Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mahamud Gawan to get his due

Source: the Hindu:

Madrassa of Mahamud Gawan, founded by Mahamud Gawan, a Persian scholar who settled in Bidar and served as a wazir to the Bahamani kings, in medieval era. The multi-disciplinary university functioned from 1460 to 1656.

A pleasant surprise for heritage lovers in Bidar in the budget was Chief Minister Siddaramaiah talking about Mahamud Gawan, the illustrious ruler of the Deccan in the 15th century. The Chief Minister announced an ambitious project to establish a library and a research centre in honour of Gawan, who introduced administrative reforms and set up a world class, multi-disciplinary university in Bidar in 1460.

Officials are excited about the project. “This is one way the grateful city remembers the builder of Bidar,” Anurag Tewari, Deputy Commissioner, said.

“Mahamud Gawan is the true icon of the country’s multi-culturalism and administrative foresight. Historians like H.K. Sherwani have told us that Gawan started the first scientific land measurement and survey, set up a university spending his personal funds and invited scholars from around the world to come and teach astronomy, poetry and a mathematics. He curated a library that had 3,000 hand written books in 15th century. Such works needs to be recognised, even after five centuries,” Mr. Tewari said.

“We will start a Sufi festival in his memory, apart from the research centre and library,” Mr. Tewari said. The centre, according to him, will take up systematic research on Gawan’s works like Manazur Ul Insha , translate his works and document the administrative reforms that he introduced. A separate set of scholars will study the evolution of the Mahamud Gawan Madrassa as an international university. Apart from increasing our understanding of the medieval scholar, this will help cement India -Iran relationship and promote understanding and tourism.

Khaja Imaduddin Gilani, or Mahamud Gawan, was a Persian mathematician who was trained under greats like Ulugh Beg in Samarkhand University, came to Bidar when he was around 40 years. He joined the Behmani Kingdom as a statistician and rose to be the Wazir or Prime Minister for three Kings.

In a letter to Gawan, Persian poet Jami credited him with making Bidar so beautiful that Rome was envious of it.

According to the book Bidar: Its History and Monuments by Ghulam Yazdani, Mahamud Gawan’s reign spanned from the port of Machilipattanam in Andhra to the port of Dhabol in Maharahstra.

However, few books have been written about him. The first book in Kannada was by M.S. Puttanna in 1924. L.R. Kulkarni from Karnataka University, Dharwad, followed it up in 1960. Karnataka Sahitya Academy commissioned a book on Behamani and Persian cultural relations. The only authentic biography in English is by Haroon Khan Sherwani. There are three booklets in Urdu about the Wazir, but thesis, research papers and seminar speeches about him are countless.


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