), a great devotee of Sri Rama who lived in the period of Abul Hassan,
wrote a number of poetical works and songs in praise of his deity. The Deccani
architecture, is a combination of Persian, Hindu and Pathan styles. They mostly
borrowed heavily from Hindu style of architecture.
The Bala Hissar gate of the
Golconda fort is remarkable for the figures and emblems of Hindu mythology. The
citadel of Hyderabad, the Charminar is the most remarkable of all the Qutb Shahi
monuments. It is one of the magnificent structures in India. The socio-cultural
life of the people during the rule of the Qutb Shahis was marked by a spirit of
broad-mindedness and catholicity based on sharing and adopting of mutual
traditions and customs.