Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I

Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah was the founder of the Nizam Shahi dynasty and the Ahmadnagar Sultanate.

Ahmad Nizam Shah
SuccessorBurhan Nizam Shah I
Full name
Malik Ahmed Nizam-ul-Mulk Bahri Shah
FatherNizam-ul-Mulk Malik Hasan Bahri

Ahmed was the son of the Nizam ul-Mulk Malik Hasan Bahri, a Hindu Brahmin from Beejanuggar (or Bijanagar) originally named Timapa.[1]:189 Ahmed's father was made Malik Na'ib on the death of Mahmud Gavan and was appointed Prime Minister by Mahmood Shah Bahmani II. Soon after, he appointed Ahmed governor of Beed and other districts in the vicinity of Dowlutabad.[1]:190 He chose to take up residence in Junnar. His initial attempts to take up this responsibility were rejected by the local officers, but, despite his youth and the weakness of the Sultanate, he captured the hillfort at Soonere and the city after a long siege. Using the resources from the city, he campaigned through 1485, capturing Chavand, Loghur, Toong, Kooray, Tikona, Koondhana, Purandar, Bhorop, Jivdhan, Kuhrdroog, Murud-Janjira, Mahuli and Pally. He was fighting in the Konkan coastal regions when he heard of the death of his father. Withdrawing to Junnar in 1486, Ahmed assumed the titles of Nizam ul-Mulk Bahri from his father, the last signifying a falcon as Hasan had been falconer to the Sultan.

He defended his province against incursions from the Sultan, successfully defeating a much larger army led by Sheikh Mowullid Arab in a night attack [1]:194 and an army of 18,000 led by Azmut ul-Mulk. His success was such that the Sultan "complained of the disgrace to which his troops had been subjected, in allowing Ahmad, the son of Nizam ul-Mulk the falconer, to soar aloft like a falcon while they lay trembling in their nests."[1]:195

The Sultan, Mahmood Shah Bahmani II, then called upon Jahangir Khan, a successful general and governor of Telangana with 3,000 horsemen to subdue Ahmad.[1]:197 Khan took Peitan and crossed the ghat at Teesgam to encamp at Bingar. Feeling he was safe for the season, Khan was caught unawares by an attack at daybreak by Ahmad on 28 May 1490. The Sultan's army was routed in what became known as the Victory of the Garden. Ahmad built a palace with an elegant garden on the site and donated the proprietary rights of local village as a residence for holy men to celebrate the victory.

The governor of Daulatabad was an appointee of Ahmad father's, Mullik Wujee. Ahmad was on good terms with Wujee, and gave his sister to be his wife. When they had a son, Wujee's younger brother Mullik Ashruf, who had wished to be king, plotted against the child and killed both him and his father.[1]:200 He then sought alliances with Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk, Mahmud Begada and Yusuf Adil Shah against Ahmad. In retribution, Ahmad marched on Ashruf in 1493 but despite two months siege, he failed to capture the city.

Returning to Junnar, he vowed to build a new capital, Ahmadnagar, named after himself.[2] The first foundations were laid in 1494 and the city was built in two years, serving as the capital for the new Ahmadnagar Sultanate for over a century.

In 1499, Mahmud Begada sided with Mullik Ashruf and attacked Khandesh. Miran Adil Khan Gujjar II sent to Fathullah Imad-ul-Mulk and Ahmad Nizam Shah requesting aid, and a combined force from the three sultanates was raised. On the night before battle, Ahmad led 5000 infantry, armed with bows, rockets and matchlocks, to attack the camp. Simultaneously, an elephant was let loose in the camp and in the ensuing chaos, Mahmud Begada fled the scene, his army following in the early morning.[1]:203 Mullik Ashruf offered tribute to Mahmud Begada, which led to revolt in the city. When Ahmad surrounded Daulatabad with 5000 troops, Mullik Ashruf died after an illness of five days and the city became part of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate.

He was considered a just and wise ruler. In the words of Firishta (translated by John Briggs), "such was his justice, that, without his sanction, the loadstone dared not attract iron, and the kahrooba lost its power over grass."[1]:192 His modesty and continence were also noted. Although, following the advice of Yusuf Adil Shah, Ahmad had discontinued prayers for the Bahmani Sultans after the Victory of the Garden, he soon rescinded the order and continued to hold few of the trappings of royalty.[1]:198 Firishta tells the story that, when he was a young man in campaign against Gawulgur, "there was taken among the captives a young lady of exquisite beauty, who was presented as an acceptable gift to him by one of his officers." [1]:206 Rather, when he found out that she was already married, he restored her to her friends and family with gifts. In fact it was his custom when he rode through the city never to look to the left or the right to avoid looking at another man's wife.[1]:206

Ahmed Nizam Shah died in 1508 or 1509 following a short illness, having appointed his seven-year old son Burhan Nizam to succeed him.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ferishta, Mahomed Kasim (1829). History of the Rise of the Mahometan Power in India, till the year A.D. 1612 Volume III. Translated by Briggs, John. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green.
  2. ^ Allchin, Frank Raymond. "Nizam Shāhī dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 27 April 2016.


Preceded by
Ahmadnagar Sultanate
Succeeded by
Burhan Nizam Shah I