How a ‘Kamma Commander’ became the Prime Minister of Delhi?

Reading the title you may be befuddled and start treating this statement ‘A person from Kamma community becoming the ‘Wazir’ (Prime Minister) of Delhi’, a shaggy dog story. But this is what history says. A person by name Gannammanayaka also known as Yugandhar or NagayyaGanna*, who was a chief commander and trusted lieutenant in Kakatiya regime, after the fall of Kakatiya Empire, was shifted to Delhi and was given a key position.

And as many commanders in Kakatiya army, he is also from Kamma caste. But akin to many such issues, in this matter too, the caste of the subject commander is question of dispute. Velamas claim that the respective commander belongs to their caste. Only the argument that many surnames existing today in Kamma and Velama communities are the lineage/descent of commanders in Kakatiya regime may support Velamas’ claim that Gannammanayaka belongs to Velama caste to a minor extent but, several inscriptions and epigraphs that were found in the course of history have shown high probability that not only this commander, but Kakatiyas at large have Kamma chieftains as their commander-in-chiefs and army leaders. Even certain research papers mention Gannamanayaka from Kamma clan. Surname Ganammaneni is mostly seen in Kammas today.

Now the interesting questions may raise..

How did a person from Telugu speaking land go to Delhi and won the hearts of the then ruling all powerful Delhi sultans?

Not only that, how did he get such animportant post in Delhi sultanate?

During the regime of Prataparudra (Rudradeva II), the successor of Rudramma Devi, disunity has increased drastically among the various commander-in-chiefs and the situation was exploited by Turkish ruler GhiyasuddinTughlaq. In the year 1323 he sent his army under the leadership of his general Ulugh Khan, and in the battle followed some commanders belonging to Reddy community didn’t take part wholeheartedly in the war as they disliked the growing domination of other community, Velamas. Due to uncoordinated effort Kakatiyas lost the battle and kingdom to Tughlaqs.

Post the defeat the along with Prataparudra, many other chieftains were captured and shifted to Delhi. On the way to Delhi, the defeated King, Prataparudragives up his life on the banks of Narmada. Though it was neither substantiated nor proved, history says that he committed suicide. Other commander-in-chiefs and treasurers were converted to Islam. GannamaNayaka (principal commander-in-chief), Harihararaya and Bukkaraya (Treasurers of Warangal) were converted to Islam.

Gannama Nayaka, who was converted into Islam and rechristened as Malik Maqbul was given the governorship of Multan so as to oversee and administer Punjab. Back in Warangal, Musunuri Nayaks under the headship of Musunuri Prolayanayaka, attacked Warangal in 1326 and freed several parts of Telugu land from the control of Delhi Sultanate, which made the Sultan to send Maqbul (Gannama Nayaka) back to Warangal as governor of Deccan. Nevertheless Maqbul took flight to Delhi after Musunuri Kapaneedu captured back Warangal.

After his return from Warangal, Maqbul successfully aided Sultan in several critical situations and won his confidence. His pivotal role in the situations like subjugating the rebellion in Broach of Gujaratmade him imperative in the administration of Delhi Sultanate, and the Tughlaq imparted him the responsibility of being the Finance Minister first, and then the Prime Minister of Delhi later under the regimen of Feroz Shaq Tughlaq, who called the former as his ‘brother’. The sultan gave utmost priority to Malik in day to day affairs and bestowed him with the duties to oversee fiscal and general administrations. Conscientiously authentic and honest, he never in his duty went overboard and kept the Sultan informed about every development irrespective of its size and magnitude. After him his son Jauna Khan also known as Junan Shah was made the Wazir by the Sultan. Jauna Khan became eminent for building mosques in and around Delhi, which even today are known for their distinctiveness.

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