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CHAND BIBI

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

Lack of material does not enable to give a detailed account of the Ismaili influence after the death of Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani on 956/1549 in Ahmadnagar, India. We do not have explicit details, whether his descendants continued the Ismaili mission in the cloak of Shi'ism or not. There are however certain strong indications that a lady ruler, named Chand Bibi was secretly an Ismaili, but her faith is shrouded in her political activities. She was born in 957/1550 and died in 1006/1599, which implies that she was the contemporary of both Hyder bin Shah Tahir (d. 994/1586) and Sadruddin Muhammad bin Hyder (d. 1032/1622). She married to Ali Adil Shah (1558-1580) of Bijapur in 970/1562. Ali Adil Shah was killed in 988/1580. She had no child, therefore, the nephew of her late husband aged 10 years, Ibrahim Adil Shah I was crowned in Bijapur, and herself ruled as a regent with great prudence and intelligence till the young king came of age. When order was restored in Bijapur kingdom, Chand Bibi went back to her motherland, Ahmadnagar when she was about 35 years old. When Murtada Shah, the ruler of Ahmadnagar died at a moment when the foreign relations of the state were strained to breaking-point, she returned to Bijapur, and mustered a troop in consideration of the defence of Ahmadnagar's fort against the mighty army of the Mughals.

It was a question of saving the whole Deccan from Mughals, so Bijapur and Golconda kingdoms sent contingents. The Mughal force commanded by Prince Murad (d. 1007/1599) took field against Ahmadnagar. In the encounter, the Mughals were severely repulsed. Murad was compelled to negotiate truce, and recognized the rule of Ahmadnagar. The Mughals retained Birar and Ahmadnagar ruled independently. Henceforward, Chand Bibi came to be known as Chand Sultana. After some times, once again the opponents of Chand Bibi made approach to Prince Daniel (d. 1013/1604), the third son of emperor Akbar, who attacked Ahmadnagar and a terrible fight took place in the plain of Sonipat. The Mughals succeeded to turn the troops of Chand Bibi and had a siege over Ahmadnagar in 1008/1599. This time, emperor Akbar himself rushed to Deccan and pitched his tents outside the city. Chand Bibi became desperate and resisted the Mughal attacks with such courage that the invaders were repelled at many places. Hamid Khan, the traitor provided an entry to the Mughal force in Ahmadnagar. The Mughals reached the palace of Chand Bibi to kill her. At that moment of disaster, Chand Bibi came out of her apartments and fought bravely and was killed, and thus, the Mughals captured Ahmadnagar in 1009/1600.


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