Give an account of literary development during Qutb Shahis

Give an account of literary development during Qutb Shahis

Qutbshahi Literature

He must have been quite fluent in that language for, in a number of instances, he uses Telugu words even when composing poetry in Dakhni – Urdu. He also carried forward the tradition of employing non-Muslims to some of the highest posts in the government, and as most of them were Telugus by race and language, it follows that in his court, little distinction must have been made in the patronage offered to one language and another. We find that the Sultan appointed Patta Metta Somayaju Kavi as the poet – Laureate of the Kingdom, while another Telugu poet, Ganesha Panditulu became the Kutubshahi Samasthana Panditulu or the head pandit of the Qutb Shahi state. Another person of note in literary circles, Kami Reddy, was granted jewels, Palanquin, morchhal and chatar by the Sultan. Kami Reddy was a patron of Telugu in his own way, and his ward and relative, Malla Reddy has left Sivadharmottaramu and Padma puranamu, both of which are worthy compositions in the language.

We have also an interesting devotional story, Vaijanti Vilasamu or Vipranarayana Charitra from the pen of Sarangu Tammayya matendu or Tamma Mantri who was karnam in the old capital Golconda, at the time of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. Tamma says that he was a descendant of Bhaskara, and his father is said to have been a man of means and known all over the land. In the preface to the book which is novelesque in its plot, the author says that Muhammad Shahs name was the most resplendent among all the kings of the epoch.

Ibrahim Qutb Shah had been an honoured guest at Vijayanagar from 1543-1550, and while there he had imbibed a passion for the Telugu language. He must have been speaking that language fluently and we are told that he actually married an Andhra Woman of the name of Bhagirati. On his return to Golconda his court was thronged by Telugu poets like Addanki Gangadhara Kavi, Kandukuru Rudra Kavi, Ponnaganti Teleganarya Kavi and many others. He appointed Gangadhara Kavi as the Telugu poet laureate of his court. Gangadhara was the author of a well-known poem the Tapati samavornamu Upakhyanamu, a poem of great elegance in eight cantos and dedicated it to the Sultan whom is known in Telugu literature by the name of Malkibharam in 1560. The Kavi says that the Sultan’s court was thronged with men learned in the Vedas, sastras, puranas, vyakarna and cognate sciences with poets who could compose in as many as eight languages.

Ibrahim showered monetary gifts and pensions on Telugu poets and even gave some of them jagirs in perpetuity. Such a one was Kandukuru Rudra Kavi who was granted a village named Chintalapallam near his home village Kondukuru in the Nellore district. It is said that the relatives of the poet are still living in this village and their family archives bear testimony to the patronage which the Sultan of Golkonda accorded to Telugu. An anonymous Telugu poet goes out of his way to compare Malkibhrama by Hinduizing his name further to Abhirama and says that Abhirama compared favourably with such great Hindu heroes as Raghurama, Parushurama and Balarama.


Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah was a great patron of Dakhni and was himself a poet of merit. There was a certain amount of set-back in the literary progress of that language in the time of his son-in-law and successor, Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah who was greatly influenced by Persian culture and language. Even Wajhi, who had penned his imaginary romance Qutb Mushtari, in the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah had to be silent right through Sultan Muhammad’s reign and move his pan again only after his death to write his great allegorical romance, Sabras at Abdullah Qutb Shah’s command in 1635.

In Professor Sarwari’s opinion sabras is a mile stone. In the development of Urdu prose and is perhaps the most resplendent specimen of old Urdu, while Dr. Zore says that the absorbing style and high imagination depicted in the book make it one of the best books written in Proto-Urdu (Qadim Urdu).

Another great name in the history of Dakhni in Abdullah’s reign was that of Ghawwasi who was created Malikush-Shuara by the Sultan. He has left us three fairly long narrative poems, Shaif-ul-Mulk wa Badi-ul-Jamal, Tuti Nama and Maina Satwanti Ghawwasi started life as unknown person, and we are not aware of the date of his birth, nor yet of his death.

Ghawwasi wrote his Shaif-ul-Mulk wa Badi-ul-Jamal in 1035/1626 which is the date of the death of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah. At least one of the manuscripts mentions Sultan Muhammad as the ringing king. Evidently the thirty days in which the book was compiled fell partly in the reign of one monarch and partly is that of the other. Tuti Nama was compiled on 6-7/1049/18-10-1659. Both these books are rendering from Persian, the Saif-ul-Mulk, being adopted from the Persian translation of a well-known story from the Arabian Nights; while Tuti Nama is based on the Persian translation of an ancient Sanskrit work, the Sukasaptati or the parrot’s seventy (tales) which was partly rendered into Persian in 730/1329-30. In the first mathnawi there is a profusion of purely Hindi words, while the Tuti Nama contains quite a large percentage of Arabic and Persian words and even Persian constructions sandwiched in Dakhni words and phrase.

In Urdu literature Ibn Nishati who wrote his mathnawi, the phul-ban in 1066/1656. Ibn Nishati says that he began by writing prose, but nothing by him in prose has been unearthed so far. The Phul-Ban is the Dakhni form giving to a Persian poem called Basatin and as Dr. Zore says it is one of the finest mathnawis in the Dakhni idiom, and it must have been the result of real and continued effort. When the poem was ready, he presented a copy to the Sultan. It has certain peculiarities which distinguish it from other mathnawis. As it is a later creation, its language is more modern is simple and follows the language spoken by the people with very few archaisms. As in the Arabian Nights, a number of stories have been woven round a central them.

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