Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Malwa

Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Malwa

  • The decline of the Sultanate paved the way for the emergence of the independent kingdom of Malwa.

  • Significance of Malwa:
    • Malwa was situated on the high plateau between Narmada and Tapti rivers.
      • It commanded the trunk routes between Gujarat and northern India, as also between north and south India.
    • As long as Malwa continued to be strong, it acted as a barrier to the ambitions of Gujarat, Mewar, the Bahmanis and the Lodi sultans of Delhi.
    • The geographical situation in northern India was such that if any of the powerful states of the region could extend its control over Malwa, it would be well on its way to make a bid for the domination of the entire northern India.
  • During the fifteenth century, the kingdom of Malwa remained at the height of its power.
  • The capital was shifted from Dhar to Mandu, a place which was highly defensive and which had a great deal of natural beauty.
    • Here the ruler of Malwa constructed a large number of buildings.
  • From the beginning, the kingdom of Malwa was torn by internal dissensions.
    • The struggle for succession between different contenders to the throne was accompanied by fighting between different groups of nobles for power and profit.
    • The neighbouring states of Gujarat and Mewar were always ready to take advantage of this factionalism for their own purpose.

Dilawar Khan Ghori (1401-7):

  • He was the Tughluq governor of Malwa, assumed independence in the year A.D. 1401-2 and declared himself the king of Malwa.
  • Dilawar Khan established matrimonial relationship with Malik Raja Faruqi of Khandesh. These matrimonial alliances helped him in safeguarding his south- eastern frontier.
  • By maintaining friendly relations with Muzaffar Shah of Gujarat, he successfully saved Malwa from attacks.
  • But soon after his death in A.D. 1407, 13th to l5th Century Malwa fell a prey to the imperialistic designs of Muzaffar Gujarati.

Hoshang Shah (1406-35): 

  • His father Dilawar had shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu (Allauddin Khilji renamed Mandav/Mandu as Shadiabad the city of joy).
  • He occupied Kherla, and Gagraun. He also had his eyes over Gwalior, but realizing the might of Mubarak Shah, he finally withdrew in 1423 after causing some damage in the countryside.
  • Hoshang Shah had entered into matrimonial alliance with the Muslim ruler of Kalpi to use the latter as buffer between Jaunpur-Malwa and Delhi-Malwa.
  • He adopted a broad policy of religious toleration.
    • Many Rajputs were encouraged to settle in Malwa and given rich grants.
  • The Hoshangabad city in Madhya Pradesh was earlier called Narmadapur after the river Narmada, however later the name was changed to Hoshangabad by him.
  • Hushang Shah extended his patronage to the Jains who were the principal commercial merchants and bankers of the area.
    • Nardeva Soni, a merchant, was the treasurer of Hushang Shah, and one of his adviser.

Muhammad Shah: 

  • Hoshang Shah’s successor Muhammad Shah proved incompetent.
  • During his brief reign of one year, the court of Malwa became a hotbed of intrigues leading to disastrous results.
  • The chaos culminated in his murder (1436) by his noble Mahmud Khalji. Thus came the end of the Ghorid rule.

Mahmud Khalji (1436-69):

  • He is considered the most powerful of the Malwa rulers.
  • At the outset, the position of Mahmud Khalji was threatened by the old Ghorid nobility.
    • In the beginning, Mahmud followed the policy of appeasement and distributed iqta and high posts to them but he failed to elicit their support.
    • He had to face a series of revolts of high ranking nobles. Ultimately, Mahmud Khalji succeeded in tackling the recalcitrant nobles.
  • After consolidating his internal position, Mahmud Khalji now had the time to look for further extension.
  • He was a restless and ambitious. He fought with almost all his neighbours:
    • the ruler of Gujarat,
    • the rajas of Gondwana and Orissa,
    • the Bahmani sultans, and
    • even with the sultans of Delhi.
  • However, his energies were principally devoted to overrunning south Rajputana and trying to subdue Mewar.
  • Against Mewar:
    • Mewar under Rana Kumbha followed an aggressive policy in subduing and assimilating the bordering Rajput chiefs into Mewar.
    • This posed a direct threat to the kingdom of Malwa.
    • Mahmud Khalji had to face the mighty Rana as early as 1437.
    • In the battle of Sarangpur (1437), Mahmud Khalji was defeated and taken prisoner.
    • Later, Mahmud Khalji took advantage of the confusion that emerged in Mewar after Ranmal’s death: he attacked Mewar in 1442 but he had to retreat without much gains.
    • Since then, Mahmud Khalji undertook almost yearly campaigns against Rana Kumbha but Rana Kumbha was able to keep his territory intact and well-defended.
    • He destroyed many temples during his struggle with Rana Kumbha of Mewar, and with the neighbouring Hindu rajas.
  • Against Jaunpur:
    • Kalpi was the bone of contention between Malwa and Jaunpur.
    • Nasir Khan Jahan, the ruler of Kalpi, was soon expelled by Mahmud Sharqi. This increased the hold of Jaunpur over Kalpi which was not to the liking of Mahmud Khalji.
    • It resulted in a clash between the two (1444). Finally, a treaty was signed.
    • Mahmud Sharqi agreed to hand over Kalpi to Khan Jahan which resulted in cordial relationship between the two.
  • Against Gujarat: 
    • Muzaffar Gujarati once succeeded in imprisoning Hoshang Shah.
    • After Ahmad Shah’s death (1442), Mahmud Khalji got an opportunity to occupy Sultanpur and Nandurbar (1451) on account of the weak position of Muhammad Shah Gujarati.
    • While Mahmud Khalji was still campaigning against Muhammad Gujarati, the latter died.
    • His successor Sultan Qutbuddin entered into an alliance with Mahmud Khalji.
      • Both parties agreed to respect each other’s territorial boundaries.
      • An understanding was also reached between the two to have a free hand in Mewar.
    • However, similar understanding could not be maintained for other areas. Mahmud Khalji’s intervention in Bahmani politics was always severely dealt with by Mahmud Begarha.

Ghiyas Shah (1469-1500):

  • The son and successor of Mahmud Khalji, paid more attention to consolidation rather than conquest.
  • As a result, with the exception of a brief tussle with the Rana of Mewar (1473), the period was of a long peace.

Collapse of Malwa:

  • Gujarat stormed Mandu in 1518. In 1531, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, captured Mandu, executed Mahmud II (1511–31), and shortly after that, the Malwa sultanate collapsed.
  • The Mughal emperor Akbar captured Malwa in 1562 and made it a subah of his empire.

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