Firishtah on the death of Yusuf Adil Shah

In the year 915 the Christians sur­prised the town of Goa, and put to death the governor, with many Mussulmans. On receiving intelligence of this event, Yoosoof Adil Shah marched with three thousand chosen men, composed of Deccanies and foreigners, with such expedition, that he surprised the Euro­peans, retook the fort, and put many to death; though some made their escape to sea in their ships. Having provided for the security of Goa, Yoosoof Adil Shah returned to Beejapoor, and died in that city of a dropsy, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, after having reigned with great prosperity twenty-one years.

However, Firishtah in his projection of Muslim might over Hindu deliberately omitted one act between the Goa invasion (projected as a victory, but in reality, a Portuguese abandonment of Goa due to lack of resources) and Yusuf Adil Shah’s death and misrepresented the facts as to how the Adil Shah is killed. A hint of this comes from this verse Srikrishna Deva Raya himself wrote where he said that he cut the head of a prominent Bahamani noble and got it displayed on a pike in Gulbarga itself. After all, the Bahamani Sultan in Srikrishna Deva Raya’s equivalent and there is no reason for him to invent stories over the death of a subordinate of the Bahamani Sultan.

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Below is what actually happened. Srikrishna Deva Raya’s was not a happy succession, that too in an age of turmoil and there were rebellions, some against him and some he inherited along with the throne. Taking this as an advantage, a major Jihad was declared by the Bahamani Sultan. This is a consequence of a royal firman of 1501 which decreed an annual Jihad on Vijayanagar. Only thing is that Srikrishna Deva Raya turned out to be much tougher than they thought and the invasion went horribly wrong with the main battles fought at Dewani and Kovilkonda. The Bahamani armies disintegrated and were destroyed piecemeal. Even Mahmood Shah, the Bahamani Sultan was injured. Yusuf Adil Shah tried to retreat via Kovilkonda, a Golconda outpost where he received reinforcements. The original plan was to coop up in the fort till the menace passed. But the Vijayanagar armies caught up before Adil Shah was able to enter the fort and was killed on the spot when a volley of Vijayanagar arrows hit him. After his death, the advance continued all the way till Bidar. Occupation of Raichur Doab and the insolent march through Golconda territories towards Kondapalli are but a consequence of this defeat.

Defeat and death on a battlefield and death due to dropsy after a victory are two different things altogether and these are the sort of antics by Firishta which make him less reliable as a historian.

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