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THE ADILSHAHAS OF BIJAPUR
this juncture Alli Usaf Adilkhan declared himself independent and established a
separate kingdom at Bijapur, which was one of his Jahagir towns. It is
very hard to get statesmen like Muhammad Gavan to manage the affairs of the
State; but he was thus murdered and lost to the State. Usaf Adilkhan, who was
considered and loved as his own son by Muhammad Gavan, saw that he also would be
obliged to go the way of Muhammad Gavan and consequently had to establish a
separate kingdom. Naturally the family of the Ghorpadas who were fondly attached
to Usaf Adilkhan were separated from the Bahamani Court and became the Sardars
of Adilshaha of Bijapur from that time. There was another reason also for this
severance. The family of the Ghorpadas was on very affectionate terms with
Muhammad Gavan and through him they had become attached to Usaf Adilkhan. The
Ghorpadas had fought side by side with Usaf Adilkhan, during the various
invasions against Belgaum and Goa. They had both spilt their blood in saving
their common master. Usaf Adilkhan took good care to remember this long
friendship, and sent for Kheloji, the son of Bhimsinha, as soon as he became the
Badshah of Bijapur. He continued to the family of Kheloji the Jahagirs in
Karnatic and the Wai Province, which were conferred on the family by the
Bahamani Emperors. The Ghorpadas, as will be seen later, were entrusted with
important missions by the Adilshahas and rose higher and higher in this new
When in A.D.1489, Usaf Adilkhan established his dynasty at Bijapur, his kingdom consisted of the whole tract between the Bhima and the Ghataprabha excepting some portion of Konkan. The Gomantak Province was yet half conquered. During the next century, the Konkan and the Vijayanagar Kingdom were completely conquered and annexed to the Bijapur Kingdom. Later on the dominions of Bijapur extended up to Ceylon. The extension was chiefly due to the services of the Ghorpada family. The part played by the Ghorpadas in conquering the various provinces is clearly borne out by the different Jahagirs conferred upon the family at different times. We shall see in the following pages how the Ghorpadas helped the Adilshahas.
We have already seen that Usaf Adilkhan sent for and made friendship with Kheloji Ghorpade. Usaf Adilkhan died in A.D.1510 (H.916) after his return from the Goa expedition. His minor son Ismail Adilshaha ascended the throne and Kamalkhan began to look to the affairs of the State. Then there was a move on the part of some scheming courtiers at Bijapur and also at Ahmednagar -to remove the existing ruling Badashahs from their thrones with the view of usurping the throne. Amir Barid succeeded in imprisoning his master Nizamshaha at Nagar. Here at Bijapur, Kamalkhan imprisoned the young Ismail and his mother, and marched towards Sholapur with a great army. The fort of Sholapur fell into the hands of Kamalkhan for want of timely aid from Ahmednagar and Kamalkhan returned victorious to Bijapur. He held a grand Durbar in the name of young Ismail, but all the while was planning to kill or dethrone the Emperor. He dismissed the bodyguard of the Emperor which was five thousand strong and demobilised peremptorily the whole of the foreign army in the Bijapur service. But Kamalkhan was murdered by the hands of the slave engaged by Ismail's mother. Thus Kamalkhan's plan was nipped in the bud. Kamalkhan's people, however, continued their efforts to murder the Emperor in the palace, while outside the citadel skirmishes were going on between the military partisans of the Emperor and Kamalkhan's Deccanees. Kamalkhan's party was eventually defeated and had to run away from the field of action.
After these events, Ism ail became the de facto Emperor and conferred honours on all the followers who had helped him. Amir Barid, the Minister of the Nizamshahas, combined with the other Muhammedan dynasties in the Deccan and marched against Bijapur in Hijari 920 (A.D. 1514·) Ismail, though young, allowed the enemies' forces to come as far as Bijapur without any hindrance. Then he marched against them with a select cavalry of 12,000. The enemy was completely defeated. It is remarkable that the Bijapur forces during this battle consisted only of foreigners, because Kheloji was since the rebellion of Kamalkhan, the Emperor had made it a point not to employ the Deccanee or the Shidhi forces. It was in this battle with Amir Barid that Kheloji Ghorpada lost his life.
The Emperor showed his feeling of obligation to those that helped him and so Mahaloji, the son of Kheloji, was installed in the place of his brave father. In the year A.D. I52o (H. 927), the Emperor marched against Vijayanagar. While the Bijapur army was camping on one side of the Krishna river, the Emperor with a few followers was found on the other bank of the river and surprised by a sudden attack of a large number of the enemy's forces. The men in attendance fought to the last, but they could not hold their own before the large number of the enemy. There was no chance of any succour from behind. In this jeopardy, the Emperor retreated with a few men, while his retreat was covered by the others facing and fighting the enemies. The Emperor's elephant passed safely to the other side of the river. It was during this fight that Mahaloji's bravery was manifested. As a mark of favour Mahaloji was much honoured by the Emperor after his safe return from the fight. The Emperor showed his readiness to give whatever was asked for by Mahaloji; and he in return humbly requested the Emperor to keep unadulterated the affection and favour towards the family of Ghorpadas. Mahaloji added that his family, which was not offering it s salutations to the Emperor in the prescribed bent form, should not be misjudged on that account only, and its loyalty should not be questioned as he and his family were ever ready to lay down their lives for their master's cause. After this the Emperor conferred the honour of using two Morchals on the Sardars of this family. In addition to this, they were exempted from doing the customary "Kurnisat".
In the year A.D.1531-32 (H.938-39) when the Bijapur Emperors had to fight the Nizamshahas, Mahaloji and his son Akhaisinha played a very important part in the fight. This battle was called the foreigners' battle as the foreign forces were mainly useful therein. After this there were many parties in the Bijapur Court such as the Deccanees and the foreigners, the Shiyas and the Sunis and the Hindus and the Muhammedans. The family of the Ghorpadas kept itself aloof from this party spirit.
During the regime of Asatkhan the Minister, Akhaisinha with his two sons Karanasinha and Bhimsinha lived in their jahagir looking to the peace and tranquillity of these provinces. Asatkhan died in A.D.1548 Karanasinha and Bhimsinha were called upon by the Bijapur Emperor to serve in the famous battle of Talikot, which took place in A.D.1565. Ghorpadas consisting of Karanasinha and his son Cholaraj and Bhimsinha played a very important part in the battle of Talikot. Karanasinha was killed in the battle, but the Emperor made Cholaraj his son the general of seven thousand and, conferred the provinces of Torgal and some portion between two rivers near Raichoor for the expenses of the army. At that time there was a "Mahal" called Ramnagar in the Jahagir of Mudhol. The name, as it owed its origin to the enemy, was changed into Cholarajpattan.
By the extinction of the Vijayanagar Kingdom the Bijapur forces got a very favourable opportunity to conquer Karnatic. The Bijapur Badshahs took advantage of this circumstance and reduced one province after the other. Shortly afterwards an expedition was sent to Goa and Ankushkhan was appointed to conquer the territory of the marauding chieftains near about Vijayanagar. Ankushkhan carried on his work strenuously and captured an important post of the enemy. Next Bankapur was invaded. Then an expedition was undertaken against Shira. During this expedition, Cholaraj and his uncle Bhimsinha were very useful. While investing Bankapur, Bhimsinha was killed in the battle in H. 982-83. The expedition against Shira ended successfully as the Palegar of that place sued for peace. Then the Bijapur forces marched towards the South. Cholaraj rendered invaluable help in establishing peace in these provinces. For this service 26 villages in the Vijayanagar Province and 40 villages to the south of Shira were conferred upon Cholaraj for his military expenses. Cholaraj was killed in a skirmish in A.D.1578 (H.986), while engaged in putting down a rising near about Vijayanagar.
His post and position were conferred upon his sons. Cholaraj was the general of seven thousand. His three sons Pirajee, Valabhasinha and Kanoji joined the forces in the Karnatic together with their own army. We find no mention of these sons of Cholaraj in any connection other than that concerning the Karnatic Province. Cholaraj's sons proved their metal in conquering the Thanas in the province of Shire and Mysore under the leadership of Munjankhan in A.D. I593. The expedition was given up for some reason; and again the rebellious marauding chieftains were successful in defeating and putting to flight the Imperial army (H.1005, A.D.1595) Taking advantage of the fact that the whole of the Imperial army was engaged in other provinces the marauders besieged the principal Thana of Adonee in that province. At that time the whole of the Jahagir of Ghorpadas in the Adonee Province, viz., the whole portion near Gutti had fallen into the enemy's hands. Hearing that the Imperial forces were returning for the attack the Palegars gave up the siege of Adonee and ran away to their own dominions. Pirajee, Valabhasinha and Kanoji were foremost in putting the enemies to flight. They thus took back their Jahagir. After this the Bijapur dominions were extended to the South only. Owing to the Moghul invasions against Nizamshahi, the frequent fights between the Nizamshah and Adilshahas were scarce during this reign. Consequently the Jahagirdars found time to look to their Jahagirs during this reign.
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