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”.