(Last Updated on : 31/01/2009)
Mahmud Ghawan, a great intellectual was a Persian, who came to India at the age of 43 and by sheer dint of merit rose to the highest office in the state in the reign of Muhammad Shah III (1463 A.D. -1482 A.D.). The king conferred on him the exalted titled of' malik-ul-tajjar. He enjoyed a unique position at the court and was given precedence over Hasan Nizamul-Mul, the leader of the Deccanis. Mahmud Ghawan followed a policy of compromise and he befriended his Deccani foes in the larger interest of the state. He kept a balance between the Deccanis and the pardesis in the larger interest of the state even in recruitment to high posts as well as bodyguards of the king. He was equally generous to the rebels whether Muslim or Hindu and advised the Sultan to forgive them.
Mahmud Ghawan's policy was successful. This is evident from the support the infant ruler and Queen Makhdumah Jahan received from their rival Mallu Khan when they had to leave the capital, Firuzabad after their defeat at the hands of the ruler of Malwa. It was mainly due to his efforts that the state continued to exist even when a minor king Nizam-ud-din Ahmad III was on the throne.
Ghawan was responsible for making revolutionary changes in the system of military administration. He aspired to strengthen the authority of the Sultan and to curb the centrifugal tendencies of the provincial governors or tarufdars. The Bahmini state had vastly increased due to the recent conquests and therefore he divided it into eight provinces instead of the existing four. Some of the tracts in each of the provincial areas were taken away and placed directly under the control of the Sultan. This was done to provide better administration.
Mahmud Ghawan was a patron of learning and he wrote beautiful prose and poetry. He had written letters in the famous work Riyaz-ul-Insha on art of diction. He made grants to scholars and invited them to visit the Bahmani dominions. The great poet Naziri was appointed poet-laureate at the Bahmani court on his recommendation. Jami, the great Persian poet, lavished praise on Ghawan Saying he was the most learned person of his epoch.