Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah founder of the Bahmani sultanate

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Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah ( 1347 - 1358), whose original name was Zafar Khan, was the founder of the Bahmani sultanate. Acccording to a popular legend narrated by Ferishta, he had an original name of Hasan Gangu and worked for a Brahmin master called Gangu, but this is not corroborated by historians. 

Ancestry and early life: Zafar Khan was either Turkic or Afghan noble in the employ of Muhammad bin Tughluq. His descent is unknown. However there is a popular legend regarding him narrated by the 17th century poet Ferishta, which says that he was a servant of a Brahmin astrologer named Gangu (Gangadhar Shastri Wabale) of Delhi and he was himself called Hasan Gangu. Historians have not found any corroboration for the legend.


Zafar Khan began his career as a general serving under the Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq. He was made a governor. In 1347 he was made commander of an army in Daulatabad. On 3rd August 1347 Nasir-ud-Din Ismail Shah (Ismail Mukh, whom the rebel amirs of the Deccan placed on the throne of Daulatabad in 1345) abdicated in his favour and he set up the Bahmani Kingdom with its headquarters at Ahsanabad (Gulbarga).

His reign: On establishing an independent kingdom Zafar Khan took the title of Abu'l-Muzaffar Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah. He gave Ismail Mukh a jagir near Jamkhandi and later conferred to him the highest title of his kingdom, Amir-ul-Umara. But Narayana, a local Hindu chieftain still succeeded in turning Ismail against Bahman Shah for a short period before he poisoned Ismail.

Bahman Shah led his first campaign against Warangal in 1350 and forced its ruler Kapaya Nayaka to cede to him the fortress of Kaulas. His kingdom was divided into four provinces and he appointed a governor for each province. During his reign Hasan fought many wars with Vijayanagar. By the time of his death the kingdom stretched from north to south from the Wainganga River to Krishna and east to west from Bhongir to Daulatabad.

Successor: He was succeeded by his son Muhammad Shah I after his death in 1358.

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