The rich province of Gujarat occupied a prominent place among the provincial kingdoms which arose on the ruins of the Delhi sultanate. Zafar Khan, appointed as governor of Gujarat in 1391 by one of the later Tughluqs (Muhammad bin Firuz Tughluq), exercised independent power from the beginning. But he assumed the insignia of royalty and took the title of Muzaffar Shah only in 1407-08.
He started a long drawn out struggle with Malwa which became a prominent feature of the history of western India. He defeated and captured Hushang Shah of Malwa and temporarily occupied his kingdom. Ahmad Shah I (1411-42), grandson and successor of Malwa and Khandesh as also one of the Hindu rulers as well. He followed a policy of persecution of Hindus by suppressing Hindu zamindars, destroying Hindu temples and imposing jeziya for the first time in Gujarat.
He founded the city of Ahemadabad which replaced Anhilwara as the capital of Gujarat. The greatest Sultan of Gujarat was, however, Mahmud Shah I (1458-1511), who is popularly known as Begarha’ because he conquered the two strong Rajput forts (Garh) of Girnar and Champaner. He fought against several Muslim and Hindu rulers, including Mahmud Khalji I of Malwa. Under him, the kingdom reached its highest extent. He had problems only from the Portuguese who smashed his navy but negotiated a peaceful settlement.
Bahadur Shah (1526-37)
was the last energetic Sultan of Gujarat. He conquered and annexed Malwa, and after Rana Sanga’s defeat and death at Khanwa, sacked Chittor. At the fag end of his reign, Humayun invaded Gujarat and occupied a part of it. But when Humayun retreated to tackle Sher Khan in the east, Bahadur recovered his lost territory. Meanwhile, the Portuguese, who had earlier entered into an alliance with him (1535) and gained some concessions, started posing problems to him.
He fell into the sea in a scuffle with the Portuguese on board a ship while conducting negotiations with them. With Bahadur’s death, the glory of independent Gujarat also vanished for his successors were mere puppets in the hands of the turbulent nobles and its extinction by Akbar was only a matter of time.
The province of Malwa, like that of Gujarat, became an independent kingdom during the period of decline of the sultanate of Delhi under the later Tughluqs. Dilawar Khan Ghuri, appointed governor of Malwa in 1390-91, exercised independent power for some years and formally assumed independence in 1401-02.
Though Dhar was his capital, he began to develop Mandu as his capital. Alp Khan, son and successor of Dilawar, became the next ruler with the title of Hushang Buon 25) He made Mandu his new capital and founded a new town, which was named Hushangabad. He was a patron of architecture and Islamic learning and followed a liberal policy towards his Hindu subjects.
The Ghurid dynasty was replaced by the Khalji dynasty in 1436. Mahmud Khalji I (1436-69), the founder of the new dynasty was the most powerful Sultan of Malwa, which reached its greatest extent during his reign he invaded Mewar. Gujarat and the Bahmani kingdom, amongst not veld him any permanent gains. He was also a careful and efficient administrator, encouraged agriculture, trade, and commerce. The last ruler of the Khalji dynasty was Mahmud II (15111-31), who was weak and dependent on the support of his nobles. There was constant friction between his Hindu and Muslim nobles.
A Rajput named Medini Rai played the leading role for some years. In 1531, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat captured Mandu and annexed it to his dominions. During the next 30 years (1531-61), Malwa passed through several political changes. It was captured by the Mughal emperor Humayun from Bahadur Shah. After Humayun’s departure from Malwa, a former officer of the Khaljis, Mallu Khan, took over. Then Malwa passed under the control of Sher Shah and his Afghan governors. Ultimately Akbar conquered it in 1561 from Baz Bahadur, son of Sujaat Khan who was the governor of Malwa under Islam Shah Sur.
Malik Raja Faruqi (1389-99) was the founder of the principality of Khandesh, located in the Tapti Valley. Appointed earlier as its governor by Firuz Shah Tughluq, he set himself up as an independent ruler following Firuz’s death and the subsequent confusion in the Delhi sultanate. Nasir Khan (1399-1437), the son and successor of Malik Raja, captured the strong fortress of Asirgarh from a Hindu chieftain.
When he invaded Gujarat in alliance with Malwa, he was defeated and had to acknowledge the suzerainty of Ahmad Shah of Gujarat. Next came the reign of Adil Khan” II (1457-1503), who was a capable and enterprising ruler. He established his suzerainty on the Hindu rulers of Gondwana and Garh-Mandala.
But when he repudiated his allegiance to Gujarat and withheld the annual payment of tribute, Mahmud Begarha led an invasion into Khandesh and compelled him to fall in line. He strengthened Asirgarh and also built the famous citadel of Burhanpur. The later rulers of the Faruqi dynasty were quite incapable. Taking advantage of the factional strife within Khandesh, the Sultans of Gujarat and the Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar frequently interfered in its internal affairs. Ultimately Akbar annexed it in 1601.