Agriculture was the main occupation of the people. Among the important industries were: Gur making, metal industry, oil production, weaving, leather works, weapon making etc.
Ornaments of gold and diamonds were made in large quantity. Golkunda and Bijapur were known for foreign trade.
Cotton, woolen and silken clothes, spices, indigo etc. were exported.
Important items of import were rose water, raisins, dry fruits, opium, Persian plums, horses and wine. Trade was mostly in the hands of Muslim traders, called ‘Moors’. The Kingdom entered into commercial treaties with the Portuguese and the Dutch.
Development of Education:
Some of the Bahamni Sultans like Taj- ud-Din Firoz Shah and Ahmad Shah took several steps for the promotion of education in the Kingdom. Prime Minister Mahmud Gawan started a ‘Madarsa’, an institution of higher education. Some scholars compare this institution at Bidar with that of Nalanda of ancient India. He invited scholars from Iran and Iraq to teach in this institution. The students were given free food and clothing. Gawan also maintained a library which had 3000 books.
The disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate had led to the migration of several scholars from Delhi to the Bahamni Kingdom where they were greatly patronized. Some of the Bahamni Sultans invited Muslim scholars from Iran and Iraq to their Courts. Sultan Taj-ud-Din Firoz was an expert in the art of calligraphy. He was well acquainted with languages like Arabic, Persian and Turkish.
Sultan Ahmad Shah used to award prizes to scholars for writing poetry. Mahmud Gawan is said to have written two books namely ‘Roztul-Insha’ and ‘Diwan-I-Ashar’. Historical works were written in the regional languages as well as in Arabic and Persian.
Development in art and architecture:
The Bahamni rulers built beautiful mosques, palaces and strong forts at Gulburga, Bidar and Daulatabad etc. Ala-ud-Din Hasan Bahamni built a big mosque without any open courtyard—the only mosque of this type at Gulburga. Char Minar in Daultabad and Madarsa at Bidar were built in Persian style. The styles of forts built at Bidar, Warrangal and Raichur etc. was influenced by- European architecture. Muhammad Adil Shah I constructed Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur. This is the greatest dome in size.
Social life in the Bahamni Kingdom was greatly influenced by Arabic, Persian and Indian practices. The upper classes of Muslims were divided into two classes—one comprising the original inhabitants i.e. converted Muslims in South India and the other coming from countries like Africa, Arab, Persia and Turkey, etc. Mutual rivalry existed between these two groups.
The life of the upper classes was very luxurious. They generally lived in beautiful palaces. They kept horses and wore lavish clothes and ornaments. The shoes of several officials belonging to upper classes were decorated with rubies, and diamonds etc. Polygamy was the order generally among the upper classes. Among the Muslims purdah was common and easy divorce practice prevailed.