Indian History Part 75 The Tuluva Dynasty Section VII: The De Facto Reign of Rama Raya

Singapore, SilverKris Lounge, 23 October 2019 

Sadasiva was very young when he was declared king. There is some confusion regarding his parentage with some sources claiming that he was Krishna Deva Raya’s son and others stating that he was Achyuta Raya’s son. These claims were made by historians before several inscriptions were unearthed at a later date, which conclusively confirm that he was Achyuta’s brother Ranga’s son. There is also differences of opinion regarding whether or not he was a ‘babe-in-arms’, a young boy or a teenager at the time of his coronation. Again, it can be confirmed that he was not yet 13 years old when anointed as the king. Rama Raya and a host of other nobles participated in the ceremony and celebrations. With the coronation having taken place in the first half of 1542, Virapratapa Kathari Saluva Vira Sadasiva Raya Deva was recognised as the legitimate Emperor of Vijayanagara.

‘The solemn act of the coronation and anointment of the descendant of the great Isvara-Narasimha, nephew of the most glorious Sovereign of Vijayanagara, Krishna Deva Raya, was the occasion of much joy on the part of the inhabitants of the capital; “and tears of joy”, says one of his grants of 1558, “shed at the time of his coronation-anointing flooded the earth so as to make her appear as the queen who was anointed with him.” Rama Raya seating Sadasiva on the precious stone (the throne inlaid with precious stones), holding an umbrella over his head, “restored once more the Empire of Vijayanagara to its ancient glory.”

Henry Heras

The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara, p. 16.

Rama Raya was astute enough to realise that the nobles would not support his claim or ambition to be the king and therefore appointed himself the ‘Regent’. He had reconciled to having all the powers of the king without the pomp and ceremony that accompanied the activities of the actual king. He styled himself the ‘Agent for the Affairs of King Sadasiva’. Rama Raya was acclaimed as the saviour of the dynasty. The fact was that he was the son-in-law of the great Krishna Deva Raya and since Rama Raya’s wife would have been a cousin of the boy-king Sadasiva, he was also the brother-in-law of the king. These direct relationships made it easier for everyone to accept him as the Regent.

All power was vested in Rama Raya and he appointed his two brothers to high positions—Tirumala being made the minister for justice with Venkatadri appointed the commander of the Vijayanagara army. The brothers were courageous and loyal to both their elder brother as well as to the Empire. They very rapidly raised the kingdom back to its prominent position in the Peninsula. Appointing his own brothers to the critical positions of power was also a way for Rama Raya to consolidate his power. In a very short span of time he established the ascendancy and authority of the Aravidu family over the entire kingdom.

Rama Raya’s Antecedents

Rama Raya’s family pedigree is given in a large number of grants and inscriptions that can be assumed to be correct since they are uniformly the same with no discrepancy between any of them. In medieval times it was usual to have two parts to the family history of kings and high nobles—one mythical and the other, historical.

In the case of Rama Raya, the mythical part claims that he belonged to the Lunar Race through Buddha and Pururuvas. However, not all the names in this narrative are mythical. Rama Raya’s family line mentions his connection to the Nandas, the old dynasty of Pataliputra that was overthrown by the Maurya Chandragupta; to the great Chalukyas and also to the Kalachuris of the Deccan/Orissa region. As was the practice at that time, this was obviously done to exalt the nobility of the Aravidu family.

The historical antecedents of the Aravidu family starts with the great warrior Tata Pinnama, followed by a list of powerful warrior-commanders, reaching Aravidu Bukka, who was a strong supporter of Saluva Narasimha, assisting him in usurping the throne and establishing the second dynasty. Bukka’s son, Rama Raya the Elder has been acclaimed as a great warrior and the conqueror of the ‘Sapada’ army, understood to have been the army of the Qutb Shahi ruler of Golconda. Rama Raya the Elder had five sons, the eldest Sriranga becoming a minister to Krishna Deva Raya. Sriranga married Tirumalambika and had three sons—Rama Raya, Tirumala and Venkatadri. Rama Raya succeeded his father as a minister, married a daughter of Krishna Deva Raya and subsequently became the Regent for the boy-king Sadasiva Raya.

Eighth Adil Shahi War 1542

During Timma Raju’s brief but mad rule, some Vijayanagara nobles had requested Ibrahim Adil Shah to assist in getting rid of him. However, Rama Raya took over the reins of the administration before Ibrahim could reach near enough to intervene effectively. The Adil Shah was camped at Raichur with his army and subsequently send his commander Assud Khan with part of the army to besiege Adoni. Rama Raya send his brother and the new commander of the army, Venkatadri, to assist Adoni. On the arrival of the Vijayanagara forces, Assud Khan raised the siege and although initially he attempted to give battle, opted to retreat in the face of superior forces. Venkatadri was complacent and considering that he had won an easy victory, camped for the night.

Assud Khan, perhaps the most successful commander of the Adil Shahi kingdom in a generation, carried out an attack in the early hours of the next day catching the Vijayanagara forces by complete surprise. Venkatadri fled from his camp leaving behind not only a great amount of treasure but also his family to be captured. He now asked Rama Raya for assistance, which was promptly despatched. However, Rama Raya also secretly instructed his brother to make peace with the Adil Shahis since he suspected the loyalty of the Hindu chiefs around Adoni. Rama Raya had by then received information that the Hindu chiefs of the region were the ones who had asked Ibrahim Adil Shah to intervene. Accordingly, Assud Khan was presented with a huge amount of gold and persuaded to intercede with Ibrahim Adil Shah, after which peace was restored.

Dealing with the Deccan Shahis – The Respite

The farcical peace with the Bijapur Adil Shahis gave Rama Raya a much needed respite to settle Vijayanagara, which had been in turmoil for more than a decade. In the later-half of 1542, the Shahi kings were engrossed in fighting each other and Bijapur was in the thick of these internecine wars. The outcome of these wars see-sawed all the time with powerful and opportunistic nobles, like Assud Khan, switching loyalties more than once. These conflicts in the Deccan saw the creation and break-up of innumerable alliances and coalitions, the basic objective of each alliance being to keep the opposing Shahi kingdom from becoming more powerful.

[On hindsight it is seen that throughout their existence the Shahi dynasties suffered from what is called the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ in modern terms, which does not permit one entity or individual to become more prominent than the rest. This trend detracted from any of the Shahi kingdoms achieving true greatness. A detailed account of the internecine wars of the Deccan kingdoms can be studied in ‘From Indus to Independence, Volume VI: Medieval Deccan Kingdoms’.]

In this instance Ibrahim Adil Shah came out of the protracted conflict in a slightly better shape that the other kings. It had suited Rama Raya to watch the Shahis tearing each other apart, although the final result of Bijapur emerging stronger was not conducive to Vijayanagara interests. Rama Raya had used the relatively peaceful interlude to streamline the administration of the vast Empire. The three brothers, devoted and loyal to each other, controlled the three pillars of the kingdom—executive, military and judiciary. In addition, Rama Raya decentralised the administration by dividing the responsibilities that had so far been concentrated at the centre. In addition to his ministerial duties, Tirumala was made the governor of Udayagiri. Since this important post had so far been held by a trusted member of the royal family, normally a younger brother of the king, Tirumala’s appointment to the position can be considered to indicate the increasingly royal status that was being attached to the Aravidu clan. It is certain that the implications of this appointment were not lost on the other nobles and the general populace. Similarly, Venkatadri was conferred the governorship of Kurnool, which he ruled from the town of Kandanol.

Rama Raya’s policy against the Deccan Shahi kingdoms throughout this period of de facto rule was one of shrewd diplomacy. He was acutely aware of the combined might of the Muslim kingdoms to his north and therefore always attempted to keep them divided. He aligned Vijayanagara and its mighty military forces with one or the other Deccan kingdoms in an opportunistic manner. His divide and rule policy is clearly demonstrated when a holistic analysis of his 20-year rule is carried out—during this time he had fought battles and wars against each of the Shahi kingdoms individually, always emerging victorious.

The Nizam Shahi Episode

Rama Raya had always suspected that the Nizam Shah ruling from Ahmadnagar was the instigator of actions initiated against Vijayanagara. After having stabilised Vijayanagara to his satisfaction, he marched against Ahmadnagar, now ruled by Burhan Nizam Shah. In order to reach Nizam Shah territory, the Vijayanagara forces would have to pass through Golconda and Bidar territories. To facilitate a rapid transit, the army was divided into three—the first part under Rama Raya attacked Golconda; the second under Tirumala invaded Bidar; and the third, under the command of an experienced senior General Hande Hanumappa Nayudu, marched direct to Ahmadnagar.

The events that took place during this campaign, the first foreign one conducted under the regency/reign of Rama Raya, is celebrated in a number of Hindu poems while no details are mentioned in any of the Shahi chronicles. Rama Raya captured Kalyani followed by a pitched battle with Nizam Shahi forces. The Muslim forces were defeated and it is clearly mentioned in different Hindu sources that Ahmadnagar was sacked and destroyed. The Deccan kingdoms reacted, with the three major kingdoms—Adil, Nizam and Qutb Shahis—joining forces to oppose the marauding Vijayanagara army. However, the three parts of the Vijayanagara forces had by now joined together and under the direct command of Rama Raya they inflicted an ignoble defeat on the combined Deccan army. The Shahi forces fled in confusion and Hande Hanumappa captured Burhan Nizam Shah. Rama Raya released Burhan and restored the kingdom to him on the latter promising eternal friendship with Vijayanagara. Rama Raya assumed the title, ‘Destroyer of Ahmadnagar’, on account of this resounding victory.

Ninth Adil Shahi War 1543 – 44

The peace that prevailed between the Shahi kingdoms at the end of their internal conflicts was in reality only an armistice. At best it was an uneasy peace and did not provide any of them immunity from attack by another kingdom. Within the major Shahi kingdoms, Burhan Nizam Shah had earlier been humiliated and wanted to seek vengeance, especially for the loss of Sholapur, which was the price that he had to pay earlier for peace with his neighbours. Quli Qutb Shah of Golconda died in September 1543 and a war of succession ensued between his sons, which gradually engulfed the other Shahi kingdoms who were forced to take sides in the internal struggle. The Shahi kings combined against Bijapur, since there was a prevailing feeling that the Adil Shah had become too powerful, in relative terms.

Rama Raya, ever the astute statesman, knew that Ibrahim Adil Shah’s ambition would eventually lead to war with Vijayanagara, sooner rather than later. Accordingly, he entered into a secret alliance with Ahmadnagar, Golconda and Berar and planned a multi-pronged attack on Bijapur to cut down its power. It was decided that Vijayanagara would attack Bijapur from the south and Golconda from the east, while the combined forces of Ahmadnagar and Berar would invade Bijapur territory from the north-east. In the ensuing war, the alliance was victorious on all fronts, forcing the Bijapur army to scatter in confusion. Vijayanagara forces under Venkatadri reduced Raichur and captured the Doab, defeating Bijapur forces led by the Adil Shah himself on the banks of the River Bhima and forcing him to flee the field.

During this near debacle for Bijapur, only Kasim Barid Shah of Bidar stayed as an ally of the Adil Shahi kingdom. In order to avoid the complete destruction of Bijapur by the combined forces of the alliance, Kasim Barid adopted a diversionary strategy. He marched to Purenda in the Nizam Shahi territory and laid siege to the fort, forcing Burhan Nizam Shah to move his forces out of Sholapur towards Purenda to relieve the siege. Ibrahim Adil Shah made an attempt to intercept this relieving column. However, in the ensuing Battle of Khaspur, the Adil Shahi forces were conclusively defeated and Ibrahim was once again forced to flee leaving behind all baggage and heavy equipment.

By this stage in the campaign, Bijapur was in an extremely precarious condition, staring at certain destruction and annihilation. The kingdom was saved at the last minute by the inexplicable action of the Qutb Shahi king of Golconda, Jamshid. He unilaterally withdrew from the campaign, leaving the confederacy against Bijapur and returning to his kingdom with all his forces. He did not consult with any of his allies before taking this autarchic step. There is no information available, other than some reports that allude to treachery, as to why Jamshid took such a step—it could have been pusillanimity, selfishness or pure treachery brought about by pique of his being side-lined in the broader campaign. There is an unconfirmed story which goes that on the advice of the perceptive and intelligent Assud Khan, Ibrahim Adil Shah made secret peace with Jamshid Qutb Shah, ceding five districts around Sholapur to Golconda as the price of Jamshid’s withdrawal from the confederacy, which effectively broke up the anti-Bijapur alliance.

At the same time Ibrahim made peace offerings to the Nizam Shah, promising to cede Sholapur to Ahmadnagar. This satisfied the fundamental interest of Burhan Nizam Shah, who gave the excuse of approaching monsoons and withdrew to his kingdom. Simultaneously Rama Raya was also given a great deal of presents to placate him. Since the alliance had already broken-up, he had no option but to call off the Raichur expedition. From a Vijayanagara perspective, nothing much was gained from this campaign—no territory was annexed and no great wealth was captured. At the same time, the internal political upheavals of the previous years had also not yet been fully contained in Vijayanagara. Many vassal chiefs were still in revolt and, in an indirect manner, Rama Raya was relieved to be able to curtail the foreign military expedition and return home to deal with them.

Interlude 1544 – 46

At the end of the alliance invasion of his kingdom, Ibrahim Adil Shah secured the neutrality of both Ahmadnagar and Vijayanagara through ceding territory and giving wealth as a sort of one-time tribute. However, he reclaimed Kakney from Golconda. Bijapur had ceded maximum territory to Golconda in the effort to break the alliance against it and therefore was keen to reclaim the territories since the existential threat to the kingdom had been lifted. Assud Shah, now again reconciled with his king after a period of being alienated, invaded Golconda territory and advanced all the way to the capital. He defeated Jamshid Qutb Shah in personal combat and returned victoriously to Bijapur after arranging a precarious peace. There were no winners in the conflict, which left Golconda feeling humiliated at being given short shrift.

The succession struggle in Golconda had not been fully reconciled and Ibrahim, Jamshid’s brother who was still contesting the throne, sought refuge in Vijayanagara. Rama Raya received him kindly and conferred an estate on him for his upkeep. Ibrahim remained in Vijayanagara for seven years as the Raya’s guest, till the death of Jamshid took him back to Golconda.

In 1546, Burhan Nizam Shah invaded Bijapur and attempted to reduce and capture Gulbarga, the second city of the Adil Shahi kingdom. He was defeated by Ibrahim Adil Shah in the Battle of Hoorchean (not identified, but probably Lachyan) on the banks of the River Bhima and forced to withdraw ignominiously. Ibrahim believed that Burhan was instigated by Rama Raya to invade since the Vijayanagara Raya had failed in all his attempts to achieve a conclusive victory over Bijapur and to reduce the Adil Shah to vassal status. This suspicion led to the next Adil Shahi war with Vijayanagara.

Tenth Adil Shahi War 1547 – 48

The previous war had been inconclusive and left all the participants in smouldering discontent. The next war was initiated by Jamshid Qutb Shah who felt that he had been the most disadvantaged at the conclusion of the earlier war, especially since Bijapur had sought and gained revenge against Golconda. To right what was perceived as a wrong to Qutb Shahi prestige, Golconda forces marched into Bidar, a staunch ally of Bijapur. However, Bidar ruled by Kasim Barid, defeated the invading Qutb Shahi army at a battle near Narayankerra.

Once again the alliance between Golconda and Ahmadnagar was evoked and a combined army returned to give battle. This time Bidar had been joined by the Adil Shahi army and a serious battle ensued. The Bidar-Bijapur combine was defeated in two separate battles. This victory was facilitated by Rama Raya sending Vijayanagara forces to join the Golconda-Ahmadnagar alliance. In the battle against Kasim Barid the Vijayanagara forces under the command of Venkatadri captured the royal insignia of Bidar. Adil Shahi reinforcements to Bidar did not make any difference to the outcome and Kasim Barid suffered yet another crushing defeat at the hands of the Ahmadnagar-Golconda-Vijayanagara alliance.

A Portuguese Pact 19 September 1547

The origin of Portuguese relationship with Vijayanagara goes back to 1507, with a Vijayanagara commandant of Goa playing truant and assisting the Portuguese to attack the Adil Shah. Some form of informal alliance existed between Vijayanagara and the Portuguese during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya with the exchange of embassies and gifts being undertaken. (This relationship has been explained in detail in an earlier chapter)

After Sadasiva Deva was enthroned following a brief period of chaos, whatever limited treaties had been in place stopped being honoured by both parties. There is even a mention of the Portuguese Governor Alfonso de Sousa planning to attack Timma Raja in 1544, although this cannot be verified from any other confirmatory source. It is mentioned that the plans were altered when the Portuguese realised that Rama Raya had become aware of these plans. Instead of attacking Vijayanagara, the Portuguese diverted their forces towards Travancore and remained satisfied with the sacking of a few temples there.

In 1547, the Portuguese started to display unusual interest in the domestic upheavals in Bijapur by supporting Abdullah, Ibrahim Adil Shaha’s brother, who also claimed the throne of Bijapur and had earlier been exiled. The Governor of Goa, Dom Garcia de Castro, accepted the gift offer of Salsette and Bardes from Ibrahim Adil Shah and in return promised to send Abdullah away from Goa. However, the Portuguese reneged on the agreement and fearing an Adil Shahi incursion into Goa, requested Vijayanagara assistance. De Castro also looked towards Nizam Shah for help, suggesting a triple alliance against Bijapur. Rama Raya who was always looking for ways and means to neutralise his pet adversary, the Adil Shah, readily agreed to the tripartite treaty.

The main terms of the treaty were:

  • Vijayanagara would have a monopoly on the trade of horses in Goa;
  • Each party of the alliance would be friend of friends and enemy of the enemies of the other two alliance partners; and
  • Each would assist the other two when called upon to help against all other kings and lords of India.

In return, Dom Castro agreed to permit Persian and Arab horses to be landed in Goa for the exclusive purchase by the Vijayanagara Raya while the Adil Shah would not be permitted to buy or transfer horses to his kingdom. In addition, Vijayanagara would ensure that all trade, both into and outwards, would be through the ports where the Portuguese had ‘factories’, thereby essentially blocking commercial activity in all Bijapur ports. It was also agreed that Vijayanagara would not permit any ‘Moorish’, meaning Muslim, ships to use their ports and would capture any such ships that came to their ports and send them to Goa. In return, all territories that had been captured from the Adil Shah were transferred to Vijayanagara control.

Perhaps buoyed by this treaty, in 1548, the new Portuguese Governor Martin Alfonso, once again started to create confusion in Bijapur by supporting Abdullah’s claim to the throne as the real king. There was a great deal of intrigue and treachery that took place in trying to undermine Ibrahim Adil Shah’s rule. Finally Ibrahim arrived at an understanding with the Portuguese by permanently ceding Salsette and Bardes to them and in return, Alfonso send Abdullah away to Canannore in the Malabar Coast, placing him in semi-house arrest.

Another Alliance is Formed

The next year, Golconda and Ahmadnagar hatched a plot to dismember and annex the Barid holdings around Bidar. In secret they also made Ibrahim Adil Shah also part of the plot, who agreed not to assist Kasim Barid although Barid was the only one who had come to his assistance when he was in dire straits a few years back. In return for his ‘inaction’ Ibrahim was given a free hand to deal with Vijayanagara as he felt like. The result of this tacit agreement was that Burhan Nizam Shah invaded Bidar and Kasim Barid fled to Bijapur, while Ibrahim Adil Shah moved south to invade Vijayanagara. [The beginning of the alliance that finally sounded the death knell of the Vijayanagara Empire can be gleaned in this informal and secret arrangement that was put in place.]

The Eleventh Adil Shahi War 1549

Even though he was already functioning in an informal alliance with Qutb Shah and Ibrahim Adil Shah, which was tacitly anti-Vijayanagara, Burhan Nizam Shah made overtures to Rama Raya to create an alliance, suggesting the formation of a confederacy. Although it was the Nizam Shah that had initiated the discussion with Vijayanagara, Ibrahim felt upset by these developments and evicted the Vijayanagara ambassadors from his court, after openly insulting them. In the meantime, Rama Raya had incited Burhan Nizam Shah to capture Kalyani from Kasim Barid, providing assistance at the critical moment in the campaign to achieve this goal. Ibrahim attempted to come to the aid of his old ally, Barid, but his forces were beaten back by the Nizam Shahi army. The advance of Nizam Shah towards Bijapur made Ibrahim Adil Shah move out of his capital and take refuge in one of his hill fortresses. The campaign came to a faltering halt. This was an inconclusive end to the war in which Vijayanagara played only a minor part and did not gain anything substantial. [What is to be noted in this minor episode is that it clearly demonstrated the disinclination of the Shahi kings to adhere to an agreement or treaty for even the smallest period of time. No sooner did they agree on a pact, one or the other party broke the agreement in a casual manner. Mutual jealousies precluded their putting up a united front even when faced with existential threats. This particular tendency was to finally bring the Shahi kingdoms down at a later time.] The Rama Raya and Burhan Nizam Shah Alliance fomented trouble again, leading to yet another campaign against the Adil Shah.

The Twelfth Adil Shahi War 1550

Early in 1550, Rama Raya and Burhan Nizam Shah personally met each other and agreed upon the terms for the capture of Bijapur and annihilation of the Adil Shahi dynasty. The plan was simple and straightforward: they would attack Bijapur simultaneously from the south and the north, since the Adil Shahi kingdom sat sandwiched between Vijayanagara and Ahmadnagar. Rama Raya would capture Mudgal, Raichur and the territories to the south of River Krishna while Burhan Nizam Shah would annex Sholapur and Gulbarga.

In the war that followed, Rama Raya, assisted by a contingent of Nizam Shahi forces, moved towards Raichur and Mudgal—both surrendering to Vijayanagara forces without a fight. Rama Raya then left the army to assist Burhan under Venkatadri’s command and returned to Vijayanagara. Once again, the internal dissentions within the Shahi kingdoms leading to vicious intrigues and actions came to the fore and consumed their energies. The Qutb Shah interfered in the confusing conflict and had Barid released and reinstated in Bidar, while Burhan Nizam Shah was content with the capture of Sholapur and quietly returned home. [The end of the conflict was an anti-climax, which was symptomatic of the fickleness of the Shahi alliances and also indicative of the impact of shabby and unwieldy alliances on the evolving religious and geo-political situation in the Peninsula.]

Rama Raya – The King Maker

Later in 1550, Jamshid Qutb Shah died, leaving a two-year old son to succeed to the throne. The Deccan nobles rebelled against the Regent Saif Khan who was disliked by them because of his arrogance and the haughty manner in which he treated the Deccanis. [The division and mutual antagonism between the Deccan and Firangi nobles, which was one of the primary reasons for the break-up of the Bahmani kingdom and the subsequent failure of the successor Shahi kingdoms, has been covered in detail in the previous volume of this series of books—‘From Indus to Independence: A Trek through Indian History, Volume VI: Medieval Deccan Kingdoms.’] Saif Khan was unable to either put down or pacify the revolt. Seeing the kingdom gradually descend into civil war, the Prime Minister Mustapha Khan send a message to Ibrahim Qutb Shah, then in exile in Vijayanagara, to return to Golconda and assume the throne as a consensus candidate to be the king.

Ibrahim had been living in Vijayanagara under the protection of Rama Raya, who offered him military assistance to go back and take over Golconda. Some reports allude that Ibrahim was actually in the military service of the Raya, an assertion that cannot be conclusively verified or confirmed. Afraid that the Hindu forces would take over Golconda on behalf of Rama Raya, Ibrahim is reported, only by Ferishta, to have refused the offer of military assistance. All other sources state that Ibrahim was accompanied by Vijayanagara forces under the command of Venkatadri on his travel to Golconda. The Hindu forces withdrew to their territory only when Golconda forces under Mustapha Khan met up with Ibrahim’s entourage near Pangul. Camping at Pangul, Ibrahim managed to collect a sufficiently large force in a few months for him to finally be proclaimed the king on 27 July 1550.

Rama Raya had played only a minor part in this episode. However, by not interfering in the succession struggle and indirectly supporting Ibrahim’s claim to the throne, he was instrumental in creating the opportunity for Ibrahim Qutb Shah to become king. A few years later, in 1556, rebellion flared in Bijapur and Ibrahim Adil Shah appealed to Rama Raya for assistance. Rama Raya sent his brother Venkatadri with an army to help the Adil Shah. The rebellion was contained and Ibrahim Adil Shah was made secure on his throne. A grateful king made Bijapur an ally of Vijayanagara, a complete volte face in circumstances from a long history of animosity between the kingdoms.

Rama Raya also interfered in the skirmishes going on between the Portuguese and Bijapur, now as an ally on the Adil Shah. The Portuguese had restarted support for Abdullah’s claim to the Bijapur throne, primarily to discomfiture the Adil Shah, resulting in intermittent battles between the two. Vijayanagara continued to assist their new allies in these battles, which came to an end when a peace deal was signed between the Portuguese and the Bijapur king.

What emerges clearly from the first two decades of Rama Raya’s regency is the fact that he was an astute diplomat and statesman, who kept his eyes peeled for all and any opportunity to interfere in the affairs of the Deccan Shahi kingdoms to further the interests of Vijayanagara. Under his stewardship, Vijayanagara’s imminent decline in stature to irrelevance was halted and the kingdom started to regain its old glory, power and status. It is noteworthy that during this period of careful regency, Vijayanagara remained on a war-footing continuously and always emerged in a better positon from regular conflicts that it engaged in with the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan.

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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Political and Defence Analyst specialising in military strategy, national security, and international politics. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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