BĪJĀPŪR, capital city and domain of the ʿĀdelšāhī dynasty (895-1097/1489-1686). It was located on the western Deccan plateau, bounded on the north by the Western Ghats and on the south by the Tunga­bhadra river and extending to approximately 78° east longitude. Under the name Vijayāpūra (City of victory), the capital had been the southernmost provincial seat of the Hindu Yādavā rulers. The Persian language and Persian culture were first introduced with the conquest of the Deccan by Jalāl-al-Dīn Fīrūzšāh of the Ḵaljī dynasty (689-720/1290-1320), but Bījāpūr remained only a remote and turbulent frontier district until the accession of the Bahmanids opened a period of more stable Islamic rule (748-931/1347-1527). The Bahmanid state was eventually divided by the vizier Maḥmūd Gāwān into five administrative districts, one of which was Bījāpūr. In 895/1489 a former slave of this official, Yūsof ʿĀdelšāh, reputed to have been descended from the Ottoman sultan Morād II, established substantial independence there, and his successors continued to rule the principality until 1097/1686, when Awrangzēb (Awrangzīb) annexed it to the Mughal empire.

According to Ferešta, Moḥammad Gāwān was himself an eminent literary figure, author of Rawżat al-enšāʾ and a dīvān, both in Persian. From Herat the great poet ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmī expressed admiration of his work and also wrote a qaṣīda in praise of him. Moḥammad Gāwān was beheaded by order of the Bahmanid Moḥammad III on 5 Ṣafar 886/5 April 1481.

The official language of the court at Bījāpūr during the ʿĀdelšāhī period and until the end of Mughal rule in 1274/1858 was Persian. Indeed, Yūsof ʿĀdelšāh (895-916/1489-1510) and his son Esmāʿīl themselves wrote poetry in Persian, Esmāʿīl under the pen name Wafāʾī. The ʿĀdelšāhīs established Shiʿism in Bījāpūr and actively encouraged the immigration of Persian writers and religious figures.

From about 1300 Bījāpūr had attracted a great many Sufis. Among those who wrote in Persian, the most important were Shaikh Maḥmūd Ḵᵛošdahan, author of Asrār al-ḥaqq (1068/1658) and Ṣalāt-e ʿāšeqīn (n.d.); Moḥammad Qāsem, author of Nafāyes al-anfās (1080/1669-70); Shah Naʿīm-Allāh, author of Ganj-e asrār (1075/1664-65); and Moḥammad Ḡawrī, author of Golzār-e abrār fī sayr al-aḵyār (1022/1613).

Many histories of the kingdom were compiled in Persian, the most popular being Tārīḵ-eFerešta (1030/1620) by Moḥammad-Qāsem Ferešta and Taḏkerat al-molūk (1017/1608-09) by Rafīʿ-al-Dīn Ebrāhīm Šīrāzi.

The most famous poet of Bījāpūr was Mollā Nūr-al-Dīn Moḥammad Ẓohūrī Toršīzī, who went to India from Iran in 988/1571 (murdered in his seventieth year, 1025/1616). The court poet Mollā Malek Qomī became an admirer of his and gave him his daughter in marriage. Among Ẓohūrī’s poetical works the most noteworthy are a sāqī-nāma, a kollīyāt, a maṯnawī, tarjīʿbands, and robāʿīs (quatrains). Ẓohūrī also wrote prose. His finest prose work is Se naṯr (Three essays), the preface to a book of songs composed by EbrāhīmʿĀdelšāhī under the title Nowras. Ẓohūrī’s poetry is very much admired in India.

The other most renowned poet of Bījāpūr was Malek Qomī. He went to the Deccan in 987/1570 and settled in Bījāpūr during the reign of Ebrāhīm ʿĀdelšāh II; as court poet he was known as Malek al-Kalām (master of style). He died at the same time as his son-in-law Ẓohūrī in Bījāpūr in 1025/1616. Malek Qomī was the author of a dīvān and several maṯnawīs.

Other traces of Persian culture in Bījāpūr can be found in the inscriptions preserved on many buildings. Coins, ceramics, metal standards, and other objects also reflect the influence of Persian art. The city has a number of mosques, palaces, and other Islamic monuments as well as a number of non-Muslim sites.



Z. Baranī, Tārīḵ-efīrūzšāhī, Calcutta, 1862, p. 390.

B. Aḥmad, Wāqeʿāt-e mamlakat-e Bījāpūr (in Urdu), 3 vols., Delhi, 1915, pp. 36, 37, 71 (the preface includes a detailed bibliography of sources in Urdu, Persian, and English).

H. Cousens, Bijapur and Its Architectural Remains, Archaeolog­ical Survey of India 17, Bombay, 1916, pl. xxxii, figs. 26, 115.

Idem, Guide to Bijapur, Bombay, 1905.

R. M. Eaton, Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700, Princeton, 1978, p. 283.

H. M. Elliot and J. Dowson, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Allahabad, 1964, III, pp. 214-15.

M. K. Ferešta, Tārīḵ-eFerešta, Luck­now, 1864-65, I, p. 125; Urdu ed., Lucknow, 1905, I, p. 463.

C. H. Philips, Hand-Book of Oriental History, London, 1951, pp. 88, 91.

Storey, I/1, pp. 742-46, I/2, pp. 1060, 1331.

(Muhammad Baqir)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: December 15, 1989

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 3, pp. 253-254