The Coins of the Adil Shahi Ruler

In the mid-fourteenth century, an independent kingdom emerged under the leadership of Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah in South India. At that time, Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq was the reigning monarch in Delhi. Bahaman Shah took the advantage of prevailing anarchy and chaos and laid the foundations of the Bahmani Sultanate. The power of the Bahmani Sultanate began to wane during the closing years of the fifteenth century. The vacuum created by the waning of the Bahmani power was filled by five successor states in southern India. One of these successor states were the Adil Shahi state based in Bijapur.

In 1499 CE, Yusuf Adil Khan who was earlier a powerful official in the Bahmani administration took the advantage of the weakening of the Bahmani power and declared himself a Sultan in Bijapur. This event marked the beginning of the Adil Shahi rule which will last until the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

Yusuf Adil Khan was, however, not known to have issued any coin in his name. The same can be said about three of his immediate successors- Ismail I, Mallu Adil Shah, and Ibrahim I.

It was the fourth Sultan in this line- Ali I (1557-80 CE) who issued coins in his name. He issued mainly copper coins in various denominations of 60, 120, and 180 grains. These coins of Ali I carried the inscription- “Ali ibn Abi Talib” on the obverse, and “Asadallah al-ghalib” on the reverse.

The next sultan Ibrahim II’s coins bear the following inscription on the obverse- Ibrahim Abla bali meaning “Ibrahim, the strength of the weak”. The reverse of these coins bear “Ghulam Ali Murtazi”.

A later sultan, Muhammad Adil Shah (1627-1656 CE) included a Persian couplet in his issues following the style of the contemporary Mughal rulers. The couplet in Muhammad Adil Shah’s coins read as follows-

Jahan zi yeen do Muhammad giraft zinat-o-jah

Ekey Muhammad mursal duvam Muhammad Shah.

The meaning of the couplet is- the world received beauty and dignity from two Muhammads- one, Muhammad the Apostle and the other, Muhammad the king. This was apparently to exalt the position of the Sultan before the eyes of his subjects. However, an alternative interpretation suggests that the king included the couplet to express his love for Taj Jahan, his chief queen. The alternative translation, thus reads as follows- The world (Jahan) received beauty and dignity from Muhammad the Apostle and Jahan (the queen) from Muhammad the king.

Muhammad Adil Shah also issued some gold coins though they are quite rare. Majority of their coins were issued in copper. However, in the Konkan coastal area, some silver wires or silver slender rods were used as medium of exchange. These pieces of silver were known as larins. Majority of these larins bear the simple inscription “Ali Adil Shah” on the obverse video porno and “Zarb Lari Dangi san” on the reverse. They were mainly used by the Persian and Arab merchants trading in the Arabian Sea and Konkan coastal region.

The Coins of the Qutb Shahi Rulers

After the decline of the Bahmani Sultanate in the last years of the fifteenth century, five different and independent Sultanates emerged to fill the power vacuum. One of these five successor states to the Bahmani Sultanate was the Qutb Shahi state based in Golconda. Internecine struggle and war of resistance against the imperial Mughal army was a common incident in the history of all the five Deccani successor states to the Bahmani kingdom. This incessant warfare did not allow the Deccani Sultans to regularize their economy and issue more sophisticated coins. Thus, the coins of the Qutb Shahi kingdom remained low in artistic excellence and sophistication.

Sultan Quli Qutb ul Mulk, the first of the Qutb Shahi rulers, curbed a separate territory around Golconda to establish his own state in the first decades of the sixteenth century. But he never issued any coin in his name. It was his successors who started issuing coins in their names. The Qutb Shahi coins were issued in copper only. Most of the Sultans of this kingdom did not issue coins of uniform value and weight standard. Thus, a standard metrology of Qutb Shahi coins is quite difficult to suggest.

The majority of the Qutb Shahi coins were simple in design and appearance. The name of the issuing monarch was inscribed on the obverse while the reverse bears the name of the mint and the year of the issue in Hijri era. Sometime, even the year of the issue was not mentioned in the coins. The royal titles and epithets of the rulers of the Qutb Shahi kingdom were also not as elaborate as their contemporary Mughals. They simply used “Sultan” as their epithet on most of the coins. Only Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1612 CE) and Muhammad Qutb Shah (1612-26 CE) adopted the title of “abu-l Muzaffar” and mentioned the same in their coins.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah issued some coins with quite a strange Persian couplet inscribed on them. It read as follows-

Paivastah be lanate-Ilahi

Tayirdah- fulus -I- Shahi.

The meaning of the couplet is- God’s curse be on him who finds fault with the Royal fulus or monetary issues. According to some numismatists and scholars, the Qutb Shahi coins were not valued much by the merchants and the ordinary masses in the markets and in the business transactions. Thus, the Sultan invoked the curse of the God to improve the material condition of his coins. These coins bear the name of the issuing monarch on the obverse and the name of the issuing mint and the issuing year on the reverse.

Abdullah Qutb Shah (1626-72 CE) and his son-in-law and successor Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (1672-86 CE) issued coins with another weird line of inscription- “Khatam bil-khair wa al-sadath”. It means, “it came to an end well and auspiciously”. Probably, these coins were issued to mark the end of some calamitous event which engulfed the whole of the kingdom.

The coins were issued from two principle mints situated in Golconda and Haidarabad. The coins issued from the Golconda mint bear the name of the place as either “MuhammadnagarGulkundah” or “Dar-ul Salatanat Golkondah”. Later, coins were also issued from the Haidarabad mint bearing the inscription “Dar-ul Saltanat Haidarabad”.