The Afghan nobility of Adil Shahi kingdom of Bijapur

There were Afghans in the Deccan at an early period, and there was a Lodi Afghan noble in the service of ruler of Bijapur as early as 1492-1493 AD. Adil Shah Yusuf, the founder of the dynasty which ruled over the Bijapur Kingdom , was the son of Usmanli Sultan, Murad, who died in 1450 AD ; and when orders were issued that only one prince of his family should be allowed to live , was exchanged for a young slave boy, who put to death instead for him. His chief Amirs were Turks, and his forces were composed of Turks, Afghans, Arabs, Kurds, Uzbeks and other foreigners, beside Rajputs and other war-like natives of India. Some, however, say that Yusuf was a Circassian; and others, that he was a Georgian, and that he was sold as slave to Sultan Mahmud Bahmani by the merchant alluded to above.

When Sher Shah Sur overcame Humayun and assumed the sovereignty of Delhi, among other independent rulers was Sikander Khan from Afghan tribe of Miyana, who held the territories of Satwans and Hadiyah; and he refused to submit to Sher Shah. who moved against him in 1542-43 AD, when he presented himself, but he was imprisoned. In after time, he became he became one of the great nobles of Islam Shah, Sher Shah’s son. On his being imprisoned, his brother Nasir Khan Miyana endeavored to seize Shujaat Khan Sur, Sher Shah’s governor of Malwa, as a hostage for his brother;s safety, but he was defeated in the attempt. In 1543-44 AD, Alim Khan Miyana, broke out at Mirathh in the Doaba, but he was surprised by the forces of the governor of Sirhind, defeated and killed. It was probably about this time that the Miyana Afghans began to seek their fortunes in southern India [2]. There were also Afghans of the Karlanri tribe of Dilazak in these parts. A Purdil Khan Dilazak, called by the nickname of Chibi-Tani, because he had always forty trusty followers at his back, was governor of the provinceof Sara in the Deccan,and there were other Dilazaks besides [3].

The Miyanas in the times of Jehangir, appear to have been mostly settled in the kingdom of Bijapur. They were among the great nobles and feudatories of the Adil Shahi Sultans of Bijapur. They were the descendants of Jan-Nisar, a Shal Miyana, who held the personal rank of 2,000 horse in the reign of Ismael Adil Shah who ruled from 1510 to 1535 AD. He, Jan-Nisar Khan Miyana, was gigantic in size and was known by name of the Kala Pahar, or the dark or towering mountain, by the people of Deccan. Kala Pahar is the Hindi name of range of Mihtar Suileman or Koh-i-Siyah from which the family had come. Jan-Nisar Khan was killed in battle during war between Ibrahim, the Adil Shah Sultan, and Sultan Hussain, the Nizam-ul-Mulk of Ahmadnagar. He left behind two capable sons, of whom Aziz Mian, the eldest, received the title of Fath Lashkar Khan, and the rank and position of his father; and the youngest son, Abdul-ul-Nabi, entitled Ranmast Khan, held at that time the personal rank of 1,000 horse , and commanded a contingent of 700 horse.[4]

Fath Lashkar Khan Miyana greatly distinguished himself in his sovereign’s service and rose to the rank of commander of 3500 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, who reigned from 1626 to 1661 AD, and who acknowledged the suzerainty of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan succeed throne in 1627, and he set out for the conquest of the Deccan, for the first time in 1629. Three army corps were formed; and among the chief mansabdars with the troops of the second corpse were Ihdad Mohamand, Jahan Khan Kakar and Pir Khan Miyana, and in the third corpse, Salih Khan Tarin etc. He invaded the Deccan the second time in 1634; and Bijapur nominally acknowledged the suzerainty of Shah Jahan for the first time at the close of 1636 AD. Fath Lashkar Khan Miyana was killed in battle in sight of Gul-Bargah, during a war between the Adil Shahi ruler and Ibrahim Kutb Shah, the ruler of Golkonda. [5]

Jabbar Khan Miyana, son of Fath Lashkar Khan , succeeded to his father’s fief ; and when the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bijapur devolved on Ali Adil Shah , son of Sultan Muhammad , he, towards the close of his reign, when rewarding his great nobles with Jagirs or fiefs , conferred upon Jabbar Khan, the province of Bankapur together with twenty-two mahalls yielding upwards of fifty-four lakhs of Rupees, in fief, together with personal rank of commander of 5000 horse , and a contingent of 4000. Jabbar Khan dispatched thither, as his deputy, his son Bahlul Khan. His father having died of a spear wound, received while leading the van in a battle in which Ram Raj, one of the Rajahs of Southern India, was killed, Bahlul in 1632-33, succeeded to his father’s fief and position. [6]

When, towards the close of the reign of the second Ali Adil Shah, who reigned from 1660-1672, his affairs on account of his vain-glory and self-conceit, fell into great disorder, most of his nobles became disgusted and disaffected, and several of them went over to the prince Aurangzeb, then in the Deccan as the viceroy of the southern province of Mughal Empire recently acquired. Among them was Bahlul Khan Miyana, and on presenting an offering of three lakh of Rupees and valuable presents to the Prince. It was at this time, through Bahlul Khan’s intervention, that Khizr Khan Barozai Panni obtained the fief of the sarkar of Karnool. Bahlul Khan died in the reign of Sikander Adil Shah.

Bahlul was succeeded by his son, Dalil Khan Miyana, who kept on good terms with Sikander Adil Shah, but when Aurangzeb again entered the Deccan in 1681 AD, for its subjugation, Dalil Khan joined him with 2000 Afghan cavalry and 3000 foot , many of them of his own tribe, and all in his own pay. [7]

Another branch of this family of Miyana Afghans, were descendants of Abdul-Nabi titled Ranmast Khan, the youngest son of Jan-Nisar Khan. They too were the nobles in the service of sovereigns of the Adil Shahi dynasty. Abdul-Nabi, who was one of the Deccan nobles, left four sons, Aziz, who had already gained a mansab , and Azam, Rahim and Karim, who in the reign of second Ali Adil Shah, not having acquired the position they aspire to, left Bijapur and presented themselves before Prince Aurangzeb, who was in charge of Deccan affairs. [8]


Portrait of Bahlol Khan Miana, an Afghan noble of Bijapur. Late 19th century. Source 


1- Raverty, “Notes on Afghanistan and part of Balochistan”, p-516

2- Ibid, p-517

3- Ibid.

4- Ibid

5- Ibid

6- Ibid, p-517-518

7- Ibid, p-519

8- Ibid, 519

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