Q. Give a brief description of the features of the Bahmani Administrative System.

Q. Give a brief description of the features of the Bahmani Administrative System.


The founder of the Bahmani kingdom was Alauddin Bahman Shah also known as Hasan Gangu in 1347 with capital as Gulbarga (later Ahmad Wali Shah shifted the capital from Gulbarga to Bidar). There were a total of fourteen Sultans ruling over this kingdom. Among them, Alauddin Bahman Shah, Muhammad Shah I and Firoz Shah were important.©

Several aspects of administration we come to know from foreign traveler Nicolo Conti.

Central Administration

  • Bahmani Kingdom was headed by the Sultan.
  • Offices at the central level:
    • Wazir or Wakil-us-Sultanate – All orders were issued by him (Prime Minister kind of office)
    • Amil- ul Umra: head of the Military office (mentioned by Nicolo conti)
    • Bakshi (commander of army)
    • Sadar-i-Jahan (Judicial head)
    • Al Qazi
    • Wazir-i-Ashraf (head of external affairs)
    • Qilladar– in charge of Forts.
    • Peshwa:
      • Duty not very clear.
      • Probably head of a Council of Ministers consisting of 8 Miniters created by Bahmani King created a consisting of 8 Ministers.

Provincial Administration

  • Muhammad Bin Tughluq had divided his territories in the Deccan into four provinces (Tarafs). Bahman Shah kept that arrangement as it was except that he appointed his own officers everywhere.
  • Hence Bahmani kingdom was divided into four Tatrafs (provinces) whose capitals were
    • Daultabad,
    • Berar,
    • Bidar
    • Gulbarga.
  • When Mahmud Gavan worked as prime minister, the number of Tarafs was raised from four to eight.
  • Tarafdars (Provincial governors):
    • Tarfdars with extensive administrative and military powers were appointed in each of these provinces.
    • Tarfdar collected revenue from his province, organised the provincial army and appointed all civil and military officers of his province.
    • Sometimes Tarfdars were appointed ministers of the king as well. (Mahmud Gawan was Wakil-us-Sultanat as well as Tarafdar of Bijapur)
  • Mahmud Gawan’s reform:
    • Curbed power of Tarafdar:
      • He attempted to curbing the powers of Tarafdars and, for that purpose, fixed some land as the land of the Sultan (khalisa) in each province which was managed by the officers of the central government.
      • Gawan attempted to restrict Tarafdar’s authority by bringing most of the forts and their commander under direct control.
      • The tarafdar control was now limited to only one fort in the province.
      • Royal tour every year to check Tarafs and regular transfer of Tarafdars.
    • The salaries and obligations of each noble were fixed. The salary could be paid in cash or by assigning a jagir.
    • Efforts were made to measure the land and to fix the amount to be paid by the cultivator to the state.
    • Gawan promoted revenue assignment on the basis of measurement of land.
    • Gawan tried to accommodate Dakhnis and afaqis in the nobility by giving them important assignments.
  • Inam System of giving land grant to religious and learned persons was prevalent in Bahmani kingdom.
  • Tatrafs were divided into Sarkars and Sarkars were divided into Paraganas for the convenience of administration.

Local Administration

  • Institution of Got Sabha/ Majlis as autonomous body at Pargana level.
    • It had administrative, fiscal and judicial functions.
    • It managed local affairs.
  • The lowest unit of the administration was the village.
    • Balutedari system:
      • At village level
      • Balutedars:
        • Village service providers including artisans:
          • Barbers, Potters, Blacksmiths, Washer man, Carpenters etc.
        • Their number was 12.
        • Their occupation was Hereditary in nature.
    • Village elites:
      • The Village officials like Patil (Village head) and Kulkarni (accountants).

Military administration:

  • Mainly known from Nicolo Conti account.
  • Amir-ul Umra was commander of army.
  • Soldiers, cavalry, elephant, bodyguard.
  • Silahdars:
    • Incharge of personal armory of the king.
  • Barbardar:
    • Mobile troops.
  • Use of gun powder.
  • Gawan placed one fort under one Tarafdar’s jurisdiction and the rest of the forsts under central command.
  • Gawan also fixed rate for every 500 troopers maintained by officer. ©

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