|Sultanate of the Deccan|
|Gavilgad Fort, built by Sultan Imad-ul-Mulk of Berar (1490 – 1504)|
|-||Deccan sultanate established||1490|
|-||Ceded to the Mughal emperor Akbar||1596|
|Area||29,340 km2 (11,328 sq mi)|
|This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.|
The origin of the name Berar or Warhad (वऱ्हाड) as it is spelled in Marathi, is not known. Possibly it may be a corruption of Vidarbha, the name of a kingdom in the Deccan which is mentioned in the Mahabharata.
The first authentic records show it to have been part of the Andhra or Satavahana empire. On the fall of the Chalukyas in the 12th century, Berar came under the sway of the Yadavas of Deogiri, and remained in their possession until the Muslim invasions at the end of the 13th century. On the establishment of the Bahmani Sultanate in the Deccan (1348), Berar was constituted one of the five provinces into which their kingdom was divided, being governed by great nobles, with a separate army. The perils of this system became apparent when the province was divided (1478 or 1479) into two separate provinces, named after their capitals Gawil and Mahur. The Bahmani dynasty was, however, already tottering to its fall.
Establishment of the Berar Sultanate
During the disintegration of Bahmani sultanate, in 1490 Fath-ullah Imad-ul-Mulk, governor of Gawil, who had formerly held all Berar, proclaimed his independence and founded the Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar sultanate. He proceeded to annex Mahur to his new kingdom and had capital at Ellichpur. Imad-ul-Mulk was by birth a Kanarese Hindu, but had been captured as a boy in one of the expeditions against the Vijayanagara empire and reared as a Muslim. Gavilgad and Narnala were also fortified by him.
He died in 1504 and his successor, Ala-ud-din resisted the aggression of Ahmadnagar with the help from Bahadur Shah, sultan of Gujarat. The next ruler, Darya tried to align with Bijapur to prevent aggression of Ahamdnagar, but was unsuccessful. In 1574 when Burhan Imad Shah was deposed by his minister Tufal Khan, and assumed the kingship. This gave a pretext for the intervention of Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, who invaded Berar, imprisoned and put to death Tufal Khan, his son Shams-ul-Mulk, and the ex-king Burhan, and annexed Berar to his own dominions of Ahmednagar sultanate.
Sultans of Berar
The Sultans of Berar belonged to the Imad Shahi Dynasty:
- Fath-Allah Imad-ul-Mulk 1490 – 1504
- Aladdin Imad Shah 1504 – 1529
- Darya Imad Shah 1529 – 1562
- Burhan Imad Shah 1562 – 1568
- Tufail Khan (usurper) 1568 – 1572
- Michell, George & Mark Zebrowski. Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates (The New Cambridge History of India Vol. I:7), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999, ISBN 0-521-56321-6, p.275
- Robert Sewell. Lists of inscriptions, and sketch of the dynasties of southern India (The New Cambridge History of India Vol. I:7), Printed by E. Keys at the Government Press, 1884, , p.166