A Brief Biography of Mohammed Gawan

Even after an year that I travelled to Bidar, I still wonder about one thing. How come a literal ruin is one of its most famous monuments. The answer lies in two aspects. If one is the personality of Mohammed Gawan, the other is the beauty and prominence of this Madrasa.

Today, the opinion on Madras has degraded because of some anti social elements. However, in olden days Madrasa was a temple of learning where a variety of subjects were taught. Many people do not know that our former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam is a product of a Madrasa.

Khaja Mohammed Gawan came under public eye when he was sent by Sultan Allauddin II to suppress a neighbor king. He later became prominent among the nobles and ultimately was chosen as the Chief Minister by Humayun, which is termed as the best thing that happened to the kingdom in his rule. He became the Principal Minister of State in 1462 and administration went smoothly after that. One of his most trusted followers was Yusuf Adil Khan, who later found the Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur. Now lets talk about Khaja Gawan’s character.

Khaja Mohammed Gawan, was an excellent fighter as he was a learned person. He was sent to many battles which resulted in utmost victories to the Bahmani kingdom. There is an incident that is mentioned of life where after being honored by the Sultan, he went back to his house and decided to dispose all of his wealth and used all of his valuables to purchase books for his students. The reason he gave was he got a sudden pride in his victories which was not good for a humble person like him. From then on, he used to disguise himself and donate all his money to poor.

With his rising prominence, other nobles were jealous. They created a situation where the Sultan had to believe that Mohammed Gawan was helping the enemy to usurp the kingdom. The Sultan in a fit of rage and under the influence of alcohol, had Mohammed Gawan’s head cut off. His simple tomb lies at one end of Bidar, on which, inscribed are the words “The story of unjust execution” and “The guiltless Mahmud Gawan suffered execution”.

The Madrasa that we are going to talk in the next post is the most fruitful aspect of Mohammed Gawan’s dedication towards his country and people.


1. History of the Deccan by J.D.B. Gribble

2. Bidar – Its History and Monuments by Ghulam Yazdani

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