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Author: Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath
The period between the establishment of Vijayanagara to the date of fall of Tippu can be termed as the medieval period in Karnataka history (1336-1799). There are many ‘missing links’ and ‘dark areas’ of Karnataka history in this period. Apart from inscriptions, paper material in Kannada, Sanskrit, Marathi, Persian, Portuguese, French and Telugu languages assume more importance in the study of this period. Though lot of works on Vijayanagara have been published, tracing the careers of each and every emperor will be fruitful. A picture of Vijayanagara rule in each and every district can be outlined. Land revenue and taxes of the period, educational facilities etc, require further study. A picture of trade, shandies, industries, roads and other economic activities etc. can be discussed for
the period between 1300 and 1800. Susan S. Bean’s article ‘The fabric of social life in pre-British Mysore’ (QJMS, 1986) on textile industry can be quoted as an instance. On the Bahmanis there is scope for study of possibility of continuation of old adminitrative institutions and taxes, etc.
There is a need to draw a map of Karnataka indicating all the feudatories of Vijayanagara and extent of their rule after the fall of the Empire, and also sketch the administrative changes introduced by these petty chieftains. There has to be an integrated study also on this. This contribution of these chieftains made to arts and literature also deserve attention.
The impacts of Bijapur rule on the territories of Karnataka on administration, agriculture, trade and religious developments has to be undertaken by collecting local records with the families of of Jahgirdars, and also with temples, dargahs,mosques, etc. Details on various Desais under the Adilshahis is required outlining. The industries like perfumes, agarbatti,paper, Bidariware, etc., are Islam’s legacy to Karnataka. There are many Adilshahis buildings( mosques and durgahs) outside their capital city in Dharwd, Bijapur and Belgaum district,not properly studied.
How the new items like groundnuts, tobacco, chillies, etc., introduced by the Portuguese were received by the cultivators here requires study with the help of contemporary evidence. Mughul activity in Karnataka requires careful outlining. Impact of Maratha emigration on religion and education and their administrative institutions are still not sketched.
There is a need to present an integrated picture of political developments of 18th century Karnataka. Knowledge of Marathi, Persian, Portuguese and French languages helps the researcher of this period highly. Collection of archival material for this period requires to be undertaken on war footing.