First Bahmani – Vijayanagar war (1362-1366)

In the early years of Sultan Muhammad Shah’s reign, in 1362 AD, Kanya
Nayak of Tilangana joined forces with Bukka of Vijaynagar to wrest
territories adjacent to Raichur and Mudgal as far as river Krishna from
Bahmani sultanate. The Raye of Tilangana sent his son , Vinayek Dev,
from Warangal with a large army consisting of infantry as well as
cavalry, towards the fortress of Kaulas, while Vijaynagar sent twenty
thousand troops to Kanya’s help. Against these the Sultan sent
Amir-ul-Umara Bahadur Khan, son of Ismail Mukh Afghan, Azam Humayun and
Safdar Khan Sistani along with the army of Berar and Bidar. The main
Royal force met the allied Tilangana-Vijaynagar near Kaulas, defeated it
and pursued it as far as the gates of Warangal. Kanya Nayak was forced
to pay one lac of hons as tribute and had over twenty-five elephants
as indemnity of war.

Next year Raye of Tilangana approached Firuz Shah Tughlaq, requesting
him to ask those in Gujarat and Malwa to attack the Deccan and
promising aid to the invaders by his own armies as well as by those of
Vijaynagar. The Sultan now lost no time in invading Tilangana in full
force. He ordered Safdar Khan Sistani to go to Warangal , capital of
Tilangana, with the army of Berar and marched right up to the place
himself. Not expecting help from Raye of Vijaynagar or any other
quarter, Kanya Nayak begged Bahadur Khan Afghan to solicit the King
saying that what he had done in the past against the Sultan was owing
to pressure on the part of Raye of Vijaynagar to take his side, and now
he fell on the mercy of Sultan Muhammad Shah. He accepted all the
conditions imposed on him and had to give to Sultan 13 crores of hons,
three hundred elephants, two hundred horses as well as town of Golconda
and its dependencies. Bahmani Sultan also gained possession of
Turquoise throne from Warangal.

Soon after, Bukka, the Raye of Vijaynagar, started invasion of Bahmani
sultanate with eight thousand cavalry , nine lacs (Nine hundred
thousands) of infantry and three thousand of Elephants, making Adoni his
headquarters. The Bahmani armies of Berar and Bidar had gone through
an arduous campaign in Tilangana recently, so the Sultan allowed some
respite and ordered Khan Muhammad to go to south with army of
Daulatabad. In the meantime Raya had crossed Tungabahadra, captured
Mudgal, which had been garrisoned by barely 8000 soldiers, putting to
the sword men, women and children who came in his way. On hearing this,
Sultan crossed the Krishna. The very appearance of Sultan at Mudgal was
enough to put the Vijayanagar army to flight and the Sultan entered it
triumphantly. He killed seventy thousands of the enemy and captured
two thousands elephants, three hundred gun carriages, seven hundred
Arab steeds and one bejeweled throne – all this beside the booty which
fell to the nobles.

After passing of rainy season, Sultan moved southwards with a large
army and , and crossing the Tangabhadra, entered the territory of
Vijaynagar. Bukka hearing of this movement , gathered togather
practically all the fighting forces of his empire and came out himself
to give battle to the Bahmani army. He appointed Bhojmal Rai commander
in chief of his forces which amounted to forty thousand cavalry and
five lacs (500,000) of infantry. Sultan Muhammad on his part crossed
the Tungbhadra near the present town of Siruguppa with fifteen thousand
cavalry and fifty thousand infantry, out of which he ordered Khan
Muhammad to advance with forward with ten thousand cavalry, thirty
thousand infantry and the whole of the artillery when the opposing
forces were barely 12 kroh from one another. The battle was joined some
where near the village of Kautalam. The center of the Bahmani army was
led by Khan Muhammad, right flank by Musa Khan Afghan and the left
flank by Isa Khan Afghan. The two flanks were in great danger when both
the commanders were killed by musket balls and it seemed that Bahmani
army would soon be routed. Sultan Muhammad Shah, however, appeared with
three thousand cavalry at the nick of time. Terrible hand-to-hand
fight ensued, Khan Muhammad’s elephant, sher-i-shikar, advanced into
the enemy lines, killing the commander-in-chief , Bhojmal Rai outright.
The battle ended in defeat of Vijayanagaris.

After spending a week at Adoni mopping up the remnant of Vijaynagaris,
the Sultan marched to the city of Vijaynagar itself. The Rai had to
recourse to Guerrilla warfare. Due to which, the Sultan preferred to
retreat than to follow up a campaign which might end disastrously. On
the way back, Rai’s Guerrilla forces kept on harassing Sultan’s forces.
But when the Sultan was in his own lands after crossing the
Tangabhadra, he ordered the army to stop and attack the Rai’s camp in
full force where he was engaged in music , dancing and drinking. Raya
had to retreat , not stopping till his capital was reached.

Bukka now called together the chiefs of his kingdom and took counsel
from them. They were unanimous that just as his predecessor was on
friendly terms with Bahman Shah so it would be far better if he were to
have friendly relations with present Sultan. Envoys were therefore
sent to Sultan’s camp requesting peace and appealing for brotherly
relations between the two neighboring states. Bukka and Kanya continued
to pay tribute during the rest of Sultan’s life.

(Excerpts from “Bahmanis of the Deccan” by Haroon Sherwani, from page 88 to 97)

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